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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I harvested parsley, sage, arugula, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I transplanted thinnings (of lettuce) into another spot in the garden. I transplanted 4 small heads of lettuce (that had started growing from reseeding themselves) into another part of the garden.

I put out more jars in the garden to encourage my plants to grow faster.

I sowed more Swiss chard seeds, Johnny jump-up seeds, and more poppy seeds in the garden.

My husband washed the seat belts that he got from old cars at Pick a Part last week, and installed them in our new to us van. This involved some welding so that the seat belts could be attached. He was able to do that at his brother’s house. They made it possible to move up the rear seat (which seats 4; the other rows seat 3) so now the van can seat 12 with one row of seats removed, and I will still be able to haul my shopping home in the back. (Without a seat removed, there was no room for groceries, as the last row of seats went to the very back doors).

I used a $20 off $60 purchase coupon at the local nursery. I was able to purchase more manure, some dirt, and bone meal for the garden. I also found some pansies marked down to .25 each. I planted some in the circle in my garden, a few in pots by my bench and some pots by the front door. I was hoping to find a 6-pack of pansies; these were less money and were bigger plants, too! I also purchased some new English Thyme plants and basil plants. The manager mentioned that it would be turning cold again for the next couple of days, so I put the thyme in the pots on my piano, and the basil into some containers on my kitchen table. When it warms up again on Wednesday, I’ll plant them out in the garden; in the meantime, I am loving the fresh greenery in the house!

I made French bread (twice, for a total of 8 loaves), lemon poppyseed muffins, popsicles, butternut squash soup, Swiss chard and onion soup, and pizza. I cooked two large pots of beans this week and froze pinto beans, as well as a mix of kidney beans and great northern beans (for minestrone soup). I made two batches of Italian dressing.

I cooked a ham, and we sliced it for sandwich meat. My husband made himself a ham sandwich on French bread to take to work.

I had several at-home date nights with my husband this week. One night we watched a movie that we got for free with a free Redbox code. There is a Redbox in the parking lot by his office, so it didn’t cost anything extra in gas for him to pick it up or return it.

I watched Downton Abbey on pbs.org, and I watched a couple of shows on Hulu for free.

When I went shopping, I brought along my reusable bags to two stores. Target gives .05 credit per bag, and Winco gives .06 credit per bag. I saved .41 on my groceries by bringing the bags. I have never purchased reusable bags; I have been given a bunch of them from my different people (tote bags work, too) and I just use those. The stores do not require you to use their bags; they give credit for any reusable bag. You usually need to tell the cashier at Winco how many bags you have, since you bag your own groceries there.

I often find great produce deals at Winco, so I have gotten into the habit of taking a lot of bags with me when I go, just in case. Their sales are not advertised, and their prices can change daily (and sometimes within the same day!), so when I go, I just look for the best deals. I find their prices on other items to generally be higher, so I usually only shop there for produce. This time I found broccoli crowns for .68 a pound. I bought 28.66 pounds. I will be blanching and freezing the broccoli for our family. I did this before, several months ago, but we have eaten all of that, so it is time for more.

I used coupons on canned pineapple and Valentine’s candy.

I combined trips to save on gas and time.

I listened to a motivational speaker speak to women at our church one evening. (This was free to attend). She was really funny and there was a delicious dessert afterwards.

What did you do to save money this week?

