Tag Archives: Frugal Accomplishments

Saving Money–Week Ending December 27

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Our Christmas turned out to be very meaningful and delightful.  We were able to keep the hustle and bustle low, while still getting to enjoy several holiday activities, and we felt very satisfied with the season.

We were also able to come through the season feeling satisfied that we were able to give gifts to people we loved while not overspending.  We did, however, cut things back quite a bit from years past, because of Rob’s job loss.  One thing we cut back on was giving small gifts to friends.  We just did not give them this year, and I’m sure everyone understood.  Instead, we used that money on the girls.  Even though we never gave costly gifts to friends and co-workers, teachers, etc., it adds up and we simply wanted to use the $ elsewhere this year.  Next year, I will make some extra jam, or relish, or whatever I can figure out—I’ll just plan for it differently.   Sometimes life just takes unexpected twists and turns and plans have to be re-adjusted.

Family members got turkeys, a plan that had been in the works for months.  When they were butchered right after Thanksgiving, they were delivered. That sure took a lot of pressure away from the week of Christmas. A few people received zucchini relish I made last summer from our over-abundant crop.  It tastes just like regular sweet relish.  I also made some potholders.

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I gave away a few dish towels and pillowcases I had embroidered.  One set of pillowcases is not in the picture, but it had flowers on it as well.  The towels were purchased at Walmart in a big bundle and stamped with Aunt Martha’s iron-on embroidery stamps.  The stamps can be used over and over, so most of the stamps were some I’ve had for years.

We do things differently than most.  We open our gifts at home on Christmas Eve, after church, and then go to my sister’s on Christmas Day  to celebrate with extended family.  And, we don’t hang the stockings.  We put the things in them and put them in a row on the couch.  Why?  I’m not sure.  It probably got started years ago when we didn’t have anywhere to hang them.  We put fewer things in the girls’ stockings than usual, but we made sure each item was of higher quality.  So, a chocolate Santa from See’s candy, a small gift card for Starbucks, the obligatory orange that MUST be there, etc.  They were very pleased.

They got gifts they had asked for and really wanted, just slightly fewer than some years.  Again, they were very pleased.  Rob and I gave each other a few things we needed.  I got some tea, a can opener, a couple of sweaters for work, etc.  He  received a coffee maker from the girls with some help from me.

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On Christmas Eve, we all dressed up and went to church.  It was a very beautiful, meaningful, candlelight service.

We had several times during the week when we ate somewhere else other than home, or had people over here.  This comes with having such a large, complicated family.  I was able to shop sales for extra food items I needed, and use many items I already had at home as ingredients as well.  We took one son out to breakfast one morning.  In the end, we were able to get together with 7 out of 8 of the children, no small accomplishment!

We received the good news that some close friends were able to slip over here (they live 8 hours away) for the night, so enjoyed making dinner and visiting with them as well.

We used wood heat.  We used decorations we already had and the centerpiece we were given–the only thing I bought was a poinsettia a few weeks ago.  We wore clothes we already had to church and holiday events, with the exception of Patsy and Ja’Ana– they each got a new Christmas dress as usual, bought on sale, of course.  I believe Patsy’s was either 60 or 70 % on Thanksgiving Day (Rob had to take Lovana to work at Fred Meyers for a few hours that day, so picked it out while he was buying the $20 boots for each of them).  He is an amazing shopper!

We chose free activities such as church choir concerts, etc.

We watched shows on our Kindles, using Prime.  We also used Prime for free shipping for the items we ordered from Amazon for Christmas.  For us, since we do on-line shopping, Prime pays for itself in shipping savings, and we get the shows as a bonus.  We do not have cable, or even free tv that works at our house, so it’s Prime shows and library movies for us.  We were given the $ to go to the new Star Wars movie, now we just need to find the time!  We were also given a slew of various gift cards by different people, and are very thankful and excited to use them after the new year.  We were also blessed with a couple of sizable cash gifts.  We do not know who one gift is from, so, thank you very much, whoever you are!  We are very grateful.

