Five Things Friday

  1. Two years ago, Facebook reminded me that I had COVID for the second time. Today, I hope I am at the end of a stomach virus.
  2. We are in the single digit until our Disney trip. I actually have a long list of items that need to be accomplished before we leave. The goal is to get everything completed this week.
  3. Our grocery budget is currently still under $200 which makes me very happy!
  4. We gathered 7 chicken eggs after getting 4 yesterday which means that all the chicken laid an egg today! This is a first!  One that I hope at least for a week or so continues.
  5. We will be spending some time tommorow up potting our tomato plants.  Another first that I am excited about and can’t wait to share on Sunday with a garden update!.

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!

Random Tuesday Thoughts

I am starting to feel better again!   I started with a new and much more fun cold last Thursday. I came home from work on Friday and literally stay in the house spending most of the time in bed until Monday morning.  Today, I have lots of congestion, but no headache and less coughing!

I am going to continue the pantry challenge into both February and March.   The rules are that we only purchase items we are out of.   So far the lack of fresh fruit has been the problem so we did purchase some last week. We are planning a trip to Costco this weekend. I am going to work hard to only purchase our drinks for a month which is 2 cases of water, 1 case of diet cokes and 1 case of Dr. Peppers. Matt is getting his tea on subscribe and save so I am going to omit the case of regular cokes.  We also need flour and rice, bacon and sour cream.   This will not be a cheap trip but my hope is this will help us hold the course.  I have also reviewed and decreased our Subscribe and Save for February as well, I know that this will be $200.  I also need to order more laundry detergent for Lily which is $70.   Along with the Costco Trip I will be doing well to keep the budget at $500 for the month.   I will also be purchasing some fruits and veggies for our Junk Food Sunday.  Again I may end up around $700 for February.   I am going to be ok with it because I am still saving money and rotating the pantry.  I am starting to see a difference in our pantry and freezers so this is all a good thing.

On a positive note, we are currently getting an average of 4 eggs a day which definitely helps with protein intake and grocery expenses

We have started with our busy Spring Season of sports. This week we have both swim and baseball practice. Which means that Friday is the only evening that we will not be running somewhere.  I have been enjoying my easier, cook or heat meals so we will continue with those which will also help with our grocery budget.

It has reached our 60 day mark for our spring Disney Trip!   I was able to get up super early and got all the reservations that I wanted!   I can’t wait!


Saving on Saturday

Today has been busy but very productive, at least I feel like it has been productive. The weather outside was gorgeous, not to hot not too cold and no really wind.  We needed and actually did get some garden work done.

Zach pulled some chicken poop out of the coop and placed in several of our square foot beds. I went behind and broke up and stirred in the dirt followed by covering with paper mulch for the winter.  I am hoping to finish this process in the next couple of weeks so that it can compose over the winter. Matt helped level and moved one of our greenstalk (vertical planter) to the front. And then he and Zach move one bed to a new spot.  Kendall and I spent some time in the greenhouse. I am super excited to have several green peppers growing in there currently!

Another big project today was making and canning Matt’s chill. This will be used for lunches mainly!  We have 16 pints to put in the canning closet. I hope to post a link to the youtube video soon!

Sunday Catch- Up

Life is busy, difficult, busy, and overwhelming this month. Hopefully I can get catch up and spend a little bit more time with blogging. I also really want to be consistent but at during this season I will just do what I can and give myself some grace!

Financially, I feel like we have recovered from Matt’s short period of unemployment this summer. I am working on finishing the year strong but also starting to look at some changes and plans I want to make for next year.  Credit card debit has really creeped up on me, so trying to balance paying that off and saving and enjoying the few short years of kids at home is a balance that takes a lot of mental energy.  Groceries have always been one of the biggest expenses for us.  My plan and goal for November and December is to pay for what we get and then use any remaining money to pay down the credit card debit. Starting in January, I would like to start saving to purchase another whole cow in the summer. Ideally, I would put $500 a month in a saving account for six months to make this happen.   We have a ton of food in multiple locations and I am really working on keeping it organized and to work through the food that is here before buying new things.  I have found a couple of “guidelines” that are helping with making plan a little bit easier. First we are having a “breakfast casserole” every Sunday morning. This makes getting ready for church much easier and quicker. Soup for Sunday dinner is also going well with occasional leftovers for the week. I am finding that I must cook 3 meals on Saturday or we end up eating out.  Freezer meal are awesome and I already know that I need to have many more in the freezer during the summer.

