Menu Plans– April 26, 2016

IMG_2462

Last evening when I was taking my nightly walk on the treadmill, I looked through my latest Taste of Home magazine for inspiration.  I found several recipes that I though I could make, using items that need to be used up.  Again, this is a really busy week (what’s new?) and so the crock pot will be used part of the time.

Tuesday:  Chicken wings in crock pot.  I found a couple of bags we’ve had for a LONG time, and thawed them. They look ok to me.  I’ll put some kind of soy sauce mixture on top.

Wednesday:  Slow Cooker Beef Tostadas (from the TOH April-May magazine, p. 33)  I will modify and put in whatever peppers I have frozen, and probably won’t have time to make the tortillas into tostadas, as I work until dinner time, bolt my food, and head off to Bible study class.  Because it takes an hour to get there, sometimes I eat in the car while Rob drives, which is much more restful. The rest of the family will eat while I finish up lessons.  This will be the last Wednesday that I do that, as I am stopping work after this week to focus on the move.  Every time we go, we will take a van load of boxes for the storage unit.

Thursday:  Mandarin Pork Stir Fry (p. 20)  I will sub out some snow peas frozen from last fall’s garden, some whole grain rice (I have several part packages of brown/mix/forbidden/etc.) and might add frozen sweet peppers as well.  I will make this earlier in the day and warm when we get back from dance.

Friday:  chicken soup in crock pot–(I have several appointments for the kids, plus a piano recital that night)  corn bread (frozen)

Saturday:  Chicken nuggets (p 25)  Basil salad dressing (p 12)  I need to address the basil plant my aunt gave me to make the kitchen look nice for the showings.  It’s going to bloom and looks kind of sad now.  So, we will eat the good parts and that will be that.

Sunday:  Family Sunday dinner: Spaghetti (make sauce on Saturday in crock pot), l.o. basil salad dressing on salad my aunt is bringing, green beans, fruit crisp if I get time Saturday.

Monday:  Leftovers

As always, I have many frozen and canned vegetables we will add to these meals.  I was feeling stressed because I didn’t have a plan, so I made one.  If I am not able to stick to it, I’m ok with that. I wonder if I might have a lot of leftovers in the middle of this plan, but if I do, I’ll adjust. For me, having the plan removes stress during super busy times because  I don’t have to think, I just have to start cooking.  Also, when I check it ahead of time, I can thaw what’s needed and I’m good to go.  It takes me less time to cook this way than it does to drive to a restaurant and order food, and eat it, unless I’m driving around anyway.

You many notice I do a lot of cooking ahead of time, i.e. earlier in the day, the day before, etc. and re-warm.  Yesterday, that’s what Rob did.  He took the roast beef from a few days ago (stored in the crock pot container) and just popped those leftovers back into the crock pot and warmed them up that way.  It was delicious, and saved us time.  On Saturday, he barbecued 3 chickens and we had chicken that night, for Sunday dinner, and I had some for lunch yesterday.

Moving Update–April 25, 2016

IMG_2407

Things are really starting to move along around here with the house sale and upcoming move.  We have about 4 weeks left before we need to be out.  Here’s what’s going on.

The house sale continues to move along.  We had the inspection last Monday and there was a long list of small things the inspector would have liked to see fixed or changed.  Because we came down a bit on the price, we had already agreed with the buyers that we would not be fixing any little stuff.  So, the 2 things they asked us to fix were some electrical wiring in the basement that looked wrong, and some ants the inspector saw.  Rob got an electrician friend (they asked for a bonded, licensed electrician and he is) who fixed the small problem in a few minutes and a local exterminator who sprayed all around. Those receipts were forwarded to our realtor, and so that’s all done.  Now it moves on to the appraiser, then the bank finishes, then we sign.

Rob spent hours calling around looking for a storage unit.  We wanted it May 1 and need a huge one.  Much to our surprise, they are few and far between and he could not find one.   He is on about 10 lists up and down the Willamette Valley, from here to Salem.  Seriously.  On Friday, one of them called, and we took the unit offered, but it is much smaller than we really need, so he did not remove himself from the lists.  In addition, this place will be watching out for a bigger one and maybe we can switch over–yuck,   or get 2—heaven forbid.  At this point, we will do what we have to do.  We are at that point.

