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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Meyer Lemon Trees The Prudent Homemaker

We had beautiful, warmer than usual weather last week, and I took advantage of it, working in the garden every afternoon.

I planted seeds in the garden for poppies, dwarf hollyhocks, larkspur, Armenian cucumbers, lettuce,  and alpine strawberries. 

I mended drip irrigation lines that were broken.

I transplanted parsley seedlings into new spots in the garden where they can grow larger. I am completely out of dried parsley and I want to grow enough to dry enough parsley for our yearly use; we go through quite a bit and so I will need to grow it in several spots in the garden. Each year I grow enough parsley, oregano, basil, chives, thyme, and mint in the garden that I never have to purchase them dried or fresh.

I also harvested fresh parsley and used it in a dish.

The century plant I had purchased as a tiny plant at a garage sale a couple of years ago put forth two babies. I dug them up and transplanted them to two pots I already had.

I dug up a small mulberry tree that the birds had seeded in my garden and transplanted it to a pot I already had. 

I dug two boxleaf euyonomus starts and transplanted them to other places in the garden.

I transplanted nasturtiums that had self-seeded to another spot in the garden.

I pulled dandelions from the grass by hand (I never buy a pre-emergent weed killer; I just pull the weeds out of the lawn myself).

I took cuttings from my honeysuckle plants with hopes of starting some new plants to grow elsewhere in the garden.

Johnny JumpUps The Prudent Homemaker

I collected shower warm-up water in buckets and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

I harvested Swiss chard and green onions from the garden.

I picked up my hairspray at Walmart instead of Target. Both places seem to have trouble stocking it (I often have found an empty shelf) but I went to a different Walmart than usual and not only found it, but it was $1 cheaper than Target's price. Henceforth, I'll be buying my hairspray at Walmart.

I picked up the baby registry goodie bag from Target when I went to get the diaper deal, which included three diapers, some baby wash, and baby lotion that I'll use. 

We enjoyed watching the Thunderbirds flying overhead while they practiced. We saw them fly right over our backyard three times in formation; one time as we were watching they released and ended smoke trails all at the same time, which was pretty neat.

Leucojum Aestivum The Prudent Homemaker

Leucojum Aestivum (blooms in May/June in cooler climates)

I read two e-books from the library.

I mended a pillow.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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Comments

  • Gabrielle bryen February 12, 2018

    Look at your beautiful weather!

    Here in Pennsylvania we are thawing out before more snow later in the week. Tomorrow in our Pennsylvania dutch world is Fastnacht day (Shrove Tuesday) in which the rich foods are historically eaten up before the more penitent season of Lent. (http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2018/02/fastnacht-essentials/). They are fun to make and eat and I all about remembering our region's rich heritage.

    I've had some frugal missteps this week..A failed loaf of bread (from a new recipe) and some real successes (keeping our grocery bill low). I've recently perfected the corn and flour tortilla which is nice to make at home. I found both really require some practice.

    I've been busy watching a favorite BBC series on youtube, "History Cold Case, but now they have episodes in the US as well. If you like forensic archeology/paleontology/history this is a great series for free.

    I love the Spring look of your garden, Brandy, especially as we face more gray days ahead here.

  • Wyoming Gal February 12, 2018

    We are preparing for 6 months away from home (will rent our house to the relative of a friend for 4 months while we are away). We are packing and sorting items. We are preparing for a community wide garage sale in April. And we are cleaning out those boxes that never seem to get sorted - such as memorabilia, photos, old letters - as well as the easier extra camping gear, craft supplies, books, etc.

    With food, we are trying to eat the pantry items and the things in the freezer. Each week I buy milk, lettuce, bananas and a few other items. This week I made the following items to use up food - spinach rice casserole, a double recipe of pumpkin muffins with the addition of diced mature (okay, old) apples and brownies for a church potluck. (I have 4 more boxes of brownie mix , 1 box of cake mix and 1.5 cups of pumpkin puree to bake and take to potlucks or other events in only 2 months. I am not sure I'll make it.)

