Saturday, May 21, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Lately, life has been trying.  Money, as you know, is tight (understatement of the year).  With this being the last week of school my daughter's stomach has been all over the place (read, cycling) so she had to take probably more Zophran the last week than she has all school year.  My husband has not been feeling great between his back, the tendon in his foot still swelling up and hurting him on and off (can't really let one of those heal when you're on your feet all day) and stress is getting to him big time (getting spells of feeling weak and shaky, but blood pressure and sugar are fine, etc).

The worst one out of the lot, though, is my son.  I'm baffled.  Completely baffled.  The poor kid is on MASSIVE doses of antihistamines right now.  Like four times the recommended dosage of those medicines.  This is SUPPOSED to get rid of his hives so we can start allergy shots. Instead the last week has been utterly MISERABLE!!!  The poor guy will suddenly go head to toe hives in five to ten minutes, develop welts randomly on his body and face and scare us to utter death.  We were supposed to be giving him Adorax to help with the hives and itching on top of the Zyrtec, but I switched to Benadryl, because no matter the way the medicine is supposed to work and help him, Adorax does 100% nada for him.  So really my son is one big walking, hivey and welty, cauldron of Benadryl and Zyrtec right now.  And it doesn't seem to be doing much for the hives.  Although, odd bright side is that his eczema is the best it's been in YEARS.  I feel so bad sometimes and feel like I've failed him.  I can't seem to fix anything wrong with him no matter what and how I try.  Sigh.

Anyway, hey, bright side is physically I'm doing okay all things considered.  My TMJ is flaring on and off and I'm depressed (and I've found myself kind of snippy with my husband from time to time, but it's only about work and he understands, thank goodness...I'm trying to watch my tongue, but I'm so tired from lack of sleep and just plain worry about everyone in the family that it just kind of pops out without me thinking about it.  Not fun, but honest I guess), but  compared to everyone else, I'm not complaining.

I haven't taken pictures of the garden progress yet as the weather hasn't been accommodating to picture taking the last few days due to rain, but I'm not complaining as we need the rain!  I'll try to do a quick separate post on the garden in the next few days :).

Some anyway, let's get onto money saving things that happened this week!

1.  I did my math and checked my receipts from Carrs and due to saving up my gas rewards (and taking advantage of the 4x gas rewards if you spent 100.00 they have going on right now) I was able to get .70 off per gallon of gas yesterday.  Since I was running on next to no gas when I went and got gas and they only allow you so much gas on your rewards, I didn't get to fill up a jerry can with gas the way I wanted on that price, but I was still able to fill my tank for 28.00, which was awesome!

2.  I went to Fred Meyer and got the free Myst Twyst (or whatever the soda freebie was) from yesterday while I was in town as that will give us free treats this summer.  I let the curate bar go for now as the nuts in it...I don't like to keep stuff like that around the house with my son's want to chew on things in wrappers.

3.  I canned a few more things this week. 

Monday I canned some dilly beans (seen up top).  I looked at stores close by and had my husband check other stores he was near when he was working (since he was in the area and I was conserving gas as much as I could) and neither of us could find dill seeds ANYWHERE and the fresh dill just looked sad at the stores, so I ended up using dill weed instead of dill seed in the pickles.  I have no idea if they'll come out tasting anything like dill pickles doing it that way, but that's what I had so that's what I used.  We shall see how it goes when we open them.  I figure if they don't taste like dill out of the jar when I open them (here's a good "hack" for you), I'll just pour out some of the brine and add some pickle juice from some other dill pickles to help them along a bit.

I did end up picking up my canner from the Cooperative Extension Service.  The gal called and said my canner was done.  I do, indeed, need to replace the dial as it has a dent from heat warping over time and the temperature doesn't read accurately due to it.  Which is fine.  I can pick up a dial at a store about two minutes from my house, so I figure as soon as I can get ANY money to mess with in my budget I'll stop down there and pick one up and my husband can install it for me.