They made him drive and rent it.  They would not do it over the phone. (Can you tell it’s our first time renting one?)  Such a learning curve!!  We will take van loads every Sunday and Wednesday when we go to church to get started moving things.  We took a load yesterday.

Shop/barn/gardening/bikes/tractor/extra cars/lawn mower/animal item such as cages/etc. go to my sister’s.

Canning/clothes/freezers/food storage go to my aunt’s and Rob’s mom’s garages

Furniture/household items to to storage unit(s)

In the meanwhile, the sewing room is completely packed, thanks to my mom and aunt.  We did that Tuesday.  Load after load continues to go over to my brother-in-law’s farm and more will go this week.  We are taking farm items, Rob’s shop equipment, fencing, fire wood, tillers, and eventually, the tractor and all it’s implements.  Until we know if we can get property or not, we don’t want to sell those things.

IMG_2175

This week’s plans:  This will be the last week I teach piano.  I will work on Monday and Wednesday, and have a recital on Friday.  I will need to spend several hours in preparation for that, along with several appointments and activities for the kids.  Starting next Monday, my calendar is pretty empty, on purpose.  I will squeeze a few moving things in this week, though.

Rob and I generated a loose plan last night, which we will add to as we think of other things that need to be done.  The items for this week so far are:

B-finish working, have the recital, do appointments on Friday for kids (2), start packing the canning, continue organizing gardening things in garage and greenhouse and move more over to Rosalie’s, work in the garden over there part of 1 day, upstairs bookcase, upstairs closet (mostly done already), wash and change sheets in camper because I’ve had a friend in there all weekend, put in a few more food items I noticed were needed, keep weeding out clothes as I come across them that I think I can either donate, or pack away for a few months (I worked on this already this week and came up with a bunch), plan menus that use up more food from storage

R-make many, many phone calls organizing things and doing whatever necessary to keep the sale moving along, notify friends and family that May 22 is the big day where we can use all hands on deck, take loads of wood and items from barn over (several times, which takes a couple of hours per load, at the least), reserve a U-Haul for May 22, get more boxes if we run low (liquor store boxes often have dividers so I might need more for the canning), take a load to charity shop with odds and ends we find, burn debris (he and a friend cleaned outside and burned a lot on Saturday, but there will be more), work in shop, haul away several pieces of extremely old furniture we are not keeping

Both–completely empty sewing room of packed boxes, take down sewing tables and reconstruct in storage unit so more boxes can be stacked on top (huge, sturdy tables), I think we will be able to stack very high on those without danger of collapsing boxes or bins if we put one on top of the other and put boxes under each layer (we can try to see if it works:) ), carry down and burn extremely old dresser, fill van twice and take to storage, take girls to dance class and have our weekly “date” while we wait, try to get meals cooked amidst this chaos (joint effort), drive L to work (2 hours of driving per day) most days, get J to do some schoolwork and P to do her homework,

As far as I know, no one is coming to help this week.  We are saving them up a bit, now, so we don’t burn anyone out before the big moving day.  On that day, we will hopefully have everything packed ahead of time and it will be a matter of loading trucks and trailers with the furniture and boxes and hauling it all away, then cleaning.  We have a little longer than the 21st, but that is the last Saturday before we have to be out, so that’s when we will do it since more people can come.  During that last week, at some point, we will move our daily living into the camper so we can still function while the house is torn up.

Saving Money–April 23, 2016

IMG_2458

We had quite a bit of wood stacked up that we didn’t use this winter to heat our home.  We’ve been working all week to move that wood over to my sister’s house.  If our new house has a wood stove, we will use it.  If not, she and my brother-in-law will.  All of the wood we have was cut by us, split and stacked in places where we got a free permit, so it cost us labor and fuel to get.  It saved us a lot of money to heat with wood, so we are hoping we can do the same in our new home.  Time will tell, but at least we have some wood to use if we can.

