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The Prudent Homemaker Blog

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Larkspur in May The Prudent Homemaker

I cut larkspur from the garden for my table.

Desert Gold Peaches The Prudent Homemaker

We picked peaches from our Desert Gold peach tree. We ate lots of peaches this week; I made fruit salads and peach clafoutis.

I sliced and froze peaches from the garden for us to eat later in the year.

We picked a few white alpine strawberries from the white garden.

I cut Swiss chard from the garden.

I also found some powdery mildew in the garden, which I combatted by spraying with Neem oil (an organic spray for bugs and mildew).

The warmer it is, the more bugs that are out. I sprayed the foundation of the house with bug spray that I had bought a couple of years back for $5 at Walmart. Most people here pay a monthly fee for a service to come out and spray their home, which is around $25-$35 a month. I find that I can spray less than a full bottle and it lasts for several months to keep the bugs down.

I made cheesecake. I cooked pinto beans in the crockpot and made burritos

I bought some more strawberries for $0.99 a pound, bought tomatoes for $0.88 a pound, and bought eggs for $0.77 a dozen.

I donated several items to the thrift store. While I was there, I bought a couple of clothing items for my daughter. I also bought a linen blouse for myself ($3) and an everyday dress for myself ($6).

I resisted the urge to buy things three times this past week, instead deciding to make do with what I had at home.

Larkspur in May 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I made and sent some homemade gifts along with my foreign exchange student home to his family (who are my friends).

What did you do to save money last week?

 

 

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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White Larkspur The Prudent Homemaker

For the first time ever, I have apricots and peaches ripe at the same time (usually the apricots are ripe first). This past week we enjoyed both from the garden.

I watched a few shows on pbs.org for free.

I harvested a few white alpine strawberries from the garden.

Strawberries were on sale for $0.99 a pound with no limit at Smith's. I bought 24 pounds. I froze berries and made strawberry popsicles made chocolate covered strawberries.

I went to several garage sales with my parents on Saturday morning. I found a few clothing items for our family, each priced between $0.50 and $2 each. I found a small urn for $2 (an item that has been on my list for a while). I found a garage sale where the books were free! I brought home several free books for my children and one for my husband (a photo book about Prague). I also purchased a few books for them between $0.10 and $.50 each. I found a small basket for $0.50 that I will use to organize some things in my sewing room. I found a lightweight coat for my husband for $5. I found a small purse ($0.50) and some decorative bobby pins ($1) that I will save for gifts for Winter. 

I found two games for $2 each. One of them was Stratego. My friend's son (our exchange student) has loved playing this game while he has been here, so I bought it for him to take home. When I sat down in the car, I noticed the front of the box was in English and French! I peeked inside and noticed that there were instructions in both languages inside, and also that the board was marked in both languages! When I got home and double checked to see that all of the pieces were there (something I should have done at the sale but had not), to my surprise, the pieces were still sealed in the original bags--the game was brand-new!  (The other game, 7 Wonders, also looks to be brand-new as well!)

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Apricots in White Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested the first apricots from our garden.

 Artichokes and turnips The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested turnips and artichokes from the garden.

Fig Tarts 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I made fig tarts using figs we froze from the garden last year.

I watched a couple of episodes of Call the Midwife on Pbs.org.

My husband had some work done on our vehicle. He had everything written out and he paid half down and had the work done the next day. When they had finished, they told him that they replaced the brake pads (something he had not agreed to have done). He refused to pay for it, as he already had agreed upon the work that was being done. They told him the brake pads were under warranty, so he could skip paying for those, but that he would have to pay $200 for the labor. He reminded them that he already had a signed contract with them and had paid half down, and he was not going to pay for more work than he agreed to have done.  He came home with new brake pads, free of charge.

May Flowers The Prudent Homemaker

Yellow Graham Thomas roses, pink Earth Angel Roses, purple rocket larkspur, and Dusty Miller

I cut flowers from the garden for our table.

We were blessed with several new things this week:

My mom brought over several clothing items for my girls that she had found at garage sales for $0.50 each, including jeans and a brand-new coat! She also brought us some books that she found for $0.25 each.

