Monday, September 10, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Well, okay, so it's Monday, but I'm calling it close enough for this week plus a few days.

We all ended up losing the battle against the cold that Alvah brought home with him this week, so I was down for most of last week (and am praying I'm finally getting over it) along with Alvah and then poor Armina got it over the weekend and the husband went down like the Titanic today.  So, it's not been a lot of fun this week with health.

The worst downside for Alvah on the cold front is that his eczema went nuts when he was sick and so he has nasty cracks on the bottom of one of his feet, cracks (but not as bad) on his other foot and hands and he's pretty much broken out all over.  Even his face hasn't been spared with this flare up :(.  He's been limping around on and off, missed school Friday to keep him off his one foot and I've been blowing through plastic wrap and Vaseline trying to keep his feet wrapped and moisturized to try and help the nasty cracks heal before he ends up with a skin infection again.

Between him being miserable with his skin and his cold, Armina's stomach flaring last week making her miserable and then her catching the cold over the weekend and's been rough for the kids the last few weeks, but we're getting through it.

We celebrated the son's birthday this last week.  The birthday was a simple affair for the most part (I was sick at the time), but he had a great time with birthday celebrations at school, we went out to dinner with the grandparents and he actually had a really good time on his birthday and following days.  We ended up, inadvertently, celebrating his birthday week versus his birthday only.  He got two movies in digital format for his birthday that he'd like, he got dinner out with the grandparents (and had a blast, which was nice to see), got cake for dessert the next day (and had a blast blowing out the candles over and over again, which I'll never get tired of seeing as it took him so long to figure out that skill :), and then as the topping on sundae I finally got a comforter made for him (seen up top in its done glory) as his final late birthday gift from me.

 After finally getting to work with high loft batting, I've decided that I never want to work with it again.  MAN it's a pain to work with compared to the lower loft batting.  I went through about ten bobbin fillings, I think, I totally blew through the rest of my white thread to quilt the batting down and I think I knocked the foot off of my sewing machine about ten times feeding the batting and material through the sewing machine. But, it is done.  Complete with about ten bazillion errors, but it's done and he'll know I made it for sure with all of the crooked quilting lines on it *laugh*.

And now onto the money saving things that happened this week so I can get onto working on the monthly goals for this month (I'm definitely behind due to being sick and everything).

1.  Shopping was pretty much non-existent this week due to it being our non-pay week and trying to conserve as much money as we could to help pay for things.  We had some unforeseen expenses.  For instance our dishwasher, after many years of sub-par service (things have just been slowly going on it over the past two or so years), finally died on us pretty much this week.  It no longer will get the dishes clean no matter what you do  (I just stopped using the top rack completely the last few loads I've done and have to wash the bottom on the high temp super long wash to get anything on the bottom close to clean) and the husband was pretty certain that the pump was going on it.  So, we went in with the Sears card on a a super Labor Day sale they were having and got a new dishwasher (the husband still needs to install it, so I don't have a picture the meantime I'm just using the "screeching and grinding like it's being tortured" dishwasher in the meantime).  We'll get 200.00 back in Shop Your Way rewards over the next six months as part of the sale (you get like 33.00 a month every month for six months), so the plan is to go in with the rewards every month and just get my husband a pair of jeans as Sears is the one store that sells the jeans he likes to wear or socks or whatever he might need (and we shall pray that Sears remains open for those six months and actually has some inventory to speak of). 

We got so much off of the dishwasher due to using the Sears card to pay for it (it was like 5% off), the dishwasher we got was 40% off as part of the sale, we got the 200.00 in rewards back, and we used up a bunch of Shop Your Way special deal thingies on it as well so we got it for a decent price when it was all said and done.  I'll pay off the dishwasher next month when PFD's come in and such (because the amount on our Sears card between the dishwasher and the bed is giving me hives of anxiety right now), but the sale was good enough to take advantage of this month and it is definitely a comfort to have the new dishwasher ready to go in on the fly if the other one just grinds to a halt (which I'm honestly waiting for that to happen the way it is working).  I did end up getting the dishwasher in black because it was the cheapest option that was in stock (I was NOT going to pay another nearly 200.00 for stainless steel), but I think it will look alright in the kitchen, and hey it will work, so it is completely worth it!

