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This is Why! part 3

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pantry Challenge #17 ...2015

The weather has been beautiful in our area this past week and we have spent our available free time working outside.  There is always so much to do in the yard and with planting in the Spring!

Do you like my old fashioned dinner bell?  I do!!!!  We purchased it 3 years ago at a Mennonite auction sale such as the one we attended this year.  Life kept happening and it has set waiting all this time to get settled in at its new location.  This week we gathered all the materials we would need which included a tractor and a portion of an old discarded telephone pole that we had been given.  My husband worked hard for an entire day getting it set … it now sits in front of one corner of our front porch.  It has a cord attached to it that allows me to ring it without ever having to leave the porch.  Looking out at it transports me to a less hurried and busy mindset … I guess you could say it is my reminder to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life!
My to-do list from last time:   

Finish planting garden … We’re still working on it!  This week we replaced blueberry bushes that didn’t survive the winter, made and planted an asparagus bed and started a tub of rhubarb.
Plant herbs … Got this partially done!  I planted rosemary, basil, spearmint, peppermint and sage.

Vacuum seal Cheerios … Didn’t get done!
Vacuum seal tea bags … Didn’t get done!
Strain ginger tincture … Done!
Finish vacuum sealing oats … Worked some more on this, still not done but I’m getting there!  I added 4 more quarts of vacuum sealed oats to my pantry.
Add 1 low-carb freezer breakfast casserole to the freezer … I am going to remove this from the list for the time being.  With so much outside work to be done and with me nursing a messed up knee … honestly, this is not on the priority list right now!


In addition:
I started another jar of plantain tincture.   You can read about it HERE.
I made some lavender scented carpet/rug deodorizer using this recipe. I also started a jar of lavender medicinal oil using this recipe from the same site.  I want to make some of her lotion bars using this recipe as well.  I really like the smell of lavender and when I saw these recipes I knew I had to try them.
We were in the garden center at Lowe’s one day and as usual I found out where the clearance items were and was looking them over.  A sales associate came by and told me that I could have any of them I wanted for $.25 each.  I brought home 6 containers of creeping phlox for $1.50!  Score!!!  I planted some in an old pair of boots my husband had worn out, some in an old broken watering can and some in a willow planter box.  I can’t wait for them to start cascading down the sides of their ‘containers’ and putting on their pretty pink flowers!
Our Sam’s Club finds this week are … 2 free muffins and double stuffed Oreo cookies for $1.91/ package. Regular price for the Oreo’s was $7.98 / package.  We’ll be donating the Oreo’s to our church’s VBS in June.  (The expiration date on the Oreo’s is September 2015  so they’ll still be good!)


I found this Leappad game for preschoolers on clearance for $3 … regular price $19.98. Remember the deal my son and daughter-in-law helped me snag that I told you about last week?  I purchased 2 of the games and added one of them to my gift trunk as I know someone else who is getting a LeapPad for Christmas and will need accessories to go with it.
I needed to clean out our worm composting bin as I’ve ordered worms that will be here soon but instead of just dumping the worm casings leftover from the old worms I sprinkled some around our blueberry bushes, elderberry bushes, added some to my pots of lemon balm and nettles and made compost tea.  I filled two 5 gallon buckets ¼ full of worm casings and then filled the buckets to the top with water. This will be my composting tea.  I’m letting it sit for a few days then I’ll use it to water my ferns and other flowers.
For those who are interested this is the kind of ‘worm bin’ we have.
I diluted a new bottle of dishwashing liquid by dividing its contents into two bottles and finished filling each with water.  I shook it up really well and started using it.  The dishwashing liquid was still strong enough to do the jobs needed and I was able to stretch it into twice as much.  Yeah!!!!
The lemon balm that I harvested last week is dried and in a jar.  My herb harvesting for 2015 has begun!
I’ve earned enough Swagbucks to cash in for a $25 Amazon gift card.
We added $4.50 to our change jar.  
Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:
Continue planting garden and replacing items that didn’t survive the winter
Continue planting herbs
Vacuum seal Cheerios
Vacuum seal tea bags
Vacuum seal oats

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

patsi
A Working Pantry

If you’ve found this post to be helpful please share about it with others or PIN it.  Thank you!

This post linked to:  The Art of Homemaking Mondays

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Wasp and Bee Stings ... treating them with herbs!




