Friday, August 22, 2014

This Week's Frugal Accomplishments

We have had many, many rainbows this past week.
We are back to school this week, and it has been a busy one.  We use a virtual school as the base for our home school, and then we supplement with activities, experiments, field trips, etc.  It has been a good, busy week.  I expect it will be another week, possibly two, before we find our rhythm for this school year, but so far, so good.

I was given a gift card for Olive Garden as a thank-you for working at VBS.  Last Friday, we did an online carryout order.  I had found a coupon for $5 off an online carryout order, and we used that in addition to the gift card.  We ordered late (3:45) from the lunch menu (we had a snack instead of lunch) and were able to purchase two adult entrees, a kid's meal, and a 'small plate' (think little appetizer).  The total was less than $2.50, and most of that was sales tax.  I brought everything home, we feasted and had leftovers for the following day.

We went into the mountains last weekend.  We packed water and a picnic from home, and had a lovely time.  We went to a wolf sanctuary - it was a complete surprise (and dream come true) for Daughter.  The weather was lovely and we have a really nice time.  There was a picnic area nearby, so we gathered there after the tour and had our lunch.  We don't know what set them off, but the wolves howled through much of our meal - for Daughter, it was magical.

At the wolf sanctuary.
We used some larger river stone that we had left from other projects to terrace the hill on the north side of our home.  I divided the irises that needed dividing and planted some there.  We have some other plants we plan to move to this area as well, mainly things in other flowerbeds where our perennials need dividing or even some 'wild' flowering plants from out in our field.  This cost us time and energy, but no cash outlay so far.  We will watch for sales on fall perennials and shrubs, and we will probably plant some bulbs as well.

We made a dinner menu to use things we had on hand.  When we went to the store, we just picked up a few things - some yogurt, a cucumber, a couple tomatoes, and chips for the mountain picnic (on clearance for .75).  Later in the week I picked up celery, a couple onions (I don't have any from the garden to make zucchini sweet relish) and a red pepper.

I did a good bit of scratch cooking this week - Aztec chicken, garlic green beans, baked potatoes, beef and vegetable curry, a pot of rice, kale chips, Cesar dressing, salad greens, marinated grilled chicken, croutons, tuna croquettes, sauteed zucchini and more.

I picked zucchini, green beans, chard, kale and lettuces from our garden.  There is a volunteer sunflower that is blooming, and the butternut squash and pumpkins are both setting fruit.  We also got some eggs from our hens, and I supplemented their feed with all the peelings, trims, etc. from the garden vegetables.  They love those items!

I bought one of Daughter's birthday presents with a 50% off coupon.  I also got Husband's Christmas present.  It was on sale, there was a rebate, and there was one 'open box' item.  Those three things combined saved about $60.  We pounced, and so he is having a very, very early Christmas gift.  Daughter, however, will have to wait until her birthday for her gift.

One of the other library substitutes I work with had thinned her irises and gave me a bag of cuttings.  Since we have put in a driveway and re-shaped our plantings around the house this year, they will really help fill in some empty spaces.  I will divide my irises soon and take some purple ones to her as a thank-you.  She said she didn't have dark purple - that is all that I have (until she gave me the new ones).  Irises do very well here, so they are somewhat low-maintenance and add a lot to our plantings.

My friend gave me a great big zucchini, which I used in a recipe for sweet relish.  My zucchini are growing, but this one put me full speed ahead for getting my relish made.  I made 7 half pints, and there was a little extra that I put into a jar and put into the fridge for immediate use.

Zucchini Sweet Relish
We went swimming with friends, as their guests.  We don't live in the neighborhood with the pool, but since we were their guests, it was free to swim.  We are going to do this every week, and take turns bringing snacks for everyone.

I cut a few flowers from our flower garden and brought them indoors.

Our green beans have been producing well.  I was able to pressure-can 8 pints this week.  This is a pleasant surprise, because I planted a fairly small space this year.

On Facebook, I belong to a local buy-sell-trade group.  It has been very good to us over the years!  It's where I got my free, new-to-us couch last week.  This week, Husband got a very nice (in-need of a cleaning!) gas grill for $30.  I am in the process of de-greasing and cleaning it.  :)

I decided to make a denim quilt to use as a coverlet/throw in our living room.  I put the word out that I was looking for unwanted denim jeans for the quilt and I think I have enough to get started!  I have some flannel on hand that I plan to use for the back side.

What did you do this week to spend less, save more and make do with what you had on hand?


  1. Wow! You had a great week and I love the wolf sanctuary day!

    Perhaps our biggest savings this week would be asking the tree service if they could raise the tree over our TV antenna while they were here taking down the dead tree right next to it. They did that for free and now we have amazing clear TV reception. We had been looking at getting a new antenna and rotor and now we do not have to spend that money. I feel like getting more light to that end of the house will be beneficial too as it is over our bedroom which always seems damp. I was able to find the $350 for taking down of the dead one in the monthly budget and did not have to touch the savings account.

    I re-purposed some curtains that I had for the bathroom refresh by hemming them and adding some trim.

    I followed my menu and used up some items that needed to go and also planned in the bell peppers that I have in abundance in my container garden right now. I made a double batch of muffins to use up some very ripe bananas. They will go in hubby's lunches.

    We have budgeted money for eating out and dates every month. At the end of the month we stash away the leftovers and start new. We had enough stashed away to reserve a cabin in the Virginia mountains for the middle of October. I am so excited!

    I planted lettuce this week. I am hoping it does well and the squirrels don't eat it. They are horribly naughty here.

    Have a good week!

  2. What is the Aztec chicken recipe or link to it? It intrigues me! Sounds like you had a great week. What an encouragement you are to be re-landscaping yard with what you have already!

  3. Great job, Lana! You encourage me so much!

    Terri, Aztec chicken is not really a recipe, but that's good news! Here's what you do. Grill some chicken, either breast or thigh (boneless), or even just bake or broil. Brush it with barbecue sauce, top it with cheddar, bits of bacon and green onion top slivers and let that all melt/broil. Top with a bit of sour cream and if you're me, more green onion. That's it! It's yummy (no wonder!) but doesn't use a lot of all those pricey ingredients - a single slice of bacon and not much cheese and you've jazzed up quite a bit of chicken (at least 4 servings) Hope that helps!

  4. Looks like you had a full and productive week. Mine not so much, but I finally have my allergies under control:D
    Here is my list


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