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, jalapeño 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?

A Working Pantry

This post linked to:  The Art Of Homemaking Mondays


  1. Hi Patsy. That's a really good week, and the price you paid on that Leap Pad is amazing! What a find! I love too, that you don't beat yourself up about what didn't get done, because, gosh, once you list what you accomplished, it doesn't seem all that bad! Isn't that the joy in listing your tasks, really? As you might already know, I get a lot of satisfaction out of also putting a price on my weekly achievements. Let's face it, if I wasn't around, even for a week due to accident or illness, my family would have to outsource all this stuff. So with no further ado, I'll add that this week I prepped at least a weeks worth of bargain fruit and veges and stored them in the crisper in ziplock bags. This saved not only on buying ready prepared salad and vegetables for the week, but also made staying on track with our clean eating weight loss plan, very easy and smooth, and prevented any random shopping. My savings at the fruit shop were already substantial on similar buys at the supermarket, so I'm going to say I saved a bare minimum of $50 by doing this. I made 5 gathered ball cushions, the same as the one I saw in a very posh homewares store priced at $59. Actually I think mine are nicer due to the fabric and embellishments I've used. Total spend including embellishments was $54. Total spend if I'd bought five similar cushions, $295!! So on a potential $295 spend, and a $54 actual spend.... my saving was (theoretically) $241. My daughter and I are sewing a tulle skirt refashioned from a bustle on a vintage wedding dress bought some months ago for under $50. We bought the dress as it has the potential to be a semi formal dress next year, and the bustle had so much fabric, we just knew we'd get one, if not two tulle skirts out of it. Saving of $100 on two similar bought tulle skirts and gosh....lets conservatively say $150 on the semi formal dress. Value generated $250, from a $50 spend. I cleaned, decluttered and ironed, saving $200 on a cleaning lady and an ironing lady (or man!). And I rejuvenated the herb garden, and sowed some seeds to generate a new crop of coriander, rocket, and lemongrass, saving up to $100 in bought herbs over the next three months. So not a bad week when you consider all that I saved my family in employing a gardener, cleaner, ironing lady, seamstress, fashion designer, and interior decorator...hehehe! Mimi xxx

    1. Mimi, I love the way you place a value on what you save your family! I think we underestimate the value of how much we can save. You are so creative and reading how you save and repurpose and stretch is so inspiring. Thanks for commenting!

  2. You had a very productive week! I couldn't agree more about stocking your pantry. I chose to step down from a high paying (and stressful) job about 10 months ago so that I could care for my elderly mother. You never know what life will bring and having emergency supplies and an emergency fund gives you the flexibility to do what is needed.

    1. So glad you were in a position to be able to care for your mother ... so glad your pantry was in a position to help you make the change.

  3. Hi Patsy
    Great effort there. Right now I am living through one of those , Thank you Lord for giving me the wisdom and foresight to stock my pantry moments. Very suddenly I was out of work, one day working full time the next no work and being casual I got no payout. It is myself and two teenage daughters and I am living out of my pantry now. I have just been having to buy eggs and a little fresh produce but that is it everything else is covered. I am hoping to be able to get by without spending much for the rest of this month and going into May. It has stopped me from falling behind on the mortgage and utility bills and I can afford to pay the rates otherwise I would be falling well behind and risking losing the house. I am grateful that I do not feel any deprivation and every day that I can keep the few dollars in my wallet is a bonus and blessing. Thank you for your ongoing inspiration

    1. Oh yes Mel ... our pantry helped us to be able to use our money to keep our bills paid during our recent financial hardship. Now that we've gotten a temporary reprieve we're really pouring everything we can into our pantry in anticipation of another future reduction in income. Your post makes my heart sing ... you get it! You get the reason why a well-stocked pantry is so important! Thank you for sharing!

  4. I had a pretty good week. So did you Patsy! I love what you said about the "price" of the clothes lines.
    I did a heap of freezer cooking and a lot of cleaning. I made more cards, did some gardening and a lot of crochet. Now I am focusing on this week and trying to do well. Tomorrow I am making a lot of sausage rolls.
    I like Mimis way of realizing the monetary value of what we do. Things really add up, it is amazing and encouraging! xxx

    1. Annabel, I love Mimi's way of realizing the monetary value of what we do too! I love reading about the freezer cooking you're doing. You will be so glad you have it when your new grandbaby gets here. You're thinking ahead ... a wise and prudent woman you are!

    2. Thanks Patsy... I am learning.
      I forgot to comment on your opening paragraph. Here I am so many miles away from you on the other side of the world basically... and we too know so many people having to live on much less, reduced hours or no work at all. Plus every blog I read, every person I meet knows someone. It seems like an epidemic to me.
      A while ago when I first thought about starting my cellar I had noticed all these ladies saying how they were feeling "prompted" to build up their pantries. Thats how it has been for me. I have felt clearly prompted.
      I have been reading about Greece and what might happen next. And our country and yours has huge and growing debts which we dont know where it will end. Like Greece? I guess we dont know. But I am taking notice as even Andys good friend he spoke to the other night who has never been short of work or money is short on both.
      I see your blog growing and growing as people need to look after their pantries and build up a buffer between themselves and circumstances.
      I notice your facebook numbers are climbing fast too!
      Back to my cooking... xxx

    3. Annabel, having just recently come through one reduction in our income and living with the possibility of another one looming later in the year I am very serious about my pantry. Not having to buy food for the 3 months of our recent financial hardship meant we could keep our bills paid. You just can't put a price tag on that kind of peace ... the value of my pantry is priceless when it comes to the peace of mind it brings when things are financially hard. My goal for A Working Pantry blog and Facebook group is practical hands-on how-to info that will help everyone have a well-stocked pantry. Love your comment!

  5. Hi Patsy. That was a great bargain on the leap pad! Since my husband lost his job I wonder how people who live for the moment and not for the pantry do? Since I am focusing on debt I have not been adding to the pantry in my normal way just a little here and there, but once we are debt free I can resume better pantry stocking and the garden will be a big portion of the pantry again this year. We decided that in case things don't work out in the job market we really won't need a lot to live on if we're careful and we won't lose our home so I sit every week and crunch numbers to figure out where each dime would be best put. If you have any scrap you usually get a higher rate on earth day or earth week so I have 8 bags of cans ready to take in. I got more coupons and Kellogg's codes from the recycle bins, had a few nice days to hang out clothes, the chickens have been laying really well so I hope to do some baking this week and the only purchase I made was a gallon of milk, 2 yogurts that were free this week and 24 wedges of cheese that I got for 17 cents each. I also found 4 cents to add to my change jar and turned in my recyclebank points for a set of 3 dishcloths that will go in my gift trunk. So that will make 3 dishcloths and 3 kids books to go into my gift trunk all for free! I signed up for a few pet food samples as well. I had an awful toothache and used coconut oil and it went away in 2 days. Prior to losing insurance I was supposed to get a root canal done so I think I will continue oil pulling. I hope you have a wonderful week!


    1. Hi Vicky, you are doing so well! Glad the oil pulling worked for you, I am totally sold on it and do it daily.

  6. Thanks for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays Patsy! It is actually pleasant to see that I am not the only one who can't always keep up with the lists we make :) Your lemon balm and nettles will be such a blessing. I just made a tea mix with them as they are so nourishing for our female bodies.

    1. JES, I am a list maker but I also know that my list are written on paper not stone! My nettles are about ready to harvest again!!!!


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