Thursday, December 17, 2020

Frugal Friday (late and early): Money Saving Weekly Recap

 I would say, "Frugal Friday (Times Nearly 2)" but honestly the only reason I didn't do a post last week was we were busy and there wasn't a huge amount to report, so really I don't mind having to consolidate two weeks into one post here for a change :).

As previously stated, it's been super busy here, mainly with Christmastime things.  We baked Christmas cookies, both sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies (which the gingerbread have been steadily getting inhaled by my gingerbread loving son *laugh*), we attempted to make gingerbread houses with just icing and sprinkles and went sans candy decorations (they didn't last long enough to take a photo as Alvah destroyed and ate about 80% of the mini houses very quickly, much to the ire of his sister *laugh*) and we went and drove around looking at Christmas lights a few times (and plan to go again this weekend).  We've watched Christmas movies, listened to Jon Townsend read "A Christmas Carol"  from the Nutmeg Tavern (I've REALLY enjoyed having him read it as he's a lot better dramatic reader than I am *laugh*), listened to Christmas carols a ton, and watched virtual tours of Christmas lights from all over the place on's been fun I least the kids aren't complaining :).

So, let's get to other things that have been going on around here.

1.  Well, the big one (literally) was when I sent my husband to the store a week or so ago to pick up essentials (we just send my husband into the store as much as possible at the moment to cut down on the amount of people having to go into the store) and potatoes was on the list.  So, I get a call and (literally) this is how it went down.

Me (after the initial greetings):  "What's up?"
Husband:  "So, potatoes.  Do you want a 10 lb bag or a 50 lb bag?"
Me:  "Huh?"
Husband:  "Well, they have both a 10 lb bag and a 50 lb 'Alaska bag' for 5.99."
Me (completely blown away):  "So, wait!?!  They have a 50 lb bag of potatoes for 5.99???"
Husband:  "So says the sign, yes."
Me:  "Get that!!!"
Sure enough, he went to check out and the bag was honest to goodness $5.99!!!!  He brought the bag of potatoes in and I have to say I was in a "Now what?" type of mode as that's a lot of potatoes to find room for.  And then I opened the giant paper sack the 10 lb bags were in and found out why the potatoes were so cheap as every single bag had potatoes starting to sprout.  I sat and thought for a little bit and then decided there was only one place in my house cold enough and actually dark enough most of the time to keep the potatoes good as long as possible.  Luckily the produce drawers in the fridge were either pretty much empty except for celery and carrots (the top produce drawer) or was already set aside to use as a potato drawer (the bottom drawer).  So, I started hauling 10 lb bags of potatoes upstairs and decided to see how many would fit into the fridge.

And yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!  All 50 lbs of potatoes fit in the drawers (with the exception of the potatoes I pulled out to scrub and set aside for Japanese curry rice and oven fries for cheeseburgers later in the week).  I have to say it feels good having that many potatoes in the fridge as they'll last us a while and potatoes really are good things to add to meals for me because, if I'm careful with how I prepare them, they aren't too high of calorie.  That and the family likes them, so that's always good too.

On the other end of the frugal spectrum, I attempted to make a bookmark for the daughter as a small stocking stuffer.  I failed.  Miserably.  Anyone who says that bookmarks are easy to make...well you are more talented than I am *laugh*.  So, yeah, that was a waste of too many man hours and color ink from the printer to boot.  I might try again and try to get the bookmark not the size of a family sized car, but I'm leaning toward the "doubt it" end of the spectrum on that one.

2.  I received some gifts from friends of late, which was wonderful to receive (thank you, everyone :).  I had one friend who lives overseas in London, who when they found out that I had never tried chestnuts, had to do something about that.  We were having a conversation back during the summer and she started telling me about her chestnut dressing for Christmas (she was already looking forward to Christmas due to the lockdowns and all) and I was like, "Oh, you guys can get those over there?  Around here I don't think I've ever run into them at the store."   Next thing I know I get a package in the mail with, of all things, a jar of chestnuts in it.  No syrup, no water, just chestnuts, peeled, roasted and ready to go.  Made in France.  And the expiration date was like 2024 on them, which blew my mind.  I went and looked them up on Amazon and was actually impressed with the reviews so I then asked my friend what she wanted me to do with them.  She basically just wanted me to try them, in "anyway that sounds good, love".  Which has led me down a few rabbit holes trying to figure out how I wanted to try them over the months.  I finally settled on making a simple heavy syrup for them, infusing it with a cinnamon stick, vanilla and lemon (I just added vanilla and lemon extract as I didn't have any vanilla beans around here), putting the chestnuts into a bigger jar and pouring the syrup over them.  You then store the chestnuts in the fridge for at least a week and a half and then you can take them, dip them in sugar and eat them over ice cream or even as bon bons and things.  I love nuts and sweet together, so that sounded like my jam *laugh*.  The nuts, since I took the photo, sunk down into the syrup and I'll start doing things with them next week...maybe even have some with Christmas dinner.  This whole experience, so far, has been a lot of fun, so I hope I like them (thank you Aubrey!).

