Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pantry Challenge #5 ...2015

My week started off so good, I was busy at home … my favorite place to be … getting things done, everything was going as scheduled … until mid week when everything started changing and my time at home came to a screeching halt! 

What happened … two funerals and an emergency call to take someone to the hospital that turned into an all day event.  As a result I didn’t get much done and those low-carb super bowl snacks I planned to cook, well, they didn’t happen either.  My husband was so sweet; it was his idea for us ‘not to worry about making any super bowl snacks.’  He said we could just have our normal after church Sunday night meal.  I love that man!

Before we get to what I got done this week please allow me to say thank you to everyone who purchases anything through the affiliate links on A Working Pantry.  When you make a purchase through a link you click on on A Working Pantry, I earn a small amount at no cost to you.  It does not add anything to the price of the item for the buyer.  I am feeling my way around trying to make a small income through blogging.  It was not my desire to turn my blogging into an income source but recent financial events have made us have to look at things differently.  Like I said, I am going slow, I don't know what I'm doing ... I'm reading and researching.  I do not want A Working Pantry to be full of pop-ups and advertisements.  I ask your prayers in this endeavor and I thank you for your support.

Let’s see  now, what did I got done this week before things started happening….

My to-do list from last time:  
Continue canning pinto beans?    Didn’t get done!
Get those collards out of the garden and into my pantry via canning!  Didn’t get done!

In addition:
We used the last of the orange juice in the refrigerator and I simply opened the freezer and removed a can of concentrate to let thaw and make into another jug of orange juice.  I am so thankful for our well-stocked pantry!
My husband found some coupon packets from last Sunday’s newspaper at the post office.  He brought them home to see if there were any we would use.  Some of the coupons had already been clipped but I was still able to get some that we can use.
I started a jar of ginger tincture. 
I added more newspaper to our compost bin.
I made up some more vitamin c capsules using this capsule machine and this vitamin c powder.  I knew I was getting close to running out but it was one of those things that I just kept putting off until a more convenient time … well, I ran out!  So, I stopped everything and made up some more … with it being cold and flu season and with me having ongoing respiratory issues I didn’t want to not be taking my vitamin c capsules.  Am I the only one that keeps putting off things that must be done until you can’t put them off any longer?
I earned enough Swagbucks for a $5 Amazon card and am well on my way to another one. 
I completed 2 Pinecone survey’s this week.    
I got this quiet book page all completed except for the little bit of handwork that needs to be done.

I’ve got another God is soooooooooo good update regarding our current situation.  Last week I told you that due to paying off one of our medical bills, we now had $20/month that we could budget for groceries each month.   Well, we received a reward offer … no strings attached … for being a loyal customer … in the mail from our cell phone company this week.  My husband called and sure enough there were no strings attached … it truly was a reward for being a loyal customer … what was the reward?  It was $20 off of our bill every month!  We’ll take that $20 and add it to our grocery budget every month. 
In addition I mailed in the last payment on two more medical bills which means beginning next month we’ll have $40 more to add to our grocery budget. Our grocery budget has now grown from $20/month to $80/month and we are praising God!   
I contacted our insurance company and was able to get our health insurance premium lowered $272/month starting in March.  The increase that went into effect the first of the year was over $400/month, getting it lowered $272 was an answer to prayer ... I did a dance of joy and thanked God profusely when I got off the phone. 
I’m not done … my husband was unexpectedly given a donation for conducting a funeral this week.  My husband is a minister and never charges for doing funerals and turns down offers of ‘payment’ when they are offered.  When he was offered ‘payment’ this time, as was his norm, he refused it.  The ‘giver’ wouldn’t accept his refusal and insisted that he take the ‘donation.’  Little did we know that the very next day we would need it while helping a 97 year old lady that needed us to take her to the emergency room.  God is so good and His provision is right on time, every time!  
So where do we stand in our financial crisis?  With the increase in our health insurance the first of January and with the loss of one of our sources of income, also effective the first of January ... we were facing an $863/month income change not in our favor.  With the $272/month health insurance adjustment and ... with the $60/month from making the final payments on 3 medical bills we've been paying on and ... with the $20/monthly reduction in our cell phone bill reward ... our $863 reversal is now a $501 reversal.  We continue to work and pray to offset this amount.
Here's hoping next week gives me some more of that wonderful time at home so I can get back to my pantry to-do list!

Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:
Continue canning pinto beans
Can collards

Make turmeric capsules

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?
I want to leave you with this thought ... when I looked into the faces of those I came into contact with this week who had lost their loved ones to death and saw the sadness and sorrow in their eyes, I was reminded all over again of what I try so hard to live.  People are more important than things, building a well-stocked pantry or anything material that we might find to fill our life with.   While I didn't get anything done this week toward adding to my pantry I did get to reach out to others in their time of need ... you just can't put a value on that!

I'm posting this a day early so I can have tomorrow evening to enjoy the super bowl with my husband.  I'll be watching the commercials and working on a hand stitching project while he gives me a play by play account of each thing that happens ... and we'll be enjoying our normal after church on Sunday night meal ...which is EMFH otherwise known as 'every man for himself' thanks to my wonderful husband.

Are you following along with my ‘This is Why!’ series.  The comments from the last entry, part 3, are fantastic!  If you haven’t read them, do yourself a favor and go do it right now!

This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Patsi I don’t know if I can put this together very well, but here goes. I was telling my husband the other night that one of the reasons I love “hanging out” here at your blog is because of your sharing your what is happening in your life and what you are going to do about it. In other words your resourcefulness, self-agency or self-efficacy, and I understand this is underpinned by your faith in God. In my life people often turn to me to talk about their problems - even when I was in hospital having treatment last year both patients and nurses turned to me with their problems, and they were most welcome to, because helping each other is such an important part of life. So I do know that such resourcefulness is rare as so many people talk like there is nothing they can do to help themselves and they have no choice but to stay stuck. So your blog is very refreshing to my spirit. God bless you.

    1. Sherri, I don't know if I can put into words what your comment means to me. You hit the nail on the head, you summed up what I hope others see in this blog. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for such an encouraging start to my day.

  2. I just found your blog and now have it book marked. We have been retired 4 years and love it. The pantry is sure a help! I love hearing all your ideas as we never stop learning. Before I forget this idea I will say I never thought of saving the old telephone books to use in case of an emergency for toilet paper. This was new to me when I heard it at a class last week. Perhaps you have mentioned this already. I am so excited to find you. I do have one question. Can all the newspaper paper be used for composting now? The colored pages too? I know before they were worried about the print not being good for the soil.Someone said they only use rice ink now but I am not sure.I have been using it but still worry. Do you know? Is it still not a good idea to use any glossy pages like the ads though? Thank you so much for being a mentor to us all. :) Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah and welcome to A Working Pantry! I do know about saving old telephone books in case of emergency to use for toilet paper. As a very small child I can remember having to do this. I hope I never have to resort to it again but I do know how it's done!!!! I've been adding newspaper to my compost for a long time. I take the glossy and colored pages out. I read somewhere that the ink used to print the glossy and colored pages had been changed and was now safe to add to composting. It's been a while since I read that and I don't have a clue where I read it. Anyway, I continue to remove them ... good, healthy soil is a precious commodity where I live so I try to take good care of it to the best of my abilities. Thanks for commenting and for the encouragement.

  3. This was a wonderful post to read. What good people you are I am so happy to feel like I am getting to know you.
    Have a lovely day watching the super bowl... I can relate to everything being commentated on while I crochet for the day, that is how it is here when the football is on!
    I am so glad for the improvements this week in your budget. And I think its perfectly reasonable for you to make some money through the blog. in fact I wish you would allow donations... I have seen quite a few blogs do that... and I think your THis is Why series is worth it! Many thanks I am loving that so far! xxx

    1. Annabel, I'm beginning to think that you and I are kindred spirits. You are so encouraging. Thank you!

  4. You didn't get any pinto beans done, but I did! I am excited to say I got my pressure canner on Friday and canned six quarts of pintos on Saturday. They came out awesome!! It was slow going, you have to read everything and figure out the right way to put things together. My husband is a retired electrician and mechanic so he helped ma and it ended up being a fun thing to do together on a snowy day. Today is a blizzard and now I know what I am doing, so I'll get a bunch more done. Boy it does take a long time though! I'm used to a steam or water bath canner and 10 minutes for cherries. 90 minutes was a long time!. Thanks Patsi, glad your deficit is going down, you are doing better than the government!

