Five Frugal Things


Chocolate stash: for scale, the tin is about the diameter of a medium pizza pan and quite deep.

  1. Even though I’ve stocked up on lots of items this month (and have blown the grocery budget), I’m still concentrating on using up items on hand. I’ve got a ways to go on using up all that chocolate, but I made magic layer bars, chocolate pecan scones and ganache for the Easter cream puffs using goodies from this tin rather than buying something special. I also used a lemon cake mix that had been in the cupboard for a while to make a lime soaked citrus cake. I should have added some baking powder, but it still tasted good. And had the added advantage of also using up a container of limeade concentrate and some leftover frosting that had been in the fridge for a LONG time.

***All these desserts were made over the course of a whole month. Even my sweet tooth is not that intense!

2. I picked up a tub drain cover at Target after pulling an unseemly amount of hair and other debris from the shower drain. So gross. Hopefully this will keep us from having to call a plumber out or do any expensive DIY work.

3. I chopped up leftover Easter ham to use in a ham, potato and bean soup for dinner tonight. This also makes use of some white beans I have in the pantry, bought quite a while ago at the local Mormon canning center. I’ll also use the ham to make egg cups for breakfasts/snacks this week, ham fried rice, and chop up the remainder to freeze in 1 cup portions.

4. Frugal splurge: I used a $10 Balance Reward that had accumulated at Walgreens to get three 12 packs of Diet Dr. Pepper for only $2 OOP. An end-of-semester lifesaver. Which is what I’m also calling the package of cherry licorice that jumped into the cart at the same time…

5. I finally took Nathalie’s advice and rooted the green onions I buy at Aldi. I planted them in the same planter that has the cilantro (currently looking great!). Hopefully they will thrive and my need to buy green onions is more or less over!

Daybook, April 17


Monday, April 17

Good morning! I haven’t done a daybook in a while, so thought I’d write one this morning while I try to jump start my brain. I’m pretty tired after cooking an Easter meal yesterday and deciding I was recovered enough to do some gardening. This may have been a mistake!

Outside my window…….it’s dark, but the birds are chattering and singing quite noisily. It’s so cheerful and a nice sound to hear upon waking up (as opposed to the weird yowl that woke my husband and I up at 2:40AM — one of our cats either was having a spiritual experience, heard/saw something that spooked her or just decided to be a little shit — it freaked us out and messed up my sleep. Grr.).

I am thinking…….about the work I need to do today — I have a final in one of my classes and need to study.

I am thankful for……health insurance and also the lifetime learning credit — I finally finished our taxes last night and that credit means a tidy refund is coming our way!

From the kitchen…..I need to finish a few dishes from yesterday and then get started on breakfast. I’m not cooking tonight as we have plenty of leftovers from yesterday, although at some point I should start thinking about the rest of the week.

I am wearing…..pjs and slippers.

I am creating…..mostly, messes. But I am also working on some birthday gifts for my family to share when we are all together at the end of the month.

I am going…….to campus later this afternoon and evening, but otherwise I am staying put!

I am reading……..textbooks about research methods and design and abnormal psychology. That last one has me diagnosing myself every other day, lol.

I am hoping……that the exam today isn’t too bad and that coffee restores my energy levels!

I am hearing…..birds outside greeting the morning and my husband stirring. The cats have just been fed so they are quiet.

Around the house…….things are a mess. The busy-ness of the semester and being sick mean the house is more untidy than usual. It will take me a little while to get that straightened up, especially as this week and next are still fairly busy with school assignments and exams.

One of my favorite things……coffee. This is always a given. And I’m just about able to taste it again, whee! Oh, and I did enjoy watching my nieces and nephew on their egg hunt yesterday, so FaceTime is another favorite.

A few plans for the rest of the week…..catching up on work, on school-work, studying, getting back to some household routines.

Here is a picture I am sharing…….from Easter dinner. We aren’t very religious, but I still like to celebrate the holiday with a special meal. It makes me feel close to my family, who are all doing the same thing far away.  Also I am going to enjoy some leftover cream puffs for breakfast, so that is a nice bonus!

File Apr 17, 6 41 04 AM

Lately…Easter 2017


  • This semester has been rough. It has the biggest course load of the whole program and I further lucked out by having most of my presentations and group work clustered over a ten day period. Y’all. I am exhausted.
  • Because I let myself get so overwhelmed with school work and didn’t do great at planning ahead, my exhaustion led to illness. I am finally taking baby steps out of the worst spring cold I’ve ever had. I finally went to the doctor yesterday and she has me on steroids and a powerful antihistamine.
  • I’ve never taken steroids before; it’s crazy how pumped up they make me feel. I started them yesterday evening and after having no energy for several days, I was up at 11PM working on kitchen projects and trying to convince my husband to start a project with me (he wanted to go to bed 🙂 ). Of course, this afternoon the steroid is wearing off and I just want to lay down.
  • Our grocery budget is out the window this month. Michael made several grocery trips for “sick food” while I was out of it and I had already made big trips to BJs and then Aldi to stock up on some things we actually ran out of during the pantry challenge. And then today Winn-Dixie had bacon on sale and I’ve been wanting to stock up on that ever since we ran out of it a couple of months ago. Basically I’m trying to restore what we ate out of our pantry.
  • Also, getting sick and run down really has me evaluating how well I’m doing at self-care (not well at all!) and thinking of ways to improve. As ever I turn to diet first and I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing some kind of reset, perhaps a Whole30. I’ve been resistant because the rules seem arbitrary to me. But all elimination diets are somewhat arbitrary and I just need to get over my innate desire to point out all the ways the rules (any rules) are wrong. I don’t think it’ll happen until sometime in the summer, but I want to try out a few recipes to have a decent arsenal before truly committing. The biggest mental hurdle is the idea of giving up my coffee w/cream.
  • If I feel up to it, I’m planning on making a ham for Easter Sunday, with whipped sweet potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, rolls and some kind of dessert. Possibly homemade doughnuts because doesn’t that sound wonderful?!
  • Except I can’t really taste anything! Today I’ve had a 50/50 chance of tasting any part of what I’ve eaten, which is a marked improvement over the last several days. I’d hate to waste the effort on doughnuts if I can’t really enjoy them!

What have you been up to? I am way behind on my blog reading. I actually opened up feedly yesterday and then closed it because I have hundreds of unread posts to read on all the blogs I follow. Ack! I may just have to start where I am!

Five Frugal Things

Wheelbarrow redo (1)

  1. Rather than buying a new wheelbarrow, we repaired the one we had. And then I had fun making a stencil to embellish it (totally needless, but I was amused). Michael ran over the old handles with the lawn mower (don’t ask), so we had to purchase a new set of handles and I ended up needing a second can of black paint, but otherwise we used what we had on hand. I sprayed it with a rust inhibitor first, so I’m hoping this repair lasts us a little while.
  2. I was able to reuse a plastic basket I had on hand to help organize my spice cupboard, rather than purchase a new container.
  3. Our city waste service changed their rules regarding recyclables, so I’ve had to revamp my system for sorting and corralling the recyclables in our house before transferring them to the giant bin outside. Again, I used some old bins I had in the garage to create a sorting station rather than going out and purchasing anything new.
  4. During spring break I found plants for one of our garden beds in the clearance section at Lowes. They were more than half off and perked right back up when I watered them.
  5. Most of the seeds (the really old ones) I planted in the window boxes on the porch didn’t germinate, but the cilantro did! I picked up a few more packets of herb seeds to replant in the other boxes. Even paying full price for a packet of seeds is cheaper than buying fresh herbs at the grocery store.