Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Daffodils in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I watched the bees working on the apple tree blossoms.

I sowed seeds for lettuce, Swiss chard, alpine strawberries, New Zealand Spinach, nasturtiums,  zucchini, butternut squash, radishes, and artichokes.

I planted some asparagus crowns in the garden.

Pea Vines on Trellis The Prudent Homemaker

My son and I took apart some old tomato cages and flattened them. We had made them from the 6-inch concrete mesh that you can get on a roll at Lowe’s. I am using the wire mesh to grow beans, peas, and cucumbers instead. We attached these to stakes (that we already had) that we pounded into the ground where we needed them.

Radish Bouquet The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested lemons, lettuce, arugula, green onions, radishes, parsley, lemon verbena, Swiss chard, and the first couple of snow peas from the garden.

Lemons on Cutting Board The Prudent Homemaker

I juiced lemons from the garden and made lemonade.

I returned several pots to the local nursery. They give a recycling credit for the larger pots. I used my credit towards the purchase of some bulk topsoil.

I used a $15 off $50 coupon at Target for trash bags and stain remover. Since these items rarely go on sale (and when they do, it’s usually just a tiny bit off) and these are items I buy anyway, I was happy to have the coupon to lower my total cost.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

My husband cut his own hair. I trimmed the baby’s hair.

My husband recovered one of our boy’s bicycle seats using a scrap of leather we had left from recovering our living room chairs. He removed the staples from the old seat, drew around the existing worn cover on the leather, cut it out, and used a staple gun to staple on the new cover.

I paused to watch the jets fly overhead. I see them often when I am working in the garden. 

I took time to enjoy the beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

I enjoyed the hummingbirds in the garden. They visited the blossoms on the lemon trees. The lemon tree blossoms smell wonderful, and I was able to enjoy them while I worked under them almost every day this past week.

 

What did you do to save money last week? What simple things brought you joy?

 

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102 Comments

  1. What a great week you had. What a blessing to have those lemons! I hope to one day have a dwarf orchard like yours. I need to learn what varieties will work here in North Georgia. Do you have advice about learning that? I NEVER hear of anyone talking about dwarf fruit trees here.

    My husband and I went to Gibbs Gardens here in Ballground, Georgia. I noticed your daffodils. Gibbs Gardens has the largest concentration of daffodils outside of Holland! It was beautiful. We decided to become members. They have 4 seasons of gardens and offer music in the gardens, garden talks and plant sales.

    See our recap of February here: http://www.frugalhappyhome.com/february-recap-2017-goals/

  2. I took two boxes of wild flower seeds I got at Dollar Tree and sowed them into the ground around the fence of the garden. They look so pretty when the bloom. I just love to see the bloom.

    I made the kids an apron from recycled jeans with a bunny rabbit (looks like the peeks bunny) for an Easter gift. Also will give them a box of seeds and a trowel for their Easter basket. (better than candy)

    Made muffins with frozen bananas, made peanut butter cookies, and a loaf of the no kneed bread yesterday.

    We went to the Taylor meat company Saturday morning to buy some meat. Had some great sales and I got 28 pounds of beef, 3 pounds of bacon, and 4 pounds of wieners for $63.00. They sell the best ground beef.

    Cleaned up my desk and paid bills. Printed several new recipes. Will try several of the recipes this week.

    We had so much rain on Saturday that we could not get into the garden. So we just made some plans for next weeks garden work.

  3. I woke up this morning to snow! Amazing, here in our part of Oregon, especially in March. The schools are closed and everything. So, I’ve been sitting here watching snowflakes swirl around, reveling in the fact that my husband has the day off. I think I’ll make some soup. I have had several weeks of working a lot of extra hours. I’m taking my joy in the fact that I just received a gift of some unexpected time to stay at home, without any homeschool since my niece cannot get over here, and just putz around.

    I am working on a low-budget grocery challenge in March, while still taking advantage of excellent bargains I might find. Last evening, my husband found some potatoes for 10c/lb. He bought 25 lbs, and maybe I should have had him get 50 at that price!

    I’ve been doing a little sewing, and have high hopes that I might be able to get that back out today.

    We had company yesterday after church and had a very nice time. I made tacos. I made a huge batch of homemade refried beans, bought tortillas at Cash and Carry, and they brought shredded cheese. I used home-canned salsa and made a bunch of cookies from ingredients on hand. So, it was extremely frugal, even to have 13 of us eating the noon mean. We had so much fun visiting with them.

    I wrote the rest of the things I could remember on my blog:https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/saving-money-march-4-2017/

  4. The main frugal accomplishment was shopping around for home insurance after receiving a renewal notice with a 20% hike in the premium. The new insurance is 60% lower than what the old insurance company wanted, partly because of a change in deductible, partly become of combining the car and home insurance with one company, but mostly because of different pricing.

    The library I work in is trying extended hours one day a week for three months, which gives me a few extra hours of work a week. We are starting month 3. I haven’t heard officially, but it is looking like they want to continue this. I have a small, but growing group of people who come every Wednesday morning.

  5. Your photos – and your garden – are so inspirational, Brandy!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – Made a batch of yoghurt. I bought the starter yoghurt on sale for $2/large container.
    – Made a batch of Brandy’s tomato basil soup (used milk instead of cream/evaporated milk, because that was what I had in the house) for lunches for me and dinners for the DH.
    – Made a pitcher of iced tea from tea gifted to me, and sweetened it with the last of some syrup from a container of home-canned peaches plus the sweetened juice from a can of mandarins that I opened
    – Redeemed a coupon for a cookie at Subway
    – Redeemed points from my Starbucks card for a free lunchbox
    – Watered down the grape juice I bought at Costco, by mixing it with an equal amount of homemade soda water. Healthy grape soda!
    – Removed salt stains from my leather shoes using white vinegar, then polished them.
    – Mixed some used peat pellets with some new soil to create enriched soil that would retain water, and then planted some lettuce seeds. I’m reusing a mini plastic greenhouse, and have placed it near my window to avoid growing ‘leggy lettuce’ as I did last time. Right now the other plants in front of the balcony window are thriving, so I’m crossing my fingers that I won’t end up with leggy lettuce again.
    – I bought a packet of tulip bulbs and a packet of crocus bulbs several months ago, and had been chilling them in the fridge. I picked up two bags of polished stones at the dollar store, placed them in the bottom of some wide vases that I already have, filled the vases with water to the top of the stones, and placed the bulbs on top. They’re sprouting! My plan is to end up ‘forcing’ the bulbs, so that I have lovely spring flowers indoors, even though outside temperatures are fluctuating between bitterly cold and unseasonably warm. My country-raised DH laughed at the fact that I bought stones, but living in the city, it would have taken me my entire Saturday to commute to the closest beach, gather the stones, and commute back. For me, that was worth $2, so that I can spend that time with the DH instead. So it could have been more frugal, but I do like the polished look of the stones – suits our condo décor better than unpolished stones anyway, I think!
    – Baked a batch of Brandy’s lemon poppyseed muffins, and froze them for easy snacks.
    – Baked a batch of Banana Crumb muffins and froze them for easy snacks too.
    – Bought a summer dress from Old Navy for $3 and change, as it was on sale for $12 and then I used a $10 gift certificate from Swagbucks. And, it’s stretchy, so if we start expanding our family in the next year, it’ll still fit.
    – When I was at the mall, Shoppers Drug Mart was giving out little bags with free samples, so I took one and got two face cream samples, and a full-size dry shampoo spray. I’ll give the dry shampoo to my sister, as I don’t use the product.
    – I used a $10 gift card to Shoppers Drug Mart to pay for a small birthday gift for the DH.
    – Made strawberry jam, using strawberries bought on sale this week, as part of a strawberries custard n’ cream cake I’ll be making for the DH later this week.
    – Made my eggless chocolate pudding for desserts this week. Yum!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  6. Such beautiful photos you share with us every week, Brandy. I also enjoyed reading your simple moments of joy this week as well.

