Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (Times 2), Plus a Garden Update

Believe it or not I am working on blog posts, but I just got delayed due to school starting around here (we decided to start early so we could book time to take more time off at Christmas) and also, it turns out, by stopping the son's sleeping meds, not only did his mood improve dramatically but it also ended up making his digestion start working overtime, so I've been dealing with some bouts of unpleasantness in that area of late.  Between all of that and his eczema flaring badly, it's been kind of rough around here of late when it came to finding time to get things done.

I honestly almost didn't write about money saving things that have happened of late, as there isn't a whole lot to report.  But, I'll give you a rundown of things that have happened of late.

1.  First big thing to report is my husband finally got time to work on the lawn mower.  He bought parts and replaced and tinkered and nothing was working to get the mower to actually fire up and run.  He finally pulled the heads off the lawn mower to find the motor just full of gunk (mud, etc) and he realized that some major seals failed.  So we are looking at basically an engine rebuild or having to buy a new mower.  We're not sure what is the most cost effective at this point.  We just decided we're going to just let the lawn go, probably until winter (we don't have an HOA or anything to worry about) and if worse comes to worse we'll rent a push mower to do the front lawn so it doesn't look too horrible.  Over winter we'll try and save up enough money to hopefully cash out a new mower next year or be able to cash out a new motor.  It seems to be the best recourse at this point to avoid having to put over a thousand dollar onto a credit card or draining our savings down to nothing to pay for one.

2.  I finally settled on a Mueller brand pressure cooker as it got rave reviews on Amazon and I have to say so far it has worked great and I'm really happy with it.  It is definitely better quality than my old pressure cooker, so we are already off to a good start.  I've used it to make a pork roast, some rice (my rice cooker is having issues...something to do with capacitors my husband is telling me, so I have to have him look at it so it'll power up correctly) and mashed potatoes.  So far, so good :).

I was able to get the cooker for about 74.00 after an online coupon on Amazon was applied, so I was happy with that as the coupon saved me about 5.00.  Every little bit helps.

3.  I've been doing a ton of rearranging around here and one of the things I did was I went through and found all of my Rubbermaid modular pantry storage containers that I had that I could move things around and use, combined it with a big Tupperware pantry storage container I had and I decided to put some things up on top of my fridge to make them easier to get to (or just put them up there if I didn't have room for them elsewhere, such as the juniper berries).  

Some things like the spatzle and the black rice are part of my son's feeding therapy plans, so I'm going to be happy to have them within easy reach.  

I was even able to stick a couple of containers on each side of the fridge, tucked behind the front storage containers so I could fit a few more things on top of the fridge.  I really like the organization of the items and it actually looks pretty good.  

4.  I fixed a lamp my in-laws had given to us (okay, so I begged them if we could have it, which probably helped to sway them a bit *laugh*) that used to belong to my husband's grandparents.  Grandchildren had played rough with the lamp (it is a "working" spinning wheel lamp, so calls to children like nobody's business) and had broken a few things on it.  I was able to get it mostly working.  We still have to restring it as there is a knot in the string that is on the lamp now that causes the gears to slip and the lamp to come unstrung.  I'm happy I was able to mostly fix it, though, as both my husband and I really like the lamp.  I was able to fix it with parts I already had around the house (I'll share pictures of it later as the ones I took came out blurry).

5.  I completely rearranged the pantry (I know, like when do I keep it the same for more than six months at a time *laugh*) and so far everyone seems happy with the way it is working out.

6.  My mother-in-law called and said that raspberries were ready to pick over at her place.  I managed to get enough for two quart jars of berries.  I had decided that this year I wanted to can the berries whole in syrup to use in desserts and things as just freezing them seemed to lead to freezer burn quicker than I liked.  It was hot and humid and when I saw that I was going to get probably two quarts of berries out of what I picked, I decided to not can them (I'm running out of room on my pantry shelves anyway) in the hot water bath canner, but instead to freeze them in quart jars instead.  It worked great and now I have two quarts of raspberries in the pantry ready to defrost and use in desserts and then I can use the syrup they are canned in for other purposes as well :).

7.  Our CSA has been really helpful in filling in gaps in the freezer for winter storage.  I processed four heads of broccoli this week, a head of cauliflower, some more kale and we are going to be using a big zucchini, some small cucumbers and other items with our meals.  

And now, a Segway into a garden update!

I'm really happy with how the CSA is working out as well...the garden is growing.  Kind of.  I THINK I can hopefully start harvesting lettuce this week.  After a long, long wait.  Past that I don't have any peas developing yet, the chard is just dead in the water and hasn't done anything since it popped out of the ground no matter how much nutrients I dump on it and the Asian broccoli I planted did the same thing.  So, basically I might get enough lettuce out of the garden this year to make a difference and past that I'm just praying the potatoes don't let me down.  It has not been a good garden year.

And there you go folks.  Like I said, there hasn't been much going on around here in the money saving department.  I hope things have been going well for you all and stay tuned.  We've been having some interesting meals around here of late, so menu plans will hopefully be shared again and give some inspiration and I'm hoping to post up my monthly goals here in the next couple of days :).


  1. My daughter and granddaughter have to watch what fabric they were as it triggers their eczema. They thought it was the laundry soap or fabric softener or they shampoo/conditioner when they took showers etc. Nope, they have to wear 100 % cotton... huge pain.
    Our garden hasn't done well between deer, rabbits and weather. I am about to start pulling tomato plants due to blossom rot being so bad. I spend way more time pitching tomatoes than canning them.
    I have a friend that freezers her berries in water, then drains the water when she thaws them to put in teas.

  2. Erika by any chance have you watched Tales from the Green Valley on YouTube? It is very good, reminds me of Wartime farm but during a different time period.

    1. Yup, I've seen that one. I have to say that series took me the longest to get through as trying to wrap my head around Peter being "Fonz" in it just kind of bugged me for some reason *laugh*. I watched "Secrets of the Castle" as well, but was kind of disappointed as Alex and Peter have such a good chemistry that I really missed Alex when he's missing in "Tudor Monastery Farm" and "The Secrets of the Castle".

  3. Hi Erika. I've been reading your blog for a few years, but have never commented. I just wanted to share the cream that finally cleared my skin of the 4 different rashes I've been struggling with since March. The worst was a severe break out of dyshidrotic eczema on my hands. The cream is available on Amazon, and is made by Cherioll. It's a Traditional Chinese Medicine cream called "Ointment Antibacterial Cream". It's made from 4 herbs and menthol. I have no association with the company, but I'm amazed at how well it worked to clear my hands in 9 days. The topical steroid cream never completely cleared it, and it would just come back as soon as I stopped using it. It's been miraculous for me! Look it up and read the reviews. Maybe it could help your son. I was miserable for months, and I sincerely feel for anyone struggling with an itchy skin condition! Best of luck. Jen