IMG_2457

We just threw it on the trailer and unloaded it into a pile over there.  We have a lot of wood to cut on our property from the logging we did last fall, but won’t be able to get it cut before we move.  So, we have been letting friends cut, chop and split it, saving them money.

IMG_2463

We worked in the garden at my sister’s.  We got 4 large tomatoes for $2.50 each at a local garden store.  We took Walls of Water that we’ve had for years, and Rob and Ja’Ana cocooned them so they hopefully will survive.  I hoed, weeded and sprinkled slug bait around the plants that are growing and the baby lettuce, spinach, etc. that are coming up.

IMG_2464

Every time we went over there, we did at least 2 things.  We moved a load of wood or other items, worked in the garden, Rob had an electrician look at where we are going to park the camper and made arrangements for the correct wiring so we will have enough power, and a few more things.

IMG_2460

I’ve been slowly emptying the right hand compost bin into buckets and taking those buckets over to my sister’s.  We put scoops under the tomatoes we planted, under all the cabbage and broccoli and around the onion starts.  Any extra was put around raspberry plants or just dumped into the general garden to be tilled in.  I don’t know how much I’ll be able to carry over that way, but I love using the compost I’ve worked so hard to make.

Rob had filled several feed sacks with barn cleanings from the chickens.  We took them over and sprinkled them where we will plant winter squash to improve the soil.  I had 3 bags of old coffee grounds for gardeners from Starbucks that I sprinkled on the carrot row.  Coffee grounds are  said to help prevent wireworms and I did see improvements when we used the grounds here.  There were a few carrots coming up, so I crumbled the grounds carefully on the row because I know more will come up and I don’t want to make it hard for the tiny plants to pop through.IMG_2459

I had a friend from out of town visit.  We went to Costco together–fun!  I got my new glasses.  I’m delighted so far.  I can see great for 1/2 the price I paid last time.  I shopped for my sister, too, saving her gas.

I got some boneless skinless chicken.  We have been eating out too much, because things are so topsy-turvy here.  I hope it will help make fast lunches so we can eat at home more.  We ate all meals here today, which felt like a triumph.  Rob barbecued chicken and we have food prepared for tomorrow’s Sunday family dinner.  I still have a few gift cards to use when things get down to the wire with moving, but want to save them until near the end now.  Rob did bring a picnic one night when we were working in the garden, so that helped.  I made a roast in the crock pot one day and we will have the rest of that in the next couple of days.

Both younger girls had orthodontist appointments.  We were able to change things so they were both on the same day to save gas.  (It’s an hour away, one way)  They had an extra dance practice because a recital is coming up.  We were able to share a ride with a friend and save gas.They both had eye appointments this week, too.  They will both be getting new glasses.  Their glasses are covered by their medical cards.  Our children who we have adopted from the foster care system have always been given medical cards until they are 18 as part of the adoption assistance program.  We have supplemented that with personal insurance so they have been double covered in the past (except Patsy since she isn’t adopted yet, so only has medical card).  So, we don’t have to worry when our insurance ends, they will still be covered.  Lovana has insurance through her work, so no worries there, which is a relief.  Now, just us……but we’ll work it out.

I got a medical test done while I’m still covered.  I’ve almost got everything done that will catch me up and give me a breather until we figure the insurance thing out.

My visiting friend wanted to try some Chinese 5-spice, so instead of her buying a bottle, I gave her a bit from mine.  I’ve only used it one time in the recipe I bought it for, so I’m more than glad to share.  I also shared some fish sauce I had. Once again, she has a recipe to try.

 

How We Earned So Much Money At Our Barn Sale

IMG_2456

Recently, we had a huge barn/yard/tool sale.  We made a lot of money.  I wrote about all of the things we were able to buy with the money, and what a blessing it was to us here.

A reader asked me if I would write up some tips that helped us do so well.  So, I picked Rob’s brain, since he is actually the one who knows all of the tricks and tips for a successful sale and did most of the work for this, and most, sales we have.

