Archive | October, 2012

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

16 Oct

Just some of the applesauce I made the last week. Once you start making your own applesauce it is nearly impossible to eat store applesauce again!

I made homemade Meatball Subs for dinner (Brandon’s favorite) instead of going out to Subway for dinner.  They were so easy and delicious!  I used meatballs from the freezer that I had made earlier in the month when we had the young adults over for dinner.  This meal literally just took minutes to make.  I placed hoagie buns in the oven with provolone cheese on broil for a couple of minutes.  Then we added meatballs and marinara sauce.  🙂

I ordered a free personalized Get Well Soon photo card from for Meme who broke her arm.  (They also mailed it for free!)

I had a friend over to visit at my house rather than going out to eat or doing an activity together that cost lots of money.  We had a WONDERFUL time swapping and sharing piano music.  She also stayed for dinner where we had breakfast for dinner.  🙂

I negotiated and got free shipping on a piano book that was out of stock at my local piano music store.

I sewed over 2 dozen cloth wipes and 11 sets of nursing pads for a dear friend who is about to have a baby.  I save all of my flannel scraps to use for making nursing pads for baby gifts and usually only have to purchase a yard of new flannel fabric.  🙂  This makes a thoughtful and practical gift which will save my friend lots of money.  Eli just started using scissors in the past week or two.  He sat next to me at the table happily cutting away on his paper while I cut out lots and lots of circles!  He looked at me and said Mom you’re cutting too!  🙂  Sweet memory.

We used a free Redbox code to rent a movie for free.  Brandon & I watched October Baby which was excellent AND clean.  🙂  I’d highly recommend it.  One of the best movies I have seen in a long time.

Brandon used a buy one get one free Whopper coupon at Burger King.  I was so proud of him!  My husband isn’t really a coupon man so this is pretty exciting.  He’s fine to use a coupon if I’m with him but thinks it isn’t very cool for himself.  I’m confident he will change his mind. 😉

I re-used a bunch of paper by using the other side for various Art projects for Eli and scratch paper to use for tutoring.

Brandon accepted two hand-me up dress shirts from my brother that fit him great!

I harvested tons of produce from the garden before the frost came.  Yes it really came this week.  😦  Along with our usual picking we harvested 8 butternut squash.  These should keep for weeks and allow us to enjoy homemade Butternut Squash Soup all winter.  I also made a bouquet of zinnias for the table and a small arrangement of marigolds.  (I just hated to not enjoy their beauty before the frost got to them.)

I received a free copy of Rachel Ray magazine and Martha Stewart Living in the mail.

I made vegetarian lasagna.  It was okay but I don’t think we will be making it again.  I couldn’t get Brandon to eat it as leftovers so that’s a sign that he didn’t really care for it.  It could have been the fact that I added an entire package of frozen spinach!  😮  Oops!

Baked homemade apple crisp using “seconds” apples.  An easy, inexpensive treat for the family.

Used a coupon to buy free lip gloss.

I hung all of my laundry this week.  Not to save money but our dryer broke.  😦  I’ve been shopping but I just can’t find a deal I am thrilled with yet.  I found a great coupon but then got my days mixed up and it was expired.  We’ll see.  We have been busy saving up enough money to pay cash.

What frugal activities have you been up to?  Anyone have any great ideas for saving money during the Holidays? 



McCall 6237 Review: Elijah’s First Hoodie

14 Oct

Eli had a great time at the zoo with cousin Anna while sporting his new hoodie.

With fall officially here I thought it was fitting to sew Eli his very first hoodie.  I dug through my pattern stash and found McCalls 6237.  It includes a little girl’s dress, cargo pants, and hoodie.  I sewed Eli a size 2 but added 1″ to the sleeves and bottom.  The pattern gave only 2 measurements breast and waist which I found incredibly unhelpful.  Here are my son’s measurements: breast 21, waist 10, weight 30 pounds, and height 37″.  It really was a guess on which size to make.  🙂

Side view. I’m really glad I added the 1″ to the bottom.

