Monday, February 23, 2015

Splitting Seed Orders

We grew 7 varieties of beans, including
Scarlet Runner beans (the pretty ones)
This mix of fresh snap beans is Scarlet
Runner, Dragon's Tongue, Dean's
Purple Podded pole, Yellow Wax and
Kentucky Wonder.
If you want to try lots of different vegetables or varieties, but don't have a lot of space (or money) for all those seeds, find a gardening friend/family member who will split an order with you. My dad, sister and I all make our lists of what we want to grow and any specifications (I have to select carrots that grow well in clay soil, and my dad will only grow Silver Queen sweet corn). I read through seed catalogs and make selections. Then I call each of them and get their okay on the variety selections. For things we only need a few seeds each (say for squash or tomato varieties), we order the smallest packs possible. For others, we may each want lots of seeds (like for beans or lettuce) and we order a larger pack, but save money over each buying a smaller pack. We save money on shipping since we split the cost 3 ways.

This "thinnings" salad has a variety of
greens, two types of carrots, and two
kinds of radish.
We were each able to grow a variety of tomatoes which made
salads incredible!
When the seeds arrive, I split them up according to what we discussed beforehand. I have a surplus of tiny bags leftover from other year's seed orders, and either reuse those or make simple envelopes out of junk mail. I keep the order form nearby as I package seeds and write down the cost for seeds for each person. For example, my dad grows lots of spinach, but I only grow a little, so I take 1/4 of the seeds and give him 3/4. I write down a quarter of the price of the total packet in my column and three quarters the price in his column. I don't grow any corn. My sister grows all of the popcorn and she and my dad grow the sweet corn. At the end, I divide the shipping cost and add it. They each reimburse me for their portion of the seeds when I give them their seeds.

I love these purple carrots for adding variety and color, but
I also love the taste of Red Cored Chantennay carrots and
Little Finger carrots actually give me the best yield per square
foot in my soil.
If I had to buy seeds on my own, I'd only grow one type of carrot because I don't have enough space to grow more than one packet of carrot seeds. By splitting it, I can grow a few varieties. I get to grow lots of varieties and try new things that I otherwise wouldn't be able to justify. Also, even with growing a few dozen varieties, my seed cost is usually under $30.

Shared on:
Wordless Wednesday Hop

This Week...Beyond Money 2/16 - 2/22

For me, a life beyond money is making choices so that you can live the best possible life, regardless of your income level. Obviously, you have to make a living, but there are many ways to improve your quality of life without increasing your income levels and correspondingly your expenses. This regular post will be some of the ways that we improve our quality of life beyond just trying to make more money.

* Harvested 1/2 cup of greens from the indoor garden.
* Had two onions that sprouted in the pantry. I used the good part of the bulb and put the sprouts with the other green onions to keep growing. I also used two green onions (I bought two bunches at $.25/each since my previous window growings had started to pucker out) and put the bottoms in the water as well. I harvested a small amount of green onions this week. Soon I'll have a lot to harvest.
The light green onion in the back is one that
has been harvested several times and is pretty
much ready for the compost bin. I added
more green onion stumps this week.

* I made a big batch of chicken tortilla soup. I used: 2 quarts of homemade chicken stock, 1 can Rotel tomatoes (sale+coupon=$.25/can), 1 can corn (we didn't get a chance to freeze any corn this past year), 1 container of frozen, pre-cooked beans, a container of frozen shredded chicken (from the roast chicken a couple weeks ago), half a jar of roasted peppers, some salsa and some diced onion. I wish I'd had some cilantro growing inside for this. I topped it with crumbled tortilla chips (from the bottom of the bag) and served with a quesadilla (sale-priced, store-brand cheddar with clearance-priced tortillas).
* I found some early-day manager's specials on meat.I found a 6-pack of pork chops for $5 (a little over a pound; $4.50 after my discount) and a pound of ground pork for $2 ($1.80 after my discount). I also found "salad seasoning" blend for $.25/container (usually $2.50). I bought four of them. Usually I only buy individual seasonings and mix them myself, but this was cheaper per ounce than any of the ingredients by themselves.
* I made one of our favorite country comfort meals: pan-friend pork chops. I used three of the pork chops (I cooked them all and will use the leftovers in other meals this week) pressed in bread crumbs and fried in bacon fat. I made a pan gravy using the leftover bread crumbs and a bit of skim milk (to make it richer I added some powdered milk. Mom's friend is on a weight loss program and they give her powdered milk that she doesn't use, so mom gets it and gave some to me). I made Colcannon with four potatoes, several leaves of kale, and two green onions (there are lots of leftovers). I rehydrated green beans and broccoli. I served with a thick slices of bread from our Amish country trip (this bread was marked down to $2 for a large loaf). Delicious meal. The leftover veggies will go in another meal this week.
* I made slow cooker lasagna. It's one of Trucker's favorite meals of mine. I browned the ground pork, then caramelized an onion and two heads of garlic in the remaining pork fat. I layered the ground pork, caramelized onion/garlic mix, arugula/cress/parsley from the indoor garden, cottage cheese (cheaper than ricotta) and uncooked lasagna noodles, pouring jarred tomato sauce over each layer. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Delicious! I served with some more Amish bread.

