Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Fall Pantry Update

 Well, folks, I was asked if I could give a final pantry recap on what I have put up for winter, so I shall now try to list it here.  I must warn that I might miss a few things.  There's a lot *laugh*.

I have spent, foraged, gleaned, bartered, gone to war to get every little bit out of my garden.  I have canned, dehydrated, blanched and frozen, even when I had no energy to do any of it.

And so my friends, here's the final results.

This is peace.  This is security.  This is a sense of accomplishment.  This is pride.  This, is, by far, a blessing as this will feed my family.  I'll show pictures of the freezer (I couldn't get a good enough angle to get the fridge freezer to turn out right in pictures, though) and the pantry, but I'm concentrating on things that I put up myself :).

In the Freezers:
  • Cabbage, sliced into sections, blanched and frozen 
  • Freezer slaw, made from outer leaves of cabbage
  • Corn, cut off ears, blanched and frozen
  • Zucchini, grated, portioned into bags for zucchini bread
  • Watermelon berries (foraged)
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries (foraged and gleaned from mother-in-law's)
  • Peas, blanched and frozen (lots from garden)
  • Carrots, sliced, blanched and frozen (from garden)
  • Squash, cubed, blanched and frozen
  • High bush cranberries (foraged)
  • Turnips
  • Rose Hip fruit leather (foraged rose hips to make, put into freezer for long-term storage)
  • Potatoes, baked and/or par boiled and turned into hash browns and put into bags for soups and other applications
  • Swiss Chard, blanched and frozen (from garden)
  • Spinach, blanched and frozen (from garden)
  • Chinese Cabbages, various, blanched and frozen (from garden)
  • Cantaloupe

Home Canned:

Pie Fillings:
  • Triple Berry Pie Filling
  • Cherry Pie Filling
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling
  • Apple Pie Filling

  • Pancake Syrup
  • Rose Hip Syrup
  • Golden Syrup

  • Raspberry Jam
  • Strawberry Jam
  • Cherry Jam
  • Strawberry Preserves 
  • Orange Marmalade

  • Apple Sauce
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Taco Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
Fruits in Syrup:
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Grapes
  • Rhubarb
  • Cherries

  • Dilly Beans
  • Rat Tailed Radish Pickles (various types)
  • Red Cabbage Slaw
  • Rat Tailed Radish Relish

  • German Mustard
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Honey Mustard
  • Lemonade Concentrate
  • Peach Pie Moonshine
  • Mulled Apple Cider (not there yet, but is going to get put up hopefully this weekend)

  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe 
  • Peppers
  • Rose Hip Fruit Leather (in freezer right now as seen above)
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Bunching Onions
  • Chocolate Mint
And I also braided and hung garlic as well.

Whew.  Even writing all of that made me tired.  How about you?  How has your food preservation gone so far this year?  I'm thinking I'm pretty much done with mine (after this I'm just planning on some shelf stable foods and some refrigerator storage apples and such).

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

I nearly didn't post this considering tomorrow is the last day of the month, but writing down goals for the week keeps me motivated, so I figured it couldn't hurt.

I would have posted this yesterday, but I was plain not up to it.  My son's first injection at the allergist was FINALLY accomplished yesterday.  It went well, by the way, so don't worry about bad news there.  Actually, everyone kept telling us how great my son did for as long of a wait as we had AFTER getting a shot in each arm.  And he WAS super good, so I was happy about that.

By the time the appointment was done, though, my husband and I were completely shot.  We were so scared that something bad would happen, even though the odds were astronomically small, that we sat on pins and needles until like the last 20 minutes or so.  So we came home just exhausted.  And then helping to haul all kinds of stuff to keep the son occupied for two hours (closer to 3 by the time the shot got mixed up and all) and helping to hold my son down while they gave him the shots...I was rewriting the book on pain yesterday.  Lots of spasms in my left arm after that, swelling and me in so much pain on and off I wanted to cry.  Biceptal tendonitis is, by far, some of the worst pain I've been in.  I'm really trying to take it easy on the arm today as a result, but yesterday I wasn't even up to typing.

Today, I'm mainly trying to SLOWLY clean the house as it's terrible around here right now, but a nap is on the agenda too hopefully as I didn't get but two hours of sleep last night due to my son and his cold and now I have a sore throat, so I'm praying hard I don't get sick (it's vitamin taking time!).

When it came to goals last week, I got canning stuff done (yay!), got the cantaloupe in the freezer (double yay), but didn't get to dehydrating the potatoes.  By the way to the person who asked, I dice and/or slice potatoes up, blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes and then dehydrate them.  You can use the sliced potatoes to make potatoes au gratin with and the diced potatoes you can add to casseroles, soups or stews.  I've heard of people smashing them into powder after dehydrating them to make instant mashed potatoes, but I haven't tried that yet, so I'm not sure how well that would work.

I actually did get a Christmas gift accomplished this week.  I took the alcohol I got for free and some other alcohol I had around the house along with a couple of bottles of juice and things and made Peach Pie Moonshine (seen up top).  I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  I scabbed as much peach schnapps from around the house that I had (we had a bunch of mini-bottles that came with our bar downstairs that are goodness knows how old, but they got the job done) but only had about 1/2 of what I would need, so I filled the void with peach flavored vodka instead.  I used a container of peach, apple mango juice I had around here instead of the peach grape juice and then 3/4 of a container of apple juice from the fridge and then just made up the rest by adding two big cans of peaches instead of two small cans.  The left over peaches from making the moonshine I used to make peach crisp for dessert last night (you remove the peaches before adding the alcohol, just in case people are like "WHAT???" *laugh*), so I can safely say nothing went to waste here.

The mix, since mine is a higher alcohol content than the original recipe was (vodka definitely has a higher alcohol content than the schnapps) , kind of tastes like peach flavored burning right now, but it gets sweeter and better tasting as it sits, so I just waited until the heated mix cooled down to about 115 or so, added the alcohol and then poured it into cans/jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace (the pretty bottles, by the way, you can get at Target and they are indeed canning jars) and then just tightened the lids down good.  Every one of them sealed without issues, so at least I won't have to worry about them leaking should they get bumped or something :).  They are curing in the pantry until Christmas. The pretty bottles will stay here to give as gifts to my husband as I'm not giving those up for anything, but others will be given at Christmastime to some of the adult couples in the family who drink.  Not bad for like no monetary investment and a bit of thinking on my part on how to make it all work.

So, this week's goals are...

1.  Take it easy on arm as much as possible.  Remember to ice it.

2.  Clean house as much as possible without overworking arm.

3.  Work on goals for September.

4.  Work on shopping goals for September.

5.  Work on Christmas gifts.

And that, my friends is it for goals this week.  I'm trying to keep it realistic and simple at this point.

How about you?  What are you up to this week?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

As weeks go this has been a week of changes, restrictions and just plain busy despite it all.

First, the doctor's appointment.  Well, bright side is nothing is dislocated, nothing is broken and nothing is torn.  Bad news is that I have severe tendonitis in my left bicep.  The doctor gave me a script for an anti-inflammatory and a topical cream.  I got the anti-inflammatory, but the insurance company and the doctor are having a pow wow over the cream as the doctor feels I need it, but the insurance company wants her to try a few creams before that one (read: cheaper) and I can't blame them.  Price without insurance (because I always ask to see if I can save myself some headaches)?  2700.00.  For a topical cream.  Mind completely blown there.