    1. Yeah Gloria! Yes 90 minutes is a long time, but so worth it in my opinion! Glad your first experience at pressure canning was good. You'll get more comfortable with your pressure canner the more you use it and the process will get easier. Welcome to the world of pressure canning! Be safe in your blizzard!

  5. God is good all the time. Bless you fro all you do. Thanks for writing this blog. :)

    1. Thank you for your encouragement Bobbi!

  6. Hi Patsy! You and your husband are such a blessing to others that it is wonderful to see that you are also feeling the blessings as well. Every little thing all adds up at the end of the year I say! I am so happy for you and it is a heartfelt experience when you get to minister to others! Well on my end I think it was the week for bread here! I got a free loaf with my store card, my husband was by the bread outlet and picked up 4 loaves and my aunt gifted us with 8 loaves so I have a freezer full of bread! We are still not sure if my husband will get unemployment so as of today do not know what direction we are headed, but I pray and know when the time is right will receive the answer. I have a baby shower so I am using what I have and I am going to make a baby tutu with 2 colors of pink tulle, itty bitty ribbon roses and bows and itty bitty rhinestones and with the extra tulle I am going to make a white flannel blanket edged in tulle to match the tutu and I am going to cover a box with material an do tulle ruffles and ribbons and make a cute little tag to go on it that says baby's bath or something not sure on that yet. We were given a very large pork loin for our dogs, but when I cooked it there was nothing wrong with it so I made some with fried cabbage and noodles, mashed potatoes, gravy and beans. The doggies will get some just not all. We recycle, but I started saving the caps from detergent and today I decided I will put a small hole on the bottom for drainage and use them to start my seeds. The wood was wet and didn't want to burn well so I threw in some dried corncobs that I had saved and that solved that problem! I don't like to be cold. Tomorrow is my birthday and today we went to a thrift store and I found 2 books. I told my husband that is good enough for a gift because I love to read and I don't care if it is new or used I love thrift stores! We do have Red Lobster gift cards from Christmas, but the weather is nasty here. We always get RL cards for Christmas, but we save them and do my bday, our anniversary and Valentine's day all at once. I am not real big on eating out. I am also making homemade teething gel for my cousins baby who is teething and having a hard time of it. The store stuff is not working.

    Blessings and have a great Super Bowl!

    1. Whoa Vicky!!!!! What a great post. I wish you could post a picture of all the things you're doing with the tulle. It sounds so cute. Glad you figured out the pork loin was good before it all became dog food! I had never thought of using dried corncobs to help get a fire going in the stove. I don't like to be cold either. It hurts way down deep in my bones. Happy early birthday! I'm with you, thrift store finds are just fine with me. Enjoy your birthday ... and all that bread! What a blessing!

  7. I too, had a funeral in my family. It was the first that I had to help plan. My mother was 81 and had congestive heart failure. It was two weeks of hospital stays and then hospice. It is hard to try to get back to normal after a short time. My children missed my home cooking which means a lot to me. My husband really missed me and now has a new appreciation for my time taking care of our home, homeschooling and always being here. My plans for the next few months are to make more freezer meals that can go right into the crockpot. It was an expensive two weeks eating at the hospital and living on very few take along snacks. I ate a lot of bananas!
    My neighbor made me a blackberry crumble and I told her it was so comforting after having very little to eat for a few weeks. I am gluten and dairy free due to my disability. Diet is so important in helping me feel my best. Food is nature's medicine. I appreciate all the tips you give us.

    1. So sorry for your loss Mom at home. Try to get some rest and give yourself a little extra TLC over the next few days if possible. I love having freezer meals on hand as part of my pantry.

  8. God is SO good for those who love Him!!! Glad to see things are looking up for you and your family.

    1. Yes HE is! Thank you for commenting!


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