Saturday, May 30, 2020

Frugal Doings So Far in May 2020


   I thought I would make a list of the frugal doings so far in May to share with you all since I have NOT been good about the weekly frugal doings posts.  Most of this is by memory so please forgive me for the more than obvious lapses.

~Jeff rebuilt the deck with mostly salvaged and free lumber planning the rough cut boards down himself to make them smooth.
~He built a composting bin out of old pallets.  I am amazed at how quickly the compost pile inside is breaking down into nice rich compost already!
~We have been planting the garden with plants that we bought cheaply, seedlings I started here from seed, direct sowing some seeds and we had lots of volunteer plants coming up including an abundance of Swiss Chard and Kale.
~We are drying herbs from the garden...dill, oregano, sage, thyme and mint.
~I continue to stock our pantry and freezer when I find good deals on things.  The bulk bins at Winco are empty for the things that we buy the most so I am really glad I did most of that ahead of time.
~I made up a huge batch of homemade hot cocoa mix that Jeff mixes into his coffee.
~We borrowed Uncle Bob's rototiller to work the soil in our front garden.
~We used a gift card to cover 3/4 of the cost of outdoor bamboo blinds for the back porch to keep things cooler out there.  I ordered them online and they will be delivered directly to our home.
~We were given a $25 Starbucks gift card as a thank you gift.  We will use this as a treat later this Summer and try to combine it with deals if possible.
~I cooked up a huge turkey and had lots of leftovers to make into more meals to freeze for when Jeff has his knee replacement surgery.
~I did not have room in my refrigerator to thaw the turkey out before cooking so we thawed it out in one of our coolers.
~I got all the birthday and anniversary cards at the Dollar Tree that I needed for this and next month.
~Overripe bananas have been either frozen or made into banana bread.
~A good protion of our laundry is being hung out on the line to dry.
~I picked up some nice free pots and pans, along with a nice lamp, while "treasure hunting".
~Plants that we not doing well in one part of our yard were transplanted to another where they seem to be doing better.
~I've been making iced tea by the pitcher full using 3 tea bags.
~We stocked up on cheap spices at the Dollar Tree.  I found the same ones at Walmart for four times the price.
~More movies are being watched on Youtube while we munch on old fashioned home popped pocorn.
~We picked up another 50 pound bag of flour and more 1 pound bags of yeast to add to our pantry.
~We also picked up the ingredients to make homemade laundry detergent since the laundry detergent we normally get has been hard to come by lately.
~Jeff was able to get 2 large bags of free potatoes from work.
~We are doing the "cherry picking" method of shopping buying what is on sale at rock bottom prices.
~Many new recipes have been tried out lately and we are finding some new favorites.
~I'm back to working my points programs after a long break from doing so.
~Jeff and I are enjoying our hot tub once more.
~More loaves of bread are made weekly.
~We had an abundance of potatoes that needed to be used ASAP and 2 bags of lemons that also needed to be used.  I found a recipe for Greek Lemon potatoes and tweaked it to our taste.  Jeff and I both loved it!  Of course it is just another one of those I throw this and that into a pot and put comes something wonderful thank goodness moments.
~I was having a bad fibro flair day and had gone to take a nap.  I woke up to the smell of brownies coming out of the oven.  This is why I keep a stocked my hubby can make brownies for me.  Just kidding, but it sure is a nice bonus. 😁
~I harvested some radishes from our garden.  I turned them into kim chee radishes.
~Jeff and I have found more free channels on our Roku. YAY!
~I used some of the leftover turkey and homemade turkey gravy to make 2 containers of turkey pot pie filling (they went in the freezer for future meals).
~I also made 3 pans of turkey enchiladas.  We had one for dinner and the other 2 pans went in the freezer as well.  Jeff gave it an two thumbs up!
~While I was at it, I also made turkey stroganoff sauce and will have that over noodles.
~The turkey carcus was made into turkey noodle soup and turkey bone broth.  To make the bone broth, I just put the bones with a little of the meat still attached to them into my HUGE crockpot and cooked it on low for about 20 hours. It is nutrient rich and very flavorful.  It will be used to make soups and in casseroles and rice dishes. Most of that was also frozen.
~The pillows and cushions are now back out on the glider swing on the screened in porch.  Patchy and I enjoyed a nice nap on it after I spent a long day cooking and gardening.  I'm also enjoying being able to lay out there and read.
~I direct seeded in a bunch of cosmos and zinnias.  I love how pretty they are and that they attract bees to the garden to help pollinate it.
~Jeff got the Swamp Cooler ready for us to use since the temperatures are climbing quickly.
~I harvested spinach and lettuce from the garden along with rhubarb.
~Jeff went down to get food commodities in our town's food giveaway.  We volunteered with and even were in charge of this program for years until it became too much for me to be able to do any longer.  He came home with 4 boxes full of fresh fruits and veggies, canned goods, milk, yogurt, cheese, juice, pasta, flour, rice, other grains and beans, treats, frozen meats and fruits, breads and some treat items.  This really is going to help us out since we are trying not to spend any more money than needed so we can bank it for when Jeff is off without pay if he has to be home for more than a month after his surgery.  Mentally adding up all of the food we were given I would say it was at least $300 worth.
~The bush and pole beans have been started from seed directly in the garden and we transplanted out the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and more cantaloupe.
~Jeff set up the sprinklers and soaker hoses in the garden for me to make my life so much easier.
~I have been making bouquets for the house with flowers from our garden.
~I cooked up some breakfast sausage that I made into patties.  We used them to make sausage "McMuffins" along with sausage, cheese and bagel sandwiches.
~On our last shopping trip (about 2 weeks ago), I found fresh pizza dough at Winco for 98 cents.  I usually make my own but bought it anyway so that I could make a quick pizza at home since I already had all the toppings.  It came in really handy when the inevitable Fibro flare hit.
~The rain barrel got full when we had multiple rain storms so I have been using that water for my potted plants.
~Jeff and I curled up in bed on one of the hotter days, cranked up the swamp cooler, popped some popcorn and watched a movie.  It felt like a mini vacation.