  1.  Gather your items:  The more stuff you have, the more money you will make.  This seems obvious, but it’s common sense.  So, gather items from anyone–friends, family, from the side of the road–anywhere you can to get a good amount.  We have found that people often don’t want to have a yard sale of their own, but are very gracious to donate to ours, especially when it’s a sale to benefit 4H or another organization.  Sometimes they just want it out of their house and are glad to donate it for any reason, just to make it go away.  Clean out your cupboards, drawers, and outbuildings.   Rob and I spent a great deal of time doing this for the past several months, but most of what we sold this time came from outbuildings and his shop.  We had everything from the ends of rolls of wire, to fence posts, to chicken fencing for a pasture, to rabbit cages, to chicken waterers, a few large tools like a table saw, and many assorted nuts, bolts, screws, and other such things found in barns and shops.  Although those items were the main items, I did not hesitate to put out several boxes of household items I had weeded out, plus several boxes of homeschool books I no longer needed.IMG_2453
  2. Location:  Rob chose to have this sale at our house, in his shop.  There were too many things to move to another place, and people will drive a ways to a barn/shop sale because they want the useful items associated with that.  When we have had sales with mostly household items, we have usually taken it into town and held the sale at his mom’s house or a friend’s house so we can get more traffic.
  3. Timing:  We chose payday weekend, mid-month.  People have more money to spend at the beginning of the month, and mid-month then at the end of the month. We chose spring because we are moving soon, but that is a good time for a sale because it is not too hot, as long as it is not super cold or rainy.  It is also good because people are starting to get outside and do their farm work and may need supplies for new baby chickens, etc.  We had gorgeous, sunny days both Friday and Saturday.  That was a blessing from God- we could not control that, obviously:)  We have had sales in the past for ourselves and to benefit 4H where we did not do well because it was too cold or rainy, or too hot.
  4. Pricing:  We price everything.  People need a starting point.  Then, we bargain.  Rob’s advice is to ask yourself if you really want to get rid of the item.  If you don’t, take it back into the house.  If you do, price to sell.  It’s not worth as much as you think it is, with the exception of items that have great value for some reason.  Those might best be sold individually on Craig’s List, or E-bay.  Rob had a few things he put out that had prices he would not go below, but most of it he wanted gone, and he priced it accordingly.
  5. Cash box:   Of course, have plenty of change on hand.  People give you $100 bills and you need to be able to break them.  Take extra money into the house and put it away when your cash box gets loaded.  A cardboard box works fine, as long as you have a way to find your change.  Decide ahead of time if you are going to take checks or not.  If you do, cash them as soon as possible.  Have an adult man the cash register, not a child.  It’s too easy for them to get confused under pressure.  When you are very busy, people don’t want to wait for a child to have a money -counting lesson, as us homeschoolers are apt to give at times like this.
  6. Presentation:  The items should be laid out in a manner that the people can get a good look at them.  The floor should be swept and clutter free, as much as possible.  Things under the tables should not be sticking out because people might trip on them.  Rob put up lots of tables and we arranged things on the tops and underneath.  He had his men friends and our nephew help him bring things up from the barn to the shop and a lot of things were arranged outside the shop so they were very visible right away. Piles of fence posts were stacked where they could be easily loaded onto trailers.   People expect barn items to be somewhat dirty, but household items should be as clean as possible.  I washed a lot of dirt off of a lid of a container full of Duplo blocks, and we figure that act earned us $5-$10, since we sold the container full for $25.  If it had stayed dirty, people would have either walked away, or offered us much less.  During the sale, as places on the tables got emptied, one of us would re-arrange things so the gaps were filled in.  On Friday, we sold double what we sold on Saturday.  So, there were huge gaps to fill as time went on.  Rob and Steven (nephew) even went down to the barn and cleaned some more very early Saturday morning and found quite a few more items that could be sold.  That helped fill in the spaces nicely and gained us more money, and now we have less stuff left over to deal with.IMG_2449
