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Frugal Accomplishments for the Second Week in July

Grapes in Basket The Prudent Homemaker

I collected eggs from my friend's chickens and picked cucumbers, a few green beans, and tomatoes from her garden.

I canned a batch of dill pickles from the cucumbers.

July Harvest The Prudent Homemaker 

I harvested grapes, tomatoes, oregano, basil, and figs from my garden.

In the garden, I sowed seeds for red noodle beans, red zinnias, white zinnias, Genovese basil, Thai basil, Dark Siam basil, carrots, Chinese lanterns (hoping that this time they grow!), and parsley. It's much later than I normally sow seeds in the garden for these things, but many of my seeds did not come up earlier, or came up only to be eaten by bugs, so I am trying again. 

While weeding, I found a few carrots that had grown in one spot from seed dropping from carrots in my garden. I carefully dug them and replanted them where they could grow larger.

Grapes in Basket 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I took cuttings from two sweet potato vines to root in water to make new plants. These are a decorative vine; they do not make sweet potatoes. I took short cuttings from the tips of the plants (about 4-5 inches long) and took off the bottom leaves. Where the leaves were, the plants began to root in water after 4 days. Later in the week, I took additional cuttings from the other type of sweet potato vine to root as well. I plan to transplant these to pots in my white garden. These are an annual that does better in  more mild and humid climates than here (I saw them growing quite large and beautiful in the sun in Missouri a couple of years ago) but here they need a bit of protection from the sun to keep the leaves from burning to a crisp.

We had a very humid week. This is "monsoon season" here, but I think it would be more appropriately named, "cloudy season" as there is not much rain. We got a tiny bit of rain on Monday night, but it was enough that I was able to leave the drip irrigation and sprinklers off on Tuesday. The clouds bring lots of humidity, and they brought the temperature down below 100° for several days. I took advantage of the cloudy, cooler (only 96°F/35°C and humid!) days and worked in the garden doing lots of weeding. I put an ice cream bucket under the drip from the air conditioning; when it is humid like it has been this past week, I can collect several gallons of water from it each day, which I used to water pots on my patio along with water I collected in a bucket while waiting for the shower to warm.

I purchased some dahlia tubers online on 50% off clearance with free shipping.

I purchased some children's clothes online that were on sale and clearance that were not much more than local thrift-store prices.

I gave my two older sons a haircut. My husband and I cut his hair.

I went to purchase chicken on sale earlier this week and the store was out of it, so I got a raincheck.

Tomato Salad The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?


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  • Gardenpat July 17, 2018

    This week I decided to use up more of my fabric scraps and made two quilts- this one is all flannel scraps and quilted with a variegated thread- https://pin.it/icyqtmbu756efd. The other one is sandwiched together with batting and backing and is ready to quilt- again, Just made from cotton scraps . I had a twin size 100% cotton sheet from the thrift store that I was able to use as backing for both quilts. The thrift store tag still said 99 cents! Well spent for 2 backings!! https://pin.it/z6rwje43uqbjba

    My garden is still gifting me with cucumbers and zucchini and so I shredded some zucchini and used up some over-ripe bananas to make 3 loaves of very tasty chocolate chip zucchini banana bread! Here’s the recipe: https://pin.it/rbytvu5d3e3rjd Great use-it-up recipe!!!

    I cooked, packaged and froze about 25 pounds of ground beef so I can have the convenience of pulling them out as a recipe timesaver! I also made 3-1/2 pounds of ground beef into hero-burger mix. We made up half for dinner (and lunch leftovers) and packaged the rest in a gallon ziploc bag to have ready in the freezer.

    We drove 400 miles each way on Friday/Saturday to our daughter’s to attend a grandson’s baptism. Our 13 year old car performed like a champ (just like it had the previous weekend when we drove 700 miles round trip to my sister’s!!) with a little planning, I was able to make ham,Turkey, cheese wraps to put in the cooler of ice along with bottled water and cheese cubes and banana bread for the trip and then had butterscotch chip banana oatmeal cookies and a mix of raw almonds and craisins to snack on too!! Doing this meant that we didn’t need to stop for food at any fast food places, mini-marts or rest stop vending machines which saved us a fortune!! Had enough for the whole round trip!
    On Sunday, I had the assignment to visit two out of town congregations so with travel time, I was gone from 9:30 a.m. until 4:45 pm. After traveling the two days before, I was ready to kick back but I got a call asking if I could take dinner to a family at church whose mom just fell on their stairs and was in a lot of pain. Their house was about 10 miles away and the caller asked if I could just take them a freezer meal! I said that on Monday I could take dinner but that day there just wasn’t time to prepare and transport a meal before it was too late for dinner. The caller said she would continue to search for someone else. After I changed clothes, I realized that I have other options besides just freezer meals! So I called her back at 5:15 and said I could have dinner to their house by 6! I got out 2 packages of precooked ground beef, 2 jars of tomatoes, 4 jars of kidney beans, 3 cans of corn and various spices and made Texas style chili- enough for two meals even with the 3 teenagers in the family! I packaged up more of my chocolate chip banana oatmeal cookies and got them there a minute before 6! Not elegant food, but satisfying and tasty and the mom texted me the next morning to express her gratitude! I felt embarrassed that I had initially refused! I am so blessed with our abundant and diverse pantry that makes it possible to “whip up” a meal to take at the very last minute!!
    That is the best part of living providently- the ability to take care of our family and also help others!
    All I. All, a very good week!