I'm just hoping that for the time being things are done breaking around here.  Let us pray.

Right, but back to shopping.  We just got essentials this week and ended up spending about 30.00 on groceries this week, part of that being some plastic wrap I had to get to help wrap the son's feet at night as I'm blowing through it at a rapid rate.

2.  I started to take an in depth inventory of what we had in the way of canned goods and such and started to make a list of things I needed to get to pad out the pantry. 

Total side tangent here, but I am working on a post about Alaska and our unique set of circumstances up here when it comes to food storage and such as I got some curious e-mails after the mouse invasion as people were asking about how Alaskans figured out how much food to store for winter with our lack of cheap fresh produce and stuff.  I'm going to work that into shopping goals and things for this month...I'm still working on how to do the post, but yeah...I'm working on it :).

Back to the post...while working on the list of things I needed to get, I started thinking about it and decided that I could help pad out my stores just by harvesting the few things I had around here that grew this year and that were free to me to harvest.  So, I went out and harvested a ton of rhubarb from my monster plant.  I'm not even at 50% taken off of the plant so far, but I'm running out of freezer space.  I went online and looked up tons of rhubarb recipes and have decided that we're going to learn to really like rhubarb this winter.  Once I explained my reasoning to the husband he totally understood and agreed to give it a shot (rhubarb isn't his favorite).  I'm looking forward to the challenge and think that I can use the rhubarb to help make food stretch this winter for sure.

I am also planning on harvesting rose hips this year again, but I'm just going to stew them to get the juice and then freeze it the juice quart bags as the rose hips are pretty ripe at this point and are I'm sure kind of mushy, so drying them without the middle seed would be really hard to do.  This way I can just throw a bag into a pot and heat it up for tea over the winter, make some syrup or candy with it, etc.  I'm sure I can figure out different ways to use it up.  I do NOT need rose hip jelly as I still have plenty left over from last year, which is good as I really like it :).

3.  I explored Amazon music this week while working around the house and was thrilled to find that one of my favorite singers for years, Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 (and later a solo career) had a new album out and that Matchbox 20 had two new albums out since the last time I really kept track of them.  I was able to download all of the albums for free to listen to them and I am SO glad I was able to do that for free.  I didn't like the new Rob Thomas album at all, the first Matchbox 20 album had like three new songs and tons of redos from their other albums (which the new songs weren't to my taste) and the other new album, North, was okay and I enjoy some of the songs on it, but I wouldn't have liked it enough to justify buying it.  So, by screening the albums for free, I saved myself a bunch of money I would have probably ended up spending at some point if I didn't have that option and ended up feeling ripped off.  So, yay for having the ability to listen to music for free with Prime on Amazon!

4.  I watched a lot of Bob Ross and Victorian Farm this week when I couldn't sleep because I wasn't feeling well.  It really did help me to relax and I think gave me a better quality of sleep when I was able to sleep.

5.  We finally got a Michaels in Wasilla this week, which is great as it's a lot closer than driving an hour to go to one in Anchorage!!!  Their grand opening was on Sunday.  I didn't go and I probably won't for a while, but I was thrilled as I'm looking forward to going in around Christmas to take advantage of some of their Christmas sales for the daughter especially as she's really into art and I'm thinking she might like some crafty things now a days too :).  I went and downloaded the app onto my phone so I will be up to date on coupons no matter when I go.

6.  I made the comforter for the son's birthday with materials I had on hand.  I ACTUALLY had planned on doing a completely different comforter with a construction themed sheet I had found, but the previous owners had stored the sheet and used it with folds around the edges that were there for so long that the sheet developed holes on the folds, so I would have lost a good three to four inches off the comforter having to avoid all of the holes.  I'm thinking that I might turn it into a center panel, much like his race car quilt, and give him a construction themed quilt as part of his Christmas gifts, but we'll see if I can run into some batting cheap and such.

7.  Our cat Prince has been making us proud by going out and killing mice left and right, so I'm hoping by doing that he might just scare off the mice from around the house.  I can dream anyway *laugh*. 