* Our work schedule has been pretty brutal lately, and we rarely get days off together. This week we got two whole days off together so we decided to make the most of it. We took a two-day trip out of town, back to the inn in Amish country where we stayed on our honeymoon. We planned it well. Because this four-star place was a bit more off the beaten track it was cheaper than staying in a three-star hotel in the city. We got a basic room instead of a deluxe room and got a discount since it was the off season. We ate at the restaurant the first day. Trucker had fried chicken, broccoli and steak fries. I had the roast beef and mashed potatoes plate with an epic salad bar. It cost $25 which is reasonable for the quality and we were so full from our late lunch that dinner was unnecessary. There was a mixup with our room and the front desk brought us a bottle of sparkling grape juice (the inn is alcohol-free). It was a small thing, but cute...and delicious! We swam at the pool and enjoyed the hot tub. The breakfast area had free coffee and hot tea. We went there to write and talk for a couple hours (we love our frequent coffee dates). We never turned on the television while we were there. There was a free breakfast in the morning that is better than any hotel breakfast I've had. We enjoyed waffles, doughnuts from the bakery on site, sausage and gravy from the restaurant, hard boiled eggs, and juice. We visited lots of thrift stores and antique stores while we were there and found lots of fun things. We stopped at a bakery for a loaf of delicious bread; it was marked down to $2. Trucker insisted that I needed cheese and we got a small hunk of smoked cheddar (cheese is my favorite indulgence, but I rarely let myself get some; the $4 I spent was better than any souvenir). It was a really fun trip and was a cheap way to get away.
* Enjoyed free entertainment via the library (books on tape, books, and video).
* We had a free pizza from a chain. We only order pizza when they have a really good promotion. Awhile back they'd had a promotion to buy a pizza and get a free one later. This was enjoyed on a night when we only had a few hours together and didn't want to spend time cooking.

* Does shoveling count?

* Before our trip, I used our fuel points from the grocery store to fill up the gas tank. That saved me $5 and was 2/3 of the gas we used for the entire trip. When we filled up the other vehicle, we used the $.03 discount for a savings of about $1. Not huge, but something.
* Generally, a lot of our frugality is about what we don't have: cable, fancy phones, new clothes, new cars, many restaurant meals (We like to eat out sometimes, but keep it infrequent and look for bargains as possible), gadgets, designer coffee that isn't free (we do get some from his job), meals purchased for work lunches (we pack our own), or wild nights partying. Our mortgage payment is very reasonable because we bought less house than we could afford. We turn our heat down  and bundle up. It even comes down to some weird random stuff. We have a cat, but are waiting to get a dog until we get the country property (so it can help with security for us and livestock) and are producing our own meat so that we can supplement its diet with scraps from our food (dogs are expensive to feed, so until it is possible to reduce this cost while getting more benefit from having a dog besides the pleasure of having one, we're waiting). It's not as fun to mention these things, but it adds up a lot.
* I bought a pack of four pretty clothespins for $.25. I'm always on the lookout for sturdy clothespins and I'm trying to get away from plastic, so I was happy. I also found a sheet set for $7.50. Whenever I buy new sheets, I'm nervous that they'll pill after the first wash. With these being used, I know they'll hold up okay for awhile longer. And yes, I washed in hot water before we used them. :)

