Monday, June 29, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments and Summer Fun - Mid June

It's been so busy here that I'm late getting this posted.  It is actually two weeks' worth of entries.

Last week, the poppies were blooming and they were glorious!  The peonies are finishing now, and the flower beds look really nice...especially when you're far enough away from them that you cannot see all the weeds.

The garden is growing well for the most part.  We are getting lots of lettuce and spinach, but I expect them to start bolting soon, since we are expecting some hot weather the next few days.  I picked and washed a big bag of lettuce and I was able to share some with friends and library co-workers.  Something came along and ate the tops off the beets in one garden, but they are coming back from the roots.  The chard is growing very slowly too, so I planted a little more.

Kale and spinach are growing well in the cement blocks that edge one of the gardens.
The blocks keep netting in place, to prevent the chickens from getting to our plants.

My friend gave me three tomato starts.  I planted one in a spot where some patty-pan squash seeds never germinated (two of them germinated four days later), and the other two tomatoes along a garden fence where I had a little space.  Everything else seems to be doing well.  The plants are tall enough now that we are mulching between them to even out the moisture and keep the weeds at bay.  The peas are blooming, and we are very happy about that too!

I found a crown vetch plant growing in the grass, so I moved it to a flower bed.  I asked husband to confirm for me that it was indeed crown vetch.  He confirmed it and pointed out three or four more plants!  They are in a buried planter - I will water them a bit and then transfer them as well.

We bought half-price tickets for the Renaissance Festival, and will go on the weekend that kids get in free.

We borrowed books and media from the library.  Daughter attended a free library program last week, where she learned to make paper.  Early this week, she attended the followup program where she learned to make paints from plants!  I read Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin, and I enjoyed it a lot.  Currently, I am reading two nonfiction titles - one for review and another just for fun.  More on the review copy soon - the other book is Lessons From Madame Chic by Jennifer Scott.

I did some subbing at the library, some scoring for Pearson and two 'super bunnies' library programs.


We used sales and coupons to get 6 oz. cans of almonds for about 1.25.  Other than that, we didn't buy a whole lot the first week.  We picked up a couple of freebies we had loaded to our King Sooper card - some Snapple tea and some Ice Breakers mints.  Some ice cream sandwiches made it into the cart...and so did some potato chips.  Week two, I stocked up on chicken (1.67/lb. for boneless skinless breast and 1.59 for boneless skinless thighs), we got a pineapple for .88, grapes for .88/lb. and Triscuit crackers for about 1.20/box.

When we went to the Asian market they had lychee in the produce department.  Daughter and I had never had it.  It was rather expensive, so I just bought six - two for each of us...and it was really good.  I would describe it as sweet, has a very interesting texture and it's very juicy.  I'm glad we had the opportunity to try it!

lychee fruit, husk removed
lychee seed in center of fruit

I took Taffy to the animal health clinic and had her tested for heart worm.  She was negative, which I expected, but the test is required before you start heart worm medication.  There is no office visit fee at the clinic - you pay for the test and the meds.  It is a great way to save on basic animal care.

We spent the weekends staining and sealing some window frames.  We've lived in the years...and we're finally getting this done.  The next time we build a house, I'm staining and sealing the windows before they are installed, hee hee.

I saw an offer on the local freecycle page and we were able to get Daughter a trampoline.  It is in really good shape.  We got quite the workout taking it apart....and putting it back together.

A friend of mine gave me some landscape fabric (the fabric that you put under the mulch or stone to keep the weeds from peeking through), and I was able to give her some lettuce.

We celebrated Father's Day with cards, hugs and phone calls to our dads.  For Husband, we had a shrimp boil for dinner - it was fun, easy and really tasty.

A neighboring family has been cleaning out their big garage and gave me a box of canning jars with lids and rings.  They also offered us the remaining 'space' in the roll-off dumpster they rented for their project, so we were able to clear out some space in our barn.

I had received a postcard from Kohls good for $10 off a $10 purchase.  I chose a couple of garden flags for our entry way and paid just over $1 out of pocket.  We also went to Penzey's and used the coupon they sent us to get a jar of Fox Point seasoning free of charge.  We received some magazines in the mail that are free subscriptions.

I've been hanging the laundry outdoors to dry - it smells so good!  I wash our clothes with homemade laundry soap.

We created a nice outdoor space using things we had on hand.  We simply moved them from here and there (and over there), and put them in the shade.  We've been spending quite a lot of time out there enjoying the summer weather.

Husband and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary.  We went to a specialty shop that sells infused olive oils and vinegars and got a few small bottles so we can experiment with them at home.  We went out to lunch that day as a family and did some other pleasant errands - it was a very nice day.

I gave Husband a haircut - it looks great!  That night, I gave myself a haircut, and according to my friends and library co-workers it looks pretty good too! :)

We have had some magnificent storms!

We spent time outside, enjoying the cool breezes, birdsong and time with friends and family.  We have had some hot days, but at night it is cooler, so we open the windows, turn on the ceiling fan and cool the house down.  Even with temperatures around 90 degrees, the house has remained comfortable. are you doing with summer frugality?  `I hope you will share some of your wins in the comments! :)


  1. I remember putting our 'late' trampoline together. It was quite a job! After 14 years 3 teens got on together and ripped the bed and so it had to go. Those flavored olive oils are great for dipping fresh bread. Our daughter always puts them all on the table with tiny bowls when we eat at her house. Isn't it great to have a place to enjoy the outside? We have been spending a lot of time outside on our deck and in the screen porch. Sunday night we were out on the porch swing until we heard coyotes howling in the woods and scooted into the house. That explained why every dog in the neighborhood was barking wildly.

    Our biggest savings would be a 3% discount on our new heat pump for paying cash. But, it was a huge hit to the savings account. I expect our utility bills will be lower in the long run with the new unit. I was glad we had the money and did not have to finance it.

    Sunday night we had a fun frugal date. We went to QT for free hot dogs for taking a survey online. They have good beef hot dogs and a topping bar so I loaded mine up with sauerkraut, my favorite. Next we went to Zaxby's and redeemed our birthday coupons for Nibbler sandwiches. Lastly to Bruster's for waffle cones for which we used a BOGO coupon. We brought along our own water. Total cost was $3.99 plus gas.

    We had a transmission repair which ended up being $900. I skimmed dollars from budget categories and ended up with enough for the bill. Hopefully my minivan will go fro many more miles.

    I found a Home Depot deal on a ceiling fan for $49. I have been watching for quite awhile for a deal so I was happy to be able to get a nice fan for so cheap. Home Depot Hampton Bay fans are the best we have found for the money. I cobbled together money from here and there to pay for it. It will go in the bonus room and replace a loud and irritating fan that is there now.

    Groceries have been primarily produce, milk and eggs. Eggs have gone up by 70 cents here which is less than I had expected. I had 20% of the grocery money leftover in June. I rolled that and leftover household and utility money to the home improvement fund, a total of $268. We can really go through the money with all the updating we are doing. I hope we can sell this house within the next year. We have to get to our windows, too but our need reglazing and then painting. Ugh.

    Have a good week! Summer is flying by! Let's all enjoy it!


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