8.  I emptied out another video shelf (well nearly) by grabbing some empty containers out of the garage that were just sitting around waiting for me to store them in the shed or something (shows how bad I can be at procrastinating).  I then took my cookbook collection out of the china cabinet and put it in some of the empty shelf space (which I'm still working on arranging things in the china cabinet with the linens to work better now I have more space) and also emptied out the top shelf of the son's closet that housed a bunch of children's books and put those out in the living room too.  I do like having the books all in one place now and by emptying out the big top shelf in the son's room I'll hopefully also have room for some of his many comforters and quilts and I can get them out of my closet (he blows through so much bedding that we have quite a collection to make sure he's got something on his bed all the time).

9.  We hung up our Halloween decorations as soon as September rolled over.  My husband loves Halloween as much as the kids love Christmas (well...nearly...Alvah has actually been trying to take down the Halloween decorations so I can put up Christmas's kind of cute that he's gotten into the Christmas holiday so much the last few years :), so we try to put up the Halloween decorations as soon as we can and keep them up for a while.  I still have a pile to hang up from the Halloween decorations Alvah made with his class last year, so I'm hoping to get those up this week, but it's fun hanging up the decorations the kids have made since preschool.  Completely free, ends up making the house look neat, and the  kids love it too :).

10.  I took out a chicken carcass, my carrots (which were rotting on the ends...I've never had that happen before...I've had them dry out or sprout roots, but not rot like was upsetting), what sad little bit of celery I had left, an onion and some freezer dried chicken (not too terribly bad, though) and made a BIG pot of chicken soup.  I froze the soup in portions without any noodles in it and will add noodles as I pull the bags of soup from the freezer to stop the noodles from being mushy.  I actually ate quite a bit of the chicken broth and things this week when I was sick and I as definitely happy to have the soup available.

And there you go folks.  Some of the things I did this week.  How about you?  Your week go well?


  1. It always fascinates me that people can make quilts. They look so complicated to do and yours turned out lovely.

    We're just having cooler temperatures here as we head into Fall. Luckily, colds haven't been passed around yet but it won't be long before we'll all be suffering from one, I'm sure. Hopefully your family feels better sooner rather than later.

    What a boost to your pantry using up rhubarb. Can't wait to hear the many ways you'll be using it. I have to admit, the only ways I've ever used rhubarb was for strawberry-rhubarb preserves, or pineapple-rhubarb preserves, or frozen to use in a cake. We love all these items, but I haven't thought much outside the box for other uses with it.

    We celebrated a birthday for our "adopted" son. (he was a youth pastor of our girls and he just became a part of our family.)

    We will be moving in November, and so I've purposely been preparing foods solely from our pantry and freezers which mostly contain fruits and vegetables now. I've been making many fruit-type cakes, like pumpkin or zucchini and smoothies and fruit sauces, soups and meatless stews or pot pies. It's scary to intentionally use up our supplies but I don't want to move large amounts of foodstuffs either as we're moving an hour away and hence I don't want food spoiling along the journey.

    Next month I'll be packing, but right now I want to enjoy our house still feeling like a home before it becomes completely torn apart.

    Pat, Cda

  2. Hi, Erika--FWIW, Neutrogena foot cream is AMAZING for healing cracks in your feet. Don't know what they put in it, but it really works, and much more quickly than anything else I have found. It's not the cheapest lotion--$12.00 for two tubes inline at Walmart (or I've bought it in's a bit more expensive box Amazon) but it is a heavy lotion and you only use a small bit at a time. Hope if the cracks persist, you are able to give it a try.

  3. Hi Erika
    Have you tried Lanolin on Alvah's feet? I use it when my heels crack during summer. Hopefully you all feel better soon.

    1. We tried it but turns out he's allergic and it makes the problem worse :(.

  4. Hi Erika,
    I am glad you were able to buy a new dishwasher and a new mattress and pillows for your bed.

    I am so pleased to read that you son enjoyed his birthday celebrations. I think that sometimes stretching out special celebrations is a good thing because people don't feel so stressed about trying to fit everything in one day and thus can enjoy themselves more. It took my disabled daughter years to learn how to blow out candles, but she does it like a pro now.