 Waste Reduction:
* My dry bread container had gotten pretty full, so I processed them all into crumbs. They filled two pint jars. I'll use that for pan frying meat and veggies, topping casseroles, bulking up stuffed pepper filling and topping baked goods.
* I used a mix of bread crumbs and crumbled baked goods (leftovers from Trucker's job) as the topping for an apple crisp.
* Composted lots of weird stuff.
* Turned trash into cat toys. That makes it sound a lot fancier than it is. Our cat likes to play fetch with paper or tin foil balls. She, like all cats, loves cardboard boxes, especially when we modify them by cutting a hole from the top to jump into or adding a tent made out of an old blanket. She's a cheap friend. We don't have to buy her toys often because she's never gotten tired of playing with our trash.

* Trucker brought home a goodies bag: 4 bagels, 3 scones. I'll likely end up cutting up a couple of the bagels for stuffing mix/bread crumbs.
* One day Trucker brought home the coupon books from the newspaper. While we don't use coupons as often as we used to, we do still use some and this is a great way to have lots of coupons to stock up on a great score.
* I started working third shift. This is only supposed to be for two weeks so I can be trained in how to do the overnight jobs, but is not supposed to be my regular shift after this (being trained in every position in my department will earn me a $3/hr raise).
* Packed our lunches for work and drank free coffee from our jobs.
* While we were thrifting in Amish country, I found a pair of like new slip resistant shoes for work. I've been in desperate need as my current pair had several holes and the bottoms were falling off (I hate buying new slip resistant shoes. They cost $40 and often start falling apart within a couple weeks). These were $2 since they were "tennis shoes".

* Early in the week we put money into savings. This came in handy.

* Continue to research and build inventory.
* Both of us have been writing a lot.
* I'm considering a big life change that may allow me to put more time and effort into building a home-based business. I will update when I make my decision.

Bubbly, happy water kefir. I use egg shells as a
supplement for the kefir grains. It looks gross,
but they love it!
* I bought a second-hand scale. I haven't had a scale for years. I plateaued on my weight loss and want to lose another ten pounds (I've lost 30 pounds and maintained it since this time last year). I'm finally in the "healthy" weight range for my height. I have found that being 5-10 lbs lighter than I am now is my sweet spot (until 4 years ago, I'd maintained that weight for 6 years). Any heavier and I feel sluggish and unattractive, any lower and I have trouble stopping. I've been eating (and especially drinking) healthier and training my sweet tooth to feel satisfied on more natural, healthy sweets (Mulberries, water kefir, a piece of dark chocolate, etc). I've been exercising a lot more. I run when the weather is nice (I don't enjoy running outside in winter, so this will remain a warm weather activity), walk when the weather is tolerable, and do jumping jacks and lift hand weights indoors when it's bone-crushing cold outside. I drink more water. A year later, I don't feel like I spend that much time exercising (I pretty much feel that I don't do it enough, although I do much more than before), or feel that I give up any foods that I want to eat. I think making very small changes and then maintaining them until it's normal has been the key to not feeling deprived.

* One day I knew Trucker was going to have a rough day at work, so I stopped by with a doughnut from the grocery. I was already at the grocery store to get a few things, and it only cost $.65. His job was on the way home, so it cost nothing in gas.

Setbacks: Sometimes life is frustrating. Sometimes we mess up. Sometimes bad things happen that are outside our control. I decided to include this section to show that is possible, and important, to live frugally even when life gets in the way. Being prepared and living frugally doesn't fix everything, but sometimes it helps!
* On the way to a friend's birthday party, our tire went flat. Unfortunately, when we'd had the tires realigned, they'd put the lug nuts on so tight we couldn't get them off. We had to wait for 2 hours for the insurance to send someone over to put the spare on. When he got there, he said that the spare was too rusted to be safe, but he couldn't fit the flat, so he put it on. He said not to drive it except straight to get the tire fixed. By this time, all of the tire shops nearby had closed (the last one had closed four minutes before). I had to miss my friend's birthday party which was really frustrating. We made an appointment online. The next morning I went in and found out that we'd selected the wrong sized tires and the correct size would be $30 more. The sales guy said he noticed that our spare was really rusted and said that one of our tires was still pretty good. He offered me a deal on a very basic wheel to put that tire on as our spare. It was $15 off, so it cost $45 and the labor was included. We'd planned to have my uncle pick us up a spare the next time he was at the junk yard. However, this cost us about the same amount (less if we gave him something for his trouble) and we have a full-sized spare that will be safer to drive if it takes us a few days to have time to get a flat fixed/replaced next time, and it spares us the hassle of getting a new spare. We got our four tires at a place that we've used before. They have a 40k mile warranty where they will fix or replace a damaged tire and offers lifetime free rotations and inflations. When we bought tires for our last car, we got a screw in it a week later. They replaced it with no issues. So while this was a bit frustrating, we'd had money in savings for it, so it doesn't hurt us financially. We also had done our research a while back to find the best place to get new tires in our area, so we knew right where to go. Life is frustrating sometimes, but planning ahead definitely helped us this time.

