Monday, July 16, 2018

The Ways of My Household/Vicky Challenge: 7/15/2018

I’m in such a busy season right now with all the canning and preserving, not only of the produce we’re growing, but also of what I can find on a good sale at the grocery store.  That’s why it’s been a while since I’ve done a ‘The Ways of My Household/The Vicky Challenge’ post, I’m having to prioritize how I spend my time because garden produce won’t wait!
Here’s what this past week looked like.  I’ll have to figure up my savings later, right now I just don’t have time.
I saved seeds for next years planting of armenian cucumbers.

I sprouted some moringa seeds and sometime this week I’ll get them planted.
I canned 4 pints of sweet pickle relish.
I canned 6 quarts of potatoes (this is the last of the potatoes we grew this year).
I canned 9 pints of peaches (I shared about getting them HERE).
I finished up the bread crumbs I’ve been making from sourdough bread.
I started making kombucha this week.
I found fresh walnuts on sale for $3.99/lb, regular price $9.99/lb.  I’ll be canning walnuts this upcoming week!
We were in the town where JoAnn’s Fabrics is located this week and while there I purchased McCall’s patterns ($1.99 each) and Vogue patterns ($4.98 each) on sale.  I purchased 5 patterns and paid $18.98.  
We found Washington sweet cherries on sale this week for $1.77/lb, regular price $3.99/lb.  We purchased several pounds, brought the them home and I canned 9 pints of cherries in ACV using this method on a Homesteading Family video.  I also froze a few to go into smoothies, made 4 pints of cherry jam and canned 1 pint and 1 half pint of cherry juice using the pits.

(Please note: The method calls for using apple cider not ACV.  I used ACV because I'm experimenting a bit here!!!)
I’ll use the canned cherries in smoothies, yogurt and flavored water.  The ‘cherry juice’ left in the jar from the canned cherries will be used in my Kombucha.
I also found Mcintosh, Gala and Granny Smith apples on sale.  I’ll be making chunky applesauce this upcoming week and using the peelings/cores to start a batch of vinegar.
From the garden we’re harvesting cucumbers and our okra is just starting to bear.  Our lima beans are full of blooms and we have lots of baby lima beans on the vines. The prospects are good for us to be able to harvest our first lima beans from a garden we’ve grown since moving to this area.  We have baby peppers and baby green tomatoes as well.  
From my herb garden (pots) I’m harvesting basil, nettles, lemon balm, plantain, feverfew, calendula, peppermint and spearmint.  My elderberries are filling out really well, it shouldn’t be to much longer before they will be ready to harvest. 

One more thing, this week over in my Pillowcases by Patsi group, we're having a $8 pillowcase sale all week long.  The only catch is that you must be a member of that group in order to get the sale price (otherwise the price is $12 each or 2 for $20).  We're also doing a 'Christmas in July' event as well and those pillowcases are just $8 each this week too.  After this week the Christmas pillowcases will go away until November 1st.  If you'd like to be a part of that group and take advantage of this sale as well as future sales click on the link, request to join and I'll get you approved as soon as possible.
That's it for me, what kind of week did you have?

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

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  1. My my, you ladies in the US are certainly busy at this time of the year I must say. I am always amazed at how much food you preserve. Very inspiring.

    1. Nanna Chel, we're making hay while the sun shines! It sure is nice though to be able to depend on our pantries to feed our families instead of the grocery store.

  2. Hi Patsy and totally relate to a busy season of harvesting and preserving. An unprecedented cold snap has hit here and the frosts are reeking havoc. We have been harvesting both herbs, lavender and tomatoes like crazy prepared people to save what we can to increase our food stocks here. You have to take advantage of the sales when you see them to build all of our pantries.

    Here is how we saved and got ahead our nest last week -

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $248.40 last week :).

    Earnings -
    - Earned $44.69 from the sale of thyme picked and dried from the gardens and saved capsicum seeds from the gardens through my eBay internet shop.

    Purchases -
    - Purchased 7 x 250 g of strawberries on special saving $4.38.

