Friday, June 24, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update

This has been a week of savings in that we really didn't go anywhere or do much of anything that would cost money to do.  We're down to the "save every penny to make the mortgage and other bills at the beginning of the month" crunch this week and next, so I am buckling down to get only bare necessities at the store if need be and call it good (which means getting extra meat is out this week, so that means staying away from the grocery stores if possible).

I did, however, manage to get creative on the money saving front this week.

1.  My anniversary is next week.  I wracked my brain a lot to give things to my husband that he would like, but would also not cost anything as we really don't have money to spend on said anniversary.  It's been kind of hard to do as my son has been really challenging lately.  He was getting really violent at the beginning of the week to the point I got really depressed thinking that I was going to have to call a psychologist finally and start talking about getting him on some type of medication to help cope with his autism. 

I decided first to try the new supplements that I got from Amazon.  They contain cod liver oil, vitamin C and vitamin D.  I figured when I ordered them that those three things kept British children healthy during WWII (cod liver oil and rose hip syrup were even given to children at school to help supplement those necessary nutrients) so hopefully with my son's non-diet that it might help in some way with the hitting. 

I managed to actually get him to take the supplements with a combination of bribery (Smarties) and using the feeding therapy techniques his speech therapist taught me.  So far he's been on the supplements less than a week and I've found the hitting is getting better.  Less often, less severe when he does it and his head butting is WAY down.  So, hopefully I might have finally found something that might help him a bit.  Prayers, once again, would be appreciated there.

Anyway, back to the anniversary.  I kept wracking my brain in my spare moments on what else I could do to make the anniversary gift a bit special.  I finally realized what I could do when my husband was looking through the photos of my son's ski trip from last school year.  My husband really liked the photos of he and my son together (which I have to admit came out really cute) and so I dug out my frames and found one that I'd gotten at a yard sale ages ago that someone had never used (original price tag was still half on it).  I cleaned it up, painted where the paint had chipped in places and then mounted the photos of the trip in the frame.  I thought it turned out really cute.  I also decided, instead of making chocolates, which I know my husband would say that we had chocolate that I didn't need to do that and such, I instead grabbed one of the free candy bars I'd gotten for free with a Freebie Friday coupon a while back. 

So, all the total gifts I made and are giving are above.  I think I did decently well for spending nothing on my anniversary so far :).  Now I just need to figure out what I can make for dinner that night that might be different for fun.

2.  A reader was nice enough to send me some fabric that she wasn't using (thanks, Dorothy!) and I was able to add at least two gifts to my list out of the four pieces of fabric she sent me.  So far.  I've still got plans churning in my head ;).
3.  I am actually, starting to turn my brain toward Christmas as it takes a lot of planning to figure out what to make, who to make it for, etc.  I started thinking of things I could make for teachers and therapists and looked down at the bag of corn husks I'd just removed from my ears of corn last weekend.  And an idea was born.

Seen above is the corn husk angels in their beginning stages.  I plan on making them a bit fancier closer to Christmas, but I'm happy they seemed to turn out okay so far and cost me nothing to make :).  I'm going to make them into Christmas tree ornaments when it's all said and done.  My first attempt at making corn husk dolls, so I was proud that they came out looking like...well corn husk dolls *laugh*.

4.  My daughter had a pair of yoga-type pants that I'd bought at Sears a while back super cheap, but when she wet to wear them they were a bit big in the waist and when she went to tighten the ties on them we found that they were fake ties.  But the holes for said ties were real...the ties were just super short and made a bow at the front (weird).  I cut the ties away carefully with a seam ripper and grabbed some bias tape type of ribbon from my stores to create a new waist pull and then threaded it through the holes in the pants, neatened the ends and voila!  New tie waist band for the yoga pants.  My daughter is happy with it and I'm happy that she can use the pants now.

5.  I opened one end of a pillow that was going super flat and stuffed it with the insides of another pillow that was going super flat.  End results were a serviceable pillow that could be used for a while longer before needing to be replaced.

6.  When I realized that my sideboard needed better protection from a bottle spin loving son, I grabbed a rug I'd gotten at the used store for 1.50 (it's a Persian rug...I just couldn't pass it up for that price) and put it over the top.  It works perfectly and cost me nothing to do.

7.  I rearranged where things went a lot this week to make them work better.  Cost me nothing but time.

8.  I, despite not having a menu plan, managed to make all of our meals at home this week.

9.  Instead of buying Bisquick I made a home made master mix instead (I'll share that recipe soon), which is the same as Bisquick, but cost me nothing to make as I had all the materials here.

10.  My vacuum started having problems with suction last night and I asked my husband for help as I had everything cleaned that I could find to clean (I'm very careful at taking care of my vacuum cleaners as they get a LOT of use around here).  My husband discovered a new place that I hadn't cleaned because I didn't know it existed and the vacuum was indeed clogged.  He and I worked on it for about 1/2 an hour to get the clog removed and from now on I'll know to check that place as well as the others on the vacuum for any potential blockages before they become a problem.  Thank goodness for having a mechanically minded husband.  If it had just been me I would have ended up having to take the vacuum to a repairman and goodness knows how much it would have cost me to remove a clog in the vacuum.

When it comes to the garden, I have a lack of pictures this week (sorry).

My rat tailed radishes are developing pods!!!  I'm so so excited to see them growing and pray they produce a lot at once so I can pickle them :). 

My potatoes are doing well, at least that I can see as are the carrots, but the lettuce is probably going to be getting harvested in large quantities here soon as the slugs are having a FIELD DAY with it.  I spent a half an hour out there this afternoon just picking off huge quantities of slugs.  Not cool.

