Monday, February 17, 2014

Accomplishments - Frugal or Otherwise's been a while.  Sorry.  I've just been busy and tired and kind of overwhelmed and tired and lazy.  And tired.  Here are some things that have been happening...with less detail than usual, most likely.  At least now you know I'm still alive, though.

Ms. Hughes

Ms. Patmore

The ladies are sharing a cage for now - they are still young and I want to keep them together while I can.
I do have more cage space though, so I can adjust as needed.
We got a couple of English Angora rabbits.  I wanted them for the bunny rabbit programs we'll be doing for the library in March.  I've shown photos of them in years past, but this year, the kids will get to see the real deal.  These two had just been shorn because of (humans who had) allergies and were in fairly good shape...a little lean, maybe.  They are both does, both quite sweet, and looking better and better every day.  I made an Angora feed mix for them (Angoras need extra fiber to help prevent wool block), and we are on the road to spoiling them rotten.  The rabbits ended up being free, which I was not expecting...but by the time I bought rabbit pellets, sweet feed, black oil sunflower seeds, bird seed, flax, etc., they didn't feel nearly so free, hee hee.  I have named them Mrs. Huges and Mrs. Patmore...because I am silly.

This is the mixed feed we made.  Pretty!

I made JapChae, from scratch, and gluten free. It was too much noodle, not enough veg, but still okay.  We are cooking gluten-free at home, but those of us who can still have gluten are having it, to use up items we have on hand in our pantry.  So far, so good.

I had such high hopes for this was just okay.  Kimchee is good, at least! :)

We went to a friend's house to have fondue.  It was SO fun and very tasty, and just YUM.  We took some fresh fruit and the ingredients to make chocolate fondue.  Do you know what goes in chocolate fondue?  Heat a cup of heavy cream until it just starts to simmer.  Dump in a bag of chocolate chips and a pinch of salt.  Turn the heat super low and use a whisk to combine.  There.  You just made chocolate fondue...and a lot of  it.  You can make a half recipe - just use a pinchlet of salt and half of much cream and chocolate chips.  Easy!

I've continued to use homemade laundry soap and drying racks to keep our laundry expenses to a minimum.

If you read here regularly, you know that in the past month or two I've gotten three $25 gift cards to Kmart for transferring prescriptions.  We have watched for sales and deals, and we've stocked up on toilet paper, kleenex, toilet paper, snacks, toilet paper, feminine hygiene stuff and yes, toilet paper.  Something like 100 rolls of toilet paper...some of them double rolls or bigger.  And I still have nearly $30 in gift card to spend.  I'll likely use it to get more toilet paper, LOL.

Still reading books and getting movies from the library.  Our library continues to be an awesome resource.

Getting the rabbits meant I eventually had to clean out the bunny barn, or die of embarrassment when friends came over.  I chose life, and cleaned out the bunny barn.  It looks much better.  So if you know me in real life, I'll likely let you back there now. :)

This is actually 'after'...and it's much tidier than it was before!

My shelving is the headboard from an old bed - works for me!  Feed is in one trash can, hay in the other.
The mowing deck will go back on the mower come spring, and the tiller will be moved as well.

I kept walking.  I don't walk a lot, but just doing some every day helps me.  It also meant I had to take in my pants, because they got too big.  That's a big YAY!  Since last April, I've lost about 30 pounds.  I still have many pounds to go, but hey, I've lost 30, and that's significant!  It's slow and steady, but I'm not going to complain, especially in a post where' I've mentioned JapChae and chocolate fondue.  We won't talk about how much soda I shouldn't drink.  Nope.  Not going there.  Did I mention I'm down 30 pounds?  Hee.

Daughter has gotten a lot more social of late...having friends over to play, having her first attempt at a sleepover, going on more playdates, etc.  It's nice...and I think it's good for her.

I wasted time on Facebook.

I combed the mats out of the rabbits, trimmed their nails, and I'm getting them used to me.  They'll both let me hold them on their backs, like babies.  Mrs. Patmore almost falls asleep now when we do this.  Aww.....

I made this.  It is a couple of corn tortillas, cooked with a little butter in a nonstick pan, until lightly browned.  On top of that is some homemade (gluten free) enchilada sauce, then egg scrambled with queso fresco (which I got on markdown for about 25 cents per 10 oz - and I got something like fifteen of them, which I put into the freezer).  Over that is some homemade salsa, a little more queso fresco and fresh cilantro.  This is an incredibly tasty way to start, or end, pretty much any day.

Seriously delicious!

I dismantled, cleaned, and reassembled the wood stove and parts of the chimney.  It's enough to make a girl want to go solar. ;)

I made scarves, and a hat.  And more scarves.  The chicken project this coming year is going to be stellar!  Meanwhile, my friend Kelly is making these adorable cowls and fingerless gloves and stuff.

My husband went to Las Vegas for a few days when his parents were there on vacation.  This is awesome, because they live in Hawaii, and by seeing them in Las Vegas instead of flying to Hawaii, he saved hundreds of dollars on the plane ticket.  Daughter and I stayed home, because they really want to play/gamble, and she and I can't be in the casinos. (Well, I could, but then she'd be unattended,  So we had a mama-daughter weekend while he had a good visit with his parents.  Husband brought home cute little coconut-lime-verbena soaps and some shampoo and conditioner samples for me.  Also...lots of chocolate from Trader Joe's, which makes him a very, very good Husband.  :)

I found out that the church I attend has bible studies that we can check out to do at home and/or in small groups.  This is awesome for me, because I can get something to listen to during the day that helps me grow spiritually and/or learn something, without having to purchase something I might only read/listen to one time.  I'm doing a study of the book of Esther right now.

I've been subbing quite a bit at the library - as much as 20 hours per week.  Since we can't plan for this income, it is always nice when there is so much of it. :)

I made kimchee.  This makes us happy.

