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

Monday, April 29, 2024

A Journal of My Days: 4/29/24

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

How did we do this week?

Most of my week was spent getting ready for our church's youth rally which was Saturday.  

However, I did get a few other things done in and around youth rally prep.

(picture:  my rose bushes are showing off!)  

In the Vegetable Garden:  Nothing!  

All I did was walk by the garden area on the way to and from the chicken coup.   Hubby is still undergoing medical testing, so additional gardening is still on hold.  What I do have planted though, is doing well.

I did notice though that our apple tree has baby apples!!!    Lots of baby apples!

I also noticed that our elderberry bushes are starting to bloom.  We have so many that I'll be collecting some of the flowers for drying and leaving some to make the berries.  Elderberry flowers have slightly different medicinal properties than the berries do.

In the Kitchen:   I noticed that I was getting quite a bit of kefir ahead and decided to make some kefir cheese.  Once the kefir was drained of most of its whey (I didn't drain all of the whey out as I wanted a 'dip' consistency this time, instead of a firmer cheese consistency), I mixed the remaining 'kefir cheese' with a spice mix I had on hand, added a sprinkle of salt, mixed it up well and enjoyed it on crackers.  Mmmm ... it sure was good!  I made enough that I enjoyed it all week!

We had some store-bought snack crackers on hand we had purchased on a clearance sale that needed to be used.  That's what I used to dip in the kefir cheese.  I was out of our sourdough discard snack crackers, which is what we would have normally used.  I'll put that on my 'to-do' list for when things settle down a bit!

In the Pantry:   My dehydrator has been working almost non-stop drying herbs for several weeks.  One day this week it started smelling like something was burning and I noticed that the fan wasn't working.  My heart dropped!  I've had this dehydrator for about 7 years, so I can't complain, but now was not the time for it to stop working!  I was really sad as I knew that now was also not the time to be making unnecessary purchases.  Of course, it was full of herbs drying when it stopped working.  I unloaded the trays and started making plans to finish drying them other ways.  I went to pull out one tray and it wouldn't come .... hmmmm ... I bent down to eye level with the tray and spotted a stem from a piece of rosemary stuck in the back where the fan was.  I gently helped it get unstuck and turned the dehydrator back on ... it started purring like a kitten and was back to doing its job.  I gave a yep of joy and loaded it back up.  It continues to work just fine ... the moral of the story is 'don't throw in the towel, until you're SURE the towel has no more use!'  (I was in the process of removing it from the kitchen to the garbage pick-up area!)

Here's the dehydrator I have.

Health/Fitness:   I was able to get in some form of exercise most every day this week and it sure felt good!

Thrifting, Bargain, and/or Loss Leader Shopping:   we found olive oil on clearance at Sam's Club for $8.91 per bottle (regular price $16.98 per bottle).  We continue to focus on keeping our pantry stocked with the basics.

From my Sewing Nook: No time for sewing anything this week!

Bible Study:  I taught a tweens/teen girl's Bible class on the Promises of God in the Old Testament at our church's youth rally on Saturday.   I also created and implemented a scavenger hunt on the Promises of God from both the Old and New Testament.  It was a lot of work, but oh so worth it!  Be still my heart ... is there anything any greater than planting seeds of God's Word in young people's hearts!  It was an amazing day!

In the Flower Garden:  My flower garden is still on hold along with the garden.  

In the Herb Garden:  I did a bit of harvesting thyme at the beginning of the week along with some more rosemary.  I want to powder some rosemary for use in cooking, so I'm trying to get quite a bit harvested and dried.

What I'm Reading:  No time for reading this week!

Continuing Education/Skills:  I watched episodes of Melissa K. Norris, Homestead Skills Summit:  Building Resilience Today.  It was one of those events that was free but required you to sign up for it in order to get the daily links.  Some of what she covered were reminders of what I already knew.  Some of it introduced me to different ways of doing things I've done for a long time and then some of it was brand new information to me.  I never want to stop learning!  I enjoyed watching and listening to most of the episodes.

This week’s frugal quote/discussion topic …  What would you say to someone who's reason for not being frugal is time constraints?  In other words, they've determined that they don't have time to be frugal.

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 

My second blog:  From This Heart of Mine, where I share my love for God and His Word through my personal Bibe study.  Physical preparedness is important, but not near as important as spiritual preparedness.  Ladies, join me over at From This Heart of Mine and study God's Word with me.

You can view my privacy policy HERE.

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, and it helps me keep my pantry well-stocked! 

