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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Roses in Enamel Buckets The Prudent Homemaker

It's been a very busy week here, and on top of everything we've had our foreign exchange student here. I wasn't sure ahead of time how much English he spoke, and so while we help him to learn new words in English, we've also needed to converse quite a bit in French. I've had a lot of French study this week! I especially used Word Reference to look up words for both of us, and I've pinned a good number of French language pins on my Pinterest board. My French comprehension skills have really increased this week; there were only a couple of times I didn't understand, and that was usually because something was said too fast or too quietly.

I enjoyed a couple of video chats with friends in France. It continues to amaze me every time that video calling exists, and I love that it is free!

I cut peonies and roses from the garden.

I harvested lettuce, spinach, snow peas and Swiss chard from the garden.

Several of my children (and our houseguest) enjoyed climbing and rappeling on my nephew's climbing wall. It's pretty amazing that he has a climbing wall in his backyard, and it was great fun for everyone.

I downloaded a free Photoshop app to my phone to use to edit pictures on my phone.

My husband cut his own hair and a son's hair this week.

I turned a pair of torn jeans into jean shorts by cutting them off and hemming them.

I had a number of teens over for dinner. I made a large pot of minestrone soup and some French bread for a frugal meal.


What did you do to save money last week?


Note: I misplaced my camera battery charger recently, which is why there was no post last week and no additional posts this past week. Now that I can use my camera again and we've worked out a "new normal" with an additional teen in the house, I should (hopefully!) be able to get back to projects and more posting this week! If you want to see more photos, check out my Instagram account, where I have been sharing photos from my phone during the week.



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  • Mandy, thank you for your kindness.

  • Athanasia April 28, 2017

    Jeannie, looked up your word and one thing I would add is it said the "pleasant smell". I wonder if there is another word for when it has rained a lot and it smells like earthworms. That's not a bad smell, but I never though of it as pleasant.

  • Jeannie April 30, 2017

    Athanasia, I have never stuck an earthworm under my nose to see how it smelled. I will be glad to agree with anything you say to keep from touching them.

