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Frugal Accomplishments for the Fourth Week of January

Meyer Lemon Meringues The Prudent Homemaker

I used lemons from the garden this week to make lemon curd, which I used to top homemade meringues, along with pomegranate arils. I'll be sharing this recipe later this week.

I dug up and moved several plants to help them to get better sun exposure/less sun exposure (some were burning in the sun and others were failing to flower). Moving the plants made it feel like I've put new things in the garden. (You can see some recent pictures of the garden over on Instagram.) I planted two bushes that were started by tip layering several years ago to the pots by the front door.

We have been working on making our raised bed smaller. About half of it was on the east side of the house. It wasn't getting enough sun, and we want the space for bicycles. I ran new drip irrigation to the remaining part of the bed (the old irrigation had become clogged with calcium and salt that is prevalent in our local water). As I evaluated the bed, I saw that I could install the lines closer than they had been before, allowing me to almost double the number of rows in the remaining space. My lettuce and green onions can grow closer together than they have in the past.

I planted seeds for lettuce, spinach, green onions, snow peas, radishes, nasturtiums, sunflowers, and pumpkins in the garden. We're expecting record high temperatures this week (70F/23ºC), and with our normal last-frost date only two weeks away, it's warm enough for warm-weather crops to germinate in the garden.

I transplanted parsley seedlings from where I started them in a pot in the white garden to several shady spots in the garden. Parsley will burn here completely in the sun come April, but will grow year-round in the shade.

I covered vegetable seedlings with jars to protect them from being eaten and to speed up growth. Glass jars act as miniature greenhouses in the garden, and I've found that the seedlings grow three times faster when covered than when not.

I updated my garage sale list. I usually print my list and take it with me. Now I have the list on my phone, so I'll have it with me always, and I can update it more often as I both find things and think of things we need. Garage sale season usually starts in March here (and is at its peak in April and again in October, when HOA's have their semi-annual community sales).

Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake The Prudent Homemaker

I made a crepe cake for my son's birthday (my children choose the meals for their birthdays, and this was his request). He asked for a crepe cake with lemon curd, Nutella, and whipped cream for breakfast. I still had heavy cream left in the fridge that I bought a few months back that was good (whipping cream lasts months, unlike milk) which was perfect to top the crepes.

I checked out and read four e-books from the library.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I made homemade hair detangler/leave-in conditioner. A small squirt of conditioner in a squirt bottle and water work just as well as Infusium leave-in conditioner.

I said yes to some free clothes hangers.

My husband cut my hair for me.

Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake 2 The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money last week?


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  • Terri, I dry most of my parsley so that I don't have to purchase dried parsley. I use it in lots of recipes, including spaghetti sauce. I use large amounts of dried parsley throughout the year, and I made a goal several years ago to grow all of my own parsley, oregano, and basil that I need during the year so that I no longer need to purchase it dried. I'm almost out of dried parsley, so growing a bunch this year is important.

    For fresh parsley, I like to put it on chicken and/or pasta with lots of lemon juice and lemon zest.

  • Marcia R. January 30, 2018

    I re-seeded my parsley two years ago and I dried a ton of it the first year---Still have about 2 pints dried to use up. It's a biennial (for those who don't grow it) but it will self seed for a few years---so you only need about a packet of seed every decade or so!

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore January 31, 2018

    I have the funniest problem growing parsley outdoors - each year I plant it and it does well; but, by mid-summer, the swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs in the planters and in a few weeks their caterpillars have stripped my parsley plants of their leaves. I end up with bare stalks. But I do enjoy seeing the caterpillars grow huge and knowing that I'm helping the swallowtail butterfly population :)

  • Juls Owings January 30, 2018

    Terri, I know some that make pesto out of their parsley

  • Marcia R. January 30, 2018

    I grow a lot of parsley and use it to make tabbouleh (sometimes spelled tabboula) salad. With lemon juice, tomatoes, parsley and cous cous if I remember correctly. My family will eat it even though it's a Middle Eastern dish. I'm sure allrecipes.com or Epicurious.com will have recipes for it. I would have to dislodge too many papers to find my recipe at the moment!! Great summer salad when you have fresh tomatoes!

