Saturday, July 27, 2013

Frugal Fun and Ways to Save

Last Saturday we attended our church's annual picnic.  It was a lot of fun, and we enjoyed spending time visiting and playing with people who are so dear to us.  It was a great way to spend the day!  I asked the pastor's wife if she'd bring kimchee, and she brought all sorts of tasty Korean sides...which I had with my hamburger.  Everything was delicious!

We took two girls bikes that needed a bit of TLC and restored them for very little cost.  All the details are here.

Husband used a BOGO coupon at the bread outlet to get a loaf of low-carb bread and a loaf of whole grain white bread for $2 total.  I wanted the white bread to make croutons, and we use the low carb bread for sandwiches. 

I made croutons, quinoa, brown rice, cubed steak, tuna salad, carrot-raisin salad, southwestern soup, corn bread, carrot and celery sticks, egg salad, ranch dip, croutons and pimento cheese this week.  Whew!  We ate fruits and vegetables for a lot of our snacks.

Last week we picked the cherries on our pie cherry tree, and I soaked them in a sugar syrup to sweeten them.  They were ready on Monday, so I rinsed them and put them in the dehydrator.  I put the resulting cherry syrup into containers and froze it for next year's crop.  We got 1 lb. 12 oz. of dried pie cherries - they are delicious!

I picked up some pet sitting to help with our budget.  I'll be caring for a horse and two barn cats. :)
 This is Oreo.
 And this purring sweetie is Petunia.  The other barn kitty is shy.
Oreo, and the riff-raff he's been spending time with, in the background.  The deer look so big and healthy from eating our orchard, grr.

We went to the county fair on dollar admission day.  We had a bunny program that morning, so it was a busy day.  I got up, made lunches, packed snacks, we ate breakfast, got ready, loaded up bunnies, did the bunny program at the library, came home, got the bunnies settled in, washed up, got back in the car, had a 'car picnic' on the way to the county fair, then enjoyed the fair that afternoon.  Sister has grown up in an urban environment, so the fair was new territory for her.  We had a lot of fun...and Daughter and I each got to hold a snake!

 This little boa constrictor was such a sweetie! 

Loved this wall hanging, and the cute pup below.

Spectacular!  The pic doesn't do this quilt justice.

This one's for you, Mama! (and to make up for the picture of your grandbaby with a snake!)

Every year, I see this 'Are You Going To Heaven' booth at the fair.  Every year, it's in a different place...and every year, there is NO ONE THERE.  It always makes me wonder if they're onto something, and Jesus just returned, they ascended, and we didn't make the cut.

 We got to the swine shed right at naptime.  Awwww...
 My favorite - the poultry barn!

 Splash Silkies - WANT!!!
 Petting the ponies at the petting barnyard.

We took advantage of a customer appreciation special at Domino's and got medium 1-topping pizzas for $3.99.  I made some sides to go with and it was a nice, easy meal 'out' (that we had at home) for a low cost.  After such a busy day with bunnies and the fair, it was nice to have that break!

We replaced the blades on our riding lawnmower a couple weeks ago.  We had purchased some after-market, much less expensive blades.  At first, all was well, but then the entire mower deck got really, really wobbly.  We thought the blades were out of balance, so we messed with them a few times.  You know that 'thing' you see in movies where soldiers can dis-assemble and re-assemble a rifle in seconds?  We are getting that way with the mower deck, lol.  We weren't having any luck, so I did what I do...I googled it, and found a message board, and learned that it could be the belt, a pulley, some bearings, a tension spring, or something else.  Husband found and after market, much less expensive belt, and replaced that first.  It solved the problem, and the mower is working beautifully now.  I don't even want to think about what it would have cost to take it somewhere for troubleshooting!  I know we saved a lot.

I grew coleus from seed and rooted cuttings from the Wandering Jew, and gave both to my neighbor.  I am going to start some more coleus for myself one of these days.  I had also started some cilantro, parsley and oregano from seed and put those into the herb garden, which is in desperate need of weeding.  I did weed some beds this week, and the herb garden is next on the list.  We picked peas, lettuces, spinach and some herbs this week.  I think it's about time to pull up the pea plants and give them to the hens.  I'm hoping for our first zucchini very soon, and the green beans are coming soon as well.  The potatoes are starting to bloom, so we can eat new potatoes in a week or two.

I cut flowers from the perennials in the flower garden for inside the house.  The blanket flower is especially pretty right now.

