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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Snake Melon The Prudent Homemaker

Armenian cucumber in the garden; you can see why these are also called "Snake melons." I have never had one grow like this before, but it sure looks interesting! 

I read eight more Hamish Macbeth books in e-book form from the library. I love that the e-books mean I don't even have to drive to the library and spend money on gas!

I sowed seeds for zucchini. I haven't had one plant grow yet this year, despite multiple plantings, but hopefully, I will have some success this time and be able to have a harvest in a couple of months. Our first frost is usually in December, so I have enough time for the plants to get large and then start flowering when it cools below 90 in mid-October.

I collected poppy seeds and larkspur seeds from the garden to plant next year.

I gave one son and two daughters a haircut.

My husband and I had a date night at home after the children were in bed with root beer floats (the ice cream previously purchased on sale for $3.99 a gallon and root beer for $0.69 a 2-liter bottle) while we played three games of Sequence.

I  picked an Armenian cucumber from the garden.

I went to the dollar store to purchase some needed items, including bobby pins and hair elastics. I noted that the store now carries name brands; the exact same size package of bobby pins is $3.99 at Walmart.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  • Marie August 14, 2018

    Thank you, Maxine, for that helpful reply...I'm glad I actually mentioned Spectrum by name. We don't care about tv, but we do still want to keep our landline (at least til the last of the kiddos goes to college in two years) so we want the internet/phone bundle. I'm glad it's worked out so well for you and I am strongly considering making the switch :)

  • Sigrid August 13, 2018

    I am doing a baby shower, and I went to the grocery shopping center and did my annual harvest of their lavender. Then I cut up a sheet with a darling print (vintage) and made 50 sachets for favors after i dried and sifted the lavender through the plastic shelf liner with the holes in it. I get a lot of lavender from various public places around town.

  • Mary August 13, 2018

    I love Armenian cucumbers! I cooked a large 24# turkey from the freezer yesterday and did it upside down like your recipe. Worked great. I also made your hot pepper jelly with jalapenos and bell peppers I was given from someone's garden. We ate some of it with the turkey. Yum. I made dill pickles and "crystal" pickles with pickling cukes I was given for helping in a large garden.

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba August 13, 2018


    Thank you for the ebook idea. I should take a look at ebooks our library offers! It's a blessing not to have to remember to return them.

    Here is what we did this week:
    * We left the A/C off all week and used the fan to stay cool when needed. Needless to say, I am ready for some cooler fall weather. :)
    * I successfully completed my cleanse and saved money on food because I was eating less of it.
    * One of my friends had a baby. I made one freezer meal and will ask another friend who lives closer to her to take it to her. It will save me 2 hours of driving time.
    * It was fun to use food I had on hand to make a meal for a potluck. It was all eaten too!
    * It was neat to combine errands when possible to avoid leaving the house multiple times.
    * I made appointments as much as possible next to each other in time and location to save stress, driving time, and gas money.
    * I took two walks with two friends. It was free vitamin D, exercise, and fellowship. :)

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood August 13, 2018

    I'm so impressed with your giant twisting zucchini! Also with your ability to run a home, raise 9 children, homeschool them, and still read 8 books in a week! That's some time management skills right there!

    My frugal accomplishments for the past week:
    - I pulled out some freezer meals this past week, including my go-to of enchiladas (http://approachingfood.com/easy-enchiladas-a-20-minute-weeknight-meal/) and smoothies (http://approachingfood.com/foodie-trends-hemp-seed-antioxidant-smoothie-bowl/). I love that I can blend up whatever dried greens I have in my cupboard as part of the smoothie, for extra nutrition.
    - I traded a framed print (that I had gotten as part of a lot in a previous trade) for a hand cream that I will set aside to give to a family friend. And, I traded two banana bread cupcakes with buttercream icing, for a BNIB mini Jenga game. I will set this aside to give to some children I know next time I see them. The rest of the banana bread batter I used to make a loaf and cut it up for snacks for work for the week. I only made enough buttercream for the two cupcakes (plus one more for my DH). I also traded a loaf of homemade white bread for a bottle of white wine (I will keep it to use as a hostess gift in the future). I made two loaves of bread, and kept one for the DH and I, so it was practical in terms of time usage, as well.
    - Very excitingly, I was able to trade a $10 gc to Starbucks (purchased using a Swagbucks gc) for a BNIB Lenox Christmas serving tray. These regularly retail for $60 but can be found on sale for $30 (plus shipping, etc.). So I got a really, really good deal on the trade! I’ve set it aside to give as a Christmas gift to my best friend’s family. This is definitely one of the best trades I’ve done to date!
    - I redeemed some Pinecone Research rewards for $5 to my paypal account.
    - And, I received my first baby shower gift: cloth diapers with bamboo inserts! I'm so excited about this! This will save us lots of money vs disposables, as our utilities are included in our condo maintenance fees. I have some disposables already set aside for me to use when baby first arrives, but I hope to only use cloth after that. A very practical shower gift and so appreciated!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as usuall!

