What We Did in May – Frugal Family Living

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Want to know what we did and how our family lived frugally last month? Here’s a recap of all the things!

May 2020

What We Did in May – Frugal Family Living

For those of you on my email list, you know that each Friday I send out an email with what we did that week. Things, I’ve been making, projects we are working on, and other frugal living things. I thought it might be fun to round all these things up into an end-of-the month blog post! Let me know what you think!

In the comments section of this blog post, I’d love to hear how you too are living frugally right now and what you did during the previous month to be more frugal. We can all learn so much from each other!

P.S. My emails always contain freebies on Friday for my readers so if you’d like to get those, be sure and sign up here!

What We Did in May

The big news in May is that we moved onto our new homestead! We closed on it the second week in May and moved right out to the land. We are renovating an existing structure and building onto it to make a small homestead for our family. The land came with 3 gardens and a small greenhouse so I’ve been making use of those since before we officially closed.

For those of you that followed our story for a long time, my husband finished his schooling (back in February) and will be working in ministry this fall after we get our home livable. There are plenty of things to keep us busy right now but these are exciting times!

What I’ve Been Baking/Cooking…. 

One of the things that I baked this month was my grain/dairy free Brownies  I love this recipe because it tastes like a chocolate cheesecake and it uses up some rather odd pantry ingredients!

We had several nights of Tacos for supper made with my Homemade Taco Seasoning. The kids always love tacos for supper! I also baked some muffins this week to have for easy breakfasts during moving week. I used this Muffin Mix recipe but used gluten free flour and bananas and chocolate chips as my add-ins.

I only have a griddle grill to cook on for the time being so I’ve been making a lot of fried veggies and many mornings we have eggs with fresh green onions and bits of ham. Easy but filling!

I harvested a bunch (literally!) of rhubarb while out on the land this past month that I’ll make Strawberry Rhubarb Jam with in the future. I also made some of it into Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake!

I baked these Vanilla Cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday. We topped them with chocolate frosting!

What I’ve Been Writing….

I finished a brand new blog post all about Expressing Appreciation to Others so you should definitely check that out if you are looking for small, budget-friendly ways to show you appreciate those around you (even in difficult times like right now!).

I wrote about where to find free classes and books and a recipe for banana carrot muffins.

I published a round-up of my favorite Old Fashioned Cookout recipes.

I’ve been so inspired to get to writing more that the blog posts just keep on coming lately! I’ve been working on a LOT of frugal living blog posts so be watching for those in the weeks to come.

I also wrote and published this piece on Frugal Tips for Young Adults.

Finally, in May I wrote this blog post on How to Get Free Groceries. I think it’s one of my favorite posts I’ve ever written!

Oh and I shared with you this Free Printable Paper Doll we made!

For June, I’ve got more articles coming on saving money (of course!) a few frugal recipes, a DIY for dryer balls, and some other fun things. It will be a great month of new blog posts!

Projects We’ve Been Working On….

I planted the entire greenhouse, started the herb garden, and have been working on planting perennial fruits and veggies. I also created a small hoop house like I shared in the bottom of this blog post.

We worked on building a new garden fence on the main garden. It was falling over and unable to keep the deer out so we are fixing it all up before we have to start on the house building. You can watch all the weeks of my Gardening Videos here as I’ve been video blogging my garden this year.

Also for the past couple of weeks before we moved, we’ve been staying with my parents so before we left we had a little “girls day” where we painted nails. Above you can see 4 generations of girls hands in our family; my daughter, mine, my mom’s, and my 97 year old granny’s.

We started working hard on the house as so as we’ve closed so now we’ve had 3 1/2 weeks of renovation under our belts. First, we had to get the electricity fixed and we had a LOT of tear down (with much more to come). The kitchen is starting to come along and look like a real room now. Actually, it’s the only room we have! I hope to share more on our homestead build soon. We’ve been wanting to share videos and pictures but our phone died in the middle of everything so until we can get those pictures off, we just have to wait a bit. We are building the home with cash so it definitely isn’t your “traditional” home!

