Friday, April 21, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update (as it is)

So, good news.  The reason that I didn't blog last week wasn't because of something terrible happening.  Nothing catastrophic happened.  No bad surprises.  No unexpected plagues or other medical things hit.  Nothing earth shaking BAD.  Thank the Good Lord!

Nope, this last week it's just been super busy.  The snow is finally melting, although we're still getting hard frosts at night and the ground in the yard is actually still really frozen underneath the grass.  It's really setting any garden expansion plans I had back a lot, but I'm starting to think that might not be a bad thing as I'd rather save the money from renting a tiller and just put that money toward moving costs later but another part of me keeps saying that if I don't expand the garden then we won't move because of Murphy's Law coming into play...ahh indecision, my old friend ;). 

With the snow melting, things start to get busy around here as there's a very slim window to get some things done before summer is quickly upon us.  We ran and got some diatomaceous earth at the store this week and I've been checking for the first little signs of spider mites climbing up the house before I put the "ring of protection" around the house to keep the blighters out of the house and away from my garden.

I am kind of a neat freak when it comes to keeping animal areas decently clean, so I wanted to muck out the chicken coop this week.  One of the poultry groups I'm part of on Facebook, everyone was talking about how awesome wood pellets were for chicken coops instead of pine shavings as it was a lot cheaper and easier to clean and things.  Since a 40 lb bag of pellets ran 5.49 vs about 19.00 for a 40 lb bag of pine shavings,  I decided to give the pellets a shot and I mucked out the chicken run area of the coop and put down the pellets earlier this week (the nesting boxes I'm keeping with shavings and straw mixed as I want the chickens to be comfortable when they bed down at night). The pro of the pellets I've found is that they ARE cheap.  And honestly that's about the only benefit I have found.  The chickens hated the pellets as soon as they walked on them and they took a good day to break down the pellets where they didn't mind being on them.  I hate the pellets because they don't do much for making cleaning up after the chickens easier.  Pine shavings I liked because they adhere to things and make it easier to scoop things up and out...the pellets don't do that at all so the poor chickens are just moving through a mess constantly.  I'm definitely going to spend the money on some pine shavings next time and forgo the pellets although I'll save what I have left and use them as a base layer under the pine shavings to help the pine shavings to go further.

Quick garden update (or should I say "dirt piles update" *laugh*)  is I did manage to work the soil in the garden area this week and hopefully managed to expose any slug eggs to the birds and the wonderful drying forces of the sun to kill them all *evil laugh*.  Ahem.  I can hope anyway (seen up top in all of it's soil exposed glory).  Bright side is that at least the small beds, being on the sunny side of the house, managed to defrost down far enough for me to turn the garden over, although I noticed that the ground is still pretty cold.  I'm hoping to get some of my seeds in this week, though, like turnips and things as those need longer to grow and don't mind the colder weather.

Past that a lot of the week was my husband and I figuring out the logistics of moving, what needed to be done (with me making one list after another to try and stay organized on my end) and things as well as my husband getting ready to start his new job at the airport soon.  He's got to attend a class on airport security on Monday and then basically he can start whenever he wants (which will be soon as work is kind of sparse at the moment on the old job front).  We're hoping that after six months he can go the union, tell them that he's going to give them at least a year up here and see if they could help him transfer to where we want to go or something next year.  Here's hoping.

So, yeah, onto the money saving things that happened this week!

1.  I was able to harvest lettuce a couple of times from my little hydroponics garden and ate some salads for lunch when it was just me home.

2.  I was able to gift some eggs from the chickens this week.  Turns out that once I got their diet on track and made sure they were getting some air and more protein all three hens are now laying every day.  So I'm getting nearly two dozen eggs a week right now.  Which is a bit much for us to go through around here.  I did a bunch of baking last weekend (made brownies and spice cake for Easter) and we had Eggs Benedict for dinner one night as well as eggs, waffles and bacon for dinner another night, and yet we were still drowning in eggs between what the chickens were laying and the ones that I had left over in the fridge that I had gotten before we got the chickens.  I was gifted some egg cartons in return, though, which will come in handy the way the chickens are going ;).

It's nice having fresh eggs around, I have to admit.  It's nice basically needing a jack hammer to get through a shell and you crack it into a bowl knowing exactly that that chicken was eating to create that egg.  I'm weird, what can I say *laugh*.

3.  I was finally able to get some of my freebies from Carrs this week with my Monopoly tickets.  I got two free boxes of pasta this week, a free container of salt, a free box of organic whole wheat water crackers and a free five pound bag of flour.  And in my tickets today I got coupons for a free envelope of gravy mix, a free sparkling water and a free thing of hot dog buns.  If I win nothing else, I'm loving on the amount of free products that they are giving away with this year's monopoly game!

