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I harvested parsley, rosemary, a bay leaf,  garlic chives, spinach, Meyer lemons, and lettuce from the garden.

I gave two daughters each a haircut.

I unsubscribed from several promotional email lists. I don't have any plans to buy anything from these companies any time soon, and deleting the constant emails (one sent three a week!) takes time that I could be using to do something productive.

I studied French using free online sources.

Peppa Pig Cupcake Cake The Prudent Homemaker

We had a simple and frugal Peppa Pig birthday party for my youngest daughter at home. I made a cupcake cake for her.

Saturday was the day for the semi-annual community garage sale for several communities in my area. I went with my list, looking for items we need and want. There were fewer sales than usual this year, but I still managed to find a few items on my list, including a dress for me ($3), some white onesies for the new baby ($0.25 each), some shorts and pants for my youngest son (7 for $5, plus she threw in a brand-new undershirt and some random diapers and pull-ups in his size), a basket that I'll use for organizing in a closet ($2), two shirts and two pairs of jeans for a daughter ($0.50 each), a lade for my eldest's college box ($0.50), a hand-chopper for the kitchen ($1), 6 ice-cube trays ($1), a skirt for my eldest ($2; I'm saving it to give her as a birthday gift), and some wooden cooking toys ($2) that I used as a gift for my daughter's birthday). 

I also found this vintage loveliness for $6.50; The lacquered tray was $0.50, and the other items were $1 each:

Vintage jewelry The Prudent Homemaker

The weather was extremely windy last week, but the strong winds brought some cooler temperatures. We had the windows open as often as possible to keep the house cool.

Our neighbor must have been cleaning out her freezer; she brought over several random items from her freezer and gave them to us, which we will definitely enjoy.

I watched an episode of "Call the Midwife" for free on Pbs.org.

My husband and I had a date night at home playing a game of Sequence I purchased at a garage sale last year for $2 (we had worn our old one out).

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

 

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Easter Daffodil Bouquet The Prudent Homemaker

I cut daffodils and nasturtiums from the garden to enjoy in the house.

Lemons and Parsley The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested Meyer lemons, parsley, green onions, snow peas, rosemary, oregano, and Mandarin oranges from the garden.

Octavius Picking Peas The Prudent Homemaker

I froze lemon juice from our lemons to use later throughout the year, and I dried parsley to use throughout the year.

I sowed seeds in the garden for Armenian cucumbers and zucchini in the garden.

I watched three episodes of Call The Midwife on Pbs.org.

I enjoyed reading a book that someone dropped off on my doorstep (a reader, I believe!). 

My husband received a $25 gift card to a restaurant for his birthday from my parents. The restaurant also has a free burger the month of your birthday. We had water to drink, combined the gift card and free burger with an inexpensive sandwich, split them both, and paid for the remaining sandwich plus a tip (for both) on the gift card for a date, using just under $11 on the gift card. We can then use the gift card a second time when my birthday comes for a second date.

We combined the lunch out with our trip to Sam's Club to save time and gas.

My husband worked from home one day.

I gave one daughter a haircut.

I shared lemons and Swiss chard from the garden with a friend. She surprised me with homemade pasta that she made using some Swiss chard.

We gratefully accepted some pinwheel sandwiches, fruit, and cut veggies that were leftover from a funeral.

We sprayed the house for bugs using spray we already had, rather than hiring a company to come out as many people do here. We found 5 scorpions in the last month (my husband found one touching his hand while he was cutting potatoes!) Warm weather means it's time to spray again, and it was 92°F (33°C) here on Saturday.

I dug and divided some iris that had finished blooming and had multiplied. I will plant the bulbs in new places in the garden on Monday.

I dug a peony root that has never bloomed. I figured I must have planted it too deep on accident (I had). While digging it, I accidentally broke it in several places. It had grown quite large and so should be fine being divided. I replanted two parts and will replant the remaining parts in the garden in several new places on Monday.

 What did you do to save money this past week?

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April's Grocery Shopping Plans

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Lemons on Cutting Board The Prudent Homemaker 

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As usual, this month I'm concentrating on filling holes in my pantry. We've continued to eat down the freezers, which has been fantastic, as I've found things that really need to be used up. This has given me the chance to clean out a couple of freezers before I start juicing lemons and adding lemon juice from our lemons to use throughout the year. My Meyer lemons can stay fresh on the tree from late November through April, but after that, it's too warm here, so they really have to be picked. Anything that we haven't already harvested will be picked and juiced this month. We'll freeze the juice and some zest as well. I plan on drying some zest to make my own lemon pepper seasoning.

Swiss Chard in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

The Swiss chard in the garden goes to seed this month, so we've been eating loads of Swiss chard every week for the past month and will continue to do so this month. When it bolts this month, it grows 6 feet tall (2 meters) in a week! I plan on harvesting it before it bolts and then pulling the plants, except for one or two which I'll let bolt for collecting seeds to plant later.

