I know I’ve talked about previous weeks being a complete whirlwind, but that’s absolutely an accurate way to describe this past week, especially with work. I’m doing work on things that I consider to be big, important parts of how my career makes an impact in this world, but the tradeoff with making that impact is the amount of time and mental energy I’ve poured into my work week. The good news is I should get a (little) bit of a breather after next Monday.

We have also spent a decent amount of time outside this past week though, and I’m reminded that early fall in the Pacific Northwest is hard to beat. The sun still shines at least half of the time, the weather is a bit cooler and it is pleasant to be outside, but I think a big reason why fall feels so lovely is the bittersweet knowledge that the rain and gray is ready to close in very soon, so we hold tightly on to the very last of the sunny days and stop with the excuses about why we don’t have time to get outside.

Granted, we still do plenty of hiking in camping through the winter, but it does take a little more mental fortitude to brave the cold and the wet and still enjoy yourself. Lack of crowded places and easy ferry travel makes up quite a bit for the less ideal weather though.

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. My husband spent quite a bit of time again on Sunday doing some meal prep for the week. Most of this was done smoking a variety of different meats for dinners, but he also loosely planned out different meal options. I’m finding that we are much more likely to actually eat prepared foods if we don’t set the whole meal ahead of time but instead have a number of different starts to meals that we can combine in any number of ways depending on what we’re feeling like eating any specific day.

I also have to say that I really appreciate the fact that my husband steps up and shares the emotional labor burden of having meals thought out for the work week, especially when my job is especially hectic. I do generally work significantly fewer hours than he does, so I pick up more than half of the day to day tasks during any given week, but I absolutely have an equal partner in life who does what he is able to outside of his work commitments.

2. In case I didn’t have enough going on, I decided this past Sunday that I would start helping out with the church garden. I started attending a new church just a few months ago, but this is the first time I’ve really felt the want to do more than just show up on semi regular Sundays. So of course, when they announced that they were looking for volunteers to help with the church landscaping and the adjacent pea patch, I knew I’d found the place I wanted to be a part of.

I’m not sure how much or how often I will be working on this project, but I will be contributing some saved seeds as a minimum and will be contributing to the design of the outdoor spaces. Apparently I just can’t get enough gardening time these days.

3. Speaking of gardening, we harvested our hops this week as well. The plants have been producing more each year, and we picked enough this year to brew one or two batches of beer at least. They’re drying out on the counter for now and then I think one or two of our neighbors are going to come over and learn how to brew in the process.

The hop plants themselves came from a friend’s father five or so years ago, so the cost since they arrived in the mail has been space in a raised bed, the trellis for them to climb on, and a little bit of water and fertilizer. Really, sharing plants and seeds is the absolute best (I just don’t have any recollection of which kind I have growing now).

4. I refilled the mini shampoo and conditioner bottles I keep at work for showering after my run commute on Wednesdays instead of buying a new set. My regular bottles are Costco sized, which is my current compromise from shampoo bars, because I still haven’t had success there. I think I want to try again after these bottles run out, so if you have a shampoo bar you love, let me know! I’d love to get away from the waste but the last stuff was so awful to my hair I’ve put that effort on hold for now.

In the meantime, refilling mini travel bottles are my solution for both work showers and long trips, and at least then I’m saving the money from paying ridiculous prices per ounce for the small bottles and the environmental cost of extra plastic. Not perfect, but at least better.

5. I attended a three hour seminar for work on Wednesday and they provided a snack type lunch, which was great. What wasn’t so great was that they only provided water bottles for drinks, and so I found myself grabbing one. I know ONE isn’t the end of the world, but after how much I’ve been talking lately about how there’s no reason to use them most of the time, it feels like a screw up. Next time, I’ll have to remember to bring myself a reusable water bottle.

Running Update

Monday and Tuesday were pretty typical days this week for exercise with a run + weights workout on Monday and a run on Tuesday. Wednesday was an odd day because my morning started early, so I didn’t have time for my normal run to work. I did find some time in the early afternoon during naptime though, and managed a quick but intense weights workout and a half hour run. We also managed a couple walks to the park and to the grocery store in the evenings to enjoy the last of the dry weather we’re likely to see for a while. All and all, a good week for exercise especially since my work week was so hectic.

How was your week? Do you appreciate the cool down of fall weather or do you find yourself automatically wishing for summer again?

29 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 38)

  1. Smoked meat? What time should I be there for?:) Prep meal is all on me and sometimes I run out of time or ideas.
    I refill mini shampoo and conditioner bottles too for trips, it’s better for the environment and my wallet:)
    Sounds like you had a busy but good week. Have a great week-end:)

  2. Those hops looks awesome – your kitchen must smell lovely now. I love it when they string the hops up in pubs here, it smells lovely even though I *hate* the taste of beer.

