Sunday, June 18, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there!

This post is later than I wanted it to be, but it's been busy around here this weekend.  We actually had a weekend without a ton of rain during the day, so my husband took advantage of the day yesterday to get the lawn mowed, which needed it bad (it's been so wet so far this summer it's been impossible to get the lawn doesn't look the best because the lawn was still pretty wet and kind of clumped up in places, but hey it's not a hay field anymore!) and I have just been trying to stay on top of the son and trying to get things done.

It's been tiring around here.  My husband started working the night shift this week (his to be regular shift), which has led to a bunch of changes around here on figuring out how to make everything work and all the while making sure he gets enough sleep.  The son started his new meds and his mood is SLOWLY improving, underline on the term "slowly".  I guess it takes a while to build up in the system, so  I've had to deal with meltdowns on his end and him going back to not wanting to sleep much (he's finally started improving with that the last couple of days).  His first week of summer school seemed to go okay and he actually had a really good day Thursday, so hopefully he'll continue to do well for the rest of summer school.

I'll get more into some of the things I've been working on around here in the Monthly Goals Update post (which I'm hoping to do tomorrow but might be as late as Tuesday), but let's get to the frugal adventures for the week.
1.  I made a meal out of things that a lot of people would have just thrown away.  I had one gallon of milk left from the food pantry that, while not spoiled, just didn't taste good anymore and you could tell it was turning (I was actually impressed it kept as long as it did...when I GOT it, it was 2 weeks past it's expiration date on the bottle).  I wasn't sure what to do with it as there was about 3/4 of a gallon left and that was a LOT of sour milk to go through even if I made a bunch of things that called for buttermilk.  I then remembered reading about how to make quick cottage cheese out of milk and went and looked up this recipe and just used the recipe for the full gallon of milk for my 3/4 of a gallon.  After I had the curds all dried out, I placed them in a air tight container and stuck them into the fridge to do something with, but wasn't sure WHAT at the time.

Fast forward about four days.  I was looking at a small baggie of mozzarella cheese my husband had left over from his lunch where I'd made him meatball subs a few weeks ago, some hot dog bun bottoms my son wasn't eating and were stale and then the cheese and decided to make manicotti filling out of the home made cheese and other odds and ends.  I mixed up the home made cheese (which I subbed it for ricotta cheese for manicotti filling as dry cottage cheese can usually be subbed for ricotta in recipes), the little baggie of mozzarella, broke up the hot dog bottoms and made them into chunky bread crumbs, mixed in some Italian seasoning and some dried parsley, an egg and a couple of good shakes of Parmesan cheese and voila!  Manicotti filling (seen above there).  And double bonus was that I could pull a box of manicotti noodles out of the pantry (I had gotten 12 boxes of them for less than 7.00 on Amazon about a year ago).

I poured a can of Hunts Four Cheese tomato sauce over the top of the filled noodles and then sprinkled some mozzarella cheese from the freezer on top and baked it.  Overall, it turned out pretty darned good (seen up top), especially since there wasn't any meat in it and my husband said it tasted as good as a really good store bought lasagna.  Since the meal cost me a little over a buck to make (I figure after the cost of pasta and tomato sauce and such), I was happy with that opinion.

2.  We were gifted a Subway giftcard for our anniversary at the end of the month, but instead of using it for our anniversary, I told my husband we were going to take him out for Father's Day with it today.  It was kind of a fun trip (wish I'd remembered to take a picture) as this was the first time my daughter ordered her own sandwich.  She was so cute I totally let her get the chips and soda with the sandwich (my husband and I just got a sandwich and split it).  Overall we still have about 5.00 left on the giftcard, my husband enjoyed the low key meal (since I didn't sleep good last night, so did I honestly) and my daughter got a huge kick out of ordering her "awesome sandwich" (roast beef on white bread with American cheese and black olives.  Nothing else *laugh*).  My son loved getting a ride on a nice and sunny day and we ran and got him a large french fry at McDonald's to make his day too (I used spare change to pay for it).

3.  I had my daughter make my husband a home made card for Father's Day.  My son had made him a project at school before it let out for Father's Day.  My husband enjoyed both gifts a lot, so I'm glad I had her do that (the cookies I had planned to make today got delayed till tomorrow due to me having sinus issues and not being up to making cookies...which I feel kind of bad about, but I didn't want to try and read recipes when I'm nearly falling asleep on my feet today).

