Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pantry Challenge #29 ... 2016 plus The Vicky Challenge and other frugal things we've done this week!

(The pictures of the hanging baskets in this post are the ones I put together from cuttings and from what I had on hand in the spring.)

This week my husband had a day of medical testing and on another day we had visitation for a dear lady who passed as well as her funeral the following day.  

In addition I’ve been helping do some of the behind the scenes prep work for an upcoming chalking class that I’ll be attending in August.  And oh yes, did I mention that we had a power outage this week too in addition to temperatures that hovered around 100 degrees almost every day with the heat index/feel like temperatures well over 100!  

And we won’t even talk about the extreme humidity that makes your glasses fog up when you walk outside!  It’s been a week of ‘just doing the best you can’ with what’s happening in your life!

So, with all this going on, did I get any pantry building done  … well, let’s just see …

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

My to-do list from last time:

Can banana pepper relish.  Recipe can be found HERE Done!  I added 9 pints to my pantry.

Chop and freeze 12 lbs of onions we purchased on clearance.  Didn’t even get started on this!

Can salsa.  Didn’t get done!  The tomatoes are past being in the best condition for making salsa so I’ll just can them up into tomato juice this coming week.  (Waste not, want not!)

In addition:

Harvested more Roma tomatoes, squash and cucumbers from our garden (some of the cucumbers were given to us by a friend.).  Saved $10

Saved seeds from Roma tomatoes.  Saved $2

Saved seeds from our E and E heirloom tomatoes.   My mom got me started raising these tomatoes many years ago and I have kept saving the seeds from year to year.  I don’t know the official name of the tomato so we call it the E and E tomato (in honor of my mother and her now deceased husband).  It is a huge tomato and delicious!  Saved $2

re-potted 4 cayenne pepper plants into a larger pot.  I need to grow lots of cayenne pepper to make cayenne tincture, cayenne pepper powder, pepper vinegar, dehydrate some and use it as an ingredient in making herbal remedies.

Was given a 5 gallon bucket of tomatoes from a neighbor. All we had to do was harvest them, which we did.  Saved $20

Was given 2 five-gallon buckets of over sized squash which we fed to the chickens over a several day period of time.  Our chickens have been getting lots of garden scraps and over mature produce lately which saves on our feed bill.

Made up 60 turmeric capsules.  I use turmeric to help control inflammation. Saved($.15/capsule) $9  

Made up 60 Vitamin C capsules. I use these to help boost my immune system.  Saved($.15/capsule)  $9      

Chickens laid 2 dozen eggs this week:  Saved $6

I took the $25 Walmart gift card I earned last week through Swagbucks and purchased Borax and Zote laundry soap to add to my pantry.  These are both ingredients I use when making laundry detergent.   (I’ve included Amazon links to both the borax and soap, but in our area they are much cheaper purchased locally.)  

Chopped and froze 6 large Bell peppers. 

Found whole chickens on mark down at Sam’s Club for $.79/lb and purchased 6 to add to the freezer part of my pantry.  Saved $15

Saved the inside cereal bag from 2 boxes of cereal.  I cut them open, cleaned them and hung them up to dry.  I’ll use them as wax paper when needed.

I strained up the plantain tincture I’ve had in the works for several weeks (for bee and wasps stings, etc), labeled and dated the jar and added it to the medicinal part of my pantry:  Saved $10

Made more kefir Saved: $4.08 ($2.04 per batch)

Saved $59.01 using coupons, shopping sales and loss leaders for pantry and non-pantry related items.  

Added compost material to the compost bin. 

Yard work/gardening/landscaping (does not include mowing) (2 hours x $10 per hour for labor):  Saved $20

Not working a job outside my home savings $100

Received $12.74 from Amazon for affiliate link earnings.   Thank you to all who shop Amazon via my affiliate link. 

