Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Ways of My Household ... 12/31/2016

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas!  We did!  All our Christmas wrappings, trims, decorations and tree have been put away until time to bring them back out again in 2017.  My gift trunk is ready to start filling again, goals are being set for 2017 and we are ready to move forward, but before we do that we need to close out 2016.

Let’s see how the last 2 weeks of this year have shaped up …

I ‘woke-up’ a sourdough starter that I purchased and am now ready to start making sourdough bread.

My husband’s cell phone stopped working, thankfully when we took it in they said it was a manufacturer problem and replaced his phone free of charge.   Saved:  $150

We saved $36.70 using coupons and shopping sales for food and non-food pantry items.

I printed out my Food Preservation Log/Journal and got it ready to start entering information onto and not a minute too soon either because, we purchased hog jowl (pictured above)  for the freezer part of our pantry this week.  We brought it home, sliced it and added 7 packages/meals to our pantry and 3 packages of scraps which we’ll use for seasoning purposes.  I put my Food Preservation Log/Journal on a clipboard and placed it where I would have easy access to it in the kitchen.

In addition, we were at Aldi’s one day and found a $5 off each ham sale (limit 4).  We purchased the limit and added them to the freezer part of our pantry (with the $5 off each ham, we paid between $4 and $6 for each).

 I turned this men’s shirt into fabric using this method to ‘de-bone’ it.  (The shirt was given to my husband in November and he couldn’t wear it.  The giver had lost a lot of weight and couldn’t wear it either … it was brand new with the tags still attached!)  I loved the fabric so I decided to keep it and turn it into an addition to the fabric/sewing part of my pantry. Savings:  $10 worth of fabric!   See how much brand new fabric I got out of this shirt ... plus the buttons ... you know I saved the buttons!  Here's what was left when I got done that went in the trash can ....  Waste not!  Want not!

I found this post  on preserving lemons and thought ‘duh, why haven’t I thought of that!’ You can bet that I will be watching for sales on lemons a little closer now that I’ve discovered this little tip!  This, along with juicing lemons and freezing the juice in ice trays, are two ways to preserve fresh lemons.  Don’t throw out the lemon peels either, you can make lemon rind or use them to make citrus vinegar which can be used in cleaner recipes.
I made some low-carb burritos and added them to the freezer part of my pantry.  The recipe called for 4 large eggs scrambled … season to taste, chopped onions and peppers, 1 pound sausage and 1 cup shredded cheese.  I doubled the recipe. Cook sausage with onions and peppers. Place mixtures and cheese in burritos, roll up, flash freeze, wrap each in plastic wrap, place in a gallon ziplock bag and put in freezer.  When you’re ready to use, take out of the freezer, heat and eat!  This made 8 burritos (approximately 10 carbs each) for us.  Both my husband and I liked these, so I’ll be making more.

I earned $19.95 from affiliate links in December.  Thank you to everyone who shopped Amazon through my affiliate link.  Every little bit helps!

I downloaded free from Amazon the e-book, Pinch Like You Mean It, 101 Ways to Spend Less Money Now by Dr. Penny Pincher.   Saved: $3.99

I also downloaded for free from Amazon the Proverbs 31 PrepperSaved $4.99

I’m on day 87 of my 100 Day Crochet Challenge.   I completed 5 more dishcloths for my use.  I now have new dishcloths to use in my kitchen.   I had to join yarns in each of them at least once in order to use up all the partial skeins I had.   I’m counting this as a $25 savings (5 dishcloths x $5 each).  I have already deducted the cost of the materials for an earlier project and since I’m using the leftover yarn from that project there is no cost to deduct.
I also added 4 dishcloths to my gift trunk with 4 more to finish off.  Adding these gives me a good start on my 2017 gift trunk!  Savings $24

I set up a 2017 Goals: Season by Season page, be sure to check it out!  I seem to get so much more accomplished if I have a plan a.k.a. goals.
I had another flare-up with my back and had to take time out for several sessions using my castor oil pack.  Yet again this method has saved me a visit to the doctor and the subsequent round of steroids, both pill and shots, that are the usual standard treatment.  Savings to us:  $75
Not working outside my home … Saved $100 (x 2 weeks)
The USDA’s ‘moderate’ Food Budget for a family the size of ours is $589.70 monthly.  In December we spent about $300, that’s a savings of $289.70

Thus far this year my Vicky Challenge Savings  savings/earnings have been $18,444.96, add this week’s amount ($839.33) and the final total for 2016 comes to $19,284.29.  Being home gave me time and energy to pursue deals and savings, make things myself instead of buying them and do things myself instead of paying someone else to do them for me.  For the season of life I’m in and the skill set I posses; I could not have cleared $19,284.29 had I been working outside my home!  Yes, we made the right choice for us!