  • ... July 17, 2018

    Lovely stories!

  • Gardenpat July 17, 2018

    Thanks! For me, it was a reminder that it’s not that hard to give service from the abundance we’ve been blessed with!

  • Lulutoo July 17, 2018

    Love that flannel quilt!

  • Gardenpat July 17, 2018

    Thanks! The thing I liked about this quilt is that I could use up “leftover “ bits of flannel from other projects! I love when I can do that and then this pattern was perfect for that!

  • Lilli July 17, 2018

    Sugar cookies grandfather passed a year or two ago. She has told me today that her uncle will be packing up grandpa's clothes this weekend and donating them. After seeing your post, I have decided to call and ask for his flannel shirts. I imagine he had several. I imagine they will be willing to ship them to me. I would love to make a quilt for one of her Christmas gifts. Thank you for such a beautiful idea. I imagine my father also has several that I can have and then she will have a grandpa blanket.

  • Marcia R. July 18, 2018

    After my brother in law passed from cancer, his youngest daughter took a few of his favorite flannel shirts and her kids each wore one for their school photos that year! Such a clever idea, and such a tribute to him. She is always coming up with clever ideas that don't cost much (five kids, from 11 to 26 years--and a lot of problems getting pregnant and carrying her kids to term account for the gaps between them.) One year there was one child in every level of school from preschool to college! All are healthy now.

  • http://Robbie July 20, 2018

    That is a beautiful idea!

  • Marylenore July 21, 2018

    I have seen teddy bears made from flannel shirts also.

  • Riley July 17, 2018

    As always, lovely photos!
    We continue our time away from home with extended family but went home for a couple days.
    - I watered everything deeply at home: sad I’m missing my hydrangeas blooming and my blueberries but hoping they are still
    Both going when we get home!
    - bought very few groceries
    - used a Whole Foods GC to get a deal that was spend 10 her 10 amazon bucks for prime day. Spent 14, all on the GC
    - continued to use and wash cloth diapers
    - worked a few days
    - started to redo the cabinets in our bathroom. Used sandpaper and my sander to remove the stain that was on it and used stain we already had to start refinishing them.
    - filled in a survey for an Amazon GC
    - avoided buying anything unnecessary
    - spent heaps of time snuggling my little ones and reading to them. Very much enjoying my time away from work!

  • Rhonda A. July 17, 2018

    Brandy, do sweet potatoes grow in your area? I'm wondering if it would be beneficial to grow actual sweet potatoes instead of the ornamental vines. You would get the same vine look, but also get some food from them as well. I was doing gardening at work in 35C with humidity weather at work on the weekend. I was hot, but it was tolerable as I was working in the shade. Much better that 40C+ with humidity which is what we have been experiencing!

