Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (Times 2)

 Man, I'm behind again when it comes to blogging.  I keep hoping things will work out so that I have time to get some back blogging (of which I have about, oh, 18 unfinished posts to finish up and publish...doh), but it seems like life keeps throwing things into my path and I just run out of hours in the day.

So, what has been going on around here?

Well, a lot.  A friend of ours has lost their business and income due to Covid and now they are having to move into a small apartment they have on their property and having to rent their house to hopefully survive.  We made them a care package of food to help supplement what they are getting at the food bank and dropped it off to them this last week.  Things are rough for so many people right now, including so many people I know.  I wish I could do more.  As is with prices continually going up on pretty  much everything, it just seems like money never goes far enough for us, so I can imagine what it is like for so many others right now.

Then we ended up with another mouse problem.  Bright side, it did NOT get into the pantry (thank goodness) and the steel wool seems to be working well to keep them out of there.  Downside is that due to the steel wool keeping them from getting into the pantry, the sucker got caught in the wall and was stuck in the wall between the pantry and my master bedroom.  It was LOUD trying to gnaw through the wall to get into the bedroom and the scratching and everything and I think I didn't get any sleep for a few days as a result.  I even took the trim off of the bedroom wall, opened a hole a bit in the sheet rock on the bottom of the wall and really tried to help the sucker get out of the wall so it could "play with the cats" for a few moments before the cats dispatched it.  Instead it ended up dying in the wall, so I've been leaving windows open and the furnace turned off a lot to help air out the downstairs until the smell dissipates.  The husband wants to open up the wall to try and see where the mice are getting in at so that he can close up the hole, but he's not sure when he's going to find time to do that, so we'll see how it goes on getting that problem buttoned up, hopefully soon.

So, as a result of the mouse and the cats trying to dig through the walls to get to play with a new toy, they managed to dig out a bunch of the steel wool I had around the pantry walls.  So, that led to more than a few days of gutting the pantry and leaving spaces open for the cats to access so they didn't break anything trying to get to the wall and, once they had given up on the mouse being alive, it was a matter of slowly working on getting the pantry reorganized and put back together.  In the process a lot of cheap cardboard "pantry pack" boxes broke on me, resulting in me bruising the Heck out of my foot in the process, which then led me to getting frustrated beyond belief and then finally giving up and going on Amazon where I put 100.00 on my Amazon card to get a can organizing pantry system going.  I immediately started to experience buyers remorse on making the purchase because we are broke and don't have money and such, but at the same time I realized that I really had to make some investment in organization and storage just to make sure things get rotated correctly and I don't go insane (or break a foot) in the process.  I ended up ordering a couple of these units (no associate link, just sharing) as they are adjustable and have really good reviews.  We'll see how it works out.

I want to thank those that e-mailed me with recommendations (or posted advice) for skin creams for Alvah.  I ordered the ones that were recommended to me.  I'm always willing to try new creams with the son's skin being so terrible, especially right now.  Hopefully one of them will work as he's not sleeping worth a darn and a lot of that is just due to him being super itchy.

On the eczema front, I've really started working on feeding therapy hard core.  One of the things that hit me all of a sudden was how much Alvah liked ripping apart the nori when we were making his Ticket to Tokyo Radish box.  Knowing that ripping things and experiencing textures was an important part of picking up new foods, I went online and started researching seaweed snacks.  I found these snacks (once again no associate links or anything) that were made with perilla oil.  I had never heard of such a thing, but after researching it I found out that perilla oil could actually help allergies, so I got those to try out on the son.  He actually ripped apart some so far AND took a bite out of one.  He spit said bite out, but for him to bite it so quickly is definitely a good step forward :).

He's also been big on eating fruit snacks of late, so I ordered some gummy vitamins to try and feed him.  I ended up having to order the Amazon brand gummy vitamins which are REALLY sour tasting, but he's been a trooper about taking them.  I have to rip them into smaller pieces and he kind of powers through eating them, but he is taking them, which is such a relief that he's getting some added nutrition into him.

I also after discovering the YouTube channel "Kimono Mom's Kitchen" on YouTube started watching her videos on how she got her young daughter to start eating solid foods.  Her daughter sounds a lot like Alvah in her eating habits (would NOT eat solids until nine months of age, etc) and she came up with a way to start getting nutrition into her daughter by adding dashi stock to EVERYTHING her daughter consumed.  Basically this was a way to condition her daughter to the flavor and it would kind of bled into what she was eating and she wouldn't notice it.  Since dashi is super healthy and I have a big bag of dashi stock granules in the fridge that I got for Japanese cooking (since going out for dates just doesn't really work for the husband and I, I started making things like miso soup at home when I make a Japanese meal.  It has been a really great, and surprisingly easy, way to make dinner special but without worries about getting pick up and wondering about peanut cross contamination while eating around the son), I figured it was worth a shot to start adding small amounts of the dashi granules to things like rice when I cooked it.  He can definitely taste the dashi, I think, as he doesn't eat as much as he used to when I would make it without (the rest of us can not tell at all), but he IS eating it, which, to me, is definitely a good thing and is getting him just a TINY bit more nutrition in his diet.