    I envy your rhubarb harvest. Have you ever tried stewing rhubarb with apple? That is how we eat it and I love stewed apple and rhubarb. Also, you could stew the rhubarb and make rhubarb crumble. Apple and rhubarb crumble is a favourite dessert in our house. I have never tried just stewed rhubarb on its own because I never have enough.

    I admire you making a quilt for your son. The only quilts I have ever made were cot quilts for my kids as babies and I used cot quilt panels to make those.

    I hope you are all well recovered from your colds.

  5. I love rhubarb muffins,and I have a recipe for a rhubarb pie with meringue that we all enjoy. I only have 1 plant and I don't get much off it. It costs about $5.00 a pound when it is available here which is not often. Glad you found a bargain on the dishwasher. My hubby still thinks ours was a waste of money and they are better hand washed. Not me!

  6. Happy birthday to Alvah! I'm amazed by your quilt; how cool that you were able to make that for him. My sewing skills don't extend quite so far, so I really admire those who can do things like that. Great job!

    I'm *so* glad that you were able to get the dishwasher. They very much come in handy; I lived without one for a year and a half when my daughter was very young and waking me up six times a night, so standing and washing dishes sometimes three times a day was NOT my idea of a good time! They really do make a difference in terms of quality of life and how much free time we get. I adore my dishwasher so much!

    Your bookshelf looks really nice! And yay for the Michaels! They have great sales, and around here, they keep coupons behind the front counter and the person working the cashier always asks if I have a coupon, and then scans what he/she has behind the counter. I've never paid full price there, which is awesome and keeps me coming back when I need something (which isn't often, since I went through and organized all my crafting stuff this summer, and yikes, I need to knit more!).

    Looking forward to reading more about food storage and Alaska. I love hearing about area-specific challenges, so when I read you were going to post something like that, I was like, "Ooooooooh..."

    Have a great week! :)

  7. When I sold Mary Kay products, people who had eczema would buy the extra emollient night cream for their eczema. They swore it worked better than anything else and one mother said it healed her son's eczema. You might find a Mary Kay rep and give it a try. Vaseline actually has a tendency to dry things out (I know, strange).

    1. With the Vaseline I wait until I get the son out of the bath then immediately slather him down with Curel Itch Defense lotion and then put the Vaseline on as a top coat to kind of seal everything in. Then there’s wrapping the lotion and Vaseline slathered feet with plastic wrap as another moisture sealing measure and then socks go on over the socks. It seems to be helping. Wish he’d let me wrap his hands at night as it is helping his feet, but one battle at a time :).

    2. Socks go on over the plastic wrap. Can’t tell I’m tired today.

  8. P.S. If you can get yours hands on an old Alaska Wild Berry Guide and Cookbook, they have recipes for rose hip butter, candied, catsup, dried, juice, pie, punch, puree in relish, syrup and even wine. It is a very valuable book that shows all the wild berries in Alaska and which ones you can eat and which ones you cannot eat as they are poisonous. Mine is from 1982 and I bought it in Homer when they had a store down here. Hopefully, you can get your hands on one.

    1. I just sucked it up and ordered a used copy from Amazon for less than 5.00 shipped. Thanks for the recommend! I can’t wait to get it!

  9. How do you like your new bed? I'm so glad that you were able to buy a new one and also a new DW. For so long the PFD money was going to medical and dental bills. How nice that it can go for other things, but I totally understand that "Russian roulette" of breaking items is so not fun.

    Yeah for rhubarb! My favorite recipe is for rhubarb crumble from Oprah's magazine. Here's a link:

    Happy Birthday to Alvah!

    Can't wait to read the Alaska post!

    Hope the cold germs get kicked to the curb pronto.

    1. We love the new bed! It's great waking up without numerous back problems :).

  10. I am so sorry about the colds, one of my daughters has bronchitis right now.

  11. How the check are the mice still getting in? Would traps help besides the cats?

    1. They aren’t so far. Letting Prince run around outside and wipe out a bunch that were nesting in the grass around the house, though, sure can’t hurt to scare them away. I worry about them getting into the garage and into the laundry room, so it is good the cats are on the job :).

