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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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  • Rhonda A. April 29, 2017

    Hi Athanasia. Here are the ingredients list and bake instructions:
    1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons butter, melted
    1/2 cup honey
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 cup unsweetened applesauce
    3/4 cup finely shredded carrots (about 2-3 medium carrots)
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Distribute between 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

    Very frugal to make, especially if you can your own applesauce!

  • Athanasia May 01, 2017

    Rhonda ,thanks for the recipe.

  • Jean April 24, 2017

    I have felt very blessed by a new friend. She and her husband run a landscaping company, and I have been sharing food from the grocery store distribution that I am a part of, that they give then to their employees. This week, she was thinning her flower beds and let me come dig up irises, day lilies,daisies, and verbena. I even had enough to share with my daughter. There were several places to plant my new flowers and I hope down the road to thin my beds and share those with others. I love planting with gifted flowers, it makes me so happy.

    I have tons of cherry tomato volunteers that I moved yesterday, in the rain. It was perfect timing, rain for several days and cooler temperatures. Hopefully, this will ease the transplant shock. I also have lots of lamb quarter volunteers, this is often considered a weed, but it is far superior to spinach and will leave it and not plant any kale or spinach for the summer. Hopefully, my seeds will sprout soon for my lettuce and cucumbers.

    My SIL works for a huge greenhouse company, and gifted me with two blueberry bushes. Hope to get them in the ground this week, as it is late for them to be planted here. He is so thoughtful, and knows I love blueberries!

    My husband of 60 got braces. He had problems with his bite that was affecting everything and we bit the bullet, so to speak. A friend who is an orthodontist, and who has supported our ministry for years, offered to do the work for half off. This will save us several thousands dollars. It is a huge blessing to us, and we are so grateful. Due to the way they are trying to move the teeth, my hubby can not eat anything hard, so he has been a soft food diet for weeks. He has lost weight and I am trying hard to get the calories in. He has been eating tons of soup and smoothies, and hopefully he can shift to harder foods soon.

    We will be housing a daughter and her family for a couple of months, before they move to South America for a couple of years. We are storing some of their furniture, which means moving furniture around to make room. One change was to get rid of our unused wood stove and mount the tv on the hearth. We painted the brick white to brighten that corner of the basement, and it is much improved. A cheap cosmetic change. We will sell the cabinet that the tv had previously been on. Then, this weekend we put down a new porch floor due to the rotting of the old boards. It ended up being more expensive because the previous boards are no longer in stock, thus we had to replace the whole porch floor. But, having my husband and son do the job saved a lot of money and they did a great job.

    I found four pairs of shorts for my youngest son, st Goodwill. He works for a landscaping company and needs shorts for the summer months ahead. I had looked for months for his size, without success, so I was thrilled to find the pairs in one day.

    I love your photos of the flowers in vases, so, so pretty. Thanks for updating us Brandi, in the midst of your busy life, it is always so wonderful to see your updates!

  • Debby in KS April 24, 2017

    I think your husband will be very pleased about the braces. I got mine at about 45. My bite was only off a little, but my teeth bothered me. After about 2 yrs., they came off. They are so much easier to floss, they look great, but there was a side benefit I never expected. I stopped getting neck aches. I thought it was just one-of-those-things, but I have a feeling that the off-bite was causing teeth clenching or something that was aggravating my neck muscles! My ortho said they weren't allowed to make claims like that, but I wasn't the first patient to tell him the same thing.

  • Margie in Toronto April 24, 2017

    I can concur about the headaches and neck pain being relieved by braces - had jaw surgery at 39 and my braces on at 41 and don't regret the time or the money spent. I had severe TMJ with my individual teeth being straight but my bite being off centre - getting braces as an adult was one of the smartest things I've ever done. And my ortho had no qualms about telling me how much of a difference they would make to my headaches & neck pain - photos and x-rays were done on my head, neck and spine prior to all the work and afterwards and the difference was very easy to see. Hope your husband has as good a result.

