Sunday, September 28, 2014

Last Weeks Frugal Accomplishments

Hello everyone!  The last two weeks seem to me to have been much like a whirlwind.  With guests in town my days have been full with little time to breathe let alone blog my accomplishments and revelations.  But with a tiny moment to inhale and exhale I now take the time to document my frugal endeavors.

*52 Week Savings Plan:  I am abandoning this project but am determined to begin anew in the year 2015.

*Christmas Jar of Change:  $16.72 is added to the previous balance of $147.52 for a grand total of $164.24!

*Favorite Frugal Accomplishments:

-Twice I watched the Midwest premiere of the stage production of Mary Poppins without paying the price of admission by volunteering to usher one show and work the boutique for another show.  Volunteering at our community theatre is a great way for us to partake in top notch entertainment without paying a thing.  My older sister and I hope to usher at least one time during every production this year allowing us to take in nine different productions at no charge.

-I got my military pass from the National Park Service that allows for free entry to all national parks, memorials, and monuments for a year.  I used my pass to take my sister and nephew to our local national battlefield while they were visiting from out of state.

-While family visited we participated in other forms of free to cheap entertainment.  We played games, learned how to do branch weavings, and played capture the flag at the park.  My sister, Christie, and Bishop were taught how to skin animals by my nephew, Kevin.  They skinned a badger.  Later we found a badger pelt that we could have purchased for $75.

-While my father and his wife were visiting we took them to our local art museum and to a really cool art gallery that were both beautiful and free of charge.

-Our internet went out.  There was a delay in it getting repaired so I negotiated a credit to my account of $55.

-I found a couple of books in the house that I had never read.  I have now read them.  More free entertainment.

-I really did an OK job planning ahead even with the distraction of out-of-state guests.  One day as we girls were heading out for a day of flea markets, food, and fun I managed to get tuna salad, deviled eggs, and jello made for the boys to have for lunch.  I also managed to get short ribs (gifted to me by my niece) in the oven to slow cook and chicken in the refrigerator to marinade (using lemons that I found in the fridge and herbs from my garden).  The preparation of these two entrees allowed me to get dinners on the table for my guests even on the busiest of days.

-I purchased some drastically marked down produce.  For $2.98 I got 3 large avocados, 4 bell peppers, about a dozen hot peppers, half a dozen limes, an orange, 3 mangoes, a kiwi, 4 large tomatoes, and 8 apples.  I diced all the peppers and put them in the freezer.  I made guacamole, salsa and apple crisp.  Now I need to figure out what to do with the kiwi and mango, hmmmm.

Because our routine was seriously disrupted with our special visitors I did not feel as though the past two weeks had been particularly frugal.  However, after completing this list I am very satisfied.  I think that I may be forming some good habits...maybe.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Last Weeks Frugal Accomplishments

*52 Week Savings Plan:  For the last two weeks I have not placed any money in this account.  I m loathe to give up but am considering just trying this again next year.  Balance $29.

*Christmas Jar of Change:  $4.30 will be added to the change jar for a new total of $147.52.

*Favorite Frugal Accomplishments:

-I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items and came out with more than anticipated.  Often times this would create a sense of regret but not today.  I managed to score three dozen free eggs, some highly discounted salmon, shrimp and cocktail sauce, and italian sausage, 35 lbs. of dog food for $9, and earned 30 bonus fuel points.

-Another trip to the grocery store found me purchasing Capri Sun and instant oatmeal in damaged boxes for .99 each.  I would not typically buy these items but for this price I believed that they would be enjoyed.  And they have been.  As I have been enjoying my homemade laundry detergent I had no intent on buying any at the store; however, I also purchased some highly discounted detergent that worked out to be a quarter of a cent per load.

-I received my quarter of a cow.  The freezer is full of roasts and steaks and ground beef and, best of all, the price came out to be less then $2 per pound.

-I filled up my gas tank using gas rewards.

-The air conditioner went off when the temperature began to drop.  When it got cold enough to consider turning the heat on I delayed as long as possible, promoting wearing layers in the house.

-My most favorite frugal accomplishment of the past two weeks has been to get to see Maceo's new performance twice for free.  Maceo is in the Midwest premiere of the stage production of Mary Poppins.  I ushered the preview which allowed me to see the production without cost.  Also, Maceo is given two complimentary tickets one of which I used to watch the opening night performance.  It was fantastic!!!

I am sure that I did other little things that were frugal but I failed to keep track of them.  The last two weeks have been a little crazy and the failures stand out to me more then the successes.  I have eaten out way too often - nearly every day for the last week.  I am afraid that I have a plethora of science experiments going on in the fridge.  I have used what seems to be a ton of gas.  We have been incredibly busy but I am afraid that I have failed to plan well.  That really does seem to be the key - thinking ahead, anticipating, planning.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Lifestyle of Learning 2014 Edition: Volume Fourteen

Monday September 1st marks the end of summer for us.  We now look to fall and all the traditions and opportunities that accompany it.  It is during this time that we evaluate our goals, particularly educational goals.  This year marks the beginning of a new journey for us - Maceo is in high school.  We have spent time discussing high school and post-high school goals and dreams and then creating some plans that will support them.  This year should be a fun and mind-expanding adventure.
And we are off to a great start...
Maceo began troupe rehearsal this week.  He also became a troupe mentor for the youngest troupers, for which I am very proud of him.
He continued to rehearse for the upcoming production of Mary Poppins.  The show opens next week!!!  Tech week will begin tomorrow - it will be a very busy week, the good kind of busy!!!
Maceo also continued with private vocal instruction and began and finished The Glass Menagerie.
Maceo finished up his week with his first troupe performance.  The troupes performed on the steps of the theatre during the First Friday Art Walk. He had the opportunity to perform a solo piece as well.  He performed "If Ever I Would Leave You" from Camelot.

Bishop also had a full week  He began reading Beowulf, Homer, The Number Devil, and Son of Charlemagne.
He went to the archery range for a little physical education and to complete his archery merit badge.

It was an energizing evening!
Thursday morning we hosted a breakfast for some friends and convened the inaugural meeting of our new service project group.  For the month of September we have decided to collect used shoes to benefit Sole Food.  The boys made collection boxes and will place them in their locations this next week.

(There is always some goofiness with this group.  This wasn't even the half of it.  The bulk of it came from my Bishop but, alas, he was elusive and there is no photographic evidence.  Shucks!)
This same group then moved right in to nature study group.  Using Bishop's Biology book as reference they prepared jars for cultures.
Then we went out to the watershed for a picnic and to collect some water samples.

He created cultures of these water samples that will be examined under the microscope next week.
Bishop wrapped up his week by participating in a merit badge university.  He learned how to weld and earned his welding merit badge in the process.

It was a spectacularly full week!
Loving this adventure we are sharing!