Tuesday I canned a couple of jars of cranberry sauce from a bag of frozen cranberries I found in the freezer.  I always buy extra cranberries and use them usually in recipes and things, but my family doesn't really "get into" fresh cranberries much and I have a bunch of dried that I still need to go through, so I just decided to make the cranberries into sauce instead.  I will try to post up a recipe for cranberry sauce here as not only is it super easy to make it is also a REALLY good thing to make if you're confused where the "sheeting" point on jam making is as cranberries have so much natural pectin the sheeting stage happens a LOT quicker so you don't second guess yourself so much like you would making strawberry preserves or something and you end up with sauce.   Just for the record, I've noticed a lot of descriptions on the sheeting stage are just plain confusing.  Here's how I figured it out.  Take a cold spoon and dip it into your jam mixture and then hold it up to let the jam/whatever run off the spoon.  If it LOOKS like jam and kind of falls off in blobs you're good to go.  If it flows off the cold spoon, even if it's thick looking, you've got a bit longer to go or an alternative if you are making jams with tart things (like rose hips or something) you can add 1/2 cup more sugar and then bring it back to boiling and test again.
I figured all I had left to do this week was taco sauce (which I'm hoping to make today), but then I got a text from a friend of mine.  Her big block freezer had died and she wanted to know if I wanted some cherries as she remembered me saying that I was looking to get some cheap.  I didn't really want to take food from her as I know her family is tight in the money department like mine and even offered to can them for her, but she said I'd be doing her a favor as she and her mom and sisters were working on canning and dehydrating all of the meat from the freezer that they couldn't fit in all the freezers between them so she didn't loose anything and she was going to be tight on room in her pantry due to all the canned meat (they pretty much live on game meat her husband hunts).

So, put that way, I said sure and quickly met up with her one day to give her a hug (my week looked like roses compared to hers) and her to give me 5 pounds of  not quite frozen cherries.  I took them home and put them into a bowl to defrost and then Thursday I made them into pints of cherry pie filling (yay!!!).  I now just have to make up my rhubarb recipes come harvesting time and whatever produce I can score cheap or whatever grows in the garden that I can process for winter.  I'm happy!!!  Winter preparations are going well so far for a change =D. 

4.  I knew I needed to start fertilizing the garden this week since the seedlings are finally starting to pop up with a vengance, but I thought for sure I was out of fertilizer and was trying to figure out if I could make enough compost to fertilize the garden (I've found you have to fertilize up here.  Plants are forced to grow so much faster than they would like due to the short growing season and near constant sunlight that they'll just not grow very well without heavy fertilizing), but luckily while tearing apart the shed looking for something I found a box of fertilizer that was 3/4 of the way full!  I had bought it when we first moved here and had forgotten we had it, so yay!

5.  One big way I saved money this week was with the exception of running errands yesterday I didn't go anywhere or do anything much at all, so I kept spending to an absolute minimum.

6.  When we had to go to the dump last weekend, I gave my husband our free dump coupon to use (the Borough gives every household one per year).  It gave us an 8.00 credit to use, so my husband threw out some heavier items that he'd been putting off throwing away.  All totaled a month's worth of garbage (we normally go to the dump once a month and go through a big garbage can a week) and heavier items that my husband threw away cost us 4.00 to get rid of.

7.  I mended a few items this week, including a hole in a pair of jeans I had.

8.  I weeded the garden a lot this week as invasive weeds are AWFUL this year all over the's annoying for sure.  This doesn't seem like a money saving "thing" to some folks, but it really is as it helps your actual plants to grow, is free except your time and it pays off in the end for sure.

9.  I knew I would have to trellis my peas sometime relatively soon so I started looking at materials to build a trellis system instead of worrying about buying one.

10.  Yesterday was the last day of school before summer break and I was surprised and delighted when my son's teacher gave us a packet of photos along with his progress notes that were taken during his ski trip earlier in the year.  There are some great photos in there that I want to frame :).

