Invisible Glass Giveaway, so be sure to enter if you want to! I'll be announcing the winner tomorrow!
Well, this week has been depressing on the money front. The lack of work this month combined with my husband being sick with his teeth and foot and other things and our income was down by about half of what it normally would be if my husband was working. Which means, we'll be able to make the mortgage and the care credit payment to get my husband's teeth done next week. Past that money is going to be super tight till next pay period and even then I have to somehow start to make up ground to make the utilities, the insurance and then dig up money for residual bills that need to get paid like licensing fees and car registrations. I know I'll make it work somehow, but I've been dealing with discouragement and "being broke burnout" this week for sure.
Anyway, due to money being non-existent (if you say that with a tinge of bitter sarcasm it somehow comes across as funnier...trust me I'm laughing in my own head) I quickly realized what few goals I had when it came to the garden were most definitely shot to the moon in a big ol' cannon. Luckily, one of our awesome blog readers (really is there any other type? I might be biased but you all are great :) reached out and offered me some seeds (thanks, Jeannie!) and more important still advice and guidance from an experienced gardener (of which I still have a LOT to learn in that area).
The shot of the garden all worked over and about 3/4 planted is above. Thanks to some of the really cool varieties of plant seeds that Jeannie sent me I got some neat "shake it up" fun seeds planted that I hope will bear fruit (or veggies in this case).
In the far bed (which you only get to see about 3/4 of here due to the camera angle) I planted peas (in the back so I can stake them later and grow them vertical), swiss chard in the center row and spinach up front. This area of the garden tends to stay in shadow more than the other areas, so I'm HOPING the peas grow okay, but I'm pretty sure the chard and the spinach will do alright.
In the middle bed the garlic was already growing, so I stuck a couple of sprouting potatoes in the ground and then planted some bunching onions up front (think green onions). In the third bed I have a couple rat tailed radishes (one of my "ooooo neat!" finds in Jeannie's seeds she sent), some carrots (a couple of small rows of them) and some Chinese varieties of cabbage (small varieties that don't take up much room). I've still got a few feet of space left to plant some things in the actual garden, which I'm honestly hoping to just go and grab a four pack of lettuce at the green house and call it good for the time being. I've also got some planters that I dug out of my shed that I'm hoping to plant some more cabbages in. The front planters will house hopefully some herbs (basil I'll be growing inside this year after my disastrous failure growing it outside last year), some edible flowers and a few pansies (daughter's request as she REALLY wants flowers).
In the front bed (of which I was too tired to go in and get new batteries for the camera when the batteries died, so you'll have to wait for a few pictures of that *laugh*) the chocolate mint I feared to be a goner as it wasn't coming up at all, but I dug around a little bit yesterday and found some signs of life (yay!). The chives are doing GREAT this year in that bed...they are already about 4 inches high or so. I was thrilled. The pineapple sage plant, of which I didn't like fresh for much and dried tasted like grass (grumble) ended up being a waste of money and it created such a tight and HUGE root system that I'm going to have to go down with my gardening tools and really do some work to get the soil ready to plant something there (I'm thinking rosemary as it will help scare away the MULTITUDES of bugs that accumulate in that area). So, yeah, I'm probably looking at about maybe 8.00 in plants total for the garden and beds this year and the rest are going to be seeds.
And this also links into other ways I saved money this week, so let's get that show on the road!
1. I went to Lowes last weekend and we picked up planters and dirt for the garden as well as the diatomaceous earth to spread around the house. Well, we both had sticker shock at the total and when I got home I immediately started digging up ANYTHING that I could possibly use as a planter for the year (warning: Some things I end up planting in this year you might find interesting *laugh*) and managed to return the planters to Lowes on Monday. My husband insisted I keep the dirt as he was planning on renting a rototiller but in case he didn't he wanted me to have the dirt (I was thinking I'd dig up the yard with a spade if I had to, but we'll see how that goes).
So, due to money we realized the rototiller wasn't going to happen, so I was figuring I might as well plant the planters. But, something told me to keep putting off planting and I'm glad I listened as today my husband and I ran to Home Depot to get parts for a job of his and I picked up the ad to find that dirt was on sale there WAY cheaper than what I had paid at Lowes! We took the dirt back to Lowes and got a refund and ran over to Home Depot and were able to get double the amount of soil PLUS a bag of manure for the same price as I'd paid for that one bag of soil, which was doubly great because I realized that I was probably going to need more dirt and was trying to figure out where to find the money for it! Glad I checked that ad :).
2. I went to the Cooperative Extension Service this week and turned in my one All American (I was mistaken in the brand last time I posted) canner to get tested for free.
While there I ran into a cool find. Well several as, like every time I run into the Cooperative Extension Service, I raided their publication wall *laugh* so I got a ton of cool papers with recipes and advice on different things on them.
