I had a lovely surprise party for my husband’s 50th birthday. I borrowed tables and chairs to have enough seating for everyone. We ate from regular plates and bowls.

We ate outside on our back patio.

Our menu:

Individual sized French Bread
Individual sized Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

Tomato Basil Soup
Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta Salad (I used green onions and parsley from the garden along with carrots and a can of olives)
Mixed green salad (from the garden) with cranberries, chopped almonds, and feta
Mixed green salad (from the garden) with corn and black beans
Dressings were homemade ranch dressing, balsamic orange vinaigrette, and Italian

Homemade lemonade punch: 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup lemon juice (from my lemons), and thinly sliced oranges (bought at .32 a pound last month) a grapefruit (one of the ones I bought a few months back for around .20 each), 2 limes, and 2 lemons (from the garden). I filled the rest of the large bowl with cold water. When most of it had been drunk, I added more water. (You can do the same with one can of lemonade concentrate, and keep adding water to it throughout a party).

Dessert was lemon meringue tarts. I used a shortening crust to keep the cost lower (than a butter crust). The lemons were from my trees, and the eggs were purchased for $1 a dozen last week.

We had a large number of leftovers, which gave us enough to eat as a family for several more meals. Counting just the amount we ate at the party, it cost me $5.50 to feed 20 people dinner and dessert.

The tables were decorated with cuttings from our euyonmous hedges placed in half-pint canning jars and tea lights in small glass containers.

I only had 3 glass candle holders, so I purchased a few more at .50 each at the thrift store. They will be saved for future parties. I bought the tea lights many years ago.

I decided to purchase enough flatware to use for the party. I bought inexpensive flatware (.22 each for the spoons) at Sam’s Club and some additional white cloth napkins. Both can be used for additional parties, so while they added to the cost of this party, unlike disposable items, they can be used again.

Non-party things that I did to save money last week:

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I took my oldest to the thrift store for some much needed new clothes. I spent $40 and bought her:

2 pairs of jeans
1 pair of capris/long jean shorts
3 skirts (I have to fix the elastic in 2 of them)
2 long-sleeved shirts, 1 sweater, and 1 cardigan that she can wear next fall (the cardigan is missing a button so I will need to replace all of them, which isn’t a problem, as I bought a bunch of buttons last year at fantastic price)
4 short-sleeved shirts (1 she will use for pajamas)

I still need to make her a dress or two and some skirts (I have the materials). This is the first time I’ve taken her shopping and the first time I’ve bought pants for her. She wanted some jeans to wear to the archery range so that she can retrieve her arrows from the brush.

I also purchased a few books for the family, including two that were books that we already have, but that can be used for gifts when my daughters are invited to parties. I also bought a like-new board book (.50) that is the same as one that we have owned that was well-loved until it fell apart. It will be a birthday gift for Ivory.

I planted chive seeds and transplanted nasturiums (which had self-seeded themselves) to other spots in the garden.

We had an Easter egg hunt at home with candy I had bought on Valentine’s clearance with coupons. Everyone wore clothes that we already had for Easter. The baskets were all baskets that we have had for years. I used plastic eggs taht we had purchased in years past.
Easter dinner was at my house. We provided some of the food and my parents provided some of the food. My mom had us keep most of the leftovers, which made for parts of several additional meals.
My husband took the children to the library, where they checked out several books and movies. I read one of the children’s library books this weekend.
I enjoyed 2 sunrises and 3 sunsets this week.
We had an al fresco dinner on the patio Saturday night.
I harvested asparagus, chives, green onions, parsley, rosemary, Swiss chard, and lettuce this week from our garden. We had a salad from the garden every day.
What did you do this week to save money and enjoy life?

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  1. Brandy,Years ago when Money was not tight if we had a large crowd , we all would often go to a place called Sweet Tomatoes the food was alot like what you served and the price back then was $3.95 a head. See how much waste we had we paid that for each person and I feel certain the prices are much higher now!

  2. Not much on the Frugal Accomplishments this week.I cut Mine and Hubby’s hair.I got some free flowers for the house to brighten things up a bit.We are eating leftover Roast Beef from last week, and Chicken bought on sale this week along with lettuce gifted to us for salads.This week is Hubby’s Birthday so we will spend a bit of cash doing something special. I am preparing a box for my son and daughter-in-law for birthdays. This will be a very frugal box.Used Homemade cleaners, laundry soap, reused plastic bags, homemade dish soap, washed more dishes by hand and used a bunch of the plastic grocery store bags for trash (because I only buy so many boxes of trash bag liners per year and I only open one box every 6 months. I put the date on the box and if it has not been sixths months since the open date then I go to the small grocery bags for everything again until 6 months have passed. I use the small bags for many items all the time but, I use them also during the stretch times as well. I also do this with paper towels I buy 6 rolls per year, the roll has to last two months if it does not I save paper napkins and then use those as well.I stretch toothpaste, papertowels, shampoo, conditioner, and trash bags

  3. Hi Teresa,I LOVE going to Shipshewana and see what all the Amish has to offer! It’s only about 1/2 hour drive from where I live. Hubby & I usually go once every 2 months to E&S Sales and stock up.