One day I was out in the green house working with my ferns when I got stung by a wasp. It hurt so bad! I tore out of the green house and ran … yes, this old woman ran … it hurt that bad … and made a bee line for my medicinal pantry and my bottle of plantain tincture. I quickly poured some out in a small bowl and stuck my finger in it (I had gotten stung on a finger). It wasn’t long before the throbbing stopped so I took it out of the solution. The throbbing started back up again and I stuck my finger back in the solution. I left it there a couple more minutes and then tried removing it again. This time the pain was not nearly as bad but it was still hurting.  I stuck my finger back in again and left it there for another couple of minutes. When I removed it again it was not hurting … it was a bit sore but not hurting. I had read that plantain tincture was good for stings but had not had an occasion to use it since making it. After getting stung I was sold on plantain tincture and have not been without it since. It is most definitely a staple in the medicinal part of my pantry!  You can buy dried plantain HERE and HERE, grow your own or harvest it most likely from your own yard.  It grows everywhere!
 
How do I make it?

I fill a quart jar nearly full with fresh plantain leaves that I grow (Can also use dried plantain but only fill the jar half full if using dried plantain.). I do not pack the jar, but leave the leaves loose. Then I fill the jar with vinegar. Put a plastic cap on it, shake it good and set it in a cool, dark place for about a month. I shake it a couple of times a week. Strain and bottle in an amber colored bottle or if you don’t have an amber colored bottle, stick a sock on it … yes, I’ve done that too!!!!

How do you treat wasp and bee stings?

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor.  Any information shared is purely from a research or personally tried it point of view. Always consult your doctor or other medical professional when treating ailments.)


 patsi


If you’ve found this post to be helpful please share about it with others or PIN it.  Thank you!

You can also follow me on Pinterest and on Facebook

This post linked to:  The HomeAcre Hop
 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pantry Challenge #16 ... 2015


I’ve heard from 2 friends recently that either they’ve had a reduction in income or are being threatened with layoff.  It’s hard when the unexpected happens with no notice.  One day everything is fine and the next you’re wondering how you’re going to keep the bills paid and food on the table.  No one is immune to this sort of thing happening so let me take the opportunity to reinforce the importance of building and keeping a well-stocked pantry.  It could literally be the thing that makes putting food on the table doable during a difficult financial time.


Here's what's been going on with my pantry building since last time ...


My to-do list from last time:   
The garden needs planting … We’ve started this!  We planted onions, yellow squash, egg plant, cayenne pepper, jalapeƱo pepper, bell pepper, red bell pepper, banana pepper, celebrity tomato, roma tomato, okra and cabbage.


My herbs need planting … Didn’t get done!

The Cheerios we purchased on sale right before we left on our trip need to be vacuum sealed in jars … Didn’t get done!

Tea bags that we purchased on clearance right before we left on our trip also need to be vacuum sealed in jars … Didn’t get done!

I have ginger tincture that needs to be strained … Didn’t get done!

I need to finish vacuum sealing the oats that I started before we left on our trip …  I didn’t get it finished but I did get another 2 quarts done.  Baby steps!

Our yard needs to be mowed … you can image what it looks like with it not being mowed at all this year yet!  Done!  It took us several hours over 2 days to get it in shape, but we worked together and got it done!

My mom gave me two compost bins that I need to get put together and start using … Done!  I’ve been raking up leaves and adding them, adding vegetable scraps and tearing up newspaper to add to get it started.




I want to make a low-carb freezer breakfast casserole that a dear friend served us while we were at her house.  Our chickens are finally laying again and I want to make several breakfast casseroles to add to the freezer part of my pantry while I have plenty of eggs … this is the first one we’re going to try. … Didn’t get done!

While we were at our friend’s house, her daughter who is also a dear friend of ours, made some spicey mixed nuts for us to snack on.  (These two dear ladies are so accommodating to us in our low-carb lifestyle.) The nuts were delicious and we want to try to duplicate the taste.  Didn’t get done!

My lemon balm is ready to start harvesting as is my nettles.  Done!   I harvested two bundles of lemon balm and one bundle of nettles. They are tied up and hang drying right now.


The new fabric I purchased is itching to be stitched up into something … No sewing this week!

In addition:

I did a vacuum sealing session one afternoon and did Easter M & M’s we got on clearance, dehydrated ginger we got while on our trip and oats.

