Saturday, June 27, 2015

Frugal...Saturday - It's been busy around here!

Some of my beautiful flowers!  They are making me SO happy this summer!
It's been a pretty wild month or so around here and I'm far busier than I thought I would be.  Teaching summer session is brutal - both for me and the students.  Three hours of class each day, five days a week.  Thankfully we're almost done for the summer!  John has been at camp and a retreat with the 4th-6th graders and the high school kids, respectively. He has more trips coming up this summer too.  I was in a bad car accident earlier this month (thankfully I am okay but our car is still getting repaired) and I have been fighting a bunch of other health "stuff" lately.  I'm pretty sure that having a break from work and school and all that will help - not much longer and then I'll get that break!

We've been trying to be pretty frugal lately since we're on short income this summer too (like last summer) - I don't get paid when I'm not teaching and with the car and a few other things we've had some pretty big expenses.  Yes, we have insurance, but there are other expenses too.

So, anyway, here are some of the highlights for frugal activities from the last couple of weeks:

* I've been picking flowers from my garden to decorate our kitchen table.  I had a goal this year to have more cutting flowers and it looks like I've succeeded.  I love it!
* The children and I are participating in the summer reading program for the library.  The children are so excited! So we've been going to the library each week.  We usually come home with at least 16 books for the week.  We've also picked up lots of audio books for the car when we're driving everywhere.

* Our home congregation decided to close the small lending library they had since very few people were using it.  They added the books to the "Take a Book, Leave a Book" space by the main doors - which people are using regularly.  Before they did that, anyone who had checked out a book in the last 5 years was asked if they wanted it.  I acquired the first five volumes of a favorite mystery series.  They were on my list to buy at some point and now I don't have to!  

* I used the Amazon credit I received for doing a textbook review to purchase 2 more volumes of that series.  With the volumes I already had I only have two more to buy and then I'll have the whole series!
*  Picked lettuce from our garden for salads this week.   We should have other goodies coming up soon - we have baby zucchinis and green peppers out there already! 

* I'm drying chives, sage and dill for use later.  I should dry some basil too - its getting ready to pick!

* We brought home leftovers from the pot luck at church this week - there had been a funeral during the day and they asked if anyone wanted to take leftovers home.  Most of us that attended the pot luck did - pasta salad, potato salad and oven-fried chicken.  Delicious!
* I had a second pot luck this week and I brought paper napkins, paper plates and plastic silverware that we already had rather than bringing food since I went straight from work without a stop at home.

*  We had three volunteer trees in our fence line that were getting into the power lines. The power company mandates that we take them down but here they don't cut them down themselves (like they do in some places).  So we paid to have them taken out and have our big front tree trimmed at the same time.  While that wasn't frugal, we asked them to leave the leftover mulch for our flower beds.  They did and we had plenty!

* We have a problem with Creeping Charlie and I talked with the University of Minnesota Extension service to see what our options are, since we don't want to use awful chemicals - the Charlie is so close to flowers and vegetables that we definitely want to keep.  They recommended a dethatching rake and then over planting with something else.   We spent $25 on the rake and used grass seed we already had.  It's a lot of work, but it's working pretty well!  We are pleased!
* I froze strawberries and bananas we weren't able to eat before they went bad.  We will use them for smoothies or banana bread later.

* We've watched several shows for free on PBS.org or YouTube. 

* We've had two bonfires in our fire pit already this spring.  We're burning the wood we've trimmed off the lilac bushes and some branches we trimmed off our front tree last year and aged over the winter.  We've all enjoyed it!  It's a really nice free family night or date night (or both with date night happening after the kids go to bed). 

* We got reimbursed by the school district for the transportation fee that we pay but don't use. Since we transport our children ourselves out of district we are eligible for a refund of that fee.  It covered part of the cost of having the trees cut down. 

I'm grateful for insurance, good medical care, helpful friends, rental cars, and lots of things to keep the children busy.  Hopefully things will be a little less busy in a week or two and I can really get some rest!

How have things been with you lately?

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