Friday, October 18, 2013

Frugality and Fun for Fall

Hope you've had a good week!  We have been busy.  Here are a few things we did to save money, along with some ways we had fun.

I touched a tarantula.  If you asked me to make a list of things I would never do, touching a tarantula would be on that list, and yet, I did it.  See...I got called in to sub at the library and there was a 'Creepy Crawlies' program for children.  There was a girl who was afraid to touch the tarantula (the presenter was letting the children take turns having it crawl across their hands !!!!!!!!!!!!).  I told that girl that if she touched it, I would touch it...and not only did she touch it, she let it crawl across her hand too!  Not me.  I just touched it.  That's all I agreed to.  In all fairness, it felt much like a dog's ear, very soft and velvety. 

And now, you already know that I picked up some sub hours at the library. :)

This is Rocket!  He likes to rest next to his blanket, and he's a little sweetie pie!

I'm also doing some 'pet' sitting for a neighbor - a horse and two barn kitties, and we puppy-sat this weekend for another friend.  Rocket the schnauzer was a lot of fun!  We didn't expect a thing for spending the weekend with Rocket, but his 'mom' brought lots of nice thank-yous.  We spoiled Rocket, then she spoiled us!

I made croutons from white bread bought on markdown, olive oil and herbs and spices.  I made a butternut squash casserole from butternut squash, butter, orange marmalade, cinnamon, ginger and pecans.  Tasty!  We had that with panfried ham slices and blackeye peas. Other meals included potato soup, fried rice, chicken with broccoli and sweet corn, smoked sausage with slaw and a birthday dinner. 

A beautiful, snowy morning.  My yard looks so much nicer when the snow covers all the bare spots,
tree stumps, the rock pile.....

We signed up for an online deal at King Soopers and got a 2l. of Dr. Pepper Ten for 45 cents.  We paid .88 per head for romaine lettuce this week and I price matched for a few other items here and there.  I used a coupon to get a free 20 oz. Coca Cola.  Boneless skinless chicken breasts were 1.88 a pound, so I bought a couple of packages and then wrapped and froze smaller portions to freeze. 

Laundry was washed with homemade laundry soap and hung on drying racks to dry.

I got a $5 off coupon from Kohl's, on any purchase $5 or more.  We found some cute autumn kitchen towels for 6.99, and I let daughter choose the ones she liked best - there's a cute little embroidered turkey on one and a pretty plaid on the other.  I got a $5 coupon for Mardel too, and got a journal for just 2.52 (with tax) after the coupon.

We took a field trip to a local historical log school.  It was lots of fun.

Sneak-reading a McGuffey Reader at the log school.

I made a couple of scarves from some donated yarn, for a charity project.  More on that very soon. 

A friend loaned me her dress form so I could photograph the scarves, for a charity project.  More on that very soon.

Daughter and I are volunteering for a harvest party at church, and we attended the volunteer meeting.  We did errands that day too, since we were in town.

Daughter's birthday was Friday, and she chose to have a meal at home.  I thought she would want to go to the Chinese restaurant, but we were there a few weeks ago, and she said she'd rather eat at home instead.  Per her request, we made grilled steak, breaded shrimp, Caesar salad, baked potatoes with sour cream and butter and birthday cake.  We got things from the pantry or used grocery money.

Eight years, eight owls!

I bought two bins of legos and a bin of duplos from a family - $15.  I sold the duplos for $10 and poured the two bins
of legos into one bin, so it was $5 for all these legos.  The beanbag chair was $7, gently used.  She loves both gifts!

We made mice and fish from fondant and used well-washed toy kitties to make 'cat land', per Daughter's request.

Her gifts from us were second hand but in excellent condition.  Wrapping paper, candles, etc. were  things we had on hand.  The cake was a cake mix purchased on sale with a coupon a while back (.39), cream cheese frosting was homemade from ingredients purchased on sale.  She told me she was glad we got the legos used, because it's better for the environment and saves money. 
I have a question for you.  I've been doing Salad-in-a-Jar for my lunch 4 days a week.  It commits me to a nice big serving of vegetables, I like salad, I've lost some weight...but now, I'm cold with the weather change.  I'm going to do some healthy soups for lunch.  I have a few in mind, but if you have a favorite, I'd love to hear about it.  The more ideas the better.  Thanks!

While you're sharing your favorite soups, let me know how you saved this past week, pretty please?


Theresa said...

