Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments June 29th-July 4th, 2015

Made applesauce bread.  We always have an abundance of apples in this part of the country and we are usually able to glean some for free, so I'm always looking for recipes that call for applesauce.  The other thing that I use a lot of applesauce for is to replace oil in baked goods.  I find the texture to be slightly tougher, but considering the cost of oil, I'm fine with that.

Used leftover chicken and stock from the bones to make Huntington chicken.  The recipe calls for a whole chicken's worth of meat.  I usually use about 2 cups and a quart of corn, along with extra pasta,  which fills in the recipe nicely.  So, I also had enough chicken to make buffalo chicken quesadillas for my husband.

Ate up some of the canned soup that our church gave to us.  Served it along with french bread bought on the discount rack.

Made wooden blocks for Evie's birthday. I needed Mod Podge for this project and thought I still had some.  When I went to get it out, it had hardened in the bottle.  I was able to purchase a new, small bottle for $2.97 after using a 60% off one item coupon at JoAnn. I also made her two skirts, three fabric bins, a fabric ball, a small doll, and a jacket.  I am still planning on sewing two peasant tops for her and then I will do a post about her gifts.

When I went out for groceries on Friday, my first stop was a local Mennonite-owned deli and bulk foods store.  I only stopped for lunch meat for my husband to pack for work and pectin to make cherry jelly.  But, while I was there, I was talking to the owner's wife and she asked if I had any use for milk that was about 2 days past its sell by date.  I said yes and they gave me 2 1/2 gallons of white milk, 2 quarts of chocolate milk, a pint of strawberry milk, and 2 pounds of butter.  I froze the butter and 1 1/2 gallons of the milk.  I made yogurt for the week with the other gallon of milk and my kids enjoyed the chocolate and strawberry milk that first evening.  What a blessing!  And the yogurt was the best I've ever made!

We drove out on Friday night to see fireworks at a local state park.  After sitting there for an hour waiting, they canceled them because of rain.  On the way home, we hit a bear with the van.  Yes, a bear!  Thankfully, the only damage is that one side of the bumper was pushed in about 2 inches. We decided to just stay home for the 4th.  We had a campfire and a yummy dinner, then went to bed so we could get up for church the next morning.  We will attend a car and tractor show next weekend and they will have fireworks there.

On Sunday, we attended a picnic with my husband's family since his sister is visiting from Little Rock.  We contributed pea salad and Boston cream poke cake.  When we left, we took home sloppy joe meat and party potatoes.

I finally broke down and went to WalMart to look for tomato bullion, but our store doesn't carry it!  I asked my mom to keep an eye out for it and she called on Friday and said she had picked up a container of it for $1.55.  She also bought 4 water flavor enhancers (like MIO) for $0.33 each, and 4 bags of granola for $0.50 each.  We are really enjoying this granola on top of yogurt!

I accepted a few articles of clothing that someone had given to my mom.  There is a pair of pajamas int here that I will be able to use and a tee shirt that my husband can wear.  The women's slacks and men's jeans, I will save for the fabric.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Weekly Ambitions June 29th-July 4th, 2015

~Begin working on Evie's birthday gifts
~Begin working on decorations for Evie's birthday party

~Thaw roasts and can them in anticipation of our next cow being ready in the next week
~Make food to contribute to holiday get-togethers
~Continue to not eat out

~Stick to cleaning schedule
~Organize family closet
~Spend some time in the garage organizing children's clothing

~Coffee creamer
~Popsicle molds
~Laundry detergent
~Crayons, pencils, erasers
~Tomato bullion (I've never actually found this, so I guess it's time to brave walmart and try to find it there.)
~Items for my husband's lunches

Monday, June 29, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments June 22-28, 2015

Made granola, yogurt, and more.  While we didn't eat all meals "at home", we did eat all meals "from home".  When we were out and about, we packed food to take with us.

My mom and I like to go to a u-pick place for cherries.  They are usually open only one day and by the end of that day, there are no more cherries.  They sell the cherries for $1.60/lb.  This year, neither of us were able to go that day, so we decided we'd do without cherries in our freezers this year.  Well, the next day, a family friend called my mom and said that they were finishing up picking their cherries and she and I could have all of them for $1/lb.  They said it would most likely be around 30-50 lbs.  When my mom went to pick them up, there was about 60 lbs, but they only charged her for 50.  I'm getting 15 lbs of them for my freezer, and my mom and sister in law will split the rest of them. These are especially helpful since we didn't have the money to go pick strawberries this year, either.

