This week was jam packed with trainings, meetings, errands, and visiting with friends and family. I’m certainly thankful for my reduced schedule, because I’m not sure how I’d get it all done otherwise (I even managed a couple of runs outside of my Wednesday commute, albeit short ones). The great thing about the lengthening days is that we have more time to be outside during the week, but it also means that the inside chores have been a bit neglected.

1. We spent multiple afternoons this past week at the local park behind our house. We lucked out with the weather and had some nice, somewhat sunny days, so we took full advantage. One afternoon was mainly just walking the trails and then hanging out while our son tired himself out at the playground. I’m so proud to report that he can now recognize huckleberry bushes even without the telltale berries. They’re his favorites, so he’s watching them closely for when the berries finally arrive. Sure makes his former park ranger mama’s heart happy to know he’s already identifying local plants.

Another fabulous park near us we walked to after a weekend library visit

We spent a second afternoon/evening watching little league baseball and softball games. We might have another two springs to go before he can play on a team, but our kiddo is enthralled with the game. He especially likes to watch softball “like mama played.” It was a lovely sunny day, and we stuck around until 7pm before we finally headed home for a quick dinner and bedtime.

2. My son left his wagon too near the driveway and I accidentally ran over the end of the handle a couple of weeks ago. My husband patched it back together with marine grade epoxy and some electrical tape, and it seems to be working fine again. The wagon may have been just $2.99 at Goodwill, but our son loves to play with it, and now it can be continued to be enjoyed instead of heading to the landfill with the other broken and discarded toys.

Good as “new”

3. While I’m focused on decluttering our house the best I can, there are some things offered to us that I can’t turn down. Friends of ours are moving out of stage and gave us a Lincoln Logs set, which I gladly accepted. Our son spotted it right away once we got home the next day and got right down to playing with it. Now the goal will to be to keep up with having the whole set put away each time he’s done playing with it. So far, so good.

Eventually, I will pare down his toys to just the great ones like this building set, but I’m still a ways away. There are so many little things floating around our house, but I have big dreams of only having the very best toys stick around. We’ll see if this ever fully happens. If you’ve managed to do it, please let me in on your secret, because this is a struggle area for us.

4. I stopped into the drug store to pick up a new battery for my car key fob, and there was a basket at the register filled with S’mores Luna bars (my favorite flavor!) for 25¢! I haven’t been buying them lately because they aren’t cheap ($1.25/ea), so when they were on super sale, I bought out their supply, which meant I got 7 Luna bars for $1.75. Score. These will go to live in my office drawer as backup food for when I inevitably forget / am too lazy to pack a lunch for the day. The bars do technically “expire” this month, but you know how I feel about recently expired food 😉

Christmas in April!

5. I had a friend over for dinner Tuesday night and made us tacos with cilantro lime rice. I lucked out and our discount produce bin had a whole bag of limes for 99¢, versus just one for 99¢ in the regular section (again, food around here is not cheap). I’ll need to figure out something to do with the remaining limes this week, so let me know if you have any suggestions. We may have tacos for dinner a lot, but they’re quick, easy, cheap, and satisfying. And they’re easy to make in bulk to have enough for friends and for me to take the leftovers to work the next day.

Before dinner, we spent some time out in our front yard garden as our son pointed out to her where “his flowers” and “his potatoes” were growing. I love that he is so proud of the garden, and that he will have a real understanding of where his food comes from as he gets older. Plus, he just can’t help to be outside whenever the weather isn’t terrible (and even when it is, if mama or daddy is willing to hang out in the rain with him).

What are your favorite ways to spend weeknights as the weather is better?

40 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 15)

  1. Squeeze the limes and freeze the juice in recipe size quantity. I have used an ice cube tray for This! Works great!

  2. Sounds like a hectic week for sure but you managed to tackle a bunch of things you wanted to do and that always feels good. As for the house chores, I found once I accepted that only my family sees our place that things don’t need to be “perfect”. I’m fine with just being “straightened” up which has brought the anxiousness way down. As a backpacker/hiker that score on the Luna bars was the highlight of your post for me as well lol, thats like winning the lottery. Awesome that you were a Park Ranger too 🙂 Have a fun weekend.

    1. We still have friends over even though our house is never perfectly clean – I figure I’d rather get to see them regularly than only when things were spotless.

      And the Luna bars were my highlight as well haha. Perfect timing as we’re headed out camping again this weekend.

      1. That’s a good question. Somewhere in western Washington. Our first plans fell through because apparently the area is closed for camping for the winter for another couple weeks.

  3. Long walks with my dog, play tennis (not with the dog!)., sitting on a patio enjoying a light beverage:)
    Those bars sure look good:)

    1. Isn’t spring the best??? And they’re my favorite type of energy bar.

    1. They’re really tiny, so a lot of work, but really good. And they grow wild all around here.

  4. I’m loving spending time in the garden now that the weather is getting warmer (snow fore casted this weekend though…). Every year I forget how much manual labor I put into it though, so it may not be the most enjoyable activity in the moment (but a good workout). I’ve been busy hauling compost from the community pile to amend our soil. Nobody else takes from it, but almost everyone contributes to it. I’ll gladly take the free compost off their hands.

  5. I’ve been throwing the ball for my dog for between 20 minutes and an hour and a half when I got home now that it’s nicer out. He’s wiped out at the end of the night.

    I have a lot of fond memories of Lincoln logs.