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25 Comments

  1. Still reading my way through all the old blog posts. Up to early Dec now, on the presents for Christmas. Marivene, what are “terra cotta sugar discs”??Another question…I see all the links that people put in their posts, but they don’t click. I would like to look at them but many of them are 60-70 digits long. Is there a way to make the links work?Cooked and baked …made pasta primavera (uses up lots of leftover vegetables), spagetti carbonara, garlic bread sticks, 2 loaves bread, 2 pans pecan rolls, 1 batch yogurt, tuna-noodle casserole, banana bread. Just realized never made any desserts this week, though to me banana bread and the pecan rolls would qualify. Almost all items enough for leftovers. One night just made a large tray of nachos.Tonight we had waffles and maple syrup and eggs for Fat Tuesday. Not that we follow that thinking but in this state it’s a big deal…lots of pancake suppers, German and Polish donuts in the stores and bakeries and even from some churches, sold only this time of year. Grophens and Paczki’s. Delicious. You have to get there early though, I didn’t. Sturgeon spearing is on this week too. Drove by one of the weigh stations on Saturday…not too many fish caught so far as water clarity murky, so harder to see them as they swim under the hole in the ice. One fish was there, looked only about 4 ft long. Smoked sturgeon is very good. An older couple used to share some with us, but they have both passed on. Bought 30 pounds of potatoes at .18 a pound and 15 pound of apples for .90 to replenish the root celler and for some crispy apples for daughter’s lunch. Sent husband to a grocery store I don’t frequent as they will have a super cheap deal but only allow you to buy one. It was in the area he would be last week so made him a list, gave him the coupons and he came back with the .68 bag of egg noodles and the .98 container of blueberries and the 1.88 pound butter and the .98 jar of pasta sauce. All their prices always end in an “8” for some reason. So it will sound cheaper than the stores that end prices in a “9”?A co-worker and I were treated to lunch this week by a retired co-worker who came back for a visit. Nice to catch up.Husband attended work-lunch-meeting. Someone asked him I he wanted a bag of leftover craisins and he said sure. It was almost 3 cups. Oranges have reached their cheapest and most delicious peak here so am getting ready to make marmalade and candied orange peel. Ok now back to reading the old posts.

  2. Elizabeth, You can buy a specific terra cotta “bear” (or other animal, or you can just use a clean small saucer from a tiny terra cotta pot, to keep your brown sugar from going hard (it will even soften hard sugar). The saucer will run you less than .50; the bear will cost you around $4. You soak the terra cotta piece in hot/warm water for several minutes. Then you put in in an air-tight container with your brown sugar. It will keep your sugar nice and soft for a very long time. Eventually you will need to rewet it and do it again (usually every few months). I usually keep 8 pounds of brown sugar in a container with my one terra cotta piece.

  3. Also often you can get a 3 month supply for the cost of two months or less, maybe you can combine some of these tips, if you can split your pills and get a 90 day supply you will really have 6 months! I had a med that only came in a higher dose than I needed, my dr said to take it every other day, so I got 6 months for price of 2 months.

  4. I found the sugar discs on Amazon for $10 for 12 of them. Since I was using them as small Christmas presents for my daughters, I was willing to pay up to $1 each for them. Some places will charge up to $10 for just one disc, but as Brandy pointed out, a small saucer is much cheaper, & will work the same. I have used terra cotta to soften brick hard sugar before, & it works.

  5. He is never nauseated, but about the bathroom he takes longer than usual and will go there at really odd times. The moment hes finished eating he will go there or even when he has hot liquids, which i dont find normal. He is not taking any fibers as such. But one thing i found while reading celiac is the malnourishment part. That is so true its been many months nearly a year and half that he is not gaining weight at all except losing.He is 5ft 6″ and i dont think 117lbs is a normal weight for him. All the while we both are thinking since his mom is very thin it must be genetic and thats why he cant gain weight. Previously he had good amount of weight but now he look s so thin that it makes me feel bad that im not cooking well enough.His appetite is good though. But now i think im starting to get the picture. But i think it is better to get it diagnosed and be sure once and for all. Marivene, im sorry im just constantly asking these questions and taking your view but it never really struck me you know that it could be gluten. Thank you

  6. Taral,I had a friend who was having the same problem; she was eating all sorts of things (she even tried lots of junk food) and she kept losing weight; she got below 100 pounds. It turned out to not be Celiacs, but when they were telling her to not eat certain things for the test, one of them was Tumeric. She said every other spice was okay, but as I read this I thought of that and you, because tumeric is usually used in curry as well as on its own. The other interesting thing that she couldn’t have was white distilled vinegar. Other vinegars were fine.