We cut my husband's and all three boys' hair.

Accepted a propane grill from my husband's brother.  We have never purchased a grill. The first one we had was a hand-me-down from my father in law.  Eventually, that one wore out and we turned it in for scrap.  We haven't had a grill since the fall before last, now, so this grill is a blessing! When my husband went out to hook it up, though, we discovered that we were out of propane, so we haven't been able to try it yet.

On Friday, we went to a parade.  We packed our dinner and then enjoyed a beautiful evening as a family.

On Saturday, we attended a local bluegrass festival.  Admittance was free, but it cost $8 to park.  It was raining, but we still had a good time,  Once again, we took food with us, but we did buy each person a snack.

We attend church an hour and a half away from our home, so Sundays are difficult days with attempting not to stop and eat.  We managed to make it home and had pizza for lunch.

I sewed three skirt and two peasant tops for Emma for her birthday.

Accepted clothing for Emma and myself from a friend at church.

Stopped at my favorite thrift store on Saturday.  Spent $4.88 and bought 6 pieces of clothing, a kitchen storage container, a pasta fork (I've been without one since October), two sewing patterns (one for a girls jumper and one for ladies skirts and tops), and a book for Emma's birthday.

I put in my order for peaches at the orchard.  I ordered 140 lbs and it will cost me $48 (about 34 cents per pound).

I used surprise points from Sears to buy a denim vest for Evie for nothing out of pocket.  I had seen an outfit on that was a top, a paper bag skirt and a denim vest that I really liked.  I am going to make a couple of similar skirts for her, so she will have a similar outfit, but for much less cost.

Also, my husband worked 5 full days last week! (A first in two months!) Maybe not exactly "frugal" since there are definitely costs associated with working, but it will sure be nice to have a little money coming in!

Thursday, June 25, 2015


PRUDENT, cautious; circumspect; practically wise; careful of the consequences of enterprises, measures, or actions; cautious not to act when the end is of doubtful utility, or probably impracticable

-Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

Retro Thinker Mom Image

As our family has studied the book of Proverbs, "prudent" is one of the words we have come across often.  For our younger children, we tell them that the word means "careful".  The above definition is certainly something that I aspire to.  I want to always be careful and cautious and practically wise in each area of my life.  Undoubtedly, many would do well to be more prudent with their finances.  But, what about their time?  Talents? Opportunities? 

I think for most of us, it's quite easy to make a quick decision or go with our gut or our fleshly desires in many of these areas.  Oh, how easy it is to pick up a few quick and easy meals at the grocery store even when our pocketbooks can't afford it.  Or take that quick weekend trip away when our time and money would be better spent elsewhere.  After all, we may have worked extra hard in the days or weeks before and we "need" a break.  Certainly, vacations and the like aren't wrong!  But, my hope is that I will think through the idea and opportunity before making decision.

For inspiration, I think it's wise to look to someone else who is exemplifying the quality I am aspiring to.  For encouragement, I often visit the website, The Prudent Homemaker

Proverbs 19:14 
House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Weekly Ambitions....

As mentioned in my previous post, we are attempting to get back on our feet after a couple of months with no income.  During that time, I also spent a lot of time helping my husband on the dump truck, so my housework needs to get back on track, as well.

~Stick to my weekly routine each day
~Clean out and organize the hall closet
~I hope to spend some time this week working on putting away recent yard sale purchases in the garage
~Repack tote in the van and wipe down inside of van

~Bake bread and rolls
~Make yogurt
~Make granola
~Eat at home every meal (or pack a picnic if we need to be out)
~Make freeze items we can grab for snacks when we need to be out to avoid purchasing items at grocery stores or gas stations
~Freeze bottles of water for the same reason as above

~Begin working on decorations for Evelyn's first birthday party
~Begin working on a skirt for Emma's birthday

~Iems to pack Dan's lunches.
~Chicken Breasts
~Bottled Water
~Mean Green
~Crayons, Pencils, and Erasers for the beginning of our school year
~May go to the thrift store to look for tee shirts for my husband, linens, and kitchen items, as well as a few things for the children if there is time.