Salad Produce The Prudent Homemaker

April is the best month for lettuce in my garden, so we'll have lots of salads. In April we usually have salad either with or for (as the main course) lunch or dinner every day, served with homemade salad dressing. A simple and very inexpensive meal we often have in April is black beans (seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, and lime juice), rice cooked with tomato bullion powder, and a salad. Bean burritos (made with pinto beans) are another favorite of ours in April. As the weather warms, homemade lemonade and salads with homemade bread are a meal we have often as well. Often, we'll have a homemade soup as well.

We'll harvest lots of snow peas and green onions this month. Most of them will be enjoyed in my Museum Pasta Salad.

Spinach, radishes, and leeks are ripe in the garden this month as well. 

I'll cut and dry parsley to add to my pantry. My parsley is starting to bolt in the garden, so it needs to be harvested before it all goes to seed. This is an item I no longer purchase dried, as I grow enough in my garden to use fresh and dried throughout the year.

 

I'm not sure when I'll be out and about shopping in May after our new baby is born, so for April, I am upping our budget from $200 to $400. May's shopping plans will depend on our income.

Here's how I plan to spend my $400 grocery budget for my family of 10 this month:

 

Sam's Club:

Raisins (60 oz.) $9.98

Chocolate chips (72 oz.) $9.98

Brown sugar (7lbs) $4.38

Granulated sugar (50 lbs) $23.88

Rice (25 lbs) $9.48

Tomato Sauce (5 #10 cans) $2.98 a can

Diced tomatoes (5 #10 cans) $2.98 a can

Feta cheese  (24 oz.) $7.38

Mozzarella cheese (5 lbs) $10.48

Ketchup (114 oz.) $3.83

POM toilet paper (4 boxes) $19.98 a box

Milk (4 gallons) $2.35 a gallon for whole milk

 

Winco:

Potatoes

Onions

Carrots

Limes

Great Northern Beans (25 lbs at $0.89 a pound)

Kidney Beans

Salsa

Milk

Sour Cream (unless I find a lower sale elsewhere)

Spreadable margarine (3 lb container for $2.28)

 

Walmart:

Equate hand dishwashing soap

Dental floss

 

Smith's:

I'll look for sales on strawberries for $1.00 a pound or less; I'll buy several to make jam and to freeze.

I'll look for sales on chicken under $0.99 a pound to put in the freezer. In years past, I have found whole chickens for $0.79 a pound in April, which is a rock bottom price where I live.

The case-lot sale takes place over two weeks this month. I'll look for case-lot sales on canned Mandarin oranges and canned green chiles. Chiles are not on the case-lot sale this time.

Update now that I have the ad:

Mandarin oranges case of 24 11-ounce cans $14.16 ($0.59 a can)

Tuna fish case of 48 5-ounce cans $28

Canned corn case of 12 $6 (2 cases)

 

 

Going through the grocery ads last month, I can see so many items that can quickly up one's budget--even on sale. For example, strawberries were on sale, but they were $2.50 a pound. I know that in April strawberries are at their lowest price for the year in April as they are in season here at that time, so that's when I stock up for the year. Many stores have a limit, so I'll look for a store that doesn't (usually Smith's--our Kroger affiliate--has them for under $1 a pound without a limit, though some years the lowest sales price has been $1.25 a pound). My goal is to always look for the lowest price and stock up then. I know that some items are only at that price once or twice a year, which is when I aim to stock up, and why the prices you see me paying are as low as they are. Regular prices and regular sales prices are not that low all the time on many items that I buy. By waiting to purchase items until they are at their lowest prices for the year and stocking up, I save a lot of money.

I'm cooking several pots of beans in my solar oven and freezing any we won't use right away. This gives me a head start to making several meals on other days, including after the baby is born.

 

What sales will you be looking for this month? Do you plan on harvesting anything from your garden?

 

Tagged in: Grocery Shopping
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Snow Peas in Colander The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested snow peas, Meyer lemons, parsley, and green onions from the garden.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

My neighbor brought over three boxes of chili mixes that had expired that she no longer wanted. I put all three kinds together to make enough for us for one meal, and rather than adding the 6 cups of chicken they called for combined, I added 4 cups of leftover black beans that I had in the fridge and 2 extra cups of canned diced tomatoes (in addition to the 4 required cups of diced tomatoes I needed to add).  I sent her home with some lemons from my trees.

I studied French using free online sources.

My husband and I had a date night at home.

I printed coloring pages from free websites for my youngest children.

I opened the windows and let in the fresh air at the end of the week when the wind stopped. Our outside temperatures rose 20 degrees Fahrenheit from Sunday through Sunday. It was 84°F (29°C) outside and 80° inside the house almost all day on Easter, but I didn't turn on the air conditioner (we started using our ceiling fans and were just warm for the day).