    This week, our frugal accomplishments for our family included:
    *Meals made at home included hot chicken sandwiches with Knorr's pasta sidekicks and leftover mixed veggies, hamburger helper, BBQ chicken breast on multigrain fococcia buns with choice of toppings and homemade macaroni and cheese casserole, roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots, "make your own" pizza, and choice between spaghetti with meat sauce or breaded stuffed chicken with a side of spaghetti.
    *I started making a very simple jam at work using the handful of mixed fruit (we have black raspberries and black currants ripening right now) I'm able to pick that day, a couple small stocks of rhubarb (to add a bit more substance to the pot since there are not many berries), a bit of water and some sugar. Nothing is measured, just dumped into a cast iron pot and brought to a boil over the open fire. I am amazed how well it turns out! My co-workers have really enjoyed eating it with various baked goods we've made, including on top of a tasty spice cake. I thought I would share this idea, as it could be easily replicated with small amounts of fruit (use up fresh, frozen or canned) on the stove top or while camping if you find some wild edible berries to pick. It really is a simple but tasty treat!
    *Made strawberry lemonade popsicle for DD using homemade lemonade (used bottled lemon juice), some fresh strawberries that needed using up, a bit of home-canned plums that turned to mush while processing and a little bit of extra sugar to help with the tart taste.
    *We had some rice in the fridge that somehow didn't get eaten right away (tiny miracle!). I used it to make a small batch of fried rice for lunch on my day off. DD questioned if the rice was still good. I told her it was perfect for making fried rice. I also used up small bits of frozen peas and corn left in bags, along with 1 carrot and 1 egg from the fridge, the last of the soya sauce and some spices in the pantry. Made enough for DD & I to enjoy a nice lunch. She gobbled it up no problem.
    *Harvested from the garden: a few peas (DD just eats them uncooked as there is not enough to cook for a dinner), 2 kinds of lettuce, a little bit of Swiss chard (making a bit of a come back from the deer) and a few green/yellow beans (not sure how many I will get, considering the damage the deer have done). I have a few pea pods that have gone to seed, so will keep them for next years planting. There are a bunch of tiny green tomatoes developing with more flowers appearing (the deer ate the first few green tomatoes that developed), and 1 little pickling cucumber with lots of flowers all over the plants! Now, fingers crossed that deer don't eat all of these. No sign of flowers yet on the water melon.
    *Broccoli went on sale for $0.97/bunch, which is my stock up price I look for each summer. I picked up a dozen bunches, that I will blanch and freeze this week, in preparation for our needs this coming winter. Also bought a basket of wild blueberries for $50 at the farmer's market. Yes, they are very expensive, but tasted the way blueberries should, which is why I prefer to buy them, despite the high price tag. Left some out for fresh eating (DD loves them), and froze the rest for later use.
    *Things received free from work: Popcorn (leftover from food booth at end of day), baked treats (made by various people in village, including me), a cookie, several cups of ice cold lemonade and the leftover sample cheese curds from our car show event.
    *Fixed a pair of shorts that had a folded up cuff. Every time they were washed , the cuff half unrolled and needed to be ironed. I don't like ironing. I fixed it by tacking the cuffs in several spots, so it won't unroll as easily. If this doesn't fix the problem, I will put in a few more tacks until it does!
    *My husband bumped into our friend, Dan the computer man, this week. He is the one who introduced us to using an android box for free streaming of movies and TV shows. He mentioned that he was having a lot of problems with the Kodi app. Hubby mentioned that we are now using Terrarium TV (https://terrariumtv.com) which works much better. On our advice, he downloaded the app and was thrilled at how well it works. So if you are looking for a free streaming app, as an alternative to paying for cable or Netflix, you could give this a try!
    *I have been giving some advice to one of my co-workers, who is in her early 20's. She grew up in a household that struggled with money and having enough food to eat. Because of this, she struggles with how to handle her money and has weight issues. Since I too have struggled with money and weight issues, I'm happy she sees me as a mentor of sorts and is willing to listen to my free advice that I learned the hard way.
    *I found a blog post on Pinterest a while ago, entitled "How to survive on $1,000 a month." (https://www.moneysmartguides.com/can-you-survive-on-1000-a-month). It has a game that you can click on, where you are challenged to live on $1,000 a month. I am obsessed with playing this game! So I thought I would share the link, in case anyone else would like to try it, too. I will warn, there are some components that I think in real life I could do much better with (like the grocery shopping prices and options), but it's still fun to try and make it through the month with as much money at the end as possible.

    Looking forward to reading all the comments and learning new frugal tricks. Have a great week everyone!

  • Except no one here likes sweet potatoes ;)

  • Rhonda A. July 18, 2018

    I only like them as sweet potato fries. My mom and I will eat them that way, but DD and hubby refuses to eat them too.:D If you did grow them, is there someone who would trade you the sweet potatoes for other produce?

  • Marcia R. July 18, 2018

    I am surprised. I don't either, and I have really tried hard to like them. I can eat deep fried sweet potato fries with honey on them, but they are hardly a vegetable at that point!

  • A from Phio July 18, 2018

    Baked sweet potatoes with melted butter, salt, and pepper - oh, my! So good!

