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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Cyrus and Ivory with Lizard

We spent a quiet week at home this week.

Cyrus with Tiny Lizard The Prudent Homemaker

The children put on a show in the garden and their grandparents watched. We played a lot of games and did some artwork.

Ezrom Sculpture 6 The Prudent Homemaker

Ezrom's newest scultpure; if you missed the others, see my previous post

The children set up an elaborate make-believe world with wooden trains, Lincoln Logs, and vintage Fisher Price Little People in the library, with which they played for over two days.

They played dress-up.

They donned swimsuits to play in the rain that came on Saturday. I turned off the drip system and the sprinkler system for several cycles, and collected rainwater to use to water the garden later. The storm brought cooler temperatures, so I turned off the air conditioner and opened up the house for a bit. These simple things saved me over $13 in a day (and I was happy to be able to conserve water in our drought!)

I continued to use Duolingo daily to improve my French. I found it amusing that every time I learned/relearned something, I used it the next day (and sometimes only an hour later!) while typing messages to a friend in France. 

I continued to pick and dry figs from my mission fig tree.

I canned three pints and one half pint of fig jam.

I cut a handful of red noodle beans from the vines in the garden.

I collected nasturtium seeds and snapdragon seeds from the garden.

I transplanted stock that had self-seeded in my white garden.

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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Comments

  • Laura at Quiet Country Life August 03, 2015

    I have been very diligently watching my zucchini for first fruit, and picked one 2 days ago. This morning, I found one I had somehow managed to miss. It's not so big that I have to feed it to the chickens, but I can't believe I missed it! The army should use zucchini leaves for camouflage!

    Our garden is doing well, and we have been staying busy helping some friends move and shifting gears for the start of the school year. In all honesty, this past week was a rough one for me. I shared more about it on my blog: http://quietcountrylife.blogspot.com/2015/08/our-last-week-of-summer.html

    I did want to ask, Brandy, if you grow other types of figs other than mission figs? I got some figs 'from Turkey' at Costco one time...loved them....and unfortunately, they were discontinued. I think they are called Turkish figs, but I'm not positive. I like mission figs, but liked the Turkish so much better, and wondered if you have experience with them. Thanks! :)

  • I only have one fig tree. There are other types of figs, and yes, one is called Brown Turkey.

  • Lorna August 03, 2015

    Hello all and I would like to say that Ezrom has a real talent for sculpting. I used to own an art gallery and did a lot of art classes and activities with children.

    My or rather my husbands and my frugal accomplishments are -

    I made my own stain cleaner for use for all of our clothing. Low cost and works much better than store bought soakers that I found just don't work at all.

    Made a litre bottle of citrus vinegar cleaner and it was finished brewing this week. I shall run down the small amount of shop bought cleaners down and then use this instead to save on the grocery costs.

    My husband and I planted in our greenhouse tomato seeds, corn, lavender, thyme, bought some sweet potatoes and put them in potting mix to get some slips to plant for the spring.

    My husband dug all of our new spring garden beds ready to plant out all of our seedlings when they are ready after the frosts have past.

    We have been working on using less lights at night and have been cooking only when we have a full oven. We cooked a roast chicken dinner and some chocolate muffins. Hopefully this should reduce our electricity bill as our most recent one went up $30 more than our usual due to an increase in electricity tariffs. We shall gauge how our efforts have gone on our next quarterly bill.

    Picked peas, silverbeet, spinach and carrots from our garden which we used in our teas.

  • Juhli August 03, 2015

    Would you mind sharing your stain cleaner recipe? I don't like the commercial products and am looking for options. Thanks.

  • Lorna August 03, 2015

    Stain Remover ( recipe taken off the creativehomemaking.com website)

    •2/3 c. dishwashing soap
    •2/3 c. ammonia
    •6 tbsp. baking soda
    •2 c. warm water

    -I recommend you mix and use this solution outdoors on the veranda in the fresh air as it does rather smell, and use rubber gloves on your hands while using it !

