~ from my home to yours, living the Working Pantry lifestyle ~

Monday, January 29, 2024

A Journal of My Days: 1/29/24

(Picture:  We started out the week needing this fire, but by the end of the week we were walking around outside in short sleeves as in temps in the upper 7o's and low 80's. What a crazy weather week it's been!)

The theme for this year is “Laser focused, hunkered down and spending as little money as possible.” 

Let’s see how we did this week …

In the Garden:  I spent time cleaning up raised beds and containers.  Every time I would go out to feed the animals, I would clean up a couple of containers or work on a section of a raised bed.  This is easy and doesn’t take up a lot of time.  It also makes a big job easily doable when broken down into smaller parts.

In the Kitchen:   I did a couple of cook-a-heads for the upcoming week.  I like to have sausage already cooked for my breakfast and so cooked some ahead for next week.  I also used the air-fryer and cooked chicken as well.  Speaking of air-fryer, the decision has been made as whether to keep it or rehome it … that little ‘handmaiden’ isn’t going anywhere!  I’m so glad I made myself do an air-fryer challenge!

I also made a jar of scrubbing powder to use as a cleaner and another bottle of all-purpose cleaner.

The scrubbing powder recipe I use came from Homesteading Family.  It simply consists of equal parts of baking soda and salt.  I mixed a quart jar full, so I don’t have to make it every time I get ready to clean.  I sprinkle some on the area I want to clean, wet a cleaning cloth and go at it.  Honestly, it does as good as any purchased scrubbing powder I have used, it’s a lot more cost effective and much less toxic.  

I’ve used the following all-purpose cleaner recipe for years and while from time to time I've tried others, I always come back to this one …

All- Purpose Cleaner 

In a 32-ounce spray bottle add:

1 cup rubbing alcohol and 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid

Fill the rest of the bottle with tap water.  Give it a good shake and it’s ready for use.  I also give it a good shake before I use it as well!

In the Pantry:  My preserving day this week was on Friday, and I pulled some pinto beans out of storage and canned them.  I had some leftover turkey broth and added it to the liquid I used to cover the beans in the jars.

Health/Fitness:  After continuing to read about all the ways intermittent fasting is good for us, I committed to trying to do a clean fast the hours that I was already fasting.  A clean fast means you drink only water, black coffee, or black tea … unsweetened of course.  Tuesday was my first clean fast day and I have stuck with it since. 

Bargain and/or Loss Leader Shopping:  The only items we purchased this week were milk and low-carb flour tortillas.  I’m so thankful for a well-stocked pantry that makes this possible!

From my Sewing Nook:  My sister and I started sewing on the last piece of our log cabin Christmas quilt we are doing together via long distance using technology. The next step is to find a place large enough to lay it out and put it together in the correct design so it can be sewn together!  This is not going to be a small endeavor as this is going to be one LARGE quilt!

I started looking at ‘orphan’ quilt blocks I have to see if I have enough to put together in some sort of arrangement to make the quilt coat I want to do or if I’ll need to stitch up some.  Orphan blocks are leftover blocks from a quilting project, blocks you are trying out, or maybe even blocks from a project that you’ve just lost interest in and never finished.

What I’m Reading:  I finished Delay, Don’t Deny by Gin Stephens and started reading another book by the same author Fast, Feast, Repeat.

I also started reading All That She Carried by Tiya Miles and Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin.  All of these are being read on Libby the library app.

Bible Study:  I completed and posted lesson 15 in our ladies Bible study on Esther.  It can be found HERE.

I’m also continuing to write out the book of Genesis.  Myself along with the group I’m doing this with are almost ready for chapter 6.  In my humble opinion, you can study books about the Bible, but nothing takes the place of reading and studying the Bible itself!

In addition:  I’ve been decluttering this week!  I had not put our Christmas decorations back in storage yet, yes, they were down and in tubs.  I wanted to go through all of them, combine, discard and downsize all of it before putting the tubs back in storage.  I did that this week.  I discovered that there are several things that I won’t need to purchase for several years!!!

I’ve also been working in my pantry, rotating and inventorying what we have trying to get an idea of what we need to focus on in our garden this year as well as in our shopping.

That’s it for this week,

until next time,

mrs. patsi @ A Working Pantry

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

Sharing 44 years' experience of frugal, prudent living and pantry building 

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  1. What a productive week you had. Thank you so much for the cleaning products recipes. On my today's list of to do's as everything is on hand. It is not gardening season here but I did a couple of garden prep things. I cooked more butternut squash and saved the seeds. I have loads of butternut seeds. Since pumpkin is so high in histamine and on my avoid list I use our homegrown butternut squash in all recipes calling for pumpkin. I will be making seed tape in the very near future.

