Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summer's winding down...

8/16 - Garage sale tomorrow morning! Yes! Finally going to (hopefully) get rid of all this clutter and junk piling up in the garage. Whatever's left I will put on Craigslist or Freecycle, followed by a one-way visit to Goodwill. Sadly, we live out of town a few miles, so we won't get as much traffic as those located in town. But I heard that there's a small bunch of sales going on and am counting on people planning ours into their "sale-ing route". I have a ton of pricing to do still, lots of organizing and figuring out how to display stuff... I decided to be lazy with clothes and just printed a poster with prices for tops (25cents) and jeans ($1), or marked and hung up for higher priced items. I still need to get to town and get some money to make change, too.

Yesterday I harvested one of the four cabbages from my garden box, as well as enough pea pods to give me a total of 4 meals' worth, which I blanched and froze. My dad made soup with the cabbage. I also picked enough green beans so that I now have a total of 6 meals' worth in the freezer. I'm hoping to get to the kale either today or tomorrow after the sale, which I also intend to blanch and freeze. This fall I intend to can some beets and make applesauce for the freezer, too. We've really got to work harder at reducing what we are spending at the grocery store. I hate that every other check written out is to them.

School begins again in a couple of weeks, which means I am back to work. I'm sort of looking forward to it. Partly because it keeps me busy for large blocks of time where I don't think about food... which is weird when you consider I'm a lunch lady. But it's hard to consider the food schools serve as FOOD. It's almost all pre-breaded/pre-cooked brown foods. Yuck. Not to say we don't have anything else to eat there. We do have a nice salad bar and there are soups and sandwiches, too. As well as an a la carte line, filled with more pre-breaded/pre-cooked brown foods. Look how I meander off course...

I've been walking our paved paths in town when I have the opportunity. It takes just a bit under an hour and is about 3 to 4 miles after walking both ways, I think. I've also been starting my Leslie Sansone dvd's again. The first one I did was the 2 mile walk and I didn't even break a sweat. So the next time I popped in the 3 mile walk, which made me work a little harder, but I think I will go on to the 4 mile walk next. "D" joined Cross Country (like track... without the track) this week, too. I intend to do lots of walks while he is participating in that since I will have to come in to town to drop and pick him up several evenings a week. I noticed yesterday that "D's" sister, "A", hopped on her bike and went for a short ride last night. She hasn't done that for nearly a year now. See how contagious physical activity can be?

8/25 - Yesterday I gave my brother a head of cabbage, let him pick a bunch of the green beans and a couple of onions. There's still a few more meals' worth of beans out there, which if I can bear the heat, I will pick and blanch/freeze this afternoon. The garden's dwindling quickly since we haven't had rain and we've used all the water caught in the rain barrels. We have salty, hard-water so we can't use from our well. It's been so hot and the ground's cracking from the dryness.

I made another batch of popsicles with avocado. This time they were peppermint bon-bon flavored! No recipe, really. Just pulverized some avocado/mint extract/xylitol & stevia/h&h/dark chocolate chips in a blender cup. Next time I would like to have larger chunks of chocolate so I will just roughly chop some and stir in before pouring into molds.

We made $100 on our junk last weekend at the garage sale. While it's pretty darn sad to think of how much all that stuff had cost, the money made is better than the nothing we would've got for it had we just tossed it. We still had the seat down in the back of the Escape and the back packed with leftovers that were brought to Goodwill. I also set a bunch of stuff out by the road for free. Some went but the garbage man ended up taking most a few days later. There are some books and movies that I am going to look into selling online, too. I come away from this sale with new resolve to control our spending.

A "want" now and then is okay. In the case of "J" working full-time and even over-time lately, he should be able to have $20 cash in his pocket each payday. I have no qualms about that. What I do have a problem with is when you allow yourself cash but then write checks out for a case of beer, pop and candy, or a Playstation giftcard, etc. Is it just me or is it absolutely insane to download a videogame or two nearly each month, which isn't even something... tangible?!? I'm off on a rant on all this videogame junk - I hate it. Now, before I am accused of picking on "J" and how he spends, I will admit to my splurges. A few times a month I find myself either picking up a sugar-free coffeeshop or McD's coffee, or swinging in for a 6" flatbread sandwich at Subway. However, I am working at cutting those things down to maybe once a month. As far as make-up and such... I use minimal make-up bought with coupons if available, just foundation/powder/blush, a little mascara on occasion that I received at Christmas from my sister, "T", and sometimes a dab of lip balm that I received from "A" at Christmas. I buy a face cleanser and moisturizer about once, maybe twice for the cleanser, a year... using a coupon at Ulta and buying Walmart brand... for a grand total of a bit under $15. Clothes? For the whole family, we usually buy thrifted or rummage sale finds, sometimes clearanced priced items from the stores. A couple of times per year I will use a Kohl's coupon code for 30% off and buy a few new items for "D"and "A" for school or to replace worn out stuff. We can't avoid spending money on "J" as easily as he needs new scrubs now and then, as well as shoes fairly often. I have made several tops and have a couple more in progress that I will replenish his closet with eventually. I do watch for coupons or free shipping deals for the online scrub place we like to use and will make a small purchase if there are suitable items in the sale section. How do you like to save money or reduce costs?

Currently, the biggest stressor for me with our money situation is that the Escape has an oil leak. It will be picked up and worked on tomorrow to the tune of about $850... and that's only the labor. We only had just over $600 left in our "emergency" fund. So I picked up a few days of extra work so that we could cover the whole sha-bang with cash. This is the only reason I would like to live within easy walking distance to town... when it comes to owning vehicles. The maintenance, insurance and fuel. Yikes. The mechanic tried to make me feel better by telling me that if it is for sure leaking where it appears to be (they added dye and will check with black light), that that part is only about $20. Auto manufacturer's did a great job at putting our vehicles together just so, so that it takes 8hrs of labor to get in to replace a $20 part! Good grief.


  1. I can' wait until I can grow some fresh veggies in my new back yard too. And that $100 is way better than giving it all away.
    Have a good one. :-)

  2. Those Popsicles sure look good and unusual. Sounds like you make good use of every little bit of garden harvest. I harvested sugar peas this spring and froze and am trying to grow more but they have not done well and probably won't get any before the frost! Thanks for commenting on my blog. I have frozen butternut squash but I baked it and didn't cut it into chunks. How do you use your chunks? Nancy

    1. Butternut squash is fantastic roasted! I don't think I posted the recipe that I like on my blog. But if you are familiar with Jamie Oliver, it is one of his recipes. If you copy and paste this link into another window it should take you to his site and recipe:
      Note that the photo does not show it in chunks. But I peeled and chunked mine and it turned out great. Oh, and I have made a pilaf with the butternut chunks added to it, too. That recipe is posted on here if you're interested, it's under "squash".
      Are your peas heirloom? I tried a package of heirlooms this year and have collected some pods already that were either too large or misshapen and pulled the rest of the plants out to finish drying outside in the sun and will collect more seeds from them later. Sadly, our growing season has reached its final moments.