May In Review

Groceries- Budget $975   $ 952.56 Goal Met! Unless you count of course the cost of the whole cow we purchased.

Auto/ Gas. Goal -= $600.  Goal Met!  We have spent $441.14

Blogging- 15 posts per month. This is post number 13.  I am going to call this one a win as it is much better than April!

Exercise- Walked in the pool on 2 days. Still did not get to the YMCA.

Summer Goals
1. Kitchen Floor- Scheduled for June 18th
2. Bathroom Floor (Matt responsible) – We have an estimate and it should happen in June as well!
3. New to me car-  Planning for this soon
4. Back Deck- We have an estimate and it will be after the Bathroom is completed.
5.  Purchase and process a whole cow including canning broth and ground hamburger. DONE!
6. Restock freezer with 100 meals and at least 50 breakfast burritos and 52 packs of bagels.

I have 2 weeks of work left. Things are going to be crazy for the next couple of week. Hopefully I can share along the way!

Thursday Thoughts

One of the big things happening this summer is home repair and renovation. Because I am available during the day to watch and move things, it makes sense for most of this to occur in the summer. We started a line of credit this Spring to help make this easier and more efficient.   So far we have painted the hall bathroom and hallway and installed a new shower rod. We have purchased a new cabinet and faucet with a plan to install this week.  A new toilet will be installed when the floor is replaced.  The floor in the hall, dining room, kitchen and laundry room is scheduled to be replaced on June 18th.  The goal is to repaint the kitchen and dining room prior to the flooring just for convenience sake.  We already have the paint for this but I don’t think it will happen this weekend. We also have received a quote to have our shower room fixed and expanded. This is likely going to occur in June as well. We will be having our old deck replaced as well.   We have scheduled to have the septic tank pumped on June 20th.  The next item on the list is to replace the front door.   I am not sure if there is anything else we will tackle as this is most of our “dream” items.  Except for a “garage” on the front.

I have been focused on slowly starting to build back up our freezers and pantries. I am trying to complete one item a day.  Sunday- frozen bananas (another 3#), Monday- beef broth (15 quarts and 3 pints), Tuesday and Wednesday- survived life.  My goal is to get a gallon or more of strawberries frozen tonight.
We are starting to get some squash from the garden as well. It is always a good side dish but I would also like to get some bags of squash casserole in the freezer or better, yet I will have to see if I can them!
The summer count down is officially 11 days but I have 9 workdays left!

Monday Menu Plan

We have been enjoying some lighter meals as we celebrate Summer!  I have 3 weeks of work and the kids have 2 weeks of school!  The busiest has changed and maybe a little less but not for long.

Breakfast- Saturday- Strawberry cream cheese French toast.  Sunday-I had fried bologna and egg.  Monday- Kendall requested Strawberry and cream baked oatmeal, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- find it (breakfast burritos, muffins, oatmeal, omelets cereal and milk, French toast sticks, sausage, pop-tarts, and eggs).
Lunch- Saturday- Sloppy Joes and potato chips.  Sunday- Mexican    Monday- left-overs  Tuesday,-Wednesday, Thursday- Leftovers or wraps

Dinner- Saturday-Left-overs    Sunday- Steak, green beans and corn.   Monday- Pasta Salad   Tuesday- Philly Cheese Steaks    Wednesday- Greg’s (dinner out for our anniversary).  Thursday- spaghetti and garlic bread. Friday- taco rice.


Garden Update

We have reached the point of the summer garden that is both scary and nice. Everything has sprouted and is growing well for the most part.  So, we wait until we started getting fruit.  It is scary because who knows what harvest we will get.  But I am hopeful that we will get a huge harvest.

Overview of the entire garden from the back!

We have two beds of cantaloupes and one bed of watermelon. They are growing but it seems so slow to me.

We have lots of squash they are very small but tasty.

Zucchini is growing and we have one zucchini growing!

Tomatoes are growing with a couple of blossoms but no fruit yet.

This bed needs something. I am going to try fertilizer this week The plants are hanging on just barely.

We do have some wild flowers growing!

Big Batch Cooking- Hamburger

We were able to pick up the whole cow that I had ordered on Friday evening. This was 350 pounds of meat at $8.00 a pound.  It filled our entire chest freezer!  The plan was to spend Saturday, processing as much of this meat as possible.

I am proud and grateful to say that we have accomplished this task, with the following results:
21# of canned shelf stable ground beef. These are in pint jars so approximately 1# per jar.
4 meals of Sloppy Joes canned in addition to our lunch for Saturday as well.
30 Salisbury steaks cooked and vacuum sealed in the freezer.
30 Cheddar Bacon Hamburger patties
38 Regular plain Hamburger patties!

For a total of 123 meal proteins ready for use!

