Saturday, August 3, 2013

Frugal Accomplishments - The Week in Review

Oh, hi.  When you read this entry (so much text!) you'll wonder...did she break her camera or something?  No...it's just been a busy, busy week.  Truth, I'm plumb wore out, and I just didn't take the camera around with me and click our goings-on.  Hopefully you will stop back another time when I've been more responsible and less lazy.  Now...on to the savings!

We went fishing last Saturday for recreation.  We did a fair amount of fishing, but not any catching.  Actually, we didn't see anyone pull out a fish the whole time we were there.  We packed lunch, snacks and water from home.  It didn't work out this time, but I do believe that having hobbies that also potentially feed us is a good idea.  Ours include fishing, keeping a few hens for eggs, gardening, and having an orchard.  :)

On taco night, I stretched half a pound of ground beef by adding a cup of quinoa that was left over from a previous meal.  I think with an adjustment or two in the seasonings, this may be a good way for us to stretch our meats when they are fillings (like in tacos)

I had gotten a card from Dunkin' Donuts, because I signed up for emails.  The card was a coupon for a free medium size drink.  Can I just say, the frozen hot chocolate is YUM!  And the medium - huge.  Thanks for the treat, Dunkin' Donuts!  Also, the girls used coupons from Summer Reading to get free Junior Frosties. 

I had to take a cake to church on Sunday (for a fund raiser) and I didn't really have frosting ingredients on hand.  I did, however, have some granulated sugar, butter, nuts and chocolate chips.  I mixed sugar/butter/nuts and broiled that part some, sprinkled with a few chocolate chips, then dusted the whole thing with a couple spoonfuls of powdered sugar.  It looked really pretty and kept me from leaving the house.

I picked the first two zucchini of the season.  I'm very excited!  We'll see how excited I am come October, when we're still picking them, lol.  Actually, we have lots of ways we use them, so I think we'll be OK.  I'm pulling the bolted spinach and lettuces and planting another round of both, and we picked some lettuces from our second crop.  Also, my friend Erin brought me tomatoes!

We planned a supper menu from items we have on hand.  We are trying a few new (to us) low-carb dishes this week...I'll let you know if there are any we especially like.  My scratch cooking this week was a big batch of muffins, enchilada sauce, enchildadas, fried rice, and baking powder.  A couple of our meals were things I'd made on previous weeks that were waiting in the freezer. 

Husband had a birthday coupon from Noodles & Company for a free noodle bowl.  He is watching his carbs, but he picked it up and brought it home for me.  It was tasty, and I had it for two meals.  Isn't he just a sweetie pie?

We got movies, books, music and more from our library, for free!

I made a birthday card for my mama.  (Happy birthday, Mama!) I mailed it, too!

I picked a rose from my rose bush.  It has a strong, spicy scent.  I really like it a lot.  I also picked a zinnia!  I planted quite a few of them, but apparently, 'zinna' means 'delicious' in rabbit language, because they ate a lot of the sprouts.  I got a few though, and picking the first one felt like I won a prize.

We sold the last of our farm rabbits.  Since my family has decided that we aren't going to eat a lot of rabbit, it makes no sense to keep them year round.  I need them for two months every summer to do library programs, and the gentleman that I sold them to is willing to lease me bunnies for the programs.  He bought my breeding stock a few months ago, so I was happy about giving him a really good price on these younger rabbits.  I guess that means that TenThingsFarm is down to 8 chickens, some gardens, an orchard and a whole lot of mowing.  Right now, I am perfectly OK with that.

We ate leftovers. 

We saw an amazing, full, double rainbow. 

I took a survey, earned $3.

I went through the playroom and found a few items that the girls have outgrown, so I'm selling them locally.  I think that will be the Birthday/Christmas fund this year. 

We had friends over for a play date.  To make lunch fun, we had a PB&J bar - bread, celery, carrots, chunky PB, creamy PB, a couple of jam/jelly choices, fresh fruit and lemonade.  It was really fun!  We set everything up on our kitchen table, and then sent children out the back door with food, so they could enjoy it at the picnic table.  I didn't get any pictures.  When 8 hungry children head for a PB&J bar all at once, there's no time for a camera.