    I am not buying much of anything because we need to "unacquire" many items that haven't been used in 10 years. I did buy a pair of leather loafers for $28 (regular price was $138) from Talbot's. I love Talbot's but it is generally too pricey for me. So I counted and I have 38 pairs of shoes, boots, sandals and sneakers, so I don't "need" any shoes for a long time. But I love Talbot's shoes and I had a coupon for $25 off and really black leather flats are so practical! I am afraid this was a frugal fail.

  • Becky February 12, 2018

    My favorite thing you did was watch the Thunderbirds. I love seeing them, but for me it's very rare.

    I was able to trim off another bin full of things that needed pruning. Each week, I'm trying to fill the bin, and get more pruning done. Someone thought it was a good idea to plant ivy here, years ago, and it it trying to take over. Every time I prune plants, I also try to chop off some more ivy, just to keep it under control, and always put it in the bin so it won't re-grow, as it will from the cuttings. I am no longer fond of ivy. I was able to plant seeds in my greenhouse and a few are starting to come up. My husband got the lights up in there yesterday, so the baby plants won't be leggy.

    I made good use of the Super Bowl leftovers, and we ate chili several times this week. I had a package of salmon I had frozen previously, and we ate that twice. There were 4 pieces, and my husband and I each ate 1, both times. The kids didn't want any, so I didn't insist:). We ate lots of baked potatoes this week. My friend brought African food when she came and visited and we pretty much lived off of that on Saturday. I made a delicious, gluten-free chocolate cake for Family Sunday Dinner (it was a birthday) and saved a lot of money from both buying a cake, and even from buying a gluten-free mix. It is a recipe that tastes really good, with a home-made buttercream chocolate frosting. I put a picture on my blog with my sister's 53 candles on it--one of the kids insisted: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/02/12/weekly-update-saving-money-what-did-we-eat-february-11-2018/ I do feel it's kind of scary to see so many candles, since she is my LITTLE sister!

    We used our YMCA membership several times.

    We got some Friday freebies, butter for $1.99 (5 boxes), peanut butter for 99c/little jar (5), and some more things from Fred Meyers. (Kroger). Then, we used the Safeway coupons my aunt gave me for the great deals there..water for $1.50 case, bacon for $3/lb., shredded cheese for $1.50/8 oz. We also got produce wherever it was the least expensive, and are in great shape again. This morning, early, I thawed a very old package of pork chops, cut the meat up, and made fajitas for dinner tonight with an old pepper that was in the fridge and had been forgotten and an onion. They taste fine, and I was glad to use those things up. I made a rhubarb/strawberry crisp with some strawberries marked '13 and some rhubarb that was probably the same age. It turned out great, and now those items that had come to light in the freezer are used in a tasty fashion. I also have some beef marinating in the fridge for tomorrow. It's not old at all, but this makes it easy for my husband to throw it onto the BBQ tomorrow night after work, as he gets home more than 2 hours before I do. I'm hoping to go out and see what else I can find in the next few days. I want to get those freezers emptier over the next few months, to make room for fresh produce. 2 summers ago, when we lived in the camper between houses, I neither preserved new food, nor used much up. Then, with the commotion of moving into this house, some things became jumbled in the freezers. I've tried to organize it over this past year and a half, but still keep finding odd items that got overlooked. So, it's a real priority now, since last summer's berries and peaches have likely gotten put on top of some old produce in the chest freezer. I've been making some real progress on this project in the past few weeks. I know the home-canned food is placed properly, with the new in the back, since I made a big point of arranging that cupboard properly last summer.

  • Rhonda A. February 12, 2018

    After 3 days of winter storms rolling through southern Ontario, your beautiful floral photographs are a good reminder that spring will come eventually. We just have to wait! This is also reminding me of the new report about the groundhog trying to escape it's pen on Groundhog Day and the new reporter who was bit trying to stop it. You know it's a rough winter when even the groundhogs are so despirate to get out of here. Thanks for brightening our day up here in the cold Northern hemisphere, Brandy!

