I was able to meet my shopping goals last month, which I honestly didn't think I'd be able to do with our extremely limited budget, but I made it. Some of it through downright miracles (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!).
For instance, I was online a few weeks ago. I follow a range of pages on Facebook just because I have a lot of different interests. One of the pages I follow and really like is Tillamook Dairy Farmer (Facebook link there folks, like him up!) as he shows pictures of his beautiful and happy cows a lot and also goes through dairy farming and how it is done. It's pretty cool. That and we love Tillamook cheese so that helps *laugh*.
Anyway, a few weeks ago he posted up a rebuttal to an article in a local Oregon newspaper where someone called Tillamook cheese "mediocre". Now anyone who eats Tillamook cheese knows that's not true (my completely biased opinion as I really do like Tillamook cheese better than other cheeses out there), and he did an open letter showing all of the different awards that Tillamook has won over the years. Honestly, this was in the middle of "Alvah going nuclear" and I was kind of ticked at the tone of the article in the newspaper and so I wrote the truth on Tillamook Dairy Farmer's Facebook page.
"You want an endorsement for Tillamook cheese?" I wrote (okay I'm paraphrasing here since Facebook doesn't work on my laptop like at all), "I have an autistic eight year old son who has a very limited diet of things he'll eat and Tillamook cheese (and yes it HAS to be Tillamook) is one of the few "real foods" he'll eat. If that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is. Thank you for being one of the few sources of nutrition for my son!"
I didn't think anything of it when I wrote it. I was telling the truth and definitely sticking up for Tillamook cheese because I want it to stick around for a long, long time (man the idea of it going away and Alvah losing that source of nutrition actually makes me panicky).
Out of the blue I get a Facebook private message from Tillamook Dairy Farmer after I had posted up my response to the article. He asked if he could send Alvah some cheese because he "deserved the best". And he sent me the above cheese this week; a five pound BLOCK of medium cheddar and some vintage white cheddar (for the rest of the family)! I never would have thought someone would be that nice to someone just leaving a random comment on their Facebook page. Not looking for publicity or anything else...it was just an act of pure niceness (although he's getting publicity anyway just because *laugh*). So, if you are on Facebook, please look up Tillamook Dairy Farmer and like him up. He's a really nice, great person (obviously if sending cheese to an eight year old is any indication of his coolness level) and really does try to keep things on the positive, which I appreciate :).
That is how my week went. I got a text from my sister-in-law as she and my brother-in-law are moving their family to Montana and asked if I'd like the canned food they weren't going to use. I, with a really grateful heart, said "Of course! Thank you!" and she dropped off a bunch of stuff, including canned vegetables (which were on my shopping goals for this month) and even some baking mixes for things like cookies and things...stuff I don't have normally and am really looking forward to having in the pantry for something cool to make (thanks, Nicole!). The food is definitely appreciated!
Then a friend e-mailed me and asked if she could send me something and I said "Sure, thank you" and I got a box with crafting kits in it (which will make some wonderful Christmas gifts) and so much more (thank you from the bottom of my heart Jacki!). This week has made me cry, honestly, but in a really, really good way. God is good and there are great people in the world and I'm really lucky to stumble into them it seems =D. Thank you all!
As for everyone else, don't downplay what you do just coming here and reading me ramble on about my life. Even advice and comments have helped me so much over the last couple of years of hardship and struggle...you wouldn't believe how much you all reaching out to me has done for me. Sometimes (sad though it seems) this blog has been the only social life I've had from time to time. Thank you for being there and just reading, e-mailing and commenting and everything else you do! Thank you!!!
But yeah, ahem, now that I'm teary eyed and properly sappy, let me get on with the goals for last month.