  4. The party looks and sounds just lovely! Happy Birthday to your Husband. I especially love the boxwood clippings.We’ve had a tough week with my son breaking his arm, me having a foot/ankle injury relapse.But, I did make almost all our food from scratch.I made bread (just not quite enough :)I’ve harvested spinach all week from last fall’s planting. (and almost ate snail ewww)Since we had spring break, we went on a field trip to a free museum and stopped for ice cream at the creamery after, instead of buying individual cones, we bought cartons and took them home.Another day we had a movie day and used the free netflix trial.We also went to the dentist last week for cleanings. He is kind enough to see our entire family in one visit which really saves on time and gas. And because he carries the Rx toothpaste a few of us need, he also gave me a discount because I bought enough bottles at one time. It is much more at the pharmacy. He also put sealants on the baby teeth that were still healthy. (only 2 kids had cavities YEAH!) I know this costs more, and insurance doesn’t cover it, but it is cheaper than fillings and then we don’t have the distress of dental work on the little ones when it works, which it almost always does. Our dental genetics are not the best.I found clearanced turtle neck shirts, at the register they ended up only being $1 each. I bought several. I will use the sleeves to make leggings for big girls and the torso section for leggings or knit dresses for little girls. My second requested I make a cardigan out of one for her.All the Easter items were 50% off, but at the register, since a part was missing from the gardening bag w/tools I was buying, they only charged 17 cents. I ran back (well, more like limped back 🙂 and bought the other 2 they had at the same price. I plan to use these as birthday gifts.I cut off the ends of winter pj bottoms that were wearing out. I still need to hem them, but they will work well as the weather warms.I have the first half of your rosemary olive oil bread in the oven and it smells great!

  5. I look forward to your weekly entry and reading others comments about how they have saved money. I am working on it but can tell I have a long way to go. Things I did this week to save money.1. I had a baby shower for my daughter in law this weekend and hosted 55 people. We rented a community center for free that comes equipped with a kitchen, ice machine, bathroom, tables, chairs, etc. I made all of the decorations myself. I cooked all of the food myself rather than have it catered. Some family members help with food expenses by buying some of the food, which was a great blessing to me. Gifts were either bought on sale or from a second hand store. I did use disposable plates and cups and tablecloths but I purchased them at the dollar store for a dollar each. I borrowed vases and serving dishes from my church so that I would not have to purchase those items.2. Used leftover ham in a couple of extra dishes to stretch the meat budget this week.3. Used eggs from my chickens in several dishes this week.4. Stayed home as much as possible to save on gas. I only spent 20.00 in gas this week and that was to go to work everyday.That’s about it. Have a great week!

  6. This week has been an interesting week as per cash flow in our house.1/ after our Easter party, we had a lot of leftovers to finish so I did not cook much at all. We also did go out much as my son’s school was closed the entire week but he seemed exhausted from just Sunday that he just wanted to stay home most of the time. By Thursday he was ready to for a play date so we went to visit a friend and had our lunch at their house as well. Friday was busy and also started to get warmer so a trip o the nursery was in order as I needed tomato plants for my garden. Seeds n plants were discounted.2/the biggest saving is probably the fact that I ripped out our moldy shower doors as I am tired trying to get the frames all sparkly n nice. We gawked at the labor price for this job to be done at Home Depot. 900 for frame doors and 1200 for frameless doors labor charges only. We will probably do the job ourselves now and save the bucks as we have all the tools and accessories for this job.3/ we also hired a landscaper to put retaining walls for our front yard for a third of the price we got quoted on last year.saving big here but hoping he does a great job and well.we have had this on our budget from the refund we got this year.just cannot help feeling the twinge inside of letting that cash go.Gr8 week ahead for everyone.

  7. I use the reusable K cups with no problems. I just make sure that I regularly clean and “descale” my machine. My first machine broke when my husband cracked a piece and Keurig replaced it for free. Their customer service is absolutely amazing! 🙂

  8. I got 544 diapers and 864 wipes for $33. I know that cloth are more frugal however due to my situation they are not a possible choice so I have been getting diapers and wipes on sale for Emmett even though he isn’t due until July. At garage sales, I got 79 pieces of clothing ranging from 3-6m to 5t for Emmett. Using coupons for free I got 4 sauces, 3 razor multipacks, 7 boxes of pizza rolls.

