Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Week's Blessings and Frugal Accomplishments

I just wanted to share a picture of this Easter egg, even though
it's a bit late.  The butterfly is acutally a temporary tattoo.  I
drew the little flowers right onto the egg with markers.  It was fun!

My friend and I got together a few times this week.  Our daughters played together while we caught up on visiting.  It was so nice to see her - we always end up laughing and having a nice time.

I was able to get some more butter for .99/lb, along with canned pineapple (20 oz.) and mandarin oranges (15 oz.) for .75 per can.  Strawberries were .98/lb, almonds were 4.99/lb. and chunks of cheddar cheese were 1.99/lb.  When the sales changed midweek, grapes were .88/lb., roma tomatoes were .69/lb, broccoli was .98/lb., honey mangoes were 3/$1, sweet corn was .25/ear, leaf lettuces were .48 each and monterey jack cheese was 1.99/lb.  We also found a lonely bag of Easterish Hershey kisses with almonds for $1.44.

I picked daffodils to bring indoors and enjoy.  We walked around the flower beds, taking note of the various perennials that are peeking through the ground.  I was excited to discover two new perennial Oriental Poppy plants that are sprouting.  They probably will not bloom this year, but we're still excited to have them spread some.  I divided a peony bush into three smaller ones and moved on to the front driveway area, and all of those are sprouting, along with the irises that I divided and planted on the terraces.  Last year, we put in a gravel driveway and added a walkway - I am trying to populate the big flowerbed that was 'created' with plants we have on hand.

Peony sprouts.
We borrowed books and media from the library, free of charge.

I began scoring for Pearson this week.  (This is one of the reasons I am only posting one post per week right now - this takes up a considerable amount of my time.)  It is a good job for working from home, but it is short-term.  This is actually fine - scoring the answer to the same question over and over is not something I think I would want to do year-round!  That said, I am really enjoying my project assignment this year.

I baked three loaves of bread, made egg salad, lots of green salad, enchilada sauce, Mexican rice, calzones, sides like rice and steamed vegetables, roasted potatoes and more. I also spent some time making a list of dinner entrees.  I am hoping that the list will make menu planning easier and more fun.

We had some cold weather this week.  Sometimes, using the oven (say, to bake the bread) was enough to warm the house, but we also used the wood stove some.

The ladies that Husband works with sent a potted plant home for me.  It's cute - I hope I can keep it alive!

I continued working on the little garden.  Mostly I am watering the soil daily, to help saturate the area and help the compost and other soil amendments begin to break down and release their nutrients in the soil.  It is still too early to plant anything here without protection, so I'm trying to be patient!  I do have a small triangular cover over a small area of the garden - I plant to sow lettuce, radish and spinach seeds beneath it very soon.

We need some trees to plant along one side of the property so we cut some branches from a poplar and put them into a bucket of water to root.

My friend brought us some sweet-sour jalapeno slaw that she made.  I'll share some marinated three bean salad with her the next time I make some.

I received my next selection from Blogging for Books - review coming soon!

We had a couple of things we have been using for a while that were good examples of 'making do'.  Our Eureka vacuum cleaner is about 8 or 9 years old.  It was working okay, but there was a fair amount of duct tape holding things together.  About a year ago I purchased a second-hand Shark portable vacuum, and I have been very, very happy with it.  I had told husband that when the time comes, I'd like to replace our Eureka with a Shark.  Costco had a really good price on a full-size Shark vacuum.  I did some research and we purchased one.  You know how I said the Eureka was working OK?  Well...I had to empty the Shark canister, um, a few times, the first time I used it on our carpeting.  I am very happy with the performance so far.  It has a five year warranty, plus Costco will stand behind it if we have any problems.

The other item was my laptop.  It has been warning me for quite a while that the hard drive is 'going'  A couple weeks ago it started crashing semi-regularly.  It has been a good computer, but it is old enough that repairs are not worth the cost, and I have been semi-watching for a replacement.  Husband found a great price on a Chrome Book - $129 at Best Buy, one day only.  It doesn't do everything my laptop would do, but it does meet my needs.  (I have had the laptop for 4+ years and put exactly one disc in the disc drive.)  The Chrome Book is solid-state, so the battery lasts much longer, and it turns on instantly.  It's also smaller, light weight and super cute!  I want to make a little quilted tote for it so I can bring it along to the library and such.  I had savings set aside for a replacement computer, but Husband said, "Happy Birthday!" (a little early)  He's quite the sweetie.  (I say that even when he doesn't buy me stuff!)

