Frugal Friday Week #11

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I always feel like I post many how-to’s and not many “real lifes”. Although I do try and incorporate that into my newer posts, I’ve often thought that it might be even more helpful for my readership to get a better glimpse inside of what our simple/homestead/from scratch/frugal life really looks like.

Tomato Starts
My tomato starts are looking really good! I finally took off their growing domes and took them off the heat mats. The stems are really nice and thick.

Frugal Friday Week 11

So I’ve started a new series called Frugal Friday and need your help. My idea for this series is to share some of the projects/recipes/things we worked on this week and, in general, just what life looks like.

I need your help because I’ve tried something similar before, and I gave up after a while. I got bored, felt like no one was reading it or cared, and I moved on to other projects. So what I need you to do each week is to share what your week looked like in the comments section. I think it could keep us ALL accountable and may serve as an encouragement to others!

So let’s dive right into this week!

Cute old picture we found of my Grandma holding some of the veggies that her family grew on the farm.

Meals We Ate

Can you believe I forgot to write down our meals this week? We had several appointments, and it was so nice outside that I think keeping track of meals just totally went out of my mind. We worked on eating up some leftover breakfasts I had put away in the freezer (muffins, breakfast cookies, waffles), and I made one batch of stir fry. For most of the rest of the week, we ate on the Easter leftovers, and I repurposed them in different ways (i.e.: the ham was mixed in with mac and cheese and peas).

Shopping I Did

The only shopping I did this week was to buy some party supplies for an upcoming birthday. Each birthday we let our children pick a “theme,” and we have the downstairs all decorated for that theme for their birthday day. We also let our children pick every meal they want on the day of their birthday, and thankfully, I already had everything that our son wants, so I didn’t have to buy anything for that.

We also rented a mini excavator like we do most summers. This time we have it rented for a week. We are using it to dig some trenches we need, put in a second full campsite on our land, and dig up topsoil for my garden beds. We are thankful that renting is an option for those of us that can’t afford big equipment!

Baby Chicks
Healthy and happy baby chicks that we hatched out over the weekend.

Outside Projects We Worked On

This week was all about getting the campsite ready for a new family that will be staying with us and helping on the homestead this summer. We had part of a camper pad we made last year, so we needed to haul rock and finish that space, cut down trees, trench in electricity, and get everything set up. It should be finished over the weekend.

We also had some time to work on our small greenhouses that we are putting up in the new garden area. The tunnel isn’t done yet but it will be this weekend. We worked on adding some bracing inside, so it’s not just cattle panels.

We also worked on setting up the greenhouse that was given to us and learned that it’s 20’x12′ so now I can get some plastic covered. My tomato plants will be very happy this year!

My chicks finished hatching last weekend, and we ended up with 26 chicks. We sold all of them since it’s so hard to get chicks this year (at least in our area), and I am starting another batch in the incubator this weekend.

Canned Foods
The canning that I did last weekend. We’ve already taste tested all of the things and it’s all good!

Inside Projects We Worked On

I’m still slowly making my way through my spring cleaning. I washed all the curtains this week and replaced the shower curtain with the one I have for summer. I’ve been cleaning out the school books and crafting supplies and condensing what we don’t need. Anything that I find that’s worth something has been getting listed for sale, and we’ve been able to sell a few things, which is nice for a little extra.

I also had a big canning day as I had some extra produce that needed to be dealt with. I canned Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate, Mushrooms, Bruschetta, and Corn Relish. I did take pictures of everything so that I can put up blog posts very soon with all the recipes.

Books I’m Reading

Another week with no reading books. As we are outside more as it gets into summertime, this is pretty typical for me unless I get an afternoon that’s too hot to do much.

Wheat Crackers

Blog Posts I Wrote

I have quite a few blog posts drafted right now, but I haven’t gotten them published yet! I plan to work on them in the coming week to get them out to you (especially the canning recipes). Here’s what I did do this week:

  • 14 Simple Gardening Tips – This is a fun post with short tips that might be helpful whether you are a new or an experienced gardener.
  • Homemade Wheat Crackers – This is the homemade version of “Wheat Thins,” and they are so tasty!
My constant companion “helping” me clean out school and craft supplies this week.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

It still looks like a nice spring week next week, like the one we had this week, thankfully! Almost all of our snow is gone, and we’ve had some beautiful days. Next week we will finish up the greenhouse and hopefully get the cabbage and broccoli outside, plus get the peas planted. Today is going to be my meal prep day for the coming week, so it will be nice to get that out of the way too. As the days get warmer and busier, having prepped and planned meals is so important.

