Frugal Friday: Using What I Have

This is my first handmade apron.  The fabric is blue and white stripe and the pockets and ties are white with blue birds in flight.  It took about two hours to make.  The part that goes over the head is a little bit too big for me.  I think I will leave it as made and just knot or use a d-ring to take it up.

Saturday:  I received a very nice surprise in the mail.  It was a set of three books from Wanda Brunstetter: her newest book, an Amish cookbook and an Amish quilts book.  All three are brand new and were completely a surprise to me.  I signed up months ago for a free book from this author and apparently my name is still on the publisher's list.

John had asked that I make a pot roast for dinner from the shoulder roast I purchased the other day.  It was a two pound roast.  I'm not very familiar with shoulder roasts and I wasn't sure if it would shrink as much as chuck roasts usually do.  It didn't.  It was tender and cut nicely.  I will get at least two more entrees from this.  I have meat, vegetables and gravy for a beef pot pie and beef and gravy to serve as open faced sandwiches for another meal.  I suspect the pot pie will be two meals for us.

We had leftovers from last night's supper for our evening meal.  There is enough of the BBQ chicken to make another sandwich.

Sunday:  Packed John's work lunch and made him breakfast.

I was so disappointed when I went out to see John off.  It was deeply humid and made the morning air just not feel nice at all.  No sitting on the porch this morning!  Instead I came indoors and had my lovely little coffee tray set up.  I ate crisp toast (and an egg) while watching sunrise from my chair in the kitchen sitting area.

Stripped beds this morning.  I put a full load of wash on and then set to remake the beds with fresh sheets.  Samuel borrowed a set of full sheets when he stayed that week in his new home and didn't bring back the top sheet, just the bottom sheet. I happened to have two pretty vintage sheets here I'd picked up at yard sales, both full size.  I did have to hem the side of the sheet I chose to use but it took moments with the machine.  I rather like that vintage sheet and think I may look for other sets while I'm out and about.

Hung all the sheets to dry, the bulk of the rest of the clothes went on the laundry rack and I hung shirts to dry on hangers in the laundry doorway.  I had a mere handful of things I tossed in the dryer and timed them while I was hemming that sheet for the guest bed.

There was a nice-ish breeze and some decrease in the humidity this morning by the time I hung out laundry, so I decided to go ahead and mulch the next bit of flower bed about the house.  I used all six bags of mulch and got about half the space covered.  I was one landscape block short having enough to edge the first stretch of that bed.  I used an old brick instead.

Planted the tiger lily Granny gave me years ago.  They've been in the same pots she'd potted them in years and years ago and I knew they needed to refreshed.  I so enjoy Tiger Lily!  I planted them in my corner bed at the back of the bed since they tend to be nice and tall.  Fingers crossed they like that spot and return next year.

Sat on the porch and contemplated cleaning it but the instructions on the wash says it must sit for a few minutes and then be scrubbed off.  I was too tired to contemplate unwinding the hose, forget scrubbing anything off.  While I sat and debated this I noted how bad my back door looked.  Cleaning didn't help it much and so I plundered the paint cupboard and found the quart of Olympia 'Apple A Day' I'd used years ago to paint the front door.  I painted my back door.  Three coats and it could use one more but it's amazing how well it looks.  Even the dints and dings don't show up with this dark red on the door.  While I had the paint well shaken and in use, I went ahead and put a fresh coat on the front door, too. 

It was about this time I realized I was well past a shower...and couldn't go take one because both doors were wet and couldn't be closed...You don't know how very dirty you are until you realize you've just knocked yourself out of any possibility of a shower.

Printed off some photos of my grandchildren on regular copy paper and inserted into magnetic frames to hang on the fridge.

Scanned photos and ads from the September vintage magazines.  I use this art work on my blog, so if you've ever wondered about my sources, that's it:  women's magazines from 1920's to late 1950's.

Ate some of the leftover pot roast and vegetables for dinner.

