Our week was a bit all over the place – my daughter was on spring break, so the routine we got into during the first quarter of her schooling became a bit mish-moshed. We were able to do some fun things, though, and also do a shopping trip that helped restock some things while saving some decent amounts of cash. My list feels a bit short, but I guess that makes it short and sweet? 😀
After you’re done with my post, pop on over and read all about the savings Brandy and the other folks in The Prudent Homemaker community have found. No matter where you are on your frugal living journey, I’m sure you’ll find ideas there! Now here’s my little list for the past week:
- Used blinds & curtains for passive solar to heat and cool the house.
- Opened doors to get cross-breeze throughout the day.
- Learned about free SkyWarn storm spotter training coming up in our area and was able to pass it on to help some friends; one was able to find training near her as well. (If you’d like to see about SkyWarn training, you can click here to learn more on their website.)
- Bought an advance copy of a book on PDF for $5 (vs the price it will be in print later this month)
- Took the kids to the library so we could all use the Wi-Fi there instead of eating up GB on our data plan at home. Daughter was able to get several hours of school work done on the site her GED classes require; son was able to view Great Courses Plus, YouTube videos, and work on his programming courses.
- Used OverDrive to check out multiple library books.
- Used our Kindle Unlimited membership to borrow others.
- Downloaded a free Kindle book about fermentation.
- Reread a print book I already own (the second in a series I am rereading this year).
- Picked up a scarf that has been in progress for a while, but have neglected for a while – free (prepaid? LOL) entertainment.
- Received free child admission for son at a local event.
- Used drying racks for some loads of clothes; used wool dryer balls in the loads that were run in the electric dryer.
- Entered as many Swagbucks and InboxDollars codes as I could find each day and answered the daily Swagbucks survey questions.
- Registered for a free emergency preparedness webinar about power outages.
- Daughter rode with her boyfriend’s family to a dance.
- Daughter worked a couple of hours babysitting and earned money toward upcoming school expenses
- Did a Target shopping trip: saved $37 with Target sales, Cartwheel offers, and manufacturer coupons; earned a $5 gift card; used two $5 gift cards earned with our last shopping trip toward payment as well as the rest of the gift card I bought at the beginning of the month (for Kroger fuel points); received $10 back in Ibotta rebates.
- Walked the dog three nights (free exercise).
- Adapted a slow cooker roast recipe to use what I had on hand instead of purchasing ingredients. (It called for grape jelly and onion soup mix; I used elderberry jelly and Thrive Life diced onions along with spices I had that seemed likely to be in the soup mix.)
- Husband borrowed DVDs from the library for “edutainment” with son.
Happy Monday, everyone! Time for another Frugal Accomplishments update. I have a fairly short list this week, but some of the things brought us a lot of happiness, so I’ll take ’em. 😉 If you’d like to pop by and see Brandy and her other readers for some more encouragement, you can find her post for the week here.
As for me and my house – last week we saved with the following: Continue reading
Woo, folks, I’m really feeling frisky with the gift list today! A friend of mine took the time to send some positive feedback on the stocking stuffers list and I have to tell you, it really made my week. It’s always encouraging to know that something inspired someone, especially when it’s a topic that is near and dear to my own heart as well. Her comment got me cooking with steam heat, as my mother would say, so I’ve got a big bunch of ideas for you.
Need more? My first two preparedness-related stocking stuffer lists are HERE and HERE. I hope you find this list helpful as well, because I’m sure having fun thinking of things for my own family as I go!
- Solar device charger – This seems to be trending for all the techies this year, so go with it! Some chargers will charge two or even three devices at once, so take note of what your intended recipient is using and buy accordingly. Some chargers are rated to charge a smart phone with one outlet and a tablet or the like with the other, so keep an eye on those voltage ratings.
- Luci (or similar) lantern – I purchased a Luci lantern last month and really fell in love with it. There are other brands out there, so check them all out. I was excited to see that our Luci was even already charged when it arrived; if you order one of these for someone, consider leaving it out where it can charge up so they can
play with er, test it immediately.
- Sewing kit – A pocket-size sewing kit can be useful for something as simple as a popped seam or a lost button at an event, so even if your recipient isn’t interested in being the Most Prepared Person EVERRRRR, they’ll find this handy.