Anyway, I got some exercises to do on my arm every day, am restricted in my activities (no lifting over my head with my left arm, no heavy lifting, very limited driving, etc) until I feel my arm is up to full power again.  The doctor offered me some pain killers for a few days to help me sleep as I haven't been able to sleep much since the pain really upped, but I turned them down because I like to make sure I'm with it for when my son wakes up in the middle of the night.

The ABA program moving schools is going...well about as well as you'd expect a school district to move something.  Found out earlier in the week that the district decided to reimage all 11,000 district computers and devices at the same time, so kids were without their talking devices at school and they were back to using PECS for my son.  Which his bad mood was then explained because that's like demoting a kid back to preschool when that happens.  So, after a lot of choice words about the district on my part, I started sending in his home device to school this week. 

When I brought it in I also brought in a bag of the reinforcers that I knew were on the LAMP program that I figured they'd need for him (Hersheyettes aren't sold in stores but once a year and such) and then got a call saying they were trying not to do candy reinforcers for the kids this year.  I have some serious misgivings about that when it comes to my son as candy and things are like the ONLY things we've found to be motivating for him.  We'll see how that goes.

I also called our lovely independent OT and after talking to her for quite a while (and my husband before her) we decided to give OT a break for now outside of what my son gets in school.  Since the OT office moved to another town, my son has just out and out hated it, it seems.  He would stay up ALL night the night before to avoid going all summer and last school year we had a lot of meltdowns going to OT and then the school would spend another couple of hours getting him settled and into the school day after I dropped him off there.  It just wasn't worth missing 3/4 of a day of school, not getting much work done while at OT itself and everything in between just for 1 hour of occupational therapy.  So, we called it quits for now.  It's upsetting to me, as we've been going to our OT since my son was two and he made a lot of good progress there on and off over the years and I will miss them.  Hopefully, this new decision will be a good one for him, though.  At least he's, so far, settling into the school routine and doing well all things considered.  I just pray that we made the right decision.

He did, however, wake up this morning with the first cold of the school year.  Sigh.

Anyway, on the frugal front, despite having restrictions and stuff going on, I still had things that needed to get done, so I ended up getting creative sometimes but it did get accomplished.

1.  I canned lemonade concentrate this week (seen up top).  I juiced the lemons in stages to avoid over working my left arm which had to brace the juicer container while I juiced them with my right hand.  It worked.

The canner I filled with the sink hose and then slid it over the counters to the stove (of which I am eternally grateful that my kitchen is set up in a way that things like that work), so that avoided me lifting it and then I worked in stages as I felt I could. The only part that really hurt was lifting the canner lid on and off as it's at my shoulder level, but at least I didn't have to do it constantly or anything.

I made the lemonade concentrate from the reduced bags of lemons I got at Fred Meyer cheap.  I managed to get 4 cups of lemon juice from the lemons, which I thought was pretty darn good over all.

I also canned applesauce.  This was one of the things that I knew I'd have to can no matter what this week as the apples had bruises in them (thus why they were cheap to begin with) and I didn't want an apple going bad down to the core and wrecking the whole lot.  Really, it was the same story with the lemons.  Produce waits for no man, unfortunately.

Once again, I just heavily acidified the water for the apples to prevent browning and took my time with everything.  I'm super happy with how much apple sauce I ended up with this year so far.  It's awesome :).

And finally, I grabbed the strawberries out of the freezer and made strawberry preserves yesterday too.  I almost didn't, but barring coming across a bargain I can't resist or something, this is the last big canning job I think I'll have this year, so I just wanted to get it done.  I purposefully wanted to make the mixture syrupy as my husband REALLY liked the strawberry preserves I made last time over ice cream, so I aimed for soft set.  I think I actually got syrup *laugh*, but I can dump it into a pan as I open the jars and boil it briefly to get the gel I want later if need be.  I'm not overly concerned about it.  At least it tastes good.

2.  I'm, shockingly, still getting peas off of my pea plants and actually in decent quantities too, despite the lower leaves being decimated by bugs and the powdery mildew going all over.  Those, what, six pea seeds, have definitely done good work this year!
3.  I dehydrated peppers this week to use in recipes later in the winter.  I actually have found myself snacking on them too.  They came out really sweet and peppery tasting.  Yummy to snack on :).  And they are pretty cool looking in the jar too.

4.  I ended up with an independent product testing company asking me to do a review of an alcohol mixer.  I agreed, picked up the alcohol, did a small trial (I'm not a big drinker by any means), submitted my review and receipt and have a full reimbursement check coming in the mail for the product.  I'm then going to use said alcoholic mixer to make Christmas gifts out of (including some for my husband).  I love it when things like that come together ;).

5.  Believe it or not, by changing out the paper towels in the bags and re-wrapping, we're still managing to get a few last lowly salads out of the garden lettuce.  It's starting to get a bit wilty, but still tastes okay.  I never thought I'd still be eating garden lettuce at the end of August!  Thanks so much for the lettuce seeds, Jeannie!  They sure did great work this year :).

Slugs are everywhere and I mean everywhere.  They've managed to burrow underneath my barricades around my beet and turnip seedlings and pretty much wipe them out, but a few are hanging on.  I'm hoping they can grow at LEAST big enough that I can harvest some greens to eat in a salad at this point, but we shall see.  I am hoping to plant onion starts today or tomorrow if the sunny weather holds that long.  Here's hoping.

6.  Grocery shopping this week consisted of milk and Flintstone's vitamins (trying to get my son up to taking those since they are really a good source of balanced nutrition).  And yeah, that was about it.  We didn't really need that much, for one and I wasn't up to lifting things, for two, so that definitely saved us some money.

7.  I ordered a few books from Amazon this week for less than 1.00 a piece.  One is a new canning book, which I'm looking forward to checking out for sure.  I love stalking Amazon until I can find the price I'm willing to pay for something :).

And yeah, that's my week in a nutshell so far.  How about you?  How did you do this week?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

When looking at my list of things that I wanted to get done last week, really, overall, I didn't do too terribly bad, although I wish I could have gotten more done than I did.

The biggest accomplishment I got done last week was getting the majority of the veggies I purchased or received processed and into the freezer or otherwise put up for the winter.  I still have a bunch more food preservation to go, but yay for progress!  The one head of cabbage I bought made the consistency of about five heads of cabbage for the freezer.  I was even able to use the tough outer leaves, sliced into thin strips, to make freezer slaw, so that'll be nice to have around this winter for sure.  And I got a ton of zucchini processed to turn into zucchini bread this winter too (yay!).

Carrs had cantaloupes on sale for 1.88 a piece this week (for local folks this sale runs through tomorrow) so I went and got two.  One got dehydrated yesterday and made into cantaloupe leather for lunch box fare and the other one I'm going to freeze in chunks to have as dessert over the winter months.

The beds were changed.  The freezers got rearranged, which worked out well as it afforded me more room for fruits and veggies in the freezer (yeehaw!).  I got some of the house cleaning back log done as well, although I still have an awful lot left to do.

This week's goals are kind of all over the board, so let's get to it!

Canning/Preservation Goals:
  • Can strawberry preserves (need the room in the freezer so this is kind of on the "important" list)
  • Can lemonade concentrate
  • Cut up and freeze cantaloupe
  • Preserve peppers (figuring out if I want to freeze them or dehydrate them right now)
  • Dehydrate potatoes

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on Christmas Gifts (I'm hoping to get two done this week)
  • Repair hole in daughter's winter jacket (it's just a split seam, so it shouldn't be too hard)
  • If there is time work on sewing list (things that need to be done that I wrote out)

General Goals:
  • Clean ceiling fans
  • Get caught up on housework
  • Get through doctor's appointment for arm (Wednesday)
How about you?  Got anything planned this week?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Sorry this post is late.  Blogger was having issues letting me publish new posts (although, honestly, it could have been my computer...I had to reset my start up protocols again on this thing last night.  Windows...appropriate name as trying to get the blasted thing to open and perform right is a lesson in frustration (anyone who has grown up around old windows will know exactly what I'm talking about *laugh*).

