Sunday, October 29, 2017

8 weeks to Christmas

The cookie and candy list has been finalized. Until Hubby comes up with something else 😏.

While at my GI appointment an elderly lady pulled several gags on me after she heard my doctor say something about the gag gifts I do for the kids and grandkids. I pulled them on Hubby and he thought they were good also.Inexpensive and very doable for the 3 dozen we make gifts for.

I found a couple gifts at a thrift shop after my GI appt.

We are still working on one large gift that we knew would be time consuming but not expensive.

I bought a strand of lights for the light bulbs as it was cheaper to buy a 100 bulb strand than the replacement bulbs for several of my window decorations.

I have some Christmas cards already bought so I will start signing them and getting them ready to mail around Thanksgiving as I want to include a short note.

Blessed Be

Sam's club and Frugal done.

We finally made it to Sam's club... saved 6 %. not including how much cheaper compared to other stores for what I bought.
We got some funny looks with having 5 boxes of oil that weighed 35 lbs each. Turkey fryers take a box each and we always buy back up as more than one time had a fryer spring a hole or boil over. YES we have a fire extinguisher always on hand for that reason.

Hubby built a box on the back of our trailer years ago...has had to replace it a couple times but it keeps things from getting wet (like kids' furniture) or blown off (plants from auction). We consider this a "light" run as usually the box is full , the bed of the truck is full and the back seat is full... this time it was not even filling the box on the trailer. Got diapers for the great grandson with $8 off.It will take care of him for a couple months making his parents happy to not be forking out that type of money at the holidays.


But it has pretty much wrapped up what we needed and a few things that was on the want list except for the items that come on sale in Nov/Dec. I check butter at Walmart... OUCH
But I lucked out at Aldi's at their grand opening and got it for $1.99. We have enough right now with using powdered butter from Rainy Day Foods for baking and canned butter for the table. I got eggs for 59 ¢ a dozen so I can finish dehydrating the older eggs. I also got another roasting chicken for 95¢/lb. We had it for dinner and it's now in the stock pot so I can debone it tomorrow and toss the bones in the trash as it goes to the road in the morning for pick up.I will end up with 4 meals from it.

Krogers had digital coupon for 4 x points for gift cards. We needed gift cards for Christmas so we picked them up and then I did the survey to get more points for Nov.. We used 20¢/gal for the gas for going to Sam's club and  the other places we stopped at.

We went to Lock 16 steakhouse for a belated birthday dinner for Hubby.We went at lunch time to get the cheaper price. Brought home leftovers to make 2 more meals with adding veggies and a fruit.

We went to Dollar General where I had a $2 coupon off $10. I got cleaner for the swiffer mop that Hubby bought several years ago and he loves using. The cleaner was buy 2 get $1 off, bought 2 cans for the autospray for the kitchen that was a $1 off and a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Total paid was around $12 .

We went passed a house that was between stores that we thought we would be interested in buying. It was surrounded by a woods and not what we were looking for.

I washed foil, food bags, reused tea bags, opened curtains in morning and close late afternoon when there is no sun. Did laundry with homemade laundry soap with vinegar for the softener, used the drying rack for light weight stuff, dried heavy items first so if needed to be rebooted they were with the next load.  I did my surveys for Pinecone and worked daily on Swagbucks.

Hubby used gasbuddy for other gas for the truck, he packed his lunch(always has) from leftovers.Mended another pair of socks that his steel toe boots wear out in that area.His truck went in for both fuel lines to be replaced. Haven't gotten that bill but we already know we can make payments on it. SO blessed with the mechanic we have.

I dried more onions and eggs... worked on some red bell peppers... have the rest of what is in the mudroom to finish. All the tomatoes just finished turning red and I had some of them with the bell peppers as I heard that would help the bell peppers turn. Got a recipe for apple shrub that I have never had.

Hubby mentioned he only had 1 vitamin pill left so I went upstairs and brought down more for him and then decided to make sure all my meds and vitamins were full also. So nice to fill everything up and not have to worry about going back into town and finding coupons and sales to fill those needs.

A co worker of Hubby's gave us a Mc D's gift card that had $5 on it as no one in his family eats there. I saved it for later.

The curtain rod over the kitchen sink kept falling down every time I shut the bottom half of the curtains. Hubby suggested buying a different style rod, I put a clothespin on the end of the rod so it couldn't pull through the hook that holds it. Problem solved for the price of a clothes[in that I've had for years.

My GI who has really helped calm my Crohn's down is not going to be in network starting Jan due to ins changes. She prescribed me enough meds using 90 day supply to go a year so I didn't have to stress about finding a doctor right away as she can do phone consults at no charge to me if I end up in the hospital ER with an attack. She also referred a couple doctors that will be in network that she had worked with before and said she would go to them herself...She has Crohn's so she definitely understands.

 I ordered a gift from Dad O for Christmas from Amazon and had them gift wrap it for me as I know I wouldn't be able to and do a decent job of it. Even Hubby thought it was neat when we got it in.

I had saved some older food safe buckets with Gamma seal lids which came in hand when we got home from Sam's club to transfer the 50 lbs of flour and 75 lbs of sugar. That was a $70 savings and not a worry of getting to the store to buy the buckets and put up with the flour and sugar sitting in the kitchen.

We always try to make a trip to town that is for more than one thing. Twice in the past week we had to drive over an hr to appts so I juggled the errand list so we could do at least one thing extra with those appts. This week is almost as busy with appts.

Have a Blessed Week.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

What amount we should eat in a year.

Taking the information from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate

Hubby and I at our ages should eat the following in 1 year.

Fruit: Hubby 2 cups and me 1 1/2 cups per day..that's almost a quart a day so that's 365 quarts a year.

