Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sewing/Crafting Day ... February 10th, 2016



Look what I made for the children in my Wednesday night Bible class!

I wanted to do something for them but I knew I had to use what I had on hand so ...

I pulled out my scrapbooking paper and cut out the hearts ...

Then I took a brown paper sack from the grocery store and cut out the backs ...

Then I took some tags that I had cut out using my Sizzx ...

And some ribbon from my ribbon collection ...

And some valentine stickers that I got for $.50 several weeks ago ...

And some candy that I got in the after Christmas sales that I had vacuum sealed in jars ...

And set to work!

I stitched the front of the hearts to the backing, leaving a 2 inch opening on one side ...

Slipped the stickers inside ...

And added 3 pieces of chocolate candy.

Then I stitched closed the openings ...

Punched two wholes in the top right corner of each heart ...

Cut ribbon and ran it through the punched holes ...

Wrote the following message on each tag:  "There's a special place in my heart for you ... Happy Valentine's Day!

Attached the tag to the ribbon and tied a knot.

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pantry Challenge #6 ... 2016

For the last three days, pantry building has been the last thing on my mind … but I have sure been glad that I have a well-stocked pantry!  Read on to see what I’m talking about ….

My to-do list from last time:

Continue vacuum sealing dry beans into jars … still working on this!

Thaw frozen turkeys and can … Didn’t get done!

Make and can broth from carcasses of turkeys after canning meat … Didn’t get done!

In addition:

I peeled, cut up and froze slightly over ripe bananas for use in smoothies.

We made another cheesecake using ingredients we had on hand.

I didn’t get a lot done this week because on the days that I could have worked on my pantry to-do list, I was busy cleaning and reorganizing my kitchen cabinets.  It was not on this week’s to-do list but I gave the A Working Pantry Facebook group an assignment to declutter their kitchen or pantries by putting away, getting rid of or throwing away 3 things.  My 3 things lead to a whole area, which lead to the whole kitchen.  My kitchen looks great, but not much got added to my pantry!

Then, shortly after I finished decluttering my kitchen, I had a TMJ flare up that was intense.  The pain has kept me from sleeping and has caused other teeth issues that I’ve been putting off  a visit to the dentist for to flare up and add to the pain level.  And of course, this all occurred on the weekend!  Here’s what I’m doing to help with the pain and discomfort …

Take ibuprofen for the pain … unfortunately, it is only dulling it.

Went on a liquid/soft food diet … nothing that requires much chewing is going in my mouth … for teeth and TMJ.

Avoiding anything with sugar in it … for the teeth and inflammation from the TMJ.

Using warmth on the affected area to help relax it… for the TMJ.

Taking cider fire several times a day for inflammation … from the TMJ and teeth.

Rinsing my mouth out multiple times a day with a salt water solution … for the teeth.

Swishing a 50/50 solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water several times a day … for the teeth.

I pulled this book, Be Your Own Doctor by Rachel Weaver M.H., off my bookshelf and learned how to treat a toothache by using raw garlic, cream cheese and plain toast.  I am using the cream cheese and garlic and leaving off the plain toast as it is just a means to spread the cream cheese and garlic on and adds nothing to the benefits of the remedy … for inflammation and infection.  I also learned from this book how to make clove tea which is helping some with the pain.

I have been doing a lot of reading and researching on the Earth Clinic site also which is where I got some of these remedies and suggestions.   

All of these things are giving me periods of ‘less hurting’ and helping me get through the weekend.  I shudder to think what this weekend would have been like without these remedies.  You can be sure that come morning I will be calling the dentist!

Please note that I am not a doctor, I am merely sharing what I am doing to cope with my discomfort and pain until I can get to the dentist.  Please consult your doctor before trying any of these remedies.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that ‘I was sure glad that I had a well-stocked pantry.’  Are you wondering why?  Well, I’ll tell you … I had absolutely everything on hand for every one of these remedies including the dehydrated lemon slices I put in my clove tea.  With the level of pain I’ve been experiencing this weekend, I’m glad I didn’t have to wait until I or my husband could go to the grocery/drug store to get the needed items.

Here’s my pantry to-do list for the upcoming week/month:

Until I get this dental issue taken care of  I won’t set a pantry to-do list but will just do what I feel up to doing in this area.

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry?

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

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Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders.  I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay.

Earn cashback by shopping through EBates! (affiliate link)

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Living With A Reduced Budget: January 2016

January was our first full month of living with our new reduced budget (due to a huge increase in our health insurance premiums) and I thought you might like to read some of the things we did.

We …

Stayed out of the stores as much as possible

Stayed home as much as possible

Lived almost exclusively from our pantry … let’s hear it for a well-stocked pantry!!!!

Utilized the library

Took advantage of free kindle books

Used gift cards we received for Christmas combined with coupons and sales to get the most from them and give us a little something ‘extra’ (blow money) for the month.

Utilized coupons and sales for the groceries we did buy

Took ‘Christmas gift money’ we were given and purchased meats for our pantry

Earned gift cards/rebates/money through Swagbucks, Bing , Ibotta and by doing Pinecone surveys.  This gave us a little more ‘discretionary’ money

Tracked where our money went … this has been a real eye opener and has shown us some areas we can work to reduce.

Stuck to our budget … this was the one single thing that made the most difference.  We spent our income on paper before we even got it and then followed it very carefully.

It is my hope that by sharing how we're coping with a reduced budget that it might help others who might be going through the same thing.

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook!


Disclaimer:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you.  Thank you for your support through these means.

The Vicky Challenge #3 ... 2016 - Ways I Earn and Save Money From Home!

(Our forsythia bushes are blooming!)

