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January's Shopping Plans and Meal Plans

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Meyer Lemons On Tree The Prudent Homemaker

For January, my grocery shopping budget is $0. We'll be eating from what we have on hand.

There are lots of reasons for choosing to eat from what you have on hand for the month. January is a great month to do it: You can rotate through food you've put aside all year (break out the home-canned summer goodness!), eat the meat you've bought on sale, and enjoy warm soups from the pantry with homemade bread (and for my southern hemisphere readers, it can be a great month to enjoy the bounties of your summer garden!)

For those who have seasonal work,  January can be a low-income month. 

For many, it's a high utility month, driven by the cost of keeping one's house warm during the winter.

Winter weather may have you wishing to stay home more and make fewer trips out in the snow and ice.

You may want to start a garden this year, and cutting the food budget in January can be a place to find the money for seeds and plants.

Eating from the pantry may give you a chance to start or work to replenish an emergency fund.

If you're having a tighter than usual month financially, consider making  January an eat from the pantry month.

 

In my garden, I have a few fresh additions to the pantry, fridge, and freezer's offerings. I have a bevy of lemons hanging from the trees.

Swiss Chard in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I have giant Swiss chard.

I have a few herbs that will make it through our short winter, including rosemary and parsley. Many herbs die back to the ground during winter and return in spring, including chives, oregano, and tarragon (tarragon only comes back if it is cloched all winter). 

I have seedlings coming up of snow peas, lettuce, and radishes. I should have radishes and lettuce ready to harvest by the end of the month.

 

Some of our meals this month will be:

 

Breakfasts:

 

Oatmeal

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Crepes with lemon juice and powdered sugar/homemade strawberry jam

Whole wheat waffles

Citrus fruit salad

Fruit smoothies with canned and frozen fruit from the garden

Homemade yogurt, granola, and frozen fruit with honey and/or home-canned jam

Cubed potatoes with onions

Eggs with toast 

 

Swiss chard soup The Prudent Homemaker

Lunches:

 

Swiss chard soup

Tomato Basil Soup

Rosemary White Bean Soup

Pasta e Fagioli

Taco Soup

Alphabet soup

Minestrone soup

Butternut squash soup

Black beans and rice with salad from the garden (lettuce, radishes, and the indoor-ripening tomatoes I picked in December from the garden)

White Bean Fettucini Alfredo sauce over pasta with garlic green beans

 

I'll make Rosemary Olive Oil bread and French bread to go with our soups.

 

Afternoon Snacks:

 

Popcorn

French bread and/or biscuits with strawberry jam, fig jam, apple butter and apricot vanilla jam

Hot chocolate

Fruit Crumble

White bean dip with homemade pitas

Apples

Oatmeal cookies

Fruit Salad with home canned fruit

Banana bread

 

Dinners:

 

Black bean burgers with steak fries (we have a good number of potatoes in the pantry) and corn and tomato salad

Pork loin roast with fig sauce, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and Swiss chard

Tuscan Tomato bread soup with salad from the garden

Herb roasted chicken with Swiss chard and lemon parmesan pasta

Fish (that we were gifted last year) with roasted rosemary potatoes and Swiss chard

Chili with cornbread

Spaghetti with garlic green beans

Barbecue chicken with corn, baked potatoes,  and lemonade

Lemon chicken with garlic chicken rice, beets, petite peas, and lemonade

 

What are your meal plans for this month? Are you planing to stock up on any great sales this month, or will you be eating from what you have on hand?

 

 

 

 

Tagged in: Grocery Shopping
Last modified on

Goals for the First Month of the Year

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Queen of Sweden The Prudent Homemaker

Queen of Sweden rose

January is one of the busiest months in my garden. Our winter is short and very spring-like (our first frost came December 18th and the last official frost date is February 15th) and there is much to do in January. I'll spend a great number of afternoons and every Saturday physically working outside in the winter sunshine: pruning trees, roses, and grape vines, and shoveling dirt. 

