Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

I need to come up with like a "Money Saving Monday" (in this case Tuesday) tagline for this post, as it seems since my husband started having Fridays off that I never get to do the Frugal Friday post on Friday *laugh*.

No matter what, though, this post would have been late this last week.  It was so busy and so much stuff was going on with the holiday and everything that I'm just plain exhausted and really don't want to do anything.  Unfortunately, with the kids being home for four days straight, the house is a wreck and there are loads of dishes and laundry to do, so no rest for me.

And no, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you with the above photo.  The tree leans, probably due to the home made tree stand that my husband had to make for said tree and the fact that it was a 5.00 Target clearance tree to begin with  when we bought it years ago *laugh*.  Don't worry...it's secured to the wall behind the tree so it's not too leany...yes in reality it leans a lot worse.  So, I celebrate that it's PRETTY straight overall and won't fall over easy with it being tied to the wall and it being in a pretty hefty tree stand now (Alvah broke the old plastic crappy tree stand thingie years ago).

So, what went on this last week?  Well, the usual holiday stuff, of course.  Since it was Thanksgiving Thursday (for those outside of the US) I had a lot of work to do.  Wednesday I made pies so that I didn't have to worry about them Thursday.  I tried a new recipe for an apple pie cheesecake this year and then made a regular apple pie as well.  I was really disappointed in the apple pie cheesecake, so I am glad I made the regular apple pie as a back up plan. 

Thursday was the holiday, which we had a good dinner and a relaxing evening even with the daughter being a pill Wednesday and Thursday (for no reason that she could even pin down...always nice) and then Friday rolled around and the son woke up choking from all the stuff draining out of his head (stupid cold bug) and got sick to his stomach and that started the weekend of Heck when it came to his mood.  He wouldn't eat or drink much of anything all day long and he'd whine...constantly...from sun up to sun down.  About an hour before bedtime he'd realize he was hungry and thirsty, eat and drink a bunch, get into a happy mood and then crash for the night.  Repeat.  I was never so happy to bring both of the kids back to school yesterday, honestly, just to get them back on a regular schedule and give myself some much needed peace and quiet.

And then there was the nerve wracking and "not cool" addition onto our week.  We had moose move into our yard and not leave.  Five of them.  They were not afraid of humans, not afraid of loud noises and were completely scaring the crud out of us as getting out to the vehicles to get anywhere (or from the vehicles inside) was really, REALLY nerve wracking.  Our yard has become one solid chunk of moose poop the last week and we were pretty much under house arrest unless it was important or really light out (so we could see where the moose were) and even then it was a mad dash into the vehicles and away we went.  The son was NOT happy about not being able to go out and play, and I can't blame him, but safety was definitely the main concern.

The moose were still around last night, but the husband took the Animal Control officer's advice and put off some really loud noise makers at them and they ran off.  So far, hopefully *fingers, toes and eyes crossed* today the moose got the hint and maybe moved on.

Enjoy the really out of focus shot of one of the moose that was eating right outside of my den window.  Turns out the lens on my camera was dirty and I didn't realize it until I went to edit the shot of the moose.  And I haven't been able to get another good shot of the moose since I found that out because they mostly come out at night.  Mostly (yeahhh "Aliens" reference!  I knew I could fit one in at some point ;).

Despite all of that, though, stuff did get done (amazing as it sounds), so let's get to that.

1.  We went to my daughter's big combined holiday concert (which was kind of disappointing  as there was not much Christmas themed music at all) and got to enjoy the music put on by the middle school band, orchestra and choir.  I am impressed with how well the sixth graders are doing in the music program and was really proud of how well the daughter did, even though she wasn't happy about it (yeah, the bad mood started early in the week with her and just got worse until Thanksgiving was over).  It was free (of course :) and the people sitting next to us even abandoned their program so we were able to score a copy (they didn't print enough for everyone to have one).