Veggies:Hubby 2 1/2 cups and me 2 cups per day  that's a bit over 410 qrts of veggies. We eat the rainbow diet of veggies....reds, yellows/oranges, white/tan, greens, blue/purple and black

that comes to a total of 775 qrts for a year.... I can mostly in pints so that's 1550 pints...If I was buying all of it at the store it would be 1550 in cans. This is also why I dehydrate a lot also.

That's not touching canned beans, butter, jams, jellies, fruit butter, syrups, sauces, meats,eggs, condiments etc....

Grains... My plate cut back from the 7-11 servings to 5 oz for me and 6 for Hubby per day. That's 11 oz total per day that's almost 251 lbs of grain for a year.

Protein is 5 oz for me and 5.5 oz for Hubby (we do more manual labor than most so we eat more than that) but I base my storage on those numbers that is 10.5 oz per day. That's almost 240 lbs of protein a year.

Dairy... okay we are both cheese hounds. I couldn't drink milk as a child but could eat cheese and butter (we don't eat margarine due to chemicals in it)  My plate says we each should have 3 cups for a total of 6 cups per day. Cheese is 1.5 oz natural or 2 oz for process cheese equals 1 cup.. We have at least 1 of our servings as cheese . But think about that.. if we were only drinking milk or eating yogurt that's 2190 cups per year. As it is 1/3 of that is cheese that's just a bit over 68 lbs for the cheese alone in a year or 5.7 lbs a month. I buy it when it's on sale and try to have a coupon.

Oils... Hubby 6 teaspoons and myself 5 teaspoons per day, that's a total of 11 teaspoons a day. That's 4015 teaspoons a year..there are 48 teaspoons in a cup. That's a bit over 83.5 cups , a cup is 1/2 lbs so that's 41.75 lbs of oil.... that includes not only the oils we use but also peanuts,peanut butter, butter,olives, avocados, salad dressings, mayo and Miracle Whip and other condiments along with baked goods (breads, cakes, doughnuts, etc). I do deep fry about every 6-8 weeks. If I deep fry I found we don't eat out plus the side benefit is my cast iron skillets get seasoned and I have several of those.

Yes I have a big pantry

Monday, October 23, 2017

In the pantry...

We went shopping for personal items and then I was rummaging around for Christmas presents and decided to straighten this area up. It's part of the pantry.. personal items, dog stuff etc but I keep it upstairs in the corner of the boys room... we don't have any kids living with us but I call the one bedroom boys rooms (most of the grandkids are boys) and then there is Becka's room even though I have some granddaughters besides Becka, she's the only one that can tolerate being in the boonies to stay. Boys love the barn and cattle.

FYI... We decided to stock for a year. Hubby is retiring (5 wks 4 days, not that I am counting or anything) as he does have other offers of work that is part time and seasonal on top of finding out ALL our doctors will be out of network with the new insurance turning a 80/20 plan into a 60/40 plan instead along with $10,000 deductible after paying $1000 a month for the insurance. YES we know we are BLESSED even with that because we know others that are paying $2000 a month and higher deductible than us.SO until we see how things goes financially we decided to stock EVERYTHING for a year since I already do that with the food.


I even stocked extra humidifier treatment and Mr Clean, I cut the squares in half, it's the only thing I can use on my enamel coated pans.

Tea and coffee along with water is the major drinks here. Our Bunn coffee maker doesn't let us reuse the grounds by adding more, makes a total mess when we tried it a couple times. I can only drink Folgers and Maxwell house, rest rips my Crohn's up. So we cut back on no more than 3 cups of coffee (Hubby drank 3 pots of coffee) and we drink tea in the afternoons and evenings ..The big red boxes of tea are top right of bookcase Yes I stocked dental treats for Rascal.That's a year supply for him.

The dog items (actually there is some cat items also) is for the 4 legged grand-babies for Christmas.
If I don't have a Crohn's attack then this will last closer to 2 years.If I have one attack cut it down to 18 months two attacks it's a year. It will be frugal for me to NOT have any (besides the fact it's out of network and horrible to go through) and to do that I have to take my meds...

My VSL#3 is NOT cheap  even for over counter and my insurance will not cover it even with a prescription. I look for it on sale and have gotten lucky enough to find it twice at a price I can afford that scored me 4 bottles each time. My doctor would love to have me drop the dosage but we fear it will trigger an attack and that will make it all worse.

The only part of the pantry left not organized is my spice and herb cabinet and the dried fruit/veggie cabinet...maybe by the end of the week.

Blessed Be 

Third week Oct...Frugal good and bad

Rascal is pouting... It was Monday morning... trash goes to the road and he gets a ride around the block (so does Mommy πŸ˜‰) BUT this week Hubby was on first shift for EMT classes so he took the trash when he left for work at 5 AM...we didn't get a ride around the block (4 miles total for the block here.) So there was no reason for Mommy to go around the block either.

Five days we ate from the pantry.One of those was a failure as I roasted a chicken knowing we both would be worn out by dinner time with his classes (11 hr work day) and me in the gardens pulling the last of the harvest to go with the apples we were given. This is sitting in the mudroom for me to finish up this week.



We ate the chicken the first night, ate beef cubes ( that I thought was beef cubed steak)cooked with mushrooms and onions and baked potatoes with the line of thinking we would finish the chicken the next night as chicken and dumplings... that didn't happened due to me falling and injuring the arm I just had surgery on...pit stop at WENDY'S after I was checked out. (not torn but definitely pulled muscles that are tight still from the surgery) ... and the next night was PIZZA which feed us dinner and 2 lunches) after 18 hrs of working in the gardens and yard work that Hubby picked up on his way back from taking the tiller back to a friend that lent us his big one. He woke me up when he got in as I had sat down after showering and went to sleep, I barely remember eating.Chicken got dumped in trash with big reminder that the night we have the roasted chicken (which needs to be no later than Saturday so the bones can go to trash at road on Monday morning and not sit in the trash can all week for the wild life to take interest in) that the leftovers goes in the stock pot that evening and dealt with BEFORE BED on the SAME night.

