It was another snowy week for us, so that meant that I got to stay at home while Benny went to work. He was able to work almost a full 40 hour week, so we will appreciate that income in savings. Little man and I did not venture out because of our snow-covered road, so we were able to save on gas as well, since I was not driving to work each day.
We made all meals at home, except for Saturday lunch with friends (we took a salad) when the snow cleared and Sunday dinner with my mom (we again took a salad). Our "winter" salads consist of loose spinach, citrus, dried fruit, nuts/seeds (whatever we have on hand), and some feta cheese if we have it. They are always tasty and well received, and a cinch to put together. We also made vegetable soup in the crock pot (clean out the freezer soup), homemade french bread (four loaves), flat bread with olive oil dipping sauce, homemade pizza with white sauce, lentil sloppy joes with roasted asparagus and oven fries, broccoli apple salad, double batch of quiche, zucchini banana flaxseed muffins, breakfast oatmeal cookies (these weren't our favorite, but little man liked them and they helped use up bananas in the freezer), and banana chocolate chip muffins.
We continued to minimize waste by composting as much as possible. I started a batch of citrus infused vinegar to use for cleaning using peels that would have otherwise gone to the compost. Once they're done infusing the vinegar, they can go to the compost. Also, I began drying orange peels for use in a powdered cleaner using baking soda, borax, and ground citrus peels. Froze more orange peels for use in marmalade later, or for candied peels. I will post later about the recipes for these and their effectiveness. We we are really trying to use organic cleaners now that little man is big enough to help with simple cleaning like wiping counters, and it is nice to be able to use something that would otherwise be considered waste.
I read more on perennial herbs that grow well for our area and began planning our spring gardens. I would like to remove some of our hosta plants that the deer ate last year and replace them with herbs that can be used in the kitchen and for crafts. (The herbs do not seem to be something the deer are interested in eating.) I am thinking of planting some new types of sage, more chives (we love these and would like to use them more), dill, more varieties of basil, lovage, and more lavender. I might also plant some nasturtiums also; they would be pretty on salads.
We used the gas logs more to offset the electric heat. This was really effective one day, because the heat didn't come on until the sun started to set. We keep our heat pretty low at 62 degrees anyway, to conserve more energy.
We washed and reused plastic bags and containers. I am in the process of gathering our large jars from Costco (sun dried tomatoes, olives, etc.) to repurpose for storage containers for items we buy from bulk bins (corn meal, specialty flours, lentils, etc.). Strangers and Pilgrims has fun pantry labels for containers like these and other wonderful homemaking ideas.
All laundry was hung to dry, and we continued to use our cloth diapers, wipes, and family cloth. I wore the same jeans all week, since I didn't really leave the house and didn't get them dirty. Sweaters were worn more than one day also, saving on laundry time and supplies.
We did a small grocery run and kept it to about $20. This included stocking up on dish soap, frozen salmon, frozen meatballs (I prefer to buy local, grassfed beef, but we're out until market season), oranges and strawberries (a treat, but on sale), canned tomatoes, free shampoo, and frozen veggies. Southern Savers really helps us out here by matching up store sales with coupons, and it's free, unlike the Grocery Game that we used to use. (Though it doesn't always seem as comprehensive or quite as accurate for our area as the Grocery Game.)
A few of our eBay postings sold, so that's money we can put toward our CSA subscription for this year. I can't wait for that to start again! I'm so ready for fresh local veggies again. It really does help make our meal planning easier and it allows us to spend less during the spring and summer months on groceries in general. It's also nice to be able to stock the freezer with the extras so that we have local produce in the winter too.
On a non-frugal note, we think our microwave is about to go (it's beeping and changing screens, even when no one is using it or anywhere around). It's an over the stove, integrated hood type, so it's not cheap to replace. We're thinking we'd like to replace it with an actual range hood and a counter top microwave. We've discovered that we don't use all the fancy features that came with it, and we'd rather have an actual vented hood. We're thinking that the tax return we get should cover the costs of this replacement, plus maybe our water filter for the house too, so at least it wouldn't have to come out of savings.
What did you do to live and save green last week? I'd love to hear from you! I'm linking up to The Prudent Homemaker and Strangers and Pilgrims this week.