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Frugal Accomplishments For the First Week of 2017

 Black Bean Soup The Prudent Homemaker

Black bean soup topped with tomatoes harvested green (and ripened off the vine) from the garden in early December.

I made a large pot of black beans in the crockpot. We had taco soup with them one day and black bean soup three days.  

I harvested beet greens, lemons, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I pruned grape vines to make for a productive grape harvest this year.

I pruned rose bushes to keep my roses healthy and to help them produce well this year.

I dug euonymus plants from ones I started by tip layering and moved them to where I am starting a new hedge in the garden.

I also started some new plants from cuttings from other bushes for the same hedge. 

Following my plans for a more productive garden this year, I planted seeds this past week for spinach, 2 kinds of lettuce, 2 kinds of snow peas, turnips, Swiss chard, 3 colors of larkspur, and Danish flag poppies. 

Because of rain, I was able to not water the grass for the second week in a row. This time of year, we are allotted 1 day a week to water grass. It is rare to have enough rainfall to be able to not water. and I am grateful to have been able to turn off the sprinklers and drip irrigation.

My mom found a very large candle lantern for free out by the trash and gave it to me. It has a small crack in the base, but looks great still.  I'm not sure if I'll use it for a decoration, a large terrarium, or if I should use it as a huge cloche in the garden.

I watched the Call the Midwife Christmas special on I don't have time to watch a lot of shows, but it is nice to be able to watch a few things online from time to time!

Finlandia The Prudent Homemaker

My eldest needed some new piano music for her lessons. About 13 years ago, shortly after we got our piano, I had purchased a couple of piano books full of music for the time when we might need them. I was able to pull out this book and my daughter began using it for her practice (and I didn't have to buy anything new).

My husband and I had two date nights at home.

My husband cut my hair.

I mended a sheet.

Our silverware drawer broke in the back. In December, my husband contacted the company who made our cabinets and they sent him replacement pieces to fix to the drawer at no cost to us. They came this week and my husband fixed the drawer.

I found simple contentment in putting things away (including all of the Christmas decorations) and making the house tidier and less cluttered.


What did you do to save money and find joy this week?


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  • Marivene January 08, 2017

    Continued to cut citrus peels from the clementines we eat into thin strips & dry them on a plate on the counter. They smell nice while drying, & when dry, I store them in a blue mason jar. They can be used in various herbal tea mixes, or as an ingredient in potpourri.

    You have all heard over the last few months the items I made for & gave to various members of my family, so I thought I would share what I received. Our youngest daughter gave me some of the cast iron candle hooks for canning jars from Lehmans for Christmas that I requested. I put 2 of them inside my blue Ball mason quart jars, with candles from my thrift supply that fit & gave them a test run. They work very well, & are indeed wind-proof, being down inside the jar, but still burn well enough to give light, & look pretty besides. She also gave me a few real, hand dipped bayberry candles. Our middle daughter gave me a 5x7 professional photo of their family, which I love. Our oldest daughter gave me a painting she did. Our son gave me a gift card to Home Depot (he hates to shop & knows I buy a lot of garden/yard items there).

    I looked out the window on Sunday & thought I saw bunny tracks all over the snow on the front yard. We live in a subdivision, so that is not likely, but then in the corner of the lawn, I saw a small pile of droppings, so somebody got a bunny for Christmas, I guess. Used a shovel to move the pellets to where they will be useful for fertilizer.

    Put away the Christmas plates. I have made thin foam liners to go between all but 2 of my BHG Christmas plates. When I bring home apple boxes from the grocery store to cut down to hold my canning jars, there are sometimes thin pieces of foam inside, used to cushion the apples. I wash those off, then cut circles the size of the plates from them, to go between the plates to prevent nicks & chips. I have been doing that for a year & a half now, & have made good progress. I think it is frugal to take care of what you have, even if it was purchased second-hand. About half of my Christmas Charm china plates have dividers as well.

    Put away the blow mold angels. Brushed the snow off the 2 little bales of straw that are part of the display. I bought the bales years ago for 40% off with a coupon at JoAnn's. I never removed the plastic covering, as it protects the straw from the weather. I just place the bales label-side down. Two of the shorter angels sit on top of the bales, & 3 more lean against them. I have used them for ten years now & plan to continue using them.

    Thawed the last package of cinnamon rolls & iced them with orange glaze, thickened to icing. They make a tasty breakfast with a cup of hot chocolate.

    Spent 5 days snowed in, for all practical purposes. DH & I shoveled to clear the drive & cul-de-sac to get him to work, but the roads were so bad, it wasn’t worth risking damage on the other car by taking it out. We had everything we needed & did just fine. Out little city plows the cul-de-sacs last of all, bless their hearts.

    Shopped some on eBay where prices had dropped, for Fisher Price little people animals for the ark, farm & the nativity, for 2017 Christmas gifts. The lions, giraffe & one of the alligators have arrived.