 

 

Saving Money- Week ending on December 20

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As I was stitching some last minute embroidery projects, I realized I was getting low on green floss.  I remembered Rob’s mom telling me that she had been given some x-stitching supplies, by someone who was moving, to share between his sisters and myself.  I asked him to stop by and see if there was any green in the mixture.  He brought home a couple of boxes of supplies and I got to choose whatever I could use.  It ended up being about a gallon of floss of all colors, including green! I chose the loose floss and a few tubes of x-stitch fabric.  I sent back the rest and I think we will let the children use it for bracelets and crafts after people take what the can use.  I am very excited to get so much floss.  I like to do embroidery and work on projects all year long.

We were invited to a friend’s house for dinner and enjoyed ourselves very much.  I was able to make a mixed-berry crisp and use up several little baggies of frozen berries that needed to be used while they were still tasty.  It turned out very good and had raspberries, blueberries and a few blackberries in it.

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We attended Ja’Ana’s choir concert Friday night and a church choir presentation with singing and drama last night.  They were both beautiful and put me in a Christmas mood.  After J’s concert, we wanted to celebrate with her, so we took her to the store and let her choose any kind of ice cream she wanted.  While we were doing that, I saw a pizza sign indicating that pizza was $5 for the take and bake “special” of the day.  Lovana ran over and got one, and to my surprise, it was for a fairly good sized one.  I already had sandwich ingredients prepared at home, so we had a combination of sandwiches and pizza and ice cream for our celebration!  (The pizza was not gluten-free, so it went farther since I can’t have any).

Rob accidentally broke the glass in the wood stove when he was loading it up so he could leave to drive Ja’Ana to choir practice.  I was giving a piano lesson, and my student and I heard this big sound of breaking glass.  The house filled with smoke, the alarms went off, and it was quite exciting for a while as Rob carried flaming logs out and threw them off the porch into the soggy flower beds.  All the while, I’m trying to carry on like there is nothing unusual about him pouring water all over the hearth (and my kitchen floor),putting out the flames on one log, carrying out others, and trying to get the glass to not fall out of the frame where it was hanging in the balance.  Ja’Ana got the smoke alarms to quit wailing, all was safe, and she and Rob took off for the last choir practice.  I got back to my lesson, and  finished with that student.

Meanwhile, my phone was bringing in texts, asking if there was some confusion about Rob picking up J’s friend.  I answered, “no-he’s on his way” and I went on with lessons. The house phone kept ringing and I continued ignoring it, as I do when working.   Half-way through the 2nd lesson, Patsy was supposed to get off  the bus with another boy who was coming for a lesson.  He came.  She didn’t.  I start frantically texting Rob, asking him to call the school.  In the meanwhile, student #2 is playing away and I’m pretending to listen.  She’s one of my older ones, and was not fooled for a moment, but was gracious while I had my mini-crisis.  I finally get a quick call–everything’s fine–she missed the bus home–he would drop the girls at choir and then go get her.  Whew– because I surely can’t leave someone else’s child home alone at my house while I go get her–and there were 2 of them there by then!  On with lessons.  Never a dull moment at my house–that’s for sure.

The stove door was fixable.  It cost us $125.  We had to run the furnace for 2 days, which will be costly on our next power bill.  In the big picture, though, this stove has been a real money saver.  We use it constantly for heat, using firewood we get for “free,” with our labor and fuel costs being the price we pay.  It was a discard from someone else years ago, and we have used it all winter for heat for the last 8 years.  A new one would be over $2,000 and our power bill would be astronomical.  Afternoons like Wednesday are frustrating (but funny afterwards), but it’s the price we pay for using things that are second-hand, old, wearing out, etc. It’s worth it to us when we look at the big picture.

Rob got bread for the pigs–the back of the van full for $25.  We paid the girls a little something to unwrap it all and it is ready to feed the pigs.  We also have been giving them melons we got last week.  They were spoiling when we got them–they are awful now, but the pigs still seem to love them.  They are almost all gone now.  They are mostly raised on a natural feed from a local feed store, but the do love their treats!  They are growing nicely and so far, all 7 have survived.  (We got 2 more than the original 5 when people indicated they wanted to buy them.)