Ate leftovers of various things from the fridge and fruit basket for supper.

Pieced together nine outfits.  I'd stumbled upon a list of possible fresh ideas to use in the back of my clipboard.  How nice to have outfits all set up for the coming weeks.

Set two really ripe bananas on the baking counter along with the recipe I plan to use to make muffins tomorrow morning. 

I have so enjoyed opening my nightstand drawer and getting a faint whiff of my favorite perfume when I take my nightie out or put it in the drawer...I decided to do the same for the lingerie drawer in my dresser.  Tomorrow I plan to use more of that pretty contact paper to line those drawers.

Monday:  Ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

Used saved water to water front porch plants and dishwater to pour down over the Tiger lily bulbs I planted yesterday.

Made sure to turn up the air conditioner which I'd turned down last night when I it got stuffy in the house.  I never lower it below 75f.  We typically have it set at 77f.

Made biscuits this morning for our breakfast.  I never get the 16 the recipe says it will make.  Typically I get 10 and this is not a large biscuit by any means.  I use an old 8 ounce tomato sauce can with both ends cut out to cut the biscuits so you can see I'm not using a big cutter either.  I did follow the recipe exactly by the way, which is always a savings.

I'd thought I'd make banana nut bread but in flipping through the pages of the cookbook I found a recipe for a banana bran muffin I'd never tried that I made instead.  It called for just 2 tablespoons each of oil and has a lovely buttery taste though no butter was used in the making.  It called for a cup of whole bran.  I used what I had which was raisin bran cereal which I soaked with the milk and egg and mashed banana while the biscuits baked.  The recipe made six slightly larger muffins.  My muffin pan is not the usual size but not Texas sized either.  The recipe suggested it would make about 10 muffins.  I got six.  This recipe used up the two over ripe bananas left on our counter this week.  Josh was here and ate several bananas during his stay, so no waste this time!

I made my first apron.  I have a nice small stash of cotton fabrics, all mostly remnants I've picked up from fabric department end caps for a lower price per yard.  I pick up just anything I like the pattern of usually.  I have several other combinations laid out to make aprons from but not today.  I had such a back ache when I was done with this one made today.  I like that the fabric is light so it won't add a layer of heat.  The stripe I used made it very easy to place patch pockets.  I used an antique apron I'd bought at the thrift store a long time ago as my pattern.  The antique one seems to be made from sheeting which is another possibility for fabric to use.

I made chocolate syrup.  I used half the sugar called for in the recipe.  It still tasted mighty good in the milk we had with supper tonight.  I used the Tightwad Gazette recipe altered as follows:
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups sugar (I used 1 cup)
1 cup water
1/4 tsp vanilla (I used 1 teaspoon)

Mix salt, cocoa, sugar and water in a 2 quart pot.  Bring to boil and cook for 3 minutes.  Turn off heat and add vanilla.  Cool and bottle in a glass jar.  Keep in fridge.

Odd, but we've eaten every last bit of fruit that we had in the house.  All.  Not one spare grape is left.  I'll be buying more while we're out tomorrow.

John has promised me breakfast if we can leave early in the morning, which is no hardship as far as I'm concerned.  It's still plenty hot and I'd much rather be home by noon or thereabouts instead of just starting our day at that hour.  I have bagged trash in anticipation of an early leave taking.  I have my outfits set up so just need to choose one. 

Tuesday:  John and I were on a mission today.  We are slowly buying things needed to do some renovation work on our home.  Today's purchases included some needed tools.  We took money from a savings account to buy these items.  I walked though the garden center intending to make some plant purchases but found nothing much that interested me.  I think August is just not the best purchase month for the things I'm looking for at present.  My personal spending today came to $0.

We had a lovely breakfast out.  I really enjoyed it and was glad for John's suggestion.

