Saturday, July 2, 2016

Pantry Challenge #26 ... 2016, The Vicky Challenge and other thrifty things we did this week!

(This is the view that I'm waking up to every morning right now. God's beauty ...)

Another busy week has come and gone …

Note:  My Vicky Challenge Savings are added in at the appropriate places.  

My to-do list from last time:

Continue chopping and dehydrating garlic.  ... got some done, but still working on this.  I should have a nice supply of dehydrated garlic when I'm finished.  I use dehydrated garlic in cooking and in herbal remedies.

Inventory pantry … still working on this!

In addition:

I’ve been diluting and stretching things this week thanks to reading some of Wendy’s post over at
My Abundant Life. I took a half empty bottle of shampoo and finished filling it up with water.  I also diluted a bottle of dishwashing detergent as well!  Saved (half the price of the bottle of shampoo and dishwashing detergent.) $3.50

Harvested and/or were given 100 cucumbers.   Saved (.52/cucumber) $52.00

Harvested a little more basil.  All those little bits add up!

We’ve started harvesting a few tomatoes from the garden … 7 to be exact this week.  Saved (.99/lb) $3.96

Made 9 more quarts of hamburger dill chips using cucumbers mentioned above. Saved $25.29

Make 9 more pints of sweet pickle relish using cucumbers mentioned above.  Saved $18.72

Made another jar of refrigerator pickles using this recipe given to me by a friend: (Saved $10)

7 cups sliced cucumbers
1 onion chopped
2 TBSP canning salt
Put all this in a gallon jar or container
Mix 1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 tsp celery seed 
Stir until sugar is dissolved and pour this over cucumbers.
Refrigerate but do not stir until after 24 hours.
Then stir or shake container. 
Ready to eat after a couple of days.

Harvested 5 lbs zucchini/squash ($1.28/lb).  Saved $6.40

Was given 4 loaves of bread from a neighbor who gets day old bread from someone he knows.  (The bread was still soft and fresh. I froze it so it would stay fresh until we need it.)  Saved $12 

Was given a plastic grocery bag of okra from the same neighbor and enjoyed fried okra with a couple of meals.  Yum!!!  Saved $8

Harvested 182 ears of corn.  We were given permission to glean in a friend’s corn field after they were through harvesting all they wanted.  We are blessed to live in an area where several of us share our surplus produce with each other.  Saved (.20 per ear of corn) $36.40

Turned those 182 ears of corn into 14 quart bags of cream style corn for the freezer, 2 packages of corn on the cob for the freezer and a couple of meals that included corn on the cob.

My husband was given several LARGE catfish which he promptly cleaned and dressed.  We added 4 quart bags of catfish strips to the freezer part of our pantry as a result.  Saved ($5.99/lb) $35.94

Read articles by Sarah Latimer on Using Canning Jars for Food Stores and More, Here and Here.

Saved $9 using coupons, shopping sales and loss leaders for pantry and non-pantry related items.  

Added compost material to the compost bin.

Added 3 gallons of water to the freezer in preparation for hurricane season.  Saved $2.64

Chickens laid 3 dozen eggs this week:  Saved $9

Worked out our ‘row’ garden.

Yard work/gardening/landscaping (does not include mowing) (3 hours x $10 per hour for labor):  Saved $30

Prepped this toddler quilt and got it ready for quilting.

Stitched up another hand puppet from set that I’m working on.  I discovered an Old McDonald Had a Farm coloring book in a catalog that is going on sale in September for $.77.  I made a note on the calendar to order it then.  The puppets and the coloring book along with a box of crayons that I will wait and purchase when school supplies go on sale in August, will go in my gift trunk as a ‘children’s gift.’

The USDA’s ‘moderate’ Food Budget for a family the size of ours is $589.70 monthly.  In June we spent $382.00, that’s a savings of $207.70 

Thus far this year my Vicky Challenge savings/earnings have been $8,003.05, add this week’s amount ($471.05) and I/we have saved $8474.10.  I'm really enjoying seeing how much I/we save/earn through being frugal!

Here are some things I want to get done in the upcoming week:

Start a third toddler quilt top.

Work on hand quilting 1st toddler quilt top.

Complete $5 or Less Pantry Challenge

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

One more thing ... have you read this series, This is Why! and this free e-book, Yes, You Can Have a Well-Stocked Pantry?  And don’t forget to check out the ‘Free Downloads’ page.  You'll find some helpful pantry building stuff available for free!