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Patsy had a birth-mom visit last week.  We made these mountain bar cookies together and took some along.  They were easy, quick and fun for Patsy to decorate with the mini M and M’s I got on sale for $2/bag a while back.  We also took a few other modest presents and ate fast food together while we visited.  I thought it went well.

 

 

Saving Money-Week ending in December 13

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This week was full of a nice mixture of work and play.  I was able to save money in several ways.

At dinner, this evening, we had popcorn and cheese slices for dinner.  We had a lot to eat earlier at my sister’s house and then attended a birthday party for a dear little friend of ours, and ate some more!  We weren’t very hungry, so this was a great choice.  Some people didn’t even eat any cheese, I just have to have some protein with each meal, so I did.

I was able to get a doll dress, doll p.j.’s and the doll sleeping bag and pillow done for her gift.  She really likes playing with her dolls, so I know she’s going to enjoy them.  They were all made from materials I had on hand, so that was a very frugal, but very satisfying present.

This was the week for Christmas parties.  On Friday, we had our annual 4H Christmas party.  We played the usual games–unwrapping the package wrapped in multiple layers of wrapping when the music stopped and White Elephant gift exchange. It is amazing to me how much fun they can have with these games.  Other games may be added in, but these remain.  Each younger set of children has learned these games from their older counterparts, and never tire of playing them.  Rob and I have been leaders for over 25 years, and the kids still choose the same games year after year.  The older junior leaders choose the games, and they always choose these.  It’s awesome to see how much fun inexpensive or free games can be.

Then they worked on community service projects.

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They packaged up beans and rice for a local organization to hand out.  They made candy canes with the story of the candy cane attached, also for handing out.  The third project was making Chex mix and Rice Krispie Treats and cards for servicemen and women.  We have 2 former members serving in the armed forces at this time, and a close relative of a member, so we chose those 3 to focus on.  We rotated the kids through the stations, with each child getting a chance to do every activity.  In the picture, Ja’Ana is figuring out the recipe, since the junior leaders were the “brains” of the stations, keeping people on task, even when the people switched stations! No small task!  The rice, beans, ingredients for the treats, and card-making supplies were all donated by the families in the club.  The postage will come out of the club funds, or be donated.

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The kids also gathered around the tree and one mom read a story containing the true meaning of Christmas to them.  We had a potluck as well, and then it was time for them to go home.  A great day for everyone!

Patsy had a party with her Sunday School class.  It was over an hour from our house to the party.  Rob and I went on a date while she enjoyed the party.  We got to enjoy going out to dinner, as we clearly weren’t going to run home in-between.  We also picked up a few groceries from specialty stores (one thing was gluten-free Worchestershire sauce–hard to find, spendy, but I don’t use it very fast).  It was great to be able to get away alone.  That hasn’t happened much lately.

On Saturday, she had a party with the Royal Family Kids’ Camp organization that helps foster children enjoy camp each summer, and a party at Christmas.  She received some shoes, yarn for her Knifty Knitter, and some sewing supplies, as she is learning to sew in 4H.  They are so kind to take the time to find out what each child really wants, and give them such nice presents.  She made this cute food craft with an ice-cream cone, a cupcake and frosting.  She promptly had Rob eat it, since they were sure it wouldn’t make it home.

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Rob was able to combine driving the children and several errands to save $ on gas.

We cooked most meals at home, except the dinner when we went out, or when we were eating at my sister’s house.  I made meatballs and pasta,  soup, leftovers a couple of times, and spent the first 1/2 of the week using up the chicken I got for 50c/lb last week in things like chicken salad sandwiches, chicken enchiladas, and plain chicken on a plate.  That 10 pound bag made a LOT of chicken!  We used home-canned and home-frozen fruit, vegetables, enchilada sauce, and blueberries.  I used up a little container of pesto I froze last summer.

 

FullSizeRender I burned a lot of trash, eliminiating the need to pay for an extra bag. I made a lot of potholders from scraps and Insul-Bright filling.  They will be Christmas gifts.  I was able to buy some more Insul-Bright today, using my 40% off coupon at JoAnn’s.

