Last week was a rather unusual week for us. I was presenting at a professional conference, but it was close enough to family to combine with a visit. So, Benny and little man also went. It was a wonderful conference and a great visit with family. Here are some of the things we did along the way to save money.
Since the trip was professional, I was able to get reimbursed for mileage and meals. I won't see this money for a few weeks, but it will be nice that the money will more than cover the cost of the trip.
While at the conference, I was able to gather several activities to use in my classroom. This will be wonderful for planning for next year, and a few of them I can use this year.
While visiting with Benny's family on Sunday after church, we went to Costco. We purchased several things in bulk that we normally use, including flax seed meal, all purpose flour, red bell peppers, and strawberries. You really have to know your unit price when shopping, because some things at the warehouse clubs are not great deals.
We took our cloth diapers traveling, so we saved the cost of disposables while there. This is a huge blessing! I can't imagine how much we've saved by doing cloth, probably at least $1000.
On the way back on Tuesday, we stopped at Panera and bought a dozen bagels. We purchased these with gift card money, and it made breakfasts easier since we were coming back in the middle of the week. We ate them as egg and cheese sandwiches, and plain with butter or peanut butter. Little man loved them.
I collected unopened milk from students during lunch and took it to the food pantry if I had enough. I only had two small cartons this week, so one was used for coffee and one for baking. I also had a coworker give me grapes at lunch on Friday, so these came home for little man's breakfast. He loves fruit, especially grapes, but we generally don't purchase a lot because they tend to be pricey.
There was no grocery run this week, but we did find a deal on Chutes and Ladders for little man at Walmart. With the coupon, it was $1.77 before tax, so we will save this for his Easter present this year. It's fun to begin thinking about board games with him!
We ate Sunday dinner with my mom, which included hotdogs, slaw (from The Smitten Kitchen cookbook), sauted tomatoes (they were on their last leg, but so good with garlic and olive oil), and baked beans. I also made a loaf of bread and we made our favorite chocolate stout cake dessert. Mom had all the other ingredients, so it was nice that all I had to provide was the bread.
All laundry was washed in cold water except diapers. We hung it all out to dry, some on the line outside now that it's warm enough to do so.
We made a huge pot of white bean rosemary soup for the week, which will be great for lunches. We thought it was a little thin, but loved the flavor, so we will add some chopped celery or barley next time after pureeing and let it cook those things.
We did our usual composting, recycling, etc. We also collected coffee grounds from the coffee bar at church. Our Christmas wreath was finally deconstructed, and we added these branches to the compost.
Our garlic is finally emerging from its straw mulch, so exciting! This is the first year we've grown garlic, and so far it has been super easy. We will definitely do it again next year, and maybe plant even more so we don't have to buy any.
We cleaned out the flower bed and trimmed things back (I left some seed heads up for the birds over the winter). We will hire a friend from church to pick up the free mulch from the landfill and spread it for us. This is a job we could do ourselves, but it is easier to hire him, and we feel like it's worthwhile because he uses the money from these jobs to pay for his college education. We may also pay him to trim back some of the larger trees along the back of our property that we can't easily reach, but he has the tools to do.
At school, my gardening class planted some herb and flower seeds for our plant sale. There are a few varieties that I want, so it is a win win.
I will plant the leftover seeds from the plant sale at home, and hopefully little man will help this year. We would love to have some more sage, parsley, lavender, marigolds, and zinnias for our garden this year. I love zinnias... so happy and full of color!
What did you do last week to live and save green? How are your gardens doing? I'd love to hear from you! I'm linking up to The Prudent Homemaker and Strangers and Pilgrims this week.