Thursday, August 6, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Thursday 8/6/15

  • It looks like we're going back to regular Central Florida weather: high in the 90s, increased chance of rain at about 3-4 p.m.  I wish the heat would go away but the sun can stay :)  I was thinking about keeping the AC at 74 but since Greg is at work and our guests are gone, I upped it to 76. We can lower it tonight if need be, there's no reason to freeze during the day!

  • My plans for today include staying home and not driving anywhere, folding my laundry while watching the last episode of the 3rd season of "Last Tango in Halifax" on PBS via my Roku, making bread in my breadmaker for the first time (hey, I only bought it at the thrift store 3 months ago!) and earning Swagbucks. I want to be able to buy the 3 D&D manuals that go with the game we bought.

  • Yikes!  The breadmaker is LOUD!  It just came on behind me and scared the poop out of me! Hmm, what is the advantage over just baking bread in the oven?  Oh yeah, much less mess and I hope less electricity usage. I'm going to have to look into that since it's going to be on for close to 4 hours. Ah, the noise stopped after 20 minutes. I guess it's just the mixing stage that's loud.  I don't remember my parents' breadmakers being that loud, though, and I'm wondering if that's why it was given to Goodwill?! Does your breadmaker make a lot of noise? Update: It started making noise again after about an hour an a half although only for a few seconds. I guess the cessation of noise was the "rising" phase. Good thing too, because I had read that the top of the breadmaker was supposed to get really hot and mine wasn't so I was wondering if maybe it wasn't working properly. Yes, I have made bread before.  Just never with a breadmaker. I guess I will just move into the living room and let it do its thing without me fretting right next to it, hahaha.
I have some appliance spray paint that I might use to repaint the sides of the
bread maker as it is all pitted.  We'll see. It's not really going to be on display
all the time, I just don't have the counter space for it! Its regular place right now
is on the floor in a corner of my kitchen. Not ideal. I need to brainstorm ideas
of where/how to store it. Truth is, I have too many kitchen appliances. I'm a
sucker for those things and if they are out of sight, they are out of mind too.

  • We found out that my son's BFF is away at the beach this week so we won't be having a D&D play date. Not this week, at least.

  • I finished rotating the kids' movies of our French vacation and I'm in the process of moving all of the pictures and movies to my external drive. We're talking several G's of data so it will take a while over Wi-Fi. Then I need to back up the external drive and also post some of this stuff online for my French family.  I kind of miss the old days when you took 10 or 20 pictures of the whole trip (instead of thousands!), printed copies and mailed them to everyone :)

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • I decided to try making bread with my new-to-me breadmaker that I bought for $7.99 at Goodwill back in May.  The cats are wondering what is going on as they're not used to the noise, lol. Anyhoo, I had to buy bread flour for it. I had found it in May at Publix, I think. It's more expensive than regular AP flour but American AP flour doesn't work in breadmakers. Apparently Canadian AP flour is different and does work.  I don't even need bread as I have 2 loaves in the fridge, currently, but I had promised myself that I would try this week. And who doesn't like fresh bread? If it's good, I'll have to see if it's cheaper than buying it from Aldi ($0.85 a loaf).

  • I earned my daily Bing Rewards credits and will be working on accruing Swagbucks throughout the day mostly via nGage, Mobile SBTV, and then using a few apps that let me accrue SB while they're playing videos. Those all require me to babysit my laptop and my phone but I can also accomplish easy tasks while doing those (or surf the web, guess which one I do more often!).  Also, I did get confirmation that I qualify for a 150 SB rebate on my next purchase of a gift card. I earned that from the Survey Soiree event last week. Woohoo.

  • My oldest son and his GF are working the last day of the Band Camp so they will return to their regular housing tonight.  I really didn't see them at all.  I asked my son to autograph the CDs of his College Big Band in which he is featured so I can mail them to various family members and friends.

  • HGTV, here I come!  I was trying to put in a 2nd nail in the wall to secure the power surge/multi outlet plug that I plugged the coffeemaker and the kettle into because it keeps on falling off the wall and consequently we don't remember to turn off the plug, which was the whole point of installing it, lol.  However, it still wouldn't stay on the wall (cheapie thing!) so I used... masking tape.  Oh yeah. It's hidden behind the kettle so it's not so bad AND my walls are kind of the same color as brand new masking tape. I suspect that if it's still up in a few weeks, the tape will start yellowing so we might have to come up with another plan but for now it seems to be working fine.

