Category Archives: Saving Money

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-January 13, 2018

This week was an interesting one. I did a couple of things that were out of the ordinary.

I went with my sister to visit our friend, Harnet. She has moved a little farther away from us, so we carpooled a lot of the way, saving me some gas. Even better, my sister and I got to visit for way longer than if we had driven separately. We had coffee, lunch, did errands, and visited. It was a fun day. It was on my normal shopping day, so I did not go to the grocery store. Danait wanted to wear all her gear and ride her bike, so my sister took her outside for a while to do that. Brrr…..they didn’t last long, but it was fun for them both while it did!

Rob made Jake “Almanzo” pancakes for breakfast this morning. Every since we read “The Long Winter” and Almanzo ate stacks of pancakes, Jake has been fascinated with the idea. Rob makes them small, only about 3 inches across, so he we can make a stack. Last night, we were helping with a youth event, and after Rob finished barbecuing, Jake had had enough of it all, and went home with “Unckie.”

The youth event was a formal dinner. A few weeks ago, the youth pastor asked my sister if she could make a dinner for the kids, with “real plates and courses.” Of course, my sister said she could, and roped us in. In the end, over 20 kids sat down and ate dinner at my sister’s house, in their fancy clothes (or not in a couple of cases–there were a couple in jeans, but still always welcome). Then, they went ice skating. I’m planning to do a post later in the week showing what we cooked, but here I’m going to highlight the money-saving things we did.

Rob cooked 4 things outside on a very large BBQ. He did 1 of the appetizers, the vegetables and the chicken and fish. That saved us a lot of commotion in the kitchen. He shopped around quite a bit for the best price on salmon. It varied greatly in price, according to where it was purchased. He finally found 2-lb bags for $7.99, an amazing deal.

We used between 120-150 glass plates. We were able to use hers, mine and borrow more until we had enough. (In addition to the over 20 youth, there were 12 adults and college age helpers that came for the actual event and we fed them, too, making it a crowd of around 35. Yikes!). I had some nice paper napkins someone had given me long ago that we used, and we took 24 sets of silverware over there. I bought that set years and years ago at Walmart and they are very lightly made, but they all match and I use them for large gatherings.

We tried to get the best prices on the food that we could. For instance, I got most of the cream cheese on sale over the Christmas holidays and picked up a few more boxes at Winco when I realized I had not purchased enough for the cheesecakes. Their brand was quite inexpensive–I’m not sure if they had leftover from the holidays, but I was happy to see that price! I used dipping chocolates we had on hand for the decorations and home-canned cherry pie filling for the topping.

As I mentioned before, I was so busy this week with the dinner, and was gone on my normal shopping day that I didn’t have a chance to go shopping, except early one morning to pick up just a very few items. This is helping me with my project of cleaning out the fridge and using some stockpile items. I’ll see how many days I can make it, but I’m pretty sure I may run out of some things this week. We’ll see! At this point, I really, really want to clean out that fridge–it needs a good wash very badly.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–January 7, 2018

Rob was able to get these clamps very inexpensively using a coupon from Ace Hardware combined with a sale. He was mailed the coupon because he has a birthday in the month of January. I think in the end, the price tag was about $5 for both.

Patsy took this picture on New Year’s Day. Its a view of the Willamette River, from my sister’s deck. She especially loved that she got the cat in there. I love how it shows how very frosty and cold that morning was! We get a lot of enjoyment from the river.

Today, at church, my aunt noticed a bin of potatoes and celery that were for people to take. She got me one of each, since she didn’t need them and I looked after second service and there were some left, so I grabbed another one of each. The potatoes need to be used quickly. How handy! I just finished turning the ones I had at home that were sprouting just like these into potato salad!

We had a family birthday party scheduled for today. Unfortunately, we had to cancel as the birthday boy (Jake) was sick. (The birthday young lady (Alissa) and the birthday man (Rob) were not, but they will have to patiently wait for the reschedule date!). Thankfully, we were able to parcel out the enormous bowl of potato salad amongst the relatives anyway!

Rob and Alissa have not missed one year of celebrating together in all of her 18 years. Of course, Jake joined in when he was a baby, sitting on a table at Chuck-E-Cheese in his carrier. What a birthday surprise that was for Rob and all of us! So many memories of birthday parties in many places with many themes……. One of the best was when my sister put on a “Beauty and the Beast” birthday party with all girly things and a princess at one end of the cake for Alissa and the Beast on the other end, for Rob. I can’t believe she’s 18! But, she is. It’s been amazing to see that little, cute, curly-headed blond baby become a strong, confident young lady in what felt like a blink of an eye.

One of my Christmas gifts was a little planter with some seeds to grow basil on the windowsill. There were extra seeds so I used the container that my Christmas poinsettia was in, filled with new potting soil. Since the flower died because I think it got too hot near the wood stove where it was, I was glad to repurpose the pot and use all the seeds up, and hopefully, I will have basil in 2 pots.