The peas are finally starting to develop peas and are so high now that I'm wondering if the trellis will hold them once the peas start growing bigger.  I'm hoping to somehow convince them to bend down and re-vine on the trellis, but we'll see how it goes.

I also got to see my first nasturtium today!  I was thrilled to see that they were finally flowering :).

And yeah, that's about it on the gardening front at the moment.  I left the lettuce to grow in the garden this week for the most part as I still had a huge bag we were working through in the fridge, so I'll probably head out over the weekend to harvest a bunch more for next week.

So there you are folks.  Some of the things I did to save money this week.  How did you do?


  1. I love the corn husk dolls; anyone would like those! I think your husband will be pleased with his gifts. Men seem to appreciate things that they wouldn't get to - like framing the photos. (The pictures are cute, BTW.) I'm guessing that you'll have the children with you for the anniversary dinner. Sis could make decorations, and you could dress up. Heels, jewelry, the works! Would that make your hubby smile if you met him at the door like that? One more idea I had that I'd like to share: you might consider making several appetizer sized dishes as a meal. Wouldn't that be fun? You could think of his favorites while considering what you have on hand.
    We've all struggled with money at one time or another. You do a great job being resourceful, cheerful, and fun!

  2. Wow, the corn husk dolls are wonderful. As Amy said "anyone would like those". And the framed pictures look beautiful and will surely touch your husbands heart in so many ways. Everything you've done is so thoughtful and special.

    Today I made your bug spray recipe and sprayed the vegetable garden. The Japanese beetles have descended upon my garden. I'm hoping to get some of the beetle lures but not this week. Harvested some radishes. I planted french radishes they're long instead of round. BTW, what are rat tailed radishes? Also picked some young beet greens to add to the lettuce for more of a "spring mix".
    The prickly pear cactus in the flower garden has bloomed and it looks like there'll be enough fruit to make syrup and/or jelly in the fall when they ripen. Picked the sage before it went to seed and that's drying. Took stock of all the mason jar bands and lids and I'm good and won't need any new ones. I also use the used lids for vacuum sealing dehydrated veggies. So double duty there

    Skipped the farmer's market that I had originally planned to go to today and stayed home instead and canned onion soup.
    It rained here most of the week and today's the first sunny day in a week basically and we were able to paint the shed -- well, my husband painted the shed. I just brought him icewater when he was thirsty and supervised :).


    1. Rat tailed radishes are radishes that grow in pod form (like a green bean) instead of underground. They're a heirloom variety of radish that Jeannie sent me and I'm all excited about *laugh*. I've read on a lot of sites that they are REALLY good pickled, so I'm looking forward to trying them.

  3. What a brilliant idea making corn husk dolls from the corn you bought! Those are going to be such lovely gifts for Christmas. They turned out beautiful for never making them before, too. If you end up getting more corn this summer (or maybe ask family to save their corn husks for you), I think you should make more and tuck them away. Even if you don't use them all next Christmas, those are perfect for last minute gift giving! Bravo, Erika!!!

    It was so nice of Dorothy to share some of her fabric stash with you. I'm glad it will make some lovely gifts. Perhaps you can find something to make from the leftover scraps as well (barrettes or hair bands maybe or piece them together for a quilted or patchwork gift item). Obviously your very resourceful. I'm sure you will come up with an amazing idea.

    As for your anniversary dinner, does your husband have a favourite meal you normally don't make very often? Or maybe make something that's simple ingredients, but takes more time to make might be nice, like making meatballs from scratch. Regardless, I think his gifts are wonderful and I'm sure he will love them!

    1. His favorite meals are prime rib and Beef Wellington *laugh*. I was hoping to maybe be able to get the materials to make a Beef Wellington like meal (sans beef tenderloin), but just haven't had the money to buy the materials. I'm thinking right now that I might just try and make a beef roast and cook it via the Alton Brown method in a flower pot (which I have). It might not be the most tender piece of meat ever, but at least it'll be flavorful. My daughter can help me make dessert that night and things. I think it'll work out :).

  4. Great gifts. Love the cornhusk angels you will have to share the finished project!

  5. Wow those corn husk dolls are amazing!! So clever!! I'm glad that those vitamins have helped your son too. Seems like youve just been on your A game, you really always seem to make it work, and make it work well!!!

  6. I love your anniversary gifts and the corn husk angels! The week was so, so for spending, but this morning my husband's cell phone completely quit working, will not turn on at all. He is required to carry one for work, and they do pay him a stipend that covers the normal monthly fees, but not the phone itself. It's really bad timing because I had to leave for work travel today and won't be back until Thursday evening. He is planning to be without it until I can get home and we can take care of it together but I dislike not being able to contact him during the day, especially when I am so far away from he and our girls.

    On your bargain meat hunting, I have found that beef prices for me have dropped quite a bit lately, so I hope they do for you as well. I have gotten marked down hamburger twice at Sam's for about $2.24/pound - a lot less than a few months ago.

    My biggest savings lately is on gas! With school out, I am driving very little! I work at home, so am using maybe a quarter tank of gas a week now.

  7. I love the corn husk dolls. I'm going to try making some when we have corn again. As for the anniversary meal, maybe make something he can use his new mustard on! Or that calls for mustard in the receipe. So glad things have calmed down with your son. Our son also gets aggressive from time to time. He is 12 and as big as I am so it can get a bit scary. We have had good success with medication. I know it doesn't work for everyone but it has allowed our son to lead a fairly typical life with only a few aggressive meltdowns here and there. (He is currently at sleep away camp with friends from church, please pray he makes it through the week and doesn't get sent home a he loves camp so much.). We also do a natural multi vitamin and eat pretty health/clean. We are fortunate that he eats pretty much everything and loves vegetables. I'm glad the natural supplements arm to be working. We may need to try some of them. Praying for your son to have a nice calm week!!