I needed some milk so I shopped from my freezer.  Remember the milk we got on clearance and froze!

I made a pattern from a little dress I found at Goodwill while we were traveling.  You can read about it HERE.  I’ll be using the pattern to stitch up one for my newest little granddaughter.

Our Sam’s Club ‘finds’ this week were 3 two pound containers of  Yoplait plain yogurt on clearance for $1.01 each and these freebies … 2 bottles of orange juice, 2 muffins, 3 sample packages of vitamin E capsules and 2 sample packages of trash bags.

I picked up several ‘Easter items’ for 90% off.  I packed them away in my ‘Easter’ tub for use next year.

We were given 2 metal ‘T’ clothes line post this week.  My current clothes line posts are wooden and I’ve been wanting to replace them with metal ones for a long time.  I am excited and you can’t beat the price!

Remember this … I got a fantastic deal on something we've been wanting to purchase for a while now thanks to my son and daughter-in-law ... they found it and called me, I sent them the money and they purchased it for me, that's what I call team work ..... it saved me over $100 ... have I got your curiosity up???? You'll have to wait until the next Pantry Challenge comes out on Sunday to see what it is!!!

Are you ready to find out what it is? 

LeapPad™ Ultra

I’ve been wanting one of these for the little ones in my life since I became a grandmommie.  Regular price is $129 on Amazon and I got it for $26!  Score!!!! 

I’ve almost earned enough Swagbucks to cash in for another $25 Amazon gift card.

We added $5.70 to our change jar.  

Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:

Finish planting garden
Plant herbs

Vacuum seal Cheerios
Vacuum seal tea bags

Strain ginger tincture
Finish vacuum sealing oats

Add 1 low-carb freezer breakfast casserole to the freezer 

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

 patsi
A Working Pantry


This post linked to:  The Art Of Homemaking Mondays

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Making a Pattern from a Garment




Remember this little dress that I found at Goodwill while we were traveling ...
 
 
I told you I would wash it, then take it apart and cut a pattern from it, remove the buttons and add them to my button jar for future use and that the fabric would be added to my stash. I told you that I would add a pattern, buttons and fabric to the sewing part of my pantry for $1 which was the cost of the dress.
 
Today I started working on getting it done ...
 
I washed and dried the little dress and then started cutting it apart ...
 
 
 
 
 
 
After cutting it apart, I removed the buttons ...
 
 
 
 
Then I laid the dress pieces on some muslin scraps that used to be part of window curtains ...
 
 
 
 
I added 1/4 seam allowance to the sides and shoulders and made notes using a fine point sharpie on sewing the garment together ...  (I also noted the size on the garment.)
 
 
 
 
I then took the dress and cut it into useable pieces ... 1 inch strips, 2 inch squares and larger pieces that I left intact for future projects.
 
 
 
In a future post I will share how I take the pattern and make a dress for my little granddaughter.  I think I'll also add a pair of ruffled bloomers to go with it.  Stay tuned!  I love adding to the fabric/sewing part of my pantry in the most economical way possible!
 
patsi
If you’ve found this post to be helpful please share about it with others or PIN it.  Thank you!

You can also follow me on Pinterest and on Facebook
 
This post linked to: The HomeAcre Hop

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sam's Club Clearance Tag's ... How to Read Them



I get lots of questions on how we shop at Sam's Club.  After reading this post, a lot of people wanted to know how we do it ... how do we find the bargains we get at Sam's Club. 

This post is going to cover one thing that we do and that is read the shelf tags.  We look for clearance items when shopping.  Clearance items are located all over the store including on the shelves, special displays, on a flatbed at the end of an isle and in a section of the store, usually in an out of the way corner, specifically for clearance items.  Here's an example of what to look for ... (This was a special display.)


 
If the price ends in the number 1 that usually indicates that it is a clearance price ... but not always, so we look at the numbers and letter in the upper right hand corner. If it ends in a 'C' then it is a clearance item.
 
 
Here's another example of a shelf tag.  You can't read the tag very well, but it will give you an idea of what you're looking for when checking the shelves for clearance items.
 
 
 
My husband's job often takes us to the town where our local Sam's Club is located and so whenever we are in the area we stop in.  We can usually walk the whole store and check it for clearance items in about 20 minutes.
 
