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

Ahh, what a weekend. My only regret is that it was only two days long. πŸ™‚ We did a lot of new things this weekend, so it felt really nice not to be in the kitchen for two days. πŸ™‚

See what we did this weekend to keep the frugal fun flowing. Add how you spent your weekend in the comments!


I’m still working on making the upcoming Picky Pinchers Cookbook as badass as it can possibly be. I wanted to create a quick video explaining the cookbook and share reader impressions of the book.

I had to, uh, get a little creative with making a decent video. I moved my standing desk into the kitchen and added a lamp for better lighting. The video came out awesome, but I had a good chuckle at how funny the behind-the-scenes looked. πŸ™‚

behind the scenes filming

I also put together a page just for The Picky Pinchers cookbook, if you want to check it out here!

If you want to be notified of when the cookbook goes live on December 1, you can sign up below.

I’m so excited!!!

DIY Lightbox

I’ve really been trying to up my photography game for the blog. I enrolled in an online photography class, which has been really helpful. But, at a certain point, you do need different equipment other than a smartphone camera.

I’ve really been wanting a lightbox (like this one) to take professional-looking photos of our food. But hey, I’m not made of money! I looked into how I could make a lightbox of my own without the big price tag.

I found this awesome guide for making a lightbox. Mr. Picky Pincher did most of the heavy lifting, but it was pretty easy to throw together. We had a big box just sitting around and used some leftover white fabric scraps to cover the sides. Our total cost was about $1 for the white poster board, plus $16 for the lamps.

diy lightbox

Not bad, eh? πŸ™‚

It just goes to show that you can have nicer-looking photos without spending a lot of money.

I think a lightbox would be really useful for people who often sell items online, as well as my fellow blogging peeps.


I spent a good amount of time during the week and weekend working on a large freelance project. I let out a huge sigh of relief on Saturday afternoon once I finally completed it. The upside is that I’ll get $100 for this project, which should cover my parking fees for FinCon here in a few weeks.

All riiiiiiiiight!


We were pretty preoccupied with other activities this weekend, but we did manage to cook a few things.

Caprese bites

We had some cherry tomatoes were about to go bad, so I turned them into some tasty no-cook Caprese bites. I cut up some fresh mozzarella and topped these li’l bites with balsamic vinegar and basil. They’re a perfect cheap snack. πŸ™‚

caprese bites

Sunday breakfast

We treated ourselves to a few slices of pancetta from the deli for a special Sunday breakfast. Mr. Picky Pincher heated up our pre-cooked homemade biscuits and topped them with soft boiled eggs, homemade hollandaise sauce, and crispy pancetta.

sunday breakfast

Ahhh, it was sooo tasty. It was like having a fancy brunch date in my own kitchen. πŸ™‚

Chocolate mint maracons

Mr. Picky Pincher had four leftover egg whites from cooking Sunday breakfast. I used those four egg whites to make a double batch of macarons. After poking around in our pantry for a bit, I decided to make chocolate mint macarons.

I dyed the macarons green and used this recipe to make a fluffy chocolate mint buttercream. The recipe was just for a chocolate buttercream and I added a teaspoon of mint extract for the flavoring.

These were SO GOOD.

They taste like those Andes chocolate dinner mints. The mint flavor wasn’t too overpowering and the texture was perfecto!

mint chocolate macarons

Photo taken in the new lightbox!


We cooked some gyros for Sunday dinner, which we’ll eat for Monday lunch. We might have some leftover gyros, which we’ll freeze for easy meals later.

Hobby Lobby and Walmart Haul

We did a bit more shopping this weekend than we normally would.

We swung by Hobby Lobby on Saturday to return unused craft supplies and to pick up some paper. For me, Hobby Lobby is like If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. If I go into Hobby Lobby, I have to look at all the clearance aisles.

I actually found some really nice things on clearance. I purchased several cute items that I’ll give as Christmas gifts. They regularly sold for $20 apiece and I got them for $3 apiece, and they’re in perfect condition. πŸ™‚ I’ve been wanting to be better about shopping in advance for the holidays and this is a great start.

I also have been wanting to add a wall cling to my office to jazz up the background for video calls. I did find a few wall clings in clearance, but I didn’t like any of them enough.

As luck would have it, Hobby Lobby was having a 50% off sale on all wall clings.