We were given some hand-me-down clothes from my sister-in-law that will fit one of my daughters.

A friend brought by 18 eggs from her chickens.

Grand Canyon The Prudent Homemaker

We took atrip to the Grand Canyon. It's a 5 hour drive from my house. To save money, we chose to make the trip in one day. We brought food with us, including homemade French bread, chocolate chip cookies, almond blackberry muffins (I substituted frozen blackberries from our garden and some almonds I bought in bulk for the blueberries in this recipe), and balsamic vinaigrette. I did not make enough salad dressing for both lunch and dinner, so I stopped at a grocery store to buy a bottle of salad dressing. The kind I wanted was on sale, and a coupon fairy had left a $1 off coupon for me, which I gratefully used!

Route 66

My husband cut my hair (the day after this photo was taken!)

I gave the baby a haircut.

We celebrated the baby's first birthday with a simple party at home. We had ice cream and homemade brownies.

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Oregano The Prudent Homemaker

Oregano from the garden

I harvested lettuce, spinach, New Zealand spinach, Swiss chard parsley and oregano from the garden.

I cut roses from the garden for the table.

I sowed seeds in the garden for New Zealand Spinach, zucchini, and acorn squash.

New Zealand Spinach The Prudent Homemaker

New Zealand Spinach

I cut the sleeves down on two of the long-sleeved shirts that my husband received as a hand-me-down a few weeks ago and turned them into short-sleeved shirts.

I did the same for a blouse for myself that my daughter gave me that she had received at a clothing exchange a few years back. It fits me now and she was going to donate it, but I liked it and decided I would like it as an elbow-length blouse, so I turned it into one.

I saved the extra cuff buttons from the shirts in a button jar, to be used as needed for mending or on future projects.

On Sunday, I said to a woman at church, "I like your dress!" 

She replied, "Thanks! Do you want it?"

I was astonished! She told me the dress was a little too short on her when she sat down and that she was thinking of getting rid of it. She is about 4-5 inches taller than I am. The dress is a pretty navy blue lace dress with short sleeves. She came by on Tuesday morning and gave me the dress! I will take it in slightly, but I can wear it as it is, too.

I thanked her again yesterday, and when I did so, the woman standing next to her (who is about her same height) asked the woman which dress it was. She said that she had bought the same dress and had the same problem, and had given it to a sister who is shorter than she is!

I cut up a linen skirt that I have rarely worn in the last 13 years since I bought it (and that is now too large). I cut the back two sections into pieces for a pillow that I plan to embroider for my bed. I found a free vintage pattern to embroider via Pinterest that I will trace onto the fabric.

I gave one son a haircut.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Roses in Enamel Buckets The Prudent Homemaker

It's been a very busy week here, and on top of everything we've had our foreign exchange student here. I wasn't sure ahead of time how much English he spoke, and so while we help him to learn new words in English, we've also needed to converse quite a bit in French. I've had a lot of French study this week! I especially used Word Reference to look up words for both of us, and I've pinned a good number of French language pins on my Pinterest board. My French comprehension skills have really increased this week; there were only a couple of times I didn't understand, and that was usually because something was said too fast or too quietly.

I enjoyed a couple of video chats with friends in France. It continues to amaze me every time that video calling exists, and I love that it is free!

I cut peonies and roses from the garden.

I harvested lettuce, spinach, snow peas and Swiss chard from the garden.

Several of my children (and our houseguest) enjoyed climbing and rappeling on my nephew's climbing wall. It's pretty amazing that he has a climbing wall in his backyard, and it was great fun for everyone.

I downloaded a free Photoshop app to my phone to use to edit pictures on my phone.

My husband cut his own hair and a son's hair this week.

I turned a pair of torn jeans into jean shorts by cutting them off and hemming them.

I had a number of teens over for dinner. I made a large pot of minestrone soup and some French bread for a frugal meal.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

Note: I misplaced my camera battery charger recently, which is why there was no post last week and no additional posts this past week. Now that I can use my camera again and we've worked out a "new normal" with an additional teen in the house, I should (hopefully!) be able to get back to projects and more posting this week! If you want to see more photos, check out my Instagram account, where I have been sharing photos from my phone during the week.