  12. Nice job on the quilt! A true labor of love from the sound of it ; )
    So sorry to hear y'all were sick - hope the worst is over now.
    Your rhubarb and rose hip plans sound good. Lots of good vitamins in those to help keep your family healthy over the winter.
    I don't have Prime, but listen to music on YouTube to preview it. Sometimes for fun the DH and I will think of really old songs and see if we can find them on YouTube.
    Congrats on getting a Michael's! I wish I had something like that a little closer to home.
    I know what you mean about the video and book and linen organization. I've been trying to move things around in our home to where they make more sense.
    I've done some fall decorating (earlier than I usually do), but no Halloween yet. I have to ease into it. You bring back memories for me using the things your children made in school - I used to do the same, and always loved those things the best. I still have a few, even though they've been grown and flown for quite awhile now.
    I wonder if your carrot ends rotted because of the way they spray water all over everything in the produce departments at some stores. Our Kroger does that and I think it makes things rot faster.
    I hope Alvah's skin is better now. Hearing about his birthday made me smile.

  13. I am really looking forward to your post about Alaska as I was about to ask you if you are a native or if you moved there. I've known a few people who have moved to northern Canada for work (usually with the Govt.) and they usually get a food allowance or a chance to have supplies flown in every few months at their employers expense. The cost of things like milk or produce is shocking! Even here in a city of 3 million people we do our Winter prep. Sometimes we get off easy but other years can be tough - last year was a long, extremely cold winter with a bad ice storm and sometimes you just don't want to go out - and if the roads are bad and trucks don't get through then stores can run out of things surprisingly quickly. I always stock up on things like TP, UHT Milk, packages of Crisp breads, peanut butter and teabags - just in case. I also keep a good supply of frozen and pantry items all year round - love to get deals and only buy certain items when they are on sale - it really does make a difference.
    So sorry to hear that everyone has been ill - hope everyone is well soon. I have to do the vaseline and saran wrap trick for my feet in the winter - and I have a supply of cheap cotton gloves so that I can do my hands before I go to bed as well. It really does help.
    I love rhubarb crumble - made one yesterday with some cooked rhubarb I had in the freezer and combined it with some frozen strawberries. I like slightly sour foods so rhubarb is a favourite. It actually cooled down to the mid 50'sF yesterday so I made a pot of soup - lentil mix and canned tomatoes - it is delicious. Temps will be back up to around 85F by the weekend so Summer isn't quite finished with us yet.

  14. Good to hear you guys are doing better. My family and I have had a similar week. 623.00 for car repair. Had to buy a new phone, as mine accidently got thrown in the washer while it was going. It was in my jean's pocket and someone was helping with the laundry and missed it. These were the easily remedied things. One of our dogs got an eye infection. Fortunately our vet let us pick something up,instead of coming in for a visit. The list goes on. Glad your cold is on the mend. Your poor husband, though. Sometimes it's just a "hard knock life", as the old saying goes.


  15. I'm glad you are recovering from your colds around there. And, especially, the the mice seem to be staying out---go kitty and steel wool!

    I am still in the midst of canning and preserving every thing I can get my hands on, though it is winding down. Yesterday, I got salsa canned, and used practically all the Anaheims and Jalepenos I grew--pathetic crop of peppers this year, but you can't win them all and at least there were enough for this batch of salsa. I usually freeze a lot of baggies of them, but not this year, unless my sister's bushes are going crazy. I'll ask her. On the other hand, the bean bushes I haven't had time to pull up went ahead and re-bloomed somewhere along the line, and I harvested over a gallon yesterday. I need to do something with this totally unexpected crop today. What a surprise.

    We've had the first rain in about 3 months, and it's starting to feel like fall at last. I guess it's still summer for a week or so, but this was an exceptionally long dry spell for this part of Oregon. I'm delighted.