I used a soft anti-pill fleece fabric that I had in my stash.  (I promise I”m making a nice dent in it so I can go shopping on Black Friday.)  😉  I used 1 yard just as the pattern suggested and an 80/12 Ball Point needle.  I’m still not very good at using the right needle but I think this was a good choice.

You will be able to see the wrong side of the fabric along the inside of the hoodie so keep that in mind.

The actual sewing was pretty straight forward.  This pattern is great!  If you make it and plan on adding a size tag or cute made by mom label be sure to sew it after step 10.  I didn’t and mine ended up fairly crooked!  I also skipped the topstitching in step 12 and used a Welt Seam on step 11.  I was excited to try a Welt Seam again since I had just learned in September how to do one.  It turned out to be  a bad idea because the seam looks a little off.  Note to self: don’t add a Welt Seam unless the pattern calls for one!

Elijah getting ready to ride the train. Perhaps his favorite attraction at the zoo!

Overall this project turned out pretty nice.  I was excited about it and would highly recommend the pattern.  Unfortunately it is now out of print but you may be able to find a cheap one on Ebay.  (It is pretty hard to find a pattern for a toddler hoodie so it might be worth a little hunting.)  The hoodie was a little bit snug around the neck but perhaps Eli just has a big head.  If I end up making another one I may try to widen the neck opening.  He was so tickled with his hoodie especially since it has pockets!  🙂

September Reads

8 Oct

Short stack this month.

Wow September been a busy month at our house!  I’m sure you can tell by the seemingly small stack of books compared to last month.  I spent lots of time this past month putting away garden produce and canning apples as well as numerous sewing projects.  🙂 

Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself by Joe Thorn.  This was a small book and not at all intimidating (the perfect type of book for someone who doesn’t like to read).  It is absolutely packed with the Gospel.  The format of the book includes nearly 50 short chapters (2-3 pages each) on a variety of different topics.  A Scripture relating to the topic begins each section followed by the words Dear Self….  (The book somewhat reminded me of The Screwtape Letters but was much better.)  This is an excellent book that I cannot recommend enough. Buy this book and be transformed by the power of the Gospel in your life!  This was my first book by Joe Thorn and I cannot wait to read another!  (I hope he writes another one.)

Stuart Little by E.B. White I had the pleasure of reading this book aloud to Eli this month.  To say that we loved it might be an understatement.  I couldn’t believe a kid’s book (besides the Little House series) could be so good.  We found ourselves laughing and enjoying every page of this book.  We have already read Charlotte’s Web together so perhaps we will add Trumpet of the Swan to our reading list next.  Our copy also had a picture on every page or two which we both enjoyed.  🙂  If you are looking for a good read aloud chapter book for young children (my son is almost 3) this would be a great book to start with.  It held Elijah’s interest the whole time.

A Perfect Word for Every Occasion by Liz Duckworth.  I found the entire concept of this book intriguing and I was right.  What a helpful book packed with practical advice on what to say for just about every occasion as the title suggests.  I also really appreciated all of the suggestions on what not to say.  The book includes thoughtful quotes that one might include and Scriptures that would pertain to different circumstances.  It isn’t really a write this exactly kind of book but rather gives lots of suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.  I found the section on Words for the Sick and Suffering to be the most help personally as I always struggle with what to say in those situations.   I will be keeping this book close at hand when I find myself at a loss for what to say.  Please note I did receive a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.  I was not required to give a favorable review.  All opinions are my own

Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich.  This book tells the story of Ehrenreich (a journalist) who set out on an experiment to see what it would be like to try to get by on minimum wage jobs in four different cities in America.  In each of the locations she finds a job (all different) and a place to live in an effort to support herself for one month.   I found the book to be an enjoyable read and do agree with Ehrenreich that it is very difficult to survive on minimum wage.  Minimum wage is not what I would consider a living wage.  Despite the author’s month of experience in each location I just don’t think that she had a realistic perspective of the trials of trying to live on next to nothing.  A month really isn’t that long.  Still it was an enjoyable book from my library that helped me gain a greater sense of appreciation to many of the service workers in my life.

