Sunday, January 31, 2016

Pantry Challenge # 5 ...2016

(Spring flowers are pushing through the ground at my house!)

I recently came across someone who is cultivating a minimalist mindset and only purchases a few days of groceries at a time.  Life and experience has taught me that this is a dangerous way to live.  The massive snow storm that hit the eastern part of the U.S. last week and the resulting affects is just one reason why, not to mention the many things that can, without warning, reduce one’s disposable income.


My husband and I live in a small house and I continually work to keep it de-cluttered.  I will be the first to say that too much stuff can be a real problem.  In that respect I want to have a minimalist mindset, but when it comes to my pantry … absolutely not.  I want my pantry to be well-stocked and equipped to meet my family’s needs for an extended period of time without having to go to the grocery store should that become necessary.

The current minimalist movement has its benefits but please be careful and not carry it too far. I would hate to see someone stop building up/maintaining their pantry because of this movement and then have reason to regret it later.  

Now, let’s see what I was able to do this week to build up and maintain my pantry …

My to-do list from last time:
Vacuum seal dry pinto beans into jars … continue to work on this as quart jars become empty

Thaw frozen turkeys and can … didn’t get done

Make and can broth from carcasses of turkeys after canning meat … didn’t get done

In addition:

I strained up some more grease from cooking hog jowl.   I’m getting quite a good supply of ‘seasoning grease’ in the refrigerator.

We had pinto beans for dinner one night and I saved the liquid from the beans after we were through with the meal. I froze it, added it to my pantry and will use it to add to a pot of soup.

We also cooked one of the hams we got on sale (see below) and I saved the pan drippings from it and froze it for use in a pot of soup, just like the bean juice leftovers mentioned above.


I had a large bag of carrots in the refrigerator left over from holiday baking (carrot cakes).  It wasn’t enough for a full canner so I purchased 2 bags of baby carrots that were on sale at Aldi’s for $.69/bag to have enough to finish filling the canner.  I added 9 pints to my pantry.

We found mushrooms on sale at Aldi’s also for $.79/container.  I purchased 12 containers, brought them home and canned them up.  I added 7 pints of whole mushrooms to my pantry.

On the same Aldi’s trip we found banana’s on sale for $.29/lb.  We bought just a little over 6 pounds and I made whole wheat banana bread with part of them and added it to the freezer part of my pantry.  This will be a convenience food for us.

Our chickens have started laying again this week!  To say that we are excited is an understatement.  We’ve been buying eggs for the last two months plus purchasing feed for the chickens.  I’m glad their ‘molting’ season is coming to an end.

Our weekly grocery budget is $25.  If we have surplus from another area of our budget then we add that to our grocery budget. This week we had a little surplus.  I thought you might like to see what we purchased  ….

From Aldi’s:  

Bananas … $.29/lb

2 Avocados … $.59 each  (you can see a portion of one at the bottom of the picture. I accidentally cropped them out of the picture!)

Baby carrots …. $.69/each  

Mushrooms … $.79/each

Total Spent: $14.15





From Sam’s Club:   

10 lbs onions … $5.98

Hunts tomato paste … $5.98

2 free Nutri-Grain bars free from a kisok.

Total Spent:  $12.20



From Food Lion:  

2 spiral cut hams on clearance … $19.53




Total from all stores:  $45.88  





Here’s my pantry to-do list for the upcoming week/month:

Continue vacuum sealing dry beans into jars
Thaw frozen turkeys and can 
Make and can broth from carcasses of turkeys after canning meat

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

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27


You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Emergency Sewing Kit

On my sewing/crafting day last week, I make an emergency sewing kit.  I have most of what I need to make another one but instead of waiting until I got both of them done to share, I thought I would go ahead and post.



I found 2 of these little tins, approximately 2.5 x 3.5, at a craft store before Christmas for $1 each. 




I cut the cover and pages to fit and stitched down the middle of the 'pages' to attach them to the cover.

The cover and pages of each little 'booklet' are made of felt.  One page holds 2 needles, another holds 2 large safety pins with buttons pinned to the page.





One page has 3 straight pins.




And another page as 2 smaller safety pins pinned on it.




A small pair of embroidery scissors and a seam ripper are included in the kit.



I stitched a little felt heart onto the cover of the booklet and will add a light colored thread and a dark colored thread to complete the kit.  This kit will go in my gift trunk and be gifted to someone at gift giving time.

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27



You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook!


Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate links when placing your Amazon orders.  I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay.



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Pantry Challenge #4 ... 2016

Here’s what I got done this week in spite of the ice, snow and cold temperatures we had ….