I got a 1 gallon pickle crock at Goodwill a while back, and it is perfect for making kimchee. 

I was unattentive, and my chocolate mint plant died of neglect.  Meanwhile, my poinsettia is thriving.  I kind of wish that whole scenario was reversed.

It's winter, so I've been catching mice in the henhouse.  With a trap...I am clarifying because that first sentence makes me sound like I sit in there, ready to pounce, but no - I use a catch-all trap.  There are openings where they can get in, but they can't get back out.  It is a wonderful thing.  We have two of them, so I set up the second catch-all in the bunny barn, because where there is grain, mice are soon to follow.

After a mouse goes in the little hole, things shift from his/her weight, and they are sealed inside.
The trap can intake multiple mice per night if need be.  

I changed the very full bag inside my vacuum cleaner, and it works SO much better.  I know.  Duh.

I continued to buy whatever produce was on sale, to shop sales combined with coupons, and stay with in our $160 a month grocery/household/toiletries budget.  I admit, those KMart gift cards make it easier, since I don't really count them (they were free, and KMart's prices run high in our book, so we just use them for whatever is the better deal...mainly, toilet paper).

I started a Gifts of the Spirit study at church, did a personal inventory, and I'm learning all about Spiritual Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit.  I am really interested in becoming a Stephen Minister at some point.  The next training set I've found locally starts in September.  Of 2015.  Mew.  Hopefully, something will come along sooner.

There were other things, I suppose, but that gives you some idea of what we've been up to lately.  Thanks for your patience - sorry I took so long.  What have you been doing with yourself these days?


MamaHen said...

Love the names of your bunnies. They are so cute. I am getting new chicks today so I might think about naming them Mary, Edith, and Sybil. I'll call the top chick The Countess!

The Moxley Family said...

Ohmygoodness! The ears on those bunnies!! So adorable!!

And, what is kimchee? I see you talk about it all the time and I'm clueless.

Here's my link.

momma-lana said...

I am loving the bunny names!

What a good husband to bring you the best chocolate in the US!! That is one reason that I am glad TJ's is 25 miles from me!

We are stuck in this odd life right now of hubby working 4 hours a day from home while he recovers from the heart attack. He works 10-12 in the morning and 1-3 in the afternoon which the brain tries to make into 4 hours each and so our day is just weird. We are still eating out too much but since the doc said he can work and really nothing else it is still a form of recreation for us. And it just makes him so happy to be out and doing something that I don't care about the cost anymore. We are still going for the best deal with coupons and such.

We were very happy to find out that we have an out of pocket max of $3500 for the year on our health insurance and that includes that crazy expensive $258 for 30 tablets drug. We come out much better than we had thought on the hospital and doc bills. Plus rehab is like a crazy $400 per hour and he goes 3 hours a week. We are blessed!

My oldest daughter and I had gotten addicted to the bagels from a local bagel shop. With a coupon the bagels are 6 for $3.40. I know this is really a good deal for what we were buying BUT they were eating a dozen plus a week and we were buying 6. We spent 2 days playing around with making homemade bagels. I find I can make a dozen very good bagels for about 80 cents. I make the dough in my bread machine and so the hands on time is only about 20 minutes of work.

There have tons of good grocery deals and freebies with coupons. We cannot eat all of the bounty but our daughters who live local are always happy to take things home. Our oldest daughter's husband is a pastor intern right now and so they live on very little. It is nice to be able to give them nice extras for their pantry.

I bought wool socks on clearance at Sam's. We had been checking on them since we have lowered our heat and the only real bothersome thing is cold feet. We were seeing 15 to 20 dollars per pair. I was kind of shocked by the price! Sam's had a 3 pack on clearance for 11.80 so we each got 6 pairs and the total was just over $50. Check your Sam's if you are needing them. They were in the men's sock area but they have men's and women's sizes in the same pile of boxes.

We just got back to shopping Sam's in January. My husband's employer pays for the membership and because of a job change we had a big lag. I was doubtful that I would find anything to buy there but we are finding good produce deals and the milk is far cheaper than other stores in our area. And then there are those wonderful rotisserie chickens for $4.88, yum.

Last week I used the 50% off household merchandise coupon at Dollar General to replace our bathroom towels for 1/2 price plus we picked up some incidentals that needed replacing. Our household budget took a big hit but I just cannot beat the price of that once or twice a year coupon.

We were snowed in for Valentine's Day so we thawed a T-bone steak that was in the freezer and had a very nice dinner at home. The next morning the roads looked safe so we ventured out and bought some 1/2 price candy and roses were 75% off! We bought a beautiful dozen of roses for 'us' for 4.99! Hubby enjoys having flowers in the house as much as I do but I cannot enjoy overpriced flowers at all!

Glad you are back and I hope you have a good week! I know that adjusting to cooking and eating in a different way is very stressful. I understand your absence and stress and tiredness as we been there and made the adjustment many, many times. It will get better.

Laura said...

Hee hee, MamaHen. Related - I have a hen named MamaHen!

Kimchee is spicy fermented vegetables, usually napa cabbage (or won bok, depending on where you shop). You wash and chop the won bok, soak it in a salt brine, then drain and rinse and combine it with a spicy blend of peppers and such. Leave it on the counter for a day or two to ferment a bit more, and you have a crunchy, spicy, tasty probiotic 'pickle' that is great with hot rice and most Asian foods. :)

momma-lana said...

One more frugal tip--we found out by accident that peroxide in spray bottle is the best cleaner we have ever used for stains in the shower and in sinks and toilets. We have well water with plenty of iron and we have tried everything we could think of as a greener cleaner. It is amazing how clean these fixtures get with just spraying them and letting it soak for a few hours and then rinsing.


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