In this coming week, I will continue with my scoring efforts.  I am also working a few hours at the library on two days, and daughter has a school event we will attend.  It will likely be a busy week.  Here is the supper menu plan:

S - grilled turkey, red broccoli salad (the red comes from red grapes), fresh pineapple
M - sandwiches (turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc.), bean w/bacon soup, sliced apples
T - fried chicken (from Popeye's, this is their low-price day), mashed potatoes, slaw (I will make the sides at home), grapes
W - spaghetti w/meat sauce, garden salad, garlic toast, fresh fruit
R - ham chowder, corn bread, apples (I may not make this meal if we have a lot of leftovers.)
F - beef fajitas, salad, chips & salsa, fresh fruit
S - pizza (we have gift cards for Domino's that Husband earned with Swagbucks), veggie sticks and dip, apple slices

How was your week?  What did you do to spend less, save more and make do?


  1. How do you like the Pearson scoring assignment. I begin April 20th on the NYS ELA scoring. Is the training hard? Are you making the daily incentive bonus money amounts that they advertise? Thanks for more insight on the process. -Renee

  2. Hi, Renee - My personal goal is 3 hours a day (or more), so I doubt I'll be in line for any bonuses. We also homeschool, sorta (we use a virtual school), so I have those duties, plus I'm doing some subbing at the library. Three hours a day puts me over the 20/wk. minimum, so that's why. This is my 5th year scoring for Pearson, I think. The pay structure used to be different - you were paid 'per piece', as long as your validity and adjacent validity remained high. I think that now, they've pretty much gone to the hourly model with those daily incentives you mentioned.

    Training is not hard, but that first year, it's a lot of info being sent your becomes familiar quickly. After training, you have practice, then qualifying. You have to make a certain percentage correct in qualifying to be eligible to score. I don't know if the percentages vary with the project or not...but by the time you get to qualifying, you've been through rubrics, anchors and practice, so its' really coming together at that point. I'm not sure what ELA is....I know there is scoring for virtually any subject area - I score reading/writing mostly.

    I hope it goes well for you! :)

  3. Thanks, Laura. I look forward to the experience with the ELA scoring (English Language Arts) and making some money from home before our second baby is born. Have a great week.

  4. Your Easter egg is beautiful!

    We got our new roof put on this week. Nearly $5000 spent seems to be a nonfrugal move but the value of our house has shot up in the last year or so to where I never thought possible so it is worth maintaining. The 13 hours of hammering and noise on the roof about made me crazy. We are able to pay cash but will run it through our credit card for the rewards and there is a$50 bonus for a $750 plus charge right now. We have decided to change the shutter and front door colors and paint our deck railings a dark color. It will be a real face lift when it is done. Just getting rid of the black roof made a real difference.

    We do not care for anything cooked with ham bones so I got the Easter one out of the fridge and picked every last bit of meat and chopped it. I pretty surprised to get 4 cups of ham. I froze it in 1/2 cup packages. I read a tip online last week. SO many recipes call for a lot of bacon these days which is really so expensive. I have not tried this but read that you can saute' chopped ham in bacon grease to infuse it with bacon flavor and use it as a substitute. I am going to try it soon.

    I have my overwintered plants out of the garage now but I am hesitant to even take them off the dolly for fear of another cold snap. Last week was nice and warm but now we are expecting another week of chilly weather. I guess that not getting any plants until early June might just be wise. Other years like this they have been planted and not grown at all until June anyway.

    I took advantage of a deal on Amazon for a real metal tricycle with rubber wheels and everything retro for $38. We are putting it up for our youngest grandson's birthday in August. I even has a bell!

    Since it will be chilly again this week I am sort of winging it with the menus and will try to use up as many cold weather meals from the freezer as we can stand to eat. I still have a lot of types of soups to use that we will not touch in the summer. I don't know how many times we will want to have soup before we are sick of it. I planned some grilling menus but we also have a rain chance every day so we'll see.

    We cleared out a storage closet and took another big load to the thrift store yesterday. That is six loads out of our twelve load goal for this year. We stopped and got a free frozen lemonade at Chick fil A with our calendar cards on the way home as a reward.

    I did not grocery shop other than a quick run through Sam's for lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzarella, pepperoni, milk which is down to 2.69 so I got two and a big bag of Reese's eggs for $5.91.

    Have a good week everyone!

    1. I'll be eager to hear how the 'bac-ham' experiment turns out. It might not be an exact replacement, but I bet it will work in some situations. Sounds like you had a wonderful week! :)

  5. One more thing--we were horrified the same way when we got our Dyson vacuum cleaner!

    And another-Yay! for being able to replace your laptop!

  6. Thanks, Lana! There is a possibility that the new Chrome Book isn't compatible with the printer we got a couple months ago...I haven't had time to look for a work around, but I'm hopeful.

    With the new vacuum, I was really surprised! I thought the old one was doing a fine job. We will still use the old one in the basement (there is no carpeting, only hard floors) where it can still help me out. :)


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