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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Yellow Pansies The Prudent Homemaker

$0.56 worth of pansies cheer up this pot and I can see them from inside the house.

I began sewing a birthday gift for a daughter using fabric and a pattern I had on hand.

My dad had leftover scraps from his back patio/deck (which runs right into our matching stairs between our backyards) to redo our stairs. Last year, a leak developed in the water line underneath the stairs. The only way to get to it was to take the stairs apart (and redoing it would be difficult, as the screws strip the boards when being removed). My dad cut holes in the stairs and my husband repaired the leak. My dad will redo the stair treads using his scraps this week.

We celebrated a fun Valentine's Day at home. I used some mini heart-shaped cake pans that I inherited from my grandmother to bake lemon poppyseed muffins for breakfast.

I used a small amount Rit Dye I had to dye a table runner pink. The table runner was ordered online years ago and was supposed to be a cream color, but was more orange, and I never really liked it. Dying it pink made it perfect for Valentine's Day and upcoming daughters' birthdays. You can see a photo over on my Instagram feed.

I spent some time organizing things indoors. While I organizing, I was able to find a place for some things I had been keeping in a basket. I didn't want to buy another basket, but I also needed a place to put the items that were being stored in the basket. The basket will be repurposed to what I used to use it for (diapers for a newborn). 

I asked my 11-year-old to go through the baby girl socks that I have. I figured most of them (if not all) were too old and had the elastic shot, and that if I have a girl I would need new socks. She went through them all, threw out the ones that were no longer any good and any that didn't have matches, and I still had socks that were good left, so if I have a girl, I'm set for socks (plus, I gained some space in the drawer where the other socks were being kept).

I got rid of some things I no longer needed, which made my existing storage space in my closet more effective.

I was wondering if I could get rid of enough items for a garage sale. I decided to clean out several closets (with family help) and we reorganized the linen closet and the games/dress up closet. I went through the girls' clothing boxes from sizes 6 to 12, keeping only the nicest items that would fit in each box and that were liked by the girls (I had enough in some sizes for more than one box, so they needed to be narrowed down in order to fit in the storage space I have). We put several things aside for a garage sale in March.

I still don't have enough of my own things to sell, but my mom was going through her closets this week as well, and she has a ton of stuff she no longer wants, so we piled her items on a table in my entry (with my stuff filling in under the table) to prepare for a sale. This next week, we both plan on going through more closets and cupboards and getting rid of things we are no longer using. I plan on using whatever money I make from the sale to go to the community garage sales in April to get things we need. I recently updated my garage sale list, so I am ready to go shopping with specific needs and wants in mind.

We cleaned the inside of the dishwasher and the vacuum cleaner so that both will run more efficiently.

 Pansies in White Garden The Prudent Homemaker


$1.13 worth of pansies to fil in my urn.

I went to the local nursery to purchase some more drip line for the garden. While there, I noticed they were clearing out their pansies for $0.25 each (regular prices is $0.98 each). Pansies grow here from October through April/May. The manager came over to talk with me, and he told me I could have a flat of pansies for $3 (saving an additional $1). I purchased 16 pansy and viola plants for $3 ($0.1875 each), which will fill in a couple of spaces in my garden until warmer weather will permit me to plant something else in their place. I had specifically been looking for annuals (as well as the drip line) to go in the center urn for my white garden, but most of what I wanted would not be available until mid to late April. This filled in the spot nicely and gave me flowers for a couple more spaces in the garden. This was the only money I spent all week.

I harvested garlic chives and green onions from the garden.


What did you do to save money last week?




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  • Becky @ Becky's Place February 19, 2018

    Keeping my fingers crossed and thinking of your daughter & you... Best wishes.

  • Rhonda A. February 19, 2018

    Thank you. I appreciate your kind wishes.

  • Laurie in AZ February 19, 2018

    For the sliders, maybe next time you can cut the hot dog buns in thirds. Then they would appear to be more like sliders? I have a bag of buns on my counter right now. I think we will have sloppy joe "sliders" this week!