    Blessings -
    - After having a smashing good time with a couple of recycled jars I had here due to really cold sub zero temperatures here on jam making I texted 2 close friends living within a couple of blocks of me who supplied me with 12 washed out and recycled jars & lids they had saving $12 over purchasing them in the shops. We now have adopted a warm up jars with hot tap water and then putting the jars and lids in and filled with boiling water and emptying them out just before pouring the hot jam in them. Bingo no broken jars due to very low winter temperatures and another case of we live and learn new skills and techniques :).

    Trading -
    - Traded 46 g garden picked and dried French lavender, 28 g of English lavender, 21 g of marigold (calendula) flowers and 100 g of dried rubbed oregano and 26 g of dried tarragon from excess pantry stocks for 3 x 44 g lavender lip balms, 1 x 25 g of chocolate lip balm, 3 x 10 g lavender lip balms and 1 x 10 g of vanilla lip balm saving less postage $65.92 over purchasing them locally. Thank you lovely fellow bluebird :).

    Finances -
    - Banked more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 26.56% of the way there.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made 12 jars or 3.608 kg of strawberry jam for $21.31 from some home grown and some purchased strawberries and free lemon juice given to us by a friend saving $38.58 over purchasing it in the supermarkets for an equivalent quality. 2 jars will go to the ladies that kindly supplied us with the jars as a thank you.
    - Made 2.8 kg of homemade honey,oat,coconut,almond and sultana granola from items in the pantry saving $28.69 less expenses over purchasing the same quality in the shops.

    In the gardens -
    - Picked 1.127 kg of cherry tomatoes saving $11.27 over purchasing them in the supermarkets.
    - Separated thyme picked and dried from the gardens making 319 g saving $42.87 over purchasing similar organic dried herbs in our local shops.
    - Picked another huge lot of thyme, English and French lavender from the gardens which we are drying for sale and home use.
    - Saved a lot of marigold seeds from the gardens to replant into another garden bed around the house.

    Hope everyone has had an equally wonderful week :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Sewingcreations15, a cold snap, oh no! It would definitely be a bad thing for our garden too and would send us into a major frenzy! I chuckled at your broken jar saga, for that very reason I always warm my jars before putting anything hot in them when preserving food. It's no fun to see all your hard work get ruined not to mention the mess that has to be cleaned up! I've been at this preserving food thing for a very long time and there are still things I learn … we never get to old to learn! You had a great week, thanks for sharing it with us!

  3. You have been super-busy Patsy and it is paying off. I've been trying to keep the grocery budget as low as I can. I cleaned out the fridge yesterday and was amazed at the food waste even thought I thought I had been very diligent with leftovers and makeovers. All I can do though is keep working and trying to do better. This week I need to clean out my pantry to see what is all in there, organize it, make a plan, and use it up!

    1. Wendy, I understand about those leftovers, I try to not let ours go to waste too but sometimes, especially when I get really busy, it happens. Like you, I'm trying to be more diligent in this area!

  4. The cherries look wonderful. I made several jars of cherries in Bandy and Grappa. They will be gifts. They need to sit for a while. I had the alcohol (gifts) and got the cherries on sale. I was only allowed 5 pounds at the sale price so I am looking for more. Hopefully I will find them.

    My garden is doing great. My purple bell peppers are turning purple. This is the first year I am growing them so it is exciting for me. Jalapenos and bannan peppers are doing great. I have been picking them. Lettuce is out of control so I have been giving it away. I have tons of baby cucumbers and tomatoes, so I look forward to those soon too.

    The rest of my list id here:

    1. Making Cents of It All, I'm glad your garden is doing well, it's so hot here that it is taking some effort to keep things growing!!! We've got several different pepper varieties planted too, so far they are doing well!

  5. I watched the Homesteading Family video--what a great link, thank you!. It looks like a great, easy way to can cherries! But she used apple cider, not ACV. Did you really use ACV in yours? Won't it change the taste?