    It’s been a quiet week, mostly spent at home. This week our frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included beef/shepherds pie casserole (made with leftover roast beef and leftover veggies), chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce, flavoured rice and green beans, crock pot meatballs in Diana’s sauce with mashed potatoes and green beans, pancakes with choice of table syrup or home canned apple syrup (made from apple cores and peeling) and breakfast sausages, cheesy ham & broccoli pasta (new recipe), piggies-in-a-blanket (made with the leftover breakfast sausages) with salad or chicken strips with baked potato and peas,
    *Tried a new pasta recipe which used pretty basic ingredients I normally have on hand. It used up some ham from my freezer, came together very quickly and, as a bonus, used only one pot! Family seemed to like it, too, so I will add this to my family favourites meal options list. Here’s the recipe link if anyone is interested: http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2016/01/creamy-ham-and-broccoli-shells-and-cheese.html
    *While making dinner on the weekend, I decided to cook extra chicken fingers for my daughter to use as a lunch option. At the same time, I also cooked some hashbrown patties for a quick breakfast option next week. Cooking extra all at once saved hydro and my time in the long run.
    *I baked a batch of brownies (from a mix) on Sunday. I cut the squares and individually wrapped enough for my daughter’s school lunches. After some arguing over how much each person would get, the leftovers were devoured for dessert that night with much enthusiasm.
    *Due to a heavier grocery shopping trip last week, my budget for this week was pretty slim. So I used my grocery store loyalty points, allowing me to get $40 worth of groceries for free.
    *I tried to stay out of the stores this week as much as possible to avoid unnecessary spending.
    *Watched a few free movies on Kodi Genesis, some of which are currently still in theaters.
    *My daughter had a Dr’s appointment this week. As a result of this appointment, she is being referred to 4 different specialists for various issues. Since we live in Canada, our health care means there was no cost out of pocket for this appointment nor for the subsequent specialist appointments as well. Thank goodness we have health care…I don’t even want to think about how much this would cost if we didn’t!
    *My mother and I discussed some changes we might make this summer to enlarge the gardening space. We are hoping to redo the back deck. Since the gardens underneath will most likely be trampled by the men working on it, I will avoid planting there this year. We discussed rebuilding this garden area to replace the rotted railway ties and possibly expanding the size while we’re at it. Also, we discussed reusing some of the sturdier pieces of wood from the deck to build a couple raised garden beds in the yard. To avoid paying so much for dirt to fill the new beds, I proposed we fill the bottom with compostable food scraps, the Guinea pigs bedding, yard/garden waste (no weeds), and fallen leaves. Next year we can then add dirt to fill it the rest of the way. So although my gardening will be limited to pots this year, I’m hoping to have a bigger garden area next year!
    [b]Simply Joyful Life Moments This Week:[/b]
    *Enjoyed several kitty cuddle sessions with our cats this week. Nothing more pleasurable than listening to soft purring in your ear as they knead their feet gently in pure happiness…it just makes the world a better place to live!

    Can’t wait to read everyone’s comments. Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!:D

  7. Frugal week is now Frugal FAIL week…sigh. live and learn the lesson So I don’t repeat it again.
    We had a warm spell, I opened the back door screen and a window to air out the house. Spent a lot of time outside with the dogs.Enjoyed the sunshine even with the wind blowing over 20 mph. AND then back to winter. Looks like it’s happening again this weekend here in north west OH. I picked up a few things today to get started in the gardens if we get the break in rain mid week like they are forecasting. I am hoping to prep the north garden for planting peas and cover a bit of the south gardens to plant spring veggies in at end of March.
    http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2017/03/frugal-note.html

  8. I bought days old bakery bread and saved 50%.

    Because of smarter grocery shopping, less food waste and less food waste, I was able to reduce my March grocery allowance. Additionally, my electric bill has gone down again and I attribute that to turning on less lights, not leaving them on and being more conscientious about unplugging things not in use.

    I started a Sunday Spa day at home, where I make my own mask and facial and body scrub from products I have on hand and take an hour to pamper and take care of myself.

  9. Margaret, you may want to hang onto that dry shampoo for your own stash. If you are thinking about adding to your family, it just might come in handy. For instance, if you have a surgery (such as a c-section) you may not be able to have a shower for a couple days. Being able to clean your hair will help you feel better as you recoup. It could also come in handy if you loose access to water during an emergency. After all, pipes have been bursting and/or sink holes have developed all over Toronto recently. Dry shampoo can come in really handy at the most unexpected moments.

  10. It has been busy around here lately. I SO want Spring this time of year despite the three feet of snow hanging around *laugh*. I feel pretty optimistic my husband might have a new job here soon, so that was definitely good news. I would love to be free of working for family as my father-in-law drives my husband (and me, and everyone) crazy :).

    My list for the week can be found here…

    http://makedohomemaker.blogspot.com/2017/03/frugal-friday-money-saving-weekly-recap.html

    Here’s to getting things done this week!

  11. One thing that brings me lots of joy each spring is starting seeds. This week I started milk thistle, anise hyssop and horehound seeds, using a glass cake dome as a sort of greenhouse. I also transferred some lavender seedlings into an egg carton. I also brought some cherry tree cuttings indoors, and they are flowering now! All of my other frugal accomplishments can be found here: http://therenaissancehousewife.weebly.com/home/frugal-accomplishments-this-week5490655

  12. As always, I so enjoy your photographs! And I love that you were able to use the leather to recover the bicycle seat — much better than buying a new seat.

    I did the usual cooking from scratch, hanging out laundry, etc. I made sandwich bread and French bread this week, as well as granola. I turned leftover beef stew into beef pot pie, and leftover steak tips and gravy into stroganoff – both of which were big hits with my husband. My girlfriend and I went thrift shopping. I found a waterproof, insulated jacket, which has been on my wish list, for $4, a Tshirt for our locale for $1, and a gorgeous blue glass jar for $2. I paid $7 for a shirt for my husband, which was on the pricey side, I thought – but the shirt is really nice and he loves it, so well worth it. While out with my friend, we stopped off at the fancy boutique where she works to pick up her paycheck. I spotted some really cute decorative pillows — came home and found the supplies to make similar ones in my craft closet. I made one for me and one as a gift for my sister in law. (She is very involved with dog rescue and the pillow says Home is Where the Dog Hair Is. I know she will get a kick out of it.) I cut up an old shirt of my husband’s for cleaning rags and cut off the buttons – 17 very nice buttons on one shirt! One of the free flower pots I received last week was scuffed up and faded, so I painted it with some spray paint we had in the garage. It is now a cheery, shiny red. I planted arrugula and lettuce in my cold frame.
    I hope you all have a wonderful week.

