Running the homestead and saving money.

Hello everyone!

We have been having a great time working in our big yard and garden, restocking the pantry, doing home projects inside and celebrating another little boy birthday. We are also whittling down the spending after a brief time of splurging a bit.

I’ve been doing what I do! Purging, decluttering, still working toward a simplified but charming home. I’m getting there box by bag by box. I’ve made a few trips to Goodwill recently to drop of things. Now, after some big downsizing, one must clean up and organize what is left and in doing that many shelves have been emptied. I recently recycled many boxes of glass jars I saved over the years from pickles, sauces, mayonnaise. I used these jars for storage of bulk foods and seasonings, however, it turned out I just didn’t need to keep saving jars like a crazy person. I also moved the remaining food stuffs into the kitchen.

We took a trip to WinCo with a budget of $400 for restocking the pantry in the laundry room.

We did a little shopping at the health food store and the majority of it at WinCo, costing us $332 to fill up the pantry. Most of this was either canned or bulk foods; large bags of rice, beans, flour, and polenta. I’m cooking from scratch like crazy right now and mastering it! The more you cook from scratch the easier and faster if becomes. I think I could whip up homemade pizza’s, dough and all in the same time we would go out, buy a frozen pizza, return home, and put it in the oven.

I’ve found a fantastic organic whole wheat bread machine recipe on YouTube:

I’ve been trying new ways to make healthier pizza’s with whole wheat pizza dough and homemade pizza sauce. There are homemade oat bars, muesli, and much more. I’m spending long days in the kitchen trying new things or modifying old recipes. I had a lady once share that she and her daughter were vegan and just veganized recipes of Recently I donated almost all the cookbooks for a fund raiser for shelter pets. That really motivated me to box up cook books I’ve either never touched or I only used one recipe from the whole book. Why hold onto the books when others will love them, stain them with sauces, dog ear the favorites, just as a cook book should be used.

I find all my recipes on YouTube or and I veganize regular recipes by replacing meat and dairy or eggs with plant based alternatives. Many dishes are turning out delicious!

Cooking from scratch and using mostly bulk foods and produce in season saves hundreds each month, as many of you know.

For Mothers Day we spent a wad of money on more fruit trees, basil, and lavender. We are now totaling around 38 fruit, berry, and nut trees in our quarter acre yard. We have cherries, apples, nectarines, pomegranates, almonds, blue berries, pears, plums, raspberries, black berries, Marion berries, mandarins, and apricots. And the trees are already producing a lot of fruit for their size!

We have had issues with leaf curl due to either fungus or aphids and I’m learning a lot about caring for a small orchard and keeping it healthy. I even created a tree medical kit I carry around in the mornings I tend to the trees.

We celebrated the last birthday of the season. For Arjan we had our friends over with their two boys that have been friends with our boys for years. We decorated with streamers and such I picked up at Dollar Tree for Sam’s birthday in March. We made most of the food with the exception of a store bought cake. We piled up the table with fruits, rice, salad, shrimp (Arjan has shrimp every birthday), and I made WHAM sandwiches. These are so, so good! They are made from a plant based faux ham (not vegan, has egg whites) that comes in a large log. We slice and heat in a pan. Toast some sourdough. Slather on vegan mayo, pile on sliced onions and tomatoes and you have the best sandwich ever.

Sam started his own grocery trolley. He is trying to make money for a new Nerf gun. His prices are quite high. A pear for $3? He was selling produce, dog treats, even wood for a camp fire and toys. We bought most of his produce to keep him from taking his trolley on the street. We did insist he lower his prices. In the end he didn’t make much and decided that the toys he had were good enough.

We spend our days at home or close to home. We have everything we need right here.