When it came to frugal stuff that happened this week, the most humorous thing that happened involves the pile of pudding pop kits above.

See, one of the things on my pantry stock up list for winter is pudding mix.  I know, I know, some people will want to lecture me on home made pudding being easy and is better for you and such, but here's the thing.  I'm lazy folks.  Especially when making pudding as I like the thickener help with the powdered pudding compared to sitting there for ages waiting for it to thicken and praying I got it right before it separates on me or curdles.  The pudding mix tastes good (really I like Jello too), is easy and it keeps forever in the pantry.  So, yeah, I'll stick with pudding mix.  I love to mix a package of vanilla with a package of chocolate to make a "twist" pudding (just make your chocolate pudding to pie directions as it calls for less liquid, drop by huge spoonfuls on top of the vanilla pudding and then take a butter knife and "cut"  through the mixture back and forth to marble makes a pretty fun dessert :), or make it into pudding pops, or serve it alongside cake and things during the winter months.

I was going to buy some huge cans from the LDS cannery, only to find they don't sell those anymore (and haven't for years I guess...definitely led to an interesting conversation with the cannery people when I called...shows how often I utilize the cannery for things like that), so I figured I'd just have to watch for sales and things on pudding.  I was at the store and was tired and wandering and looked up to see corn syrup (another thing on my list of things I needed) was on reduced for 1/2 off on the shelf tag, so I grabbed some, but then I looked over and hit pay dirt!  The Jello Pudding Pop kits were 1/2 off  too as was several other flavors of pudding (including banana cream, which will help lead to banana pudding for dessert this winter :)!

I got up to the register to check out and the cashier and lady behind me gave me some odd looks when I unloaded the kits onto the belt.  The conversation went something like this.
Cashier:  "Wow, you must REALLY like pudding pops!"

Me:  "Nope, I'm just stocking up on pudding."

*Cashier blinks at me with a blank stare*

Me:  "Right.  Look.  Each of the kits comes with four boxes of pudding."

*Cashier blinks at me again, but the lady behind me is starting to look intrigued*

Me:  "The kits are 3.00 on reduced.  Each of those boxes of pudding normally sell for 1.50 per box."

*Cashier continues to look blank, but the lady behind me gets all excited*

Lady Behind Me:  "I get it!  So, basically you are buying two boxes of pudding and getting two boxes free."

Me:  "And free popsicle molds."

Lady Behind Me:  "Right.  I'll be right back!  Are there any left?"

Me:  "Yeah, I got as many as I could, but I have a bum arm, so I didn't want to climb the shelf too far to get the ones stacked on the back of the shelf."

Lady Behind Me:  "Well, would you like a couple more?  I can get them for you.  I'm six foot tall.  Shelves aren't a problem for me."

Me:  "Nah, I think I'm good."

*Lady goes off quickly and returns in record time with five more pudding pop kits and puts them in with her stuff.  We smile at each other happy in the fact that we got a good deal*
That was a fun shopping trip.  Especially when I was able to use some 1.00/1 Jello Pudding Pop kit peelies I'd gotten in a bulk order of Jello from Amazon a while ago.  Bwahahahahaha!

So, other frugal adventures this week included...

1.  I'm continuing to harvest the last of the peas from my pea plants.  The plants aren't so much succumbing to powdery mildew as they are going down like the Titanic, but the plants were already starting to die before that started, so I'm thinking I'm just seeing the end of the plants for the year.  So far I actually have a couple of beet seedlings and a couple of turnip seedlings that despite the most determined bugs in the universe are somehow still alive.  I'm in wait and see mode at this point as to how they do.

2.  My glasses broke this week, so instead of running to an eye glasses place, which would have been out of my way and kind of a pain to do as I was busy, I stole a nose pad off of my spare pair of glasses and am using that until I can find time to go to an eye glasses place and get my nose pads replaced properly.

3.  I finally consolidated cheese powder into a jar this week.  My son loves Easy Mac cups, but ONLY the uncooked macaroni and the milk/salt powder that they put in the cups.  So I just keep the cheese powder pouches that come with the Easy Mac and put them aside for use later (read:  Shoved them into any available space on a cabinet shelf).  I don't want to say that I ended up opening and dumping about three years worth of cheese powder into that jar, but yeah, I am thinking that's pretty accurate (man I'm cheap *laugh*).  I now have a quart of cheese powder to use to make cheese sauce and things on the fly over the winter and recovered a bunch of room on my cabinet shelf.  And I know it's safe for my son to eat with his peanut allergy, so it was worth saving those packets over the years :).

4.  I reorganized the freezers this week and, of course, found things that had gotten buried and would need to be used pronto.  I used some packages of freezer burned hamburger to make a huge batch of taco meat this week, which we've been eating for lunches and/or dinner on and off.  Thank goodness we like tacos :).

5.  Went to the used store on Wednesday because on Wednesday they have 1/2 off all kids items.  I was able to get my daughter and son a few more pairs of pants for cheap (about 1.00 per pair).

I also found that all of my pants were falling apart at the same time (which I can't figure out why that happens to me, but it does), so I hit the used store Wednesday for that as well and again yesterday.  I was able to find some jeans and some other pants for decently cheap.  I was hoping to find some shirts as well as mine have definitely suffered wear and tear, but I didn't find anything.  Ah well, I'll keep looking.

6.  My husband needed new work shoes and my father-in-law tipped him off to a 1/2 off clearance event at Fred Meyer that was going on through yesterday.  So, we took a trip to Fred Meyer and my husband was able to get a new rain coat and a new pair of sneakers for 40.00 total.  Not bad, especially since the sneakers were name brand.

I also picked up some bras as they were on sale buy one get one half off.  Mine are falling apart.  Like bad.  So, I was happy to take advantage of the sale to get a couple of them decently cheap.  These items came out of the clothing budget, which luckily is still looking pretty healthy since we buy when things are cheap.

Past that the majority of my week was just spent trying to get house work caught up around here, catch naps when I could, see if I could get my arm to not give me problems as much as I could to avoid going to the doctor (it didn't work.  I'm going to make an appointment tomorrow to see what is going on with it) and just trying to get THROUGH the week.  Having a full week the first week of school was just exhausting for all of us, so I was never happier to see the weekend.

So, how about you?  Any frugal adventures to report?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

This Week's Shopping Trips

I am wiped out this week.  With school starting it's been challenging.  The school started a "flow chart complex" system of pick up and drop offs for students, which subsequently wiped out 2/3 of the parking at the school, so I have to show up 15 minutes early to drop the kids off and pick the kids up so I know I'll be able to get a parking spot.  My son isn't liking the first full week of school being a full week and he doesn't like the new classroom with its' lack of OT type of areas...I'm advocating for them to change that pronto before he really starts to hate's hoping.  And I've been trying to get housework caught up since the kids are back in school.  And my son hasn't been sleeping all week.  And somehow, over a month ago I did SOMETHING to my left shoulder so if I twist around certain ways, or if I use my left arm too much it gives me Heck for doing it (still have NO idea what I did to start this whole "make me miserable" process.  Go figure).  This is definitely a week where my shoulder isn't happy with me because well...I needed to use it a lot.  My shoulder is just going to have to deal with it *laugh*.