    -Place in a recycled bottle and shake, it blocks up spray bottles so don't use it in one of them. I pour the mixture into an old bucket or you can use your laundry tub, put my clothes in, ring out or just dunk the stained bit of your clothing in the solution.

    -Then wash as usual in your washing machine.

    My husband and I cut timber so have the combination of red timber dust, red soil and a lovely array of oils on our underclothing and shirts. So you can imagine that our light undergarments are a lovely shade of red white and grey. Gets all of the stains out and turns everything white again and your clothing just looks like when you first bought them.

  • Leigh August 03, 2015

    Would you please be willing to share how you made your stain cleaner? Thank you!

  • Lorna August 03, 2015

    Stain Remover ( recipe taken off the creativehomemaking.com website)

    •2/3 c. dishwashing soap
    •2/3 c. ammonia
    •6 tbsp. baking soda
    •2 c. warm water

    -I recommend you mix and use this solution outdoors on the veranda in the fresh air as it does rather smell, and use rubber gloves on your hands while using it !

    -Place in a recycled bottle and shake, it blocks up spray bottles so don't use it in one of them. I pour the mixture into an old bucket or you can use your laundry tub, put my clothes in, ring out or just dunk the stained bit of your clothing in the solution.

    -Then wash as usual in your washing machine.

    My husband and I cut timber so have the combination of red timber dust, our red soil and a lovely array of oils on our underclothing, socks, shirts and jeans. So you can imagine that our light undergarments are a lovely shade of red white grey. Gets all of the stains out and turns everything white again or to it's intended other colours, and your clothing just looks like when you first bought them.

  • amanda August 06, 2015

    Love the sculpture that your son made. I just read your page on art and I was SO inspired to make art a bigger priority in the lives of my children. I never learned to draw or paint but I do hope to pass down a love of art to my children. My children are 1 and 5 and my son has made good progress with Usbornes I Can Draw Animals. :) I do have a practical question for you. Do you have all of your children do an art time? Right now my son rushes through art projects but I wish I could slow him down just a little bit. :)
    As far as frugal things go the past few weeks have been hard. My daughter was diagnosed with a chiari one malformation in her brain. It is not life threatening but we are waiting to hear if she will have to have surgery to correct it. It's so hard not to just be overwhelmed and waste money because I am so upset over it and don't feel like cooking, saving money etc. I am trying to jump back on the frugal wagon. Here are a few of the things i was able to accomplish this week: http://lifeasmrsemerson.blogspot.com/2015/08/frugal-things-i-did-last-week.html

  • Yes, we have art after lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but the children will often do something on their own on other days, too (like today, when my 5-year-old pulled out one of the How to Draw books from Dover and started drawing). It doesn't always take a long time; they are usually very short. As they get older I try to try to get them to do projects that will take more than one day, but it depends on what they want to work on. I give them a lot of leeway in choosing what project they want to do. This is part of our homeschool, but of course you could do it without homeschooling, too.

    I am sorry to hear the news about your daughter.

  • Laurie in central NC August 03, 2015

    How wonderful to see the progression Ezrom is making on each new sculpture. Your past week sounds very creative and happy. There was a little anole lizard keeping me company in the garden this morning. I'm off to can tomatoes. Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-little-vacation-and-frugal.html

  • Laurie in central NC August 03, 2015

    I meant to ask... last week I broke my bubble remover stick while canning squash. I wonder if anyone has suggestions for something else that would work, or if there is somewhere to get just this item? I've seen the canning kits with all the pieces, a Ball one that has lots of notches in it (I'd prefer a smooth one like the one I had), and a Victorio bubble remover/lid lifter combo for $7.99. It seems like someone ought to carry a simple bubble remover for less. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Erika August 03, 2015

    Mine broke ages ago. I just use a butter knife. It works :).

  • Dee August 03, 2015

    I use a chopstick this has worked for years. Never had anything else.

  • Live and Learn August 03, 2015

    Like Erika, I just use a butter knife.