  • AndreaG August 14, 2018

    What a lovely gift of cloth diapers! We loved ours and it saved an untold amount of money through the years between the diapers and the cloth training pants. Ours, too, were a gift from my mom.

  • Becky August 13, 2018

    I cooked and cooked and cooked last week. Besides feeding my family, we had agreed to cook some food for a college retreat the college age at church were going on. (I was reimbursed for the ingredients--they just needed me to cook some things up for them to take).

    My garden keeps producing. I keep preserving.

    Brandy, if only I could share zucchini with you and some of your readers! I think I'm up to over 70 so far, maybe 75 or 80, I'm losing track, and just can't keep up with them. Although I preserve a bunch of them yearly in various ways, there is a limit to how many we can use. I'm going to wish I had some fresh ones this winter, but I'll need to enjoy them now. My watermelons, on the other hand, are a bust. I guess last year was my only triumph for now:)

    I continue working hard at my lowered grocery budget. In the past 2 weeks, I have spent $30. This is not sustainable, of course--$15 per week--but I'm just hanging on to the rest of the money for a Costco run. It has only been possible because of the huge amount of produce we are eating, and my well-stocked cupboards and freezers. Days like yesterday help, too. For Family Sunday Dinner, my sister had some salmon she wanted to use up, and I brought potato salad, using garden potatoes. She also asked me to make some for the teen-age gathering she was hosting that evening. It was just a get-together after their evening church Bible Study. They had burgers, chicken and steak on the BBQ and they visited and kayaked on the river afterwards. She asked my husband to BBQ, which he did, and we enjoyed dinner with the teens. So, the only food I needed to make/bring for the day was potato salad (I made a HUGE batch) and tomatoes from my garden and cherry tomatoes from my other sister's garden.

    I made some pillowcases for a friend's birthday gift.

    I unexpectedly ended up doing something fun and unusual and actually earned a little money while doing it!

    Pictures are on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-august-13-2018/

  • Jeannie August 18, 2018

    Becky, I wish you were closer so I could trade watermelons for zucchinis. I have given up trying to grow summer squash but for the first time ever, my melons are acting like your zucchinis. We picked the first watermelon this week (after picking the 15 melons that ripened within 3 days of each other) and it weighed 34.5 pounds!!!!!! It is the smallest one on the vine and there are two more that look larger. Never have I grown more that one or two watermelons actually worth eating.


  • So. CO Mary August 13, 2018

    Found some real deals at our local Kroger store (King Soopers). Name brand bacon - full pound packages (so many are 12 oz. now) for $2.79, brie cheese (a huge treat for me) for $2.50 a package, 'designer' bread for $1.49, Starburst gummies .79 per large bag, big bags of chips for $1.77 (a treat for us to have with summer sandwiches and hamburgers), Kraft mayo for $1.99 and most amazing of all HP Ink cartridges for $6.99 each (weirdly each one was a slightly different prices but I know they are regularly $23 or higher - their date was earlier this year but I worked in high tech for years and they are hermitically sealed and should be good for a year or two beyond their date).
    Stopped at the day old bread store and bought all this for $4.25: two loaves of sandwich bread, whole grain large hamburger buns, name brand hoagie rolls and name brand sourdough. I don't make bread as it is just the two of us and we rarely eat a whole loaf in a week. I wrap loaves in manageable amounts and freeze it. Just pull it out as we need it.

    The local farmers markets are selling their produce for higher than last year - the drought is bad this year in SE Colorado and there isn't as much water as in past years. I really don't mind paying a little more as I know from experience that it is hard work. It is so great to have fresh produce that doesn't have to travel miles and for the most part minimal chemicals. The bacon is a huge treat for real BLTs - my very favorite cold sandwich. I stopped and bought 6 ears of corn, a few tomatoes and some green beans (for green beans southern style - cooked forever with bacon, onion and lots of pepper - a seasonal treat that we love but don't have regularly).

    My biggest, happiest, most frabjous find were books for $1.00 at Dollar Tree! The selection was amazing. Part of our spending plan is that each of us has an allowance for our own fun stuff. I budget $20.00 for books - our local library has a great used store and has hardback books for $2.00 - each month is based on the alphabet - this month is D, E F. For only $13.00 I bought 13 books! Some are best sellers and some are great Penguin imprint books from the UK and even a translated best seller from France - "My Wish List" by Gregoire Delacourt. I read it in one sitting today and really enjoyed it. I can sell or donate them after reading. I love to read and this makes me feel "rich" in ways beyond money.