I’ve been sorting through my seeds and hope to get my order finished up soon. I have quite a few 1/2 packets left from last year.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–December 30, 2018


We have been doing a lot of cleaning and reorganizing.  While doing so, we noticed that this dresser had drawers that were completely broken, so Rob repaired it.  We got this dresser years and years ago, for the first 2 girls we adopted, over 30 years ago.  It has been painted and repaired many times, and it’s now back in great condition once again.

We collected a few bags of torn wrapping paper from Christmas, and have been using it to start fires in the mornings, along with kindling that Rob cut from free scrap wood collected around town.  There are a few businesses around town that use wood to make products such as flooring and doors, and they put bins of free scrap wood out for anyone to take.  Sometimes he gets really nice scraps and uses them for cutting boards, and the rest we use to start fires.


I made broth from the turkey bones from Christmas.  I froze most of it.

We were given a Christmas gift that enabled us to do a Costco run.  We didn’t choose what some would call exciting items–we got toilet paper, ziplocks, garbage bags, things such as that, but it was exciting to me to get those things stocked back up.  We got a few food items as well.  We also got a date out of it.  We dropped Patsy off at a youth event, went to Costco, and bought one of those yummy cooked chickens and one container of salad and ate our lunch in the car.


Jake’s greens are growing!  (There is a Columbine flower coming up, as I used a pot that had that in there just in case the seeds didn’t sprout for him). He was under the weather today when he was here, and hasn’t looked at them lately, but I know he will be here next weekend and hopefully can see them then.  He was not himself, but was glad to snuggle on the couch under blankets and do the forbidden act of eating crackers on the couch while asking me 4-5 times to take his temperature with the thermometer.  I’m not sure why it fascinated him so much–he didn’t have a fever any of the numerous times we took it, but it did.  I kept him here for only part of the afternoon, just to keep his normal Sunday schedule, then sent him home.  Hopefully he will get over it quickly.

Patsy was able to do 2 more work projects with the youth group this week, and is well on her way to earning the money she needs for the retreat she wants to go on.

We helped prepare lunch for the teens today.  I made a large tossed salad, purchased 4 large sodas for 88c each on sale, and bought one large tub of ice cream.  I made hot fudge sauce with mint in it and got some clearance red and green M & M’s for toppers. My sister ordered pizza for the main dish.  It was very easy today.

As I mentioned last week, I had used my grocery budget up.  But, Rob ate all the salad stuff and a few other things were running low.  I decided to start in on January’s grocery money. I made a plan of what I thought I would use for the next 2 weeks, knowing full well I will need to grab lettuce at least weekly.  I had several things that helped me out.  1) There were several free items on my Safeway rewards that I needed to use before Dec. 31, so I got those–2 boxes of Safeway pasta, 1 dozen eggs, and $2 off a bakery item (I used it towards a package of  gf buns), and a bag of mini chocolate chips.  While I was there, I got 99c/1/2 gallon milk, cottage cheese, 99c sour cream and a few more items like 88c soda.  I also used a few Bottle Drop dollars to help out with that store’s haul.  2) I got a few Christmas clearance items at Fred Meyers, while getting produce: a package of Christmas cards at 75% off for next year, and the Christmas M and M’s.  3) I earned around $6 with Ibotta rebates.  4) When I stopped at Winco for the ice cream I’d forgotten I had promised to pick up for Patsy, I saw ham for 77c/lb.  I immediately grabbed the 2 allowed.

I spent a $10 JoAnn reward they sent me.  I also spent a little fun money I had.  I did not buy fabric, as I have plenty, but little odds and ends and some clearance Christmas paper.  I found one Star Wars print that had no Christmas markings at all for Jake’s upcoming birthday, some leopard print paper for Michaela sometime, and a few ribbons that went with those and the other rolls I picked up.  It was great that there were several selections that were not Christmas-y at all, and I will use them for birthdays.  What wasn’t inexpensive was the package of iron-on patches I bought to mend some of Patsy’s clothes, but hopefully they will work to fix the holes.

How is your week going?  Are you getting organized after the holiday and back to schedule?  I hope to during this upcoming week after a little more holiday fun:)

Thriving In My Thrifty Christmas Week–December 26, 2018


Merry Christmas to everyone!  The post that usually goes up on Sunday?  I think I wrapped it on accident and put it under the tree:). Now that I have a moment to breathe, I thought I’d catch everyone up on our week before Christmas.

We spent a lot of time on Christmas this year, instead of a lot of money, so it was a mad whirl until the very end.  Despite the hustle and bustle we engaged in, there were plenty of times to just do fun things, relax and visit.  I’m very happy with how things ended up.

And, we stayed thrifty.


A while back, I was given some super-cute Christmas sprinkles.  Jake used this entire jar up on his 2 projects.  He had so much fun, and took the wrapped Krispie treats to his teachers and bus drivers.  They loved them.


We made lots of gifts.  Rob made gorgeous cutting boards for quite a few family members and friends.  This photo is in process, when he was treating them with oil so they would stay nice.  He made them all from reclaimed wood.