So tell me….what did life look like for you this week? What did you do, make, or plan to do?

Me and KadyMerissa has been blogging about and living the simple life since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to the 100-acre farm and ministry on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.


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  1. I have not been in a cooking mood lately, so this week was mostly eating leftovers mixed in with a little take-out. I don’t like to throw food away, so I’m pretty good at repurposing those. My fridge likes to freeze produce, so I made some freezer pickles out of a bag of cucumbers that got a little too cold in the fridge. I’ve never had them, so I’m excited. I had leftover vinegar mixture, so I made spicy pickled carrots, which I have been snacking on all week. So good!
    It’s almost time to plant here, and I’m so excited. My meat CSA starts up soon as well. I love this time of year!

  2. You seem so busy. I think I am but not getting half done what I would like to. Spin my wheels, need to get organized. Reading you makes me feel like it’s possible!

      1. Hi Merissa,
        Thank you for sharing with us. You are an inspiration to others! This is the first time I have read your blog. I want to encourage you to keep going because even if you can’t always see/hear it, you are making a positive difference in people’s lives 🙂

        In between homesteading/slow living and prepping, I have also been studying and learning/applying the concept of Hygge (It’s Danish/Scandinavian; pronounced “Hoo-gah”; a place/ times of coziness, enjoying the simple things, being content right where you are in life, in the moment) and in between this and slow living, have started to absolutely fall in love with life! Here are some things I have done this week that incorporate both Hygge as well as Homesteading/Slow living:
        Working on reading 2 different books about Hygge and /Cottegecore; Decluttering to make life a little simpler and enjoying what is left after the clutter is gone, that perhaps I forgot I had in the first place. Found that i had some extra time in the week to relax and have fun; watered my plants and fed them, Made a new kale soup recipe, and some kale chips with new seasons (dill, chipotle and mediteranian), had my morning hygge time > a time to write, listen to the birds singing, and just enjoy what’s going on in the moment. And maybe most important, I took time today to spend time with my loved ones, my 96 yr old grandpa, and go to a high school friend’s birthday that I haven’t spent time with in years. *I enjoyed this time and staying present in the moment helped me to enjoy these times and not rush past them. *also found 3 bell peppers growing on my plant earlier this week 🙂

  3. Hello Merissa,
    I so enjoy your posts and tend to find some useful hints and plenty of inspiration from them. I am 81 yrs young and live in the East TN valley between Knoxville and the Smokies. I have 2 small garden areas at my home, one in the front yard and one in the back. Our house sits a half acre on a hill, so the front is one story and the back is two stories, which makes for a lot of exercise of these old bones when working my gardens. This week I finally finished setting up an 7’x12′ garden tunnel in the back garden area and also build a 6′ table for some of my plant starts. I also planted potatoes in one of the beds in the front garden and onion sets, broccoli, cabbage and celery starts in the back garden beds. There are just the two of us but, I also can a lot of my garden blessings and I also work part-time at home as a graphic designer. Something I have done full-time for over 60 yrs and absolutely love. I have evolved from a drawing board artist to a computer artist over those years. Life brings all of us many opportunities to learn new and exciting things if we just take those steps forward. I have only been gardening since we moved her from Maryland 6 yrs ago. Another reason I enjoy your blogs. May God continue to bless you and yours.

  4. Loving you blog posts and can’t wait for the canning recipes as I’m doing more of that this year and am always looking for new and different things to try!

    Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  5. It was unusually warm here (Northern, WI), 80 degrees yesterday, back in the 40’s next week. I have been soaking up every minute I can outside

  6. Hi Merissa:

    Not too much to report on my end but I did get my tomatoes and some of my flower seedlings transplanted. I still need to do a bit more. Overall, my inside starts are doing well. Our weather has been a mixed bag over the past couple of weeks and there is still considerable snow in my back yard so I won’t be gardening for a bit yet. That being said, my hollyhocks and columbines are coming up. The perigine falcons are back and other birds are courting so spring is here I think. Yesterday AM my hubby and I heard a drumming and squawking sound coming from the roof and discovered a male Northern Flicker (woodpecker) in full courting mode. He was using our metal chimney cover as a way to create noise to attract attention of a female. No sign of any robins yet. They are late this year. Please keep your posts coming. I love this Frugal Friday info. Reading your posts and that of others keeps my moral up and encourages me to do more.

  7. Hello! My husband got two raised strawberry beds made from pallets, stained them and we planted them both full of strawberry roots.
    Learning as I go in raising quail. We have our first little covey of hens for eggs. They are three weeks old.
    We put a solar fan in the room we are using as half ‘hen’ house, half green room.
    Have all our starter seeds planted and under grow lights until time to plant in the garden.
    Learning on sprouts as well but have problems getting the hulls off. Any advice on that would be great!!

  8. Hello, I love reading your blog. I’m not very frugal but wish I was. I look at your blog for ideas that might fit our lifestyle, hubs and I both work out side the home but are nearing retirement age and will need to fit more do it yourself projects into our lives.
    This last week we planted tomatoes and peppers in one of my raised beds and am still working on the other two beds, they were overgrown with grass during the winter.
    thanks again for you insights,

  9. The weather in PA is gorgeous as well. We hit 86 yesterday. I retired a year ago after 47 years. Finding my new normal has been a challenge but I am getting there…I hope!! I continue to make a daily list of what I would like to get completed, which includes menus. Cooking for two is a challenge, but I seem to be doing better with planning. I admire your canning. Actually, the local grocery store had a sale on carrots. I purchased 6lbs which yields 10 pints. Did the prep work today and will pressure can tomorrow. Cost 4.50!!!! The Amish have several settlements in our area. And they do sell bushel baskets of produce very reasonable. My goal is to purchase large quantities and then can, rather than putting in a garden. I budget 2 hours a day to go through closets and craft items to keep/trash/and donate. One idea is to create greeting card/note card kits with card bases, decorative paper, envelopes, embellishments and glue stick. I package these and donate to local nursing homes for craft time.
    Have a great week and thanks for all of your efforts!

  10. The equipment you rented, was it like a Bobcat? We’ve been curious about that too. The upfront cost can be quite high. thanks!!

    1. The particular one we have now is Kabota brand and it was rented through a local equipment rental place. We always rent it by the week or by the month because it’s much cheaper that way and we can get a lot done at once.

  11. Hello! Tried a new recipe this week: lemon blueberry quick bread because I found a good deal on lemons and blueberries. It was really good. 😊 Not much else different at this time.

  12. Last September and October I canned some tomato sauce, from the tomatoes I grew in my garden. in 2008 I canned 2 quart jars of sauce, I thought I did something wrong because it separated. Last night I used some of the jars to make spaghetti. it was delicious.
    If you want to can tomatoes give it a go. I’m glad I did.

  13. Wonderful Post! Love all the pictures and what you’ve been doing. I put out all our deck furniture this week as it’s been very warm here in the North East. Raked leaves from all the flower beds, and raked up the raised garden beds as well. Tended my few blueberry bushes and my strawberries. All is looking good :0) Outside a lot this week, but I know that Spring cleaning is calling me…

  14. Hi

    It’s been a productive week in the garden. The weather now allowed me to get my early spring seeds planted. Along with orange carrots, I am trying multi colored correct. They looked pretty. I hope they taste good.
    I have had a sweet tooth this week. I made cookies and a chocolate pie.
    Unfortunately, I have an injured dog. She cut the pad on her paw. She has to wear a bandage. I given her my time this week.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  15. Hi Merissa! I am so glad the snow dissappeared for you and you were able to get outside some. It is raining here in North Carolina today so nothing outside but working on laundry and a little crochet today. I hope next week goes great for you and you keep progressing. Your canned stuff is beautiful!

