Frugal Friday: Hup Hup Hup...Boot Camp Continues
A few years ago I purchased sturdy cotton duck slipcovers for two of my chairs and I've not one whit of regret over that expense. But I also purchased at the time an ottoman cover. Having seen how simple it was in construction I regretted spending the money. It cost nearly as much as one of the chair slipcovers had...So making up my mind this past winter to change the color of the slipcover on the ottoman, I knew I would make it myself. I used an old cotton flat bed sheet and the former slipcover as my pattern. I had all I needed on hand to make this cover and so it cost me nothing but a couple of hours time. No regrets...
Saturday: I'm short on bread and there was just one bagel. Bess prefers a bagel for breakfast so we left that to her. I made scones, which are a richer biscuit dough. They were mighty good.
The baking powder I've been using up was dated expired in January of this year. It's just fine, still raises dough but it's got hard and clumpy. I find that sifting it makes it work better. Lesson here is that just because it says it's beyond 'best' date doesn't mean you can't still use it.
We did both laundry and dishes this morning, a full load of each. I filled the empty spots of the dishwasher with the coffee pot and sink stoppers and such.
I made John and I a scratched together lunch of leftovers from the freezer. It wasn't particularly tasty but it filled the empty spots in us and that food won't be wasted or forgotten.
Baked a lovely peach cobbler this morning and put it in the oven while I was roasting a chicken for supper.
I was stumped about supper tonight. I had a chicken and peach cobbler, but not enough lettuce for salad, not enough bread for sandwiches...what to do? Dig in the pantry and fridge and see what's what! I sliced tomatoes. Found some leftover cooked broccoli and instant mashed potatoes. Not enough broccoli to serve around but enough to chop up and add into the mashed potatoes which I then turned into potato pancakes. My family felt these were a big success and I'm glad. It was one of my experiments that might have gone bad, lol.
I packed up the non-perishables in John's lunch bag and then prepared the rest of his work meals and put in the fridge.
The kids started packing up their belongings and getting ready to leave tomorrow. After discussion we passed a couple of things on to the kids that have just been filling space but not functioning here for us, a desk and a piece of exercise equipment.
Sunday: Up early to see John off to work. I made him breakfast and packed his work meals.
Stripped my bed and washed a full load of clothes. Hung everything to dry on the line.
Stripped guest bed and hung all but a small handful of things on the line to dry. It was close to
Water front porch plants with water gathered from glasses and water bottles left unfinished.
Helped Bess pack up foodstuffs to carry to the new house. I had extras in my pantry of some basics that they will need until their things arrive from storage so I passed them along. I have plenty. That is the joy of having a pantry, not to provide just for our own needs but to help others along, too.
I could cook myself dinner or I could work but I simply didn't have desire to expend energy on both. I opted for an easy fix meal: a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of fresh watermelon. That left me with energy enough to clean the guest bedroom.
I've been making a sort of puppy popsicle for Maddie and she's really enjoying them. I simply pour up broth from cooking (usually meat broth) and freeze it in four ounce cups. Maddie loves these frozen tasty bits and it helps cool her down a little.
The four ounce cups was a purchase I made for the bathroom just so we'd have cups for guests. Those little cups have come in so handy! They are the perfect size for a two year old to hold and if only half filled with water he can easily drink from them. The cups are also perfect for measuring out small portions of dry cereal for snacks for a toddler, too. I also find them perfect for a portion of ice cream for myself. And yes they can be popsicle forms for yogurts for people or broth for Maddie. I also use them to portion out my daily medicines. I will happily buy another box of these little cups which have lasted me far longer than I'd thought they might.
Monday: Watered plants this morning. I keep thinking I wish I had more flowers but honestly I'm glad I don't at the moment. Even with saved water I have to water half the plants heavily and then watering the other half heavily on alternate days due to the heat.
Made sure pet water bowls were topped up so they can drink as needed.
Made breakfast for John. We'd normally have a much bigger meal but I reheated the scones from Saturday morning, made an omelet and sliced peaches. It was plenty.
Made John's favorite Tuna Pasta salad. I used vegetables I had in the fridge: green onions, green pitted olives, carrot, celery and red and yellow bell peppers.
