Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Shopping Goals: August 2017

First, I just have to say that this week I have been completely blown away by the generosity of others.  I feel truly, truly blessed and am overwhelmed with gratitude. 

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 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 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?

Regular Stores:
  • 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 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?


  1. This was beautiful! There are no words......❤️

  2. We are fans of Tillamook cheese and I'm happy to know they are a nice company too. Tillamook is not in most area stores here but we buy it at our military commissary and it is truly so good!

  3. Erika, that is so cool about the cheese. There are some wonderful people out there. My garden did crappy this year because of our weather and I'm down to having to buy any produce I want to can, freeze or dehydrate. Even our Farmer's Markets are kind of skimpy this year. Glad you had a good week. Paula in Kansas

  4. I'm glad I hadn't put on mascara yet before reading this post! Blessings, for sure!

    We received two small bills instead of two larger ones! We ended up owing the IRS $8 and change and $9 and change on car insurance. We'd filed an amended return this year, and because of delays, etc., we were charged the $8 for interest, I suppose. I happily wrote that check to be done with it! The "real" insurance amount will be billed later; that $9 was just for a few days - from when we added a car until the new policy date rolled around. I know we'll be billed the full amount later, but at least by then, the credit for the car we took off insurance (but had already paid the premiums for) will be applied.

    Ok - shopping goals:

    I'm excited to visit a Sam's and an Aldi this weekend. My daughters and I are going out of town for a wedding shower anyway, so we thought we'd do some shopping while we were close. I hope to stock up on dishwasher detergent, tissue, flour, crackers, trash bags, yeast and cereal.

    I go back to work next Monday, so I'm planning on purchasing a large bag of chicken strips for easy dinners. I do well if I plan ahead with meals, wardrobe, appointments, etc. Erika, seeing your weekly menu gives me inspiration - not so much WHAT to cook, but motivation to actually COOK!

    How's Alvah? Hopefully, he's still doing well, and I hope your daughter is enjoying her last few weeks of summer vacation.

  5. WORTHLESS ROOSTER! GOOD FOR NOTHING, USELESS, IRRITATING BIRD! I can't believe you listened to my advice. No one listens to me. Well, if he won't even eat the slugs, he should be first in line for the crock pot. Oh no, I am giving advice again.

    You didn't mention Alvah; is he sleeping?

    Jeannie @

  6. If you have a Walmart in your area try the Great Value petroleum jelly. It's 1.97 @ jar (about a dollar less than Vaseline). I have a grandkid with atopic dermatitis and we use tons of this stuff. As long as I get the unscented it doesn't bother his sensitive skin. It's also available on and they ship for free if you spend a certain amount. And I agree with you on Tillamok cheese, it's awesomely tasty!

  7. What a great week of kindness you've had, Erika! So nice to read about all those food and craft gifts. Good things come to those who do their best. Also glad to hear you may have found the magic medicine for your son and he's doing much better. I'm also glad you are finally getting some much needed sleep!

    As for my shopping goals this month, I actually do have a few. First, I have already put in an order for 3 boxes of peaches @ $13/25lb box. One of our grocery stores offers this deal, but the peaches are seconds. We tried it last year with one box and they were pretty good. So this year I'm getting a lot more...can't beat that price! They will come in mid-August. My mom and I will then need to process them as soon as possible. I plan on canning slices, using the mushy leftover bits to make peach jam, then use the peelings and pits to make some peach syrup (never tries syrup before so this will be a learning experience).

    I also want to purchase a bushel or half bushel of green beans this year at the farmer's market, to blanch and freeze for winter. We bought a dozen fresh corn cobs last week at the market and it was really good. I will definitely be buying a lot more this month. What we do is cook up the whole dozen at once for a meal, then cut off the nibblets from the leftovers and freeze for winter. Hubby is going to go to the market this weekend to look for the beans and definitely buy more corn!

    Broccoli is currently on for $1/bunch which is my price point to bulk buy for blanching and freezing as well. Will most likely buy some early next week and process it all on my days off.

