It’s almost spring!

The winter here was not too bad in the snow department, but I’m still ever so glad to have made it through until March.  I really don’t like winter, and I’m very much looking forward to springtime and flowers and warmth. Here’s a gratuitous flower shot — pure eye candy, isn’t it?

I’ve been the worst blogger ever lately, partly because of work, but also, I think, because I have been doing quite a bit more reading in the last few months.  (Latest fave book: 600 Hours of Edward.  Some adult content, but an amazing view into the mind of an adult with Asperger’s.)

The latest from work: the OB building flooded, which put our department completely out of commission for a few weeks. We’ve been keeping a skeleton crew of OB nurses in our ER each shift, just in case a baby decides to be born before a mom can be transported to the nearest open OB department.  The rest of our OB staff has been floated by turns to work at the Boise hospital, which has been quite a stress-inducing adventure.  So far, the shifts I’ve done have gone OK, but it is no small thing to be handed a patient load on a busy floor to which you have not been oriented.  On the bright side:  the Boise hospital is where John works, so a time or two we’ve been able to say hi and chat a minute between shifts.  (I’m still working nights and he works days.)

The latest from home:  Emily and Julianna have been practicing a piano duet and have gotten rather good at it.  I love that they’re enjoying playing together.  In fact, Julianna says she’d rather play duets than play alone.  They’re taking lessons from my mom, which I absolutely love.

Even tho there’s room in the house for the girls to have rooms of their own, I still have them sharing a bedroom.  They are such good buddies that I’m not quite willing to separate them yet, and they actually really do enjoy being together….  I may rethink that at some point– Em is almost 16, after all.  But then again, Julianna still sometimes gets anxious if she’s alone at night.  So who knows….?  Parenting is such a guessing game, isn’t it?

In other news, they now have guinea pigs, and the guinea pigs have a room of their own.  This keeps the girls from having to sleep in the same room as piggy stinkiness, but it does seem to me a bit over the top in terms of pampering your pets.  Ah well.

A reader recently asked me a question about grocery shopping splurges. I do still aim to feed my family affordably as much as I can.  Stirfry is a regular option around here.  We do homemade pizza and homemade enchiladas and fajitas, etc.  And I’ve been delighted at how many tomatoes our tiny yard can produce– enough that I’ve actually still done a bit of canning each fall.

But I have to confess that since I began working away from home three years ago, I’ve gotten worse in the grocery budget department.  Most notably, we eat out more now that I work outside the home. I’ve also been tending toward grocery splurges that are healthier options– things like salmon and blueberries and strawberries and easy salad mixes.  The overall budget difference hasn’t felt like much, because since I started working we also had four grown kids move out.  If anything, our grocery bill has gone down a dab…but not by much thanks to spendier food choices and more eating out.

In more kitchen news, I had fun organizing my pantry last week.  It is embarrassingly huge– in Idaho and Utah this type of pantry is often dubbed a ‘Mormon pantry’ since it is big enough for long term food storage for a very large family.  Yet somehow even with all that space, it still managed to become a total clutter bomb.  Here’s what it looked like before.

After a whole afternoon of rearranging and wiping down and decluttering all the various items, I got it looking a lot better.  This is definitely one of my favorite projects because it is free and very gratifying.

It also led to the unearthing of all sorts of odds and ends of food items, some which definitely and quickly got tossed, but others of which found their way into meals over the next couple days. Now I love walking in there because it just looks so much better.  Here’s what it looked like when the great decluttering was complete.

I would still like to do the following label with all the jars where I am storing dry goods. Doesn’t it look like fun?? But for now I am enjoying the fresh and tidy look! What’s new with you?  Thanks for continuing to stop in now and then even tho I have been so irregular in my blogging lately.

And– PS– if you’re planning a family trip to the Oregon coast sometime this year, swing by our beach house website and see what’s open.