Moved the things from the pantry shelves, moved the shelves, shifted the freezer and then broke down the shelves so I could put them in the back of the closet. I think I'll like having the shelves at the back of the closet a lot better, as it doesn't cramp the door space and may be able to use one of the narrower shelving units from the booth in that closet, too. In the meantime, I've contacted Katie and told her to come get the freezer now that it's near the door where it can easily be removed. It's not quite empty but I have less than a dozen jars of broth in there. I am thawing them and then refreezing the broth into puppy popsicles for Maddie who enjoys them on these hot days.
Began reading two more books: Peg Bracken's I Hate Housework (I don't but it's on my bookshelf and might as well glean what I can from it, right?) and M.F.K. Fisher's How To Eat A Wolf. These are next on my Frugal Boot Camp list.
Washed a full load of slipcovers this morning. I hung the lines with pillow cases and cushions covers but the slipcovers went into the dryer as I think they fit much better when dried in the machine. They are just too awkward to drape over the lines, too.
Noted two places that are wearing thin on one of the slipcovers. I priced a new one and they are still reasonable...but...this particular slipcover is especially broad across the 'shoulders' so to speak and I think I can take that extra up, cutting away some of the excess cloth and I use that to reinforce the areas that are breaking down. It might buy me another year or two of usage.
John washed a full load of clothes and draped them over the back porch railings to dry.
I washed a full load of dishes and did a sink full besides.
Clearing the pantry was a good way to make me think of the pantry and the many needs I have. Also points up that the few remaining items were either bought on a very good sale though they were unfamiliar items or bought with good intentions and zero follow through. Ditto all that broth in the freezer. Good intentions in cooking it all up to save but I seldom use it because when I determine I want soup I don't think far enough ahead to thaw the broth I've made. I use bouillon cubes or broth base concentrate...So why am I filling up the freezer space with something I very seldom use? Time to tweak my thrifty instincts so that I fill my spaces with things we like and will use, not with good intentions that come to nought.
Tuesday: John and I had a lovely breakfast this morning and never noticed the lack of loaf bread: Peach pancakes I made, and they were so good.
We went grocery shopping today. I went without a list and I did it on purpose. I know the basics of what I must buy and that's what I bought...I should have been horsewhipped before going into the second store however. Lots of extras made their way into my buggy . Shame on me! Well I'll take my lumps. I will pay out of pocket for that pricey magazine (published only occasionally any more and a great treat for me), and will deduct the cost of the new cooler (needed in our area if we're to get milk home without spoiling) from the house fund, which means no new plants for the yard nor edging for the next planned plant bed about the house this week.
I'm not alone in the overage. Dear husband wanted lunch today and we spent at least an extra $16 on that...at the grocery now mind you. And what is a hot summer's day without ice cream? Well we bought that, too...All of that shall come from our entertainment fund which means no more fun for us this pay period. Paying the piper is necessary if you want to dance or in my case, if you sincerely mean to balance the budget and I do. And there the overages should be taken care of. My little 4 ounce cup of ice cream soothed my frustrations, lol.
What I have no regrets about purchasing is the larger bag of Dunkin Donuts Decaf coffee...It was far less than the two bags I'd meant to pick up and weighed as much, plus had a sign that there was a $2 off store coupon to be gotten at the customer service desk. I made sure to go by there and get that. And while I was at it, I flipped through the pages and discovered we could make a small savings on our lunch if I used two more coupons, which I did.
I bought 2 containers of cottage cheese with pineapple, something John likes in his lunch. I've been purchasing a four pack of four ounce packages. The one pound carton cost less. I can repackage it into our own containers for his lunch and save that extra bit.
I also bought two packages of a refrigerated whole wheat tortellini which wasn't cheap. BUT when I saw it first three weeks ago, I made up my mind to look high and low for alternatives to it. I checked at Aldi, at The Fresh Market and at Publix. I looked at dried pasta, frozen pasta and fresh pastas. This is the only whole wheat version of Tortellini I can find. It means I can prepare two favorite recipes once more. I put both packages in the freezer. I'm protecting my investment, lol. I counted that as part of my $20 stock up funds for the pantry/freezer since it's a rare find. I did hold onto the rest of my pantry stock up fund, aside from $2 spent at Aldi on a canned item I knew would come in handy.
We went by the car wash to clean our car. It was so hot but vacuuming the car is a free perk. Nice folks have a huge fan that blows down upon their customers as they vacuum. They also provide paper toweling to wipe down the car with it. I used some to clean the inside of the door frame well. I've noted, having lived in the country, that this part of the car often leaves a dirty mark on the back of pants and legs. It might be the mark of a country dweller but I don't care for it. We actually budget for car washes and haven't used those funds in some time, so no added expense to us. The car looks so much better, too! My goodness but it was dusty and dirty!
