Like I said, the most inconsistent blogger!
Apparently I took a year off. But, it was quite a year. I think we can all acknowledge that the past two years have been……..wild. I remember December 2020 thinking “I can’t wait for the new year. Everything will go back to normal.” How naive we all were! How silly to think that things would be different just because it was a new year. I feel like 2020 and 2021 were one big blur, almost like nothing happened and everything happened all at the same time.
A few life updates from me. Most notably, I am on a medical leave of absence from work. I made the difficult but necessary decision back in November to step away from work temporarily to focus on my health. Crohn’s Disease is a lifelong illness that I have dealt with since I was a teenager. Chronic illness is no joke, and my body was screaming at me to pay attention. I wasn’t able to function like a normal person. I had lost about 20 pounds (which is a LOT when I only weighed 120 lbs to begin with), was nauseated daily, wasn’t sleeping, and couldn’t keep food down, among other symptoms. I was exhausted and my nerves were frayed. Trying to show up daily to work was giving me such stress and anxiety that I knew something needed to change. So I discussed with my doctors and we decided that I needed to step away to focus on my health. My medicine was clearly no longer working, and major changes needed to be made.
This would be difficult and time intensive under normal circumstances. But, as we all know, these are not normal times. Covid has made everything medically related take substantially longer. Offices are not doing in person visits, procedures are being put off unless absolutely emergent, medical providers are dealing with staffing shortages due to burnout and illness, and on and on and on. You get the idea. Nothing is going according to plan. And of course, my doctors were determined to keep me out of the hospital unless absolutely necessary. I did have one minor surgery a couple weeks ago, but even that was done as an outpatient procedure (which to me was WILD). But I must admit I was much happier recovering at home in my own bed.
Now onto the frugal things!
For the months of January and February I decided to participate in the Three Rivers Challenge! The challenge encourages you to use only the food in your freezer/pantry/that you have preserved and not buy groceries. The idea being, you put all this food away and often it goes unused. Why did I can all those peaches if not to eat them? Why did I freeze all those beans if not to eat them? I don’t live on a homestead, I don’t have chickens, my life looks very different than many of those who participate. But that’s the fun! Everyone gets to set their own rules as no two homes or families are the same. I allowed myself to spend less than $10 on fresh produce weekly if needed, and I allowed food gifts (ie if my mom made dinner and dropped off a serving for me, that was acceptable!) I definitely went through a lot of my baking supplies that I had stocked up on, and I made a good dent in my chest freezer! It definitely showed me what I need to preserve more of this year (peaches!) and where I was pretty on the mark (applesauce). I will definitely be doing the challenge again next year, and maybe even again late summer if I feel up to it. I have gone to the grocery store a couple of times so far this month but I’m going to try to get through til April now without going to the store. I still have plenty of food in the house and this will save money and time.
Sort of related but also not related at all, it’s almost garden planting time! I cannot wait to get my hands in the dirt and get those seeds in the ground. I still need to till the soil in my beds and add some perky soil to top them off but I am SO EXCITED. This year I am going to add garden trellises made from livestock panels. I have been watching all the YouTube videos and doing my reading homework. My neighbor was making a similar trellis of their own last week and has offered to go to the farm supply store with me to get supplies as well as assist me in construction of my tunnels. I think having some help bending the panels will be immensely helpful. Peas can apparently go in the ground as early as St Patrick’s Day (which happens to be tomorrow) so I need to get a wiggle on!
I have been working and reworking my garden plan and I think I have it all laid out the way that will work the best for me. Different plants require different plant neighbors, some require something to climb, some require more of less sun. The obsessive planner in my really likes the planning part.
Other frugal accomplishments:
- My mom is teaching me to sew and I made my first tea towel! Baby steps but very exciting.
- It’s my neighbor’s birthday today and I made my famous carrot cake cupcakes using all items I had on hand. The recipe makes 24 cupcakes so they got 12 and I got to keep 12 for myself. YUM
- Reading library books
- Driving as little as possible because holy moly gas prices! Happy to stay home as much as possible. And because I have been recovering from surgery for the past three weeks, I wasn’t even able to drive until a few days ago.
- A local grocer offers a free item to club members occasionally. My dear friend picked up a dozen free eggs and delivered them to me today as she doesn’t eat them. I don’t either, but I do use them in baking.
- I did a full load of laundry and hung everything to dry on a lovely sunny day.
- Watched Netflix and Hulu to keep myself entertained as I don’t have cable.
- Reading fellow frugal blogs daily as inspiration.
That’s all I can think of at the moment. It is easy to lose sight of the big picture when it feels like the world is falling down around us. My heart goes out to the people of Ukraine and all those affected by this horrible war. Focusing on the small tasks in front of me is helpful. So I will continue to love on my dogs, vacuum, water my plants, read my books. Take care lovelies.