Friday, August 21, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Friday 8/21/15

  • The summer vacation is coming to a close... school starts on Monday for all my kids (college, high school, and middle school). When the kids were little I'd try to squeeze one last outing on that last day but nowadays we just all enjoy being home and just chillin' in the air conditioning :)

  • My daughter starts her new job tonight.  She's a little nervous. I'm sure she'll be fine.  She's going to work for a restaurant so I told her that if she sees they have a lot of waste at the end of the day. she should ask if she's allowed to bring anything home instead of just throwing it away.

  • We spent about an hour playing Dungeons and Dragons with our son tonight. I have to stay that I might have lost my enthusiasm for the game a little because our 13-year-old Dungeon Master is... well, a 13 year old, LOL. But it is time that we spend together so it's still fun!

  • Greg worked from home today, saving us about $20 in gas and tolls.  Since he couldn't go to the gym (his gym is located right across from his office), he mowed the lawn at lunch time.  Thanks, honey!

  • For breakfast I had a bowl of that Publix generic rice flakes cereal from the box that I'm trying to finish with some freshly sliced strawberries. Yeah, that cereal is pretty gross, actually. But I'll eat it anyway.

  • It rained a lot last night so I didn't have to water the garden today, yay! On the downside, all this rain has made mildew bloom on the outside walls of our house... the walls that Greg just finished repainting right before the summer.  Grrr.  I need to break out the bleach and scrub it all off, but a lot more rain is predicted for the next few months so is that going to be an exercise in futility?  Probably...

  • I collected water in the shower and used it to flush the toilet.

  • Today I am wearing a bracelet that I rescued from my daughter's bedroom purge earlier in the week :)

  • I split the Red Beans and Smoked Sausage leftovers into 2 portions and froze them in 2 plastic zipper bags that had been washed and reused several times over already.  This will provide 2 more meals (for 4 each time, as there were a lot of leftovers!) as I will cook rice in the microwave to go with them.  I added some Cajun seasoning to them before freezing them since they had been quite bland when we had them for dinner a few nights ago. I had gotten the seasoning for free from the butcher at my Winn Dixie when I had complimented him on the seasoning that they used on the thick, seasoned pork chops that they sold back then.

  • I used rainwater to water my indoor seedlings and zombie plants.

  • I harvested a small rhubarb stalk as the leaf had died. I will freeze it with the little rhubarb left in the freezer, which is enough to make a small pie.

  • I made a new seed nursery with a recycled seedling container that I have used several times over already, a plastic bin, a small bag of potting soil that I had gotten on clearance at Walgreens 3 weeks ago. I planted Romaine lettuce seeds that I had collected from my own garden this Spring, used rainwater to wet everything down, and then reused the plastic wrap from the seed nursery that I started 2 weeks ago to cover the new one. I used a plant label made from the side of a cat litter jug to write the planting date for future reference. I'm going to try to start new lettuce seeds every 2 weeks to ensure that I have a steady supply of it this winter.

  • I earned my daily Bing Rewards credits and worked on reaching my first Swagbucks Daily Goal (referral links in case you're interested in signing up for those programs!). I reached my 1st Daily Goal 21 days in a row and have so far earned a 200 SB bonus. Woohoo!

  • I ordered an HDMI cable for our new-to-us, thrifted, Blu Ray disc player.  Actually, we didn't pay for it since I used a credit from my Amazon gift cards earned on Swagbucks:) Plus, I'll be getting a $1 digital credit for picking the "no rush shipping" option.

  • I had run out of dried thyme so I "processed" the thyme that I had harvested a month ago and set to dry on my kitchen windowsill.  That gave me about half a jar.

  • So I went out and harvested some more and set it to dry on the windowsill :)

  • For lunch I had the Tofu Stir-Fry leftovers from a couple of nights ago, a wedge of Brie (with a quarter of a slice of the bread that I baked, not pictured), and a sliced mango. I drank the energy drink that I got for free from Racetrac on Wednesday.

  • My son and I went through all his shelves and bins in his room and I now have 2 large bins of donations for the thriftstore (mostly old toys) that I will go through.  I like to group toys of the same theme together to make "kits" that the thriftstore can resell as such.

  • Of the items that we will be keeping were a large box of Haribo candy bought at the Haribo factory store in Marseille this summer. My son didn't want it so I will be eating it (darn, life is hard!).

  • Another "score" is a men's suit that used to belong to Greg.  He gave it to our son for him to wear at a wedding last Fall but it was too large for our son but too small for Greg.  Since then Greg has lost a lot of weight (he looks awesome!) so I asked him to try the suit on again... and it fits perfectly!  Yay!  That's a $300+ suit!

  • I had collected several magazines from my daughter's room.  I pulled off all the address labels off them today to prep them for the library's donation pile.

  • Greg and I started watching the TV series "Fargo", a DVD set I borrowed from the library.  We used our new-to-us Blu Ray disc player and boy, even DVDs look better when played on this (old) Blu Ray player compared to our extra-old DVD player!  We really like the show!  We watched 4 episodes today.

  • I took 2 Driscoll's surveys but received only 1 link to print the coupons that I was due. I realized later on what happened: I used a secondary email address by mistake when I filled out the 2nd survey. Since the more surveys you take on an account, the higher the value of your reward coupons, I won't print the coupon earned with that secondary account: it'd only be for 50 cents, while the coupons that I earn on my main account are for $1.00 each. That's OK, I have a lot more Driscoll codes to use up for surveys since I usually buy 4 quarts of strawberries every week.