We didn't go to Sam's club again or Lock 16 for a belated birthday meal for Hubby. Looks like Nov. for that now. I started going through the recipes for Christmas cookies and candy so if there is anything missing I can add it to this list.

We did score with a savings of 42% at Dollar General on stocking up the pantry of personal items and 63% at CVS on medical supplies Hubby felt we needed and 29% at Kroger's that was on odds and ends they had sales on, I had coupons and it was on the we use but not necessary list. The young lady at Dollar General made a point of showing me my receipt and letting me know I had another $7 in savings in coupons.

I use my herb tea bags twice and regular tea bags 3 times and found if I put those 2 together I can get another cup of tea.

I put together some Christmas presents with what I had..

I washed foil, box inserts (thanks kid for bringing me yours). Used homemade laundry soap and vinegar for the softener in the laundry , hung what I could on the drying rack and dried the heaviest first in the dryer so there is no reboot at the end of laundry due to something not getting dried completely. We turn off the furnace during the day (even today with no sunshine to warm the house). All the winter curtains on the main floor are up. The staircase doors to the upstairs and basement are kept shut with an old wool blanket at the bottom of the upstairs door so the cold air doesn't seep on down. Winter bedding is on the bed, warm throws on the backs or arms of furniture if we get chilly sitting. I added water to lotion, shampoo, conditioner, body soap, and dish soap. I wipe my razor blade with rubbing alcohol. Grandpa was a barber and told me to always do this so it would last longer even with disposable blades. I am able to use mine about a month of regular shaving.

I made apple bread to use up some of the apples for our breakfast and snacks over the weekend.

Hope you had a frugal week.
Blessed Be


End of the gardens

It always makes me sad to wrap it up... part relieved as it means the days are not so busy even with produce sitting in the mudroom to be processed.
But I did take one last picture of the flowers before the straw bales were hauled away. Next year we will be trying raised garden rows like Old World Garden Farms.

Hubby tilled up the north garden and then planted annual rye for the winter cover crop. That's the rhubarb patch behind him that I will divide up in the spring. This is from the other way.Rascal is trying to figure out where everything went.He is back by the pole where the peonies were and his potties on them.


These south square foot gardens have the fall garlic, some spring flower bulbs as the flower garden beside the house is coming up and the far end one has the strawberries.
We call this with fond memories "the tomato patch" because the first year we tilled it up was because we had 50 extra tomato plants and no where to put them.Hubby tilled this also and put rye in it. We don't PLAN to plant it but we never know.

This is at the far end of the tomato patch. It is my herb garden. There is still garlic chives, chives, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and curly parsley growing. I cut everything back for winter but as warm is it is right now and the rain we are getting today I can see having a small harvest if we don't get the frost like they forecasted for this week.

This one we left even knowing we will have to deal with it in the cold. I did pick the green beans off the scarlet runner beans on the trellis and have them drying to replant next year in the north garden. There are a few blooms still on it and the birds are picking at it's leaves. The flowers bloomed after the mole ate through the box and seemed to fill out more... must have needed thinned??? 

The wind is blowing the leaves off the maple trees today. It's dreary, wet and cool...not cold as that is  yet to come... just a reminder that the circle of life continues.






Nine weeks to Christmas

We do gag gifts for the kids and grandkids...great grandson gets toys. Older  family gets food gifts or something along that line.

The story on these gifts is I was putting the boxes together and taping them, putting the gift inside and then tape the top... got almost through them and glanced at the table and realized I forgot to put the gift inside... gag on me LOL.

While searching for something else I ran across and present we had bought last year for a friend but sent something else instead. They are getting it this year.

I've rechecked the list for cookies and candy... Cookies are set but I need to pull a few more candy recipes. We have some tried and true and always a few new. I check ingredients as I pull the recipe.

We STILL haven't made it to Sam's club (or Lock 16 steak house for Hubby's birthday. It looks like it's a Nov 4th run almost a month after his birthday. Guess that is the best since I am just now going through the recipes.

We have started going through the Christmas decorations as we picked up at yard sales and need to check them for lights etc.

Still a little frustrated that a gift we thought was going to be good was a flop...so back to the drawing board to replace that one.

Are you getting ready for the holidays?

Monday, October 16, 2017

frugal week starting Oct 9th

We found Christmas gifts for a couple of friends at a yard sale. Found a couple for Dad and Mom O at Menards and yard sale.

I did the usually of washing storage/freezer bags (not if it had meat or grease)  and foil. Opened curtains at dawn and closed them at night since it's now not as hot and I need the sunlight to warm the house. Turned lights off when not in room. Used homemade laundry soap.Used drying rack when possible. Washed inserts to different boxed food and taped to the roll I now have on the wall (have one of those racks that holds 3 different items on rolls. I have paper towels (select a size as we don't need full sheets most the time) wax paper and now inserts that I can use before the wax paper. Actually holds up better in the freezer when flash freezing items.Using my single use tea bag 3-4 times.

We turned the furnace on at bedtime and off when we got up. If I get cold sleeping my arm/shoulder stiffness and causes pain. Pain anywhere triggers my Crohn's.

Since I had my back injections we went out for a meal afterwards...got breakfast so once again the meal was half of what we usually spend PLUS it fed Hubby that night as I was in no shape to eat let alone cook so he didn't go get fast food for himself.  I fixed a large lasagna for the weekend and that made it to last night with me adding extra sides to fill us up.

