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Frugal Things I Did Last Week

5 Dec
She is so happy with her frugal family!

She is so happy with her frugal family!

My sweet girl is 7 weeks old already!  I can hardly believe it.  My body feels like it has healed and I am no longer experiencing pain.  Hooray!  We are slowly adjusting to our new normal around here.  Our frugal ways have not kicked back in completely but we are making a little progress so I thought I would share what we were up to last week.  

Frugal Things I Did Last Week:

We hosted a birthday lunch for my Dad at our house on Sunday after church.  I made a simple BBQ from a pork loin and served it along with: Pasta Salad, Cole Slaw, Vegetarian Baked Beans, Pumpkin Cake/Cobbler, and Chocolate Cake.

Despite hosting Thanksgiving for 26 people I did not go to the grocery at all last week.  I knew the stores would be absolutely crazy and I wanted to avoid taking two young children out in the craziness.  This allowed me to avoid lots of extra impulse purchases that are much harder for me to resist around the holidays.

I baked a ham (along with the turkey) that I had to cook myself and saved about a dollar per pound.  This was actually my first time baking a full ham. I mixed up a glaze of honey, apple juice, and honey mustard.  I basted the ham about every 15 minutes and it tasted great!  It was so easy that I will probably try to bake one a couple of times a year.

I made Eva Grace's Thanksgiving peasant dress & Eli's matching tie shirt.

I made Eva Grace’s Thanksgiving peasant dress & Eli’s matching tie shirt.

I sewed curtains for one of the windows in the kitchen.  The week before I sewed curtains for the bathroom.  Now I am just trying to decide what style curtains to sew for the Family Room and Kitchen.

I made a Christmas canvas as a thank you to a couple in our church who allowed our family to stay at their cabin while they were visiting.

I made a Christmas canvas as a thank you to a couple in our church who allowed our family to stay at their cabin while they were visiting.

I went Black Friday shopping at Hancock Fabrics and Michaels.  I didn’t go crazy and compared to most years bought a small amount of fabric and notions.  Hancock Fabrics matched JoAnn’s 25% off your total purchase saving me extra money.  

We had a bunch of bananas that were going bad so I baked banana nut bread for our Thanksgiving Dessert Social at church.

I sewed a Christmas gift for one of my nieces.  No picture since her mama reads my blog! 😉

I gave my cousin her birthday gift.  I made her doll a Christmas Dress, headband, and two tiny school binders.  I used this tutorial for the headband and Simplicity 4786 for the doll dress.  I had the pattern on hand and have made it many times.  Everything I used to make her gift I had on hand.

Eli made jello jigglers.

Eli made jello jigglers.

I breastfed and cloth-diapered my daughter all week.  This is a substantial savings in our life every week!

What frugal things did you do last week?  

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Frugal Things I Did Last Week

24 Sep
Eli enjoying his new saddle.

Eli enjoying his new saddle.

We purchased a used pony saddle for Elijah.  Just look at that face!  🙂  He is blessed to be able to ride often at my parent’s house.  I can’t wait to go riding with him next year when I am not expecting!

I passed along a couple of bags of books and clothes to a couple of friends.  I always appreciate hand-me-downs for Eli so I try to do the same.  By the way does anyone have a suggestion for where to buy new jeans for a super skinny little boy?  We are going to have to buy new jeans for the winter since I have only found 2 pairs at yard sales/thrift stores all year.  😦

Brandon, Eli & I attended a free Play-dough Party at our local library.  We all had a nice time.

I made Cole-Slaw and a 7 Layer Salad for my brother’s birthday party.  There was a mistake made and his cake was tiny so I also made a Chocolate Eclair Cake at the last-minute.  Thankfully I had all of the ingredients on hand since I always purchase the ingredients during my monthly Aldi trip.

We took snacks & drinks along to 2 doctor appointments this past week.  Not only does this save lots of money but we are eating healthier snacks.

The hubby was able to attend last week’s Bengal’s game for free.  A friend called him at the last-minute and asked if he wanted to go!  I was so excited for him!  I had actually tried to get tickets because the game was on a Monday night.  Usually all of the games are at 1:00 on Sunday.  As a pastor he just can’t make it to one of those Sunday games.  The tickets were just too expensive for us right now (even as an early birthday present) so it was such a treat for him.  What a kind blessing from the Lord!