    1. I did use ACV, it is an experiment so we'll see how it turns out!

  6. Dear Patsy,
    You have been so busy! I know it must feel good to see your hard work paying off and your pantry shelves filling up.
    I've been working my way through the freezers and trying to use things up or convert them into canned goods with the hope of rotating my stock and just using things that have been in there WAY too long. We want to replace our two chest freezers with one large upright.
    I've harvested some squash from our garden. That's all I was able to plant this year and considering the seeds were a bit old (everything needs rotating lol!), I'm happy with what I'm getting. Last night we enjoyed parmesan roasted zucchini spears and last week saw two loaves of zucchini bread. Yum.
    It's already time to start planting tomatoes for fall here and I'm hoping for finally a big garden. First, we have the task of moving the propane tank out of the plot we've chosen. That is our next project and hopefully it can be done soon.
    Have a good week! Looks like you are so far!
    Love, Kelsey

    1. Kelsey, rotating is so important in everything!!! I hope you get your propane tank moved soon so you can get that garden in, we are planning our fall garden too but more than that we are looking forward to cooler temperatures as it has been sweltering hot here!

  7. You have done well!

    Our youngest grandson turned one so I went to the gift closet and chose his gifts. I have quite a few bought ahead for him on great deals.

    We enjoyed lunch at the lake park one day. We put a large bag of biscuits and some other meal itens in the freezer for a day when we need them. We got our cow costumes out of the closet and got a lunch out for only $2 on Chick fil A day.

    We found all 9 seasons of The Waltons on Amazon Prime and have been enjoying watching and being reminded of simpler times.

    Have a great week.

    1. Lana, you've done well as well!!! I grew up watching the Waltons and loved that show! Thanks for the idea of rewatching them!

  8. We have had a hot spell, too. For us, the 90's are really, really hot! I am just a wimp when it is hot, so am struggling to get anything done outside. Thankfully, there are a few cooler days coming up! Whew:)

    In the meanwhile, the garden looks like a jungle, so I want to get out there and work a little. It seems like it takes so much time to just pick things in the early mornings that there is no time to weed or tie things up--a pretty typical problem at this time of year. I do love harvesting time. I have so much lettuce. I am picking a big bowl every couple of days, washing it, and using a lot of it and delivering the rest to my sisters or aunt. It will bolt in this heat, so I want it used, rather than wasted. The zucchini is going crazy. I probably picked about 25 in the last few days. So, off to the relatives, zucchini bread for the college group at church, stir fry, some for the freezer.....I'm almost afraid to look out there this morning!

    I expect a few beans to start being ready to pick. I've been diligent to put water on them during the super hot afternoons, and hopefully they have not dropped all their blossoms during the heat wave. It's a real problem here, and the water lowers the temperature enough to save them, sometimes. We shall see. Thankfully, I have a great many canned beans left over from last year, so I didn't plant my usual amount, and mostly want to eat them fresh and preserve only a few, so it's not a huge concern like it would be other years.

    I've been picking my various berries and freezing them. The Marion berries are almost done, the blueberries are winding down, the ever bearing strawberries really never gave me then quantity I hoped but are forming another batch of green berries, and the ever bearing raspberries have finished most of the first round, and should be forming another bunch of berries soon. So, there is endless clipping and cutting I could do out there---I just need time on a day that is not too hot.

    One evening a month, we have been cooking dinner for the college age group at church. There are between 25 and 40 people there, and we are given $70 to work with. That seems like a lot until you realize you have to buy every single thing. So, by cooking from scratch, and adding things like zucchini bread using the garden veggies, we were able to come in under budget again. Last night, we did salad bar where they could put whatever topping on the greens that they wanted--either making it a chef's salad or a taco salad. Then, I made deviled eggs because I could get them for 99c dozen, and was surprised how quickly those 3 dozen eggs got gobbled up. We also served watermelon, cold pork and beans from a can, and water to drink. It was very hot last evening. This is only the 3rd time we have done this, and were once again very pleased at how nice the kids were--they were very appreciative and thankful. So nice to be around young people that have such lovely manners. We are still getting an idea of how much we need to cook, what they like, etc., but everything we have cooked has been gobbled up so far. Then, they go off to their Bible study, we clean up and package any leftover food, and they grab the baggies or plates of food and take it home for the next day. Many of them have summer jobs, and love having lunch the next day. The college pastor has enough cooking teams so that everyone rotates and only has to do one night a month, but they feed the kids every Tuesday night. That a nice way to do it, so no one gets burned out.


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