Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Frugal accomplishments

Here are my frugal accomplishments from the past two weeks:

*We purchased a secondhand TV for a very good deal--it's something we'd been thinking about for a long time, the price was right.
*I gave haircuts to Eric and Nathan
*Grocery deals: cheese, lemonade mix, and salad dressing for about $1 each after stacking store and manufacturer cpns; snack mix for 74 cents/bag (sale and cpn, reg. $2.99 each); purchased an 8-pack of hamburgers for a reasonable price and the store was running a great deal where you got an 8-pack of brats for free
*Harvested plenty of garden goodies, though tomatoes and green beans are slowing way down
*Made bran muffins, better than Pam, granola bites, apple pie filling, and apple cider (Look at my Monica-style photo!)
*Received a bag of girls clothes from a friend, and in turn, brought two big bags to a friend of mine
*Scored vitamins on an amazing deal--thought they would be 50% off, and they rang up even lower, so I bought two bottles instead of one
*Hosted a home party, and used those discounts to buy some items I've been wanting, as well as a couple gifts; also, it was a fun surprise that I got to keep the leftovers of the food that was served
*Stopped by a store that was having clearance and bought a few food items at really great discounts (cake mix for 45 cents, for example)
*Checked out a nearby thrift store, and found a couple items I was looking for. I had a $1 off coupon to sweeten the deal.
*Cooked a pound of pinto beans
*The older kids are participating in a free trial hockey program--will post a pic next time. They look so cute in all the gear!
*Made the most delicious apple crisp, and I promised Monica I would post the recipe. This is courtesy of my dear friend, Patricia, and this recipe* was instrumental in her wooing her husband, so they handed it out at their reception a couple years ago! Enjoy. It will now be my go-to apple crisp, replacing the previous version I'd been making for years.

4 c. diced apples
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. water

Preheat oven to 375. Placed apples in buttered 8x8 dish, and sprinkle with some of the cinnamon. Drizzle water over apples. Cream butter, sugar and flour together and sprinkle mixture over apples. Sprinkle more cinnamon on top. Bake for 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream.

I'd love to hear about your frugal activities!

*As with all recipes, I made a couple minor changes to the original, but I've printed it here as I made and loved it. =)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Frugal accomplishments

Here are my frugal accomplishments from the past two weeks--I'd love to hear some of yours!

*I ordered a magazine subscription with some rewards points
*Made fajita seasoning, corn dog muffins
*Won a free paring knife at a home party for bringing a friend along
*Grocery deals: 5 lbs. potatoes for 79 cents (sale and C51), cereal for $1.29/box (sale and cpns)
*Received a shampoo sample in the mail
*Ordered some free photos and gifts using codes
*Attended two meals at the college that were free for staff and families
*Cooked a batch of black beans in the crockpot
*Stopped by a new-to-us book swap box and had so much fun trading
*Redeemed a coupon for a free 12-pack of C*ke
*Used coupons for free mini pizzas that the kids earned from the summer reading program
*Received another eggplant and made the same hummus recipe as last time
*Took advantage of a really fun art event with street entertainment, free crafts and refreshments
*Stopped at about a dozen garage sales. My favorite scores were some awesome jar candles (two brand new, which will make nice gifts, and one brand name candle that retails for over $20, and I paid 25 cents for it 2/3 full!) Also got some clothing items for 50 cents-$3 each.
*Received a box of lotion samples from a friend who had an abundance via a family member
*Harvested garden goodies--zinnias, peppers, green beans, tomatoes
*Picked apples for free from two different yards that offered/granted us permission--made a year's supply of applesauce for less than $2 (sugar and cinnamon)--most of it is pictured below
*Stocked up on marked down bread at two different bakeries, including 74 cents for organic multigrain loaves (reg. $2.99) and 85 cents for brat buns (also reg. $2.99)
*Checked out clearance section and scored marked down glue sticks (27 cents/2-pack), scented markers ($2, on Natalie's wish list), and a quart of mis-tinted paint needed for a home project (50% off)

Your turn to share!

Friday, August 28, 2015

End of summer, start of school

Blogging was not at the top of my list this summer, but I do hope to start posting a little more often now.

As I mentioned in my last post, we met up with my parents in South Dakota for a few days, and had a wonderful time. I am so thankful my dad felt up to traveling (his first time out of CO in nearly 3 years!!) Here are some photos from our time together:

A stop at the iconic tourist destination on our way out

We saw over a hundred buffalo and many other animals at Custer State Park

Spending the afternoon at a beautiful lake
A visit to an imaginative children's attraction

My mom wanted a pic of my kiddos in this pumpkin, because look who got a photo at the same spot 29 years ago?!

Mount Rushmore
Swinging by the corn palace on the way home

The older kids started school this week, so here is a photo from the first day. 
And with that, we launch into a new season!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Frugal accomplishments

Here are my frugal accomplishments from the past two weeks:

*A friend gave me an eggplant from her garden. I think I'd only tasted eggplant once, and I'd never cooked with it. I recalled a recipe I'd wanted to try, and it was quite good--very much like hummus. 
*We attended a wonderful event in a nearby town with an organized family bike ride, followed by free supper and swimming at the local pool. 
*I took advantage of some deals to make a highly unusual on-line order of some new clothing for myself. I had a couple gift cards from past birthdays, plus a discount code and free shipping. I also earned some cash back.
*I won two movie tickets from the library for filling out a survey.
*I took the kids out to lunch using coupons they'd earned from the summer reading program. I spent just a couple dollars for all 4 of us to eat.
*We went to a garage sale that had a free box and found a couple new items to use in shoeboxes.
*We continue to harvest from our garden, mostly green beans, tomatoes and bell peppers. Plus zinnias, of course!
*I stocked up on some amazing grocery deals, including cereal for $1/box (reg. $3.49/each!) and syrup for 98 cents/bottle, plus it had a coupon on it for free pancake mix. I only paid $7.90 for $33.30 worth of the three products mentioned! Plus, I earned several cents off per gallon of gas.
*We attended a free pool party.
*We scored some leftover goodies from a potluck we attended, and it provided supper for the next night.
*I redeemed an offer for a free dessert with purchase when celebrating a friend's birthday at a restaurant.
*We met up with my parents in South Dakota for a long weekend, and my mom and I planned and brought meals to save on food costs. We ate out just twice on our four-day trip. Here's the lovely view from our cabin:
*We purchased a Groupon to save money on one of our trip outings. (However, we learned later that we could've used a discount code that day to further sweeten the deal. Oh, well!)
*I made laundry soap and peanut butter cookies.

