Tuesday, July 14, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 07/6 - 7/12

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.
* Continue feeding weeds to the bunnies. I used to dehydrate my radish leaves to use in my veggie powder. They aren't tasty, but I felt bad wasting them. Now those go into the bunnies' rations also.
* Bunny Weigh-In: Frank the bunny was 1.5 pounds when I got him at 6 weeks old (approx; they said he was older but based on his size, I doubt it). He is now 4 pounds. He's smaller than the girls, but bucks always are. Hopefully he'll continue to grow. I didn't weigh the girls when I first got them (which I regret), but visibly they've grown substantially. Hazel-ra was the smaller of the two and still is, weighing in at 5 pounds. However, she loves her greens and is growing nice and big. Nurse Ratched is ridiculous. She was born within a day of Hazel-ra, but she weighs an astonishing 6.25 pounds! I can hardly believe the difference in their weight. Generally, I love that the Nurse puts on weight so fast, but she eats more pellets than either of the other two rabbits (while still eating all the greens I can give her). Hazel-ra doesn't grow as fast, but she prefers greens and never finishes her pellets, while still managing to gain. I'm hoping that her kits will take readily to a rabbit trailer moved around the backyard. Overall, I'm still really happy. I'm waiting until autumn to breed them so they have time to grow properly before kitting. I'll get one kitting in, then wait until spring for more. So far, my expenses for the bunnies have been: $80 for the cages/water bottles/feeders/carrier/scale/toenail clippers, $30 for the rabbits, $15 for feed, for a total of $125. Some people spend that to adopt a cat. This is totally reasonable for the startup costs to start supplying my family with all of the meat we eat in a year (we have an arrangement to barter rabbit meat for beef and venison when the time comes, so bacon will be our only purchased meat)
* The broadcast radishes germinated well and are pretty evenly spaced. The beets are starting to germinate.
* I broadcast 1 more packet of beets and 3 more packets of radishes in other empty spots in the garden. This is lazy gardening all the way, but what with the poison ivy and near constant rain and mosquitoes, it's what I can do this year.
* Harvested 4 cups of green beans
* Thinned the garden beds and ended up with a cup of edible thinnings: basil, carrots, radish, beets.
* Harvested 3 cups of mixed greens: lettuce, kale and mustards.
* I planted Little Finger carrot seeds among the tomato plants.
* I planted a spare container with Scotch Kale seeds.
* All of the orange mint that germinated was all in one corner of the window box I planted. I transplanted some of the plants throughout the planter. Hopefully they'll be okay.

* I used leftover hot dogs from the cookout for perhaps my trashiest meal ever: hot dog gravy and toast. Out of sheer desperation to use them up before they went bad, I sliced them and pan fried til crispy. I made a gravy, like I would for sausage. I served this over bacon cheddar scones that Trucker brought home from his job. It is not something I would plan into the meal rotation, but I'd make it again to use up leftovers. The key is to make a really good gravy, because the meat cannot be the shining light of this dish.
* We went to the grocery store and had a great store. They had a ton of pork products marked down to $1.88/16-18 oz package. We got 8 packages: 2 of ground pork, 2 ground Italian sausage, 2 ground country sausage, 1 package Italian sausage links, and 1 meatballs. They had a clearance cart of $1 personal watermelons. Trucker doesn't eat much watermelon, and I can't eat a huge one alone. I love watermelon, so this will get me my summery fix without waste. Pineapples were $.75; I got two. Any I don't eat fresh will be grilled (because oh, my!). 1 lb containers of baby arugula were on manager's special for $.50; I bought one. I bought a package of organic baby portabella mushrooms, $.50. A package of prepped veggies for roasting was on sale for $.50/lb. While I'd never usually use these, I got one because it contained a good mix of veggies to use at a price that would have been acceptable for any of them: summer squash, zucchini, winter squash, carrots, onions.
* We had big salads for dinner one night: arugula, tomatoes (the last of the toms from the farm stand), onions, zucchini, summer squash, carrots (all from the roasting veggies package). I pan fried some chicken breasts to top them (I froze 2/3 of the chicken for later)
* Trucker made his incredible french toast with bread that was getting a bit stale and made enough for me to use for breakfasts later (pop in the toaster instead of the microwave and it's *almost* as good as fresh).
* We had just a little ice cream left, not enough for us each to have a serving. I made a batch of brownies as a special treat for us one evening and served them hot, each with a scoop of ice cream on top and a drizzle of chocolate bourbon sauce.
* I walked to the Save a Lot near me. I spent $3.50 on a loaf of bread, 2 10-packs of tortillas and a canister of cake spice ($.10).
* We used half of one package of meatballs (so $.94 worth), with spaghetti and tomato sauce (added garlic scapes-free, mustard greens from the garden). Topped with basil microgreens from weeding the garden. I served with slices of bread and White Russians (Trucker found coffee liquor half off and I had bought some fat free "half and half" for $.50/qt).
* I made a peach crisp with the last of the peaches from the farm stand. It was perfect. Absolutely. We ate some warm from the oven, some cold and some as part of a parfait.
* I made two batches of cookies, reserving half of the dough in the freezer for another time. I made a batch of peanut butter shortbread and a batch of chocolate shortbread. Some of the peanut butter cookie dough I made into PBJ thumbprints. These were probably the best cookies I've ever made. Not too sweet. And there's peanut butter for protein and the grape jelly counts as a fruit, right? Health food (according to my Grandma's logic for giving me ice cream for dinners...counts as dairy).
* Made stir fry with lots of random veg from the garden, grocery and farm stand. Served over rice with pumpkin seeds for protein.