I sewed quite a few items.  We put together several photo gifts–some enlarged pictures, and a couple of photo albums.  We used coupon codes from Walgreens when we ordered the prints and went through Ibotta to get a few cents back.  One album was put together by Patsy for the cousins’ grandma who is visiting from Florida.  That way, she can have pictures of her far-away grandchildren all the time.  She loved it!


Patsy and Rachel got matching hats.  When Patsy chose her new middle name, she chose 2 middle names.  Rachel is one of them.  She’s a pretty special cousin and they like hanging out together when they can.

Patsy made super-cute bird houses for lots of us, and Chex Muddy Buddy mix for the rest.  Everyone was happy!

Harnet and Danait came and stayed for a couple of nights.  We had so much fun!


Danait loved seeing the Christmas train at the church before service on Christmas Eve.  She remembered it from last year and was so happy to see it again.  The service was lovely, too.


I love this picture of my sister, Rosalie, and Harnet!  We had such a good time spending time and visiting.  Rosalie gave Rob such a funny gift–It was box inside of box, inside of box, inside of box, with cute little signs and keys wrapped in it and a toy truck!  Can you guess what was inside?


The signs read, “Ft. Knox” and the keys were to open the fort.  The truck was a “get-away” car to haul it away with:). Then inside was a bag of gold coins (chocolate, of course!). It was very clever and everyone loved watching him open it.


The glitter was in there, too.  I mean, gold glitters, doesn’t it?


Of course, Rob was up to tricks, too.  He nailed and glued Alissa’s gift together, then finally gave her a hammer and chisel so she could pound it open.  Once she got in, she was baffled by the Home Depot and PetCo gift cards (both blank).  He finally pulled her real gift out of his backpack, but sure had fun teasing her first!


Of course, she paid him back by wrapping his gift in miles of bubble wrap, yards of tape, saran wrap, and lot of other sticky stuff.


There was an ice rink of “Frozen” going around the place!  Little girls are so fun to buy Christmas gifts for, and the family had fun, I’ll just say:). Her little costume (not in this picture, this is a nightie), actually has lights on it and it sings, “Let it Go.”  Crazy!


Believe it or not, I got a few non-Christmas-related frugal things done as well.  I re-covered Rob’s pillow with some quilted fabric I’ve had for a long time.  It was worn out, but he likes that exact amount of stuffing, so I just made a new cover.

We did some deep cleaning and organizing on several days, spending several hours we probably should have used for other purposes, but it sure feels good to have some areas clean and things organized that were messy before.

I cooked many meals.  I spent every last cent of my reduced $50/week, plus and extra $50 grocery budget, and have to admit, I dipped into the “little extra” I had set aside.  I will still end up the month under $300 instead of $250, and that includes several food gifts for people, all paper products and toiletries we needed, Christmas extras like cream cheese,  plus lots and lots of produce for my salad eater, Rob.  One thing I bought was 5 boxes of Chex cereal for $1.49/box.  Pasty used a lot of them for her Chex mixture.  The lady behind me in line said she had never, ever seen anyone buy so many boxes of Chex at once.  (She was nice, it just wasn’t part of her world to stock up like that). I politely made conversation with her, but later, to Rob, I said, “who COULDN”T eat 5 boxes of Chex!!!”  Frankly, she might just faint if she every saw my garage:)

Patsy got to do work projects with the youth group at church twice, racking up money in her account for youth group activities. There is a retreat in February she is working hard for.

Today, when I took Harnet home, I got stuck in traffic on the way back.  It took me a long time to get home.  Thankfully, I had a piece of candy in my purse, which I ate,  and then grabbed a little ziplock of frozen ham and bean soup from the freezer, and warmed it up right away once I got home.  I was so glad that was in there!  I almost had to stop and grab something, but made it home without a low blood sugar, saving at least $5-$7.

Rob grabbed some wrapping paper, bows and ribbons today at 70% off.  We wrapped most gifts this year instead of using bags, using paper bought on clearance another year.


The holiday was wonderful.  There are many more pictures I could show, and many more people who shared the week with us, but this post is way too long already.  We had a great time together as a family, and with friends over the past few weeks.  Tomorrow, we start our routine again, by taking the kids to the pool in the morning and I’m going to my exercise class.  Let’s just say….. it’s time:). I had a lot of turkey.  and ham.  and…….




Thriving In My Thrifty Week–December 16, 2018


This was a week of bustling around, preparing for Christmas, going to the doctor quite a bit, having company over for lunch on Saturday, and having Jake and Michaela stay over here with us for a long weekend, ending on Tuesday.

On Saturday,  we wanted to attend the Christmas program at church, and our friends wanted to go as well, so we had an early lunch, then went to the program.  This meant that the food needed to be easy to fix, and easy to put away.  Our oldest daughter wanted to come, too, which meant that her special dietary needs needed to be met, as well as my need for no-gluten. There needed to be lots of it, since there were 15 people, counting us, and I needed to stay within my lowered food budget for this month.  Good thing I love a challenge and have a deep pantry!

So, what did we do?