  16. Boy, just when I think I have a busy week, I read your post! lol From also here in WI, as one of your posters noted, below, took advantage of the warmer weather to turn over all the compost we’ve been collecting through the winter; last fall, we dumped all of the dirt and organic material from our container tomatoes into it, so we will have super-healthy stuff ready for when it’s finally stable enough to bring the tomatoes and Hatch chiles I started inside a couple of weeks ago outside to harden. Been busy helping my daughter, who is buying her 1st home – such a triumph and a story of overcoming adversity, that one! She struggle with mental illness, as well as Autism, and is Disabled; through dedication, muscling to work as many hours as she’s medically-able, and the angels at our local Credit Union, as well as a little co-conspiring from a classmate of my husband’s, who is a Realtor, we’ve secured her a safe, small enough to manage (965 ft sq), and thoroughly updated home (roof, siding, mechanicals, etc.!). A dream come true for her, and in recent years, so unlikely for a young person in her situation. So, lots to do before closing in 2 weeks, including helping her start seeds for her 1st-ever garden!!! So exciting!

    On the home front, though, I wound up a foot injury, and was EVER SO GRATEFUL I was my own little good fairie over the winter and soaked/canned all of those pounds of beans – beans/lentils/rice were fast, easy to put together, along with canned tomatoes and frozen chiles into any number of Indian/Mexican/Mediterranean dishes in almost no time on my foot! If ever I was a doubter that the time saved was worth the space, canned over dried? I doubt, no more!!! Have a wonderful weekend!!! Thanks so much for the great tips, posts, etc! I love reading what others are up to – it inspires me to plug away!!!

  17. I opened the rest of my mini greenhouses and transplanted into garden. I now have spinach, leaf lettuce, broccoli, and Swiss and rainbow chard growing along with the peas, potatoes, radishes and beets I planted earlier. I started seeds for zucchini, cucumbers, and all my melons, squash and pumpkin. They should be ready to go in the garden in May. I love spending time outside! Thanks for all you do!

  18. Question about canning: do you make several things at once and can them the same or next day? I am curious about workflow. I am new to canning and a little nervous I think, and have been thinking that I want to can some things that I have previously just frozen (broth, jam, etc). Is it fairly easy to make and can same day, and still do other things ongoing, or is canning the day’s activity?

    Frugal things: we hosted Easter and made a ham, so I used it as leftovers several times (ham and bean soup, quiche, with veggies, and froze some cubes). I sold my first book used and would like to look through the shelves to see if I can let go of any more we don’t need. Found a few tops in my size and style at the thrift store for the summer.

    1. I prefer to do big batches of canning in a single day. It makes for a very long day but I like it that way because I have everything out and get it done at once.

  19. I love spring, but it went up to the 80’s three days this week and I have grown quite heat intolerant as the years go by. Well, I HAVE to tolerate it, but I don’t enjoy it.
    This week flew by with lots of appointments. Today was supposed to be my big gardening day. I was going to put up reinforced chicken wire fencing around my beds to keep out my 1 year old German Shepherd (a girly girl named Axe, lol), and plant all my tomato seedlings and beans. Well, last night at midnight when I was heading to bed I heard a scuffle. Axe tried to play with my 6 lb. male Maltese (boy, named Zeus) and landed her 80 lbs. right on him. He was twitching and out of it. We spent all night in the emergency veterinary clinic. Got in at 4:30 a.m., got to bed at 5:30, and was up at 7:15 to get going for the last of some more follow-up Dr. appointments for me. Needless to say when I got home at 11 a.m. I went to sleep. Zeus is sore but fine, all of my tests came out fine, and tomorrow is a new day. My shepherd is well trained, well behaved, and gets tons of compliments by others regarding her obedience, but still has a good dose of puppy in her. We will be training her more (kindly) and keep them separate or 24/7 supervised; Zeus love taunting Axe. I take advice, if anyone has any!
    As always, we have much to be thankful for.

  20. Well Merissa you have been busy inside and outside I dug 3 potato plants just to see if they were ready and yes from those I canned 7 qts of potato fries and made a scallop cassarole. I did a class on Bug Out bags at my church this Thursday and that went well. Planted more seeds in the garden and pulled more weeds too. Baby chicks are doing well and growing fast. Made several different recipes from my food storage went over good with my picky bunch!! Thats about it besides laundry and a little decluttering I’m tired Lol Have a blessed week.

