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Website Update

A Little Announcement

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Apple branches and Figs The Prudent Homemaker

I spent some time this past week writing down all of the blog posts I'd like to feature between now and the end of the year. I have a lot of projects on my to-do list that I'm excited to share with you. I also am planning to share more photos of our home on the blog.

I've had several requests over the years to share pictures of our home. I've hesitated to share in the past for several reasons, the biggest of which being the state of our living room furniture. About 12 years ago, we purchased a custom couch, loveseat, chairs and ottomans for our living room. Prior to that, our living room furniture consisted of an old green futon with honey-stained wooden arms and a broken skinny recliner with wooden arms in light oak. When guests came to visit, we would let them sit on the futon and we would pull in chairs from our kitchen table to sit on--grey plastic folding chairs with a mottled fabric for seats.

We kept that old furniture until we had paid off the last of my husband's graduate school loans, and then, we had saved enough money, we went shopping to buy something nicer. Once we started looking, we realized that we hadn't saved anywhere near enough, so we saved some more. In the meantime, we went to every furniture store in town. No one had anything we liked, and finally, we decided to have something made to our specifications. 

I chose the fabric for our pieces, as it was 1/4 the cost of buying from the place that made furniture, and I could buy something thicker that would last longer. I purchased all of the fabric 50% off at Joann's from the upholstery section  and they used it to cover our furniture.

As time went on, however, the fabric begin to wear, starting with the ottomans. I recovered the top of my husband's ottoman and it wore through again. 

The fabric we chose for our couch and loveseat was really thick, and it held up for a long time. Eventually, though, it wore through, and for the last few years, we've been living with furniture that has looked like this:

Living Room Chair Before The Prudent Homemaker

Because our house is a great-room style, where all the main rooms are open to one another, you can see these from almost every room.

Granted, I had throws we could use for 2 pieces of furniture, and so we covered up 2 pieces while we could, always looking forward to the time when we could have them recovered.

Earlier this year, we had saved enough money to have them recovered.  I made new throw pillows for them.

Another reason I've hesitated is that there was so much more to do in the house, and my home decor budget for the last decade has been pretty slim. And by slim, I mean $0 to $100 a year most years. I made little changes, like printing some photos for free when Walgreen's had an offer going, and buying a few picture frames for $0.50 to $1.00 each at garage sales. I haven't even put out most of those garage sale frames yet (they've been in a box in my sewing room), but I've been hanging them this last week. Now I just need to take some new photos for them.

Our income has increased this year, as the real estate market is seeing sales here in numbers it hasn't seen since 2006.  If things continue as they have been, we may make half of what we made when we purchased out home in 2006. We haven't seen this much income in years, and it is a blessing to have a change.

We've been purchasing some needed furniture and rearranging some things we already have. I'm planning on making some more things for our home, and I look forward to sharing them with you.

I realize that some of you are living frugally, to accomplish your dreams, and some are struggling to hang on, as we have done for a long time. It is for those who are in the latter situation  that I have hesitated to share. I love reading home decor blogs, but I have had to limit myself over the years, as what is "budget" decorating to many people was out of my reach completely.  

There is sometimes a strange belief that those who live frugally must have nothing beautiful, and that those who go through a loss or decline of income should own nothing nice from before a job was lost or an income declined. Neither is true. We all crave beauty, and long to enjoy it in one way or another. There are ways to have beauty on every budget--even the $0 budget, I have found. I saw a blogger pick weeds from her yard to put in vases on a table the other day. If she hadn't said they were weeds, and then showed a close-up (it was grass going to seed!), I would have never guessed! 

All of the organizing and decluttering we've been doing has also made it possible for me to focus more on making some things. I'm looking forward to not only doing some more sewing, but sprucing up a couple of things in the sewing room (which we just rearranged the week before last, bringing in a piece of furniture from another room). When those projects are done, I'll be working on my Gift a Day series in November.

Is there anything else you'd like to see me feature on the blog? Let me know in the comments below!

 

P. S. I won't be sharing my monthly goals for a while. Instead, I look forward to surprising you with my completed projects!

 

 

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Lemonade and Lemon Meringue Pie

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Meyer Lemon Tree The Prudent Homemaker

Last December we had a bumper crop of lemons, easily 5 times what we had harvested the year before.

Meyer Lemons in Basket The Prudent Homemaker

I get asked what we do with all these lemons. 

First, I use lemon juice on Swiss chard and artichokes from the garden. I freeze juice from our lemons to use throughout the year for this and other recipes.