We were able to get a pickup load of honeydew melons that were no good for people to eat, for our pigs.  We were given 4 melons that were good to eat, so have been enjoying them.

We did all of the usual things:  burned firewood in our stove for heat, turned off lights when not in rooms, etc.

Rob also got new tires for the car, using savings for money (not store credit or credit card) , since ours were long-overdue.  He bought neither the cheapest, or the most expensive, instead choosing ones that were middle of the road in price.

 

 

Saving Money–Week Ending December 6, 2015

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I am still enjoying my zinnias from last summer–just in pictures now.  This peppermint-stiped one makes me think of candy canes, with it’s beautiful stripes.

I was pretty sick for the first half of the week, and am still coughing a bit.  I had to skip work for the most part, and only ended up giving one lesson the entire week.  That made it even more important to be careful with my money for the rest of the week.  Being self-employed means that if I don’t work, I don’t get paid.

I soaked white navy beans last Sunday.  On Monday, I found I had soaked way too many!  I ended up making ham and beans, and white bean chicken chili.  We ate those for several days and I froze enough for 2 meals, at least.

I was able to get several of my hoped-for grocery items. At Fred Meyers,  I got mini chocolate chips for $2/bag, milk for 99c for 1/2 gallon, oj for the same price,  and some M & M’s for $2/bag, some spices from the bulk section, and a few other things I needed.  I did pay $1.25 for a few cream cheeses, and then, of course, it came on for 99c today!

At Safeway, I had a $10/off $50 that I used.  I got 2 large laundry soaps,  4 apple juices for $1.25 each, 2 puddings and 2 jellos and a free bag of sugar with those items.  The last jello lasted us about 4 years.  We don’t use it much, so it will be nice to have it if a recipe calls for it.  The best thing was 10 lb bags of frozen thighs and drumsticks for $5.  That is 50 cents a pound–by far the best price I’ve seen here for years!  I got 3 of those and a few other things. I thawed and cooked one right away. With the coupon, it came in around $50, so I got around $60 worth of groceries at that store.

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I watched a lot of Andy Griffith shows on library DVD’s.  I embroidered dish towels while I did that.  I used a LOT of  tissues someone gave us for free a while back.  I also drank a lot of fizzy seltzer water the same person gave us.  I just put a little bit of juice or lemonade in the glass with ice, and filled it with seltzer.  It is like fake pop to me, and kept me drinking all day long.

I made a roast, the bean soups, used the rest of the turkey from Thanksgiving in turkey salad for sandwiches or salads, served some hot dogs that have been around a while. I did not make pizza as our menu plan called for, as we had enough food without it.  I did made  lasagna from some ricotta I had hanging around and took it to my sister’s today.  I buy ricotta from Cash and Carry.  It is much less expensive, but you get a LOT.  There was a little left from the last container I bought  about 6 weeks ago.  It lasts a long time as long as I am careful to not get anything in it that would contaminate it.

I did quite a bit of sewing.  I got Michaela’s pajamas done.  I sewed a pillowcase for a service project.  We tied a blanket for the service project, and Patsy made one for herself. I made a doll dress and a doll sleeping bag. I cut out pajamas for Lovana.  I have a lot left, but I will be working this week, so I’ll do my best.

Rob and the girls visited a cut-your-own Christmas tree farm and got ours for only $10.

Ja’Ana was able to sell a few pies for a fundraiser she participated in to start earning money for a retreat at church she wants to attend.  I’m still waiting to see how much she gets towards her trip.

I hope you were able to find some ways to save money this week, as well.  What did you do?

 

 

Saving Money–Week of November 30

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You may notice there is no dead tree in this picture.   It’s gone, and along with it, Rob’s worries  about it falling on our house, cars, and especially, Lovana’s bedroom!  It was a significant savings, too.  The loggers would not touch it, they said it was a  “widow-maker” and we should get a tree service to bring it down right away.  The first company wanted to charge us $1,200 to bring it down, and really weren’t very interested in the job–looked too dangerous.  On Wednesday, Rob drove by a tree service working in a neighbor’s yard.  He stopped and talked to them, and they drove right over and looked and quoted us $600.  They told him to call on Thanksgiving to finalize plans, so he did and they came Friday and took care of it!  What a blessing.  The pieces are laying on the ground, but that is no problem for us!  It was cheaper that way.

