Summer Vacation and our Contest Winner

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by Liz

Summer is just about over, many schools are back in and the weather isn’t quite as hot…well, I assume that is the case in the majority of the country.  Here in Texas, the weather will continue to be summer-like until Halloween.

pensacola

The majority of us have taken their summer vacations, I know we finally did and MAN was it great! Although we tried our best to schedule and plan appropriately, unfortunately, due to work schedules, the entire family did not get to come. We spent a week at Pensacola Beach, Florida.  I would love to be able to write a post about all the ways we saved money on the trip, but we hadn’t taken a vacation in over 2 years and we budgeted and saved for the last 2 years for some extravagances, like enjoying many meals out that included “grown-up” drinks. And we enjoyed renting a pontoon boat for the entire day to enjoy over at Crab Island, Florida and of course the souvenirs, let’s not forget those. 

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We did manage to save some money; it wasn’t a total “open wallet” experience.  For instance, we drove from Fort Worth to Pensacola with a fully stocked cooler of sandwiches, snacks and drinks.  We rented a condo on the beach that included amenities that allowed us to cook and prepare some of our meals; (we ate all of our breakfasts and at least 3 dinners here) and the ability to do laundry (what a God send!). We went to the Naval Aviation Museum that does not charge admission hoping to catch the Blue Angels practicing, but alas, they were not practicing that day; and of course we spent lots of time in the ocean, playing like kids, jumping waves and getting sandy and many long walks along the seashore collecting seashells.

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Now that our Pensacola vacation is behind us, we will start saving for our next vacation, not sure where that will be yet, but nonetheless, we will start our savings.  In addition to that, it is time to get back to work, and as promised, we have chosen a winner of our first ever Fort Worth Homemaker give-a-way.

Congratulations to Sergio N. of Austin, Texas.  He is the winner of the August, Fort Worth Homemaker give-away!

We reached out to Sergio N. to ask him which of the items he would like to receive for his prize, either our elegant coffee cup or our decorative journal to help organize his days.  Sergio N. responded in kind:

“I love my coffee, especially on early morning weekends when I get time to sketch, draw or research for future artworks. With that being said and the colors of the beautifully styled Fort Worth Homemaker coffee cup noted, I’m more than sure it will make people do a double-take when they see me sipping my coffee from it, or sitting on my drawing table next to my current work in progress art.”

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Thanks so much for the compliment Sergio N. of Austin, your coffee mug is on its way! (Sorry Sergio, breakfast scones, not included).

Be sure to check out my blog page, and feel free to share with your family and friends as we will continue to bring you money saving tips, easy and delicious recipes and words of wisdom from this experienced homemaker!




Five Frugal for Friday

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By Liz

This was an “off” week here at the house.  The college semester has ended for one of the boys, and he does not get any extra hours at his part time job for the summer until June, so he has been hanging around the house all week; one of our dear friends suffered a loss this week; our oldest dog was sick for a few days so this included stopping what we were doing to run around the house cleaning up after her.

My husband and I just could not seem to “get it into gear” this week when it came to getting projects done.  Needless to say, we are looking forward to the weekend and although it was a bad week, I still managed to get some thriftiness in.  Here are 5, frugal things I racked up this week:

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1. Sunday was Mother’s day. I hope all moms had a great day. After Sunday service, I was treated to brunch at home, not made by me this week, but by my hubby and kids, which did included a fabulous tomato and cheese omelet, home fries, avocado toast and  a couple of mimosas (my fav.).   Later in the day the kids that were home for the day, took me to one of my favorite places, the local antique mall. If you have never been to an antique mall, I highly recommend it.  It is almost like going to a museum. So many things to look at, and so many trips down memory lane and the best part…no admission fee.

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2. Sasha, our eldest dog, who was ailing this week, got some overdue TLC.  I took her to the DIY dog wash and gave her a good scrub down helping knock off a lot of her remaining winter coat.  Yes, I could wash her at home for free but Sasha has arthritis really badly in both her front and back legs and she is a big dog so it is hard for me to lift her in and out of the tub, not to mention ALL THAT HAIR. So I was glad to pay a fee of $10 at the dog wash, as they provide a tub with a ramp for her to get in and out of, they  also supply a variety of shampoos, towels, blow dryer and the best part…I don’t have a drain to unclog and tub to scrub down later.