  • Rhonda A. February 19, 2018

    Not sure I will make them again, since hubby and DD were not overly excited about them. It doesn't mean that other wouldn't enjoy this recipe (I did and may just try again despite their objections). Since some people may not make the sliders due to the cost of the Hawaiian sweet rolls, I wanted to let others know they can be made using another type of bun, especially ones found on discount or clearance! Sloppy Joe sliders sound pretty good too!

  • Erika February 19, 2018

    Oh gosh, Rhonda, I missed last week’s community postings and so missed what happened with your daughter! I’m so sorry that happened to you guys. With all the strides your daughter has made making friends and everything, that must have been so upsetting :(. I hope everything works out well and your daughter finally, truly, gets the full support she needs. Fingers crossed for you!

  • Melonie K. February 20, 2018

    It's so hard for you and your DD to be dealing with this - but I'm so glad that the school is finally coming around and doing something. Hoping they continue to improve and can serve her well. It sounds like the police had the right idea in helping you establish a clear paper trail for her. Hopefully the day won't come that she'll see a court case; praying the referral the Society gave you gets just what you all need.

  • Rhonda A. February 22, 2018

    Thank goodness these police officers were understanding about her disability and trying to safeguard our daughter in the court system. In fact, the one police officer told me he has a co-worker with a child on the autism spectrum, has learned quite a bit from this co-worker and was genuinely sympatetic to our situation.

  • mamak February 20, 2018

    This may or may not be helpful information to you, I just wanted to share with you an intervention that was effective with many special needs students with whom I worked. For over twenty-five years I worked with adolescents with special needs. (I have a degree in Special Education and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker) I found through the years that it was critical for many of my students to have both a "safe" person and a "safe" place at school. Something that helped my students was to have a place to "retreat" to (often the office of the school nurse) and a consistent adult from whom to seek support. Another thing that I found was helpful was to give the student a "red card" (usually a 4X6 piece of red cardstock, preferably laminated) that they could hold up when they were unable to verbalize what was happening and just needed some space (aka not being expected to speak/explain the problem while they regroup) I also learned that most special needs students can, with practice and patience, learn to recognize some physical signs and symptoms that they often experience before a "full-blown meltdown" occurs. Recognizing these symptoms allowed the students to seek help BEFORE the crisis. They would simply "hold up" the red card and move as quickly as possible toward their safe person/place. Teachers were instructed to "respect" the red card, not try to engage the student in a verbal dialogue, and do what they could to assist the student in getting to their "safe" person/place. Perhaps a system like this might benefit your daughter. I hope that things calm down for both of you ... she is blessed to have you for a mother.

  • Rhonda A. February 22, 2018

    I agree with everything you said. My daughter has a room that is for her use only (we call it the studio). She has an EA that is with her all the time since the beginning of school, though I have been told twice since she started that she does not have one-to-one support and this is taking away from the needs of other students. With this last incident, the school is changing their tune and she now has a second support person. My daughter would be resistant to using a "red card" (it has been suggested many times, but she's stubborn), but gives off plenty of signals when she is anxious, agitated or upset. Our problem is that the staff are not listening when my daughter is trying to tell them something is bothering her (too busy telling her that the way she communicated is inappropriate), then not reading or not understanding her signals and she can spin into in crisis mode very quickly sometimes. The special ed support staff and EAs are now working with someone trained in ABA (applied behavioural analysis) and has a lot of experience with children on the Autism spectrum. So basically, she is training the staff about DDs disability (Autistic children all present differently, but it all boils down to the same deficits), helping them understand her needs/deficits and putting a program in place to respond to her needs more appropriately so DD doesn't reach crisis mode so easily and frequently. I find it quite shocking the special ed staff didn't have better knowledge and skills training before this! After all, shouldn't this knowledge a requirement to do their job? But, I've always said DD is like a cat...you don't train my daughter, she trains you. Hoping they figure this out soon!