Drying Herbs

What I Made….

We made a homemade Herb Drying Rack! I’ll be sharing the DIY tutorial very soon. I’ve been using it a lot and love it already!

We have some really dry skin right now after coming out of a very dry winter. I’m making my Lotion Bars soon and I put in an order from Pronounce yesterday for more shea butter and beeswax. I wore some capris and shorts this month and I can promise you…my legs really need some good lotion right now! By the way, it looks like Pronounce gives you 20% off your first order just in case you need some supplies too!

Since it’s been quite warm lately (is it just me or does it feel hotter at higher altitudes?) so I’ve been utilizing this “No Cook Meals” blog post and most of the recipes on it. We are tired at the end of these long workdays but still very hungry!

What I’m Watching….

Before we moved, I had plenty of time on my hands so I signed up for the free trial of Great Courses and am taking the class on Sustainability. It’s been pretty interesting so far and it’s nice to have something extra to fill the time right now! If you cancel within the free month you won’t be charged.

What I’m Buying…. 

Berkey Filters had a big sale so I picked up an extra set of filters to have for when we need to replace again. I’ve also been reading through the Gardening and Sustainable Living bundle. I’m working through the Dehydrating Masterclass in my “spare time”!

We tried to only buy groceries when necessary this month which was somewhat often since my garden was not in full swing yet. I was able to get several freebies from the grocery store which is always nice.

I ordered from a new-to-me coop last month, UNFI. Although I was missing some items, it was nice to have another option for groceries. They don’t come to our area very often but with limited food at the grocery store, I’ll take all the options I can get.

I worked on my Azure order and placed it the other day. I’m finally going to get a video of an “unboxing” when it comes this time! I just updated my Beginner’s Guide to Azure post too if you were wondering about their coop.

Otherwise, we’ve pretty much only been buying things we need for the house, which at this point is mostly lumber. I did order some light fixtures, a sink, a stove, and a fridge because we are working on the kitchen first. Most of our wood for the house is coming from a local sawmill which is close by and very inexpensive.

Other Things I’ve Been Doing….

I’m pretty excited because I’ve been able to work on the blog a lot lately and I’ve been coming up with some really fun things to share with you! I hope to have some of them posted by next week. In the meantime, we’ve been adding more things to our little online store, Homestead Made including canning supplies, cutlery, new books, and a redo of my ebook, The Canner’s Cookbook. 

Writing and gardening are just about all I’ve been doing this past month. I can’t complain! Now the real work is starting but I have to say, it’s extremely rewarding to be building your own house with your own 2 hands.

Well, I think that about wraps it up for May 2020!

What have you been doing in May? What frugal things did you do last month?

Merissa Bio


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  1. I’m really enjoying your newsletters and as a fellow Celiac, I like that I can use your recipes too.
    In May, I harvested what I believe is the last of my cucumbers and dehydrated them with homemade dry ranch dressing for ranch cucumber chips. I finished building a duck habitat and prepared a brooder for some upcoming ducklings that will eventually help to remove the duckweed from my pond and are good layers. I kept up a 3 times per week home workout routine with a friend that lives close by which has kept both of us motivated plus on our workout days, we take turns cooking so each of us has weekly breaks from doing so. My spouse and I have finished 2/3 of the grouting in soon-to-be living room and completed the painting and trim in the dining room on our never-ending home renovation. And the last week in May, I went tent camping with 3 friends at 2 different state parks for a week.
    It’s progress in many areas!

    1. I’m going to have to try making those chips when I have cucumbers! All of the camping sounds so fun. And I totally understand what you mean about the never-ending renovation!

  2. First, love the pix of hands:-) Your spinach looks great. I had to replant ours and am now waiting for it to sprout (again.) Sounds like you’ve been busy ~ looking forward to seeing the house. Oh and I like your new profile pix.
    Have a blessed day.