Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Here is a cake I did recently for a birthday at church. I did not have the a/c on initially when I was working on the cake, and the temperature in the kitchen seemed to rise by the second. The yellow part of the sun was supposed to be done with the star tip with built up areas for the corners of the mouth and the nose. The icing kept melting and running though. Dh had to help me put it in the freezer to keep it together. In the end I think it turned out okay. I am planning to give it another try this weekend for a family member's birthday. This time I will do it early in the morning before the real sun heats things up too much.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Walk in the Garden

First I want to share a picture of the pumpkin plants. These are growing in our compost pile, which is the only place I ever have luck with pumpkins. We toss a rotting one or two in each year so we have more for the following year. I am not a fan of eating them, but it is nice to have free pumpkins for decorating each fall. I should add that this is only half of the runners. They also extend into the yard further on the right side. The chickens have fun going in the pumpkin forest and eating bugs.

Here is a picture of the main garden. This is what 100+ degree temperatures do to cucumbers, squash, and zucchini. We did get plenty of produce off the plants before the heat got to them.

We do still have watermelon plants growing. Here is the biggest melon which we are planning to pick and cut soon. We have no money in these melons only time. They were grown from seeds dh saved from a melon last year.

Finally an earlier photo of some garden goodies. I used to use plastic grocery bags to gather the vegetables. Since we are only using cloth shopping bags now, I needed something to use in the garden. I had intentions of buying a basket, but I found this one in my craft room. It is the perfect size for gathering a few tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. Of course, I had to tote those giant zucchinis.

Friday, June 26, 2009


My June challenge was a bust. After dh got sick things just seem to go downhill from there. We had a weed eater and two lawn mowers tear up. One of them broke down three times. That was money spent each time. We finally gave up, took a vacation day, and ended up shopping for some much needed clothing items. The first half of the month was good, and the second half not so much. Oh, well, that is the way life goes sometimes.

I do have some actual posts planned beginning next week. *Gasp!* I will get back to my normal-ish day to day activities around here. Come back Monday for a fresh start!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Avoiding a Budget Buster

My shopping plans were quickly tossed aside as I took my sick husband to the doctor this morning. He is sick and whiny. The whining is due to the sickness so I will overlook it. I narrowed my shopping down to two stores: CVS and Harvey's. I did not count the prescription costs in the spending total as those will come out of the medical budget. I had $20 to spend today. How did I do?

CVS: $6.42

Dawn dish detergent - 2
chocolate chip cookies
Pecan Sandies
Gillette razor
60 pictures developed

The food items were to console the sick dh. I did have some extra bucks expiring tomorrow that I needed to use. I was not able to roll them all over, but I did get some usable items out of it.

Harvey's: $16.14

various types of canned chicken soup - 6
honey bun
Tabasco sauce
brown rice
Oscar Myer deli creations sandwich (free coupon)
frozen meals for me - 3
sour cream
shredded cheese - 1 lb
pasta salad mixes - 2

Obviously I was over my $20 by about $3. I think that was okay and am not stressing about it. Sometimes challenges do not work out just right. I could have been $30 over budget. Any planned meals went out the window. I will still have those for when he is well.

The challenge continues!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Practically Free Sweet Pickle Relish

Well, here I am just over a week into my challenge. I am proud to say that I have done no spending outside of what always needs to be done (bills mainly). I even managed to make a batch of my yummy sweet pickle relish with no out of pocket costs.

I had jars and jar flats on hand already. We had plenty of cucumbers and onions from the garden. My mom gave me some limp. but still usable for relish, celery. I bartered a bottle of Pledge from my stockpile for two bell peppers. I had sugar, vinegar, celery seed, and mustard seed in my pantry.

I ended up with four and half pints of sweet relish. I found the recipe among my grandmother's things after she passed. It is a delicious and super easy relish. The combination of all the vegetables make it much better than store bought.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A June Challenge

As I climbed over stuff piled in the floor of my pantry to put away my purchases last week, I decided I needed to quit shopping -- at least for a little while. I have enough toothpaste, shampoo, soap, snacks, etc to last until 2010 and beyond. Add to that the fact I am tired of driving the 20+ miles into town once a week to buy things I already have. When I visited my mother, she was having the same space problems I was. I made a challenge to her to not go to the grocery store this week.

I decided to expand the challenge for myself. I am allowing $10 per week for grocery shopping. I am not buying any books. Honest I won't even though the last time I only made it 10 days before caving in. I will make it 30 days this time around. I am not going to purchase any household items that are not necessary this month. I will be purchasing a gift card for my SIL's birthday with money already set aside for that. My goal will be to save as much of dh's paychecks for the month of June as possible.

I knew this would be hard, but I am already trying to resist temptation on day 1. I am trying not to buy a taco shell maker that forms the tortillas into taco shell shapes as they are fried. I tell myself it is only $10, but I could save that $10. Instead I am going to try using tin foil to make a rack to bake the homemade tortillas on. Baking is healthier than frying, and the tin foil can be reused.

I will still be paying all of the normal bills and such. I only want to cut out those extra items I buy throughout the month. A few dollars here and there do no seem like much, but I think they will seriously add up by the end of the month. My goal is to report daily on my progresses and failures. Join me as I try to tighten my budget and get closer to our goal of a new house.