The biggest "woohoos" when it came to shopping this week was getting sparkling juice on Amazon for about 10.00 for a case of 24 (I got a variety pack of different flavors for like 10.46 after a coupon code and another case of orange for about 10.87 after coupon), which I got in this week (they were on subscribe and save) and getting string cheese for .99 for a bag of them after I combined a one time use E-Coupon special they had and stacked it with a 1.00/1 manufacturer coupon.  

4.  I took advantage of a sale that Rifftrax was having to purchase one of their live performances, which includes a movie and three "shorts" (kind of like educational mini movies of old) they riffed for less than five dollars.  I didn't download it or anything and will save it for when we really need something neat to watch (like when the kiddos are sick or are bored this summer and need something different to do).  I used what I had left of a gift card they gave me a while back to get the movie for 2.00 and some change after sale and giftcard.

5.  I checked the bank and found that Netflix had charged us 14.00 a pop for two movies when they cancelled the account, but I knew I had returned the last two movies I had, so I dug up the confirmation e-mail from them where they had gotten them, called them and got the money refunded to me (it was something screwy in the way the movies were logged into the system that did it).  Always good to keep on top of the checking account as things like that add up quickly.

6.  I managed to get some Spring Cleaning done around here this week, which was nice (and nearly free as all it costed was my labor to get it done and some soap and water).  Hopefully I can get more done in the next couple of weeks as school lets out the middle of next month, so time is ticking away here.

7.  When going to make dinner earlier in the week I wasn't feeling great and just quickly looked around and pulled anything that would cook decently quickly to make a quick dinner.  It actually turned out so well my husband asked me to put it into dinner rotations in the future.  I'll share the recipe a bit later as I'm hoping to make it again soon :).

8.  Easter was a pretty laid back event.  I was gifted a bunch of Easter things that I then gave to the kids in their basket, along with a few things I'd remembered to pick up in the way of candy and things...which in itself was a miracle really as everything was so insane the last couple of months it's a miracle I remembered what month it was let alone when Easter was.  We colored a bunch of eggs with different types of food coloring (I still really love the look that the gel food coloring gives to eggs when you color should really give it a shot sometime!) and enjoyed a ham I pulled from the freezer at the last minute but put into the oven with some water in the pan and steamed it for three or so hours.  It was an uneventful and decently peaceful holiday.  I hope you all had a nice holiday too!

9.  I took advantage of an opportunity to read a book in exchange for my review.  I've been reading it along with some free magazine subscriptions I've gotten when I go to the school to wait for when I go in to pick up the kids for the day (I am OCD about getting to the school early so I don't have to worry about being late...I have nightmares of the kids not knowing where I am and freaking out and worried, so I try to make sure that doesn't happen if I can help it).  I've really been enjoying the quiet time as it's one of those opportunities where you get to do something for yourself, in my case read while listening to the radio, and not feeling guilty that you should be doing something else.  It's a nice, peaceful bit of time.

10.  The daughter FINALLY got to the point where she'll eat apples with the peel on!  It's been so wonderful just being able to put an apple in her lunch instead of trying to stop apple slices from browning and things and also just being able to point her toward the fridge when she wants a snack and say, "apples and cheese sticks are in the fridge" instead of trying to figure out something else to make for her and combine that with sparkling juice and you've got a decent snack nutrition-wise.  Love it when things like that happen.  And I've been able to guilt her...errr...convince eat eggs and things more often as all I have to say is, "Hey, those peas were grown in our garden!  You helped to pick them remember?"  or, "Hey, those are the eggs we gathered from the coop today.  A lot of work went into those eggs.  Eat them!"   Bwahahahaha!!!  Guilt as a parenting tool.  Working for parents since the beginning of time ;).

And there you are folks.  Some of my adventures this week.  How did you all do?


  1. That Netflix charge!! Glad you had proof to get your refund! My dad has chickens and gifts us with eggs. Sometimes the eggs are difficult to crack. It is funny to see how different the shells are from time to time. How did you catch that great Amazon food bargain? I love Amazon shopping!

    1. With Amazon I just kind of go a couple of times a week and start typing in anything we might need to see if it is cheap. Sometimes I'll type in things like "muffin mix" to see if anything neat pops up as well. With the juice, I had bought some years ago and wondered if they still shipped it up here (Izze is the brand) and I stumbled across the sale. Keep checking is my advice to people. It's amazing what you will find once in a while :).

  2. Our Easter was laid back, too. That is our kind of day.
    We switched credit cards, to get a better deal, but kept the old card. (We may cancel after we've used the new one awhile.) we had to change the c.c. Information for our Netflix account. We got a 'bill' from Netflix, which kind of irritated me since we always pay in full. No, it was telling us we did not have a bill due, but 4.99 credit. Since we hope to never use this card again, we need to find something for 4.99 exactly. Oy! Anyway, your advice to always keep an eye on the bills is so true. And, never leave home without reading material..that's my motto!