How was your week?

Monday, February 16, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 2/09 - 2/15

For me, a life beyond money is making choices so that you can live the best possible life, regardless of your income level. Obviously, you have to make a living, but there are many ways to improve your quality of life without increasing your income levels and correspondingly your expenses. This regular post will be some of the ways that we improve our quality of life beyond just trying to make more money.
* Harvested 1/2 c of greens from the indoor garden.
* I forgot to water the indoor garden for three days. Three of the planters bounced back okay, but I lost the mustard greens. Oops. I did get a few harvests of microgreens from the container, so it wasn't a total loss, although I'm disappointed. However, since the indoor garden just uses up seeds leftover from that season, it didn't cost me anything.

* I used my holiday gift card ($25) to buy groceries this week. It didn't quite cover everything, but was a big help. Breakfast sausage was on manager's special for $1 (marked down from $4.59) so I bought 16 (15 went into the freezer). Toilet paper was on sale for $.50 and my discount brought it down to $.45 (I bought 10, for the stockpile). Got breakfast cereal on sale for $2/box and had a coupon for $1 off (5 boxes for $9). We don't eat breakfast cereal a lot, but Trucker does like it as an occasional breakfast or snack so I like to keep it on hand.
* Grilled out one afternoon since it was warm. We grilled hot dogs (on sale $.69/package), eggplant (manager's special, $.50) and  the last two potatoes in the bag.I also grilled a banana and made grilled banana splits with a scoop of ice cream, a drizzle of goat's milk caramel sauce and a dusting of cinnamon. My favorite dessert ever.

* We took a day trip to a nearby town. We hit some thrift stores. We also went to a National Park and explored a bit. It was a little too cold to walk for long, but we watched a half hour documentary and explored the on-site museum. It was a blast.
* Had a couple of cheap coffee dates. As always, we used our travel mugs to get a discount and enjoyed free wi-fi and refills. Super cheap date and we love it.
* One day we worked opposite shifts and only had a short time between when I got off and when Trucker had to start work. We met at a coffee shop really close to his job (his job is halfway between my job and home) and got to talk for 45 minutes. If I had driven home, he would have had to leave earlier and we would only have gotten 15-20 minutes together. Our job schedules have been pretty brutal lately, but instead of focusing on the stress of the situation, we're working on enjoying whatever time we get. We make the most use of the time apart and all those hours of missing each other makes it great when we get a whole day together.
* For our Valentine's Day, we made it simple. We only had two hours between when Trucker got home and when he had to go to sleep to open the next day. He brought home a pizza after work. I had the wine and candles waiting. He had bought me a set of four upcycled vases he'd bought from a local crafter (I'll update this post later with a photo). I'd bought him a bottle of nice beer ($4), a small package of chocolate-covered chocolate chip cookies ($1.80 after my employee discount) and a bouquet of flowers ($4.50 after my discount). I've always been a bit cynical about Valentine's Day, but I don't know if it's my age, the fact that I'm getting close to a decade of marriage or if I was just feeling sappy this year, but I really wanted it to be romantic and great and it was.

* Walked around Hopewell National Park. It was fascinating and beautiful, although very cold.
* Went for a walk on a warmer day to enjoy the fresh air and sunlight.

