Monday, June 26, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update

 So, it's Monday, not Friday, but better late than never right?

It was just kind of a dark and depressing weekend.  Alvah's mood seemed to gravitate toward being sad and crying and itchy and miserable to cranky and hitty and that got to my mood as it's so seldom that he's in a good mood anymore for any length of time.  Bright side, I think some of this is due to the fact that his medicine is actually working.  It's like a brain fog has lifted a bit and he's realizing that he's itchy, or sleep deprived (which seemed to be his main problem this last little bit...I'm going to talk to his doctor about putting him on some type of sleep aide I think as he's just not getting enough sleep) or not being able to get his point across and it's leading to meltdowns.  At least I feel like we are on the right track with him. 

Basically between him not sleeping, thus me not sleeping, his mood and then everything the AK state government is pulling on the Alaskan people (capping the PFD and taxes, taxes, taxes!  All the while INCREASING spending and giving themselves raises)  is just...ugh.  Trying to save money to move is definitely becoming a priority the way things are going on that front.

So, yeah, I rewrote this post about five times over the weekend and finally decided to just walk away until I wasn't going on a dark depressing stream of thought for pages and pages.  And hey, Alvah slept last night, so we're both doing better today and voila!  Mood improvement!

Onto the bright side of things!  After months of stalking...err...perseverance...we finally have an appointment to get him evaluated with his new speech therapist the first week in July.  So, hopefully we can get his medicine dialed in better before his evaluation.  Fingers and toes crossed on that.  I REALLY want this to work well this time and hopefully trying to help him works this time.

I finally got my daughter motivated to remove a tooth on her own instead of not wiggling it and making the dentist do it.  She figured out she could get money for her tooth, which would help her pay for a toy she's REALLY wanting combined with the rest of her gift card she got for her birthday (once I put the idea into her brain, that is).  I haven't seen a kid wiggle a tooth out as fast as she did (mind you it was pretty loose for the last YEAR, so it didn't take much other than her concentrating on it).  Already the new tooth is poking through the gum, so I am SO glad we got the tooth out.

And now onto the rest of the week on the money saving front!

1.  First up, today's big lesson.  Remember to rotate your food storage if you have it.  I've used up so much of mine that I thought I was doing good on that front and then I started actively seeking out food storage to use and help to pad out what we have around the house to help save money.  And found a couple of #10 (big coffee can size) of dehydrated apple slices I need to use up, which is probably going to end up as pies or crisps for dessert here and I ran into a couple of cans of dehydrated potatoes that my mother-in-law had given me from someone who was liquidating their old food storage before they moved a while back.  At the time I just went, "ooooo!  Dehydrated potatoes!"  I get some things from the LDS cannery (which by the way you can get things at the cannery even if you aren't a member of the Church as they consider food storage important) but we didn't have dehydrated potatoes as an option to purchase there, so I just looked at that and NOT the date like a maroon (Bugs Bunny reference...oh yeah!).  Fast forward to this weekend when I wanted to make corned beef hash and decided to use the dehydrated potatoes to use them up.  I took a shot of the top of the can before I opened it (seen up top there).  Yeah, 98!  As in 1998!  So, these suckers were about 20 years old now.  I opened them and sniffed and sure enough rancid smelling potatoes came back at me.  So, frozen hash browns from the depth of the freezer were dug out and used for the corned beef has instead (which for frozen hash browns and canned corned beef...the hash came out really tasty.  Even my DAUGHTER liked it and she's super picky!  So woohoo for that :).

I hate wasting food, so it bugs me that I didn't use the potatoes earlier, even though, realistically, they could very well have been rancid when I received them...who knows.  I'm going to save the can and use them to mix in with the compost pile for the garden later on, but still...remember to check dates and rotate food storage all!  It's important to not waste food!

Bright side, this led me to check every single can in my pantry for "use by" dates and to make sure things weren't getting too far out of whack on their dates.  I found a few things that I definitely want to use up just to stop the things from starting to taste like can (like tuna fish) and I also found that the canned brown bread I bought a while back had a use by date for next year, so I want to make sure to start using that up and replenishing a few cans for use later (if you keep it past it's use by date, I've found that it starts to get denser and more dried out and not taste as good, so it's one of those items that I definitely want to keep more in the "fresh canned" category).  I opened a can of it to eat with some cream cheese we had in the fridge.  My husband was a bit skeptical of a canned bread, but I told him how it was a religion in New England and he needed to try it.  And he did, indeed, like it *laugh*.  So, at least I won't be eating those loaves of brown bread on my own ;).

2.  I've found myself being able to say "no" to food sales a bit better lately as money is not only super tight (can't wait for the pay raise to kick onto the paychecks next month), but also I stop myself and just say, "Be calm.  You know when he's going to get paid next and how much, roughly, that it will be.  You don't need to stock up for the Apocalypse." 

It's odd switching your way of thinking like this, believe me.  I shopped for a variable, and non-existent at a moment's notice, type of pay cycle for the last 15 years.  So when you saw a good sale on ANYTHING that you might possibly use later you picked it up no matter what and you picked up as much as you could possibly afford period.  Now I can be a bit more conservative in how much of something I stock up on. 

Like stocking up for winter.   Yes, I'm glad I'm putting up fresh produce for winter as it just plain tastes better and we enjoy eating it a LOT more than the commercially canned stuff, but now it's not a panic driven mad dash to get as much into the freezer and pantry before work dries up over the winter months as it used to be.  It really does take some getting used to, but is also kind of a relief of stress at the same time.

It's different and weird that's for sure.  Good, yes, but weird and different *laugh*..

3.  I repaired two more holes in comforters this week.  MAN we're tough on those.  Mind you most people change their bedding at most once a week, but with Alvah I change bedding daily, sometimes twice daily (depending how much liquid he decides to throw on his bed), so I know our comforters and bedding take way more abuse than most people's.  I just feel like all I do is repair one hole after another on those things *laugh*.