 

Garden Goals:

1. Prune all dormant fruit trees

2. Prune grape vines

3. Prune roses. Strip any remaining rose leaves to force rose bushes into a short dormant period.

4. Spray dormant oil (I use Neem oil, an organic spray) on trees, grape vines, roses, and hedges to kill overwintering insects and powdery mildew

5. Plant spinach seeds in the garden

6. Plant radish seeds in the garden

7. Plant lettuce seeds in the garden

8. Fertilize asparagus (with blood meal)

9. Spread new soil in the garden in areas that need it

10. Cloche seedlings in the garden with canning jars to help them to grow faster

11. Plant daffodil bulbs

 

Organization and Cleaning Goals:

1. Donate unused items to the thrift store

2. Make a weekly housekeeping plan (i.e. pick which room to do each day type of plan)

3. Clean refrigerator

4. Clean vacuum

 

Sewing Goals:

1. Mend 10 items

2. Sew sheer curtains for a bedroom

3. Finish sewing new hot pads

4. Embroider cotton webbing with children's names and sew to new bath towels

 

Personal Goals:

1. Lose 2 pounds

2. Take more photos

3. Watch some videos online on things I want and need to learn

 

What are your goals for this month?

 

 

Tagged in: Goals
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I enjoyed plenty of fresh air this week as I worked in the garden, planting the bulbs that I ordered back in June that have been prechilling in my refrigerator since October. 

I trimmed some bushes and used some of the clipped pieces to (hopefully!) start some new bushes by pulling off the bottom leaves and sticking them in the ground. I've rooted new plants in the past by doing this. (It takes 4-5 years to have a full-sized plant this way).

I decided to make some changes to part of the white garden. In the winter the garden is in full shade (for months)  and in summer the hot sun has been burning plants to a crisp. My original plan for that part of the garden is not working well as the plants I put there are dying in our intense summer sun and 110º+ temperatures. I went to the nursery and bought some new plants for the garden on sale--some annuals that will last for 5 months and a few bushes on sale. I still need several more bushes for this area, but they did not have enough in stock. I'll watch for when they have more and purchase them on sale. In the next few months, the nursery usually mails out several $10 off coupons, so I'll combine those with sales to purchase the remaining bushes as they become available.

I went through Ebates to get cash back on a purchase I made through Overstock. I signed up for Overstock's email to get a 10% coupon to use on my purchase. When I checked my email, they sent a 12% coupon! I used that to make my purchase and I will get 2% cash back through Ebates.

Green Earrings and Bracelet The Prudent Homemaker

I made myself a new pair of earrings using some inexpensive findings I had and some beads I bought years ago at a garage sale. These match the bracelet I made for myself in September.

I cut iceberg roses from the garden for the house. I've left a few buds on to finish opening to cut next week when I started pruning the roses back this week.

I cooked a turkey which we enjoyed for several meals.

We're having a simple celebration at home this evening, playing a card game while the children are asleep.

 

What did you do to save money for the last week of 2016?

 

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Christmas Table The Prudent Homemaker

Here's what we did to save money this past week: 

Poinsettia The Prudent Homemaker

I bought two beautiful poinsettias marked down to $0.99 each. I gave one to a neighbor and put one on our table.

Chocolate Pretzels The Prudent Homemaker

I sewed some more gifts for the children while my husband watched the children. I used fabric I had on hand, including fabric that was passed down to me from my grandmother and mother-in-law.

I mended holes in two sweaters.

I hemmed a pair of pants.

I picked a lemon from the garden. 

I cut rosemary, parsley, and chives from the garden.

I reused old ribbons to tie gift boxes closed.

Winter made herself a Christmas dress using some hand-me-down fabric.

My husband cut one son's hair.

My husband and I went to a movie for free. My parents gave us two free movie tickets that they received for donating blood.

Christmas Table 2 The Prudent Homemaker

 Directions to the Christmas Tree napkins can be found here.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

Last modified on

Skirts The Prudent Homemaker

This was a sewing the inherited stash project. The plaid came from my mother-in-law's stash (a heavy fabric that was a home decorating scrap) and the pinwale corduroy came from grandmother's stash. Both women have passed away (my grandmother this year and my mother-in-law 3 years ago) and I am happy to be using the fabric that I chose from their vast amounts.