My to-do list from last time:

I’m continuing to work on this month’s marathon /preserving session

Can pinto beans ... Didn't get done!

Can white beans …  It’s seems I’m having ‘space’ issues in my pantry so I decided to vacuum seal these in quart jars until we empty some space out of our pantry by eating from it.  I added 3 quarts to my pantry.

Thaw frozen turkeys and can ... Didn't get done!

Make and can broth from carcasses of turkeys after canning meat ... Didn't get done!

In addition:

I washed and sterilized used snack baggies, quart ziplock baggies and gallon ziplock baggies using hot soapy water with a few drops of bleach added.  After they had drip dried I added them to a container set aside for their storage until ready for re-use.


I saved the cap from a Parmesan cheese container, washed it up and put it on a pint jar.  I’ll use it for my rug cleaner, I'll be able to sprinkle it onto the rugs straight from the jar.

I checked the onions in the onion bin and noticed one was starting to go bad.  I removed it from the bin, peeled it and put it in the refrigerator for use later in the week.  A couple of days later I checked them again and noticed that three more were trying to go bad.  I removed them from the bin, peeled them, chopped them with my handy dandy chopper (affiliate link), filled 9 snack baggies with a half of cup each, put the baggies in quart freezer bags and added them to my pantry. 

The only groceries we purchased this week were eggs, milk and soda.  We are doing well sticking to our lowered grocery budget for 2016.

I added some more soap slivers to my on-going liquid soap jar.

I strained up grease from cooking hog jowl and added it to an on-going jar in the refrigerator.

I continue to work on earning Swagbucks (affiliate link) that will be redeemed for Amazon gift cards, am doing Pinecone surveys whenever I can and am working on earning points through Bing (affiliate link) which I’ll also redeem for Amazon gift cards.  It all adds up over time and will be used to help keep our pantry stocked.

My son introduced me to Ibotta (affiliate link)  and I signed up for it. Between the $10 sign-up bonus and the money I earned from my purchases, I earned $11.25.  I’ll take it!   (My son also got a $5 bonus when I signed up and made my first qualifying grocery purchase.)

Book #4 in my attempt to read at least 25 books this year is More Hours in My Day by Emilie Barnes and Sheri Torelli (affliate link).   This book is chalked full of time-management and organizational tips.

To see other books I’ve read thus far in 2016 go HERE.  

I saved $204.07 this week in The Vicky Challenge!  Here’s how it breaks down:

Made a payment over the phone:  saved the price of a stamp … $.49

Was given a brand new, ‘hand-me-down,’ never worn blouse: added to my wardrobe without spending any money … saved $10

Filled up with gas when in an area where gasoline was cheaper:  saved $5

Used the rest of my Michael's gift card and a couple of 40% off coupons:  saved: $12

Made 3 sets of Christmas gift tags using items I had on hand … saved $15

Made an emergency sewing kit … saved $15

Purchased used books as opposed to new:  saved $61.95 ... they were all paid for with gift cards.

Downloaded two free books from Amazon for my kindle: saved$27.99

Gratefully received a package in the mail of 12 Scotch Freezer Tapes (affiliate link) from a friend in Tennessee, she had gotten a really good deal … I mean a really good deal on them … and shared with me: Savings to me … $4.72 x 12 = $56.64  (Thank you again Mrs. P)   

Thus far this year my Vicky Challenge savings/earnings have been $567, add this week’s amount to that and I've saved $771.07.  I'm really enjoying seeing how much I save/earn from home.

Here’s something I didn’t do:

I didn't go anywhere or spend any money several days this week!

Here’s what I got done for the Christmas Challengethat I’m participating in:  



These items are now in my gift trunk awaiting gift giving season.

Here’s my pantry to-do list for the upcoming week/month:

Vacuum seal dry pinto beans into jars

Thaw frozen turkeys and can 

Make and can broth from carcasses of turkeys after canning meat

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

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27


You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sewing/Crafting Accomplishments: January 19th, 2016

Today I made Christmas tags using items I had on hand.

I used my Sizzix machine and a tag template/die cut to cut out the tags.




The word 'Noel' on the white tags is felt and I found these at an after Christmas 80% off sale a couple of weeks ago for $.40  (this is one of the items that I purchased with my Michael's gift card I received for Christmas).  At the time I purchased them I didn't know what I would do with them, I just knew that they were cute and that I would find a use for them!

The 'happy holiday' strips going across the blue tags are washi tape that I got at the same time as the 'Noel' felt pieces ... on clearance of course!

 The gray and gold ball ornament was cut out of a recycled Christmas card using my Sizzix machine and ornament template.