  7. Taral, don’t worry about asking questions. We all come here to learn from each other. You will find it is very difficult to get a firm diagnosis of celiac, altho the drs can do tests for it. The “gold standard” is an intestinal biopsy with stunted villi, but many physicians are reluctant to “firmly” diagnose celiac, because many insurance companies will refuse to give you life insurance. Most will suggest you try the diet & see if it helps you. The reason our granddaughter was put on the diet was because of malabsorption. She ate plenty of calories, but she looked almost anorexic, because her body was not absorbing properly due to the gluten issues. Now that she eats gluten free, her body absorbs the nutrients just fine, because her bowel is not always inflamed.Brandy, I find it interesting they told your friend not to have white distilled vinegar. It is the only one you cannot have on the celiac diet, because it is made from grain.

  8. Elizabeth, about the links, I just copy then paste into a new browser box then enter. If you get an odd error message you may well have missed copying the first or last letter, I hope this helpsjenny in Wales

  9. Oh….I’ve not been letting it simmer long enough perhaps or using enough water (I generally cook mine in the crock pot; though I suppose it’s the “same thing”, I have a fear about leaving a pot going on the stove while I sleep). Thanks Marivene. BTW, always love reading your posts. Such a wonderful community here.

  10. Taral. My husband has the same symptoms you’re describing in your husband. In addition to Prilosec, which the dr prescribed, I put him on a probiotic which he takes every day. This has made a huge difference for him. Melissa

  11. So many great tips and wonderful inspiration here! This week I added a trip to the bookstore to an already planned outing and picked up my two new books. I used gift cards for them and by ordering online and picking them up in store I save $20! I like being ‘paid’ to be patient. The savings allowed me to get two books basically for the price of one. On top of the usual dining at home,cold water/hang to dry laundry and leftovers/brown bagging for lunch at work I also fixed my daughters favorite jeans and found a couple of free knitting patterns for thigh high leg warmers. I’m going to need them next year for a winter trip to Quebec so I’m starting on the ‘work’ now to make them as frugal as possible (hunting down free patterns and either finding wool at the thrift store or at least waiting for a sale). I also read books from the library and ordered some more to help with kitchen frugality. My daughters are learning to bake but mixes are just too expensive to buy. Wish me luck!

  12. Really? Was there a certain amount of time he has taken a probiotic and you have noticed a difference? Because my hubby took align for like 3 weeks and he said it was sort of giving him diarrhea which might be good in a way coz the bacteria are trying to regularize his bowel or digestive system

  13. Will doctors do tests to atleast find out if he is gluten sensitive even if we dont do the celiac test? Are the gluten tests covered in insurance? My hubby is thinking maybe we should go gluten free for a while. Do you think if we went gf maybe for like 2 months he should notice a difference?since in adults it will take longer to see a positive change than kids, but still any minor good thing

  14. Sorry the sentence got cut off….* that will let us know that we are on the right path. Somewhere in my mind im feeling a bit scared and nervous to go gluten free because of the limited options. Our staple is chapatis we have it everyday for lunch, im thinking what am i going to substitute it with? Yes there are plenty of options but not the ones we have tried. Its scary!!!! But this will also open us up to the different types of flour out there. Even in india there are many flours which can be used but i have not experimented.lets see how this change goes through. Should the change be gradual? Because of course i cant wake up suddenly the next morning and say no gluten now, and stop everything!!!last thing, when we go gf, does it mean we should avoid even minor amounts of gluten?

