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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Harry Potter Baby Shower The Prudent Homemaker

I hosted a Harry Potter themed baby shower this past week. I had several people ask me if they could bring anything or help in any way, so I assigned out several things: paper plates, cups, and bowls; salad; soda (and she went the extra mile and made butterbeer, which was delicious!), and a banner.

I made pumpkin soup (a mixture of acorn and butternut squashes plus the mini pumpkins I had bought in early fall for decorations; the butternut squash was from my garden), rosemary olive oil bread, salad dressings, chocolates, mini cupcakes, mini treacle tarts, and cookies. I sliced a lemon from the garden to add to the water.

I sewed a bib for the baby shower, and also gave a free print (the Walgreen's offer) and a rubber duck (bought on sale plus the extra 15% off last week) .

I mended the pocket on a cardigan.

Winter and I took a trip to Goodwill (a thrift/charity shop). The store opened up a little over a year ago, I believe, and it was our first time there. They mostly have women's clothing, but we managed to find several like-new shirts and sweaters that I can use for Christmas gifts for three children. I found a couple of items for Winter, and a dress and two cardigans for myself. The prices were above what I pay at garage sales, but lower than the thrift store we usually go to. The dress was $6.99! It's a bit too cold to wear it now but it will be nice to wear most of the year here.

My mom has continued her quest to find Christmas gifts at garage sales. She found some things Saturday morning, and some of them she gave to us already, including clothes for my girls in the sizes they need (she has a copy of my garage sale list) and a pair of brand-new jeans for me. The jeans fit perfectly, and she paid $2! 

I made a double batch of laundry soap.

I added a free one pound container of dry roasted peanuts to my grocery store shopping card (a one-day only coupon that needed to be added on the 5th but can be picked up anytime through the 19th).  I also downloaded the Free Friday coupon for some free candy, which I'll use as a stocking stuffer for my husband. I'll pick up these items next week.

I combined coupons and a cartwheel offer at Target to purchase a few stocking stuffers. 

I used Duolingo to practice my French skills. 

Winter used a free 5-day trial to prepare some more for the ACT test, which she took on Saturday. I canceled the trial in time to not be charged.

We went to a Christmas party at church. Afterwards, we were offered some leftover pasta to take home, which we ate the next two days.

I cut parsley, beet greens, basil, and oregano from the garden. We still haven't had a freeze (despite predictions to the contrary). I picked 2 figs from our Mission fig tree. It always comes close to giving a third crop of figs, but it always freezes before that happens. This year, it looks like we may harvest at least a few more before a freeze!

I sowed seeds for arugula in the garden.

Winter Urn Detail The Prudent Homemaker

I used a $5 off coupon for the local nursery to pick up some annuals that were on sale for the white garden. While I was there, I also picked up some free tree trimmings, which I used in the urns in the garden (along with some of the pinecones we had gathered).


What did you do to save money last week? 



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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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I cut Thai basil, euonymus, and lavender branches from the garden to enjoy indoors.

December Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

We collected pinecones to use as Christmas decorations.

Green Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

We harvested basil, tomatoes, chives, oregano, and Thai peppers from the garden. I heard there was going to be a freeze and so we harvested all of the tomatoes and brought in most of the basil. The freeze didn't come yet, but we are enjoying our ripening tomatoes inside and I've left some Thai basil and Thai peppers out in the garden still.

I made 2 large batches of pesto from our basil.

I planted seeds for spinach, snow peas, arugula, mache, carrots, and larkspur in the garden.

I saved warm up water from the shower to water potted plants in the garden.

I rolled up towels and put them in front of the doors to block the cold draft that comes in at this time of year. I also added some rolled towels to a few windows to block the draft.

I mended the buttons on a coat.

I had a date night at home with my husband. We played a card game together and had a treat.

Ezrom The Prudent Homemaker

We cut my husband and the boys' hair at home. My husband said, "Well, that just saved us $50." It saved us time, too!

I said yes to some leftover food at a Christmas party I attended, and received baked potatoes, sour cream, rolls, and a huge bag of spinach.

Winter is preparing to take the ACT test on December 10th.  She is using this book and also has been printing free ACT practice tests. This week she found some more free tests online to help her practice.