I started working on some homemade gifts.  The materials are items we have on hand.  That's about all I can say. :)  I've also started the stocking stuffer stash.  That's about all I can say. :)  I also got Daughter's two main Christmas gifts, a-la-craigslist.  Mum's the word!

Also from craigslist, we picked up a lovely, like new twin bed frame for Daughter's bedroom - $10.  From freecycle, we got a desk for Husband and two different pieces of storage for office supplies - a shelf unit with doors and a unit with two drawers.  The gifts mentioned above and the bed frame were paid for with summer fund money.

King Sooper (our Kroger affiliate) has a digital coupon campaign where they put up a free item each Friday that you can download to your loyalty card.  The digital coupon is good for more than a week, so I got last week's free shampoo and this week's free toothpaste when I was in the store.  During the week, I got some coupons from them that include a free frozen pizza and discounts on some things we frequently buy.  There were also some good sales that matched up with some good coupons.  I still had some store credit on my loyalty card, so I was able to get everything for free, once the coupons had been used. 

We were in Walmart one evening and discovered a wheeled rack back near the dairy aisles.  There were 6-packs of tomato sauce for .90 (15 cents a can!) and 4 packs of diced tomatoes for 1.25 (just over 31 cents a can).  I purchased 24 cans of each for the pantry.  Since we have a much smaller garden this year and only 4 tomato plants, this is a wonderful blessing.  I would have purchased more, but I do have some tomato products on hand.  I think I have enough for a good long while, perhaps as long as a year.  We use tomatoes for spaghetti sauce, chili, salsa, soups and more.  Yay! 

If you need underthings, this is the time of year to get them.  During back to school time, the prices go lower, plus a lot of manufacturers turn the 6 pack into an 8 pack, or the 8 pack into a 10 pack...you get the idea.  Bonus underthings, plus a lower price, so we got what we need for the next year. 

Husband and I are repairing the hail damage on our vinyl siding, rather than making an insurance claim.  Good times....

My in-laws had some rewards points on a credit card that they were not going to use (they had used all they planned to use), and the offered us the opportunity to choose some items with the remaining points.  We chose a larger size nonstick pan (we have been looking for one for a little while) and a fishing rod and reel.  It's Christmas in early August! :) 

I washed our microfiber loveseat and the arm rests on my favorite chair with a solution of warm water and shampoo I got for free.  I rinsed with cool water.  Everything looks much better.

We sat out at our patio table on nice evenings, enjoying one another's company.

The girls rode their new (to them) bikes!

Room for Improvement:

I had picked up a free carpet cleaner - a curb alert on freecycle.  It looked to be somewhat new, just dirty.  I spent quite a bit of time cleaning it up, but alas, it was not working.  I dismantled it 'considerably', and never did find a clog that was causing the suction to be so poor, or any reason that it wouldn't squirt the water or soap.  It did, however, leak from the cleaning solution tank.  (boo)  So after rather a lot of work, I have a clean, nonworking carpet cleaner.  I will either donate it to a vacuum repair store or see if I can get anything for it as a trade in, if they have a vacuum that would be better than the one we have, or I'll see if Goodwill will take it in need of repair.  Sigh....

I do use my allowance $$...but I'm still buying some soda.  Less than before, but still.  On top of that, I've used 'it's easier' as an excuse for us to eat out more than  usual.  It hasn't cost a lot, but gosh, it's an easy habit to get into when you're busy, and I do. not. want. to. go. there!!!

I forgot to load this week's special to my King Sooper loyalty card, so no free Hamburger Helper for us...sigh......

How was your week?  I hope it was a great one!

-Laura at TenThingsFarm










 

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Laura-
I LOVE reading about your frugal adventures. Back in late June, I asked you to post your Kimichi recipe. Unfortunately, I did not write it down. Do you mind reposting? Also, I wanted to know if you've ever considered Crockpot cooking during those busy days when you are out and about with the girls. If so, do you have any recipes to recommend. Please know that I admire your posts and can really sense that you are a wise woman--the type of woman I pray to become one day soon. Stay well! -Renee

Rhonda Sue said...

