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Frugal Accomplishments For The Third Week of August

August Harvest The Prudent Homemaker

I picked red noodle beans, butternut squash, Armenian cucumbers, grapes, Swiss chard, and a few tomatoes from the garden.

Oregano Drying The Prudent Homemaker

I cut oregano and basil from the garden to dry. My drying process is simple: I rinse the herbs and lay them to dry on a cooling rack. Our climate is very dry and the bit of the humidity that we have had from the passing storms is gone, so our humidity runs between 5 and 10%. I let these air dry and it takes 1 to 2 days for them to be completely dry. In a more humid climate, it may take up to a week before your herbs are dry this way. It uses no power and is very simple, which I love!

I canned a batch of dill pickles with the cucumbers. I added a grape leaf from the garden to each jar to help them to be crisper.

I was given some onions and some bell peppers that were past their prime. I used them with cucumbers from my garden and spices I had on hand to can sweet pickle relish. The timing was perfect as we had just used our last jar of relish in tuna melts the previous week.

I cooked meals in my solar oven every day.

Baby Lizard The Prudent Homemaker

Wren caught a baby lizard in the garden this past week.

I took cuttings from my Boxleaf euonymus and Greenspire euonymus bushes and started them to root. I took several as I know they won't all take. I lost several bushes in the garden due to the extreme heat and sun this summer. I know it will take 4-5 years to get the bushes large enough to replace the ones that died, but it will save me the money on new ones. I will move any that any take root into the garden sometime in November or December when the weather cools.

I saved $6 in electricity over the week before last. The electric company had estimated my bill to be $415 for this month. With 4 days left, they're now estimating it to be $375. I always challenge myself to make the number much lower than they predict. This is our highest electric bill for the year.

I made a pair of earrings for myself using beads and findings I had on hand.

I mended and modified a hand-me-down dress that my girls received a few years ago.

Making a Casting The Prudent Homemaker

For a merit badge, my husband taught my son how to make a mold, and then to make a casting from it. Before we were married, my husband was a mold maker for the movie industry; it was fun to see him teach Ezrom this process We had all of the supplies on hand..

I had a couple of date nights at home with my husband.

My husband worked from home two days, saving gas to drive to his office and back.

I used Recyclebank points to renew a subscription I got for free from them last year to Cooking Light magazine. Now I have another free year to enjoy reading.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Lowe's gift card. I am saving up cards to use to purchase supplies for some projects at home.

After watching the short video, "The Potential of the Piano" as a family this week, my eldest found a free pdf of the sheet music here. (You can also download a free MP3 of this pretty song at the same link).  Winter likes this song so much she is considering using it as a recital song.

We went swimming at my sister-in-law's house. On the way home, we stopped at the library, where we enjoyed the art exhibit (I shared a photo over on Instagram), checked out books, and made note of some upcoming activities that we are interested in attending.


What did you do to save money last week?



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  • Athanasia, my grandmother had a city pickup of garden waste that was done like yours.

    Our city doesn't do that, but burning is illegal here.

    The city is considering going to one trash can per family with once a week pickup, and you have to rent the trashcan for $8 a month. I really hope they don't do that, as it would not only increase our costs, but be a major problem for us. We already fill several trash cans several times a week, especially when I am pruning and pulling out old plants for the season. Just our regular trash is more then one can twice a week right now. I love twice a week pickup as it reduces the roaches and smell we get in our heat.

  • Athanasia August 22, 2017

    Brandy they give us one bin for recycling and one for garbage when they went to single stream. One truck with mechanical arms does both. If you wanted a bigger bin there was a fee to pay. The bins are owned by the village and stay with the property should one move. Each came labeled with codes. Since you have to include so much in your bins because there aren't other options I see one bin would not work for you.

    Oh by the way, did you ever have success with the trash can composter?

