Monday, June 4, 2018

Frugal Sunday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Poor blog.  Life keeps getting in the way of me posting lately, it seems.

This week was just busy for the most part, but we did have a couple of scary allergic reactions with Alvah when the pollen was out in moderate amounts for the birch and alder trees, resulting in some facial swelling and a LOT of nasty itching on his part.  After copious amounts of antihistamines we managed to avoid having to go to Urgent Care or the ER for additional steroid help, but it was definitely a scary time for me.  We keep going back and forth about getting him allergy shots (alternative allergy treatments around here seem to only be open to women due to licensing issues or insurance doesn't cover them, so traditional treatments is what we've got at the moment), but I know he won't tolerate that many shots all of the time, so I really am at a loss at what to do other than just do the best we can.

And then yesterday I was planning to blog and just ended up not feeling well last night, so blogging definitely got tabled (my husband even had to go into work late because of me, poor guy).

Overall, though, despite the stumbling speed bumps of life, I did manage to get a lot done this last week, so let's get to that!

1.  My husband tore apart the ice maker this week, hoping to be able to fix it.  He found the motor was shot, so went looking around at the appliance repair place to see if he could just get a new motor, but the only way the repair places could get ice maker replacement parts for our ice maker was in a full unit, which would cost 130.00 to replace.  We went onto Amazon and found a replacement ice maker for 39.99 instead.  It's coming UPS tomorrow.  I was a bit concerned about a non OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) part going in, but my husband basically assured me that if the actual part didn't fit, the motor would be the same type he'd need to fix the old ice maker, so it would be fine.  So, we'll see how that goes.

2.  I had some stuff on order with Amazon Subscribe this month, but cancelled it to save money and ordered my husband's acid reflux meds by themselves.  While doing so I found out that the medication he's been taking actually changed their formula and that is probably why he's been having problems with his acid reflux of late.  I found a generic form of Nexium to try out as that contains the magnesium with the other med he needs (and seems to do him the most good). 

3.  I was blessed with a few gifts this week.  I was gifted a box of food, which was welcome (yay additional boxes of pasta!) and I was gifted some sewing notions and little craft kits (which some of them, I'll admit, got put aside for Christmas gifts for the daughter) and also got a box of cookie cutters in the shape of letters and numbers, which will be fun to use to make sugar cookies (HOPEFULLY tomorrow as I'm kind of wiped today still).  We were also gifted a month of free swimming lessons for my daughter through the swimming outfit my mother and other in-laws use since my daughter is going to class with her grandma and cousins, which was really really nice of the owner to do that.  My son is going to be going for an autism specific swim class starting this week, so I'm hoping it goes well.  I'm concerned about the water being salt water with his eczema, but am hoping that he'll do alright with the class as being in the water does him a lot of good.  Here's hoping it all works out.

I'm officially going to be running around like a chicken with my head cut off between swimming lessons, ABA/Speech and summer school, but hopefully it will break up the summer enough for Alvah and also give him the therapies and other things he needs to not lose any skills this year, or better yet start to excel.

4.  I was a mending machine this week (still working on a few items though).  I fixed a couple of pairs of my husband's jeans, rebuilt a work shirt of his (seen up top there as I was proud of how it all looked when done as getting that patch to line up right without pulling in weird areas was a favorite pair of jeans that died, cut up, was used to make the jean patch...I hope it holds up well), hemmed a pair of jeans that were too long for my husband (they were on sale for buy 1 pair get one pair free, but the store had only one in his size, so we had got a pair that was too long for him and I FINALLY found the time to hem them for him), fixed a few shirts that were losing seams and am working on a few holes in work shirts for my husband today that he needs to wear to work every day.  

I also spent a big portion of my time yesterday, when not feeling well, online and on a good old note pad as I planned out the quilt that I decided I am going to make for me for my bedroom.  It's going to require a lot of embroidery and a decent amount of time, but it is going to be a lot of fun to do, so I'm really looking forward to starting it now :).