We used Kroger fuel points and Speedway card along with checking with Gasbuddy for the cheapest gas.

I harvest herbs while Hubby harvested the majority of the last of the tomatoes (enough now canned for the year of pasta sauce and tomato juice) and horseradish (1/2 gal in freezer) and bell peppers... that still have not turned SIGH.

The humming birds haven't been around for over a week now but the bees are having a buffet with the humming bird feeders. We decide to let them hang until we don't see the bees any more. I still have some flowers that they are into also. Mums are pretty much done after that last hot spell.

Landlord bought a new ceiling light for the butler's pantry that was LED and Hubby installed it over the weekend.

We cut out electric bill by $40 by canning outside using the turkey fryers . It costs us $15 for propane for the fryers.

Hubby started clearing the north garden and I am starting on clearing the south gardens this afternoon. I bartered pumpkins last month with the young man (landlord's oldest son) that has steers and a pig in the barn here to haul the straw bales away from here. We decided to try Old World Garden Farms raised rows next year. Straw bales kept the weeding down and plants did well but seeds didn't make at all as the wind kept blowing the dirt away even with packing it down and watering it.

Hubby ( hopefully) mowed for the last time.

We are still looking for brown socks for me and jeans for Hubby on sale.

Back to eating from the pantry 😁

Another Section of pantry done.

Standing in my kitchen looking towards the butler's pantry this is what you would see. The door with the Live, laugh landry is the door that goes to the basement.

When the basement door is shut , which is few and far between this is what you would see. I copied this from Julia Child and it has worked great for myself and my youngest daughter that also has one....there is a cast iron skillet missing from the left bottom and a skillet that is missing above all the others. I was fixing dinner.YES that is a braid of garlic hanging there to remind me to USE it. It was gift as they didn't remember I grew my own garlic. I don't braid so it's something different for me.
If you were in the butler's panty and the basement door was shut this is what you would see.
Tea balls on top, cheese grater next row down, immersion blender next row , whisks the next row, ricer and old masher in the next. I don't keep anything in the bottom row. It hits the water storage (that's for flushing the toilets) and stops the door from being opened all the way.

If you are standing in the kitchen door way and looking to your right this is your view. Hubby made both. The white one was a bookcase that stands over 7 ft tall and is 4 feet wide.

I have a one pot, two cast iron dutch ovens and the 2 beverage jugs we use for family dinners on top of it.

Next shelf down, cake mixes and cookie mixes on sale with coupons so it's about 50¢....I use the cake mixes as a short cut for cookies and dump cakes. Cookie mixes also but usually you will find oatmeal cookie mix for using on top of fruit crisps or pies when I am under the gun for a dessert.

Next shelf is frostings (on sale with coupons so about 50¢) less waste with the just the two of us as we don't frost most of the cakes we do eat. Bisquick....Hubby just refuses to try anything else and since he is the one that makes the waffles and pancakes he can have his Bisquick LOL. Wondra instant flour (me) and a small container of AP flour if I only need a small amt so I'm not lifting 25 lbs of sugar to get to the bucket of AP flour. Tostadas and ramen noodles, then Parmesan cheese in the bottle, then Velveeta cheese( bought on sale with coupons) and then Hubby's go to when he is on his own or he is cooking and doesn't really want to but I am not available for whatever reason...Velveeta mac and cheese (served with hamburger or sausage in it or smoked sausage on the side).

Down one more shelf, Carnation Essentials mixes(bought on sale with coupons) for when I am having a Crohn's attack and am on a liquid diet for 3-7 days. I have one week supply of 4 of them a day. Cream of wheat, grits, quick oats and regular oats.Funnel cake pourer and mix. Tortilla chips (taco salad, refried beans and cheese, salsa etc) Fritos (walking taco salad, chili,salsa. veggie dip) potato chips...one of the few things I can get down during a Crohn's attack that will settle my stomach faster than meds. We limit how much we eat of the "chips" because they are part of our meals or for my Crohn's. Then there is boxes of gingersnaps, vanilla wafers, lady fingers, graham crackers and Grape nuts (I use grape nuts in parfaits with yogurt or pudding).

Next row is what we call the home take out row...this is my first line of battle against the eat out monster. Instant polenta, hamburger helper ( I have hamburger and bulk sausage cooked, bagged and in freezers) freezer to plate meal (thank you to son that also forgets to thaw his chicken). Instant rice mixes that Hubby uses to stuff his green bell pepper that I don't eat. Gnocchi that I do eat.Rice noodles, powdered egg drop soup (Hubby makes me when I am sick or have Crohns attack)Stove top stuffing (me as Hubby doesn't like stuffing/dressing of any kind). Instant mashed potatoes (won't be buying that any more since I can now make my own dehydrated potato granules) a few boxes of potatoes that was bought before I bought the buckets of sliced, diced and hash browns.Whistle Stop fried green tomato batter that I use for anything that is being battered and deep fried. I even used it to batter eggplant and fried green tomatoes that went in the freezer. My sweeteners...black strap molasses, pancake syrup for Hubby ( I use dark Karo and it's in the frig) Maple syrup (goes in frig after opening) honey,light corn syrup,sorghum, boiled apple cider syrup and basmatic vinegar syrup bought from Italy from a friend and Hubby's plastic containers he uses to pack his lunch. These will be moved when he retires and I go through all the plastic containers .

Next row down is what Hubby calls my King Arthur flour row.  It has easy roll dough improver, baker's special dried milk, non-diastatic malt powder, whipped cream stabilizer,lime juice powder, lemon juice powder, pizza dough flavor (great for making crackers) baker's cinnamon filling mix (with a promise of having homemade cinnamon rolls when he retires), organic barley malt, Ammonium carbonate, instant yeast (2 lbs). Chicken bouillon, beef bouillon, and tomato bouillon. Cocoa, regular and dark, instant choc drink, dried milk , dried buttermilk and coffee creamer which is used more for instant hot cocoa mix than coffee.