  • Mandy April 24, 2017

    Hello everyone! Last week:
    -I made tomato bisque substituting for ingredients I had on hand, milk several times (from powder), yogurt, oatmeal for breakfast (several times), meatballs, stir fry (using quinoa instead of rice), coconut milk, fake "ice cream" using frozen bananas and strawberries, strawberry applesauce with fruit my mom gave us, pumpkin pancakes, banana bread, ham/cheese/rice casserole, chicken with homemade tomato sauce on top with homemade twice baked potatoes and homemade garlic bread, used the Easter ham bone to make bean soup, white bread, au gratin potatoes, corn bread, peach pie popsicles, chocolate pudding. I started a batch of apple scrap vinegar using apple peels and cores I had saved in a bag in the freezer. I also made more cleaning solution (vinegar, essential oils, and water) for my homemade cleaning wipes and more all purpose cleaner.
    -I made a meal plan and have stuck to it. I included my daughter's school lunches on it as well.
    -I hung all our laundry except 2 loads either on the outdoor lines or the racks inside the house.
    -I turned the heat off last week!
    -My temp. job was done a week and a half ago. I have been applying for other jobs and am waiting to hear from Unemployment.
    -I was able to go to the grocery store two weeks ago with $30. I stocked up on peanut butter and canned mushrooms and purchased a couple of items for the refrigerator. I do not know when I will be able to go shopping again. We have been living off our pantry the last couple of weeks. I am so grateful to have our food storage/pantry!
    -My mom gave us some "go-gurt" yogurt, strawberries, and potatoes she couldn't use.
    -I used free youtube videos or videos included in my amazon prime membership to exercise at home.
    -I had 3 errands that were all not to far from my home so I walked instead of drove. I timed it so that I would end up at my daughter's school to pick her up at the end of the school day. I have been walking to pick her up at the end of the school day when the weather permits.
    - exchanged books and movies at the library twice.
    -my husband brought home 4 gallon sized bags of nacho cheese from work. They replaced their stock even though the best by date isn't until the end of May. I put two bags into mason jars and put the other two into the pantry.
    -strained my completed batch of citrus vinegar and poured it into a repurposed glass jug for storage.
    -my husband rented a rototiller to till the large garden bed. My broccoli and cauliflower seeds are starting to sprout. He planted morning glory seeds along our front fence. I planted several types of flower bulbs in the front of the house (we had gotten these last winter on clearance and saved them until now). Our last frost date isn't until the middle of May so we need to fertilize the garden beds and fruit trees, grape vines, etc. soon.
    -I have been completing swagbucks every day.
    -I was given a couple bottles of organic honey because the caps were broken. I repurposed the cap from my last bottle, which fit perfectly.
    -learned of the Amazon program that allows you to share your membership with a family member. My mom and I are going to do this and each pay half for the membership, making my part less. I pay per month so we each would pay $6.
    -I caught rain water in buckets outside during a storm and use the rain water to water my seeds and houseplants. I planted my seeds using soil I already had and saved egg cartons.
    -I've stayed home.
    -washed and saved zip top bags and glass jars to reuse.
    -Use the small, battery operated light in the bathroom, continue to use the "family cloth" (only after we urinate), to blow noses, etc. I also have reusable menstrual products (cloth pads, sponges) to avoid waste and spending money.
    - I use the dish pan half full to rinse the dishes when I wash them and only fill the soapy water up half way. I have been taking quick, short showers. I will be able to take "navy showers" soon when it warms up a little more.
    -I drink coffee at home in the morning and then water and hot tea the rest of the day.
    -I use the leftover water in cups at the end of the day to water house plants as well.
    Have a great week everyone!

  • Laurie in central NC April 24, 2017

    When the rain lets up, I plan to harvest swiss chard, and lettuce if it's not all too far gone. If it is, the chickens will enjoy it this week. I need to check on the peas, and see if any of the pods are picking size. I think I will cut some peonies, roses and orlaya for the house too. I'm delighted to see a post from you, and am happy to know you're planning more.

  • Pam B. April 24, 2017

    We had a pretty frugal week. We did a lot of work in our yard, and finally got around to doing some more planting. We cleared out a side bed by our house that used to hold flowers and used that as well as some pots out of our shed. Put in some Swiss chard, spinach, and several herbs. We should have done it about a month ago, but late is better than never so we'll see what comes up! We ate all meals at home this week, and I took my lunches to work. We had a ham last Sunday for Easter. We hadn't planned to buy one, but HEB had an incredible deal where you got over $20 of other products free if you purchased a ham, so we went for it. There are only 2 of us, so we had ham all week! I will freeze the ham bone for beans, too. We had some nice cooler weather this weekend, so we were able to turn our central air conditioning off & leave the windows open which was very nice. Probably have to turn it back on tomorrow though, we should be back up in the 90s. And lastly, it's bulk trash week in our neighborhood (when the city will pick up larger items that don't fit into your bins), so I stopped this morning to pick up a nice Sterilite 3-drawer rolling cart someone had set out at the curb. It's a good time to get furniture and other things!

  • Mariana April 24, 2017

    I would love to hear about children's interactions with your guest :) How are they managing to communicate? Do they also study French and are able to communicate? What a joy to be able to expose them to another culture by hosting a student.

    My weekly update is up as well:

    Wishing everyone a great week. xx

  • April 24, 2017

    Have you heard/experienced any mishaps with the climbing wall? We have considered doing indoor rock climbing as a family, but I'm really worried about injuries since we're all so clumsy!

