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Last Week’s Frugal Acomplishments

We enjoyed a trip to two local museums that were free for Nevada Day on Friday. We had never been before and entrance for our family would have been $93! Most things were indoors, but Ezrom decided to make goofy faces for me at one outdoor display.

I did get a kick out of a sign that spoke about the spring that was found here in Las Vegas (which means “The Meadows”, if you don’t speak Spanish). The sign said, “Early explorers must have been relieved to see this lush valley in the middle of the desert. Before they found the springs, they called this stretch of the Spanish Trail Jornada de la Meurte, “Journey of Death.”

I know there’s a spring here downtown, but I’d still like to know how they called this lush:

That’s what the desert here looks like where I live–in spring.

I think “Journey of Death” is a much more appropriate name.

After seeing the massive Ichthyosaur fossil at the Nevada State Museum, I think those rocks and our salty ground and water make a lot more sense.

I harvested 2 zucchini from one of the plants in my white garden. I hand-pollinated several other blossoms this week. I know 2 zucchini from 8 plants isn’t much yet, but I am very happy to have some! I hope that we get many more this fall! I also cut basil from the garden.

My husband and I cut his hair.

My husband gave Cyrus a haircut.

I said yes to a few things from my mom this week, who is decluttering. One was a small table, that I am using as a place for my teacher’s manuals.

I watched a few shows for free on Hulu.

I downloaded some things from the Dover Children’s Sampler to use for my children.

I decided on a few more Christmas gifts to add to my list, that can be made with items that I already have on hand. I’m excited to get them made, starting this week! On Friday I’ll be starting my Gift a Day series again, where I’ll be making and posting pictures each day of a gift I am making for Christmas. Click here to see the gifts I made in this series last year.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. Alyssa , I had what l thought was a good idea for a present for my youngest . She still collects stuffed animals so when I saw this pattern for a crocheted bunny on line I printed it off. I barely crochet and this said moderate. I had yarn and crochet hook but could not figure out the pattern. After many unfortunate attempts I bargained with a co-worker who is making it in exchange for two pumpkin and one Apple pie for her Thanksgiving dinner. She’s even giving me the canned pumpkin and canned milk, so it’s a great deal. Pies I can do!

  2. Maybe you can do both (buy the bread maker and have money to spend on your kids). If you have one close by, I purchased my bread maker from the Good Will when they were having a half-off sale. It would have been $10, but I got it for $5. The only drawback was that I had to purchase a new paddle for it, but I found a replacement for $5 (so I guess I ended up paying the $10 anyway when it was all said and done). Before I found this one at Good Will, I did put out a request on Freecycle, but didn’t hear from anyone. Later, someone did post that they had one to give away, but it was after I bought this one. You might also check Craig’s List? Sometimes people find that these appliances are just taking up too much space and they get rid of them! It’s crazy! I use my bread maker all the time…usually I have it on the “dough” setting and make pizza dough or dough for rolls/buns. I did find a great recipe recently for Buttermilk bread for the bread machine on Food.com. I found some buttermilk at Fresh and Easy for .28/qt but I didn’t know how I would use it. This bread is phenomenal! I don’t know when I’ll find buttermilk for .28/qt. again, but I know how I’ll use it from now on. Good luck on your search for a bread maker! I hope you’re able to “have your bread and eat it, too”, in a manner of speaking. God Bless!

  3. One of my nieces has started a mobile grooming business. She started with dog sitting and moved up and now has bought a van. People love to pamper their pets. You will save so much money in the long run.

  4. I had a lot of small toms this year someone suggested I make jam. You can google for a recipeit is divine . I cannot remember the one I used but it is very yummy. I just had some peppers come off so I am thinking tomatoe pepper jam I sometimes put the pepper jam over cream cheese at Christmas. Very festive add some homemade crackers inexspensive and lovely.Hope this helps Patti

  5. Hi I used to do a lot of O.T. I worked with kiddos for years. A really great way to get the correct grip for a pencil is to break regular lenth crayons into 3 or 4 pieces . The kids do not have enough lenth to hold on the wrong way.Hope this helps,Patti

  6. Some of the ideas ( not all homemade, but relatively inexpensive) I have used for presents for the male family members are …I made a new cover for the cushion on a desk chair…cans of salted, honey roast, etc peanuts and almonds ( you can get recipes and do this yourself) …rolls of film for a camera…a journal type calendar with pictures of interest…bird seed and sunflower seeds for the bird feeder…homemade fire starters for the fireplace, like pinecones dipped in parrafin, or the kind you make in egg cartons with lint, sawdust, wax…basically any foodstuffs, (homemade or bought) they normally like…book of crosswords puzzles and/or word games…flannel shirt…socks…a mixed CD to listen to in car if they travel a lot…DVD of a favorite movie (I have seen them as low as 5.00 in stores now for oldies…maybe you will be lucky to find one he likes if you look).