    1. That’s so funny, because I don’t actually think hops smell that great, but I do love a hoppy beer!

  3. i’m so glad fall is here. our summer was brutal and even our louisiana visitors were astounded to be sweating through their clothes while just walking around. we cook at lot of batch type stuff in that i’ll usually roast up something or other and we’ll repurpose what’s left into an easy new dish. that’s why we make a pot o’ beans every single week. you can put almost anything with them or just jam some stuff into a warm tortilla. we had a great week here. it makes me realize our non-vacation work weeks are pretty sweet. sometimes time off feels like more work than regular life.

    1. Our summer was brutal as well, but on a whole different level that what you experienced I’m sure 😉

  4. I just made the switch to shampoo bars and man it was a rough transition. I literally had to use dawn dish soap once to get the grease out BUT since I did that, the shampoo bar has been enough. I also used a diluted 3:1 ratio of water:applecider vinegar rinse but even the last few days that hasn’t been necessary and I just spritz with argan oil for conditioner after I get out of the shower. I bought J.R. Liggett Bar Shampoo, Jojoba and Peppermint, 3.5 Ounce from amazon.

    1. Hmmmm. Now I’m wondering if I didn’t stick it out for long enough? And maybe the rinse makes a big difference too.

  5. I LOVE fall before it gets truly cold, but would love to skip right back to summer after that haha. We’ve had a fair number of cloudy, gray days lately and I’m already missing the sun 😭

    Ah how awesome that you’re helping out with the garden (also am I surprised? Not one bit!) at church! Back when my parents’ church had one on site, my parents used to grow their veggies there for a few years. They always bring their extra harvest to church, so that made it super easy haha.

    1. Yeah, we are full of birthdays and anniversaries and big holiday events straight through the end of the year, so it’s really January – March that are tough for me before the days start to really get longer again.

  6. Shampoo bar? I have never heard of such a thing. It is so great you have a shower at work. I always wondered how you handled showing up to work after a run. Rode my bike 10 miles to work one time. I was a sweaty mess. I had to change clothes but still felt gross all day. Bless your soul, for volunteering to run the church garden.

    1. Ha yeah, there’s no way I would run to work without the option of a shower after. A change of clothes definitely isn’t enough.

  7. This is the first of your Frugal Five articles I’ve read, and I really like the format! It gets me thinking about my week and what kind of frugal wins (or losses) I had.
    You must get some seriously hoppy beer out of all of that! I love that you guys grow hops and then make beer with it, that’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. The climate in the northeast is perfect for a few classic varieties, and I’m sure where you are they just go nuts!

    1. It’s been great to look back and realize how many little choices we make throughout the week that contribute to that savings rate goal, and generally just improve our quality of life. The hops took a few years to get going, but it’s only up from here!

  8. I am also on the lookout for a shampoo bar that works. The problem is that it costs a lot to even try. I don’t want to buy a $20 bar and then find out its a failure after just 3-5 attempts! So maybe we need to do some internet research on DIY recipes and figure this out…

  9. I’ve just started reading your posts and they are terrific. I’ve not heard of shampoo bars…but have used toothpaste tablets or bits. It’s weird at first – but they do the job just like traditional toothpaste. On the plus side – they come in eco-friendly recyclable glass jars and are travel friendly. Fall for me is a teeter totter – while I love the change in seasons, here in the PNW – it could mean the slide straight into winter. Luckily, so far, we have been enjoying the beautiful golden light and unbelievable sunsets. So, we are starting to switch over our weekly menus to a more fall friendly fare of soups, stews and some quick serve dinners – similar to what you were describing – if you roast a chicken (or 2) you can have several different dinners during the week – chicken tostadas, chicken pizza…etc. plus if you are doing a super Sunday in the kitchen – make a huge pot (cauldron as my dad calls it) chicken stock with the carcass. The broth can be frozen for use later. We, too, try to cook a bunch on either a Saturday or Sunday that will last through the week for dinners or what we call lunch buckets. Have a great weekend!

    1. Oh, I haven’t heard about toothpaste tablets! I might need to look into that. And we are totally getting mostly spoiled as far as September weather goes – lovely during the day and crisp at night. We shall see how much longer we can hold onto the sun 🙂

  10. I buy shampoo bars on ebay from SNSoaps. I got a big one last time for $20 for my husband’s curly fine hair. Not sure if they still have it but probably because I’ve been buying them since college!!xD love their stuff. I stopped having dry skin with their natural soaps.

  11. My brother made the move up to Seattle about a year ago. He’s never been much for the outdoors but all I see now on social media are pictures of him hiking, camping, biking, and taking advantage of the beautifully PacNW outdoors. He only really posts during the summers though, so I suspect the gray really does a number on your incentive to go outdoors. Strike while the iron’s hot before the weather changes and you’re gray all the time.

    1. We do spend quite a bit of time outdoors throughout the year, even when it is gray. Having good quality gear that keeps you warm and dry is key, as well as just getting out there. I find the winter’s aren’t so bad when I spend more of my time outdoors.

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