We defrosted a turkey previously purchased inexpensively.  It was quite small, and perfect for this occasion.  Rob stuffed it with apples, cooked it on the BBQ, and we cut it up on Friday.  We also had part of a ham we were eating on, so I sliced off some nice pieces and set them aside and let the family eat the other bits during the week.  I also had part of a roast beef I had cooked earlier in the week, which was sliced as well.  All of those meats were re-warmed in the microwave, taking care to put a little liquid in with them and they were tightly covered.  Rob handled that. Nothing was dry, and everyone had choices.

I made twice-baked potatoes, home-canned green beans, corn, and cookies.  I also put some baby carrots and cauliflower pieces in a dish.  That was it.  It worked beautifully, didn’t cost much, and there was plenty.  In fact, we are going to repeat the lunch today at Family Sunday Dinner with the leftovers–win-win!

I cleaned the house.  I used items I had for decor.  I found paper plates and plastic cups and even some Christmas napkins out in the garage.  We put up a table in the living room and another small one in Patsy’s room to supplement the dining room table.  Usually, we seat extra people out in the garage, which is set up with a table and some chairs.  It was pretty cold out there, so with these tables, we were able to avoid that yesterday, and the kids were able to play games at the table in Patsy’s room as well.

We ate, visited, put perishable food away, threw away the plates, and put the silverware in the sink and went off to the program.  It really didn’t take long to clean it up that evening.  We had so much fun visiting with our friends, as we don’t see them much anymore since we live a little distance from them now, and the program was really, really well done and wonderful to watch.  The music was amazing, with a large choir, a children’s choir, an orchestra, and also drama with angels, Mary and Joseph, and shepherds with real sheep!  I’m sure glad I was not in charge of those sheep, but enjoyed watching the shepherds manage them:). To me, it really feels like Christmas when I can watch the Christmas story, shown in such a creative way, and I loved sharing the enjoyment with our daughter and friends.  One of their sons recently married, and he and his wife now live down our direction, and have been attending our church (super special for us to see them on Sundays) so the young couple were in the choir, and our youngest was on stage crew–so that was special, too.


I messed up the first tray of cookies.  There was not enough flour in them, and they crumbled up terribly when I removed them from the pan.  So, I crumpled them up even more, made some hot fudge/mint sauce, and will serve the sauce and cookies today over the ice cream that my aunt is bringing to dinner.

I have been buying the super good deals that have been offered at the stores with most of my grocery budget.  This week, my aunt clued me in to the fact that there were eggs for 79c/dozen at Safeway on one day only.  She got me the 2 dozen allowed on her card, since she had recently purchased eggs, and I stopped by and got 2 more.  Yesterday, I got the 5,  8-ounce shredded cheese allowed at Fred Meyers for 99c/each.  I got 5 Hot Wheels cars for 50c/each to set aside for my nephew’s birthday in January, and 2 boxes of coffee at 3.99 each.  (I could have had 5, but that was what I chose to spend). I did have to buy almost $25 of produce this week though–it’s pretty expensive right now, and  but I’m not cutting corners on that right now.  There were several free items I picked up, and one more that they were out of and I can hopefully get before the coupon expires.  I put a few more cents onto my Ibotta account, but most of my shopping was items that were store brands or items that there were no rebates for.   I’ve got about $60 left from the $250 I want to spent this month.  The budget I set was an average of $50/week, plus $50 to stock up on sales with. I am on track to easily manage it, I feel, but will go over if produce continues to be so high.  (I have a little more available, but would rather buy Christmas goodies with it if possible) We are eating home-canned and frozen items, using produce from the $1/marked-down rack when I can get anything there, and still burning through salad stuff, carrots, potatoes, etc. like crazy. Go, us!  The commercial that would rather have us eat peanut butter cups says, “Not sorry–Reeses”. I say, “Not sorry–veggies!”  I’m so proud of Rob for sticking to this diet for so long.  He gets weighed again this week.  Here’s hoping he’s lost some more:)

I had 2 incidents this week where they over-charged me at the grocery store.  I was able to catch it by paying attention, and got both of them corrected.  One time was for $7 and the other $3, so I saved $10.


I made a lot of burritos and froze them.  The filling mixture is cooked brown rice and quinoa, pinto and black beans, cheese, a tomato and a jar of the home-canned taco sauce I made last summer.  I found these tortillas at a scratch and dent store for 50c/package.  I filled them, and wrapped them in foil and froze them.  Now Rob has something to quickly make for Patsy for dinner on nights when he is just over-done from the day and I’m still at work.  I made lots and plan to gift a few at Christmas time to one of our sons who would love to have some frozen burritos to eat in a hurry.

Patsy did stage crew for the Christmas program.  She needed black clothes.  We looked through all the clearance choices at Fred Meyers and found a plain, long-sleeved t-shirt type black dress.  We decided she could wear that with leggings she already had, so I got away for only $15, since things were marked 1/2 of the clearance price that day!

I hope your week is not too hectic, and that you can have some peaceful times so you can reflect on the true meaning of Christmas amidst the busy, busy week you probably have ahead of you.  That’s what I hope to do, as well.  Merry week before Christmas!


