October In Review

Busy busy, stress and more busy are the words that I would use for the month of October. I am slowly catching up at work so hopefully by the end of November that stress will be back at a minimum.  November is the first month in a long time that has no traveling planned in it and I want to get my budget and spending under control.

Groceries– budget amount is $700  Not Met! $1175 is an accurate number that includes a drink stock up. I am also going to say that this is the first month that I have seen a significant increase in prices.  We are continuing to eat from our pantry and freezers, and I am very hopeful that will reduce the amount that is needed to be spent at the grocery store

Auto/ Gas. My goal is $400 a month. NOT met! $709.74 was spent . Yikes if this continues I am going to have to rethink this budget

Cash Envelope system- We have done much better this month and I am beginning to see where money is going.

Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 11 so not horribly bad for the month. I was able to hold steady with a slight increase maybe in this month.

Exercise days-   yea no

No Spend Days-No idea!

I am starting November with some better ideas as what we need to do and how we are planning to spend the next two months.

Saving on Saturday

A Saturday at home, yes this is a treat.  We decided to go ahead and get ahead on some projects around here, so it was not a leisurely Saturday.

Matt took the pressure washer to the back deck. We will need to purchase a water sealer to place on it but it does look much better, and it is still structurally sound so we will continue to use what we have.

I am really enjoying my electric pressure canner and have started to get a good stockpile of items.  We still have tomatoes ripening on our cabinet from the garden and I am determined to use what we have and waste as little as possible. I decided to venture out today and make enchilada sauce. I started by dicing and cooking all the tomatoes that were on the cabinet.  Which produced 4 cups of tomato sauce!  This was enough to make a double batch of the recipe that I had.  It turned out perfect, I have a batch of chicken enchiladas in the fridge for a meal this week and canned up 4 half pints so that should be another 4 meals!

I have been researching pressure canning meat. One of the benefits is having it shelf stable in case the power were to go out.  Another benefit for us is that with it being canned it will be in the house instead outside in the cold.  We (Matt and I ) decided to tackle this project.  I defrosted 25 pounds of hamburger meat from the freezer, Matt cooked it on the Blackstone!  I currently have 13 quarts and 2 half pints of ground beef that is shelf stable.  Th e next project will be to make taco meat and can it but first I want to use up what is in the freezer.

A final saving money thought is that we are actually using the food in our freezer and pantry. I can actually see a difference even without the canning which is not using but moving around.  My goal is to keep the grocery budget for both November and December below $400 which is half of the normal.

Saving on Saturday

A constant theme for my blog has always been the rising cost of food!  I have managed to keep our average monthly spending on groceries to around $500 to $700 for many years even with two babies in diapers.  But wow this year, things are going crazy.   We purchased a whole cow, and the garden has set a record but that has not been enough to control the spending.  All five of us eat breakfast, lunch and dinner from our supplies most days. Lily is home and can use water or something here but everyone else takes drinks to work and school.  We made a trip to Costco at the first of October to purchase mainly drinks. I grabbed a package of bath tissue because well because. I spent a total of $448 for this trip. I am in total shock! So again, I am trying to focus on reducing/ maintaining the cost of food!

We have actually been working on emptying our freezers since September and I can finally see a difference. We can now arrange the vegetable freezer so that things are not falling out and we have most of the meat in the chest freezer. As I was grabbing beef broth, I realized we were almost out.  I did not have room for the bones when I ordered the cow and we don’t have any steaks with bones. I did find multiple packs of short ribs.  The plan is to make the short ribs today and then use the bones for broth to can tomorrow.    I can’t remember if I post that we ended up cleaning out the hall clothes of towels and sheets and made it a food storage cabinet mainly for canning!

We had at least two nights this week with the temperature below freezing, so last Saturday, I pulled all the green tomatoes inside and feed the vines to the chickens.  I ended up dicing up several that had ripened to use in our stuff green pepper soup planned for Sunday. And stewed the remained that were ripe for Taco pasta on Tuesday!  Using it before it goes to waste or chicken feed in this case.

We have a set of lights that is currently not working in the kitchen/ dining room. Matt has been spending time trying to locate the problem.  It is a time-consuming task but at $100 an hour for an electrician, it is definitely a money saving endeavor.