4.  I made sure to make every trip in the car count so we didn't waste unnecessary gas running from one place to another during the week. 

5.  There was suddenly this big burning ball of gas in a sky that turned magically blue the last few days!  We played outside and have been enjoying the sunlight!  I might even have lunch out on the deck tonight.  That would be fun :).

6.  I broke down the shelves I had put together with cans of food storage and wooden shelves in the pantry and set up a shelf in the den instead.  I learned a valuable, and quite logical really, lesson as I was doing it.  If you make a shelf with #10 cans as your shelf spacers, trying to actually STICK #10 cans on said shelves?  Well it doesn't work (duuuuhhhhhh) because the shelves will be too tight once you put any weight on them.  So, I went through my cans and used anything that was liquid-like to build up the shelves or anything that I wasn't going to worry about using anytime soon (like some cans of beans as I have loose beans to use) and then I flipped cans that contained dried items on their sides and rolled them onto the shelves.  It worked.  I tried to put things on the shelves that I am planning on using somewhat regularly or things (like the powdered eggs) that I need to use up.  Here's hoping it works :).

We'll see how goat's milk powder works in things.  I had gotten that years ago when my daughter was on a dairy free and gluten free diet to try out and never opened it.  It's use by date is this year, so it's time to use goat's milk in things!

7.  My husband got a gift card for Father's Day when he went into Sears to get a new battery for the lawn mower (it died and Sears is the only store we have a credit card at, so it worked out for that) as part of a promotion.  He used his "mystery gift" of, what turned out to be 10.00, to get some pliers he needed for work.  Between his gift card and the coupons that had printed off for him at the register he paid around 10.00 for the pliers (more than he wanted to pay, but the expensive ones were the ONLY pliers Sears had in stock). 

8.  My husband took advantage of a yearly covered dental cleaning through his new insurance.  That alone saved us 450.00 with that being covered so yay for good insurance!

And now, since I'm still tired and kind of out of it (which is SAD considering how late I slept this morning), let's get to a garden update!
I FINALLY got the flowers planted in the front bed.  Of course as soon as I did that and figured that the weather was never going to get good this summer and got eaten alive doing it, THEN the sun came out *laugh*. 

I think I'm the only person in the history of the universe who managed to completely kill off a mint plant.  I looked all over it for signs of life and found nada.  I pulled off the dead branches and we'll see what happens, but I'm not too hopeful at this point.  Me.  The only person I know who can actually kill off an invasive plant.  Rock on.
The chives though...I'm so excited.  LOOK at them!  They are doing awesome!  I'm going to harvest them soon and dehydrate them.  I hope they come back again a second time this year so I get a double crop.  That would be awesome!

The garden is loving the sun.  The beans are growing (woohoo) and even more stalks of corn are popping up out of the ground.  The corn, though, is growing so...well not great...that I planted peas in between the corn that was up out of the ground in the one row and then I planted a row of pole beans in front of the peas.  I figure if you're going to trellis a bed, you might as well TRELLIS a bed.  So we'll see if everything comes up.  I'll be thrilled if everything grows this year.  Looking forward to the experiment if nothing else :).

All of the peas fell over in the middle bed as they are growing like mad.  My husband kept telling me he was going to rip stakes and make a trellis with the left over chicken wire and I was like, "Oh, that'll be great!"  And then he ended up doing exactly what I had thought of doing to begin with.  Zip ties and left over electrical conduit and chicken wire are now our trellis for the peas.  He put the trellis decently far forward which is good because I know I'm going to have to make one layer higher later with another thing of chicken wire as if the peas and beans climb HALF as well as they did last year...yeah they'll need the added height.

The spinach needs to be thinned a bit that I planted up toward the front, but yay for things growing :).

Look at the carrots and turnips!  I can't believe how well they are growing!  The beets are SLOWLY growing, which hopefully with the nice days we've been having the past few days that'll help them take off a bit better.  The lettuce I got from the food pantry is up front there.  I guess it's actually a heading type of lettuce that takes a ridiculous amount of time to reach maturity, so I'm just going to harvest it the way I always harvest lettuce.  Harvest the outside leaves and leave the inner ones, repeat.  I'm so happy it's definitely going to be ready to start harvesting.

Oh and the beans are finally coming up in this bed as well!  Yay!!!!

I was going to plant potatoes in the yard or in a planter, but as hard as I could I couldn't get a potato to sprout (yeah I KNOW, it's usually so easy!) and it has been SO wet that I would have been planting the potatoes into mud.  So, I finally gave up on that this year.  At least potatoes are cheap to buy up here, so it's not like I'm going to be feeling too potato deficient in the coming months :).

So, there you are folks.  My week in a rambling nutshell.  How about you?  How did your week go?


  1. Good post. Just wanted to let you know that no, you are NOT the only person to kill off a mint plant. I too, am a mint murderer.

  2. I am too every single year and any mint there is LOL

  3. Sorry for laughing at you but know one can kill a mint plant. You must have super powers. Great blog.

  4. I am shocked at how fast your garden is growing. It has exploded!
    Oh, and I admit defeat, you won. I thought finding a 2015 bottle of lemon juice was bad (I used it as a cleaner in the dishwasher since it was lumpy), but you beat me with 1998.

  5. I also must confess to mint murder. I'm just not good at staying motivated to water. I have given up until I can set up automatic drip irrigation. Michelle

  6. I am shocked at how fast your garden is growing. It has exploded!
    Oh, and I admit defeat, you won. I thought finding a 2015 bottle of lemon juice was bad (I used it as a cleaner in the dishwasher since it was lumpy), but you beat me with 1998.