Frugal Living, Household

Frugal Dog Care?

IMG_0498

I have become one of those people that we have all made fun of, myself included.  I am a full fledged, proud, weird dog owner.  I am that person who talks to my dogs in really weird dog voices.  They all have really stupid nicknames, I take more pictures of them than my own children and I probably greet them first when I get home.  After all, they are happier to see me than any person has ever been to see me.  Who else might be so happy that they tinkle in happiness.  See, I said tinkle.  I am that weird that person.

I used to be really cheap when it came to my dogs.  See, before my children became adults, my dogs, while family were more pet than child to me.  In recent years, that has changed and I am no longer cheap with my dogs.

I no longer buy then cheapest dog food I can find, on sale.  I feel so bad that I used to change the dog’s food on a regular basis, based on the sale price, coupons and reward card points.  By luck, our late dogs did not have a constant case of gastroenteritis.  I know better now, dogs need to eat the same brand and if you change, it has to be gradual.  That’s not to say that I buy their food without considering the cost.  I buy the food, recommended by the vet, through chewy.com.  By doing this, I get the discount given by having a monthly shipment.  They also offered a really good introductory price which convinced me to commit.

The girls love their bully sticks.  I also buy those through chewy.com, on discount.   I buy those now instead of rawhide.  Rawhide is another thing that was a regular in this house years ago.  It’s cheap and I had no idea how bad it is for dogs.  I know better now.  Those bully sticks are really gross, aren’t they.  But, the dogs love them and when our oldest, Luna, resists coming in, a bully stick does the trick.

We live in the midwest which means that mosquitos and ticks are part of our summer fun!  Proper immunizations and preventative medicines are a must.  When I was a kid, we had a dog that got heart worms.  I have no idea what the treatment for that cost my parents, but I am so glad that I have the means to prevent that for my girls with a monthly pill.  They are also given a preventative for ticks.  The price for these pills is steep, but I believe that it is worth it if they prevent lyme disease.  I can’t believe the number of people I know who have had lyme disease, it is so unfortunate that humans are not able to take the same kind of preventative that dogs can take.  We have done all immunizations, with the exception of bordetella.  The dogs do not go to doggy daycare, until that happens, I am going put that one off.

We also keep up with annual vet visits, spay them and take them when they need care.  Because of their love of non food items, I did purchase pet insurance for unexpected visits, like needing socks removed from tummies.  We also have a Care Credit card which allows for a year of no interest in the event of the unexpected.

I am not as good as I should be in a lot of areas though.  We have a toothbrush for the dog that has never been opened.  I accepted a box of dental chews that I keep forgetting to give them, so unless I improve that, dental work is likely in their futures.  I also forget to have their nails trimmed until they are ice skating on the hardwood floors with their way too long nails.  I have a friend who works at a vet who has been known to help me get an emergency visit on a Saturday for a trim.  You know who you are!  Thank you.  Also, I have golden retrievers, they need to be groomed and brushed more.  When the weather improves, I will set up the kiddie pool and they will get a well deserved bath.  Not to mention a day in the yard playing ball with their nerf gun.

My girls are so important to us.  They complete our family and I know that they will be a great source of comfort in a few short months when our nest is empty.  Here is a picture of our girls

IMG_0574 (1)

It is really hard to take a good picture of dogs! Also, ignore that weird spot on the wood floor that needs refinishing!

 

Frugal Living, Household

Meal Plan January 12th -18th

Below is our meal plan for the week.  I had to buy fresh produce and some ingredients for my daughter’s birthday dinner.  But, we are able to continue clearing out the freezer and pantry by using what we have on hand.

Sunday 1/12 – pesto pasta and caesar salad

Monday 1/13 – My daughter turns 21 today!  She requested vegan mac and cheese, mixed greens with pomegranate seeds and goat cheese and vegan banana cake.

Tuesday 1/14 – spinach artichoke quinoa casserole

Wednesday 1/15 – bean burritos and salad

Thursday 1/16 – salmon, mashed sweet potatoes and kale salad

Friday 1/17 – lentil soup and salad

Saturday 1/18 – Due to a blizzard, last Saturday’s potluck was postponed.  All I am responsible for is dessert.

blur carbohydrates close up cooking
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Household, Recipes

Meal Plan January 5th-11th

quiche

We are trying to use up the irrational amount of food that we have stockpiled in the pantry and freezer during the month of January.  I have been reading blogs where the family has decided that they are absolutely not going to go to the grocery store.  We already have, we ran out of bananas.  But, I think we are going to be able to cut back on the grocery bill a lot this month.  Below is this week’s meal plan that utilizes food on hand.

Sunday 1/5 – Trader Joe’s Tofu turkey (this is REALLY good) and root vegetables

Monday 1/6 – Broccoli quiche and chicken breakfast sausage

Tuesday 1/7 – Crockpot chicken chili with tortilla chips

Wednesday 1/8 – Homemade cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese

Thursday 1/9 – Orzo risotto with sun dried tomatoes, broccoli and artichoke hearts

Friday 1/10 – Cod and cauliflower tots

Saturday 1/11 – OUT!  We have been invited to a potluck and all I am responsible for is dessert.  I will be bringing brownies and ice cream.