I knew we needed fruit and asked to go by Aldi which was on the same roadway that we were on for breakfast and shopping.  I spent less than $13 on fruits, a head of lettuce, and a tub of plain yogurt.  I am so over strawberries and blueberries and ready for autumn fruits.  Today  I purchased apples, grapes and mandarins.  That $13 purchase still has me under budget this pay period.

We made one more stop on the way home so that John could discuss a trade with a business owner.  He was receptive to the trade and told him to bring the item with him next time he was in town.

We took the long cut home.  It's just a few more miles (perhaps five?) than the more direct route but it's all through lovely country roads, small towns and former small communities.  It made for a very pleasant way home.  I noted lots of golden rod with just hints of gold at top, not yet blooming, but standing tall and ready.

We came home and it was past lunchtime when we arrived.   I contemplated many possibilities for a meal and ultimately decided to have something light.  Fresh mandarins, cold cottage cheese and a banana bran muffin suited me.  We'll have hamburgers for supper tonight when I'm less pressured for time to get something on the table.

I made the burgers for supper.  I poured some water into the pan and let it sit after I was done cooking.  I started to pour this out but thought of Tamar Adler.  There was a bit pan juices and the scrapings from it, and there was a ketchup bottle with the leavings of that.  I poured the pan juices into the ketchup bottle and saved the lot in the fridge to add to soup this week.  Last week's chicken soup was a huge hit with John and I'm hoping this week's vegetable beef soup will be as well.

Poured the dish water over the Tiger Lily.

My vintage magazines arrived today.  So happy to have new reading material.

Also in, the credit card statement.  Lordy!  I can account for it all but it's just always shocking.  I think I'm going to  put a spending freeze on that until next January.  I have one bill that is automatically billed to the credit card but I can certainly cease all personal spending on that.

Our electric bill in today as well.  It dropped nearly $50 over last month.  I told John I wasn't in the least surprised.  While the kids were here the AC ran non-stop because we had to keep so many doors shut to keep Josh contained to the main living area.  More water due to extra laundry, dishes and baths, more electricity with the use of the dryer and dishwasher...It was no hardship having the kids here but it did cost more and it showed.

Wednesday:  We slept in late this morning.  Breakfast was easy enough.  I split and toasted leftover biscuits and browned sausage patties.

John washed a medium load of clothes.  I hung them to dry on the clothesline.

John went out to do some work in his shed this morning.  While he was outdoors, I swept floors and then mopped.  I poured mop water over the flower pots on the back porch.

I made a pot of soup for lunch.  I used a jar of thawed vegetable stock, apparently left over from a crock pot roast, the bit of pan juices and ketchup from last night to add flavor.  I used mixed vegetables, canned potatoes and tomatoes, some browned hamburger meat and onions.  It was delicious and even though we ate generous portions and I made only half a Dutch oven, I have two quarts to put in the freezer.

Cut out two more aprons today.  All from my fabric stash.  I swear I'm already addicted to making them.

I cleaned up our closet.  It took a lot less time than I'd thought it would.  Now isn't that always the way when you've put off something for far too long? 

Thursday:  We had a good work day between us.  John did work in his shop, I worked cleaning out a cabinet and organizing it.  I made an apron, he worked on decluttering more stuff from his music room.  Together we worked about our home.

I ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher today after lunch.

Cooked extra potatoes so I have some ready to make hash browns for breakfast one morning very soon.

I made a batch of oatmeal cookies.  Most of these are packed up to go to Katie's.

I took time today to gather up the things I mean to take up to Kate's home.

Prepared a package to go into mail.  Gathered up bills that need to go out now.  Money was already in the account for these bills, I was just waiting on the bill to arrive so I could remit them.

Spent time on Pinterest this afternoon.  I found some great helpful ideas for decorating my house for fall without making it all orange and brown.  Many ideas I collected will re-use items I already have on hand.

Friday:  Made breakfast sandwiches for our morning meal.  It seems far more filling somehow than merely putting an egg, a piece of sausage and two pieces of toast on a plate.  I don't know why, but it just does.