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using rebates/coupons whenever possible. Another thing that really helps me is sticking to a list and avoiding impulse buys. Recently I have been blessed with fantastic savings! For less than $10.00, I came home with 2 toothpastes, 2 boxes of medicine, 3 bottles of hair care, and laundry detergent. That alone would be a great price, but $6.49 will be coming back in a refund, making it even better. All of my transactions with detailed breakdown can be found here:

  • :) April 27, 2017

    Don't know it this helps you deciding on family Rick climbing or not. My son wall climbs and is in a wheelchair. He is in a program where they have trained staff and all the equipment. He loves it. As long as the place you goes is certified and have qualified staff and equipment then I would be comfortable.

  • Marivene April 24, 2017

    This post covers 2 weeks, since I spent a week at my daughter's helping out.

    Continued to dig out at least one tree tub full of weeds & grass roots from the planting beds each day.

    Had the other half of our windows replaced. We did the first half last spring & it made a huge difference in our utility bills over the summer & in the winter. The new windows have the e-coating that keeps out the UV light, so the AC bill dropped like a rock! One of the windows, in the master bedroom, is a triple-pane window, to help reduce the noise.

    Since I had to remove all the curtains & blinds for the window install, I used that opportunity to wash all the curtains, since they had to be off the rods anyway. Then after the install, I put up clean curtains.

    I saved the screens from the old windows again. The installers would just dispose of them, & our oldest daughter can use them to recut to make new screens for her windows for free.

    Our youngest daughter came home for a visit on Sunday afternoon & I helped her declutter the closet in her bedroom. I have a Rubbermaid tub full of clothes from when our youngest daughter was in high school, to take out to her oldest sister, for her high school age daughters – things like conservative suits that she wore for debate, Sunday dresses, skirts & tops, etc. One of the black 3-piece suits fit me (!), which was a pleasant surprise, since both the jacket & the dress pants will mix & match nicely with my wardrobe. I purchased this suit for our middle daughter to wear for her interview at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Middle daughter outgrew it & gave it to youngest daughter, & now it is mine – almost like a rebate!. We also filled a large box with items to donate to the local Deseret Industries. There is much more room in that closet now.

    I bought 3 new tops from Kmart, on sale for $7.88 each, using SYWR points to further lower the price. These are tops in a style that I already have & wear frequently, just in 3 pastel spring colors: yellow, light aqua & lilac. These will work with other clothes that I already have, & replaced tops that were worn out.

    Later in the week, I bought a slip at Kmart, using SYWR points, which made it free.

    Cut 5 metal concho buttons from a long skirt that was worn out.

    Cashed a pine cone check.

    Made the paska rolls on Thursday & froze them for Easter. I will frost them after they are thawed. I also made the gelatin. We have gelatin (Jello) for every holiday, as a tradition we started when we were poor starving students, because our young daughter could eat it, & it made the table look more “bountiful”. I use the low footed cut glass sherbets that belonged to my mother for one color (lime this Easter), and the smaller cut glass sherbets that were my grandmother’s for the second color (lemon this Easter). The children & the grandchildren all look forward to choosing the color they want, & for a few cents, it has been an inexpensive & fun tradition. This year the lime gelatin is plain ( & sugar free, for my son-in-law), but I added mandarin oranges to the lemon, because our granddaughter loves mandarin oranges- as have all her cousins before her.

    Cut egg shapes out of pastel paint chip samples, then used a paper punch to add 2 holes & threaded a purple ribbon thru to tie one on each of the Easter baskets we have had for decades, to label them with names, since extended family was here for Easter morning. We had a small egg hunt in the back yard for the 19 month old. We are not fans of the big city egg hunts - too much pushing & shoving for the little ones, & with some allergies int he family, it works better for us to do our own little, low-key egg hunt.

    Bought a mortar & pestle at a moving sale, to use to grind dried spices, like rosemary.

  • Athanasia April 28, 2017

    There is just something about washing curtains that is such a spring-like activity. Means to me we'll be opening those windows soon with nice fresh curtains to move in the breeze.

