Friday, July 8, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update

Before I begin this post, I just wanted to say how grateful I am.  I have run into a lot of angels in Earthly form the last few months and you all will never know how much you have helped me during this trying time in my life.  I was so overwhelmed with gratitude today that I sat in my car and cried for a good ten minutes.  I'm not normally a crier so I had to explain to my daughter that I wasn't sad, but instead just thankful.  I have been gifted everything from posts giving me ideas on how to make money stretch further, e-mails of encouragement, to seeds to grow food for my family, to plants, to physical objects we were in desperate need of (including a backpack and school supplies for my daughter this week) to other gifts, some so generous that I am not sure how I will ever be able to repay the good Lord for sending them in my general direction.

There have been times where everything was so dark and depressing that I was wondering if I could make it through and every single time I was on the verge of giving up someone would come along and offer me a light to help me keep walking along.  Thank you all.  I'm going to move on in this post now because I'm getting teary eyed again, but just...thank you all so much!!!  Be assured, when I have the opportunity I will pay things forward and hopefully be able to help someone out the way you all have helped me.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

So, let's get onto other things :).

1.  I was gifted with some inspiration when it came to using up the masses of ground turkey in the freezer that WASN'T turkey burgers.  I made summer sausage with two pounds of ground turkey using the recipe HERE instead of ground beef (seen above before I wrapped the last log and stuck them in the freezer).  I doubled the spices in the original recipe as turkey is so much milder tasting than beef, but I kept the salt at the same for one recipe.  And it was still too salty for my pallet so next time I'm going to take Dorothy's advice and knock the salt back even further.  It's edible, but definitely salty.

Thanks for the recipe, Dorothy!  Now that I finally found my liquid smoke (I KNEW I had some!) I am going to try my hand at making pepperoni with some next (another Dorothy inspiration :).  This will give us lunch meat and pizza fixings for the freezer for a while and is definitely cost effective with the ground turkey.

2.  I survived my husband being out of town (yay!).  My son always regresses when my husband is gone and was in an awful mood while he was away, so I was doubly glad to see him back home.  Trust me, this does belong in my weekly accomplishments *laugh*.

3. I was able to help out someone who needed some assistance with some advertising things she was doing for her son's band.  It has been kind of nice being able to use the marketing degree and I actually enjoy doing stuff like that and doesn't cost me anything to do since I'm doing it all online :).

4.  I baked bread, cinnamon rolls (yum!) and oatmeal cookies this week (I made the cookies so my husband could take some to the airport with him).  I got an oatmeal cookie recipe out of a Family Circle magazine this month (I got the subscription for free through either Mercury Magazines or Freebizmags).  I was all excited to try it out as the gal who wrote it has like a cookie empire going on and this cookie supposedly built her business.  So, I made it, omitting the optional coconut that was in the recipe (since I didn't have any).  And the cookies came out okay.  Not fluffy or crinkled the way they were supposed to, but they tasted alright.  I think that the coconut should PROBABLY have been mandatory instead of voluntary or they should have given instructions to up the flour as I'm thinking the flattened cookies was probably caused by not enough structural integrity.  Next time I'll probably just stick with the old Quaker Oats recipe for oatmeal cookies as I know my husband really likes those.  It was fun trying a new recipe though :).

5.  I bought steaks on sale this week as part of my grocery shopping (I didn't post pictures because of destructive uber cranky son).  They came in a five pack, which doesn't make quite enough for two meals for us around here now that my daughter actually is eating a steak on her own and such, so I took the last two steaks and cut them up into smaller bite sized pieces to use as stew meat.  I figure if there is one thing that will last a few meals it's stew and hopefully I'll have plenty of veggies to use in stew coming in over the next few months.

6.  I've been watching some series on You Tube, which has been fun and I kind of liked being able to just download one episode at a time since I didn't have to worry about like watching an entire DVD from Netflix to quickly get it back or something.  I could watch part of an episode over my morning coffee before the kids got up or at night after the kids were in their rooms. 

7.  I got a 10.00 I-Tunes gift card for doing a survey for a local business a while back (they accosted me while I was shopping when my son was in therapy).  I kept holding onto it to use as a stocking stuffer for my son, but the way he kept biting on DVD's I figured I'd better go and load something new onto the "entertainment only" I-Pad of his to hopefully keep him out of the DVD's.  I found a bunch of classic Thomas the Train episodes for 8.99 and it had like 23 episodes.  I bought it and it has been a God send when trying to get my son to wind down at night while his dad was away.  Totally worth it!

8.  My son's VCR ate a tape of classic (like from WAY back) Clifford the Big Red Dog and my son broke the tape pulling it out.  My son is kind of obsessed with the tape right now so I was freaking out this morning trying to figure out what to do.  My husband took some scotch tape and fixed the tape.  The tape still has a glitch that you have to baby the tape through, but at least it's able to play still (thank goodness).

9.  My daughter has been watching a show that was stumbled on accidentally (my son was messing with the I-pad on You Tube) and she really liked.  Peppa Pig is now a regular conversation item at our house at the moment.  I really need to sit down and watch more episodes as I'm kind of pretending to know what I'm talking about when she talks about it.