This post ends the Pantry Challenges/Ways of My Household posts for 2016.  Next week, we’ll start with 2017.  Thank you for being a part of our journey this year!

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry, care for your household or live frugally these past 2 weeks? 

A Working Pantry
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!

If you are blessed by what you read here and would like to help financially support my writing, you can do that by making a small contribution by clicking on the donate button.  I would be very grateful!

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. That is a great tip regarding freezing the lemons. Best wishes for a joyful and blessed 2017.

    1. Best wishes for a joyful and blessed 2017 for you and your family too!

  2. Hi Patsy, I just wrote a novel and then hit the wrong button:(

    I wanted to say thankyou for all you do here.i have learned much and have many new idears to try and learn.

    In this season I have to work outside the home full time. it is our prayer for me to return to working from home in future. I would love to hear from other mums with young children how they build up their homes and pantries.

    This week i harvested mangoes ftom the trees,silverbeet and snake beans from the garden.

    Giffted bags of paper mulch for the garden.

    All food scraps to the garden/dog.

    Hubby and father found a new washing machine for less than 1/2 price with 10year warranty.old one was took all day with much persuasion to do a load. Cost to repair more than new one.

    Father fixed the chest freezer which had stoped working.

    In total i think we saved about $700 this fortnight.

    Di in Australia

    1. Di, I have not always been a stay at home wife and mother. There were several times that I had to work outside the home, for me it was very hard. I pray that if it is you and your husband's desire for you to come home that it will be able to happen soon. Oh my goodness, you all sound like us ... fix it, used is just fine if it works and frugality. I hope that you will be able to comment often, I have a feeling that you would be an inspiration to me. I hope other mothers with young children who are working outside their homes will share how they build up their homes and pantries. Happy New Year!

    2. Thanks Patsy:)
      Happy new year to you and yours also.will try comment more often as time permits.

      Di in Australia

  3. Patsy I hate crowds. Anxiety takes over and I can't think straight. I have not been anywhere near the shops since before Christmas so haven't spent any money at all. Hubby has picked up the few items we have needed.
    He had two fishing buddies come and stay for two nights. We were able to feed them and us from the pantry and freezer. Before they left, both live inland about 500km, they purchased some meat as a thank you gift. Here in Australia you usually give your host a carton of beer. Bluey isn't drinking as he is on a long road of recovery from last years op. We now have four meat portions for four in the freezer due to Bluey's mates thinking about what they could leave as a thank you.
    I've made up extra laundry powder using ingredients in the laundry cupboard. I made a double batch of Annabel's Miracle Cleaner. I used up some TShirt yarn and knitted four dishcloths. I knitted 6 face cloths and crocheted a border on each, in lovely soft cotton.
    Happy New Year Patsy.

    1. Jane, I didn't do any after Christmas shopping but did make a run into town to pick up prescriptions that had to be filled and since we were in town we stopped at a couple of small grocery stores. I do not like crowds either and try to schedule our shopping when it is the least crowded. What a great thank you gift you all received!!!! How thoughtful they were to actually stop and think about an appropriate gift! What is TShirt yarn? Is it just strips of t-shirts that have been cut into narrow widths? I would love to see a picture of your face cloths ... pretty please??? I hope that 2017 is a great year for you and Bluey. So glad that he is continuing to recover.

    2. Patsy I purchased the Tshirt yarn but you can make it using old Tshirts. One of our crafty stores had these out on sale some time ago. I crocheted and very fluted floor mat and then the left over yarn just sat in my craft caddy. I was about to throw out my last dishcloth as it stunk. I decided to knit one. It was a success so I knitted more. I used the biggest needles that I have. I would love to send you a picture just not sure how. Let me know and I will get a photo to you.

    3. Pasty, if you would like to make some t-shirt yarn out of your old t-shirts, there are lots of tutorials on-line that show you how. It's a great way to recycle those worn or stained shirts. The stains are not noticeable when you cut the fabric into strips, then crochet or knit them into something. You can also make "rag balls" with strips of non-stretchy fabric sewn into "yarn". Great for all sorts of crochet or knitting projects (such as rag rugs)!

