Friday, August 21, 2015

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update

I have shocked no less than four people this week as I told the tale of how I had to re-stake my tomato plants this week as they were quite literally growing across my driveway and I had to do something before I worried about slugs getting to them.

I've NEVER had tomatoes grow like this in Alaska.  In the 12 odd years I've grown tomatoes up here they haven't done 1/2 as well as they did this year.  I grew two plants this year, as a matter of fact, in the hopes that I could get enough tomatoes to perhaps have an odd tomato sandwich or two before I had to pickle or can all of my mini green tomatoes at the end of the season.

Now I'm at kind of a loss as I wasn't planning on having half of the amount of tomatoes I'm getting.  My husband can't eat tomatoes raw due to acid reflux (even seeded, which is depressing) and my daughter hates pretty much all vegetables.  My son with his issues won't even look at a tomato period.  So, unless I want to turn red here in the next bit, I'm thinking I might be making some green tomato relish (something that has intrigued me for years honestly) or I might be trying to dig up some more canning jars to can some tomato sauce or whole tomatoes.  I'm not complaining, do not get me wrong, just surprised *laugh*.

I got turnips developing!  I was thrilled to see that in the garden today.  Even if I only get some small turnips before the snow flies, I'll be happy with that.  You can see the one leaf that got eaten by the cabbage loopers before I pulled my potato plant.  Poor turnip plant.

I picked some green tomatoes from the garden (when I re-staked the tomatoes some tomatoes were harmed a bit in the process, so I picked them).  I turned some of them into fried green tomatoes one day (yum!) and plan on seeing if the others will indeed ripen on the counter, or if I'll have to make more fried green tomatoes out of them.

I didn't harvest herbs this week.  I'm planning on harvesting what is left of my herbs this coming week as the plants are hitting "the growth wall" as I like to call it where they are starting to put their efforts into seeding rather than growing new offshoots.  So, it's time to harvest them, dehydrate them and call it good for the year.

Anyway, onto other matters!

1.  I started working on my son's birthday gift yesterday.  I've been so preoccupied with money that I just plain forgot his birthday is coming up in a few weeks.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money on his birthday, but still wanted to make him something he'll like, so I've got things in the work to do just that (more on that later).

2.  I started working on Christmas gifts this week too.  I've got a lot of Christmas gifts to worry about, so I always start early on them.  I embroidered the pillow sham I made last week for my daughter and am planning on putting the finishing touches on that tonight.  I also sketched out some other embroidery designs for other Christmas gifts as well and starting figuring out a gift making schedule (yes, I really am this OCD sometimes).

3.  I mainly tried to stay home as much as possible to not spend money.  I worked on cleaning the house and baking a lot this week now that the kids are back in school.

4.  I tried a new recipe for bread while I was baking.  I found a recipe that calls for SAF instant yeast (my favorite yeast) and makes bread in under an hour.  I liked the time frame so I made some.  And I really like it!  It makes a very light and fluffy bread.  I sliced both loaves into slices for easy sandwich or toast making and we've been eating the bread all week.  I will definitely be making the bread again.

5.  My mother-in-law gave me a hunk off of a giant zucchini that my sister-in-law bought.  I'm planning on making the hunk I have into two different recipes (more on that later if it turns out).  I haven't messed with zucchini in years, so this will be an interesting experiment for me.

6.  I cooked all of our meals at home, which saved us money.

7.  I mended one very torn comforter this week.  It was one of my son's favorite comforters as it's very soft, but it had about four good sized tears in it.  I darned the comforter and now my son is even happier with it (although disappointed that I didn't leave him a hole to pluck batting out of it).

8.  I mended a hole in a pair of my daughter's jeans.

9.  I shopped sales and used coupons to get the most out of my dollars this week.

10.  We burned a couple of old movies that were only available online that we'd been wanting to watch and enjoyed the movies with some popcorn for a movie night.

And there you are folks.  Some of the various ways I've saved money this week.  How did you do?


  1. Hi Erika,
    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I've been reading for a couple months & have gone back & read all of your posts. You & your family do a great job with what you have & your attitide is awesome.

  2. I came over from The Prudent Homemaker :) Would you mind sharing your bread recipe?

  3. Sure. Here's the link. Instead of baking it free form I separated it into two loaf pans and it worked well (as you can see above :).

  4. Hi, I came over from The Prudent Homemaker also. I've read several of your posts. Have you considered marinara sauce with your tomatoes? I haven't done it in years, but when we were able to grow tomatoes, it was the best sauce ever. I'm not even sure what the recipe was, but making it from fresh tomatoes was so much better than any other that I have made.

  5. I have made home made tomato products before (sauce, tomato juice, ketchup, etc). I would consider making marinara with the tomatoes, but my biggest problem right now is a very quickly progressing fall and my tomato plant has a LOT of green tomatoes on it that aren't doing much due to the cooler temps. So, I am figuring that green tomato relish might just be the way to go. And honestly, I've wanted to try that recipe for years, but here in Alaska even GREEN tomatoes go for about 3.99 lb (as you can only get them from Farmer's markets and farm stands), so I've never had enough to try. This year I have enough green tomatoes AND enough after that to let them go and see if they ripen enough for me to do some other things with. Loving it!!!!

  6. You mentioned your husband had acid reflux, well so did mine. He had it for YEARS, was on strong medicine and could not miss a pill without getting sick. A lady at church told me if he bought "coral calcium" at the health food store and took a pill or two a day, it would cure him. We laughed but decided to blow the $10.00 anyway. Halfway through the bottle my husband decided to stop taking his medicine and he did not have any heart burn. It almost cured him. He then read that the flouride in toothpaste would cause acid reflux so he started brushing his teeth with baking soda. He never gets heart burn any more unless he drinks coffee on an empty stomach. It worked for us and I wanted to share it with you.