Winter modified a dress to fit her. My mom bought the formal dress for $1 at a garage sale. She gave it to Winter, who took it in after I pinned it for her. The top is lace and the sleeves were unlined. I bought a piece of fabric for Winter to use to line the sleeves. She used half the fabric (I'll use the rest for another project) so it cost us $1.50 (plus the time for her to alter it) for her to have a formal dress. She is going to a winter ball in January and is happy to have a dress to wear.

I played Christmas music on Pandora for us to enjoy. 

I went to Target on Monday for their 15% off one-day only sale and bought some new socks.

My husband and I went over the budget for the next 4 months and discussed what we could do to keep our expenses down.

What did you do to save money last week?

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Ten Things You Can Do To Save Money This Week

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Feeling a pinch in your finances this week?

If you're feeling the need to save even more this week, but wondering what else you can do, here are some ideas to keep money in your pocket. (I'm planning to do all of them!)

Tuscan Tomato Soup 

1. Eat all meals at home

Don't go out to eat or order takeout. If you've got a busy week ahead, put together some crockpot meals in the morning, make a large pot of soup every few nights (enough for leftovers for another day or several lunches during the week), and plan some quick and easy meals to save you time this week.


2. Don't buy any groceries this week

Use up whatever you have in the fridge, freezers, and pantry. 


3. Turn the heat down

Set your thermostat a couple of degrees lower this week (for those in the Northern hemisphere). If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to be even lower during the day if you won't be home during the day. Add another blanket to your bed (a throw blanket works fine if you don't have another bed-sized blanket).

During the day, dress in layers.


4. Block drafts in your house with old towels

Roll up some old towels (or your summer swimming towels) and use them as instant draft blockers to block cold drafts from doors and windows.


5. Mend something 

Rather than buying something new, mend what you have. Sew up the hole in a shirt, patch a sheet, glue your shoes, or fix that thing that's been broken for a bit in your home.

 December Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

6. Decorate for the season using what you have (and can get for free)

Gather pinecones and put them in bowls. Decorate with cookie cutters. Cut greens from your yard. Visit a place selling Christmas trees and ask if you can have the trimmings; many places will give them to you for free!


7. Make a gift using items you have on hand

Repurpose old clothing to make a hat, scarf, or gloves. Refashion a broken piece of jewelry into a new combination to give.


8. Be diligent about turning off lights when you're not using them

When you sit down to eat, turn off any lights that aren't right above your table. Studies have shown that you'll save more money turning them off if you leave a room for 20 seconds (incandescent) or 2 minutes (fluorescent).


9. Take a family photo (or individual family pictures) yourself

Set the timer and take a new family photo.  Email it rather than sending Christmas cards or post it on Facebook instead.


10. Have a date night at home

Play a board game or card game, watch a movie you already own (or borrow one from the library), work on a project together, clean something together, or just enjoy talking together while you have a homemade treat.


Do you have any other plans to save money this week that won't cost you anything this week?



Tagged in: Frugal Living
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December's Grocery Shopping Plans

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Meyer Lemons in Basket The Prudent Homemaker

If you didn't know I had a stocked pantry and freezers, my list this month would certainly seem like it isn't enough food, and certainly not well-balanced!

I never did end up finding a good sale on frozen peas or on cream cheese last month. I ended up buying broccoli instead of peas last month, and as long as prices stay under $1 a pound, I'll buy more this month (I've still got some in the fridge). If I find frozen sweet peas for $1 a pound or less, I'll stock up. 

There are so many great sales this month on holiday baking items, citrus, and Christmas meal ingredients. I'll only be picking up a few of them. My budget for this month is $200. I spent a little more last month than I had planned, stocking up on some great deals, including canned green beans at $0.33 can, potatoes, more acorn squash, and broccoli.

I don't want to be in the stores much this month: I'd like to do many other things with my time!


