Saving on Saturday

  1. This week both Matt and I realized that we are in need of new shoes. Both of us have tennis shoes that did not have any trend on the bottom. We decided to check out Belk’s last night as well had some time without any kids. We did hit the jack pot!  Stechers were buy one get one 50% off. With that discount, we purchased a pair of tennis shoes for $63.50 each.   Matt also found himself a pair of dress shoes!
  2. Part of using what is in pantry is not allowing things to go to waste, I am very proud of myself for this!  I used two boxes of Chex cereal to make “muddy buddies” and a ranch Chex mix.   I will not admit how long those boxes have been in my pantry. I also noticed that the Hawaiin rolls had not been openned that I purchased several weeks ago.  Matt suggested that we make a smash burger with them.  I used a pound of ground beef and fed five of us with that one pound!  The burgers were delicious!
  3. I did end up at the grocery store today to purchase some fruits and veggies that we have been completely out of for a couple of weeks.
  4. I am continuing to shred up junk mail and unusable paper to make the grounding and bedding for the chicken coop!  So far it is a win win!
  5. We have spent time cleaning and organizing and cooking ahead again this weekend so I will call it a success!
  6. Gardening update to come tomorrow!

5 Things Friday

  1. Last weekend we spent some time shopping to fulfill some summer needs.  I did not realize that both Kendall and Zach needed new shoes.  I still have a small list of items that are needed but I hope to finish those up this weekend as well. This was expensive but we spent time at Goodwill and Bargains by the Bin before heading to the other stores.  Zach was able to find T-shirts at Belks for around $10 each!
  2. Another good deal last weekend was Shutterfly offered 8×8 books starting at $10.  This is an awesome deal, actually one of my favorites.  I ended up spending a great deal of time, really too much time, finishing up several projects. I ordered a total of 6 books and ended up spending $130 including shipping.  The extra cost came from using Disney themes and extra pages (anything over 20). I do have one additional book I would like to get made and printed. This week Shutterfly is offering unlimited pages so I may see what that cost would be. But this depends on my time.
  3. We are headed to Disney in a short time.  I have set a couple of goals for myself in order not to be the fat mom that slows everyone down. The first is that I spend at least 12 hours on the treadmill at the YMCA.   I did my first hour last night so 11 more to go. I also want Braxton to get used to walking as we are not planning to use a stroller on this trip.  The hope is that we can start family walks on Sundays and Lily would like to do at least one other walk during the week. The problem again is time at home.
  4. I have officially lost weight. In fact, I received a compliment on it last week!   I have lost 16 pounds since December!   I am also down one jean size which is super fun!
  5. We did not even remotely stick to the pantry challenge this month. So I have decided that we will do a strict pantry challenge with the exception of milk and water and soda until our Costco trip prior to leaving.  The challenge will begin March 1st.  We will be going to Costco before then but no other trips will be made unless something is a necessity by my standards.

Saving on Saturday!

This winter has been extremely mild and wet.  Last weekend, the temperature was around 60 degrees. We took the opportunity to get outside and started working on some areas to grow foods.  I am hoping to be able to can more than I have in the past and I also want to grow more than I have in the past.  I decided that I needed to make a couple of changes for this year.

We removed the large and tall, wire that was on the back of the building. Last year, I attempted to grow cucumbers and had limited success, even with using starts that I had purchased. I decided that I would try something different. We decreased the size to just about my height and moved the wire to a 12 foot bed. The ideas is that I should be able to grow at least 24 cucumber plants along this trellis!   I am going to try to plant one side and then about four weeks later plant along the other side. My goal is to can a years supply of cucumbers and make cucumber relish as well.  Time will tell.

I want to try and grow lufas this year and needed a space so we attached another section of wire to both of the beds. The lufas should grow down and feel the space.

Today 2/17/2024, I planted 50 seeds for spinach. It would be nice to start getting some fresh spinach but also grow enough to freeze for use next winter.  I started 12 broccoli plants inside as well.   I have attempted to overwinter some green pepper plants in the greenhouse but decided to go ahead and order seeds as well. I would love to grow enough peppers not only for fresh eating but to stock the freezer as well. We will be attempting to grow bell peppers, wax peppers (these worked really really well in salsa and some lunchbox peppers as well.

This is totally Matt’s idea but it is a great idea so I wanted to share. This is the bike rake that fits in the Tahoe trailer hitch.  Matt drilled a couple of precise holes in the frame of the trailer and put the hitch in the side. This way it keeps everything off the ground and also prevents the straps from getting broken off.

This week we also headed to Goodwill to try and find some clothes that were needed. We ended up with 7 shirts for $22.   Next stop was Belk’s by shopping the clearance racks we found 4 shirts for Zach for $42.00.

Remember every little bit counts!

