Saturday, May 2, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments and Blessings as April Turns to May

beautiful flowers from a beautiful friend
The area where we installed our clothes lines used to be my herb garden.  I have moved herbs to the area that surrounds one of the fenced gardens, since the deer don't bother the herbs.  If the plant was large enough to split, I put some herbs into the flower bed as well.  That way I have 'backup', and can also choose to let the flower bed ones bloom for flower arrangements and/or seed.  I moved the rhubarb to the base of the two clothesline poles, and since I'll be watering those in, I planted a few morning glory seeds there as well, hoping that they will climb the clothesline poles and bloom - wouldn't that be sweet?  I did not move the mint, because it tends to take over, and even with the (nominal) foot traffic from hanging clothes, I think it will do fine where it has always been.

The pea plants are sprouting!
I put the seedlings out in the fresh air and sunshine a few times to help them adapt for when they get transplanted.  This really helps them and makes them more hardy.  The tomatoes go into little water huts called 'Wall-o-Water', and I have already put those in.  Before I planted them, I dug deeper and put in some crushed eggshells and some coffee grounds into the soil, which will help improve the soil for them.

Husband planted the tiny poplar trees that we started by rooting branches in water.  These tend to grow very quickly, and that is what we are needing right now.  Often, the start to die out or lose branches when they are 8-10 years old, so we are planting them as a 'fast solution', but we also planted Ponderosa Pines (we are alternating the two types of trees) that will fill in more slowly, but last much longer.  For planting we are using polymer crystals that we had on hand, plus some we got free at the household materials drop off site.  Our fertilizer is some we had on hand, plus rabbit droppings from our bunnies.  They make very good fertilizer.  The mulch we will use comes from a local site and is free with a canned food donation and/or you can pay $4 to have the end loader fill your truck with a huge scoop - a very good deal!

I planted flowers in the blue pot on the front porch.  Daughter got me the geranium for my birthday.  The marigolds, zinnias, pansies, alyssum and salvia are all seedlings we started from seed at home.

We found a few good grocery deals this week.  16 oz. sour cream w/chives was on markdown for .50, Butterball turkey dinner sausage (think smoked sausage) was .49 per package after sale and coupon, Kraft dressings were .99 each and Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips were .49/5.5oz bag after sale and coupon.  Milk was 1.99 a gallon, romaine lettuce was .99/head and actually, all of that ended up being free, since I got those items at King Sooper and had a $25 store credit from the prescription that Husband transferred.  The other deals this week included yellow mangoes 3/$1, .79/lb for tomatoes, bacon for $2/lb, and cucumbers for .48/ea.  I picked up some sliced cheese at Costco, too.  When the sales changed, we got pork shoulder roast for .89/lb after sale and additional discount, 6oz. Planter's trail mix for .77/ea., celery for .98/bunch, onions for .48/lb, zucchini for .98/lb, and tomatoes and jalapenos for .59/lb.  The store was out of avocadoes (3/$1) but the sale goes into next week, so I may still be able to get some.

crepes with spiced peach filling and drizzle , toasted almonds and maple syrup

I made extras of the various vegetables so I'd have leftovers for lunches the next day...and sometimes breakfast too.  I am trying to eat more vegetables and that is an easy way to make it happen.  I've been trying some new recipes that have more vegetables in them, plus still having vegetable sides.  My friend shared a layered salad and a bok choy dish that she had made as well.

I've stayed busy with subbing at the library some and scoring essays...just over 36 hours this past week, between the two.  I also took a couple of surveys for Pinecone Research.

We borrowed books and media from the library.

I did a little shopping on the local buy-sell-trade Facebook page.  I got this scale for $2.  It was dusty and needed to be readjusted, but it seems to weigh accurately - I'm really happy with it!  The lady I bought it from was also giving away some things - I got a box of 'garage stuff' - some scrapers, paint roller handles, a nice squeegee, etc.

sleepy puppy
I will post our dinner menu for the new week very soon.  (They are here.)It's been a busy week with Daughter's schooling, plus working, cooking, trying to keep up with the house, etc.  Did you have a good week?  What did you do to spend less, save more and make do?


  1. (part 1) You had such a productive and frugal week, Laura! Congratulations! That scale looks lovely.

    I think the only deal where I beat you was the jalapeños, as my plant keeps producing like gangbuster. Otherwise, I'm really jealous of the prices you were able to find as well as those King Sooper gift cards, lol. Great job!

    I've been harvesting a handful or bowlful of green beans every day and I froze a big bag of them last night (since I'll be gone for a couple of days and I didn't want them to go bad). I've mostly been watering my vegetable garden and my potted herbs with rainwater since I collect it in bins placed underneath my roofline. It only rained one day last week but it rained a lot. Some of my tomatoes are ripening. They're from Roma tomato plants that I planted last Fall and that somehow survived until now.

