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Roses on Black Bench The Prudent Homemaker

I cut roses from the garden to enjoy inside. 

I worked in the garden all week pruning, fertilizing, and planting.

I sowed seeds for poppies, spinach, larkspur, Swiss chard, green onions, nasturtiums, Bells of Ireland, and snow peas in the garden.

I dug several more bushes that I started by tip layering and transplanted them to other places in the garden to form a hedge. I also put two in pots that I already had; I hope to grow these into two ball-shaped plants.

I dug out the two Lady Banks' roses from the white garden in front and transplanted them to my garden in back, where they should be able to grow along the wire trellis there and provide a green backdrop in a place that previously was barren. These vines grow very quickly and were growing onto my roof after just three years of being planted (they only started out about 2 feet tall), so they should cover the trellis within two years (I cut them down to three feet tall a few months back). They only flower once a year and rarely flowered for me in the spot they were in, as they were in constant shade (they require sun to flower). In their new spot, their evergreen leaves will be welcome. They will get direct winter and early spring afternoon sun, so I may also get a spring flowering from them as well, starting next year.

We enjoyed a bit of rain this week (1/4 inch, which is a lot for here!) It helped soften the ground and made it easier for us to work at digging out the roots of our dead peach tree that we needed to pull, as well as a grapevine that we took out. 

I put out buckets to collect rainwater for the garden.

I downloaded and read five e-books from the library.

My husband and I had a date night at home. 

My eldest son was helping a woman clean out her house as part of a service project. The woman was giving away lots of unused things that were cluttering her house to the helpers. My son accepted three boxes of Christmas lights that were brand-new in the box. Our old Christmas lights were having trouble this past year, so this was perfect for us!

My husband was given a box of candy from a work associate. It came in a fancy reusable lidded box. He brought the box home and I added it to my stash of reusable lidded boxes.

I watched a couple of cake decorating videoes on YouTube (this one and this one). I have a child's birthday every month from January through May, and I'd like to try making some fancier cakes.

We enjoyed more tomatoes from the garden as they ripened, as well as frozen fruit from last year's harvest and lemons that I picked last week. I harvested Swiss chard from the garden.

My husband used an engine hoist to pull out our dead peach tree, rather than renting a stump remover (which are about $100 a day, and we have two more trees to pull).

I was offered tickets to the Philharmonic at the last minute from someone who could no longer go. Unfortunately, my husband wasn't feeling well enough to go after pulling the tree out. Instead, I took my 12-year old son, and he and I were able to enjoy the concert. I didn't look at the tickets until we arrived; we had the nicest seats (orchestra level, right in the middle).  

French Lace Rose in Blue and White Vase The Prudent Homemaker

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

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Lemon Branches and Lemons The Prudent Homemaker

I worked pruning, weeding, and tidying the garden. 

I cut branches from the garden to enjoy inside.

I picked more Meyer lemons from our trees.

I dug and transplanted several new "bushes" from one place in the garden to another where I am starting a hedge. These only have one rooted stem, but it is well rooted and they should do well in their new place. After they have been growing in their new spot for a while, I will cut the single branch on each to force them to send forth new branches. It will take about 5 years for them to grow into a hedge.

I sowed seeds for larkspur, poppies, bells of Ireland, and lettuce in the garden.

I resisted the temptation to buy more flower seeds online. I put everything in my cart, looked at the total, decided it wasn't in the budget, and closed the browser. I have plenty of seeds to plant already.

I downloaded and read five e-books from the library.

I purchased the vitamins I had on my list at Target on sale, plus used an additional 5% off Cartwheel discount to get the price lower. I brought my own bags for $0.05 off my total per bag.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Sam's Club gift card. I'll use this towards my grocery purchases this month.

My husband and I used the last two movie passes we received for Christmas of 2016 to go on a date.

A neighbor threw out a men's bicycle in great condition. It was missing only a few bolts (it was in pieces). We rescued it from the trash. We will either use it (after getting new bolts) or use the pieces on our existing bicycles. (The sun disintegrates seats here, so a new seat is always welcome!)

My husband repaired our side gate.

My son replaced a broken valve connector in the garden.

I collected warm-up water from the shower and used it to water our potted plants.

We enjoyed tomatoes from the garden. The green ones I picked in December have been ripening, and they are wonderful! 

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

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The Last Frugal Accomplishments For 2017

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Pansies in Black Urn The Prudent Homemaker

I spent all week working in the garden each day, tidying it for planting. I pulled out dead plants, pulled weeds, spread manure. and pruned.

I planted seeds in the garden for beets, green onions, snow peas, Armenian cucumbers, spinach, and lettuce in the garden.

I began my birthday gift list for 2018, starting with moving several items I didn't make for Christmas to the birthday gifts list. I already have fabric for these.

My efforts to save energy and water resulted in my utility bills (water, power, and gas)  all coming in significantly lower than normal for this month. Our warmer winter should mean a lower heating bill too; it's been 10 to 15 degrees warmer than usual, which means we're rarely running the heater. It was so warm last week that I even opened the house for a few hours several days.

My daughter downloaded six free songs from the library.

I downloaded and read four e-books from the library.

What did you do to save money for the last part of 2017?

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Lemons on the Christmas Table The Prudent Homemaker

I put up a few more decorations that I already had.

The frost that was predicted earlier this month never came, but a frost was again forecast for this week. There were still some green tomatoes in the garden, so we brought them in. We also enjoyed eating garden tomatoes that we had picked green earlier in the month that had ripened.

We harvested lemons from the garden.

Eiffel Tower Pencil Pag The Prudent Homemaker

 I sewed and made gifts for the children using items I had on hand, including another pencil bag.

I made several batches of caramel sauce using ingredients I had on hand. We enjoyed it on brownies and cookies. I used some to fill Christmas candy.