Both of these are warm skirts that should be great for everyday wear and play. I made them long enough to go just past the knee cap. 

For each skirt, I simply used the full width of the fabric (from selvage to selvage). I sewed the selvage ends together using a French seam (wrong side to wrong side, sewn together using 1/4" seam, then trimming the seam to 1/8", turning, ironing, and sewing right side to right side using a 3/8" seam).

I turned under the hem at 1/4" inch and ironed it. I then turned it under again (an inch and a quarter for the green skirt and a couple of inches for the plaid skirt; I cut the plaid one longer to allow for a deeper hem on the heavier fabric).  I pinned the hem and sewed it.

I did the same thing along the top, only I folded it over 1/4 inch and ironed, and then 1 1/4 inches and ironed it. I pinned this top seam. I sewed the top seam, leaving about 2 inches unsewn.

I pinned the end of my piece of elastic (cut slightly shorter than the child's waist measurement) through with a safety pin. I used the safety pin to thread the elastic through the casing I just made. Once I had it through, I overlapped the ends by an inch and sewed them together with a zig zag stitch. I then tucked the elastic into the skirt and finished sewing it closed along the seam line.

Headbands The Prudent Homemaker

 

Supplies for each:

2/3 yard of each fabric (more if you want a longer skirt, and twice as much if you want a fuller skirt)

2/3 yard elastic (depending on size of waist you may need a bit more or less)

headband fabric to match ( 2 1/2 inches wide by 16 inches long)

fabric for headband (a piece cut 2 1/2 inches wide by 16 inches long)



Tools:

Sewing Machine

Iron

Sewing pins

Scissors

Large safety pin



Time: Approximately 1 1/ hours per skirt, and 25 minutes per headband. 

Skirts and Headbands The Prudent Homemaker


Cost:  $0.34 each for the skirts (for the elastic) and $0.17 each per headband

My fabric was free, and the headbands were bought at a garage sale earlier this year. I removed the fabric covering to recover them to match. I purchased the elastic in bulk on sale from Wawak. The thread came from my grandmother.

 

Tagged in: A Gift A Day
Last modified on

A Gift a Day 2016: Day 6: Checked Blouse

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My sweet little baby sidetracked my Christmas sewing completely. I had forgotten how hard it is to accomplish one's goals when there's a baby in the house!

But this week, I've got a chance to get in several hours of sewing each morning while my husband watches the children for a few dedicated sewing hours. I'm working on completing as many Christmas presents as possible during this time. Here's the first:

 Checked Blouse Detail The Prudent Homemaker

 

Earlier this year I came across this tutorial via Pinterest on how to use a tracing wheel to make a pattern from existing clothing. I've taken apart clothing before to make a pattern, and not having to do so to copy something I already like is so much nicer!

I copied an existing blouse that one of my girls has (minus the darts) and made it out of some fabric scraps I was given from a reader a few years ago. They were narrow pieces and I wasn't sure how I would use them at first, but they are super soft, quality cotton scraps from a shirt company.  There was just enough width in part of it to cut a back, and the other pieces were just narrow enough to cut the front pieces, sleeves, and collars of a girl's blouse. The fabric scraps were just wide enough.

Check Blouse The Prudent Homemaker

 

The original blouse seams were serged seams that were only 1/4" wide. Since I was not planning on serging the seams (I made the blouse with French seams instead to prevent unraveling and make for a smooth finish), it was necessary to add additional seam allowances to the pattern before cutting it out. I drew them on the tissue paper around the traced lines and then cut out my new pattern.

 

Supplies:

Fabric (I used scraps; the total amount for a girl's size 10 blouse was approximately half a yard/meter)

Buttons

Tissue paper

Existing blouse to copy


Tools:

Sewing Machine

Iron

Sewing pins

Tracing wheel

Scissors



Time:

About 2 hours


Cost:

$0.40

The only thing I purchased for this gift were the buttons, and I had some in my supplies that I had purchased at Joann's for 60% off.

 

Tagged in: A Gift A Day
Last modified on

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