~ from my home to yours, living the Working Pantry lifestyle ~ surviving today's economy ~ a can-do spirit and attitude ~

Monday, April 22, 2024

A Journal of My Days: 4/22/24

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

How did we do this week?

These flowers got their start at my mom's house several years ago.  After her passing, I brought home a start (along with other flowers) and planted them in a couple of places this being one ... on one side of our compost bin.

In the Vegetable Garden:  This was supposed to be a big planting week, but it gave way to doctor appointments and medical tests for my hubby.

I'm not stressing about it though, if we don't get anything else planted until fall, we will work with what we've already got planted and can do.   I need to pace myself and conserve energy to be able to keep the things done that have to be done such as lawn care, etc while hubby is on restricted activity.

Having said that though, I did get 12 Roma tomato plants planted that I grew from seeds.  I planted 2 in each of these 6 containers.

In the Kitchen:   We ate lots of leftovers and easy to prepare meals from the pantry this week.  It's so nice to have that option and I make it a priority to stock our pantry with items that make 'times like this' easier.

In the Pantry:  I continued to harvest strawberries and flash freeze them for the freezer. 

This was a quick and easy task that didn't take much time.

I harvested and canned carrots ... (this is not all of our carrots, but these were the ones that I was competing with 'critters' for ... hehehehe, I won the competition!)

Health/Fitness:   This was a topsy-turvy week as far as my fitness plan went, all I can say is that I did the best I could ... and sometimes that has to be enough!

Thrifting, Bargain, and/or Loss Leader Shopping:   I made a quick run to a local Dollar General store to take advantage of their $5 off of a $25 purchase.  I did a small stock-up on several basics.  Every item I purchased cost $1 each.

From my Sewing Nook:  Nothing this week.

Bible Study:  I worked on creating a scavenger hunt based on 'God's Promises' that will part of our church's upcoming youth day.

In the Flower Garden: This is on hold for the time being, it comes under the same category as further gardening.  If it happens, great, if it doesn't, we'll go to plan B.

In the Herb Garden:  I harvested and dehydrated Rosemary, St. John's Wort, Oregano and Plantain at various times this week.  It was easy to run out to the herb garden for a quick snipping if I only had a few minutes to work with and that's what I did.

(pictured:  our plantain, as you can see, is doing really well.)

What I'm Reading:  I read the latest issue of one of my favorite magazines, Homesteading Monthly.  

Continuing Education/Skills:  Nothing this week ... unless you count my reading this month's Homesteading Monthly magazine mentioned above.  I always learn something from this magazine.

This week’s frugal quote/discussion topic …  When it comes to frugal living, it's always wise to have a plan B.  What are your thoughts on having at least one back-up plan for your frugal journey?

That’s it for this week, what has your week looked like? 

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. We had a truly horrible time as a family a couple of years ago and I just kept saying "you can only do what you can do," to myself whenever I felt overwhelmed or guilty for not doing something. We are only just getting to grips with all those jobs that had to be put off for 'one day', but the family had to come first. It sounds like you have weathered storms before and are well prepared for coping with them.

    1. Tracy, I'm glad you and your family weathered your storm and yes, we have weathered several ourselves. We learn, don't we, to prepare for life's storms.

  2. You are way ahead of us here in the middle part of the country. No garden planting much until mid to end of May.
    Always have a plan B - when it comes to most everything. Life has many hiccups that change our plans - so always be prepared for anything.
    Have a great week.

    1. Cheryl, plan B is a necessity, isn't it and even plans C, D and E!

  3. My continued prayers for you and your husband, Patsi. We are still too cold here to do much planting. Typically, nothing goes in the ground until after Mother's Day. I've started thinking about what I want to plant in pots this year, but nothing firm, yet. I live in the middle unit in an East-facing townhome, so not enough light to start much from seed -- have tried and failed. But I'll have a list ready to get starts from the nursery (or wherever the best plants at the most reasonable price is).