  • However, while I was putting the hammer down, I accidentally hit the coffee cup that was sitting there with my coffee in it... and it's the coffee cup that my middle son gave me for mother's day last year. Arrgh. It knocked a large chip right off the lip of it. What is it with me and coffee cups this week?! Thankfully the little tube of generic superglue hadn't hardened yet and I managed to glue the chip back on without glueing my fingers to the cup, which is a feat onto itself, let me tell ya. I had superglue all over my fingers when I fixed my other cup earlier in the week but thankfully the internet told me that using fingernail polish remover with acetone should help... and it did! Good thing that I did have some on hand too! Anyhoo, my cup is almost back to normal now. Phew.

  • CVS sent me a $10 off $40 coupon. You all know I love coupons... but I don't need $40 worth of stuff from CVS... unless I want to stock up on a lot of feminine items but since the debacle with the Tena coupons yesterday, I'm a little CVS coupon shy now. So I'll print it "just in case" but won't make a special trip just to use it.  It might be different if CVS were just a couple of minutes from here, but it's 15-20 minutes away... you know, I used to complain that there wasn't a CVS close by, but now I'm seeing that as a good thing for my more frugal budget!  Lots of people "roll" their ECBs and I used to do the same thing albeit on a small scale. A few years ago I had a like-minded friend who lived nearby and for a while we would go out at night once a week and our girls' date would be a CVS/Walgreens date. We'd share coupons and scenarios and it was a lot of fun. But that's also when I accumulated a lot of the personal care items that I'm still using up these days.  I had so much free or almost free stuff piled up everywhere that a plumber who was here to work under my kitchen sink even made fun of me!  What is your favorite store when it comes to saving money?

  • I peeked at my seed nursery (through the plastic wrap) and some of the cells containing Romaine lettuce seeds have germinated. Woohoo!  These seeds were collected from lettuce that I had grown so in essence they were completely free. I'm very excited that they will be producing more lettuce for us. Well, at least I hope that they won't die of heat when it's come to transplant it. I'm going to have to work on providing some shade.

  • I was looking through various areas of the house, hunting for a small bottle to use when I make Swimmer's Ear Remedy for Greg to take to the pool with him, and I found a bunch of coins at the bottom of an old pot that holds pencils and loose Christmas light bulbs, as well as a pack of small holiday stencils that I had gotten for free somewhere and forgotten about. Those would work well to sprinkle confectioner's sugar on top of cookies or cakes, at holiday time. I put them with my cake decorating supplies. The coins went into our coin jar. They were dirty but their value doesn't change so it's all good.

  • After a while I found an old bottle of nasal saline. The expiration date was 2004!  I have a brand new bottle in my closet so I decided to use this one. At first I didn't think it would work at it looked like the top couldn't be opened without some cutting involved, but then I saw the seam and pried it open with the blade of a sharp knife. I dumped the old saline, rinsed the bottle well, and removed the label. Thankfully, I own small funnels that I had ordered from Amazon a couple of years ago. They were pricey (for bits of plastic!) but they have come in very handy.  I poured 50% white vinegar and 50% rubbing alcohol into the bottle, shook it well, and affixed a lovely masking tape label to it.  VoilĂ ! My honey can go swimming and use the mixture right after it so his ears don't hurt.  He'll have to be careful as it is not a dropper but a squirting bottle so a tiny squirt is plenty.

  • I brewed myself a cup of tea and used a tea bag from an "upscale" tin that had been given to me by a friend last year as she was decluttering her pantry. Fruity and free.  Delicious!

  • I used rainwater to water my zombie celery plant, which continues to grow very well. Once it has more roots, I'll try potting it.  Right now it's still sitting in water.

  • I went to check on the garden and I noticed that I have a few more volunteer tomato plants in my self-watering bins. Alright! 

  • The one that had replanted itself a month ago is pretty big now.  I'm hoping it'll give me tomatoes. It should be a Supersweet 100 tomato plant. I think the other ones might be Roma tomatoes? I'm not sure. I think I had mixed both Roma and Supersweet tomatoes in those 2 bins.  I guess I'll always leave the rotting tomatoes in the bins from now on, instead of throwing them in the compost!

  • There was a wasp nest being built on one of the bins, so I sprayed it, making sure the poison didn't his the soil in the bin. I'm almost out of wasp spray but, serendipitously, I noticed yesterday that Ace Hardware is having a sale. I didn't buy any because I thought that we had several cans of it but we had 2 cans that were almost empty. I'm adding those to my shopping list for next week. I know wasps are pollinators too, but those were too close (to me!) for comfort.

  • I found a volunteer strawberry plant in my kohlrabi bin!  The strawberry bins used to be right next to it.

  • Speaking of strawberries, they're not looking really great (I ought to clean them up) but I do have some strawberries... hopefully I can sample them before the lizards/squirrels/slugs do!
The one on the left rotted o the plant because of all the rain we just had these past 2 weeks.  I didn't even get to see it ripe!
  • My volunteer squash plant keeps growing too. I'm still wondering what kind of squash it would give.