I enjoyed reading about your week, you did great. Too and about the carpet cleaner, I was hoping it would work. We have a carpet cleaner and it works fine, but it will suction the water out of the carpet if the bottom tank is not fastened just right- and it is hard to tell when it is just right versus wrong. But if it is not suctioning, I stop right away and adjust the bottom tank.

lemniskate67 said...

I have had good luck with googling mechanical problems like you're having with your carpet cleaner. An easy search term like "brand_name carpet cleaner broken no suction" or something nice and brief. It's surprising (and great) how many times people will have already had the same problem and posted how they fixed it. It's worth a try!

Laura said...

Y'all are so kind - thank you! Renee, I wonder if I even posted anything for you, because the Kimchee I make is a style specific to Hawaii. All I do is get a packet of NOH (that's the brand) Kimchee seasoning and follow the directions on the packet. Basically, the napa cabbage is soaked in a salt water solution overnight, then drained and rinsed, then you add the seasonings, pack it tight in a jar, then leave it out for 24 hours to ferment a little. It's refrigerated after that. I don't know if that helps or not.

Rhonda Sue, I did fiddle with the tanks quite a lot - I even used some electrical tape to cover seams, trying to make sure there was no way for air to leak, but I didn't have any luck.

I did troubleshooting online too, but just couldn't find the problem. That has worked for all kinds of things for us too, lemniskate. It's how we figured out the best way to repair our siding and fix our riding mower, for example. I think as far as the carpet cleaner goes, it just wasn't meant to be.... :)

momma-lana said...

I used my DD birthday beverage card for a frozen hot chocolate, too! YUM! I have been wanting another ever since but I am too cheap, I mean frugal :)

Laura said...

We are going to have to create a recipe for one, MommaLana!

Precious People Preschool said...

Sometimes I call the company of the broken item and they help me fix it they spent an hour helping
me with my vacume and it works now.
Someone gave me a steam mop and they could not help me get it going so they sent me one for a dollar They sent me a shipping label and I boxed the old one up
and they paid for shipping to return it to them I think they
will fix it at the factory. I love your blog.
Have a blessed week
Patti

momma-lana said...

Well here is a recipe for the frozen hot chocolate and it got 5 stars but I really think it would be so much easier to go through the DD drive thru-don't you?? http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/frozen-hot-chocolate-recipe/index.html

Laura said...

Thank you for the recipe! I actually may try it (with chocolate chips for the chocolate part), because the nearest DD is over 10 miles from here, and at 3.39, I could make a few for a lot less! I really appreciate you sharing the recipe!

momma-lana said...

I think it is about 15 miles to DD for me but I pass it on the way to my daughter's house. And I really was kidding! I would not pay 3.39 for one either!

Laura said...

Well, I think I will make the first part of the recipe you shared with me. I could do that this morning and pop it in the fridge to cool...then make some frozen hot cocoa this afternoon. Thanks again for the recipe!

Jean Lewus said...

Thank you for the post. I've been trying to improve as a frugal mum recently - I'm not entirely sure how good I'll be but every little helps! The last few weeks I've been trying to improve on the upkeep of our carpets and rugs. In the past I've used a company to come in and clean them - I haven't ever had any complaints, I used carpet cleaning birmingham and anyone not wanting to do it for themselves I've no problem recommending them. But I've been reading lots of blogs like this recently and I think I can have a good bash at it now the kids are all at school through the day! Thanks again, wish me luck!

Laura said...

I've rented machines and cleaned our carpets in the past with good results. That said, there have been some groupon/living social deals in my area that cost close to the same price I pay to rent a machine and buy the cleaners, so I am actually considering using one of them. (The final outcome with the carpet cleaner I was given was that I couldn't get it to work.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks guys, really enjoyed the post. I've been using carpet cleaning solihull for my carpets but I moved home and fancied the daunting challenge of doing my own :P Definitely taking your advice! Added your blog to my favourites, thanks again.

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