  13. Hello Everyone! This week:
    *our family had dinner at my parents house- we had Mexican take-out and my parents bought
    *stayed home and made all meals at home
    *went to my local coffee shop and got a free coffee! The wonderful people who work there said the coffee they made was ‘weak’, so my cup was on the house
    *at Barnes & Noble found $2.00 note cards in the clearance section. They are Kate Spade Holiday cards, (originally $25.00:o) I picked up 2 boxes for the upcoming Holiday Season.
    *found lots of WooHoo deals at Kroger while shopping this week.
    *used 3 ‘Free Friday’ coupons for free items at Kroger this week
    *continued with my usual: library for DVD and books, turn lights off, turned heat down, used candles in the evening instead of extra lights, paid bills online, etc.

    Now I am off to read everyone else’s accomplishments. Have a great week all! 🙂

  14. We are also in a flight path here, & often see planes large and small. I’ve just gotten home from a short trip with my niece and sister. It was joyful spending time with them both. Arriving home to the greetings of my pups filled my heart. I plan to uncover the lettuce, chard & arugula this afternoon, and pick lettuce for dinner tonight. I’ll also check on the peas and asparagus, and the wintersown seeds, to see what’s new since I left. I look forward to reading what everyone has been up to. I’m joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/03/return-of-ladybugs-frugal.html

  15. Cooked a chicken in my pressure cooker after first removing the breasts for a nice dinner. Boned out the cooked chicken and saved it for later. Used most of the chicken stock to cook homemade noodles for veggie pasta bowls and the remaining to cook rice. There is rice and also pasta left for another meal. Got 2 pounds of shaved parmesan and a pound of butter reduced at cash and carry for a total of 4.26. Purchase of a bountiful basket will provide veggies and fruit for a couple weeks. Purchased pajamas and a new robe plus 2 purses at the thrift store 1$ sale today. One of the purses will be included in a granddaughters birthday gift….only Monday noon and its already been a good week

  16. What an amazing picture of lemons! They look so juicy, just perfect for that lemonade. I bet it was delicious.

    To stay frugal, I continue to shop the sales and use rebates/coupons whenever possible. My biggest find this week was an unadvertised manager’s special for boneless chicken—only $0.99/lb! I bought a bunch and then turned it into 2 casseroles, soup, and a big salad. I also picked up 5 free cans of beans and 3 free packs of hummus. Another treat I really enjoyed was meeting a friend for BOGO Macchiatos at Starbucks. All of my deals with pics can be found here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-3417/

  17. Roxy, our family LOVES the Taylor Meat Company wieners; those bright red casings put smiles on the faces of our thirteen g-kids!

  18. I love that your seasons are ahead of ours so I can see previews of what is to come.

    I mended clothes and finished two dresses for Dr. Seuss week that I started (there was some frantic sewing at the end).Here are some photos: http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2017/03/sewing-conundrum-follow-up/

    I hosted 12 relatives for dinner on Saturday night and we have a frugal steak, chicken and refried bean taco meal. I made yogurt but it was suggested on an online forum I belong to that I reuse the whey in bread baking, so I will try that this week.

    I am teaching an instant pot course to my local Moms of Multiples group this week. I’m trying to narrow it down to which dish I will demonstrate. So far, salsa chicken and rice is in the lead .I gave a way a dozen eggs to my SIL as we had more from the hens this week.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

  19. Well, I hope to finally get an entry done today. The last time I wrote was at least 4 weeks ago, so this will cover that time. We have done all the usual of cooking and baking at home, eating at home, packing work and school lunches, using up leftovers, recycling, composting, hanging laundry to dry to add humidity to the winter house air, mended, bird watched and sky watched and baby watched. I know one of the reasons I get less done is that on my normal day off work of Thursday my daughter brings over the baby and I have her for the day here. My mother is here also, so between the two of us we take turns with Dora and then fill in our free time with cooking and baking, sewing.

    Over the last month we attended 2 funerals (one out of town), one baby shower(for my oldest son’s wife) , 1 wedding shower, one wedding, an aunt’s 80th birthday and a cousin’s 40th anniversary. Last Sunday in February we attended church in the town where my younger son Markus lives and where he goes to church. He met his special friend Christie there and this was a chance for us to meet her extended family. Her church is similar to ours with often 4 generations of family members attending so we met quite a few, including both sets of her grandparents. They used the fellowship hall and had a picnic lunch for us all after service. 16 of us drove over, including one of my brother, his wife and a son and my sister and a daughter. The church is not the same denomination but very compatible. Both children (this son and my middle girl) belonged there all through college too. She is an RN but was a couple years ahead of my middle girl and does home health.

    Our first Sunday church meal noon potluck last month was a fundraiser for the youth groups mission works. They normally have a banquet the Saturday night before Valentines weekend but this year there was a wedding so they combined it with the potluck. Folks signed up to bring in various sandwich fillings and chips. The menu was sandwiches and chips and relishes and cupcakes …all finger food. They called it Buns of Love. They collected over 300 donated buns and rolls from bakeries around the area so that was a big savings for them. The home ec teacher supervised them baking 16 dozen cupcakes on the Friday before. My donation was carrots and celery and ranch dip. I cleaned and sliced 6 lbs of carrots and 3 heads of celery. I made the dip with ranch dressing powder, plain yogurt and cream cheese. The youth entertained everyone with skits after lunch.

    Mended socks, trimmed frayed edges on towels than folded and ran a new edge on them with the sewing machine. Helped my daughter sew a stuffed animal for a baby shower present for my oldest son and his wife. She wanted to make a stuffed rooster…we found an old pattern for stuffed animals that had a chick and hen, so we left off the chick and added dangly legs (for the baby to grab) and made it from red and yellow and white patterned scraps. It was very patchwork looking as she sewed smaller pieces together first, then cut out the pattern pieces. Since my daughter in law is of Chinese heritage my daughter chose the rooster as this is the year of the rooster. According to the “fortune” the rooster is exceedingly punctual. Maybe the baby will be also??

    These will be just what I remember cooking last month…made yogurt, baked white bread, wheat bread, rye bread, French bread as needed. Baked banana bread x2, pumpkin bread, pumpkin donuts, lemon-cranberry muffins, blueberry buckle, snickerdoodles, oatmeal raisin cookies. Made a cherry pie and heart cutout sugar cookies with vanilla frosting and sprinkles for the holiday treat. Made 2 lasagnas, one with out meat but with eggplant/pepper/onion filling instead. Chicken stuffing casserole. Made spaghetti sauce, vegetarian meatballs, baked squash, roasted root vegetables, baked apples, bean and cheese burritos twice, Mexican rice, corn with hot and sweet peppers all from the freezer, salmon loaf, double baked potatoes (from freezer), creamed peas, cucumber salad 3 times, coleslaw x 4, broccoli salad, cheesey broccoli and rice, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, open face toasted cheese. Blueberry pancakes, baked oatmeal, baked vegetable and cheese breakfast casserole. My husband grilled out a couple times…fish and kabobs once and hamburgers/veggie burgers the other. We ate once over at each oldest daughter’s, son’s and sister in laws and we had them over once each, also our tenants over once. Cooked up the bones and skin from the 3 chickens I cut up back in January to make another dish (Rhonda’s souvlaki recipe) and made broth. Chilled and skimmed the broth then used it to make bean and ham soup…I only had some ham slices left from previous bone that was used up earlier in the year so used the chicken broth.

