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Herbs, First Frost, and Frugal Accomplishments

 

Living in a zone 9a, our first frost usually comes in December. For the last several years, it has been the second week of December, so I was expecting a few more days to work in the garden–but it was not to be this year.

Instead, I spent most of my week in the garden. (Remember my to-do list for the week? Most of that didn’t happen unless it was related to the garden).

 

I cut the tender herbs. A lot of herbs will die back and come again in the spring. However, anything above the ground tends to not make it. Others, like basil, die completely when it freezes. I cut and rinsed those herbs. I hung several things to dry, and the children picked basil leaves from the stems.

I have bought herbs in bulk for years, but the prices have risen significantly in recent years. I have been working diligently to add more herbs to the garden; I now have some in the raised garden bed, in the  raised bed under the citrus trees, and in the front yard. The front yard has quite a few herbs now. I will be adding more from seed. I would love to no longer have to purchase several herbs at all, so I have been increasing what I grow to work towards that goal.

I put glass canning jars over the tarragon (which will die otherwise) and the thyme, after I had cut them back and brought the leaves indoors. I also put some glass jars over the oregano seedlings that had just come up.

The children picked all of the tomatoes that grew since it cooled down enough in October for the plants to start flowering again.

I cut all of the Thai peppers.

I picked all of the lemons. They are in the refrigerator now. I covered the lemon trees and other citrus multiple times as the wind blew off the coverings. We’re still looking at nights that are too cold for them, and I won’t know the extent of the damage for a few weeks, but hopefully we won’t lose the trees.

Winter cut the last of the red zinnias and arranged them for us to enjoy on the kitchen table all week.

I cut Swiss chard from the garden and used it to make a new soup this week.

I made French bread. I made this cookie dough, but cut in into stars and dusted it with powdered sugar.

I made 3 lemon meringue pies. Two went with me to a women’s dinner at church. The dinner was a type-of progressive dinner. The appetizers were so much that there were lots of leftovers. At the house where I was at, the hostess said that her family didn’t like leftovers, and offered the appetizers to anyone who wanted to take them home, or she would toss them in the trash. I took home a few things to my family, who really enjoyed them.

By the time everyone was at the last house where we all gathered for dessert, no one was hungry. I ended up taking one of my pies home. The hostess also gave me a container of whipped cream to take home.

I had my husband return the library books, which saved me the gas of an extra trip (his office is not far from the library).

I made a corduroy skirt for Wren using fabric I had on hand.

I printed Christmas worksheets for school from different websites for a fun change for the younger children’s schoolwork.

We listened to Christmas music on Pandora.

My husband fixed a leaky toilet.

My husband took a free class as part of his license renewal requirements that also included a continental breakfast. (He also will take several classes online, which saves him a lot of time as well as money. Some classes he has to take in person.)

My husband also worked from home a couple of days, which saved money on gas.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. Well, at least I saved wasting of food: About two hours before a Hannukah dinner at our home, my husband developed a fever and I hurriedly cancelled the event. We had lots of food that our small family could not use before it spoiled and it would not freeze well. We live 10 minutes away from our local hospice facility, so I packed the food and took it over. The staff was very appreciative! Note: not all nonprofits will take fresh food; it’s best to know the policy beforehand.

  2. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,We got 6 inches of snow here over the last few days including ice everywhere. I make a quick trip to the store to stock up on some items. School was cancelled so we were at home for 5 days. I organized our day and we did some fun things.Frugal things I tried to do over the last week:Keep the thermostat at 65 F during the day and 63 F at nightDid not drive anywhere due to road conditions so tank of gas will last 2 weeksBake pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, Morning glory muffins, applesauce muffins, baked pasta, baked spaghetti, homemade candy, energy balls, homemade granola, homemade granola bars, pumpkin puree, browned ground beef for future meals, baked chickenGot free samples in the mailMade Xmas balls for tablehttp://marilynswordsofwisdom.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2013-12-07T18:10:00-08:00&max-results=7Made a Kitty blanket, scarf, a garland of crocheted snowflakes, and a pillow to go with the kitty blanketDecorated the house with decorations we have had for years and bought no new onesBought several items with coupons for less than $5Got free candy with coupons for kids stockingsWatched Xmas videos and made popcorn and hot chocolate several eveningsWhen roads were clear drove around the neighborhood and looked at Christmas lightsPicked 4 tomatoes from tomato plant that is indoors (plant has a dozen on it and is flowering; weather is in the teens with snow on the ground; very strange)I think that is all.I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season.Anna

  3. We have been running a small bit of water at night in the kitchen, since that is the only outside wall with plumbing. We also have been opening the cabiinet below the sink to let the warm air in. The majority of our house plumbing is in the basement, which really helps. The shop, however, did have water running, but still had a huge problem. We lived in that shop for 1-1/2 years while we were doing a huge remodel on the house. When building it, the inspectors forced my husband to put some kind of gadget on the water heater. I’m not mechanical, but I guess it has something to do with the fact that we put in full r.v. hook-ups. It has burst once before, and this is what burst again. Badly. We have a LOT of water all over the floor of the shop. He got a new part for around $90 today, replaced it, and is now running fans and the pellet stove to try to dry things out and see what the damage is. The floor is concrete, it will be fine. It’s just all the stuff that sits on the floor…….Since our insurance has $1000 deductable, we hope sincerely we don’t have as much damage as that and he will just repair it himself.

