Friday, November 21, 2014

Frugal Friday - Frugal Things We've Done the Last Few Weeks

It's been quiet around this blog lately - I've been fighting a lot of pain (sometimes bad enough that I am actively and obviously limping) and we've been super busy at work lately.  I was chatting with a couple of co-workers and we all agreed that this semester seems very taxing for no definite reason.  Not sure what that means in terms of work things, but it means I've been going to bed early and not doing a whole lot other than work and family. My Mom has also been struggling with some health issues that are not resolving themselves well.  If you have a minute, could you say a prayer or two for her?  Thank you so much!

We've been pretty quiet here since I haven't been able to do much and John has had church events - confirmation, committee meetings, and a junior high youth lock-in.  So the children and I have been enjoying evenings with playing, making Christmas presents (Missy is way on the ball with that one!) and watching movies.  I've been doing some grading and course prep work too. It's been very cold here (below 0F wind chill!) so we've been trying not to go outside if we don't have to.  Even with all our winter gear, that's cold!

With the quietness I feel like I don't have much to report on the frugal front, other than our usual daily stuff (cooking mostly at home, washing and reusing plastic baggies, using cloth napkins, etc.).  So this list may be shorter than normal.  Anyway, here goes - our frugal things from the last couple of weeks:

* Baked Snickerdoodle cookies once at my husband's request and once at my daughter's.

* Popped and bagged popcorn for my children to take to school for their snack.

* Made and froze waffles for the freezer.  Also made whole wheat sandwich bread (2 loaves) and white sandwich bread (2 loaves), homemade pizza (2 times) and baking biscuits several times.  One of the nights I made pizza I let the children put the toppings on since I was in so much pain and standing was difficult.  They did a great job!

* Brought home a loaf of bread, a container chili powder, and a bag of chocolate chip cookies after church events.

* Bought honey from a friend who has bee hives - we bought a small container for $10.  We used money leftover from our gas budget to buy this.

* Used some heirloom handkerchiefs to make a Christmas decoration for my Mom for Christmas this year - she loves Christmas and decorates literally every room in the house except the garage.  We have a tradition of giving her a decoration every year.  This one is one that she could leave up year round if she likes.  It cost me $6 to make.

* My daughter and I used a gift card to buy material to make blankets for her grandparents and her teacher at school.  We're hoping to have a sewing day either this weekend or next to make them.  We will have gifts for all four grandparents and her teacher for $0 out of pocket.

* I made two necklaces for gifts from items I already had on hand.  Cost was $0 out of pocket since I had all the items on hand.  I will give these to the children's piano teacher and their Sunday School teacher.  I am planning on making three more for their after-school care teacher, their art teacher and their music teacher.

* Checked several books out of the library and downloaded a couple of free ebooks for my Kindle for PC.  My son checked out several books as well.

* Bought a jar of jelly at a youth group fundraiser and got one free after the person who made it found out that I love crab apple jelly.  I guess there aren't to many people at church who like it!

* Inventoried our freezers and put together a menu for the next month so we can use our grocery money to stock up with food for the company we will have over Christmas.  I didn't realize we had that much soup in the freezer!  It will be a regular feature on our menu for the next month.

* I enjoyed a really good meal at work with our department meeting.  John has been enjoying meals at work this month. The staff and a few parishioners are taking turns cooking lunch for the entire staff during November and December.  I sent pasta salad and my husband made chili using what we have on hand.  Another day we sent homemade turkey noodle soup in the crockpot using things we had on hand and a parishioner had dropped off two loaves of bread that they ate with that.  They will do the same thing during Lent and Easter in the spring 

* My parents sent us a box of coffee and a box of cocoa from their free trade coffee source through church.  My Dad is the person that orders the coffee through the free trade organization and he decided to order us a box of coffee (6 bags of beans) and a box of cocoa (6 cans of cocoa mix).  They needed to order an extra box of coffee to meet their free shipping quota since someone had moved and wouldn't be ordering coffee through their church anymore.  The coffee is whole bean and should last us quite a while.  John is enjoying the cocoa at work since Lutheran churches are known for having lots of coffee on hand and he doesn't drink coffee!   I saved two of the containers of cocoa mix to give to the children's band and PE teachers as Christmas gifts.

* Our top oven coil went out (we have an electric oven) and we were wondering how we were going to pay to repair it.  We received a good sized rebate check this last week and the repair man comes on Wednesday this next week (just in time for Thanksgiving!).  I'm hoping to have a little left over to get a couple of clothing items for John for Christmas.  

* We had to cancel our trip to my in-laws for Thanksgiving and were able to transfer our pre-paid hotel room to another date.  Happy we had pre-paid otherwise we would not have been able to do that!   We will be spending Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's house and enjoying a very quiet weekend at home, which I am very grateful for.  We had reserved our hotel room last spring and pre-paid since we didn't know what type of finances we would have at this point in the fall.  I'm just happy we can go spend some time with them even if it isn't over Thanksgiving!

* Buddy and Missy have been doing a lot of cleaning out of the toys and other items in their rooms that they don't play with or wear anymore.  We donated three  trash bags of items to the local thrift store in exchange for store credit.

I think that's it. How have you been frugal lately?

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