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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Bartlett Pears The Prudent Homemaker

What a beautiful week we've had! We had rain twice this week; once on Monday evening and then early on Saturday morning. It is very unusual to get any rain in August, and we missed our 1-2 days of rain in July that usually come (they never did this year). Monday's rain was a half inch in our part of the valley, which is a lot for here. This is definitely adding up to the rainiest year I have ever seen.

I collected water in buckets when it rained and used them to water the garden. I also collected several gallons of water from the air conditioner, as the storms brought increased humidity. I used these to water the potted plants.

I turned off the water to the garden for a couple of days thanks to the rain.

Ezrom repaired a leak in the garden.

I mended several items of clothing and repaired a hole in a sheet. 

Winter and I went through several of the children's clothing boxes and found lots of outgrown clothes to give away to two of my nieces for their new babies. This gave me several empty storage boxes to use for other storage and also made my house more organized. Our house has neither a basement nor an attic, and storage space is limited.

We picked tomatoes and pears from the garden.

I went with my husband to take the children swimming at my sister-in-law's house. Winter went to set up the large umbrella that shades part of the pool and stopped when she noticed several scorpions inside of it. Cyrus got a jar with a lid and my husband captured the scorpions in the jar. Several readers were surprised about scorpions here, so I thought I would share!

Winter has decided to make a couple of everyday dresses for herself using some downloadable patterns. They went on sale for a couple of days, and I was able to purchase them on sale for her. It's an interesting company that she found via Pinterest; you put in your measurements and they give you custom sewing patterns! This is the company.

I read two borrowed books.

I am finally recovered from being ill, and looking forward to making and sharing several things with you!

What did you do to save money last week?


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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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I am still ill but was determined to accomplish as much as possible last week. Unfortunately, that went like this:

I was laying in bed on Sunday with a pen and paper on the bed next to me, and I thought, "Why don't I write a list of the things I can get done this week from bed?"

And then I thought, "That's too exhausting", laid down, and went to sleep.

If you ever want to know what a difference you make in your family, being sick for a few weeks will certainly let you know!

I did manage a few things.

Orchids in Bloom The Prudent Homemaker

One of my orchid plants started blooming again. I moved it to the entry table. (I keep non-blooming orchids in my bathroom, where they get bright, diffused light and humidity.)

Lavender Sachets 1 The Prudent Homemaker 

I sewed 4 lavender sachets. These will go in between our sheets in the closet. The lavender helps to keep the scorpions and spiders away.

 Lavender Sachets 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I mended several items of clothing from the mending pile.

I started sewing some new pillows and covers.

I picked tomatoes and a cucumber from the garden.

My husband took the children swimming three times.

My husband gave himself a haircut.


What did you do last week to save money and beautify your life?

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Zinnias and Basil in Blue Ball Jars The Prudent Homemaker

I spent almost all of last week sick in bed. I managed to get up to wash a few loads of laundry and do a couple of things. 

I've written all of the posts I had hoped to share with you last week--but a couple of them aren't published yet until I can get up and take photos.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 gift card.

I redeemed some Recyclebank points that I've had sitting in my account for years for a subscription to Cooking Light magazine for myself and a gift subscription to Sunset magazine for my dad. I've checked out Cooking Light at the library while at the library before and I think I might enjoy it.

I cooked a turkey. The way I cook it is absolutely no work. I just put it in and took it out when it was done.

A site I subscribe to, Comme une Francaise, sent some free, time-limited emails with bonus videos for practicing my French comprehension, which I watched.

My husband gave both of the boys haircuts.

What did you do last week to save money?



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Vintage Penmanship Chart

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Vintage Penmanship Chart The Prudent Homemaker

Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

I love penmanship. 

It's important to me that my children learn to write beautifully.

When I was first learning penmanship, I remember being frustrated that we could not choose alternative ways to write letters, even though I knew at the time that there was more than one way to correctly write several letters (for example, the way I learned to write an uppercase cursive "I" in school was completely different than I had seen other adults write it).)  My teacher was pretty strict about us following the rules that year, but after that, I was free (for the most part; I had another difficulty with a teacher in 9th grade when I tried those non-crossed lower-cased "t"s from the photo below) to write a different style of cursive.