5.  I started to take an in depth inventory of the pantry this week and found a bunch of apple sauce that I had canned that my daughter, somehow, overlooked repeatedly while she was down getting a jar of apple sauce here and there, so I was happy to find that.  I started to make plans to use up some jars of things that were getting kind of old (still good, but the quality of home canned goods starts to go down after a year, so it's best to use them up before they get too old).  I made apple pie this week for dessert to use up a jar of apples I'd canned in light syrup and have one more to use up soon.  I took the syrup that was in the jar of apples, after I strained the syrup into a bowl and put the apples in the pie shell, and put it in a saucepan.  I added a teaspoon of corn starch, some cinnamon and nutmeg and whisked it well to eliminate lumps and then just heated it up until the syrup thickened.  I then poured it over the apples (thus no need to add any thickener to the pie or sugar) folded the crust over to make a one crust pie essentially (we like a lazier made pie, what can I say) and baked it.  It came out really good!  So, I know what I'm going to do with the other jar of apples for sure ;).

6.   Shopping was HUGE this week...I can't think of another way to put it.  We finally, for the first time in a month or more, got an okay sized paycheck in, so we went shopping and I pretty much spent my entire month grocery budget in one fail swoop.  Bright side is that I got my son a bunch of his favorite snacks (including Goldfish crackers, which he adores and were FINALLY on sale), so he's been a lot better about not wanting to go out for McDonald's french fries every day and takes the "no" a lot better when he does ask, but going to McDonald's wasn't on the agenda.  I was just happy to get food back in the house in decent quantities to last a bit, honestly.  I know that we're going to go over on our grocery shopping this month because of that shopping trip, but we were out of so much that I'm completely okay with that.

7.  I made pasta salad to use up some of the elbow macaroni I have around here (my husband and I are just NOT macaroni and cheese people and I just don't use elbow macaroni for much) along with the few straggly pieces of celery I had left (I am DEFINITELY going to buy organic celery from now on!  That stuff lasted about THREE TIMES as long as non-organic celery and it still tasted good at the end!) and other odds and ends.  It came out well and we've been eating it as a side with dinner for the last three days or so.

8.  I started to plan the menu plan for this month, although with the son's allergy problems and me being sick yesterday, it kind of put me behind.  But, for the first time in a couple of months I'm feeling good about getting back on the menu planning wagon.

9.  I found a new YouTube channel that I'm loving watching.  The woman did a collaboration episode with Townsends/18th Century Cooking and after watching her companion episode, I immediately subscribed.  The channel is, I believe (I can't get my laptop to bring up YouTube no matter how hard I try anymore) the English Heritage Channel and she runs a cooking show on it where she gives you recipes from the Victorian era out of a "big house" (upper class).  The episodes are short (with my life this is a benefit sometimes), are really well done and are really interesting to watch.  I watched one episode this morning which was essentially fried rice in a breakfast dish with seafood (mind you there was no soy sauce or other oriental flavors involved in the seasoning, but the principal was the same).  It's a new fun thing to watch :).

10.  Got my home owners insurance renewal paperwork in the mail and, of course, my insurance company, once again, didn't process through the insurance score consent I e-mailed back in April to them.  I contacted my local insurance representative and she's going to work on it for me.  Ugh.  Irritating, but at least I have an insurance rep who is willing to go to bat for me (the gal I had the first few years of my policy was just nasty and evil to deal with and I REALLY disliked her.  I was thrilled to get this new gal a couple of years ago as she is always nice and professional).

11.  I looked over our budget billing and wasn't happy with what I was seeing with our gas bill, so I called them to try and figure out a way to alleviate the inevitable hurting that I could see coming with that bill.  The gal I talked to was very nice and refigured my bill and raised it by 20.00 per month on my request.  I've also been turning off the heat during the day right now so I am hoping that my gas bill will be low enough to not kill me next month (when budget billing is due to redo for the next year).  The woman assured me that I can call up next month if the bill is too high for me to pay and I can split up the payments over twelve months or something, so hopefully this won't hurt too badly when all is said and done.

And there you go folks.  My week in a nutshell.  Hopefully I can get back onto an even blogging schedule here this month.  So far I'm at least happy with what I'm getting done so far in June, which is a nice change of pace.  How about you?  How did your week go?


  1. My week was lovely, thanks. You will enjoy the English Heritage Channel--I really like to watch the cook make the different dishes of the Victorian era.

