Saturday, July 29, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update

 Before I do anything else I have to share awesome news!  The new meds Alvah is on are working!  And not just working but REALLY working!!!  Like, "I'm in love with Risperidone" type of working!

The first night he slept six hours straight.  The next night it was NINE glorious hours!  I actually woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed at five thirty wondering what to do with myself for a few hours until he got up.  Last night he slept for another nine hours.  I am actually getting SLEEP!  Wonderful, glorious, awe inspiring sleep!!!

On top of the normal sleep patterns his mood has improved a TON.  He only starts getting cranky and things when his pill is starting to wear off, so the last hour or so starts to get a TEENY bit rough, but not even close to how he was with the self-abusive behaviors.  He's even running around in clothes.  Willingly!  That's huge for him as clothing usually bugs him really bad. 

I found that the autism is also just exasperating the eczema something fierce as well.  When he has his pill down him and it's working good, he doesn't itch much and the eczema starts to tone itself down a bunch, but when the meds aren't at full strength he starts to itch his skin off again. 

I'm really excited about going back to speech this next week to start doing some serious work with him now that he's not so "turned up to 11" like he used to be.  I'm thinking we might start to see some serious progress with him in the coming months if his mood and concentration hold out here and he continues to improve.  I'm beyond thrilled!

My mother-in-law came over today and kept an eye on the son while I cleaned the chicken coop and put down new bedding (boy did it need it!).  While she was waiting she cleaned my den, which I appreciated, was embarrassed by, but appreciated all the same.  Thanks, Stacey!

So, let's get onto the money saving end of the week shall we?

1.  Thank the Good Lord my husband got paid yesterday.  We were scary low in the bank, so it was a relief to have that come in.  With the holiday pay on the check and the back tool allowance that we'd had to complain to a few people to finally get, we were able to get the kids gym shoes (no luck finding anything at the used stores) and I was able to get my daughter a new pair of Sketchers (which she loves as there is TONS of pink on them) for 22.00.  She's been wearing her old gym shoes the last month because they were a bit longer in the foot than her other sneakers were, but her toes were JUST at the point of me wanting to get her shoes that fit her better, so it felt good getting her shoes that fit her well again. 

Also after a couple of months of stalking my poor insurance agent and her stalking the home owners insurance people the insurance score was finally applied to my policy and we got a refund check in the mail today.  This will be used to get my husband a new muffler for his truck and to get the last part of the one dental bill we have to pay by August 20th or face penalties.  Luckily, Care Credit had been applying payments to the promotional balance that was due first the last four months (which surprised me as they haven't done that before), so the amount is down below 100.00 that is left.  Once the payment for the month is applied (since I pay all of the non-mortgage bills out of the first paycheck of the month right now I'm waiting for the payment to go through completely) than I'll pay the rest of the bill off.  We still have, what, four dental "chunks" to pay by April of next year, a couple of them pretty substantial, so we'll see if we can make it all work. 

I'm also taking 25.00 from the check and ordered my daughter a decent scientific calculator from Amazon (calculator was one of the things on her school supply list this year), an oil filter for my husband's truck and then some Christmas gifts from the kids (doing an order of just add on items on Amazon can really pay off if you keep track of your 2 to 3.00 items.  I managed to get my daughter like three things for Christmas and my son one out of the order AND I got a Method dish soap refill to fill up my dish soap bottle when it's empty that SHOULD refill the dish soap like twice). 

2.  Shopping went well this week.  I spent a bit more than I have been to get the kids the rest of their school supplies for the year.  Some items I just reduced the amount that the kids are going to take into school with them and I'll pick up more later in the year.  Like my daughter was supposed to bring in 48 pencils.  I had 32.  It'll do.  She was supposed to bring in two reams of college ruled paper.  I am sending in composition notebooks instead because that's what I have, it's paper and it'll be fine.  After going through everything that I had from saving from previous years and from things people have gifted me in the past (thank you!) I only had three items to get for my daughter, the calculator included and the son I'm just going to send in the supplies I know his class will use (glue sticks, blunt tipped scissors, crayons, etc) and calling it good, even though his teacher wanted me to send in a full school supply list last year.  I just know some of that stuff they aren't going to use, so I don't see the point in buying it.

