Tuesday, September 15, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 9/7 - 9/13

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 a few cups of green beans and a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes
* Harvested tons of basil to use...in everything!
* I picked up a couple pine cones and threw them to the bunnies. They seemed to enjoy nibbling them. I fed them leafy twigs.
Mustard seeds harvested from my shade garden.
* I'm thinking that for winter, I'm going to move the rabbit hutches as the weather permits.  As soon as the first bed is bare for winter, I'm going to lay cardboard to cover the bed to smother weeds (I barely touched the garden this year, so there are lots and lots of weeds). I'll position the hutches over the bed on cinder blocks and let the waste fall directly onto the beds. I'll cover occasionally with crumbled leaves raked this autumn. As it gets a good covering, I'll move it to another bed. This will save handling the waste and get it breaking down in place.
* My mustard patch went to seed a bit ago and the seedpods were pretty dry. I pulled up three plants and took them inside. I let them dry for another couple days. I popped open the seed pods over a bowl. I ended up with about a tablespoon of mustard seed. Obviously, this will not save me a fortune or greatly contribute to our food needs for the year; however, it was still worth doing. It took 5 minutes, used something that would otherwise have just gone to waste (the rest of the plant will still go in to the compost), and will give a bit more flavor to our winter's meals. A thousand small savings add up.

* I bought a container of salsa with part of my pay from the farmers market. It is perfect and lovely. My farmer friend makes it himself, and it is seriously the best salsa I've ever had.
* We grilled out one evening. I made bacon wrapped hot dogs (Oh my!), green bell peppers, cherry bomb peppers, a yellow tomato (not the best thing ever), and corn on the cob. It was a lovely meal.
* I've been snacking on overripe/damaged cantaloupes from the farm constantly. One day I got a watermelon that had a bad spot. I was still able to salvage half of the flesh. Low-calorie, high-nutrient and free. Best guilt free snack ever.
* I went to the grocery and spent $12. I got: 3+ lbs of organic bananas ($.45/lb!), a container of sour cream, a pack of 6 crab cakes (marked down to $2), a lb of prepped Brussels sprouts and red peppers for roasting (marked down to $2; I don't usually buy pre-prepped foods, but if it is cheaper per pound, I will sometimes), a loaf of bread (marked down from $1.50 to $.79), a dozen extra-large eggs (It cost $.10 more to get XLG than LG eggs, but gives an extra 3 oz of egg per dozen. I don't know why this matters. LOL) and a pound of shredded cheddar cheese.

This monster zucchini weighed over 5 lbs!
Food Preservation:
* I put 8 containers of plain tomato sauce into the freezer (made Saturday before our trip). Each container is enough for one meal of tomato sauce over pasta or a meal of tomato soup with grilled cheese. Not too bad. This will pack a lot of nutrition into our winter meals.
* I froze 3 large containers of tomato juice strained from the tomatoes as I cooked them into sauce. These will be used for a nutritious drink, added to bloody marys, or used as a soup base (I save the rinse water from tomato sauce containers as the base for my Trash Chili).
* I grated and froze 17.75 pounds of monster zucchini (free from my farmer friend) in 2 cup portions. This will be used for baking all winter long.

* For my birthday, I like to get out of town. Need to get out of town. I get really antsy if I'm stuck in one place for too long, and my birthday gives me the perfect excuse to go. Sometimes we take a day trip and just jump on the highway and drive til we see something worth stopping. This time, we went to our old city to explore and to visit my in-laws for two days. We were able to do it on the cheap and still had a ball.
* I booked the hotel on hotel.com. I use them because I get a free night's stay after 10 nights. I booked a hotel that was cheaper, but not seedy (the last time we stayed at a seedy hotel, we were given the key to someone else's room twice and one time ended up walking in!). We stayed out of the city limits and saved $30 that way. Because we were going to be very busy both days, I didn't get a hotel with gym/pool like I usually do. It did have a free breakfast which we enjoyed. We got waffles, bananas, milk, juice, cereal and coffee. It filled us up enough to not need to eat a big lunch.
* Our first day there, Trucker's family took us out for dinner. It was nice getting to catch up a bit.
* It was Labor Day weekend, so three thrift store chains in the city were having half off days. We hit a dozen. I'm such an easy-to-please girl. Some guys have to buy expensive jewelry, plan elaborate dates, etc. Me? All I want is to go thrifting. We got items for our booth and a few things for the house. We didn't spend much, but got some cool things.
* We stopped at a hole-in-the-wall taqueria for tacos al pastor and Mexican coke. Because yum.
* I bought some produce out of a truck: 1 lb tomatillos, 6 peaches, 2 ears of corn, a huge beefsteak tomato, and a few peppers: $3.
I had been needing to get some new
art for the house. I got two farm
paintings to go in the hallway
downstairs. I also got an ocean and
sunset painting for the bathroom.
The pink of the sunset matches the
color of the bathroom walls.
* We FINALLY got out to a metropark this week. After work one day, we were discussing how we should spend our evening and Trucker said he really needed to get out into nature. We drove to a metropark 2 miles from home and did 3.5 miles.

* I bought gas at work since it was $.30-.40 cheaper than the gas stations in my city.

Waste Reduction:
* Composted lots of weird things.
* I strained off tomato juice from the tomatoes I was cooking down. Not only did I save the liquid from just evaporating, giving me a nutritious drink, but I reduced the amount of cooking time and thus the amount of gas needed to make the sauce thick enough.
* I took home unsaleable produce from my farm gig (with permission, of course).

* I worked at the farmers market 3 days this week. I brought home 3 overripe cantaloupes, 2 cracked bell peppers and 1 soft tomato.
* Trucker brought home sweets from his job, including some chocolate almond biscotti that rocks my world.
* We were shut down on the holiday, but I worked an extra day on Friday to make up for the loss in pay.
* I worked an hour overtime one day.

* Put lots more food into storage.

* We got our second paycheck from the booth. We increased our sales over the last period by 78%. We ended up making a profit over the booth rent and the purchase price of the items that sold. This does not factor in the amount we spent on shelving and the items that haven't sold yet. However, if we were to move out of the booth, we would still have the items to use/sell. We're learning a lot. There were a couple of items that we tried out just to see. Some of them sold immediately and so we look out for them every time we go out. For example, chicken figurines. Heaven knows why, but I can't keep them in stock. Three days between placing and selling, every time. Also, suitcases. We have had good luck finding some really nice ones.

* I've been watching what I eat and drink and am back to my normal weight.
* I wear ear plugs at work to protect my hearing.

* I wasn't able to work Monday because we were shut down for the holiday. However, I was able to pick up another shift that week to make up for it.

How was your week?


  1. You know I read your posts and think we would make such great pals! Like you my fun past time is thrifting ( which my hubby gets into as well) and just this week I said to him that some women like fancy jewellery while for me I am happy with a $2 pair of shoes from the Goodwill. I also noticed your bunnies like pine cones as does our puppy who uses them to chew on, nourishing her gums and teeth ( free chew toys) and please send some basil to me here in Australia. I love it so much and grew it this year though can never have enough. At this end we held a yard sale this week as we downsize for our trip. Best ever and as my husband pointed out today " we have been making more money staying home and selling things than we would make working". Life is good.

    1. I think the same thing every time I read your comments, Vicki! Shame we're in opposite sides of the world. If you ever come to Ohio (heaven knows why!), we should meet! :)

      I was so excited when I read on a forum about bunnies eating pine cones. Helps keep their teeth worn down and they can eat the pine nuts for added protein. Plus it's a toy to keep them occupied! Love it!

      I'm glad your yard sale went so well! I was going to ask! When do you head out on your trip?


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