Friday, July 31, 2015

Learning to Depend Less Upon the Grocery Store: Floor Cleaning Solution

I have one of those floor cleaning mops that have the disposable padding and bottle of solution that snaps into place on the handle.  The solution is quite expensive when purchased at the store so when I found this homemade version by One Good Thing by Jillee, I added it to my notebook under the laundry/cleaning tab …

Cut a hole in the bottom of the bottle to pour the mixture below in.  The hole needs to just be big enough to pour the solution in otherwise it might slosh out when using your machine.  (You can also plug the hole with a cork.)

50% water
50% white vinegar (I have also used rubbing alcohol)
A drop or two of Dawn dish washing detergent


I then turned to my Basics List in my notebook to add the ingredients to make this and see that I don’t need to because they are already there!  This is just one example of being able to make different things out of a few basic ingredients!

Update:  I have been asked if this will harm the finish on hardwood or laminate floors. Here's my answer:  Some say it does and some say it doesn't.  If you have concerns, I would start out by adding a couple of tablespoons of vinegar and the rest water along with the Dawn.  If you don't want to do vinegar at all you could just do water and Dawn.

patsi
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

$5 or Less Pantry Building Challenge: July 30th, 2015

How did you do with our $5 or less pantry building challenge this week?

Here’s what I added to my pantry for less than $5 …


... a 10 lb bag of long grain white rice for $4.44.

It will go in the freezer for a few days to get rid of any insect eggs that could hatch out later, and then I'll vacuum seal it in jars.

Now, it’s your turn, what did you add to your pantry last week for $5 or less?

Update:  Make sure you read the comments, there's some great $5 or Less examples being shared!



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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sewing Day Accomplishments: July, 28th, 2015

I was in the mood to work on my scrap quilt for my sewing day this week so I dumped out my scraps and set to work ...


I have a lot to choose from don't I?

By the end of the day I had completed several more blocks/panels/strips for my quilt ...


This is a fun project and I love that it is being made out of 'leftovers!'

What have you been sewing?

patsi

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pantry Challenge #30 ... 2015

My husband has been very sick this week so I didn’t get much done until Friday and Saturday.  As a result of his sickness he had to be put on a specialized bland diet.   He could eat baked potatoes, bananas and rice; all of which are very high in carbs and which we did not have in our pantry … we eat low-carb due to my husband being diabetic so we don't normally keep these items in our pantry.  Let me just say it has been an interesting week! 

(My husband is better and is able to start eating his regular diet again.)

So, given the week that I’ve had did I get anything done in my pantry ….

Let’s see …

My to-do list from last time:   


Can tomato sauce.  I canned tomato juice instead … 7 pints.   Due to my husband’s illness and ongoing condition any future tomatoes that I preserve will be in the form of sauce or juice. 

Harvest and dehydrate herbs.  Done!  I harvested and dried basil and comfrey.

Complete $5 or less weekly pantry challenge.  Done!  I added fresh ginger. You can read about what I did with it HERE.

In addition:

I harvested and dried some more elderberries.

I dehydrated some Roma tomatoes and the pulp and seeds that I strained from the tomato juice I mentioned above.  When all this was completely dried, I ground it up into tomato powder.  I have half of a quart jar full from something that would have normally been considered waste!  Pretty good if you asked me!!!

I had some lemons that I had purchased on sale that needed to be used, so when I saw this post from The Blue Birds are Nesting blog that talked about making lemon butter I knew I had to try my hand at making some.  My husband and I both thought it was delicious and I can assure you that I will keep an eye out for lemons to go on sale so I can make some more!

By the end of the week my husband was feeling some better and wanted to get out of the house so we went to Sam’s Club and found these chips on clearance for $.91/bag.

I made crystallized ginger to be used for nausea and indigestion.  My husband and I both thought it turned out really well.

With my husband being sick I wasn’t able to get to the garden where our tomatoes are, so when a neighbor drove up to our house with 1 and ½ five gallon buckets full that she had picked for us (from our garden) … she had heard that my husband was sick and thought it was something she could do for us,  we have some very good neighbors … I turned them into 13 quarts of tomato juice and added them to my pantry.

I found mushrooms on sale for $.69/carton and purchased enough to can 7 pints.

I finished one of the two throw pillows I’m making.  You can read about my weekly ‘sewing day’ HERE.

With my husband being sick, I didn’t have much time to work on Swagbucks this week but I did earn a few points.

We added $2.70 in change to our change jar this week.

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

Harvest and dehydrate herbs

Add rice to my pantry for medicinal purposes when a bland diet is needed

Complete $5 or less pantry challenge

We were given about a gallon of fresh figs tonight so I will need to preserve them asap.

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

patsi
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Saturday, July 25, 2015

An Update on My Attempt to Grow my Own Lemons

In this post I shared that the lemon seeds I had been sprouting were ready to plant and then gave an update on them here.