    I bought some beginning reader Margaret Hillert books on Amazon, the “winter” ones that had been reduced, for a penny each, with $3.99 shipping. These are the books my children used to learn to read, & middle DD would like a small “library” of them like I had for our children. I did an inventory of the ones I still had, & asked her which ones she had ( 4 of them), then looked at the ones youngest DD still had on the shelf in her room. Little Stuff will “inherit” 4 more that are “duplicates” between youngest DD & myself, since middle & youngest DD are the only ones able to have more children at the point in time. Four of the books have arrived this week.

    While we were snowed in, I hemmed more of the flannel wipes for use as tp in our disaster kits.

    When the snow finally quit falling, & the city plowed enough of the streets that we deemed it safe, I made an errand run on the 6th day (today). Picked up milk & a few groceries, so we are stocked again. Eggs were on sale for 49 cents a dozen, so I picked up 2 dozen, even tho they were not on my list. Dropped off donations at the thrift store & came home with 11 half pint jars, a tall jelly jar & a Ball quart from the Bicentennial series. Each of them were a quarter. I found a fisher price little people goat for the Noah’s ark, & one of the cornstalks for the fisher price farm, as well as 4 duplos, loose on the toy aisle. Picked up 4 plastic “ears” of corn, & all of those came home with me for another half dollar. Bought a tiny skillet & a small metal bowl for Little Stuff to use with her play kitchen, for a buck. Washed everything & put it away.

  • momsav January 08, 2017

    Marivene, I am just amazed at how you're accumulating your treasure trove of Little People a few pieces at a time! I held onto a scarecrow, from the Oz movie, for about a year and a half, hoping to find his straw hat. I never did. My daughter loves all things Oz, so i just sent it to her so she can continue the search.

  • Marivene January 08, 2017

    momsav, it helps that I live within frequent driving distance of two Deseret Industries stores. The store bags little pieces together, but the children playing in the aisle break open the bags more often than not, so if you are willing to sort thru both sides of the toy aisle, four shelves deep, you can usually find something. My current "list" is FPLP ark, farm & nativity pieces, particularly camels, hay bales, the grain sack from the shepherd well set (which works much better in the barn!), & the cornstalk. I also watch for Duplos (the real ones). I always check for jars, esp half pints, since I use a lot of those for jam & fruit, & I am also watching for the old binders for the Ensign magazine, since they are no longer sold, & the Hillert books. My parents used to say that persistence makes luck, & I have found that to be true as well, with a healthy dose of patience.

  • Amie January 08, 2017

    Rabbits can still live in any area where they can find food. We had rabbits burrow in our yard. We lived by a busy street, in the suburbs.

  • Marivene January 09, 2017

    Amie, it is a pet, not a wild rabbit.

  • Melissa V January 09, 2017

    ?? What makes you say it's a pet? - Pet owners don't let their rabbits run loose since they are like a prime steak for predators. We have probably the world's stupidest cottontails around - they have tracks all thru our fenced in backyard and we own 3 dogs, one of whom killed 5 rabbits in one season! and just some useless info - the cottontails of the US are NOT the same species as the domesticated rabbit. Domestic rabbits come from the European rabbit which build large burrows to nest in (Alice in Wonderland) whereas our cottontails dig a small depression and line it with grass and their own fur for their young. They are also Lagomorphs NOT rodents :)

  • Marivene January 09, 2017

    There are several reasons I know it is a pet.

    The first is that the pellets were out in the middle of a patch of snow, with no cover at all. I grew up with wild rabbits in the woods behind our house in Ohio, & my father & brother hunted them regularly, with a hunting dog trained for rabbits. They were often on the table for dinner. I helped my father skin them & my mother prepare them for as long as I can remember. The rabbits were often in our garden, & defecating in a completely open area is not how they behave.

    Second, I have since seen the animal, with the child who owns it. It is not a wild rabbit, & the child who owns it is about elementary school age.

    Just out of curiosity, what made you (& Amie) assume I knew nothing about rabbits, & needed educated about them?

  • Susie January 09, 2017

    I think it was the way your first comment was worded, because I thought the same thing. "Somebody got a bunny for Christmas, I guess." Your further explanation of the pellets and that you've seen the rabbit with its owner makes your first post much more clear. :)

  • Marivene January 09, 2017

    Susie, it could also have been taken as I know the neighbors that adjoin my property pretty well, instead of that I was completely ignorant of rabbit behavior, but it wasn't. In previous years, I have posted multiple times about being raised eating rabbits, pheasants & squirrels.

  • Melissa V January 10, 2017

    I apologize, I didn't mean to offend but I can't remember what I did yesterday most days, there is no way I would have remembered what you have posted in previous years. And the info was not meant for just you - there are many, many readers here - I happen to have raised rabbits in one way or another for the better part of 45 years (in fact this is the first year since I was 3 that I don't have any rabbits) and happen to like educating people on the differences between our domestic rabbits and the native cottontails. Also, the cottontails around here leave pellets in piles in the middle of the yard, not just in the brush piles. I will leave off with any further info I guess since it seems to offend you and I've had a crappy enough day.