I planned menus for the week.

I did not shop for Thanksgiving.  Everything was from the freezer, pantry, etc. or other people brought it. I did spend about $50 on Saturday at Grocery Outlet to get a few things I needed, including gluten-free pretzels for an upcoming 4H community service project.  I will buy milk and butter if it comes on a good sale, otherwise, I’m done.

I made gluten-free stuffing with apples and water chestnuts.  I figure I saved about $15 by making my own stuffing croutons instead of buying 4 boxes for gluten-free stuffing mix for about $5 per box.IMG_1755 I got some flour sack dish towels to embroider at Walmart–10 towels for about $8.  I seldom go to Walmart as it is out of my way.  I was delighted that they were still very reasonable to buy there.  I love to embroider on them, compared to other towels,  since they wipe dishes so well.  They are pretty and very useful as gifts.

I got some good bargains at JoAnn’s, but did not over-do it.  I got a couple of craft kits/items to use as gifts for 50% off.  I was able to use several pieces of my fabric stash I already had at home for gifts, children’s projects, etc.  I still have quite a few gifts to work on.   I have a bad cold today, so stayed home from work.  I hope to sew a little in-between drinking tea and resting.  It’s just a cold, but it’s hard to teach piano when you are having trouble talking, since that’s all I do all day when I teach:)

I cooked another squash.  We were blessed with so many.

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Saving money–week of Nov. 16

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One of the things we spent a lot of time doing is working on our slash piles.  Recently, we had some logging done, and the piles that remain are our responsibility.  We could pay someone to burn them, but that would cost us quite a lot of money so we are attempting to do it ourselves.  We are having a hard time.  Rob spent a good deal of time on Friday to no avail.  On Saturday, he was able to get one pile burning well, and by evening it was burned down pretty well.  Pile #2 was difficult.  We both worked for several hours but it would never catch.

On Sunday, we had a sick child, so stayed home from church.  Our oldest daughter and husband came over when they heard burning was an activity they could join in on and we had another try at the 2nd pile.  At times, we had 2 large blazes going, on 2 different parts of the pile, and we though it was going to take off.  Sadly, it began to pour rain, drenching the fires.  After about 4 hours, we gave up, went inside and cooked a great meal and enjoyed each others’ company.  (Rob took J to the doctor today and she is fine–just a bad cold.)

We have 15 piles.  There are still 14 unburned.  It keeps raining.  The wood is wet.  We must burn them soon, so we can replant in time to save the forest deferment we have on our taxes.  H-m-m-m-m.  I’ll keep you posted!  We have high hopes, though.  We will save thousands of dollars by burning, and by paying lower taxes on the forested land.

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I enjoyed watching leaves change and fall.  It won’t be long until they are all down on the ground.  I also loved watching the woodpecker that has now pecked out large portions of the dead tree in his search for insects.  In fact, it is a little worrisome how much he has dented that tree!

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We cooked many meals from scratch.  Rob made this ham on the grill.  It was really good.  We also made crock pot meals and many recipes at 4H club.  We are still eating leftovers from that!

I’ve been drinking more water instead of other drinks.

My husband found my daughter a formal dinner dress at Goodwill for $12.99.  It was brand new and fit her.  All we are going to have to do is choose which sweater/cape/shawl, etc. she will wear with it. There is the faux fur one I made her last year.  It might work.   It saved me hours and hours to not have to sew one, and quite a bit of money as well.  The last one I made cost me at least $50-$60 in materials alone (which is cheaper than buying one, but still…)

We used some hazelnuts we were given and roasted them.

IMG_1711We were given some crab  and totally enjoyed that as well. All in all, it was a pretty good week!