Breakfasts will be oatmeal, eggs, cereal bars or smoothies.  Lunches are usually leftovers from previous dinners.  Snacks are usually fruit, nuts, crackers, etc.

aroma chili condiments cook
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Household, Recipes

DIY Dry Shampoo

Here is a recipe for DIY dry shampoo. It is super easy to make and it works just as well as store bought dry shampoo. I found this recipe from wellnessmama.com.

Dry Shampoo Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch OR 2 tablespoons arrowroot/cornstarch + 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 5 drops of essential oil of choice (optional- I use lavender)
  • An old make-up brush to apply

Dry Shampoo Instructions

  1. Put the drops of essential oil into the arrowroot or cornstarch and mix with a spoon. Store the mix in a small jar or old powder container.
  2. Apply with an old make-up brush to the roots or oily parts of your hair. Applying with the brush is optional, but it removes the need to comb through as much and is better for styled hair. If you don’t use the brush, comb the powder through your hair and style as usual.

 

IMG_6433

Household

Lavender Room Spray

IMG_0328

My favorite scent is lavender.  I burn lavender candles, use lavender soap and lotion, diffuse lavender oil and spritz my rooms with lavender spray.  I used to spend about $10 for a bottle of room spray at my food co-op.  But now I make my own for a couple dollars, at the most.  The recipe is easy and found all over the internet.

Lavender Room Spray

1 1/2 tbsp vodka

6 tbsp water

10 drops essential lavender oil

spray bottle (mine is a recycled bottle from the spray I purchased)

Pour all ingredients in bottle and shake.

Household

Memorial Day Weekend

It was a lovely long weekend with the family.  I am forever grateful for the blessings I have living in the country I live in, surrounded by family and friends.  It should go without saying that those who died while fighting for their country deserve to be honored.  The USA is extremely polarized at this moment in time, but I think we can all agree that those soldiers who died while defending our nation have earned the respect of all of us.

My husband planted the garden this weekend.  We have had relentless rain, so I am concerned that everything might drown.  He planted tomatoes, peppers, brussel sprouts, purple cabbage, eggplant, watermelon, cantaloupe, beans and herbs.  He planted lettuce, spinach and peas several weeks ago.  It looks like we might have enough lettuce for a salad very soon.  We were able to get enough asparagus for 2 dinners.  Nothing beats asparagus from your own garden.  I prepare asparagus very simply, I roast it at 350 degrees with olive oil and Penzey’s Fox Point, it turns out perfect every single time.

60191196_10214882947092621_3304854734430535680_o

We stuck close to home over the weekend.  We had some friends over for dinner on Saturday night.  It was wonderful.  We had our first summer like evening and we sat on the patio with good food, wine, music and conversation.  Those moments are free of charge but worth so much.  I made Kale Salad on both Saturday and Sunday night.  I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I cannot.  It’s absolutely delicious.  Sunday night dinner brought all 3 of my children home and my daughters included their boyfriends.  My husband made his famous Korean Ribs.  We have given up meat, but they were still in the freezer from the pig we bought last year.  I did forgo the ribs and had veggie burger instead.  The 3 boys that were here certainly appreciated a rack of slow cooked ribs from the grill though.

My daughter is moving back home from college for at least a year.  She will commute to school, so she had to buy her first car over the weekend.  Car shopping takes way too long.  The girl test drove ONE car, was pre-approved for a loan and asked very few questions.  It still took 5 hours to complete the transaction.  I am very proud of her, she saved her money and secured a loan without any help from us.

61377886_10214941163988007_7559803543801036800_n

Hannah with her new car

Our chickens continue to lay a crazy amount of eggs and the bees have been very busy.  We lost a hive in recent weeks.  Pretty unbelievable that they survived what has to be our coldest winter in decades, only to die off when it was warmer.  Eric has no idea what caused the hive to collapse, but it goes to show that we need to everything we can to protect our honey bee population, they are so fragile.

After being fortunate enough to have a 5 day weekend, today it is time to get back to work and get back to real life.

 

Household

5 Frugal Things – May 1-7

We tried to continue with frugal and earth friendly choices the first week of May.

  1.  I bought a second hand halogen lamp from a friend for $15.  She is moving soon and getting rid of stuff.  We needed a lamp so it was a win-win.
  2. I did my monthly gas fill up on my car.  With gas points from my grocery store, I saved 90 cents per gallon on a 20 gallon tank.  Not too bad.
  3. On impulse a couple weeks ago, I bought a $60 moisturizer at Macy’s.  I don’t do things like that and knew I had to return it because I didn’t need it.  My husband on the other hand needed new shoes, desperately.  So I returned the moisturizer and bought the shoes.
  4. More on shoes.  My daughter needs sandals and as a size 11 foot, they are hard to come by.  I ordered a pair for her and for me from Teva, received a 10% off code and got free shipping.  Teva tend to be pricey, but quality shoes are worth every penny.
  5. We are phasing meat out of our diets.  This was not a spur of the moment decision and not a decision based on health.  As more news comes out about the consequences of meat consumption to the planet, we knew it was time for us to do our part.  I have also been having a difficult time reconciling my love of animals with my diet that included meat.   I did not buy any meat at the grocery store this week and the savings was noticeable.