Highlights of shopping this week included getting leggings for the daughter for 3.75 a pair (they were on sale for 4.99 and I had a "Best Customer" coupon for so much off of children's clothes so it came out to 3.75 a pair.  I got three pairs as she's definitely getting into the wanting trendier clothes phase of her baby is growing up *sniff*), getting grapes on sale for 1.87 lb (Carrs actually HAD them when I went shopping on Friday.  I was thrilled!) and getting apples for .99 lb (personalized price).  I also got a dozen eggs for 1.29 (a coupon you can load on your card this week), since I'm not getting eggs yet from the two chickens that aren't broody anymore and I'm starting to wonder if they are done for the year as I keep finding feathers in the coop.  Either the broody hen is really plucking her feathers out or the chickens are starting their hard molt for the winter.  We shall see.  I also got a four pound bag of sugar with an electronic coupon you could load onto your card this week and it ended up being 1.00 and some change (I WANT to say 1.18 or something, but I don't have my receipt in front of me and I don't feel like looking up the ad online and freezing up my ancient laptop right now *laugh*).  Sugar will definitely come in handy with canning jelly and things in the coming months, so yay for getting it cheap!

Then there was Fred Meyer freebies.  My friend Stephanie contacted me and told me that Fred Meyer was doing freebies this week was part of the Kroger summertime event they are doing and so I went online all week and collected my freebie coupons (thanks, Stephanie!).  Unfortunately, Fred Meyer didn't have some of the freebies I had loaded onto my card (Kraft snack trios, etc), but I did manage to get a free container of Quaker Overnight Oats, a Stur water flavor thingie (those little containers are normally 6.00 and some change!  I was appalled when I looked at my receipt to make sure everything free had come off *laugh*) and a free Calypso lemonade. 

3.  We went to the library to return a book Armina had taken out last week and when she was crossing the street (not a busy street and I park right in front of the library...Alvah hates the library and would throw a fit if you dared to try to take him near the building so we had to wait in the car while she ran to drop the book in the return) I realized something.  My little girl wasn't so little anymore and was time to start worrying about more bigger girl issues (there...that was nice and neutrally put right?).  I always hated the "beginner big girl clothes" and wanted to make something actually comfortable for Armina to wear (I mean let's face facts once that process starts you never get rid of it, do you?), so I went online and looked for a pattern to make her some female under armor.  I found the pattern up top on Etsy for 1.26 with cheap shipping, so I ordered it (all of the free online patterns I could find were for more elaborate things and I wanted basically a little kid's sports bra type of thing).  It's a bathing suit pattern from the 60's and hasn't even been cut!  I was impressed.  So, yeah...I'm going to be expanding my sewing expertise here...wish me luck.

4.  I made angel food cake and with the left over egg yolks I made lemon curd to use as a filling in beignets for tomorrow's breakfast :).

5.  I went and checked my e-mail today and found a message from Tiny Prints, who got bought out by Shutterfly (who hasn't been really?).  In the message they had a code for a free welcome gift to Shutterfly from Tiny Prints for 10 free thank you cards and the part that caught my attention was 10 free cards with FREE SHIPPING!  I was dubious, but went onto the site, picked a thank you card with four spots and found pics from my Shutterfly account I already had and made up the card.  And, surprisingly enough, once I stacked the codes I got 10 free cards WITH envelopes and free shipping even to Alaska!  I'm seeing the daughter sending out thank you cards for Christmas gifts in her future this year :).

6.  I opened my Jo-Ann Fabrics ad today and found another free code from Shutterfly for a free notebook.  No free shipping, but at the same time I thought about it and I'm hoping to be able to save a few dollars in the next month to cover the shipping.  I am going to scan one of my daughter's drawings that she's really proud of, put a nice little inspirational message onto the notebook and give it to her for Christmas as a journal.  I think she'll really like it.