Bottom row... soda... Vernors ginger soda (sick/Crohn's) Sprite (sick/Crohn's) coke just a few for company because they feel weird if I have to go to the root cellar to get it and then wipe the bottle clean. Variety of cranberry juice (Hubby) V8 Fusion (crohn's) lemon juice and lime juice bottled ( just gifted)small cans of pineapple juice, instant coffee ( for instant mocha for friends) instant raspberry tea and instant lemon tea (in laws drink)

This next shelving unit was built when we were renting a 800 sq house with few cabinets. Hubby built it for my small appliances. It's now a joke in the family as it holds all the alcohol when we don't really drink...I use the most of it for cooking... along with most the wine we have stored in the pantry. The kids know not to buy a bottle of something without checking to see if we have it...should really store it with the herbs and spices since it's used in that line more. Takes 2 pictures as I can't stand in front of it due to the narrowness of this area.


Top shelf meat slicer with limoncello  and Grappa from Italy from friend.

Next shelf, mixes that I add water or Sprite instead of booze for the kids and grandkids, syrups for coffees.

Next shelf  the booze.. up front is the whiskey I use for hot toddy's.

Next is the tea shelf that is the overflow of the tea from the tea drawer. Son thought I could use more tea.
Next shelf down is tapioca pudding, pudding, jello and a stash of candy bars that I bought on sale with coupons.

Bottom shelf is my favorite.It has the beer for the marinades I do from ribs/pork/brats ...no it's not been chilled so it's okay just like in the warehouse. AND the popcorn we have grew. I will have to grow more next years as I figure I have enough to go 12-18 months depending on whether we pop weekly or biweekly. We LOVE popcorn.
This is Hubby's go to when he is hungry but shouldn't be eating like before bed. His parents are the same way so I know where he got that habit from.When we married it was a box every other day, now it's more like a couple weeks and I figure it won't be that when he retires as I plan to have a healthy snack (like popcorn) in the evenings since our dinner will still be around 5 and I know he will struggle to go to sleep as he has worked 3rd shift even as a kid when he was farming ...over 45 yrs at least.

Only 2 more areas left to do... the dining room with the dried fruit/veggies along with the herbs and spice cabinet and the paper/personal goods in the upstairs.





10 Weeks to Christmas....

Oh yeah...We started with the gifts and I thought since I was still canning that I take a picture of on going projects ... HA HA

I remember when my late husband would start shopping for toys for the kids in Jan. I would finish up with buying the clothes starting Oct 16th when the layaway for Christmas started.

These are the 2 presents that get shipped and usually it's at the last minute so we have to pay extra to get them there in time. SO now they can be shipped through the regular mail saving us MONEY.

I have another present for Mom O that is almost done and Hubby is working on the present for Dad O.

I have most of the great grandson's presents...just need to wrap them and finish the last 2 of his presents.

We are still thinking of Daddy's,kids and grandkids presents. Hey it's not November with me working on Tday dinner items and trying to think of Christmas. Best is we got the ones that need shipped done !!!!πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The root cellar is done

YEAH!!!! that leaves the butler's pantry and right now that's a mess from the canning. I don't keep food in the kitchen beyond different vinegars and oils. About 1/4 of the canned goods in this area was part of the emergency food that now needs ate up.

Wee Be Little pumpkins 2 a week for 20 wks Might be 4 a week as we love molasses custard baked in them also besides just having them with butter melted in them as they roast.

Canned beans. Canned meat. Canned butter. Yes that is soda behind the winter squash. For when I have Crohn's flare ups (ginger soda) or we get sick (sprite) and some coke for when we have guest that doesn't drink tea or coffee. I drink 4 oz a night of coke cola... yes really 4 oz. I like it room temp and flat. Drives Hubby buggy as the bottle sits all week before I finish it.  12 winter squash will last 12 weeks. The red crate is sweet potatoes we bought at auction and the white box is our sweet potatoes the mice left us.

The bottom shelf is the blankets and water for emergency. Shelf up in canned potatoes, mashed potatoes in ice cream container,assorted lentils, quinoa, barley, millet etc. Top shelf is juice bought on sale and odds and end veggies bought for emergency supply.

The white buckets in this room is dehydrated potatoes, hash browns, sliced and diced.The two blue crates in baking potatoes and potatoes about 3 inch diameter or more. The cat litter box is empty and just being used to keep crate off floor.Son cleaned it with bleach before passing to me.Pie plate is what I put potatoes in to bring up to fix for meals. It was my late husband's grandmother's.

Bucket next to crate of potatoes (which is sitting on another bleached cat litter bucket) is ramen noodles. The potatoes are seconds...less than 3 inches, possibly nicked or has a bit of green on them. The nicked/green ones got sorted out and are being used to make dehydrate mashed potato granules. There is about 25-30 lbs per crate of the potatoes.

I would have loved to had more sweet potatoes and delicata squash.  BUT I have plenty to get me through the year until next season.

Blessed be

Monday, October 9, 2017

Frugal first week.

We bought 2 games on sale for retirement


We bought 3 gifts for the great grandson on sale. We bought a puzzle Hubby wants to put together and frame for his dad.

We bought 8 bags of softener salt on sale . We usually wait for the 11 % rebate at Menards but this sale saved us $2 a bag which is more than the rebate. We will try to remember to go back before the sale is over and get enough for the truck to use as weight for this winter and that will be our softener salt in the spring.

I got $15 off a 101 oz can of olive oil.