Save Money Furnishing Your Home

Over years of furnishing and decorating our family homes, I’ve always done it slowly and organically. Freshly married, we found living room furniture and a vacuum cleaner and my sewing machine at our local St. Vincent’s. Our kitchen table– adorably yellow Formica like the photo to the right– came from my grandmother.  Our bed came from my childhood bedroom.  Bookshelves came from John’s house.  And here and there were other small things we bought or were given.  Suffice it to say, furnishing our first home didn’t cost much.

Each time we moved to progressively larger spaces, always it worked like this.  Something old, something new, and almost always things that were hand made or thrifted.

As we were planning to furnish an entire new house, my mind was really challenged.  I knew that so many things needed to be shiny-new:  sheets, towels, mattresses, sofas.  But we were, after all, still on a budget. Rather than completely abandoning my usual way of furnishing a home, I decided to try mixing old and new and hand made together.  I was also going to need to find bargains, lots of them.

So in the fall as the walls of the beach house went up, UPS packages began arriving at our Idaho home, to be squirreled away until we needed to decorate this crazy dream of ours.  And in the end we were able to furnish a very large home for a fairly reasonable cost.  How’d we do it?  Here are my best tips.

  1.  Make it yourself. Begin by thinking about the things that you might be able to make yourself.  My husband has mad woodworking skills, and was able to make a beautiful dining table, nesting end tables, a bathroom counter, and even a bar.  Not having to buy these items saved us a bundle and also gave the home some great one-of-a-kind features.  If you can sew, you might be able to make curtains, table cloths, place mats, or throw pillows for the home.
  2. Hunt at thrift stores, yard sales and Craigslist. Things we found include wall art, furniture, baskets and other small decor items.  We did well in the kitchenware department too, finding a salad spinner, serving bowls, utensils, and other items in good condition.  Most recently we found a great dresser for the master bedroom at a thrift store right in the same town as our beach home, a big plus since it also saved us the hassle of having to get the item from our Idaho home to our Oregon place.  After a good polish and a set of ‘new’ knobs that I found at a local ReStore, the dresser looked great.  A solid wood dresser like that would probably have cost at least $300 brand new, and we paid $100.
  3. Give an old item a facelift! I was able to paint several dressers and end tables that ended up going over to the beach house, which gave a dated-looking item a completely fresh look.  You might be able to re-cover an older piece of furniture that needs updating.  One super-easy DIY reupholstery projects is replacing the fabric seats on chairs.  Here’s a great youtube that walks you through the whole process, and it doesn’t take a stitch of sewing.
  4. Don’t forget clearance shopping.  Target often has reduced items on sale on the end caps of various departments.  Fred Meyers is another store that regularly marks down merchandise.  I found quite a few sets of nice quality sheets at Fred Meyers.  Ross was a place I went over and over, for wall art and for curtain rods.  IKEA has a whole ‘as is’ department in each of their stores, typically near the check stands.  There it is possible to buy already assembled versions of some of their items. Some things may be slightly damaged, but it’s worth looking.
  5. Be willing to consider a less conventional solution.  When it came to buying mattresses, I was prepared to give up a huge chunk of change.  After all, comfortable mattresses are hugely important to most people.  However, a friend told me of a great experience she and her whole family had with mattresses in a box.  There are lots of retailers these days, including Tuft and Needle, Purple, Leesa, and Loom and Leaf.  But the ones she and her family got are on amazon, and that’s the one we ended up buying, for 5 out of the 10 beds in our new rental.  It is called Classic Brands, and the best thing about it is that a king mattress is (at this moment) only $284.  HUGE budget savings there, and after sleeping on one of the mattresses for a couple weeks now, John and I can’t say enough good things about it.  It is very comfortable.  It has no box spring, just a frame, and that can also be bought on amazon, and delivered to your front door in a box.  Doesn’t get easier than that.  Or (we think) more comfortable.  Read the reviews yourself before buying to get an idea of whether it might be a good solution for you.  We did also buy conventional mattresses for five of the beds in the home  (hedging our bets), and those we got as high quality closeout models at a local furniture store.  Hopefully there will be a bed to please everyone at the house!
  6. Say the Magic Words: As Is.  Some online stores sell returns and one of a kind items in ‘as is’ condition.  To locate those special deals, type ‘as is’ in the search bar of the website. has hundreds of items for sale on any given day. Some items have true flaws, and not all will be listed.  I bought an 8×10 rug for $80 that had a two inch cut in an edge.  I was able to position the damaged area under a couch where it won’t catch your eye or be prone to great damage.  No big deal. I bought many beautiful sets of curtains on overstock for $15 a pair where the only listed problem was ‘dog hair’  I can live with that.  Here’s a picture of a dining light I just bought for our home here in Idaho. As you can see, the original price was $184, marked down to $90.  Add in a 10% off coupon and I was able to purchase the light fixture for $81 with free shipping.  I’m not 100% sure what I will find wrong with the light.  But reading the reviews, several people mentioned an imperfect paint finish that they were able to fix with just a dab of black spray paint.  Sounds like a very doable fix to me.  Another store that offers as items is  They call their items ‘open box’ or ‘closeout’. You never know what you’ll find.
  7. Use a coupon code finder.  Any time I am going to spend more than just a few bucks online, I will take a few minutes to hunt down coupons. is a great place to check for coupon codes.  Honey is a similar helper.  It is a browser extension that automatically finds and applies coupon codes at  checkout with a single click.  Very often I can buy ‘as is’ items on, and use a coupon code to lower the price another 10-15%.  And believe me, when you’re buying two sets of new bedding for 10 different beds like I did recently, small discounts can add up to big savings.