    At the grocer bought 6 cucumbers 2/$1, vegetables and fruit for fresh eating to add to our frozen, canned, root cellar supply like radishes, lettuce, broccoli .99/lb bought 3 lbs, carrots, celery. Bananas from the gas station .35/lb and skim milk and 2% milk. At sams club trip with cousin bought 6 pack of romaine lettuce, black beans,oats, pinto beans, rice, Parmesan cheese, tortillas, box of pretzels, case of eggs, powdered sugar, baking soda. At the farm store bought clearance suet blocks, light bulbs, mixed nuts and unsalted peanuts, hard candy, and dishwasher powder. For the baby shower present bought the 3 sizes diapers and diaper wipes. For the wedding shower (she wanted a recipe shower) I (and my mother) bought a set of airbake cookie sheets and gave her the recipe for cutout sugar cookies and for frosting and included a bottle of almond extract, powdered sugar and a variety of sprinkles.

    We have been having very abnormal warm weather which has interfered with the maple syrup harvest…started too soon, then chilled off. Had 2 snow storms. Now warm again. Have not seen lots of buds on trees yet but bulbs are definitely starting to show some green. I saw our first mourning doves back this morning out under the birdfeeders.

  20. The most beautiful part of my week was walking off of campus on Friday, knowing I’d have this whole week off (which really means I get a whole week to get caught up on all my other work! LOL). As for our frugal accomplishments:

    * I made an absolutely massive amount of split pea soup and baked 2 loaves of bread to go with it. I’m not sure we’ll get through it all (I might have to freeze some) but we’ll certainly try! This used up a ham bone from our freezer, which helped make space for all my purchases this week.

    * I went shopping at Cub’s big meat sale, and stocked up on lots of different items. The only issue is that we’re running low on freezer space now! If anyone’s interested, I took a couple photos of it all and posted them here: http://imgur.com/a/UnmFR. Having stocked up on everything that I did, we’ll be set for food until we have to move in May/June. I’ll be shopping minimally until then, which will help our budget.

    * I rode the bus to campus a few times this week, one of which was on a very slippery day (snow has partially melted into slush, which can be quite difficult to stop on on the hills around here), so I was grateful that I had not risked my car in that weather. However, the bus I was on did have issues stopping a couple times and actually crashed into a concrete post, which was really scary. I feel blessed to have made it through that ordeal unhurt.

    * I took all of our laundry to my mom’s instead of paying for it here. This saved nearly $15.

  21. The picture of the lemons is gorgeous! The dark yellow color is so pretty!
    This is a couple weeks’ worth of frugal ways. I’ve been reading the posts every week but can’t seem to get myself together early enough to post!
    Many thanks to Brandy and others for commenting before on my conundrum with air-drying my laundry after our dryer died. I’m still plugging along with it as we save up for a new dryer and washing machine. We’ve decided to go ahead and get a washer at the same time as our current one is Sears’ lowest end model from 1995 with a tiny capacity only one water level and cold or warm wash/cold rinse only. I’d like to have the option to wash in hot if I need to (especially since towels get “sour” smelling sometimes). And I feel like I’d be saving a ton of money (eventually) on water and not wasting it! It’s a 3-paycheck month this month (YAY!) so we are on track (unless something else breaks, lol.)
    We’ve actually eaten out/gotten takeaway FOUR!! times this past month, but I used a gift card for Subway that I got from my aunt for my birthday and a coupon to a local Mexican restaurant we got from my parents for Christmas. The other two were for Papa Murphy’s pizza, I joined their eclub and got a coupon for B1G1 50% off and free cookie dough (this was a text message to my husband’s work smartphone.) And I used an email for BOGO at Noodles & Company. We were finishing up our meal 20 minutes before closing and the cashier came up to us with HUGE Rice Krispies-type marshmallow treats and asked if we wanted some free ones!! We were like, HECK YEAH! so that was a nice unexpected sweet surprise. We also stopped off at Boudin and got a rare splurge- their multigrain/wheat bread. I showed my bread club card and got a free 1 lb. loaf of sourdough. We try to limit our bread intake so it tastes even better!
    Been working extra hard on earning little bits of money here and there on Swagbucks, Pinecone Research, phone app rebates (Ibotta, Checkout 51, Receipt Hog, Mobisave, Savingstar,) etc. Monies from here accumulate in my PayPal account and go towards vacation. We are hoping to go to Las Vegas for our anniversary. We were scheduled to go the first week in February for my 45th birthday but we both got pneumonia…Southwest airfare is non-refundable, but the credit is in our account so at least airfare is taken care of! We like to relax by the pools there, and eat out!
    Had a “frugal fail” to report. I make Brandy’s Tuscan Tomato Bread soup as soon as I have enough dried bread accumulated (usually only 4 times a year or so) and I love it so much I always look forward to it! The last batch tasted odd, though, weirdly sweet. I finally figured out what I did wrong…I had bought sweet yellow onions instead of normal cooking onions! So now I know to absolutely check the sticker up against the sign! Such a bummer, such a great soup recipe!
    Lastly (and I’m sure I’m forgetting tons of things,) I couldn’t figure out why my slow cooker was leaking from the stoneware into the metal outer cooking vessel. I would find burned food on the inside. Turns out that my stoneware developed a hairline crack! I checked Crock-Pot’s website for a replacement stoneware but they don’t carry it (I have the “Cook and Carry” model with the lid that buckles down.) Emailing them was no help at all, they just said they don’t carry it at this time. I should probably check eBay for a replacement one (or I’ve been told to check the thrift stores but we only have one car and I don’t really have time to drive all over the place when I have access to it.) So I was racking my brain about how to make it work and I realized I had a package of “Slow Cooker Liners” by Reynolds that I had picked up on a whim! It’s not ideal (the bag gets wrinkly and weird and it’s difficult to get the last bits of food out) but it’ll work for now!
    Didn’t realize I had that much to say, thanks to all for reading! :p

  22. Snow days can be wonderful, no matter how old we get.

    At .10 / pound I’d have bought at least 100 pounds. Did you go back for more?

  23. Your week sounds like magical spring! Bees buzzing, blossoms perfuming the air, warmth, growth everywhere 🙂

    • Made daily swagbucks goal x 4
    • While on a business trip, I picked up an untouched apple from a finished room service tray in the hallway of my hotel
    • Made homemade pizza, cheddar cheese soup, and Budget Bytes lemony, feta, cucumber couscous
    • Refilled several spice jars from the bulk section at natural food store
    • Hung a load of laundry up to dry
    • Took an inventory of my chest freezer and found a lot of nuts so made two new recipes – risotto with watercress, gorgonzola & walnuts and Union Café nuts
    • Cut forsythia and brought inside to force
    • Scanned and uploaded FSA medical receipts

  24. Hi friends! This week was not one of my best….I had lots of work stress and ended up with a migraine that lasted for days. That has never happened to me before…I am feeling much better now, PTL.

    This past week I avoided the grocery store and it worked out fine. We did eat out for our date night and it was definitely worth it to connect in a positive way because I had been so out of sorts during the week and cranky! 🙁 Yesterday, I worked in the garden in between rain storms….got some new soil added in, lots of weeding, and planted some vinca seeds (I am zone 10a). With hubby’s help, changed some irrigation in one area to drip lines. Continued to plan out where I will put what in this new (old) yard! Feeling less overwhelmed and this website is helping!!!

    Cut hubby’s hair myself and trimmed my bangs, but I honestly need to get to the salon soon!

    After work today, I ran to pick up a few groceries and only spent $29. The best deal was 3 pounds of gala apples for $1.99…and a small bag of pasta for 29 cents!