Thriving In My Thrifty Week–December 9, 2018


Patsy went to a Christmas party at church last night.  There was an ugly sweater contest.  Rob went down to a thrift shop and got this sweater and then to the Dollar Tree to get things for her to decorate it with.  We told her there was no way she was going to win–it turned out too cute!   She had a lot of fun decorating it, that’s for sure!


Alissa’s was pretty awful by the time she got done decorating. She did not win, either.  I guess a girl in a sweater that had shoulder pads, and was just like it was made–not embellished, but very ugly with no help at all,  was the winner.  The girls had a lot of fun with it.


She even did the back of hers because it was so front-heavy that it needed a counterbalance!


Jake and Michaela spent the weekend, in fact will be with us until Tuesday.  On Saturday morning, it was chore time, and I said they had to help.  Jake thought the funnest chore he could think of was cleaning the toilet.  I wasn’t about to turn down that offer!  So, he and Patsy cleaned the bathroom while Michaela and I put a bunch of things away.  We made the chores fun, they didn’t last long, and a couple of things got done.  Win-win-win!

I have read until I am hoarse.  I read the first Boxcar Children book to Jake.  We read part of “Eddie and Gardenia” which is by Carolyn Haywood, his current favorite author.  Then, our library hold copy of “Here’s a Penny” which is also by Carolyn Haywood came in, and we had to go down there and pick it up and start to read that.  We are about 1/2 way through.  Rob played Plant Bingo (a botany learning game) with him because he loves it, not to teach him anything.  That he is learning while doing it is a nice bonus.  Rob took Michaela to her Horses of Hope arena where she volunteers and rides, but there was no work to do yesterday–it was done by other volunteers, so she just rode.  That worked, too. It was cold.

Then, Rob set Michaela, Jake and Patsy to wrapping presents.  All in all, they got quite a bit done, and had fun doing it.


I’ve been sewing all week.  Those blue shorts are the sleeping shorts I sewed and gave Rob to wear.  The camo fabric is a pair of long pants that are slightly fuzzy inside–good for cold evenings and the dinosaur fabric is another pair of sleeping shorts.  He will get the long pair and the short gray pair for Christmas.  I used Simplicity 4889, a pattern I’ve had for quite a few years.

I put it all away because the kids were coming, but I do have a couple more things I want to make after they go home and I can get it all out again.

We cooked lots of meals, as normal.  I made potato soup with ham in it, roast beef with carrots, sandwiches, toasted bagels and English muffins for the kids, tuna salad, and more.

I went and got a few marvelous deals at the grocery store.  99c peanut butter, 99c milk (1/2 gallons), and a few other things.  I also got some salad stuff and veggies on the reduced produce rack.  A really tasty honeydew melon was my favorite buy–it only had 1 small soft spot, which I cut out.  I’m so often disappointed with honeydew, but figured it was worth a dollar to take a chance on this one, and it was very good!  Every thing on that rack is $1.  I happened in at the right time–the produce man had just put out 2 huge boxes of things that needed to be sold right away.  At that store, they put them in little mesh bags, and whatever’s in the bag costs a dollar, but it all has a little problem, which I trim off.  I’m feeding my healthy hubby lots of sliced tomatoes due to those little bags:). I’m not sure why some of those tomatoes were in there.  They were perfectly good–not even a bad spot.

I hope your week went well. I plan to keep working slowly towards Christmas, but I’m feeling pretty good about getting ready with a minimum of stress.  How about you?


Thriving in My Thrifty Week–December 3, 2018



I spent some time cutting up and roasting some of the acorn squash from last summer’s garden.  I roasted one tray and cooked 4 more in halves.  The squash meat was scooped out and mashed into a bowl.  This squash was exceptionally sweet and tasty this year and we really are enjoying eating it.  It’s not a long-keeper, though, so I’m trying to use it up.


The green tomatoes we picked in October are still slowly ripening up.  We are about done with them now, but they lasted a long time.  We did the worst job EVER with storing them–picked them into a cardboard box and left them on the covered porch, dug through them picking out the red ones, throwing out the rotten ones, and leaving them alone.  It’s a miracle any of them survived, but, they did and we’ve been eating them as fast as they turn red.


We took Jake to the library Sunday afternoon after lunch.  The Discovery Room had a very cool display of many, many activities and toys relating to dinosaurs.  Jake especially liked this toy as he used a battery-operated drill to build (after unbuilding) dinosaurs.  He got books and a couple of movies.


Patsy put up the tree, decorated it, put the boxes away and….it’s Christmas:)

We went to a performance of the Portland Singing Christmas Tree.  This is an event we have enjoyed 2 or 3 times in the past.  Last summer when they were running a sale on tickets, we got some, and got to go Saturday night.  We enjoyed ourselves more than we ever have before.  It was so wonderful.