Do you have any cost cutting ideas for furnishing a home affordably?  I’d love to hear your hints in the comments section.  As always, if you found this post helpful, I’d LOVE a pin on Pinterest. And if you’d like to see the result of all my careful shopping, here are the finished pictures of our home.

Chair covers from kitchen towels

While furnishing the new house, I’ve kept my eyes open for affordable furniture that might help fill in gaps and make the home more comfortable.

One of the things I’d like for each master bedroom is some kind of chair. When we got the smallest coziest master bedroom finished, we decided it would indeed fit a chair, but it needed to be a small one.

My friend had an old chair that she was getting rid of that fit the bill perfectly size-wise.  It was comfy and had a nice shape.  But it needed recovering.  When offered the chair, I accepted it happily, and began thinking of what I might like to use to recover it.

A day or so later I happened to spot some kitchen towels on clearance at Target for a couple bucks each.  When I grabbed the towels, some smooth cotton with a pattern, and some terry cloth, I had dish-drying on my mind.  But at home I happened to set the towels on the new/old chair, and suddenly my wheels were spinning.

The pattern on three of the towels was appealing, and blended well with the colors I already had in that master bedroom. What if I made a chair cover out of the towels?

I started draping the towels across the chair, and discovered that two towels, sewn together lengthwise like a pillowcase, would exactly fit the straight back of the chair.  The third towel covered the top and front of the seat with a little to spare.  But I didn’t have enough of the patterned towels to cover the sides of the seat.  What to do?

I liked the smooth feel of the patterned towels better, but the terry cloth towels I’d also bought were a match color-wise.  I decided to see if I could use just enough of the terry cloth to put together a chair cover.

I started by sewing together the two towels to cover the back of the chair, trimming them just a bit shorter to fit.  Then I attached the seat towel to the back piece

The scraps that I’d cut off the other towels were long enough to cover part of the sides, but not all.  I filled in the rest of the space with narrow strips cut from a terry cloth towel.

It took more than a little fiddling, and lots of pinning and re-pinning to make it all go together smoothly.  I went bit by bit, sewing a few seams, and then trying it on the chair again, to make sure things fit as I intended.  I also used the finished edges of the towels as much as possible to be the bottom edges of the slipcover since that saved a bit of sewing.

I was very happy with the end product– a cute seat cover made from four towels, at the cost of $8 and a little less than two hours of sewing.