    If anyone has ideas for snacks for my husband, I would love to hear. This guy loves to eat tortilla chips with hummus or salsa and crackers with cheese, as well as more gourmet treats liked smoked salmon with cream cheese! He and I could both stand to lose 10 pounds….I am going to suggest to him fruit for snacking, air-popped popcorn (which he loves), and raw carrots with hummus. He is already on board with more meatless meals, but I don’t want to make him miserable. 🙂

  25. Brandy, I really enjoyed your comments today where you mentioned noticing how lovely it was outside as you were working. Reminded me of how important it is to see the beauty around us and listen for it. Thank you.

    For last week’s frugal activities, I started a list since I find it hard to remember after the fact. Frugal first week of march:
    -made a batch of chicken noodle soup from Costco chicken carcass and had lots for the freezer
    -made a batch of black bean soup and put extra in the freezer
    -used antique frozen veggies in soup (they were old and had fuzzy icebergs all around the mixed veggie clusters but tasted great in the soup)!
    -used electricity off peak
    -did the usual monthly check of tire pressure, car oil level, added windshield fluid (took my husband 25 years to get me in the habit to do this)
    -car trunk remote wouldn’t work, repaired it ourselves!
    -did a lot of eating from freezer and pantry.
    -tried some weird looking noodles I got on sale in the soup, worked fine
    -picked up free Friday Fry’s giveaway.
    -braved the crowds of crazy senior citizens that shop on senior day at the market, but to save 10 percent, I was brave 😉

    Each day I walk our dog once or twice and have focused on seeing how beautiful it is outside and I try to remember to say thanks for a lovely life and the time I can spend outdoors.

  26. For growing your own mini-orchard, I prefer the book “Grow a little fruit tree”! This has you plant regular fruit trees that do well in your locale (saving you the extra cost of dwarf trees!) and has step by step planting and pruning guides to keep the trees between 6- 7 foot tall so you can harvest without a ladder!

    We planted 10 trees last Spring -4 apple in a 10 x 10 foot space, 2 peach, 2 pear, 1 Chinese apricot and 1 Aprium. Those were planted 3 to a space that was 8x 8!!! We staggered the harvesting as they recommended too so that the first tree will harvest in early June and the final will harvest around the end of October!
    We plan to plant one more space with 3 cherry trees in a few weeks!

  27. My husband and I made a trip down to south Georgia so he could ‘meet’ his newest grandson. I do love seeing that big burly man of mine holding a tiny baby in his arms. Babies just love him, lol! Jets…I watched them flying through the skies. We live near an air base and they practice over our area so we get to see them quite often. I can tell which are practice and which are from airport.
    Here’s my listing of things I did last week: http://bluehousejournal.blogspot.com/2017/03/frugal-friday-savings-at-home.html

  28. This week we delivered our next pallet project to our customer and he gave us 2 more orders – a coffee table and a frame. The coffee table is almost finished already! We will be making more Spring inventory of our pallet products- planter boxes, outdoor benches, etc. to put up for sale in the next two weeks since Spring will have to arrive sometime!!!

    A friend gave us a flatbed trailer full of wood that he wasn’t using but “knew” that we would put to good use! This means that we won’t need to buy any materials to build our chicken coop this week and there will be several benches and other landscaping uses that we are excited to begin!!

    One of our daughters was planning to replace the linoleum flooring on their first floor with oak hardwood and found someone on Craigslist who was giving away 400 square foot. Their whole project only takes 600 square foot total! My hubster remembered that we still had some oak hardwood that he was storing in workshop but had been hoping to get rid of to gain more storage space. It was about 200 square foot and amazingly is an exact match for the flooring they just got from Craigslist!!! So they will replace their current flooring for free!!! Plus, we have more space in our workshop!!!
    We were given some plain bagels so I made ham,egg and cheese breakfast bagels for easy grab and go breakfasts!
    I made homemade whole wheat dinner rolls that were light and fluffy to go with our loaded potato soup and with the leftover rolls, I put ham, egg and cheese in them too as a breakfast option!
    Made up 18 roast beef, horseradish dressing, cheese and lettuce wraps and 12 turkey, ranch dressing, cheese and lettuce wraps for easy brown bag lunch options!
    Made a big batch of peanut butter cookies and froze 2 dozen for a later time. Did the same thing with some no bake oatmeal, chocolate, peanut butter bars!
    Got a $21 rebate in the mail! Used $12 in Pinecone $$ to pay down a hospital bill (Don’t laugh! It’s amazing how those little bits of money can pay off a bill faster than you would expect!) ,
    Cooked up 4 more pounds of ground beef with minced onion and measured it into 5 quart size ziploc bags for convenient freezer use!
    Our electric bill for this month has gone down by $80!!
    Love the rain/snow flurries we’ve been getting this week!

  29. Such beautiful daffodils!

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Continued to work through the pantry/freezers to keep grocery shopping to a minimum.

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals (all but one).

    * Made granola, blueberry compote, blueberry muffins, bread, trail mix, and yogurt.

    * Hubs made a new chicken coop (“The Old Clucks’ Home”) so we can separate our two older hens from the younger ones.

    * Hubs worked from home one day.

    * We’ve been saving empty milk and vinegar jugs to use as cloches in the garden.

    * Harvested green onions, lemons, Swiss chard, lettuce, and our first snow peas as well.

    * Turned the heater off and opened doors/windows on days that were over 70F.

    * Watered w/ rinse water and water from our rain barrels.

    * Accepted a bunch of bread rolls and produce (to give to our chickens).

    Simple Joys:

    * Listening to a very cheerful mockingbird.

    * Listening to my son play the piano.

    * Going on long walks w/ my husband and our dog.

    * Noticing new leaves on our pomegranate bush.

    * Attending a high school production of West Side Story (the daughter of friends was among the cast).

    Have a great week, everyone!

  30. Whew! You’ve been busy. No wonder you haven’t had much time to post. Hope you get some time to rest up before the new grandbaby arrives.

  31. My crockpot developed a hair line crack but my husband put epoxy on the outside of the crock and it holds just fine. It was a fairly small crack but it’s been good for over a year now. Not sure it’s food safe but by putting it on the outside, I hope we’ve solved that problem.

    This was the week of the never-ending pot roast. It lasted for three nights, but each meal was different. The first night regular pot roast, the second night a sort of stew–cut up meat and gravy and fried the potatoes and carrots. Husband likes to put the meat and gravy on top. The third night (not consecutive) it became noodles with beef and gravy and a different vegetable. As far as household things–I did an extra day’s laundry to catch rugs, pillows and such. Still need to do some curtains too. I looked at curtains today when my daughter and I went to the mall–Sears and Penney’s both had some good sales, but not on what we were looking for. She did manage to buy a baby gift using a coupon, but we didn’t find anything else on each of our lists. (Granddaughter turns 25 this week–I only have half her gift so far.) Still, I did have a chance to look for some things and know where NOT to go next time. Online shopping is so convenient, but looking for linens (both of us) and we like to see and feel the fabric. Penney’s doesn’t carry many curtains for kitchens and baths any more. I think I will have to look online for those.
    The rest of the week involved a couple days out, lunch with my sisters, a visit to a sick friend, and my normal yoga classes twice a week. Tomorrow is the instructor’s birthday and we are giving her a card shower! I have mine and one from a classmate who is going to be away tomorrow. It should be fun.