3. Staying on Sasha, I found a new dog bed for her. Sasha gets a new bed once a year and by that time, it is much needed as the old one is pretty matted down and has lost its fluff and shape by the time the year is up.  Sasha is pretty particular about her beds; we have found that she prefers the beds at Costco that are size appropriate for her, they run us about $45. However, we have an open box store near us that sells many items that have come from Costco and I found a Kirkland (Costco brand) bed for her for only $25.

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4. From 2 zucchinis that came from our micro garden, I made a wonderfully moist zucchini bread that the family enjoyed for dessert one night and breakfast the next morning with coffee.

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5. Thursday is my errand day. So I am in and out of the house for the majority of the day, I had planned on picking up something fresh to cook for dinner that night, but you know how sometimes you just get a craving and nothing will do until you satisfy it?  Well, that was me most of the week; I was craving fried chicken.  As luck would have it, I came across some discounted Walmart fried chicken that had been made previously in the day and was now over in their refrigerated case, it was still very fresh.  I picked up 2 containers, at a price of $6.22 for a total of 16 pieces; I would only need to reheat them in my oven in the evening. I also picked up some store baked cookies that were discounted as well, 6 fresh baked cookies for a total of 68 cents and I made 3 boxes of mac and cheese that cost me another dollar. So dinner that evening cost me about $8; hammering the price of any kind of take out fried chicken I was considering stopping for that evening.

So that was my frugal 5 for Friday.  What kind of great finds or savings did you have this week?






My husband and I were perplexed on how to salvage the rest of our Saturday and due a lack of motivation on both of our parts on this dreary day, we railed off suggestions to each other; after many suggestions, we were not anywhere closer to a compromise. Finally, my hubby suggested that we tackle one of the jigsaw puzzles that was sitting, collecting dust in our closet.

At first I was indifferent about this suggestion, but when the love of my life said he would build a fire, turn on the stereo and open a bottle of my favorite wine in addition to setting up the card table in our living room, I had a change of heart.

I am generally not a fan of jigsaw puzzles, mostly because as I feel I suffer from ADHD, so I had approached this 500 piece puzzle, with some reserve, thinking that after about 10 minutes, I would have surely felt like I was crawling out of my skin in frustration, but I had agreed to give it a chance.

There we sat in the middle of our living room at our card table, with a warm, crackling fire, listening to some oldies on our vintage console stereo, sharing a bottle of wine and enjoying each other’s company, so you can imagine my surprise when I found myself looking at the time and noticed that we had been working on this puzzle together for over 2 hours and were only half way done.

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When we decided to stretch our legs and heat up something to eat, two of our adult kids, who were home for the afternoon, appeared from their rooms, surely they had found something to pass the time on this dreary day as well. They walked over to the card table and upon inspection, asked if they could work on some of the puzzle while we were in the kitchen heating up some dinner.  I have to tell you, it was a thrill to see a couple of young adults, not staring down at their phones or tethered to a video game console for a period of time, in fact, they had gotten into this puzzle, just as much as my husband and I did.  We let them have at it, and before you knew it, an hour more had passed.

My husband and I, re-entered the living room to check their progress on the puzzle and found they had gotten much more of it completed.  For the rest of the evening, the four of us would take turns at the card table, in tag team fashion, completing this puzzle.  At times, we would find ourselves singing along to whatever song was playing in the background, we would find ourselves laughing at something one of us had said, and each one of us, were completely content in this family, friendly moment, and there was not an electronic device or distraction in sight. We were close to finishing, so none of us wanted to turn in for the evening until we had finished this 500 piece challenge.




At last, we had finally finished the puzzle and he had high fived each other, proud of ourselves for accomplishing the challenge we had started.  In total, we had spent 5 hours doing this puzzle…. 5 hours.  I know what many of you are thinking: “Do you know what I could do with 5 hours?!” Believe me, I do know what can be done, productively for 5 hours, in fact, like most, we have a laundry list of things that we could have been doing, but it came to me as an epiphany and was glad that it happened, I finally got it, we had “stopped and smelt the roses”.