I have a 'Summer Fund'.  The money in it is from selling some things we no longer need and some toys that Daughter has outgrown, as well as a little sewing I was hired to do.  It paid for the bikes, the enameled cast iron pot I got last week, and this week, a patio table and four chairs.  A family is moving, and selling lots of things.  They sold me this set for $30.  It is in good condition, but up close, the table could use a little TLC, so I will likely re-paint the table frame.  The chairs are actually in pretty good condition.  We have a picnic table, and now with the chairs, we have enough outdoor seating to have people over without feeling cramped. 
I don't generally store the trike on the picnic table...I was taking a photo so I can list it for sale.

We price matched to save fuel and time.  I feel like I'm short on both these days.  We got cantaloupes for .88 each, pit fruits like plums and peaches for .88 a pound, heads of leaf lettuce for .99 each, bananas for .39 a pound...I can't remember all the prices off the top of my head, but a lot of them were just over half of regular price, so it helped out a lot to price match the sale items. 

See the glowing eyes at the top of the tree?  That's a great horned owl.  Two of them flew up in our back yard one evening at dusk.  We didn't get any good pictures, but we did enjoy viewing them and calling to them.  :)  I am hearing them most every night, and spending some time out on our deck calling them. 

We had our last two bunny programs for the library district this week.  They were fun, but I'm glad that they're done too (now I can get paid - yay!).  The last one was on Thursday.  Chick Fil A was doing a promotion for the community food bank, so we donated some nonperishables and they gave us chicken sandwiches.  Yum and thank you!  Since that day's bunny program was pretty far from home, it was nice to just pack some pretzels, fruit and water and pick up something hot and yummy for yet another car picnic. 

Friday was the big Summer Reading Party in town, so I took the girls.  They had opportunities to play dress-up, get their faces painted (again!), meet some Storm Troopers, play games and more.  It's a lot of fun.  We finished the outing with a freebie reward from the Summer Reading coupon page.

We stopped at the Storm Trooper booth four separate times.  Daughter really loves them!

If you read this on Saturday, we are gone fishing.  I'll share our catch, if we have one, in next week's post.  Happy saving!

I'm so tired,
-Laura at TenThingsFarm


Anonymous said...

It sounds like a fun and very productive week (no wonder you're tired!). :) Your pie cherries look delicious! I love cherry pie. I enjoyed the pictures of the sweet little girls (and I know they will love those new bikes). You're an inspiration! - Rhonda

Theresa said...

That comment about the rapture was hilarious. What a great way to witness though(when there is someone there :).

Love reading all the ways you save. It is wonderful that your daughter is able to spend the summer with her sister. What a blessing to them both.

Laura said...

Thanks for your kind words, Rhonda. There is a store here that sells a dark chocolate/pie cherry/toasted almond cluster that I got one time...they are very good, but also quite expensive. I wonder if I could make them at home.....for Christmas?

Theresa, that booth is there every year, and always empty. It always makes me smile, because it does make me pause for a moment. Thank you for your kind words as well! :)

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm - those sound yummy! I hope you figure it out (and then share your recipe)! :) - Rhonda

Cathy said...

I love the picture of the pigs spooning while they sleep!

Those cherries look sooooo good. I would love to know exactly how you know when to stop drying them and how much sugar needs to soak in. Do you know what type of cherries they are? I just planted some pie cherry trees but it will be a few years before I get any fruit.

I'm going to go ahead and say this...I miss you!

Laura said...

Cathy, I asked DH, and he thinks the cherry tree is Montmorency...they are fairly common, at least in our part of the world. :) I initially learned to soak/dry the cherries from a book...I'll try to find the page and scan/send it to you.

The last couple years, I've 'recycled' the syrup by freezing it, and just soaking the cherries in it for a few days. Each day you have to take the cherries out, boil the syrup and then add the cherries back (I think that's to prevent fermentation). Once they taste nice and sweet, you just rinse them well and dehydrate them.

I miss you too! I haven't done much emailing with anyone, so please don't feel like you're being singled out - I'm just really busy and easily tired these days.

Cathy said...

Good news! That is the type of cherry tree I planted. I am excited to get the fruit and give it a go when it starts producing.

I know you are busy and I know when you have time you will contact me. Just know that I miss you and I would never take it personally. I know we all have times in our lives that are just too busy.

When I see pictures of your DD I see a beautiful woman in the future. I am so glad you are instilling values in her now while she is young.


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