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Snow Pea Vines The Prudent HomemakerSnow Peas in Bloom

I picked lemons from the garden.

I cut a few spears of asparagus and a little lettuce from the garden.

I cut Swiss chard from the garden.

Apple Blossoms Buds The Prudent Homemaker

Dorsett Golden Apple Blossoms

We removed ten non-producing apple trees from the garden.  I have one remaining apple tree now (Dorsett Golden, pictured above).

We bought some new dirt in bulk from the nursery to put in the bed. We picked it up ourselves in our trailer (the one my husband made) and lined the trailer with a free tarp my husband had (via Craigslist). Picking it up ourselves saved the delivery fee.

We dug up and moved the previously espaliered Asian pear tree to the bed to grow as a small (but no longer espaliered) pear tree. The pear was being overshadowed by the fig tree and had stopped producing; it should give us some fruit in the new spot next year.

Almond Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

Garden Prince Almond Blossoms

I purchased a self-fertile almond (that only gets to 15 feet) on sale to plant there too. It will take about 3-4 years before I can harvest a good-sized crop from it.

I received two free bags of fertilizer at the nursery using their coupons for free fertilizer with the purchase of vegetables and herbs (I purchased some larger pepper plants and tomato plants this year, with the hope of having more to harvest before the heat comes in and the plants stop flowering).

I purchased a lemon verbena plant for the garden at the nursery. This is a perennial plant and it will grow quite tall, giving me lots to harvest. I picked a few leaves and made herbal tea with it. 

I made some plans for this bed, in order to make it more productive for us.

My husband and I celebrated Valentine's Day at home. It was one of two dates at home this week. We played a board game one night and a card game another night.

I bought some strawberries on sale for $0.99 a pound.  I also picked up the avocados (6 for $2) for which I had a raincheck.

I went to the library to check out some books with the children. They had a book sale and I was able to pick up a few books for our personal library for $2.25.

I listened to music on Pandora.

I studied French every day using free online sources.

We received some rain. I turned off the drip irrigation and put out buckets to collect water from the roof. I won't need to water the grass next week and I can use the water I collected in buckets to water plants in the garden. 

Two things that brought me joy this week: I saw a violet-crowned hummingbird in the garden while I was working; I also enjoyed watching the baby take his first steps!

 

What did you do to save money this past week? What joy did you find in the everyday?

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Anemone Bud The Prudent HomemakerAnenome Bud

It was 74ºF  (23ºC) here on Friday and I've been enjoying working outside in the garden.

I picked up some biographies at the library for our school studies.

I went to pick up the pork roasts on sale at the grocery store and they didn't ring up on sale. Thankfully I noticed, and the manager adjusted each roast (I bought 3) down to the sale price for me.

I got a raincheck for the avocados and raspberries that were on sale but out of stock.

I bought 10 chickens at $0.57 a pound. I cooked one and put the rest in the freezer. $32 for 10 chickens makes for a lot of really inexpensive meals!

I bought 80 pounds of potatoes at $0.25 a pound. These might last until the end of the month.

I decided not to buy any broccoli or onions when I was at the store. These were above my price points on those items (Winco doesn't have an ad, but they often have great produce prices; I just have to look when I get there). I'll keep using the onions I've dried, the last of the fresh onions we have, and we'll eat other vegetables instead (including the chard and beet greens in the garden, of which there are quite a few!)

I made black bean and corn enchiladas, black bean soup, roasted chicken, scalloped potatoes,  a chicken and vegetable soup (using the leftover chicken and broth from roasting it), bean burritos, strawberry shortcake (using strawberries from the freezer), pork loin roast, mashed potatoes, Swiss chard (with lemon from the garden), and pizza. 

Katy Apricot Buds The Prudent Homemaker

Katy Apricot Bud

I harvested lettuce, Swiss chard, thyme, and parsley from the garden.

I sowed seeds for nasturtiums and lettuce.

I opened the house to let in lots of fresh air. The weather was beautiful enough to have the windows open all week.