  • Athanasia February 08, 2018

    Taboulleh also uses mint so if you grow that, too, that is 2 herbs you don't have to buy. A!so garlic. I suppose you could make with couscous though we use bulgar wheat. Chopped cucumber is good to add also. It is a great hot weather salad...very refreshing.

  • Wyoming Gal January 29, 2018

    I wore 4 garments this week that used to be too small. (Woo-hoo!) I keep a log with what I wear each day, what I eat each day, how much I exercise and what I buy, if anything. I also like to list books I read and movies I watch. (I am just one of those "list" people.) I rotate my clothes, shoes and jewelry so everything has a turn and my shoes last a long time (more than 10 years, sometimes) when I rotate through so many pairs.

    I am retiring from my career job in 2 months. I am going to still work about 6 months of the year at a new job in a new field. The rest of the time I will do my hobbies, volunteer work and travel with DH. There is so much to do to get our house ready (we will rent it for much of the time we will be on the East coast this summer). We are organizing, cleaning out, and packing away (we built quite a bit of lockable storage in the unfinished portion of the basement). We are thinking we might move again in about a year and if so, we will only take the things we really want. (It costs more to move heavy items across the U.S. than to buy a new sofa or dresser, so only the dearest items survive.) I guess it's like the folks with the covered wagons.

    I am trying to use up all pantry items that I can. I improvised some bean soup with quinoa this week. I also baked whole wheat bread and my favorite golden pumpkin walnut loaf. My new motto "Eat the canned vegetables!!"

  • Annaliese January 29, 2018

    Happy birthday to your son! That cake looks fantastic! My birthday was last week and I racked up on the freebies offered around town. Here's the list: Free doughnut-$1.69 ( I got the most decorated one), free wrap with fruit cup and 2 extra pickle slices-$6.89, free Mocha Grande and a whoopee pie whoopee pie- $6.50, Free bagel with cream cheese on the side- $2.00, free regular size sub and drink-$9.50, free 7 fancy lemon cookies- $10.00 (mentioned it was my bday at dinner), free massage with gc from Swagbucks I got over a year ago and they gave me an add on service free-$15.00, free mini face cleaning and toning duo set. All free items equaled up to $112.58- NOT out of my pocket!!
    Received $80 birthday cash, a tee shirt I have been wanting and a collector Wonder Woman Barbie.
    Free at grocery store: 2 apples and oranges, bag of popcorn, 6 containers of yogurt, container of cream cheese, a snack bar, 2 lbs of carrots, 1 can of Spaghetto's, 2 cans of soup, 1 can of tuna1 box of cereal, a free box of lasagna noodles and a dozen of eggs.
    Turned in Swagbucks points in for a $25 gc to WalMart to help with grocery shopping. Bought another gc from the site to help out with Bday dinner. Got bonus points.
    Brought home leftovers and 2 other entrees from restaurant. couldn't pay the price of the ingredients from the store for what what we paid.
    On FB, asked for friends and family to donate to Reality- the place Jayme goes to every Thursday and I volunteer cooking meals. Made $90 for the center.
    Hubby cut down and trimmed bushes.
    I saw on the news where a couple of Duke graduates started a business where they get the ugly produce from local farms (and around NC) that cannot be sold in the markets and I bought a share into it. My first box had a giant bag of mustard greens, over 3 lbs of small red potatoes, 3 giant green peepers and some funky looking cauliflower broccoli mix- 2 heads. 5lbs for $10.99 every other week- delivered free. I'm thinking it will be a good idea to keep because I spend more than that at store and it will be new experiences in cooking with things I wouldn't get in stores. Plus they are helping out with local towns and the lack of fresh food source for families.
    I filled out a survey on Swagbucks and received 4 huge dogs snack bones for pet plus bonus points.
    Used up fruit and yogurt in fridge to make 3 different quick breads. Shared with a co-worker, another friend who had the same bday and inlaws. Made French toast out of bread that was free from last week and extra in freezer with the free eggs. Made Jayme's breakfast for 4 days. Used up leftover rice, chicken and green beans in a casserole with one of the free cans of soup. Hubby took it in his lunch the next day with one of the free apples and free container of yogurt.
    Have a blessed week ya' all!