    I planted the 2 nectarine trees that I had gotten from Lowe's (used a $10/$50 coupon and the whole thing was free since I used a gift card from our Mastercard's Reward program). I hope they survive Florida and that we actually get nectarines at some point. Speaking of surviving Florida, the rhubarb plant that I had gotten at Home Depot and that gardeners swear won't grow in Florida OR in pots is doing quite well in its pot on my back patio. It's not huge but it has definitely grown since January and I'm hoping that I'll have a small harvest of rhubarb before it dies. My raspberry canes (planted just a few months ago) have started giving us a few raspberries. I had forgotten that they were black raspberries. They're very sweet and delicious and I wish they produced more!

    I'll try to type my menu for the week and publish it by the end of the day. My daughter and I are driving to Tallahassee this afternoon where we will stay for a couple of days because she is competing at the state level for National History Day. I hope she wins her category (website)! We'll be staying in a hotel, which isn't frugal, and even less frugal is that I didn't want to stay in the cheaper hotels since the reviews on Orbitz were kind of lousy so we splurged and paid a bit more. However the more expensive hotel doesn't include breakfast so we'll stop and get free muffins at Racetrac before we leave with some coupons we have. I also have CVS extracare bucks that we can spend on food (snacks, etc.) and I'll be bringing my coupon organizer since I have coupons for fast food and restaurants. I'm making turkey pumpkin chili in the crockpot for my husband and my son's dinner tonight and they should have enough for leftovers tomorrow night.

  2. (part 2)

    I got books and DVDs from the library as well. I so love the library system!

    We attended a gala organized by our library system to celebrate the first annual Teen Video Awards. My son and his teammates from our local library were honored for having won a Teen Video Award state competition and they received a $150 check for the team and $50 for our library's programming! It was so much fun. All the teens were dressed up like for prom (my son wore a top hat that I had gifted him, and a shirt and pants from Goodwill!) and there was a best-dressed competition. He was the only boy who was a finalist for that competition but lost to a lovely girl who wore a very pretty dress she got at a consignment store. They served fruit punch and diced lunch meats and cheeses, as well as pigs in a blanket, M&Ms and brownies. At the end of the night, my son (he's 13) made his mom proud by starting to stack up the leftover food to bring home! LOL. Everyone was laughing but me because that food would have been thrown away (I asked). So we brought home a whole platter (including the aluminum platter that I washed to reuse) of diced lunch meats and cheeses,including the kale garnish that I cooked for dinner last night. We also brought home quite a bit of M&Ms. My husband was kind of mortified but my kids and I were laughing like crazy.

    I got lots of freebies and some great deals when I went grocery shopping. My favorite was paying just about $2 out of pocket for 7 boxes of Lucky Charms (my son's favorite cereal, not healthy but he is a bean stalk!) and each box has a BOGO coupon printed on the back. I will redeem those when Publix or Winn Dixie has a BOGO sale (which happens quite often) and will get another 14 boxes for free.

    1. Look at you GO! I bet that rhubarb plant of yours hasn't read about how it isn't supposed to do well in Florida - I'm not going to tell it either! :) It sounds like you had a great week too - I hope the trip to Tallahassee is a lot of fun and that your daughter enjoys the competition! :) Nectarines are my most favorite fruit...I hope your trees do well!

  3. I hope your morning glories do well! That would so pretty. I have very little luck growing them in my yard but they are on the roadsides here.

    I did very little shopping this week and that always saves. Aldi had 2 seater gliders for $50 and we had decided to add two to our deck since the only place anyone ever sits is in the two that we have. I put the chaise lounges on the Facebook garage sale and hope to break even there. These gliders last and last and they do not mildew under our trees. While I was there I saw that office chairs were marked down to $20 so I bought one for hubby since his old one was broken. I scraped together a $50 deal at Publix so that I could get the $50 gas card for $40. I needed a number of non food items so that helped.

    Our biggest savings was doing the work ourselves and painting our shutters on Saturday. It completely updated the look of our house for one gallon of paint and lots of sore muscles.

    We only ate out for two breakfasts this week. We have gotten so bad about running our for lunch lately when hubby is home. I hate to say no when he asks if I will go.

    I have been working on getting my overwintered plants cut back and fertilized. I had a plastic grocery bag full of geranium cuttings and a friend came and took them home. She planted them all around their patio and her husband thanked me at church this morning. I still have more to cut back. I use the cuttings to fill in here and there in my own pots and I filled a window box on the fence near the driveway with them. I am waiting to buy plants until June since we will be traveling so much this month. I hope I can still find something that late.

    Can't think of much else. Hope you all have a good week.

    1. You know, our supermarkets often have flowering plants on clearance by late June, so maybe you'll find some good deals. Did your geraniums survive winter outdoors, or did you have them inside? They are such pretty plants - one of my favorites. I'm hoping to take cuttings from mine this fall to bring in for wintertime.

  4. Wow! What a busy week you had! I love your scale. I have an old one missing the tray I got, but need to get it calibrated one of these days.

    1. Erika, if you look at the photo of mine, there is a brass screw on the top of the scale, below the bowl. That is what you turn to adjust it to zero....if that is what you were talking about. Yours probably has a screw adjust on it somewhere too - hope that helps! :)


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