When it came to shopping this week, my week started on Monday.  As soon as the kids got dropped off for the first day of school (we start school early up here so the kids can get out earlier and enjoy more of our light during the summer), I headed into Palmer to the U-Pick farm because I found out they had turnips for .65 lb!  Since the slugs and birds have repeatedly wiped mine out, I figured this was the best shot I had of getting turnips for the winter.

I was about 2/3 of the way to the U-Pick farm (beautiful drive in the country to get there) when I got a call from my friend, Cassie.  I had e-mailed her a few weeks ago about potentially going berry picking with her as she is a rabid berry picker.  I kid you not she takes it VERY seriously.  Does not divulge her berry picking places under threat of death, takes a specially designed rig she made to wash the berries on site right after she picks them and she flash freezes them in dry ice as soon as they are cleaned so they are "berry fresh" as she calls it.  I wanted to get some blueberries but had no idea where to go to get them, so I figured she'd be the one to ask (and I promised under penalty of death ahead of time that I wouldn't divulge the berry picking location).  She had said she'd let me know when they would be around my area to go berry picking.

Cassie asked if I wanted her to pick me up to go berry picking up North which would be about a two hour drive.  She home schools her kids, so she didn't realize school was in session yet, but I told her that not only would that be too far out for me, but I was also nearly to the U-Pick farm.  At that point I got an excited screech in my ear.  Cassie explained that she wanted to go to the U-Pick farm for potatoes, but it was really hard for her as her littles had to be watched out in the rows (kids under ten aren't allowed in the picking areas) by her twelve year and fourteen year olds and she really hated to make them do that.  She basically worked a trade.  I'd get her 50 lbs of potatoes and she'd get me blueberries.  And you know what?  That sounded like a good deal to me!
What I failed to remember is that I'm not in my twenties anymore and picking 20 lbs of turnips and 50 lbs of potatoes (which luckily they just plow up the potatoes and you just have to sort through the potatoes to find the ones you want) and then a drive into Palmer to work the exchange wasn't going to be as easy on me as it used to be *laugh*.  I've definitely been tired and sore this week as a result and my son not sleeping and things didn't help the situation much.  Cassie handed me the money, the blueberries (two big freezer bags full...doesn't seem like a lot, but trust me for the work involved?  That's a lot :) and then handed me a box with two big zucchini and a squash from her hoop house saying I was one of the people she hadn't handed some off onto yet *laugh* (the zucchini and squash is seen up top there with my turnip haul).

All totaled at the U-Pick farm I spent 17.22 on the turnips and a giant cabbage (seen in the above picture).  And I got blueberries, zucchini and some type of squash for the cost of my labor.  Life is good there!

I then went shopping at Carrs and Fred Meyer today where I picked up the usual fare of Coke and chips for the son, chicken drumsticks on reduced for .76 lb at Carrs and a BUNCH of produce in the 1.00 bags at Fred Meyer.  I got bags of apples and lemons and peppers and a few mixed bags with plums and peaches (to put in my daughter's lunches and things).  So, on the agenda for this weekend is processing peppers and making applesauce.  Honestly?  I spent 17.00 just on produce at Fred Meyer.  I went a bit nuts when I saw bags of three peppers for 1.00.  Normally peppers go for about 3.00 a piece up here, so finding them so cheap was definitely worth stocking up on them!  The bags of lemons were stuffed full and I got a ton.  I plan on either making them into lemonade concentrate (which I'm sure you can do...I just need to look that one up) or dehydrating them to make lemonade or lemon water out of later.  I didn't show the pics of the trips to Fred Meyer and Carrs because I just kind of put everything away and crashed when I got home from the store today. 

All totaled I spent 68.47 on groceries this week.  I do plan on going back to Carrs and getting a couple of cantaloupes this weekend (I got a cheap personalized price on them this week and forgot them today) and a couple of other small items I spaced while at the store (like I forgot THOSE I have no idea as I had it on my list and underlined *thumbs up* doing great!), but so far I'm really happy with shopping this week :).

I processed about 2/3 of the turnips for the freezer yesterday and tomorrow I'm going to process the rest and get the zucchini taken care of for the freezer.  Overall?  I'd say the freezer and pantry are looking good so far!

How about you?  Find anything good this week?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

So, so tired.  First day of school is over, though, so yay!

When it came to goals last week, not a whole lot on the list got done.  We got through the week with my husband gone, so I consider that to be the biggest goal we all met last week. 

I did get rose hip syrup canned and canned raspberry jam (not on the original list, but good none the less).  I didn't get anything done on Christmas gifts last week, unfortunately as my son was just demanding too much of my time.  I did get the cabbage dehydrated and I did harvest, blanch and freeze more peas. 

The biggest project I ended up taking one was moving a lot of my dehydrated goods from downstairs in the pantry and moving them upstairs.  It's so humid in the pantry that some of the dehydrated items actually became too moist, rehydrated and molded on me, so I made sure my vacuum seals were still good on as many jars as I could and moved them up where it is dryer for now.  When the weather starts to cool down more and the rain evens out a bit more weather-wise, I'll probably move the jars back downstairs, but for now my kitchen is lacking in natural light (one window and it is blocked up by the air conditioner) and is a LOT dryer than the pantry, so I figured it was best (the pantry houses my well pump, so it's normally pretty humid in there).

I decided to go with a "country farmhouse kitchen" type of look to go with the jars that were going to have to sit out on top of my cabinets (lack of cabinets in kitchen as it's really small).  So, I put some jars of beans and things up on top of the cabinets as well.  I think it came out looking pretty good actually.

So, this week's goals are going to be kind of all over the place as I have a lot to get done.  So, let's get to it!

Cleaning Goals:
  • Shampoo carpet in son's room (this needs it bad)
  • Change bedding on the beds

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on Christmas Gifts

Canning/Preserving Goals:
  • Can strawberry preserves (if time permits)
  • Blanch and freeze veggies (more on that later) 
  • Dehydrate celery

General Goals:
  • Rearrange freezers to be more organized.
  • Work on just getting caught up on everything around the house so that life will be easier by the end of the week.   
 So, there you go folks.  My (timid) goals for the week (so tired I'm having a bit of a time remembering them all).  How about you?  Anything planned?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update

This week has been long.  And depressing.  And long *laugh*.  We're all missing my husband this week around here.  The meet and greet at the school yesterday ended up being more of a marathon to drop stuff off, meet my daughter's teacher super quick and move along.  It was pretty busy at the school, the new nurse (oh I'm so anxious when I found out they have a new nurse this year.  Our old nurse understood my daughter's stomach condition, had battled right along with me when she first was diagnosed with the condition and knew what was needed when it was needed.  Now I have to start all over again.  Nerve wracking for sure!) was no where to be found, which was upsetting as I really need to talk long and lengthy about her about both kids, including my son's new medication he's going to be starting with the injections as they have to watch him for three days after each injection for signs of anaphylaxis.  I never even got to meet my son's new teacher as an aide wasn't letting me get near her (in the aide's defense the teacher was talking to someone who's child was going to be new to the program so she might have been trying to give them some privacy).  The teacher called me later and I talked to her a bit, but man...what a waste of time going up to the school yesterday.  I could have done everything we did yesterday on the first day of school.  Sigh.

There were some bright points to the week though, so let's get to that shall we?