  21. I live in southern Ontario, Canada and we’ve had some very hot days this week. My husband and I changed from winter to summer tires on the cars. He planted some peas and radishes in the garden, but the weather for Monday is calling for snow so it’s hard to know when to get the garden going full tilt. I’ve started to walk for an hour every day on our dirt road in the country and it was weird to be wearing shorts while walking past the last few snowbanks on the side of the road by the forest. It’s been a busy week, but have to take time tomorrow to grind wheat and bake bread as I’m almost out. Who knew retirement could be so busy.

  22. Thanks Merrisa for the wonderful posts. Always nice to read them. This week I was busy with my kid goats born during Easter weekend. I have 5 and one of them not bonding with her mom. I have to hold her so baby goat can nurse. Hopefully she will nurse her baby on her own. All for now. Have a good weekend.

  23. We had a busy week too! Rental properties are our main income… so we are always working on them. We put in a couple gates at on that had a fen already in and we put in a floor at another. We did a bunch of gardening too! We are too busy didn’t grow most of the plants so we had to buy them. It is supposed to get cold tonight so we will cover them. I am planning to go get a bunch of baby stuff tonight with my daughter and a friend who is having our first grand babies (twins) in September or october.

  24. Hi Merissa, my week was all work (corporate) and not much else. I love reading your blogs and recipes. I dream of having a garden and becoming more self sufficient on my acre of land. I have learned so much from you and save every email from the time I subscribed. Thank you for not giving up and sharing so many how to’s and your life with us. You are truly inspiring! Love the gluten free options of your recipes too!

  25. This has been a busy week for me. One day I helped our church ladies clean my neighbor lady’s house before her new baby arrives. We worked hard and cleaned her whole house from floor to ceiling.
    I spring cleaned my own livingroom and had fun organizing a desk with bookshelves we just moved downstairs. I always have a lot of books in the livingroom, I’m either reading, or go to for reference like health books or bird books etc. So it’s so nice to have them more organized. Along with a space for my daughter’s homeschool books.
    I also planted some flowers and planted cucumbers and pole beans and melons.
    I’m getting company this weekend so I cleaned up my upstairs and got the beds all ready for them. I was hoping to wash the windows and the walls as well, but seen I’m not going to have time, so I decided to wait until after the company leaves.
    We too, ate mostly leftovers from Easter. I made a blueberry coffee cake and apple cake with fresh ground spelt flour, and both turned out good. If you have never heard of Bread Beckers I highly recommend you check out their website and listen to their podcasts. They have so many stories of the benefits of baking with freshly milled flour.
    I hope you all have a blessed weekend.

  26. Always love reading frugal fridays. My week was hectic but got a chance to do some outside work. Pulled weeds from flowers.
    Did some prepped work Easter dinner also made a new dessert for Easter and it turned out great.
    Looking ahead to next week we have a few nice days next week so I am going to clean the porch and doing some meal planning as well

  27. My week has been kind of a catch all! I am in school, so that is the biggest time consumer since my kids are college aged (so even the couple in college and at home are self sufficient …except for dinner!). I have started an herb garden again this year. I moved the ones that have been on my kitchen windowsill all winter, along with some new ones I found cheap at our local Amish grocery, to the front porch. I have transplanted a dozen pea plants to the front garden, started carrot seeds and onions in containers on the porch (this worked great last year!), moved the lettuce and spinach babies outside (we do these in containers on the porch too), potted a few flowers to brighten up the porch, planted some spring/summer flower seeds, and transplanted a rhubarb plant into the ground (this will be our second one; the other one has been in the ground for a couple of years and gets HUGE). We have blueberry bushes, gooseberry bushes, and the rhubarb that are all getting a good amount of leaves already. I have tulips and other bulb flowers coming up like crazy in the front planter. The young fruit trees we have planted the last couple of years all have tiny leaves or at least buds that will become leaves soon on them. It is still too early for the mulberry tree to get its leaves, but the blackberry canes near by have started getting tiny leaves all over them. It is still too chilly for them here but we will get serious about some in the ground garden plants going soon. So far tomatoes and other warmer weather plants are just started in the house for now.