So, yeah, none of those things are really "money saving" but to me they were definitely worth the accumulating additional debt over.

Now, onto some money saving things that occurred!

1.  My rice cooker that I got at the used store has just never worked...right, for lack of a better word.  You would plug in the cord and nothing would happen and you'd have to plug it in up to eight times before the menu screen would light up and you could get going making your rice.  My husband took apart the rice cooker last week and immediately figured the problem was the retractable cord making a loose connection.  He removed the old cord and replaced it with a spare cord he had in his spare pieces and parts.  With just labor and a part he had around the house (and some soldering skills) the rice cooker now works a TON better then it ever has, is much faster cooking said rice and it definitely saved me from having to buy a new rice cooker (as the problem with it not powering up was getting worse and worse and I was worried that I'd have to spend money to get a new one) as the son much prefers the rice cooked in a rice cooker compared to the pressure cooker (honestly I can't tell any difference in quality, but he does somehow).

2.  I harvested some lettuce from the garden this week and also pulled the green onions I'd planted on a whim.  I was actually impressed with how big the green onions had gotten and I even had some small onions to show for it!  I cut up the onions and put them into the freezer to use later in miso soup and things.

Our CSA boxes the last few weeks have been really nice too.  We got a TON of zucchini (two of which I actually gifted to our friends in their care package as they wanted some), turnips, potatoes, broccoli, edible pod peas, daikon radish, strawberries, tomatoes and other things.  I've really enjoyed the variety of things we have gotten from the box this summer and I'm really glad I used part of our stimulus money to spend the 200.00 on the box.  We've definitely gotten more than 200.00 worth of produce out of the box and it has allowed me to put up a bunch of different vegetables for the winter time, which we'll definitely appreciate this winter :).

3.  I was able to actually get chicken at the store, which was great and has officially made it so that the meat is stocked pretty well for the time being.  I am hoping I can keep it that way in case of further shortages, especially this winter.

4.  The daughter needed a new pair of sneakers, which was my fault for waiting so long to get her some.  She has been in the same size of shoes for a few years now, so I just was not used to the kids wearing out shoes before they outgrew them.  I used an online converter to figure out what her size would be in women's shoes compared to kids sizes and went on Amazon.  I found some good sneakers for her for MUCH less than buying them from local sources and they should be in on Friday.  Hopefully that will help to alleviate her hurting feet when we go out anywhere.

5.  Speaking of going out places, we have gone a few places this summer.  The latest one was this last weekend we went to visit Willow and show the kids what there was to see.  

We parked the truck and took a very short hike to check out the old highway that they replaced years ago (the new highway is over the railroad tracks there) and my husband told the kids how he used to travel the old highway when he was a kid.  We had a good time and it is easy to social distance when you basically just take a long drive *laugh*.

6.  I put in an online order with Carrs.  They had melons on sale for 3.33 a piece for mini watermelons, honeydews and cantaloupes.  I ordered one of each, figuring there was no way that they wouldn't be out of stock on at least a couple of them.  Well, I ended up with all three *laugh* so we've been eating melon for dessert the last little bit.  I have to say I've been enjoying it greatly, especially since it didn't cost us much to get them.  

7.  We invested in a big container of food grade CO2 at a local business.  It was kind of expensive this time around as we had to buy the canister, but the refills will be cheap now that we have the container.  I bought a CO2 converter hose set up online to refill Soda Stream bottles from a big CO2 canister, so we should be good to go on refilling the Soda Stream bottles on our own instead of having to pay for new canisters or refills, and at a much cheaper price (a really big bottle of CO2 will cost us less than 40.00 to refill while a new Soda Stream canister costs us that much).  So, now I'm looking forward to trying out new flavors of sparkling beverages now that I don't have to worry about hording the CO2 for the son's soda.

And, yeah, I'm going to call it good there as I have to make lunch for the kids and get started on afternoon schoolwork.  I hope everything is going well with you all and here's hoping I can get back to blogging regularly again here!


  1. I love reading your posts!

    If I'm remembering correctly, you were starting a new approach to stocking up on meat - buying what your family prefers rather than what was on sale. Did you end up continuing with this approach and if so, was it more expensive?

    The CSA produce looks great as does your lettuce and green onions.

  2. Sometimes you have to spend money to save your sanity! This year I bought two "mug trees" for our coffee mugs as our mugs were taking up too much cabinet space or counter space. I kept the 12 mugs I like the most, hung them on their trees and have been very happy with that !