I got cashews for the cheapest price I have found.

I dehydrated basil, the last of the sage, the last of the oregano and the last of the rosemary. I still have basil, and thyme and chives.

I harvested the last of the jalapeno peppers.

I dehydrated 20 lbs of onions for onion flakes and onion powder, the last 10 lbs that can't be stored is being caramelized as I sit here.

I harvested Roma tomatoes and started cooking them for sauce.

I harvested,cooked and froze the last of the eggplant.

Instead of going to the Golden corral as our standard after I have a doctor appt  about 2 hrs away one way, we went to China buffet at lunch time, Hubby got his potstickers and dumplings and we spent half of what we usually do at Golden corral. That was our eat out for last week. This week will be tonight as it's Hubby's birthday and that is part of the gift from me, I already gave his is colored tee shirts.

I pulled some of the garden plants as I harvested so Hubby doesn't have to worry about dealing with that this coming weeks.


I found some lotion in a pump bottle half price.

Hubby got his last free set of steel toe work boots . Company pays twice a year for his boots. This set won't see the inside of the plant as Hubby "breaks" his boots in for about 3-4 months before wearing them in plant to avoid blisters. These are $140 boots along with $25 sole inserts that will wear a good 2-3 years

Last year we got a membership for Sam's club through Living Social. It was the $100 membership and we got it for about half price and then a $20 gift card, and about $45 in food and when we went the first time we saved about $50 on things we bought. This year we "downsized" the membership to standard at $45...BUT we still had $30 cash rewards sitting there so I used it to pay on the membership so it only cost me $15 for the membership this year. We buy our frying oil (we deep fry 4 turkeys for our family dinner and 2 for SCARES Christmas dinner) We use around 14 gals but always want a little more as we have had issues of containers blowing a hole or splash over. Four containers of oil at 35 lbs each (est 4.5 gal.) is $28 less at Sam's than anywhere else we have priced. I always price the day we go just in case someone is cheaper.So we get 5 and consider the 5th one free for my cooking through the year.

I open curtains in morning, close them in evening. Not having to run heat or Central air or AC in bedroom. I have had to turn the fan (after the wind coming in the window isn't enough) on where I am working during the sunny days.  I have cooked from the pantry and when it's cooler I use the oven to help warm the kitchen. I've used my homemade laundry soap in laundry, quick cycle and the drying rack for about half the laundry.It takes a full 24 hrs to get things dry in the basement so I have to be careful that I don't have something start molding instead of drying. When using the dryer I wash and dry heaviest items first so it they need rebooted (I use auto dry) they can go in the next load instead of just rebooting the dryer.I've mended a couple shirts and pants.We used up ALL the leftovers from the week  :)  The electric will be up with all the canning and 5 dehydrators going.

We have figured out if we eat a "large" lunch instead of just a wrap sandwich we don't want to eat at dinner. SO using that for when Hubby retires in 7 weeks and 3 days. We decided the main meal of the day to be lunch as I can't eat a lot at breakfast. We will have soup or sandwich or chef salad for dinner instead.Not that will save us much as I have most of the pantry stocked but it will help on keeping the weight down as Hubby won't be putting in 150,000 plus steps a week when he retires.

Right now the forecast isn't calling for a frost for at least 7 days possible 10.Still with me having my back injections and now adding injections for the shoulder arm I will be down probably 7 - 10 days from this coming Friday. Hubby will be on 1st shift through the week due to EMT class so that means he won't be able to help in the mornings like he does on 3rd. SO the frugal part is working to get as much in from the gardens BEFORE the injections.

Joke of the day... Hubby yelled from the mudroom and scared the crap right out of me as he isn't one to yell... When I came running and asked what was wrong, he pointed at the small amt of white space in the freezer and told me we were in a crisis and needed to fill it back up... HA HA. That's the family's running joke about me, because any time I get white space in the freezers I fill it back up.





Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pantry mostly done

It started with this... tomato seed gathered from the field pasta tomato plants that we were given. The week ended with this. I will try to start these seeds this winter.
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It's full and having to put what is still coming in from the gardens where ever I can fit them. I pulled the last of the eggplant today. It's going to the freezer. I pulled the  sage and it's in the dehydrator along with half of the basil plants. I pulled the jalapeno pepper plant and what was left on it is now on a paper plate. I might end up putting it in the dehydrator if it doesn't finish drying on it's on.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

curbing the eating out monster.

No they don't have anything to do with eating out... these are my son's cats Cuddles to the left that he fostered for a friend and then adopted and Bailey that he got from a rescue shelter. Bailey is not happy with Cuddles who is trying to take over BOTH boxes. I used to "babysit" them a lot when son was out of town with work. He is home most the time now and I miss my grandbabies so once a month he sends me a pic of the two.

Our eating out budget is our monster. We use eating out as entertainment as Hubby doesn't like watching any movies even at home and I don't like sports unless I have family or friend in the game. We don't go to the malls and there really isn't anything around us to go do something like hiking...so we go to restaurants.We have tried putting the eat out money in with the groceries...that didn't work as well as we had hoped.It's also has been Hubby's answer to when I go down with my Crohn's and he doesn't like to cook, sometimes he won't even use the microwave.

This morning we sat down and listed the restaurants that we go to with the knowledge it averages to be $40 each time out with tip. YES I kept track this year. how many times and the costs AND told Hubby and then  I watched his face fall. It averaged out to 2.7 times a week of eating out AND $5,320.

Bob Evans ... 6 times a year as the only time we go is with my Daddy that loves this place and their sausage gravy and biscuits (he is homebound). That remains as at the age of 90  I am not going to tell him I can't take him even if I have to eat nail soup for a week.YES we pay for him. I started getting gift cards for this from Krogers and at least earn double points.