I use lemons to make lemon dill chicken, lemon poppyseed muffins, lemon chicken (with lemongrass), and lemon parmesan penne. I also use lemon juice on crepes, and in various other recipes.

 

I also use them to make lemon meringue pie.

 Lemon Meringue Pie The Prudent Homemaker

 

You can find the recipe for pie here.

 

Meyer Lemon and Bay Trees The Prudent Homemaker

I planted three more Meyer lemon trees in our white garden three years ago (shown above in bud last year), with the express intent to have enough lemons to make lemonade. The lemon trees in the backyard have never yielded enough lemons for me to make lemonade more than a couple of pitchers of lemonade a year, along with the other things I make, except for this last year. Having lemonade throughout the year, from juice that I've frozen, is the goal I have in growing more lemons. The three trees in the front yard will grow together as a hedge to cover the cinder block wall, and will help ensure that I have enough lemons for lemonade.

Lemonade 2 The Prudent Homemaker

You can find the recipe for lemonade here.

Lemons The Prudent Homemaker

A few things that I love about Meyer lemons: 

They are very sweet. I get asked a lot if they are oranges (both in person and here on the blog) because of their dark yellow color. Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin, and they are delicious!

They have thin skins, and a lot of juice. I can easily get twice the amount of juice from a Meyer lemon as I can from a typical Eureka lemon from the grocery store. They can also grow really big (the size of oranges) at home, which means even more juice.

They tolerate a few degrees colder temperatures than Eureka lemon trees. I have lost two Meyer lemon trees  in the backyard due to temperatures that got down to 26ºF, but the larger trees only had damaged branches those years. 

Like all citrus, they smell amazing when they are in bloom. My trees are covered in buds now and will be blooming again soon!

 

 

 

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Welcome to my new site!

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White Roses The Prudent Homemaker

 

Here are a few things to note:

First, of course, is that my blog is now integrated into my website. It wasn't a perfect transition; it appears that we lost some comments and all of my photo were shrunk. I'm going to work at putting every photo back in, but that will take a bit. I'm also having to fix each link within posts to other posts. Please bear with me as it will take a while. I'm certain there are more things to fix; I'll be searching for them and working on them.

Second, the menu bars have changed. Things have been moved around. Because of this, your links from Pinterest may or may not work. All posts to individual blog posts will no longer work. You can use the search button at the top of the blog or at the top of the site to find any posts that you need to update.

Speaking of Pinterest, the blog came with that built in Pin It button, but it isn't working correctly (it only lets you pin the first photo). I'll have to learn how to change that.

Third, there are some new things on the website, including a new recipe.

Fourth, the site is mobile compatible. If you're looking at it on a phone or other device, the layout will change from the version you see on the computer.

I'm planning some great posts for every day in November, so visit often! 

 

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New Recipe Up: Pasta Salad

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Pasta Salad The Prudent Homemaker

Just in time for the 4th of July! Chances are pretty good  that you already have all of the ingredients on hand already!

You can find the recipe here.

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New Recipe Up: Italian Dressing

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Italian dressing The Prudent Homemaker

I'll have a pasta salad recipe up to go with this dressing soon as well!

You can find the recipe here.

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Because . . .

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When I first set out to create my website 4 years ago today, I didn't want a blog. I didn't want to have to scroll through recipes to find what I wanted. I wanted a different organization system, and a blog wasn't it.

If you weren't aware that my website isn't a blog, well, now you know. It isn't.

It also doesn't have a simple, FREE (and that's important) blog option for me. So, here I am--starting a blog.

Why?

Because:

1. My husband pointed out that I was using Facebook like a blog. This is true.

2. Facebook isn't showing everything to everyone anymore. In addition, last week, as I was just finished typing my list of frugal things I had accomplished for the week (and the list was long), and was ready to hit enter, it dumped me out and told me I wasn't logged in. I lost everything I had just typed. I was tired and wanted to go to bed--so I did. I didn't post the list. This isn't the first time that's happened. It's happened over 20 times this week alone.

3. There are things that I want to say that belong on a blog--and not on the website. I'd like to say them.

4. I get emails all the time asking me if I have a subscribe option or an RSS feed, and I can only do that with a blog. You want to know when there's something new on the site. I used Facebook for that purpose--but now I can offer those options--as soon as I figure them out! (If someone wants to guide me to a tutorial on how to set up an RSS feed on Blogger, that would be awesome, because I haven't found it yet.) I will be posting on here when there is something new on the site, so you can click on over to check it out.

I don't know how often I can post, though,

Because:

I have 7 children, ages 10 to 2 months, who need me--constantly.

And that's pretty important.
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