  32. Last week was a busy, fun week that was filled with frugal activities:
    – I collected some clean rain water in stainless steel mixing bowls on my patio table. The water will be used for my steam iron and for
    drinking water for my elderly cat. She prefers this tasty water as opposed to tap water. I do not collect during first rainfalls due to
    impurities in the air.
    – I refreshed two pillows by turning the cotton inside out and covering the cotton by sewing linen from the unworn sides of old bed sheets. I added more cotton from my stash to fluff up the pillows. What a transformation from stained flat pillows to fluffy, non stained fabric!
    – As part of my gift to my loved ones, I offered service to mend their clothes and socks! It was very satisfying to see my grandson lounge around in his mended matching bathrobe with his dad.
    – Whenever I peel potatoes, I leave the eyes on the skin. I bury the skin to grow more potatoes. Last week the plants shriveled up, so I dug up about a dozen small new potatoes. (Red potatoes are most prolific.) I added them to my pot of stew.
    – I made scrambled eggs for breakfast, and added a whole lot of small pieces of ham, chopped left-over vegetables and left-over grated cheeses. Just two eggs were used, and a plateful of protein was enjoyed with our toast.

    Thank you, Brandy, for being hostess in this wonderful place to share!

  33. I haven’t seen any good skits for quite some time. I’ll bet that was entertaining. It’s great that the youth could earn a bunch of money that way.

    It sounds like you’ve had a very busy and productive month. I am glad you are getting to spend time with little Dora–what a blessing children are. I never take the privilege for granted–they bring so much into my life, as I’m sure she does to yours. And, a little “year of the rooster” baby sounds super cute, as does the stuffed animal. How nice that your mother can come, too.

    Hopefully the weather will cooperate and you will get a bunch of maple sap to make sugar from. Have a great week!

  34. How wonderful about your daughter’s oak flooring! I LOVE when things work out like that! Such a blessing!

  35. Krissy,
    Good idea replacing the washer also, as the newer models wring more water out of the clothes and the newer dryers are not as efficient working with the older ones. As far as your crockpot liner is concerned, have you checked second hand and garage sales? You may be able to find a replacement. Good luck

  36. Steph, my husband loves celery…plain, with hummus, with salsa, with cheese spread, peanut butter. I buy 1-2 bunches of celery a week. I clean it up, trim and cut stalks in half so about 6″ pieces and store in a Ziploc. They’re always ready for him and I just grab what I need for cooking as ready to go.

  37. Hello Brandy and all from Australia 🙂 .

    What brought us Joy this week was watching the wonderful birds being our new juvenile magpies, there are twins this year, warbling their happy bird song in our gardens. We also have a noisy minor that loves to get on top of our drip irrigation hose in the gardens and walk sideways across it all the way up the garden bed.

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week are –

    Financial –
    – Banked another $156.31 into our saving for our home with cash fund bringing our savings up to 18.36% of our total.
    huo- Saved seeds from our gardens and kept some for us and others to sell and made $20 profit from selling 1000 of these on the internet which I will put into paying off some of our new juicer when it is credited to my bank account.

    Kitchen and power savings –
    – Cooked a smoked lamb roast and home grown vegetables on the BBQ with the meat lasting for 2 teas for us and one lunch for DH’s sandwiches.
    – Used our solar lanterns to light our home at night instead of using mains powered lighting.
    – Did all our washing later at night in cheaper electricity times.
    – Cooked all of our meals and bread from scratch.
    – Had 2 friends over for tea and made a tinned chicken, home grown vegetable and pasta bake with handmade white sauce costing around $3.50 to make or .75c per person. We followed it up with a homemade apple pie for dessert costing around $5 to make and half a pie fed us all , we sent a quarter of the pie home with our guests and we will still get dessert for ourselves tomorrow night out of it. Not bad for 8 meals or .062c per serving.

    Garden –
    – Planted 1 x 4mt row of silverbeet, spinach, turnips, broccoli and parsley seeds in the vegetable gardens.
    – Planted 1 x 2mt row of beetroot and hunter brown onion seeds saved from our previous onions grown in our gardens.

    Water savings –
    – Hand watered our lawns with saved grey water from our showers and washing machines all week.
    – Due to rain we missed 3 hours of watering saving 703.5lts of town water use.

  38. The last two weeks I have spent my free time de-cluttering! I have taken two car loads to the local thrift shop and I have a load waiting for the local food pantry ( they are only open when I am at work). I have recycled LOADS of paper and other stuff we don’t need, given toiletries, cleaning items, and food that we won’t eat to family, friends, and a co-worker who’s family is having a tough time right now. I have also switched all the bills I could to email delivery rather than paper, bring a small hand towel with me to work to not use paper towels, make sure to bring my reusable cup to work to avoid paper cups, etc. I have also done a “digital detox” and unsubscribed from several blogs and websites that I didn’t look at, unfollowed same on facebook and Instagram (will probably delete Instagram soon), and cleaned out my email folders. This brings me peace 🙂
    Hubby took apart the vacuum and cleaned it out. We have a dog and cat that both shed enough daily to make a whole new animal. Now I don’t need a new vacuum! I also vacuum more often.
    I made a lentil/adzuki bean/veggie soup, stir fry, power balls, larabars, coconut milk, chicken breasts with potatoes and veggies, sloppy joes.
    Stayed at work despite being offered the opportunity to go home due to no work (seasonal employment)
    drank water, free coffee at work or home brewed, and hot tea
    I made vaporub and an essential oil blend to help my daughter get over another cold and have been using the essential oil diffuser
    Used reusable feminine care products rather than disposable
    Made some new family cloth out of old shirts that couldn’t be worn anymore to add to our supply
    Made reusable, all natural, cleaning wipes (instead of using Clorox wipes) and stored them in a glass jar
    Use apple cider vinegar in the rinse cycle when washing laundry and hung most of the laundry to dry
    We spent some money on: a new shower head with a built in filter, a new furnace filter that is supposed to help reduce allergens in the air. We also need to replace our bathroom medicine cabinet (with built in lights), we haven’t found one we love yet so we are continuing to look around. The ones we looked at also look cheaply made. We purchased a new lamp shade for a lamp I got for Christmas (it didn’t come with a shade). I put it in the living room and put the one that was in that spot in our bedroom where we desperately needed a new lamp (no ceiling light).
    We have had periods of unusually warm weather here in Northern Illinois, so I turned our heat down and unplugged the heaters in our bedrooms
    Grocery shopped at Aldi and saved a lot of money and picked up a few items at the local organic store by refilling my own jars from the few bulk bins they have.
    Have a great week everyone!

  39. Pam Anderson, who was the Executive Editor at Cook’s Illustrated, has a great cookbook called “The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great.” She lost 50+ pounds. There is a good sized section on snacks. This past week I tried the recipe from this book to make “Bar Nuts a la Union Square Cafe” and they are DELICIOUS! Her recipes include calorie counts.

  40. You can also make dry shampoo for pennies! Blonde – Cornstarch Brunette – 1/2 cup cornstarch – 2 – 3 tbsp cocoa powder Red Head 1/2 cup cornstarch – 2 – 3 tbsp cocoa powder 1 tsp cinnamon.

  41. Love to hear how you have saved! My biggest savings last week was talking to our utility company in regards to our bill. It was almost $800 for one month yikes! I called the utility company about it and asked for an explanation. The person I talked to said it sounded out of the ordinary from the rest of our bills. I read the meter called them back and without even really questioning said the meter had been read incorrectly and gave us an immediate credit of $500! Believe me from now on I will look very closely at their meter readings and compare it to what I see!