  • Cindy February 18, 2018

    I love your blog. There is such a simple elegance to the way you organize and run your household! How did you clean the inside of the dishwasher? Thank you.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker February 19, 2018

    Cindy, I have read a lot of tutorials on cleaning the dishwasher, but they all focused on hard water issues. Though we have hard water here, the problem we run into (even though we pre-rinse, because despite reading that it's not necessary and you can run your dishwasher every two days without doing it, we run our dishwasher twice a day and we still have issues with food being cooked on) is that grease builds up in our dishwasher. When it gets bad, it starts sticking to the dishes and leaving a layer of grease on them.

    We use dishsoap, an old toothbrush, and a blue ScotchBrite pad to scrub the inside areas of the dishwasher. We unscrew the grate at the bottom of the dishwasher and take it and the filter under it out. We wash those by hand in the sink in hot water with dishsoap and a toothbrush. We also take off the water sprayer and wash that as well with the toothbrush and soap. This time, I washed the silverware rack as well with hot water, bleach, and the toothbrush.

    Then I ran a clean sanitize cycle with no dishes inside and citric acid in the soap dispenser. The citric acid helps cut hard water.

    Because our large family can so easily fill the dishwasher (most dishwashers hold around 14 plates) we have been cleaning the dishwasher more often lately. This was a problem with our previous dishwasher, and though it was a top of the line model, it eventually ended up so bad that the dishes would not longer come clean and we couldn't get the grease out of the dishwasher. Now that we know what the problem is, we are taking preventative measures to make sure our newer (and less expensive) dishwasher lasts a lot longer. We know we run it a lot more often than most people (three homemade meals a day plus snacks for 10 people makes for a lot of dishes) and we would like it to last a long time. At this point, we are trying to clean it once every three weeks and we may switch to twice a month or even once a week. If we let it go too long, there is a bad smell when we open it after it runs a cycle and the dishes are noticeably grimy (worse than when we put them in). I think for most families you can do this a lot less often. My mom takes out her filter and washes it once a month on her newer dishwasher (and there are just two people at her house) after she saw the trouble we had, and her dishwasher runs really well. Your dishwasher instructions should have info on how to remove the filter, but generally, it's just unscrewing it from the bottom inside of the machine.

  • Andrea Q February 19, 2018

    Have you tried a different brand of dishwasher detergent? I can't remember what brand I used when I lived in Las Vegas, but I remember having to try a few different ones before I found a good one. A plumber told us to turn the temperature up on the water heater, too. We were reluctant to do that because we didn't want the kids getting burned, but it did seem to help.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker February 19, 2018

    Andrea, your comment made me remember that we didn't have this problem before the law changed on dishwasher detergent several years ago. It was when they made it illegal for detergents to have something in them that actually cleaned the dishes (I think they changed them to ALL be phosphate free or something like that). Since then, it's been a problem.

    We have our hot water heater set fairly high (with a gas hot water heater, I'm not real worried about the cost, as gas is fairly inexpensive, but running the water waiting for it to get hot is not inexpensive).

    We tried several detergents before and had only found one that cut the grease well, years ago, but that was before the law changed. Since then, we have tried several different brands without any success. We still use vinegar in each load to cut hard water, but the grease remains an issue. Cleaning the dishwasher more often has been a big help. I would love to not have this problem anymore.

  • Susan February 19, 2018

    I find it makes a huge difference to use a sprinkle of lemishine and also the rinse agent plus the detergent. Good luck!

  • Andrea Q February 20, 2018

    Yes, phosphate free is an issue for cleaning. It's too bad phosphates are so bad for the environment. If I stumble upon any ideas, I'll let you know. I can't imagine cleaning the dishwasher as often as you do! I think I'd give up and wash by hand (but there are only six of us).

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker February 20, 2018

    We didn't use to do it that often. I don't want to have another dishwasher get ruined by it. I already wash about 20 pots and pans a day by hand; washing all of the dishes by hand and drying them would be a lot! So washing the dishwasher more often it is.

