Frugal savings week 10 – 2014

The weeks pass by so fast, I don´t get done what I want to.Sometimes maintaining what you have going are taking more time, so not a lot of spare time to start new projects.

I continued with reviving my water kefir. No luck yet but perhaps with some more patience I will be able to make some lovely water kefir soon.

The cast iron Dutch oven I seasoned last time turned out very well, but I was not happy with the cast iron waffle iron. I started to reseason that one again.

I ordered some milk kefir and kombucha and started new batches. I started the kefir with store bought milk and it was ready in 1 day. I went to the farmer and got 20 liters of raw milk this time and made Neufchatel cheese (farmer’s cheese) and hard cheese (Gouda type cheese). I also made kefir from the raw milk, which has a lovely, rich flavor.

I baked Dutch pancakes because we had a friend of my youngest over and I baked rye sourdough bread with walnuts. I used up some of the whey I had from the cheese making.

I had some luck with my findings in the thrift store: I found a stainless steel frying pan from BK. Normally those pans are pretty expensive here. This one was obviously not used often and brought it home for only 2,50 euro’s.
I found 2 small canning jars: one weck and one parfait for only 0,25 eurcent a piece. We eat a lot of canned goods right now, but I do want to keep some empty jars in storage so I can can when the opportunity is there.
I also found a very old cheese mould for a small cheese for only 1,50 euro’s. I need to make a top to be able to actually use the cheese, but that will not be a very difficult job (I think).
I also brought home a very nice summer skirt for myself and a dress for my oldest, they were only 2,25 euro each.

Someone heard that I am a canner and she gave me her old canning jars. I think I have a total of 25 different sized jars. I am very happy with them. There were even 4 weck jars from 1.5 liter, which are rarely found. Two of them I can’t use because they are chipped but I use them for storage.

I planted again some broad beans because the other seeds aren’t doing well. Those were old seeds but I did want to try the

Frugal savings week 6 – 2014

It was a busy week, but I did manage to stick to not buying but make it yourself. I made all our breads and buns, I also made arame buns with sesame seeds, carrot muffins.
I have to admit that I do wake up at 5 a.m. to make all our preparations for the day: baking our bread, lunches (often with a soup) and prepare our meal in the slow cooker.  I love my slow cooker, I put it on when I go to work and have a warm meal when I come back.

Some one gave me 6 kilo of sliced potatoes which I dehydrated.

I also got 9 bunches of celery. I canned them in 10 pint jars for later use. I love celery in all kind of stews and soups. I cut the celery and put them in the jars and poured over hot boiling water then I pressure canned them for 40 min. I also made 5  x 3/4 liter jars of a celery soup base, so I can make it into a quick soup for lunch.

A lot of ready cut bags of Chinese stir fry vegetables, about 2 kilo, were also given to me. They were almost over the bbd, so I decided to make some chicken vegetable soup. I made some chicken broth from 2 chicken legs I had in the freezer. I put the vegetables and the stock. 5 liter jars of ready made soup.

2 jars didn’t seal, so we will be eating that today and tomorrow.

At the thrift store I got 15 drinking glasses which we always use but do break sometimes of course. I paid 10 euro cent each.

I cut my children’s hair and saved a trip to the hair dresser.

I made 2 throw pillow cushions from a piece of fabric I bought for 50 euro cents the other week. I got enough left to even make a small lunch bag.

Frugal savings week 31-2013

A lot of water passed under the bridge and I had to tighten the financial belt a lot tighter this year, but a lot of new interesting possibilities emerged from my more ‘tight’ philosophy!

This year I did buy some products and canned or dehydrate them but not as much as last year. Last year I was able to buy a lot of cheap fruits and vegetables and I still have a lot in storage. I decided to only preserve what I am able to find for free. Feeling strange not to can as much as I normally do, I do save a lot of money on groceries and most of the food I cook is still from scratch and from the pantry. I thought it will be fun to make a list on what I save or do frugally every week, that will keep me motivated to go on, on this chosen path.

Last week I bought a professional hair scissor: 34 euro’s (45 USD). I cut my children’s hair. They both have long hair and one has bangs. On average a hair cut costs about 20 euro’s (26 USD) per child. I have ‘earned’ my scissor back in one hair cut of both girls. Although I have never went to the hair dressers with them but it was nice that I cut their hair straight for one time..

Last week I was given 3 broccoli bulbs, 3 bags of spinach, 4 eggplants, fennel bulbs, 6 kilo of packed and cooked potatoes and leeks. This is all food that has been thrown out and someone gives that to me. The vegetables mostly has some brown spots and should be prepared the same day. Most of the time I just dehydrate or can the vegetables.

The spinach and leek I dehydrated, some fennel bulbs, I used into a dinner with potatoes and some canned mini tomatoes and some fish, all in one dish in the oven, sprinkled with herbs from the garden. The broccoli was starting to color a bit yellowish, but it made a lovely lunch. I also made a leek/potato curry with rice for dinner. The leftover wasn’t enough for dinner again, so I added home canned chicken and we ate another curry that evening.

I made some zucchini soup from the first zucchinis from the garden. The other 2 zucchinis I will marinate and make crisps of.

The other day some one gave me 8 vacuum packed organic sweet corns, I pureed them and I made corn chips in the dehydrator. Not sure yet how I am going to use them.

Frugal savings week 4-2014

Because saving is more and more a necessity, I decided to jot down my frugal savings on a weekly base.