Boiled a half dozen eggs this morning.  That will make egg salad and one will go into potato salad I'm taking up to Katie's.

A few weeks ago I saw something on Pinterest about organizing the fridge.  The pinner used a corner plate rack on her fridge shelf and then was able to stack casseroles and pie plates so that she expanded the space she had to use.  I've stacked dishes atop others but it's not always been easy to remove what was needed, especially if it was in the middle of the stack.  Today I found one of those corner plate racks and purchased it just especially for my fridge.  I've already put it into use.

Bought a small tester pot of paint to use to paint the table between our chairs in the living room.

I bought chicken for dinner today  since it was on sale at market this week.  I have enough leftovers to serve us dinner Sunday when we come in from church.

While I was in the store, I went ahead and purchased that delicious bakery bread we're so fond of.  Now I won't have to worry about not having bread at the beginning of this next week.

I made sandwiches to eat for our supper on the way home from Katie's.

When we went out today we combined several tasks: picked up mail, sent out package and mail, took off trash, ran an errand or two.

And here I shall wind up for the week.  What did you do to generate savings in your home this week?


Lana said...

I bet your red doors look lovely. Red doors are my favorite but it would not be nice on my house.

We run all purchases through our credit card and I just record the purchases in the checkbook like I did when we had a debit card. Everything gets entered into the budget ledger so I know where the money went. When the credit card bill comes it has already been accounted for and subtracted from the budget so I just pay the bill and it is not subtracted from the total in the check book. I do go through the bill and make sure everything was actually written down because hubby occasionally forgets. If I find something I just write it in the checkbook and enter it into my budget ledger. This way I have no nasty surprises about how much is owed when the bill has to be paid. (Our accountant daughter figured this system out for me and I can take no credit for it.) Plus, we get 2% cash back, one percent when we charge it and one percent when we pay it. I recently cashed out almost $200 in cash back rewards and it was just from using their card on which we never carry a balance!

This week I baked cookies and bread and made egg salad. Also a spaghetti casserole that feeds us 4x and froze the extra meals. We have one last basket of peaches as they are done here now. Grocery expenditures this month have only been about $150 as I am still trying to eat up pantry items.

The weather has cooled just enough to make porch swing sitting and screen porch meals enjoyable again. This seems like free entertainment to us. I am seeing fall on the way. The squirrels are stripping the hickory trees of their nuts and the woods seem less green.

Lana said...

One more thing. we went to the health screening for hubby's employer and were poked, pricked, weighed and measured which saves us $150 every month on insurance premiums next year. Thankful it is done!

Lynn said...

I'm new to your blog but enjoying it very much. I'm just wondering what state you live in since you talk about the excessive heat and humidity. Also what size town? I'm guessing it's small or you just live out of the city in the country. Thanks!

Chari said...

She lives in Georgia.

Lana said...

And another comment! One of our favorite breakfast spots makes the most delicious breakfast sandwich that is sausage, egg and cheese on Texas toast and it is grilled. It is sooooo good! I really need to start making it at home instead of forking over $3.95 for it. But we also go there for the amazing coffee served in real cups but that is another $1.75. But anyway, try grilling your breakfast sandwiches. I think you will like it, too.

Which Publix bakery bread is it that is your favorite?

Anonymous said...

I have sure noticed that the older sheets I have are outliving the new sets I got recently. I found several top sheets in prints I like used but like new and if necessary will buy bottom ones in a matching shade. Many people collect the retro sheet sets. Using them as sheets and curtains or whatever. They have so many pretty prints in them don't they.

We go to a place to eat that has a rewards card. We had ours full this week. You can get anything on their entree on their menu free when it is filled. It does not take long to fill because they always sign it more times than they need to each time we go. Today we had a big platter of food free that we easily halved and ate till we were full. It sure made for a special date night.

