Slide background

Encouragement

Slide background

Eat for

40 Cents

A Day

Header Typography
Inkwell and Pen

The Prudent Homemaker Blog

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
Recent blog posts

 Black Bean Soup The Prudent Homemaker

Black bean soup topped with tomatoes harvested green (and ripened off the vine) from the garden in early December.

I made a large pot of black beans in the crockpot. We had taco soup with them one day and black bean soup three days.  

I harvested beet greens, lemons, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I pruned grape vines to make for a productive grape harvest this year.

I pruned rose bushes to keep my roses healthy and to help them produce well this year.

I dug euonymus plants from ones I started by tip layering and moved them to where I am starting a new hedge in the garden.

I also started some new plants from cuttings from other bushes for the same hedge. 

Following my plans for a more productive garden this year, I planted seeds this past week for spinach, 2 kinds of lettuce, 2 kinds of snow peas, turnips, Swiss chard, 3 colors of larkspur, and Danish flag poppies. 

Because of rain, I was able to not water the grass for the second week in a row. This time of year, we are allotted 1 day a week to water grass. It is rare to have enough rainfall to be able to not water. and I am grateful to have been able to turn off the sprinklers and drip irrigation.

My mom found a very large candle lantern for free out by the trash and gave it to me. It has a small crack in the base, but looks great still.  I'm not sure if I'll use it for a decoration, a large terrarium, or if I should use it as a huge cloche in the garden.

I watched the Call the Midwife Christmas special on Pbs.org. I don't have time to watch a lot of shows, but it is nice to be able to watch a few things online from time to time!

Finlandia The Prudent Homemaker

My eldest needed some new piano music for her lessons. About 13 years ago, shortly after we got our piano, I had purchased a couple of piano books full of music for the time when we might need them. I was able to pull out this book and my daughter began using it for her practice (and I didn't have to buy anything new).

My husband and I had two date nights at home.

My husband cut my hair.

I mended a sheet.

Our silverware drawer broke in the back. In December, my husband contacted the company who made our cabinets and they sent him replacement pieces to fix to the drawer at no cost to us. They came this week and my husband fixed the drawer.

I found simple contentment in putting things away (including all of the Christmas decorations) and making the house tidier and less cluttered.

 

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

 

Last modified on

My Garden Goals for 2017

Posted by on

January is the month where I spend the most time in my garden, pruning, tidying, and planting. I'm outside working for several hours almost every day.

I have some goals I'd like to achieve in the garden this year, and a lot of those will come from good planning and preparation done this month. This year, I want the garden to be both more productive and more beautiful. Here's how I plan to make that happen:

Pea Seedlings The Prudent Homemaker

Snow Pea Seedlings; these are the 30 day "Little Snowpea White" that I also grew last year; I love the short time to harvest!

 

More Productive:

 

1. Bring in new dirt to the garden. This will refresh the area and also fill in where the garden soil has settled over the years. 

2. Fertilize more often. Fruit trees should be fertilized here 3 times a year (February, May, and September), and roses every few weeks. I generally only fertilize my fruit trees once a year (I never get around to the other two times) and roses once in a while.

3. Plant more often. I want to make sure to do lots of succession planting (where I plant again every few weeks), especially with lettuce.

4. Plant earlier. I want to plant more before the heat sets in. Our last frost date is February 15th, which means warm-season crops can go in the ground then.

5. Add new plants. Last year I added 2 more pomegranate trees (in pots), a mandarin tree (in a pot), male and female pistachio trees, and 2 new blackberry bushes. This year I want to add at least 5 more blackberry bushes (and if I can figure out a way to add more trees, I'll do that too!). 

6. Make the shady areas more productive by planting more of what works well in the shade in these areas. This includes Swiss chard, New Zealand spinach, parsley, and Vesca (Alpine) strawberries.

7. Plant more squash.

8. Spray more often. I lost part of my grape crop last year to powdery mildew (and almost lost all of it). I will spray neem oil a couple of times before the leaves come out in March/April, and again in April or May if needed.

9. Bag grapes in paper lunch bags (stapled on) to keep the birds from eating the grapes.

10. Plant more snow peas, Armenian cucumbers, and red noodle beans. To do this, I am unrolling some homemade tomato cages (made from 6-inch concrete mesh) and using stakes that I already have to use the flat mesh as a trellis (pictured above).

11. Plant more chives and green onions from seed. 

12. Plant more artichokes.

January Sundial The Prudent Homemaker Four of the new rose bushes surrounded by flowering cabbage

 

More beautiful:

Last year I added 14 new rose bushes to the garden in back. Five of these did not make it; the company will be sending me replacements in February. The plants are small to start, but the ones that I planted last year should start flowering this year.

I planted a few hundred flower bulbs over the last few weeks, and I've still got more to plant. I'll be planting those this year.

 

1. Plant 250 daffodil bulbs in the garden (hopefully all this week if I can).

2. Plant small hedges along the walkway in the white garden. 

3. Dig 6 large bushes from the white garden (from the planting areas along the walkway, seen in the photo below) and transplant them into pots on the back patio. I have been growing these for 3 years and pruning them to become spheres. By the end of this year, there is a good chance they will have reached the size and shape I've been planning.

4. Plant another hedge in the garden in back. I'm going slow on this and using cuttings from existing bushes to grow the hedge. It will take many more years to grow it this way, but it doesn't cost me any money to do it like this.

5. Plant nasturtium seeds in all of the potted fruit trees on the patio. The seeds are ones we collected from the garden last year.

6. Plant rows of flower seeds in between the vegetables.

7. Resod and reseed grass in areas where we lost grass last year (we had some larger areas die due to broken sprinkler issues, as well as some of the normal loss due to grubs, for which we always reseed in spring).

8. Purchase a new edger and learn how to use it. I'd like to have sharp edges on the grass around the beds this year.

9. Prune hedges 4 times a year to keep them looking good.

January Walkway Planter The Prudent Homemaker

The start of changes to the front walkway: I just planted daffodils in this bed last week as well as these pansies. The large bushes will be transplanted into pots in the backyard and will hopefully finish growing into the sphere shapes I have always planned for them to be (but now they'll do so in the backyard). I'll surround each of these 4 planters by the walkway with smaller box leaf euonymus hedges; I've put in 2 small ones already at the top of this planter (near the other large bush in the planter) and I am waiting for the nursery to have more for sale over the next few months. The bed is soaked from a wonderful rain we had a few days ago; this bed is in full shade all day and will be for the next couple of months.

 

The local nursery will be having many sales over the next four months, and they'll have coupons too, so I will look for sales on the blackberries and box leaf euonymus as well as coupons to make those sales even better deals.

We're enjoying temperatures in the 50's and 60's this week; a frost is possible this month and we'll likely get at least one night of it sometime later this month, but for the most part, it's spring-like weather with lots to do!

Tagged in: Goals The Garden
Last modified on

January's Shopping Plans and Meal Plans

Posted by on

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

Posted by on

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
Last modified on

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?

 

Last modified on

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

 Introduction Sidebar 2017

Start HereMy Story

                           FOLLOW ME

               FACEBOOK              PINTEREST

Good Things to Make This Month

Slide background
Slide background
Slide background
Slide background

White Bean

Dip

The Kitchen Garden Sidebar
Sewing Project Sidebar
Grow Your Own Herbal Tea Sidebar
Grocery Shopping Sidebar
Learn to Can Sidebar
Grow Flowers for Less Sidebar

White Garden Sidebar

Birthdays Sidebar

Frugal Accomplishments Sidebar

72 hour kit sidebar
How To Eat Beans Every Night
Writing a Garage Sale List