Saturday, July 13, 2013

Frugal Fun....Savings, Too!

 We celebrated Husband's birthday this week, with his favorite blueberry-cheesecake dessert with pecan shortbread crust.  (Everything in it was purchased on sale at various times through the year!)

I did a bunch of 'cooking in advance' on Monday, to make the rest of the week a little more manageable.  I cut a turkey breast into four 'steaks' for the grill, and the rest into cubes for kabobs.  I also prepped vegetables for 'kabob night' and made some cream of spinach soup, and enough mashed potatoes for one night this week and some to freeze for another meal in the future.

We planned a supper menu and used that as a basis for our meals, which really helps me save time and use things I have on hand.

I harvested the radishes.  I got one.  So I guess I should say, I harvested the radish.  The others were already beginning to bolt and had not formed bulbs.  I think it was too hot for them.  I also harvested spinach and lettuce.  The peas are blooming, so we'll have some of those soon too.  The tomatoes are blooming, zucchini are forming, and the Malabar spinach is coming up nicely.  The carrots are coming along too, as are the beets.  The next time I harvest 'salad', I'll likely add a few beet leaves, because they are both nutritious and pretty!  I sprinkled in a few romaine lettuce seeds a while back and they are already sprouted!

My friend needed some lumber for her chicken run.  We went lumber hunting in the disposal bins of some construction sites.  If I were to write that in my native'd say:  We dumpster dived for 2x4's...hee hee.  We found just what she needed, and kept some perfectly good lumber out of the landfill.

We went swimming with a friend who got us into the pool for free, since she's a member of the neighborhood where the pool is located. 

We price matched grocery sale ads to save running around, time and fuel.  Even so, there were some things at Sprouts we just couldn't get, so we went there on our town day for sunflower seeds and raisins - both of which were 1.99 a pound in bulk.  I stocked up, but so far, it looks like the stock up will come out of the regular $80/month money this time around.

It's not really anything that any of us 'did', but we got a fair amount of rain (for us) this week, and that reduced our need to water the garden.

We hosted an information session for Daughter's virtual school, and combined errands on that day.  They sent white t-shirts for the girls (I requested white) and we tie dyed them to make them fun!  I bought some tie dye 'cord' at Goodwill, years ago, and we used a little of that.

We went to the park one afternoon for fresh air and new things to play on.

We had leftover syrup from 4th of July, so we made sno-cones one afternoon.  Did you know that a little milk poured on a sno-cone gives it a dreamsicle type flavor?  Well, now you know.  We had strawberry, orange, and vanilla, and the milk was good on all of them.

We borrowed books, games, and an HBO series (for the grownups) from the library.  Both girls have been very good about keeping their books in a specific spot in their room so that they're easy to find when we need to return them.

Husband transferred his prescription, this time to the supermarket, and we received a $25 credit on our loyalty card.  We continue to 'bounce' the prescription between this supermarket and Kmart, and each time we receive $25.  It really helps our budget.

Our tankless water heater was still not firing consistently, so Husband did some online research.  We had done everything that the plumber had done the time he came, but there was one unit that had never been dismantled, cleaned, flushed and re-assembled.  Inside that unit is the 'push rod', which is supposed to be lubricated periodically.  It was new territory for us, but we used the exploded diagram from the owner's manual as reference, and we did all of the above.  I couldn't get the diaphragm seated, so I had to take the back side off (to remove a spring), seat the diaphragm, and then finish re-assembling from that side.  So far, it's working perfectly.  Even though it took us a couple of tries to get everything right, all this fussing saved us approximately $300. 

I sold Daughter's toddler rocking chair and made $7.  I need to gather another batch of items and list/sell them.  Meanwhile, I used some of that $7 to get some gently used things that will be gifts for the girls - we have birthdays and Christmas coming, and gently used has always been a-ok at our house.  I've continued to work on some sewing I was hired to do - almost done!  It's been a long time since I did any ruffling!

By the time we got photos with the Chick Fil A cow, they had taken off their spots.  Oops!

The girls and I dressed as cows on Friday and went to Chick Fil A for free meals. This was the 2nd or 3rd time I've done this with Daughter, but it was her Sister's first time participating in this event.  We had fun making our silly costumes.  Husband's birthday was on Friday, and he had a plethora of free meal coupons to choose from.  He was feeling less inclined to dress up, so he used one of those, and we ate in the food court.

Room for Improvement

During my Monday cook-fest, I made some creamed spinach soup.  I really like spinach, but this had a stronger flour/gravy taste than I had hoped for.  It was...okay.  I should have started with a smaller batch!

When it is dry here, (we have been in drought conditions for several years now), flea beetles are a real problem.  They like radishes, kale, collards and bok choy.  I know this because they continue to eat all of those things in our garden.  Thankfully, they ignore everything else, but even repeated sprayings with soapy water have not deterred them.  I'm going to have to step up the fight, and I'll likely pull up the current plants and replant in about a month, for an autumn harvest. 


Melissa Ralston said...

Hi Laura, It's so good to read your posts. I haven't 'seen' ya in forever! (homeschoolmom4 from PH) I couldn't find a 'contact' button to email you but wanted to drop a little note and let you know I was here. :)

Cathy said...

You are VERY busy! How in the world are you having time to sew?

I want to complement you on the gift you are giving O and her sister. I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision to have her there but you are offering a chance of a lifetime for them to get to know each other. Kudos!

I really wish I could get my spending under control lately. Seems like every time I turn around money is leaving the bank! I guess I am purchasing many more "farm" type things since I moved last September. However, I have to reign in this spending as soon as possible. Then last night the washing machine poured water all over the basement! YIKES!

Laura said...

Hi, Melissa! Thanks for leaving me a note! It's always nice to hear from friends! :)

Boo on washing machine leaks - I hope it's just the drain hose or something simple like that, Cathy. It is a lot to set up a homestead. I've been fortunate to find a lot of things used - sometimes even free. Then again, we were doing it when it was less common, so I think used things came available more often than they might now. I'd love to hear about what you're up to these days, what projects you're working on, how your bees are faring. :)


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