  7. Be flexible:  One man came in and asked if the cupboard on the wall was for sale.  Rob said it could be.  The man offered $100 and Rob said for my nephew to get the screw gun and they emptied the cupboard and took it down.  If we were not moving, we would have kept the cupboard, but the point is to think outside the box as to what could be sold.  He sold piles of old wood that he had sitting around.  He sold tubs and waterers that were quite used, but still useful.  For the entire 2 days, he only got to sit down for a few minutes at a time, he was so busy wheeling and dealing with the hoard of people that came to the sale.  We are still selling things to people who decided to come back and see if “it” was still available.  We’ve earned another $20-30 at least, so far, plus an additional $350 for items that were pre-sold and just now delivered and paid for.
  8. Advertisement:  Rob made wonderful signs, which I wrote on.  He went out early the morning of the sale and put them around in strategic locations where people would be led to our sale.  He build sandwich boards to set up at intersections.  He advertised on Craig’s List both mornings.  He put it on his Facebook.  He took detailed pictures of the items for sale, and listed them out on his Craig’s List ads.  People did take notice and came for those items specifically.  He also listed contact information and people called or texted for more info, when they desired it.
  9. Adequate help:  We had lots of help lined up, both before the sale for set-up, and during the sale.  One day, my aunt ran the “cash register” for the morning, and a friend did it the other morning. After they went home, we took turns.  It was quieter in the afternoons.  My nephew helped load boxes, ladders, posts, wood, tools, and other items into people’s vehicles both days.  Rob’s mom and Lovana helped serve them lunch the day I was gone, and I did it the other day. I helped him price items for a couple of days ahead, and he worked on it for hours for several days.  Without all of this help, he never would have been able to set out as much stuff, and he IMG_2454needed the help with the amount of people that came.  As it was, he hardly got a bathroom break or lunch, both days.
  10. Clean up:  I will bundle the rest of the books into boxes and take them to a used homeschool bookstore to see what I can get for them.  The rest I will donate.  We are under a time crunch because we are moving.There is a horse rescue organization that is coming for the rest of the items so they can sell them for their fund raiser.  Rob had thought about taking the remaining shop items to an auction, but has decided to donate it all to the horse rescue place.  There are one or two things that he will try to sell on E-bay or Craig’s List, as they are collectible or valuable in some way.  He just thought he’d try to sell them here first, as it is easier than listing and shipping something.  Consider having another sale.  Last time we had a sale, we did it in town at Rob’s mom’s house.  We sold a few hundred dollars worth (you earn much less for household items than shop/barn items) but had some leftover.  I decided to put on a very short (1 Saturday morning only) yard sale at our house with the leftovers.  I actually earned around $70 just for that morning’s time.  Everything was already priced, the cash box was loaded, etc.  My oldest daughter came out, and we visited while we sold things.  Then I donated the rest.
  11. This sale was more lucrative than most, mainly because we had so much stuff to get rid of since we are downsizing so drastically. We have had good sales before, though.  We have also had disappointing, discouraging sales.   Some things you can’t control, such as the weather or amount of people that show up.  But, a lot of things are in your control.  Hopefully, these tips will get you on track for a productive sale soon.  We know we are thrilled with the results of ours.