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

 

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Iris in Ginger Jar The Prudent Homemaker

I cut daffodils, nasturtiums, and iris from the garden to enjoy in the house. I shared more photos earlier this week in my Spring Home Tour.

I opened the windows to air out the house.

I traded Meyer lemons from the garden for two dozen eggs.

Leeks The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested leeks, Meyer lemons, snow peas, Swiss chard, parsley, arugula, and green onions from the garden.

I mended a pair of jeans and a coat sleeve.

I turned a toddler bodysuit that had torn by the snaps into a shirt by cutting it off just below the leg holes and sewing a narrow hem.

I figured out a solution to a need/want using something else I already had, rather than buying something new.

I decided to not purchase more maternity clothing for hot weather, though that had been part of my original plan for the year. When it was in the mid-70's in January, it looked like I was going to need more clothing for the end of my pregnancy. Since the weather turned unusually cool after that and is still cool, I can get by with what I have and not need to look for more at the thrift store. 

I saved my parents $100 on a mobile repair on their motorhome. I had made cookies, and my dad asked if he could have two: one for him and one for the repairman. One of my daughters brought over the two cookies and gave one to the repairman. He was so touched with the homemade cookie that he said he would take $100 off their bill, and he did!

I asked if a procedure was necessary (it wasn't), and saved $30 plus the gas and time to have it done.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

 

 

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Spring Home Tour

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Spring is here, and it is beautiful! We've had the windows open to air our the house. I love fresh air in a house. The fresh air and sounds of birds singing are some of my favorite things about spring.

Spring Tour Entry Table The Prudent Homemaker

Iris, tulips, and daffodils are blooming in my white garden. I'm sharing several pictures of my gardens this week over on Instagram. As a few more flowers open in the garden, I'll be taking more photos to share here as well.

I've cut some iris from the garden to put on my entry table. The table was a gift from my parents (an unsold item when they retired and sold their business). The vase I found last spring for $5 at a garage sale, and the mirror I also found last spring at a garage sale for $20.

Iris in Entry The Prudent Homemaker

I recently went through my kitchen cabinets and drawers and whittled down the items to things we are actually using and put anything we weren't using in a garage sale. I also got rid of the two knife blocks on our kitchen counters; one I sold at the garage sale and the other was donated to the thrift shop. I realized our most used knives were not the ones in the knife blocks except for the steak knives, and I had purchased these steak knives a year and a half ago (mine didn't come in a wood block, which was fine with me). We had only been using them for special occasions, but I had been wanting to use them every day, so now they're in the silverware drawer and the knife blocks are gone. 

All of the organizing of items that mostly weren't seen in the drawers and cabinets left me itching to decorate the counters a bit for spring.

Spring Home Tour Pies The Prudent Homemaker

I brought in Meyer lemons from the garden into the kitchen. I made two lemon meringue pies with some of my lemons. Pretty soon I'll be zesting and juicing the rest of the lemons so that we can use the zest and juice throughout the year. The trees are covered with both lemons and flower buds, so I expect that we'll need to make lots of lemonade all summer to use up our juice before the new crop of lemons starts to ripen in late November.

The scale is one that belonged to my grandfather; he used to weigh his tomatoes with it. The blue and white jar, the glass container and the framed picture are all garage sale finds from the last couple of years. The pie plates and the vintage cookbook were from my grandmother; she shopped at garage sales too and was always finding kitchen items that way.

Spring Home Tour Desk The Prudent Homemaker

I brought in this orchid from the bathroom to go next to my desk. It's one my parents bought and gave to me last year when it was done flowering. I actually had never seen the flowers on it, so when it opened up a few weeks ago, I was surprised! I keep unflowering orchids in my bathroom, where they get humidity, diffused light, and cooler temperatures in the winter, which helps them to reflower.

I recently changed around the things on my desk when I replaced my computer. It's a bit more crowded in some ways, but that is inspiring me to keep it cleaner! My new computer is smaller (and faster than the old one was before it died!)  Since I moved things around, I can put an orchid and/or some fresh fruit on the counter now where I used to have some of my desk items.

Spring Home Tour Daffodils on Table 1 The Prudent Homemaker

We had a colder spring than usual, which delayed my daffodils by a few weeks, so they've been opening slowly. This is the second time I've cut daffodils for the table. I have a second type in the garden that is just now starting to open up, which means we'll enjoy flowers over a longer time. I bought these bulbs a decade ago and they come back every spring. In a warm climate, you need to choose smaller-flowered daffodils that don't need as many chilling hours. I make sure mine are marked to zone 8 or preferably 9, which is our zone. I purchase bulbs in bulk to get the lowest price on a large number of flowers.

Spring Home Tour Daffodils on Table 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The table runner and flowers stay on the table all the time, and I really like the way they look between meals. They smell wonderful, too, and everytime I walk by they are a breath of springtime.

 

Tagged in: Home Tour Kitchen
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