    As for your question about a Plan B, I always ALWAYS keep extra pasta and canned tomatoes in my pantry. If all else fails, I can whip up spaghetti or some pasta dish that can be easily modified with whatever leftovers I have on hand. I do put up ready-to-use spaghetti sauce and will use that most often, but having extra plain tomatoes for chili, etc. allows me an option for sauce from scratch, should I run out of the ready-made stuff. I've also started keeping a small stash of dried beans and peas, for the same purpose. Should I become housebound or have to go all the way back to basics, I have something to use in a pinch. For one person, the quantity I need doesn't take up much space. One of my goals for the year is to put together an emergency recipe notebook, where I can keep some "back to basics" instructions at hand for dried beans, bread/biscuit making (I use a breadmaker, but what if I had to go back to completely home made?), yogurt, spice mix recipes (what I typically make lasts years, when cooking for one), common substitutes, etc., so I'm not scrambling to find a "how to" guide for such things in a pinch.

    1. Lori, thank you for your prayers. Our plan B's look different for each of us, don't they? It sounds like you've worked out what is a good plan for you. I like the idea of an emergency recipe notebook with 'back to basics' recipes and instructions. It makes so much sense to have it all in one place should it be needed.

  4. I agree about having a plan B. Sometimes a plan C or D may be necessary

  5. There's a little quote I like, author unknown: "All my best laid plans and good intentions can never measure up to those of the One who sees the future as if it were hindsight." Patsy, can I just say you're an excellent example of adaptability? You really are. Adapting to changes as they come. Happy to read about your 1st harvests, canning and drying. It's much too soon to plant here, although we did see white a few shoppers with carts full of vegetable, herb and flower plants during gardening sales over the weekend; we can still get frosts/snow into May, so I hope their money hasn't been wasted. You've accomplished a LOT with the curve balls thrown at you. Continued prayers!

    My husband trimmed trees over the past few weeks, got a season long burn permit, and burned the first piles of trimmings yesterday--an all day project. More to go over the next several months. We're saving all the ash for gardening. Ash from the pellet stove was spread out in what will be a wildflower section of our acre and all the seeds beneath the ash are growing like gangbusters, lush and green. Inside, I'm making my way through the chest freezer. It has to be defrosted this summer. A few things *did* have to be tossed as they were from 2022 and (with my history of food poisoning) I didn't want to risk it. That provided a good lesson for me about how much we eat and how much less I ought to stockpile. Two year old fat-skimmed frozen meat stock was thawed and poured down the sink, reminding me to can it instead. I see that I was on my way to becoming a food hoarder due to fears about food inflation. Adapting my thought process now as I plan what to grow and what/when to buy. Great sales don't mean I must buy. Hubs and I just don't eat much = less spent on food in future, allowing for more to go into savings. --Elise

    1. Elise, I like that quote and completely agree with it. Thank you for your prayers, they are appreciated.

      One of the things I've realized as hubby and I get older is that we don't eat as much, which means we need to take that into consideration when stocking our pantry. A well-stocked pantry that we use and rotate is a blessing, but a well-stocked pantry that is wasted is a waste of all the hard work, effort and money that went into stocking a pantry. I try not to let that happen, but sometimes it does ... and when it does, I take note and try harder to stay on top of our needs and what we will eat. You are right, 'great sales, doesn't mean you have to buy it ... especially if you know there is a strong likelihood that it won't be used.

      I'm a firm believer that we should allow common sense coupled with our needs, not fear, drive our pantry building efforts ... like you said, common sense in this area allows more to go into savings!

  6. We are in the middle of what the old timers call The Blackberry Cold Snap. It is supposed to go down to 38 tonight and then we know the cold weather will be over in a few days.

    We continue to pray for you both. I pray you get some answers soon. Last week we were able to say to each other that we will be okay even if where we are is the new normal. That was huge for us.

