1. Dried lemon balm & peppermint for tea.
2. Used a dessert mix I got at the bent 'n' dent to make a last-minute potluck dish.
3. Made cheese.
4. On Wednesday, Hubs heard through the grapevine that someone had hit a deer down the road. We went to check it out, and sure enough both the deer and the police car were still there. Hubs talked to the police lady, and she said the meat was still fresh and the person who hit the deer didn't want it. We loaded it up in the car, and after she had given us a tag (that is, a permit to take home the deer), we went home and cut it up. Only a part of the deer was good enough to keep (one ham and part of the backstraps), but it still added up to 14 lbs of meat by the time I had everything cut up. It took us about 30 minutes to get the deer and for Hubs to cut out the good part, and I spent 1.5-2 hours preparing it to be canned and frozen. We froze the backstrap and I canned the rest of it in chunk meat. However, later that day we discovered that some of the backstrap was a bit tough, so I'll be cooking that in the crock pot instead of pan frying it like I normally do.
6. For dinner, I used a $5 off coupon at Ruby Tuesday. This brought our total- tax, tip and all- to under $10 per person. We've discovered that prices have risen since we first started dating, and by the time you both eat a burger, plus tax and tip, you've spent $25.00-$30.00. Even a $5.00 savings on date night every week adds up to over $250.00 per year.
And yes, for those of you who are wondering... we do spend more money eating out than we do on actual groceries.
7. On the way home, we picked up free Jet's Bread from Jet's pizza, with an email incentive coupon I had printed out. We didn't eat it that night because we were so full from Ruby Tuesday, but it was still great the second day.
I have a lot to learn about using coupons. For example, before I started restaurant couponing, I didn't realize that many email incentives have to be used within two weeks, and of course I signed up for 4-5 email lists in one day. :( So some of the email incentives I got two weeks ago have already been wasted. Knowing this, however, I waited until our date night to sign up for Ruby Tuesday's email list to get a free appetizer. However, after I signed up they sent a notice that the coupon would come to my inbox "within 24 hours". WHAT!?! I needed the coupon in, like, ONE hour!! Needless to say, we left without the coupon. So just FYI, a good time to sign up for email lists is a day or two before you plan to go out.
The other thing I'm realizing is that many offers cannot be combined or "stacked" with other offers. For example, along with my "$5 off $15 purchase" coupon, I also had a "buy one entree get one 50% off" coupon, and an Ibotta rebate for $5 off $15 purchase. However, I could only pick one of these to use. It's a bummer, but we did still save a few dollars.
8. Used Ibotta rebates to get $0.75 ketchup, $0.63 hamburger buns, and Good Earth tea for $1.23. Good Earth is a more expensive brand, but with the rebate it was cheaper than the store-brand that I would normally buy. There were a lot of rebates this week, on account of Memorial Day.
9. Collected more grass mulch, planted some free tomato plants and set up a sprinkler for my garden. It makes watering SO much easier!! I used a sprinkler and hose-splitter we bought last year, so no costs there.
11. Made more soap for the farmers market. I used almost the last of my free goat fat, along with some home-grown sage for decoration.
13. Made $58.04 (net) at the farmers market. Our gross sales were over $100.00.
14. Took farmers market surplus to a potluck.
15. Got free hot dogs at Home Depot on Memorial Day.
Update on the Sugar Jar:
Last week I filled a pint jar with sugar, to be our "ration" for the week. I was surprised at how little sugar we ate, even subtracting sugars from junk food (store bought cookies, ice cream, etc.). By the end of Thursday, we had only used up half the jar- 1/2 cup per person. About the only sugary things we ate were homemade granola, ketchup (you'd be shocked at how much sugar is in ketchup) and Hubs' occasional junk food binge. I'm pleasantly surprised at how he's been playing along with my little sugar rationing game. He even checks the label so he can tell me how much sugar he ate!! What a guy. :) Unfortunately Friday turned into a sugar-fest when someone gave us cookies, we went out for ice cream, ate extra farmers market stuff... and of course Saturday and Sunday were filled with more cookies, farmers market leftovers and a birthday party. So after Thursday I didn't bother measuring the sugar from everything we ate, and just figured that we exceeded the ration.
This week I've cut the ration in half. I'm hoping to avoid some of the weekend sugar-spree by planning out meals ahead of time, and making granola with honey or other natural sweeteners. What I've discovered is that we eat more sugar when 1) we're hungry, or 2) when someone gives it to us / we are at someone else's house.
I think it's rude to say, "Oh sorry, I can't eat that" when a friend has made something for you that you really can eat. I understand if someone has serious problems with peanuts, dairy, etc. or if they have been vegetarian/sugar-free/whatever for years that it's important to tell others, just so they are aware. But some people are always on a different diet and it's impossible to know what they will be 'sensitive' to next. I have a sneaking suspicion that some people would rather tell others what they "can't" eat in public, than have a little self-discipline at home. We're not overweight or sick, so in the interest of everyone around us, we'll continue to eat some sugar when we're out and about. If I make the choice to eat less sugar on my own (not have dessert at a potluck, not stuff my face with farmers market goodies at home, choose a 13g-of-sugar cookie over a 28g candy bar), there's no reason to offend other people by acting like their food isn't good enough for me.
That being said, food I make at home is 100% in my control. I'll be using the Sugar Jar as motivation to start using more honey and other natural sweeteners. I'll also make an effort this week to plan crock-pot meals for the weekend, so we don't get hungry when we're busy.
Goals for this Week
I am taking this week off for the farmers market (city festival = bad sales). Looking forward to:
1. Cleaning up and putting away seed starting stuff.
2. Organizing the pantry.
3. Making granola for us to eat.
4. Making yogurt.
5. Cleaning and organizing the storage room.
6. Mulching the ornamental grasses around our porch.