I'd love to hear about your recent frugal activities! 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Frugal accomplishments

I didn't keep a frugal list on vacation, partly because there wasn't much to report in this regard, so this list is from the past 2-3 weeks.

*Gave haircuts to Eric and Nathan
*Received lots of free samples in the mail: vitamins, shampoo, diapers, mouthwash, lotion
*Our kids earned some great prizes from a healthy living program they participated in. They each won some tickets to nearby attractions, which we used for a fun and frugal family day. Both attractions are fairly expensive, and these passes enabled us to go to two cool places for very low cost!
*Harvested lots of garden goodies: flowers, onions, rhubarb, green beans, a few tomatoes, and peppers, including this unusual multi-colored one
*Redeemed coupons for free mini pizzas and had a picnic at an outdoor spot where the kids have been wanting to eat.
*The kids also earned a boatload of prizes from the library's summer reading program, including lots of food coupons and some school supplies.
*Grocery deals: snack mix for 79 cents a bag with sale and cpn (reg. $2.49 each), a loaf of bread for 39 cents, a free 2-liter of pop
*Went to the pool twice on their discount nights--a huge savings ($6 for our family vs. $17 if we go on a regular afternoon)
*Attended a free concert, and watermelon was served at no cost
*Visited three different shops that were having major clearance (one store was 50% off everything, one was 75%, and the other was a $1 bag sale--the best! I paid just one dollar for everything pictured below. My favorite find was the doll leotard for Natalie, especially because it's the exact same color of a leotard I already had to give her for Christmas!)
*Made lots of stuff with blueberries and strawberries, including jam, syrup, pie, muffins, and crisp--here's a pic of the syrup--I added the berry pulp I strained to the waffle batter, which was delicious!
*Nathan attended an athletic clinic at no cost because of Eric's employment at the college
*Made pasta salad, granola bites, apple French toast cups, Scotcheroos, and I tried making some homemade Pedi@lyte when Natalie wasn't feeling well. She liked the taste, and I felt good knowing I'd made something healthy and inexpensive that was nourishing her better than just plain water.
*Took advantage of ordering some natural health goodies when free shipping was offered. I also had some rewards points to spend.
*A friend gave us a bag of girl clothes her daughter outgrew. I selected a few things and passed it on to a friend with twins.
*Cooked a pot of black beans
*I received a coupon from our local movie theater for a free medium drink and popcorn. There wasn't anything we wanted to see before the coupon expired, but it did not indicate in the fine print that a purchase needed to be made to redeem the offer. I picked up the goodies (value $9.75--crazy!!) and a movie from the library for a free but indulgent date night!

I'd love to hear about your recent frugal activities! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer stuff

This summer has flown by! Here is a recap of some of our summer:

We were so blessed to have Monica, her kids, and my mom visit for a few days in mid-June. They drove many extra miles to make it happen, and we are so grateful for the time together.

The kids were involved in baseball and gymnastics, which kept us busy most nights the month of June.

At the end of June, we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog, Reggie. He would've turned 15 next month, and it's been quite an adjustment without him around, especially for Eric.

We spent a little over two weeks in Michigan. En route, I got to stay overnight with my dear friend, Mandi, in Chicago.
It was great to see family and the kids always have fun at the lake. There were 20 of us staying at the cottage for one of the weeks, but I don't have any of those photos on my camera, so maybe I can share more later.

A few days after getting back to Iowa, we had to say some very hard goodbyes--Eric's brother, Ryan, and his wife, Alyssum, moved last week to Minnesota. Though they'll only be a few hours away, we will deeply miss their presence here.
As you can see, we've had a lot going on. I did want to check in before getting even more behind. Blessings!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Frugal accomplishments

We continue to have a very full summer. I've been keeping my frugal list, and will share that here, but hope to share other updates and photos soon.

From the past two weeks:

*Eric goes out in our yard on rainy nights and digs for nightcrawlers for fishing. He said they sell for $4/dozen, so this is a nice expense to avoid since we have a good supply.
*We happened on to a free meal at the park recently, where they served hot dogs, chips and ice cream.
*We picked strawberries at a local patch, and I made a double batch of jam, a pie, and a berry-rhubarb crisp. We enjoyed the rest fresh.
*The kids earned really nice $15 water bottles from a healthy living program they're participating in.
*Made popsicles and syrup.
*Attended a free event at a local dairy farm--we got a free tour, plus supper and lots of activities.
*We continue to harvest spinach from our garden, and have gotten a few peas as well.
*Nathan has a great eye for spotting pop bottle lids at parks, so we've earned quite a few rewards points by entering the codes.
*Ordered some free photos
*Scored some deals in the clearance cart at the dollar store--3 packages of tortillas, some cereal bars for our trip (two per pkg), and a padded envelope--all for a quarter each
*Eric's brother brought over some grocery items they don't want to take when they move. (Insert sad face about the move part.)

Will check in again in July, but I'd love to hear from you in the meantime!