    Well, my hopes for my daughter having a better second semester in high school were quickly distroyed on day 3 when she had yet another incident at school that involved the police. Yep, she's home again and I'm loosing what little faith I had in the school system. They are trying to figure out what to do with/for her at this point...lots of meetings happening...no answers yet. Needless to say, lots of mixed emotions being experienced by me. DD, on the other hand, hates school so much, being home is like a pleasant vacation from the emotional torture she is experiences when she is attending school. Seriously hoping this whole situation will force the school board to step up their game for Autistic children...but forgive me if I don't hold my breath. Anyways, between DD and the weather, I've stayed home more than I had planned to this week. I guess that is a positive. Our frugal accomplishments this week included:
    *Meals made at home included choice between taco bake or turkey tater tot casserole (from the freezer), "piggies in a blanket" (breakfast sausage & cheese) with corn, hot chicken sandwiches with peas, "Cracked Out" chicken and rice cassserole (new recipe, see below), my mom's macaroni & cheese casserole (I have never met anyone else who makes it like my mom...kind of similar to scalloped potatoes with chunks of cheese...no cheese sauce!) with salad, hamburger helper with carrots, and make-your-own pizzas.
    *At Costco, I found a sale on breakfast sausages (huge package of fresh sausage for $11.50), so I picked up 1 pack to add variety to our meals. I cooked all the sausage at once to make it more convenient for meal use later, which also saved on energy use. We used some for dinner that night, then I packaged up the rest in meal sized portions for the freezer. There was also a sale on tortillas, $3 for 20 wraps, which is a really amazing price for here. I picked up 2 packages and put them directly in the freezer to keep for later use.
    *I've been wanting to find some yummy rice dish recipes to add to my "family favourite meals" list. DD is not really into pasta right now and I'd like some non-potatoe options. So this week I tried a new recipe..."Cracked Out" chicken and rice casserole (recipe link: http://www.plainchicken.com/2013/04/cracked-out-chicken-and-rice.html). I made sure to cook just 1 extra chicken breast the day before, to use in this recipe (2 cups of meat is excessive). I modified the recipe slightly, by deleting the bacon (DD is having bacon issues as well), exchanging the canned chicken soup with cheddar cheese soup (personal taste preference), and adding leftover green/waxed beans and corn from the fridge to make it a complete meal. Everyone seemed to like the meal (they ate it with no complaints...that's a rarity) and it made just the right amount for 4 adults (note: if you wanted to extend this meal for a slightly larger family, I'd pair it with a salad or veggie side). I'm happy to report this recipe has been added to my family favourites list!
    *I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies for the family to enjoy, to use up some eggs. My family agreed it was a good use of the eggs.
    *Hubby and I did some banking stuff this week. We were pleased to hear that our hard work on our finanical situation is really improving our credit scores. We will continue to save for a house and wait patiently, so we will be ready when the next housing market crash happens to look at buying a home. Because there is no way we can afford the insanely inflated prices of houses in our area as they stand right now.
    *Forgot to mention this last week. I bought a brand new pair of casual dress pants on clearance for $4.50 and a beautiful brand new blouse for $15 at Old Navy. They were both on 50% off because the store does not carry those sizes in-store (only available on-line). So for a little over $20 with taxes, I have a brand new outfit.

    I have to say, I really look forward to reading everyones comments each day. It really uplifts my spirit and brings me such pleasure. So thank you all for being a part of this community. I truly hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.

  • Marney February 12, 2018

    Hi Rhonda,

    Sorry to hear that things are difficult for your daughter at school. I too have a special needs kid, and have had to endure some school difficulties. I don't really have any advice, but know that you are in my thoughts. One day school will be history for your daughter. I'll pray for more support from the school.

    Marney

  • Jeannie February 13, 2018

    I am sorry for the difficulties your daughter is enduring at public school. We went through the same things with my older son years ago and it is painful to watch their struggles. I gave up and finally pulled him out and began homeschooling. Within three weeks all his symptoms disappeared and he became a different child. The school was overwhelmed with the massive influx of illegal immigrants and could not cope. The teachers were trying, doing the best they could, but it was not enough.

    Hang in there. You are not alone.