  42. I always love hearing about your pallet projects. That is a wonderful gift of the trailer of wood.

    I wonder how long the person on Craigslist and your husband saved that hardwood just to be ready for when your daughter was planning to replace flooring. One of those things that was meant to be!

    This is inspiring me to get going on some projects of my own.

  43. Regarding the towels, I often use white vinegar in my rinse (I used to set a timer to add with my older washer). That helps with the smell.

  44. Hi all. I continued with cooking, baking using what we have and hanging clothes to dry. We have not had to turn on the heat or air, suppose to be 90

  45. Rhonda, your raised garden fill sounds like a good idea and very workable. Shredded leaves work best as sometimes leaves can mat together into an impenetrable layer that prevents moisture and air movement.

  46. I made more laundry detergent but ran out of the flaked Zote soap I use to make it, so I found an old bar of olive oil soap and grated and used it. So far, so good!
    I scraped the last dabs of several stick deodorants out of their containers and melted them, pouring it back into an empty container. Ta-da, more deodorant that I can now actually use.
    I attended a mission trip training meeting with a friend who is also going, and my friend and I stopped at Chick-Fil-A on the way home, as it was 7:30 p.m. when we got done and we had a long drive ahead. I suddenly remembered I had a couple of old gift cards with a little left on them, and used them. They just covered my meal.
    I put blood meal and bat guano on my cabbage plants; I’m hoping to get a few good heads before the weather gets too hot.
    One joy I’ve had was the pleasant weather, so nice before the high heat and humidity of summer hit us. Another joy is celebrating the birthdays of two very young grandchildren who were both born in early March. And finally, watching those charming little wrens building their nests again, right where we can watch them.

  47. Gardenpat, I’m curious about the wraps that you prepared. How do you keep the lettuce from wilting and tasting bad? I find the dressing makes the lettuce go soggy and freezing the lettuce would do the same. I love the idea but not sure how they would taste after a day or two.

  48. I find it very interesting to learn about utility costs and savings in various places. We pay for electric, water, sewer, trash removal and recycling ( a surcharge but no curbside pick up) through our city but we never pay more than $120/month or less than $100/month regardless of the time of year. They do meter electric, water and sewer but with a mostly 2 person household (occasionally 3 person for a month or so) and all electric appliances and central air conditioning but natural gas heat and water heater, we mostly use the minimum charge. Our house is 3000 square feet, but new, well insulated and with efficient appliances. Our natural gas bill ranges between $30 and $90 a month, with an average of about $50. I live in Wyoming where we have had a very cold winter. I am amazed at what huge water bills some of you must have (if you save $50 or $80 in a month). Our very small yard is watered separately, from water in an irrigation canal, and not included in our city bill. We keep our house in the low 70’s all the time – day and night.
    We do run full loads in our front loading washer and in the dishwasher. Other than that all we do to save energy is that I hang a good portion of my laundry to dry, rather than run the dryer. The part of Wyoming I live in is semi-arid and above a mile in altitude.

  49. What lovely pictures!
    The weather here is on the warm side again so the furnace has been off for two days!
    We ate all meals at home except one. Continuing to use up meat and veggies from the freezer.
    I budgeted the full $450 for this month but don’t think I will use it all. I’ve spent $142 so far and that includes restocking baking supplies, 20 lbs of chicken breasts at $1.69lb, 20lbs of potatoes at $.17lb, 15lbs of asparagus at $.99lb and 10lbs of butter at $1.68lb. Unless there is a super stock up price I will only be buying perishables for the rest of the month!
    Have a great week!

  50. Oh, I forgot on the wedding shower we gave her a selection of cookie cutters too. They are .50 each at the hardware store and they have over 100 shapes to chose from.

  51. Yes, my daughter in law started her maternity leave now which will take her through the end of school and then she’ll have the summer off. So she will have a nice long time before school starts again. Her parents live with them so they will have full time help with the baby. I am not sure she/he will spend a day here as Dora does. But we will see them plenty as they live just north of town, we are south. My daughter and her family live next door to me and my mother lives with them. Sometimes Eliana takes the baby to work with her at the farm when she is doing more office type work.

  52. Hi Brandy, this week I finally overcame a fabric scrap hurdle. I’m making a baby quilt for friends. Have been struggling with the design and method but got it figured out HaHaHa! Let me say that the scraps are small but I just can’t bring myself to trash them. I love the fabric too much.

  53. Not sure what happen to the rest of my post.
    We are suppose to hit 90 by Friday so the air will have to go on.
    We will be changing our budget soon, as we have 4 people here and in a few weeks will have 3.
    I deposited a small check from declutter. I’m happy to deposit what I can!
    I finished reading A Dogs Purpose and enjoyed it.
    That is all I can think of for now. Have a good week everyone.

  54. Thanks this is a great idea! He loves celery, too. 🙂 He honestly only likes veggies raw so he can be a challenge for dinner, although on the positive he likes salad. 😉

  55. I think my biggest frugal accomplishment this past week was finding new jeans half price for my daughter. I had to hem them, which took no time at all.

    I was given two packs of seeds to plant in pots on my patio, and I am looking forward to a few more weeks passing so I can plant them safely. My husband and I have also agreed to plant a few tomato plants. I can’t have a full garden, but even a little fresh from the back patio will be nice.

  56. Thanks for the suggestion, Athanasia. My mom usually just runs the lawn mower over the leaves, instead of raking them, which helps to naturally feed the lawn. Perhaps we can rake up some of those shredded leaves to put in. On the other hand, there will hopefully be lots of other compost fill in there before we put the fall leaves in. It might not be as much of a problem if we make sure to mix the leaves really well with the other compost material. I’m not sure how it will all be accomplished quite yet, but at least we’ve formed the beginnings of a plan.

  57. years ago when we added a bathroom to our basement my mom gave us about 1 1/2 boxes of ceramic tiles that were leftover from a project at her house. We did not have enough tiles for the room so we sent our carpenter shopping to find some tiles that would work with what we had so that we would not waste what we had. Our tile was very glossy which was no longer “in style” so he bought additional tile in similar coloring, set the 2 different tiles in a diagonal pattern. Looking at the floor, one would never know that we were starting with ceramic tile leftovers.

  58. I went back this morning, and they still had some potatoes left. It was the first time I could get down there and I was afraid they would be gone. I now have 100 lbs. I got some for my sister and a friend, as well. It is so much food for so little money, they store well, and there are so many ways to fix them. I’m really happy I could get more.

  59. Pantry challenge continues although slowly since there are only two of us. A whole chicken was cooked in the pressure cooker other than the breasts which I froze for later. Meat was deboned and used for chicken pot pie and sandwich spread. The broth was used to cook pasta and the rest used to cook rice. The pasta made veggie bowls as well as veggie lomein. With some left still for Chinese noodle soup. The rice was breakfast one day and fried rice another. The bones and skin went to our hens. The dog got some of the broth over her food. My bountiful basket has provided many veggie meals already plus sliced pears for eating fresh. I called our internet carrier over our bill and received a 45 dollar credit. The hens are laying at about50% now giving us all we need plus some to share. Two of our renters have contacted us this month expressing a desire to purchase their homes. The sale of those two rentals will pay off our home. God is good!