5 Things Friday- Travel Edition

  1. My mom, Granny, Amanda, Braxton, Lily, Izzy (Lily best friend), Kendall, Zach, Matt and I headed to Haley’s in Florida with the camper on Thursday December 28th.  The trip down started at 4;45 and we arrived around 6:30pm so a 14 hour trip including stops for gas, breakfast and lunch. We headed home on January 2nd.  Lily and Izzy were in the car with Granny as Amanda had flown home on Sunday. We started the trip around 8:15 am. and arrived home at 11:30, a 16 hour trip. It took us 6 hours to get out of Florida instead of 4.   This was I felt like our longest and slowest trip ever.  After much discussion, we are not exactly sure what we could have done differently to make the trip shorter.
  2. Everyone included David and Haley headed to Disney Springs on Friday December 29th, which was Granny’s birthday.  Braxton got his face painted as well!
  3. Saturday was our Christmas celebration. I spent a couple of hours at Urgent Care.  After dinner, Kendall, Izzy, Lily and I headed to the camper. I went to sleep, and the girls enjoyed a girls game which included lots of giggles. Matt and Zach stayed and watched a football game at Haley and David’s. Zach ended up staying at Haley’s for Saturday, Sunday and Monday night. He and Ryder played lots of video games.
  4. Sunday, New Year’s Eve was spent eating and laughing and just hanging out! The girls headed to do a little bit of shopping at Target and Ross. Lots of football was watched as well. I ended up back at the camper early. But everyone else set off fireworks and played with sparkers! It is always nice to spend time with family.
  5. Monday s adventure included a cold trip to the beach! I put my toes in the water, it was cold. Zach and Braxton played in the water. Everyone else watched them as the water was too cold. We all enjoyed just being on a beach the first day of 2024!

5 Things Friday

  1. This is my first full week of summer break. Unfortunately we have spent more time than usual inside due to the weather.  Kendall said it best today after we spent some time at the pool. “It finally feels like summer.”
  2. I don’t know if I mentioned it recently, but I really LOVE my Electric Pressure Canner.  This is so simple and easy to use. Canning was not something I would have considered even two years ago but this summer, I want to can at least once a week.  I love the convivence of just opening a jar for broth and soups. I can’t wait to can spaghetti sauce and salsa! This week I used it to put away 4 quarts, 7 pints and 9 half pints of chicken broth.
  3. The rain, along with worm casting and blood meal have a HUGE difference in the garden. I can’t wait to post pictures of the changes this week!!
  4. The swim meet that was supposed to occur on Tuesday will be bright and early tomorrow morning.  I am excited to watch all three kids compete. In other swimming news, this afternoon Braxton was able to swim without a float!
  5. In not so great news, I have overspent the grocery budget!

Saving On Saturday

The weather in North Carolina is rainy and chilly.  I am so glad that we are caught up with outside tasks.  Even better is the rain barrel that we put together last week (see the details) is currently filling and we can dump to make sure all the window cleaner is out of it before we use any water on the garden.

Today was spent trying to save money around food.  If you read even 3 or 4 post on this blog, you probably know that groceries are our third highest expense behind the mortgage and Tahoe payment.  I have been working on using up excess food for most of this year. One of the things I wanted to be able to do was condense our freezer food down.  This morning we were able to move around some meat and turn off our oldest freezer.  This will give the old freezer a chance to defrost and also save a small amount on our electric cost at least for the next month until I will restart it to store items from the garden and stock with easy to prepare meals for next school year!  While rearranging we found 4 packs of bacon, a unopened bag of frozen biscuits, an unopened bag of meatball as well as a coconut cake which was desert at dinner.    I spent some extra time this morning checking and making a Costco list. I am going to call it a success as spent $465 at Costco which included 2 prepared meals and a snack for Matt and Kendall.  We enjoyed the rotisserie chicken for lunch, I pulled enough meal off the bones for a chicken and rice soup for tomorrow’s dinner along with a couple of sandwiches as well. The crockpot is going with chicken broth that I will tomorrow.

I was also able to move some food around and now have all but the cereal in the kitchn area instead of spread all over the house!

I also already have a plan for both dinners and lunches next week with two days to continue preparing so that will make tomorrow much easier all the way around!


Thursday Thoughts- Goals

The summer is fast approaching, and I am counting down the days!  I want to make a list of the things I want to accomplish during the summer break.   This way I will also have more accountability this summer as well.

  1. Gardening- My goal is to grow and preserve as much from the garden as possible. I am hopeful to restock the freezer. This goal may also include purchasing some items to make my life easier in the fall.
  2. Prepared Meals- I would like to get 100 dinner meals in the freezer. I will also work on adding convenient breakfasts as well. I also want to freeze at least 10 pizza crust and maybe even some pie crust as well.  The dinner meals can include both crockpot meals and casserole.  I actually need to get started on test meal during the rest of May to help determine what things we like and what is worth making again and again.
  3. Exercise-  I am going to set a goal of 3 times a week this summer. This can include walking in the pool and hopefully at least 1 trip a week to the Y to work out.
  4. Restock- I want to spend time organizing and restocking both the pantry and the freezers. I had actually thought about adding a goal for shopping at least one day a week.
  5. Store and organize all the pictures. I need to clean off my phone but am really afraid that I am going to lose pictures.  I also need to make and order several books from Shutterfly.
  6. VIew and Decide on at least one additional video course for our Sunday school class.
  7. Earn at least one $50 gift card using apps. This is free money but also something that I don’t always make a priority.
  8. Organize/sort and Print a new passwords list for home.
  9. Review, revisit and revise as needed our household budget.  I am hopeful that things will have settled down so that I can put together a realistic budget for paying off medical bills and reducing our overall debt.
  10. Enjoy at least one day a week either reading or just relaxing by the pool. OR at least one day a week on  a special adventure with the kids!