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Frugal Accomplishments for this week–Nov. 9, 2015

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This week, we cooked up 2 of our huge Sweetmeat squash.  There are still a lot left, but I froze 10 bags and we’ve got lots to eat besides.  I also cut up a few Butternut squash into cubes and they have been used throughout the week for quick dinners.

We cooked quite a few things, including cauliflower, Swiss steak, lots of things from the 50 lbs. of potatoes I got for $10 a couple of weeks ago, and used several odds and ends that came out of the garden.  It frosted pretty hard so most things are dead now, so now my menu planning will focus on using all that we preserved.

Today, I cooked pinto beans with a little Anaheim pepper,  spaghetti sauce with 1/2 lb pork burger, stuffed peppers with the other 1/2 lb pork burger, and a huge batch of chili with pinto beans and hamburger.  This will be the basis of our meals for the next few days.

IMG_1665We got baby pigs to raise for meat and to sell.  If all goes well, we will be able to sell the others enough to pay for the cost of ours.  We have pre-sold most of them, so it’s a matter of them growing properly, and staying healthy.  We’ve only had trouble one time, ever, when a pig got tetnus and died, but that was very rare.  Most of the time, it goes as planned.

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I enjoyed watching a woodpecker that has decided to take up daily residence in a dead tree near our garage.  He just spends hours each day hammering and pecking on that tree.  It’s fun to watch.

We used the library and returned materials promptly and did not get fines this week.  When we couldn’t make it, we renewed our materials on-line.

We’ve done some extra cleaning and either used up the “surprise” items we found or donated them.

I’ve been sewing on Christmas presents.

Since Rob’s job loss in September, I have deliberately decided to focus on my blessings.  It’s easy to fall into feelings of self-pity, anxiety, fear of the future, anger or despair.  It’s harder to focus on the overabundance that we have been blessed with, the promises of Scripture-assuring me that God will take care of us, and the every-day beauty that surrounds me.  Worry will not change anything.  I might as well enjoy my time right now as much as possible and not ruin this season, this day, this time with worry.  Because in the end, probably at least a year from now, I will be able to look back and say, “Yes, it was hard.  It was unfair, it was awful.  We were blind sighted.  We cried a lot.  We felt betrayed by those we thought were our friends.  People who said they loved us, didn’t.  But, God was faithful, and we made it through!”  I firmly believe this with all my heart.  And, during this Thanksgiving season, I am truly blessed!

Frugal Accomplishments for the Week of November 2, 2015

There were many green tomatoes left in the garden to find a good use for!
There were many green tomatoes left in the garden to find a good use for!

I have the ability to work more around my home from Thursday-Saturday each week due to my homeschool schedule and my part-time job of teaching piano lessons.  This week I had the pleasure of sharing most of those days with a good friend who came to visit.  She lives about 8 hours away from me and her visits are treasured.

We both love to can and preserve food.  So, she picked green tomatoes from her garden, grabbed some jars, and drove over here to where gardens grow much better than where she lives, and we got to work.  She spent the time when I was busy with the children visiting her relatives and friends who live around here and shopping for items she cannot get in her remote town.

We made salsa verde, zucchini relish and chow-chow, which is a mixed vegetable relish.  I had quite a few green tomatoes, various peppers, cabbage, and onions from my garden.  I was given lots of cauliflower last Tuesday, which is also an ingredient of chow-chow. We experimented with agave nectar instead of sugar because my friend is super-allergic to many things and she tolerates agave better than other sweeteners.  The relish and the chow-chow both tasted good with that substitution.

I processed 30 quart bags of cauliflower Tuesday.  A friend gave it to me.  We saved out a bunch and used it for the chow-chow as well as having it for meals twice so far.

I walked on the treadmill most evenings.

I bought some netting and a ribbon for one daughter’s Halloween costume.   She used it to make an overskirt to tie on over a fancy dress I made a few years ago and it fits no one at this time.  It was pinned to make it work for this occasion.  The youngest was a detective with a trench coat, notebook, and magnifying glass (for a while until she lost it).   We didn’t want to spend much on costumes because, well, they are costumes!

