Saturday, October 28, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Woot!  I am actually close to on time this week.  Honestly, I would have done this last night except I ended up with my laptop parked down in my den because it was the only spot around where I could set up my printer and fill out insurance paperwork with the husband asleep in the bedroom, and well...I didn't feel like going, unplugging the laptop and moving it upstairs to do blogging (the battery doesn't hold a charge on my laptop anymore, so I have to leave it plugged in all the time).  So, yeah, really no excuse except for my own tiredness on why this post didn't get done last night.

But, hey, I got stuff done today to add to the post anyway, so it works ;).

So, let's get this rock a rollin!

1.  My husband was off last night, so was up at a decent hour today and so we went for a drive since the son really wanted to get out of the house.  We ended up going to Eklutna Lake after driving around for a while.  The park stations are closed this time of year to pay your fee before going into the park, so we parked a ways out and went on the hiking trails and things around the lake for a bit.  It was a lot of fun as we'd never been there before.  I was impressed because it reminded me of a lot of the Maine campgrounds my dad used to take us kids to when I was little.  I managed to snatch a few pictures of the lake while we were there.  One is up top there.  Here's another one...

This picture actually shows a bit of what I was hoping the pictures would show, which was that the water is blue.  Being an East Coast girl by blood (by more than a few generations *laugh*) and such, I don't think I'm ever going to get used to the blue water that we get up here.  It seems like a Disney attraction to me when I see it somehow ;).

It was a fun afternoon and all it cost us was gas, which I think was worth it.
2.  I finished the daughter's Halloween costume Thursday so she could wear it to the Halloween celebrations at school yesterday. 

The first item I had to find was some brushes and I finally found my long cheap brushes and sewed some guides for them into one of the pockets of the apron.  That way the brushes would stay put when she was moving around the school and things and they wouldn't constantly fall out of her pocket if she bent over or something. 

The other challenge was to make a palette for her to carry around with her.  Originally I was just going to make one out of cardboard and then put some actual acrylic paint on it, but then I started realizing that for one, trying to find a plain piece of cardboard without writing on it where I could get the right shape for the palette out of it and for two the acrylic paint would just rub off onto the apron every time she put it into the pocket of the apron, and she WOULD want to put it into the pocket of the apron during class and things. 

So, I finally decided to make a form out of heavy cardboard for the palette and then I took scraps of felt I had around the house to encase the cardboard form in felt and then adhere felt "paints" to the palette as well.  I even managed to use an old bottle of wacky tacky glue I had around the house (and yes, that is the actual name) to glue everything together.

It worked fabulously.  The costume was a big hit with the kids at school, I guess, and everyone took a turn playing with the paint brushes and "paints" and even her teacher told her how much she liked the costume, which made Armina feel really good.  I was thrilled that she was thrilled, honestly, as I try really hard to, even though I know we're broke, make sure that the kids don't feel ostracized due to their financial situation.  Or at least I try to make sure it impacts them as little as possible.

Here's a final shot (staged by the daughter, not by me) of the "artist" in her element...
3.  When I took the kids to school on Friday I found out that the son's teacher was planning on making cookies, but she had frosting for the cookies that wasn't safe for the son to eat and was frosting he wouldn't eat anyway (wrong flavor).  So, I grabbed a container of frosting from the pantry and brought it to his class so he could enjoy making cookies too.  He seemed to have a good time and came home in a really good mood.
4.  I managed to can both peach jelly (from the juice in the freezer), seen above.

Pancake syrup today.

I realized I was running low on pancake syrup, so I wanted to add it to our winter stores.  I canned it in quarts instead of pints this time mainly to save lids as I only have a few regular mouth lids left after all of the canning I've done and I still want to get some canning done tomorrow (more on that in the grocery shopping part of this post).
4.  I managed to save up enough Amazon gift cards to get myself an early Christmas gift.  I bought myself the Crock Pot version of the Instant Pot!  I'm so excited about this it's almost indecent *laugh*.  I decided on that one because it does basically everything the Instant Pot does, but is cheaper (which cheaper always speaks to me ;) and I trust the Crock Pot brand.  I got it in the mail yesterday and can not WAIT to start using it.  Some women get them a designer purse and they get all excited.  Me, get me a new kitchen gadget that I can use to make cooking more exciting and I am like a little kid on Christmas morning *laugh*.
5.  My step mom sent me one of her pinata boxes.  I was especially thrilled with the books she sent me in the box (seen above).  The end one with the picture on the cover but no clear title on the cover is one called, "Passport to Survival" which is one I find really interesting as the book focuses on making foods out of primarily four ingredients.  Wheat, honey, salt and dehydrated milk.  The author runs through her reasons for using those ingredients and I'm kind of looking forward to reading into it more thoroughly.  The book on needlepoint will be a good one to read through, as well, as it shows how to make bookmarks and belts and things, which I'm thinking might come in handy for Christmastime.
6.  The husband and I went to the used store earlier in the week and I found a box of booklets for .50 a piece.  I would have loved to have grabbed tons of them as there were some really cool vintage booklets on different things, but these two booklets really caught my eye.  So, I begged a dollar off of the husband (I didn't have any cash or anything on me) and got to read them when I got home.  The leftovers book was from the 40's and while it a bit disappointing as I was hoping for some "ah ha" moments on how to make food stretch further (although I did find it comforting that I was doing a ton of things that were already in the book for making leftovers stretch), but they were some decent recipes that I am hoping to try sometime soon.  There were also some nice tips in the booklet, so I think it will be useful.