7.  I talked to my husband about the old Firestone fridge we brought over from storage last year and instead of trying to get it actually running I asked if he could perhaps just put it out in the shed over winter so I could just use it as a cold, insulated storage container for vegetables.  He thought it was a great idea as that would allow him to work on the fridge on and off to get it working as well, so hopefully he'll get to clean the shed before winter like he wants so we can do that.  It'd be nice to have a place to store some carrots, potatoes and things in cold storage into the winter months.  If we can make it work putting in a big garden next year would definitely be more viable!

8.  I collected the material that was left over from making unpaper towels to use on another project.   IF I do it well, I think I can get by with very little to not waste of fabric.  I'll share more if it actually works *laugh*.

I know there was more, but I can't find my list right now, so let's get to the garden update!
Well, first up, the slugs are back.  BLAHHHHH!!!!  I've just been plucking them off the plants, placing them in a glass and feeding them to the chickens.  Circle of life and all of that.  Honestly I don't see anything like beer traps and things working on a year like this as we're just getting too much rain for it to be effective, so I'm just going to pray that my plants are in good enough shape to survive the onslaught and killing them with extreme prejudice when I find them.

So, what do you do when you want to plant new seeds and slugs are around?  I mean last year I had an entire bed destroyed by slugs and birds, so I have to admit I panicked a bit when I first saw our sluggy wuggy evil nemesis.  This year, I decided I'm being smart, or smarter anyway, when it comes to how I'm doing plant rotation and using natural camouflage to my advantage.  I took Jeanie's advice (Get Me To the Country) and planted my peas in between where my other peas were already growing so they could climb up the existing peas.  This not only saved me from having to tie the peas initially to the trellis, but it also kind of masked the growing peas from the slugs and birds so they didn't know new seedlings were growing.  I planted lettuce and spinach again this week in the rain so I knew the birds weren't watching (me, paranoid after last year?  Oh you betcha!) and I planted them around where existing plants were growing (or going to bolt in the case of the lettuce), so that the bugs would be, hopefully, more drawn to the nice sugary juices of the older plants, the birds wouldn't see the seedlings growing as well so they wouldn't pluck them out of the soil.  So far, they're sprouting, so we'll see if I've gotten smarter or I'm just wasting my time *laugh*.  The very out of focus pic above is of the TEENY WEENY little lettuce seedlings sprouting.

I also ended up fertilizing the garden, once again in the rain.  We've just had SO much rain this summer that the nutrients in the soil are getting washed out, so when I saw the peas turning yellow and the cabbages JUST starting to develop heads I was like, "Yeah, fertilizing is going to happen despite the rain".  So far it is helping, so I'll be doing that regularly for sure.

My bush beans are still pretty tiny, but it looks like they are sprouting flowers, so I'm hoping that means the beginnings of beans.  I've never grown beans before, so I'm like, "Huh?  Is that as tall as they get or am I confused here?"

The rat tailed radishes have gotten decently tall, but I have to say so far the production is kind of sad this year.  I think it's just too cold and wet for them to do super like they did last year.  Sad as I was hoping they'd do well, but at least I'm getting enough to snack on so far, so hey that's something :).

The turnips are actually starting to develop turnip roots!!!  I was so thrilled when I parted the mass of green leaves and found some nice beginning turnips bumping up out of the soil.  I might be able to avoid buying turnips this year!  That'd be awesome :).

And yeah, that's my week in a nutshell (well unless you want to read about the disaster that was the first part of my week...then you'd have to read here, but it's doing better, thank goodness!).


  1. Hi Erika,

    That is awesome news about the meds and your son! I'm so glad to hear it's working and you and he are getting some sleep! Also, want to apologize for misspelling your name. Yikes! So sorry. I try to be very careful about that. :) Take care ... Chris M

    1. No problem about misspelling my name. I'm used to it :). And thanks for the well wishes!

  2. I am so, so happy for you that your son is sleeping and you are sleeping. I don't know how either of your were surviving on the pittance of sleep you were getting before.

