Saturday, July 16, 2016
Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update
My son had his follow up allergist appointment this week. Bright side is that the hives have been MIA since we upped his Zyrtec last, so the allergist was happy with that. She then sat us down and gave us the low down on allergy shots for my son (five days a week with shots and such) and then suggested we try to get him approved with TEFRA/Medicaid for a drug that not only is good for allergies and hives, but also actually shows that it has helped eczema in patients. The medication isn't made for children under 12 yet, so since she'd have to use a scaled back amount of an adult medication Medicaid sometimes won't cover it. I then asked the logical question, as this has happened to us before, if Medicaid won't cover it how much it would cost out of pocket as we'd do pretty much anything to help my son's problems. She then explained that without insurance the medication just plain isn't affordable. Like 10,000.00 a MONTH cost. And it's a once a month shot medication! I just kind of blinked and went, "Yeah, that's not affordable all right" and now we're just hoping insurance approves it. They also had us fill out financial "need" paperwork to process with the company who makes the drug themselves to see if we can get a grant/waiver from them to pay for the drug if Medicaid says no. But, seriously. 10,000.00 per shot! For allergy meds!!! I'm still flabbergasted.
In other news, I found, much to my delight, that the raspberry bushes are doing really good this year despite the previous three summers and the moose and every other thing that got thrown at them. The biggest problem is that the ones in the front yard decided to grow in the back of the "hedgerow", as I'm calling it since it really does resemble a wall of bushes, behind many wild rosebushes and some wonderfully spiky devil's club. Not fun to pick them, but I've also found that I'm developing a thick skin the longer I work with thorn bushes, so I'm just ignoring the occasional scrape and if I happen to get a thorn that stays put, I notice that pretty much right away *laugh*. We're not getting a lot of raspberries at one time, we usually don't since I'm pretty sure the raspberries that grow in my yard are wild, but we get a small bowl at one time (seen up top) that my daughter delights in devouring, so I'm not complaining :).
I also noticed that the rose hips are ripening early this year, which is both good and bad I guess. It's bad because they really get that much sweeter after the first frost of the year, but it's good that they are ripening so early as I have a shot of getting them before the hornets, birds and other wildlife start to realize that they have that food source available and go for broke on them. At least this year I'm not forced to pick them green and hard to avoid the blight that my rosebushes got last year. Those rose hips were REALLY tart and made some truly interesting tea last winter. The rose hips also seem to be pretty prolific this year (at least my eyes aren't deceiving me), which is wonderful as I will hopefully be able to gather enough to make numerous things out of. Especially since the Johnny Jump Ups have barely come up this year (I think the sporadic weather is to blame) and when they do come up the bugs IMMEDIATELY just chew them down to nothing. I noticed the same thing with my marigolds in the garden, which truly blew my mind as they are supposed to REPEL bugs. This kind of dashes my hopes of wild flower jelly this year to add to my stores as the fireweed isn't doing great this year either. Luckily I still have a decent amount of jelly left from last year. Crazy bug problems we have this year.
A quick update on the garden. I harvested TONS of lettuce this week, again, and am really working hard to keep on top of bolting lettuce plants before they go bitter. I'm starting to lose that battle just because I can't eat the lettuce fast enough, but am glad that I've managed to harvest the majority of it either way. The green lettuce is still doing alright in a couple of spots without bolting, so I'm hoping to keep lettuce going until the end of July. Fingers crossed there.
I found, much to my delight, that I'd actually purchased sweet pea seeds at the store for the upper planter on the deck as I got a couple of peas this week off of it. I THOUGHT the peas I'd planted in the actual garden were regular peas, but no, I didn't read the package well and had bought edible pod peas, which my husband and I don't like as well as they just plain aren't as sweet (and honestly I will chew on the pods from the sweet peas and then just get rid of the fibers that are left after I chew the sweet stuff out of them *laugh*). Kind of disappointing, but at least I know I have sweet pea seeds for next year. My tentative plan for next year is to plant peas at the back in one part of the garden and then plant runner beans in another part and just trellis them up all over the back of the garden. Great. Now the season isn't even over yet and I'm planning the garden for next year *laugh*. I'm not sure how many more peas I'm going to be getting out of the deck plant as it's in a planter with my potato plants and the potato plant seems to be dying back early (probably because it's in a planter). I'm really thinking to harvest the potatoes successfully I'm going to have to dump the planter, so the pea plant might be on borrowed time. Still great that I got any peas off of it at all, though :).
The hanging basket that I'd planted basil and spinach in just didn't do anything this year. At all. I finally just called it quits and dumped the soil into the garden to help amend the soil a bit with some manure in a spot where I ripped out some lettuce and called it good. So, processing basil into pesto pucks for the freezer this year is out, but honestly I'm okay with that. My husband says that pesto is starting to give him bad acid reflux anyway, so it might have all worked out for the best that it didn't grow well this year.
The rest of the herbs, though, are doing great, and I'm very thankful for that. I'm filling up my sage, thyme and rosemary containers in the kitchen and will happily move onto other containers as I fill those. This will save me TONS in the long run instead of buying dried herbs at the store. Rosemary alone at the store is ridiculously expensive and never comes CLOSE to tasting as good as the home dried.
The carrots are doing good, growing big and I'm starting to see shoulders developing at the surface of the soil. I'm all excited and hoping I can get some decent sized carrots out of my small itty bitty little patch :).