1.  I have been scrambling trying to find my son water boots that would fit him.  No one in the local area carries them this time of year in his size unless they are like bogs and major super duper expensive.  I went to my last line of defense in these things, Land's End (the website) and found water boots in the next size up for 19.99 and I was also able to find my son a new winter jacket in the next size up as his other jacket the sleeves are going to be too short on him (he'll probably swim in the new one for a while, but that's just the way it is) for 40.00 on clearance (only in Alaska would you find someone buying winter gear in the middle of everyone else's summer I swear *laugh*).  I hated to pay that much for a jacket, but I have also been unable to find him the size I need for the past two years (yes, I buy that many sizes ahead when I pick up things like that for the kids), so I bit the bullet and paid it.  I paid 15.00 to get 2nd Day UPS shipping (which in Alaska is 3 days, but still good for sure) just to make sure we have the water boots for school as we're expecting yet more rain from the Bering Sea jet streams that are going through and holding strong.  I need to go to Sportsman's Warehouse this weekend and see if I can find the kids some rain ponchos or something to wear over their coats at recess, but at least water boots will be taken care of.

2.  I canned rose hip pancake syrup (seen up top).  I just replaced rose hip juice for apple juice in an apple cinnamon pancake syrup recipe from Ball's Book of Home Preserving.  It worked awesome and now we'll have some really tasty, and antioxidant laden, syrup for pancakes this winter :).
By the way,  by request *laugh* here's a quick shot of the ditch on the side of our driveway that I carefully worked my way down into to pick berries (the drop doesn't seem as bad in the pictures for some reason, but it is actually a pretty steep drop that goes down about eight feet or so).  I also found a bunch of watermelon berries while I was down there and now have a couple of sandwich bags full of those to hopefully turn into some juice here soon.

Lots of spiky bushes and plants down in there.  Lots.  And LOTS of dead wood.  I've been running into dead wood wherever I go.  No wonder we have so many problems with carpenter ants.  We have food for them EVERYWHERE!

3.  I went back to Carrs this week to pick up my son's epi-pen refill and while I was there stopped and found they had restocked the popcorn.  So, I was able to get 10 more boxes of popcorn for cheap as I had TONS of coupons from the company for being a customer and then I had some from mailers and things from them too.  All totaled I got 10 boxes of microwave popcorn for 2.80 after tax.  Yeah!!!  The cashier was seriously impressed *laugh*.  This will last us forever and both of the kids are thrilled with the find :).

I also found that Fred Meyer had ribs on sale during a 3 day sale last weekend (on Sunday I found this out which was the last day of the sale) for 1.88 lb.  My husband and I jetted into Palmer to see if there were any ribs left as that was an awesome price for ribs period, but for baby back ribs?  UNHEARD of cheap.  I found the "home" for the ribs empty, but from working at stores I knew there would be a sale end cap somewhere with the ribs in it and sure enough I found it with five packages left in it.  I cleaned out what was left as they were 5.00 per package!  We had ribs for dinner Sunday night as a send off for my husband and I immediately put the other packages into the freezer.  Yay for stocking up on cheap meat!

Past that for groceries this week I kept it simple as sales for things like soda and chips just weren't there (luckily we were still okay on soda and things for my son).  I got a big bag of Doritos and Cheetos and called it good.  Overall, my son has been eating more Goldfish and less chips (yay!) so I've been pushing pasta and rice more this week and trying to avoid the crap with him as much as possible.  It's worked so-so as he's turned more toward wanting french fries when I did that.

4.  I canned raspberry jam yesterday.  I didn't use pectin so it was just raspberries and sugar.  And I actually got a good set on the jam!  Woohoo!  Took a while but it got there.  This will come in handy this winter for things like fillings in cakes, in donuts, on toast (of course) and other things.  Super thrilled with how much it made. 

I've been really trying to harvest as many wild Alaskan berries as possible this year as I have been doing research and found that our berries up here are like super antioxidant sources.  Like on a normal scale a cranberry from the lower 48 would score about a 45 or something on the scale while our wild cranberries?  Score like 840.  That kind of super antioxidant levels.  Crazy stuff.  Since we're always so sick as soon as school starts, I figure the having antioxidant helpers in the pantry is DEFINITELY a good idea. 

5.  Didn't really go anywhere or do much of anything this week.  OT cancelled on us this week and things, so at least I'll have a near full tank of gas when school starts on Monday.

6.  Cooked meals at home instead of living at fast food restaurants this week, no matter how tempting it was to keep my son happier with his beloved french fries.

7.  I managed to find breaks in the rain to take the kids out to play a few times this week, which was good for both kids as it's been hard to get outside and do stuff this summer with the whacky weather.  Found out we had a ground bee's nest while I was walking the perimeter of the yard so we'll have to burn that out (I was wondering where all the hornet-like bees were coming I know).  This is the first year we've had any type of ground bees here, which is just so weird and I even found a couple of garden snails when I was picking bugs out of the garden.  I didn't even know we HAD those up here.  I'm praying it gets cold enough this winter to kill all of these bugs off, that's for sure.

8.   A quick garden update (or what passes for one).  I was trying to get the planter thing to work to move inside, but the dirt is still super wet and slugs are invading the planters as they sit so I'm worried I'm just going to be moving my gardening problems inside if I try the planter idea.  I dumped the soil back into the garden and I'm going to see if maybe I can still find some cheap bagged soil at the stores next week to use instead.

In the meantime though, Jeannie I just wanted to share this with you!

I have beet seedlings!  I am keeping them covered with things pushed down DEEP into the ground around the seedlings to avoid the darned slugs burrowing into the ground to get at them (obviously by the bites taken out of them one or two made it), but I am so thrilled that at least I got a few seedlings.  If I can JUST keep them alive till after the first frost they might have a chance (I'm hoping bugs will start to die at that point).  We shall see!

9.  I dehydrated a head of cabbage this week as well.  I just need to wash everything and then it's onto potatoes!

So there you are folks.  My week in a nutshell (with lots of screaming son and things in between).  How about you?  How did your week go?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: This Week's Menu

Well, with dad being out of town this week it's just me and the kiddos to worry about when it comes to food.  Then, as I was digging through the pantry I found some things that needed to be used up, so it's recipe experimentation week in some cases and in others I'm sticking with some tried and true things my daughter will eat that my husband isn't really fond of (like cheese pizza.  My husband likes meat on his pizza, the daughter doesn't).  Some of the more "odd" recipes I'll be eating, but I'll make my daughter a cheese sandwich or something for dinner instead as with her stomach bothering her this week pushing new foods on her could lead to us both being up all night and not in a nice way.

Menu Plan for Week of 8/8/16
Monday:  Noodle Bowl Night

Tuesday:  "Mom's Got Other Fish to Fry" Night.  In other words the son is getting left over pasta, the daughter is getting chicken nuggets, pudding and fruit and mom is having left overs with salad.

Wednesday:  Salmon Coconut Stew (this is going to be a pantry friendly recipe to use up things around here).

Thursday:  Home Made Tomato Soup with grilled cheese (have canned tomatoes that are old and need to be used)

Friday:  Summer Soup (WWII rationing recipe I want to try), home made bread with melted cheese on top and cheese pizza (for the daughter *laugh*).

Saturday:  Breaded shrimp, oven fries, salad

Sunday:  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, baked beans

To Bake:  Bread and Dessert.  Baking Day?  Hopefully soon.

Desserts:  Fresh grapes (Monday), Ice Cream with chocolate sauce (Tuesday), Vanilla Pudding (Thursday), chocolate chip cookie bars (Friday through weekend).

And there you are folks.  My menu for the week.  How about you?  Have anything good planned?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

It is wet here.  So, so wet.  How wet?  I'm about to start building an ark and charging toll (hey you might as well make money off the ark right?). 

