Sunday, July 5, 2020

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (Times 3) and Garden Update

Well, hello again everybody!  I hope everyone in the US had a good Fourth of July yesterday. 

It's been a mixed bag of crazy around here the last three weeks.  So, let's just get down to it.

Father's Day weekend ended up being a complete flop around here.  Our friend Roger, a very spry 73 year old who took wonderful care of himself, died suddenly in, of all things, a gardening accident.  Roger was a really close friend of my husband and they had been home visiting companions for a long time before Roger moved to Utah to be around his grand kids years ago.  I didn't know Roger that well when he moved as he moved right about the same time I married my husband and moved to Alaska, but Roger and I were constant Facebook companions and got to be good friends that way.  It was a shock to say the least and it has been hard on a lot of people losing such a great man.  Roger was very active in the historical village community and worked as wood wright for years as a volunteer and got to know a good amount of people that way, not to mention his other charitable works, his career as a teacher before he retired and other things.  It did comfort me a bit and I was able to comfort my husband by telling him that Roger died doing two of the things he loved most in the world.  Gardening and spending time with his wife. 

Due to Covid there was an online funeral via Zoom we were able to attend, so I felt good knowing that my husband could at least "be there", even if he couldn't be there in person.

The husband and son got colds at the same time and the husband is still feeling pretty ucky, so Fourth of July ended up being kind of a wet blanket too.

But, there has been some good that has happened the last bit, so let's get to that.

1.  Our CSA box started this last week and I have to say that I'm impressed so far.  We received tomatoes, bok choy, rhubarb, lettuce, carrots and kale.  I hope the volume of veggies keeps up like this through the summer because if it does I might be able to preserve a decent amount of stuff.  Today I'm going to blanch and freeze the bok choy and the kale.

2.  I got a great price on green cabbage at the store (.69 lb) so I got three cabbages as part of my online order this week.  So, be prepared for me sharing some new cabbage recipes here in the next bit (yes, I am getting back to blogging this month.  I'm determined :).

3.  We received our mineral rights dividends on July 1st this year versus in October.  Because the dividend came in early, Christmas shopping for the kids got done in July versus October (odd, I know, but I wanted to make sure I got the presents while we had the money to do it) and I paid off one bill.  We have so many expenses coming in (medical bills, we need to buy a new mattress, etc) that I'm being super careful to try and spend the money wisely.  We'll see how it goes.

4.  We went and picked up 9 buckets of hard white spring wheat from my brother-in-law that was a part of the free food storage he and my sister-in-law had gone and picked up from a family that was moving a while back.  When we were offered the wheat we were not going to turn it down, so we picked it up and put it into the garage until I can find a better place for it.

5.  Speaking of wheat, I FINALLY got my wheat grinder in!  The wheat grinder works well and the grinding burrs and stones have a lifetime guarantee on them, but man getting this thing was a nightmare and the customer service was non-existent.  Believe it or not what finally got the wheat grinder shipped to me was me calling the company (again as I'd called and e-mailed many times to check on things over the months) and cancelling my order because Amazon had wheat grinders in stock and the 2 to 3 week delay in shipping that the company had kept assuring me was holding true for their orders had turned into a near 3 MONTH period where they hadn't even activated my order yet so I was seriously thinking that I was never going to get the wheat grinder  I told them to cancel the order, they shipped the wheat grinder on a Saturday and I received it the same day the charge appeared on my credit card.  Thank goodness Amazon was able to cancel the order I had placed through them for a wheat grinder or I would have not have been a happy camper.

Anyway, yay I finally got a wheat grinder and it fits in the spot I had picked for it on the new kitchen cart.  Always nice when a plan comes together.

6.  I was gifted a bunch of apples as a gift for my anniversary.  So, I canned a LOT of applesauce.  I harvested a bunch of rhubarb from my plant, made rhubarb sauce and mixed it with some spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of allspice) and then mixed it with applesauce to make rhubarb applesauce (obviously). 

I realized that I was going to be short on pint jars to jar up all of the applesauce so I took some empty applesauce jars I had from applesauce I had bought a few years ago and had been saving and froze 8 pints of the rhubarb applesauce in jars and then a couple pint equivalents in freezer bags as well (I froze the jars with no lids on them so the sauce could expand in the freezer and it worked great). 

I then took the rest of the applesauce and sweetened it a bit and jarred it up.  I ended up with a lot of applesauce, which I'm very happy about as we actually eat it quite a bit, and I put those up in the pantry a few days ago (I had the boxes of jars of applesauce on my counter top till's been busy).

7.  I started finding ants in the house and was paranoid about those suckers finding food in here, so I went out to the shed, dug out the diatomaceous earth I had bought several years ago to battle the spider mites when they were invading and spread a nice thick layer around the house.  So far it is working well and the big pile I dumped on top of the ants nest that was right against the house seems to have made the ants life more than a little hard.