My aunt gave us peppers, tomatoes, and green beans from her garden.  I will be freezing the peppers to use this winter.  I made a batch of homemade Tomato Basil Soup (Crock-Pot) for dinner this evening.  I cooked a huge pot of green beans for our church’s fall festival on Sunday.

I sewed a flannel sheet for baby girl and 2 sets of nursing pads using scrap flannel material I had on hand.  I also added pink baby rick-rack to a side-snap shirt that was Eli’s as a baby.

After months of writing letters I finally had a large medical bill processed correctly.  HOORAY!!!!  This saved us hundreds of dollars!  Always check your medical bills against your EOB.

Elijah picked four sunflowers for me from our yard.  We made a nice small bouquet to decorate our kitchen table.  The sunflowers are a dwarf variety to use in bouquets.

I picked up bread at a bread outlet that I pass on the way to my ob office.  Although I usually make bread it is one of those things that I have let slide all summer since I am expecting.  🙂

What frugal activities did you do last week?  

Newborn Cloth Diaper Stash

18 Sep
Our Newborn Cloth Diaper Stash

Our Newborn Cloth Diaper Stash

 

Call me crazy or insane but one of the things I am looking forward to is cloth diapering our new little girl as a newborn.  I have always loved cloth diapers and I cannot wait to see our sweet little girl in a teeny tiny cloth diaper!  🙂  We didn’t start using cloth diapers with Eli until he was 4 weeks old since we moved when he was only 2 weeks old.  Looking back it probably would not have been that crazy to use cloth diapers.  We ended up spending tons of money on diapers the first month because we had to buy expensive diapers for sensitive skin.  If we were going to use disposable diapers for the newborn stage I would definitely want to use chlorine free diapers which cost even more (twice the cost of generic disposables).  I am guessing these would set us back about $148 for the first month.  One option that I looked into was the possibility of using a newborn cloth diaper rental service but that would cost around $220.  We would like to have more children in the future so we opted to purchase a newborn stash that can be used for future children.  Our budget for our entire stash was $100.  I can honestly say that I had a lot of fun watching for sales and purchasing used cloth diapers over the summer.  That said I thought it would be fun to share what our newborn cloth diaper stash looks like.  I plan on doing an update in a few months to share which newborn cloth diapers worked best for us.

Our Stash of Prefolds & Covers

Our Stash of Prefolds & Covers

Many people choose to use either pocket diapers or prefolds with covers.  We are planning on using both systems.  Prefolds and covers are by far the most economical option.  We purchased a dozen orange edged sized newborn (6-10 lbs) Cloth-Eez Prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers and a dozen yellow edged sized small (10-15 lbs) Cloth-Eez prefolds.  Our covers include: Imse Vimse Size Newborn, 1 cover I made using the New Conceptions Diaper Cover with leg gusset, 1 handmade cover I made trying to copy the Bummis Super Brite Cover-I doubt this will really work, 1 DIY Cover using the Babyville Boutique size newborn pattern, 2 Thirsties Duo Size 1 covers, and 2 Bummis Super Brite Newborns.  To me most of the covers (except the Bummis Super Brites) look really big.  I wouldn’t be surprised if only the Bummis fit well for the first couple of weeks.

Pocket Diapers & Fitted Diapers I Made

Pocket Diapers & Fitted Diapers I Made

I made two pocket diapers using the Green Pepper Pattern F708 in Size Newborn.  On the second cover I made the elastic in the leg larger.  I also made 5 fitted diapers using the Kwik Sew Pattern 3690.  Thankfully I was able to try these on a friend’s baby and adjusted the elastic around the legs.  I did not sew a large stash of either of these since I am not 100% sure they will be a good fit.

 

The stash of All in One Diapers I made for Eli using Kwik Sew's pattern.

The stash of All in One Diapers I made for Eli using Kwik Sew’s pattern.

Before Eli was born I sewed 15 All-in-One diapers using Kwik Sew 3690.  Unfortunately these ran really small and I was hardly able to use them at all after all of that work! 😦  I don’t really know if these will fit baby girl at all unless she has really skinny legs.  I’m not actually planning on these fitting but if they do that would be great!  These diapers also took FOREVER to dry so I’m sure they will be the ones I reach for last.