   Only one more day in May and then we are on to June already.  How on earth did that happen so quickly?  We have done all we can at this point to have our garden in and going.  We do have some horrible weather coming in later today with chances of tornados and large hail and I am praying that our garden survives.  Be blessed all!


Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Tale of the Turkey that Kept on Giving

   Jeff and I got a free turkey way back in November and had it in the freezer.  He and I decided that it was time to cook that baby up and see how many meals we could get out of it.  Here is the final tally...

~2 complete turkey with wonderful side dishes meals
~3 pans of turkey enchiladas (froze 2 pans of them and the first pan fed us twice)
~2 quart bags and 1 gallon sized bag of turkey meat (into the freezer they went)
~3 quart sized bags of bone broth (freezer again)
~2 gallon sized bags of turkey pot pie filling (freezer...are you seeing a pattern here yet)
~3 quart sized bags of turkey noodle soup (freezer) and one meal we ate right away
~1 gallon bag turkey soup base (freezer)
~2 turkey sandwich meals
~1 curried turkey salad meal
~1 quart sized bag of turkey alfredo sauce (freezer)

   Not bad for one 18 pound turkey.  With Jeff's upcoming surgery we are trying so hard to not spend money if not needed and still have some great meals.  Since his surgery is right when the heat gets really bad and the heat makes me ill, we needed easy meals or makings of meals to just pull out of the freezer or harvest from the garden.  I don't drive out of town so there will be no grocery store runs....everything has to be bought and ready ahead of time.  I think we did well!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Back in the Frugal Saddle and Upcoming Surgery

      I'm back...hopefully on a more regular basis once again.  😉   We have been extremely busy with home improvement projects, gardening and just life in general.  I've been pushing myself to the limit and then between being exhausted and the weather changes, have found myself in bed a lot.  No, I still have not found the balance that I need in my life.  It's either full throttle or crash it seems with me.  Maybe I just need to accept that is my pattern and live with it.

   Hospitals are reopening for regular surgeries once more and we finally have a date for Jeff to have his total knee replacement.  July 7th is the date...the day before my birthday.  Honestly I am glad he is having it that day so that we can spend more time together.  From what we are understanding, he may be out recovering for 2 months or more.  The first month is covered pay wise by his sick leave and vacation pay...they next might be tight though.  To that end, we are doing everything we can NOW to cut costs and put money into savings.  

   We have been planting like crazy in the garden and I harvested my first radishes yesterday.  I have a bunch of mint, thyme, sage and oregano to dry since the plants are going nuts!  It won't be long until some of the dill is also ready to harvest and dry. Jeff borrowed Uncle Bob's tiller and got the front garden all ready for me to get the peppers, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and pole beans in.  I already got some yellow bush beans seeded in today.   Instead of buying hanging baskets, I recycled some of my older hanging basket/pots and bought pony packs of flowers on sale and repotted them into the hanging baskets and bigger display pots.  I figured I have saved at least $200 doing this.  I do need my flowers and luckily Jeff understands and supports this.  I will also be seeding in zinnias and cosmos in the fruit and veggie gardens.  I want to attract all those lovely bees for good pollination and I love flowers!

   Jeff and I continue to build up our pantry and I am so glad we did.  We are seeing a uptick in Covid-19 cases in our area.  I knew this would be the case so I planned for NOT being out among the crowds.  Unfortunately, while shopping on Thursday, we saw the craziness of people who are having a total disregard for wearing masks and social distancing.  Thank goodness Jeff and I had our N95 masks on.  There is a slight chance that we may have been exposed to it that day by Chris who might have been exposed to it by a coworker...just waiting on test results from the person that was around Chris (who was then around us) to see if they got it from being around one of their family members who has it.  Is that convoluted enough for you?  YOu get a gold star if you followed that explanation.  We cancelled the family birthday party this weekend because we did not want to take the chance on anyone getting this thing.  Praying that we are all virus free starting with Chris's coworker.  So this weekend is a stay at home weekend for us all. Chances are very slim that Chris got it though even if his coworker tests positive since Chris was not around him for more than a few minutes and they were at least 6 feet apart even then.  Isn't life in this day and age fun???  NOT!!!!