- Button jar – Yes, seriously. My mom has given me not one, but TWO button jars. They are adorable decor and super handy. Who here remembers Ma Ingalls giving the girls buttons to make Baby Carrie a toy for Christmas, hmm? Bonus points if you are crafty like my mother and stitch a special button-themed piece of art to make the top of the jar lid pretty!
- Baby wipes – This is a no-brainer if your loved one has a baby; one does not simply leave home without travel wipes! Even once the littles are potty trained, baby wipes are handy – literally. Keep them in the glove box for wiping hands clean after a tire change, throw them in a purse or laptop bag for degerming all the things. Campers, hikers, and hunters can attest that one can wash a variety of bits and bobbets on oneself with baby wipes. Most asked for deployment treat when I sent boxes to my husband? Baby wipes. Feeling splurgy? Get the bigger shower wipes. Oooo, fancy!
- Duct tape – As the old joke goes, if you can’t fix it with duct tape or WD-40, it doesn’t deserve to be fixed. Always handy.
- Tourniquet & a Sharpie marker – Why a Sharpie? So you can write the time the tourniquet was applied – on the tourniquet or on the person, doesn’t matter. SUPER useful if your loved one is an emergency responder or military service member, but also vital for Average Joe and Josephine Citizen thanks to things like active shooter situations. Know a teacher or a CERT member? This is a great gift. If you know they are already trying to become more prepared citizens and are local to them, offer to watch the kids for them so they can attend a Stop the Bleed class. No kids to watch? Attend the class with them – you’ll double the number of citizens who can respond proactively in a crisis. Seriously. Call your local fire department and ask who in your county offers it. (I just went through this training in November and I have to say, it’s amazing. I’m pretty passionate about it now. Can you tell? Can you can you can you?) 😉
- Toilet paper – Okay, this list is heavy on the crafts and the bodily functions. But really, what do humans do the most? Eat stuff, break stuff, and make *ahem* stuff. Just in the last two weeks I’ve seen multiple bloggers discussing the virtues of toilet paper and cloth wipes. Everybody uses something – why not get them something they can use? (Or if they are a family cloth family and you aren’t, something YOU can use when you go visit. heh heh) Particularly useful for college students, starving artists, and well, everybody who poops. Also useful for starting the preparedness conversation with a joke, a la “I know you aren’t interested in having a pallet of MREs, but thought ‘Who doesn’t want extra TP in the cupboard?'” *insert jovial laughter here and wait for them to say they would like to know what MREs are!*
- Rite in the Rain notebook (plus a mini pen or pencil) – Technically any little notepad is handy for the recipient to chuck into their purse, console, or briefcase, but Rite in the Rain products go a step further in usefulness. And if your loved one is an avid outdoorsperson, they will know you went above and beyond with this one. Google them – you won’t be sorry. (And you may want some for your own emergency kit, purse, pocket, glove box…. you know where I’m going here.)
- Travel hygiene kit – And no, I don’t mean those TSA-friendly empty containers that the recipient has to fill with their own stuff, unless you drew the traveling salesman in the office gift swap and have no idea what else s/he could use. (Um, newsflash – lots of things in this series would be good for said gift swap person. #justsayin ) If you have a person who enjoys testing out new fragrances, a goodie bag from someplace like Bath & Body Works would be fun. Know what products they use and know they aren’t open to change? Go with their signature scent or brand. They aren’t into Caramel Apple body butter and Santa’s Cinnamon Shampoo (or whatever scents are hot this year)? Go with basic travel size goodies and know that they can use them on a business trip, in a 72-hour kit, or they can stash them in the linen closet until the day comes that they forgot to buy toothpaste last payday and now they’ve run out – but wait – your gift to the rescue (TA DAAAA)!
- Emergency yarn – Nope, I’m not kidding here. If you know someone who knits or crochets, get them a ball of cotton yarn and the appropriate sized hook or needles. (Don’t know which they use? Get both. They’ve got this. Don’t know how to pick the size? It’s on the label – any craft store clerk can help you find the right one.) Why cotton? Because in an emergency (or boredom on a road trip), your crafter can stitch up at least two wash cloths from one ball of yarn. Also to be used for personal wipes (there we are with potty gifts again…), sweat rags, a baby toy, an emergency dog collar, or copious amounts of other things. Worst case, you’ve got a ball of string that you can tie stuff to other stuff with. Ask my long-suffering spouse, who sees emergency yarn and a hook in his glove box for the rare times I ride in his car instead of in our truck. Which also has emergency yarn in case he’s driving and y’know, traffic. We may or may not have family members who got handed a wash cloth when we got to their house after sitting in traffic at length. Hey – handmade gifts rock, right?