We don't have any secrets or special connections ... we've just learned how our local Sam's Club operates.
 
Here's another post I wrote on shopping at Sam's Club with some additional tips.
 
I hope this has been helpful. 
 
 
 patsi
If you’ve found this post to be helpful please share about it with others or PIN it.  Thank you!
 
You can also follow me on Pinterest and on Facebook

This post linked to:  Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pantry Challenge #15 ... 2015


This week was all about visiting with my mama and walking down memory lane together and my picking her brain on how she kept us all clothed and fed growing up.  I learned the foundation of what I know about keeping a well-stocked pantry from her and this week was so precious to me as I listened and gleaned as we visited and talked.  (We’ve been on a working vacation for the last 2 weeks which included visits with my mom and children.)

This week was also about friends … best friends … friends that let you stay, visit and come and go in their home whenever the need arises.  Friends that you laugh with and shop with and make things ‘pretty with’ and can totally let your hair down and be yourself with.  Friends that asked nothing of you except your friendship.  We have been blessed over the last 2 weeks to get to spend time with friends such as this, in their home, coming and going as we needed.  B and J, you make our trips home doable and we love you. 

My to-do list from last time:   

Bargain shop.  Done!  I found a full set of queen size sheets and pillow cases at Goodwill for $7.99.  They were 100% cotton and I’m pretty sure they were new.  I was so happy to find these as we only have one set of sheets for our bed and they are getting worn.

We found shortbread cookies on clearance at Sam’s Club … regular price $7.94 … on clearance for $1.91.  We won’t eat them because we eat low-carb, but they will make good snacks for the little ones in our lives.

We also got free sample travel size bottles of hand sanitizer from a kisosk at Sam’s Club.  These are just the right size to carry in a purse.

That wasn’t the only free things we got from a kisosk at Sam’s Club … at a different Sam’s Club we got sample size bottles of Finish dishwasher rinse aid.

We hit the after Easter candy sales and got several packages of chocolate candy.  I brought them home and vacuum sealed them in jars.  Go HERE and click on Preserving Candy to see what I do with it.


In addition:

My husband was able to get in some fishing while we were away and we brought home most of what he and his brother-in-law caught.  Of course, these were added to the freezer part of my pantry.


Our daughter gave us an almost full box of Carbquick.  We were glad to get this as we’ve been out for a while and just had not ordered more.

I took advantage of a 50% off coupon I had from JoAnn’s Fabric and added more ‘on sale’ fabric to the sewing part of my pantry.  One of the pieces I purchased was some ‘Mickey Mouse’ fabric to make a pillow case for my grandson as he is now sleeping on a big boy pillow.  He loves Mickey Mouse!  They were having a sale on Butterick patterns … 3 for $5 … so I picked out 2 little girl play clothes patterns and 1 blouse pattern for me.  I never pay full price for patterns.

I completed a Pinecone Survey.

I didn’t work on Swagbucks while we were traveling but carried over from last month some 1200 points which gives me a good start on this month’s personal goals.

We added $17.60 to our change jar.   This is actually 2 week’s worth of change.

Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:

I have so much to do I’m not sure where to start!

The garden needs planting …

My herbs need planting …

The Cheerios we purchased on sale right before we left on our trip need to be vacuum sealed in jars …

Tea bags that we purchased on clearance right before we left on our trip also need to be vacuum sealed in jars …

I have ginger tincture that needs to be strained …

I need to finish vacuum sealing the oats that I started before we left on our trip …

Our yard needs to be mowed … you can image what it looks like with it not being mowed at all this year yet!

My mom gave me two compost bins that I need to get put together and start using …

I want to make a low-carb freezer breakfast casserole that a dear friend served us while we were at her house.  Our chickens are finally laying again and I want to make several breakfast casseroles to add to the freezer part of my pantry while I have plenty of eggs … this is the first one we’re going to try.

While we were at our friend’s house, her daughter who is also a dear friend of ours, made some spicey mixed nuts for us to snack on.  (These two dear ladies are so accommodating to us in our low-carb lifestyle.) The nuts were delicious and we want to try to duplicate the taste.

My lemon balm is ready to start harvesting as is my nettles …

The new fabric I purchased is itching to be stitched up into something …

As you can see, I have plenty to do! 

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

 patsi
A Working Pantry

If you’ve found this post to be helpful please share about it with others or PIN it.  Thank you!

