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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

May Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker 

This post contains affiliate links.

I have been behind in my work in the garden, but now that the baby is here, I am working to get caught up.

Consequently, most of my money saving activities this week involved the garden.

Two weeks ago, I was speaking with the irrigation person at the local nursery. He gave me a watering suggestion for my grass. Rather than watering three times in the early morning before sunrise for 5 minutes each time, as the water district suggests, he said to water for 10 minutes at 7 a.m. and again at 7 p.m., as our heat here (116° in summer and right now in the 90°s) makes it hard for the grass to go so long without water. (We are not permitted to water here between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. here.) I tried switching my water to once at 7 a.m. and once at 7 p.m., but just for the regular length of 5 minutes each time.  I'm watering 1/3 less, and after two weeks, my grass is much greener and not burning (which it was doing recently). As our water bill is tiered here and lawn watering is my largest usage of water, I am thrilled to use less. I will be keeping to this plan as the heat comes on, only adding to the length of time if the grass needs it. I am hoping the lawn will still be happy with this amount of water, at a different time of day, when it's 116° and above (June through September, it only cools to 113° at 8 p.m. each night).

I mended a leak in the drip irrigation.

I collected shower warm-up water in a bucket and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

I planted seeds in the garden for Armenian cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, and butternut squash. I had planted seeds for all of these previously, but all but two plants either didn't come up, came up and burned, or came up and were eaten by bugs.

I planted seeds for basil, red noodle beans, garlic chives, and morning glories in the garden.

I got some good, free exercise by weeding, pulling bolted plants, cutting back dead leaves from flowering bulbs, and pruning hedges in the garden.

Apricots The Prudent Homemaker 

I harvested apricots, spinach, lettuce, lemons, green onions, and garlic chives from the garden.

I cut flowers from the garden.

I cooked a whole chicken in the solar oven.

I turned five pairs of jeans that were torn at the knees into jean shorts for my daughters.

I turned one pair of jeans into a pair of capris for a daughter.

My husband mended my son's tent before he took it on a fathers' and sons' campout that my two older boys went on with my husband.

My husband gave my eldest son a haircut.

My eldest son carpooled with friends to and from a free dance.

We went through the clothing boxes and found 4 pairs of shorts, several pairs of pants, and two dress shirts for my second son. The clothing boxes for my teenaged boys had had the clothing a bit muddled, and we hadn't been able to find anything for my second son in the boxes, even though I was sure than just a year or two ago, my eldest son had worn clothes that could be passed down. I was happy when we found these, as it saved us from a trip to the thrift store for new items of clothing.

Four of my daughters and I watched the first episode of the Little Women television show on PBS.org for free. I cast it to the television so that everyone could see it. I looked online to see what money was worth in 1850, so that I could tell my daughters that when Jo sells her hair for $25, that would be $753.40 today.

I opened the dryer after drying a load to find the lint screen broken and twisted in the slot. I have never seen such a thing before! I went to the Kenmore website to order a new part. They offered me 10% off my order if I signed up my email with them, which I took--and made sure to unclick all promotional emails.


What did you do to save money this past week?



I've had a few questions readers recently that I'd like to answer here (rather than in the comments) to make sure that everyone who has asked will see the responses.

I have had several readers asking me which laptop I purchased to replace mine, as they are looking at laptops for their university-bound students. I purchased this laptop.

I have been asked about how I have so much energy after having a baby. I made sure to have a high hemoglobin level before the baby was born (it was 13.6 a few days before I gave birth).  In addition to eating a good amount of iron in my diet (lots of leafy greens, including Swiss chard from the garden, and lots of beans), I took a multi-vitamin, an additional folic acid supplement, an additional b-12 supplement, liquid chlorophyll, and Floridex liquid iron with vitamin C. I also drank red raspberry leaf tea (I purchased the leaves in bulk from SF Herb.)

The wrap I purchased at a garage sale for $1 to wear after the baby was born looks like this one. It's definitely been helpful in supporting my stomach muscles and my back. It's also been helpful in healing my diastasis. My midwife said my diastasis is almost completely gone at my appointment this past week, which is amazing to me, as I did not heal like this after my last baby (I had a three-finger width diastasis this time and a four finger-width one last time). I've been careful to not lift anything heavier than the baby, having my family help me lift my two-year-old for diaper changes and washing up after meals, and taking care not to get up from bed in a way that will cause more separation (like a sit up). I wore a girdle after my last baby and did not have any luck with it, so I am very surprised and delighted to have such positive results this time with this wrap and being careful. 

I have not done many exercises for diastasis yet, but a reader asked me if I knew of any free ones, as several places online ask for a hefty fee to share them with you. I've found several free ones via Pinterest, including here, here, and here.




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  • Libby May 21, 2018

    That is a HUGE amount of money Jo received for selling her hair!