And I discovered an unexpected benefit from my little stripes of terry cloth.  That fabric was a little more stretchy than the patterned fabric, which allowed me to end up with a snug-fitting cover that was stretchy enough to be removed for washing, should that be needed down the road sometime.

This success so emboldened me that I’m now thinking of making slip covers for a couple of my old couches, maybe using painter’s drop cloths?  Anyone else ever tried that?  Or seen a good tutorial?  I’d love to hear about it!


Affordable wall art!

With the beach house so close to completion, I’ve been realizing I need WAY more wall art than I have, but hello??  We have a budget and I’ve already spent it.  So I’ve been trying to think of some affordable solutions.

I have a LOT of 5×7 and 8×10 picture frames that are that old golden oak color.  I am kind of tired of the look of that type of finish, and over the years it seems like I’ve collected more that I really use.

For Christmas this past year, one of the things I did was spray paint some of the frames and then just hunted for some free printables that I could put in the frames.  Here’s a (distant) shot of the framed Christmas printables on a wall above some new coat hooks that John made for me.  I chose simple black and white printables with the silver frames and I think it turned out really cute.


I decided to do a similar fix to fill in some gaps in small spaces at the beach house. I first tried painting some frames with a coppery gold craft paint, which did freshen up the yellow gold oak.  Here are a couple of neat prints of ships that I put them in.  I think they will be fun in small dabs of space in the ship room.




Though the ones I did in gold look fine, I ended up liking the silver look better. Here are some prints that I did for the laundry room.  I think it will look nice against the sea salt paint.

Then here are a few sweet old prints of little children that I framed in silver to go in the children’s bathroom at the beach house.  Most of the metal in there is brushed nickel and I think the silver will look nice there.  For some reason I am charmed by the old fashioned prints.  I found most of the old fashioned looking prints on the Graphics Fairy website.


One of the printables that I ended up loving the most was this sweet one of cottages by the sea.  As you can see, we spray painted this frame black, and I think it has a really nice look about it.

My daughter Julianna, who is 12, did all the spray painting for me.  It was literally the first time in her life that she’d spray painted anything, and she did a great job.  This is not a hard project at all, and I am really excited to have a few more pieces of art to put in small places around the house.  All for the price of some printer ink and spray paint.  Gotta love that!


Frugal Friday: 6 ways we save money on trips

Frugal vacationing

I’ve skipped Frugal Friday way too many times in a row but I thought this would be a good day for a quick post about ways to be frugal even when you’re on vacation.  I’m hoping you’ll also chime in below and tell me ways that you save money when you’re traveling.

1.  We camped for a lot of years and of course that is a super affordable way to sleep your family on vacation, especially when you also do a lot of the cooking yourself.  Here are a few fun camp-food ideas.

2. For a mob as big as ours, a vacation rental is also a good way to sleep a lot of people on a budget.  A house that can sleep a dozen or more can run $250-$400 a night, but divide that among 4 or more households and all of a sudden it starts looking more affordable, especially when you compare it to the cost of sleeping that number of people in a hotel.

3.  Whether camping or staying in a vacation home, a fabulous way to save money on a trip is to cook for yourself. In 9 days of vacation this past week  our group of 16+ people ate out exactly twice, and one of those times was on the way home. Also remember to use those coolers, and pack lunches and snacks for driving days.  If you feel too disorganized to pack a whole meal remember that even apples, cookies and juice boxes in a cooler will help ward off the hungries and save you money.

4.   When you do eat out– we all need a break from cooking sometimes!– choose your restaurants wisely. We tend to gravitate toward Mexican restaurants or pizza when we are on the road, since those types of restaurants tend to be more affordable.  Another bonus of Mexican restaurants– free chips while you wait for your meal!  That’s a big help when you’re traveling with hungry kiddos:)

Swimming5. If you’re hoteling it, stay in hotels with free breakfast. We also try to find hotels with sleeper couches and extra cots, to limit the number of rooms we’ll need.  And remember to read the reviews so you won’t be surprised by what you’re getting for your money.

