Frugal Friday

At the corn maze

This week was quieter than we’ve had in….maybe months.  It was lovely to have no early appointments on multiple days, in fact, no place go *at all* some days.  Ahhhh. It bores my teens to tears, and truthfully I’d have happily watched at least twice as many soccer games as I did this fall.  I love watching Josh play.  But I just love the quieter days too.  They restore my soul. And funny thing– they also are good for our budget.

I think I did pretty well budget-wise this week. We canned another 9 jars of tomatoes, probably some of the last of the year. It hasn’t frozen yet, but by the way the flies are trying to get in the house every minute of the day, I’m guessing the frost won’t hold off much longer.  I’m trying to get up enough gumption to can some more grape juice– I hate to waste anything that’s in the garden– but I’m really getting tired of canning. And hey, the birds will eat the last grapes if we don’t, right?

With cooler weather, I’m always inspired to make soup.  I already mentioned my Creamy Chicken and Potato Soup.  Earlier in the week we also did a ramen noodle soup, which always makes the kids happy.  I know the nutrition of the noodles is terrible, but I feel like I improve it greatly by adding lots of garlic, slivered cabbage, onion, and chicken.  Sometimes even real bone broth when I have it.  (Here’s another version of jazzed-up ramen.)

I also made some really good spaghetti sauce– cooked pureed tomatoes in the oven in a dutch oven for a few hours to simmer lots of the liquid off, then pureed it even smoother with my immersion  blender, and gave it some fresh garlic and basil and salt and pepper.  It gets soooo rich and thick that way, and is very easy.  No worries about it boiling over or burning to the bottom of the pot on the stove top.  I’ve discovered that the kids like spaghetti the very best when I use sausage for at least half of the meat.  They really like the way the sausage flavors the spaghetti sauce.  They also like it best when I keep the noodles and the sauce separate, so that each person can decide on the perfect sauce/noodle ration himself.

Thursday evening I made split pea soup for dinner with cabbage, onion, carrots, and bacon sprinkled on top.  I cooked the bacon first, and then began the soup by sauteing the veggies in a couple tablespoons of the rendered bacon grease, which adds lots of flavor to the veggies.  Since we (still) had lots of corn tortillas but no tortilla chips, I made homemade tortilla chip by simply quartering corn tortillas, tossing them in olive oil, and baking them in the oven til light brown.  They were very firm and crunchy, but I think they turned out good, and people gobbled them til they were gone.

Today I think I’ll make some bread– I haven’t done this recipe for awhile and it always disappears quickly.

Before I forget, I also want to tell you about a few free things.

  • First of all there’s an e-book written by the author of an adoption blog called Copperlight Woods.   It is written to support adoptive families who are dealing with attachment issues, and to inform the friends and family of such familes.  It’s a great resource, wisely and compassionately written, and is free at Copperlight Woods.
  • Second, if you haven’t yet entered the drawing on Lisa’s blog for a free copy of Forever Mom: What to Expect When You’re Adopting, go do it quick!  She’s announcing a winner soon.
  • And if you’re interested in hearing more about FOREVER MOM, you might want to check out the radio show this Saturday on  Adoption Perspectives Radio where I talk with Rebecca about the book.

What about you?  Did you have some frugal wins this week?  I’d love to hear about them!

Josh, playing soccer


  1. Well I just ordered a new cami for me and some new underware for the hubby at target, but payed nothing out of pocket (thank you swag bucks!!!).

  2. My only frugal find this week was ground chicken for less than $3 per pound. I like to use it in chicken & black bean burritos (an inexpensive meal). 🙂

  3. You could freeze the grapes and use in smoothies later! 🙂 I do that when I buy lots of grapes on sale! 🙂

  4. I am trying to work our meals from what we have in the pantry. My whole family loves your jazzy ramen stir fry! And I’m sure you know how hard it is to have a meal that everyone loves. 🙂 We also managed to spend only $35 at the fabric store for everything we needed for a few halloween costumes. And they got just what they envisioned, made by mama.

    • excellent work. good for you! Our youngest girls this year are cruela de vil and Astrid from ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ — part made by me, and part from the dress-up bin. Fun!