    This week I plan to cook three pounds of the bacon at once and then freeze amounts to take out for individual meals. We really don't like the smell of bacon that lingers so long after cooking so I am going to take out my electric skillet and cook it on our covered front porch. I am using my Instant Pot a lot more - learning as I go. Took some really tough stew meat out that was from last year's quarter beef - made a beef in gravy to put over noodles. All ingredients were things I had on hand (dried mushrooms that I bought in bulk, homemade broth and can of cream of mushroom soup that I'd bought for 50 cents awhile ago) and it really was delicious. I've left the stew meat as it is so tough but this took only an hour and was so tender.

    I know a lot of folks don't consume alcohol but I did want to share an experiment. We really like lemoncllo and it is very expensive to buy. I found a recipe online and am trying it out. Found organic lemons at Trader Joes for the zest and cheap vodka. I juiced the lemons after taking just the peel off (no white can be used so I used a veggie peeler) and froze it. It takes a month to cure - will have to see what transpires! If it works I may look for a recipe using melons - we had it in Greece on our cruise of a lifetime and it was amazing.

    And finally - we stopped our satellite service! Using Amazon Prime, Netflix and Sling. Love it! Watching lots of great shows that we wouldn't normally even think of - British shows, old movies and tv shows. I've even found cooking, gardening and 'house' shows. No regrets!!!

  • Samantha August 17, 2018

    Hi Mary-
    I’m in northern Colorado and I’ve also noticed our higher prices at the farmer’s markets. I agree that it’s always worth it though in terms of quality—particularly for heads of garlic if our crop was low which I can later use as seed garlic. If I make it to our markets I always ask for any ‘seconds’ or unappealing looking produce and it has yet to fail me. Once I bought a giant box full of Palisade peaches for $10 and had enough to can and freeze for smoothies. The peaches grew an extra node and made them ‘unsightly’, albeit abundantly delicious!

    I received an instant pot as a gift, and I’m wondering if you have any good recipes? I read that you can toss in dry (no soaking required) beans, dry rice, and frozen chicken breast for a 20 minute chicken burrito bowl—yum!

    Hope you enjoy the rest of our beautiful Colorado summer,

  • AndreaG August 14, 2018

    I love your cucumber, Brandy! We had a very quiet week last week. I am busy stocking our pantry shelves and freezer with sale items and they are both getting really full so we’ll eat into the fall with very little grocery shopping. Fall will be busier when we are back to homeschooling and my son is involved in a couple of activities so it will be nice to be able to shop less. My mom sent home from Sunday dinner the leftovers, a box of turkey burgers, and some local peaches. We are very blessed to have her do this each week as that food often goes a long way for us. I received another beauty sample in the mail. The basket is overflowing at this point and will carry me well into the winter without having to buy any shampoo, etc.

    We had to run the air conditioner only a couple of times last week. I am looking forward to September when it is slightly cooler and we won’t need either air conditioning or the heat on!

    Hope everyone has a lovely week!

  • Julie T August 14, 2018

    I continue to harvest and can and freeze. This week I did 6 half pints of salsa verde, 7 pints ground beef in broth, 12 pints green beans, got my crock going of sauerkraut, froze Swiss chard and kale, also froze a vegie combination of onions, yellow and green zucchini, and eggplant. Also made and froze 40 cabbage rolls. Picking many zucchini and cucumbers. Eating fresh and giving away some. Eating a few tomatoes, they should be ripening all at once in the next week or so.

    Made a table runner and placemats for my daughter from a set of curtains she had. When they moved they went from two windows in the living room to one. So she had a set of curtains she didn't need. She asked me to sew a table runner and placemats. So I did a set for her and for me. The curtains were a gold leaf print. It will be nice for fall.

    Mended my pile of clothes, this is something I'm not fond of so they tend to pile up. Now it is cleared out!

    Went through my pantry and organized. I have an instant pot that I love and use regularly. Got rid of the Cuisinart egg maker (gift) and the rice steamer (another gift) as the instant pot does both of them nicely and these two appliances were taking up room and not being used.

    Made some coconut milk ice cream, will use this to make some popsicles. I have my grand kids this weekend and they are lactose intolerant so this will be a cool treat for them.

    Had dinner out Sunday for my husband's birthday-paid for by my mother in law. Haven't eaten out in a while, so nice. Leftovers were brought home.

    Except the above all meals made at home-country sausages, hashbrowns, and green beans; grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches and vinegar cucumbers; spaghetti with red sauce, garlic toast, and Kansas cucumbers; ham and fried eggs; and barbequed pork ribs, baked potatoes, and corn on the cob. Just love all the fresh produce!!

    Also loving the farm markets!! I have a different one I can go to everyday in the area. This week I bought two loaves of fermented sourdough bread (I am gluten intolerant but I can eat this bread because of the fermentation process!), some organic Italian sausage, cabbage for the sauerkraut, and I ordered 1/2 bushel little cucumbers to make dill pickles with.