I had a good ´score´ at the trift store today i paid a total of 13 euro´s

* I bought a music stand for my oldest 13th birthday on Saturday   2,50 euro
* a small cd player to listen to her library books                               3,00 euro
* a light blue twinset for myself for only                                            3,75 euro
* a wicker basket
* a wooden dish drainer
* 2 vintage boxes with handkerchiefs
* a new clothes line, mine was broke
I also made all our breads and meals from scratch. I brought soups to work and dehydrated fruits as snacks.

I´m canning 10 pint jars with various meats in it at the moment. i was given this meat and I only have 3 drawers as freezer space so I canned it. At least 10 meals for almost free.

What did you safe this week

Je veux

A beautiful song, expressing how I live and think.

Here are the lyrics in translation :
Je veux

Donnez-moi une suite au Ritz, je n’en veux pas
Des bijoux de chez Chanel, je n’en veux pas
Donnez-moi une limousine, j’en ferais quoi ?
Offrez-moi du personnel, j’en ferais quoi ?
Un manoir à Neufchatel, ce n’est pas pour moi
Offrez-moi la Tour Eiffel, j’en ferais quoi ?

Je veux de l’amour, de la joie, de la bonne humeur
Ce n’est pas votre argent qui fera mon bonheur
Moi je veux crever la main sur le coeur
Allons ensemble, découvrir ma liberté
Oubliez donc tous vos clichés
Bienvenue dans ma réalité

J’en ai marre de vos bonnes manières, c’est trop pour moi
Moi je mange avec les mains et je suis comme ça
Je parle fort et je suis franche, excusez-moi
Finie l’hypocrisie, moi je me casse de là
J’en ai marre des langues de bois
Regardez-moi, de toute manière je vous en veux pas et je suis comme ça !

Je veux de l’amour, de la joie, de la bonne humeur
Ce n’est pas votre argent qui fera mon bonheur
Moi je veux crever la main sur le coeur
Allons ensemble, découvrir ma liberté
Oubliez donc tous vos clichés
Bienvenue dans ma réalité


I want

Give me a suite at the Ritz hotel, I don’t want that
Chanel’s jewellery, I don’t want that
Give me a limo, what would I do with it?
Offer me staff, what would I do with it?
A mansion in Neufchatel, it’s not for me
Offer me the Eiffel tower, what would I do with it?

I want love, joy, good spirit
It’s not your money that will make me happy
I want to die with a hand on my heart
Let’s go together, let’s discover my freedom,
Forget all your prejudice, welcome to my reality

I’m fed up with your good manners, it’s too much for me
I eat with my hands, I’m like that
I speak loud and I’m direct, sorry
Let’s end the hypocrisy, I’m out of it
I’m tired of double-talks
Look at me, I’m not even mad at you, I’m just like that

I want love, joy, good spirit
It’s not your money that will make me happy
I want to die with a hand on my heart
Let’s go together, let’s discover my freedom,
Forget all your prejudice, welcome to my reality

Translation source:



Yesterday I had a very interesting talk with someone who is very dear to me. I told her, perhaps a bit of doubt about my own decision, that I cancelled our cable contract. In about a month’s time, we won’t have any cable anymore. I am heading for a couple of very difficult months and I want to try to save some money. I hardly watch television, only my girls. they have enough dvds they get from their father. I think they can watch television for 2 or 3 weeks non stop. I also changed my land line contract which adds an additional saving.
The total yearly saving will be: 347,40 euro/476,94 usd/303,24 gbp. that is quite some money. You have to know that before I can spend those 350 euros I have make sells for at least 1100-1200 euros (taxes, business costs, ingredients etc). That gives a whole different perspective on things, not being on a fixed income!

During my conversation with my dear friend, she said that it is only luxury and not necessairy. And we talked about what is luxury in our lives, she said that even tea and spices are a luxury. That got me thinking: you see: I live a luxurious life!I have staples of spices, herbs, tea’s (which I blend myself) and coffee!

Definition of poor

The other day, someone told me that she thought I was poor, I was the poorest person she knows. I was very surprised that she thought of me like that: I don’t feel poor and I don’t think I am poor, and I have everything I want or need.
Poor means what? Not being to able to buy whatever you want, whenever you want? Does being poor means that you only have second hand clothes? Baking your own bread? Always cooking from scratch, from seasonal products? Canning your own preserves? Never buying new toys for the children for birthdays nor Christmas? Never buy new furniture nor electronics (yes, I am waiting for my first flat screen which surely will come my way when in my surroundings it should be about time to get a new tele…)? Only have what others don’t want anymore and throw out? Not running to the shop when something is broken in the house to replace it? Nothing going on a holiday or perhaps family days out?

What is poor about making your own toys, baking fresh breads, cakes and muffins, canning all kind of tasty foods, mending your ripped clothes, dehydrating fruits and vegetables, saving candle leftovers to make new candles, reusing old jeans and other clothes to make quilts and so on. I can’t see any poorness there.

Perhaps my life isn’t as easy as others, true… Having my own company (meaning money is never the same), raising 2 kids without child support from their father isn’t always the easiest thing to do, perhaps. But frankly, it doesn’t feel like that at all. We have a roof above our head, having wonderful, healthy foods and are just ok dressed. Yes, according to set norms, I do live far below the poverty norms.. but all I can see in my life is a lot of wealth and I do live the life I want to live. What else should I need?