I got a couple of hours of yard work done on Saturday morning.  The other day (at my request), Rob took a chainsaw to the large ivy clump that was taking over the lamp-post.  On Saturday, I clipped the rest of the lower part with my clippers, as he didn’t care to run his saw into the dirt. It will grow again in the spring, but hopefully not be taking over as much.  Ivy is not my friend, although I do like the look when it’s not taking over things.   Between the ivy clippings and the dead weeds and debris I pulled, the yard debris bin is overflowing.  I’m glad, as I have a goal to fill it weekly and don’t always meet the goal.     I grabbed some more fancy daffodils and crocus bulbs from a clearance rack and let Patsy plant them.  She now has a few more fancy kinds of flowers that are mixed in with the plain yellow (but still beautiful and cheerful) daffodils.  There aren’t that many fancy ones, but they will multiply and there will be more each year.  The first year we were here, she planted way over 100 yellow daffodil bulbs that came from my sister’s yard and they were magnificent last spring.  I expect an even better showing this year as they continue to fill out.


This week was a good week to use up things from the holiday week.  I boiled ham bones and froze, shared, and cooked with the resulting broth.  Ham and beans were the first thing I made.  Then, I used some of the white beans to make Chili Mac.  I usually use kidney or pinto beans, but it was very easy to just fish out some beans when the ham and beans got done in the crock pot and use them instead.  We used up the leftovers from the holiday, had turkey rice soup, and then made lettuce-wrapped hamburgers to change things up.

I purchased one item for groceries last week–a gallon of milk.  I was able to wait until today to grocery shop.  The milk was entirely gone or I wouldn’t have had to shop today, either.  I had everything I needed.  Finally.  At last.  Until I walked in from work today and was informed that the Lowrie’s Seasoning Salt was gone!  It’s getting pretty funny for each family member to try to see what they can find that we are out of:).


I set my niece Alissa a homeschool math problem today that I though was fun enough to share.  I had a $10 off $50 coupon loaded on my phone for Safeway.  When you read the fine print you can see that liquid dairy is not included in the $50.  I needed a few groceries–produce, milk, the 89c eggs (could buy only 2), the 99c sour cream, some yogurt, 99c bread (4), and so on.  I told her she had to spend more than $50 to use the coupon, but under $60.  (The extra was for milk and 1/2 and 1/2 and any small overages).  She needed to get the items on the list first, then use the rest of the money for a few “if we have extra money” items.  She did great!  She added up the amount we were spending in her head, agonized over which poultry seasoning to get for the best price, kept track of what the liquid dairy cost, searched for the correct items that matched the sales and deals I had downloaded, and with the $10 off $50 coupon…..spent…..wait for it…..$48 and some change.

We then went home, uploaded the few Ibotta rebates we had bought the items for, put it all away and will write it up tomorrow.  I ended up redeeming $4 worth of rebates, and am building that account up again to use later as I wiped it out before Thanksgiving for the sales.  I am trying to stay under $50 per week this month, as I really stocked up last month.  I have a little slush fund in case I see any stellar stock-up sales or need to do a small Costco run. Also, I noticed produce was outrageous yesterday, but I still got salad stuff because Rob is using a lot of that is his weight-loss journey, so I will spend what it takes to get him what he needs, regardless of price.  (For those inquiring minds….he’s down another 3 or 4 pounds, depending on which scale you pay attention to–he got weighed on 2 different ones last Friday).

I feel I’m off to a good start to the month. How’s your week going?


Thriving In My Thrifty Week–Nov. 25, 2018


I was given a beautiful bouquet on Thanksgiving.  They made such a nice addition to the holiday atmosphere.  They were special to me because they were a very thoughtful gift from Allison.  She is the love of my autistic son, Anthony’s life.  Rob was able to pick them both up on Thursday so they could join us.  Although they live in different homes, they are very committed to each other and are very sweet.


This is a picture from a few weeks ago–they are such a cute couple!


Jake was happy to show Anthony and Allison how to play Wii, after the meal.  (As if they didn’t know how, but they were good sports!)


My oldest daughter, Abbie, was stressed after a long work week, so baked and baked and baked until midnight.  Boy did we eat good.  When you added all these tasty desserts to the lemon meringue pie my nephew made, the apple one I made, and the cookies Patsy made…..boy, oh, boy!  And, the best part (or the worst), was it was all gluten free.  Some was dairy free as well, for those who needed it.  I ate WAY too much, but Rob, the determined did not.  We got all the extra food out of here–sent home with our guests, except the part of the feast we felt was best to keep.


Of course, we had coffee, made by queen of coffee herself:). It is so good.  There’s nothing quite like it.  Needless to say, the other coffee remained neglected on Thursday.