  • Nancy Kirk January 30, 2018

    Could you please tell me more about the “ugly produce?” Contact info.

  • Laurie in central NC January 31, 2018

    Nancy, I was curious because I live in NC. What I researched and found out is the company is focused on serving Durham Co. in central NC. Their name is Ungraded Produce https://ungradedproduce.com. From what I read, I believe it is only offered in the Triangle area of N. Carolina. -Laurie

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 29, 2018

    Mmmmm. Those desserts look scrumptious! I must learn to make lemon curd; we always have so many lemons on our tree.

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate out only once.

    * Continued w/ the pantry challenge.

    * Made French bread, yogurt, "breakfast" bread, and whole wheat bread. (We eat a lot of bread around here.)

    * Accepted tamales and an Olive Garden gift card from a neighbor. (They were thank-you gifts for some emergency help Hubs provided.)

    * Picked up a container of free sour cream from Vons.

    * Ate up lots of leftovers from son's Eagle Project day.

    * Accepted free produce scraps for our hens.

    * Kept the thermostat set for 68F and opened the doors/windows when it was warmer than that (which it has been a lot; we're not getting much of a winter here this year. I hope our stone fruit trees produce this year.)

    * Continued to collect rinse/warm-up water.

    That's all I remembered to write down.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  • Maxine January 29, 2018

    Beautiful pictures, Brandy! My mouth is watering just thinking about that lemon curd. It would be my choice for my birthday, too.

    I didn't leave the house for 4 of the 7 days, so I didn't spend anything, either. That was my big saving last week. When I went to Ace Hardware over the weekend, they were having 20% off all regular priced merchandise, and I saved $5.50.

    I checked out two books at the library (one is for my book club). I also made a week's menus ahead that won't require me to buy anything this week except bread and milk. I'll probably spend more when I hit the grocery store, but I don't think it will be much.

    My favorite: Several of us that hang out at The Frugalistas Files forum (www.network54.com/forum/500426) have challenged ourselves to save $1,000 by the end of 2018. In January, I transferred $215.35 into my "secret slush fund"! (I guess the secret is out now!). We are free to make our own rules about how we are doing this, and I've decided the ca$h must be unexpected or new-to-me methods of saving. I used 3 apps in January--never have used a app before. (Still not sure how to do it, but I'm learning).

  • momsav January 31, 2018

    Maxine, Nice going! I’m shooting for 2,000.00 this year. I save by numbering the weeks and putting the week number, in dollars, into savings. It’s worked great for the last two years. (Mine’s a secret, too. Well, except for the part where I tell my children to check all drawers and books before selling my junk when I die! ha!)

  • Ellie's friend from Canada January 29, 2018

    I stayed home. My friends delivered over some Cara Cara oranges (my favourite) that were on sale for about $1 off per pound. We are still in the middle of a flu epidemic so I'm avoiding crowded places (since due to allergies, cannot have a flu shot). And thanks to my friends I am able to hibernate. I received my chocolate shipment today which will mostly go into my emergency food supply larder. I have lots of tins of fruit that were bought on sale. I will leave most of the chocolate for now although I may treat myself to one small piece per week or month. There was free shipping (otherwise, it would have been expensive to ship). I have been practicing with my camera and lens. The weather is warming up so I will go outside for more bird photo ops. Yesterday, the white-winged crossbills were busy knocking off the cones from the tree. It was "raining" spruce cones. It was very funny to watch from inside the car. Beware of falling spruce cones! I'm hoping I get some photos!