  • You know what else is growing very well?  Weeds, that's what!  Thankfully it makes it that much easier to pull.  I fed that one to the tadpoles that are still growing in some of my rainwater-collecting bins.

  • I discovered that I have a new Ichiban eggplant that is growing. Yes!

  • Target released new mobile coupons today (text OFFERS to 827-438 to receive yours if you haven't) and one of them is $1.00 off $7.00 in produce. Sweet!  With the strawberries being more expensive now, I'll definitely hit the $7 before coupons mark.

  • I harvested some basil for my lunch.

  • Lunch was the leftover zucchini soup from a couple of night ago, a caprese salad with avocado, and the leftover pineapple tidbits that didn't make it to the pizza last night :) My son had the last corn dog and also some grapes.

  • I had gotten a large zucchini out of my fridge this morning, thinking that I needed to use it up so I might make Chocolatey Zucchini Bread.  Then I read Susan's blog post about making zucchini muffins for her grandkids and I thought "hmmm..., I suppose I don't have to make bread after all!".  And then I received an email from Betty Crocker with zucchini recipes!  I'm thinking I might make the Cheesy Zucchini Bites since I have baking mix to use up.

  • The bread loaf that came out of the bread maker is huge and quite nice looking!  I hope it tastes good too. Yep, tastes good!  A little too salty for me, maybe.  I might reduce the salt amount next time.  I used margarine instead of shortening and I wonder if it would be much better if I had used butter.  I like that I can just set it in the morning and have fresh bread by lunchtime. And I can even go shopping and not have to worry about it. Win-win-win! It's probably more expensive than Aldi bread, though.

  • I earned 20 KFR points by entering bonus code SCHOLASTICREADER in my Kellogg's Family Rewards account... and another 20 points by entering bonus code PACK-ING4-VACA-TION

  • For dinner I made spaghetti and meatballs for the boys.  As for me, I used the rest of the asparagus, spinach, and a couple of mushrooms from my fridge (all of which had started to not look so fresh anymore) to make a stir-fry.  I kept the extra serving of spaghetti for Greg's lunch tomorrow.  I also served fresh bread with the meal.

  • Nothing today

  • It doesn't look like I'll ever taste kohlrabi as my plants don't look very good :(
I planted those a year ago!

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


  1. I have grabbed a few moments at the end of the day to read your latest post. I am going to have to read them backwards from the most recent to the oldest unread posts. I have been really busy. I still can't believe that you were able to keep up with your blog while travelling across France for a month. Anyways, you have included a lot of links here that I want to look at later. The one that I did check out was the recipe for cheesy zucchini bites. This sounded so delicious. I am going to have to make it. I used the four small zucchini I received to make the muffins with raisins and walnuts. My granddaughter made them under my supervision. They are really yummy. I have one large yellow zucchini left.

    Great job on using up all of the leftovers. I was going to comment on that a few days ago and I see where you are still up to the challenge. Really good job. And everything sounds so delicious. I have a lot of food in my fridge already that needs eating up. We will be out tomorrow, so maybe Sunday lunch time will be a good time to clean out the fridge. We are having more company for dinner on Sunday night, and I am running out of places to store all these goodies.

  2. The bread recipe that I use has salt, honey, milk, water, butter, bread flour and yeast. If you are using salt, make sure it is kosher salt and not sea salt because it does tend to be stronger in bread. I really enjoy the recipe that I have worked with for the last few years. I have started to get the bread cheaper now because I get flour cheap when it is on sale or by 25 lb bags at Costco or Sam's Club and I buy the yeast by the blocks at Sam's Club which saves a lot. Try this bread and see if you like it: I also did a little thing to see if I was saving money and here was what I figured in 2013 and on the low end it was under $0.50 but did get a little higher but I might have to go back and figure it out now but I am sure that I am cranking it out cheaper still.

    1. So funny you just posted this because 1) I had bookmarked your recipe when I first found your blog and fully intended to try it and then forgot and 2) I spent the whole morning calculating how much each white bread recipe that I have used so far is costing me with the intention of posting about it this weekend, lol. The gist is going to be this: the bread does cost less to make, but it actually leads us to consume more of it (much more!) so in the end there aren't any savings, at least for my family! I do need to try your recipe, though. Sadly, there is no way that I could get 25 lbs of flour. There aren't any Costco's or Sam's Club close by, just a BJ's. Even if I sprang for a membership, 25 lbs of flour would spoil very fast down here so I'm not eager to try it. How do you store yours? I bought my yeast on Amazon (about $10 for 2 lbs). How does that compare to yours?


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