  9. It looks like your husband was having such a wonderful time on his birthday! Your menu sounds so elegant and delicious! Last Wednesday was my birthday. My mom took me to lunch and bought me a candle and new measuring cups. For dinner my best friend had me and my husband over for KFC and birthday cake. Then on Friday my youngest daughter took me and my mom to lunch at McDonald’s. The weather here has finally warmed up enough (in the 60’s) to keep the heat off and the front door open. It has been so nice to see the sunshine and the warmer weather is definitely welcome!! I have been washing dishes by hand and not using the dishwasher as often and my water bill was $5.00 lower than the previous months.We grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and bratwurst on Saturday night for dinner. We made extra and we have been eating the leftovers for lunch and had the rest tonight for dinner.My friend had a late Easter dinner yesterday and invited us over. We enjoyed good food and good friendship on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. My niece’s birthday party was on Saturday afternoon. My daughter made the cake and cupcakes and I made the homemade frosting. She piped the frosting on with a fancy tip and each one had a peep on top. Everyone said they were good and looked and tasted like a bakery 🙂 I stocked up on Oscar Mayer hotdogs. With sale price, promotion and MPerks I paid .89¢ package. I put those 8 packages in the freezer to use this summer when we grillI was able to get a free shaving cream by using a B1G1 Free coupon I printed off of coupons.com I earned $5.42 on Endorse and sent the money to my Paypal accountI received 2 samples of coffee for my Keurig in the mail

  10. Sounds like such a fun trip. I have not ever been to an Amishsupply. My mom has hens that are 8 and they still lay every dayThey are XX large size because the hens are older . It is likeyou get 2 for one. Mavis at 100 hundred dollars a month gets chicken scraps for free for her girls. She is also able to gleansome for her family. Have a blessed week.Patti

  11. I have found that we get huge discounts when we offer to pay in cash then and there. It’s amazing. I tell everyone our second son was 25% off.

  12. I don’t know what the problem is with the reusables. The only way that we have had success is to put a small amount of coffee in the cup but the coffee is way too week that way. We have had many overflow messes.

  13. I finally had enough in my Savings Star account to get a reward, I got an amazon gift card.Got a box of pasta for free using a coupon.Got 25 free photos using a Walgreens offer last week (and resisted the urge to print more than 25).

  14. I love that you looked that up for kicks. You have a great personality , sense of humor and attitude and it shows in everything that you do!

  15. I forgot to add that I used a coupon from Walgreens to print 25 pictures. My daughter in law wanted maternity pictures and rather than paying for professional photos that she really couldn’t afford, I used her camera, uploaded to my computer and enhanced them, then waited for a coupon to print. I got 25 prints for free and she got some really good pictures.

  16. This has been a depressing week. Our furnace froze up about a month ago…$1500, plus we still have to repair holes where the wall had to be opened up. Last week our water system froze up…$800 plus a huge mess. It was 16 below zero this morning in interior Alaska and the car had not been plugged in so the engine was frozen and it would not start. Then our dog got ill and had to be taken to the vet. I just feel like my little coupon saving and eating leftovers is like rowing a thimble in an ocean. All I want to do is eat fast food and read trashy novels instead of tackling the work projects we have around the house. In fact, yesterday I gave in and we ate ff for dinner—over $20! Yikes, I have not been in some time and obviously the prices have gone up. Somedays it just does not seem worth the fight.

  17. Hi Sesele,Some days are just tough. Some days it is ok to give in and have the $20 fast food dinner if you can. It’s been overwhelming….and it will get better. Don’t give up.I’ve been thinking a lot this week about Brandi’s question at the end of her blog. Living frugally is a good thing for several reasons but perhaps most of all because it lets us savor the simple things. So, we joy for instance, in simple greens in canning jars and simple soups seasoned just so. Being content is a good thing. I know you aren’t content where you are at this moment on this day (and I suppose I’d worry a bit about you if you were–LOL). But…I imagine with a night of sleep…and perhaps even giving in and reading a mindless novel for a bit…you’ll feel ready to go again. Peace and Joy to you…and to us all.

  18. I’m not familiar with what castille soap costs in store, though I see it on Amazon. What is the store’s price approximately? Amazon’s prices change frequently on items, so I never know if what I’m looking at is a good price or not if it’s something I don’t typically buy. Thanks.

  19. Brandy,I would have Loved to see a photo of one of the Chocolate bunnies you made.I am certain that they are gone by now and probably gone before you could snap a photo.I just am certain they are lovely when they are done.

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