3.  Speaking of gifts, a friend sent me a gift a while back and I forgot to thank her here.  Thank you for the wonderful gift, Debbie!  It helped a lot!

4.  I got a Christmas card from another friend today and was happy to hear from her as I hadn't heard from her in a while.  Inside the card I found a tea bag.  An orange and clove flavored tea bag.  I haven't had that flavor in a long time and I love that flavor!  I'm really looking forward to drinking it (if my kids stop smelling it and making "that smells great" noises *laugh*).  Thank you, Paula!

I also got a Christmas card from a friend of mine that I've been friends with since, geez, elementary school?  We'll just go with "a long time" and leave it at that.  It was a surprise and also great getting an update on her kids and how everything went with their family this year.

In other news I have more Christmas cards to send out, so some people are going to be getting them late this year after all *laugh*.

5.  I have managed to make sure my husband had things to eat for lunch that wasn't just straight leftovers every day and has really helped to cut down on his expenses when he's at work.  I'm hoping to keep this up as it definitely saves us money for my husband to bring lunch every day (and is way healthier than getting fast food, too).

6.  I went through my clothes for the first time in years and started figuring out what would fit me, what wouldn't, and what would need adjustments made to them to fit me now that I've lost weight.  I not only ended up with a decent pile of clothes at the end, but by emptying out my dresser I was able to find some things that I had lost a while ago and could never figure out where they went (buried in the bottom of my sweater drawer for the most part).

7.  We ended up filling up our reusable advent calendar (it's a lighthouse wooden advent calendar that LL Bean has sold on and off over the dad bought us one when the kids were born to remind me of New England and it is one of those Christmas heirlooms I treasure) with some Andes mints I bought at the beginning of lockdown to use as reinforcers for the son during schoolwork.  Luckily I haven't had to fall back onto the bad school habit of using food to get work out of him, so we had them and I knew both kids loved them, so I just pulled those out and let my daughter fill up the calendar with them.  I have to say the kids have been really good at checking the calendar every day for a change and it didn't cost me anything out of pocket this holiday season to do something a bit special for them :).

8.  I went through the various scheduling and phone conferences with the various people from the homeschool to get Alvah's IEP scheduled for early next year.  I have to say, this is going to be weird.  I haven't done a phone IEP meeting since I was down with the flu when Alvah was a wee tyke in preschool.  So, yeah, it's been quite a while since I've had anything but in person IEP meetings.  We tried to schedule the meeting early to avoid Alvah listening in on the meeting and to avoid it interfering with homeschool.  We'll see how it goes.

9.  My husband asked what I wanted to do for my birthday as it falls right around Christmas.  I thought on it for a second and just told me that I really just wanted to stay home and save money.  He felt bad, but understood.  I am going through my cookbooks to see if there is something I'd like to try and cook for my birthday...maybe something fun and different to eat, but preferably with ingredients I already have around the house.  I have to say, being a huge cooking nerd, I am having fun doing that part if nothing else :).

10.  My daughter wants to give a friend of hers a Christmas gift, but since we don't know if the family will want anyone really stopping by with everything that is going on, we didn't really want to spend a bunch of money that could potentially go to waste.  My daughter suggested making extra cookies and maybe making a cookie tray for the family.  That way if they didn't want to accept it we could just bring it home and eat the cookies and nothing would be lost.  I agreed that was a good idea, so that's what we are hoping to do (if we can get the cookies made, which the son has been really busy, so it's been a bit more problematic than I had hoped to get it done).

And there you go folks.  Some of the stuff that has been happening around here of late.  I'm a bit late getting the menu plan worked on, so I'm hoping to get that up tomorrow.  Hope you are all doing well and life is going okay this holiday season for you.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Erika! I was doing some blog hopping and landed here. I can't believe you got a 50 pound bag of potatoes for $5.99, that was sure a score in the frugal department! Sounds like you have had a busy holiday season so far. I hope the rest is smooth sailing for you. Merry Christmas :)