Tuesday, September 1, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 8/24 - 8/30

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 several handfuls of fresh basil.
* Harvested several cherry tomatoes.
* Harvested 1/2 cup of green beans.
* Harvested several peppers.
* Fed weeds and twigs to the bunnies. I fed them their pellets one day, refilled their water bottles then broke off some green twigs from the rowdy treeline. When I brought them to the hutches, Nurse Ratched actually squealed before devouring the leaves and gnawing on the twigs. Too cute! She's growing on me, due in large part to the fact that she hasn't drawn blood in two months.

* I made beef stew out of random items from the frig: the last half of a steak, the leftover mashed potatoes, the last of a carton of mashed potato soup (from the salvage grocer) that we didn't quite care for but wasn't bad enough to toss, carrots, peppers, cauliflower (never would have planned to put that in, but it needed used up. It was an incredible addition), corn, and lots of garlic (from the garden; because everything I make needs to have garlic in it). We had it two days as is, and the last of it was served over egg noodles. The leftovers of the noodles and stew was Trucker's lunch for work one day.
* I stopped at my salvage grocer. I got lots of goodies: .75/lb bag of jerky for $5, 10 oz bags of coffee for $.99, a huge jar of tomato sauce for $1, cans of buffalo chicken for $.49 (for 1/2 lb), toilet paper (100% post-consumer material, $.99/4 pk), pickles ($.49/jar), bag of 40 protein bars for $4 (these are great for work-day breakfasts and after work snacks for the 1.5 hour drive home).
* I got some produce off of a manager's special cart: 1 lb of snow peas ($.99), a huge bag of cherry bomb peppers ($.99), a bag of green medium heat peppers ($.99), 2 lbs of yellow summer squash ($.99). Not too bad. I'll likely preserve some of the peppers for later.
* While at a flea market, I got two big bags of peppers: Hungarian Wax (one of my favorites) and these lovely huge jalapenos. Each bag was $1 for about 1 1/2 lbs.

Food Preservation:
* Continue to dehydrate tomatoes.
* Froze 5 bananas that were getting a little too dark (I stock up every time I find them below $.40/lb and freeze whatever we can't use for making my chocolate shakes or smoothies).
* I froze 2 portions of tomato soup that was leftover from another meal. These will go into work lunches.

* Trucker and I are on a mailing list to get free movie screening tickets. This week we were able to respond in time to get two tickets. We got a free date one evening.
* Another night we went out to a free movie. This one we got on our coupon sheet from finishing the summer reading program at the library. This coupon was expiring this week, so we wanted to use it up. The other coupons are good for another movie. We got to see a movie we were really excited about; tickets usually cost $10. We didn't buy any snacks and we even found free street parking.
* We had my family out for dinner one evening. I made a nice dinner. I served bacon cheeseburgers (clearance-price beef, clearance-price bacon, store-brand american cheese) on wheat hamburger buns (manager's special for $.39) with lettuce (from the garden), pickles (salvage grocer) and tomatoes (free from my second job). I grilled summer squash (manager's special), potatoes (on sale for $.20/lb), and peppers (manager's special). We drank coffee and koolaid. Afterwards, we took my parents to see the antique booth. We'd waited to surprise them until after it was set up. They were excited to see it.
* We had one of our friends over for breakfast one morning. I made fried eggs and bacon, and served it with bacon cheddar scones from Trucker's job. We had orange juice ($.90/from concentrate) and coffee (from the salvage grocer) to drink. Afterwards, we went to a flea market together. He has been asking us to go for months, but we never had a free weekend day available. We had a good time.

* I curb shopped a stool while on my run. It has an ugly top, so I plan to make a little cushion that matches the kitchen.
* I paid off one of my medical debts, the biggest one. Now I just have a little one left to go!

Waste Reduction:
* I made another batch of tomato soup from scraps from dehydrating.
* I composted weird things, like dryer lint, junk mail, and cat hair.
* We shipped items we sold online using all salvaged materials.
* I crumbled up some of the scones that we didn't get a chance to eat to use as breadcrumbs. I picked out the bacon and cheddar from the scones and added it to a pot of soup. Sounds weird, but waste not, want not!

* Packed lunches.
* Worked at farmers market 2 days.
* I was able to bring home some produce that would otherwise have been thrown away: a cracked watermelon, a split pepper, and an eggplant with a funky spot.
* Trucker brought home a big bag of goodies.

* At a yard sale I found some window insulation/plastic kits for $.50 each and bought two. We want to weatherize the whole house before winter this year, so I've been storing up supplies.

This picture is from early on at the booth. We've since replaced
the two small shelves behind the black end tables with taller
shelves, moved the linens over to the top of a trunk and have the
crate hidden away for now until we can use it better.
* We got our first paycheck from the antique booth! The booth was pretty bare the first 10 of 15 days in the pay period (I'd say we are just now getting to be fully stocked). Even so, we made half of rent, and there is a definite learning curve to this whole thing. So, while I still am not expecting to become rich off of this, we aren't losing money! And that is about as solid of a start as you can hope for.
* We went out picking together a lot. We've been going out for all morning picking trips. We bring our travel mugs of coffee and I pack a lunch. He's so fun to just be around, so it's really a date, even though we're working.
* We brought lots of items up to the booth. It's so fun getting there, rearranging things, looking for holes, stocking, talking with people. Love it!
* Trucker's article was accepted to a major magazine! I am so excited for him and insanely proud. I first got to know Trucker all those years ago through his writing, and I still get to learn about him through it now, after being together over 8 years.

* I've been continuing to run on a regular basis.
* My diet was a wreck this week and I'm feeling it (I am also certain I'm looking it, although Trucker tells me otherwise. Lovely man). Definitely reinforced my determination to eat better.

* My parents let us borrow their truck to move things up to the booth so we didn't have to pay $65+gas to rent a truck for 3 hours. It was at 1/4 a tank when I got it; I filled it up all the way. Even with the extra gas, it was still half the price of renting.
* I got Trucker a just-because gift. While I was at the library, I saw a book for sale that was by his favorite author. If I'd ordered it online, it would have been $8 including shipping. I paid $2.25.

How was your week?

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