Last Week’s Frugal Living Accomplishments (4/13-4/19)

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This week’s frugal efforts were primarily found in the garden, setting us up for a successful growing season, but as always, I’m trying to find other ways to save or stretch our money.

Planted more vegetables in the garden

Purchased a Moonglow pear tree from Gasper Home & Garden Showplace.  This is the pollinator to the Bartlett pear tree that we already have, and with pears often costing more than $2/lb, this will save us a small fortune over the next few years.
SFG

Purchased some seedlings from a local nursery.  These are farther along than the seedlings that I started, so we will have homegrown produce sooner, and won’t have to purchase at the grocery stores.

Planted seedlings that I had started.  Since I wanted to make sure we had enough seeds germinate and survive the transplant, I started about 3x’s as many seeds as I would actually use.  I am now selling my extra seedlings to friends and people in the Greater Philadelphia Gardening & Homesteading group instead of throwing them into the compost pile.

swagbucks

Earned 243 Swagbucks last week

Cashed in my Swagbucks to get an Amazon gift card

Gathered extra newspaper coupon inserts from neighbors, clipped what I needed, and then passed them on

Received my sales check from consigning with Just Between Friends – Lower Bucks

Entered in my Pampers Rewards points from the baby wipes

Submitted a Checkout51 offer from buying fresh produce

petting sheep at howell farm

Took a day trip to Howell Living History Farm in Lambertville, NJ to have a picnic and see the animals.  Howell Farm has free admission and is open to the public Monday-Saturday, so it was perfect for us.

Had leftovers for lunches

Bought day old bread to make French toast instead of fresh bread – saved $3!

Put more items aside for the community yardsale on 5/2

Made homemade donuts instead of going to the bakery

Washed laundry in cool water 

 

Cake Donuts 3 Different Ways

cake donuts 3 different waysYesterday, my friend Larisha was posting about donuts on Facebook.  If you know her at all, either in relief or from following her at We’re Parents?!, you know she has a little bit of a donut obsession.  Well, yesterday she posted about the 10 Best Doughnut Shops in the US (So is it donut or doughnut?) and with the images of beautiful sugar covered donuts, I just couldn’t help myself any longer.  

We were going to make donuts!

I grabbed my go to cookbook from the shelf, looked up a donut recipe and got to work.  Since I didn’t have yeast on hand, we went with a cake donut.  It was the first time I had ever made them, and it was so simple.  If you can make biscuits and aren’t afraid of deep frying, you can make donuts! [Read more…]

Menu Plan Monday 4/13-4/19

menu plan monday

It felt so good sticking to our menu plan last week, and finally feeling like I was in control of our schedule.  Lets see if we can make it 2 weeks in a row.

Breakfasts – smoothies, fruit & yogurt parfaits, muffins, cereal, oatmeal
Lunches – leftovers, PB&J, grilled cheese, muffin tins, cheese hoagies, salads

Monday – Kielbasa, Chicken Rice, Peas (the last of the leftovers)
Tuesday – Cheese Steaks, Oven Fries, Veggies & Ranch
Wednesday – Pizza Night
Thursday – Grilled Chicken Souvlaki, Pita, Tzatziki, Veggies & Hummus
Friday – Chicken Burrito Bowls
Saturday – Rotisserie Chicken, Grilled Potato Packet, Salad
Sunday – Bacon Cheese Burgers, Chips, Baked Beans, Salad

I’m hoping the weather cooperates so I can use the grill a few nights in the coming week.  For some reason, once the weather gets nicer, we tend to eat better.  To get back in the habit of balanced meals, the children & I are using their an apple a day nutrition trackers again, and making conscious choices about what we have for meals and snacks.  I consider this part of their Health/PE lessons, and they still find it fun to close the windows as they eat all of their fruits & veggies.

What are you eating this week?

For more meal time inspiration, check out Menu Plan Monday.

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

The #1 way I was frugal this past week was by staying home.  I didn’t go out much during the week, and therefore saved gas money, as well as money on “treats.”

Recycled cardboard boxes into a weed barrier for our raised beds

Used ECB and coupons to purchase diapers for FREE at CVS

Bought the marked down bananas instead of the “firsts” 

Added kitchen scraps to the compost pile

Participated in Just Between Friends – Lower Bucks, 163 items have sold!

Bought complete summer wardrobes for 3 kids for under $100 at JBF

Bought a microscope for our homeschool room for $6 

mondo yard sale

Signed up to participate in our community yard sale sponsored by Cub Scout Pack 3

Used a Groupon to Kirshner Landscapes & Nurseries  purchase 2 blueberry bushes for our gardens

Received replacement raspberry bushes for the ones that died last year

Got my hair done at Hair Cuttery for less than I used to spend at the spa/salon, and am happier with the results than I ever was when I was paying more!

