What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, May 23, 2014

Finances on Fridays

Every Friday, here at Renaissance,  I post about my frugal endeavors and financial inspiration to keep my head in the game.   As a single income family, I am constantly trying to stretch, save and strategically spend our pennies to make this household not only work, but thrive.  But sometimes I just want to give up and go buy a bunch of stuff.  So I started Finances on Friday, a way to re-inspire myself and push myself to keep on keeping on.  Join me?

* Mended: a hat, three skirts, six dresses, three shirts, four sheets and two pairs of holey jeans that I turned into shorts

* Bought 40 pounds of fresh half-chickens for $20.00 from a small Mennonite store nearby (this, I admit, puts a damper in the EMPTYING of a freezer but .50 a pound for fresh chicken was a deal I couldn't pass up!)

* bought a Japanese Anemone and some forget-me-nots from a church plant sale for $2.00 each

* bought two rhubarb plants this year and spent too much money on them.  I had checked several places and only two (out of six!) places had them- for $7.50 a piece at BOTH places.  I checked (and begged) on Craigslist but no rhubarb to be gotten there either.  So I sprung and bought two plants.  I know it was expensive but I figure the hearty and thriving plants will last me forever...as opposed to the crowns I planted last year that never came up.  $15 out of pocket (which stinks) but hopefully a lifetime of rhubarb.  I will just think about the fact that I could have wasted those $15.00 in many other ways that wouldn't reward me year after year.  (Do you see how I justify myself all the time?)

* Planted: rhubarb, swiss chard and last of brussel sprouts.

* Noticed a bunch of parsnips popping up in the garden from last year!  That was a pleasant surprise!

* paid $200 extra toward principal of house (every extra payment toward the principal of the mortgage gets us one step closer to getting this house paid off with the least amount of interest paid.  Even the small drops in the proverbial bucket matter....or so I tell myself every month when I scrape a measley amount of extra dollars together.)

* picked bouquets of lilacs for the house

* made homemade yogurt (4 1/2 qts)

* spent hours out in the Granary, sorting and cleaning.  Dropped off 9 bags of stuff for donation and three bags of garbage.  Set aside only the best things for yard sale.  What a huge difference so far!  Super excited!

* a neighbor gave me some extra rhubarb stalks (harvested) and while I was complaining about the price I paid for rhubarb---they said "Oh- we have some growing in our woods!  Come on over Friday and dig it up if you wish!"  So.  YAY for free rhubarb plants!  BOO for buying rhubarb earlier in the week (justification or not).

* worked on handmade baby gift

* hung laundry on line to dry

* washed a TON of crummy ziploc bags which had been shoved in a nook and forgotten about.

* wrote three letters


Week 3 of the Use-It-Up Challenge~ in which I try and clear out a freezer and canning cupboard in preparation for an (Lord willing) abundant harvest!
Lunches, unless otherwise stated, take the form of the very uncreative, uninteresting sandwich. Or leftovers.  And I should mention the children have a snack between lunch and supper since we eat so late.  Snacks are sundry little bits of things.  As usual~ if it is blue it is from the freezer and red is from the canning cupboard.)

breakfast: fried eggs, sautéed onions, toast
supper: Mexican chicken, cheddar and onion wraps; pesto parmesan potatoes;  peaches, steamed vegetables

breakfast: cereal
supper: grilled sirloin steak, oven roasted potatoes, broccoli with cheddar cheese sauce, applesauce

breakfast: scrambled eggs, cheese, raisin toast, grape juice
lunch: leftover soups from freezer mixed together (venison stew and minestrone soup) and rolls 
supper: pepper and onion stir fry (kielbasa, jalapeno peppers, pineapple zucchini) over brown rice, pears, peanut butter fudge (leftover from Christmas)

breakfast: eggs, toast, cheese and sausage
dinner: barbecued chicken drumsticks on the grill, mixed vegetables and couscous, vanilla pudding with huckleberry sauce, pickles

breakfast: lemony blueberry muffins (shredded zucchini, huckleberries), cottage cheese
dinner: quiche, pickles.  (beet greens, zucchini, and leftover couscous veggies from last topped with a single puff pastry I found WAAAY in the back of the freezer.  Since I don't buy puff pastry (like...ever) I have no idea how old that sucker was.  But it made a good crust for the quiche!).  Molasses cookies (from frozen dough~ enough for eight cookies.  Weird.  WHY would I have frozen enough dough for eight cookies?!?)

breakfast: homemade maple vanilla yogurt and peanut butter granola, fresh strawberries
dinner: broccoli and cheddar soup, herbed baking powder biscuits (broccoli, shredded zucchini, cabbage broth)

breakfast: eggs and Naughty Rhubarb Scones (though there is nothing naughty about them.  I used yogurt instead of cream because that is what I had on hand)
lunch: my sister is coming over so I am making Beef Burritos with corn and black bean relish and salsa over brown rice (cilantro, corn, beef, salsa)
dinner: Pizza and Carrot Sticks night!  I am thinking Garlic Pesto Chicken and Pepperoni with onions.