Kids- Lily is currently in Florida spending two weeks with Haley and David. She has finished her first eight weeks of college classes and is struggling to balance work and school.  She also will need a loan to fully pay for her second semester of college. Zach is playing football which means practice Monday, Tuesday and Thursday with games on Wednesday. Braxton is playing baseball which is one game a week. Kendall is anticipating swim season and has started swimming at least 3 days a week.  We are also currently struggling to get her permit.  Kendall decided very quickly that she did not want to and could not handle working along with school

Chickens- We are getting between 2 and 6 eggs a day. I don’t understand but we have not had to buy any eggs so that is a plus.   We have switched the bedding from paper to wood shaving.  It is more expensive but the eggs are cleaner.  We have purchased another automatic door which is working perfectly. We also still have at least one possum and one racoon who visit once a week. This is a significant decrease from daily so something is working.

Garden- I have probably 3 galloons of tomatoes currently in the freezer. I actually have still been collecting tomatoes this week. We are attempting to keep peppers alive int eh green house. We planted onions and asparagus but that is all for the fall. A couple of beds have paper mulch on them but I would like to move some planters and mulch a couple more beds but again just am struggling with the time.

The word for my job is intense. I really enjoy both the kids and my co-workers but my mental capacities are being exhausted regularly.  I am also struggling with some health issues. Nothing major buy annoying.

We do have several trips planned more details to come!

5 Things Friday

  1. The month of September ends this weekend! It was definitely a month of change and a month of catch up. I will share more in our monthly update but I am very hopeful that we are going to be on solid financial ground moving forward.
  2. Last Saturday, we ended up clothes shopping. It was definitely time to buy some new jeans and long pants. We still have a couple of small needs but I am hoping to stop shopping in November for everything but food!
  3. Haley and David will be coming up to NC next weekend.  Lily is going to return to Florida for 2 weeks. It should be an experience for everyone!  I am sure that Kendall is going to have the hardest time with Lily not here.
  4. We are still harvesting a small amount from the garden. I also received some onion starts and asparagus in the mail today that I need to get planted.
  5. Our rooster is crowing and all the hens appear to be laying however we are only averaging 4-5 eggs a day from 7 hens….. this is an increase from 3-4 a day but we have enough eggs to eat and share so that is good enough!

5 Things Friday

Some good and exciting things going on around here!

  1. The “baby” chickens have started to lay. We do have a rooster. The white chicken which I call “spas” appear to be our best layer. We have been getting consistent eggs every day for a week from her. The eggs are smaller and blue so easy to identify!
  2.  I purchased 50# of tomatoes from my favorite farm stand for $28 this week. I have topped off our supplies of salsa, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce. I made 16 jars of enchilada sauce.  We currently have a pot of spaghetti sauce going which used half purchased tomatoes and half from our garden!
  3. We will continue to harvest from the garden, today it was 2 large cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes and green beans and basil. But I will be pulling more dead plants this weekend and also not water for the rest of the season.
  4. In other weather related news!  Our windows are open!  This is so nice and hopefully will result in extra savings on our electric bill next month.
  5. We have planned two trips at least for me to Florida in December!  I love the warm weather!

Saving on Saturday- Just Enough Gardening

I made a big decision this week, not to plant a fall garden or even attempt a second planting of anything. The reason is that I just do not have the time or energy to attempt this year.    I have been super tired every day this week after working. I am doing well just to keep up.