  • Becky April 24, 2017

    I love the flowers on the bench. Yellow roses are my favorite, and I love yellow and blue together in any way.

    I am glad it's working out so well with the exchange student. I know it's super fun to fill the house with teenagers, so I'm happy for you that you had a great dinner. I have also noticed that they never care if the food is fancy, they just want a lot of it! I'll bet your home-made food was a real treat for some of them.

    My week was full of ordinary things--homeschool, cleaning, work, cooking......lots of daily things that save us money day in and day out. We did slip away for a field trip to some tulip fields. I put some pictures on my blog---they were breathtaking to me.

  • Rhonda A. April 24, 2017

    When you didn't post, I was a bit concerned. I'm glad it was not due to a family emergency, Brandy! Sounds like everyone is enjoying time with your visiting exchange student.

    Our frugal accomplishment over the past 2 weeks included:
    *Our weather is definitely warming up now. I was able to get out for about 7 walks for some fresh air and free exercise.
    *Meals made at home included chicken souvlaki with white rice and broccoli/cauliflower mix, pasta with choice of sauce, breakfast bowls, homemade cream of chicken and veggie soup (made with leftover rotisserie chicken) with dinner rolls, roast turkey with all the trimmings (Easter dinner, most of it we already had), chicken fingers with tater tots and leftover veggies or coleslaw, homemade lasagna (from the freezer) with homemade garic bread, BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with leftover coleslaw and potato chips (x2), chicken ranch tacos, grilled cheese sandwiched with noodles & sauce side dish, and roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and coleslaw.
    *Purposely made extra white rice with one of our meals. DD snacked on some which she topped with grated cheese, then warmed in the microwave. Then I made fried rice for lunch with the rest. It made enough fried rice for a few lunch meals.
    *Packaged up the leftover turkey into family sized portions and froze for future use.
    *My brother came to stay for a week, starting Easter weekend. Easter Monday was his birthday. I baked a double pan of Ghirardelli chocolate brownies for his birthday cake which doubled as our Easter dessert (mix bought on sale at Costco). I gave him a really nice, almost new, short sleeved shirt I bought at a thrift store during a 50% off sale before Christmas. Reused a saved gift bag to wrap it.
    *My mom & I have been asked to make treat trays for DD's end of season bowling banquet, again. We will be paid for these. I've made 3 different batches of treats so far, including a new recipe...Peanut butter cornflake cookies (recipe link: ). Didn't make them fast enough before husband came home. He immediately volunteered (aka begged) to be a taste tester...seriously worse than a kid!!!
    *Baked a double batch of healthy applesauce carrot muffins ( to use for DD's lunches this coming week. Leftovers will be used for breakfast or snack options for the rest of the family.
    *Grocery budget has been tight lately, so I used my PC points to purchase $20 of free groceries, which helped tremendously (thank goodness for loyalty programs!). Trying to be very mindful of what I purchase as well.
    *Prepared a nice Easter basket filled with lots of treats from my candy stash for DD. Almost everything in the basket was bought on discount as I find good sales after various holiday. Only bought 1 item at regular price which was $1. I used a basket we already had and filled it with Easter grass we reuse every year.
    *Attended a free magic show hosted by my daughter's school in honour of anti-bullying day. I ended up in the show for one of the acts, which delighted my daughter. She recorded it on her cell phone and showed Grandma when we got home.
    *Attended the monthly Handweavers & Spinners guild meeting. The presentation was about the Fibreshed movement, which focuses on developing a network of sustainable, locally produced fibres to locally made products in a 100-250 mile area (think 100 mile diet but for fabric). It was quite an interesting concept with some amazing research tied to it as well. This idea was originally developed in California (American spelling is Fibershed), but has expanded to many other areas, including Canada. Of course, each area will vary in the types of fibres available. We can't grow cotton in Canada, but historically we did grow flax for linen. We also have sheep and alpaca wool. Anybody who would like more info can do a google search.
    *My husband and I enjoyed another date night. We had dinner out then watched "the Promise" at the movie theatre for free using a gift card we received for Christmas. Very interesting movie!