And now onto the garden update!

I am drowning in lettuce right now, which is definitely a happy circumstance.  The lettuce loved the cooler temperatures and the rain we received and despite the slugs best efforts the lettuce is doing well.  I actually thinned out a row of lettuce next to the garlic today as the lettuce was shortening to bolt.  I am going to leave a couple of plants of each type of lettuce as they go to bolt, so I can hopefully collect the seeds to plant later.

Just as an aside, stale hard cider doesn't seem to work as slug bait.  It has killed plenty of aphids though.

And we have pea sign!  Which is a saying that sounds dirty, but really isn't ;).  Anyone recognize the reference from "Dune"?  Anyone?  Right, nerd status confirmed on my part *laugh*.

I was actually able to harvest my first small handful of peas today to eat in salad tonight.   And I harvested one yellow carrot from my rainbow carrot rows as it was like a mutant fast growing carrot and was ready to be dug.  We ate it in salad earlier in the week.

I thinned the Swiss chard and processed it for the freezer and got a small batch of potatoes from my smallest potato plant (seen above).  The potatoes are curing in my pantry right now and seem to be doing well on that front.

The rat tailed radish plant I am so excited about!  That thing is producing like mad!  I had read that they would produce a lot, but I never knew how much they would truly produce and ONE plant is taking over the same spot my tomato plant occupied last year.  I can't BELIEVE how huge it's getting.  It's spreading into my lettuce patch and into my driveway.  I'm super impressed and will definitely keep that plant in mind for future years as one seed definitely pays for itself!

I picked a pint's worth of radishes yesterday and went out today and picked another 1/2 pint with tons more developing.  Since this is going to be our major source of pickles this winter (although I'm hoping for pickled beets too if I get any.  I'm hoping to plant the seeds this week), this is a huge boon for me.  I'm going to be making pickles tomorrow morning before it gets too hot in the house.  This time around I'm going to make some sweet pickles with the radishes instead of dilly style.  I'm like abnormally excited about experimenting with different flavors of radish pickles and things right now *laugh*. 

So, there you have it.  Some of my adventures this week.  How did you do?


  1. Hello there. I stopped by from Debbie at If you do stuff, stuff gets done. First, I want to say you have encouraged me. Second, God is so good and I am thankful to hear of the many blessings He showers on us.


  2. Holy cow...or, lol holy turkey! That sausage looks incredible! And so, since it's salty, pair some over white rice, or in spaghetti sauce or in like a bean soup or chili or something? That was my instinct.

    Pepa pig is so cute! My nieces like her. If you don’t know already, has tons of games and free episodes that rotate of a ton of shows, her too.

    So this weeks adventures, the best was my husband got paid for a side job he did a while back. We have an agreement since it's an occasional paying hobby half he gets, half the household, so my household half a third was for dentist bill, a third misc expenses, and a third I'm setting aside for future car repair this summer. Every little bit adds up. But I'm happy he got paid, he'd been working on it for a few months.

    We've gone to the park and the library a few times and my mom gave me some yarn and a mystery bag full of interesting looking things she got from grab bags at Michael's craft store. I'll explore later.

    Overall not a bad week, just busy. Next week's going to be even busier though so hoping I can make it through easily.

    1. Spaghetti sauce or bean soup sounds good to use it in. Thanks for the advice! I think, too, once I pair it on crackers or bread with some cheese that might very well help knock it back a bit (if I use Swiss cheese or something :).

      Yay for getting paid!!! I love it when that happens *laugh*. And yes, every single little penny adds up and certainly helps :).

      Oh! We have to go to the library this weekend and return books!!! I'd spaced it! I'm adding that to my errand list now. I'm glad you said the library!

      I didn't know grab bags still existed. That's great. I used to buy them at our local five and dime when I was a kid and would get some really crazy crafting things in them. It was worth the, I think they were like .50 a bag or something like that.

      The weather is calling for it to be hot this week (blech) so I'm expecting to have to can early in the morning to get pickles canned and lots of watering in the garden being added to the things I have to do. This summer is so weird weather-wise. We're getting rain but it still gets kind of hot and muggy even with the rain about 80% of the time and then the humidity is such that even though we're only in the 70's the weather feels SO much hotter than it is. I'm going to be running the air conditioner a lot this week.

  3. That was so kind of someone to send you a backpack and school supplies for your daughter! I'm glad that your blog has resulted in some really wonderful blessings for your family. I have often wished I could send you some heirloom seeds from my garden, but unfortunately there are issues with sending such things across the Canada/U.S. border.

    I checked out the link you shared for making luncheon sausage. It looks really interesting. Please let us know how it tastes once you try it. It looks like something that my husband would enjoy.

    When I read about the advertising you did for the band, it made me wonder if you could make a side business doing this from home? Not sure if it would be viable for you or not, but perhaps you could do it around caring for your children. After all, any money you could bring in might help get you financially ahead or maybe just allow you to buy some things you wouldn't normally be able to afford.