My friend Stephanie sent me a message letting me know about a sale Fred Meyer had on toilet paper last week and actually matched up some coupons for me to use with the sale, so I was able to get cheap toilet paper, so that got marked off my list (thank you, Stephanie!). I shopped around and found that Carrs had the cheapest price on potatoes around at .49 lb, so I went and got a 10 lb bag of potatoes, which will hopefully last a bit. If there is one thing I've learned from rationing cookbooks and things? Potatoes and bread are AWESOME at filling out a meal and will help to fill you up. I've found myself reducing the amount of meat in recipes more and more and upping the potatoes and things to help fill out the meal...I try to go with potatoes more than bread as I can mix other veggies in with it...masking veggies in bread isn't so easy *laugh*.
Carrots...I got some baby carrots for 1.31, a smaller bag and they tasted like plastic, so I've been pulling the last of the carrots from the garden last year out of the freezer and SLOWLY using them up instead of buying new until, hopefully, the new carrots are ready to harvest. It's working so far, so we'll see how far we get.
Vegetable oil I ended up getting one bottle of it, but I could honestly use more just to have on hand, so I'm going to roll that goal over onto this month. And I've got vanilla extract steeping which will be ready in two to six months (depending on whose blog I read), soooo we'll see how it tastes in two months *laugh*. In the meantime I'm trying to make my vanilla extract last and using the imitation vanilla for everything else.
This month in the garden, in an ideal world, I'd be rolling in radishes, still collecting lettuce and the peas should be producing like mad. So far I'm battling slugs on the lettuce, which the rooster ignored the slugs and went after the lettuce when I tried to get him to take notice (great minds think alike, Jeanie *laugh*) and then I had to bribe him out of a tree (turns out Icelandic chickens can fly pretty high and LOVE to roost in trees...should have read THAT blurb before trying that stunt...oopsie) with some treats. If these wet conditions happen next year I'm seriously going to consider borrowing someone's duck for slug control. The radishes are producing, but not super great (too cold and wet) and I'm watching for powdery mildew on the peas like a hawk since it's so wet. I do have flowers on the bush beans, but the pole beans are barely growing, so at least I have bush beans growing and spinach and lettuce are sprouting and starting to grow. We'll see how it goes.
Bright side the carrots, turnips and cabbages are LOVING this weather, so hopefully I'll be able to harvest a few turnips this month at least and maybe some carrots. I'm going to harvest some of the outer leaves from the cabbages, hopefully tomorrow and turn them into freezer slaw before they get super woody and tough (and free up some space for the heads to form bigger on the cabbages too). Waste not, want not :).
Things I need from the store this month are varied, but needed, so let's get to that shall we?
- Toothpaste (we're down to sample sized tubes...I didn't realize we were that low!)
- Vegetable oil
- Eggs (the chickens are going through hard molt...it looks like a down pillow exploded in the coop right now and when they molt no more eggs for the winter, so processing time is nigh... I'd like to get extra eggs to make some ice cream and things with here this month)
- Vaseline (works as outer barrier to help protect the son's skin from further irritation)
- Meat (big time. We're down to a turkey, some pork roasts and some packs of chicken thighs and that's about it...definitely time to start shopping sales to fill up the freezer a bit more. I'll fit what I can into our normal grocery budget to make it all work. At least meat is back down into reasonable prices category again so I should be able to get SOME variety of meat into the freezer).
- Seasonal produce (we should start seeing things like apples come into season. I would like to put up more applesauce. I've also got to get some sauerkraut started here soon whether my cabbages are ready or not, so I might just putting my cabbages into cold storage later and using store bought cabbages for the sauerkraut...we shall see. Past that I'm just going to see what is on sale cheap and see if I could use it or not and work it into the budget)
- Sandwich bags (the little sandwich bag system I started with the son's snacks works great AND double benefit with this extreme humidity is that the entire bag doesn't go stale in two seconds flat).
And yeah, that's about it for shopping goals. I think. Which that's still a pretty big list to fill, but I'm sure I can do it :).
I hope your week was half as awesome as mine! Got any shopping goals worked out for this month?