Thursday, June 30, 2011

Scraps + Samples = Possibilities

My mind has been dwelling on these fabric scraps that I have. I need to figure out if I'm keeping them (moving forward towards making something with them!) or finding them a new home. This afternoon, I went and pulled the boxes out to look and feel them again, hoping for inspiration. One box is cotton scraps, the other has upholstery fabric samples. At one time, I had a plan to make trivets (the upholstery fabric seems a good fit for this), but I'm not sure I want to do that anymore. There must be a "perfect" project for them, right? I'm in the mood for a new project, just need to choose!

Yep, still waiting for inspiration.... What's On Your Mind?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

DIY: Frugal Tomato Cages

Guest Post by the Handyman Husband

The Frugal Frau loves her garden and I still have more time than money.  We wanted to plant a lot more tomato plants than last year… hoping to get some canned! We decided to try tomatoes cages rather than the wooden stakes we used last year, as they were time intensive. Unfortunately, all the GOOD cages we’ve looked at were very expensive – over $20 EACH. Surely, we could make them ourselves for less. In the end, we made tall cages for about HALF the price of those fancy cages they sell at the Master Gardener's plant sale. Here's how we got there:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Tuesday in June Frugal Garden Update... TOMATOES are COMIN'!

With our COOL spring, I was really starting to worry about how our garden would turn out this year. A recent spike of heat and my garden is loving it! Here's a tour of our garden today... from tomatoes to squash to flowers and lots in between! Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!

Let's start the tour with our acorn squash, which is already more than half way up the trellis! This is a different acorn than we grew last year, and it's very happy here along the fence.

Apples are doing their "June drop"... as expected. Two more months until they're ready.

Broccoli is done (it never grew much), but the nasturtiums are very happy! Love seeing the honey bees come visit.
Cucumbers are coming along. I love using tomato cages for this.. easy, and they don't work well for the tomatoes anyway!
First tomatoes are setting on the "Mamma Mia" plants we got from Orchard Supply. Hopefully they won't take too long to ripen.
Eggplant seedlings are getting their real leaves. Just about time for them to go into the garden!
Our first bell pepper. I don't like 'em green, so gotta wait. Looks like these need more insecticidal soap.. the aphids are tough this year.
My free jade plants are loving their spot near the garden. They didn't love the hail storm we had earlier this year.. but they are holding their own. You can see the difference between the leaves damaged by the storm, and the new ones.
More nasturtiums, and kale. As long as it doesn't get too hot, we've been able to keep enjoying our kale!
We're enjoying our second round of lettuce, despite some snail attacks. I love this lettuce seed from Baker Creek Seeds -- Henderson's Black Seed lettuce. It's got a wonderful texture, and is easy to pick as you need About time to start round 3!
You can't even tell that I harvested a LOT of parsley last week, which is almost done drying. I'll use some fresh, but make sure I keep saving some so it will last.
 My San Marzano tomatoes that I started from seed are doing GREAT. This is a new bed that my hubby built with recycled materials along the fence. It gets a lot of sun and they are growing like crazy!  I've even got some basil nestled at the base of a few. These cages (made by hubby) are only 5 feet tall.. I have a feeling it won't be long before they top that!
 Our strawberry planter (from runners from our bathtub beds) has a ton of strawberries coming! Might be enough for a pie, if I can keep the rest of the family from snacking on them.
How is your garden doing? Hope you're enjoying it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Monday Meal Planning - June 27th

It's been a while since I posted a menu plan. Whether you write it down in full detail or scratch out your ideas for the week on a scrap of paper and post it on the frig... I encourage you to have some sort of plan. Making a menu plan has a "recipe" of it's own! It all starts with what I've got onhand. Add in our activities for the week, with a sprinkle of what the weather will be (do you really want to have the oven on all day if it's 100 degrees out?). Mix it all together, keeping in mind your family favorites, plus some recipes you'd like to try.. and out comes a set of meals for the week.

Now, do I stick to this exactly? I try to.. but I don't feel bad if it just doesn't work out. If something comes up, I'll often swap days around, or make changes as necessary. With a plan... you've got a place to start, and that puts you ahead of the game. On to my "plan" for the week!

Monday - This is my class night. I want something EASY as I'll probably be finishing up my homework before I go :) Sounds like a good night for Burrito night, with No Fry Refried Beans, Rice, plus veggies and lettuce from the garden along with all the fixins.