The weather is just playing havoc with my garden plans.  The slug traps are full within hours of me refilling them with beer, the slugs are somehow getting underneath barriers buried into the soil with weights on top of them.  And anything that isn't slug eaten?  The seedlings are quite literally rotting as soon as they start to pop out of the ground and grow a few inches high.  The ground is THAT saturated with water right now.  It's pretty gross.  I talked to my husband about potentially building a greenhouse with corrugated plastic instead of glass windows and such and he agreed that would be a lot cheaper and we might be able to swing that for next year.  At least if I can get him to draw up some plans I can start picking up material or at least get some cost estimates and start to budget for it.  It'd be nice to avoid some of these problems in coming years.

I actually dug some soil and put it into a couple of planters and have it sitting under the eaves of the house to see if I can dry it out enough to grow a few plants in those.  If the good Lord says no to a winter garden, annoy your husband by moving a mini garden inside ;).  It'll be interesting to see if I can imitate natural light with the florescent lights out in the garage.  We'll see how it goes.  Nothing to lose really at this point is there?

My husband left town late last night/early this morning and already my son keeps looking for him to come home, refusing for me to turn off the garage lights and keeps asking for items that he associates with his dad on his talker.  He even keeps wandering over to the window looking for him to come home.  Kind of makes me want to cry and he's not even in a really bad mood yet and is not helping me miss my husband less that's for sure.  And my daughter's stomach is officially cycling as well.  Top that off with OT cancelling this week and speech cancelling as well and the pouring it's depressing.

I refuse to get too caught up in a dark mood though as the kids are going to need me to distract them from theirs, so I ran out a couple of times today and foraged in the yard, picking rose hips and watermelon berries (a new find for me.  I was watching a cooperative extension service video on edible berries in Alaska and saw the watermelon berry plant and was like, "Holy cow!  I have those all over the yard!").  I am pretty sure between the rose hips I have dried from last year and the fresh ones I've picked I should have enough for rose hip syrup, which will be fun to make.  Since rose hips taste like apple, I'm figuring on making it with some cinnamon and making it into basically an apple cinnamon syrup for pancakes and things.  I think that will be really tasty.  And packed with vitamin C, calcium, iron and all the other great vitamins rose hips have in them.  ANYTHING that is as packed with antioxidants as rose hips can't hurt to consume over winter.  Ever.

When it comes to goals I got accomplished this was kind of mixed.  The plans for my husband going out of town changed suddenly when I found out all the details as it just was NOT going to work with my son's allergist appointment. Which led to me rescheduling my son's allergist appointment, led to my husband flying out earlier than expected and me scrambling to get things like laundry washed, sorted, folded and other things figured before my husband had to leave.  So sewing Christmas gifts and things was totally out this week after all of that.  I did get rhubarb and cherries canned (as I showed in my Frugal Friday post) and I also managed to can pears (seen up top).  Super happy with what little I did get done with everything that was going on around here.

I also was able to pull the pants that were too small for my son out of his dresser and put them in the donation pile.  I can't believe how big that kid is.  For what he eats it doesn't make sense that he is SO huge for his age.  I mean he's less than a foot shorter than I am.  At seven.  Crazy.

I've gotten more pantry organization and kitchen organization done, but not as much as I was hoping, so I'm hoping to get more of that done this week.

So, onto this week's goals.

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on Christmas gifts
  • Mend husband's work jacket zipper

Food Preservation Goals:
  • Dehydrate cabbage
  • Dehydrate carrots
  • Dehydrate celery
  • Dehydrate Potatoes
  • Can rose hip syrup
  • Can strawberry preserves
  • Continue to harvest peas.  Blanch and freeze.

General Goals:
  • Continue to work on pantry and kitchen organization
  • Get kids through meet and greet at school.  Drop off school supplies.
  • Work on master bedroom closet.  Start ripping things out of closet to do a hard reset.
  • Strip, wash and change bedding on all beds (I never manage to do all of them at the same time and would like to give it a shot *laugh*).
So, there you go folks.  My goals for this week.  How about you?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update

 Wow, it's been a busy week and a super busy weekend as we're working on getting everything ready for my husband to go out of town tomorrow night.  I'm already dealing with a depressed daughter and a cranky son and dad hasn't even left yet.  So, so not looking forward to this.

First a quick garden update.  The summer garden, with the exception of any peas that might still grow (which so far, so good) is pretty much done for the year.  I harvested what I could out of all beds earlier in the week (seen up top there).  The chocolate mint grew kind of this year, but not great.  All I could harvest I have in that picture, although it IS still growing, so I'm hoping to get more before the growing season is officially done.  I'm hoping next year will be better for it as it took FOREVER to get started this year and I'm not really sure why.  I'd hate to think that it will do this poorly year after year when it did so well it's first year (last year).  I guess only time will tell.

I pulled all the bunching onions as with how much rain we've been getting they were starting to turn yellow (that and the colder weather I'm sure).  I sliced them up and put them immediately into the dehydrator.  The chard (the best leaves are actually on top of that pile, unfortunately) got cleaned really well and blanched and frozen, same with the peas (with a few reserved to have in salad).  I dehydrated the mint and put it into a jar to add to tea this winter when I'm feeling under the weather.

The weather is growing colder and leaves are starting to fall from the trees already.  Looking around I see fall occurring pretty much everywhere.  So, of course, my mind is immediately turning toward the impending winter with lack of snow tires yet in my budget and I get a bit worried, but I'm hoping that the snow will hold off until October (which is when our "normal" winter starts, usually, although the last three years had spoiled us all).  Soon things like carrots and potatoes and other root vegetables will start coming due for harvest and sale, so I am hoping to pad out some stores with cheap local produce and I'm counting down the days until good cider is once again available in the stores as I actually put some money aside to pick up some this year (yay!!!!).

In the meantime, let's get to what I managed to accomplish this week for money saving things shall we?
1.  I made rose hip fruit leather earlier in the week (seen above).  I finally had enough rose hips to make it  (you need 6 cups of rose hips to make 3 cups of puree about and 6 cups of wild rose hips?  Yeah, that's a lot!) and I am still harvesting more as I find them ripe in the yard.  I'm still trying to figure out a way to climb down into our "ditch area" by our driveway as I have a TON of them down there, without killing myself...that's the hard part *laugh*.  My daughter tried a piece of the leather and liked it, so I was doubly happy with that.  I made 3 cups of rose hip puree and mixed it with 3 cups of applesauce from the pantry, added a bit of honey to sweeten (since the applesauce was unsweetened too, so it was a bit tart from the rose hips) and then dried.  The cooperative extension service said fruit leather, if properly dry, should keep for 4 months to a year if you keep it in a cupboard, the cooler the better.  The way the weather has been, the front of the pantry is definitely remaining cool, so I'm hoping I can put off storing it in the fridge or freezer for a while and just let it sit on the shelf.  This will be a great nutritionally loaded snack (rose hips are packed with vitamin C), to add to my daughter's school lunches.