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be 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. Patsy, congratulations on a successful Youth Rally and a successful week! Thank you for planting those seeds! Speaking of seeds, I've been getting soil into pots, planting the first vegetables and doing a little research. Ordered a couple of books from Amazon for container gardens and grow bag gardening, as well as a pkg. of a dozen grow bags on a flash sale; they're cloth with handles and can be moved around.

    How much time does it take to be frugal? If someone asked me that, or said they didn't have enough time, I'd ask a few questions and (if appropriate) give examples of what I'm doing and why. Questions are the place to start; listening to the answers is key.

    There's a gal we recently saw working at Denny's during the day, but knew she works at Safeway, too. People will tell you their stories if you show interest and listen. She explained Safeway provides medical insurance, but she suffered a stroke when her ex-husband (now in jail) strangled her; ongoing meds, even with insurance, cost $1,900 per month, so she needs the extra job. We told her we get one of our prescriptions (each) through a Canadian Pharmacy for 1/10th the price it would cost anywhere in town. Hubs brought her the information about that pharmacy to her night shift job at Safeway. You have to be open to hearing uncomfortable things w/o shock or judgement. Working two fulltime jobs might not leave her much extra time. Her health concerns are real. Interestingly, she's one of the most positive, happy, grateful women you'd ever meet. HAPPY to be working at all. I think she was more "salt and light" to us than we were to her. What an inspiring person! Just my 2 cents.

    1. Elise, our attitudes really do determine our outlooks, don't they? I hope the lady is able to get some help with her medication costs. Medications, even being on Medicare are one of our biggest expenses. Medicare does not cover all medications!

    2. Attitude makes all the difference, Patsy. We're blessed to live in a place where positive attitudes and friendliness are common. And YES, cost of medicine can be the largest monthly expense for many folks. It pays (literally) to get creative about that. By the way... thank YOU for sparking an interest to get back into growing herbs; my garden will be mostly herbs with some veggies. Part of my growing season research includes medicinal herbs. --Elise
      P.S. We have several Juniper trees on our acre, some of which produce many berries. Read about those uses as well. They're most often dried for use, so I'm looking into a dehydrator. Can I ask what brand yours is?

  2. What a beautiful rose! We are still praying for your husband. Glad you got your dehydrator sorted out!

    What a week we had. We decided to check into the one story house that is being built in our neighborhood. What a beautiful house and everything we could wish for including a big walk in pantry. We did that math and looked at our finances and decided it was in ready to pay cash for after I get my share from my parents house. We made this a real matter of prayer and by yesterday we knew the answer was no. We don't really understand but we trust that our good Father knows and that is enough.

    On Friday on our way out of the neighborhood we had stopped in front of the house for a good look and a huge delivery truck dropping materials at another new house backed into us and actually pushed us up the street. Much damage was done to our vehicle. We spent the weekend without transportation and hope to work with the other guys insurance to get a rental today and start the process to fix our van. We are hoping they do not total it.

    So that was enough excitement for one week for us!

    1. Lana, I hope this week is as good as last week was bad! I'm so sorry, I'm glad you and your hubby are okay.

    2. SO glad you're both alright, Lana. Prayers repairs can be done quickly! --Elise

  3. People find their level of comfort and it’s impossible to sway them when it comes to finances…. We will share gently what we are doing and let the seeds just take hold as they can…. Matty

  4. What a pretty rose. Good catch on the dehydrator. I have air dried many a herb over the years, and have used a very low oven before as well.
    Don't have time to be frugal? Then they really don't care to be. It may take some energy and thought to begin, but it becomes a way of life and just saves so much. Not just money, but time, energy and earth.

    1. Cheryl, right now, as I type this response, my dehydrator is full and so is my oven! Having backups and or more than one way to do something is essential!