    I am sorry to hear that your hens are not earning their keep!

    I hope next week continues to bring more positives and plenty of sleep to you and your family.

  3. So good to hear your son is doing better! And yeah, bush beans don't grow very tall at all, but they do pack a lot of bean in a very small space.

    1. Thank you! I was worried I was really messing up growing beans, so definitely good to know.

  4. I am so happy for you and your son that the new meds are working. God answer our prayers - just in His time.
    Sounds like you had a good week.
    Blessings. Prayers that this wonderful change continues.

  5. I, too, am so excited and relieved that your son is feeling so much better! Please keep us all updated.

    Your money saving ventures are really good! I think many people would have "thrown in the towel" over the insurance refund and the tool reimbursement. It really pays to keep at it!

    I can't wait to see your scrap sewing project. My granddaughter is starting 5th grade and needed some new undergarments you were referring to. My duaghter found some like-new ones at a garage sale for .25 each! The mom may have bought the wrong size, the girl may not have liked the fit, or who knows. Anyway, it was a steal for her. I know a lady who always sewed her own panties and even gave them as gifts to her sister. If you have the time and material, why not try? It'll be fun for you, I hope.

    I hosted a wedding shower for my son and my daughter-in-law yesterday. It went very well. My daughters helped, but since it was at my house, I was very busy before and after. I had fun though, and since I don't work in the summer (teacher), I had time to work a little each day which makes any project more manageable and fun. I do cake decorating for all our family's events, so that's a huge money saver for me and my kids - and my nieces, etc. I made a pretty banner, and my daughter made the cutest sign on a chalkboard.

    I tried to save by eating most meals at home. Some ppl in my family would like to eat out often. I might too if it weren't so expensive.

    My garden is doing poorly this year too. My main problem has been the opposite of yours - too little rain. And deer. My goodness, they chomp is much! Once, they ate a whole big tomato that was about to ripen, not to mention half the plant. Ha, well, I've gotten a few things, so that's something. My best producer this year was the blackberries. I got a handful or more a day for many days from a small patch that was just started last year. I had them for breakfast every day for quite a few days. I love them but rarely buy them in the store because of the expense. The cost per pound would be way more than any cut of meat. So, there was some real cost savings growing in the garden! I can't figure out why the birds didn't get them, but I'm thankful they left them alone.

    Have a great week.

    1. Blackberries. Yum!!! The wild raspberries we have up here are really tart, so I know I'm going to miss my mother-in-law's ones as they were big and super yummy. Buying fresh, unless locally produced up here are both expensive and not great quality and even locally picked ones aren't cheap. At least I can buy blackberries frozen at the store lol!

  6. Awesome to hear the Risperidone is working. So happy for you and your son.

  7. That's so great that the medicines are helping your son!! I'm so hpapy you got sleep!

    I've been tense too, on the checkbook, June was a lot of unexpected expenses that July had to pay for, plus we had family in for over a week so that was a lot of extra money, and August...ugggh its always so expensive. New clothes for my husband for school, birthdays, back to school fees, school supplies, etc... it's just awful sometimes. I'm thinking though if we can make it through August staying in the budget, September will be ok. I hope. There is only so much I can do without having to spend! And my husband always HAS to have new work clothes in the fall because they are litterly getting town out by the end of the school year. Oh well! Fingers crossed it gets a little less pinch both my way and yours!

    1. I relate so much to this. The daughter outgrows her shoes, son needs new shoes too. Daughter reminds me she's outgrown all of the winter jackets we have, so I went online and found on clearanced to 29.99 on Land's end, which I know is as cheap as I'm going to get one and this is the time of year to do it, so I got it while sweating over spending 30.00. Thank goodness for insurance check!