    Looking forward to catching up on what everyone has been up to! Have a wonderful week everyone!!!

  • Margie in Toronto April 24, 2017

    A friend of mine is featured on the Fibreshed blog and her weaving is featured in a short video that came in second at a recent TVO doc contest: - she is also a featured weaver at The Ontario Science Centre and has worked at Pioneer Village (is that where you work?) Hope you find it interesting.

  • Athanasia April 28, 2017

    Is that the Science Center in Sudbury? We visited there and it was very interesting.

  • Rhonda A. April 30, 2017

    Athanasia, the Science centre you visited in Sudbury is call Science North. The one that Margie is referring to is the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. Both are very large and well worth visiting. However, the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto has a working Jacquard loom similar to the ones we have at our museum. The reason it is in a science centre is because the Jacquard loom uses a punch card system to operate and eventually became the inspiration for the binary code system used to run computers today. Anyone old enough to remember computers running on punch card programs? You can thank a Frenchman and master weaver Joseph Marie Jacquard for that!

  • Rhonda A. April 30, 2017

    Margie, our Jacquard team has met with many of the weaving team from the Ontario Science Centre on several occasions. It is very possible I have met your friend at some point! The museum I work at is called Lang Pioneer Village Museum in Keene, Ontario, not Black Creek Pioneer Village, in Toronto, where your friend most likely worked. Small world, though!

  • Holly April 27, 2017

    Some cotton is, or was, grown on the grounds of Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan so I think that cotton just might grow in Southwestern Ontario. I saw blooming cotton plants in Dearborn a half-century ago. Around the same time, I was surprised to see some cacti growing around Leamington or Kingston because I thought we were way too far north for cacti. Obviously, the Canadians in the far south of their country did not agree.

    I like the idea of local fibers. I was reading up on World War 2 clothing rationing this week and have thought about challenging myself to source my clothing and household textiles from the United States while keeping myself within the 66 ration points allowed in Great Britain and the three pairs of shoes allowed by the United States during the 1940's. I have a headstart with several tubs full of fabric, a suitcase full of yarn, a shoebag full of shoes, and an overstuffed linen closet, all of which I can use without spending any precious points. But a sturdy pair of American-made leather walking shoes run upwards of $150 and low-heeled dress shoes, $60 on sale. So this challenge might get pricy, fast, even though secondhand things don't require any ration points. I could buy wool bats and yarn from within 50 miles. But I think that's the only fiber. I could probably buy animal skins from local trappers but I think I am too squimish to turn them into outerwear and footwear myself.

    If you decide to restrict yourself to locally sourced fibers, please keep us posted on how it goes.

  • Rhonda A. April 28, 2017

    I wasn't planning on restricting myself to locally sourced fibres, but I did enjoy learning about it, from a historic perspective! Holly, I would encourage you to google search Fibershed to see if there is a "chapter" in your area or close to you. They would be a very valuable resource. The Upper Canada Fribreshed has a website were you can purchase various locally produced products, both raw materials and finished products. I wouldn't be surprised if all of them have this. If there isn't one in your area, you could at least read about how this all got started, which is very similar to what your idea is.

    A thought on the there a Native American community near you? They may have leather hide for sale (no processing involved). Also, there are still some cobblers out there that make shoe by hand to fit their customer's foot. A google search may help you find one. It would be expensive, but the shoe would be very well made and last a long time. Possibly worth the investment if you can swing the cost!

  • Athanasia April 28, 2017

    Rhonda, I tried to click on the muffin recipe but my computer would not connect. Said it was not secure. Can you put the recipe in the message? All I'd need are the ingredients/amounts and the baking temperature. Instructions not necessary. Thanks.

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