5 Things Friday

  1. The weather:  We have had 2 nights with temperatures below freezing already!   I don’t like cold so it appears I will be going into hibernation soon.
  2. We received our Electric bill for the month of October. It is $153!  This is the lowest it has been since October 2020!  Yes I checked!
  3. Our best purchase so far for the chickens has been the automatic door. The chickens are going up at night and we don’t have to worry about something getting to them.  It opens at daylight and closes at dark. We are still checking on it since we discovered that it was closed accidently one evening this week.
  4. Kendall has decided that she will swim on the school swim team.  This is a huge first step for her!  She even had to approach the coach on her own to get the information!
  5. Zach missed two days of school this week due to being sick. I am glad we had a couple of extra COVID test. It was negative and he is old enough to stay at home without the need for an adult present to watch him sleep.

Monday Menu Post

Here is to the hope that I am going to start blogging again regularly. I hope to share more this week about what has been going on and where we are at.  But let’s start with this. Sunday afternoon/ evening we planned the weeks meals and actually got 2 of them all prepared.

Breakfast- Saturday-Bacon, eggs and biscuits  Sunday-Pancakes   Monday-Bagels Tuesday-English muffins Wednesday Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, cereal and milk, French toast sticks, bagels, breakfast burritos and pancakes.

Lunch- Saturday-Left-overs   Sunday-Panda Panda    Monday-Tomato soup Tuesday- left-overs Wednesday- more left-overs   Thursday- broccoli cheese soup Friday-lunch out!

Dinner- Saturday-More left-overs   Sunday-Dippin meal and/or left-overs   Monday Pepper Steak in the crockpot   Tuesday- Chicken casserole Wednesday- Breakfast for Dinner   Thursday- Chicken Burrito Soup   Friday- Pork Fried Rice

Fall Gardening

It feels like we are finally catching up on some projects and finding a rhythm to life these days!!!!

  • Matt has installed the automatic chicken door and so far it has worked perfectly. We are continuing to check to make sure that everyone makes it inside at night but this will make everyone’s life alot simpler!
  • The strong winds that we received form Ian a couple of weeks ago tore the plastic that we have been using for the greenhouse, originally our plan was to purchase plexi glass to cover the windows as we did with the one in the back.

But because the size of the other windows is odd, we were looking at $100 to purchase and repair. That was just not doable. So, we reused the plexiglass that had previously been a chicken door on the side facing one of the buildings and just used scrap wood on the other side. Matt also used scrap wood to fill the rest of the hole. Total cost $0

  •  The benefit of Ian is 225 gallons of rainwater stored.
  • The garden is starting to end. We still have some tomatoes ripening on the vine, green peppers are the most abundant they have been all year!  Zach harvest all the sweet potatoes this past weekend.


  • I have planted carrots in the sweet potato bed to see what we may be able to produce over the winter. I have cabbage, broccoli, and several varieties of lettuce all growing as well

Five Things Friday

  1. The weather is so strange this year. We kept the air conditioning on until the first day of fall (9/21). Since that day we have not had a hard freeze, but the temperature has stayed below 70 degree most days. Today was 80 and tomorrow is forecasted to be 58*. We have turned on the heat and I am just hoping to keep the bill as low as possible. The good news is that our house holds heat, so we are very fortunate that way.
  2. Tomorow, we have a college visit with Lily. Decisions are hard and some just appear to be impossible College is a huge decision and honestly, I think that it is a little more difficult for Lily.
  3. I am absolutely LOVING my digital pressure canner!  I have been purchasing jars as I find them.  I have already canned 5 pints of split pea soup, broth, red beans, white beans and pear sauce.
  4. In true Give a Mouse a Cookie fashion, I now need to find a better storage area for the cans. After thinking about it. I am going to clean out the hall closet, move all the food to it and have Matt add some shelves so that we can store lots of stuff!
  5. I have one more week at work before the new person starts. “I think I can, I think I can…..

Monday Menu Post

It appears that I am catching up on things. I want to significantly reduce our grocery budget from now until December. Planning and preparation are going to be a must!

Breakfast- Saturday-Breakfast bowls Sunday-Breakfast leftovers   Monday-Bagels Tuesday- Breakfast burritos Wednesday Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, cereal and milk, French toast sticks, bagels, breakfast burritos and pancakes.
Lunch- Saturday-Costco Sunday-Longhorn Steak house   Monday-Tomato soup Tuesday- left-overs Wednesday- lunch out for me Thursday- broccoli cheese soup Friday-leftovers

Dinner- Saturday-Chicken, scallop potatoes and green beans   Sunday-Broccoli Cheese soup. Monday-Rice and Kielbasa that got skipped last week.  Tuesday- Left-overs Wednesday- Taco Rice   Thursday- Hamburger helper   Friday- Torella