    It is hot and dry here in Minnesota, unfortunately I am watering the garden and flowers. Supposed to cool down next week. Starting to see color in the trees.

    Have a great week everyone!!

    Julie T

  • Darcy August 14, 2018

    We tried growing peppers this year without success. We will try again next year and we will also try growing zucchini.

    Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    We have had a busy week. My mother came to visit from Tennessee. For her Mother’s Day gift, my brother bought her an airline ticket to Indiana.

    On Sunday we hosted a dinner for the family so the grandchildren and great-grandchildren could see my mom. We provided the main entree and everyone brought sides and desserts. Three of our grandchildren (ages 9, 7, and 7) picked lots of cherry tomatoes while they were here. I sent what they picked home with them. None of them have gardens and they were very excited to pick food!

    On Monday we had spaghetti for dinner. I pulled out the sauce from the freezer and added a salad. On Tuesday night, my oldest daughter hosted a family get-together. My mom and I brought a homemade cheesecake for dessert. On Wednesday night we had a taco salad. For breakfasts we ate eggs, toast, bagels, and cereal. For lunches I made a chicken soup. We also had sandwiches and salads.

    I harvested green beans twice, cherry and regular tomatoes three or four times, and basil. I finally saw our green hummingbird very briefly. My husband has see her several times.

    A co-worker gifted me with a small eggplant. I made a ratatouille with zucchini, onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes, basil, black olives, and the eggplant.

  • Marie August 14, 2018

    I was happy--and mad--that I finally made some phone calls. A newer garbage hauler charges about 27.00 less per bill (quarterly) so I called my current hauler to cancel. They were willing to lower my bill to even less than the newer company. (we still went with the new "little guy" though). Next I called our phone company/internet provider and told them I was considering Spectrum (formerly Time Warner). They couldn't quite match the Spectrum price, but did reduce my phone bill by 20.00 monthly. I am still considering switching to Spectrum because they provide a new modem for free (and we need one) but want to get more feedback from people in my area. Either way, I am thrilled that my bills were lowered--but mad at myself for not looking into this sooner!

    Also, I finally ditched the paper towels and cut up a bunch of flour sack tea towels into squares. Instead of buying the "perfect container" for them, I looked around and shopped from my garage to find an old, wide-mouth cookie jar.

    It has been a thoroughly effortless switch and, again, I should have done this years ago.

    Happy Monday :)

  • Janet August 14, 2018

    I put the homemade towels in a wicker basket that I had on hand and everyone uses them. I save the paper napkins I get when we go out to eat for frying bacon in the microwave and wiping off glass every now and then. IN this way I rarely use paper products.

  • Tanja August 14, 2018

    Hay Brandy, I am going to order some armenian cucumber seeds to, they look wunderfull. I dont know if they'll grow in our colder climat. But who knows...if we have a summer like this one they will definitly succeed.
    I harvested lots of vegetables from my garden. Pickeled some cucumbers and already gave them away as I was visiting some relatives.
    I had a lovely day on the lakes in our province ( friesland) on the boat of and with my sister and her husband. Watching SKUTSJESILEN
    this is a sailing competition with very old original sailingship from the netherlands, this takes two weeks, and the games are on a diverend lake every day. As I was younger I stayed with them for 1 week or so, it brings back memory's as we had a boat to, back in the days with my parents. It was a frugal visit, we just eat on there boat, homecooked food nothing fancy.
    We also have been on a short vacation in a zelfcatering little home, the weather was beatftull and we eat home made diners and lunches every day.
    I mended two pair of jeans for both sons.
    Made rice dessert, wich turned out delicious.
    Had leftover soup and buns with ham/cheese one day, after doing catering in the townhouse for a group of hiking lady's.
    Made my sister a quilted table runner.
    Finished knitting a pair of socks for my daughter.
    Live is so much easier when the weather is nice and sunny!
    Have a good week everyone.
    Greetings , Tanja From the netherlands

  • Mable August 14, 2018

    Tanja: I live in Fairbanks, Alaska, where our growing season is short. This year our last frost was June 12 and right now it is already going down to 40 degrees at night. Yet I get a great crop of Armenian cucumbers every summer so I think they may do well for you, too. And they are never bitter, no matter how large they get.

  • tanja August 16, 2018

    wunderful....thanks for letting me know Mable

  • ellie's friend from Canada August 17, 2018

    thanks for the information. I am now going to definitely try growing Armenian cucumbers since I live in a cold climate! Ann

  • Margie from Toronto August 14, 2018

    You have had a busy holiday - but it sounds wonderful. I love i when I get a chance to be by the water - whether a lake or the sea. I hope that you haven't had the super hot weather that the rest of Europe has been experiencing. Thank you for commenting so often - I love hearing from those readers outside of NA - just shows what a small world it really is these days.

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