Frugal Friday- and free spring art

This coming Monday starts my orientation for my new job–yikes!  At odd moments  nervousness hits me– I’ve been at home SO long– how will everyone survive??  I’ve been coping by reminding myself that tons of people work, even with much younger kids at home.  Once we find our groove we really will be fine, I’m sure. But to feel proactive about this whole thing, and to ease my nerves, I’ve been planning obsessively.  I resurrected my trusty white board from where it was gathering dust behind the piano, and got next week’s menu all planned.  Super easy stuff, with  various family members all taking turns being in charge of a meal.

Wednesday I made a couple casseroles for the freezer, made a crock pot full of chili, part for this week and part for later in the month.  I also browned ground beef for  tacos one night next week.  I always feel industrious when I get meals in the freezer for later, and it will make it much easier to resist the lure of fast food.

menus and checklist

I also printed an April checklist for each of my kids, detailing the 6-8 things they each need to do daily for school and to keep the household running smoothly.  It’s all normal stuff, but usually I’m around to nag keep everyone on track.  So I thought a checklist was in order. To keep it more fun, I’m offering bribes for successful checklist completion– things like Dutch Bros. gift cards, movie tickets, M&M’s, and Color Me Your Way color books.  I don’t think the bribery will be a long term thing.  After the first 5 weeks, I’ll be going down to two days a week, and also school will be nearly done for the year, but for now I’m just focusing on making April as smooth and simple as possible– and a little more fun for the kids.

Last week I bought myself a cute little lunch box, complete with a freezer pack and a bunch of little storage containers– very fun.  And again, stuff like this will make it easier and more appealing to eat food from home instead of grabbing food while I’m out.

Let’s see….what else is happening around here? Each season I like to decorate our main living area with something seasonal– flowers, wreaths, etc. Emily, my resident artist, has been having fun decorating my chalkboard for me in a seasonal way.  Here’s my Pinterest board with fun chalk decor ideas that have been our inspiration.

And I wanted to tell you about some free stuff!  I have a picture frame in my kitchen, in which I like to rotate verses, pictures, and the occasional wise quote.  A couple weeks ago I was looking here Craftionary  and here One Sutton Place and found lots of cute free spring printables for my picture frame.

(And as fun and with-it as all that sounds, I need to confess that I just barely took down my last bit of Christmas decor which apparently I’ve been blind to for months– a wooden snowflake thing hanging where it was almost the first thing visitors would see.)

We have tulips in the front flowerbed here, but there’s still frost on the grass many mornings, and we still fire up the wood stove for a few hours each morning to take the chill off.  I’m looking forward to more spring and warmer weather.  Are you enjoying your spring?  Is it warm yet where you are?As always, I’d love to hear about your frugality efforts.




  1. I have several sets of those stackable lunch containers. We love them! They hold up really well and make lunch packing so easy and fun. I am anti sandwich bags and these containers make it easy to not use the bags.
    Good luck on your first day back. It sounds very exciting! Your family will do great too. It will give them a chance to miss you….which is always so nice.

  2. You got this!!!

  3. I just found a stray Christmas decoration too!
    My boys and I hit yard sales today and scored some baseball gear for the upcoming season. My oldest is thrilled to have some Nike cleats, but mom is even more thrilled because they were $1! I try to get those types of things used since they only last one season.
    Our weather is very rainy in Indiana, canceling tomorrow’s first baseball practice:(

  4. Good luck in orientation – your planning will help. Remember to keep your work badge in the same place so it is easy to grab and go!