Vintage School Book The Prudent Homemaker 

When I was starting 7th grade, I came across this beautiful student workbook at a flea market with my grandparents. Here was a young girl with exquisite penmanship. I started copying her letters and incorporating them into my own penmanship.

Eventually, I ordered some books on different styles (Copperplate being the easiest to find)  and learned more. My favorite styles are Copperplate, Roundhand, and Spencerian.

Penmanship 1 The Prudent Homemaker

I was delighted to find, several years ago,  that the Spencerian books are still being published. My children are using these for our penmanship studies.

I always wanted a wall chart to hang that would show what we are learning. Several years ago, Karen at The Graphics Fairy shared a penmanship page that I loved and wanted to hang.

Penmanship Chart The Prudent Homemaker

I made some changes to it to make it wider and longer to fit in a standard sized frame (I copied the edges and pasted them next to the eisting edges). I also cleaned up some bits of it, and then I made some more changes to it. My original plan was to make it chalkboard style, but by a happy accident, it became blue first, so I ended up with a blueprint style. If you want to do the same, I used "invert" in Photoshop to change it. If you want a black and white chalkboard looking choice, choose "invert" in layers and then do a black and white layer. The current versions of Photoshop and Elements may do this differently; I have a super old version of Photoshop that I am using. A free site like PicMonkey probably has a similar option. I moved the contrast to 100%.

Then I ordered a print from Sam's Club ($4.28 with tax)  and framed it in a frame I already had (one that used to hang above the table).

(Even though I set the image to 11 x 14 in Photoshop, the program still wanted me to crop the image. I had to make sure it didn't cut off the bottom of the letters.)

This will now hang by our dining table where we have school.

When my children have finished all 5 Spencerian books, I reward them with an inexpensive fountain pen and ink cartridges. In the U.S., most people don't use fountain pens, so these are quite unusual. Fountain pens can be rather expensive in the U.S., since they're not used as school pens, like they are in other places (such as France). These are some of the very inexpensive options I've found on Amazon. I have all of these and like them:

Fountain Pens The Prudent Homemaker

From top to bottom:

Parker Vector colored pen (comes in red, blue, black and gold; I used to buy these at the university bookstore when I was a student)

Rosewood fountain pen (price is often changing; we got this one for $3.65)

Parker Vector Stainless steel pen  

Knox Avicenna

Stainless steel and gold pen  (the least-expensive of the group) 

 Calligraphy Books The Prudent Homemaker

It takes them several years to finish the books. My two oldest children both finished them in 7th grade.  After they've finished them, I've handed them a few other books that I've owned for years to let them learn more on their own (including alternative capitals), but it is no longer a required subject for them to work on each day. These books are (clockwise from upper left): 

Ornate Pictorial Calligraphy

The Art of Calligraphy

The Technique of Copperplate Calligraphy

Learning to Write Spencerian Script


Winter tells me often that she receives compliments on her penmanship from other people her age. They are also amazed by her pen. I always smile when she tells me, because I used to receive the same comments as well.

We start the workbooks when they are ready (usually in second grade). I know in other countries cursive is all that is taught from the very beginning. I have the children first learn to print before they move on to cursive, so that they learn both.

Do you enjoy beautiful penmanship?


Sharing at: 

The Bouquet of Talent PartySilver Pennies SundaysInspiration Monday 

Tagged in: Homeschooling
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Our Homeschool Schedule

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A Life Well Spent by Charles West Cope in 1862


Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

I have finally completed the long overdue update to my homeschool pages, and you can now find grades K-10 in the drop down menu under the Homeschool tab.

I've made a few changes to some of the other grades as well.

The biggest change is that we will be studying modern foreign languages instead of Latin. My four oldest have each decided on a language (Dutch, German, Italian, and French) and we are using for their study. In addition, we are seeking out other websites and YouTube pages that have free learning programs in each language. Winter is using in addition to Duolingo. We may decide to purchase their paid content later, but for now, she's just using the free program. She's currently spending an hour a day on Dutch using both websites. We're also using as our foreign language dictionary. I love that there are so many great free foreign language options available now. 