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

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook!
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  1. Patsi, have you considered adding your housework to the list? When I tried to hire someone to clean my elderly mother's home I was shocked at the prices I was quoted. Just for basic cleaning, mopping, vacuuming and dusting. It is quite a financial savings to include that.

    1. Cynthia, I've not included the normal house cleaning chores, but you're right it would add significantly to our weekly savings if I did.

  2. You've had a busy week. I couldn't help but notice the sandy soil where you live. Reminds me of Florida!

    1. We're not in Florida but our soil is very sandy!

  3. You can buy corn 5 ears for $1? Is that just right now or as a normal price? I did get 5 bags that were 99¢ each that had corn, squash, peppers, broccoli and garlic about to go too bad to sell. I canned 7 pints of corn, we ate the broccoli for 3 meals, I will plant the garlic, flash froze the bell pepper strips for stir fries and will probably make some zucchini bread with the squash. I'm picking about a quart a day of tomatoes so some are being frozen until I have enough to can.

    1. ladyhawthorne, that is the sale price right now for corn in the hulks at stores in our area. Don't you just love those 'sale' bags of produce???

  4. Dear Patsy,
    You had good savings this week and were blessed with a lot of food! Since we were busy with moving these past few months, we decided not to have a garden this Spring and I have really missed it! I am already dreaming of next year. Maybe I will get something in in the fall.
    Our local grocery store has fresh corn on sale for 10/1.00. Would you mind sharing how you prepare creamed corn for the freezer? That sounds so good.
    The quilt you are making is beautiful and I'm sure it will be cherished. I also really like your gift idea for children. I will have to write that one down.
    Love, Kelsey

    1. Kelsey, I just shuck and de-silk the corn. Wash it, cut the top of the corn nibblets off and then lightly scrap the cob to get the 'corn milk' out. I then fill up the freezer bag, seal, label and freeze. (I don't cook it before I freeze it. Many do, but I never have.)

  5. I went to the link to My Abundant Life but could not find mention of diluting the vinegar. I had never heard of this one!! :) Will the vinegar be the same say 5% acidity that the original bottle was so it is still ok for pickling recipes? Thank you so much for all the hints and recipes you always give us!! :-)
    The last of the oranges are in and so there will be no more oranges to get the zest off of before squeezing and enjoying. :) We only have one orange, lemon, and an avocado tree. Grape vine, and lots of different berries for fruit. They sure produce a lot. We hope to grow more. Our vegetable and herb gardens are smaller these years than they were when the kids were still home. There is still enough of all of it though to share. Every year I think I should cut it all back even more but when the first of spring comes I can't wait to get the garden going again!! Sarah

    1. Sarah, I have searched and searched for the post where I read about the vinegar and I cannot find it ... so I have removed it from my post. I will continue to search for it and when I find it will come back here and add the link. I thought I knew right where I read it, but apparently I don't. Now, I'm wondering if it was even on the My Abundant Life blog! I totally understand about the end of the season thoughts of I'm not going to have as big a garden next year and then when spring rolls around it's like I just can't wait to get in the garden and start planting again!!!! I go through it every year!!!

    2. Sarah, I found the link about the vinegar and it was not on the My Abundant Life blog, here's the link for it, scroll down toward the end of the post and you will find it ...

  6. wow, what a wonderful week. Love corn and okra! Yumm. Where did you get the pattern for the little puppet??? That is so cute. would love to make some for my grandson and any future grandchildren!!!

    1. Barbara, I added the link to the post above. They are not hard to stitch up and are just so cute!

  7. The field of sunflowers is so beautiful, I can hardly stand it! Is it part of a farm or do you just have a neighbor that loves sunflowers? What an amazing view you have.

    1. Rhonda, our property sits in the middle of a huge farm (owned by a neighbor) and this year they planted sunflowers in the front of our house and on one side. It is hard to describe the beauty!

  8. I love those sunflowers! They are so cheerful and bright. My Patsy has planted a few, but we don't have blooms on them yet. I think she will get a kick out of them when they bloom. They are supposed to be the really tall ones, but were random older seeds of mixed varieties, so I'm not sure exactly what we are going to get. I'm sure looking forward to it, though.

  9. Patsy, that's a great week. Yes, Wendy has some wonderful tips on her blog. Worth a thorough read. Love you sunflowers! Mimi xxx


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