    Jeannie @ GetMetoTheCountry.blogspot.com

  • Lilli February 13, 2018

    Rhonda, it is really nice to read that we are not all alone in this world with are special needs children. We had originally planned on leaving sugar cookie in the school system until she aged out but that turned into a joke. The issues over the state mandated testing were a nightmare. The child can't read and they constantly had her in a state of hysterics. She graduated at 18. Sadly there are no programs for her. It seems like each year we have a new struggle. I can only hope that your sweet daughter will find her way. I feel like most of my life has been spent battling every system known to man for her. Now that I am older it is exhausting. The autistic young man she knows had convinced her they should get married. My goodness that would be a nightmare at every level. Meanwhile her brother has taught her to play Minecraft so she is steadily working on that. I try to smile and have patience and take it one day at a time.

  • Becky February 15, 2018

    Yes! A nightmare! My disabled son has declared that now his girlfriend is his "fiancee." She is also developmentally disabled. He lives in a group home, and has for years, and we don't have much to do with his day to day life. He has Aspberger's syndrome, so is quite high functioning in some ways, and not in others. So, our part is to just smile and nod while the workers figure everything out. Thankfully, they have meetings and laid down "goals" for him to accomplish before it would be possible for them to get married. Since he cannot do those things at this time, I don't think I actually need to worry yet. (There are criteria that he has met, at 18 and at 21, to be in this group home, and they mean he needs a lot of support for daily functioning in certain areas--also, this has been going on for over a year) This girl is a real sweetie, and we like her a lot, and we invite them over for holidays, etc., but it would be very difficult for either one of them to run a household without staff support. So, it remains a matter for prayer here, as well.

  • Lilli February 15, 2018

    Thank you for your thoughts Becky. I have had to confiscate all her legal documents to keep him from sneaking off with her. This situation is so much different than trying to prevent a young couple from getting married. He functions at a much greater level than my daughter.

  • Becky February 15, 2018

    That seems like a great idea. Life is never as cut and dried or as easy as people make it out to be. All we can do is keep plugging forward:). Hang in there.

  • Kim Heller February 12, 2018

    Hi Brandy,
    Love seeing that loaded lemon tree.
    I have a fully loaded orange tree here in my house in the Pacific Northwest. The oranges are very small and not good for eating but makes for a fun hobby. I love how it makes the house smell when it blooms. I like to try growing things that are not suitable for my climate just for fun. I have an olive tree that produces a handful of olives each year. I am currently growing a pineapple plant which seems to be doing well-started from a pineapple top. My orange tree is well over 20 years old now. I also have a Christmas cactus in full bloom which really brightens up the house.
    We had a sunny Saturday so I was able to work out in the yard all day doing winter clean up chores and I even mowed the lawn. I know I love gardening because I just loose all track of time when I am out in the yard/gardens.
    I bought regular all occasion greeting cards for my family of five at the thrift store for $1 and made them into valentine cards by adding red hearts with my red marker. My husband and I plan to take our adult children and their families out for a Mexican dinner for Valentine's Day celebration-not frugal but better than buying grandson a bunch of candy and we get quality family time.
    I have started my spring cleaning efforts. I put a fresh coat of white paint on the inside of a couple kitchen cabinets that were looking worse for wear. I washed down all the outside of the kitchen cabinets with Murphy's oil soap. I already had the paint and brush so no cost cleaning- things look much nicer now.
    Sending good wishes to everyone here for a good, frugal week.

  • Lilli February 12, 2018

    After that horrendous light bill this month, I have shut the heat off completely. Thankfully, it is about 55 at night and not to many complaints about it. I unplugged everything in the house except for the 4 main appliances. The only lights being used for the most part are in the children's rooms. I have requested that the length of all showers be cut in half. I managed to get all laundry done and hung out to dry before the rain arrived. Sugar cookie had a birthday. I bought her a huge rice crispy treat for 5.00. She had admired them over the holidays and it was much cheaper than that cookie cake she requested from the mall. I had bought her several brand new items over the last few months from the thrift store. Her favorite is a 1000 piece puzzle of colorful doughnuts. I spent less than 6.00 on all her presents. Reading this blog has inspired me to not be hesitant about buying things there and gifting them. Well, we are halfway through the month and still broke. Thankfully that stockpile of food is everything we need to be comfortable. All the bills are paid and we are just sitting back and waiting for next month to arrive. I have used my time to make lists of things to stockpile for long-term needs. After reading a post, Erica in Alaska wrote, I realized I needed to investigate all my options about where I could purchase these items. Holy cow, dry freeze food is expensive. I am so happy I checked this subject out. Now, off to try my hand at another batch of homemade spaghetti sauce. I hope that the sun is shining wherever you are. It's cold, wet and rainy here.