But someone forgot to tell the garden!   We are continuing to get a small harvest 2 or 3 times a week.  Last Sunday, I made a pot of tomato sauce to use in our favorite Mexican rice recipe. I was able to freeze a total of 19 1/2 cup bags to use. This is just 4 short of my total of 24 I wanted for the year. I am almost positive that I will be able to get the remaining four before the end of the garden.  Last night we again harvested a medium size bowl of tomatoes.  I debated on turning these into sauce as well but decided to chop up and freeze as diced tomatoes. I have about 10 cans of diced tomatoes but these are seasoned for Italian food.  Zach pointed out that we needed diced tomatoes to make Spanish rice.  I was able to freeze 4 bags of 2 cups of diced tomatoes.  I would like to get another 8 bags in the freezer but if not we have a start and don’t need to purchase this minute.

I don’t remember if I shared about our pear harvest this year. If not or if you want to get a refresher course, check out the story here!  After canning 21 quarts of diced pears, we placed about 2 dozen in our closet that we use for cold storage and left another 20ish on the counter for fresh eating.   I noticed this week that the pears were starting to turn and needed to be used. We also discovered that some of the pears in the closet needed to be used as well.    We decided to make pear sauce/syrup.  It made 2 pints and 5 pints.  I used some on my pancakes this morning and it was good!

Another item that we are still getting from the garden is cucumbers.  I have canned 3 pints of bread and butter pickles already.   I made an “experimental” batch of refrigerator pickles, and they were a hit.   I was able to get a second jar started today. We also have some cucumbers for fresh eating as well.

Matt and Zach have been outside working on a new deck in front of our small metal building that holds the bikes.  I spent alot of time, trying to make sure we don’t waste food. I have gone through the refrigerator as well.

Today we saved by staying at home and eating at home. Remember every little bit counts!

5 Things Friday

  1. I am going to call this the summer of just enough. My garden is producing but not an abundance. Today we harvested about 5 pounds of tomatoes, just enough for breakfast and a batch of spaghetti sauce. Just peeled and chopped up all the cucumbers from the week. We made a cucumber salad for a party tonight and have enough for a second batch but not enough for pickles. I planted 5 plants of zucchini and 5 plants of yellow squash.  But yet we are only getting enough squash and zucchini for fresh eating.  I have frozen 2 packs of zucchini for bread but that is not the abundance I was expecting. Just for record keeping, the local farm stand is advertising a sale on tomato for $2.50
  2. After much thought and debate, we are headed to Florida to visit Haley before the school year starts. Lily is not able to go due to work. Matt will make his decision based on his two interviews next week.
  3. IT is HOT!  Like 95 plus degree and we have not had a rain that added to our rain barrel since our beach trip so almost 2 full weeks.
  4. Summer Goals were a high propriety this week.  I currently have 51 dinner meals in the freezer. I am adding spaghetti sauce every couple of days as the tomato come in.  I have had a request for salsa next so I will plan on that instead of spaghetti sauce on Sunday after we return from Atlanta.
  5. We purchased a 12 gallon water tub for the chickens last week at Tractor Supply.  The chicken drank at least 8 gallons in a week.   I am hoping between it and the feeder we can decrease the amount of time and energy spent on the chickens.

Five Things Friday

  1. Today is my first day of Summer break!  I have exactly 9 weeks to enjoy some downtime, catch up on cooking, preparing meals for next school year and getting the house back in order.
  2. This past week has been extremely fast and more busy than I imagined. Zach and Kendall are both at camp. Lily has worked every day multiple shift and we had our first swim meet.  My work was overloaded so I did not get to catch up on the things I had on my list including posting pictures from Lily’s graduation and party. These should appear next week!
  3. We harvested a quart of blueberries from our bush today! This is so exciting because I should say that a quart made it inside.
  4. The garden is not doing as well as I had hoped. We already have an attack of squash bugs!  We did spray for bugs and fertilize on Wednesday. I am planning to pull out the yellow green bean plants as it appears either this was not a variety that grows well or the whole pack was bad. I will try another pack of seeds because I really really want green beans to grow!
  5. The chickens are fully intergraded. They are all going into the coop at night before the door shuts!! We are consistently getting 5 eggs a day!  But we are still attempting to trap both racoons and at least one possum that continue to visit!