4.  My husband changed the oil on his truck today.  Since we know with him commuting every day now that he's going to have to change the oil in his truck probably once a month, we went onto Amazon and found that we could get oil filters much cheaper through them, so I'll put putting buying one of those into my queue for any monthly Amazon shopping.

5.  I made custard ice cream (using up some eggs and the last of the heavy cream I had bought with my Mother's Day gift card a while back), boiled some eggs and did some baking to use up some eggs.  I have more planned for tomorrow (I hope anyway). My daughter helped me to make chocolate chip cookie bars and has been enjoying having them for an afternoon treat.

6.  I spent a good portion of the week gutting and reorganizing my pantry, my sewing supply cabinet and the den to try and make everything work the way I wanted it to.  While going through everything I found things I forgot I had and also found things were thinner in places than I thought and that I would need to replenish at some point in the future.  Bright side, though, was that crawling around and organizing everything the one thing I found was lots of ideas on how to use up things, which will either feed us (in the case of the pantry) or lead to future Christmas gifts (in the case of the sewing supplies).  I think I even found some good materials to reupholster the loveseat with, so yay for that!

7.  I mixed up powdered milk to use in baking again this week.  I'm using up the non-long term storage when it comes to powdered milk and things first and have found that it's working out well.  I even used powdered milk to make the ice cream along with the heavy cream.  No one can tell the difference, so thumbs up there.

8.  My husband and I have been really having fun watching a funny cartoon online when we have a few moments together.  Someone re-dubbed some anime series and just went for out and out humor and we've been laughing our way through it. 

I also watched "A Tudor Feast" on YouTube when my son wasn't sleeping at different points this last week, which is an earlier appearance of Ruth, Peter and Alex (of Wartime Farm, Edwardian Farm and Victorian Farm fame) along with a bunch of other historians and archaeologists.  It was all about them recreating a Tudor feast in three days time and I have to say that it really gives you an appreciation for things like pre-ground sugar and being able to just go and get cinnamon at the local store *laugh*. 

9.  I was able to get my husband some new insoles for his shoes on clearance at Fred Meyer a while ago and had set them aside for him.  His feet were killing him at work so he put the new insoles in his shoes and keeps saying how much they have helped.  So yay for extending the life of shoes (he should be getting a shoe voucher to get new shoes for work sometime soon, so here's hoping :).

10.  I repaired a few holes in comforters this week, repaired a hole in my daughter's shirt, glued a shoe back together with shoe goo and sewed on a few buttons that had come off of clothing. 

On the other side of things I managed to break a glass that my son had managed to camouflage under his bed and I kicked into his bed frame, managed to break the bowl I keep dry cat food in for the cats (comedy of errors led to that one) and we had a bowl get broken in the dishwasher when my son tried to stand on top of it with the dishwasher open (he also reamed the door on the dishwasher so I have to put a bowl under the door to load the dishwasher now and I can't open the door when the dishwasher is running unless I want it to leak.  Times like this he's lucky he's cute *grumble*.  And somehow a glass randomly just broke in the dishwasher too.  It's been a rough week for things getting broken that's for sure.

11.  This one kind of ties into the garden, so I saved it for last.  I finally came to the conclusion this week that the corn just isn't going to grow well in the garden this year.  Since it was one of my "experiments" I planted this year, I hoped for the best, but right now only about four corn plants are actively growing, so I'm going to let them grow but am going to just plant more peas or pole beans in the place where I had the corn planted.  I think it's just been too cold and wet for the corn to really grow well this year...I've put fertilizer on the garden, but there is so much rain it just kind of gets washed away and corn is a really heavy feeder, so it just isn't working.

I was going to try and hop to Carrs on Friday because I saw that they had corn ears on sale as part of 5.00 Friday (8 ears for 5.00 or something like that), but I finally decided I didn't really have 15.00 to spend on corn (which I figured would be about what I'd want to get to stock up the freezer for winter) and I didn't want to waste the gas just to run in and get corn, so I just let it go.  Which worked out overall as a friend of mine told me that the corn was sold out by the time she went into Carrs at 10:00 Friday morning.  So, yay for not wasting gas.