2.  I baked the outback copycat rolls this week.  The recipe was just a disaster from step one, but the frugal part (to me) is that I saved it!  For one, the dough comes out REALLY dense, like super duper dense, but only calls for 4 tsp of yeast.  I'm not sure if part of this was due to my freshly ground wheat flour (I ground it in my coffee grinder as I didn't feel like pulling out my manual grain grinder), but I had bad feelings about the yeast right away.  Fast forward 2 hours later and the dough still hadn't risen.  At all.  And I even used instant yeast!  So, I dumped all the dough back into my stand mixer, mixed in another tablespoon and a half of instant yeast, mixed it all together and waited.  A half an hour later (which seriously shows how dense that dough was!) and the rolls were ready for the oven.   The rolls were a bit sweet for my liking, although my daughter loves them and says they tasted like cake (which gives you an idea of the sweetness level I suppose) and they ARE very filling with how dense they turn out.  But, I have to say while I might tweak a whole wheat roll recipe to add a little molasses and cocoa in the future, I'll just skip this recipe.  I'm suspecting these might turn out lighter with store bought whole wheat flour though as the flour is more processed and thus might give you a lighter dough...maybe?

3.  I hit sales this week harder than I have in a long time.  I actually had budgeted out some money for pantry "pump up" as I was calling it (and yes, I actually wrote it down that way in my column *laugh*) and I used all of it Carrs on Wednesday to get tons of things super cheap that will last a long time in the pantry.  My son's favorite popcorn was on sale for 1.25 a box if you bought 5 of them, and I had a bunch of 1.00/1 coupons (bwahahahaha!) that Jolly Time had sent me for being a customer.  So, I was able to get popcorn (I bought the only 6 boxes they had on the shelf) for .25 a box!  Wooohoo!!!  That was a high to my week for sure as I like to send the microwave popcorn packages into my son's class as a treat for him and the other kids as all the kids in his class are popcorn lovers.  At home we mainly eat home made popcorn (popcorn with olive oil and just ground up kosher salt for popcorn salt) so it's a real treat for him to get microwave popcorn in class (and it is a good reinforcer for him to do work :). 

4.  I mended various holes in blankets and comforters this week.  Still have a ton of mending to do, but at least some of the bigger and bulkier items are done now.
5.  I canned the rest of the rhubarb and the cherries from the freezer this week.  Once the cherries were canned and cooled a bit, I was able to give one can of cherries to a friend of mine who works seven days a week and loves home canned goods, but obviously doesn't have time to do it herself.  She was super duper thrilled to receive it and I was happy to give it to her as she works herself HARD (I took the picture after I had given her the jar of cherries, so there were actually four jars originally :).  I am amazed how many cherries I got this year.  I've got cherry pie filling, cherry jam and tons of just canned cherries in the pantry now.  I'm kind of in awe as cherries are usually a major luxury item around here.  So to have so many of them...I feel like I have gold bouillon sitting on the shelf instead of cherries. 

6.  I continued to work on rearranging the pantry and kitchen this week and it is coming together slowly but surely.  It's not costing me anything to do since all I'm doing is moving things I already have around.

7.  It has been kind of cold, wet and dreary this week, but so far I've managed to keep the heat turned down and we haven't been too cold without it kicking on. 

8.  I have had a blast on You Tube this week when my kids wouldn't go to bed.  I watched "Tudor Monastery Farm" all the way through and actually found it really fascinating to watch once I got into it as the group covers a bunch of different skills and things of the age.  I have to admit my favorite part was watching how to build a book from start to finish as repairing books has always been on my "skills to learn" list and I'd love to get into doing that one day.

I also started watching "Secrets of the Castle" which is just as fascinating to watch as I've always LOVED castles since I was a little kid.  Not so much about the romanticism surrounding them, but just how solid and huge they are and what had to have gone into building them.  So watching them work on building one?  I could watch that all day.  It's really a cool series.

I stopped myself from watching "Tudor Monastery Farm Christmas" until...well...closer to Christmastime.  I'm hoping to maybe convince my husband to burn some of the Farm Christmas specials to DVD so I can play them for my daughter as it's a really sneaky way to teach her things.

9.  While watching the specials, to avoid wasting time not doing anything (since I'm not sleeping and need to stay awake) I knit or crochet.  It helps to keep my hands busy and convinces me I'm doing something useful while I'm watching things.  I have found that I had about four stores of yarn around the house when I went searching for fabric, so I have started conglomerating them together and making projects out of them.  My goal is to get my yarn down to one big basket full of yarn.  That will be enough to make a decent sized project, but without taking up tons of space all over the place.  Like the project I'm working on now is baby yarn and I had a GIANT skein that was taking up a good portion of a drawer.  Better to be knitted into a project and give me back the room it was taking up.

10.  I tightened up some screws on my daughter's chair (she has the "odd man out" chair at the kitchen table that we have to replace one that was broken).  I have to do this periodically or it gets really loose, so I was happy that I remembered to do it before it got really wobbly.  Note to self:  Ask husband for spare square head bit as I don't have one for my screw driver.

11.  My husband has continued to pick raspberries over at my mother-in-law's for me.  I'm thrilled as I am pretty sure we've got enough or nearly enough to make jam now :).  Anything after this can be used to make muffins and things during the winter, so I'm hoping to get more, but still.  Yay!!!

And there you are folks.  Some of my frugal ways this week.  How did you do?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Monthly Goals: August 2016

Sorry this is late.  I ended up having to re-evaluate my goals for the month to be more realistic.  First, there were the garden goals, which I totally scaled back.  I went into the garden this morning and just found slugaggedon and other terrible things happening.  I had placed eggshells around the seed beds to try and deter the slugs along with DE and what I had left in the beer traps, but nope, the slugs merely slithered over the bodies of their dead comrades and then latched onto whatever plants they could find.  There was netting around my one seed bed, but the birds managed to peck around it enough that they got through.  I actually had a couple of chickadees trapped UNDER the netting, for all the good that did my seedlings.  The slugs attacked the swiss chard and actually cut through the large stems (the amount of slugs around the stems...shudder...I won't paint that picture) and the small plant stems too, so I sucked it up, knocked slugs out of the way and salvaged what I could. 

I only have a few small seedlings left and I'm worried if the birds are going to get them first or the slugs.  It's depressing, but I'm struggling on for the few fighters that are left.  I even had to pull the carrots today as the slugs were attacking the greens by climbing them until they knocked them over so the other slugs could then climb on top of them (so it seemed anyway) and were just going to town on them.  Since they have gotten about as big as they are going to get this year, I just pulled the smaller carrots and put them in storage.

Bright side the peas are still doing excellent, so I am getting a really good amount of peas for this winter.  I was worried with how they were growing so tall that I was going to have major issues with the trellis falling over, but with the one center support that I levered up against the trellis system, instead the peas climbed and then fell forward, but stopped because the trellis was supported.  This is actually a benefit as it allows me to be able to pick the topmost peas where before I was worried I was going to need a ladder to reach them *laugh*.

Oddly enough?  The two lettuce plants are still alive and are actually still in pretty good health, despite the ravaging the garden took.  Go figure.

When it comes to other goals, Christmas is starting to take more of a priority in the coming months.  I have 30+ gifts to make on top of my husband and kids, so I want to make sure I'm not panicking come December to get the rest of the gifts done.

I'm also making food preservation, once again, a priority this month to make sure the pantry is in tip top shape for winter if I can manage it.

So, let's get onto this month's goals shall we?

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on mending, especially work jackets for husband (we put this off as he is working for two companies right now, but we have been unable to find him some good three season jackets without a logo on them, so it's back to replacing zippers and patching his old ones).
  • Work on Christmas Gifts that require sewing

Cleaning Goals:
  • Get kid's rooms washed down, if the weather gets dry enough that they will dry (right now I'm actually worried about mold as it is SO humid, so I've been putting it off).
  • Clean ceiling fans.
  • Deep clean bathrooms
  • Go through pull all pants that are too small for son out of dresser and laundry as I find it and put it into the donation pile (yes, he grew up another size in pants.  Again).
  • Clean the rest of the camper.