Pocket Diapers or All in One Diapers are much more expensive than going the prefolds and covers route.  I chose to purchase 1/2 of our stash in AIO diapers because my husband likes them much better.  (I also got a wonderful deal on them used.)  I am also counting on having help from family when the baby comes (Brandon’s mom is coming to stay after the baby is born and I am sure my mom and sisters will help from time to time).  I wanted to make it easier for them to help me change diapers.  🙂

Our Stash of Pocket Diapers

Our Stash of Pocket Diapers

I spent lots of time researching which aio/pocket diapers worked best and I think it just depends on your child.  We have 12 Bumgenius AIO XS diapers (yellow, blue, & teal in the picture on the left and right).  The reason I bought so many of these was simply because I got a great deal by purchasing a lot of them.  In the middle column starting at the top I have 2 Grovia Diapers, 1 XS Fuzzibunz Pocket Diaper, 1 Alva Baby (a China diaper), and 2 Lil’ Joey diapers.  As you can see I tried hard to keep things pretty gender neutral for the most part.  It is so hard though!  🙂

I am also planning on sewing some fleece doublers in case any of these diapers need more absorbency.  We will also be using cloth wipes.  I have some leftover from Eli and am in the process of sewing a dozen more from scrap fabric.

Have you ever cloth diapered a newborn?  Any tips, advice, etc?  

 

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

22 Aug

Aug 2013 040

 

Frugal Things I Did This Past Week:

My sister Bekah and I both donated a foot of our hair to Wigs for Kids.  This organization is similar to Locks for Love but does not charge kids for the wigs.

I took part in a market research study and made $45 for 45 minutes of my time.  I can’t share what the product was but it was interesting!

I sewed two newborn cloth diaper covers.  For the first cover I used the New Conceptions Pattern with leg gussets.  On the second cover I used the Babyville Boutique FOE Diaper Cover pattern.  I’m not planning on making a ton of either one since I don’t know how they will fit on our little girl.  (I made a bunch of All-in-One diapers before Elijah was born but they ended up not fitting well.)

I also purchased some size small GMD prefolds from diaperswappers.com.  I can honestly say I am really looking forward to cloth diapering our new baby.

Last week I also drafted my own pattern for a nursing sleep bra.  This was quite a stretch for me!  I sewed one but it ended up a little smaller than I would have liked.  I will probably try to make another one using fabric that has more stretch or enlarging the pattern.  Since it’s a little intimate I don’t plan on sharing a picture.  😉

I passed on some clothes to a friend that no longer fit Eli.  I really appreciate hand me downs from friends so I try hard to do the same thing.

I attended a free digital photography class at our library.  I also spent some time taking pictures of Eli and trying out some new techniques.

We moved a dresser into Eli’s room that I had been using to store sewing supplies.  The dresser was actually mine as a child but it is brown so it will work for Eli.  Eli’s former dresser is now in our nursery and will be used by baby girl.  It is a short dresser and has only 3 drawers which is plenty.  (It helps discourage me from buying too many clothes.)  We will place a changing pad on top and this is where we will change our little one.

I picked green beans, zucchini, yellow squash and peppers from our garden.

I attended a free sewing class with my mom where we made an iron tote.  I was in middle school or high school the last time I did something like this!  🙂  It was lots of fun!

What frugal things did you do last week?  

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

21 Jul
I grew this sunflower right outside our front porch.

I grew this sunflower right outside our front porch.

This past week I decided to bring some of the beautiful sunflowers indoors.  I can’t remember the exact name but I do think they were purchased from Renee’s Garden.  Now if I can only stop Eli from picking them for me!  We won’t have any left in another week or two.

I attended two non-consecutive days of the KY State Horse Show this past week.  My brother Jacob and sister Rebekah both showed at the show on different days.  I got up early and drove down rather than spending the night in a hotel.  I also packed lunch one day and a cooler of snacks both days.  I took a small soft sided cooler that I was able to carry up into the stands with us.  I also rode with my family in order to save on gas.

Elijah and I went to the splash park with my aunt and cousin.  We purchased a season pass at the beginning of the summer so the cost is minimal.  We took a cooler of snacks and drinks along.  Do you see a trend yet?  🙂

We also met friends on another day at the local park and had a picnic.  I had a wonderful time catching up with a good friend.

We had the tires on Brandon’s car rotated.  Not only does this save money in the long run but it is much safer.  We rotate our tires every 5,000 miles.  Our local tire store Tire Discounters guarantees that your tires will last for a certain amount of miles if they are rotated every 5,000 miles or they will give you money off your next tire purchase.  We had this happen with our Saturn and they did make good on their promise.