  • Juls Owings August 25, 2017

    We have a well and septic. Besides the electric to run them (which is why we got a generator this year) we also have a whole house filter and water softener. Between the Ridx for the septic tank, filters and salt for the softener we spend close to $ 75 a month to maintain that. Landlord just spent $150 for a part when the pump broke last week for 2 days and he hauled water 1/2 mile twice a day to us since I was in a sling. Still was a struggle to "flush" the toilet. Hubby rigged a hose and put the water like we do when collecting water and then taking it to the gardens. We have a water drum that we used to use.

  • Athanasia August 22, 2017

    Kim, I am sorry that your teacher daughter is treated so poorly there. The situation is only getting worse. We have a governor here who does not seem to value higher education and has made way too many cuts in recent years in the area of education. I am glad you were able to help her.

  • Athanasia August 21, 2017

    Well, we're all busy her with the eclipse. The science teacher came in and set up a telescope in the parking lot with a viewer on it and sent out an email. I was already at school so we took our lunch outside. We're not in prime viewing territory.

    We have had a usually busy 3 weeks. Tomatoes and corn are full in, same time as always. We have also harvested green and wax beans, beets, cucumbers, zucchini, melons, eggplant, greens, herbs, blackberries, carrots, onions, herbs, bell and spicy peppers, the last of the potatoes, cabbages, and the first of our hardy peaches. That is the most exciting.

    We had a few momentous family happenings over the last 3 weeks. Well first is always my sister and my birthday which was so close to the time my cousin was doing his annual pig roast this year that we celebrated then as everyone there anyways. At the gathering younger son Markus and his special friend Christy announced their wedding. We knew and many suspected they would get married soon. November 4th is clear at their church so their planning has begun. We gain a grandchild...Christy lost her husband almost 3 years ago. He was a childhood survivor of cancer but he relapsed when Adam was one. Adam is adopted due to all the radiation and chemo that Adam Sr had had in his life. My husband's sister is returning to the family...Annie disenfranchised herself due to a boyfriend, they eventually moved away, married, had 2 children. We never saw them, they lived a totally different lifestyle. They eloped so we never saw the wedding, they never once attended anything other than her parents funerals and she came by herself for those. Well, the husband said he is divorcing her, her only employment has been at his family business and her children live 1000 miles away in either direction. She has decided to relocate up here. She was terribly upset of course and called Levi...he drove there taking along Carrie, another of their sisters. So we are happy and sad for her.

    Some of the things baked and cooked the past 3 weeks were vegetable stir fry and rice, stuffed bell peppers, jalapeno poppers on the grill, grilled fish, grilled vegetables, macaroni and cheese, 7 layer lettuce salad, along with just regular tossed salads, 4 bean salad, boc choy ramen salad, coleslaw, cucumber salads, roasted beets, macaroni salad with fake crab meat, hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, bratwurst once on the grill. Lots of grilled food in summer. We ate many fresh vegetables with hummus or ranch dip. Corn on the cob often. Made American (cold) potato salad, deviled eggs. Made zucchini bisquit quiche twice. Sauteed chopped eggplant, onions, peppers and zucchini in olive oil and put into 1 and 2 cup freezer containers. Made more basil pesto and put 5 more 4 oz containers in the freezer. We made cream puffs because they are famous here for the state fair. We don't go to the fair, just eat cream puffs and watch the old version of STATE FAIR on the DVD. Baked white bread every week, rye bread, applesauce coffeecake, blueberry buckle, frozen pumpkin ginger pie (very good--recipe in old red Betty Crocker cookbook), blackberry cobbler, blueberry muffins. I can't remember anything else.

    Did little grocery shopping as there is so much to use at home. Bought milk each week, farm eggs, the large size of plain yogurt were marked at .99 each for clearance so I bought 4 and put them upside down in the back of the refrigerator. They will keep. We all prefer to eat plain yogurt and I use yogurt in place of buttermilk and sour cream. Bought the large size jar of minced garlic. I don't like peeling and chopping...one of the few cooking chores I can't abide.

  • momsav August 21, 2017

    Athanasia, I had to laugh about the cream puffs and State Fair! Too funny!

  • J August 21, 2017

    State Fair the movie....like I-O Iowa ?? I love that movie! Such a classic.

  • Athanasia August 22, 2017

    Yes, J, the older version from the 1940's not the new remake. We laugh so hard at the pickle and mincemeat judging scene!!

  • Becky August 21, 2017

    Life is such a mixture of happy and sad, isn't it? I feel bad for your sister-in-law to have such sadness in her life. I hope moving back to family will help her get through this awful time. It's great that your son will marry and you will get another special little one to love out of it, too!

    I'm in the same boat--there is so much food that we cannot seem to eat it all--what a great problem! So, I, too, am not buying much these days. Any surplus money is just going to canning and other food preservation projects, but the daily food--it's coming from the garden and freezers and canning cupboards right now. We don't have any corn ripe, yet. My sister is growing some for me, but it's a little ways off. Soon....

  • DonnaMarie August 22, 2017

    Becky: I follow your blog and I am amazed at everything you and Rob get done. I am especially impressed because you just purchased that house about a year ago and essentially started over again with the garden and fixing up the house, as well as Rob's new job. My best inspiration comes from you and Brandy :)

  • Becky August 22, 2017

    Thank you so much for the kind words. The past couple of years have not been easy, that's for sure, but I'm so thankful for what I do have. Our recent trip to Mexico helped reinforce that fact that I have SO much. It was interesting to me this trip, though, to see that the standard of living has risen considerably in that area, since we were there a few years ago. So, that made me feel happy, too. I'm the first to say that money doesn't buy happiness, but if you do not have enough to meet your basic needs, it's a real worry.

    Back here at home, it is very rewarding to see the canning cupboards filling up with freshly canned goods--so pretty to me!

  • Athanasia August 22, 2017

    Yes it will be interesting getting to know her again and for her to get used to a very large extended family, most of whom are strangers. The sisters are thinking it might be best if she finds a place in the university town just north of us. They are all rural and she's not sure she wants to small of a town. She will probably have to get used to being called Annie again ☺. She changed it to Annemarie but her real name was Anna Mary. Jay has moved out to let her pack up etc. Levi met with him at his office to discuss details. It sounds like he will be generous. She has an almost brand new car, he will continue her health insurance, and she can take pretty much anything in the way of furniture and goods from the house. (Apparently his girlfriend has very specific ideas and is planning on doing it all over her way). She will have money to live on also. Jay had a whole outline drawn up and signed. We hope for the best. Oh he will also pay moving fees. The family's all figuring out who can do what and when.

  • Elizabeth M. August 23, 2017

    That sounds like a good start to her new life. I am glad she has such a supportive family to help her out with this change.

    I do like the sound of this frozen pumpkin ginger pie. Two of my favorite flavors. i'm going to have a look for the recipe.

  • Athanasia August 23, 2017

    Elizabeth, the pie is soooo good. Most ingredients are normal, but it does call for crystallized ginger. I can get it in the bulk section at one of the stores in town and it is much cheaper than the little McCormak jars.

  • Elizabeth M. August 23, 2017

    That's interesting! It is sounding better and better.

    Crystallized ginger is actually quite easy to make. You just need fresh ginger and sugar and a little water. I don't know how the price compares ...

  • Athanasia August 23, 2017

    Elizabeth I never thought of making it myself. Is it similar to candying orange peel? I would certainly try that.

  • Elizabeth M. August 24, 2017

    Yes, it is. There are lots of recipes on the internet. Basically, you boil the ginger in a sugar syrup and then roll it in sugar again afterwards. I'm thinking it would be nice to make for holiday baking and to give as small gifts to bakers, though I'd make it for myself first before to make sure I'm happy with it.

  • Juls Owings August 25, 2017

    Thank you Elizabeth M. We have friend that is hard to get anything for at Christmas/Yule... the ginger is one of his favorite snacks but he isn't willing to pay the price.

  • Sandra August 23, 2017

    I never liked peeling and chopping garlic either. I use a garlic press. I find the flavor so much better with fresh garlic.

  • Athanasia August 29, 2017

    I could have plenty of free fresh garlic too if I wanted as my older son's in-laws grow a lot of it and are always offering. But do you have to get that skin off first before pressing?

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