~Work on planning out next school year

Monday, June 22, 2015

Housekeeping Routine

This is the housekeeping routine I attempt to follow.  When I am successful, I feel so much more at peace and my husband notices how much less stress we have in the evenings.

1. Get all caught up on laundry.  This includes washing, hanging out to dry, folding and putting away. My laundry tends to build up over the weekend as we are busy and there is usually much to be done on Mondays. My 7 year old folds and puts away all the kitchen and bathroom laundry.
2. Clean the bathroom top to bottom.  This included scrubbing tub and surround, washing shower curtain, dusting all surfaces, cleaning the floor, and making a list of any needed items.  Our hamper and washing machine are in the bathroom, so I start with the laundry then move on to cleaning the room.

1. Bedrooms.  We have 3 bedrooms. I organize our bedroom, the boys do their room, and the girls do theirs.  While the children are cleaning ( they take MUCH longer to do the job than I do) I strip the beds and begin washing the bedding and hanging it to dry.  Once the tidying is done, I wash the walls, dust the surfaces, wipe the windows, and vacuum all 3 rooms. Before bedtime, we remake all the beds.
2. Tuesday is also the day my 10 year old takes the trash cans to the end of the driveway.

1. Kitchen.  I start in one corner of my kitchen and clean the whole way around the room, top to bottom, at least briefly touching every surface and making sure all the counter tops and shelves are clear.  Then I scrub the table, chairs, and floor.  I always finish by lighting a candle and turning the light off. I don't know why, but it makes it seem so peaceful.
2. Since I am already in the kitchen, I work on my shopping list for the week.
3. My 5 year old brings the trash cans back from the end of the driveway.

1. I clean the living room top to bottom.  I don't usually clean behind furniture every week, but every other week or so.
2. Shopping. I prefer to do this in the evening when I can go by myself,or with just one child, but that's not always an option with my husband's schedule.  I try to schedule the children's doctor appointments for this evening so that I can do that while I am out shopping and I get one on one time with the one who has the appointment.

1. I clean the 3 seasons room on the front of our house where we keep coats and shoes, as well as Lego and a few other toys. That room also houses my sewing machine.
2. I balance personal and business banking accounts and make a budget for the following week or month today.  I also file any receipts for the business along with any other papers that need to be filed.
3. Plan next week's school lessons and reserve any needed books at the library.

We are often busy on Saturdays, but this is what I try to accomplish when we are at home.
1. Clean out the van.  Things tend to end up there that don't belong.  I also take the time to make sure that the van is stocked with extra clothing for little ones, diapers, wipes, baby food, etc.
2. Clean up the family closet.  This is usually the messiest room in the house because no one else sees it, but even it needs cleaned up sometimes.
3. Any outdoor work that needs to be done. My husband usually uses the riding mower and I push mow to trim.  Toys tend to get left out and need to be cleaned up often.  Otherwise, our house starts to look like an abandoned orphanage.

1. We travel an hour and a half one way to get attend church and we usually eat at the church, have a picnic, or eat with family for lunch, so most of the day is gone by the time we get home.
2. I try to not work on the house too much on Sundays, but I will start laundry for Monday.

Blessing in Time of Struggle

The last two months have been exceptionally difficult for us.  The motor in my husband's dump truck blew up on April 30th, and only on June 16th was it finally fixed and back on the road.  My husband is a self employed owner operator and our only breadwinner, so this was a major setback to overcome.  And yet, as with almost all things, even in these times of difficulty, there are blessings.

We were given gifts of money, a lot of food, some yard sale finds that we had been needing for the children, etc.  So many people that we didn't even know gave us deals on parts and services.  Friends and neighbors volunteered their time to help us get back on the road.  There were many hugs and phone calls and prayers said on our behalf.  

One of the silver lining type things to difficult times is learning how strong the Body of Christ is.  How much God cares about every little thing in our lives.  How many people really do still care about others even when all we hear about in the media is the violence and hatred of our day.

Now, we are moving forward.  We will need to work hard to get back on steady ground and pay back our debts, but we have done that before and we know that it is possible and that as long as we are working the direction the Lord desires for us, we will get there eventually.