    I completely understand what you mean about the meat not stretching as far. My daughter is now eating like an adult! Another suggestion is to use the steaks to make steak fajitas, wraps, stir fry or steak kabobs. It uses less meat per person because you mix it with other veggies/fillings.

    As for my frugal adventures, well it's been a pretty good week. We attended 2 free concerts this week, one by "I Mother Earth" and one by "Gowan" (our city has a free concert series every summer often featuring some pretty well known singers/bands). I found $1 buried in the grass at work (free money!). I picked some black raspberries at work this week which I froze. I don't have enough for one batch of jam yet, but there are lots of unripe berries still on the bush. I can also mix them with other fruit, so I'm thrilled to have free berries! I also bought 5 bunches of broccoli today for $0.99/bunch. I will be blanching and freezing it to have for winter (we LOVE cream of broccoli soup, but also use it as a side veggie and in stir fry).

    Last, but not least, my daughter participated in a free ABA therapy social skills group for teens on the Autism Spectrum. They were learning and practicing conversation skills. My daughter did amazing and really enjoyed participating in the group. They had ice cream sundae's with lot of topping choices on the last day as reward for participation (did I mention my daughter LOVES ice cream!). All-in-all a good week!

    1. Aw, that function for your daughter sounds awesome. I'm so glad people are starting to realize functions like that are needed for kids on the spectrum. With ice cream my son KINDA likes it. He doesn't want to taste it because it's cold and then you shove a bite into his mouth and he'll eat some after that *laugh*.

      Good ideas for stretching the beef. Fajitas sound good right now *laugh*.

      The free concert series sounds like a lot of fun. I wish we had some stuff like that around here.

  4. You did really well. Thank you for sharing the link for the recipe for the sausage...I am going to have to try that out as well since I have been looking for ideas to use up some ground turkey also. ;) I am so thankful that you have been so blessed!

  5. You had a great week. I'm glad you were able to make the summer sausage. It will be delicious coupled with the cheese you mentioned. I also put it in a cold pasta salad with olives and Italian dressing a couple of nights ago and it went over very well. I'm looking at cold easy dinners as the temps and humidity here make it feel like well over 100 degrees.

    This week I've continued to dry herbs from my garden, made 3 pints of basil salad dressing to store in the freezer, got a great deal on bananas again so I froze them as well, found pork shoulder on sale for $1.29 a pound and got one 8 pound one that we'll smoke, the garden has started producing so I'm going to harvest the few beets that are ready and dehydrate them because there's not enough yet for even a small canner load, and the rosemary and thyme have gone wild so my plan is to harvest enough to make a batch of rosemary-thyme herbal jelly, which is really a delicious condiment with chicken, turkey and pork. You have inspired me to make my own mustard and the powder arrived yesterday so that is on the to do for next week. I love mustard but so many brands have metabisulfite in them that I can't use them. So this will be great. Dorothy

  6. That sausage looks so good! I am so glad you have been encouraged lately! I wish I could lend your our dorm fridge. My husband used it when he moved out here before us, my older daughter used it last year for her freshman college year, and now it's going to sit (in the way!) for two years downstairs until my high school junior possibly needs it. I need to try to figure out if I can move things around in the storage closet to make it fit, but I just don't think I can.

    I won a $25 Amazon gift card at my crossfit gym playing a rowing game. :) We took our aluminum cans in and got $27. I got a few screaming grocery deals (price-matched at Walmart): family-sized Triscuits, Ritz and Wheat Thins for $1.67 (normally $3.99 at Walmart), strawberries for $.75/pound and cherries for $.97/pound.

    A huge downer that that CEO of my company announced that all merit increases will be deferred until profits are higher. It was especially disappointing to me because I took a bit of a pay cut to take this job because I felt the job security would be higher and it's been very hard and more hours than I worked in my old job. I got a glowing review so I was hoping that my merit increase would bump me up a bit, and make things less tight. In addition, it's worrisome that profits are down enough for them to defer merits. I hope layoffs aren't to come, but at least the job market for my area is better now than it was for years.

    The monsoon I was so excited about disappeared after one week. We have hot (90 degree) days with not a cloud in the sky. It's worrisome on several fronts. We live bordering a pine forest in Arizona and we have already been told if our A/C goes out it's not worth repairing, as it's 20 years old. So come back monsoon! We continue to open our windows/doors at night and then I shut everything when it becomes hotter outside than in. Normally we only have to use the A/C a few hours a day - probably why the thing has lasted 20 years, but being vigilant in doing this really saves us in electricity.

    I hope your next week is good! My older daughter and I are going shopping in Phoenix on Monday to look for some stuff for her apartment (she'll be in a studio apartment for this school year, and she is so excited about it). I'm so looking forward to a fun day! I was able to work Friday (I am normally off on Fridays) and take Monday instead, because my daughter has the day off her job that day. It reminded me of some very good things about my job even if I am disappointed over the money.

  7. It sounds like you had a good week. I'm so glad people could give you things you needed. I'm sure that it blessed them as much as it blessed you, to know that the things would be put to good use.
    We've just been house hunting like crazy, but still no luck.