Saturday, July 25, 2015

This Week's Garden, Summer Fun and Savings!

Do you ever enter those online drawings and giveaways that are on some of the bigger blogs out there?  Once in a while, I enter one.  Recently, I was contacted because I had won a prize package (one of five) from Milford Valley Chicken.  We won 25 boxes of chicken entrees - two servings per package.  This is the first half of our prize.  They were kind enough to send it in two installments, so that we will have enough freezer space.  This was delivered to us in a styrofoam cooler, which we can re-use, and it was packed with dry ice.  True to form, we were as happy about the packing as the prize, and spent much of the morning of delivery pretending we were mad scientists!  Thank you, Milford Valley Chicken!

We had rooted some trees back in the spring and planted them along the south side of our property.  They are a fast-growing poplar variety...but...they were just sitting there, doing nothing.  We removed them and replaced them with some of the sprouts that were growing around our white poplar tree.  We had transplanted one of these at the same time that we planted the sprouts, and it has already grown about a foot!  We are hoping these will adjust well and grow in their new locations, and so far, they look very good.  One of them shocked badly and did not recuperate, so we replaced it with another sprout.  The 'mother' tree has a lot of them!

I started finding lots of little plants growing outside my big flower bed, mostly blanket flower.  I transplanted those into the flower bed along the front of the house, where we still have places to fill in.  I also moved some wild geranium, goldenrod and silver mound from the big flower bed, to help spread things out just a bit.  The changes we're making are coming along slowly but surely!

My friend helped her mom clean out some extra items, and she brought me two twin-size sets of flannel sheets for Daughter's bed.  These will be great for winter!  In addition, that same friend is moving.  In the process of packing she has given me some things that she no longer needs.  I have many new (to me) clothes that are both cute and fun, along with some towels and a norwex polish cloth.  I tried the cloth on the mirrors and they look very good - I hope to do some windows this coming week.

We went to the marsh and did some summertime exploring.  It was fun, and the bee tree smelled heavenly.  We watched the bees come and go for a while, and walked around the pond a bit.  It was a nice way to get out in nature for a little while.

The honeybees live in here!

I completed a survey on Pinecone Research, and I did my last two bunny programs for summer reading this week.  We will have some chicken programs in September for National Chicken Month!

A couple weeks ago I cleaned Daughter's bedroom window, then re-stained and sealed the frame.  We had a wood blind in that window, but it was not working properly.  I was unable to repair it, but I salvaged some parts from it, and replaced a tilter wand mechanism in one of our bedroom blinds with the one from the broken blind (our mechanism had stripped out and a replacement was $12 plus shipping).  Daughter said she didn't want a new/replacement blind.  She also had a set of blue curtains, but asked for a cafe' style curtain, to let in more light.  I altered one of the curtains to make the cafe' curtain for her room, and used a curtain rod we had on hand.  She is happy with the new setup, and likes having a single curtain that pulls to one side.  The single curtain was also her idea - she likes that it lets in more light even when the curtain is closed.  I like it because this fabric is kind of slippery to work with, and I didn't have to worry about matching length.

I just noticed that I have the curtain on backward....I'll fix that! 

I was able to get some second-hand uniform shirts for daughter for the start of school.  This saved us a lot!  We went through the house and treasure-hunted many of her school supplies, along with a backpack.  We picked up the remaining school supply items for about $11, and that includes a few extras of a couple of items, which I will keep at home in case they are needed later in the year.

You may be wondering about that last paragraph, because we have been using a virtual school for her education.  We (very) recently learned that the local school for expeditionary learning, a charter school in our area, had a space for her.  We have been on the waiting list.  This feels like a big, big change.  I am excited, but it's bittersweet.  She and I spend nearly all our waking hours together....even when I sub at the library, I frequently take her with me.

There are big changes coming for us, and I will be asking y'all for ideas.  In fact, I asked this on facebook, but if you don't follow on facebook, can you tell me about some cold lunches that you'd suggest that are healthy, quick-to-eat, and frugal?  Leave them in the comments, won't you please?  Thank you!

Our across-the-road neighbors had some out of town company this week, and they have a daughter the same age as ours!   The girls got to play together a couple of times, and have decided to become pen pals!  I'm especially excited - I think it will be a great opportunity for them to become better friends, as well as learning more about one another where they each live and more.

I belong to a local freecycle page on facebook.  On errand day, we included some freecycle pick-ups and got Daughter a Spirograph and a pair of shoes.  Taffy got a doggie coat, and I got some outdoor plant pots and two cutting boards.  We were able to freecycle a table that we no longer needed.

The garden continues to do well.  The tomato plants are getting really large - I'm having to tie the one nearest the gate just so I can get in.  I'm using their 'shade' to my advantage by planting lettuces beneath them where it's cooler and they don't bolt.  The green beans are blooming a lot and the cucumbers and squashes are starting to run.  Though our gardens are small, we are getting enough to eat our fill of fresh things.  It seems that just as we are getting tired of one vegetable, another starts to come in.  At this point, I'm planning and starting some fall plants - radishes, lettuces, a second planting of peas and possibly some brussels sprouts.

Hello, future pesto!

How was your week?  What's new in your world?  What have you done to spend less, save more and make do?


  1. Wow! Daughter going to school will be a huge thing! I bet she is excited about having other kids around every day. Our only child DIL has told me that being an only can be lonely. No ideas for you on the lunches since ours were always home and hubby is a total creature of habit and has eaten pretty much the same lunch for 37 years. A thermos could be helpful for hot foods. We do that some in the winter for soups.

    I ordered a new laptop paid for with Swagbucks Amazon gift cards. I asked hubby to pick it out for me and he spent quite a bit of time on that so I am confident that I will be happy with it after I learn to use it. My old one had gotten so slow that it was frustrating.

    We went to the beach with my parents but that was very low cost since they own the timeshare. We did almost nothing while we were there since they are hardly getting around anymore. I did find a few more bowls for my Pfaltgraff dishes pattern at a thrift store. Bowls are the hardest to find so I was happy. We used some Starbucks free egift cards that I have had for about 2 years for a treat on the way home.

    WHile we were gone someone compromised my debit card and cleaned out our checking account. We have gone through all the paperwork and now we wait for the charges to be investigated and the money put back inot our account. I talked to our accountant daughter about how to go to only credit cards and work the budget and we now have a plan to do so. I do not want to do this again.We will be living frugally for a few weeks until this is cleared but we do that anyway so it will not be too hard.

    Congrats on your big win! How nice to have main dishes ready to go for busy days. I bet that dry ice was a blast!

    Have a good week!

  2. Laura, I just wanted to tell you I enjoy reading your blog, as we also garden and cook from scratch. I generally click on your link through The Prudent Homemaker blog but this time it took me to someone else's blog?? I didn't know if there is a change in your blog but thought I would ask, since the name was the same. So I looked your blog up in my favorites.

    Big changes for you and your daughter! But exciting, none the less!! :) Thanks and have a blessed week. Teri

    1. Thanks for the heads-up, Teri - I left an incorrect link at Prudent Homemaker. Whoopsie! ;)

  3. What about a search on Pinterest for lunches?

    My brother did not like sandwiches and was too picky fr the school made lunces and had peanut butter crackers in his lunch for all of his school years. My Mom got so tired of making them every morning!


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