We went to a big antique store. The booths are decorated so beautifully there. We love to go and just look. Remembering some of the old things as things our families used to have too. I gather ideas on how they display the things and come home with many fresh ideas of how to use the things I already have. I guess it is my own Pinterest. :)

I made grilled cheese sandwiches using floor tortillas. Inside I used two kinds of cheese, bits of two kinds of peppers and 2 cut up green onions and a bit of spice. Also adding a smidgen of meat. All leftovers that needed using. Now they are gone. Your soup ideas are intriguing me and now i want soup!!
It was on the menu list but now I want it sooner!! :-) I will be watching out for more leftovers to add to it.

I cut hubbies hair and used my Flow Bee to do mine . Been using it for over 20 years and works great every time. We have not paid for hair cuts for me for the 20+ and hubby even longer.

Instead of changing out fresh cut flowers in a race inside I redid some larger pots of plants in the yards. I just played around and undid the pots and put the plants back only in different groups. Looks fresher and new to me. No costs but time. This fall I might put a few flowers in with some of them too.

I accidentally broke off the top of one pepper and one tomato plant this week so I quickly put each in some water. if it goes as it usually does I get roots and can replant them and have another plant. Here they might still have time to produce.

The apron {s} are so pretty! They would cost a pretty penny at the store or on Etsy !! Good for you!!! Sarah

Anonymous said...

Nice frugal post. Enjoyed reading, as always.

We kept the AC off all week and kept the windows open so breezes could blow through. We were mid 60s to mid 80s. Lovely week of weather for August!

Enjoyed fresh corn on the cob from the garden for most lunches and suppers this week and I froze another batch of 18 pints of corn cut off the cob. We have also been sharing corn on the cob with friends and she made us a yummy loaf of homemade bread. As the weather cools and my hubs is home on a more regular schedule, I need to get back to baking our bread.

There will be green beans to freeze this week. With the cool weather they are coming on again. This week I want to can carrots from the garden in pints and chilies in half pints. I was given zucchini and made 4 leaves of Z. bread for the freezer and canned 9 pints. There are still 4 nice Z. left to enjoy. For the first time that I can remember, our zucchini plants died. Who knew that zucchini could be like gold??!! I shared rhubarb with a friend last year and this year she's sharing zucchini with me.

We used up the last few peaches for breakfast Friday morning. They are an August treat! Yum. We still have 2 melons to use and then it will be time to start buying fruit again. Apples should be ready to pick in a few weeks. Not sure if I'll can applesauce or juice them. We'll see how many there are.

Over the last few months I've tried coloring my own hair and even cutting it myself but I have thick curly hair and I just can't layer it like my hairdresser can. So that is one expense I'm going back to every 6-8 weeks. The color she has used in the past I'm allergic to. She has agreed to use color I buy off the shelf that doesn't bother me and that saves about $20. She told me not every hairdresser would be willing to do this but she will.

With all the garden produce, eggs given to us by the neighbor, the loaves of Z. bread and the loaf of bread from my friend, and pulling a gallon of milk from the freezer, I didn't even go to the grocery store last week. I won't need much this week either. Love this time of year when the garden is really producing. Oh, and we enjoyed bacon and tomato sandwiches with garden tomatoes this week too. Pam

Kathy said...

Love your apron! It is so pretty! My Mom always wore aprons. I never have, but maybe I will try making one for me after seeing your pretty apron.
Thanks for the recipe for chocolate syrup. I'll try making it with less sugar too.
Hope you have a great weekend.

Casey said...

Terri, I just want to say thanks for doing your posts so that they read like "real text." My eyes thank you as well! I appreciate the effort. I do enjoy your posts! Chris

Linda Shields said...

I just discovered your blog, and love it. It makes me want to live in the country. I live in the suburbs in the midwest. Your story about not being able to take a shower becuse you couldn't close the doors you had just painted made me laugh! Where do you get the vintage magazines? I have stacks of magazines becuse I can't bear to throw them out, always thinking I will read them again. As if I will ever find time to do that.