  4. Hello Miss Brandy and readers,Here is the link to my crocheted Christmas ball ornaments. I hope it works.http://marilynswordsofwisdom.blogspot.com/2013/12/christmas-decorating-and-crafts.htmlHere is the link to my crocheted snowflake garland. I hope it works too.http://marilynswordsofwisdom.blogspot.com/2013/12/day-13-gift-day-series.htmlI made these items with yarn I had on hand. Mainly just took some time.Thank you for letting me share.Anna

  5. Not tons of frugality, but some that mattered. The biggest being asking the orthodontist/dentist (he’s a combo) if he could wait to bill us for my daughter’s Invisalign which she started with yesterday. We really couldn’t wait another month, as she will finish her invisalign while in college and across the country, so the more we get done before college starts, the better. We have been on a value dental insurance for years which doesn’t have any ortho coverage. We just signed up for the new insurance plans for 2014 and upgraded to the better insurance, which will end up paying about half of the ortho costs. Our Dr. very readily agreed to wait to bill until January. YAY!I didn’t go to the grocery store this week except to buy saltines, ginger ale, and bananas (which we had run out of.. they are a staple). You can guess we had some stomach flu in our house! Otherwise, we ate food I cooked or food we ate at parties (lunch AND dinner on Saturday!), or food I sent to work or school.Christmas shopping finally started and have used some gift cards redeemed with credit card points (it’s how we pay for everything… we pay off in full each month and take advantage of the points). But not all. Am doing my best with sales, etc. So far, the cost has been less than last year. So I’m happy. But not done yet.Am in the process of cleaning out my closet in a big way (many clothes are too big for me now!). I’m looking for a decent consignment shop in my area to sell some of the clothes. Some I’ll donate though, as I don’t think they’re consignment worthy. Still will be fun to see what I can sell.That’s it for now. Back to the messy kitchen I need to clean up.

  6. Becky, Jayne, I don’t have a digital camera. She got the instructions off the internet, Pinterest maybe? The ribbing on the sweater was used for the cuff. I will ask her for specifics when I see her this afternoon.

  7. About the sweater/mitten pattern…I googled and there are lots of entries out there. She used a 3 piece pattern which I saw several of. They even showed similarly decorated ones with the felt scalloped flower with button center.

  8. “service industry” is a title used for people who are waiters, waitresses, servers, bartenders, bar backs, etc. Pretty much anyone who works in a restaurant/bar and serves people. I am a bartender

  9. I didn’t do so much regarding frugality this week, but I made some bookmarks following Brandy’s website tutorial (using Paris theme) and that was a huge success with my French classmates! So I made some more using some free knitting images that I’d found in the web. Tomorrow I will take those to my friends of the knitting group and I’m sure they are going to love them. I’m also being aware of the leftovers and I’m being successful in take care of all of them :)I love this post and all the comments. I am learning so much with them! God bless you all!

  10. It just so happens that I stopped in at a little local coffee shop this afternoon and they have some for sale there. (Phew! About $25+ per pair!) Thanks for the reminder… Silly that I wouldn’t think to just do a search, huh? Thanks!

  11. I get large blocks of cheese at Sam’s club and grate and freeze it in smaller portions. You actually use about 2-3oz of cheese per pizza. If you use too much its actually keeps the crust from being crispy. I can get a block of cheese for under 3.50 a lb. I shoot for around or under 20 cents an ounce. The main cost is the cheese. The crust/sauce combo cost me 11 cents. SERIOUSLY

  12. Also the recipe that I use for pizza crust makes enough dough for (4)- 10″ pizzas if you like thin crusts, and we do! and it is freezable. My marinara recipe is cooked in the slow cooker and frozen into two pizza portions and I normally get somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-50 pizzas out of the recipe. So it is a very convenient dinner for us. Pull it out of the freezer in the morning and its ready to be assembled when I get home. 10 minutes at 500 degrees and its grub time ­čÖé

  13. This is a bit off topic, but I thought I would let you know…. I’m making your Olive Oil Rosemary French bread and I only have to add 2 cups of water. We live in Oregon ( and its not raining today) Do you think that could really be due to humidity differences? We love this recipe , by the way. My children squeal with joy when they see I am making it!

  14. I guess I actually add three cups water because there is one cup with the yeast. When I measure flour I don’t sift, I just scoop and scrape the top so I don’t think I’m putting to little flour in. In any case it’s delicious so thanks for sharing the recipe.

  15. Brandy, I never bought clementines for years as I thought they were just tangerines and I don’t like tangerines. The sale price on the clementines was 4.50. I had a $2 off coupon to use on fresh produce, which is how I got them for 2.50. The regular price was 5.99. I bought a second bag for the 4.50 price as we actually ate the first bag really fast.

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