On a sad note, this was the first year where at the end of school I wanted to hug teachers and cry.  We found out recently that my son's ABA program is moving to our boundary school, which will be a lot more convenient for me (no more double pick ups and drop offs), but then the bad things started coming through about it.  One is that our new principal in our boundary school doesn't seem to get how many accommodations she's going to have to make for a good even dozen special needs kids coming into her school and that makes me nervous (their parking system and pick up procedures are ridiculous and you almost need a flow chart to follow them).  Our boundary school doesn't have the nice fenced in playground like my son's old school did (another thing making me nervous).  And the worst part is that his teacher, who I adore and is spectacular at behavioral teaching and things isn't going to be at the ABA program next year and they are bringing in an entirely new teacher.  This upset me as his teacher is awesome, for one, and most of the kids in my son's class hate change, so I can imagine how productive of a year they are going to have next year at a brand new school with a brand new teacher.  And this is IF the aides get transferred over and they still don't know if they are yet.  Upsetting to say the least.

So, I'm going to really miss my son's teacher.  And then my daughter's teacher was just awesome this last year as well and she really helped my daughter to develop more of a sense of self confidence and things.  And she really helped to push her in all the right ways.  There are some teachers you want to grab and just transfer from grade to grade, this was one of them.  I am going to miss her and pray that my daughter's teacher next year is nearly as good as her.

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


  1. Erika, you have done so well and really should be proud of yourself! Life has handed you lemons and you are becoming very good at making the most amazing lemonade.

    Two years ago I made dilly beans, as well as dill pickles, and used fresh sprigs of dill weed to make them. They turned out quite tasty (except for one larger jar of pickles which I think I just didn't put enough dill weed in for the size of the jar). Hope your first attempts turn out well!

    Great score on the cherries! Maybe you can make your friend some cherry tarts or a cherry pie some day as a thank you. I've made cherry jam and its really good, too! Also nice that you have some homemade cranberry sauce to use for your holiday meals this year.

    As for your supports for the peas, long tree branches stuck in the ground space out along the row, with a few rows of any kind of string (even small pieces of knitting wool tied together to make it long enough), stretched horizontally between them will work. This also work for any plant or vine that needs support (you can use this method to create tomato cages). Remember, our ancestors didn't have all this fancy gardening stuff on the market and they relied on their gardens to feed them all winter! Don't be afraid to get creative in the garden and use whatever natural materials you have around your property already.

    I completely understand your apprehension on the school stuff. I have so been there and done that! My best advice it to keep an open optimistic mind, be prepared to explain Autism and why they behave the way they do a lot, and be ready to go to battle (in a nice but firm way) for what your son needs from the school system.

  2. Hi Erika! The colors of your cherries and cranberries are gorgeous. What lovely things to pull from you pantry. My mom always used dill weed to make dill pickles and they were always very good. I hope yours turn out well too. :) Hugs for a tough run lately.

  3. I'm so sorry you had such a tough week. Hang in there. Things will get better, little bits by little bits. You are just proving to God how much you are able to do with what he has given you so far. Remember the parable of the talents? That comes to mind. Taking what's happening right then, and doing your best.

    Try not to worry about your sons school. Our elementary school is also the district autism school and we too have no fence, but I learned from my husband who almost became a special ed teacher, all of the special education teachers not only have that extra training and can take care of the children in any environment, but also they WANT to be in that position. They applied for it because they want to help those kids. So the new teacher will be excited to be there, and hopefully your son makes a connection. It does stink year to year teachers don't know where or if they will have a job the following year. I always am on pins and needs March through may until we know. Try not to stress, who knows, this might be one change he will like!The principal, since she is new, I am sure will take advice from her staff on procedures to help all of the kids. They might even change the confusing drop off and pick ups! When our school got a new principal (her 3rd year now) her second year she changed the pick uPs and it's sooo much easier now the days I do pick up.

    Your jars look lovely as usual! And I second that, I will bet your friend would love a pie or,something from you!