My 4 younger girls (all of the girls except for Winter) are watching some YouTube videos for French; right now we are using the free videos from Learn French With Alexa. They may end up choosing a different language later, but right now they are learning a bit of French this way, and Liberty (who is almost 10) is also using Duolingo. We watch the YouTube videos through the television. 

I did buy one thing for them to use with these free programs, which is a pair of earbuds with a microphone built in, to make it easier for the computer to hear them when they are speaking. With our large family, it's not always easy for the computer to hear them saying words over the background noise.

My 5 oldest are also using the computer for typing, using the free program on

We'll have to do some tweaking to the schedule to allow everyone to use the computer for these subjects (plus using the Saxon Math Teacher cds for my two oldest) until we get another computer, but in general, this is our school schedule:


8:00 Math

9:00 English

10:00 Spelling/Typing

10:15 Penmanship/Typing

10:30 History

10:45 Geography/Typing

11:00 Before Lunch Chores

11:30 Lunch

12:00 After lunch chores

12:30 Science/Art

1:00 Foreign Language

1:30 Quiet reading time/naptime



Reading HP The Prudent Homemaker

Reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the day it arrived.


Quiet reading time (aka nap time) is when they read the books I've assigned them, as well as books for fun. They also play in their rooms during this time.

Piano practice is done both in the morning once chores are done and before school starts, and after 3:30 when naptime; i.e quiet time ends. (I should note that it is often my two teenagers who take naps; all of the children know that if they're tired they are welcome to sleep during that time).

Physical education comes in the form of outside playing (swings, merry-go-round, trampoline, scooters, running, outside games including races and badminton, and bike riding.) They play outside every day; in the morning before school, a bit after lunch (more so in the winter than in the summer when it is too hot to go out mid-day), and after naptime.

All but the baby have school. Ivory as been doing schoolwork since she was 3, as she wanted to be just like her older siblings. She will diligently accomplish her work right away almost every morning before she runs off to play.

Our evenings are free to spend as a family, except for the activities that the children attend: the boys have Scouts once a week (plus campouts), Winter has a youth group once a week, Liberty and Wren have a church activity every other week, and Winter occasionally attends the church youth dances in town.

In addition to these, Winter attends a seminary class every weekday. It's an hour-long religious class for high school students that our church does. This year they are studying the New Testament. There are 375 students who meet in the same building each morning at 6 a.m. (the local high school here starts at 7, and seminary is before school). 

I do a lot of printing. We use a laser printer that prints in black only and toner cartridges that print 8000+ pages (I can usually get it to last another month by giving it a good shake when I get the message that the toner is low). This cartridge lasts me around ten months. 

We have school at the table, except for time on the computer. 

And that's our day!



Tagged in: Homeschooling
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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Apple Branches

I sewed a new cover for Winter's bicycle seat using leather scraps we had. We're going to make some covers for her handles as well as repaint her bike in the next couple of weeks.

From the garden, we harvested grapes, a few tomatoes, figs, a pear, 2 Armenian cucumbers, a zucchini, basil, and green onions. 

I mended a dress.

My husband and I had a date night at home. We ate ice cream and played several games of Sequence.

I ordered some homeschool math and science books while they were on sale, and used a free shipping code.

My boys had fun doing some community service. They found a local project through

My husband took the children swimming at his sister's house. 

We had a storm pass over us (no rain, though) which lowered the temperature for 2 days, and brought a great deal of humidity. I collected water from the drip off the air conditioner pipes  (these are on the opposite side of the house from my air conditioning units) and used it to water potted plants. I had between 2-3 gallons a day (our humidity was at 41%; normal here is around 10%).  I also collected water from the shower in a bucket while waiting for the water to warm up and used it to water potted plants.

The day of the passing storm, the temperature in the early morning dropped down to 78º. I set our a/c at 79º, so I opened up the house for a few hours and turned off the air conditioning. According to the power company, my usage was $8 less last week. Temperatures went back up two days later, but it was nice to have a bit of fresh air and save money with the cooler weather. It was cool enough that the children could play outside for a few hours.


What did you to save money last week?


Check back this week for some homeschool updates and my secret to getting things done!

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