Take a look at them now ... 




Five of them are up and thriving and I noticed this morning that another one is breaking through the soil.  That means 6 out of the 11 seeds I planted have come up!

This is an experiment to see whether I can grow my own lemons and so far it's looking promising!




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Friday, July 24, 2015

Learning to be Less Dependent Upon the Grocery Store: Fabric Softener

Previous entries can be found HERE.

We're still in the laundry/cleaning section of the 'Grocery Store' notebook I'm compiling and in this entry I'm going to share with you my fabric softener recipe.


I don't buy fabric softener liquid or sheets, I use this instead ....


(I have used this for several years and am well pleased with the results.)


Fabric Softener


3 cups white distilled vinegar
2 cups hair conditioner (I use the cheapest that I can find)
6 cups hot water

Mix all together and store in a gallon milk jug.  I use approximately ¼ cup per load.

I turn to the Basic's List section in my notebook and add white distilled vinegar and cheap hair conditioner.

patsi
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

$5 or Less Pantry Challenge: 7/23/2015

How did you do with our $5 or less pantry building challenge this week?

Here’s what I added to my pantry for less than $5 …




I purchased this fresh ginger root for $3.58.

Here’s what I’m adding to my pantry with it:

A portion of it will be used as an ingredient in cider fire ...

A portion of it will be used to make crystallized ginger which is good for nausea and indigestion ...

A portion of it will be used to plant so I can grow my own ...

And any peelings, scraps or leftover pieces will be dehydrated and turned into ginger powder!


Now, it’s your turn, what did you add to your pantry last week for $5 or less?



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Sewing Day Accomplishments: July 21st, 2015

This week my sewing day had to take place in small increments of time over a two day period.  My husband has been very sick and my schedule has been anything but normal. 

 Here's what I got done ...


I completed one of the two pillows I'm making from scraps!


Here it is in it's new home ... an antique wing-backed jar that sits by the hearth!
(The coloring in this picture is off a bit, so sorry ... the pillow really sets the chair off and I am so pleased with my scrappy project.)


Update:  I was asked how I made envelope style pillow covers ... here's a link explaining the process ... http://heyletsmakestuff.com/2014/01/06/simple-envelope-enclosure-tutorial/


patsi



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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pantry Challenge #29 ... 2015

We’ve been put on alert … the intense heat is coming back!  It will more than likely finish off what is left of our garden so I’ll have to turn my thoughts in other directions in order to continue stocking my pantry.  

Before we look ahead to next week though, let’s see what I got done last week …

My to-do list from last time:   

We’re starting $5 or less pantry stocking challenge on the A Working Pantry Facebook group and here on the A Working Pantry blog and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can add to my pantry for $5 or less.  Done!  I purchased 2 (1 lb) bags of navy beans for $1.72 per bag.  I canned them and added 9 pints to my pantry.


Can this mustard.  Done! I added 9 pints of this delicious mustard to my pantry.
Inventory the stationary part of my pantry and make a list of what I need to replace.  School supplies are going on sale in our area and this is when I restock this area of my pantry.  Done! This area of my pantry is now stocked until next year ... and all at a fraction of the regular cost!

In addition:
It seems like all our cantaloupes (remember, we thought we were planting cucumbers) ripened at one time … and it was this week.  So we’ve been giving them away and eating our fill of them.   They are so good!


I crushed more cans and added them to our aluminum can collection.

I started harvesting and drying elderberries.  I'll use these in herbal remedies.

We found blueberries on sale for $.99/carton and purchased enough to add 5 quarts to the freezer part of our pantry.

We found fresh asparagus on sale for $.99/lb and purchased enough to make some pickled asparagus.  I added 8 pints to my pantry.

I had a ‘food preserving marathon’ Thursday and Friday, to see what I accomplished go HERE!

I shopped from my gift trunk this week for a bridal shower gift.

On my weekly sewing day this week I started stitching on envelope style throw pillow covers.   You can read about my weekly ‘sewing day’ HERE.
I’m working on earning enough points through Swagbucks to get a $25 Amazon gift card.
We added $6 in change to our change jar this week.
Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:
Can tomato sauce
Harvest and dehydrate herbs
Complete $5 or less weekly pantry challenge
Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?
patsi
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Friday, July 17, 2015

Food Preserving Marathon!

Want to know what a 'food preserving marathon' looks like?  I'm in the midst of one ... it actually started last night ...

I didn't set out to do a 'food preserving marathon' but several good deals fell into my lap at the same time plus our regular garden harvesting ... the end result ...  lots to do before it ruins, hence a food preserving marathon became a necessity!

(This 'marathon' will last through tomorrow (Saturday) or until I run out of things to preserve!    I'll be adding to this post throughout the marathon so check back often!)