Menu Plans–April 19, 2016

IMG_2465

It won’t be long now, until my menu plan includes cabbage and broccoli.  I also have lettuce, spinach, and several other things growing.  I spent last evening after work, and some time this morning working on the garden I am sharing with my sister, Rosalie.  A couple of Saturdays ago, we planted these little starts and some seeds, and last night I hoed around them.  I love gardening, and am so excited that I will not only get to garden this year, but that there will be two of us to take turns watering and weeding so there will be more freedom, with all of the benefits of a garden, for both of us.

We have been having quite a few “pick-up” dinners around here lately.  That is what we call it when we reach into the fridge and cupboard, and pick up whatever is in there and serve it for dinner.  So, last evening, we had cheese pieces, lunchmeat, some apple slices, and water, mainly.  Rob had actually grabbed some food and thrown it into a cooler and met me over at the garden after I finished work.  He had a load of fencing and hog panels to take over there.    Things are getting even crazier and busier around here, so we need a menu plan.

Wednesday:  Rob takes 2 youngest girls to the ortho really early, I work during the morning, and here at home late afternoon.  He will serve dinner to the rest of the family while I finish and we will bolt out the door for church.  So, crock pot it is.  I will do chuck roast with potatoes and carrots in it.  I never got around to that last week.

Thursday:  leftover chili from Friday, frozen corn bread   The girls have eye appointments plus their regular dance classes, so home late.  They are having Lovana work all the time, long, long hours right now since they are down some people and can’t seem to hire any more, so she won’t be asked to cook this week.

Friday:  BBQ chicken.   I will ask Rob to grill enough for Sunday dinner, as well while he’s at it.  There is a recipe that intrigues me in my new Clean Eating Magazine, for potato waffles, which basically looks like grated potatoes and chives cooked with some other things in a waffle iron.  I may try that.  I also have a friend coming in from out of town and some other appointments, so we will see how it goes.

Saturday:  The girls have an extra dance rehearsal, as recital is approaching, but I should be able to cook just fine.  Turkey meatloaf sound good, or I can do turkey burgers if that sounds better on that day.  Part will depend on what schedule my friend is on–and when she’s eating here or elsewhere.  We will work it out later.

Sunday:  Family dinner.  I will take chicken.  We will probably buy rolls, as my niece and nephew love them so much.  I may make a fruit crisp, if I get time, as I still have fruit to use up.  I will have others bring salad, I can do green beans.

Monday:  Rob can barbecue his choice of meat.  There is steak, pork chops, burgers—I’ll let him choose.  It will be my last Monday of work for a while, so I’d better enjoy him cooking as long as I can:)

For all the meals, we can have salads, and numerous veggies remain in the freezer and canned goods cupboards that will be added to the meals.  As the time of our move comes closer, I can see that I will have less and less time to cook.  Already, I used quite a bit of my day today packing with my mom and aunt (sewing room done), and hauling firewood with Rob (I went on one load, and he and J did the other).  There is lots left to haul.  We figure my sister’s family might as well get some good out of it.  If the buyers end up with some, I’m sure they will appreciate it, too.

Saving Money–April 16, 2016

IMG_2450

Rob had a huge barn/tool/shop sale yesterday and today.  He had this many and more cars both days, all day.  It was a big success.  We sold pile after pile, box after box, item after item.  It was a huge blessing to us in several ways.  First, we got a lot of money that covered some things we had to pay for.  Second, we do not have to move that stuff or find a place to store it. Third, several people took the opportunity to stop by that we have not seen for quite a while and we got to visit in-between customers.  The most exciting visitor we had was a childhood friend of Rob’s who he has not seen for years.

IMG_2449

We came to an agreement with the county and forestry department regarding the replanting of our hillside.  You can see the big piles in the picture.  There are 15 of them.  One of them is finally burned.  The other 14 are not.  We have put in probably 100 man hours or more to try to burn them.  They won’t burn.  They are too wet.  We have used several hundred dollars of diesel and every relative and friend who shows any interest in helping, and they still won’t burn.  So, the buyer wanted the hillside replanted to keep the forest tax deferral.  After talking to many people on the phone, and being told he HAD to burn them or else, he finally got to the right person. The “or else” was that we would have to pay the back taxes to get it out of forestry deferral.  That would be at least $5,000.   The agreement reached was:  Plant around the piles.  Plant 1,600 trees on the 4 acres.  We could plant 200 extra in an adjoining area to over-compensate so it would not lose the deferral for sure.  If they want the piles burned, they can do it later when they are dry, or leave them to compost in the new forest and be homes for animals, and enrich the soil.

Then, it was a job to find any trees because it is late in the season.  Rob found them, and a willing tree planting service.  They were planted yesterday.  For $1,300.  We are doing a happy dance.  This could have been a deal-breaker, and now it’s not.  It could have cost $5,000 and it didn’t.  We thought it would be $2,000 to re-plant and it wasn’t.  Praise the Lord.