  15. Taral, unless you go completely gluten-free, (if that is the problem) you will not see any change. Even very small amounts of gluten are enough to keep the bowel inflamed. There is a new test out for celiac that is a blood test, but I am not familiar with it, since our family tests were done before it came out. An easy way to go gluten free for a trial is to cut out breads, & serve meals of like an old farm grandma: meat, potatoes & vegetables. Salads are good, if you make the dressing yourself & avoid white distilled vinegar. 2 months should be enough time to notice a difference. If you have chapatis for lunch everyday, you might have to switch to something like corn tortillas, but read the label to be sure there is no wheat, barley or rye, since all 3 contain gluten. My husband eats yogurt every day for the probiotics in it.

  16. The reaction of the bowel in a celiac or gluten intolerant individual is inflammation. That is one of the causes of the diarrhea, & the inflammation makes it harder for the bowel to absorb nutrients from the food eaten (malabsportion).

  17. Taral–I have been puzzling over your husband having diarrhea from the probiotics for days and I finally figured it out. Unless a probiotic says that it is dairy free it is high in lactose. I would suspect that his real problem is lactose intolerance. Schiff makes a product called Digestive Advantage for lactose intolerance. They carry it at Wal Mart and it is around $8 for 30 days supply. He should take 2-3 every morning for the first 3 days or so to build it up in his digestive system and then take one a day and he will be able to tolerate lactose again. I was lactose intolerant for over 20 years and it does cause major gastric upset and can just make you fell awful.

  18. Marivene–gluten intolerance can cause or exacerbate *a lot* of things, not just the obvious diarrhea, nausea, etc. Achy joints, headaches, acid reflux, asthma, other food allergies, autoimmune disorders including lupus, schizophrenia and depression…may all be influenced/caused by the consumption of wheat & other gluten. There’s a lot of research out there that indicates wheat may be causing a ton of health problems. Not all of the research is reliable, but it’s enough to make you scratch your head and wonder.I am not anti-drug, but I’d rather change my diet than go on long-term medication. And for most people, it’s a lot cheaper to go gluten-free than to pay for prescriptions every month.

  19. Momma-lana- he was taking align, im trying to check of thats lactose free or not. For now we are going to experiment with going gluten free atleast for 2 months.if it works out and atleast regularizes his bowels his health, like marivene has said, we will continue it. In the beginning i was pretty scared how we were going to do it, but the only adjustment we have to do is for pasta(which we have once a week), chapatis(for which i found a solution) and bread( buy gluten free). Otherwise, we never have any other wheat products in my house. Im hoping everything goes well. I was reading the wheat belly book and thats when i read about people(who had ibs and refux) getting good results.Thanks

  20. My son had the blood test done for celiac and he was 1 point over the normsl range. They didnt want to do the biopsy since he wasny that far over. However he has seversl other symptoms that we could not explain. We asked for the biopsy and hi villi were in such horrible shape that his ratio was 1:1 instead of what a normal person would have of 1:4. Every insurance will cover it differently, and require you to have different or other tests done before they may authorize the biopsy. Ours just required the blood test then we could do the biopsy.We have been completely gluten free since Mid November. It has been a learning exoerience gluten is in so many foods as well as many other ingerdients that celiac people cannot eat. My son cannot eat oeats even the certified gluten free ones, but I can now. Every person will be different as to how bad their villi look, and what you gastroenterologist gives you for diet information. Our doctors had no issue firmly diahnosing use with celiacs after the biopsy was done. There statement was that is the gold standard in diagnosing this condition. They usually will not give you any diagnosis until you have the biopsy, the biopsy is difinitive proof of this condition and the only accepted one from a medical standpoint. I understand the other suggestions you have bern given and all, but I would reccomend you talk with your physician and ask his thought on the gluten/celiac possibility for your husband. Then check with your insurance to see what their protocol is on these types of test as well as what percentage they will cover. If you try the diet first, then have the biopsy later you will have to go back on the diet for a few months before the biopsy can be done. Most of all I reccomend not to wait on whatever you devided to do. The lasting effects and damage can be tough on the body.

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