Psst, I make money on some of the links in this post at no cost to you. It keeps the lights on around here. Amazon links are affiliate links.Β 

Wowza, what a weekend! It was another great two days of frugal fun and lots of adventures. We did quite a few frugal projects around the house, as well as some great family time. How was your weekend?

P.S. The Picky Pinchers Cookbok launched on Friday! Snag your copy with early bird pricing until December 15!

Gardening

Several months ago I rescued a moss planter from our neighbor’s bulk trash pile. I’d seen these on sale at our local nursery for upwards of $30 and had to scoop it up.

The downside? The planter needed a chain to hang it. While I was gone this week, Mr. Picky Pincher kindly put together a chain for the planter.

hanging basket

I hope to use the planter to grow herbs for dinner. I started several seeds in a sprouting bed. Hopefully they’ll grow well and I’ll be able to put them into our new-to-us hanging planter.

planting seeds

It might sound crazy to be planting things in December, but have I mentioned that it’s still been in the 80s down here? Oh, Texas.

Dishwasher cleaning

Our dishwasher isn’t even a year old, but sometimes it just gets funky. Whether we let dirty dishes sit too long, or there’s a buildup of calcium, we try to be diligent about doing a cleaning cycle on the dishwasher.

I once bought a packet of dishwasher cleaning powder, but once I found this frugal vinegar hack, I haven’t looked back.

cleaning dishwasher with vinegar

All I do is put one cup of vinegar in a dishwasher-safe cup and run the cycle. The machine comes out smelling not-disgusting and shiny. This was just as effective as spending $2 on a packet of dishwasher cleaner. Win!

cleaning dishwasher with vinegar close up

Shower melt experiment

I stumbled upon the idea for shower melts a few months ago. I’ve been looking for a way to make our showers more luxurious, since our water heater rarely gets hot enough for us to take decent relaxing baths.

I tried out two recipes for shower melts to find one that worked best.

shower melt materials

The first recipe was for a corn starch-based shower melt (recipe here). This stuff was WEIRD. It’s incredibly difficult to stir water and corn starch together. It makes a very displeasing sort of paste that I didn’t care for.

See?

pouring shower melts

Didn’t care for it.

Anyhoo, the recipe called for pouring the corn starch mixture into molds and freezing it for an hour. Mine took longer than an hour to solidify; I left it for three hours and it was solid.

Unfortunately, I put too much liquid in my mixture and I have to store these corn starch shower melts in the freezer. They still came out lookin’ pretty though!

finished corn starch shower melts

I was a little disappointed, so it was on to recipe #2! This time I used baking soda as the base for the shower melts (recipe here). This was much easier to put together: it was just mixing baking soda with water and then baking it.

baking shower melts

I think these baking soda melts would have been better if I’d baked them for longer and really pressed down on them. They came out too crumbly and wet.

finished baking soda shower melts

Mr. Picky Pincher and I tried out each type of shower melt in our showers.

Surprisingly, the corn starch shower melt was more successful. It didn’t melt as quickly and let off a pleasant orange aroma (I added orange essential oil to mine).

However, I think the baking soda method is what I’ll stick with. They should be better if I made them drier. The downside is that they disintegrated almost immediately in the shower.

I think I need to give these shower melts another try now that I have the hang of them. And it’s made from ingredients I already have on hand, so why not?



Freelancing

Oh y’all. I’ve picked up quite a lot of freelance work this month. While that’s been uh-mazing for the things I can do for Picky Pinchers with the extra money, it does mean I have less free time on my hands. I get two weeks off for Christmas, so hopefully I can focus more on the blog with that extra time.

And nap. Napping is good too. πŸ™‚

Kombucha

It’s kombucha time! My SCOBY finally formed, so it was time to make a new set of tea for the kombucha to start forming. I’m trying to integrate more probiotics into my diet, and this is one good way to do that.Β 

homemade kombucha

Wine about it

I’m down to my last jug of plum wine, which reminded me that I need to make a new batch of wine! After glancing at my grocery store’s sale paper, I saw gala apples were on sale for 87 cents a pound. I pretty much make wine with whatever non-citrus fruit is on sale, and it works out beautifully.

I bought six pounds of apples for roughly $5. I gave the apples a rough chop before freezing them. I use a hippie-dippie wine-making method that uses freezing and boiling temperatures to kill bacteria in the wine, instead of relying on additives. Here’s the fruit wine recipe I use if you’re interested.

sliced apples for wine

I had apple scraps left over and remembered to freeze them to some day make apple cider vinegar. Yum!

Organized med cabinet

Back in November I created a reusable advent calendar. Starting on December 1, we’ve been opening one “to-do” from the calendar each day. They focus on Christmas spirit, self-improvement, financial health, and chores (ugh). Day 1 told me to go through the pantry and medicine cabinet to reorganize everything. It was kind of annoying, but I’m very glad that I did that. It feels nice having an organized house!

Back porch makeover

Mr. Picky Pincher spent a good chunk of his weekend working on a makeover for our back porch. A few months ago, he and his dad put up our lovely brick wall. We’ve always wanted and outdoor kitchen, but with our debt payoff a year away, we wanted a budget-friendly option until we had the funds to do a proper outdoor kitchen.

For about $150, Mr. Picky Pincher set up an impromptu outdoor kitchen.

before and after back porch

It’s now a much smarter use of the space. We can use more of the porch for chilling and entertaining with this setup. And the most frugal part? That sink is actually the sink that used to be in the kitchen when we bought the house.

Waste not. πŸ˜‰

Cooking

We didn’t do too much cooking this weekend; just enough to get by this week!

Bacon

I cooked a batch of bacon to refill our bacon supply.

We like to oven-fry our bacon between two cooling racks. It keeps the bacon nice ‘n’ crunchy but allows the fat to drain off.

baking bacon

Once the bacon cooks and cools, I wrap it in paper towels and freeze it for easy weekday eating.

Raspberry bites

Last week I had a surplus of Cool Whip on my hands. I turned it into a delectable raspberry cream cheese Cool Whip bite monstrosity. My issue was that the mixture didn’t easily roll into balls, like the recipe said they would.

I spread the mixture thin in a pie tin and froze it. Then I just used a butter knife to cut it into little chunks of tastiness. I put it all in a Ziploc and now can munch on fluffy raspberry goodness with zero fuss.

frozen raspberry bites

Red beans and rice

Mr. Picky Pincher and I have pretty different tastes. It’s often a challenge to make freezer meals that we’ll both enjoy. Mr. Picky Pincher was low on freezer meals he could eat, so he whipped up five servings of red beans and rice as good freezer meals. After the week we had for food, I certainly wanted better options at home to save us money!

Marathon Madness!

Sunday was a big day! Picky Nikki ran her first marathon! Mr. Picky Pincher and I drove around town and cheered her on at different checkpoints. It looked like she was definitely feeling the hurt, but she finished with a great time of exactly 6 hours.

Go girl, go!

Zap’s Adventures

Zap can be a little clingy. I was attempting to finish some freelance writing, but with a face like this, how could I get anything else done? πŸ™‚

I gave Zap some scritch’ums and he was in kitty heaven.

“Haaaaamahhgahhhh.”

I managed to take one nice photo of Zap with the new camera. Look at this little gent!

As I was trying to write this blog, Zap walked up and started biting my head!

 

We want to know: How did you spend or save money this weekend?


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