It's funny~ ever since I have been writing out our menu I have had to fight the urge to photograph every meal.  I think it is because 'barbecued chicken" doesn't adequately convey the 45 minutes of basting that had to be done first.  Squishing 45 minutes of effort into two words is a bit depressing.  And of course there is the fact that, though in reality it was delicious to eat AND to look at, "leftover soups mixed together" is less than appealing to read.

Do you have anything financial/inspiring to share this week? 
 Link up!  
As always~ PLEASE link to your SPECIFIC blog post, not your entire blog. It could be ways you saved or stretched or strategically spent those pennies...or, if you prefer not to be so personal, even inspiration you found online, articles or quotes... but please link to a post about SOMETHING financial! Lastly, please link back to my blog so maybe others would like to share!


Anonymous said...

I don't reply, like ever - sorry but I do faithfully read every week your blog. You are smart, funny, charming and I am pretty sure you and I could be for real friends.

FYI - you could cook for me anytime and I would sooooooo love to see pictures of some of these meals as well.

have a great weekend!

Terri said...

Don't ya just hate when you break down and buy something and then have it offered for free not even a day or two later. I always could kick myself for breaking down.

Good job again this week, Rebecca! Thanks for the inspiration.

Julian said...

At least you have rhubarb plants! We hardly ever see it here in texas but I grew up with it in idaho. I miss it! Although several years ago my friend made me a rhubarb pie and I had to eat half because no one likes it abd I definitely wasn't gonna let it go to waste!
Great ways to save. You always inspire me. My stuff in the freezer never really lasts that long with all the teenagers I have. I guess I need a different strategy.

...they call me mommy... said...

I picked lilacs here also!! When/how do you need to prune lilac bushes...some of mine are huge and don't seem to be flowering anymore??? :( They are overgrown and the limbs are breaking off! HELP!

Courtney said...

Fifty cents a pound for chicken! Totally and completely worth getting 40 pounds.
I don't think I've ever had rhubarb, but it sounds good. That's great that you got so much for free. Maybe you could just average out the cost with the two you bought and then it would seem like you paid less? lol

Theresa F said...

I love your blog. Just wondering(I haven't read back far enough yet), did you grow up in the country or is this all stuff you are learning as you go(the gardening, etc)?

Abigail said...

You didn't open the polls, but my unsolicited vote is for letting the lilac wall grow and grow, unless it seems to be languishing! :) The house my grandparents lived after they moved out of this old homestead burned down, but it's right down the road from where I grew up, and there are two HUGE bunches of lilac there-- one white and one purple. As a child their size was the best thing about them. I could worm inside and sit, completely hidden and surrounded by the most heavenly scent. Don't be practical-- don't! :)

Abigail said...

p.s. Obviously, I meant to post this below. You know, on the post with all the gorgeous pictures of spring shooting out all over.

p.p.s. Also obviously, Cozykin hasn't arrived yet. I doubt you'll see this before tomorrow, but could you use any quart-size canning jars? I've been cleaning out the basement, and since my aunt gave me more, I have more than I think I'll EVER need. See you tomorrow, Lord willing! :)

Rebecca said...

OOPS! I realized that I never answered the questions here (which I try to do before putting up my next blog post!) I don't know why it was overlooked and it is probably pointless to respond now as you askers will likely not return for the answers at this point but here goes:

Amy~ how don't HAVE to prune lilacs if you don't want to. If the plants are healthy then let 'em grow. You only need to prune dead branches and if you would like to cut them back to a more manageable size. Make the cuts diagonal, slightly above a healthy branch you want to keep. The end!

Theresa~ I have learned (and am still learning) this lifestyle ever since I got married. I grew up with space to run and stretch and in a more country setting but not really with country experiences. When I was very small (3-5ish) we had goats. We also had rabbits for a while when I was a pre-teen but that was the extent of it. By the time I was 12 we had moved to the 'city' (which is a town, really) with a non-existent yard. My mom never hung clothes or grew veggies. So...it has been an adventure starting from scratch. Mostly through error rather than trial. ;-)