I have kept putting off finishing the bag holder for the pantry and I kept going back and forth about just making some reusable shopping bags as I was just getting tired of the store bags falling apart all the time. But, I didn't want to pay .99 a piece for the reusable ones at the store and while I love the idea of sewing some of my own totes for the store I wasn't really keen on using up my material right now to make some. So, I just ended up in this weird holding pattern on what to do.
But, while I was at the Cooperative Extension Service (getting back to the story at hand now that you have a major plot point there ;) I saw that they had just BOXES of reusable green shopping bags. I asked the gal at the desk how much they were, hoping they would be cheaper than the store ones and her reply was wonderful, "Oh they're free. Take as many as you want!" Those words made my day! I grabbed six of them and I think I might grab a few more when I go to pick up my canner after testing (as I tend to lose at least two while grocery shopping just to milk and Coke right now). It was great being able to fit all of my groceries in a few bags and haul them all in at once without worries of things breaking on me.
Also while having a conversation with a friend of mine I heard about a program through the department of agriculture that you could get a grant to build a hoop house (unheated green house). My husband and I went and checked out the preliminaries while we were at the cooperative extension service, stopped by the USDA and got the paperwork started on getting one. It's a reimbursement grant (they will repay you like 90% of the cost of the hoop house though), so I'm thinking it's kind of a hopeless dream for a few years, but at least we have a farm and tract number for future reference now.
3. My son's new communication app came with a program to share the settings between I-Pad's, but I only had it for a week and it was going to cost me 50.00 to pay for a year of it. I wanted the school and the new I-Pad to match, but I wasn't sure if the 50.00 would be worth it with how little of the school year was left and all. I was blessed in that my son's teacher got the assistive technology person to come in and they got the I-Pad's matching today and they said that so long as school was in session I could bring the I-Pad in any time to update the two I-Pads so they matched. So, that event definitely saved me money and made me feel better as LAMP is based on motor memory, so me messing with keys and things could really confuse my son. So having the keys match was definitely a good thing.
4. My daughter went to a free event at the school with my husband last night for a reading camp. She got to see a great horned owl from the zoo and have the gal tell the kids the story of how the owl came to be homed there and everything. My daughter, who is currently obsessed with all things animal, LOVED it!
5. My friend gave me her Freebie Friday things from Fred Meyer, so I grabbed those this week (thanks, Stephanie!).
6. I have spent a good portion of the week cleaning out things from the freezer that needed to be used up, which made me feel good to get those used up before they went bad.
7. I decided, due to lack of money and me knowing we aren't going to able to do anything for Mother's Day (again *sigh*) that the best thing I can think of to do is that we're going to work on the yard. It'll make me feel good getting something accomplished, my son will hopefully have his first dose of allergy shots down him so hopefully won't be breaking out in welts and he can play in the yard with my daughter and maybe we can start to reclaim some of the yard and make it bigger. It would at least make me feel better knowing something got done for a change and all it will really take is time and effort to get it done...which THAT I can afford!
8. I used up a lemon and made lemon blueberry cake (this recipe is easy. Take a boxed cake mix. First, zest a lemon and put the zest aside. Whatever water your cake mix calls for, like mine called for 1 cup, juice one lemon into a measuring cup and then fill the rest of the way with water until you reach your liquid measure for your cake mix. Once you've mixed up the cake mix according to package directions add the zest to the batter and mix again. Now, if you want blueberries that are really tasty but don't turn your cake blue, take 1/3 to 1/2 cup dehydrated blueberries (depending on how many blueberries you like in your cake) and toss them lightly in flour for a few seconds and then mix into the cake batter (this stops them from sinking to the bottom of the cake). Bake the rest of the way according to directions.
Then take one block of softened cream cheese and throw it into a mixer with some schnoz to it and add 4 cups powdered sugar. Mix until combined. This is the BEST cream cheese frosting (really!) and is really easy to remember how to make it *laugh*). Put that on top of your cake and enjoy! My husband and I keep resisting eating more and more cake ;).
9. Now that the light is coming back big time, it's been really easy to keep the lights turned off during the day and instead of turning on the children's lights in the morning to get them up all I have to do is open their curtains. This is also stopping my daughter to fight her natural instincts to cloister herself in her room like a vampire, which is a double benefit.
10. I used a couple of tips on making printer ink last longer to get more ink out of my printer which allowed me to print the necessary ream of paperwork that I need to fill out to get a new case coordinator in the works for my son's insurance. Now I have a fun thing to do while my husband is in having his root canals done next week. Half hearted "yay" here.
11. Instead of paying for at tire change over (of which we can't afford right now) I asked my husband to check my tires and see if there are even enough studs left to bother with getting said tires changed. We think that there are so few left it's probably going to be best to pull the studs and just have to buy new winter tires this year. Sucks, but with two winters of not a lot of snow and this winter had good amounts of ice...the studs did their job and just got shot doing it.
So, there you are folks. Some of my frugal adventures this week (and I'm sure I'm missing some honestly). How did you do?