    Thanks for fixing your wagon. I’m not a huge environmentalist or anything, it just bothers me when people take the easy way out and put a huge piece of plastic in a landfill instead of learning or taking the time to fix it. If just some people do what you do and fix things (and get plastic toys from goodwill) we can keep a lot of stuff out of landfills and more stuff from being made unnecessarily.

    1. Our one dog is all about fetch, but the other one doesn’t quite get it (which is good, because she isn’t supposed to be running because of her heart).

      I AM a huge environmentalist, so I will go to extremes occasionally to keep things out of the landfill (though I wouldn’t call this example extreme).

  6. What a steal! $0.25 for Luna bars! I haven’t tried the Smores flavour. We got some Lara bars (similar with dates and it is gluten free not that I am eating a gluten free diet but you know) for $0.87/bar and they are delicious.

    1. I’m pretty picky when it comes to Lara bars, but I LOVE the cashew ones. And yeah – I couldn’t believe the sticker price on the ones I picked up!

    1. I’m one of the crazy ones who doesn’t like citrus in my desserts, and don’t do hard alcohol. Limeade, on the other hand…

  7. Great job being so active outside! It’s my goal to get outside even more, although it’s already getting up into the 90s here. #Texas. I am so jealous of that Luna bar sale! Hubs loves Larabars, which are also not the cheapest thing in the world. I’d kill to stumble upon a sale. 🙂

    This week:

    1. We garnished our dinner with cilantro from the garden.

    2. I found a herd of deer in our back yard today about to mow down our garden. I managed to shoo them away a few times, saving our garden from destruction (and losing a LOT of money!).

    3. Hubs is switching to a new job on Monday that pays quite a bit more each month. I also took on a lot (like a worrisome amount) of freelance work. Hopefully this will help out with medical bills coming our way any day.

    4. I washed a few loads of laundry with homemade soap.

    5. Our Roomba was acting wonky, so I did a troubleshooting guide to get it back to speed. I hate when people discard perfectly good items that stop working, when all they need is a little adjusting.

    1. 90s already??? I’m impressed your cilantro hasn’t bolted in those temperatures! Tell me your secret. Mine seems to bolt at just like 80 degrees, so much so that I’ve given up growing it the last few years even though I love having it in the garden.

      Deer are great, until they try and eat your food.

  8. It’s so good that you guys are teaching him about gardening and sustainable food practices so early! I think this will shape his outlook significantly once he’s older 🙂

    Also, the park trips sound lovely ! It’s s great reminder that I too should probably enjoy the weather while it lasts before the cold hits Australia haha.

    Great frugal insights, as always!

    1. I hope it will. He will at least know better, whether or not he chooses to use that knowledge 🙂

  9. That is epic that your son can recognise huckleberry bushes – I certainly can’t! Actually I don’t know if I’ve every seen them, cleary we don’t get them here. We just have wild brambles, which are also very delicious.

    It’s cute he wants to do everything mama does, definitely a habit to cultivate while it lasts.

    1. Oh we definitely have plenty of blackberries here as well! But the huckleberries are his favorite 🙂

  10. I’m observing an Uber-Frugal month so no eating out, no impulse spending all month. This week, my frugal five:

    1. Lowered an annual pest control bill by 10% with a simple phone call
    2. Returned an online item and rescued the discount coupons for future purchase
    3. Packed my lunches and coffee for an entire work week
    4. Paid dental bills with Health Savings Account instead of out of pocket
    5. Read a new book online free with my library card…no kindle or audible costs for me!
    6. Cleared out pantry and delivered food to local food pantry

    1. Gotta love reducing recurring expenses when all it takes is one call! Those pay off in spades. I am in love with library ebooks. The best part is, I can’t forget to return them in time 😉

  11. Discount chocolate makes it taste so much better!

    You can never have too many limes. It’s great for guacamole, marinades for meat, mojo sauce, marguerita, mojitos, lime juice is gazpacho…. I’m soo hungry now!

  12. Luna Bars don’t expire. Nonsense. Those are my favorite meal bars too. All the other ones have this like…weird mealy texture that I just can’t stomach.

    As for extra limes, I like to make pork carnitas in the crock pot when I can find pork roast (or a whole loin, I just cut it up) on sale. The lime goes in while it cooks with some spices and then you roast it on a sheet pan to get a quick crisp on it. It’s a nice change from the regular beef taco. We eat many, many tacos. My husband’s favorite food, besides wings.

    1. Sooooo many tacos in this house. Thanks for reminding me – I may switch it up and do carnitas this week as well.

  13. An Iranian friend said that her mom used to leave lime slices on the car’s dashboard during the summer to dehydrate them, then run them through a coffee grinder to make a lime powder that could be added to a lot of different dishes. (I remember something that tasted like margarita chicken?) She also used to cook rice with dried limes added for flavor.

    I know you said that you don’t do hard liquor, but if I had access to cheap limes, I’d do homemade lime-cello with all the leftover peels! Soak the lime peels in vodka for several weeks, strain, and blend with simple syrup.

    (Teaching the week before spring break is rough. Apparently booze is on my mind more than it probably should be… 😉 )

    Enjoy those limes!

  14. Thanks to my mom I can recognize a bunch of flowers, but trees and bushes not so much. So awesome that the kiddo can do that even without the berries, and that he’s so excited about gardening! I was never interested as a kid but I’m definitely interested in it now (although worms still freak me out. Because they’re mini snakes. And if I ever see a snake while gardening that’ll be the end of that whole endeavor!).

    1. Worms are mini snakes?!?! Hahahaha. Well maybe next month we’ll have to go out on a naturalist walk 🙂

      1. So, glass lizards probably aren’t your thing either then 😉

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