  7. Hello Miss Brandy and readers,I was so inspired by the “gift a day” series last year. I can’t wait for the series this year. Everyone is being so frugal. Unfortunately, my oldest has a tumor in her head and my desk is covered with bills. We expect her to be OK but it will be a long journey. My frugality went out the window. Any suggestions to save money when medical bills are sky high would be appreciated. I have cut as much as I can but maybe I am missing something. Looking forward to the “gift a day” series. :)Anna

  8. Make It and Love It had an entry on her blog about magnetic paper dolls and a holder. You can go to the blog and enter magnetic paper dolls in the search box on her blog. She also had an excellent entry about homemade kid’s gifts. It has some very good ideas for boy’s gifts. I always seem to have more trouble thinking of gifts appropriate for boys. Hope this helps.

  9. I made muffins last week, I am still harvesting peppers off my small garden freezing some whole and pre-chopping others., have been spreading coffee grounds on my pepper plants and they really seam to like it. I have carrots growing and looking forward to those, I have been splitting and replanting my onion, I am also keeping one next to the sink in a glass of water so that I have it on hand when I want to cook dinner. Last week we went to a household goods swap one of our homeschool groups had, brought home some things for my girls, and got rid of some stuff. What no one claimed was donated to what ever charity those willing to clean up took it to.I got my Christmas listed started and posted it today. http://sillygeesedesigns.blogspot.com/2013/10/my-2013-christmas-gift-planner.html I have one item not yet listed on it, I made an earing book out of felt, I am hoping to make a tutorial and post it, hard to do when my 2 year old is determined to not nap!

  10. I had two birthday gifts to give and I was able to make both of them! And they turned out so pretty. I made fabric covered wooden bead necklaces with vintage Lilly Pulitzer fabric. I had all of the materials on hand already.I didn’t do a ton of grocery shopping but I did get four half gallons of milk for just $0.99/each. Which is AMAZING. I used competitor coupons for that.I bought 12 lbs of onions for just under $4. I plan to chop up half of them this weekend to make caramelized onions. I’ll them freeze them in small baggies to use later.I had an expensive dinner out. Which wasn’t ideal or frugal. But it happened. At least the gift I made was free, right?I’ve started to break down my garden for winter. I’m going to use lasagna gardening for the first time in hopes that it will save me time and my back pulling weeds in the spring. I’ve been saving egg shells for six months in the freezer. When I had a bunch and was using the oven to bake something, I would toss them from the freezer onto a baking sheet. Basically I was drying them out. Then I would crush them. Thus making them easy to store. I also dried out use coffee grounds for easy storage. I’ve been layering newspaper (which I also already have as I buy four each week for coupons), green waste (including plants I am pulling up and the banana peels) and brown waste (including the egg shells and coffee grounds). I’m paying for none of this so even if it’s a flop, I am out not a dime.* I finally got around to canning candied jalapeno peppers (four little jars- will make nice Christmas treats) and tomatillo salsa (made a ton- EVERYONE is getting a jar- ha).KK @ Preppy Pink Crocodile

  11. I can only reference my Joann but their sewing machine department is sort of like a store within a store. It’s not technically part of Joann’s. So you can’t use the coupons there. As much as it pains me to say it, I’d price compare at Walmart (and Target, etc) first. You can buy a really good basic machine for $100 quite often.