2.  My sisters were really generous and sent us a really nice gift card for Amazon this year for Christmas.  I still feel kind of guilty about it, but I used a LOT of the gift card they sent to buy myself a new laptop.  I had added the laptop I wanted to get to my cart and "saved it for later" because we were going to put some small things the husband said he wanted onto the order.  Then checking my cart on my twice daily habit (I always check my cart on Amazon twice a day to see if anything bottoms out in price that I'm saving for later) I found that the laptop had fallen nearly 70.00 in price a few days later (turns out it was a part of Amazon's "Black Friday Week" deals).  I quickly got the items my husband wanted to get added to the order and placed the order for the computer.  By waiting I was not only able to save myself 70.00 on the computer, but the 70.00 more than covered what my husband had wanted to order with the computer, so double score!  I was even able to replace some of the movies the son had managed to damage in DVD format and buy them in digital format instead with some of the money saved as well.  It was definitely a welcome savings to be sure and now I don't have to worry about the son chewing on those DVD's anymore because he can just stream the movies on a tablet.

I have to say I'm overly excited about getting a new computer.  I hope it works well.  My laptop is over ten years old now and well...no matter what I do on it, it isn't happy about it.  I can't even load a wallpaper onto my desktop without the computer throwing a fit about it, so yeah...I pray the new computer isn't a lemon and works well for as many years as this one did.

3.  Other than getting some milk, eggs and a few small things that I sent my husband to the store to get on Wednesday morning on his way home from work, we didn't get anything in the way of groceries last week.  I'm definitely a "stay away from the stores around a major holiday if at all possible" type of person.

4.  My daughter and I sat down and talked about Christmas gifts and budgeting out money for them.  We are trying to help my daughter get caught up with math a bit and she's having problems grasping decimals, so I figured money was a great motivator when it came to learning these things.  So far, I can't say she's doing great at figuring out decimals, but she's definitely grasping the concepts of budgeting, figuring out gifts people can use and want, and managing to get nice gifts on the cheap.  With her permission I'll be sharing some of her gift giving on the blog as part of the "Frugal Christmas" series I'm planning this year (since I'm not REALLY making all of the gifts this year, I'm going to change up the series a bit and show, not only the gifts that I make and such, but also the gifts that will be being put under the tree that might not cost much, but will still be nice gifts...hard to explain, but stay tuned...it'll make sense in a few days when the series starts, promise :).

5.  We pulled out the wrapping paper we've had for years and the daughter wrapped her presents that she has done and put them under the tree (she's really going gang busters and totally beating us all *laugh*).  I bought the wrapping paper on Target clearance YEARS ago for 90% off and it has served us well for many years since.

6.  Which of course leads us to the fact that we put up our Christmas tree last week.  I haven't put up all of the kid's artwork that I've collected throughout the years yet (the son's mood was so bad I didn't want to overwhelm him) and am hoping to do that today, but at least the tree got put up. 

This year I was smart for a change.  I went into the storage van a few weeks ago when the weather was cold, but clear and manageable and we had a lot more light during the day then we do now (the light really starts to drop off bad about this time and get worse through December) and pulled out all of the Christmas decorations and put them in the house.  I was doubly proud of myself when the moose showed up as I can't IMAGINE how in the Heck I would have managed to get the decorations with them in the yard.  So, yay for thinking in advance!

7.  I rearranged the den and the living room to accommodate both the Christmas tree and to give me a place to set up my sewing table so I can get some Christmas gifts made.  I managed (with help from my husband) to get the boxes of videos that were stacked up in the living room downstairs into a corner of my den, so the living room looks a lot better now.

8.  After we were done eating Thanksgiving dinner I took the meat off the turkey and immediately threw the carcass into the crock pot with the drippings that were left over and some water.  I let it cook on low all night long (I did get up at 2 am with the son and added more water to the crock pot t keep it topped off).  I then turned it off in the morning, let it cool down so it would be cool enough to handle the meat, stripped what meat I could off the carcass and froze the stock in some freezer bags.  It turned out really well and it saved me from trying to find room in my freezer for a turkey carcass :).

9.  I helped to repair the handle on my husband's work bag (yay for leather needles!).  He's kind of hard on the work bags as he hauls tools back and forth to work and he's torn out a good number of bags doing it (he buys what he can find at the used store in the way of a duffle bag and just uses them till he destroys them) and the handle had separated around the "d ring" at the base.  The husband had tried to repair it as well as he could (I was busy trying to handle the son at the time) and then I took over and really reinforced what he'd done with more (hopefully anyway) sewing know how.  Hopefully the repairs will last a while as other than the handles kind of falling apart the way they did (for some reason they were barely sewn onto the bag, but had a ton of adhesive put onto them to hold them together...sewing them was sticky work and I had to clean my needle afterwards) the bag seems to be decently hefty.  Here's hoping!