* It was warm enough to turn off the furnace for two days.
* Our furnace had started acting up and would not kick off unless we manually turned it off. Trucker did some research and thought it was just the thermostat. He ordered the part online and replaced it one afternoon. No more issues and we didn't have to call in a handy man. So thankful for an incredible guy who is willing to learn new things to take care of us.
* I bought a scarf at a thrift store. It was $1 regularly, but was a 75% off tag, so it was $.25.

Waste Reduction:
* Ate leftovers throughout the week.
* Made stock out of leftover chicken bones.
* Composted lots of "stuff".

* I picked up an extra shift to get some overtime. We're short staffed and the holiday is this weekend, so I figured I would...just this once.
* There were random samples in the break room that covered my (super light) lunch on three days.
* Trucker's boss accidentally broke open a package of $23/lb coffee and couldn't sell it. Trucker got to bring it home so we got about a pound (We wouldn't have paid $23/lb, but it did save us $5-6).
* Trucker closed one night and brought home a box of goodies: 2 scones and a muffin.

* Added 10 packs of toilet paper to the stockpile.
* Added some over-the-counter medications to the stockpile. We don't use a lot of medication, but I thought it was important to have a few medications on hand just in case: anti-diarrhea meds, allergy medication, Primotene tablets (Trucker has asthma, and while these don't work well, I think it's important to have them in case his inhaler ran out and we couldn't get more), ibuprofen. I got store brand of everything except the Primotene and got my employee discount, lowering the price a further 10%.

* Our antique store was approved on an existing website, so we'll start listing and see what happens. Very exciting. We also purchased some more inventory and did a whole lot of research. When we go to antique stores, we aren't buying much, but we are checking out marks, styles and prices. Even if this doesn't become a full-time job, we're having a blast!

* Went for a couple walks on nicer days. Once we went for a walk through the neighborhood and once at a National park.
* Drank lots of water.
* Steve got food poisoning (not from food I made, FYI). He slept for most of the day and drank lots of water and gatorade. He was feeling better (although not 100%) the next day. I also gave him a small glass of water kefir. I didn't want to give him too much and cause problems (he hadn't had any for a week), but thought the probiotics might help.

* We bought a couple of thrift-shopped gag gifts for a couple of our friends. This couple has similar sense of humor and so we all delight in finding weird stuff for each other.

Feel free to leave a comment about your week!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 2/2 - 2/8

For me, a life beyond money is making choices so that you can live the best possible life, regardless of your income level. Obviously, you have to make a living, but there are many ways to improve your quality of life without increasing your income levels and correspondingly your expenses. This regular post will be some of the ways that we improve our quality of life beyond just trying to make more money.

* Harvested 1 c of greens from the indoor garden. It's really growing strong now.
* Harvested green onions twice from the window garden (regrown from onions that sprouted in the pantry).

* Made vegetarian stir fry one night: half an eggplant, a rib of celery ($.69/package at Aldi), half an onion (leftover from another meal), a small head of garlic (from the garden), green beans ($.99/8 lbs on manager's special), sliced carrots ($.50/lb). I served over rice that was cooked in chicken stock from the freezer (one container had a little bit of shredded chicken in it). We also had egg drop soup made with homemade pork stock, an egg and green onions from the indoor garden.
* Roasted chicken for dinner one evening and had leftovers a couple night later. Served with sides of roasted veggies, steamed green beans and/or mashed potatoes. The rest of the meat was pulled off the bone and saved to use later. The bones will go into stock.
* Had venison tacos twice this week. First, I browned the venison, then served up with greens and green onions from the indoor garden, salsa, the last of a container of sour cream, and black olives. The next time, I had just a little salsa left in the jar so I poured it in the skillet, swished some water in the jar and poured that in too. I crumbled up two handfuls of dehydrated tomatoes and a small handful of dehydrated Hungarian Wax peppers and heated it up. The veggies rehydrated in the thinned salsa, so it was perfectly thickened. Then I added the leftover venison and some leftover rice from stir-fry night and cooked until it was all heated. I served it with greens and green onions from the garden, diced onion, the last of a container of a sour-cream based dip (since we were out of sour cream; it was purchased on manager's special for $.50).
* For breakfast, I had either clearance-priced yogurt, banana yogurt smoothies or toast and jam.

