1. Harvested kale, tomatoes, broccoli and green beans from the garden.
2. Made feta cheese. Normally I just make soft cheese with milk and vinegar, but I had some extra time this week and thought I'd try something different. The feta took longer to make and required more ingredients (rennet & cheese culture), but it turned out well.
3. Line dried two loads of laundry. It started raining the day I did my laundry, so I got to try out my garage sale drying rack. It worked very well for small things like socks, handkerchiefs and cloth napkins, which take a lot of time to hang out on the line with clothespins. Indoors I didn't have to worry about a breeze, so I just laid each sock over the dowel instead of having to pin it down.
4. Separated spices from a jar of mulling mix. Last spring I found a couple jars of mulling mix (whole cloves, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon bark, lemon & orange peels) for $1.50 each at a bent 'n' dent store. I saved one of the jars to use with cider this fall, but with the other jar I dumped out and separated all of the contents. Whole spices can be expensive to buy in individual jars. To get a small amount of each spice in a single jar, for less-than-bulk price, was a great deal. I don't know what I'll use the allspice, cloves or nutmeg for yet, but the bark and peels will be used for making my own tea blends.
5. Bought cardamom in bulk. Normally I would not buy cardamom, which is an expensive Indian spice. If you just go to Walmart and buy a container, it can often cost between $4.00-$5.00 an ounce. I paid $2.13/oz. for my bulk spice, and got just enough to fill up one of the glass spice containers that I had saved to reuse.
I think spices and herbs are one of the best investments to make when you are trying to cook frugally. They can make boring ingredients taste really good. Some of the best restaurants I know of do not necessarily serve expensive cuts of meat or selections of produce. They are cooking potatoes and chicken like we normal housewives are, but it tastes SO good because they know how to bring out the best in food, using spices and mixing flavors.
5. Used a coupon. Earlier in the week, Tractor Supply sent out a flyer with two coupons. I cut out the coupons and put them in my purse. On our way to church, Hubs remembered he had to get something there. "I have a coupon!" I exclaimed. So we saved 10% on purchases that would have been made anyway.
6. Froze some extra water bottles. I have been trying to think of something to do with the cheap plastic water bottles that we pick up here and there. They are not sturdy enough to use regularly, but still have some life left in them. At the same time, I was trying to clean out our freezer. I thought it would be a good idea to put some temporary items in the freezer to help it run more efficiently (a full freezer is more efficient than one that is half empty). Freezing plastic water bottles does several things. 1) It reuses the water bottle, 2) it fills up the freezer, 3) we can grab some on the way out to the car; when we are thirsty they will be melted but still cold, and 4) I can use them as ice packs in coolers.
One day this week, Hubs had an on-site job and he took one of the bottles of frozen water. He drank it with his lunch and said it was just perfect by the time he got to it.
On Sunday, we went grocery shopping before church. I brought a small cooler along, with a frozen water bottle inside. The bottle kept our yogurt and sour cream well chilled until we got home around 3:30 pm.
7. Made a sticker chart for my piano students. Every so often, I like to take some of the money I earn from teaching and reinvest it into incentives (i.e. prizes) for the students. The sticker chart will help reward them more regularly and provide motivation to practice. This will make the lessons more effective.
Goals for Next Week
It's hard to believe that August is halfway through already. However, I have been enjoying the last several weeks, having time to do some extra cleaning, writing, helping Hubs and doing other not-necessarily-frugal things. This week I look forward to canning, more writing and perhaps making some more soap.
1. Can tomatoes.
2. Finish tanning hide.
3. Make one batch of soap.