  • Monica July 17, 2018

    I continued to do the weekly things like wash and dry ziploc bags, hand wash the dishes, and get drinking water from my parents. This week I trimmed three of my daughters’ hair and cut my oldest sons. On the food front, last week was low on groceries for us but I “made do”, making bread a few meals, using what I had, etc. One meal I found a few sweet potatoes in a fridge drawer. They were way past their prime but I fried them in oil and added salt. “Sweet potato chips” Then I added some homemade pizza sauce to pieces of toast and sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top and cooked for a few minutes. “Mini pizzas”. It’s amazing what one can come up with using the ingredients one has on hand. Those times have yielded some of my best meals! I did get groceries and stayed within my list. I refused the urge to purchase cereal or any other snacks, only fruit. It’s so much cheaper to whip up a batch of peanut butter cookies or homemade granola bars! Sunday morning I made cinnamon rolls and took half the dough and made dinner rolls for lunch. I will continue to make our bread for this week. I also got 20 lbs of chicken leg quarters for $3.90 each. If I hadn’t already spent my grocery budget I would have loaded up on this deal. It usually comes around a couple times a year at my local grocery. Yesterday I emptied one bag into my slow cooker and seasoned them, cooked them all day and last night took the chicken off of the bone to use in several meals this week. I put the bones back into the broth, added more water, and simmered the bones all night in my slow cooker. Today for lunch I will make dumplings from this broth and use some of the chicken!
    My garden is out officially except for a few pickings of peas, but the figs have started and also pears will be ripe within a month. The children have already begun to pick pears and eat them. They like them green. :D I’m getting more and more figs each day but so far I’m just leaving them on the counter and little and big hands grab them all through the day!
    I started doing some spring cleaning last week as I was in the throes of early pregnancy during the spring. Finally getting enough energy back, I’m wiping the winter off of our walls and curtains (we use wood heat...think smutty walls). I made my own cleaner using some dish soap, a bit of borax and some vinegar. Also added some
    Essential oils and water.
    Those are a few of my frugal doings, Brandy! I always think of more when I send this! :-)

  • Monica July 17, 2018

    And oops that should say I cut my oldest son’s hair! It sounded like I cut my oldest sons! :o :o And the chicken was $3.90 for 10lbs!

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba July 17, 2018

    We ran the A/C only for a short time and used the fan otherwise even though it was rather hot for the Midwest.

    I used six $1 off coupons to purchase salsa for our customer appreciation event. In addition, I am using beans and rice we had on hand. We're having burrito bowls!

    For the invitations, I used evite.com to save money and to track RSVP'S with ease! I am using plates, napkins, spoons, and cups we have on hand.

    We used larger doses of natural remedies to stay well when our friends and their children were diagnosed with hand, foot mouth disease.

    Even though I had multiple appointments every day, I did my best to run errands while I was out anyway.

    We line dried all our clothes and ate most of our meals at home.

    I cleaned our balcony door with a very economical and safe multipurpose cleaner. The door looked brand new!

    I made a meal for a client whose mother is undergoing cancer treatments. For that, I was pleasantly surprised to make do with ingredients that we already had at home!

  • Laurie in central NC July 17, 2018

    Your photos are all lovely, but the tomato salad has me drooling! Our first tomato is ripening, and I'm hoping to pick it this week. And may many more follow :o). Last night's dinner was all from fruit, herbs and veggies we'd grown... broccoli, potato salad, and fried apples. I finally started thinning my carrots, and put the thinnings in my broth bag, plus enjoyed a tiny carrot. I'm still gathering lots of cucumbers, though one variety should be slowing down soon. Summer squash, blueberries, a few okra and apples are also being gathered. The first lima beans are filling out, and there are blossoms on the green beans. We badly need rain here, and hoping the 50% chance this evening works in our favor. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/07/what-were-eating-what-were-not-frugal.html

  • Karen July 17, 2018

    I continue to be amazed at all you can accomplish with a new baby! Also, that salad looks delicious.

    I had a fairly frugal week. I took a day off of work and did a rough inventory of my freezer, then made a list of 60+ meals I can make with the ingredients I have on hand (I can't actually make all of it with what I have right now, but those are my options). While doing this I found two bags of chicken thighs that I had forgotten about. They were getting a touch of freezer burn so I cooked them in my pressure cooker, shredded the meat, then threw the bones back in the pot, added some more water, and made 10 cups of stock.

    Also, while I was at home, I went over all of our accounts and redid our monthly budget. It's been a long time. Since then I've been faithfully recording every purchase daily. It really only takes a couple of minutes a day and it's so helpful to me when I stay on top of it!

    We took a day trip into the woods to scout out camping spots for an upcoming trip. Rather than pick up sandwiches on our way out of town, I cooked a bag of chicken strips that were in the freezer. On the way home we stopped at the grocery store and picked up a few items for "snacky dinner" and thus avoided eating in restaurants all weekend. Sunday night I tried out a couple of copycat Taco Bell recipes - fire sauce and shredded chicken burritos, my husband's favorite. They were certainly more time consuming than a trip to Taco Bell, but they were also delicious and healthier.

    I exercised using videos I found on YouTube. I'm trying to work out more and keep being tempted to join a gym, but the truth is that it would be very hard for me to make time to go, and I have everything I need to do a good workout right here at home.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

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