Matt even started the day by cooking a big batch of French toast that we were able to freeze left-overs for future breakfast!

I am exhausted but happy with the results!

Five Things Friday

1. I officially have 3 weeks left of work. However, this is my last 5-day week as I have other things happening that require time away from work during these last three weeks.
2. Every Bit Counts- as school winds down, I am starting to work toward a total restock of our pantries and freezer.  This week, I decided to attempt one item a day.  Tuesday- gallon of Strawberries, Wednesday- 10# of mashed potatoes Thursday- 3 # of bananas frozen for smoothies.
3. We are planning to pick up our cow tomorrow.  It is 350# of meat. I am hoping to get around 100# processed this weekend.  I will keep you posted.
4. May is the most expensive month for us. We have car insurance, pool fees on top of end of the year expenses.  We also added Kendall’s birthday party to this year. I am happy to say. We have survived the month and covered all the expenses.
5. Chicken Drama- Wednesday this week, the door did not open. Lily was going to feed at 2pm and let them out.  We have been monitoring and it has not missed again so who knows what is up.   Then on Thursday evening, a dog that we have not seen before was at the chicken coop and growling at the back corner. “Lucky” the rooster managed to get all the hens in the coop before anything went wrong.  We are also struggling with keeping the coop dry with all the excess rain we have been having.


Monday Menu Plan

The past several months have been extremely busy. We have been surviving on eating out of the freezers and pantries.  I had to go back to March 4th to find a menu plan.  Trust me we have had a plan almost every week or we would not have survived. As of today, my focus changes from using up meals and surviving to beginning to restock the freezers and pantry for the next school year.  We made a trip to Costco yesterday and purchased 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 pounds of bananas as part of the restocking process. We are also supposed to pick up our cow this weekend.  You will notice that the menu is basic and simple. I still have 3 weeks of work left.

Breakfast- Saturday- Breakfast bowls Sunday-I had grits and egg and others had pop tarts.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- find it (breakfast burritos, muffins, oatmeal, omelets cereal and milk, French toast sticks, sausage, pop-tarts, and eggs).  I made a couple of bowls of the egg scramble from Saturday morning, and we bought Costco muffins as well.
Lunch- Saturday- Chicken nuggets and French Fries.  Sunday- Red Robin   Monday, Tuesday, -Wednesday, Thursday I have a chicken cucumber wrap and left-overs.

Dinner- Saturday-Egg rolls and chips and Salsa.    Sunday- Costco chicken, stuffing, fresh squash and cranberry sauce.  Monday- Baked – Mexican rice and cheese quesadilla   Wednesday- Pork Chops with Mac and cheese  and  apple sauce .  Thursday-Grilled chicken salad   Friday- spaghetti and garlic bread.

Sunday Garden Update

Warning 20 pictures to view!

We have been enjoying a couple or 5 snap peas on a daily basis! This are so good and tender that they never last long!

Our squash plants are alive and thriving!  We were able to use these three small but delicious squash as part of our dinner.  I did buy these starts and will plan to seed save for next year!

These are zucchini plants they don’t have blossoms yet, but they are beautiful.

We have approximately 100 green bean plants that are at different stages but are looking great.

Peppers are looking great with small peppers on the one bell pepper plant I purchased!  The pimento plants also have a small start.  Most of our pepper starts have survived and hopefully will get larger soon.

The tomatoes are now way over the beds in just a week. The Cherokee purple and roma tomato have blooms!

This is our fail.  Both the cherry tomato plant and the pepper plant that I put in this bed are basically dead. I purchased another cherry tomato plant on Saturday so I hope it will survive!

The cucumbers are at very different stages but they are growing and green!

We did add mulch to our blueberry bed which is looking very promising especially this one!

Current view of the back garden area!


Garden Update


I am so excited to post this update!  We have had almost a solid week of rain with more expected in the coming week. Tomato’s have taken off! They have officially peeked over the top of their beds!

Wildflowers are going in front of the tomatoes.

We have about 10 baby squash, we are diligently attempting to keep the squash bugs away. We are using coffee spray and trying this cloth as a barrier. Three zucchini plants have survived not flowers yet!

24 cucumber plants have sprouted from seed with an additional 2 self seeding and I moved to be with the others!

Peppers do not like rain but these plants have started to bouncy back. This weekend we found Ashe County Pimento plants and have plant those in a different bed. We also went back and plant 7 more wax pepper seeds.

We have two containers of cantaloupe plants from the seeds we saved last year!

Five watermelon plants are hanging on as well!

This bed is in front of the house, it currently has 4 broccoli plants, snap peas, a cherry tomato, a pepper and basil has finally spouted!

Cherokee purple tomatoes and another cherry tomato.  One wax man pepper and we planted alot more!

Finally the green stalk is blooming!