Our Bread-Themed Weekend

Free Bread Haul

We stopped by our local Salvation Army thrift store yesterday afternoon, and they had free bread again! We got hooked on this awesome freebie last year. Then, it went away, and we sure missed it. Hopefully this means it’s back to stay. I plan to use some of the flatbreads to make flatbread pizzas for dinner tonight. Yum! We’ll keep some of the sliced bread out for sandwiches this week, and stick the rest in the freezer to enjoy later.

Bread Racks

But wait … the bread-related freebies don’t stop there because, we also scored all of these bread racks in a curb pile today.

Brown Bread Racks

There are around 150 of them! What am I going to do with them you ask?

I plan to use a tall tower of them to store our root/winter vegetables in the basement – potatoes, onions, garlic, butternut squash etc. I’ll also use them to haul merchandise to consignment sales and craft shows (we’ll be doing our first craft show in May), and I’m sure I’ll find lots more uses for them when we reorganize the basement next month. As soon as we get all the cabin stuff out of the basement (I’m hoping we’ll be able to move stuff into the cabin in two weeks), I’m going on a major decluttering/organizing spree. I’ll be sure to share pictures of how we use the racks when we get to that point.

And since 150 racks is admittedly a lot of racks, I’ll probably also share some with our farmer friends. They use them to haul produce to the farmer’s markets, and I’m sure they’d be thrilled to have more. I love how curb shopping allows us to do nice things for our friends and family. Some have even started giving us their wish lists at the start of curb shopping season. Ha!

Canning Ring Jackpot

Ball Canning Rings

We been running low on half-pint canning rings for a while now, but here’s the crazy thing: you can buy replacement sets of lids and rings, and you can buy replacement lids by themselves, but you can’t buy just the rings by themselves. Why is that? Ball, you’re clearly missing out on an opportunity here. Because those rings, they get rusty after a while; and we frugal types already have loads of lids. Shopping smarties that we are, we stocked up when they went on clearance at the end of last canning season. We just need rings, darn it!

#frugalgirlproblems

Well, while I’m no closer to an answer from Ball, I am happy to report that our local Goodwill thrift store saved me from a full-out canning tantrum, because when I walked in the other day, they had a HUGE bin of half-pint canning rings. The sign said they were $.25 each, which is more than they sell for retail, but I didn’t let that pricing blunder rain on my parade. Nope. I carried the tub up to the register, and asked if they could do better on the price, if I bought all of them. And you know what she said? She said I could have them for $5. Woo hoo!

So, for $5 I scored 140 bands, 28 lids and a storage tub. It’s not safe to reuse lids for canning (and I have no way of telling if these were used), so I’ll just use them to store foods in the pantry or freezer.

I jumped on Amazon this morning to get an idea of how much I saved, and I’d have to buy 12 packages of lids and bands to get 140 bands. At $3.14 a package, that’s $37.68. So, I saved $32.68! Thrift storing saves the day once again!

Have you had any killer thrift store finds lately? I’d love to hear about them.

Printable Monthly Financial Snapshot

Printable Monthly Financial Snapshot

Keeping up with your finances doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Use my new Monthly Financial Snapshot printable to stay on top of bills, account balances and your financial goals. Just keep this one page up to date, and you’ll know exactly where you stand.

Monthly Financial Snapshot Worksheet

Then, compare your financial snapshots from month to month to see how you’re doing with budgeting, building up your savings and meeting your financial goals. It really is the easy way to take charge of your money.

This printable is editable, so if you’d like, you can fill in your information before you hit print, or simply save it to your computer, and update it throughout the month. Do whatever works best for you.

If you’re using Google’s Chrome browser, our printables may not print properly. Click here for printing help.

Spring Break at the Homestead

The kids were out on spring break this week, so we dropped them off at their grandparents for their annual visit, and headed up to our weekend homestead to squeeze in six days of work. I think that’s the longest stretch that we’ve had to work on the cabin since we bought it, and we have lots to show for it. Here’s a look at the progress:

Living Room Floor

When we started working on the cabin back in October, our first order of business was to close in the living room, so we’d have a place to stay while we worked. That meant building a back wall (since there wasn’t one), replacing all of the broken windows, tearing out the subfloor and temporarily closing the room off to the rest of the cabin. We managed to tackle all of that in one weekend, but we ran out of time when it came to laying a new sub floor. So, we just laid some plywood down, and called it good.

On this trip, we finally got a chance to finish the floor. It’s just pressure-treated plywood, nothing fancy, but it should hold up well to heavy foot traffic. I plan to porch paint it, so it’ll be easy to clean. [Read more…]

My Newly Reorganized Pantry

Pantry

I was in my pantry the other night pulling out ingredients for dinner, when I decided I just couldn’t take the mess any more. Ever since my kids started baking and cooking regularly, the pantry has just been out of control. They pull things out, and then they put them back in weird and random places.

Messy Pantry

Like the Sriracha and red wine vinegar on my baking shelf. Clearly that’s where those go, right? I mean, obviously that’s where I should look for them the next time I need them for a recipe.

Yeah, not so much.

Clearly it was time to rethink the way the pantry was organized. And by “rethink” I mean, “make it so painfully obvious where things go, so Mom won’t be tempted to eat anyone.”

So, that’s how I came to reorganize the pantry instead of making dinner. What can I say? Families who keep their pantries neat and orderly get homemade Pad Thai for dinner. Families who don’t get cereal.

Now, I’ve seen lots of pantry redos on the web where everything is in matching containers and looks like it jumped off the page of a magazine, but spoiler alert: this isn’t that kind of redo. Frankly, the thought of forking over the money for 30 matching containers pains me. So, this is the kind of redo that happens when you decide you’re going to fix things using just what you have on hand.

Ready to see how things turned out? Take a look. [Read more…]