8 pints of pickled asparagus  (Thursday night)
We found asparagus on sale for $.99/lb and purchased enough to can these plus the dehydrator is humming with the end pieces.  When they're dried I'll grind them up into asparagus powder!


9 pints of navy beans (Friday morning)
I purchased the beans as part of our $5 or less pantry challenge here on A Working Pantry this week.



9 pints of sweet pepper mustard.  



I had some sweet peppers left over so I chopped them up using my manual food chopper and froze them in 1/4 increments to be used in soups, stews, casseroles and omelets.  But wait, I'm not through with those peppers yet, after I deseeded them, before chopping them up, I saved the seeds.  I'm going to label them with the info of what I know about them and plant them next year.  (The link to a manual food chopper similar to the one I have can be found at the bottom of the page.)


The asparagus ends finished drying and I ground them up using a spice/coffee grinder.  This will be used in soups, casseroles, etc.  (The link to the spice/coffee grinder I use can be found at the bottom of the page.)



We found blueberries on sale for $.99/carton and purchased enough to fill 5 freezer quart bags. I froze about half of them in 1/4 cup increments to be used in smoothies.




Our elderberries are starting to get ready for harvest and I had two bunches that were ready on Friday.  I harvested them, removed them from the stems, washed them and set them to drying in the dehydrator.  These will be used to make herbal remedies.


** This brings us to Friday night ... stay tuned for Saturday! **

Saturday p.m. ... Due to an unexpected event, I did not get to continue with my food preserving marathon today. I'll have to work the rest of it in as I have time.

I hope this entry has been helpful!


patsi


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Thursday, July 16, 2015

$5 or Less Weekly Pantry Challenge: July 16th, 2015

How far can you make $5 or less stretch when it comes to adding to your pantry?  It's our new weekly challenge!  

So many times the reason I hear from others for not having a well-stocked pantry is the cost. While it is a legitimate concern, a well-stocked pantry is not built overnight but little by little, step by step and the purpose of this challenge is to show others just how much you can add to a pantry with just $5 or less each week. 

You're invited to join me in this weekly challenge.

Here's what I added to my pantry this week for less than $5 ...


... two 1 lb bags of navy beans!   Each bag cost$1.72 which made this purchase $3.44 plus tax.   You could put them in a sealed container until ready for use but I'm going to can mine.  I think I can get 8 - 10 pints to add to my pantry.  I'll let you know after I've gotten them canned!

Now, it's your turn, what have you added to your pantry for $5 or less this past week?

 patsi


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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sewing Day Accomplishments: July 14th, 2015

I did a lot of piecing today and consequently didn't get my project finished ...

What is my finished project going to be?

Envelope style/quilted throw pillow covers from scraps!!!


This is going to be the front of one (I'm making 2), I pieced together the top and then I had to piece together the batting (because I had several smaller pieces of batting that needed using) and then I cut the backing from fabric I had on hand and then I machine quilted it. (I told you there was a whole lot of piecing going on!)


This is going to be the back for one of the pillows.  It's ready to be machine quilted.  You'll notice that it is larger than the front and that's because of the 'envelope style' opening that's going to be in the back.  This envelope style opening will allow me to take the pillow covering off and wash it when needed.  Making envelope style pillow coverings also allows you to change out the coverings for the different seasons and holidays!

I can't wait for next Tuesday when I can get back to work on this project!

patsi

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Day Book Entry: July 13th, 2015

For Today ... July 13th, 2015

Outside my window ...  I see a huge field of sweet potatoes growing.  This will be the field we’ll glean from this fall … with the owner’s permission of course.

I am thinking ... about the pillow covers I want to stitch up during my sewing day tomorrow.

I am thankful ... to be using up most of my fabric scraps making a scrap quilt.

I am stitching ...  on a baby quilt!

I am going ... nowhere!  I am such a homebody and when I get to just stay home it thrills my soul!

I am wondering ... how long it will take my FitBit replacement to get here.  My FitBit wouldn’t hold its charge and the company is replacing it free of charge.  Having arthritis means I need to exercise regularly and the FitBit helps me to stay motivated to keep moving.

I am reading ... a message from my son!  Technology is a wonderful thing when your loved ones live far away.

I am seeing … the Christmas cross stitch project that I’ve been stitching away on for several weeks.

I am hearing … thunder … we’re getting some much needed rain.

I am hoping ... for lower temperatures soon.  This heat is dangerous!

I am learning ... so much from the folks in the A Working Pantry Facebook group!

In my garden ... the cantaloupe are ripening.

In my kitchen …. the window seal is filled with ripening tomatoes!

One of my favorite things ...  home grown, fresh from the garden cantaloupe! Yum!!!!

Around the house … you’ll find buckets of produce waiting to be preserved. 


A scene from my day … garden produce … notice our sandy soil!



patsi


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