Monday, August 24, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 08/17 - 08/23

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 harvested lots of basil to use almost daily in cooking.
* I harvested a few cups of green/purple snap beans.
* I harvested a dozen or so cherry tomatoes.
* I harvested a dozen small medium-heat peppers.
* I fed the bunnies weeds and twigs.

This is after I had taken one dehydrator load of tomatoes out.
Isn't this fantastic?
* Snacks have been popcorn or vegetables. I've found some great deals on baby carrots, cukes, tomatoes, etc lately. We'll often just slice up veggies, lightly salt and enjoy that with out movie.
* We found a manager's special on a decent steak for $5.40. We split half of it. The other half we saved for another meal. With the steak, I served mashed potatoes and gravy and slices of tomato with salt.
* My farmer friend royally hooked me up. I asked him about canning tomatoes because I'm not getting enough tomatoes from the garden to preserve. He said he didn't know if he would have any available but would let me know. He ended up hooking me up with a bushel of tomatoes for $20! That's $.38/lb! Not only that, but he definitely didn't give me "canners" (code phrase for the tomatoes that are too blemished to sell otherwise). These were pretty close to flawless (so far I've cut out a small bad spot from a total of three tomatoes). We've been devouring them fresh as a snack or in sandwiches. I've dehydrated 6 loads worth so far. I'll finish them in the next few days.
* I had tomato, basil (from the garden) and mayo sandwiches for lunch one day. Best lunch ever.

Food Preservation:
My setup...complete with Storm of the Century!
* I preserved about 20 pounds of tomatoes by slicing and dehydrating them. I gather my knife and cutting board, dehydrator trays and 2 large bowls. I cut out any bad spots and put them in one bowl (to go in the composter). I cut out cracked spots and cores and put them in the other bowl. I cut all of the tomatoes into even slices. If I have any weird spots that don't cut well, scraps of skin, etc, I toss into the second bowl. This bowl of scraps will be used to make soup. I slice several tomatoes, then stop and assemble them on the trays. The more you cram onto the trays, the longer it will take to dehydrate. However, I often leave the dehydrators running overnight, so this is no problem. Once they are fully dry, I store in repurposed glass jars.

* Trucker found two coupons in the trash at his job for free small ice creams at the local fancy-ice cream spot. The ice cream would have cost $10 if we'd bought it. We tipped $1 and enjoyed our free, delicious ice cream. While we ate it, we strolled around the neighborhood. It was a perfect eveninh for it: not too hot, not too cold, perfect breeze, perfect humidity, pretty spotty clouds in the sky while the sun set. Perfect date. During the recession, we used to challenge ourselves to find inventive "Dollar Dates" when we didn't have more than a dollar to go out on. It was fun to see that all these years later, we can still have such a lovely time on a dollar date.
* A week or so ago, while Trucker and I were talking, we joked about how many months we had been married. Then we decided to figure out how many it had been. It was just shy of 100 months. We decided that we had to make a big to-do about it. We told everyone about our special anniversary. We ended up going out to dinner and a free concert at a coffee house.
* We went to see a movie at the discount theater on their $1.25 day.

* I've enjoyed watching the clouds and sunsets while running. Perfect!

* I got a lot of free samples in the mail after spending an hour requesting lots online: 4 pack of meal replacement drinks (for days when I forget lunch or if we are super busy), tampons, maxi pads, stevia sweetener, lotion. These also came with coupons, some of them really good ones, so I'll use those in combination with a sale if I get the chance.
* I upgraded my phone since the old one wasn't working. I actually broke down and got a smart phone. I did this for two reasons. One: with our new business venture, I need to be able to check value/maker's marks/etc while out picking. I do not use the internet otherwise. I turn off my data so I'm not mindlessly using data. When I need to look up an item I'm thinking of popping on, I have to go turn on the data before I can search, and then turn it off after. Adding that little thought process keeps me from Facebook. Two: I want to try out one of those fun running apps. I talked with the sales guy to figure out the best phone for me. I made it perfectly clear I wanted the cheapest option and didn't need anything fancy. I ended up getting a phone on a payment plan (instead of the "free" phones I usually get) because it was $10/month cheaper than not having a payment plan on the "free" phone. So all in all, I'm paying what I used to pay for a regular phone that barely worked and only put through 1/3 of my phone calls.
* Line dried a couple loads of laundry.

The scraps from one day's preserving.
Waste Reduction:
* I saved tomato scraps to use to make tomato soup.
* Composted weird things.
* Used the last of a bottle of shower gel as bubble bath.

* I worked 2 hours overtime.
* I officially got offered a job for my farmer friend. I'm working 3 days a week helping at the farmers markets. While the farm is 1.5 hours from my house, the markets are all within a half hour's drive. They pay me for my time and gas. Sometimes I even get free produce (one day they sent me home with the last 10 cukes that would otherwise have just been composted). I make a good wage and love the work. I worked for this family when I was just out of high school, best job I've ever had. The entire family is very nice, the produce is fantastic, they are active members in the community (where I grew up). The job gives me a good work out (running all over with 50-100 pound tubs of produce) and I am learning a great deal about selling at farmers markets. When Trucker and I get our farm, I'll already have some experience in this aspect of farming.
* I worked 2 days at farmers markets this week.
* I packed my lunch every day I worked at my regular job. I always made sure (at either job) to have lots and lots of water.

* Put up lots of food for winter.

* We continue to go out picking on a regular basis and restock our booth. We are noticing empty spots when we check the booth. Soon we'll get paid and get our itemized list of sold items and really know where we stand.
* I wrote some on my book.
* Trucker finished the rough draft on another book. He'll soon start the self-publication process.
* Trucker submitted an article to a website.

* I ran most days, 1-1.5 miles.
* We snacked on fruit and veg instead of junk food.
How was your week?

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