Mt Victory plaza inn. 3 times a year with Hubby's parents Mom and Dad O. Also with remain as they are in their 80s but they pay for themselves. This will drop down to 2 times a year as they are to the point of not wanting to go out in the cold and wet of winter or fall and it's about 40 min from their home.

Lock 16 steak house..Hubby's birthday and our anniversary. He can get whatever steak his little heart desires. We will drop this down to Hubby's birthday because I really don't care if I eat much steak...give me pork chops LOL.

Mizolsol China and Mel-o-dee's is when we are at our son's but he is now starting to cook for us instead of us going out to eat or him ordering in. That was 2 times a year for each., we paid for ourselves and Son paid for himself and the tip..he tips very well. But he agreed that we could drop this down to 2 total.

Perkins... 4 times a year after blood work so I don't pass out after fasting 14 hrs. I can't drink OJ after fasting so I am going to try to remember to bring my hot tea with a bit of honey in it and see if that will keep the faint away with having a bfast already fixed and just needing nuked when we get home 30 min drive home so I'm closer to fasting 15 hrs.

Golden Corral 4 times a year. Two times after my back injections which is 2 hrs from home and 2 times after our meetings with our finance guy which is 2 hrs away from home . We only live here due to Hubby's job so are looking at moving closer to kids, doctors etc. drop to 2

Hong Kong ... was 12 times a year as we meet with friends and our son but are looking at 6 times a year.

China Buffet ...we stopped going here when Hong Kong opened due to that's where our friends and son prefer. We  decided to go to China buffet 4

Inn Between Tavern. 12 meals in 12 meals taken out...it's within 3 miles of us, great food , great specials and way too much eating out... Their deep fried chicken dinner on Wed and their deep fried fish every Friday especially during Lent. SO we are giving up the chicken dinner and making it 6 times a year with 3 of those time probably being during Lent.

Cracker barrel...used to be 12 times a year is now twice a year. Both of us is okay with this just going away completely.

Taco Bells... Hum this started when I was in college and ate there every day. We have weaned me down to 12 times a year. This year I plan on 0 as I can make the same food at home...I know but the drinks keeps me going back not the food.

Wendy's 12 times a year This is Hubby's go to LOL we decided 0 I have frozen hamburgers and bacon just need to keep buns on hand so he can have his baconator. Neither of us eats French fries that much nor do I drink soda fountain pop.

Subway 12 times a year ...philly cheese steak foot long on flat bread toasted with loaded with veggies. I haven't found a flatbread equal to it nor do I keep steak around that much so we decided  4 times a year even though  90% of the time I either use coupons or my points.

Applebees... 2 times a year. Once was when his parents wanted to go another was when A friend wanted us to try their blackened steak. We decide 0 this year.We told his parents we would prefer to eat at their Chinese place than Applebees or we could bring the meal. And we can just tell the other friend we aren't going there.

Wingers... sigh their wings in garlic butter and the deep fried veggies... was 4 times a year is now 2.

KFC...not for the chicken but Monday night potpie special and Tuesday night country fried steak ...was 12 not 0

Trojans' den..12 calzones... 0

Al's pizza 6...every other month rotated between philly steak pizza, Al's combo(loaded with veggies)and taco pizza... now 3. No I can't match their pizzas.

Dairy Queen... we don't get food we get ice cream using whatever coupon. Was 12 times will go down to 6 . I don't keep ice cream on hand beyond klondikes or Hubby will eat a quart at a time and that's down from the half gal.

Wagner's... is actually a grocery store but we found they have great fried chicken and we can get exactly the amt we want for less than KFC or Inn Between. 4 times a year

New place... this was happening about 12 times a year someone from work would  want us to go with them now it will be 4

This averages to once a week with $2080 for the year.. I don't see it be that high as I know I will split the pizza up to make 4 meals so that will make 9 times of  less eating out. Hubby will be retired so less likely of coworker asking us to go with them. I decided to keep us focused to make a yearly calendar with the restaurants listed each month. When we go we mark it off ...might replace some of our favorites with new places as Son brought up going to a Mexican place he likes instead of Misolsol China... and that's okay too. I have a full pantry, I am checking to make sure I can make Hubby's favorite take out from home. Daughter suggested a couple options for me to replace my "new drink" at Taco Bell LOL. Have to adjust to making 1 drink for just me as Hubby only drinks water, coffee and unsweetened tea.

I would love to see this go down to every other week but I feel at this time Hubby might feel deprived and maybe resentful since he is retiring. To help with this I am asking him to help make the menu to get in some meals he would like to have.

Do you have an eating out monster?










Sunday, October 1, 2017

Oh yeah it's October

You know how some nights go....dead tired, fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow then when you wake up and feel like you slept all night only to find out that you only slept a few hours so you take that potty break, get a glass of water and then go back to bed hoping that you fall back to sleep only to just lay there HOURS? Yeah that night...was last night. Of course my mind decided to start running so I updated the stock pantry list and tried going back to bed and then it started listing all the work I need to get done... so I thought "dump it" on paper , got up again , got paper, pen and dumped it.

and then flipped the page and added this
Yes I even did math trying to figure if I should break the grocery money down per week or month or bimonthly and NO it didn't help me go to sleep, that happened around 3 when I might as well got up AND Rascal woke me up at 7 even though Hubby had let him out and dealt with fresh water and food.

This morning over coffee I talked to Hubby about how huge the list was and then stopped because of the look on his face...then it clicked...it's OCTOBER and every OCTOBER I am on overload between the gardens,getting ready for winter, weather changing back and forth triggers pain, pain and not eating right and not getting good sleep triggers my Crohn's and this year I focused on filling the pantry completely now instead of filling it in Nov/Dec/ Jan as he reminded me of pork for New Year's Eve and Day.

