Thursday, June 22, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up


   Hello all my beautiful friends!  Steven will be here tomorrow, so I decided to write this post a day early and get it up.  I know I will be too tired tomorrow evening to do so. Having him here with me is wonderful though and I so enjoy our special time together. 😊

   This week has been a very busy one and I forgot to write things down daily that I got accomplished.  Therefore, this post will be a list of the things that I can remember.  Hopefully I have included most things.  I did have a good nap earlier after pushing myself way too hard yesterday in the garden.  Was it worth it???  Yes!!!  I got so much done between seeding things in, transplanting and getting buckets full of compost to where they were needed.  I am super sore today and was encouraged by my husband to take it easy today.  I am more than happy to take his advice. 😁

   So here is my list...

~Remember all those strawberries that I had cut up?  Well they are now divided up between 3 storage containers and are in the freezer.

~Speaking of strawberries, I have been harvested some of our own from the garden.  They are absolutely delicious!

~We bought 1  1/2 cubic yards of compost in bulk from Jeff's place of work for $28.00.  Jaysn picked it up for us since he had our truck and was returning it to us anyway.  That compost has been making its way all over our yard .  

~Those 2 huge bags of spinach were taken care of by doing the following.  I gave some of the fresh spinach to Shannon and we had 2 big spinach salads.  I also blanched and froze 3 packages of it.  Two of the packages were chopped up so they could be used in a spinach artichoke dip and the other will be used when I make Kalua Pig.

~I made a simple applesauce cake.  It is so easy and one of our favorites.  It is a great way to use up canned or fresh applesauce.  This time I used canned applesauce and I will say I like it with our homemade applesauce better.  Both are really good, but there is a bit more appley flavor with my homemade stuff.  Judging by all the apples on our apple tree right now, I will hopefully be able to make a bunch of homemade applesauce again this year.  Last year was NOT a good year for our apples, so I was only able to make one batch.

~I had a family pack of chicken drumsticks.  I divided the chicken into some for making Jeff favorite baked chicken and put the rest into a crockpot with some water to cover them and some chicken bouillon.  The baked off chicken was served the first night with mashed potatoes and some sliced up crisp apples.  We still had some drumsticks left over and those made 2 more meals for Jeff.  The chicken in the crockpot was left to cook overnight.  The next morning, I took the broth and refrigerated it separately from the chicken legs.  Later that day, I took the meat off the bones and froze a portion of it and then put the rest back in with the concentrated broth, some water, carrots (left over from our camping trip), some diced onion (from our onion harvest last year that I had processed and froze) and celery,  I simmered that all together for about 30 minutes and then added in some "misfit noodles" (leftover dry pasta from packages that only had a bit left in them).  That made another 2 meals for us.

~I've been picking flowers out of my garden and making small bouquets and putting those in vases.  I love how my home is filled with the sweet scent of roses.

~Jeff put compost onto the front garden in areas where I wanted to grow even more food.  He mixed it in well with the dirt and dug it about 13 inches down. 

~I planted two types of bush beans , flowers, the rest of the squash plants that I had started in the greenhouse. more tomato starts and transplanted some basil into the garden beds as well as potted some more up in a larger pot.  I want to see where the basil does the best.

~More hair detangler spray was made with a sample sized hair conditioner and warm water all mixed together in a leftover spray bottle that used to hold leave on hair conditioning spray.  I am making my own with just the cost of the water.

~For Father's Day, we used a Safeway gift card to buy 2 frozen pizzas (I also had a digital coupon to make them cheaper), some sushi and a large iced tea.  I had the sushi on the way home (I had not had breakfast or lunch and was really hungry by 2 p.m.) and we cooked up the pizzas once we got home.  We then watched the movie "Avitar, the Way of the Water" while we ate our pizza.

~We bought a nice stepladder for $10 at a yard sale.  I have been asking Jeff for one for about 6 months now and I told him I would find one at a yard sale.  I finally did!  This will live in the pantry so I can reach things on the higher shelves.

~Dollar Tree had some of the Goli brand vitamins so I bought 2 bottles of them.  These are usually pretty spendy!  I also got 2 bottles of foot powder (Jeff goes through a lot of this in the Summer), some cotton rounds that he uses to clean his cpap mask, and some more garden seeds.

~We found a brand new with tags large hummingbird feeder at Goodwill when they brought the new bins out to restock the shelves.  I bought it and put it aside as a gift for someone who loves feeding hummingbirds.

~The laundry was hung out to dry about part of the week when my back could handle it.

~I mixed up more cinnamon sugar.  I needed this to sprinkle on top of the applesauce cake.

~Another years worth of my Tuscan Herb Salt was made with herbs from the garden.  My mother requests this as her Christmas gift every year, so I keep her supplied.

