Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Tuesday 8/18/15

  • It never did rain yesterday but we got so much rain on Sunday that I didn't bother with the garden today.  We had a huge rainstorm at about 8:15p.m. so no watering tomorrow either.

  • "We" went through a mild state of panic last night when we realized that our son's brand new PC kept on asking him to validate Windows with the product key code.  Greg couldn't find the key code anywhere (it wasn't on the disk or any documentation that they had included).  Nathalie to the rescue!  I mentioned that I had seen the key code on a sticker that had been affixed to the side of the CPU.  This is why we wives still need to watch men unpack electronics even if they say they don't need any help :)

  • I earned my daily Bing Rewards credits and met my first daily goal on Swagbucks (102 SB today).

  • I packed a lunch for Greg to take to work.

  • My Slow Cooker Red Beans  & Sausage recipe called for green pepper and I had some that I had frozen, but I also had a red pepper in my fridge that was threatening to go bad so I used that instead. I added spicy links that I had gotten on clearance at Save A Lot several months ago, about $0.15 worth of links in this dish!  The colors of the uncooked mix were wonderful!

  • The recipe also called for Creole Seasoning, which I thought I had. However, I had Soul Seasoning so I used that instead. Later on, I realized that I did have Creole Seasoning. Need to remember this for the next time!

This is like sand art!  Sadly, I had to take everything out to
mix it all up.

  • My daughter wanted plastic bags or trash bags to line the trash can in her bedroom but I didn't have any plastic bags since I use reusable bags and I'm trying to limit the use of trash bags in our house too as much as I can. I decided to get a couple of plastic bags from the Publix plastic bag recycling bin tomorrow since I'll be going there anyway.  

  • Still trying to declutter my house little by little. I found 2 unopened tubes of fruity toothpaste that my kids have outgrown so I texted my BFF to see if she would want them for her young daughter.

  • I also decluttered and cleaned my bottom kitchen cabinets and put some items in the attic in case the kids need them for their own apartments. One item even found its way to the thrift store donation box.

  • I baked my now daily loaf of bread.  So good.

  • I had defrosted a big bag of yellow squash last week, intending to use it in my Ratatouille Bake but I had defrosted too many vegetables in the end. My neighbor had given me those squashes from his garden.  I pureed them in the food processor, drained them of as much water as I could, and used them instead of zucchini in my Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe. I put them in the 450F oven that I had turned off right after I had baked the regular bread, waited 15 minutes until the oven was at 350F and then finished cooking the Squash bread. I made 2 loaves and was planning to freeze them in halves but my son quite enjoyed the bread (I didn't tell him it was squash or he might not have been so eager to eat it!) so I might just put it in the fridge.

  • I peeled and cut up some carrots for my daughter since she had asked for baby carrots to snack on and I didn't have any. I put the peels and ends in my "Veggie Scraps" bag in the freezer so they can be reused for making stock.

  • I rewashed 3 plastic zipper bags to reuse them at a later date (1 gallon, 2 quart size).

  • Lunch was the free hot dog from Racetrac yesterday, topped with homemade zesty pickles (Greg didn't want it so I made him a PBJ), a small caprese salad with basil from my garden, the last quarter of cantaloupe, and the small piece of strawberry cake from two days ago. Oh and I had some of my fresh bread to soap up the caprese salad dressing, of course!

  • I was able to request the free monthly sample from Pillsbury (via their e-newsletter). This month it is an Old El Paso Mini Taco Boat. Free food!

  • My daughter and I spent 3 hours decluttering her room and reorganizing it. She has prepped a large trash bag of things to throw away but I went through it and pulled most of it out to keep (reuse) or donate and lectured her about being quite entitled if she couldn't understand that other people might be able to benefit from what she was mindlessly throwing away.   Then we went through the rest of her room.  The result? I had 4 large laundry baskets to sort through and most of it will be going to the thrift store tomorrow. I am keeping several items for us though:
    • A t-shirt that I had given her and that I think will fit me.
    • A stash of rubber bands (yes!  I needed rubber bands desperately!)
    • some paperclips
    • 2 binders
    • 1 page protector
    • old stained tshirts (will be turned into rags)
    • an index set
    • and more...

  • Dinner was the Slow Cooker Red Beans and Sausage that had been cooking all day (so glad I didn't have to cook tonight!) with a side of white rice that I cooked in the microwave. I also served corn muffins that I made with the free mix from Publix last week. Despite the Soul Seasoning that I had added to the beans and sausage, we found the dish to be pretty tasteless.  We also have A LOT of leftovers.  I put everything in the fridge for the night and I will freeze it tomorrow in 2 smaller portions, after adding some spices (Cajun Seasoning!) to it.

  • I used rainwater to water my indoor seedlings and zombie plants... my zombie lettuce is coming alive!  The heart that I set in water last week is regrowing tiny leaves :)
Ignore the black parts there... zombie plant, you know?!