* Coffee date at our regular spot. We brought our travel mugs and saved $.60. This place has free wi-fi and free refills on black coffee, so it's pretty frugal to hang out for awhile.
* Went to an estate sale in a really wealthy area. Didn't buy much but had fun browsing the antiques.

* There were a couple of warmer days. I got outside for exercise and gardening a few times.

* We got our hair cut. I'm growing mine out (I get bored easily with my hair and go from waist-length to pixie and back again), so I only get it cut every few months. We had coupons for $6.99 haircuts, so we used those. We kept our receipts since there was a coupon for $2 off for next time.
* Trucker had given me a bracelet a few months ago that I loved. Unfortunately, it came apart while I was wearing it one day (two of the thin leather cords pulled out of the clasp), so it was relegated to the bottom drawer of my jewelry box. One day this week I got out a pair of tweezers and was able to get everything fixed. I get my pretty bracelet back!

Waste Reduction:
* Rinsed out food jars and used the "rinse water" in recipes.
* Used the last of a bottle of eye drops (these have a tendency to be pushed to the back of the medicine cabinet, and another purchased. Trying to use up the half-full bottles before buying new).
* I strained and saved the chicken fat from the roasted chicken. I will use this in cooking.

* Trucker brought home his box of day-old goodies. Delicious snacks/light work lunches.
* Trucker brought home a 5-gallon bucket of coffee ground from his job and we spread them on the garden beds. Reduces waste at his job and improves our soil. Win!

* We both did a lot of research on the fields of antiques we are each wanting to specialize in.
* Both worked on our writing. Trucker worked on our new website.

* I went for a couple short runs. I can't wait until it warm up enough that I can run barefoot again. I have fewer aches when I run barefoot compared to running in shoes.
* Continue to focus on drinking daily water kefir and lots of water.

* I went through my closet to clean and organize. I identified several items that didn't fit or I didn't wear anymore. I put them in a box. I'll take these with the next time I go to see my family so my mom and sisters can look through the box. Anything they don't want I will donate. I also found some greeting cards in a box that I am going to give to mom. She sends out a good thousand greeting cards every year (and this is being conservative), so any free cards will definitely save her money.

What did you do this week?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 1/26 - 2/1

For me, a life beyond money is making choices so that you can live the best possible life, regardless of your income level. Obviously, you have to make a living, but there are many ways to improve your quality of life without increasing your income levels and correspondingly your expenses. This regular post will be some of the ways that we improve our quality of life beyond just trying to make more money.

* I talked with my dad and sister about what they want to grow in their garden this year. We go in on our seed orders to save money on seeds and shipping and allow more variety. If I had to buy seeds by myself, I would only be able to grow a few different vegetables because of the cost, and I would have too many seeds of certain things (there are only so many zucchini plants one family should plant). However, since we split our packets, we're only getting half the number of seeds per variety and paying half the cost, so we can try some new things.

* We stopped at a grocery store that we haven't shopped at recently. Since I got a job at a grocery store (albeit a fancier one in a posh neighborhood on the other side of the city), I've had a harder time convincing myself to take the time to go to a different grocery store to shop. I realized that the time benefits do not begin to make up for the price difference. The store I work at only has decent sales occasionally. At this other! We bought a lot of things and all of them were on manager's special. A good brand of tomato sauce for $1.20 (usually over $3). Organic yogurt quarts for $2 (I haven't had yogurt since I took the new job because I could not justify spending $8 on a quart of yogurt from this place). Cream cheese $1/half pound. Four pounds of chicken quarters for $3.21. Whole grain pasta for $.70/lb. Cottage cheese for $.59/container (usually $1.50; I eat some as is, and use in place of ricotta in lasagna). Loaf of basic store-baked bread, day old, $.59 (huge loaf too!). We found smoked salmon on sale for $2.89/5 oz containers. We bought three. As a special treat, we got Trucker his favorite grocery-store dessert: creme horns. They were $2.50, BOGO. Yes, it's unhealthy. Yes, it's not necessary. However, two or three times a year we do this and it makes him a happy fella. I'm not saying no (because they are delicious!). Also, there was a rebate for up to $15 off a 12 pack of beer with a $30 purchase, so we got a free 12 pack (minus the cost of the stamp). We'll definitely be stopping back here for our regular shopping and stick to just getting the occasional gallon of milk (and sometimes a piece of candy from the candy shop when I want to surprise Trucker) from my job.
* I made a venison meatloaf using a pound from the freezer. I added a medium onion, whole head of garlic, and a handful of dehydrated Hungarian Wax peppers. I served it with some tinned green beans (clearance rack, $.30), homemade stuffing (courtesy of my bread cubes container filled with stale bagels from Trucker's job, plus broth from cooking the pulled pork last week), and mashed butternut squash.
* We had smoked salmon and bagels for dinner one night. We bread sliced 1.5 everything bagels and toasted the pieces. I made a flavored cream cheese with green onions and cress from the indoor garden and very thinly sliced onion ($.11/lb on a good sale at Aldi) and we topped each piece with a tiny bit of salmon. Perfect.