6. Splurge a little. On trips even when we’re cooking at the house, I lean a bit heavier on convenience food and often serve snacks that I don’t buy any other time.  That keeps the trip feeling special, and makes life easier and more fun for everyone.

What about you?  How do you save money on vacation?



Frugal, not so frugal

Frugal: The biggest news around here is that I got that OB job at the local hospital.  I’ll start in early April and will work 3 shifts a week for a month as I get oriented. Once I am oriented I’ll cut back to two (night) shifts a week. Since John works only 3 (day) shifts a week, one of us will still be home the vast majority of the time. But it’s been SO long since I’ve worked away from home that it’s going to feel different, especially on the mornings where I’ll need to sleep.   The teens tend to already be fairly independent in their school, but I’m working up a simple checklist to help Em (12) and Julianna (10) stay on task.  It will be an adjustment, I’m sure, but I’m excited at the thought of helping moms and babies again– it’s such an exciting part of nursing.   And we’re really looking forward to getting our house paid off turbo-speed, which will free us up to work on some other projects we have in the works.  (I’ll talk more about those later.  🙂  )


Frugal, (eventually, probably): Since Lidya has been driving our minivan, and John usually has our tiny car, I’ve been driving our big 12-passenger van for my errands.  At 14 mpg, the gas costs are pretty high. Thinking of the increased driving that I’ll be doing, we bought commuter car for me for the princely sum of $1500.  So when John and I spotted a 2001 Hyundai Sonata with 127,000 miles on it, we checked it out and decided the price was right. It’s not pretty, but it runs great, has A/C and uses lots less gas than our big van. Since the paint is flaking off in chunks,  I am toying with the idea of having Emily, my resident artist, decorate it something along these lines.  Wouldn’t that be fun?? Probably not the whole car, and probably quite gradually.  But she thinks it sounds like a really fun summer project, so we’ll see how that goes.

Not so frugal: we started a project to replace the tile backsplash in our kitchen. At first I brought home a boring-looking tile sample that neither John nor I ended up liking with our cabinets.  Too blah compared to my cabinets which have a definite red tinge.  We went together to Home Depot and immediately found something that we both liked. It’s a glass one-inch tile with colors that remind me of copper pennies.  It is fun and sparkly and gypsy-ish.  I am hoping to have a post next week once we get the project finished– we’ve been hard at work on in this week.  The tile priced out at about $80 for the whole project, which I thought wasn’t too bad at all.  But once we’d bought grout and tools and everything, it ended up being more along the lines of $160.  Ah, well.

Frugal:  I did pretty well cooking out of the freezer and pantry this past week– it helped to have the menus laid out ahead of time.  I also got bread at the dollar store, and stashed a few casseroles in the freezer for easy meals on days that I work.

Not so frugal:  I am already finding myself heading toward more convenience food to stash in the freezer for the kids on my work days.  I want the kids to be able to easily feed themselves, especially in the first month or two as we are adjusing to this new thing.  My work will be a big boost to our income, so I think it’s an acceptable tradeoff.  But I will still need to be aware, and try not to go overboard with the easy stuff just because we will have more income. Ya know?  Also, I need to get back in the habit of double-batching food every single week, so that I can keep a freezer stash for the busy times.

I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this adjustment to part time work–  I already have it in my head that I just need to be super-intentional about all the time I will still have at home, and make sure to fit in fun with the kids right along with the mundane.

How did your week go?  What’s new in your world?  Are you looking forward to the end of the school year?  I know I am!


Frugal Friday: When One Meal Morphs Into Another

I saw this article yesterday The Never-Ending Soup Pot and thought it was a great explanation of a concept that can save you time and let you use your food in a very affordable way. Very often a meal doesn’t have to be a completely new beginning. Often you can use building blocks from another meal.