  • Amie January 09, 2017

    And when I say burrow. I was meaning home. It wasn't a series of tunnels. They dug a small hole.

  • Marivene January 09, 2017

    I know what a burrow is, Amie.

  • LJ SW MO January 11, 2017

    Amie, thanks. I don't know much about rabbits....learning a lot here.

  • Mandy January 11, 2017

    We live in a small town that's attached to a bigger city. It's right on the state line between Wisconsin and Illinois. All the cities and towns and from us to the larger city a half hour away is over run by rabbits. The rabbits showed up in our area last summer. I lost 5 blueberry bushes and my strawberries because of them. But I didn't think about using their poop as fertilizer, so thanks for that silver lining! :)

  • Margaret @approachingfood January 08, 2017

    Sounds like a lovely and productive week!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - Download some e-books to my kobo
    - Made peasoup (super frugal, and I’ll serve the leftovers with some homemade pita bread for lunches once we’ve had it for dinner)
    - Redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 Starbucks gift certificate
    - Saved soap, conditioner, and body wash in hotel size containers to send to my MIL
    - Had a prescription filled at a hospital pharmacy as opposed to a local one, to save the dispensing fee
    - Did the usual of packing lunches, walking places, and taking public transit
    - One of my colleagues brought in lunch, so I ate my packed lunch for dinner
    - Redeemed Swagbucks for another $5 Starbucks gift certificate
    - accepted a half bottle of wine from my parents that they couldn't finish. I'll either cook with it, or turn it into wine jelly for gifts.
    - accepted some beans and bouillion cubes from my sister. She couldn't use them, and I will happily turn them into delicious meals.
    - accepted some canning jars from my sister. She doesn't can, and I most certainly do! I also use them as storage, so yay, free canning jars!
    - gave away some lightbulbs to my family. The DH and I upgraded our lighting system and could no longer use these particular bulbs, but now my sister and parents can. I will bring the remaining light bulbs to my work and see if my colleagues can use them. If they can't, I will donate them to a local charity or shelter. I love not wasting things!
    - made blueberry jam (using berries bought on sale) to add as a mix-in to my homemade yoghurt
    - made Brandy's swiss chard soup. So yummy! I added in some preserved lemon that I had put up a few months ago, and it was such a nice touch!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as usual!

  • Darcy January 08, 2017

    My daughter trimmed my hair after work on Wednesday. I go to her house and she always makes a nice dinner when I come. As a bonus, I get to spend some time with her and my two granddaughters who are ages 6 and 7. They always have a new picture that they drew, colored, or painted for me to hang on my refrigerator. We also played Red Light, Green Light.

    I was able to buy our vitamins online at a discount with free shipping and I used Ebates.

    I pulled some black beans out of the freezer, added some onions and peppers and spices, and ate them over quinoa.

    I made turkey broth in the slow cooker from the bones of our Thanksgiving turkey that I had in the freezer. I try to use homemade broth as much as I can in our recipes for its nutritional value. I will also be making soup with it.

    I made Greek yogurt in my slow cooker. I take it to work for my morning snack and eat it with fruit.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 09, 2017

    How nice that you play Red Light, Green Light with your granddaughters. What fun memories you are building with them. :)

  • Lauren in Oklahoma January 08, 2017

    Hi! I would love to hear more about how your children learn piano. Do they have an instructor? Do you or your husband teach them? Do they learn from videos? I have 4 children who would love to learn, but expensive weekly lessons are not in our budget. Thanks!

  • Lauren,

    My mom pays for lessons every other week for 2 of my children. The teacher is willing to do lessons that way so that my family can learn. For the third daughter who is learning, we are trading watching the piano instructor's children for her lessons. The instructor teaches someone else nearby (she comes to our house, which is wonderful) on the same day as our lessons, so she brings her children with her and we watch them during our lessons and also while she goes to the next house. Her oldest is now starting school, so we may have to work something more out with her soon--possibly babysitting her children while she and her husband go out.

    Our piano came to us for almost free--we had to pay some piano movers to move it and we paid to have it tuned, but we paid nothing for the piano. I have seen old pianos for sale on Craig's list and local garage sale pages, often for $100 to $200. If you are looking for a piano, try finding one that way. It most likely won't have a bench (ours did not).

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 09, 2017

    Years and years ago my mom traded Avon products (she was an "Avon Lady" for awhile) for piano lessons from my school's music teacher. I so wanted to learn to play, and there was zero money for lessons, so my mom got creative and my music teacher was gracious and kind. Sadly, I was only able to have a year or so of lessons before a move changed our situation. We still have the piano, however. My son is now taking lessons (and surpassed my ability years ago--ha!).

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