The only meal I cooked today was breakfast. I've gotten in the habit of rinsing dishes and stacking them neatly in the sink. At day's end I load the dishwasher and wash the dishes. It doesn't look as messy as things piled in the sink and I know it will take me but ten minutes to do them all come evening.
This evening I had a few items to hand wash. I didn't fill the dishpan. Still that bit of wash water netted me a full 2 quarts of water to pour over the plants, which needed that bit even though we had rain this afternoon.
Wednesday: Went out to the shed this morning and shifted things about. End result is that I have packed things near the door to take to be donated tomorrow. I have a separate pile of things meant to go to the trash dump. And this is just the beginning as I only worked on the very surface of things. However, if I remove these things I should be able to bring home the first lot of things to put in the shed. If it isn't rip roaring hot I'll try to separate into keep/donate sections as I go but we'll see.
Indoors today I cleared my closet of things to be donated. A small pile awaits packing up on the floor of my room. I'll try to get that up and out tomorrow as well. I've three big boxes of things meant to have gone to the flea market that I will sort out this week to separate into keep/donate boxes as well.
Back indoors, I made banana nut bread. I don't have pecans nor walnuts. I used sliced almonds instead. Since I was going in that direction I decided to add shredded coconut, too. Since the coconut was sweetened, I cut the sugar called for in the recipe by half. I can't tell the difference!
Made tacos today for dinner. John was mowing the lawn and I knew something lighter would suit him best. I have leftovers for another serving.
Boiled ten eggs this morning. John made a small batch of egg salad. I had two for supper. The rest will be for snacking.
I've found I can run warm water over the paper cups I've been making the broth 'pupsicles' for Maddie and they will release the frozen broth. I drop them into a big zippered bag. I can reuse the cup if I allow it to dry for a couple of hours. She seems to really enjoy these frozen treats. I do not salt my broth when I make it so all she is getting is good chicken broth.
No need to water plants today. We had several nice showers of rain this afternoon, thankfully after John mowed the lawn.
I have been looking for affordable solutions for house clothes and this morning I looked at Zulily. I was able to purchase four summer dresses (simple cotton sundresses) for under $40. I think I can easily wear these with a tank top or t-shirt under them. The dresses are wash and wear. Fingers crossed that they fit. I ordered the largest size available. I figure I can take them up but I can't let them out.
While I was in the shed I found the Pyrex loaf pans I'd promised Katie. I took time to clean them really well. They don't exactly look new but they look a lot better than they did earlier today.
I also found a lighthouse that Mama cross stitched some time ago. As it happens I believe it is the St. Augustine lighthouse and I have framed two watercolors of St. Augustine in our bedroom and hung them along with a hand painted note card Katie gave to me that has sandpipers in the surf on it. I dug about in the box of frames and found a nicer looking one to put the cross stitch in. This now sits on John's bedside table.
I dug about in the floral picks and brought in the little white wildflower ones to swap for the pussy willows I've been using in the bathroom. I need to find a better solution for storage of my floral picks. Brainstorming time.
Packed John's work lunch. On Sunday he asked for bread, mayonnaise, a tomato and a knife. He really enjoyed his tomato sandwiches! I had another nice tomato on my fruit stand and put that in his lunch bag for tomorrow.
Finished one of the three books I'm currently reading for my Frugal Boot Camp. Review of that one will go up shortly.
Thursday: Organized photos on my computer this morning. Hopefully making it easier for me to find what I want. I did uncover long lost photos for a post on Samuel's homemade pizza dough.
Washed the kitchen rugs with a small load of clothes. They look so much brighter!
Mopped the kitchen, entries and baths. I then poured that water into the trash can and washed out the trash can, then took the water outdoors and dumped on the back porch plants.
Hung the rugs outdoors to dry.
Gathered items to be donated and set the nicest ones aside for the church thrift store.
Loaded the car with a lot of trash...It was mostly cardboard I'd been saving with more of my good intentions. Well good intentions and space restrictions clashed. Out went the cardboard.
Loaded the back seat with all the stuff meant for Goodwill.
Went by booth and cleared off the small borrowed shelf. I brought home a half bag of items I'd like to keep for myself. I took two bags of things to Goodwill from the booth. I also put a big sign stating everything in my booth is 50% off. Goal next week is to clear off another section and donate what I don't want to keep. I'll have a week to think about what's there and what I'd like to do with it.