   Anyway, back to the frugal stuff.  Jeff and I are putting a water saving plan into place so that we do not use so much water in the house so we can save it for the gardens.  We do have our rain barrel in place and are already using it to water potted plants.  We will be doing some heavy mulching with wood chips once we get the rest of the garden planted so that we also conserve water that way.  The bird netting is going up over the cherry tree to keep the birds from eating the fruit now that it has been severely pruned back.  

   Other things we have done are redoing the back screened in porch with mainly recycled and free materials.  It looks great now and I don't worry about falling through the decking.  We also ordered some outdoor blinds from Lowes using a gift card to cover most of the cost.  We use that porch a lot and with it promising to be a scorcher of a Summer, I wanted to keep as much of the direct afternoon sun that comes pouring in from heating things up as much.  This will keep the deck and the house cooler and hopefully will help me to not get as ill and go into some really severe flares like I have in the past with the heat.

   Before Jeff's surgery, we will be doing a big restock on things like dog food, cat food, kitty litter and at least a month's worth of groceries.  We do not want to have to go anywhere, other than doctor's appointments, while he recovers.  His body is going to need all the energy it has for recovery and I don't want him or I getting sick.  Jaysn has already said he would come over and mow the lawn for us if needed and I know the kids will be more than willing to help pick things up for us in town since I do not drive out of our small town anymore.  My plan is to also cook up a bunch of freezer meals and have them ready to just pull out and throw in the oven.  I'm cooking up a big turkey today so part of that will be made into turkey pot pie filling, soup, slices with gravy and whatever else I can think of.  I will also be making homemade mac and cheese (at least 2 pans full) and maybe a few more lasagnas.  I already have 1 lasagna in there waiting.  I do have lots of frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs that will be easy to make into meals.  I also want to get more burgers and smoked sausages, cook them up ahead of time and be able to just pull them out of the freezer and zap for dinners on those days when I have no energy at all.

   So that is the update and plan so far.  Be blessed and have a lovely weekend!







Thursday, May 21, 2020

Steven is 3 Years Old!

   Our youngest grandson, Steven, turned 3 years old this week!  He has totally lost that toddler look over the past few months and now looks like a big boy. 😃  We saw him a couple of weeks ago and were amazed at the changes not only in his appearance, but also in his language!  His favorite saying now is "Oh my gosh" about everything and we are convinced he learned that from his Auntie Heather.  She is very proud of that fact too.  LOL!  

   He loves to sing and is very good about sharing his radio controlled cars, that his Uncle Jeremy gave him, with G-pa and I.  Uncle Jeremy is very generous and gives the best presents! We have so much fun racing them and making them do tricks.  If they get stuck, the controls are quickly turned over to one of us to get it unstuck.  He is fascinated with how things work and tools.  He tries to "fix" or improve everything he can get his hands on.  He reminds me so much of Jeff's father (Steven's great-grandfather).  I really wish things were different so Steven and his Papa could enjoy each other's company, but things have not changed at all on that front unfortunately.  

   With the whole Covid-19 virus and the stay at home orders and now slowly opening back up with restrictions in place, we have not got to see much of our Steven lately.  We miss him terribly and hope to be able to see more of him in the near future.  He and his cousins Bradley and Isaiah, along with our kids, are our world.


Saturday, May 9, 2020

Not Going to Lie....It's Been a Rough Few Weeks


   I had planned on posting again sooner, but we have had a rough few weeks.  We lost a dear friend a few weeks ago to cancer, a sweet friend lost both her father and mother within days of each other from Covid-19 this week, and just this morning, we lost our beloved Aunt Norma (neighbor who has been family to us) to Dementia.  😢   I am glad I spent time with Aunt Norma along the way and visited with her, Uncle Bob and their son Clay two days ago.  Norma was in rough shape, but I was still able to kiss her on the forehead and tell her I loved her one last time.  I don't know if she could hear me, but I hope on some level, she felt comforted and loved.  I worry about my Chris, as he was super close to both of them.  He is going to try and make it out here tonight after he gets off work.  Luckily he was able to stop in and see them about 3 or 4 days ago while I kept the little boys here with me.

   My heart aches for all those whom we love that have lost loved ones recently.  Not being able to have funerals or memorial services makes it so much harder.  You need that outpouring of love and support during these times in your life.  I want so badly to go over and give Uncle Bob a big hug right now but I don't want to intrude on their family time.  I did talk with one of their sons who told me that his mom had passed early this morning and asked if there was anything I could do for them.  When things quiet down, Jeff and I will go over to see Bob and check in with him. We love him and Norma dearly, they really are family to us.

  I do hope to be back soon to regular posting.  There is so much I want to share....good things. 😀  Jeff and I have been busy in the gardens and he has been rebuilding the back porch for me.  It is looking great.  He is putting the finishing touches on it this weekend.  I can't wait to share how it looks...he did a fantastic job!

   Be blessed and Happy Mother's Day to all the moms of humans or fur babies in my circle of friends.  Much love to you all!