That cake is fantastic. Great job. To add the cost of all that lego would be well over a $100(trust me, I have bought it all new). You got a huge deal on it.

Cathy said...

This week the only thing I can remember that was frugal was taking my lunch to work each day. Sometimes I get in a hurry and leave my lunch on the counter but this week I remembered to take it! The good news is that my lunch was all I needed. I was so busy I didn't have time to think I needed a snack. One day I was hankering for something extra so I grabbed an orange from the physician lounge.

I can't believe your daughter is 8 years old already! She is growing up so fast and becoming such a beautiful girl. I especially like that you are teaching her to give with a portion of her allowance. How cool is that in today's society? A rare quality for certain!

I am anxious to hear about your project. For several years now you have always kept my attention. There is something about Ten Things Farm that keeps me coming back...

Rhonda said...

Happy 8th birthday to your daughter! She is the same age as one of my granddaughters - it's a great age! I love that she is frugal minded too. My favorite soup is plain old vegetable. I just use any veggies we've had during the week or that I've saved in the freezer along with onion, tomato juice and beef broth. I like cabbage in mine, too, when I have it. Nothing beats it! I'm afraid I haven't been terribly frugal lately. I need to get back on track. I did use a free Frosty key tag to get a free Frosty from Wendy's for my granddaughter. It is good until March for a free Frosty with purchase. I also used homemade stain remover and it worked great! Thanks for your inspiration!

Laura said...

Thanks, Theresa! Birthday cakes are always fun - ours seem to be on the interesting side! :) Based on the price of the same number of legos at Walmart, we would have spend about $75 for the same amount of Legos...and they're on sale right now! I'm really happy we got them the way we did.

Laura said...

Cathy, you say the kindest things. Thanks! Taking lunch is a great way to save money. Husband always takes his lunch - he isn't even allowed to leave the premises, so lunches are paid time, but they have to bring it from home. It makes a big difference. I try to plan ahead enough to take sandwiches or snacks when we do errands, but that's a place where I could definitely improve.

Laura said...

Rhonda, I like vegetable soup too...with beef or chicken broth. It's a great way to use up odds and ends too, which is nice. I am going to make some kind of soup this Sunday and start transitioning from salad to soup this week - maybe two days of each? I think I'll try for some sort of chicken tortilla soup to start. :)

AmyD said...

I started following you from The Prudent Homemaker's blog. I enjoy your posts. I have a daughter who will be seven in the spring so I appreciate how you are teaching her the value of things. I am doing the same.

Anne in the kitchen said...

I have never left a comment though I read you weekly. These are my favorite soups and a winter salad. Some are a bit healthier than others lentil stew coconut soup kale salad tamale soup turkey soup kale soup cabbage soup potato corn chowder

Laura said...

Thanks for your kind words, Amy...and thanks for all the recipe links, Anne!

Jenna said...

Laura, one of my favorite soups is this quinoa-potato stew. It is really healthy and very filling! You can buy a large bag of quinoa at Costco for much cheaper than at King Soopers or anywhere else I've found and a little goes a long way! I use canned tomatoes and frozen veggies.

Laura said...

Thanks, Jenna! I have a 'quinoa bucket', so I might be able to make the whole stew from stuff I have on hand. I'll check it out! :)

Marija said...

I started following your blog from your comments on The Prudent Homemaker and really enjoy reading about your family and how you save money.

I so wish I could get my partner to take lunch from home. He prefers to leave work and get lunch outside, partly just to get away from the office for a while. I almost always take my lunch from home.

Good to know that Salad in a Jar works out for you. I was skeptical when I saw it, but know I'll have to give it a try.

Laura said...

Thanks, Marija! To be fair, my husband can't leave work to go somewhere to eat - they all have to stay there and swap out so someone is always with the machinery, and if there is a problem with part of the process that he knows, he has to go back into the facility. (So, lunch is paid time...but it's only 20 minutes!)

I am really happy with salad in a jar, but now that it's getting colder, I'm making soups and freezing single portions, for the sake of variety. I'm doubtful that my chicken tortilla soup is as light as a salad, but you know, I put cheese and nuts and dressing on a salad, so it might not be too far off after all. I was pleasantly surprised that the calorie content of the cream of mushroom soup I make (milk, not cream) is fairly low. I'm transitioning now, since we are still having some warm days, so I've got salad for a couple lunches and soup for the other days. :)


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