    I'm watching for a good sale on breaded chicken fingers and breaded chicken burgers. We eat these a lot for quick and easy meals, plus my family loves them. Might need to buy more chicken breasts and ground beef later this month, but I'll see. Otherwise, we're pretty good for meat.

    This month, I also need to buy school supplies and some clothing for my daughter. She will be starting high school next month and will need more supplies than we've had to buy in the past. I will be watching sales and picking things up when they are at good prices. We've already started but still need lots more.

    As always, I will watch for excellent prices on items that I can stock my pantry with. It's pretty full right now, but I always have room for more variety.

    That' it for now. In September/October, I will be watching for the huge bags of carrots to go on sale super cheap (like $2/10lb bag), which I will slice, blanch and freeze for winter as well. We will also do our bi-annual trip to my grandparents grave site and stop at a roadside stand for a bushel or two of "C" grade apples, and maybe a pumpkin. I need to can more applesauce this year, and we will make up our usual pies and apple crisps for the freezer.

  8. What blessings you received. God works in mysterious ways and ALWAYS when we need it.
    God bless you all.

  9. I'm glad you met your shopping goals!

    We used have to slugs. USED TO. Sluggo got rid of them 80% the first year, the 2nd year just needed a sprinkle, and not a one in sight thia year! The $10 bottle lasted 2 years, from Amazon.

    I have slowly been trying to stock up on lunch box things since my kids want to pack everyday and my husband does too today the grocery outlet had a whole bunch of packs of various crackers and cookies for about a third of the cost in the regular grocery store so I definitely got a bunch of those but I had to not get as much of what I wanted regularly so I'll try and make up for that next week or the week after. I'd like to get some dinosaur chicken nuggets and meatballs back in our freezer or just about out on both and I think I'll be using the last this week for the kids.

    Other shopping goals are clothes and shoes for my husband for the work year hopefully at a decent price. I have some Kohl's coupons I plan to try and stack see if that does the trick, we just had to buy him socks and it was like $14 a package and he got 3 packages so that was a big couch. I am excited though because today we went to Goodwill and someone dropped off a whole bunch of really nice next size up pants and button-down shirts that I bought for my oldest one was even a white button down shirt with the tags still on it. Are Goodwill has started doing certain color tags each week are 50% off so I was able to get him several pairs of good brand dress slacks and a peacoat for a dollar each because they were half off and when I looked online the coat was almost $70 new so that was pretty cool. I've been looking every week for the last 3 months for a brown jacket for my youngest oh so he can dress up as Indiana Jones and I haven't had any luck yet but maybe next week. I was proud of myself I ran into so many things that I wouldn't have minded having but I didn't really need so I left them there for someone else. Good for the budget and good for the clutter in the house.

  10. Erika,
    It's wonderful to hear of your good fortunes and to read your beautiful expressions of thanks. It inspires us to help others, and to be thankful for what we have.
    'Hope you're still enjoying some good nights of sleep!

  11. I am very happy for you Erika re the foods and craft items you were given. I hope you find some great specials on the items you need to buy this month.

    I have considered getting hens in the past, but your experiences with your contrary hens has caused me o think again!

  12. I live in Fairbanks and have a huge garden. A few years ago I got some ducks, just for weeding. In late summer, as the peas were at their best, our dogs started barking wildly. I looked out the window to see a moose eating the tops of the pea vines and two ducks, between his legs, breaking off the vines at ground level. I have had chickens, ducks and geese---all are crap for weeding. The only thing that got rid of the weeding was that my husband built me three foot high raised beds, 10 feet long and four feet wide. I get very few weeds and those that are there I can easily dispatch, almost without bending over. Also, the soil warms up faster and to a higher temperature than in a ground level garden. I also managed to find a free horse watering trough on Craigs List, also 3 feet tall, and three feet across, but only 6 feet long. It is now a garden bed, too. Anyway, my purpose in writing was to tell you to save yourself heartache and don't expect fowl to weed for you.

  13. We love, love, love Tillamook cheese, as well, and have been to the Tillamook Cheese Factory many times. I agree--it tastes different (better) than other cheeses. I'm glad you were gifted such a big brick! That was a big kindness.