Philly Farm & Food Fest

Used media passes to the Philly Farm & Food Fest as the basis of a date day with my husband

Steve took the motorcycle to work several days – this adds up to a HUGE gas savings because our car gets about 23 mpg, and the motorcycle gets over 45 mpg.

Followed the meal plan and used up a lot of leftovers.

Turned the heat off.

How did you save money last week?

 

My “Must See” List for the Philly Farm & Food Fest

Philly Farm & Food Fest 2015

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.  I have received passes to attend this event in exchange for promotion.  All opinions are my own.

This Sunday is the 4th annual Philly Farm and Food Fest.  Tickets are just $20 in advance (grab them here) and children under 12 are FREE!  You know that is one of my favorite things – FREE family fun.

Last year, we brought our children with us and had a great time.  David & Emily loved Watermelon Magic, which will be featured again this year.  The venue is stroller friendly, and we had no problems getting around with Michael in the stroller, and a big kid holding each of our hands (we have 3 children and it was our first time ever taking them into the city, we managed, and had a blast).

Last night I was looking over all of the offerings and exhibitors that are going to be at this year’s Philly Farm & Food Fest, and made a list of my “must sees”.

  1. Local Libations Lounge - this 21 and over lounge is an additional $10 ticket, but you get to sample a variety of locally produced beers, ciders, wines, and spirits.  Its a great opportunity to try something new and meet the people who helped create it!
  2. CSA Pop Up Shop - get to meet some of the local CSAs, sample some produce, and even sign up for a share this year.
  3. Urban Homesteading Classroom Takeover - since we are moving in the direction of being suburban homesteaders, the workshop sessions in this tract are right up my alley!  From Composting 101 to Backyard Chickens, Bee Keeping to Edible Landscape, there are some amazing sessions being offered where I can learn and “grow” as a homesteader.
  4. Butchers Block Classroom Takeover - if you have been following Raising A Family On A Budget for any length of time, you know that we buy our meat in bulk (side of beef) and from a real butcher.  There are several sessions in the Butchers’ Block Classroom Takeover that sound fascinating to me – particularly the session Happy Pigs Make Tasty Sausage presented by Rooster Street & Stryker Farm.
  5. Meet Your Favorite Local Cookbook Author - There will be 8 local authors doing cookbook signings through out the day.  I’m looking forward to meeting Marisa McClellan – Food in Jars & Preserving by the Pint.  I love canning, and her blog has been a HUGE inspiration!
  6. 150+ Exhibitors - I am hoping to stop by the majority of the tables to find out about all of the amazing local food options available to us in the Greater Philadelphia region.  Go here for the full list of who you can see at this year’s fest!

I am so looking forward to spending this Sunday at the Philly Farm & Food Fest, and plan on being there bright and early.  Make sure you grab your tickets in advance, and say hi if you see me there!  

This Week’s Leftover Menu Plan

menu plan mondayMost weeks, I plan out our meals and plan on cooking most nights.  This week, I plan on eating from our fridge for most of the week.  I over cooked on Easter and again on Monday night so this week we are having lots of leftovers.

So what’s in my fridge right now that we need to eat this week?

Ham; London broil; pasta with meat sauce; 16 hard cooked eggs; 4 dozen raw eggs; random raw veggies; some cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and goat cheese; lemons and apples; milk; tortillas; challah; sausage gravy; & salad fixings

We also have a fairly well stocked pantry with plenty of dried beans, rice, home canned fruits, and baking essentials.

Monday – London Broil, pineapple, baked potatoes, corn 
Tuesday – Pepper Steak and Rice (using the leftover grilled teriyaki London Broil)
Wednesday – Girl Scout night – Pizza
Thursday – Mac & Cheese casserole (using leftover ham, peas, and cheddar cheese)
Friday – Chef’s Salads (using up the salad fixings, ham, eggs, and cheddar cheese); since Steve isn’t a salad guy, he’ll have the remaining London broil and a baked potato

To make sure everything gets used up, breakfast & lunch will include:  scrambled eggs with goat cheese, quiche, salads, ham & bean soup, egg salad sandwiches, sausage gravy & biscuits, and leftover pasta.

I’m not planning meals for this weekend since we have plans all day Saturday & Sunday, and I’m not sure if they will take us through dinner time, or if we will be too tired to cook.  I may just pick up hotdogs and hamburgers to have on the grill just in case.

Are you serving up the leftovers this week?  What’s on your menu plan?

Need a little more meal time inspiration, check out Menu Plan Monday.