Tuesday - Broccoli Soup. I've got some broccoli and potatoes that need to be used up! 

Wednesday - According to the weather, this will be a cool day. Sounds like a perfect day for Split Pea Soup, so we can use up the ham bone I have in the freezer.

Thursday - Our official "Grill night". Grilled veggies plus whatever hubby feels like grilling (hamburgers, veggie burgers, chicken? We'll see!)

Friday - Home made Pizza night!

Saturday - It's supposed to be toasty this weekend, so I'm planning a Make Your Own Sandwich night! We'll have salad (from the garden!) to go along.

Sunday - Pasta night! Roasted cherry tomatoes, whole wheat penne pasta, feta, and kalamata olives, with toasted chopped walnuts and fresh basil.

Looking for more menu planning inspiration? Check out Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie. Lots of great menu plans and meal ideas! Have fun planning, and have a great week!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Frugal Recipe: Warm Pasta Salad with Tortellini and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

You know that old adage, when life gives you lemons....? The same applies to cooking frugally. Some days, it comes down to what's left in the frig. So what do you do? Often, my answer to this is a one-dish pasta meal, which I'll call a Warm Pasta Salad. It has four basic components

1. pasta (think penne, spiral, or tortellini),
2. veggies (whatever you've got in the frig usually works!), and a
3. protein component (for example beans, leftover chicken or ham, or cheese all work), and finally some way to "dress" it all. This could be a  
4. sauce/dressing, or something simple like a garlic-infused oil.

Don't forget to add some wonderful herbs, and it all comes together for a delicious and healthy meal. Here's my latest mix. I was hoping for some leftovers, but the boys ate it all up!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Frugal Friday Freebies - 16 Audio Books, July 1st-4th bowling, Dave Matthews Band Caravan Music

Happy Friday! Today I have some awesome frugal freebies for you -- audio books, music, and don't forget to set aside a little time next weekend for some free bowling every day of the 4th of July Weekend! Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Official - Frugal Frolic!

I'm extremely excited about my blog this week. I love writing and learning about all aspects of frugal living. My family has been altered forever by this journey of the past 2.5 years. I see changes in all of us -- in how we see and approach the world, and appreciation of what we have and can do. We've learned so much in DOING for ourselves. It's a difficult thing to express and communicate to people, unless you've experienced it for yourself. I hope the most important thing I am able to communicate is that you CAN do "it" -- whatever "it" is -- and the journey of learning is so much fun, and so rewarding. Frugal living IS fun!

Soon after I started the blog (and was having a fantastic time writing for it!), I realized I'd made a huge mistake in not making sure the url or web site address I might eventually want was available. I had no idea at the time of how rewarding this experience would be. Once I knew, I was sad to find out that the web address I wanted was already claimed. Not wanting to pay to "buy" the address, I watched to see if the person who owned it renewed it this Spring when it came up for renewal. Sadly, they did.

Such disappointment. I even sent them an email, without a response. With seemingly no prospect of obtaining the url, I considered starting a new blog, or writing about something else. I didn't want to do that. I started writing again, and on a whim, last week, checked to see if the url was available. YES! I guess the owner changed their minds... I don't have any idea why. I was practically giddy with excitement. Of course, I had to look for the best deal, but when all was said and done, I now own my own piece of the web.

So, welcome to Thank you so much for joining me here, on our continuing frugal living saga.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Never Too Hot for a Frugal Meal

Photo by Rooey202
Whew, it's hot here -- after a month of June with temperatures well below normal, summer has announced itself with a rush of heat. My garden is happy, but I'm wilting! What does a frugal family do for meals when it gets so hot you don't even want to go near the kitchen? Resist the temptation of fast food or pricey take out food! With just a few pantry staples, you can prepare "cool" meals even in the hottest weather, for a frugal price! It's as easy as one, two, three (or four)!

Monday, June 20, 2011

$2 off any Neutrogena Suncare product

Save $2 on Any Neutrogena® Suncare or Sunless product
Protect yourself and your family with the #1 dermatologist recommend suncare brand.
Click here to Login or register (I recommend you use an email address set up just for these kinds of things!), and it will direct you to a page where you can print out your $2 coupon. Great savings just at the right time!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Parsley Harvest in the Bag!