I found one that said “Bless this mess” and I had to have itΒ (I found this similar one on Amazon). As I mentioned in last week’s cleaning blog, my office is the dirtiest room in the house since Zap lives in there, so “Bless this mess” was very fitting!

Normally the cling would have been $20, which is a deal-breaking price for me. However, it was 50% off, so at $10, I felt a little better about it.

bless this mess wall cling

I hung the cling and it looks awesome! I’ll definitely check the clearance section whenever I visit again.

We also swung by Walmart on Sunday morning. I had been on the hunt for some lamps for my DIY lightbox and had zero luck at the thrift store. I scored two lamps for $8 apiece at Walmart. I was hoping to get a better deal, but oh well. The lamps will get plenty of love.

We also got a bath mat. I love taking baths, but our bathtub is rough and will rub your skin off.

With a squishy bath mat we can now take cozy baths. πŸ™‚ I also made sure to get a bath mat that is machine-washable, so we can regularly clean it and maintain it, instead of buying a new mat every year.

bath mat

Please ignore my filthy shower.

I also checked our Walmart’s discount rack, where I got two bottles of OPI nail polish for 98 cents apiece. I can’t tell you the last time I paid full price for nail polish!

Kitty mess prevention

I’ve been meaning to mention this on the blog, and it seems fitting when I’m talking about how messy little Zap can be!

Zap absolutely loves to knock over his one-gallon water bowl. This makes a gigantic, horrible mess that I have to clean up.

Mr. Picky Pincher, in his crafty wisdom, placed the water bowl inside a plastic box so it can’t be knocked over.

cat mess prevention

I know a lot of readers are cat owners, so if your kitty has the same habit, this has been an awesome frugal solution.

Olukai flip flops

I think I mentioned last weekend that I ordered some $65 flip flops from Olukai (Amazon link here). I was kinda nervous to spend that much money on a pair of shoes, let alone a pair of flip flops.

After wearing these bad boys for a week, I have to say I’m pretty impressed. They’re so much more comfortable and I can tell they’re well-made.

I think this is one of those times where I need to fork over a little more money for a better product. Hopefully these li’l dudes will last me a few years!

olukai flip flops

Featuring my 98 cent Walmart nail polish


Mr. Picky Pincher is actually craftier than I am! He recently got a book on origami and spent a chunk of his weekend making really flippin’ neat origami structures. We’re storing them on our kitchen butcher block shelves and they look outstanding!


Mr. Picky Pincher has since made enough origami to fill these shelves!

He then took some REALLY beautiful photos of his origami projects in our lightbox. Check it out!


Fall planting

We sprouted our fall garden and it’s time for planting! The weather is still in the 80s – 90s every day, so the plants will happily flourish during the fall growing season.

We planted pumpkin, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, salad medley, carrots, and spinach. Hopefully we’ll have a good harvest this fall!


Months ago, I bought a Groupon for Mr. Picky Pincher and I to go bowling. At the time we wanted to make more time for fun date nights outside of the house. I got an email earlier this week saying my Groupon was close to expiring, so we made sure to go bowling on Sunday afternoon.


Mr. Picky Pincher being perfect at bowling.

The bowling experience was ‘meh,’ but mostly because the customer service at the bowling alley sucked. We did have a lot of fun and played two rounds of bowling. We nibbled on greasy nachos and some of the most perfect onion rings I’ve ever had.

Mr. Picky Pincher TOTALLY smoked me at bowling. I’m sure after a while it wasn’t even a challenge for him. πŸ˜‰

What a dismal score! 46 to 137.

Anyhoo, it was a fun date, but we wouldn’t go back to this particular bowling alley.

Zap’s Adventures

I woke up Sunday morning and Zap desperately wanted to come into the room. I let him in, and he proceeded to attack the Crazy Cat Lady costume I packed in a suitcase for FinCon. I might need to get the little guy a stuffed animal to wrestle with from the thrift store. πŸ™‚

I was about to get up and do things, and then Zap plopped down on my lap. This is where I sat for the rest of the evening.

Zap has a vendetta with one particular squirrel in the neighbor’s tree. I snapped this priceless pic of Zap getting ready to beat down the squirrel. Of course, we all know the squirrel would win in a real fight, but Zap likes to dream.

But this pic is by far the best one of Zap! Mr. Picky Pincher took an afternoon Saturday nap. Zap decided to join him. πŸ™‚

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

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