When I went to Fred Meyers on Saturday, I was surprised with several freebies.  I knew the gum was the Friday freebie, but was not expecting condiment cups, a can opener, and a little candle.  I was doing a little grocery shopping, because that’s all I seem to do lately:), and got the bulk curry powder and cloves I was after from there, along with several items such as 99c pasta sauce (5), 99c gluten-free crackers (3), and $1.99/lb butter (5).  I was not able to get bulk poultry seasoning there.  They were out.  I guess the “secret” of buying bulk spices to save lots of money has gotten out.  Ibotta has been doing a rebate at Safeway only (it’s not offered at other stores I shop at) of red lentil pasta.  The first time I bought it, it cost $2.79.  I got a $3 rebate.  I also got a coupon for $1.50 off 2 boxes and the rebate popped back up.  I went back Saturday and got 2 boxes.  They were a little more expensive–a little more than $3/box.  The cashier ran my $1.50 coupon twice, and took off $3.  I pointed it out to her, not wanting to cheat anyone, and she said she was leaving it, and have a nice day.  So, I ended up paying around $4, and will get $3 back for one box, making the average of the 2 boxes around 50c/box.  Today, the rebate popped up again, expiring in 12 hours.  I’ve sent Rob for one last box.  This is simply a new product that they clearly want people to try, and I’m delighted!  I’m sending some to Lovana in her next care package, since she eats vegetarian and it’s high protein, and am eating a box soon, since it’s gluten-free. With these high-value rebates and many other lower-value ones on things I needed to buy,  plus some bonuses I qualified for, I’ve been able to get my Ibotta account built back up again, which is awesome since I cleaned it out for some of the great holiday sales.  My comedy still continues–I went to the store at least 7 times over the past few days–no matter what I buy, I seem to out of something daily–odd things like Dijon mustard, cornstarch, cloves, curry powder, along with normal things like milk and eggs–we are just cracking up every time I announce that I’m now out of ____!  I guess I’d better start serving 99c pasta sauce on free red lentil pasta:)


I’ve been able to do a little sewing lately.  This skirt was one I’ve had in progress for a while, but finally finished in time for Patsy to wear for Thanksgiving.  I got the top for only $10 at Fred Meyers and was super happy at how nicely it went with the skirt.  You cannot see in this picture, but there are pink buttons all down the front of the skirt.  I have so many buttons from a large boxful  Rob bought years ago at a yard sale. It was great to use some up and it kept the cost down.

I was able to get in on some great sales at JoAnn’s on Saturday.  I used up the last of 2 gift cards I still had from either my birthday or Christmas, and added some cash to get things like interfacing and some fabric for a few projects with the large discounts that were being offered this weekend.  It was fun.  I haven’t allowed myself inside of JoAnn’s much lately.  I was amazed at the carts piled to the top with fabric, AFTER the cloth was cut–not bolts before it was cut.  There are some ladies out there who are going to do some major sewing or crafting!  I’m sure they must be making blankets or other items for charity.  Or perhaps making something to sell.  Those are the only explanations I can think of for any one person buying that much fabric!!!  In fact, since I was not quite the early bird I planned on being, much of the calico was already in carts, or behind the cutting counter. But, I still found 2 pieces I liked at 70% off.  It was crowded, but people were patient and nice, and I had a good experience.

We had a wonderful holiday week with no school, lots of kids, a huge feast, and time with family and friends, but this week is back to normal.  The routine started again today.  That always feels good, too.  How was your week?


Thriving In My Thrifty Week–November 19, 2018


I have worked on my berries 3 or 4 times, in small bits of time.  So far I’ve finished tying up the June-bearing raspberries, the Marion blackberries and cut down 1/2 of the every-bearing raspberries.  This year, I am going to cut down the entire patch of ever-bearing ones, as that is a choice.  Rob wants to re-string the wire that was there when we moved in.  It is in bad condition.  According to the internet, if you cut all canes down, you will get one large crop mid-late summer next year.  I’m fine with that.  The June-bearing ones are finally old enough to give me some berries in the first part of summer, and I’ll rely on the other patch at the end of the season.  It’s worth a try.


It was a very dry summer.  I don’t think there are as many canes on the Marion blackberries as there would normally be.  Still, I’ll fertilize and care for what are there.  I can go to my sister’s house and pick wild blackberries if I need more next summer.  She always has lots of those.


I have shopped until I’ve dropped!  I have been to the store so many times, I’ve lost count.  It’s become comical. I’ve purchased every sale and bargain item I regularly use from at least 5 stores that are near my house. I’ve bought hams, turkeys, baking ingredients, dairy products, goodies, produce galore, normal items such as sugar, treats such as peppermint mini marshmallows, and everything in-between.  Or so I thought.  I no sooner got home and began to make cucumbers (with marked-down cakes) and onions in a vinegar-sugar-salt and pepper mixture, which is a salad Rob likes to eat frequently, than I realized I was out of sweet rice wine vinegar.  I substituted, but went back for some the next day.  I got that, and no sooner got home than I went to make something….and I was out of cornstarch.  And, so it went. “I’m out of yogurt, honey,” was the next cry! I just had to laugh.  I was able to use all the grocery money and then some, my Ibotta money, my Bottle Drop money, and then some.  I actually had fun gathering all these things, but now, I’m tired of thinking, so will cruise along on what I got for the next few weeks, and only need to get produce and milk.  Or so I think:).


I re-purposed a little container from last Thanksgiving, by putting a geranium start in it and placing it on the windowsill.  There were 5 tiny geraniums that volunteered in the compost heap, and this is one of them.  The other 4 went into a large pot, and I put that in the greenhouse to see if they will winter over.