  16. I'm a little envious of your dishwasher - we don't have one or the space to put one in! Right now the children are the dish washers and honestly, it's not terrible but a dishwasher would be nice. I haven't had one for 18 years so I'm used to it by now. It was terrible with the bottles when the children were babies (I had twins and only was able to nurse for 16 weeks) but now it's manageable.

    I have a fabulous rhubarb muffin recipe if you'd like it. Moist and delicious and freezes well. We LOVE rhubarb at our house and eat it often due to our family heirloom giant plant. Rhubarb sauce over ice cream is a favorite desert, rhubarb pie (with or without meringue), muffins, bread - you name it! YUM! Now I'm hungry! :) Let me know about the recipe - I'll be happy to email it to you.

    Your quilt looks very cozy and I didn't notice any botched quilting lines. ;) I'm sure your son will love it! Nice job.

    We have an overabundance of acorn and butternut squash this year. The peas didn't work but the squash are going nuts! I am pleased with the produce - the medical bills are killing us this year financially but we will eat well.

    Happy Birthday Alvah! I have this happy picture in my head of him blowing out the candles again and again. I'm so glad he had a wonderful birthday.

    I can't wait to read your post on Alaska and planning for winter food. Praying you get over those colds and the eczema soon.

    1. I would love the recipe! Please do e-mail it to me!


  17. I too am in need (want) of a new dishwasher. I am curious about the model that you chose. My requirements are one that actually cleans the dishes, is relatively quiet and doesn't take hours to do the job. Thanks, Penny S.

    1. We ended up getting a Kenmore. The big thing I was looking for was they came out with a power wash function/sprayer arm that sprays in multiple directions at once while the thing spins too, so it is supposed to get the dishes spiffy clean (so said the reviews anyway). If buying from a box store type of place that doesn’t sell Kenmore, our local commercial appliance connection (my husband has done a lot of work with commercial outfits over the years) recommended either Bosch or Maytag brands. Both have really well built internal components and good warranty services. Bosch, though, gets kind of tricky being a German company...I guess shipping of parts and things can get spendy. When I can I go with Maytag. This time I couldn’t because the one Maytag dishwasher Sears had was WAY out of my price range.

  18. I am glad you got a new dishwasher! We had a year where we had to get a washer, a fridge, and a DW. I remember crying when the fridge went as it was the last one and I was like seriously universe..

  19. I love the quilt and think it turned out great. Alvah learning to blow out candles is so sweet, you should be proud of him. Congratulations on the money saving wins on the dishwasher. Harvesting lots of the rhubarb for winter and then experimenting with new recipes is smart. That is what I have done over the years when there is a bumper crop. Last year it was winter squash, the year before pumpkins and this year it is watermelons. Great job taking advantage of the opportunities you see.

    Right now I am just sitting staring out into space. We had my husband's hearing checked today. He has tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and it is getting much worse. There is nothing anyone can do so we checked into getting hearing aids because they can "mask" the sound. The price was $6,000 to $8,000 for something that will probably only last about 5 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY COW!!!!!!! Insurance rarely pays for this device so it is up to the person to cough up the money. I don't mind paying a fair price, or even a high price for something of high quality, but I do resent being gouged. This was a reputable company so I am sure it is the going price. It is just depressing. You work all your life being frugal and saving money only to lose it to the doctors. So sad.


    1. It is nuts what that stuff costs. My nephew is basically deaf without his hearing aids and my sister-in-law sweats replacing them bigtime as they cost between 10,000 and 14,000 a PIECE! When you have a six year old running around being active I’d be terrified of him losing one or something. Sorry your husband is having to go through that :(.

    2. It was hard to see the excitement and interest in his face when the doctor(sales person) was explaining how they would improve his hearing. Then I watched his face fall when she quoted the price. I am supporting him and want him to get them. It must be horrible for him. He wants to visit another doctor and get a second opinion. I think that is what we will do.

      I feel better today since the shock has worn off. We will find a way.


    3. Jeannie, you do not have to pay that much for hearing aids. Keep researching. Do you have a Costco nearby? Their aids are much less expensive and get good reviews. Hubbie's hearing will not ever be the same as it was, and it will take some adjustments and perseverance, but the aids will help. Michele in GA