  • Melissa in Washington April 24, 2017

    Baby #3 arrived 2 Tuesdays​ ago! He was a whopping 9lb5oz and had already gained more weight. My parents, who live nearby, till my other two children from Wednesday to Easter Sunday and my husband is taking two of his paid paternity leave weeks. It's been nice to ease slowly back into things.
    My mom made Easter dinner for us and sent us home with leftovers which we used for a couple of meals.
    The ladies at church have been bringing meals for the last week. Most of the meals have been so large that we eat them for 2 or more meals and I've frozen a couple to use later.
    A woman at church have me a handmade blanket, matching burp cloth and outfit.
    I planted oregano, sage, parsley, and thyme along with marigolds and pansies. It what will be the herb garden. I also planted basil and mint in pots. I also planted bee balm.
    I transplanted 3 tomato plants, marigolds, and keeps that I had grown from seed into the raised vegetable beds.
    I'm excited to see that the seeds I've planted are starting to sprout: peas, spinach, lettuce, carrots, green onions, leeks, radish, kale, and broccoli.

  • Cindi April 24, 2017

    Congratulations on your new baby!

  • Lilllanna Pickles April 24, 2017

    Congratulations on the new baby . I have always believed that children are the greatest gift in life. I am so happy that you have been blessed with family and friends to help you. Enjoy the little ones . They grow quickly and leave home way to early.

  • Margaret @approachingfood April 24, 2017

    Congratulations on the new arrival! Babies are pure love.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. April 24, 2017

    Congratulations on your new baby. :)

  • Athanasia April 28, 2017

    Melissa, congratulations on the new baby. You appear to be blessed with a circle of good people around you. I am glad they are there to help.

  • Gabrielle April 24, 2017

    Hi Brandy! How fun to have an exchange student! It must be great for your teens.

    We had a rough week this past week. My daughter was bitten by our dog in the face that resulted in emergency surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I wrote about it here: and am just starting to recover. The good news is she will be okay.

    We've not gotten a lot accomplished but are looking forward to some project completion this week to include exterior painting. I feel accomplished because I finally figured out my coverstitch machine and was able to make some girls' sundresses with beautiful hems.Thank you or the beautiful photos. They are uplifting.

  • Wow! I am glad your daughter is going to be okay!

  • gabrielle April 27, 2017

    thank you, Brandy!

  • Momma April 24, 2017

    We gave up drinking anything but water, saving $30 in the budget a month.

    I sold textbooks on Amazon for $60.

    I made a diaper sprayer shield with items from the $1 store, costing $2 instead of $25 from Amazon.

    When my husband hurt his back and couldn't mow the yard (I am 8 months pregnant), I bartered with the neighbors to mow in exchange for homemade cinnamon rolls.

  • Jenifer April 24, 2017

    That is a really good barter. Cinnamon rolls make any job fun!

  • Momma April 25, 2017

    I wanted to eat them myself!!

  • Athanasia April 28, 2017

    What is a "diaper sprayer shield"??

  • Debby in KS April 24, 2017

    My proud moment was taking an uncomfortable (too hot for KS humidity) denim dress and turning it into a denim skirt for summer. It was way easier than I thought. I didn't have any instructions, just sorta worked my way thru' it, & am tickled with the results!

    My peonies are just budding, but I have loads of beautiful purple Iris that my friend gave me years ago when she thinned hers. My butterfly bushes are just starting to bud, too. With all the rain we've had, the yard looks absolutely beautiful and fresh. :)

    Are your kids soaking up some of the French? Two of my nieces in Los Angeles both hired Spanish speaking nannies for their kids just so they would learn Spanish. At only 7ish, the kids are fluent in Spanish, Japanese, and English. I thought that was brilliant. They learned Japanese from their father and g'parents.

  • Jo April 24, 2017

    I was back at work this past week after missing a week of work for my husband's surgery out of town. That means back to planning meals and working with leftovers for food. So far, so good -- no eating out and no throwing away food.
    I am keeping my fingers crossed that the tiny lemons on my lemon tree finally make it this year. We've not had a lemon in five years since we planted it, but this year they seem to be hanging on. I tried to fertilize (with organic fertilizer) more carefully this year, following the tree's schedule, not the bag's schedule.
    We planted sweet onion divisions that grew from someone's leftover onions and were given to us. It's totally not the right time of year, but some of them are actually making bulbs. We doubt they'll get large, due to the coming summer, but even if they stay small, they are free.
    It's getting hot in the daytime, sometimes up to the low 90's, but the humidity has been low for Florida so the nights cool off into the low 60's. We've been opening windows and keeping the A/C off to hold down costs. It gets pretty warm inside in the late afternoon, but it gets better as dusk comes on, and the nights and mornings are quite comfortable.
    I put my name in a contest for a basket full of green cleaning supplies at our food co-op. It doesn't hurt to try.

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