Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Frugal Fun No. 20

Hey friends, I'm back with another edition of Frugal Fun and I hope it finds you well.

These are the things I've done to save money over the past couple of weeks. I'd love to hear all your clever, money-saving tricks too, so please share them in the comments below.

My kids and I watched the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice on Netflix this week and I was surprised by how much the kids loved it. I thought it might be a bit over their heads, but they just asked questions when they were confused and then carried on watching. S thought Mr Darcy secret-smiled a lot, especially when he was looking at Elizabeth Bennet.

I told you about our trip to North Head in my last Frugal Fun post, but what I didn't mention was that the kids went as part of Auckland City Council's Kiwi Guardians initiative and kept their eyes peeled for the Kiwi Guardians post so they could find the code word on it and send off for their Kiwi Guardians medals and certificates. Our packages arrived in the mail last week, much to my kids' excitement.

As usual, I've been getting out stacks of library books to read. Too many to list here, but since one is actually about being frugal, I thought it would be pertinent to mention. It's called Meet the Frugalwoods, and I'm yet to read it, but I'll be sure to let you know what I think of it when I'm done.

L and I have been listening to the Little Women audiobook on our drives to various homeschool group activities. The book is surprisingly long, so I'm glad I'm not the one reading it aloud. We got the audiobook out through the Auckland Library's Overdrive app, so it was free.

We've been trying to think of ways to help L learn French, so yesterday I allowed her to watch several episodes of Miraculous Ladybug in French on YouTube. By the end of the episodes, she felt like she was understanding more, so I'll try to find other French shows for her to watch from time to time to increase her French exposure.

You may know from my recent health post that I started taking iodine about three weeks ago. The result has been nothing less than spectacular. The goitre on my thyroid that had been growing since last year, has shrunk away to almost nothing. Seriously, it's crazy how fast it's shrinking, considering how long it took to grow. I've also been rubbing Francincense oil on the goitre every day, and sometimes taking a drop of Francincense oil under my tongue, so that could also be helping shrink the goitre. (I mentioned it in my health post, but I'm still so amazed/horrified that none of my doctors ever mentioned that iodine deficiency is a cause of goitres. When I asked the throat surgeon who ultrasounded my thyroid what might have caused my goitres, he said it was probably hereditary, which I thought was a bit strange since, to my knowledge, no one else in my family has ever had them.)

To take the iodine, I mix it into almond milk, because taking it in any kind of milk neutralises the iodine taste. I could use cows' milk, but I'm trying to cut back on my dairy intake. To save money on buying almond milk, I bought raw almonds last week and am using them to make my own fresh almond milk every few days.

I bought a couple of non-fiction books for our homeschool library from my local library's sale rack. Wonders of the World has beautiful imagery all the way through which has had my kids completely fascinated. My children have also enjoyed flicking through the book about Leonardo de Vinci, although L thinks Leonardo was better at drawing animals than people, and S wonders why he drew so many naked people.

I accepted six short-dated free admission tickets to the Auckland Zoo from a friend and hoped to use them before they expire at the end of this week, but the rain was not on my side. I will ask my neighbours if they want them.

L and I made shea body butter for science last week, using ingredients I bought at Pure Nature in Henderson. It was a pretty fun science class, and I like that we have something useful to show for it. My skin gets really dry over winter, and the shea body butter is great for combating that, especially on my hands.

L is hand-sewing a bag out of fabric scraps she found in my sewing basket.

I bought a lifetime membership to last week in a 40% off sale, because my friend, Angela had shared a couple of resources from the site and my kids loved working through them. Now we have the membership, I've been printing off all sorts of worksheets and workbooks for my kids, and have been amazed at how quickly J is picking up maths and writing concepts with them. I've also let L and J trial a few games on the website for maths and typing, and those were a big hit too. I'm yet to explore the guided lessons, but I think that's what I'll be trying to figure out next.

I've been getting out early readers from the library so J can practise reading to me. It's so exciting to see how excited he is about learning to read, and he already knows far more than I thought he did, just from constant exposure to books. He loves his night-time stories (and his any-time-of-day stories).

I finished my final assignment for the Certificate in Horticulture I've been working on for the past year and a half. I passed the assignment too, so I guess this means I'll be actually receiving my Certificate in the mail soon. Woohoo! Now that I've finished the course, I'm using my spare time to work on other writing projects. It feels really good!

I gratefully accepted two bags of fruit from my mother-in-law, when she came to stay with us over the weekend. I also collected several free kiwifruit from J's kindy, which had a bucket of them free to take, and I happily received a bag of oranges that my friend, Anna, dropped around yesterday afternoon. This afternoon we made orange, grapefruit and lemon juice with some of the free fruit, and it was delicious. We were able to share it with friends who came over for a play date this afternoon.

I took a salad to share at a family dinner on Sunday night, and much of the salad (kale, lettuce, spinach and parsley) was sourced from my own garden.

I baked Chocolate Weetbix Slice for kids' lunch boxes to use up all the Weetbix crumbs leftover in the bottom of the box. It was my first time making it, and S thought it tasted like chocolate brownie.

I turned leftover pasta bolognese into a pasta bake for our Monday night's dinner by sprinkling cheese and bread crumbs on top and baking it in the oven.

Last night we had roast chicken for dinner, since I got a good deal on whole chickens at Pak'N'Save recently and stocked up. Tonight I used the leftovers to make chicken barley soup for dinner, which I served with homemade bread rolls. L and I will eat some of the leftover soup for lunch tomorrow too, so this chicken is the gift that keeps on giving.

I filled up two of my raised beds with store-bought organic potting mix last week. I had been topping up the beds with free ingredients like seaweed and homemade compost, but they both needed a little bit more to get filled right to the top, and I wanted to be able to plant into them now so I can use the gardens over winter. I bought a few different greens, like spinach, silverbeet, lettuce, coriander and broccoli to plant into one of the gardens, and I'm sprinkling seeds in the other. So far S and I have sprinkled in kale and coriander seeds, which I collected off my own plants earlier in the year. I also found a packet of carrot seeds down the back of a piece of furniture, so I'll sprinkle that in too.

I managed to dry quite a bit of washing on the line in the sunny days between rainy ones. Today was beautifully fine all day, so I was able to catch up on all the washing that had built up in the rainy weather over the past few days. I staggered each load so that it could spend some time on the line to get mostly dry, before I pulled it in and finished it off in the dryer. I had several loads to get through and not enough line space to hang everything out at the same time, so this was the most power-saving way I could think to get through it all.

I've been running the dehumidifier pretty constantly over winter to keep the house dry, as it means we don't need to run the heater at such a high temperature. Hopefully that will keep our power bill at a reasonable level during these colder months and help keep us healthy. I'm so keen to get a heat pump when we have the funds for it, because that will be a much more cost-effective way to heat and dry our house.

I babysat for a friend last week, who I do a regular babysitting swap with. She will babysit for me next week when Paul and I go out to our monthly parents' group.

I haven't put out our kerb-side rubbish to be collected for the past fortnight, since there's still plenty of room in it and it costs about $3.60 every time we have it emptied. It will need to go out next week though, as it's getting pretty stinky and I think it will be completely full by then.

I think that's all my frugal news for now. Remember to share your frugal successes in the comments below, so we can champion each other on. Have a good rest of your week!

Emma xx

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