Food Preservation:
* I froze some leftover meat to use in meals later. We are still plowing through cookout leftovers as well as a couple of good deals I bought, so I'm putting chicken breasts, hamburger and hot dogs into the freezer. Later, I can pull out a container and have quick tacos or toss the hot dogs (these were already grilled, then sliced) into a casserole with potatoes.
* After each ate a brownie, I froze the rest of the batch in 2 brownie portions.  I also froze two half batches of cookie dough. Whenever we want to have a sweet, I can pull a container out.I am absolutely loving this deep freeze!

* Cheap coffee date= $3.18 with our travel mugs.
* We went to Sonic Drive-In for their half-off ice cream cones one day=$2.89 date.
* One evening after I worked late, we redeemed our free pizza from Papa John's. I picked it up on my way home, and we enjoyed it while watching a movie from the library. Free date.
* Awhile back we bought 10 tickets for the summer film series at our favorite local theatre. It's really fun to get dressed up a little to see a movie in a posh theatre. We enjoyed it a lot last year, so decided to get the discount for a bulk-lot this year. We paid $25 for 10 tickets, normally $4 each. We invited a couple of our friends to come with us to the theatre to watch Key Largo (which I hadn't seen yet).

* Went out for frequent walks.

* I replaced the furniture pads on the bottom of my desk chair so they don't scratch up the floor in front of my desk and prematurely age my hardwood.
* I line dried three loads of laundry.
* I walked errands one day (5 miles) instead of driving. This didn't save much money, but every bit counts. Mainly, it was a great excuse to spend a couple hours outside on one of the few days it didn't rain all day. And I got a fantastic workout since I was carrying heavy bags for 3 miles of it!
* At a yard sale, I spent $1 on: a blue and white pottery bowl (that matches my kitchen), a pack of outlet sealers and 5 packs of matches.

Waste Reduction:
* I turned an almost-empty bottle of shampoo upside down and got 5 more shampoos out of it. After that, I shook water in it and used it as bubble bath.
* Composted lots of random things.

* Trucker brought home a big bag of goodies from his job.
* I worked 2 hours overtime this week.
* I was expecting not to receive a paycheck this week because of the vacation the previous week (although next week's check will be larger due to the extra day I picked up at the tail end). However, I received my attendance bonus for the month, which was 10% of what my check usually is. Small, but something.

* I bought extra matches to have on hand. I'll put these in a plastic bag and put them in our bags.

* We are officially on the waiting list to get a booth at one of our favorite antique malls in the city. They have good advertising, we see people buying every time we're in, and we've talked with vendors who have good things to say. We're so excited!

* Continuing to run frequently. I want to race this year, so I thought maybe I should try to run with shoes on. Convention, you know. It was terrible. Immediately my form was off and everything ached. I hadn't realized how much I depend on that sensory data from striking the earth to adjust my form. I may just have to overcome my nerves and race barefoot. I did look online at prices for Vibrams Five Finger shoes. I'll probably buy a pair to use for winter running. For now, I just need to find a good, short answer to the question I get five times each run: "Where are your shoes, girl?"
* I ran a few times this week.
* One day I rode with Trucker to his job and then walked home 5.6 miles, running about a mile of it. Got some much needed vitamin D and fresh air. The next day I walked 4 miles on errands, 3 miles of it carrying heavy bags.

* I didn't get a full paycheck this week because of the vacation. I did get about 1/10 my usual check because my attendance bonus came in. Next week my paycheck will be larger because of the extra production day I voluntarily worked (for double time pay)

* A couple of friends gave us an air conditioner that they were no longer using (that another friend had given them when she no longer needed it).
* My mum's friend helps a group of people with special needs make crafts to sell. She asked me to look out for some supplies while I'm out picking. I found a few things cheap and gave them to her.

How was your week?


  1. Like you I can never waste anything when it comes to food. Even the "trashiest" meal is a meal and prevents waste. My fave, which is a dessert I made tonight is frozen muffins etc ( I make mine at home gluten free due to intolerance. They go stale after a day so I freeze them), I make home made custard pour it on top with blobs of jam for a trifle type thing. So tasty, frugal and no waste. On the Vibrams , I have a pair I got super cheap about 18 months ago. I am not a runner but they were something I wanted to try. If you get lots of questions about bare feet wait until you wear those crazy shoes around :)

    1. That's a good point about the Vibrams. At least, it should be decent for racing, but maybe stick with the bare feet for neighborhood runs. LOL

      Your trifle dessert sounds awesome. I have some stale muffins from Trucker's job in the kitchen right now...I may have to give this a go.

    2. I meant to say about the dessert I reheat in the oven so the frozen muffins thaw out and the custard makes them soft.


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