It's been so busy here the last few weeks and I am SO tired. We have quiet week off before having to jump into the frey again. In the last two weeks we visited my cousin up on the "Iron Range" in Northern Minnesota and then spent several days camping at one of Minnesota's beautiful state parks. It was a fun and frugal vacation and now we get to ramp up to school starting again. Much of Minnesota starts school after Labor Day so we don't start school until September 8th this year.
Here's what we did these last couple weeks in terms of "frugal things":
* Baked four loaves of French Bread.
* Blanched and froze green beans and sugar snap peas.
* Used saw horses and a couple of old doors to make "tables" for our garage sale.
* Went to visit my cousin and her husband for several days. We stayed at their house and they fed us. My cousin stays with us when she comes to visit so they were pleased to reciprocate. And we enjoyed having the extra time to talk and catch up with each other that we would have spent traveling to and from a hotel. The closest hotel is 15 miles from their house.
* Went to a small town version of a Fair and enjoyed the displays and the children got their faces painted. They played lots of games and won a couple of teddy bears. My cousin and her husband won $15 in prize too! My cousin had entered two paintings for judging and won the Grand Prize and 1st prize in that division.
* My cousin and I went to a local quilt shop near her house that is easily one of the best fabric shops I have ever been in! I bought $45 in fabric that I had never seen before that is perfect for my children. This uses up about half of my Christmas present budget ($100 total for gifts for all four of us) but I am really pleased and very excited about making my children lap quilts with this fabric for Christmas - they love to curl up with a lap quilt and read so that will be perfect. (I'll try to remember to post photos when I get them done.)
* While up at my cousin's house we went to Mine View in the Sky in Virginia, MN. This is a view of the huge mine pit from the iron ore mining that happened in the area. The sides of the pit are now growing with greenery and the pit full of beautiful turquoise water. The view is spectacular!!! We also got to see mining trucks up close - very cool. Those things are HUGE! Took some neat photos. And this attraction was free. And this is the last year the Mine View will be open, so we're glad we got to go. They are re-routing the road through that area so they can mine in a different location so that view will be gone.
* My cousin teaches Water Aerobics and I was able to attend a class for free. Fun to have a different workout now and again and to see my cousin teach a class. She's a good instructor!
* Picked a huge number of tomatoes, summer squash, and cucumbers from our garden. Will need to pick the winter squash in a week or so.
* Made kale chips for something to snack on at the campsite.
* It rained a lot while we went camping. We stay in a camper cabin while we're there so that wasn't a problem. We usually cook in a campfire while we're there so we took the crockpot and cooked in that (a crockpot is one of two appliances that can be used in the camper cabin - the other is a coffee pot). We played cards, put together a puzzle and read a lot! Oh - and took a nap or two. It was great.
* Once the rain stopped we got to go hiking! We love hiking and it was so pretty - sunny and cool. We have never been camping this late in the year and the flowers were completely different that what we usually see.
* We also got to go swimming in the river - well, the kids went swimming and John and I sat on the beach and watched. It was way too cold for us "old folks" to go swimming. The kids spent lots of time swimming and then spent a lot of time building a really neat sandcastle. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.
* Picked zinneas and daisies from my garden for my kitchen table.
* Finished stitching a decoration on a pillowcase for my son for Christmas. I've been working on his project for a long time so I'm really glad to have it done.
* Went through the budget book and put together a tentative budget for this fall. We don't know exactly what our take-home pay will be so we will have to tweak it but right now we are comfortable that we can meet our goals for this year and make all of our regular obligations. This is the last year that we know we are guaranteed any "extra" in terms of our income and we want to make sure we use it wisely!
* We had a playdate with some school friends at a local park and we had a pot luck picnic lunch, where everyone brought something to share. I asked my friend for her molasses cookie recipe since it was so delicious!
What have you done to be frugal these last few weeks?