And the rat tailed radishes are trying to take over the universe as we know it I think. It's like you blink and more radishes are there to pick. I've been harvesting daily.
The baby rhubarb plant that my son's OT gave me is doing GREAT by the way (I really need to take a picture of that). It's already about the size of my other rhubarb plant and continues to just grow away. I'm definitely excited to get the other rhubarb plants from my friend now as I really do think putting them up by the house instead of down in the yard is going to make a HUGE difference in how they grow!
So, anyway, now that the "yard" update (I guess? *Laugh*) is out of the way, let's get to the rest of the post shall we?
1. Fred Meyer had some crazy awesome sales on meat this week (thank you, Lord), so I decided immediately it was a good stock up week for certain items. They had bratwurst on sale for 2.50 per package (and some 1.00/1 coupons my mom sent me to make them 1.50 per package...woohoo!!!), polish sausage or smoked beef sausage for 3.00 (I had a couple 1.00/1 coupons to make the packages 2.00 a piece from mailers Fred Meyer sent me with personalized coupons in them), Oscar Meyer hotdogs for 2.00 per package (I got a couple of them for my daughter since she doesn't like bratwurst) and most importantly lovely thick cut bacon packages where it FINALLY went down below my target price and was 3.33 lb if you bought the 3 lb package. I bought 9 lbs at that price as that will last us a long while. I bugged the meat manager, who was nice enough to let me dig through their packages of bacon to get the best looking ones, including ones he dug out of the back that he thought looked pretty good. It's amazing how nice those guys will be if you just ask really nicely and have your cute little daughter with you waving shyly at them ;). I also got my free juice from the freebie Friday a couple of weeks ago (they FINALLY got it in!) and the free soda from this week.
I'm sorry, by the way, about lack of pictures on that trip, but it was kind of "get it home and get it in the fridge/freezer immediately" type of temps in the house, especially last night with the Fred Meyer trip. The power went out in the store half way through me getting my order checked out (as my husband said when he came walking up with my son as I was standing there, "I knew I'd find mom at the check out."). The computer freaked out and froze up, so we ended up messing with that with a new cashier trainee at the register, they had to switch his register, etc etc etc. It was a mess. Everyone kept up a good sense of humor about the entire thing, though and I kept the cashier from freaking out by telling him about my experience with a possessed register at Disney (where we had 27,000.00 banks some nights) and how I was about ready to flip out by the end of the evening, accounting had to do the register reports for me, etc. I smiled at him and told him if he made it through this it was like cashier basic training. He'd do okay after that. By the time we got home, after getting take out for dinner (since the trip to the store took nearly two hours all said and done and everyone was starving *sigh*) I just needed to get the groceries put away and that was that.
I also went to Carrs and got a few sale items there when I went to pick up my son's prescription yesterday. I got chips for .99 per big bag (this is to supplement sandwiches with my husband's lunches and stuff), eggs for .99 a dozen and the big find was marked down milk! I got 3 gallons for 2.39 per gallon (I got 6 half gallons on 50% off). Trust me, we'll go through it before it goes bad around here :).
All totaled I spent about 125.00 on groceries this week. I had meat money to cover the meat portion of the bill, so the final bill only ended up being 63.00 after that was applied. Not too shabby!
2. I found a couple of boxes of condensed mince meat at the store while I was there for 50% off (about 2.00 per box). The expiration date was 2018, so I'm not sure why they were on reduced, but my husband and I both really like mince meat around the holidays, so I grabbed them to make into little pies or cookies later on.
3. I finished a gift this week out of materials I had around the house (I'll be posting up pictures as soon as I can get good lighting set up to take a picture of it), so one Christmas gift down :).
4. I made onion soup mix this week (thanks for the recipe point, Dorothy!) as I'd been needing some and the price on it is just...holy cow! I made a triple batch and put it in the cupboard for future use (I like to add it to roasts and things in the crock pot for a change and my husband loves to make dip out of it once in a while).
5. I found some zucchini at Fred Meyer in the little 1.00 baggies earlier in the week when I ran in to get milk. I bought a couple of them with the biggest weight to them. I immediately went home, shredded the zucchini and froze it (got six cups out of it). Dorothy sent me a really interesting looking recipe for cream of zucchini soup, I can make zucchini cheese bread or other applications with it. I am determined to give zucchini more of a shot in my life as I can get it so darned cheap up here come fall (like baseball bat sized ones for 5.00 type of cheap) and I've been reading up on how to grow it in a planter to maybe try next year.
6. I received a bunch of fabric and patterns from a blog reader (thanks, Heather!) and found a new dress pattern in with it all that I MIGHT just be able to make work for a dress for myself :). I'm going to pull out the pattern and really look it over, of course, but I'm kind of hopeful as the other patterns I have just aren't ideal.
7. I signed up to be a taste tester this week with one of my favorite product companies. I'm all excited to try some new products in the coming weeks (I'm sworn to secrecy about the company or the products, so that's all I can say :).
8. Carrs doesn't offer freebies as much as Fred Meyer does in the E-Coupon way, but this week showed how nice they could be. They gave me Rana brand refrigerated pasta AND sauce for free and a free Kashi bar. I got some cheese filled ravioli and some Alfredo sauce and then threw in a can of chicken one night and voila! A quick dinner that didn't heat up the house and it was rich enough that it was able to fill the family up as well. I love freebies like that =D.
So, there you are folks. Some of my frugal adventures this week. How did you do?