The canned foods booklet was of indeterminate age and had some decent looking recipes in it, but I noticed that the can sizes were off from what they are today for different items.  And then I noticed a section in the back stating to just store the food in the can after you open it and keep it in a cool spot and it would keep for a while and was like, "Wait.  What?  This was before refrigerators were a thing?!?"  So I googled the booklet and the only thing I could find after a little research was ads in 1932 publications giving information to order the booklet.  1932!  That was pretty cool.  Especially since most of the recipes will still work today.  

Not bad finds for .50 a piece.
7.  I FINALLY finished one of the pillowcases that I'm making for my family back East for Christmas this week.  I was so happy to get at least one gift done so far :).  This was made from a kit that was gifted to me and embroidery thread...which was gifted to me (by my step mom), so overall it didn't cost me anything to make it.  I thought it turned out pretty well.  Only a bunch more to go on the gift making front, but yay for having one done!

8.  Grocery shopping went well this week.  The big scores this week were apples for for .97 a pound at Carrs this week (that's UNHEARD OF cheap!) and pears for .97 lb too!!!  I got a big bag of each and am planning on making something with them tomorrow.  I'm thinking apple and pear sauce or apple and pear pie filling.  I'm still torn, but it's a good kind of torn!

So, yeah, I'm going to call it good here as my husband is home tonight and we're watching a movie.  How did you all do this week?


  1. Erika, wow - what an awesome week! The lake pictures are beautiful, you did such a great job on your daughter's costume and the embroidery on the pillowcase is lovely! I am excited for you to use your new crock pot instant pot and the old books you found at the charity shop are amazing. I love looking at canned syrups - they are so pretty. Congratulations on achieving so many good things this week! I always look forward to your posts. I hope next week is just as positive as this one has been for you.

  2. You could frame the Leftovers booklet and hang it in the kitchen after you’ve tried the recipes. It would look really cute. Love love love the artist costume! I love homemade costumes. I think they are way better than bought ones. Every year we pick a theme for Halloween. We’ve done Harry Potter, Pokémon and this year was Batman, with Batgirl, Robin, and Batbun (we dressed up a rabbit in a build a bear Batman costume.) we use a mix of bought (usually second hand) and homemade. And since we also do our churches Trunk or Treat we make props to decorate the back of our SUV. I’m always thrilled when I can find the materials I need around the house.

  3. Wow, the palate turned out amazing! I just love it.

    I totally hear you on the trying to make sure kids don't feel excluded. My husband has steady work, though he is a teacher in a rural area so he doesn't make as much as he used to before we moved here, but we have enough, thankfully. It's me being selfish and wanting to buy so much for everyone or myself that puts a strain on at times, and my oldest does struggle a little with classmates parents spending hundreds and hundreds on gifts for holiday. 6 classmates got Nintendo switch systems for their birthdays! He understands that's not the norm, but it's a little hard. Luckily, he is always very happy,with the gifts he gets.

  4. The lake and mountains are so pretty. What an enjoyable day.
    Love the costume and what a cutey pie!
    You got some great deals this week, saved the day for your son, and made some wonderful items for the pantry. WOOHOO!
    Have a lovely week.

  5. Brilliant pillowcases. I would love to receive such a lovely gift!

  6. What a wonderful post! I'm so happy for you and your family. You nourish them in lots of ways. And, those pillow cases are adorable.

  7. your daughter looks so cute in her costume! you did a great job in making it - also love the pillow case - would love to receive that at christmas. I really loved the pictures of Alaska you posted - I live in Massachusetts and would love to live in Alsaka - north pole Alaska!

  8. Wow blue water-- how gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your pictures. Your daughter is so pretty and her costume was just great. Glad it was a good week for ya'll (yeh I'm a Southern gal) and hope next week is great also.

  9. I love the lake and mountain pictures. I've always wanted to visit Alaska, and so love to see how it looks.

    You canning looks marvelous, as well. I have put the kettles away for now, and am enjoying eating more and more of the canned items I've put away over the summer.

    I also love the costume. Our family is getting beyond that. This year, all the high schoolers at church had a harvest party (last night-Saturday) and were told to wear flannel. So, that daughter grabbed a yard-sale flannel shirt and went and had a ball. The youngest one wore an old formal dress of her older sister and went to her harvest party. That's all! So easy these days.

    On Tuesday, my autistic niece has talked Uncle into coming over after work with a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and driving around in the van eating them. She is too old to trick-or-treat (20), but her heart still wants to go. So, that's what they did last year, and it must have been fun because she wants to do it again. She wore a pair of footed pajamas that looked like a big cat, one of her loves, and will probably do that again. Then she feels like she's getting to participate. They will follow little brother (Jake) down the street, escorted by Patsy, who is really also much too old (13), but if she "helps" Jake, she can still get away with wearing her fancy formal dress and getting candy. My husband, Rob, will get candy for each and every older kid who wants to drive around with him while the younger ones trick or treat. He will also let them have any leftover candy so they end up with gobs. I will probably stay back at my sister's house and help her hand out candy to kids who come. We'll see what actually happens:) but it's nice to start with a plan.

  10. I love that artist costume ! Well done. I didn't know Crockpot was making a version of Instapot....very interesting...

  11. I love the vintage leftovers book and your stitching is lovely!

    Come by for a visit!

  12. If your crock pot pressure cooker is anything like the Instant Pot, you will LOVE it! I hardly use my stove and oven anymore. I batch-cook all sorts of things in mine- meat, rice, dried beans, yogurt, broth, pasta, applesauce, boiled eggs... even stuff like whole pie pumpkins and single servings of oatmeal. My latest discovery is steaming milk (IN the coffee cup!) for hot cocoa. It is really the best thing ever invented!

  13. Armina needs to get a job painting portraits! I would hire her in a second.
    Loved the pictures of the water. It makes me want to move to Alaska, until I see the prices at the stores.
    I am glad you had a good week. It was time.
    Jeannie @ GetMetoTheCountry