  • Laurie in central NC August 03, 2015

    Thank you Erika, Dee & Live and Learn! Two choices that I already have on hand, and don't need to buy. I felt sure there would be wonderful answers here. This is such a great community!

  • Mariana Cisowska August 03, 2015

    I just found out that regardless how much we use AC (or how much we don't use it), we still split the bill in half with our landlord who lives on the floor below. The house does not have separate electricity bills. This is a big bummer :(
    We get a good deal on the apartment so not sure if I shall complain? It does not seem fair though...
    I am still saving money as much as I can though. My weekly update is here:

    http://www.brooklynbasedgirlfriend.com/last-weeks-frugal-accomplishments-8/

    Wishing everyone a great week.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada August 03, 2015

    Marianna - your post reminded me of my last apartment. Didn't know until I moved in that I had to split the electric bill with the upstairs two tenants. I guess 'what goes around, comes around" - I had room for an apartment sized moveable washer (the kind that hooks into the kitchen sink) and a 110-volt dryer. Oh, and a freezer. I think I came out ahead on that deal, hopefully you will too.

  • Veronica, Central CA August 03, 2015

    This last week our family was able to get in a camping trip before school begins again. We shared our site with family members which cut the cost in half. In the past, I have always made special trips to the grocery store to purchase food that would be easy to prepare while camping, such as shake and pour pancake mix and small containers of condiments, which was usually quite costly. This year, I was determined to plan our camping food according to what we already had. Using pantry staples, eggs from our chickens, and vegetables from the garden, the only food I purchased for the trip was milk, which I would have had to purchase anyway. It took a little prep ahead of time to make the food easier to prepare while at the camping site (putting together pancake mix, dicing veggies, repackaging condiments, etc.) but I saved a ton of money.
    I also canned eight more pints of stewed tomatoes, dried basil, and collected basil seeds. This week was much warmer than the past so I was not able to open windows for cool air as much. Trying to keep the heat down in the house, we had a few "cold dinners."

  • lulutoo August 03, 2015

    Good work, Veronica!
    And I just love this site. There is something so special about it, Brandy!

  • lisa August 03, 2015

    I love quiet weeks spent at home!

    I made rosemary olive oil bread which we used for grilled bacon and cheese sandwiches for dinner one night. Using a coupon, I got the turkey bacon for 16¢. I also made double chocolate muffins, coffee pudding using leftover cold coffee, refrigerator pickles, chex mix, and french bread.

    We picked 2 quarts of wineberries from our back yard and froze them, and harvested quite a bit from the garden: 3 eggplant, 3 pickling cucumbers, lots of dragon egg cucumbers, 3 zucchini, and a bunch of cherry tomatoes. I shredded the zucchini and ended up with 8 cups and froze it. I also picked basil and froze it and dried parsley and oregano in my dehydrator.

    I was only able to hang one load of laundry to dry outside because of the rain and humidity and this week looks to be about the same.

    I swept the floors instead of using the vacuum.

    We finally finished stacking the firewood we got for free and in total have 10 pallets filled to about 5 ft high which will provide us enough for this year and some of next.

    My husband constructed two more raised beds for me, bringing my total garden square footage to 208 sq ft and we have plans to build three more for an additional 96 sq ft. We had all of the wood on hand so it was free. I also have additional space where I have perennials and fruit trees/bushes planted that can be underplanted.

    We've been discussing some future plans of building a greenhouse to extend our growing season (zone 6) and adding chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits, and bees. I plan to take some books out of the library today and start our research.

    Planted cabbage, cauliflower, yellow squash, lettuce, and zinnia seeds.

    And, I took advantage of some of the grocery store deals and bought purex powder laundry detergent (72 oz) for 99¢, dawn dish soap for 15¢, peanut butter for $1.24, pork chops for $1.99lb, 4 ham steaks for $1 each, beef hot dogs for $1.89, kids colgate toothpaste for 38¢ and 2 free kandoo toilet wipes.

    Overall, I think we had a pretty good week :)

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