  • Margie from Toronto February 12, 2018

    The photo of your lemon trees is just gorgeous! It's been snowing for days here and Spring is nowhere in sight at the moment. There is a big airshow on Labour Day weekend in Toronto and since I live close to the lake (where it takes place) I get to watch the practice runs and the show each year. Love watching them - but boy is it loud!

    It has been a frugal week as I'm still sick. Only went out twice (briefly) so saved transit costs and money. I did buy some extra food items, anticipating a friend coming to lunch, but since that had to be cancelled I will freeze a few items for later. A friend is bringing some milk tonight so that means I won't have to go out for another few days so more No Spend Days! I'll make some pancakes tomorrow (already have pancake mix and maple syrup) and then I'm giving up meat (beef, lamb, pork etc.) for Lent. I'm eating poultry and fish/seafood so tomorrow I'm going to go through my freezer and rearrange a few things. I already have turkey breast and ground turkey, a couple of chicken breasts and some cod fishcakes in the freezer so I will move them upfront and pack away any meat items to be used later. I've got frozen veg but will need some fresh very soon.
    I'm enjoying the Olympics so at least I've got something to do while I'm confined to quarters.

  • Cindy Brick February 12, 2018

    It seems so unreal, to look at your garden...then outside. We have a mix of snow and brown patches, gray skies -- and cold.

    Our home in Colorado is just north of the Air Force Academy. When AF football is active, we'll occasionally have wonderful practice sessions overhead by the Blue Angels.
    But your comments brought back another set of memories: when Brother and I were kids, the folks would take us to the Grand Rapids (MI) airport to watch planes take off and land. Then we would go inside to maybe have a drink (if the folks were flush), but always to stare at an indoor fountain area that people threw change into for good luck. (Think 'From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler') I thought then that the GRR airport was the most elegant in the world...and would have never guessed that I'd fly out of many others, far larger.

    We went to Tucson with Daughter and her fiance while they bought inventory at the citywide gem and rock shows. Unfortunately, someone else was handing out freebies -- we ended up with the worst flu I have experienced in a long time. Thank God Daughter and and Son were able to drive us home -- I'm not sure either Husband nor myself could have made it.
    It's been nearly a week since then -- and today is the first I didn't wake up with a fever. We've been living on milk, tea, coffee, juice, a few slices of toast and canned soup, plus chicken soup thoughtful neighbors brought over. Today is the first I could type without fuzzy thoughts and hands shaking. This version is NASTY stuff.

  • Lorna February 12, 2018

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :) . It has been so incredibly hot here at the moment nearing 40 oc during the days so not a lot of chance to get out into the gardens unless it is really early in the morning or after 6pm at night.

    Brandy have been working likewise this year to dry all of our herbs for our own use in the gardens and some for sale too and do use them fresh as well. I would also like to take some cuttings from our French Lavender when they get large enough to propagate other plants from.

    Financial -
    - DH earned $50 from doing a mowing and trimming job for our next door neighbour which we banked into our saving for our home deposit account.
    - Banked more money into our saving for our home deposit bank account bringing us to 24.07% of the way there.

    eBay listings -
    - Listed 10 handmade items using a free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    In the kitchen -
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Grocery purchases/food storage -
    - Found lychees on special for $1.68 per tin (usually $2.75) and purchased 22 tins over our usual amount to stock the pantry saving $38.52 on usual prices.