I made candy for everyone's stockings.

I sorted through the garage sale Legos I bought in October (two purchases; one was $0.50 and one was $20). I thought they would all fit in the girls' stockings once I divided them. Then I thought they would all fit in small boxes as there were more than I thought. I quickly realized that wasn't going to work, either. I ended up dividing them into 5 boxes for five different gifts, and I realized what a great price I had really gotten when I started seeing how many sets and people were inside (It took me over 2 hours to divide them up). The girls will be delighted! 

A comedian came across the suggested videos on YouTube for me. I had never seen her before. I watched/listened to this video first and then a few more of hers while I worked on Christmas gifts.

My children watched several children's shows on YouTube.

We listened to Christmas music on Pandora.

My husband and I had a date night at home.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

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Christmas Urn in the White Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I used free tree trimmings and free pinecones to decorate my garden urns for the winter.

Christmas Urn on Entry Table The Prudent Homemaker

I cut Thai basil. dusty miller, and roses from the garden for my entry table. I used free tree trimmings in this arrangement too.

I made mini pavlovas for dessert one night with pomegranate arils and berries I pulled from the freezer.

I picked basil and cut chives from the garden.

I mended a broken drip line in the garden.

We attended a free play of "The Christmas Carol" in which two of my children had roles. You can see a few seconds from the play on my Instagram.

We attended a church Christmas dinner.

We enjoyed watching several Christmas videos on YouTube.

I accepted some hand-me-down clothes for a child, and I was able to give the giver some sweaters that are too large for me (I donated most of my sweaters earlier this year, but had kept a few just in case I didn't find any used sweaters in my new size.)

Two of my daughters had requested charm bracelets for Christmas. I thought I had two charm bracelets in with some of my childhood jewelry (most of which is broken odds and ends). There were two bracelets there, so I wrapped those for my daughters.

I wasn't planning another trip to Target this month, but it became very apparent that my fourth daughter was in need of new socks, having worn all of hers completely through (I'm thrilled they lasted through so many girls!) I went to Target, as it was close (I went in the morning to avoid long lines). I took back the unopened dish soaps I had previously bought and returned them (everyone disliked the fragrance; we'll use the opened soap until it is gone). I noticed that the winter hats were 50% off this week, and when I was there the week before, I had bought myself a hat (not on sale) that was just what I have been looking for for years. When I got up to the register to pay for the socks, I asked if they would give me the sales price on the hat that I had purchased the week before. I had my receipt, since I was returning the soap. They agreed and had me "return" the hat (which I was wearing), and repurchase it at half off. I was able to use the money saved on my hat towards the purchase of the socks.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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Christmas Tree 2017 The Prudent Homemaker 

I sewed a tree skirt for our tree from drop cloth I had.

My husband gave two sons a haircut.

My husband took a free course for one of his required continuing education classes for work. This class was also very close to home. Most classes he takes are 30-45 minutes from home, so one that was just a few minutes away also saved on gas. The law requires him to take a certain amount of classes. There are lots of paid classes available, but also a number of free ones. He always takes as many free classes as possible, and takes a few of the least expensive paid classes, which are between $10 and $20, and often include lunch. He saves hundreds of dollars by carefully choosing which classes he takes.

 I picked Meyer lemons from the garden. I also cut chives from the garden.

We attended a free symphony concert performed by the Henderson Symphony.

The temperature dropped here. I rolled up two old towels and put them in front of our front doors to block the cold draft that always blows under the door in winter,

Christmas Octavius Under the Tree The Prudent Homemaker

We decorated our tree with ornaments we have had for years.

I pulled out some stored boxes to wrap gifts and found my star garlands that I had made previously. I hung them in the house. 

I opened clothing boxes of stored clothing and pulled out winter clothing for my daughters. I'm glad that I keep boxes of hand-me-down clothing. I thought I was going to need some items of clothing for them, but they were already there in the boxes.

I said yes to the offer of some candy and soda that an acquaintance said she no longer needed at her house. 

I took my reusable bags to Target and received $0.05 off my purchase for each bag I used.

I used a 40% off coupon for an item I bought at Hobby Lobby. It was not a high-cost item, but I always make sure to have a coupon with me if I need to buy something, Every bit saved helps!

I returned some plants that died to the nursery within the one-year time frame. I also returned pots for store credit. I used the credit from these two towards the purchase of two new valves in the garden (to replace two old ones that had started to leak). While I was there, I asked for some branches that they were cutting off the Christmas trees out front. I've got these soaking in water now and I'll arrange them in the garden urns on Monday. Many places that sell Christmas trees will give you free trimmings if you ask.

Since the valves are leaking, I turned off the water to the backyard, and have been turning it on manually when needed to water the garden so that I don't end up with a flooded yard, a huge water bill, or dead plants.

I watered potted plants with shower warm-up water and water from drinking glasses that was left at the end of the day.

My husband mended my clothes drying rack so that I could dry sweaters and delicates that I hang to dry. He also mended my towel rack in the bathroom when it came apart.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

For those who are wondering: Our tree stand is screwed to the table it sits on with drywall screws. This makes it impossible to be knocked down by children. Having the tree on the table (plus no ornaments on the bottom two branches) keeps our toddler from the ornaments.

This is the first year I've ever put out gifts before Christmas Eve (usually I wait after the children are in bed to wrap and out them out). I've started wrapping early this year to avoid the stress of wrapping everything Christmas Eve as part of my plans for a simpler month. I'll continue to add wrapped gifts under the tree as I go, if we can keep my youngest from them. I won't be adding any more candy canes to the top of the gifts, however--he liked those too much!

The tree is a faux one, bought on clearance 11 years ago for $80. It was the display model.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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