This post linked to:   A Tray of Bliss; Homemaking Monday

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pantry Challenge #14 ... 2015


This week my husband and I got to meet our newest grandchild.  She is 4 months old and such a delight.  We got to spend 3 days with her and her older brother and their mommy and daddy and aunt.  It was 3 days of pure family togetherness that we will cherish and hold dear to our hearts until we can all get together again.

(The picture of the beautiful flowers on the right was taken at the Mennonite Sale and Auction we attended this week.  You'll read more about that in this post.)

My to-do list from last time:   

Bargain shop.  Oh my, did we have fun doing this!  Read on to see what I mean.

We found these restaurant size containers at a store called ‘Dirt Cheap.’  Regular price $13.08 …  we got them for $3.92 each!  These are the kind of containers that are used when making artesian type breads.



Our Sam’s Club shopping netted us 4 free travel size bottles of hand sanitizer (we were at 2 different Sam’s Club’s this week) that we got from a kisosk and free samples of Advil from another kisosk.  We also purchased bulk containers of Dale’s Sauce that we can’t find at our local Sam’s Club.

I found this St Patrick’s Day t- shirt on clearance for $1 at another store and purchased it.  I’ll pack it away and bring it out next year.


We had broken a couple of bowls that we use on a regular basis recently and so we hit up the Goodwill stores looking for replacements.  We were not disappointed.  We not only found pyrex bowls to replace the ones we had broken but also found some pyrex bake ware at a fraction of what they would have cost new.  All were in very good condition.

While at the Goodwill store I went to the ‘sheets’ section and scored a 100% white full size fitted sheet for $2.99, a 100% full size white flat sheet for $2.99 and 2 twin size ‘pillow ticking’ fitted sheets for $1.99 each.  Since we don’t have a full size bed nor a twin size bed in our house you might wonder why I purchased these items.  Here’s why … the sheets were of good quality, they were unspotted and in great condition.  I’ll take them home, wash them and add them to my fabric stash for future projects.  I get fabric for sewing from more places than a fabric store!

Before we left the Goodwill store I looked over the ‘books’ section and came away with a couple of different Karen Kingsbury books and a book on couples in the Bible both at a greatly reduced price.

One of my daughter's is the assistant director at a library and she mentioned to me that they had a small section of used books for sale in the library. We'll of course I had to go ... books are one of my many weaknesses! I found these three for the grand total of $.60. The Mason Jar Soup to Nuts cookbook has several meals in a jar recipes in it that I want to try. Meals in a jar are a nice addition to any pantry. The Hillbilly Cookin 2 book has lots of old recipes and ways of doing things. It even has a few herbal remedies in it. The Kitchen Bright Dishcloths has 10 different patterns/designs some of which I want to try. My knitting abilities are limited to dishcloths!




 I found this little romper on sale for $3.50 at a consignment shop. I have been looking for this exact color of fabric and pattern for many months. When I saw this little outfit I knew I would buy it for the fabric. It was in excellent condition, no spots or worn spots and I could get a big enough piece of fabric from it that would suit my needs perfectly. I'll take it home, wash it, cut the embroidery piece out to use in a future sewing project, cut out the size of fabric I need for the sewing project I needed it for and then add the rest of it to my quilting remnants to use in the string quilt I'm making this year.


I found this cute little dress at goodwill for $1. I fell in love with the fabric, it wasn't stained, the buttons on the back are cute and in good condition and the design of the dress would be simple to make in the right size for my granddaughter. So, I purchased it ... first I will wash it, then take it apart and cut a pattern from it, remove the buttons and add them to my button jar for future use and the fabric will be added to my stash. I will add a pattern, buttons and fabric to the sewing part of my pantry for $1.


We rounded out our week with a visit to a Mennonite Horse Drawn Implement Auction and Sale.  You can read about the treasures we came away with HERE!

My pantry building this week has included several areas, not just food … but it’s like I always say … a working pantry is more than just food!  By the time it’s time to write the next pantry challenge things will be back to normal and all this bargain shopping we’ve been doing will come to an end.  It has been so much fun and our pantry is getting some much need replenishing and building back up from our recent 3 months of living almost exclusively from it.

Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:

Bargain shop

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

patsi
A Working Pantry

This post is linked to:  Home Making Monday
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