Pantry Goals:
  • Can Pears
  • Can rhubarb from freezer
  • Can cherries from freezer
  • Make strawberry preserves from strawberries in freezer
  • Work on dehydrating some things to put into lunches for pantry

Garden Goals:
  • As plants die pull up and amend soil where they were.  Plants in planters as they die, dump, check status of wooden planters and figure out if they are worth salvaging.
  • Continue to harvest peas
  • Nurse seedlings.  Sacrifice something to the gardening God (kidding...kind of *laugh*).

General Goals:
  • Keep on top of menu planning.  Try at least one new recipe a week.
  • Keep on top of prices for produce at you pick farms and stores to get as much into the freezer and pantry as possible.
  • Work on speech homework with my son.
  • Get kids back to school and established into the new school year.
  • Get some through allergist appointment with son with NOTHING going wrong (power of positive thinking!).
  • Get myself through husband being out of town (potentially several times this month).
  • Continue to organize kitchen and pantry to work better for winter.
  • Work on getting master bedroom closet better organized and emptied out as much as possible.
  • Work on non-sewing themed Christmas gifts.
And there you are folks.  My goals for this month.  How about you?  Up to anything?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

This Week's Shopping Trips

Yay!  I finally managed to time the cleaning off of the kitchen table with shopping day, so I had somewhere to take pictures of groceries *laugh*.

I went to two stores this week.  Carrs gave me a personalized price on the son's chips, so I grabbed those there and then they had 2 liter bottles of Coke products buy 2 get 2 free, which worked out to be 1.49 per bottle after sale, so I grabbed his Coke for the week there as well (not pictured as I didn't really want to take pictures of soda and chips).

The rest of my shopping I did at Fred Meyer last night (with another quick trip to Carrs).  Fred Meyer had a sale on chicken nuggets that was definitely worth hitting (4.49 per 2 lb bag, plus I had 1.00/2 coupons to make them cheaper yet!), so I ran to go and get that last night and hit a couple of other sales while I was there.  I got the last three they had in the freezer.   And I stopped by Carrs, again, because I had a personalized price on tuna salad for 1.25 a piece.  Since this is the ONLY meat my son will eat at this point, I wanted to stock up for back to school.

So, highlights included:
  • Bartlett pears for 1.49 lb.  I got nearly 10 lbs (to can).
  • Chicken for .99 lb 
  • Olive oil.  On sale for 4.49 with in-ad coupon, but then I had some 3.00/1 coupons for Star products from a survey/marketing thing they did a while back (the coupons had no expiration date, so I've been using them SLOWLY over the years).  I got like 8 coupons from the promotion, so I've been careful to use them when I needed to or when it made things I needed REALLY cheap.  This made a quart of olive oil 3.00 after coupons.  I am hoping to go back before the sale is over (it ends in the middle of the month) to get another quart for cheap (the store coupon has a limit of 2 on it).  
So, overall between Fred Meyer and Carrs I spent 72.10 on groceries this week, but I stocked up on Coke (and will HOPEFULLY have enough for several weeks), got more chips than I wanted to (but my son has been just blowing through them of late) stocked up on chicken nuggets (which will hopefully see me through a few months of school lunch rotations at least) and got enough tuna salad kits to last for a bit with my son's school lunches as well (once again, I bought all they had at the time).  I went over my grocery budget for the week by a bit, but I'm okay with that as I'll be able to save money in the coming weeks from having to buy back to school items at full price.

So there you are folks.  My shopping trips for the week.  Have you run into anything good at the stores lately?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: Menu for Week of 8/1/16

Ever realized that making and keeping appointments takes a level of planning rivaling that of the Normandy Invasion?  Well, now you know if you didn't already.  Trying to get an allergist appointment in for my son when my husband has to be out of town like the day before, but is trying to put it off until my son's appointment is done is giving me levels of stress I certainly don't need.  Why can't anything be easy?  Sigh.

Sorry *shakes head* just kind of in a funk as the allergist appointment is stressing me out already as we have to stick around two hours after the injection to watch for signs of anaphylaxsis...that in itself scares me even though I know the chances of it are slim.  Then there is the logistic nightmare of keeping my son from melting down into a heap while sitting around an office for two hours.  THEN after I completely tick him off and traumatize him doing that dad will be gone the same day and be gone the rest of the week, which is going to make the son 10 times worse...kind of makes me want to cry and I'm not even dealing with it till Monday.  Times like this I'm REALLY glad that I didn't inherit my dad's crippling depression or goodness knows where I'd be.  I'm just crossing my eyes, making odd noises and making funny faces to make my daughter and I laugh instead.  It's definitely healthier.

Anyway, onto the menu for the week.  I finally had a moment after finishing up the latest stage of food preservation to check out the freezer, google some recipes, hit Pinterest and my cookbooks and I think I have a decent plan menu-wise the rest of the week. So, let's get to it!

Menu Plan for Week of 8/1/16
Monday:  Leftover pork roast slices, potatoes au gratin, salad

Tuesday:  Baked fish, pasta with pesto sauce (use pesto from freezer), salad

Wednesday:  Pork pot pie (use rest of leftover pork)

Thursday:  One Pan Garlic Ranch Chicken and Vegetables, Outback Steakhouse Copycat Rolls

Friday:  Blueberry pancakes, bacon, eggs

Saturday:  Grilled cheese sandwiches with chicken or ham (depending what I have in the freezer), home made tomato soup, salad

Sunday:  Chicken Alfredo Casserole (use leftover tomato soup instead of tomato sauce in recipe), salad

To Bake:  Rolls (Thursday), Bread (Wednesday)

Desserts:  Banana cake or banana bread (make Wednesday).

And there you are folks.  My menu for the week.  How about you?  Got anything good planned?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Shopping Goals: August 2016

I feel really good about shopping goals for last month.  With the exception of getting a lot of cheap produce stocked up and getting canned green beans in any great quantity, I got all of my goals accomplished.  I really appreciate the blessings that allowed that to happen and have thanked the Good Lord repeatedly for them :).

The garden's productivity is definitely falling off.  I still have a few young Swiss chard plants that I am hoping will grow a bit more and I also have one adult plant that is finally suffering less slug damage, so I'm hoping the leaves will get bigger yet before it bolts.

Believe it or not I still have three lettuce plants that I grew from the seeds Jeannie sent me and they are filling in nicely since I thinned the lettuce plants, so I'm hopeful that I might have lettuce through the first half of August if they don't bolt.  Fingers crossed :).

Past harvesting some lettuce and peas from the garden and some rose hips and a few straggler raspberries from the yard I just have to nurse my seedlings and see how far they get before it gets too cold.  Temps are already getting down into the 40's at night, so we'll see how it goes.

Shopping Goals:  August 2016

Regular Stores:
  • Pears (these are running 1.49 lb at Fred Meyer this week, so I'm hoping to get enough to can some)
  • Zucchini (if cheap)
  • Apples (if they start to come into season and get cheap)
  • Other cheap produce (if I run into any)
  • Sugar (I'd like to get another 25 lb bag of it this month)
  • Olive Oil (or bulk store, depending where the big bottles go cheaper) 

Bulk Stores
  • 2 Big Blocks of Cheese (if I can swing that it will last us for a good couple of months worth of meals)
  • Butter
  • Garbage Bags
  • Freezer Bags
  • Dry cured salami (for the pantry)
  • Coffee 
LDS Cannery
  • Regular Rolled Oats
  • Hot chocolate mix
And yeah, that is about it in the way of shopping goals for the month.  How about you?