  12. I was able to get some frugal things done this past week, even though things have seemed busier than usual. I find that when I’m the busiest, it’s the time I need to be frugal the most, but it’s the hardest to accomplish. It is a great source of encouragement to know that it’s that way for a lot of you, too. So, no, we did not eat out. But, we’ve had crock pot chili 5 or 6 times in the last couple of weeks. I’ve made it twice, and we have warmed it up in the microwave. Over and over:) I was able to grab some marked down chicken breasts on Sunday. I pounded some thinly and cooked patties for chicken parmesan and put those together with a jar of boughten spaghetti sauce and noodles for a super quick dinner Monday night. I made chicken soup with some of them, which we warmed up last night, as well as for dinner Sunday evening. I cut some up into pieces and marinated them for chicken teriyaki. I froze those for later, but they will be quick when I do thaw them. The last thing I made was chicken nuggets for lunch Sunday. One of the ways I’m surviving is to make a lot of food on the weekend and just warm it up until Thursdays when I can cook again. Because I teach piano lessons, and a lot of kids can come late afternoons, it’s a challenge when it comes to cooking dinner. However, I don’t want to use all of my earnings eating fast foods and pizzas. I was able to sew one daughter a nice, white, button-down blouse. She is going to use it for a costume, then wear it. It took a couple of weeks, because I have to squeeze sewing in between so many other things. I love how it looks and I love that it only cost $5 in materials, including pattern. I was able to use some garage sale buttons to help keep the cost down. I cut out a pair of sleeping shorts for my husband from fabric I got at a rummage sale for $1.50. I also cut out a nightgown for my grand daughter. I got the fabric for 1/2 the clearance price and got some lace from the same rummage sale. Hopefully, I can get those made soon.I helped stack wood as my husband sawed it. We got the wood for free (cost of diesel to haul, of course) last winter and it has been drying. Now we are working to get it cut and stacked. We heat with wood almost exclusively. We we able to share with friends who needed wood, as well.We kept the cousins this past Friday and Saturday. Lots of fun for all the kids. I was able to stay home all day Saturday with all the kids. That was a rare occasion, and did not take any gas.Friday night, I held a piano recital for my students. I pay a very small fee to use the church, to cover lights, electricity, etc. We grabbed some candles and 3 small pumpkins from the garden for decoration. I just turned the church lights down very low, lit the candles, and it was lovely. Very inexpensive and yet, so nice. Because the students do not pay extra for recitals, I have to keep my cost down, but I like it to be nice for them. I do buy them each a small prize. This year they got their choice of candy, gum, or a survival whistle. Prizes stay below $1, but many were around 50-75 cents. One of the cousins has a real interest in gardening. She and my youngest daughter spend quite a bit of time over the weekend pulling the last of the carrots, picking the few odds and ends left in the garden and picking the pumpkins. Because of their efforts and a week of dry weather, my husband was able to till up the garden. They also washed and bagged up the many, many carrots they pulled and they are in the garage refrigerator. They will keep a long time. I do have some wireworm damage, so I will try to use them quickly. You just cut out that part, but they will spoil more quickly. I probably have 30 lbs or more in there. We have probably eaten 20 lbs already, at least, in addition. This was a banner carrot year. The girls found several nice, big pumpkins ready to pick and the cousins took some home. The rest are on our porch. They got several winter squash as well.

  13. The Wal-Mart in town here no longer has a fabric section so.I don’t know if they still carry machines. I’ll call and ask and call Target too. I have noticed the Joann coupons always exclude the sewing machines.

  14. I am using a Janome and I have been very happy with it. My 1959 Singer had been repaired multiple times but the tension finally went all the way out. My parents bought one at Hancock’s on a Christmas sale and let me borrow it for many years. I finally saved up some Amazon credit and purchased my own Janome from Amazon. If you have been using Swagbucks or something else you could purchase one that way. You could also try looking on Craig’s list. If you were here I could sell you my grandmother’s machine; it is like new; she never used the new machine my parents bought for her and now I am selling it.

  15. If you like Lark Rise, you might enjoy The Paradise. It is on PBS, but they have the first episodes on PBS.com. It is written by the same guy who wrote Lark Rise, stars a few of the same actors, and is a Victorian age costume drama.

  16. I do leave the skins on, but often end up pulling them off (which is easy to do when they are cooked) because they are not very appetizing and peels don’t grate well. I cook them on high for about 3 hours, and that is for a Crockpot that is crammed full of them, but with certain less starchy varieties it will take longer for them to get fork tender.

  17. Thanks Patti! I’m off to see if we have any broken crayons (I usually melt them down in some little Santa molds I have to make little gifts for the kids in my life, so I’m not sure if I do or not, but if not, it won’t take long to get some!

  18. My mother always has a museum membership where ever she lives. She’d use special events for her grade school students back when she was still teaching. We spent many fun visits to museums growing up. When my children were younger she would take one at a time , expanding their knowledge and giving them one on one grandma time.

  19. Sorry for not getting back sooner! I didn’t realize there would be questions! I bought the magnetic sheets at Walmart. One side is adhesive. You simply peel back the wax paper on the adhesive side and stick on your printed (on plain paper) paper dolls. Then trim around them all. I put them all in a little tin gift card holder for little girl’s purse storage! 😉 I didn’t have to add any coating to mine and they are still beautiful but if you choose to- I bet a layer of modpodge might work better. You wouldn’t have to RETRIM them then! 🙂

  20. Another thing to do is look at Bed Bath and Beyond online. I got a machine that was originally $129 on sale for $79. Then I was able to get it shipped to the store for FREE. In store you can use the 20% off coupon. so I got the machine for around $55 at the end of the day 🙂

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