I decided I wanted to add some new baskets to my garage sale list for April to replace those that are broken. I was on a local Facebook garage sale page and someone listed several baskets for sale. Most would work, but not all of them. I decided it was worth the price, and I would donate the rest. When I got there, I found out that the seller had several more baskets to sell. She allowed me to mix and match to get what I wanted, so I ended up with 9 baskets I can use for $10! I will use the shallow baskets for fruit on the table as well as some strong grape vine baskets with handles to pick fruit. We'll also use these same baskets for Easter baskets.

I purchased some used curtains via the same local Facebook garage sale page for $10. I was going to make some curtains in this exact color for a room, but for the price, I decided Ito just buy these (I may need to hem them first). I will still sew the sheers to go behind the curtains (I've already purchased that fabric).

My mom called me from a garage sale she was at to see if I wanted some of the deals she found. I said yes to several things and paid her back when she dropped them off (including a large number of children's books for $0.50 each!) 

I accepted a serger from a friend who had upgraded and no longer needed her old serger.

I laid new sod in the garden where it needed to be repaired. I had a quote to have the work done, and by doing it myself I saved over $1300. The sod cost me $88.

 

What did you do to save money this past week? What beauty did you find in the everyday?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goals for February

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Sod The Prudent Homemaker

It's a short month, and I've got a ton to do!

Last month the baby cut his first teeth, and wanted to be held all the time. I didn't manage to get any sewing projects from last month done, and now most of those will have to wait until March.

In addition, we had a lot of rain (for which I am very grateful!) and also a lot of wind. I didn't finish pruning the trees, so I need to prune and spray dormant oil (rather quickly, as the buds are close to opening!) 

Our last frost date is February 15th, which makes February our busy spring planting time.

I've made the decision to remove most, if not all, of my espaliered apple trees. Despite reading that the varieties I chose did well in hot areas, most have not flowered. In addition, they have decided to grow away from the wall, and are taking up precious space in the center of the garden bed. This is an additional plan I've made to my original plans for the garden for the year, but it's one I've been debating for several years. Removing them will allow me to plant something else there, making for a more productive garden.

The weather is beautiful (in the 60's and 70's!) so working outside is a pleasure.

 

Garden Goals:

1. Replace sod in a few areas in the garden

2. Manure lawn (spread manure with manure spreader and rake it in)

3. Finish pruning fruit trees

4. Spray fruit trees, bushes, and vines

5. Fertilize fruit trees, roses, and berry bushes

6. Plant seeds in the garden every week for food and flowers

7. Repair leaks in the drip lines

8. Purchase more asparagus plants for the garden

9. Purchase tomato plants 

10. Cement column in the garden

11. Use Liquid Nails to attach garden urn to column

12. Plant roses when they arrive (the replacements from the ones that didn't make it last year)

13. Run new drip lines in areas where the old lines need to be replaced

14. Remove espaliered apple trees

15. Remove grass that is growing in garden beds

 

Sewing Goals:

1. Make birthday presents for two daughters

2. Embroider new labels for towels

 

Personal Goals:

1. Lose 4 pounds. I know it's a short month, but I also know that if I'm diligent with watching what I eat, I can achieve this goal. The semi-annual garage sale I go to is April 8th, and I want to be at my goal weight by then so that I can buy clothes for myself in a new size.

2. Study French every day

3. Watch some videos to learn new things

4. Read 2 books on French culture: The Bonjour Effect and Bringing up Bébé, both of which I requested from the library

 

 

Tagged in: Goals
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Snowdrop The Prudent Homemaker

Spring has arrived, and it is lovely.

I planted seeds in the garden for leeks, parsley, lettuce, and radishes.

We harvested Swiss chard and beet greens from the garden for meals almost every day. 

I used two $5 off coupons at the nursery. I bought another Katy apricot tree (which was on sale) and I bought some sod to repair some places in the grass that died last year.

I accepted two hand-me-down cardigans from my mom.

I learned new expressions and words in French from Pinterest. You can find my French Pinterest board here.