    Some weeks are just big weeks – both with positive and negative things happening. Thankfully most weeks are quiet, same old/same old.
    • Paid a bill online
    • I decided spur of the moment and cashed in frequent flyer miles, hotel rewards, airport parking rewards, and car rental rewards – I’m going to MN and SD over Memorial Day weekend to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder sites. I’m so excited!! Now I’m madly re-reading the books that my grandmother gave me in 1971! This is a bucket list trip for me and I’m so thankful I can do it for minimal cash out of pocket.
    • Requested a list of sleep centers from my insurance company. Called around and found one that is 50% less than the local hospital meaning my copay will be $325 rather than $800. Now I’m coordinating the referral from my ENT surgeon.
    • Watched Moonlighting episodes on YouTube.
    • I have a new neighbor and we do not agree on where the property line is. She has threatened legal action. This neighborhood was created in the 1920’s and there are no surveyor maps on file at town hall. I called around to several surveying companies and found one that is $300 less than the others. This is really not an expense that I need right now, but the existing fence zig zags and we need clarity in order to have a peaceful relationship.
    • Returned unworn clothing items I purchased to wear to a second interview. I didn’t need them when I found another outfit that I own and that fits.
    • Made swag goal x 2
    • During checkout at the grocery store, an item I was buying didn’t ring up with the correct sale price. It rang up as $0.98 rather than $0.88 per pound. Two cashiers and one manager all tried to ring the item up with the same results. Following store policy, I received the item for free.
    • Went to several yard sales and purchased sterling silver hoop earrings, a polished pewter serving dish, and six Beanie Babies with tags to use in Operation Christmas Child boxes. In addition there were two large, “FREE” boxes filled with items. I picked up 4 plastic outdoor plates, a large plastic serving bowl, a couple of small, “non-brand” stuffed animals, and a small, framed chalkboard.
    • Roasted a chicken with carrots and potatoes on a day when the outside high temp was 59 degrees so the chicken helped warm up the house. Made a large salad of mixed greens, chicken, dried cranberries, and feta cheese with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Made risotto with arugula and gorgonzola. Put together a salad of cukes with couscous, feta, and lemon dressing. Made spinach/ricotta white pizza from scratch, also made broth overnight from chicken carcass using slow cooker

  • Rachel H May 21, 2018

    Libby, did you know that Laura and Almonzo lived in Westville, Florida for about a year? I don't think she wrote much about that time, just that she couldn't take the heat, so they moved on to Missouri. I live about 60-70 miles from there, but have never been. I love her books!

  • Libby May 21, 2018

    I didn't know that Laura & Almanzo lived in Florida! What a drastic change from South Dakota :) Hope you get to visit one day.

    The Wilder farm on which Almanzo grew up is in Malone, NY, which is tucked into the corner of Vermont & Canada.

  • Athanasia May 21, 2018

    Libby, what about Pepin WI? That is the site of LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS. The log cabin is a re-creation but it is on the site of the original acreage.

  • Libby May 21, 2018

    Arrrggh! I should have checked to see where Pepin, WI is before booking everything. It is so close to MSP - only 1.5 hours. I'm madly trying to rearrange to see if I can get there too.

    Thanks so much for letting me know :)

    I was also trying to squeeze in Mankato, MN which is the setting for the Betsy & Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace.

  • Athanasia May 22, 2018

    Libby, hope your itinerary works out and that you have a wonderful time.

  • Melody May 23, 2018

    My husband and I did a Little House On The Prairie Vacation last year. We visited all the sites you mention here except the Wilder Farm in NY. It was a wonderful trip and was very exciting, for me, to see all the places I have read about and watched on tv for so many years! The log cabin in Pepin, WI is a wonderful recreation and the land surrounding it is beautiful A nice place to visit, very serene. We enjoyed Mankato, MN. Walnut Grove, MN had a wonderful museaum. Also in Walnut Grove, MN be sure to visit the Ingalls family dugout site. Bring a picnic lunch it is a beautiul place to sit and relax and explore. Have drinks as it is very hot here in the summer! The prairie reconstruction they have done to restore it to how it would have been is great! De Smet, South Dakota has so many neat places to see and visit. Be sure to visit the gravesites of the Ingalls family. It is such a beautiful resting place!
    Hope you have a wonderful visit!

  • Athanasia May 24, 2018

    Libby, there is a very good book I would recommend called THE WORLD OF LITTLE HOUSE by Carolyn Strom Collins. It is fully illustrated and goes through all the locations from the books and gives floor plans of all the dwellings. I found it very interesting and we have it in our school library. You could probably find it at the public library.

  • Maxine May 21, 2018

    Brandy, you're amazing! What else can I say??

    Libby, your Little House trip sounds wonderful! Back in 1989, I was in my Anne of Green Gables phase and dragged my family to Prince Edward Island. Not that they didn't have a wonderful time, but they weren't quite as enamored of Anne as I was. I used a combination of frequent flyer miles (not as plentiful then as now) and two tickets we got for being bumped on an earlier trip. We flew to Boston, did the American heritage stuff and drove to PEI (took the ferry from New Brunswick). Great trip--and I hope yours is, too.

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for last week:
    (1) I earned $150 in poll worker pay.
    (2) I returned my library book early (no fines!) and checked out two more. Love the library! I read The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah and highly recommend it.
    (3) Discovered Medicaid will reimburse me .15 per mile for transporting my DD to the developmental disabilities center. I take her in on Mondays and bring her home on Thursdays--two one-ways. It is 50 miles each way. However, I have to drive roundtrip in order to accomplish each one way. So I will drive 200 miles and be reimbursed for 100 miles, or $15 a week. And I was already doing it, anyway. I've still got about 6 weeks to claim mileage. (I found out I could have been doing this all along, but it isn't retroactive).
    (4) Make do and mend--I resewed the loose hem in a bath towel; fixed a plastic planter with duct tape (it only has to last 6 more weeks); and DH took apart my non-working iron, couldn't find anything obviously wrong, put it back together, and it works! (Not that I plan to use it much).

  • Janell May 22, 2018

    Maxine, can you tell me where you found the information for the mileage reimbursement? I wonder if it is also for Medicare?

  • Maxine May 23, 2018

    I don't think it applies to Medicare. I'm on Medicare and cared for my mother and MIL when they were on Medicare, and I never heard anything about it. I found out from my DD's service coordinator (DD is developmentally disabled) and her transportation to work, doctor appointments, etc., is paid by Medicaid. I would Google something like medical transportation reimbursement plus the name of your state, and see what comes up. Or, if your person has a service coordinator of some type, I would ask that person. Or call the Area Agency on Aging. Good luck!

  • Kris May 22, 2018

    My best friend and I went to PEI about 20 years ago to see Green Gables. I thought it was pretty commercialized but we had a fun trip. New Brunswick is beautiful!

    Brandy, the handle on my dryer lint trap cracked last week! Right now we have it duct taped but I think I need to check into purchasing a replacement. What a coincidence that yours also broke. On a different note, did you enjoy Little Women? I feel like they represented the book well but while the acting was good, the characters didn't feel "true" to me.

  • Melonie K. May 23, 2018

    I'm always excited when I remember to turn things in early and avoid tempting fate with fines.

    Congrats on the mileage reimbursement - too bad it isn't retroactive, but it will sure be nice to get a bit back. I'm sure you'll make it stretch too.

  • Cindy brick May 21, 2018

    You'll be amazed at how low the ceilings are in the houses! The surveyor's house, particularly. (I wasn't able to go in Ma & Pa's town house -- it was under renovation then.) They were very short -- Pa Ingalls was only 5' 7"! Laura was 5'.
    Also...no one knows for certain where Ma & Pa's claim shanty was, though they have a general idea. (I'm not sure they know where Laura and Almanzo's shanty was, either -- the one that burned down.)

    You should also stop in Mansfield, Missouri, where Laura and Almanzo settled. Fascinating.

  • Debby in Kansas May 21, 2018

    Don't forget Independence, KS for their home in the Indian Territory. I think that's the setting for LHotP.(book)

  • Athanasia May 22, 2018

    Cindy, Almanzo wasn't that tall either and in real life he had many health problems. Our image of him is usually the big strong actor that played him in the TV series.

  • Jenny May 22, 2018

    I remember the first time I saw oyster crackers and was gobsmacked at how the kept Pa alive in the blizzard referenced in On the banks of Plum creek. So little!!! I'm sure they were all stunted from severe malnutrition.

  • Holly May 24, 2018

    Laura's husband probably wasn't malnourished while he was doing most of his growing. He was just short. The new book Prairie Fires gives a lot of background information on Laura's life. You might want to bring it on your travels.

  • Melonie K. May 23, 2018

    That's going to be an amazing trip! A friend of mine attended Laurapalooza last year and enjoyed it so much. Laura fans unite! :D

  • Nancy May 21, 2018

    I so enjoy your posts each week. Thank you for your wisdom and encouragement. Here are a few ways I was able to save.
    . Made meals from must things on hand adding a few items.
    . Able to get Free personal pan pizza from grocery
    Used for lunch.
    . Eggs have been higher but was able to purchase .70 a dozen so bought several..
    . Made no bake cookies with things I have and no eggs.
    .made several boiled eggs used for breakfast and for deviled eggs to add to meal.
    . Planted lettuce..spinach..onions in large pot
    . Planted a group of flowers ..geraniums my husband found on sale.
    . Continue weeding flower garden and around our area
    Free exercise and looks so nice.
    . My husband mowed the lawn and I helped rake
    . Brought a few flowers in and greenery placed in my blue canning jars
    .Deep cleaned back patio..sweeping..cleaning grill..polishing glass outdoor table. I found a pillow to put in one of the chairs. No extra funds to put toward this
    So it was fresh and clean and turned out nice.
    I was able to place geraniums my husband bought in large pots we got free to add color.
    . I went through filing papers and cleaned out
    . Went through a few clothes that didn't fit and rid out
    . Purchased a few stickers for .49 a package to add to a box of goodies for my grands visiting this summer.

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