  • Renewing our flood insurance policy. We're not in a flood zone, but ever since the 2005 hurricanes (4 hurricanes hit us in one month!), I've been paranoid about having a disaster hit us only to discover that we weren't carrying the right kind of insurance for the damage that we had. Those insurance companies are so... savvy. Yeah, that's the term we'll use. About 3 years ago I finally got around to getting a flood insurance policy and even though it's gone up every year and (knock on wood) we haven't had to use it, I'm glad we have it. Tampa, a mere hour from us, has been experiencing tons of rain and apparently a lot of people are flooded. So you never know what can happen. This is Florida, after all!

  • Gas: my daughter and her BFF needed to drive to Howey-in-The Hills to complete her dual enrollment paperwork at the school district level (it's been a mess) and obtain the necessary books for her college classes. However, once her paperwork was dropped off, she was told that she needed to pick the books up from the LSSC Bookstore in Clermont.  Her BFF (who now lives just a couple of streets away from our house) is also dual enrolling in the same classes, albeit on separate days and times. I'm glad that my daughter isn't one of those girls who is into making sure that she's with her friends at all times. She does what benefits her and I'm proud of the way she's handled all her schedule issues so far!

  • I was planning on cooking red beans in the crockpot for dinner tonight but I had completely forgotten that dried beans should be soaked overnight first!  I looked for solutions online and a saw that a couple of people had recommended putting the beans in water, bringing them to a boil and then letting them sit in the boiling water for an hour so I did that and then prepped the crockpot.  My forgetfulness cost us the price of boiling the beans instead of letting them soak in cold water.

  • Greg told me that he'd been buying Clif Bars at work at $3 a pop, every day.  Weird that it never came up in the conversation before, right? He asked me to get them at Publix since they're cheaper by the box. I'll get him the Aldi version instead and see if he likes them.

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


  1. I have just finished "binge-reading" my favourite blogger.....that's you, Nathalie. I had every intention of keeping up with my emails with company here but that never happened. In fact, even after my company left on Monday morning, it has taken me two days to recuperate. So now I am spending some time to catch up with my normal routine before my 22 year old granddaughter arrives on Friday.

    Actually, it has been quite fun reading all the blog postings at once. There is a little more continuity. I see that what you harvested one day is used in a recipe on another day. You use coupons to buy or "get for free" a food product that you use within a week or two. I can see how you are using up your leftovers successfully from one meal to the next. By the way, your food pictures are gorgeous....the bread looks better and better each time you make it.

    I had to laugh about you going through your daughter's things after she disposed of them. That's me. I would ask my kids to declutter and then I spent as much time going through the bags questioning nearly everything. I drove them nuts. I tried to let things go, but I had trouble with my own demons. I have a very hard time letting go. I got a little better with age, but my poor kids..... I hope I instilled in them the fact that things can be repurposed; but if you cannot use it, somebody else can.

    Congrats on reaching your 24 no-drive days for 2015. Congrats for making 3 more $25 Amazon gift cards just this month alone. Congrats for all those Freebies you have accumulated so far this month (you never disappoint). You have definitely crawled out of your funk and accomplished great things (I am so jealous). And finally, congrats to your daughter for her new job. I know how hard it is for our youth to find jobs these days.

    1. Susan! I am so humbled. Thank you so much for your sweet, sweet comment (well, all of them!). I was just telling my daughter about an hour ago how I'm always amazed that anyone would take interest in my (long!) daily list of quite mundane endeavors :) Your encouragements mean the world, they really do!

      I have to tell you that I have missed your posts on your own blog! I even considered leaving you a comment asking if everything was alright but that felt a little stalker-ish. I knew you had your younger grandchildren with you for a while but I also know that your husband is having surgery next week so I was really hoping that everything was alright on that side of things. I bet you enjoyed those grandchildren and can't wait to read about what you all did! See you on your own blog very soon!

  2. Hi, Thanks for all the ideas, we are trying to be more frugal but I can certainly learn a lot from you. I haven't made my own bread for a long time but yours looks great do you use a particular recipe? Oh and the chocolate bread is a great idea I struggle to get my little ones to eat vegetables. X

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I also learn a lot from other bloggers about being more frugal and blogging about my own efforts helps me focus on this. Good luck with your own efforts!

      I use several bread recipes but the one I've been using this whole week is the basic bread recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. It's my favorite recipe and it's also the cheapest. I recently compared the pros and cons and also cost of 3 separate bread recipes and the blog post has a link for each recipe. Check out: http://imperfectlyfrugally.blogspot.com/2015/08/making-bread-at-home-pros-and-cons-of.html and http://imperfectlyfrugally.blogspot.com/2015/08/making-bread-at-home-part-two-cost.html

      I have been cooking my Artisan bread loaves differently than the method used by the book authors, though. I use a bread plan that I spray with EVOO, I put the dough in there (1/4 of the recipe) and let it rise in the pan for several hours (usually at least 2). I preheat my oven to 450 F, put the bread pan in there for 20 minutes with a ceramic container that contains about 1/2 cup of water. I place the water container at the bottom of my oven. I don't bother with the stone, I just put the bread pan right on the oven rack. The slices aren't large enough for sandwiches (the bread maker recipe and method is better for that) but it's great bread for a small snack (with cheese or Nutella, yum!) to accompany meals.

      Let me know if you try it!


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