    Then again, with a large family and people home all day, there are a lot of things that need to be done more often. I read blog posts on cleaning schedules, and I bust up laughing. If we only vacuumed once a week and swept the floors once a day, our house would be disgusting! We have hardwood floors and rugs, and the living room rug MUST be vacuumed at least twice a day.

  • Janet February 21, 2018

    Stop buying the pre rinse stuff and switch to vinegar it will do the trick, both for the machine and the dishes only takes like three drops every cycle.

  • Holly February 18, 2018

    I love the pansies. Such a deal! I have spent more time sorting, washing, mending, and organizing. I stalled going out today until Goodwill was closed so mom and I wouldn't be tempted by bargains. I don't want us to buy anything Goodwill sells until all our drawers, shelves, and closets are tidied. I only exceeded our food budget for last week by $1. We splurged on dinner for two at KFC one evening which almost blew up the budget. We also splurged on bargain cherry ice cream, fresh strawberries, and bananas at our local grocery store. We enjoyed the fruit with the ice cream three times (Yum!) and still have lots of ice cream and two bananas left. I hope to make a mini loaf of banana bread tomorrow. I restocked the pantry with some eggs, canned soup, other canned entrees along with cleaning products and a couple of over-the-counter medications from Dollar Tree late this afternoon. I made aspirin in my one semester of college chemistry so I feel exceedingly comfortable buying it at a dollar store. The other medication came in a very small package, but the few pills will last until I next go shopping at Walmart using a gift certificate from Swagbucks.com. This evening, we ordered a carryout pizza that was about half its usual price. We ate dinner at a park by a lake, watching ice fishermen reluctantly coming ashore, likely for the season, given the forecast. One man had caught two big fish that will feed at least eight hungry people dinner. I am feeling tired and contented, and am hoping all of you are seeing progress toward your goals.

  • Melonie K. February 20, 2018

    So smart to go out when Goodwill was closed, Holly - I have to remove that temptation for myself with certain stores too!

  • Tammy February 18, 2018

    My son watched movies on Hoopla this week for free. I borrowed a book I think it was called cheap and good eats. It was a good book. I have planned all of our meals using what we have on hand plus about a $10 shopping trip for the next two weeks. I will be using several of your recipes these next two weeks Brandy. My family loves your Rosemary White Bean soup. We had it this week too! I looked online to peruse the sales this week to see what the best deals were. I do most of my shopping at Aldi.
    This week I made a huge pot of Southwestern Pinto Bean soup. Then we had beans and cornbread Then I turned it into refried beans and we had bean burritos with a little bit of hamburger for flavoring. I froze what was left for my husband to take to work. One day we had pork chops and potatoes and corn. Then the day we had the burritos I threw the corn and potatoes in a skillet with green chilis and stewed tomatoes added Mexican oregano, salt and pepper. My husband loved it!
    My menu for the next two weeks include. Burritos, Mexican potatoes and fruit, Salad and fish, Cauliflower and Sausage cheddar cheese au gratin with cucumber salad. Gram flour pancakes, scallop chowder with a salad, tuna noodle casserole and peas. Bacon and eggs and half grapefruit, Barbecue chicken legs, tots salad, leftover chicken with quinoa and kale, Pigs in a blanket, hardboiled eggs hash browns, homemade apple fruit rollups or applesauce, Gram flour pancakes, Rosemary white bean soup, kidney bean burgers, vegetable quick or fritatta, leftovers, sausage cabbage potato soup, bacon and eggs and frozen fruit, carrot soup, skillet lasagna and veggies, probably canned, indian bean fritters, leftover skillet lasagna, chicken pot pie, oatmeal muffins or peanut butter and chocolate oatmeal with eggs, leftover chicken pot pie, Depression hamburger potatoes and pickled onions and veggies, canned, Quiche and frozen fruit, chicken vegetalble soup and rice, black bean burgers, leftover quite and fruit, leftover soup and black bean burgers. Then pay day and I can go shopping for groceries! Yeah! I am going to do another list so we can pay off bills too. Hopefully won't be as tight next payday. But at least we are not starving! Yeah!
    We are still working on house. But we are getting there slowly.

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