10.  I used our "Shop Your Way" points as soon as they came in this month since Sears is doing so poorly we don't know how long it will be before our Sears shuts down.  I ended up stealing the point this month to get myself some socks as the son has discovered he and I are in the same size of socks right now and he constantly steals my socks...well then his eczema on the bottom of his feet itch and he runs the socks all over the carpet to itch his feet.  Result?  I have holes in pretty much all of my socks now.  So, I got myself 12 pairs of socks and a pair of ankle boots that were on super sale (which I felt guilty for buying them until my husband gave me a lecture about how I never buy myself things and if I was planning on wearing them to buy them).  I love the new socks and the boots, I have to say and we only ended up spending about 10.00 out of pocket after the points were applied.  It's nice being able to wear a bit dressier shoes than sneakers and having socks that are warm and not holey :).  I've been hiding the new socks from the son (sorry Alvah) and letting him have some of my socks that are still in one piece, but I don't worry if he wrecks them to do with as he will in my sock drawer.

And yeah, I have a ton to do yet today, so I'm going to call it good there and get to work.  How about you?  Have a good week?


  1. Shhhhh!! Don't say the tree leans. Call it a Dr Suess whoville tree!! I'm glad you got the laptop, socks and boots!! You do so much, with so little, splurges like that are important.

  2. Erika, I love your posts. Lately I feel paralyzed with fear and anxiety over our life. Most people cover up anything remotely unhappy and I always feel so alone. This week, I can remind myself that I only have a mouse stalking me and not a moose. That is worth a much needed smile. Heck, I may have been imagined the mouse !. The tree is beautiful. It has character. I love candy colors on trees.

  3. Whoa, moose! Another Alaskan friend has been sharing pictures of moose all over his property; they must be on the move! How scary for you. :( Glad you managed to get your decorations up before they invaded!

    And hurray for a new computer! I totally get that. My old one was barely working before I got a new one- and then I could barely use the new one because my daughter was too young and dangerous to be allowed near it- and then, when I finally could use it, an update fried the insides just weeks later. Fortunately it was still under warranty and they replaced pretty much everything. Those extended warranties on the bigger items are definitely worth it!

  4. The moose in your yard is amazing and scary at the same time.
    Sears Canada went under last year. You are wise to use your points up.

  5. I can only imagine how terrifying the moose are. I've never seen one personally, but have heard they can be super aggressive. And, big. Much bigger than they look in pictures! So, I hope they have left your property.

    I'm sure you already know, but your daughter is "at that age." (We have 6 daughters). That 6th grade year is the worst, and I think I remember that your daughter is around that grade. All of mine seemed to struggle at that age. The good news? Give it a few years. It gets better as time passes. They really don't know why they are "off", they just are. It sounds like you guys have good communication, so that will be in your favor. Hang in there!

    I love to do my broth overnight, too. Then I don't have to find a place in the fridge for that big pot of stock to cool down--just make it, cool it during the day, and freeze or occasionally can!

  6. I just read about the earthquake. Are you ok?

  7. Same here - just heard = hope there's no damage near you and that everyone is safe. It must have been very frightening!

  8. Me three - let us know you and yours are okay when you can!
    Prayers for everyone in southern Alaska - how frightening!


  9. Just came on here also to check if your ok. Must be scary.

  10. Heard about the earthquake and hope very much that you, your family, your home and your community are safe! Please let us know how you are doing when you can.

  11. UPDATE: 12/1/18 Erika posted a *quick* update on her Facebook page saying they are all okay but there is some pretty extensive property damage - apparently they were close to the epicenter! Power is back on for them and they're cleaning up.

    ERIKA - please let us all know if there's anything you need or that we can help with when you do have a moment!

    Long distance hugs,

    1. Thank you so much for letting us know Lea - it must have been so frightening for them!

    2. Lea, thank you for posting.

  12. Thanks, Lea, for the update - Erika, good luck with the quake aftermath! I hope you are all well. Sending good wishes your way. Allison