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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Fall Zinnia Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

This post contains affiliate links.

I cut and dried lots of basil from the garden.

I printed free school worksheets from Education.com (they have a limit of 10 free worksheets each month).

I planted seeds in the garden for artichokes, Swiss chard, and parsley.

I covered my artichoke seedlings from a previous week that had come up with small canning jars, to keep the bugs from eating them and to create a mini-greenhouse, allowing them to grow faster larger.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I experimented making a few loaves of pear bread, using quarts of home-canned pears that have been on the shelves for a few years. I ground whole wheat into flour in our grinder and used that in the recipes. The first two loaves were fine, but lacked excitement (we ate them anyway). I'll keep trying some variations until we find something we really enjoy, as we have a number of older jars of home-canned pears that need to be used up.

My brother-in-law was offered a number of free tickets to a show downtown on Tuesday. My husband and I were able to attend. We were even told to park in a certain lot downtown. We saw a parking garage on the way, but our vehicle was too tall to park there. We found the lot that we had been told to park in; it was a small lot and the entrance wasn't even clear. To our surprise, the lot stated that it was free to Nevada residents for 24 hours, provided the driver had a valid id! We did have to walk a distance, but the weather was pleasant and gave us a chance to talk. (For those who live in Las Vegas, this lot is east of Planet Hollywood, and you enter it from Harmon Ave. There is no noticeable entrance; just a fence with a small entrance and a drive behind it. As you drive to the lot, you will see Bally's employee parking lot is connected to this lot.) We ended our evening by going out to eat using a gift card that we had.

(I know some of you are wondering about the shooting in Las Vegas. We don't live close to downtown and are very rarely there, though as I mentioned we were earlier this past week. You can read about the shooting here--warning about the photos.) 

My husband used barge cement to repair two pairs of children's shoes.

I gave our youngest a haircut. He thinks the trimmers tickle, which makes it a bit tricky, but he was very good about having his hair cut!

My son brought home leftover cookies from a Scout Court of Honor that no one else wanted to take home.

My mom went to a garage sale and blessed us with several items she found: 3 pint jars, brand-new girls' hair elastics (I was just about to go buy some at the dollar store, where they sell them 100 for $1, but this saved me a dollar!), sidewalk chalk, and sewing machine oil.


What did you do to save money last week?



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  • Andrea Q October 02, 2017

    Are you using a sugar substitute or just recipes with lower sugar content?

    If you use naturally sweeter varieties of apples, fruit crisps can be made with hardly any sugar in the crumb topping. Same for apple pies.

  • Wyoming Gal October 03, 2017

    I am trying to avoid added sugar and sugar substitutes. I have been researching what are the least bad sugar substitutes and there is considerable difference of opinion.

    What apple varieties are best for baking with little sugar?

  • Andrea Q October 04, 2017

    Apple varieties vary regionally. The ones I would use for low sugar/no sugar pies and crisp (or unsweetened applesauce) are cortlands and paula reds. But ambrosia, cameo and honeycrsip are naturally sweeter than many others. Perhaps jonagold. If you live near an orchard, you could ask what their sweetest varieties are.

    I always typically don't even look at "no sugar added" or "low sugar" recipes, because they so often use chemical sweeteners instead. Thanks for answering my question! Now I've got a date with Google!

  • Andrea Q October 04, 2017

    Also, if you add a ripe Bartlett pear to apple crisp, it adds natural sweetness!

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood October 03, 2017

    I'm with Andrea Q -- it's entirely possible to make a fruit crisp with hardly any sugar in the topping. I make apple crisp with 1/4 c. white sugar and 1 tbsp. molasses, but you could make it with only 1/4 c. brown sugar, in the WHOLE crisp! (http://approachingfood.com/harvest-apple-crumble/) That's about as low as it gets, in terms of sugar! And if you wanted, you could probably even replace that with a slurry of dates and hot water. Best of luck in reducing your sugar consumption!

  • Jeannie October 03, 2017

    Wyoming Gal, you have made a wise and difficult decision. Years ago, I realized I could not eat sugar without becoming VERY sick. Less than 1/8 teaspoon gives me a migraine headache for about 12 - 20 hours. At that time the only sweet alternative was sugar-free jello (yuk) and saccharine (cancer-causing). Today the sugar-free options are better. What isn't better is the increase in sugar-laden processed foods which has created a minefield for me. However, I know I am healthier because of my better food choices and it will be worth it for you too.
    Good job.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

  • Becky October 03, 2017

    I WISH I felt sick from sugar. It would be so much easier to not eat it! Still, I'm sorry you have to get sick from so little. It must be hard to eat anything anywhere. I have a friend who is allergic to sugar cane--breaks out in a rash if she eats cane sugar. So, she uses alternate sweeteners.

  • Jeannie October 04, 2017

    Thank you Becky, but I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Restaurants are impossible, church socials are difficult and the worst is dinner at friends' homes because I fear insulting their hospitality. This is what happens. Menu:
    Barb-b-cue ham - sugar
    Baked beans- sugar
    Potato salad and cole slaw - sugar in mayonnaise
    Green beans cooked in bacon - sugar-cured bacon
    Potato chips - sugar in spices
    Salad with dressing - sugar in dressing
    Bread, cornbread - sugar
    Sweet tea...
    People try hard to cook for me yet I must decline. Sugar is hidden in so many things. I always take my own food and I am sick of my cooking!
    I am whining.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

  • Chris M October 06, 2017

    Jeannie, I do love your sense of humor and enjoy your blog! I have a multitude of food insensitivities to the point that I have said, "I'm not allergic to sugar but there not much I can mix with it!" The good news is you know what your trigger is! But, I agree, and you have my heartfelt empathy (*this is not whining!*) when it comes to trying to eat out or go places. I often bring my own food as well. Cheers!