    The only money spent this week was for some fresh veggies at the farm and new Amish market: celery, lettuce, brussel sprouts, cucumber and carrots with tops. The carrot tops will be made into carrot top soup. We also decided to try out the fresh chicken . It was by far the most delicioius checken we have ever eaten. We baked it on 350 in the airfryer. So glad you're keeping yours. It's one of the best handmaidens out there. They had some home baked samples at the Amish store that hubby tasted. I wish I could have tasted them but alas not gluten free. Anyway, when we got home I googled what the ingredients seemed to be and what they looked like and a recipe came up that seemingly is the exact thing. We cleaned the hardwood floors this week and all the kitchen cabinets and knobs. I continued to work on valentines and birthday and anniversary cards using in new ways what I have. In the evening I continue to work on embroidering feed sack kitchen towels using the thread I already have and the towels that were in my stash.

    Patsi, I don't have a huge space to lay out quilts. This is what I do. I layout as much as I can horizontally and vertically and take a picture of it. Then I pick those up and going by the picture I lay out as much more as I can and take a picture of it and repeat this process until I have it fully laid out. I keep each stack separate with a note as to which stack it is and. When I'm done with a lay out that is pleasing I begin sewing each stack together, As far as quilting it I often use the quilt-as- you-go method whether hand or machine quilting or make the quilt sandwich and lay the whole thing out on a large foldup table. I must confess that the older I get the more I use quilt-as-you-go.(lol). Have a blessed day. Cookie


    1. Cookie, I need to get our green peas in the ground this week if possible and later this month we'll be planting potatoes. If we don't get those cool weather crops in the ground this month it will get too hot for them to produce.

      I have heard of others substituting butternut squash for pumpkin in recipes with good results, too.

      I like the idea of laying out the blocks of a quilt one section at a time. I'll have to give that a try. I'm glad you mentioned quilting as you go, I had totally forgotten about that method. I need to do a refresher on the method.

      I'm doing some deep cleaning too along with some decluttering. Once gardening season starts there won't be time for anything more than weekly surface cleaning.

  2. This has been an unusual week for us as we were all getting over our sickness at the start of it. The last bit saw me *trying* to get caught up on some housework and laundry. Our main areas are clean and it feels so much better. We've also had some nice sunshine and warmth after our freezing and rainy weather. Colton had the week off from work and managed to harvest two deer. That is a tremendous blessing as we used the last of our freezer supply several weeks ago. This coming week will see us canning and freezing the meat.
    We had our biggest shop of the month on Friday and I feel I did very well avoiding temptations. That should conclude all the shopping for the month and, if so, we came in under budget in all categories. But anything can happen in the three remaining days so I will have to remain diligent 😅

    Do you boil your beans for a few minutes before you put them into jars for canning? I have a 50lb bag that I need to tackle and I want to can some of them. I plan to soak them over night and I'd love to just put the soaked beans into jars and pour boiling water over them before putting them into the canner, but I know that's a shortcut alternative to boiling them first. Thoughts?

    1. Kelsey, believe it or not I just put sorted and washed beans right in the jars and add salt and water and right into the canner. I can tell no difference between those and ones canned other ways. I do one part beans and three parts hot water right out of the tap. Half teaspoon salt per pint. Pints can for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes (1/2 cup beans per pint.}. All beans can the same so you even mix different types in a canner load.

    2. Kelsey, I'm glad you all are all better and things are back to normal at your house. Congrats on the two deer! I have canned beans by boiling them first and also the way Lana does. I can't tell any difference and the way Lana does is my preferred method.

    3. Thank you both! The less complicated the process, the more likely I am to do it 😅

    4. Thank you, thank you for sharing how to can beans!!! I look forward to giving that a try! --Elise

  3. I was hoping you would see the value of the air fryer! Those pintos will be extra good with that broth. Thanks for those cleaning recipes.

    We arrived at the lake on Monday to a 40 degree house. Because of the cold weather before that it was hard to get the house warmed up and it is still chilly. Then we had four days of solid rain coming down. We have never seen the water so high at our dock. We stayed home pretty much all week . We did run out to grab a few grocery deals. Saturday we were blessed to have dear friends come for a visit. It was a good week of rest.

    1. Lana, I severely underestimated what the air-fryer could do ... but not anymore! We have had some rain, but not a lot. It sounds like you're enjoying your time at the lake.

  4. We were in D Tree today and the card restocker was there. She said the 2/$1 cards are being greatly reduced and she implied that they may go away completely. So all of you may want to go get cards for the year while the cheaper ones are still available.

  5. Well, Patsy, I might have to look into an air fryer now. LOL! You had a busy and productive week. A very successful one! I'll update my own efforts when I have a little time. --Elise

    1. Elise, I can honestly highly recommend an air-fryer!

  6. Great progress Patsy! I'm inspired to be more frugal and busy when I see what you've done!

    1. Laura, thank you. That's one of the reasons I'm sharing our journey. Together we can inspire and feed off of each other, it really does help in reaching our goals.