8.  For Father's Day the one thing that my husband really wanted for dinner was BBQ hamburgers.  I went and tried to clean my old grill only to have things start to disintegrate on me as I cleaned it.  When the grill covers started to actually fall apart as I was cleaning it, I knew that it was time for a new grill.  I was just going to make burgers on the stove, but the husband decided we should just buy a new grill.  We didn't want to spend a lot of money, so we went online and found a grill on sale at Home Depot with an online sale for less than 100.00.  We placed the order online and went and picked it up at the store.  They even fully assembled the grill for us before we picked it up, which was nice as we didn't request that they do that.  It works well.  It's smaller than our old grill, but I'm okay with that. It cooks well which is the most important thing.

9.  I painted the daughter's room and painted the upstairs hallway.  So, officially, the upstairs is done!  Yay!  

10.  Painting over my head so much took a toll on me and my neck and shoulders ended up flaring up horribly.  My sister-in-law, a massage therapist, was nice enough to work on me and gave me some stretches to help.  I'm in a lot better shape thanks to her.  We'll invite her family over for dinner sometime, hopefully soon, to thank her for helping.

11.  I ended up running out of white paint in the middle of painting the daughter's ceiling.  I ordered more paint online, as well as some cleaning brushes for the paint brushes and things.  I used an online coupon code they had going on to get 40% off of my order and I was able to get curbside pick up for my order.  

12.  I redeemed some credit card rewards for Amazon gift cards and used the money toward buying things for the house and to get the husband some new jeans.  Sears finally closed in our area, so I'm hoping that Amazon will be a good source to buy the husband's preferred brand of jeans from decently cheap.  We'll see when they get here and what kind of quality they are.

13.  My husband bought me some roses for our anniversary on his way home from work.  Our anniversary was spent quietly at home, which was fine by me :).

14.  The used stores reopened up here, so we ended up having to go and buy some clothes.  My husband went in first and bought himself a few shirts and then I went in after he rejoined us and picked up the daughter some new jeans (she's now in the same size of jeans as me now and had been borrowing jeans from me for a couple of months) and I replaced a few pairs that had fallen apart on me as well.  I was also able to pick up some new curtains for my master bedroom (I think they'll fit) that I can hang up after I'm done repairing and painting the room.  I keep hoping to get that room done, but it just hasn't happened yet with everything else that has been going on.  I saved a ton of money compared to going to a store (or ordering from Amazon) and buying new, so I'm happy.

15.  My cell phone has been steadily dying on me and it has gotten to a point that it freezes up on me multiple times a day and isn't holding a charge anymore.  I went and checked with Tracfone, but did not find anything I wanted to purchase through them.  Instead of transferring my number, which was going to be an absolute nightmare with Tracfone (they aren't great about doing stuff like that it turns out), I went to Consumer Cellular (the people who we have my daughter's cell phone through) and just purchased a new phone and just added a new line to my daughter's cell phone plan.  This will allow me to use her unlimited talk and text and share her data plan (all of which she currently doesn't use much at all) and will give me a dependable phone again.  I took advantage of a promotion they were running that allowed me to get a 20.00 credit back when you added a new line, so we'll be seeing that discount on our next bill.

Now I just need to wait for the phone to come in the mail and start transferring my cell number with everyone.  

And now, onto the garden update!

1.  Well, everything in the garden is officially growing, so that's good!  The potatoes finally popped up all over the garden.  Since this was the one crop I really wanted to do well this year, I'm happy to see the seedlings pop up.

The lettuce germinated really well.  I'm going to wait until the seedlings get bigger and then I'll start to harvest the seedlings for baby lettuce in salads while I'm thinning the seedlings out.

Most surprising is that the green onions not only survived, but they seem to actually be growing, so that was a nice surprise!

Even the peas finally germinated and seem to be growing decently well.

The Asian broccoli I planted got mixed in with the lettuce and chard I planted, thanks to my cat, so I'm not really sure what seedlings they are, but I'm hoping that they are germinated and growing.  We'll find out as the plants get older.

And there you go folks.  Some of what life has thrown at us here the last bit.  How about you?  Been busy?


  1. Thanks for the idea on the ants. we get them horribly on our patio every year, they just never go away. I hope everything is going well for you guys. Our thrift stores have reopened, and I'm wanting to go so bad, but kind of nervous, because of the virus.

  2. Glad to see an update, yours is one of my favorite blogs. You always give me ideas and I enjoy reading about what you've done. :o) Also, I LOVE the curtains in your daughter's bedroom!

    Julie in Oklahoma

  3. Sounds like a really good week. I'm sorry abut your husband's friend passing away.

  4. Wow all that apple sauce looks amazing. I love the colour scheme in your daughter's room and your garden is going well. You have been so busy so glad you got a massage. You deserved it.

  5. Erika, my condolences on the loss of your friend Roger.
    I hope your hubby feels better soon!
    That basket of CSA goodies is beautiful. And the wheat grinder is quite nice-looking too. Enjoy!
    It seems I have to fight ants every summer. My DH says it's because we don't use any pesticides or weed killers - we get ALL the wildlife.
    Your daughter's room is lovely! And so are those anniversary roses.
    I hope your garden exceeds your expectations this year - you've certainly had some trials in that area. I'm trying to stay on top of my small garden and the few flowers we have at the front of the house.
    I've been able to make one quick run into a thrift shop so far, hoping to do more soon.
    Looking forward to your determined blogging! ; )
    P.S. Well done you on the early Christmas shopping!