  4. Dear Patsy, Your savings were wonderful. Thank you for joining in the Vicky Challenge! It was very enlightening to me!
    I hope 2017 will be a great year of pantry building, getting ahead, gift making and good things! With love

    1. Annabel, I plan to do the Vicky Challenge again this year as well as it was very enlightening to me too!

  5. Happy New Year. I also make burritos and freeze, made out of veggies, pinto beans and hamburger and cheese. The original recipe called for just the hamburger and made 6 burritos. I added pinto beans and more vegetables to make 12 burritos. Beans add some carbs, but they mostly come from fiber so not bad for glucose, I also increase the no-starchy veggies to make up for that. They also add protein much cheaper than meat. I have many challenges in 2017. In August we retired and moved to a 1965 stone cottage that we are remodeling. We already have 4 of the 7 rooms done. Next is the is in a dumpster and I have a clean slate. I will use all my creativity and frugality. I have no garden her, but plan to make one, but may rely on some purchased bulk food to do my canning. There is a large Amish population here so I should find some. We used up many of our can goods before moving and I am starting to stock a pantry again....even though it is temporarily in the sewing room! Have a great and productive year everyone.

    1. Gloria, I will have to make burritos using your recipe/method. They sound very good. Remodeling is quite the job isn't it??? I would love to see pictures of what you are doing. There have been times when I have purchased bulk food to can as well,there is nothing wrong with that at all. You live near an Amish community???? There's your source for sure for buying bulk foods for canning!!! I'm trying not to be jealous! 0:) And you have a sewing room ... oh my ... that is one of my dreams! I wish you great success with your continued remodeling!

    2. Update: Yesterday I found custom Amish made kitchen cabinets on Facebook for $400. They were made in 1996 and taken out of someones house recently. Just need a little updating but are very sturdy. 13 cabinets in all, three are 42 inch uppers, two are full sets of drawers. I took a break from my work yesterday and sat down for a cup of coffee and they had just been posted on Facebook. We went right over and bought them. I was really worried about how I would fill this kitchen! Excited!!!

    3. Gloria, what a find!!! I would have done the same thing! You go girl!!!

  6. Great post you always inspire. I have thought of trying to turn my Cowboys discarded very good shirts into a blouse. Can't figure our how to do it though! Your post is very inspiring! I hope you will come over to the
    Fabulous January party and link up!
    Don't forget to comment and follow by email for points toward a Giveaway!
    Wonderful and uplifting post. What a great spirit and perfect to share.
    Come over and share your wonderful New Years thoughts at The Fabulous January party. Don't forget to sign up for our emails so you'll can link all your posts for the Fabulous Giveaways!
    Happy New Year

    1. Grantham,I'm sure if you Googled it you could find all kinds of youtube videos for turning men's shirts into a blouse. Hmmm, I think I may google that myself!

  7. Patsy, I love that you were able to re-purpose the fabric into your sewing stash. Using recycled fabric is my favourite way to add to my fabric stockpile. I often look for sheets and drapes with nice fabric/patterns at the thrift store to use as yardage, especially when they have sales.

    I used some of the recycled fabric this year to sew beautiful, drawstring shoe bags to give to my daughter's principle, teacher and EAs for Christmas. They loved them! I also sewed 2 aprons from recycled fabric, using my apron for the pattern. I gave one to my mom and the other I paired with a "recipe binder" of our family favourite recipes to my niece. Both gifts were well received. I gave my 4 nephews gifts that I bought for them last year during boxing day sales (tool kits for 2 and pocket knives for the other 2) which they also loved.

    Some of ways I saved recently included buying 4 black forest hams on sale before Christmas for $3.99/800g, then shaving it all into luncheon meat, packaging into portions, and freezing it for future use. I packaged up all the leftover turkey meat into portions and froze it to use in future soups, casseroles or hot turkey sandwiches. Emptied the freezer of all the chicken and turkey carcasses plus most of the veggie scraps I saved and made a huge batch of poultry stock. I was able to added a dozen pre-portioned 2 cup bags of stock to the freezer. Packed up gift bags and tissue paper that I rescued from Christmas to use another year. Finally, I took advantage of boxing week sales to purchase some clothing for my family, candy & chocolate to use for my daughter's Easter basket, and a couple items for my "gift pantry".

    1. Rhonda, I just keep reading your comment over and over! There are so many great tips in it. Thank you for posting! I like the idea of the aprons with a recipe binder of your family favourite family recipes ... that would be a great gift!

  8. Wow! You have a ton of usable information here! I found you via my blogger where it told me my blog was getting hits from your blog site. I am humbled that you have added my blog to your list of places you like to visit. It's not taken me long to look around your blog to know I will add you to my "Likes" list as well. btw, I have been "de-boning" a lot of my Dad's shirts for quilts. Because of spots, I usually created my own "Jelly Rolls."

    1. Joy, I'm on my way to check out your jelly roll post! That's a very good idea! Welcome to A Working Pantry. Thank you for adding it to your 'Likes' list!


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