I went to Sam's Club yesterday and picked up the following:


powdered sugar

brown sugar

chocolate chips

balsamic vinegar




goat cheese (I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had switched brands and are now carrying a store brand in a 2-pack for the same price as they used to have 1)

sharp cheddar cheese

mozzarella cheese

toilet paper


I'll go to Winco later this month and with the remaining $50 I will buy:


clementines and/or mandarins and/or oranges



sweet peas if there is a good sale


sour cream

canned pineapple


Swiss chard on bench The Prudent Homemaker 

Right now in the garden, my Meyer lemons are ripening. While I don't have the bumper crop I did last year (where we had hundreds of lemons) there are lots of lemons in the garden!

I am harvesting Swiss chard, beet greens, and a good number of herbs. I still have Thai peppers ripening in the garden.

We picked all of the tomatoes from the garden, which are ripening inside. I also picked two more butternut squash, which I added to the squash I picked previously from the garden as well as the acorn squash I purchased.

The freeze I heard was coming to the valley did not come to us. I have lettuce seedlings growing outside under glass, and I plan to transplant them and then cover each individual plant with a glass jar to keep it growing all winter. We may get a freeze one day next week if the weather prediction is correct, but all other days are predicted to be above freezing at night, which is pretty typical here this time of year.

I've planted spinach and snow peas in the garden that we should be able to harvest in early February. February 15th is our last frost date for this area, and I usually plant more lettuce seeds in the garden the third week of January, as we rarely see a frost past then (I'll cover my seedlings too, which will keep them safe and also increase their growth rate).


Some of the things I'm planning to make this month are:


pork roast with roasted rosemary potatoes and broccoli

chicken with Swiss chard and garlic chicken rice

French onion soup (using mozzarella as a much less-expensive topping than Gruyère, the traditional topping) with French bread

pizza with peppers, onions, and artichoke hearts

cranberry almond granola to go on homemade yogurt

butternut squash soup with rosemary olive oil bread

Tuscan tomato bread soup

crepes with lemon juice and powdered sugar (also with strawberry jam and Nutella)

taco soup

rosemary white bean soup

chili with cornbread

tomato basil soup with rosemary olive oil bread

fruit crumble using frozen fruit from our garden

lemon meringue pie


You can see more of my winter menu here.


What are you planning to buy this month?


Tagged in: Grocery Shopping
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Thankful: November 30th

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It's the last day of the month. There are so many things I had hoped to accomplish this month:  sew presents, work in the garden, and organize things in the house. A few are done; most are not yet.

Tomorrow starts a new month, and I will continue to work to accomplish my goals. I'm grateful for the reasons I had to be interrupted: a hungry baby, a child who needed to talk, a child who needed extra help with schoolwork.

I think often of this quote from C. S. Lewis:

C.S. Lewis Quote The Prudent Homemaker

That sums up motherhood pretty well, doesn't it? Our children need us constantly.

While I was searching for that quote, I came across this one, and it struck me even more powerfully this morning:

Interrruptions The Prudent Homemaker

A couple of weeks ago in Sunday School, we were talking about Jesus, and about the woman with an issue of blood for 12 years who needed to be healed. She had faith that if she could just touch Jesus' clothes, she would be healed. As the Savior passed by, He felt virtue go from Him and asked who touched his clothes. He stopped and spoke to the woman. The woman was healed.

After that, people were constantly trying to touch Christ wherever He went. 

Can you imagine that every time you went somewhere, people were reaching out to touch you? How hard it would be to accomplish your daily tasks, and how difficult it would be to find peace.

I thought about this, and then I thought about my daily life.

As a mother, there are little hands reaching for me all day--baby hands that tug and pull and pinch--and little voices (and some big ones!) that call, "Mom" all day when I try to go to the bathroom, get dressed, put laundry on to wash, step outside to water a plant, or stand in the kitchen to make a meal.

As we seek to find peace this busy time of year, let us remember that the reason for Christmas is the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. As we strive to be more Christ-like, let us seek to have the charity that He has, to give of ourselves where we are needed. Let us speak with patience when we are interrupted, for it is those very interruptions that are truly important. In so doing, may we truly find peace within ourselves to help those around us.

May we love as He loves.


What are you thankful for today?



Tagged in: Thankful
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Thankful: November 29th

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September Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I'm thankful to be able to physically work in the garden today.


What are you thankful for today?

Tagged in: Thankful
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