  • Jeannie October 07, 2017

    Thank you Chris for laughing with me and my sympathies for your food allergies. I know how you suffer!!! Oh, how I know.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

  • Juls Owings October 06, 2017

    As a personal chef I have cooked for several diabetics.It's always been the hardest to get their family and friends to understand the restrictions. Our best friend, diabetic since 2001 "whines" about his wife whining when he won't eat the creamed corn with she makes at Thanksgiving with heavy cream. BOTH of their daughters are nurses and they always bring stuff they know he can't eat. So he eats the turkey he cooks and drinks water. Great Thanksgiving for him. He will eat a bit from a vegetable tray but no dip. That's what he takes to dinners and his bottled water.

  • Jeannie October 07, 2017

    Juls, people can be insensitive and I would be lying if I didn't admit that it hurt. Like the time a chocolate birthday cake covered with fudge icing and blazing candles was placed in front of me. It smelled heavenly!!! In amazement, I asked if it was sugar-free since everyone at the table knew I could not eat sugar. I was told, "No. But we can eat sugar and so we will eat it for you." Tears streamed down my face while they sang Happy Birthday. I left the room while they ate the cake.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

  • Cindi October 02, 2017

    Brandy, that flower arrangement is gorgeous. We are at the season where there are very few flowers, but at church yesterday a gentleman brought in a simple arrangement for the altar of turning aspen leaves -- it was so lovely, and reminded me that I don't have to use only flowers for arrangements.
    Your evening out sounds lovely -- it's extra special when you don't do it often.
    We went camping three nights in the national forest. The site was free and we brought all our food from home. Before we left, we filled up the truck with gas, using a 30 cent a gallon discount from City Market. It was a very relaxing four days, our last camping trip of the season.
    On the way home we stopped at an orchard stand and bought apples and tomatoes. I worked all weekend canning. I ended up with 14 pints of applesauce, 10 half pints and one pint of apple butter, 9 pints of canned tomatoes, 7 pints of ketchup, 4 pints of spaghetti sauce and 1 ½ pints of plain tomato sauce. We also have two boxes of apples in the garage refrigerator, which should keep us in apples until January. From the garden, I harvested cabbage, chard, lettuce, and onions. I planted garlic, using bulbs I saved from this year’s harvest. My husband repaired a neighbor’s furnace and she paid him for his efforts. It’s been pretty chilly here and we are enjoying wood fires in the wood stove to keep the house nice and warm.

  • Stephanie N. October 02, 2017

    Hello Brandy!
    I'm glad you and your family are a safe distance from the dowtown area.
    Last week I did most of my usual stuff. I limited my driving to conserve gas. I was extra dilligent about keeping lights off in unused rooms. I had to buy new shoes last week for work and for working out. Being a nurse, shoes don't last me as long as others. I managed to find a pair of Reeboks on clearance at DSW for $30. While there I resisted the temptation to purchase other shoes that I wanted but didn't need.
    The last week has seen much cooler temps in my area, making outdoor walks much more pleasant.

  • Stephanie N. October 02, 2017

    I wanted to add something that I think you all would find as funny as I did: the night before last I had a dream that I went into the kitchen to begin dinner and when I opened the pantry it was empty except for a bag of cat food. Then I went into the freezer and there wasn't anything there but ice packs! I actually woke up with my heart racing over the thought of it lol. My worst nightmare probably is a total loss of my food storage. I wouldn't know what to do.

  • Cindy S. October 02, 2017

    That is funny, but a nightmare just the same...

  • Melonie K. October 02, 2017

    That IS a nightmare - I'd be really freaked out if I dreamed it. Eek! Funny too, though. :D

  • momsav October 02, 2017

    Too funny! You must have been thinking about it when you drifted off. The brain’s a marvelous thing!

  • Cindy in the South October 02, 2017

    I went to Aldi and purchased sour cream for 99 cents, eggs for 69 cents (up from 49 cents last time I was there), and canned green beans for 44 cents. I went to Dollar General and using the $5 off $25 coupon, I purchased cat food, dog food, tomato paste (it ended up being 42 cents a can), paper towels, roach motels, canned beans for 42 cents ( I have lots of dried beans but keep some cans of beans as a backup in case of power failure, or a busy night where I have failed to prepare adequately for my meals for the week), and parm. cheese (this was a failure as it was $2.25 at Aldi, and I thought it was too high. I ended up, with the discount purchasing it for $2.50 at Dollar General...sigh)....I still consider the dog and cat as a good investment, and I do love them as family. I know different folks have different opinions as to the frugality of a dog, when the budget is tight, but I would be scared to live where I live without my dog. The cat keeps mice out of the house, and the dog is very protective of me. We all just do what we need to do regarding our own circumstances. I dyed my hair at home for $3.00. I made soup with leftover chicken, rice, tomato paste, spices, carrots, and potatoes. I will eat the soup for supper all week. I made fig cobbler with free figs. I made chicken enchiladas (using your recipe) with leftover chicken for lunch at work. I kept the air off as it has cooled down to the 80's here. I paid my electric bill which was $46.44. I was pleased. I paid my water and garbage bill of $57.00. I was NOT pleased, since it went up three dollars. I dried my clothes inside (I cannot dry my clothes outside because of the hundreds of starlings we have this time of the year) by hanging it all over my furniture...lol. I basically just stayed at home as much as possible. I prefer to be there anyway. I am so, so sorry for what happened in Las Vegas, Brandy, and I am very glad you and your family are safe.

  • becky in central iowa October 03, 2017

    we never see that five dollar coupon here in iowa do they do it very often there? i do love aldi

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