I used Duolingo to strengthen my French skills.

I picked up two library books that I had requested.

My husband and I had two date nights at home.

My husband mended my broken metal Kitchen Aid whisk attachment by welding the broken part.

I enjoyed being outside while working in the lovely spring weather. I took several moments to pause and listen to the birds that were singing in the garden.

The beautiful weather has meant a start to garage sale season. My mom went to several sales and brought back a few things for my family that were on my list, including a blue and white vase. Once they added in everything they were buying and renegotiated the price, the vase was essentially free! I've put in on a shelf in the library for now to enjoy without flowers in it.

 

What did you do to save money and find joy this past week?

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February's Grocery Shopping Plans

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February Radish The Prudent Homemaker

I'm grateful for the opportunity last month of not shopping to empty the fridge and work on clearing out the freezers. The freezers still have quite a bit left in them and I always strive to keep the pantry full; there is plenty there still. 

This month we'll work on eating more of the fruit from the freezers and pantry (as well as meat from the freezer). This will give me some space to stock up on some meat sales. There's already a great one starting today (whole chickens for $0.57 a pound!) so I'm glad that we've been eating from the freezer.

The seedlings in the garden slowed down their growth quite a bit when we had a frost and a cold week just recently, but the weather is warming and by February 10th it should be in the low 70ºs ( 22ºC). I'm experimenting with planting more seeds earlier than usual, going by the soil temperature rather than dates, with the hopes of a good harvest before it gets too hot for plants to flower in the summer.

We still have lots of beet greens and Swiss chard that we're harvesting several times a week, lemons on the trees, and various herbs that are ready. By the end of the month, I hope to begin to harvest a lot more from the garden!

 

Here's what's on my list:

 

Sam's Club:

Mozzarella cheese

Flour tortillas

Corn tortillas

Pinto beans

Almonds

Chocolate chips

Toilet paper

Goat Cheese

Feta Cheese

Ketchup

Tomato sauce

Eggs

 

Winco:

Milk

Plain Greek Yogurt (to use as a starter to make more yogurt)

Spreadable Margarine

Sour cream

Garlic

Potatoes

Carrots

Broccoli

Onions

Possibly other produce depending on prices; they have sales but no ads, so I'll see what prices are when I get there.

 

Alberston's:

whole chickens ($0.57 a pound)

avocados (medium ones are the jaw-dropping price of 3 for $1, with a limit of 6)

frozen petite peas 

 

Vons:

Boneless pork loin $1.79/lb

Raspberries (on sale for 0.99 for 6 ounces, which is incredibly low; limit 4)

avocados (medium 3 for $1, limit 6)

 

Target:

Diapers (There is an in-ad coupon that will give you a $25 Target gift card if you spend $100 on baby items. I'll buy 4 boxes of diapers).

Oxi-clean spray refill

 

I love having a full enough pantry that I can wait for the amazing sales and only stock up at the lowest prices!

My budget for this month is $400.

Arugula The Prudent Homemaker

 Arugula (Rocket) 

 

 

 

Tagged in: Grocery Shopping
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Chocolate Crepe Cake The Prudent Homemaker

A stack of chocolate crepes for a birthday breakfast

 

I sowed seeds for beets, arugula, spinach, larkspur, and New Zealand Spinach. 

I cut rosemary, Swiss chard, beet greens, arugula, and chocolate mint (pictured above) from the garden. 

We received more rain, which meant I didn't have to turn on the sprinklers. I used rainwater I collected in buckets to water potted plants.

I cooked a large pot of beans in the crockpot and used them to make pasta e fagioli and white bean dip.

I practiced my French by watching videos in French on You Tube, using Duolingo, using a French/English dictionary, and reading French learning blogs.

We went to the library. I checked out some magazines, a movie (one we've seen before, but it's in Frech, and I want to listen again) and the children got some books.

What did you do to save money and find joy this past week?

 

Note: For the chocolate crepes, I added 1/2 cup of cocoa powder to my regular crepes recipe.

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