I bought 50 pounds of red potatoes at Cash and Carry for a little under $10.  That’s 20 cents/lb.  I also chose to buy a gallon of gluten-free soy sauce for under $6.  One little jar of the SanJ brand is about that much!  I just keep filling my small bottle.  We use it to make marinade as well, and it keeps for a long time.  I got large bottles of salad dressing there as well along with a mega package of lettuce.   We have still been eating tomatoes from the garden.  I got 6 snap peas and put them into a stir-fry.

I started a new piano student.

We went to the library and checked out more books.  More importantly, we returned our old ones before we got fines:)

I washed eggs, put them in cartons, and began cooking with them.
I washed eggs, put them in cartons, and began cooking with them.

All in all, it was a frugal week on many levels.   Some weeks are about putting more food away when it is available.  There will be many other weeks where I rack my brains figuring out what exactly to cook from all of this marvelous preserved food. It’s always a project, but it is so worth it to me.  Being stocked up makes a tremendous difference.

If you had asked me during the summer if my husband was in danger of losing his job, I would have laughed and said, “no way after 18 -1/2 years.”  But, sadly, it happened at the end of September.  I’m thankful for all we have.  It’s going to come in handy before this issue is resolved, I think!  He and I are still praying, thinking and wondering what the next step is.  Right now, we feel at peace with waiting until it comes clear to us.  He has gone to many people for advice and we’ve been advised to treat this as a death and allow ourselves enough time to work through the process of grief and mourning.  Because our personal lives as a family were so enmeshed with his job as a children’s and family pastor, it has tremendously affected the entire family.  The children are mourning the loss of their friends and the only place they have ever gone to church.  We are grieving the  loss of helping people we have cared about and helped for so many years. Because it was the decision of a very small handful of people, people are upset.  They are still calling, writing, and visiting to show their support, and to talk to Rob about things, as they have done for so many years.  This will taper off as they start to process this and move on with their lives.  It just takes time.

Grief and mourning are not a fun or popular time of life.  None of us want to do it.  I don’t want to do it.  I hate that I’m bursting into tears at the drop of a hat!  But, if we don’t, we won’t be able to come out on the other side as  healthy, whole people.  One prayer I frequently have prayed through this, and other extremely difficult situations, is that I will not turn into a bitter old woman.  We are praying that God will help us handle the unfair way that this was done with grace.  How we handle this will affect our children’s lives forever, as well as our own.  So far, we know that our actions and words have been appropriate to the best of our ability.  We want to be able to hold our heads high and not be ashamed of how we acted through this.  It’s not easy, but we have a great God who can help us each and every day!

Frugal Accomplishments This Week

IMG_4686The garden is winding down, but I still got a few things this week.  I picked some zucchini, a few peas and pea pods, some strawberries, a few ripe tomatoes, peppers, and a lot of green tomatoes.  We harvested sweetmeat squash, and have plans to can salsa verde tomorrow.

IMG_1570I have gained so much pleasure from these zinnias this summer.  The seeds were purchased from the dollar store–4/packs for $1.  Since you don’t get very many seeds per package, I bought a handful.  I think I remember planting around 8 packs in my flowerbed.  They grew profusely.  We picked many bouquets and enjoyed looking at them outside my kitchen window.  I feel like I really got my $2 worth and will miss them when it frosts.

IMG_1522We had a wonderful vacation at Sunriver, Oregon.  My aunt kindly invited us to be her guest at her time share.  We took our 3 youngest children and a friend, filling our 6-person unit with fun and laughter.  Our children loved watching tv channels, as we don’t pay for cable at home.  We hiked around the paths, rode the bikes that came with the unit, and the kids swam in the pool.  We took sandwiches for the trip over, and cooked in the unit for the most part.  Each night for dinner, we ate together with my mom and aunt.  Sometimes they cooked, and sometimes we did.    We got the kids a few burritos at Taco Bell, and ate out on the way home, making the trip very affordable.  I took some projects with me and worked on them during my down time.

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A friend thought of us and gave me a banana box of cauliflower she gleaned.  We have several heads to eat fresh and froze 30 quart-sized zip-top bags full.  I wrote a post about how we did it here.

It was a good week.