We had a lovely Easter and hope you did too! It was quiet and low-key starting with a drive-in style sunrise service at church and ending with a simple but yummy dinner at home. The weather was cool most of the week and we had a bit of rain with freeze warnings. I’m hoping that was the last of the cold for this season.
Our tea supply ran low this week as the restocking order was taking awhile to get here so I drank black coffee in the mornings this week. I can’t say I like it, but it was hot and compliant with my eating plan (no sugar and no dairy) so I was happy to have it. The tea has since arrived so I’m excited to start my days with tea again!
Here’s what we have done around our home this last week…
Around the House
Used up fresh strawberries by stewing them and serving over a homemade vanilla sponge cake. I found this recipe in the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook we were gifted at our wedding 22 years ago, and it was very yummy. I have this one earmarked to try with my gluten-free flour as I think it will work well and still taste delicious.
The sponge cake recipe called for buttermilk and 4 egg whites. I used vinegar in almond milk for the buttermilk and 2 whole eggs in place of the whites only. The cake was a bit more yellow than white, and I’m sure it didn’t rise quite as much with the egg yolks and buttermilk substitute, but it still turned out well and I was able to use what we have on hand.
My mom has been decluttering at her house and brought me 4 half-gallon jars and an old pitcher and bowl set. I was excited to receive these! The jars are perfect for any number of uses like storing dry goods in the pantry. The pitcher and bowl set will make a lovely vase when the garden flowers start coming in.
Our 14-year-old daughter helped make the meal plan this week. I showed her how I check the refrigerator for what needs used up quickly and then to look over the freezer and pantry for what’s on hand. We were wanting a simpler and cheaper grocery shopping trip this week, and we were able to achieve that by keeping the meals well planned with what’s on hand.
The slow cooker was used a few times this week in meal preparation and for meat for the dogs. I have become very reliant on our propane cook stove and oven and had gotten away from using the slow cooker. This week I used it for the pulled pork roast and to cook some meat for the dogs. (This was old, freezer burned meat given to us.) Last week was a beef stew. I’m always grateful at the end of a day when I use the slow cooker 🙂
Our sewing for this week was trying to make a face mask. It turned out ok but doesn’t fit well and my glasses fog up when I wear it. So I took it off within minutes of being in the store. I will try again using another pattern that included adding a piece of wire over the nose for a better fit. Hopefully that will help with the fogging issue. My daughter helped me, and we used a piece of fabric that was purchased a long time ago and part of an old tank top for the inner lining.
I exhausted my supply of library books I had stocked up on before it closed and now am reading books from my shelf that I had bought at the last library book sale, along with free e-books I have gotten from Amazon. I am resisting the urge to buy a couple of fiction e-books that are in an Amish series I have found that I really enjoy! But I will resist.
In the Garden
I was happy that I was able to share garden seeds with a nice lady from another blog. She had posted she was looking for some and had heard about the shortage so I offered the extras I have on hand. We emailed a bit so she could decide which ones she could use and off they went in the mail. I cut up a sheet of printer paper and made seed packets. I hope to get seeds from my garden this year so I have more on hand and can save a bit of money over buying them. Plus I’ll have learned that skill!
We covered the beds with the plastic we’ve been reusing as needed for freezing nights. The garden is looking beautiful with all of the little plants and shoots, and the tomatoes and peppers are doing well under the lights inside. I hope they can move back out to the greenhouse today or tomorrow.
When planting seeds, I realized I didn’t have any plant markers, those plastic things that tell what the plant is. I looked around the house and found the plastic cover on an old notebook. I labeled with the plant name using a black Sharpie marker and cut it into pieces. This made enough plant markers for at least a couple of seasons, and I probably will be able to reuse them over and over if the sun doesn’t wear them out. They only need to be out there long enough for the plants to get going well enough that I know what they are and then I can take them out and stick back for the next use. I love finding new uses for things that are destined for the landfill!
This week I planted more buttercrunch lettuce and radishes and also planted parsley, thyme and bee balm.
Budgeting & Finances
We had some blessings this week that helped lower our spending:
- Gifted meat from a family member
- Found affordable parts for tools online with free shipping (yay eBay!)
- Received a used freezer from my mom
We were searching for a new freezer and found they are pretty impossible to get right now. When I was telling my mom, she offered an older one she doesn’t use and has no plans to use again. That will enable us to get a whole beef from another family member and get our food stockpile going strong.
Our newest financial goal is saving 20% of whatever income we have. This is a huge step for us as previously we had not been setting our savings goal that high. But we are willing to try to rise to the goal and have set it a bit higher where it’s a little uncomfortable and we have to try really hard! We’ve succeeded the past 3 weeks and hopefully it will soon be a habit.
The biggest conversation at our house this week centered on a possible renovation to the kitchen, dining and living room area of our home. We’ve been considering this for a few months and recently started the process of looking into a home equity line of credit. (We own our home free and clear so felt comfortable with the possibility of a payment.)
After much discussion about the changes and what we would gain and how much time and money it would cost, we decided to not do any structural changes and to only do the updates that are doable with cash. This is stuff like painting, updating furniture, and adding an island in the kitchen. DH is a woodworker/carpenter so he would have done any of the changes and will be building any furniture pieces I’d like to have to make the space a better fit and more cozy for us.
But at least we won’t be getting a loan or spending thousands of dollars. Honestly, the thought of our home being in a state of chaos while he worked on it on the weekends was the deal breaker for me. I’m very sensitive to my environment and that sounded like torture!
That’s what we’ve been doing to make life cozy, fun and frugal during this time! Now tell me what fun and frugal things you’ve been doing lately!