This weekend I spent a lot of time fixing things. It's either that or buy new. My repairs will last longer than replacing the items so as long as I can keep the "I want to spend money" gremlin away then fixing things is the way to go.
First on the list was the ice chest. I already fixed one but now two more needing repair. The hinge on these ice chests are made of plastic. Well, bend plastic back and forth a bunch of times and it's going to break. Last time when I fixed the ice chest I bought several packages of hinges. They were about 3 inches in length, although for the smaller ice chests a 2 1/2 inch hinge would also work. They cost about $1.50 for two. I unscrewed the hinges that were on the ice chest and put the new ones on. One set of holes lined up; this means two of the six screw holes lined up. Not a problem. The original hinges only had four holes, not six. I'll just reuse the screws, so I'll only use the outside sets of holes. I used the punch to punch in a little hole to start the screw. I could have just started screwing through the plastic but starting it off with the little hole was just easier. Total cost - $3.00. Two new ice chests would have cost $50.
We finally got the two date palm trees planted. I had to really think hard about where I wanted to plant them. That may seem odd since we have 5 acres, but I like the trees close enough that watering isn't a chore. This type of palm has really sharp needles. I can imagine a ball hitting the tree and popping instantly. Or a kid running to catch a ball and ending up filled with really painful punctures. In a couple of years they can provide for our sugar needs since each date palm can produce around 100 pounds of dates. Couple that with honey and we are set. Now all I have to do is start making recipes with ground up dried dates rather than sugar. It should work fine for everything except when the grand kids make their Koolaid. (I don't want to hear about how horrible Koolaid is so don't waste your typing!)
For their back to school shopping I decided to do something different this year. Since I'm trying not to use the credit cards (but I do love getting the cash back bonus) I went to the bank with the kids and took out $200 in 20s. I had each kid get an envelope and put their name on it. Then they each got $100. Of course I kept their envelopes in my pocket! I had some idea of what they needed and figured this should cover it. Girl only needed shoes and socks and a few new dresses, skirts, and tops. Boy needed shoes, socks, underwear, and t-shirts. He hasn't grown much yet and most of his clothes still fit. They both bought shoes and socks. Then Girl said she was done shopping and wanted me to give her the rest of the money. No! It's not for you to spend on other things. (She wanted to reactivate her phone since I shut it off.) It's for clothes. I will keep the money and maybe in a month or so you may want to buy something. We did a little more shopping and got two clearance dresses from Kohl's for $4.00 each, down from $40 each. We also picked out some material to make some skirts. Boy found a fluorescent yellow t-shirt. He's going to wear it on the first day of school. After getting the shoes and all underclothes, he only had $13 left. Now he has $3. Girl still has about $25 left plus she has $28 of birthday money.
I'm in a "buy it yourself" mood when it comes to the grand kids. When we were out shopping both of them kept asking for stuff. When told they could have it but they'd have to spend their own money their tune changed about wanting it. Since school starts next week, today I had them clean out their backpacks and notebooks from the end of the school year. Yes, I know that should have been done 2 months ago but it's sort of family tradition. Girl comes in to tell me that she doesn't have a backpack. Sure you do. In fact, you have two. No, they are ripped. Well, Girl, I guess we will go to the store on Wednesday evening and you can spend $50 of your $53 dollars buying yourself a new backpack. Or you can put your ripped backpack on the chair in my room and I will sew it up. Guess what? She found her perfectly fine, not one rip or tear, backpack. Amazing what happens when you have to pay for your own stuff!
We are trying to make some lunch snacks. I've made crackers before but this weekend I had Girl and Boy make them. We made Wheat Thins, or at least our version. It's an easy recipe and one that uses home store food. 1 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour (we ground our own from our whole wheat), 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, a pinch of turmeric (to give it the color you are used to seeing)(or don't bother with the turmeric), 4 tablespoons cold butter (most say unsalted but I just use less salt and use salted butter), 1/4-1/2 teaspoon vanilla (although some recipes don't include this). Mix everything together until it looks cornmeal (like you are making pie dough). Then add 1/4 cup cold water. Mix well. You can take it out of the bowl and knead it a couple of times. Then roll it out really really really thin on a well floured surface. Using a pastry wheel makes quick work of cutting the dough and also gives it a nice style. If you cut the pieces about 1 1/2 inches square they will look like the real Wheat Thins. You can also cut them out in circles, rectangles, or however you want. You should prick each cracker with a fork to make it so it doesn't puff up. Put them onto the cookie sheet and bake 400 degrees for about 5 minutes. The recipe is easy and tastes the same as the store bought crackers. The whole recipe costs less than 50 cents to make or $2.00 for a box when it's on sale.
If you have powdered butter in your storage program then this would be a quick easy recipe to make if TSHTF. Baking them in the sun oven, where the temperature doesn't get to 400 would just mean baking a few minutes longer. It would still work.