Side note regarding our decision to phase meat out of our diet.  I know this is a personal decision and I personally do not have issues with others eating meat.  I will never be the person who lectures someone about it.  I have been on the receiving end of a lecture about why I am wrong to enjoy a hamburger (I do enjoy hamburgers).  So, I am not looking to debate the issue either way.

What did you do to save money this week?

 

57852635_10214752942242581_8366936110420459520_o

Luna pondering life

Household

5 Frugal Things

Spring is finally sprung in the midwest.  We had a really nice Easter and my birthday was also on Easter Sunday.  My family spoiled me with a wonderful day and the greatest gift a mother of 3 could ask for.  They were home with me all day and my husband took a portrait of them and had put on canvas and framed.  It had been 10 years since we had a photo like that taken.  Wow, kids change a lot in 10 years!  Even with my birthday and Easter, we were able to stick to frugality.

  1.  We had Easter brunch at home.  I made quiche with the eggs from our backyard, served with kringle, bacon and fruit.  We also had mimosas.  My birthday dinner was also at home, shrimp kabobs, rice, asparagus and homemade chocolate cake.
  2. I still try to give my kids gifts for Easter.  We keep it simple and give them things they need in addition to something for fun.  This year we were able to give our son a 6 pack of beer.  He’s 21, so totally legal.
  3. My daughter had prom.  We did not pay for her to have her hair done.  Instead, her sister came home form college and did a great job.
  4. I needed to purchase new tires for my car (not frugal, but totally necessary).  We chose tires that include a $70 rebate.
  5. My husband and daughter went to the theatre to see the new Avengers movie.  They used gift cards, saving us the cost of full price movie tickets.

What did you do to save pennies this week?

Household

5 Frugal Things This Week

We didn’t start this week off frugally.  Saturday night we went out for dinner, a rare occurrence for us.  When we go out, we tend to not keep it cheap and instead enjoy the time out.  But, we did do other things to save pennies.

  1.  My husband and I both took our lunches to work.  This is such a huge money saver.  My husband makes himself a batch of chili every week for lunches at home and the office.
  2. It’s tax time.  My husband prepared our taxes at home.  Using the site is not free, but so much cheaper than using an accountant.
  3. I stocked up on naturally made soaps at a local farm.  Four times per year the owner has an open house and sells the soap for CHEAP!  She sends out a coupon to those who have signed up on her website, I also received an additional percentage off because I am a frequent buyer.  Her soaps are wrapped in paper and twine.  No plastic, no chemicals, no waste.  I bought enough to get us through to her summer open house.
  4. I made homemade sour cream.  Suprisingly simple to make and frugal.
  5. Meal planned for the week.  Used a list at the grocery store and stuck to it.

 

56247915_10214624172703423_6658004503498850304_o

Household

Five Frugal Things

I love to turn frugality into a game.  We have to, our 2 oldest are in college and we committed to paying for their state tuition so that they don’t have to start their lives in debt.  We are proud of this gift we can give them, it does come with sacrifices on our part.  I look for ways to be frugal every day.  Here is a list of 5 things I did this week to save a few pennies here and there.

  1. We have 2 cars.  One car has a 10 gallon tank and gets amazing mileage.  That is the car we use for errands, travel and my husband’s commute downtown.  The other car gets adequate mileage, I use that for my commute 2.5 miles away from home.  We have timed gas fill ups for my car to once a month on the last day.  I use points from our grocery store to lower the cost of gas to 40 cents less per gallon.  This week was fill up day for the month of April.  Total saved $6.40
  2. As I do every week, I used the library.  It helps that I work there, but even if I didn’t I would be using it.  I checked out 4 recent movies, for free.  According to my daughter, the free viewing of Aquaman was worth $0.  She said it was terrible.  Total saved $30. This is a guesstimate of how much it would have cost had we gone to the movie theatre instead.
  3. Last summer my husband had an accident and had to have some dental work done.  What insurance did not cover (which in the United States isn’t much) I put on a Care Credit account.  We got 6 months to pay without interest.  The due date was April 5.  I paid that off on April 1.  Total saved $150.00.
  4. I have been shopping the pantry and freezer this week.  Our freezer is in desperate need of defrosting, but first it needs to be emptied, so I am getting creative.  Not sure how much I saved on groceries this week.
  5. My husband brewed a batch of beer last weekend.  He recycled the grains that he used in the beer for homemade bread.  Delicious bread.  Again, not sure on the savings.

books