- Battery-operated emergency triangle – If you live in a dry area, road flares can be a little anxiety-inducing. Nobody wants to be changing a tire and start a wildfire by mistake, right? Look for a batter-powered flashing triangle. There are even handheld LED types that have a regular white light for flashlight uses; they have a hook on the top and magnets on the back so you can hang them inside your hood while assessing an engine issue or stick them to the trunk to warn oncoming motorists of your disabled vehicle. They are also helpful for distracting small children in the backseat during long drives – just keep an eye on those batteries. Not that my child has ever left one on when we got home, no, not that.
Pantry & Preparedness:
Purchase two cases of bottled water for our emergency supplies (DONE 18 Oct 2017)
Scan vital documents to a USB drive for evacuation bag
Walk 1x weekly with evacuation bag & with dog wearing her panniers (thanks to this little lesson learned!)
Finish knitting donation hat (Frogged this project & gave away the yarn. It is just way too hard on my hands.)
Re-start my Tesla shawl (Cast on [again!] 11 Oct 2017)
Education & Personal Enrichment:
Finish first quarter of kids’ homeschooling (DONE 13 Oct 2017)
Read a book from my fall/winter reading list (DONE: Finished reading Ghost Fleet 8 Oct 2017; finished John Adams 10/26; finished The Water Knife 10/30)
Finish the “Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature” lecture series I am watching on The Great Courses Plus (This is on hold for me; reading John Adams took up most of my free time in October!)
Complete at least one FEMA Independent Study course
Writing & Professional Development:
Catch up on my LinkedIn messages/connection requests (DONE 15 Oct 2017)
Transfer clips list to this site
Type up final draft of the article I’m working on, and submitted to planned site
Work on my non-fiction book, Prepare Anywhere
Index at least 10 batches/100 image files (DONE 8 Oct 2017)
Participate in Worldwide Indexing Event sponsored by FamilySearch.org (DONE 21 Oct 2017)
Scan irreplaceable family photos to USB drive
Health & Wellness:
Dental exam/cleaning appointments for children (EDIT: Now in November)
Make appointments with specialists for myself & one child per primary doctors’ referrals
Walk at least twice weekly (without evacuation pack)
What are your goals for October? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! If you’d like to see what I was able to mark off my September goal list, click here.
As I mentioned earlier this week, my summer reading list for 2017 focused on dyes and colorants. I have several titles on my fiber shelf that deal with the mechanics of dyeing fiber and fabric, particularly with natural items such as roots, flowers, and the like. A few years ago I had the opportunity to take a class on natural dyeing at Arbutus Folk School (located in the Pacific Northwest). The class included a trip to the local farmers market, where we purchased or found items we could dye our silk scarves with, and some foraging for items along the trail to and from the market. I chose to dye my scarves with the bark of the Pacific madrone tree (Arbutus menziesii) for three reasons: 1, it was readily accessible around the base of multiple madrones along the path since the trees naturally shed their bark; 2, because it is one of my favorite trees; and 3, because it is the tree the folk school was named after and a perfect memento of the day.
This year my studies are less on the “how to” facets of dyes and dyeing and more on the history of the science of dye stuffs and the cultural uses of them. If you’d like to learn more about these aspects of dyeing, here’s the list I’ve worked from. You may, of course, have already spotted the titles on my reading list page – I just thought it would be nice to make it a little more convenient for you to create a list for your next library trip or Kindle splurge. Enjoy!
The Modern Natural Dyer – Vejar
Indigo: In Search of the Color that Seduced the World – McKinley
Colors: the Story of Dyes and Pigments – Delamare
Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World – Garfield
A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire – Greenfield
Fifty Animals That Changed the Course of History – Chaline
The Rarest Blue: The Remarkable Story of an Ancient Color Lost to History and Rediscovered – Sterman
A Red Like No Other: How Cochineal Colored the World – Padilla