When I created my post about rereading books kept in storage for too many years I wasn’t sure whether I would actually have time to read the books on my list. My post “Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1” was an attempt […]
Tag: frugal living
Eight years ago when we moved into our house I pared down my book collection by about 25% and put the rest into boxes. Until a few months ago those boxes largely remained untouched as we navigated life and I stopped reading all together while […]
It’s been a while since my last garden update so I thought I would write up a quick one today even though my garden is in pretty bad shape. It looks like my last garden update was in April of 2022. Every year I think my garden is worse but this year really takes the cake. I barely started any plants and we did not do our yearly pilgrimage to the store to buy starts and flowers so everything is pretty weedy. Anything that I planted this year was bought last fall in a fit of productivity. I was surprised by the number of emails I received from Territorial Seed for delivery of horseradish, wasabi, potatoes, onions and asparagus. I have planted most of it out but some of my plants were murdered by the squirrels immediately so I will have to replace them again next year. My horseradish is doing pretty well. I planted it in pots so it would stay contained and I am looking forward to harvesting it in the fall.
I left onions and greens in the garden last fall and those are doing really well. My kale and collards flowered and are now producing seed pods which I will spread in a couple of areas to promote them to grow as a ground cover instead of the weeds I have. I would rather have edible weeds that I like than everything else popping up. My greens are some of the first plants to flower every spring so they are also great for the bees and the bugs to pollinate. My elephant garlic is also flowering right now which is great. I spread that around to form clusters so that I will have a continuous supply of that as well. Garlic is also a great pest repellent for some plants to grow side by side so I will plan out my garden according to what works well next to it.
Speaking of wild kale starts. I have a large patch of kale growing in one of my less productive beds. I was finally able to pick some this week and will continue to do so until all of it bolts. I am going to till under a large number of the starts, currently it is like a carpet of kale which is pretty cute, to help build this soil back up. I have had issues growing in this particular bed the past few years and it is due partly to the way the sun moves but also the soil needs some revitalization. I have tried fertilizing and other amendments but for some reason this bed just doesn’t produce much. It is my oldest bed but I added a ton of new soil last year with my potatoes and still it is having a hard time. It may be time to completely redo it but I just haven’t had the time.
My potatoes are doing just ok. I really need to add some more soil to them but I am also having an issue where someone is digging up my new potatoes and eating them in the garden bed. I am sure it is bunnies or squirrels but I haven’t caught anyone yet. The slugs really like the potato feasts being left for them and finish them off. We are having a much larger issue with pests straight up eating our fruit and veggies this year. I am hearing from others that their fruit especially is getting eaten very quickly too and it makes me think the animals are extra hungry this year. We did not get any of our strawberries and usually we have so many they fall onto the ground and get eaten by bugs.
We have a bumper crop of raspberries this year and there are way too many for us to possibly eat. I offered some to my neighbors and we are going to freeze a bunch to make food magic with. We won’t go raspberry picking this year since we have so many at home but we are out of blueberries so we will probably go pick blueberries once they are in season.
Our blueberries are looking great this year too. I have made more of an effort to water them and we have some great looking berries. I really need to revitalize the berry patch as well. It has been taken over by grass and some weeds and all of it needs to be pulled out and mulched. This will probably be my project for later this summer. I want to take out a large section of grass from that area too to add more flowers.
This year I had several pears start to form fruit although now I am only seeing a couple on there. My pear tree has a rust infection that I need to treat as well but I have not had time to take care of that yet either. Hopefully I can get to that soon and by next year it will be better.
We have a lot of apples again this year. I started thinning them this week but some of them are too tall for me to reach without a ladder. We really should be netting our trees to prevent the worms that are prevalent in Washington state but every year I forget so it never gets done. Our apples mostly feed the squirrels at this point so I am ok with a few bugs. I need to do a second thinning next week and keep up with the extra watering I have been doing which really has helped.
I should probably talk a little bit about my side yard. This side faces south and I did have it well weeded in March but two weeks of ignoring it right when the sun came out and it looks like a completely neglected yard full of weeds. I have been working on this over the past week and it is slowly getting better but it looks like I am going to have to do another mulch application ASAP. It has been a few years and needs it again. I also have some larger garden beds I would like to install but that will be a larger project since I need to level the slope a bit first. Maybe I can get this done in time for next year.
The highlight of my garden this year by far has been the garter snake I found earlier this week. It is nice and fat from eating all of my slugs and I am beyond excited to see it! Garter snakes are a sign of a healthy ecosystem and that has been one of my goals with my garden for the past few years. I really want a place where nature feels free to hang out. I did notice we had was less slugs in the garden this year and now I know why! I am only seeing the larger ones which are way too big for this small snake to eat. Last year we had frogs which I have not heard this year at our house but my neighbors do have them in their yard so maybe they moved because of the snake.
As I sit here mid-way through 2023 with my first official Covid infection I thought I would take some time to look at my progress with my 2023 goals. For 2023 I wanted to focus on self-care and take time to relax every day. I […]
Recently we went to the Washington Arboretum near the University of Washington in Seattle. We have gone there many times in the past but have not been there for quite some time. We love to walk the trails and learn about the plants from all […]
My goals for 2023 revolve quite a bit around self-care and doing things that make me happy such as cross-stitching, gardening, puzzles, hanging out with my family and reading. I am also trying to make them pretty open ended so I don’t feel to rigid about them.
- Practice Self-Care every day. – My main goal is to practice self-care every day. I have found that I am not good at resting and my focus this year will be in practicing this.
- Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles! – As part of my self-care I set myself a goal of doing puzzles every week. I outlined it here in a recent blog post. I do want to try and sign up for a puzzle competition next fall but I am not sure if the timing will work out with my school and my kids’ school.
- Cross-stitch to finish projects. – I really want to finish my Zoo Alphabet project and start the Autumn Love project I bought last fall. I also want to make headway on both of the HAEDs that I have started and work through some of my smaller projects. I will be talking more about this on my YouTube channel but for now I want to finish some WIPS.
- Maintain my Commit30 planner. – My fourth goal is to keep up with my planner every month this year. I have found that writing things down really helps me remember what I need to do. I love my Commit30 planners and how every month you set a goal for yourself. You can find them here.
- Read some books. – I don’t have a concrete number of books to read this year but I do have a few that I want to get through. Some are favorites like this series by Dorothy Dunnett and others are new to me. I may post something later this year for one of my monthly goals but for now I just want to read a few books and rediscover my love of reading.
- Maintain the status quo with finances. – I am not working but I am taking classes all year for 2023 and this has made our budget very tight so my goal is for us to stick to it and maintain the status quo. I don’t want to take on any new debt and I also am hoping we can see an increase in our emergency fund this year. I don’t have any investment goals besides continuing to contribute to our account every month. The stock market has been down and I am just going to keep trucking along with our set amounts and not worry about it.
- Continue to grow my YouTube channel. – I have really enjoyed filming for my YouTube channel Oscoey which can be found here. This year I am expanding beyond groceries into cross-stich and my puzzle content.
- Keep working on my health. – I am still recovering from the major burnout I experienced last year and I am going to continue with recovering for 2023. I have been doing more gentle exercise, focusing on my eating and practicing self-care and it is slowly turning things around. I have signed up for one 5k so far (walking) and I am thinking of doing a 10k next fall.
Thank you for reading my 2023 goals! I am keeping this post short and sweet so the important parts stand out. I hope your 2023 goes well and you get enough time to relax and enjoy the things you love!
2022 was a year with mixed results for me. As I reflect on my 2022 goals post from March of this year I am struck by how different my year turned out from where it started. I started the year gung ho about my career […]
September was an expensive month for us as far as groceries go. All of our stock up trips seemed to happen this September and that caused our grocery total to be higher than usual. We also have been trying to eat healthier which of course […]
We were out of a lot of staples for July so I knew we would have an expensive month for groceries. We are still working hard at keeping our food budget well under $1,000 by watching prices more carefully, eating up what we have and reducing our food waste. Our ultimate goal is to keep it under $600 a month for our family of four plus our oldest daughter who is out of the house. She comes over very frequently for meals still and we love to have her so I include her in our grocery budget as a partial member.
We were having a hard time tracking our spending with both of us going to the store since we buy groceries from Costco, Amazon and Target a lot and they all have purchases mixed in the total. In June I set up a Google sheet that we could both enter the grocery portion of our purchases in and it is working amazingly! It is easy to check my total when I am making videos and we can see how far off we are from our goal pretty easily. We are also working on making as few trips to the store as possible so that we don’t get there and find lots of extra items. I am particularly guilty of this during our Costco run. I love Costco and I am easily swayed by fresh produce and new things to try. I am working on it though and we have been doing better so we will continue our efforts in the hopes that by the end of the year we have a streamlined frugal grocery routine.
Our first grocery haul of July was so big I had to film it in three parts. I went to Franz for our periodic stock up and we did a gigantic Costco run. Lots of our regular items were on sale at Costco this month and we stocked up on what we could. Looking back I think the reason our July grocery total was so large was mostly due to this stock up. We really didn’t spend money on too much the rest of the month. We won’t do a large stock up like this one for a while so hopefully we will be able to stick to our $600 budget going forward.
We went back to Costco again a couple of weeks in to get a few things Costco was out of and that we forgot the first time. This run was pretty expensive for what we bought but we did need a bunch of jerky for our kids to eat during camp. They really only get it regularly in the summer so it is rare enough they eat it at camp for a good source of protein. We also had to buy Luna bars to stock up on as well from Amazon.
We did a small haul at Costco and Grocery Outlet towards the middle of the month as well to pick up some fresh fruit and ingredients for a recipe. I didn’t end up making the chicken tacos. My husband was the one to make the recipe and he does not use pre-made taco seasoning so it was made a little bit differently than I had originally intended but I am still going to try and make it myself in the future. I realized my crock pot is way too big to just make a couple of breasts and it was too hot to use the oven for a long time. I will try that recipe again this fall.
Overall we spent a lot this month. We did end up trying the free lunch pickups a couple of times but they mostly had the same food every day and my kids were not huge fans. I felt really bad for the kids that relied on these meals over the summer since there wasn’t really a lot of variety. Universal Free Lunches are over in our area so we won’t be able to participate again in the fall when school starts up again. I guess a lot of families were shocked to hear they weren’t being continued into the fall for everyone. It will be a huge hit to many family’s budgets. We saved probably $200 a month picking up the 5 day meal kits and towards the end of last school year it was so much food we really couldn’t keep up with eating it. We still have a lot left but my goal is to eat through it by the end of the year.
I am proud of our progress these past few months with how we are paying much better attention to our grocery spending. We are getting better at using what we have and not doing much impulse spending. Thank you for reading!
Our June grocery goal was to eat through our fridge and freezer as much as possible and for the most part we reached this goal. I am super proud of our progress! Up until the last week of June we kept our spending under $300 […]