  • I changed my dinner plans a little for tonight. I just cooked the 4 pork chops on the stove with some Cajun Seasoning on them, in a little bit of butter, and served them with the leftover mashed potatoes, carrots and celery from last night instead of making the potato puffs. It was quick to make, very filling and very good.  I'm so glad I rediscovered this Cajun Seasoning in my spice cabinet, it's like I have a brand new way of cooking pork chops now!

  • Gas: my daughter volunteered at her high school's attendance office this morning since they were already a little overwhelmed with paperwork.  The person she assisted was very impressed with her and asked if she would like to be a student aide at the Attendance office during her 3rd period instead of being the Ag teacher's student aide.  My daughter agreed.  Apparently it's the slower period in the office so we're hoping she'll be able to actually do some of her homework during that period.

  • Gas (again!) for my daughter to go to her new job (and back), about 15 minutes away from home.

  • My "Efferdent in the toilet" experiment failed. Twice.  First, because I put 2 Efferdents in there yesterday and told my daughter not to use the toilet because they needed to sit in there for 15 minutes before I scrubbed it... and then I completely forgot about it until this morning. Arrgh.  Second, because I put 2 more in there this morning, set a timer so I wouldn't forget, scrubbed the toilet after 15 minutes... and it's not any cleaner than it was before. Well, I tried, and I only used less than 1/4 of the box that only cost me $1 so not a huge failure. I think I'll have to bail all the water out of the toilet, pour some C.L.R. in it and scrub, scrub, scrub.  Hmmm, maybe next week.

  • I experimented making bread in the bread maker by using the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day recipe.  I halved the master recipe, put the water and salt in the bread maker first, followed by the flour and then the yeast, as per the bread maker's instructions.  I used (American) all-purpose unbleached flour, as per the ABi5MAD recipe and not bread flour. Unfortunately, my experiment failed, perhaps because I didn't think to use the "dark crust" setting.  The loaf was under-cooked.  I put it in the cold oven at 450 F with a cup of water and left it there for 20 minutes while the oven reached 450 F.  After 20 minutes, the bread was crusty (and a little too brown as I forgot to lower the oven rack!) but the inside was still undercooked. I turned off the oven and left the bread in there for another 15 minutes.  Still undercooked!  At that point, I hadn't saved any time OR energy and my bread still wasn't good.  I'll be using it to make French toast in the morning, I think, and from now on I will continue to use my ABi5MAD recipe, baked in a loaf pan, in the oven, as I have done :)

Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!


  1. Nathalie, you probably have heard of this trick but I finally tried it recently and it worked pretty well for me! In regards to the toilet, have you tried using baking soda and vinegar? Sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda in the bowl, add the distilled white vinegar, and then scrub. I didn't have to scrub very hard at all doing it this way. And, I bought my vinegar and baking soda and Dollar Tree so it was pretty cheap-o.

    1. Thanks, I think I'll try that next just in case. It's not just a ring around water line, though, it's some kind of deposit on the bottom of the bowl and it's just not coming off. We have really hard water. But I will try the baking soda and vinegar, thanks!

  2. Hi Nathalie,

    I agree with TrayceeBee. Baking soda is the only abrasive powder I use. It should work on the toilet stain.

    I apologize for not commenting everyday lately. I am reading your daily posts however, and enjoying them. Four hours shopping on Wednesday??? No wonder you were exhausted, but wow! sure got a lot of bargains. I enjoy your little tours of the garden. I won't be showing you mine any time soon. It is embarrassing.

    I enjoyed my day at the Flea Market with the girls. I picked up a lot of "still wrapped in plastic" MacDonald's Happy Meal toys for next to nothing. They will fill a lot of Advent Calendar pockets for 3 of the youngest grand children.

    1. Gah, I have a lot of McDonald's-type toys that I'm donating to the thrift store, although they have been played with and are several years old. I wish you lived near me! I had forgotten about the Advent calendars that you do for your grandkids. I'll probably just get mine the cheap ones from Aldi with a different chocolate in it every day. Since they're "older", they'll just be happy to get one, hahaha.

      Thanks for the confirmation about the power of baking soda! I do use it in my All Clad pans when food is stuck to them (I add a little water and let it sit overnight) so I will try it.

      My weekly shopping trips are always pretty long, usually 3 hours. I have 10-15 stops that I make each week between the gas stations (2 or 3 of them if I have enough freebies to redeem), 4 grocery stores, Dollar Tree, one or two thrift stores, 2 drugstores, the occasional Home Improvement/Garden Center, and the library! But I think this trip tired me more because of my daughter being along. It took longer to shop (since we were discussing and comparing items that she needed for her room) and it was very hot too. This coming week's trip is going to be "timed" since she's back at school and we don't have a spare car for her yet, so I need to drop her off (she doesn't have a first period this year so she starts at 8:10 a.m.), go shopping, and pick her up by 12:30 p.m. It should be plenty of time but I don't like feeling rushed!

      While I always appreciate your comments, please don't feel like you have to do that every day, because then I'll start feeling like I have to comment all the time too and I don't deal well with pressure. Hahaha! Seriously, though, I won't be mad at you, I promise :)


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