Food Preservation:
* Dehydrated 10 pounds of cranberries, no added sugar, just sliced in half for even drying. These will be used mainly for flavoring water kefir. I can also use those to make flavored syrup.

* Used our loyalty card at our regular coffee-date spot. We earned a $1 off a drink on a future visit.
* Used the library extensively, as always.
* We went out of town for a sale, but afterwards drove around a new city to sight-see. We had a great time and loved talking while we drove. I packed a lunch of ham sandwiches, pretzels, bananas and travel mugs of coffee so we didn't have to eat out the entire day.

* Trucker lost a button on his coat. Fortunately, we still had the spare. One evening I stitched it on and his coat looks fine again. We bought this coat on an after-season clearance 3 years ago for $30, and it still looks fantastic.
* I used my grocery store fuel points to get $.20/gallon for 15 gallons.
* I bought a second-hand metal mixing bowl for $.99. I'm trying to get eliminate plastics from my kitchen, so I scoop up metal and glass mixing bowls as I find them at a good price.

Waste Reduction:
* Composted a lot of random stuff.
* Trucker cleaned out his shipping supplies closet and used the excess cardboard for lasagna gardening.

* Trucker brought home a bag of goodies-bagels, a couple of scones, and two carrot muffins.
* I got my year end bonus. It wasn't huge since I've only been with the company four months, but it will cover a business class we were wanting to take.

* Trucker and I have decided to get into antiques dealing/picking. We have been doing it as a hobby for years and have learned a lot. We love antiques and each have our favorites to collect. We have been researching a lot over the last few months and talking with dealers and antique mall owners all over the city. We have officially decided to start professionally. We've started a website (that is in the very early stages), signed up with some online auction/sales sites, started filing legal paperwork, and are building our inventory. My dad told me about a sale in a city 1.5 hours away so one day we went there and found some great items. We are very excited for this new venture together.

* Got a nice workout shoveling the driveway and sidewalks.
* Since the weather has been so crazy, I've been concentrating on keeping our diet as high-quality as possible. We've been limiting the amount of low-nutrition foods we eat and drink and opt for more nutritious items whenever possible. I've been adding lots of dehydrated veggies to pretty much every meal to amp up the nutritional levels and stretch the meat a little more.

Community/Sharing: (I'm going to start including gifts that Trucker and I give each other, or that we exchange with family and friends because I think that sharing with those you love fosters a tight-knit community. Also, I want to officially demolish the idea that gifts have to be new, expensive or traditional)
* Trucker found a ring on the ground. Fits me perfectly and it is absolutely adorable.
* A friend of ours got Trucker a book at a thrift store for a comedic collection of his. She is so thoughtful.
* My parents are selling us one of their cars. Since my sister just bought a new-to-her car, they have an extra one. It's not perfect, but it is worth what they wanted and is more reliable than the truck. We knew the truck was likely going to go sometime in the next six months to a year, and we weren't sure if a good, cheap vehicle would be available whenever it did. This works out well for us as we can afford it and don't have to worry about the truck dying at an inopportune time.  Trucker will use this for commuting to his job 4 miles away, so it should last us a good amount of time. It will be quite sad for Trucker to not drive a truck, however.
* When I went to my parents to test drive the car, I brought the rest of the bag of goodies from Trucker's job: several bagels, a scone and a muffin. My sister and her fiance were going ice fishing that morning, so I made sure to send them each with a snack.

What did you do this week?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...