Now for a quick garden update!
I did a pretty good thorough weeding of the garden today, which the chickweed and horse tail are already trying to spread again.  But, at least the plants are being shaded out by dandelions and long grass anymore. 

Aside from the corn update above there, the garden has really enjoyed the nice weather the last couple of days and has just gone nuts growing right along. 
 The spinach is really starting to take off, the turnips will be needing a good thinning here soon, the beets are going to need some more seeds planted in the rows (some either didn't come up or more likely got picked off by birds), the swiss chard is up and starting to grow.  And the lettuce across the garden is starting to really grow and I think I'll be able to start harvesting some this week (yay!).

I was waiting for my husband to build me a trellis for the peas, but peas wait for no man and I'm definitely going to be going out in the next couple of days to build a trellis myself, otherwise the peas are going to start falling over.  You can see where the corn in the middle of the bed is just not really there.  I have a few corn plants that are actually growing up in the spinach row, so I'm not sure if the rain or some animal ended up shifting the kernels of corn I planted or what, but yeah...the middle of the bed is sad and needs something put into the hole.  The spinach up front (the grass looking plants) are doing well and the lettuce up front is going along good in places and kind of sad in others (which I'll plant some more lettuce seeds next to where the sad plants are right now and in between the other lettuce plants so I have a rotating crop).

I have to say when it comes to loving the weather, the cabbages take the cake.  They are growing like mad, and the lettuces around them seem pretty content too.  This is the bed that gets the most direct sun, though, so the soil is warmer.  This year, that's probably going to make a difference.

Including this bed is the one where the first bush bean is finally pushing it's way up through the soil (yayyyyyy!!!!). 

I had flowers I was going to plant in the front bed and I still plan to plant them, hopefully tomorrow, but it's been so bug ridden outside that by the time I got done weeding the garden and taking care of the chickens I was covered in bites and just wanted to come in and get out of mosquito land.

So there you are folks.  My updates for the week (albeit late).  How about you?  What's going on in your life?


  1. Your garden looks great! Don't be discouraged about the corn, I can't grow it either. I tried for years but it never got taller than a few feet, just not the right nutrients or worms got it. I gave up. My kids did not like having to bite it off the cob, too lazy, so I gave up. Enjoy the few that did come up and don't forget to save a few seeds.

    I am looking forward to seeing how the beans will do. I think they are going to be a success.


  2. Can I just say your making cottage cheese out of "undrinkable" milk is super CLEVER!! Your "meal from nothing" looks really delicious! I, too, feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I make a killer meal out of leftover bits--the stuff everyone refused to eat until I concocted an entirely new dish out of it!

    I need to know what that dubbed anime cartoon you're watching is called! I could use a few laughs...

    1. It's called "Bleach Abridged". There's some swearing in it so not recommended for young children, but pretty funny stuff :).

  3. Way to go on the manicotti! Very resourceful.

    ~FrugalStrong (formerly Lake Livin')

  4. I've just finished on PBS/org watching the Victorian Slum show. It was really interesting to see how the slum life was, and how just a simple skill put you above thousands of people. Really make me appreciate how much we have.

    We got back today from our trip. i'm worn out. There's a stack of bills a mile high, I swear the entire months worth came while we are gone, but too tired to deal with it tonight.

    While we were gone, it is as though the area flooded. We got 3 inches of rain. I'm not sure any of my tomatoes (12 plants, plus 3 tomateo plants) or my pepper plants are going to survive. Worried about my blueberry bushes too. All I can do is hope that the sunshine we are supposed to have this week helps.

  5. I'm glad to see that garden growing. It always is a joy to me to watch things grow. Cabbage should do great where you live. I saw a tv show once where the person grew an enormous cabbage in Alaska because of the long days. I hope it works for you! Of my 6 cabbages, 5 bolted and 1 is making a head. I've never had it do that before. I chopped some of them off to see if they would get the right idea, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Good job on the meals. Yum!

  6. Very resourceful with the cottage cheese!!

  7. I loved reading about your resourcefulness. It looks good! We've already eaten our spring cabbages, and our fall ones have a ways to go, so I bought one (organic) yesterday to take to a class on making kim chi. It cost $6.70! Definitely a good thing to be growing.