On Wednesday I had a good friend over for brunch.  We often meet to go walking but it is getting hot outside.  I served a simple French Toast Bake, fresh fruit salad, and homemade Starbucks.  It was wonderful to spend time with her.  Elijah simply played while we visited and neither one of us went home with a large bill from having gone to a restaurant.

On Friday night we went to the Cincinnati Museum Center.  We had to pay $4 for parking but we received free entrance to all 3 museums.  The museum center offers free admission once a month in the summer.  It was great!  It would have cost us $34 for just the 3 of us.

The family and I went to the library on Saturday morning together.

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

12 Jul
Elijah caught his first fish this past week!

Elijah caught his first fish this past week!

We enjoyed a wonderful week last week enjoying the 4th of July and even had the opportunity to visit with family who live out of town.  Summer continues to be a fun time for our family but also an expensive one.  I think we may try to put “Summer Fun” into our budget throughout the year.  Has anyone done this before?  We have been able to continue many of our frugal ways this past week.  🙂  

I was able to sew a lot this past week.  I made a 9″ x 8″ cosmetic bag for Brandon’s Grandmother for her birthday.  I finished sewing 2 more fitted cloth diapers from the Kwik Sew pattern.  I finally completed a new kindle cover for myself using Kwik Sew 3924.  I started working on my cover in February so I was really happy to finally mark this off my to-do list!  I also made my first pocket cloth diaper using Green Pepper PatternF708.  I used 4 layers of flannel for the insert which I don’t think is near enough.

I spent a couple hours working in the garden.  With all of the rain we have been having the weeds are definitely winning!  I expect to have squash and green beans in the next few weeks!  Hooray!

We had VBS Commencement with a Cookout at our church.  I made Energy Bites, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars, & cupcakes.  We also had an inflatable water slide which was lots of fun.  Eli had a blast on the slide!

I headed to Goodwill one afternoon and had a great time browsing for clothing for our little Pumpkin.  I found tights, little pants, a onesie, a lightweight jacket, and a dress.  I also picked up a nice winter shirt for Eli and a book on breastfeeding.

My husband’s grandmother gave us a bunch of cat food and makeup that wasn’t her color.

I read 3 ebooks on my kindle for free.

The hubby and I went to one of my favorite restaurants for a breakfast date!  It was delicious and inexpensive compared to lunch or dinner.

I made homemade chicken broth in the Crockpot.  I like to freeze the broth in 2 cup servings in the freezer.  Not only does this save money but bone broth is good for you!

We spent a fun afternoon at a neighborhood park as a family.  Elijah also caught his first fish!

I used Kohl’s cash to buy: a BPA free cup with a straw and 2 pyrex dishes with lids for .50 out-of-pocket.

I purchased a lot of size small Bummis Super Whisper Wrap cloth diaper covers from ebay.  (These are my favorite covers.)  In my experience babies don’t stay in the size small long enough for them to be worn out at all.

I ordered 99 prints from Shutterfly for 4.99 shipped.  (I always wait to order prints until I can find a nice deal.)

We enjoyed the 4th of July with family and a fireworks show.  On two separate evenings our neighbors shot off fireworks which we were able to enjoy from the comfort of our home.  Over the weekend we attended dinner at our neighbor’s house.  I took Pineapple Fluff.

 

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

6 Jul

june 2013 003

We made homemade popsicles.  In the photo above Eli is enjoying his popsicle and his cousin Anna’s.  🙂

I borrowed Downton Abbey Season 2 from the library.

My niece June Eloise was born.  I gave her two flannel crib sheets that I had made and a set of cloth wipes as her baby gift.

We packed a cooler for all of our outings.

I sewed another newborn fitted cloth diaper from scrap fabric in my stash.  (I will try to take a photograph soon.)

My son got an ear infection and needed antibiotics.  I had the prescription filled at Meijer Pharmacy where many antibiotics are free.  His prescription cost nothing!

I used a coupon at Kohls when my husband bought new clothes.

I did not go to the grocery store all week.  I try to only go to the grocery 3 times a month.  I would love to get it down to every other week by the time our new baby comes.

My friend gave me a huge box of girl clothes that will fit our new baby after her first birthday.  There were lots of pretty dresses too!

Hope you are having a wonderful summer!