  2. Glad to hear you have a better insurance agent. Ours was great, but when he retired we got a new one that was lazy and frequently unavailable.I didn't want to change companies so just had my agent changed to the guy in another town. You get to choose who your agent is, not the company.I did get some push back from Lazy Guy, but I just told him he failed to meet my needs as a customer and I was looking for an agent that was a better fit.

  3. You seemed to have quite a busy week. Over here, we have been in the throes of renovations - with gusto- the past 2 weeks. Although we've been working on our house bit by bit the past couple of years, we've gone into overdrive the last 6 months. We're nearing the end of these renos and are planning on putting the house up for sale soon. Then starts the house-hunting in the new city we'd like to move to. It's been a very exciting but tiring time for us - and a little melancholy to move out of our comfort zones of trusted friends and neighbourhood. But it's time for a change.

    As I've posted over the past few months, we've been eating down our pantry and freezer so we'll have less to move. That practice didn't happen over the past 2 weeks because we were working on the kitchen and it was difficult to prepare meals when everything was covered in plastic and/or drywall dust, so it was just easier to purchase take-out. From a frugal point of view, it was more costly than usual, but from "a keeping your sanity" point of view, it was necessary. But now that the kitchen is back in order, cooking meals at home is back on the agenda.

    On Sunday, my husband had to replace our garage door and replace the track. Although he's very handy, he's never done one before so he recruited a friend and family member to help. Between the 3 of them, they managed to get it done in a timely manner, and without much frustration. For all their assistance, they were treated with home-barbecued steaks and all the fixin's plus desserts. And it was finally nice to relax at day's end and enjoy a pleasant meal. Again, not the most frugal meal to serve but for all their hard work, hot dogs would NOT have been appreciated, I'm sure. Steak was the way to go.

    With all the renovations we've had to do, only 3 things have not been done by ourselves. We had soffits, fascia and eavestroughs hired out, but it was through friends and so there was still a discount; windows were installed (both of these things were done by others because my husband's not fond of heights); and carpeting a set of stairs. The rest of the work involving framing, carpentry, plumbing (except one emergency incident when hubby was out of the country), drywalling, plastering/painting, tiling, electrical etc. was done by us which saved us a ton of money. It may have taken us longer, but it certainly was easier on the wallet!! So, although we've had to spend money on the renos, we've tried to keep the expenses of parts and labour on the frugal side too.

    So close to being done. Yay!!

  4. Glad to hear your week has gone well :) Be good to yourself and keep your menu plan flexible. From reading your posts, I feel you are a creative cook and can often find a menu plan restrictive xx

  5. I'm afraid the "broken bug" has hit our house, too! Things seem to be breaking right and left. It's not convenient, because I am in the midst of a super busy season. There are graduation parties galore, plus one I'm giving for our daughter. Then, I'm working more hours, as my autistic niece is done with her school program, and needs more hours covered. The yard is getting whipped into shape, as is the garden, but both still need tremendous work. There is still cleaning to be done, and a back porch to clean off before Saturday, plus food to cook.

    In the midst of that, I have been having some car trouble, which is unsettling for me, as I drive miles and miles each day. After the 2nd episode yesterday, my husband rescued me, hopefully fixed the problem, and we think/hope the car will be ok for a while more.

    We are still under the cloud of the school district not telling my husband if he has a contract next year or not. He is on a 1-year contract each year. The main issue for us is whether or not we will have insurance during the summer or not, or even if his position will exist next fall. There are rumors that they are restructuring things. It's very stressful. But, one way or another, he will be out of school next Wednesday, so it will be nice to have him around more.

    I've been trying to shop carefully, as I am needing so many things right now. There are 4 birthdays in an 8-day period that need to be shopped for, and I have exactly 1 child taken care of out of that 4. We have not been able to find a dress for my daughter's actual graduation, which is tomorrow. Hmmmm. I feel more than a bit pressured. So, my plan is to tackle one thing at a time, and see what I can get done today. Since I'm home quite a bit today, with only one appointment, and my niece with me here for a few hours with no activities of her own today, I can get some things done. She likes to help fold laundry, and it's a skill for her to work on, so I'll give her a basket to work on. No matter if it takes 45 minutes to an hour per basket. It's win-win for everyone!

  6. If you wrap your celery in foil it will last for weeks longer than usual. Trim away any questionable parts first.