This morning, I went out to the garden realized it was time to harvest some parsley! I didn't pull the whole plants.. just cut the outer leaves, leaving plenty of younger ones for a later harvest. As I don't have an immediate use in mind, I decided I would dry it. Parsley is wonderful addition to many, many dishes we often cook, including pasta sauces, as well as salads and dressings. Here's what I do to preserves this wonderful herb.. whether you grow it for yourself or pick up a bunch at your farmer's market or grocery store. It's easy and a great way to get the most out of your herbs!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Father's Day Menu Plan

With Father's Day just around the corner, and our plans still not nailed down yet, at this point I've come up with a few possibilities for a wonderful dinner, even if I'm not yet sure where we will be spending the day! Here are the delicious delights I'm planning, including a wonderful shrimp salad and a tasty orange cake using oranges from our tree!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Grow, little eggplant!

Now that the warm weather is finally here, my eggplant seeds sprouted! I've never grown it before, so I was disappointed when I planted them and nothing happened... even when I brought them in to the warm kitchen.. it just wasn't enough. I put the little pots with the seeds in a sunny spot by the garden, and up they popped!

Free 8x10 Collage Print until June 18th

Just in time for Father's Day! Add a frame and voila, a very special gift! Order an 8x10 Collage Print from Walgreen's by midnight Central Time this Saturday, June 18th. At checkout, use the code 1FREEBIE to get it for free! Make sure to use free instore pickup! Enjoy your print!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Great Summer Reading for Free!

It's summer, and the perfect time for settling down with a great fiction book. Or maybe you've got a project in mind, and while you've been eyeing a nice book in the bookstore, the price is causing you to hesitate. If you've got a garden, perhaps you're looking for some new recipes for your fresh produce. How to satisfy all or one of these, for free?

Luckily, there are LOTS of free ebooks available. Don't rule out Kindle ebooks if you don't have a Kindle -- or Nook Books if you don't have a Nook. Your PC can already read HTML (what you use to read this web page) and plain text. If you need other software, here's where you can get it:

Free Reading Software for Amazon Kindle - You can choose PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android, and Windows 7 phone versions. You'll need to install the software then register your device for Kindle books.

Free Nook Apps - Free Reading Software for NookBooks - You can choose PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Nook Kids for iPad, Blackberry, Android

Now you're ready for some free books!  Here are some places to go to find free books:

Project Gutenberg - I've written about this site before. It's a great resource now with over 36,000 free ebooks you can download for your PC, Kindle, Nook, or many other mobile devices. Check out their Mobile Devices How-To  for all the details. This is a helpful page no matter where you download your free ebooks!

Internet Archive - This collection includes almost 2.9 million books, plus the main site includes over 500,000 movies, over 93,000 concerts, and over 900,000 other recordings (including over 6000 audio books!).

Free Nook Books - This list changes weekly. I noticed today that MOST of these are samples only ( you only get a part of the book). In the past, there have been more full free books. For now though, Barnes and Noble gets my FRUGAL FOUL stamp.

Free Kindle Books - 23 pages of Limited Time offer Kindle books --22 pages of them are free! You can sort by rating, which is very helpful in finding the best books. The list today includes mysteries, romance, cooking, history, and much more! As an alternative you can see the Top 100 Bestsellers in Kindle Store (Separate lists for Free and Paid)

How about picking up one of the following?

Have a wonderful summer reading!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Celebrate Your Summer Memories for $1.99

Whether you're relaxing at home, or traveling far and wide this summer, ArtsCow is having a great promotion to help you remember your family's summer in a unique way. From now until 7/2/11, turn those fun photos into ornaments, to hang now or save for the holidays. They would make great gifts, or make them a special addition to your home during the holidays! The price is only $1.99 each, with free shipping! Here's the information from ArtsCow:

Give your home a new lease of life by hanging a set of new customized ornaments. Fully personalized up to the edges, these ornaments look best when hung freely using the red ribbon included.

Not only suitable for Christmas decorations, but these accessories can also be used as Summer embellishments to brighten up indoor surroundings.

With 4 new shapes added to our range recently, choose from any of the 8 available ornaments for a discounted price of just $1.99/each with free shipping. No quantity limits, get as many as you like for friends and family.

Coupon Code: SUMORNOS
Expiry Date: 7 / 2 / 2011

Offer applicable to all one-sided ornaments.
Click here to see all ornaments you can use for this promotion!
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