    In the garden -
    - Picked a huge amount of sage, thyme and a small amount of French lavender from the gardens and hung them to dry in the house and on the veranda behind shade cloth. We also separated some dried lavender and rosemary I had drying for household stocks.
    - Picked 1.1kg of cherry tomatoes from the gardens saving $13.20 over purchasing them.
    - Planted a 7mt row of silver beet and bush bean strike bean seeds in one of the newly amended garden beds.
    - Seasoned our 2 in 1 wood smoker/BBQ so we can use it shortly to cook some roasts on. We are waiting for the weather to cool off and a still day to do this which will save hugely on electricity running the oven and won't heat up the house.

    Water preservation -
    - Used vegetable/herb washing water, vege steaming water to water newly emerged seedlings in the gardens.
    - Made use of saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to hand water the house paddock lawns all week.

    Electricity savings -
    - Saved around $7.50 in electricity by using our solar lanterns to light our home and by only turning on the electric hot water system when needed.

    Have a wonderful frugal week ahead everyone :) .

  • Cindy in the South February 13, 2018

    I am always amazed at how much you are saving for your house! Good for you! I am so excited to hear about when you purchase or build it!

  • Lorna February 13, 2018

    Cindy in the South thank you for your encouragement :) .

    We are hoping to be ready to approach the bank for the other 50% loan in around 2 years all going well. The way we look at it is the more we save the less we have to borrow and pay interest on, always good.

  • PJGT February 12, 2018

    It is a joy to see your garden. We are covered in ice right now. The snow is gone. Next week is a vacation week and I am hoping for some snow. I decided to not go anywhere next week, but to stay home and save money.

    Instead if driving to shop, I ordered a couple things online...including some food. It was nicely priced and free shipping. We are very conscious of not buying processed foods, but have found it difficult to manage this winter with the cabin. We finally just gave up and are eating simple foods that are healthy. Cooking will have to wait for summer. The oven doesn't work either now!

    I received a free zipper baggy, some toilet paper rolls to use as fire starters and some more newspaper. We are continuing to eat what we have so that nothing goes to waste here. My son and I are on a mission to reduce our portion sizes as well. Keeping at it.

    Frugal fail...I have to pay for an event that I wasnt able to attend because of the flu. My cousin was going with me, but came down sick suddenly.

    We were able to do significantly less laundry because of two days of snow and ice. Stayed home and rested up...thus saving on gas and car wear as well.

    I read a free book excerpt and re-read a book I own.

    Happy frugal-ing as we work toward our goals.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore February 12, 2018

    As always, your colorful photos bring such joy Brandy ! Also reading your garden achievements each week. It's been in high 40s/low 50s here with lots of rain. I want to start seedlings in the garage but feel it may be too soon since last frost date here is end of April and don't want to end up with lanky plants to transplant outdoors. The birds also leave me lots of mulberry but I pull them up - Thought they would need to be grafted to bear fruit. From now on, I will transplant them and see what happens. I'm glad you were able to find the hairspray you like at less cost.

    It was a good week. Some good deals: 3 lb Halo clementines for $2.99, reg price $5.99; 80% lean ground beef $1.99 lb; fresh salmon filet $5.99, reg price $7.99 lb. Free Hershey chocolate bar and Arla cream cheese tub with store coupon. Primrose plants at $0.99 each. I bought several & will transplant to garden.

    My monthly trip to BJ's was under budget as I purchased only what was on my list & used BJ's & manuf. coupons (allowed to combine them at BJ's). My girlfriend and I did notice though that their prices have been creeping up each month on just about every item except "junk" food. For example, I buy English cucumbers there. A 2-pack is now $2.99, a few months ago it was $2.49.

    My weekly lunch date with 3 girlfriends was a brunch date instead and then we went to see a movie - the matinee on every Tuesday is deeply discounted (for any age) - we enjoyed each other's company & saved money.

    Took several walks on boardwalk; car-pooled 4 days with a neighbor to our clubhouse (we live in a planned development with a clubhouse, a variety of clubs & activites, outdoor pool, exercise room) for Zumba classes and fitness classes (classes are $3 each with certified instructors) it's only an 8 minute drive each way to our clubhouse but we enjoy taking the classes together & do save a little gas & some wear & tear on our cars.

    Thank you for this blog Brandy. I love reading these posts.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood February 12, 2018

    Jeannie, you're so sweet! And I agree with Susan -- you've got a huge talent for humorous writing!

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