~We bought Jeff's cpap machine outright which will save us all kinds of money in the long run instead of renting it.

~Jeff used some of our stored gas in our gas cans that we keep here to fill up his car.  We wanted to make sure to rotate the gas in the gas cans, so we will be refilling them once more.

~Now that I have rediscovered the joys of napping, I am trying to get a few in a week.  They are a frugal luxury that cannot be beat! 😉

   Well that is all I can remember at the moment.  It has been a great week for me thus far and I have gotten a lot done.  I have pushed myself further physically than I would have thought I could (which led to a 3 hour nap the following day) and Jeff and I sat down and made a list of our financial goals for the year.  Seeing those goals in writing really helps motivate me to stay home more and spend less.  It also forces me to get more creative, and that is a challenge that I gladly take on.  Now I need to get off the computer for awhile and take care of my floors which are filthy between the cats shedding and us tracking stuff in from the gardens. 

Friday, June 16, 2023

Two HUGE Bags of Spinach and Camping Trip


   We took a family camping trip last weekend down at a campground on the shores of a dam.  It's about a 1 1/2 hour drive from our home and is just lovely!  Heather had booked us 2 campsites right across from each other.  She and Chris put us up in their tent trailer in the shadiest spot and we parked the boat there too.  The other site was a corner spot and had nice areas for tents (we set up two large ones for sleeping and 1 screened in shade tent).  We also had a nice large area around the firepit too.  We got there on Friday afternoon and had time for some of the family to get out and do some fishing.  The rest of us, except for Jeff (he took a much needed nap), all went kayaking and swimming.  All was going well until a snake came swimming by and then I was out of the water!  That was followed by a thunderstorm and a rather stern reminder to my Steven that I was in charge and yes, he was going to get out of the water and follow me up to the truck.  I had to tell him what could happen to him from the lightening and then he high tailed it up with me.

   Saturday morning I got up early with Chris and he and I went out fishing, just the two of us.  It was a free fishing day in Idaho, so I did not have to buy a license.  I caught one fish, while Chris was pulling them in right and left. 😖  It was all good though because the scenery was breathtaking, I practiced my rather rusty casting skills, and spending one on one time with my son Chris was priceless.   The remainder of the day was spent playing with the grandkids, taking a nap and roasting sausages and hot dogs over the fire, followed by a second round of making s'mores.  We all hated to have to pack up and leave on Sunday, but it was an amazing and much needed time away from the "world" and electronic devices (other than Steven's tablet which they brought to keep him amused on the trip down and back).  It was so much so, that we are planning to do another camping trip here soon closer to home. 😊

   Now, for a side note...on the way down to our camp site, we stopped to get gas in a little town and the library was having a plant sale.  I found both large comfrey and lemon balm plants, so I bought them and they sat outside the tent trailer, right next to the solar light stake that I had set up next to the tent trailer steps.  Well wouldn't you know it, I found an FFA plant sale in the little town where Chris and Heather used to live.  They were having a 50% off sale and I found some ornamental plants there that were just lovely, including a nice hanging basket.  My kids just laughed at me for buying plants on the way to the camping trip but didn't blink an eye when I told them I bought more on the way home.  Yes, I am a bit plant crazy!

    When we arrived home we found 3 cats who desperately wanted out attention despite being spoiled rotten by Shannon while we were gone for 3 days.  They were underfoot the whole time while we got things unloaded and put away.  I noticed that our spinach was starting to go to bolt, so I made a mental note to get it picked Monday.  I was way too exhausted to try to do it Sunday evening.  Both Jeff and I were in bed by 7 p.m. that night.

   Monday came and I was busy doing multiple loads of laundry and later finally got around to picking all the spinach.  I ended up with 2 huge grocery bags full after doing all the washing and patting the leaves dry.  Jeff worked on doing weeding while I finished that and did some watering.

   Tuesday was a crash day for me, so not much got done at all.

   Wednesday, Jeff got the kitchen all cleaned up.  The dishwasher is not fixed yet, and I do not know when it will  be.  Handwashing is not Jeff's favorite thing to do, but he did it while I worked on cutting up 3 1/2 pounds of strawberries and getting them tossed with some sugar.  I'm still debating on if I want to make them into jam or freeze them in smaller containers to use over pancakes, waffles and strawberry shortcake.  I guess I should decide that tonight and get whatever it is done.


  Today, Thursday, I did more laundry, spent some time weeding,  and explored our town's little convenience store, which also has booths for people who want to rent them out to sell things.  I had a nice chat with Heather, and got some money out of the bank to have on hand here and also advised her to do the same.  I then got a spinach and cheese lasagna all made and popped it in the oven.  Oh my goodness, our house if smelling divine!