  5. I remember as a working mom how hard it was to be frugal but I found other ways that worked. I didn't have time to hang clothes on the line for example, because I couldn't be home to do that, but I could make meals ready to eat when I got home (slow cooker or sheet pan or casserole). I could make the kids breakfast instead of serving cereal but it meant giving up a little sleep time. It was really a matter of finding the right balance in order to have much needed rest time (I wasn't in the best of health) and save money, too. I know from my experiences now that I've reached the point where in order to save more money I need to DO more. And DOING more does require more time but I have it to spare.
    I've spent the past week doing a full inventory of the household items/foods to make sure we have what we need so I can watch for sales on any gaps we might have.
    I've made yogurt, croutons, and bread this week so far. I also salvaged some yogurt I'd made earlier in April. It had an odd grainy sort of texture, like cheese. It tasted find but if you're eating yogurt is not the texture you expect. I removed that topping from each jar and drained it in a flour sack. This made it more like ricotta cheese and tasted wonderful with a wee bit of salt. I'll be using that as ricotta to make lasagna or something similar next week. I had a full pint of the 'cheese', got a cup of whey off the remaining yogurt that I strained, used some of the thickened yogurt as my starter for the fresh yogurt and had a snack of berries and yogurt with the rest.
    I bought a fig tree and accepted tomatoes and zucchini and vinca for my garden. I gave some of my lovely deep golden yellow iris in exchange for the plants.
    I found a good bit of meat on clearance at the grocery on Sunday, as well as fresh spinach and guacamole cups and bought all for the freezer. I do not normally come across such items in this particular store and was happy to receive them. I'd gone in to buy produce to piece out our week and to get eggs that were on sale for $1.49/dozen.

    1. Terri, great comment, frugal living has many faces doesn't it? I enjoy reading about all your frugal ways!

  6. So thankful you were able to fix that dehydrator glitch before you pitched it, Patsi. Every so often, I'll flip mine over and tap he bottom to get any herb "crumbs" out, kind of in the way I do for my toaster. Depending on what I've been dehydrating, there could be a few small leaves or enough to add to a pot of pasta sauce.

    As for what I'd say to someone who claimed they didn't have the time to be frugal, I tend to start by sharing my reasons for canning, preserving, and maintaining a deep pantry. My reasons relate to taking care of my own health, knowing the sodium content of the food I eat, reducing processed sugars, etc., and being a single-person household and widow who has to care and do for herself -- meaning, if I get sick, I can't just run to the store for bread or milk, or even Pepto Bismol or Tylenol -- especially if I'm contagious, and my nearest family is more than an hour away. And I also talk about freshness and enhanced flavor of what you get fresh, albeit from your own garden or from the local farmer vs. how commercial produce is handled. I'll mention picked when ripe vs. picked green to allow 2-3 weeks or more for shipping from some faraway state or foreign country. That will typically lead to a discussion of buying what you regularly use when on sale or on clearance vs. buying for day-to-day needs, things that store well, loss leaders, etc., and shopping local farmstands when possible. I often share that, when my favorite TP and paper towels would go on sale for $2.99/12 (TP) or 8 (towels) pack as a loss leader every 8 weeks or so, I'd grab an extra. When Covid hit, I had 72 rolls of TP on hand and 16 rolls of paper towels -- enough to last me forever! And I wasn't out there paying $11+ for TP when everyone was scrambling to find some. Those conversations have led to a few converts and the sharing "deals" when we find them, i.e., "XXX store has chicken leg quarters on sale for 0.69/lb." OR one I recently received from a friend was about a library talk on microgreens, with a take-home kit for each person who registered. I just share what I know works for me, and if someone takes interest, so be it. If not, maybe they absorbed a few tidbits that will come in handy some day.

    1. Lori, YES! You said it so well, this is how and why we keep a well-stocked pantry as well. Love your comment!

  7. An addition to the post I previously submitted -- In my efforts to make sure I have healthy food available, I am also working to live my life to the fullest, despite what challenges I may face as a single woman (widowed suddenly 10 years ago) living on her own. If I have to struggle with emergency repairs on my home or auto, or if utilities increase during a month or two with harsh weather, I know I am blessed with food in my pantry to allow me to make the best and most healthy meal I can. If a friend is struggling, I can help provide, because I made the most of the funds I had available and have a pantry stocked with healthy and nutritious foods. And sharing knowledge of how I prepare and save is equally important to me. Most people say "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." My daughter's favorite saying, which I often adopt, is “When life gives you lemons, make grape juice. Then stand back and watch as the world wonders how you did it.” Living frugally is like taking what you are given, developing life skills along the way, and making something extraordinary out of it.

    1. Lori, love 'when life give you lemons, make grape juice. Then stand back and watch as the world wonders how you did it." Your daughter is a wise young lady! I also love your last sentence ... it is so very true! That's our goal as well. Two very wise statements, I'm going to write them out and display them where they can be seen every day as reminders! Thank you, Lori, for both your comments.

  8. I think the advice I would give would be to think of one small change and work out how much it would save over the course of a year. One little thing won't take a lot of time, but seeing how much money it could save might kick-start a whole new way of thinking.