Monday, May 14, 2018

Frugal Fun No. 17 - Joy in the simple things

Today is about celebrating our recent frugal successes, no matter how big or small...

Paul recently gave J a haircut, using the electric clippers I bought on a half-price sale a few months back.

We've been making good use of our Thermos Funtainers to pack frugal hot lunches for out and about. (I managed to get these Funtainers basically free earlier this year, using an Amazon voucher I had earned.) You can read more about how we're using them in this post.

I planted coriander seeds in my freshly topped-up garden, using seeds I had collected myself.

My cat got into a fight and was looking very poorly, so I pulled aside some meat from our dinners to feed him, and he perked right up. Much more affordable than a vet's bill!

I whizzed up the spent vegetable scraps and bones from last week's batch of chicken stock to feed to my garden as a zero-waste fertiliser. (I added lots of water to the mixture first, to make it more of a liquid fertiliser.)
I emptied one half of my rotating compost bin into my wheelbarrow. I fed some of the compost to my citrus trees, and used the rest to top up what had been a tomato garden. I had left the compost to rot down for a long time, and was amazed at how fresh and soil-like it smelled. I think it also helped that I had fed wood mulch into the compost bin every time I emptied our kitchen scraps into it, to keep a good balance of nitrogen and carbon in there, and prevent the compost turning anaerobic.

I picked up an outdoor table from a friend, who has offered it to me on a long-term loan. We managed to fit the table into the back of my car, with a bit of grunt-work. I paid my girls and their neighbour friend to scrub it clean with Sugar Soap, as it had been neglected for a couple of years and wasn't looking its best.

I will be picking up rounded ends for the table and several deck chairs from the same friend, once the weather decides to cooperate.

It was so nice eating our Mother's Day dinner on the table last night. I'm also looking forward to doing homeschool work out there when the weather clears up.

The girls and I got stuck into weeding the bricks around and under the trampoline last weekend. I'm too tall to go under the trampoline, so I paid the girls to do that part. It looks much nicer out there now. My girls even managed to rope their neighbour friend into helping them weed, so she earned a bit of pocket money for that too.

Lately I've been thinking about how nice it would be to have a dishwasher, mainly because dishes take up all the limited bench space we have in the kitchen. But then I decided, my kids can be my dishwasher. They need to learn how to do more chores around the house anyway. On a couple of nights last week, I washed the dishes, and S and L dried them and put them away. On another night, Paul washed the dishes and taught J how to dry them and put them away. I can't tell you how nice it was to wake up in the morning to a clean and clear kitchen bench.

I worked on a horticulture assignment every chance I got last week, and managed to finish it and post it off. Now I only have one more assignment to go and I will have completed my Certificate of Horticulture. I've learned so much from this course. It's been really interesting. The kids have learned a lot too, because I'm always spouting off facts about various plants as we walk around.

I gratefully accepted a bag of gold kiwifruit and feijoas from a friend. I also helped myself to several gold kiwifruit from J's Kindy, that were being given away. J and I walked home a different way from his Kindy one afternoon last week and discovered a row of feijoa trees on public property. J had a grand ol' time crawling under the bushes, hunting for feijoas. He and S ate most of them for afternoon tea, getting wonderfully sticky in the process.

I took J to the dental nurse for a free check up and managed to get L seen at the same time. Both kids got a fluoride coating applied between their back molars, and they have also been scheduled to go back in and have a special coating put on the chewing surfaces of their back molars. These measures should protect them from decay for a little while, and hopefully mean they won't have to get fillings at some point in the future. I'm not sure how I feel about fluoride. It's one of those toxic things that is also quite useful. I guess I prefer to have it applied topically than to ingest it in our drinking water, which we do anyway since our Brita doesn't filter it out.

We celebrated Mother's Day yesterday with a full-day extravaganza, and it was lovely. The kids brought me breakfast in bed, along with many cards and gifts they had made and Paul had bought. We then went to church, where my girls both read from Corinthians 13, along with several other gorgeous children. In the afternoon, we went to the Zoo, making use of our Friends of the Zoo passes, which expire soon. We then picked up Thai for dinner, which was so delicious, but not particularly frugal, and ate it out on our new-to-us deck table.

All in all, it was a week of simple joy.

Now it's your turn to share what you've been doing to save money lately. I'd love to be encouraged by your efforts, and I'm sure others would too.

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