Went by the grocery and used my pantry money to purchase 6 boxes of whole wheat pasta ($3) and 5 boxes of tissues ($5). That's the end of my $20 stock up money for this pay period.
I had a short list of needs for the house: petroleum jelly, nail polish remover, vinegar and triple antibiotic. I got good prices on all but the triple antibiotic cream at the grocery. I decided to wait on that purchase.
I was so stoked about the clearing of that bunch of stuff from the shed, that I went through the items I'd kept in the guest room (hidden under a table skirt) planning to put in the booth. I came up with three boxes of things to donate and only a small pile of things I want to keep. I also cleared the crafts drawers and came up with a bag of trash and a few more donations.
I stopped for a burger for lunch. I noted on the receipt a validation code space...I went to the website and entered the requested information. This allows me to purchase a bogo sandwich. I'll likely send it off to one of the kids since I seldom visit this particular restaurant.
Friday: Up early this morning but really hated to leave my bed. On days like this I allow myself a short list of must do items and the remaining spots on my time sheet remain blank. I'll rest, read, do quiet work perhaps but not heavy duty. My musts: prune the rose bush that suddenly grew four foot canes that are swiping the new screens, water plants, wash and put away dishes, make weekend foods ahead and vacuum.
I used the dishwater from dishes to water flower pots in front of back porch.
I took some of those super healthy looking rose bush trimmings and stuck them into the earth at side of yard where it's shaded and there's a lot of lovely leaf mold and rich soil. If they 'take', terrific. I'll have roses to share with the kids or to put in other areas of the yard. If they don't, it's no loss.
I bought a big pot of lavender yesterday and planted it today. ( I used my pocket money...) I'm really disappointed in the lack of oomph my patio pots have despite plenty of water and sunshine. I'm going to revisit those pots and try to find a better option for plants, though all I've planted are supposed to be sun lovers. I'm thinking of getting a packet of zinnia seeds and planting the biggest pot full of zinnias. Big show, little cost and should last well until frost.
Made French toast for breakfast using up pieces of bread I saved in the freezer. I had leftovers that I packaged for the freezer, enough I think for another breakfast for two.
I made a batch of croutons from the rest of the bread I'd saved. It's a mix of sour dough, pumpernickel, whole wheat and Italian breads.
Ripe bananas greeted me in the kitchen this morning...four of them and I was temporarily stumped about what to do with them since we have a loaf of banana nut bread in the fridge. First response was an ice cream sundae of sorts. I sliced banana into the bowl, topped with chocolate chip ice cream (still loving those little four ounce cups for measuring mine) and then drizzled with chocolate syrup, just enough to be pretty, not drown. That was quite good.
As I contemplated the menu I realized I hadn't remembered to buy Vanilla Wafers for the planned dessert of Tiramisu....But there were three ripe bananas and I could easily make a simple banana cream pie. So I did. Dessert for the weekend is sugar free too, added bonus.
I was rinsing dishes for the dishwasher. It occurred to me that unless things are greasy, I might as well cut expenses just a little and use COLD water to rinse the dishes rather than doubling my cost by using HOT water to do the same job. Huh. That only took me 20 years to figure out.
When I'd washed up the dinner dishes, I still had the crock pot to wash. I contemplated the thing for a bit then picked up the dishpan and poured the dishwater from it into the crock pot, adding a bit of soap to help soak off the baked on bits. Saved water there, didn't I?
I worked ahead today. I washed all the lettuces in the clam shell then cut to make salad to use for meals over the weekend. I baked my pie shell and made my pudding. When the pie shell has cooled I'll assemble my pie and put it in the fridge.
I had enough leftovers from today's dinner to warm for Sunday's dinner after church. I'll just put off making that Turkey Tenderloin I thawed for weekend until Tuesday...
Pulled curtains on the sunniest sides of the house (east in the morning, west in the evening. We have no Southern facing windows, so no concern there).
Sorted out the refrigerator and just looked things over. It's a good way to keep ahead of what needs to be use, what I've forgotten, etc. It also allowed me room to put in a casserole I made up for tomorrow's meal plus that pie.
A savings you mightn't expect: keeping my word to myself and actually taking my rest time for quiet work. My reward for working steadily all week long and getting a lot accomplished towards my goals.