    1. Do you grow your spinach and lettuce in the containers? I am planning on trying that too. How do they do? Also, you said you started carrot seeds and onions in containers. So do they grow right in the containers? How big are your containers? Do you have any ideas or tips to help me do this as well? Thank you for some ideas!

  28. Please keep doing Frugal Fridays! I need inspiration and ideas. My husband died last June and I am on my own. I have one daughter still at home. I need to find ways to stretch my dollars since I only have my income. I am working on planning a garden. I do have a lot of issues with my knees and I do not have any equipment like a tiller. I have two raised beds that I am learning to grow things in, but I want to work up the ground and plant a little more. My husband used to work up the garden when he was well, but the tiller he used went kapoot and we never got it working again. So I will have to dig up the ground myself, but I plan to put landscape fabric down to help with weeds. I bought some seeds this weekend and some broccoli plants. I have to be careful with my spending, but I need to get some soil and get seedlings started. Your posts give me ideas and inspiration.

  29. It was a busy week last week. I can’t remember all that I did. It’s funny if you don’t write it down it slips your mind. We ate lots of chicken meals with the left over that we had from a roasted chicken. Whole chicken one day, chicken pot pie the next then it was chicken noodle soup. I made chicken broth out of it also. I was able to put aside 7 pints aside to use when I need it. I usually always freeze my broth but started to pressure can it to make more room in our freezer. I always had a large freezer bag of vegetable scraps ready to be used to make vegetable broth. That was made and pressure canned. I started to make a list of all the spring cleaning that needs to get done in the next few weeks. I want to get it all done so I can get outside once it’s warmer out.

    Thank you for sharing your week with us.


  30. Thanks for sharing what canning you did. Wow looks like the farm is coming along and the veg starts are taking off. We are going thru my dads belongs and boy he was a pack rat. I made my first homemade card using torment paper and bit of lace and thread. I tried to include a pic but I don’t know how.

  31. You’ve had a busy week! That’s always seems the way in the spring, doesn’t it? We spent the majority of our time outside… raking both the front and back yards, readied the garden paths for mulching (we had two huge pine trees taken down last winter and they are providing the mulch), did some planning for enclosing the one part of the garden that has no fence and seems to attract critters who enjoy our vegetables and flowers for their meals! This week is colder and rainy so it was good to get some outside stuff taken care of. Have a great week!

  32. Wow! I am super impressed with how much you get done in a week! Try as I might I am not there yet. Last week the weather was so nice, but like your place we ended with the white stuff. As an unschooling bunch, or so we have become, I feel like I have a win if we get one thing done in a day. Like a lot of families with special needs kiddos, we fly by the seat of our pants at times. We got our seeds started late but they are sprouting, and much to my surprise I went outside over the weekend and found our rhubarb is starting to pop up. I am seeing the rich green come out of the dry sand where we live. It gives me hope for other things to grow! The drought in our area is prompting me to container garden this year. I am also motivated to get rid of the excess stuff we have. Whether it be curriculum or toys I really need to downsize. We were happy to see that our solar array is finally online and helping with our consumption here.
    We are going to revisit family cloth this summer in an effort to cut back on the cases of TP that I purchase for the two kiddos who love to watch it spin when they need to use some. I am talking a six pack roll consumption in a week. We use cloth napkins and towels for most clean up around the kitchen, but we are still buying a 12 pack of paper towels about every 6 months. Going to work on reducing that also.
    The plan this week is to throw some sunflower seeds out for the birds and hope a few take root! Perhaps my biggest goal is to learn to use sourdough starter this month. I began a fresh batch of starter today. This was the result of DH (dear husband) melting down over a kiddo having almost all of his store-bought sourdough bread for lunches last week. I went out and replaced the bread to the tune of $5.99 for a 12-slice, one-pound loaf! The sticker shock helped me understand we he was so upset. 🙂 I was just too tired and unmotivated to bake bread last week. I am now motivated! Stores are not that close to just run and buy a loaf of bread and who wants to pay that price!!

  33. Bought two porch/shower scrubbers on a long pole. One for me/one for a friend. Learned to mow with new mower to help my husband. Learning to make home-made scrubby. Get better at that. Eating up leftovers and working on preps. For fun, I plan to go with a family as they go buy a Mulberry tree this Saturday.