I always carry a book with me in my purse and when I have a few minutes of down time, such as waiting at doctor’s offices, etc I pull it out and do some reading.  I am currently reading two books:  (1) Katie’s Way by Marta Perry (loaned to me by a friend) (2) Compost Everything by David the Good  (I’m really trying to help our gardening soil and this little book, thus far, has had some really good information.)

Thus far this year my Vicky Challenge savings/earnings have been $9,136.60, add this week’s amount ($278.83) and I/we have saved $9,415.43.  

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

Start seeds for fall garden … cabbage, broccoli, collards, carrots, squash

Chop and freeze onions

Can tomato juice

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

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

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!

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.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means.


  1. You did really well this week. I was wondering, where do you get your turmeric powder from? I know I can buy it in bulk from our grocery store but I want to make sure I get organic turmeric powder and since you are the super shopper, I thought you would know where to get the best deal. :)

    1. Debbie, I buy mine in bulk from a little non-electric Mennonite store in Kentucky that I get to visit a couple of times a year.

  2. What is 'chalking', Patsy? It sounds interesting I must say.

    1. Nanna Chel, I'll post some pictures in the next Pantry Challenge entry. It's a method of sketching, coloring, highlighting and shading using chalks. I'm doing Bible characters for an upcoming class.

    2. Thanks Patsy. My daughter used to do a lot of sketching when she was growing up. She would love that. She just needs the time to do it with a toddler around :-)

  3. Thanks so much for the hard work you put into the blog. I am going to start the plantain tincture today. With my honey bee hives that will be a real plus!!! I live in ga and would like to know if you would let me try some of the tomato seeds you talked about for next years garden. I am trying to change out all of my seeds to older or heirloom varieties. I have some "rattlesnake" beans I can share. thanks L. Bryant

    1. L. Bryant, email me privately and we'll see what we can work out. I'm trying to make sure I grow mostly heirloom varieties as well.

  4. You had a great week. The weather is very strange and hot and humid this year. It was 102 with 60% humidity on Friday and I live in San Diego. I hope it cools off soon. I am sure you know that if you freeze the tomatoes when ready to use just run under or put in a pan of water and skin comes right off. I miss having a big garden. They do require a lot of work but it is so worth it. We live in a condo so I have some pots on the patio. Your hanging planters are lovely. Thanks for all you do.

    1. Patti, that is a good tip about tomatoes and one that comes in handy when the tomatoes are coming off in large amounts. I'm with you, I hope this heat lessens and soon!

  5. re: cereal bag plastic. Quite a few years ago when we used to eat cold cereal I too saved these bags, as well as the ones that are silver colored (from crackers? can't remember!). Someone had given me a first generation food saver. Don't know if it worked for vacuum packing (never really figured it out :( ) BUT I used it to seal shut these type bags (with air, but not a lot). One Christmas I used the silver (wonder if they were like mylar?) type and put dried tomato slices that had lemon pepper seasoning on them into the bags and sealed them shut. I put a red ribbon on them and gave them to my co-workers at our church preschool. They were festive and in good shape. So, you might try that some time.
    Brenda Montanye

    1. Brenda, that's a good idea and a neat tip. Thanks! I will have to try that!

  6. Patsy
    After reading about your plant cuttings, I am going to start cuttings if my herbs , so u can continue to have a supply for the winter. I have never had a garden in the fall, maybe I will try and grow fall plants. I was so excited as I was shopping in Sam's club I thought about you as I entered the store. I have really started to stock my baking flour , trash bags,laundry detergent and it is because of you and all you have taught me !! I love Sam's and now to get to the Amiah store to get my food grade buckets for my 25 lbs of flours and rice. Patsy thank you and I am so blessed I can still read all your helpful tips
    You are awesome!
    Sincerely Sharon

    1. Sharon, we like to shop at Sam's Club too, it is a great place for buying in bulk. The herbs were really easy to root. Wish we had an Amish store close enough to us where we could get food grade buckets! Thanks for commenting Sharon!


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