I personally have never served soup every day for a week. However I often cook multiples meals in stages. For example, this last Saturday I cooked a turkey, which we served with mashed potatoes and gravy. The next day (after making a HUGE pot of bone broth with the turkey bones) I made turkey noodle soup, enough that we had it for two meals. One Tuesday we had turkey sandwiches for lunch. On Wednesday some of the kids made turkey wraps with fresh-cooked tortillas (I love the uncooked flour tortillas from Costco that you can cook at home!) And on Thursday I made a creamy cheesy soup with potatoes, veggies and turkey, using the bone broth that I’d made over the weekend, as well as any veggies in the fridge that were needing to be used. Definitely a week much heavier on turkey than usual. But because we did a variety of different things with the turkey, no one was bored with it. In fact, my boys would happily eat turkey wraps many days of the week, if there happened to be turkey available.

cooking chicken to freeze

Another example of this is how I often handle ground beef. A time or two a month I will cook a LOT of ground beef all at once– maybe 8-10 pounds. I season and use it for tacos on night # 1. Because I cook so much, there’s lots leftover for other purposes. Some of what remains goes into spaghetti sauce another night. Another cup or two of the cooked meat will go into hamburger veggie chowder later in the week. A few cups goes into baggies in the freezer for easy use later. And usually I also remember to set aside a couple cups of the spaghetti sauce to go on pizza yet another day. That means I get at least 4-6 meals of meal from one meat-cooking session. It tremendously speeds my effort in the kitchen.

That’s all I’ve got for you this week in the frugality department, but I’d love to hear how your week went.


Frugal Friday

I thought it might be fun to show you this week’s menu plan instead of my regular frugal Friday details.  I do menu planning in kind of a loosy goosy way–  meaning, before I go shopping, I make a list of 14 or so recipes that would be good dinners in the next couple weeks, ideally using as many ingredients as I can from my pantry and freezer.  Then I make a grocery list from that menu list, filling in the items that I still need to buy.

Our new baby chicks!

Our new baby chicks!

As I planned this week, I had my two half-full freezers on the brain.  One of them needs to be defrosted and ideally I’d like to be able to turn it off for a few months, until it’s time to butcher our steer.  So as I menu plan I  I need to use up some of the bulky items so that I can consolidate everything in one freezer. Literally the biggest item in that category is a 20-pound turkey which is currently thawing in my fridge.  It’ll be turkey dinner for a couple nights, with hopefully enough left over to make turkey tortilla soup a different night.  I’ve included links to some of these recipes here on the blog, as well as page numbers to some other ones that are in my cookbook Family Feasts for $75 a Week.

I think that menu planning is huge in successfully lowering a grocery budget.  It just makes you much more intentional– less wasteful and more proactive.  So here’s what we’ll be having for dinner for the next couple weeks!


Turkey and mashed potatoes (x2)

Make your own pizza (x2)

Fried rice and (costco) potstickers

Tacos with ground beef

Chicken Fajitas  (Family Feasts, p. 140)

Chili and cornbread x2 (Family Feasts p. 188)

Injera and doro wat (Family Feasts p. 180)

West African peanut chicken

Mexican tortilla skillet (Family Feasts p. 129)

Pasta carbonera  (Family Feasts p . 164)

Turkey tortilla soup (Family Feasts p. 175)

Chicken skillet pie  (Family Feasts p. 100)


If you don’t yet have a copy of Family Feasts for $75 a Week, check it out on amazon, and see what other readers are saying about it.  And as I cook during these next couple weeks, I’ll try to get another recipe or two up on the blog.  Though it’s awesome if you want to purchase the book, I am working to make my blog a great source of cooking inspiration also.

Happy cooking, and I’d love to hear about your frugality efforts this week!

Frugal Friday

Last week I spent four days in Seattle with John, which was fun, of course.  But meals out and rental cars and bits of shopping all add up.  It was good to get back home where money doesn’t leak away quite as fast.