 

 

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Improve Your French For Free

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French The Prudent Homemaker

One of my current goals is to improve my French every day by learning new words and phrases, improving my grammar, and improving my listening comprehension.

This year marks 20 years since I left for France and Switzerland as a missionary. It's been 19 years since I had the opportunity to speak French every day. Consequently, when I got back in touch with some friends from France on Facebook a couple of years ago, I found that I had forgotten a lot of French. I also had a very hard time understanding everything my French friends were saying during video calls.

I started studying French again in earnest two years ago, and I've seen a great leap in what I can understand and what I can say.

There's still so much more for me to learn. For the last month, I've really intensified my French study and made it a priority every day. Sometimes I just get a few minutes here and there, and sometimes I get the chance to spend 15 minutes, but every day I am doing something to improve my language skills.

Here's what I'm currently using to improve my French:

 

Websites:

 

Duolingo

A great free learning site that you can access on your computer and your phone. You can take a test at the beginning to help you start at the right level for you. I love that this site tests you on your spelling (including the correct use of accents), vocabulary, listening comprehension, and speaking ability. I have to admit that I prefer using this on the computer; the phone ap is not quite the same. This is more of a beginning level, but if you're forgotten a lot of a language it will help refresh your memory.

French Crazy

A French learning blog

Talk In French

Another French learning blog

 

YouTube Channels:

New vocabulary and lots of listening to native French speakers makes YouTube fantastic for improving both your spoken French and your comprehension.

 

Comme Une Française

This channel is in English by a native French speaker who shares lots of great expressions and vocabulary that you never learned in French class as well as cultural information. She has a blog as well that links to her videos, but since her information is in video format, I've found it fastest to subscribe directly to her channel. 

 

Learn French With Alexa

These are really basic beginning lessons, perfect if you're just getting started or if you need a refresher. I've been playing these for my children, but I tend to listen to them while they are playing, and they are great reminders.

 

Cyprien

Cyprien is the top YouTuber in France (because he's hilarious!) and has a worldwide following. If you don't understand the words the first time, try watching it again with French subtitles. I've found that helps me catch the words that flew by me.

 

Français Avec Pierre

Pierre's lessons are all in French. He speaks clearly and slowly. I just found his channel recently and I like that he doesn't speak too fast. His channel feels like personal tutoring from someone super nice and patient. His videos clear up grammar errors that are easy to make. His Facebook page has some great tips too!

 

Pinterest:

I've started a French language learning board that you can follow here. I love having new French words come up in my feed all the time.

 

The Library:

Our library doesn't have a lot of French books  (I did not see any literature) but they did have some of the McGraw HillMcGraw Hill series of workbooks that I've enjoyed. Check your local library to see what they offer! Some public library systems even offer the use of Rosetta Stone (an expensive language learning program) for free on their site; check to see if your library has this option.

 

Online Dictionary:

 

Word Reference

This is my go-to online free dictionary. Though I own two French-English dictionaries, I use this site much more often, as I'm often in need of a word when I'm typing a message to friends on Facebook. I have also used it many times when I know the word but don't know whether or not it is masculine or feminine. They have a phone app as well.

 

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I've found that actively striving to improve my language skills every day has been fun and exciting for me. It was never this fun when I studied French in high school (and less difficult than the French literature class I took in college!) Now that I am learning for my own personal enrichment, rather than a grade, I find that I am an enjoying it much more. And of course, the more I learn, the more smoothly those future video calls will go! I imagine I'll have a few more of those this month, for, at this very moment, a friend of mine's son from France is in an airplane on his way to our house to stay for the next month!

I imagine I'll have a few more of those this month, for, at this very moment, a friend of mine's son from France is in an airplane on his way to our house to stay for the next month! I don't think this opportunity would have come about if I had not been striving to improve my French so that I could communicate better with his parents.

 

If you're working on improving your foreign language skills, what sites are a help to you?

 

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