    1. Lana, thank you. Hubby's testing will continue for another couple of weeks and then it's a matter of getting all the results back and figuring out what caused the emergency medical situation that started all of this.

      It really does bring a sense of peace to a situation when we accept what we might not be able to change, doesn't it? So glad our heavenly Father sees and knows it all!

  7. Continued prayers for your hubby and for you. Absolutely in agreement on having a Plan B. It certainly has meant less stress in our household. As for the past week, I made and froze 8 pints of no'mato sauce for future use, 16 chocolate chip scones using leftover coconut milk instead of cream. These went into the freezer as well. The sweet potato slips got put into water to root. More onions are being rerooted as well as scallions and seeds got started in the greenhouse window in my kitchen. Finished the first volume of the Bregdan Chronicles and am now on the second. Learned a few new artsy things on Youtube. Tomorrow my husband has his 6 months checkup after having skin cancer surgery. It's a 45 mile drive each way so anything we need in "the big city" will be taken care of after his appointment. Cookie

    1. Cookie, thank you for your prayers. You are so right, having backup plans literally means less stress and who couldn't use less stress when life hands you a bumpy road to travel on for a while.

      I hope your hubby gets a good report and that you find everything you need in the 'big city.'

      You had an industrious week; I love reading about what you do!

  8. Patsi, I am praying for healing and strength for your husband, strength for you as you take care of him and manage the home, and wisdom for the doctors to be able to help and treat him.
    I love that the flowers from your mom's are blooming. When we moved here to Colton's grandparents' house, I dug up some of his grandmother's lily bulbs and gave them to each of the granddaughters.
    Last week was getting back into the groove of things as Colton's vacation ended and he went back to work. Some good news...Colton got transferred to a fire station 30 minutes closer to home (same department, different location)! This is something we have been hoping for and pursuing, but we weren't expecting it to happen so soon, if at all. Not only does this mean more time for him at home, it will also save a small fortune on gas, which was our biggest monthly expense when he was working two jobs.
    In the garden, I got most of the potted plants I purchased over the last month planted in the ground. I also planted green beans, yellow squash, and zucchini and mulched it all. I am a little late this year, but we'll see how it goes. If all else fails, there is still plenty of time for okra, which I hope to get to this week.
    Plan B is a necessity around here, as Plan A hardly ever happens!

    1. Kelsey, thank you for your prayers. Hubby is making progress in his recovery; we've just got to find out what caused this and come up with a treatment plan to keep it from happening again.

      I love that you shared some of the lily bulbs with the granddaughters. I cannot tell you how special my mom's ordinary flowers are to me; they remind me so much of her. She fussed and tended them with care and I find myself doing the same.

      That's such good news about Colton's job transfer closer to home. The savings in gas alone with be a blessing, but less driving time will also help in lots of other ways.

      Love your statement that 'plan B is a necessity as plan A hardly ever happens!' It's the same around here. Plan A at the end rarely looks like plan A at the beginning. We have to have lots of flexibility built into our plans!

  9. Yes, I learned a long time ago to always have a plan B and even a plan C. I totally understand your last week with hospital visit and doctors, etc. I spent most of last week in the hospital with a highly infectious intestinal infection. 5 days in the hospital. No where in my planner was any of that scheduled! So my husband had to handle dog care, meals, alternate arrangements for our granddaughter we keep before and after school, etc. But we have wonderful neighbors and family nearby to help out. I have been recovering for the past week. I was feeling frustrated when my doctor told me for every day spent in the hospital expect to spend 3 days recovering at home. I have been home a week today, so I guess I have another week to go before feeling my old self. I am feeling better and doing a few things, so that has encouraged me. We had to throw a lot of food away from the frig, but our garden volunteer lettuce and asparagus have helped to feed us since returning home. We do what we can when we can. Just keep going forward, right? I wish you and your husband a fast recovery. Thanks for this lovely blog. I love reading it each week.