On my table this week



  • I bought some spring flowers and planted them in containers that I already had for some spring color on the table.  Also found just the right color in a scrap of fabric for a bit of a table runner.  I love doing different things on the table from month to month.
  • This week I found several types of produce for reasonable prices, including pears, sweet peppers,  and apples.
  • Looking through my pantry, I’m realizing I need to serve pickles and applesauce more often, since we still have lots of both.
  • I found the boys shirts that they like, on clearance, again at Fred Meyers.
  • I returned a couple boxes of markers that turned out to be dry, brand-new.
  • I remembered to print a 10-pg tutorial for a kid in ‘draft’ quality to use less ink.
  • I combined a bunch of errands Tuesday evening to save on gas.
  • I went and did a consumer survey-thing at Hewlett Packard  (critiquing their website in a guided way) which earned me $100 for 2 hours of work.  Not bad.  And actually kind of fun.
  • When the Keurig broke, we resisted the urge to buy a new one (refills are spendy, and so is a new Keurig) and instead just brought the old coffee maker back inside from where it had been sitting in the garage. I figure every week we resist the urge to buy a new one, we’re probably saving $8 or so in refills alone.
  • My hipster son finally managed to find glasses he LIKED at the Walmart optical center for quite a reasonable cost.
  • I’m going thrifting this afternoon with a 20% off coupon.  Sweet.


  • We got home from Seattle at around 1AM Sunday morning, but still wanted to have our kids over for dinner.  Since I was pretty tired, we went for   takeout pizza instead of something homemade.
  • I bought a new blouse (on clearance) that I probably didn’t really need.  Clothes are my Achilles heel.
  • I brought our four youngest girls to see The Drop Box (which was excellent) and also splurged on a quick meal of Ethiopian food before the movie.  Lots of fun, but it made for a spendy week in the entertainment budget.
  • And finally, a bit of gratuitous grandbaby darlingness.Wilona1


Frugal, not so frugal

How did your frugality endeavors go this week? I think we did okay around here. Since I did a big shopping trip last week, I didn’t need lots of groceries this week. These days with 6 kids home full time (mostly teens), we’re averaging about $650-$700/month. Could be better, could be worse.

Feeding the cow Frugal:  As usual we ate leftovers for several lunches this week.  I also made several vegetarian or almost-vegetarian meals, including beans and rice, and chap chae, a Korean veggie noodle dish made.  I did add a little ground beef to the pasta for more protein.

Frugal: As the days are getting longer, our chickens are increasing production again, which is nice.  However we only have 7 hens now, which isn’t quite enough.  Usually once a month or so I have to buy a few eggs from the store.

Frugal:  I found some cute shoes for one of my daughters who wears an unusual size on clearance at Fred Meyers.  Their winter clearances are really good right now, and the shoes that were usually $40 were marked down to $11.  And she loved them!

Feeding the chickensNot so frugal: Once again, I didn’t buy enough notebooks on back to school sales to last the whole school year. Bah humbug.  Or maybe the kids should be blamed for that– I honestly don’t know how they go through so many notebooks so fast.  So I bought 8 or so more at 79 cents each.  Not terrible, but it just aggravates me since I can buy them for a quarter in August.

Frugal:  Last week I mentioned getting ground beef for $2/lb.  This week I turned some of that ground beef into 3 pans of hamburger enchiladas, a meal of spaghetti sauce,  and three meals of seasoned taco meat. That’s 6 meals that will be that much easier to get to the table because I spent a morning in the kitchen.

StoriesFrugal: This week I sold 5 dozen canning jars, as I had way too many and they were taking way to much space in the shelves in our garage.  After  Refresh next weekend  (so much fun!) I am looking forward to doing more cleaning and sorting, in the garage and in my closet.  The clutter in both places is getting to me.

Frugal/Not so frugal:  We had Dominoes pizza last night for dinner, but there’s a $5.99 sale right now so it wasn’t as spendy as it could have been.

Frugal: I stayed home a lot this week, which means I didn’t use much gas.  Hooray!


PS– Just had to include a few gratuitous baby pictures.  We have so much fun when they come to play!