The overall goal for the summer is to get everything back organized and ready for the school year.

5 Things Friday!

  1. Today is Matt’s 51st birthday! We are celebrating by eating at one of his favorite burger joints “Bad Daddy’s.”
  2. This has been an extremely busy month that I just can’t seem to catch up with. Monday Zach’s Ballgame, Tuesday Izzy’s birthday, Wednesday Braxton ballgame, Thursday- Took Mom grocery shopping for the first time in a month. So we hit two scores with a plan to go to Costco to finish the restock this weekend.  And today Matt’s Birthday, see above.
  3. We have eaten out more this week than any other time except for Disney! This weekend I have got to get things together and in place to get us back on track!
  4. I have decided to hold off on transplanting my tomato and green peppers outside. I want to wait at least one more week if not two weeks depending on the soil temperature and air temperature.
  5. Lily’s new chickens have reached the point that we had to give them a taller container and a screen on top.  We also are starting to turn off the light during the day so that they learn to regulate their own temperatures. We have about 4 weeks left inside!

5 Things Friday

  1. One of the things that I have realized while participating in the #3RiverPantryChallenge, is that over the past several years I have spent alot of money “stocking up” and really have not been making using of the items I already have. For example, in April 2020 I purchased 90# of chicken. I processed all but around 20#.  I currently have 3 or 4 bags of this processed chicken left.  I also realized that I am a food hoarder, even if I have a lot of stuff when finding food on sale I purchase. This is not neccessarily a bad thing, but I am spending money on items that are not really getting used. My goal for this year is not only to reduce the amount of money I spend on groceries overall but to use items we have in addition to only purchasing items that I know we will eat within a year.
  2. Our chickens are currently producing exactly the amount we need!   I have been able to use all the eggs we are getting and honestly have not put a single dozen in the fridge it.   The debate is currently do we just keep what we have with exactly enough or do we attempt to purchase more chickens?  This is a work in progress and a decision that I don’t have enough data to really decide at this point.
  3. Our living room is currently home to a table full of dirt. The hope and goal of this dirt is that we will have pepper and tomato plants to plant in the garden so far, our only seeds that have germinated have been a lettuce mix.
  4. We have decided not to plant sweet potatoes this year.  I realized that some of the potatoes we harvested back in October were beginning to sprout.  Matt and I spent several evenings baking the remaining sweet potatoes and bagging up in 1 pound bags. We currently have 13# of baked sweet potatoes in our freezer for use during the next year.
  5. I stopped at Walmart on my way home from work today. I decided to check out the marked down bread. I grabbed a loaf of French bread for $1.03. Half was used for  our garlic bread tonight and half is drying to use for French toast tomorrow. I was also able to find 2 bagels of everything bagels for $2.20. But overall my best find was bathroom cleaner with bleach for $0.98 each!

Saturday Happening

Wow has this been a day! We decided early last week not to spend time working on putting metal up this weekend due to a couple of factors. The main one was the weather. The temperature this morning was 23 with the expected high of 40.  That did not mean however that it was going to be a slower take it easy kind of day either.

This morning, Matt worked on installing a new clothes drying rake in our toilet room.  The one we have been using was broken and starting to cause problems. It can and was fixed with cable ties so we just moved it to the camper!  Of course this required a trip to Lowes as does any good project!  He also was able to fix my office chair for me. He had been waiting on a wrench to use!

The chickens were definitely part of the excitement of the day. Lily discovered 6 eggs around lunch instead of the expected 4. Her next discovery was that we had caught a possum in our trap.  We decided to relocate this guy to keep our chickens safe.  As though that was not enough, Lily closed the automatic solar powered chicken door to gather eggs. Unfortunately, it decided to not work after she closed. Matt, Lily and Zach spent around an hour working with it trying to get it to even just open. The final solution was to simply to remove the door. The chickens have learned and do go up in the coop every night and the entire coop is enclosed on all sides. The real benefit to the door was to help hold in some of the heat. Hopefully this is more of a convivence problem than anything else now.

Zach had a birthday party to attend in Winston-Salem so we decided to make a trip to Costco.  We ended up spending $349 but we were out of several important and expensive items. I stuck to my list except for a few extra items for the Super Bowl party next week.

Lily and I managed to file her taxes today!  And we ended up with Braxton spending the night because Amanda likely has the flu and needed some extra help!

Man am I tired!