Embroidery Basics by Betty Barnden.  I picked this book up at the library after embroidering my niece’s slip.  Needlework is something I really enjoy doing but seldom every do.  I just chalk that up to the fact that there is never enough time to do all of the things that one would like to do.  😉  I was already familiar with the majority of the basic embroidery stitches but this book looks like a great place for beginners to start.  I’m not sure if it any better or any worse than any of the other beginning embroidery books that are out there on the market.  If I saw it cheap enough at a used bookstore I might buy it.  🙂


Frugal Things I Did Last Week

2 Oct

Eli enjoying a free carousel ride at the zoo.

It’s been a great week at our house all around-frugal, productive and lots of fun!  I’m so thankful for such a great week and all I was blessed to accomplish. 

I purchased 3 bushels of apples and canned 16 quarts and 20 pints of applesauce.  We’ve also eaten lots of apples.  Yummy!  Canning apples has really helped me get into the fall mood.  I still have a little less than a bushel left and will probably can some more tomorrow.  I’m tempted to make apple chutney.  Anyone ever tried it?

I harvested some tomatoes, green peppers, zucchini, crookneck, and yellow squash from the garden.  I’m going to be so sad when the frost hits.  I know it’s coming soon!

I made homemade bread sticks for dinner and granola bars This granola bar recipe is the best one I have made yet!  We ate some of the granola bars and I froze the rest to eat later.

Eli & I  went to the zoo with my Aunt Christy and cousin Anna.  We have a deluxe pass so they were able to get in free.  We didn’t have to pay to park and rode the carousel & train all for free.  I packed a picnic lunch so the cost of the trip was very minimal (just gas).   Eli & I also took water bottles to drink.  We all had a blast!

I purchased close to expiring cottage cheese and yogurt (organic).

I made homemade soft scrub.  Don’t you just love pintrest!  The stuff works wonderful and it was so easy to make!

I made The Prudent Homemaker’s Lemon poppy-seed muffins for a ladies brunch rather than picking something up at the store.  The muffins were inexpensive to make and tasted yummy.  The brunch was wonderful by the way.  I also made homemade Cole Slaw for our church’s fall festival.  It took only 7 minutes!

We had the young adults over for dinner on Wednesday night.  I served Spaghetti with Meatballs, Texas Toast, Salad, and Brownies.  Everything was homemade except the Texas Toast (Brandon’s request).

I froze some of the leftover meatballs I made for the young adults.  I also broke up a bunch of the meatballs and used them in a casserole in place of ground beef or chicken.  The casserole was amazing!   I used the leftover spaghetti sauce in a pot of soup I made in the CrockPot.  (It could have also been frozen.)

I purchased a fall/winter dress and fall sweater for me at the thrift store.  I also bought Eli a turtleneck, sweater, and 3 pairs of socks.  He has grown like a weed!  Unfortunately he still doesn’t have a pair of jeans that actually fit so I either need to keep visiting thrift stores or get sewing!

Eli and I went shopping at Aldi which saved our family lots and lots of money this week. We live pretty far away from Aldi but it is still worth it to visit at least once a month.  I keep a running “Aldi” list on our fridge and buy all of our staples there.

I received a free personalized card in the mail from  This will be sent to Eli’s Great Grandma this week along with some recent artwork.

Instead of buying a closet organizer for our sewing/guest room I moved a bookcase into the closet.  The shelves are perfect to store my patterns and sewing projects.  I also used empty baby wipe containers to store items.

I sewed a toddler dress for a friend’s little girl’s birthday rather than purchasing a toy from the store.  I already had a pattern in my stash Simplicity 2461 that I had purchased for 1.00 on sale.  I used fabric I hand on hand and my mom gave me the  zipper & bias tape.  The only new purchase I made was the hook & eyes.

What sort of frugal things did you do last week?