   I had better get this post finished.  I have Steven here on Friday and I need all my energy to keep up with him. :)  I love having him here and it is something that I look forward to every Friday during the Summer months.


Monday, June 5, 2023

We've Been Busy and Prayers Needed


   I know that it has been a few weeks since my last post.  There has been a lot going on and both Jeff and I have been going and going strong.  I have also been completely thrown for a loop with my sister Leonie's declining health and a horrible scare we had with her.  Not that all is bad, there have also been some wonderful things going on in our family as well.

   First off, my sweet sister Leonie is in need of prayer.  She has to be medically evacuated from Tahiti to France as her heart was having some serious issues and her cancer is progressing rather rapidly. 😭 She needs a bone marrow transplant and the two donors that matched her were not able to donate after all.  One had passed away, and the other had recently had covid and the flu, which made that one ineligible.  My sister needs a donor with the blood type O or O+.  From what I understand, the bone marrow transplant is the last line of treatment that can possibly save her.  The thought of losing my sister has been weighing heavily upon me.  She and I need to have more time together to make up for all those many years apart.  I love her beyond words and even as I am typing this, I am a complete mess with tears flowing down my face.  Please keep her in your prayers and thoughts.

   Now switching gears and trying to pull myself out of going down a teary path any further...

   Bradley has been busy playing baseball with his team and is now in tournament play.  So far they have won their first game in the tournament and play again tonight.  Jeff and I have been going to as many of his games as possible.  We have watched as his entire team as grown and gotten better. We love seeing how they encourage and cheer each other on...I think that is the best part.  

   Isaiah had his dance recital the other night and it was wonderful!  His Grandma Tammy is his dance teacher.  Isaiah is taking tap from her and the progress that he and the other kids in his class really showed.  Our son Jaysn ran the sound for the recital, Max (Tammy's oldest grandson) took pictures, Grandma Sandra (Heather's grandmother) did alterations of the costumes, Bruce (Heather's dad) supervised the boys backstage, and Macie (Tammy's oldest granddaughter) helped with the younger dancers and was also in the recital.  She is also a very talented dancer herself.  It really was a family affair.  LOL!

   Steven had his school play a few days before the recital.  He had practiced and was so excited about it.  Then came the day of the recital and he absolutely froze and shut down when he saw about 500 people there to watch.  He is high functioning on the autism spectrum and I instantly realized what was happening.  He refused to do the play and tried to shut everything off around him by getting as small as he possibly could.  We all left before the play started and it took awhile to get him calmed down enough where he was not trying to hide from the world.  He finally came out of it and was back to his happy self once he felt secure again.  We are very proud of him for trying something scary.  It did not work out this time, but maybe with a much smaller group of people watching, he might be able to handle it.  If he can, wonderful, if not, that is okay too.

   Jeff and I have both been busy in the gardens also.  The weeds have been going bananas and the Spring crops need to be harvested today as the heat is making them bolt.  Jeff brought home a truckload of topsoil for us to use in the raised beds to hill up the rapidly growing potatoes and also add more soil to the strawberry, rhubarb and asparagus beds.  My sweet neighbor across the street gave me some terra cotta planters, along with some that hook over railings that you can grow flowers in.  I am giving her a cherry tomato plant.  I think I will also run over some of the pok choi that I harvest today to her.  She loves it and I have lots and lots of it.  We still had some dirt left over, so Jeff is taking it, along with our truck, to Jaysn and Rachel.  Jeff and Rachel built some raised beds together for Rachel to plant it.  The dirt will help to partially fill the planters so that they will not have to buy as much more.  They will be using our truck for about a week to get things done that they need to also.

   Our Josh is off for a month of training in Texas, leaving Lauren at home with Tate and Peyton.  Tate has been having a rough time of it lately.  He is 2 years old now and given that there have been so many changes in his life with the recent move and having huge emotions and not knowing how to express them with words has led to typical 2 year old meltdowns.  This is a new thing for both Josh and Lauren to deal with since up to this point, he has been such an easy child.  Luckily for all of us, Lauren is an extremely patient mother who can diffuse and redirect his attention.  Peyton continues to be a very happy little girl and is close to crawling.  I think when her daddy gets back from his training that she will be all over the house and into everything! 😉  We can't wait to see them when they all come up in August for a visit!

   Anyway, it is starting to get hot outside and I need to get the laundry hung out to dry.  I have a very long "to do" list this week and am praying that I can get it all done.  This week we concentrate on the gardens and next week on the house, along with some more work and planting in the gardens.  Be blessed my friends and remember to make your home a safe and nurturing place in this world that seems to have gone mad.  Much love to you all!