Jake planted some seeds my friend, Jeannie, sent him.  There is a little Columbine plant in the corner of the pot, just in case he forgets about the seeds and they die–he will have something, I hope.  That went in the greenhouse, too.

Last night, we had a slumber party with Jake and his older sister, Caitlyn.  (She’s in her 20’s and works full-time, so it was a treat to have her). Patsy played games with them after church, we watched the British Baking Show on Netflix, and ate sandwiches.  This morning, we went swimming at the YMCA, and I took Caitlyn to a natural store where she could get some gluten-free rolls she really enjoyed eating here.  (I bought gf cornstarch, for one thing!). We also hit up Winco for yogurt (much better price), and she got some groceries she needed.   We can’t beat the price of the $1.17/lb. ham they have right now.   It was fun to spend some time with her.  We used to spend quite a bit of time with her when she was little, but time has a way of passing, and those days are understandably rare any more, so it was special to me to have her spend a night on my couch once again.

I did some cleaning and organizing for Thanksgiving.  I started cooking the things that could be made ahead, such as cornbread I made and froze, to add to the dressing later in the week and some candied walnuts to add to the sweet potatoes.  We should have a great day on Thursday, and every day before that promises to have a little holiday fun in it as well!  I hope you week is shaping up well, also.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–November 10, 2018


These are only part of the jars we emptied this week.  It’s that time of year when we start using lots of the home-canned products.  I still buy groceries.  It would be hard to imagine what my grocery bill would be without my food storage. I’m glad to have it and am committed to using it.


Turkey-Vegetable soup is one of the things I made.  I used frozen chunks of turkey, frozen green beans, canned carrots, broth and tomatoes, an onion, potatoes  and the rest of a sad stalk of celery.  I seasoned it with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.  Simple, but good.

We also used home-canned taco sauce, salsa, jam, various fruits, canned green beans, frozen beef, and some French bread I had gotten for free and frozen a while back. (For Patsy).  Not long ago, I made spaghetti using my home-canned pasta sauce.


Some of the family went to a great party at my friend’s house.  The girls helped little Danait frost pre-purchased cookies with icing and toppings, we feasted on Eritrean food, potluck items, root beer floats, and visited with lots of interesting people.  We were celebrating Harnet’s recent citizenship and her new apartment.  It was really fun.  Although many of us didn’t know each other, or had only met once or twice, it was a very eclectic, interesting crowd.  She has a lot of very nice friends.


Danait loved decorating cookies, all the while wearing the purple mittens I got her at the Dollar Store.  My niece, Alissa, and I found the cookie kit on the clearance rack at Fred Meyers, and it was worth every penny of the greatly reduced price.  It kept Danait busy until her little friends arrived at the party, and then boy did they have fun!  Bless those big girls for helping look after them.  At one point, I guess the group of children were smuggling bowls of candy into the bedroom, and eating it all, and my big girls, who were kind of looking out for the kids, finally shut down that smuggling ring when they brought the 3rd bowlful into the room:). Kids!  After all, it was a party:), but still…..

I also got several other items on the “Whoo-hoo” rack.  The best deal was boxes of steel-cut oat packets.  They were $1.59 and there was a $1.50 rebate from Ibotta on each box.  I bought the 5 allowed, bringing the cost to 9c for each box.  There are 5 packets in each box, so that’s less than 2c each.

I spent over the $50 I wanted to spend, and got my first turkey for  47c/lb.  I plan to do that at least one more time, maybe 2 times.  It depends on what I can use to fill the gaps in the pantry–if there are good enough deals of things that I need to spend that much.  I’ll look at the sales.  Right now, celery and bread are all that are on my list, but I know it will grow. It always does:). Because I want at least one extra turkey for the freezer, I’d rather go more than once and get them for 47c/lb than spend the $150 all at once to get a free turkey.

We are not finding the low ham prices I got last year.  I’ll keep looking.  If I find them, I’ll buy several.  Last year, I got some for 99c/lb and some for $1.29/lb.  The are quite a bit higher so far this year.

The strangest thing we did to save money this week was get a security system.  We were offered a deal from X-finity/Comcast if we bundled our internet, t.v., with an added security system the monthly payment would be lower than what we were paying for what we had already.  So, we did.  We are signed up for a 2-year contract, and there is a penalty if we don’t keep it that long.  However, we were told that all we had to do was keep 1 X-finity product, if we need to cancel for some reason and we would not have to pay the penalty. We have no plans to move, or stop having internet, at this time, although we have discussed stopping the tv service if we ever need to, so that was nice to know.  And, for now, we have it all for a lower price than we would have paid if we left things the way they were.  We did not add any “extras” but just stuck with the basic package that they were offering for free, plus a discount.  So, should any burgers want to steal my home-canned tuna, they’d better watch out!  They won’t get away with it:). We are secure!  (Now, I just have to learn how to use it, but it looks pretty simple and can be done from my phone)

This was a week of doctor’s appointments for me–using parts of 3 days.  Mine were all routine, including the dentist, but it is good that I’m caught up for now.  Rob got his appointments done, finishing up one set of physical therapy.  Again, we were very thankful that we have insurance!

How did your week go?