  8. Wonderful news about the new meds and how much better the little one is fairing. Praise God! I eagerly await to hear of any additional progress he is able to make now that he can be a little more calm. It will make a difference, especially with a mom like you in his corner, I am sure!

    You really were due for a break. It's lovely to "hear" you in such good spirits.

    Thoughts and prayers that this all continues. Hugs.

    Patti from Ca

    1. Thanks, Patti. I never realized how much better I'd feel when well rested. I feel SO much better and don't have to live on coffee anymore!

  9. So glad to hear that your son is doing so much better! That's excellent news. I'm sure the sleep feels wonderful (for both you and your son).

    I'm curious which calculator you bought your daughter. I teach science/engineering classes at a university and if you bought the right one, your daughter might be set all the way through school. You truly don't need a 'fancy' calculator for most things.

    Can't wait to see your sewing projects!

    Have a good and restful week,

    1. We got her this Texas Instrument one. Mainly because my husband and I both had one through school and the batteries JUST died a few years ago. We figured that kind of quality spoke for itself :).

    2. That's the one I was thinking of! We require that one and your daughter should be set forever, no matter what her teachers say!


  10. Those cabbages are really growing! Awesome.
    I'm glad your son's meds are working. If you've finally found the right one, it will be huge!!!
    I've had chickens go into full molt at this time of year, and then start re-laying again later in the fall. I'm not sure how old yours are. The other thing we have done in the past is start a new batch of baby chickens before the old ones are done laying completely. Then, when the old ones stop completely, the new ones are usually going full force. In my experience, the chickens lay well for 2-3 years, then need to be replaced. Have a great week!

    My week is on my blog:

    1. The chickens are three this year (or older. The gal Shani bought them off of said they were 2-3 years when she got them last year. Which means next year egg production will be down 60 percent from their best laying years. Which is the main reason I'm going to process them before winter and, if it ends up being cost effective, I'll just get a few chicks next year and start over again. Just seems to make sense to me :).

  11. Yay, I'm glad you had a great week!! Just wondering, have you tried getting rain checks for the Kroger/affiliate Free Friday stuff? Sometimes our Kroger is out of the free items, and most of the time I just let the coupon expire and go home empty-handed. A few weeks ago the cashier offered to give me rain checks for the two items that were out. It took several weeks for the store to restock, but eventually I came home with ALL the free stuff!

    Anyway, just thought I'd mention it. There are a lot of free items I missed out on because I didn't think about getting a rain check.

    1. Wow! Our store says explicitly no rain checks on free items. Good on you for getting rain checks for them at your store :).

    2. If our store doesn't have the Friday Freebies available I ask what can be substituted. They usually let me get something else if it's close to the end and it will be expiring. Worth asking.

  12. Oh my, what a week you have had. My garden is in and I have been so busy I have not had time to read any blogs so I am behind on yours. Thank goodness. If I had read your earlier post I would not have been able to sleep. Alvah's medicine sounds like the blessing you have needed. Nine hours of sleep, WOW! I am so happy I just don't know what to say! It is rare for me to be speechless.

    I am over being speechless, now onto giving free, unasked for advice. The garden looks fantastic, so much harvest from such a small area. Good job. As for the slugs, take that worthless rooster (all roosters are worthless) and put him out in the yard so he can eat the slugs. Keep an eye on him because he might scratch in your garden but if a neighbor's dog grabs him, good riddance. Roosters are tough meat, hard to chew and must be cooked in a crock pot to be edible. Put that old bird to work.

    Oh, one other thing, you can pick a big leaf off of each one of the cabbage plants and eat them now. Pick a leaf that is shading one of the other plants or one that is on the ground. It won't hurt them and will force the plant to send more nutrients to the other leaves. The older leaves will get too tough to eat but you can grab them now while they are still tender. There is no need wasting them.

    Finally, thank you for giving me credit for nagging, no I mean advising you on your garden. Bossing you around is the easy part, weeding is the hard part.

    Jeannie @