SO...

First I have several medical appointments on top of my therapy I need to stay on top of and along with that is quick simple meals for dinner that I don't have issues with and  WITHOUT eating out.

We decided on 3 things concerning the pantry...

First we will not buy anything unless it is a need and we BOTH agree it's a need. We have already agreed on what is left that is NEEDED to be stocked in the pantry. We also talked over what we think of as Fresh produce/dairy needed on a weekly/ 10 day/ bi weekly (haven't figured that one out yet) time frame and still are figuring out what is reasonable for fresh food.

I highlighted what is needed on the pantry list... we could go without it but it would make things a lot rougher. Most of them are at Sam's club and we usually go to a certain Steak house for Hubby's birthday and Sam's club is right across the street. A steak at Lock 16 in Lima OH for his birthday and Prime rib for Christmas eve is the only thing he ever asks for.

Second I would keep track of what we buy, spend per category and per store for the next 12 months starting today. http://www.lifefreedomfamily.com/2017/09/the-great-grocery-project-one-year-recap.html?m=1 is the base plan of what I plan to use.

Third, we would be using a lot of ideas/menus from Brandy http://www.theprudenthomemaker.com/

Fourth, I would keep better track of the savings   http://thecouponproject.com/downloads/savings-tracker/ I have used this savings tracker for years.

I prioritized what I was doing in the gardens and what I am processing. I will need to get up a bit earlier to get things around for the dehydrators before I start canning and I have to pay attention to leaving during the day for appointments.

I checked the weather forecast for the next 10-14 days and it's decent even if we get the rain (PLEASE) that they are forecasting. SO for those days the work..yard/gardens/weatherization will be done. The week of the 16th Hubby will be taking classes for his EMT recert on 1st shift I will focus on inside the house (weatherization, winter bedding, etc)and sewing the winter curtains.

My goal is to have this workload completely before Nov 1st when Nanowrimo starts for those that want to write books and need support to get it in gear. https://nanowrimo.org/ AND start on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Blessed Be

end of Sept of being frugal

I had a Crohn's attack at the first of the week so stayed home. Was able to still can pasta sauce and applesauce and work on pantry shelves.  I need soy sauce , that's the empty spot on the bottom where there are 2 bottles by themselves.


This one is pretty full.Bottom two shelves is assorted dried beans and canned beans.

I've done swagbucks and pinecone research.

Hubby got the truck brakes fixed and the truck is now getting 5 more miles/gallon.

I went Wed to my therapy free at wellness center and came straight back home..

Thursday we went to check out a house that really came close to what we are looking for...by Saturday it had sold when we decided to take a second look. Wasn't on the market a week.

Friday we went to Hubby's parents as his dad is having trouble breathing and they are now checking his heart as everything else has came back good. He has an ultrasound for his heart this week and then some blood work and possibly a stress test.

His mom fixed lunch and was telling me she spends $145 every 10 days for the two of them.Her daughter had her go to Aldi's but Mom O wasn't happy with the taste of the green beans until  I compared what she liked to what was Aldi's and pointed out that what she liked had salt where Aldi's didn't and she was salting the green beans also when she cooked and then turned around and told me that Dad O wasn't suppose to have salt so she had slowly replaced the salt on the table with salt substitute... when I repeated back to her what she had just said and had her check how much salt was already in the green beans she was knocking her knuckles against her head. DUH But she did give me some tips for cooking for two for when Hubby retires.

On the way back we swung by G &R tavern in Waldo OH and picked up a full roll (32 slices) of their bologna that we had ordered ahead of time. It's special bologna and something I can eat without problems. We love it fried. twice a year we buy a roll and then freeze it so we can have the sandwiches without driving 2 hrs to have it.Also it's half the price as a roll than what they serve as the sandwich.We split the roll with a friend that never goes there but loves the bologna (because we shared LOL).Plus we aren't going out to the way to go there.

Saturday I went to the community(Village) yard sales. I didn't find any curtains like I was hoping. Found one set and since all the rooms have 2 I almost didn't buy it until my girlfriend ask if I was putting a curtain in the butler's pantry. Found a winter throw rug for the mud room, a crib blanket for my feet in bed,a gray winter shawl , 5 canning jars, and 2 gym bags as mine is ripped and I figured if I didn't get the second one for $2 Hubby's would rip and I would be kicking my butt.. I found a knit neck scarf for my one daughter who is always cold, some tank tops for my other daughter that is burning up under her uniform, a circular saw and hedge trimmer for my son and a toy truck for great grandson.

We came home instead of hitting Wendy's which was right there, ate lunch and went to town to use the Kroger points for gas and I do the shopping. Saved 50¢/gal on gas. 

I went to CVS and bought CVS allergy meds(on sale) and Xlear, had a coupon for the Xlear and 30% off total price from CVS so I saved closer to 40%.

I then went to Krogers...first I hate shopping on weekends especially in the afternoon. This wasn't as bad as I feared with it being the last day of the month also. They were restocking from the morning shoppers so I did some substituting and stayed in my price point of things. I saved 21%.

Hubby dug up the sweet potatoes.... it was a good yield...for the mice. He wears a size 10 boot.

Double the amount shown in this picture and the  mice ate almost every single one. Well fed for sure...grrr but at least they weren't in my pantry doing that. We ended up with about 3 meals worth.I doubt if we will try again.

This morning we put the groceries away in the pantry and Hubby hung the onions for me.

AND we talked about where the pantry was and what we should still try to stock before he retires. What we felt would be fresh that would need to be bought, do we go every 7 days or 10 days like his mom or just when we are going to be in the town. Something for us to decide tonight over dinner.

Have a Blessed week.