I decided to move the Vicky Challenge from our Pantry Challenge posts each week and give it its own post.  It has taken on a life of its own and was making the Pantry Challenge posts too long.  I am loving this challenge, it is keeping me motivated to look for ways to save and stretch our finances and in my opinion, that is a win, win situation!

Vicky Challenge #1 and #2 can be found Here and Here.

Here’s what I did last week …

Saved $65.26 on the groceries we purchased by shopping sales.

Made homemade wood floor cleaner for my wet jet mop:  saved $6.15

Saved $32.07 by home canning carrots and whole mushrooms (not together) instead of  purchasing them at the store.

Baked 2 loaves of banana nut bread:  Saved $5.18

Used our wood stove 5 days to heat the house and saved $13 per day on our power bill. (According to the research I did the average cost of heating a home the size of ours is approximately $400/month using electricity.  I divided this amount by 30 (for the days in a month) and came up with $13.33 per day so I will count $13/day savings when we use wood heat.) Saved $65

Ordered two used books from Amazon.  Savings $9.26  (Cost out of pocket was nothing as I used an Amazon gift card I earned from Swagbucks to pay for them.)

I canceled a monthly membership fee for an online food related site.  I loved it, but we’re looking for ways to reduce our monthly outflow and this is one.  Monthly membership  fee $8.33 x 12 = $99.96 savings.

We made a cheesecake this week and saved $26 by doing it ourselves.

The USDA’s ‘moderate’ Food Budget for a family the size of ours is $589.70.  In January we spent $ 196.50, that’s a savings of $393.20.  

Downloaded the following free kindle books from Amazon:  Saved $30.94
The Tender Years by Jeanette Oke 

I gave myself a free lesson/class on crocheting edgings on handkerchiefs by referring to this post.  Savings to me: $35 (This is the rate for a crocheting class at fabric/craft stores in our area.) 

I earned another $1.25 through Ibotta from the groceries we purchased this week.

I got paid for doing two Pinecone survey’s this week: $6

Total earned/saved this week in The Vicky Challenge … $775.27.

Thus far this year my Vicky Challenge savings/earnings have been $771.07, add this week’s amount to that and I've earned/saved $1546.34 in January.  I'm really enjoying seeing how much I save/earn from home.

How have you earned or saved money this week?  I would love to hear what you’re doing.

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook!

Disclaimer:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you.  Thank you for your support through these means.



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Pantry Challenge # 5 ...2016

(Spring flowers are pushing through the ground at my house!)

I recently came across someone who is cultivating a minimalist mindset and only purchases a few days of groceries at a time.  Life and experience has taught me that this is a dangerous way to live.  The massive snow storm that hit the eastern part of the U.S. last week and the resulting affects is just one reason why, not to mention the many things that can, without warning, reduce one’s disposable income.


My husband and I live in a small house and I continually work to keep it de-cluttered.  I will be the first to say that too much stuff can be a real problem.  In that respect I want to have a minimalist mindset, but when it comes to my pantry … absolutely not.  I want my pantry to be well-stocked and equipped to meet my family’s needs for an extended period of time without having to go to the grocery store should that become necessary.

The current minimalist movement has its benefits but please be careful and not carry it too far. I would hate to see someone stop building up/maintaining their pantry because of this movement and then have reason to regret it later.  

Now, let’s see what I was able to do this week to build up and maintain my pantry …

My to-do list from last time:
Vacuum seal dry pinto beans into jars … continue to work on this as quart jars become empty

Thaw frozen turkeys and can … didn’t get done

Make and can broth from carcasses of turkeys after canning meat … didn’t get done

In addition:

I strained up some more grease from cooking hog jowl.   I’m getting quite a good supply of ‘seasoning grease’ in the refrigerator.

We had pinto beans for dinner one night and I saved the liquid from the beans after we were through with the meal. I froze it, added it to my pantry and will use it to add to a pot of soup.

We also cooked one of the hams we got on sale (see below) and I saved the pan drippings from it and froze it for use in a pot of soup, just like the bean juice leftovers mentioned above.


I had a large bag of carrots in the refrigerator left over from holiday baking (carrot cakes).  It wasn’t enough for a full canner so I purchased 2 bags of baby carrots that were on sale at Aldi’s for $.69/bag to have enough to finish filling the canner.  I added 9 pints to my pantry.

We found mushrooms on sale at Aldi’s also for $.79/container.  I purchased 12 containers, brought them home and canned them up.  I added 7 pints of whole mushrooms to my pantry.

On the same Aldi’s trip we found banana’s on sale for $.29/lb.  We bought just a little over 6 pounds and I made whole wheat banana bread with part of them and added it to the freezer part of my pantry.  This will be a convenience food for us.

Our chickens have started laying again this week!  To say that we are excited is an understatement.  We’ve been buying eggs for the last two months plus purchasing feed for the chickens.  I’m glad their ‘molting’ season is coming to an end.

Our weekly grocery budget is $25.  If we have surplus from another area of our budget then we add that to our grocery budget. This week we had a little surplus.  I thought you might like to see what we purchased  ….

From Aldi’s:  

Bananas … $.29/lb

2 Avocados … $.59 each  (you can see a portion of one at the bottom of the picture. I accidentally cropped them out of the picture!)

Baby carrots …. $.69/each  

Mushrooms … $.79/each

Total Spent: $14.15





From Sam’s Club:   

10 lbs onions … $5.98

Hunts tomato paste … $5.98

2 free Nutri-Grain bars free from a kisok.

Total Spent:  $12.20



From Food Lion:  

2 spiral cut hams on clearance … $19.53




Total from all stores:  $45.88  





Here’s my pantry to-do list for the upcoming week/month:

Continue vacuum sealing dry beans into jars
Thaw frozen turkeys and can 
Make and can broth from carcasses of turkeys after canning meat

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry?

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27


You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook!