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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Yellow Roses The Prudent Homemaker

It cooled down this week to 85°F/30°C. I gladly turned off the air conditioner and opened up the house for as many hours as I could each day, only running it for a few hours each afternoon. By Saturday, it was 77°F and cool enough to turn off the air conditioner for the entire day. We will still need it a few afternoons next week, but we're now coming to the time when the weather becomes nice enough to have the windows open all day.

I harvested rosemary, garlic chives, Armenian cucumbers, New Zealand spinach, Swiss chard, a large zucchini (my first of the year) and red noodle beans from the garden.

My husband and I cut my husband's hair.

I signed up for a free account for two of my children to practice math skills at xtramath.org. Doing math on the computer seems to be more fun for them than flashcards, so I am hoping this will help them want to give even more time on mastering multiplication tables. 

My eldest boys had some free fencing fun at a church activity.

Octavius had some fun with his grandparents watching the airplanes take off at the airport.

I purchased Target's store-brand diapers when they had a spend $100 get a $20 gift card deal. While there, I checked out the clearance and was able to get several uniform polo shirts for two of my girls for $2.10 each! I like that they have some solid-colored shirts without sayings that are a bit more dressy than a t-shirt. 

With all the busyness in my life right now, I have been reevaluating how I use every minute of my time so that I am better able to accomplish what needs to be done. One thing that I am doing is working to become better organized. Drawers and other things become unorganized after a couple of months and then it takes longer to find things in those spaces, wasting precious time and causing frustration. To that end, I reorganized three drawers in the kitchen this week. I needed a new silverware organizer, as the one that we got when we were married 18 years ago is wearing out and doesn't properly fit the large forks that I purchased a few years ago when we needed more silverware (which were getting jammed and bent in the drawer because of not fitting). I purchased a few new organizers at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, using a bunch of 20% off coupons. As they take expired coupons, I took several with me. The drawer functions so much better now. Since I was reorganizing that drawer, I decided to do two others as well, just moving things around that I already had.

I had a couple of children help me reorganize the bottom shelf and below the bottom shelf in a kitchen closet for another time saver and frustration eliminator.

I had been thinking of replacing my diaper bag with a small tote bag. A close-by reader offered me some spray starch, to which I said yes. She then offered me a leather tote bag, to which I also said yes. When I looked at it, it turned out to be the perfect thing that I was wanting to replace a bag of mine that is 23 years old.

I canned 20 quarts of giardiniera.

Now that temperatures have dropped, I can start planting cool-season seeds in the garden. I planted seeds for parsley, lettuce, and beets.


What did you do to save money last week?




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  • Becky October 07, 2018

    I really need to re-organize some things, too. We have lived here for 2 years now, and I'm noticing that a bunch of areas are not really as I want them, or have become very full or cluttered. There are also areas that are exactly right, and I expect to get the rest organized in time.

    Congratulations on the zucchini! Triumph at last:)

    This past week would have made a good comedy movie around here. The first part of the week was filled with the usual work and life, as normal. Then, our youngest daughter brought home one of those babies from school for one of her classes. It is computerized, and kind of creepy, and cries, and wails at all hours of the day or night, and she has had to care for it whenever it does that. Thank goodness, it will go back in the morning, and she will have fulfilled what she needs to do for that part of her class.

    My sister had asked me at the beginning of the week to watch my autistic niece on Friday night, so she and her husband could accompany their other daughter to an event she was participating in, so I said yes. Then, it turned out that my nephew wanted to stay home, too, so I said yes to both Friday and Saturday nights for him. My niece went with her older sister on Saturday.

    So, then, I had a niece, a nephew, and a screaming, squawking, creepy baby. Then, my husband and I caught very bad colds. I couldn't settle my nephew until almost 11 one night, as he kept jumping at every squawk the "baby" made, and wondered if it needed something. I didn't feel well at all, so I just sat on the couch in-between it all:) My daughter decided she wanted to can apples in the midst of it all. There's no way I'm going to discourage her interest in any life skill if I have breath in my body:) Sometimes, you just have to laugh. Somehow, we made it through, and managed to save some money in the midst of it all.

    1. I picked a few tomatoes 3 times, saved them up, and managed to get 7 quarts canned. I feel like I finally have enough for the year. Any more will be a bonus.
    2. My daughter, with some help, canned 6 quarts and 1 pint of apples.
    3. I cooked many meals at home, as did my husband.
    4. Saturday morning, I took my nephew to the library and let him load up on books and movies. Then, I let him watch movies, play electronics, and read out loud as long as I could with a cold--his dream weekend. He was safe, happy, and didn't have to take a 5-hour car ride to his sister's event. For him: Best. Weekend. Ever. Now, I'm going to have to convince him that this is not the new normal:)
    5. I sewed for several hours on a dress I am making for my daughter's homecoming dance. I am having to re-make a pattern I had already, that wasn't the right size, so it's been a bit of a headache and required many fittings. It doesn't look like I did much, but the fitting of the bodice is finally accomplished. I didn't even try to work on it this crazy weekend, but it is still dominating the table, as I have no where else to sew. We worked around it, and I will be tackling it this week with a vengeance. I'm actually quite encouraged with my progress.
    6. I got sugar for $1.25/4lb bag. I got 20 lbs. I got brown sugar for 50c/lb. I got 20 lbs of that, too. I really did not need much, and was planning to skip shopping this week, until those deals came up. So, I cashed out some Bottle Drop money I've been saving up for this purpose, and went ahead and stocked up on those things and got a few other things. I've been waiting for sugar to come on sale for several weeks now. I am having to buy whatever veggies we need, as my husband is still really watching what he is eating, and I do not want to be the cause of his wonderful weight loss progress coming to an end. I can't wait for him to get weighed again, so we can see how much more he's lost. So, there will be as many veggies as he wants on hand, both fresh and canned/frozen in the weeks and months to come. I got bagels for the boy, and my niece drank most of a gallon of milk and ate peanut butter sandwiches. They are really quite easy to feed as long as you have their preferred foods. We also got peanuts for 99c/can. We got the 5 allowed. I also got a flash sale from Bath and Body Works for hand soap, so we ordered the soaps on-line, using a 20% coupon, which covered the shipping. They ended up to be $2.40/soap and I like having them to add to Christmas baskets for the relatives, such as Rob's sisters. One leaked in the shipping box, but Rob called them right up, and they are sending another one. They said we could keep the leaking one, so I put it right out and started using it. The top is a bit damaged somehow, but it still works, and if it breaks all the way and stops working, I will pour it into another hand soap bottle. If I had driven to the mall, I would have received a free gift with a coupon I had, but there was absolutely no time for that this week, so I let it go. There will be another coupon.
    7. I was happy to get a few more veggies from the garden.

    Pictures of the week and garden pictures (as ugly as it is this time of year) are on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-october-7-2018/

  • Ava October 08, 2018

    "...a niece, a nephew, and a screaming, squawking, creepy baby." I laughed out loud!

  • Becky October 08, 2018

    Around here, you either laugh or cry, and I prefer laughing!

    Everyone will be happy to know that the baby went back to the school today. My daughter got a score of 90 for her efforts, and I'm so glad. One of the first things my nephew asked when I got him off the bus today was, "is IT gone?" Then, he pumped his fists in the air and gave a cheer when he found out it was. My niece was equally glad. Things like that are very disturbing to these autistic and special needs kids, due to the sudden loud noises, constant crying, etc. So, I didn't mention that my daughter spent the first night in the garage in a make-shift bed she concocted from 2 huge easy chairs and some blankets, keeping out of my niece's way, who has decided her favorite place to sleep is on my daughter's floor (hardwood--go figure) in a nest of blankets. So no one slept in the bed that night:)

    This evening, I got back to work on the dress......I feel like I got somewhere tonight, hopefully it will fit as it should tomorrow morning when I do another try-on with the hopefully well-rested girl:). Then, the skirt, and zipper....the end is in sight.

  • Athanasia October 10, 2018

    Becky, I hope to see a picture of your daughter in her dress on your blog when all is finished.

  • Becky October 10, 2018

    I will certainly post it. I'm hoping to get a good picture of her wearing it on the day of the dance she is going to on the 20th.

    I finished last night at around midnight. I had to stay up for the last 2 nights to get it done, but it's done, fits, the seams match where the zipper connects the bodice and skirt (had to rip out 3 times), and I've done my first invisible zipper! I certainly don't have the zipper foot that was shown on the package or in the instructions and I wonder if I did it correctly. I still do not fully understand what was supposed to happen on the bottom, but I hand-sewed the tiny little bit shut, tacked it well so it would not go down any farther and it looks fine, and works, so I'm relieved. I told myself if I could just get the dress and some end-of-the season canning done, I could say "yes" to my sweet nephew who really, really wants to go camping and has been asking and asking. He has no school Friday, and Patsy has none either Thursday or Friday, so now's the time. Plus, it's sunny! So, we are off tomorrow even though we can't leave until late in the day.

  • Brandy C October 11, 2018

    It is wonderful that you help your sister with her daughter that has autism. I have 3 kids and my oldest son has autism. I know how difficult it can be and finding childcare is challenging. Bravo to you for being a good support system for them and helping them have some time away with their other daughter.

  • Evelyn Edgett October 09, 2018

    I'm one of those people who would tell my kid to take that creepy baby right back to the teacher--it ain't staying in my house! If the teacher said it was required I would reply, well, we have several children we care for regularly, so she already knows how to care for a baby, so we don't need this one--TAKE IT BACK! Yes, it's the creepy factor that I can't handle--I'm not afraid of dolls, but I have watched too many scary movies with evil dolls--I'm not bringing one in the house! I did laugh about the nephew wanting to know if the baby needed anything!

  • Rhonda A. October 09, 2018

    It reminded me of the Mrs. Brown's Boys episode when her son & pregnant DIL bring home the "creapy baby" to practise for being new parents. Such a funny show and priceless what happens to the doll.

  • Becky October 09, 2018

    We actually had to sign a form stating that we would pay for damages if they occurred. I guess kids have actually gotten so frustrated that they have thrown the dolls or otherwise damaged them, and they are very expensive. It was also explained that we could decline this offer, but then there were dire warnings of how this would negatively affect the student's grade, and so on. I wasn't planning on having it the same weekend as the cousins or the cold/flu. It was realistic enough to make you think it was alive for a split second, but you quickly could tell it wasn't. It made cooing noises, burning noises, occasionally it would "breathe," it would cry softly and then louder if not attended to, and it kept track of every time it was "fed" and otherwise taken care of, including how long it was held and if it was too hot or cold. I guess daughter was marked down a little because she had it wrapped up in blankets near my roaring, "I'm sick" fire--guess it got too hot that day:). Cause, I'll tell you, that fire was blazing--it felt good to me:)

  • Athanasia October 10, 2018

    Rhonda, I have never heard of the TV show you mentioned. Is it/ was it a show one the regular networks?

  • Margie from Toronto October 10, 2018

    Mrs. Brown's Boys is a British show - the main character is the "mom" but she is played by a male comedian who is the creator of the show. It is actually very funny - it is filmed in front of a live audience and you often see them crack each other up and have to redo lines. It might be on Youtube if you want to check.

  • Rhonda A. October 11, 2018

    The show is like a cross between "Mrs Doubtfire" and "Mr Bean"..."British" humour at it's best! I believe it is an Irish product, but not positive. I will warn there is language that may be offensive to some and most topics are usually adult in nature. Somehow the accent seems to lessen the blow of the offensive language (almost makes it cute sounding), sometimes it is bleeped, but none-the-less it's there.

    One of the funniest things about the show is that they don't take out the bloopers. The main character takes pride in throwing everyone off by randomly going off script, which makes for some interesting reactions (very Robin Williams type comedy). Sometimes the actors mess up, which results in a lot of humour. Sometimes the camera men make a blunder which warrants a hysterical reaction from the comedian. But they leave it all in the show!

    An interesting note, the "mom" and the adult daughter in the show are actually husband and wife in real life. The show is no longer in production, but you may be able to find some of the episodes on-line, Netflix or other streaming sites. There is also a spinoff called "All around to Mrs Brown's" if you enjoy the comedy of the original show.

  • Athanasia October 13, 2018

    Rhonda, Margie, I watched several of the clips on the u tube. She certainly does look like Mrs Doubtfire.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore October 07, 2018

    I admire how much you are able to accomplish each week Brandy. I'm sure your girls love their new polo shirts. And I'm smiling thinking of Octavius excitedly pointing to the planes.

    Have shut off central air for the season as it's now in the 70s during the day and enjoying keeping the windows open. If it gets too warm, we have ceiling fans in most rooms.

    Frugal fail/win - In one of our bathrooms the vanity sink and tub drains were draining too slowly, after several applications of vinegar over a week's time didn't work, called a semi-retired plumber who snaked them. Also had him replace the vanity faucet ( I purchased the faucet at Lowe's with a gift card). Also had him do the kitchen sink drain while he was here. The plumber's fee was $130.00. In the past DH could have done this work, but his back has been bothering him so we opted to use a plumber. We have hard water here and soap scum buildup is a problem.

    We have had so much rain this summer and now also into the fall so much so that I have moss growing in nearly all my garden beds and in some parts of the lawn both on the shady and sunny sides of the house & yard. Do you or any of your readers know of an organic method to get rid /stop the spread of this moss. I've removed some by hand but there is just so much of it and it also keeps on growing back.

  • Cindi October 08, 2018

    I've heard that spraying it with a baking soda and water solution will kill moss

  • Ellie's friend from Canada October 08, 2018

    I confess I love it when the moss overtakes the grass as one doesn't have to mow moss! As long as one has a non-slippery walkway I'm all for leaving the moss. I also have a tufa rock garden. It is almost a sin for some people to let moss grow on the tufa rocks but I love it as mine then looks like an old English country wall. Well, the baking soda and water solution sounds promising but I think vinegar might work too so might growing to love it!

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore October 08, 2018

    Ellie's Friend, unfortunately not an option for us. We must maintain a front lawn per our HOA. Our HOA fees pay for a lawn mowing service. Vinegar will kill the grass and my plants in the flower/garden beds . Your tufa rock garden sounds lovely.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada October 09, 2018

    Oh sorry it's not possible! My tufa garden is on a small natural hill. Half of the slope is tufa but the other half is dolomite slabs. The slabs were from an old rock garden that my neighbour took out (it was buried under the soil). I saw them piled in the alley and phoned my neighbour and she was delighted to give them to me. FREE! It turned out that it was impossible to get more dolomite slabs (unless we drove about 2,000 miles) so there is a little gap between parts (the gap is becoming a drystream bed but is delayed till next year due to early snowfall). There is a patio on top so it is a reverse rock garden. Rather than looking at it from below as one does usually, one looks down from it as if on the top of a mountain and the layers are staggered. It is quite small. Almost no maintenance at all and it received no work from me this spring due to my broken arm. It is on a north facing slope so things grow very slowly. Best of all no lawn mowing on a small but dangerous slope for mowing
    9which inspired the idea of a rock garden). Good luck with the moss. I'll try to ask around for ways to kill it when I'm at the rock garden club in a couple of days. Thanks for comment. Ann

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore October 08, 2018

    Cindy, thank you for this suggestion. Will try it on a sunny day if we ever get one again. Has been raining all day today, Columbus Day & expecting thunderstorms on Thursday. I feel like I'm living in the pacific northwest instead of the sunny Jersey Shore.

  • Susan October 08, 2018

    Maintaining your house is never a frugal fail. Great you called the plumber and he was able to change your faucets too as well as clean out your drains. My husband has a bad back also so we are having to call others now to do repairs around the house. So worth it to save his back.

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