    My friends look forward to my grocery lists as they are realizing I'm hunting for the best deals. They then decide to buy what I'm buying. I got a 1.8 kg box of frozen blueberries for $4 off the regular price. Blueberries with porridge for breakfast. Soooooo good!

  • Margie from Toronto January 29, 2018

    Not the most frugal week as some unexpected social commitments popped up. Managed to change a couple from eating out to eating at my place so managed to save a bit. I did enjoy myself but will have to look for ways to cut back in the coming month or two.
    I am continuing to use up food I have on hand, especially meats. I have decided to give up beef, lamb, pork etc. for Lent but I will eat poultry, fish & seafood. I made a cottage pie today to use up some ground beef and I still have bacon, ham, pork chops & sausages to use before Feb. 14th.
    I have a turkey breast, some ground turkey, and a few pieces of chicken still in the freezer but I'll save them for when Lent begins. I will check each week for any deals on poultry and seafood and stock up accordingly. But I also have a good supply of tinned tuna, salmon & sardines in my pantry so that will help.
    I am also a Canadian who is waiting for her $25 Gift card from one of the supermarkets involved in price fixing - and since I already have another $25 card for that company plus a $25 card from the drugstore that they now own I'm hoping that will be most of my February grocery budget.
    Since my landline still isn't fixed - and BELL have no idea when it will be fixed, I will also be expecting a large refund from them!

  • Elizabeth M. January 30, 2018

    Loblaws said it would be six weeks for the gift card, so I'm not expecting to have this to spend until March. If you applied when it was first available, January 10, I think, it might still be late February.

    Great that you have all these savings though. Food expenses are going to come up every month!

  • Lynda Green January 29, 2018

    Hi Brandy,
    Could you let me know where I could find the receipe for the leave-in hair conditioner?

  • Susan M. January 29, 2018

    I made home made suet cakes for feeding our birds during some frigid weather we had last week. I saved money over purchasing those square suet seed cakes sold in the store near the bird seed, and I already had all the ingredients in my kitchen so did not even need a trip in to town! I have instructions and recipe posted on my blog.


  • Mandy January 29, 2018

    I made 4 gallons of liquid laundry soap, shampoo, conditioner fron Dr Bronners conditioner concentrate, whipped body butter, perfume using essential oil and a tiny bit of rubbing alcohol. I made popsicles, power balls, broccoli soup.
    I hung all but one load of laundry to dry, washed full loads in cold water.
    I used saved water from cups to water house plants, and saved shower water to flush.
    I took all food and coffee to work and drank water.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore January 29, 2018

    Brandy, your meringue & crepe cake look too pretty to eat! I'm sure they were delicious. Happy B'day to your son. I love your tradition of having the b'day child select the day's menu. My family did the same. I enjoy reading about your work in your garden. The last frost here isn't till late April. The only herb that survives is oregano planted in a sunny bed which dies off & comes back each yr.
    I grow rosemary in containers & move the rosemary inside our attached garage to winter over. The temp in there is about 45 (the boiler & hot water heater are in there).

    Brandy, your lemon trees are so bountiful and a great saving. A 3 lb bag of regular lemons (not Meyer) is $4.99 here. Individual lemons are 0.99 each. This is at my local grocery store. At Whole Foods, a lot more $. I Look forward to your lemon curd recipe. I've never made lemon curd. I use Dickinson's (a British brand).

    I intentionally went over the budgeted amount for this month so that I could take advantage of the many sales and stock up on items that we use at such good prices. This will balance the next several months when I will not need to buy those items. A few good buys:
    Blue Diamond Natural Almonds, 6 oz can, on sale for $2.99 (reg. $3.49). After store & manuf coupons, paid $1.14 each. Star-Kist & Bumble Bee tuna, large cans, $0.99 each (reg. nearly double the sale price). Filet Mignon $6.99 a lb.

    As always, I enjoy reading everyone's posts :)

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