The red '25' number was cut out of a recycled Christmas card as well and the green '25' was cut out of cardstock.  The  numbers were cut out using my Sizzix and numbers templates.

The star was cut out of a recycled Christmas card as well using my Sizzix and star template.

All the ribbons were from my stash!


Here they are packaged up into packs of 4 using clear plastic bags like these and red and white thick scrapbooking paper to make the header.   I'll write something like Merry Christmas in the large white dot when it comes time to give them.  By the way, that big white dot in the center of each of the headers was cut from an address label using a circle cutter.



All of these will go in a clear plastic box to protect them in my gift trunk and be given as gifts during the holiday season.

They turned out so well, that I plan to make more!  

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook!

The links in this post are affiliate links.

Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate links when placing your Amazon orders.  I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay.


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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Pantry Challenge #3 ... 2016

It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago we were running around in summer clothes and swinging on my new swing on the front porch, it is now much colder and tonight our temperatures are going down into the 20’s …. Brrrrrr!

I’m working away inside and thinking about my spring garden!

My to-do list from last time:

I’m continuing to work on this month’s marathon /preserving session

Can pinto beans

Can white beans

Make a batch of laundry powder (The last time I made it was in November 2013 … and it has lasted over 2 years!!!)   Done ... and I didn't have to purchase any of the ingredients needed to make it as they had all been purchased at various times in the past when I found them on sale!

Thaw frozen turkeys and can

Make and can broth from carcasses of turkeys after canning meat

In addition:

I ordered non GMO heirloom garden seeds using the money I’ve been earning and saving from doing Pinecone surveys.

I used a Michael's gift card I received for Christmas along with two 50% of one regular priced item coupons and scored some great deals. I got a cutting mat for $9.50 ... regular $18.99 (mine was completely worn out); a pair of nice embroidery scissors for $4.50 ... regular price $8.99 (my dear husband checked out with this item so we could use the second 50% off coupon); a seam ripper for $2.49 and 2 packages of washi tape on clearance for $.99 each ... regular price $4.99 each.  I’m making an emergency sewing kit to carry in my purse and the embroidery scissors and seam ripper will go in it.  I even had a little money left on my gift card when I left the store!

I stitched up 2 draft dodgers using a single recycled valance curtain.  This will go towards my Vicky Challenge savings.

I also cut the same valance down and made a smaller valance for a smaller window with what was left.  This also will go towards my Vicky Challenge savings.

Speaking of my Vicky Challenge savings, here’s how they break down for last week:

Saved $24 using coupons when shopping at Micheals

Saved $21 when buying seeds using money earned by doing PineCone Surveys.  (I count this as a savings because if I were working outside my home, I would not have time to do surveys and the cost would have had to come out of our income.)

Saved $32 by making 2 draft dodgers using a recycled valance curtain

Saved $11 by making a smaller valance curtain out of the rest of the original valance curtain fabric

Saved $160 using coupons on prescription medicines

Save $40 by using coupons and taking advantage of sales on groceries

Saved $160 by making 2 years of laundry detergent

I saved $448 this week in The Vicky Challenge!  That’s more income than I could earn in one week after taxes and these kinds of savings are tax free!

I needed an ice pack this week so I made one and while I was at it I also made a cover for it as well.  It would have cost me $10 to buy a gel ice pack at the store similar to what I made so that raises my Vicky Challenge total to $458!!!

Last week's Vicky Challenge savings were $109, add this week's amount to that and I've saved $567 thus far this month.  I'm really enjoying seeing how much I save by 'working from home.'

I unsubscribed from several online sites that were offering to relieve me of my money on too many occasions with their great sales!

I continue to work on earning Swagbucks that will be redeemed for Amazon gift cards, am doing Pinecone surveys whenever I can and am working on earning points through Bing which I’ll also redeem for Amazon gift cards.  It all adds up over time and will be used to help keep our pantry stocked.

I took myself off to the library this week for book #3 in my attempt to read at least 25 books this year and checked out Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the Forgotten Man. (affliate link).  A good part of it is comprised of letters written by those who lived through The Great Depression, you can almost feel the desperation in their letters.

To see other books I’ve read thus far in 2016 go HERE.  

Here is something I didn’t do:

I had a real battle with myself this week over a book that was on my ‘want’ list that I found on a really great sale.  I finally walked away without the book, but it took some serious discussion with myself before I did.

Here’s my pantry to-do list for the upcoming week/month:

I’m continuing to work on this month’s marathon /preserving session:

Can pinto beans

Can white beans

Thaw frozen turkeys and can

Make and can broth from carcasses of turkeys after canning meat

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

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook!

Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders.  I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay.

Earn cashback by shopping through EBates! (affiliate link)
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