I haven’t had new glasses or an eye exam for several years.  All of my doctors wanted me to have one, and have been “encouraging” (nagging) me to get it done.  I did yesterday.  I went to Costco.  It is about 1/2 the price I paid the last time I got it done.  Now, I’m hoping the glasses hold up as well.

IMG_2434

Our 4H club gave us beautiful flowers and other lovely gifts I mentioned last week in this post.  I just wanted to show how nicely the flowers are holding up, and how gorgeous they still look.

We checked out movies and books from the library.  I cooked a lot of meals at home.  I fed several extra people this week that came to help us with the sale.  I guess even one of the people who came to the sale ate here yesterday while I was gone:) (according to Patsy).  I’m guessing it was one of our friends:)  I’m working through a cardboard box of food items my sister and I picked out while cleaning that needed to be targeted for quick use.  We have one in the freezer and a basket so I know to grab and use those things up.

I combined errands and did 2 appointments yesterday, and we were able to get enough people to help Rob while I was gone.  We had double the business yesterday than we did today, as often happens at yard sales.

The transmission in the Rav4 is almost fixed.  There is one more switch that is bad.  Our mechanic friend did not charge us for labor, which was greatly appreciated, but the parts were costly.

We earned enough at the sale to pay for the car parts, my glasses, and the tree planting, and had $5 to spare.  We feel very blessed.

 

 

Use Up Some More!

IMG_2436

I am getting more aggressive about using things up.  It seems that the more I use, the more I find.  In the past few days, I have been able to make some progress on this project.  I dug in the cupboard and found a bunch of assorted cupcake wrappers.  I made zucchini muffins with mini chocolate chips in them.  I didn’t use them all, but did use a bunch.  Some of those muffins are in the freezer for this weekend.

Another thing I made was a large crock pot of soup.  I used every vegetable I could lay my hands on, frozen broth, and some frozen turkey meat.  I even used a can of potatoes someone had given me maybe 8-10 years ago.  It was fine.  We had the soup for dinner one night, and will have it for lunch tomorrow.  I probably emptied 7-10 cartons from the freezer during this process and for dinner that night.

I also made pizza, using up several odds and ends of gluten-free flours for the crust. I used jars and cans up for toppings and sauce.

IMG_2427

Ja’Ana made home-made play dough for Jake when he was with us for a couple of days, recovering from a bad cold.  She used up a bunch of salt, and some regular white flour that has been around for several years, since I’ve cooked gluten-free for a while now.

IMG_2429

While cleaning, we found some Kool Aid.  I’ve had it for years.  I cannot remember the last time we made any.  Ja’Ana used it to color the play dough, and then has made up 2 packages during the last couple of days.

IMG_2431

Jake loved it!  He would not stop pounding it with that little rolling pin long enough for me to take this picture.  We have a few toys we kept when we were sorting.  He just got out some of those and used them for his play dough.

I have thawed out some chicken burger and some pinto beans that I cooked a while back and will made a small chili-type soup tomorrow or Saturday.  We have a few people helping us on those days, as we are having a big sale, so I want a little extra food prepared. I used up 2 brownie mixes I found on the shelves.  They were both very expired and tasted absolutely fine.

I threw out some frozen zucchini from 2011.  It’s not worth moving.  No matter where I live, zucchini from 2011 is not worth keeping.  There will be lots of fresher zucchini that people will be begging me to take.  Trust me.  People leave it on church and house doorsteps all summer around here:)  (Clearly, I am preaching to myself.  I hate throwing food away, but I have too much of some things)

I felt like I made a lot of progress in just a few days.  My next step is to empty the small freezer under the kitchen refrigerator in to the big freezers I have left, and that’s going to take some more freezer space……..That fridge is broken and won’t come with us to my new house.  Because the freezer below it is on it’s own motor, the freezer works fine, but the fridge doesn’t.