  60. Not having a great couple of weeks.

    I brought down my summer clothes only to realize that most of them were too badly worn, stained or ill fitting to keep (and these were the ones that “made the cut” to even get put up last winter). So…I splurged on a couple of pieces from Lularoe and purchased a bunch of new clothes and shoes other places (mostly on sale and with free shipping). I also didn’t have the time (or energy) to hunt thrift stores or yard sales which I know I should have. So I spent far more than I should have. BUT I haven’t bought new summer clothes in several years and I bought quality items so I don’t feel too badly about it.

    Went through my cocktail, formal, and work dresses and put aside most of them for not fitting. Gifted them to a colleague who will take what she can use and pass them along.

    I continued to eat out of the fridge/freezer except one night where I worked really late and went out for dinner. It was late enough that the late night happy hour was on! ( i had gone in at 6:30 am!) So I splurged on a nice glass of wine with my dinner and used my military discount for the meal.

    I was able to host company for dessert 2 times this week, including the missionaries. I made a cake out of my pantry and then sent the leftovers home with them. I went to a friends’ for a BBQ and took appetizers I found frozen from the holiday season. The appetizers were enjoyed by all.

    Caught a meal deal on the frozen fish that I planned to buy anyway (buy the fish, get frozen onion rings, ice cream and a bag of frozen vegetables for free). I stocked up on egg noodles, as the brand I prefer went on BOGO this week. I got what egg noodles I could and then got a rain check for some more. With the rain check quantity added, they should last me a year.

    Made more reusable wipes in a second container to keep upstairs.

    Made a new, much larger “smelly bucket” (I have an elderly dog with a neurological and bladder issue and another one with bladder stones) so I can do fewer loads of laundry each week.

    I sewed more mop covers to reduce the frequency of laundry as I must mop the downstairs floor at least twice a day.

    I beat out the door mats and then took them to the car wash to run them through the floor mat machine. For the cost of a base car wash I saved 4 door mats and the time and water of washing the car myself.

    Put on a sweater the 2 nights it was cold to keep from putting on the heat. Kept the windows open the rest of the time to keep the AC off.

  61. Marcia, pot roast sounds good! I should do that this weekend as I know I have a chuck roast left in the deep freeze. It’s a 4 lb one so we will have lots of extra. I never turn it into anything else. We like a large amount of vegetables in ours, sometimes we have to add more. If I still have meat and gravy left I will put that into the freezer for a later meal, adding new vegetables when I serve it.

  62. Mr. HM, I see you order from Lehman’s. They are a good source for off the grid items.
    My son in law has family there so when my daughter and her family go visit they always bring me something back.

    I am glad to see you listened to your wife’s advice re’ those mushrooms!!

  63. Mandy, do you ever inspire someone else, like at work, to be more recycle responsible? I hope it catches on, even if just a little. Every little bit helps. Our church only uses the disposable plates and flatware when we are having outside gathering. Otherwise we use real dishes and silverware. Who ever signs up for clean up includes running commercial dishwasher and hand washing kettles etc.

    Our church decided not to unplug but just not to plug in in the first place. The IT committee maintains a website for community info, we have a small computer lab for the school that is supervised, most folks have email and computer access and are all connected via a church email chain. Some folks have family blogs and many follow blogs like this such as I do. I try and stick with blogs that don’t have advertising all over them. But the instagram, the Facebook, the Twitter, the Pinterest are worrisome, not so much for the original intent, but for all the extras that they pull into our lives and the time that they can take out of our lives so it was decided that those be avoided.

  64. Contact nurseries and National parks in your area. They usually have info or can tell you who to contact. Library may also have books pertaining to local interests. Ask the librarian, you’d be surprised.

  65. Terry, I think we are both doing the same pantry challenge;) That is great news about possibly selling your rentals and paying off your home! I hope everything will work out for that.

  66. I frequently serve raw cut up veggies as a first course when the kiddos are starving for dinner and it is not quiet ready.. Nothing fancy, but peeled celery(mine hate the strings), carrot, radishes and cucumber are cheap and always a hit. Depending on the time of years sweet peppers and grape tomatoes appear on the platter. Sometimes with dip( one trick is always get extra ranch packets so they can also take on the go) and sometimes with a splash of vinegar and salt and pepper. And yes I count this as a side..they like it better than salad.

  67. Went to cash and carry today to pick up their special on red bell peppers 25# box for$9.99. They’re on sale till next Monday if anyone is interested. Red peppers don’t grow well in my garden and I use lots in canning in the summer time. I also got a 5# bag of kielbasa sausage marked down to $5.00 each sausage makes a single meal and there are 20. I used the last of the nacho cheese sauce and the last of a gallon of milk in my bread dough today to make hamburger and hoagie rolls. Got the peppers and sausages vacuum packed for the freezer….we’re eating lots of pantry meals. Still a long ways here till we can think of gardens…just happy that the snow has finally melted.

  68. Wow you are off to a good start! I never would have thought to remove the chicken breasts before pressure cooking. Great idea, thanks!!

  69. Florrie, your frugal accomplishments helped me a lot.
    1. I have a pillow I wanted to re-purpose, but would have sewn a new liner. If I flip the fabric (printed on one side) I will not need too!
    2. I would love to grow small batch potatoes, and didn’t know you can do that with the skins.
    Thank you!

  70. Athanasia – I try to inspire by letting people see me “do”. I have noticed my mom has made some changes. At the job was I at a year ago (I worked there 5 years) I started the recycling program and inspired a couple of co-workers to bring lunch from home in reusable containers rather than order out daily. Mostly people around here think I am “the weird hippy lady” lol and I’m ok with that.

  71. I hit submit to soon lol
    I have deactivated Twitter and Instagram, although I am on Facebook sometimes (not nearly as much as I used to be) and Pinterest is very useful to me. I try to do more around the house, spend more time with my daughter, read an actual book or, rarely, watch a documentary or something funny. I also supplement my daughter’s public school education with homeschool work, too. She’s 6 and loves it so I figured why not take advantage?! We do that later in the evenings a few times a week.

  72. A little spring housekeeping in the chicken coop yesterday. Pulled out all of the old straw and spread it on the ground. Filled the hen house and nest boxes with fresh straw. Today I only found 2 eggs. We have 11 hens. I couldn’t figure it out. Finally looked under the coop. There was a nest with 6 more eggs…..I guess the chickens want their old straw. So much for spring cleaning. The hens are laying well enough that I have been able to start sharing eggs again. Organic brown eggs are 4.99 a dozen here so I am pleased to share ours.
    Bought several new garments at the thrift store today including a really cute robe for one grand daughter. Cooking from the pantry and eating lots of leftovers this week. I dropped off a quilt I made for a friend having a baby shower tomorrow. I try to have a couple of baby quilts always made in my gift closet. Time to start a couple new ones so they will be ready for the next event

  73. Brandy, I am inspired by your garden, already in full bloom and producing.
    With the winter back in NYC (feels like 14 degrees while I type this) I am literally begging for some sun 😉

  74. I typically make up wraps and put them in labeled containers in fridge and they are usually eaten within a week or so. If I am making more to freeze, I just omit the lettuce until I pull them from freezer and after they are defrosted, I add the lettuce, rewrap them and put them into the labeled container in fudge! Hth!

    It’s a constantly rotating inventory in my freezer and fridge so that very little gets wasted!

  75. We have been putting our guinea pig bedding along with yard cuttings into a bed all winter. It only took a bag of soil to finish off the top.

  76. Our mower has a bag attachment and we use that to collect the grass clippings and shredded leaves to put in our bed. Plus we don’t have to rake.

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