Friday, January 10, 2014

Week 19 ~ Frigid Weather, Frozen Finances and Frosty Lessons

What a chilly week. That song that has the line "the weather outside is frightful" seems to be permanently stuck in my head. We are starting to reach more normal temperatures around here. We plugged along better than many. We only lost power a few times for less than 20 minutes each time. Also, only the 1970's addition to our house ended up with frozen pipes. The 1950's part of the house (which houses our two bathrooms) did just fine. So we carried water down the hall to do dishes, cook and generally keep the kitchen going for 2 days. The pipes thawed without breaking and all is now well. It could have been much more difficult and I am grateful it worked out so well.

Homeschool Lessons ~ We started back to school this week. I was pleased that we got off to a fresh start and everything was smooth sailing for the first 3 days. Thursday was a little bit shaky, but we still got most of our lessons done. The kids and I are reading Out of the Dust and studying the dust bowl period in American history. We are starting a mini unit study on Dorthea Lange. The kids will be doing photographic portraits with my old camera next week. We are also listening to We Are the Ship (about the Negro League in the 1920-30's) while we are in the car. This is a nice complement to Tom Sawyer's chapter book on Jackie Robinson. Little Red Riding Hood is working her way through Kit's Story Collection. She really learns lots of information from the American Girl Doll books. Goldilocks is busy doing her own thing in literature. She just finished Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing and is moving on to another Harry Potter book. They are all making progress in the Three R's, using their Complete Curriculum Flash Kids workbooks. We also started watching 1940's House on DVD. I can see that this show is going to help us spring into World War II. Tom Sawyer already wants to build a bomb shelter in the back yard!

We did some experiments to test out the frigid weather this week. We were successful at making snow out of boiling water. We threw the boiling water into the air. Also, we tried making frozen bubbles, but they didn't work well for us. Maybe, my homemade bubble solution wasn't quite right.

Boomer ~ had an accident at the end of last week. He was running across the yard and stepped on a glass plate. Yes, I, too, would like to know why there was a glass plate in the backyard. The plate broke and a piece flew up and cut an artery in his leg. I have never seen so much blood in my whole life. The children were WONDERFUL! They followed my commands perfectly and we got Boomer into the car with lots of towels. Goldilocks did an excellent job holding deep pressure on his leg while we drove to the animal hospital. We must have been a sight when we arrived at the animal hospital because people cleared the way for us! The children and I were covered in blood. Thankfully, we were right there when he got hurt, the kids were quick to follow directions and the animal hospital is only 2 miles away! Boomer is fine. Now, if I can just keep him from pulling his stitches out for one more week, this ordeal will be over. To say the least, the cost of this emergency swallowed up any and all extra money for the month, which leads me to Melissa's challenge...

Not Buying It ~ We are doing the best we can to not spend anything extra this month. Besides the dog's emergency, we had to pay our property taxes on the piece of the side yard we had to buy last year from the previous owner who had separated it from the main property and that holds our septic system). So our finances are almost frozen. We do not have cable TV, smart phones, or other luxuries often thought of as standard in America society. We do have a Kindle Fire and the one DVD at a time plan with Netflix. I wasn't sure how much more we could cut. The first 10 days have not been as hard as we suspected. I did have to buy a special measuring dipstick for our underground oil tank. We sure don't want to run out of bio fuel with the current temps outside. Also, I purchased a protective case for our Kindle at a store that was going out of business. It was marked down to $6 from $49.  I just couldn't pass up that deal. It is a very hardy case. Other things we did to save money this week.
  • Grandma cut the girls and my bangs and trimmed Little Red Riding Hood's hair (a savings of $23).
  • We ate every meal and snack this week at home. (We usually spend about $25 on organic snacks out on the road.)
  • In the process of getting some pickles from the jar, one of my kids poured out all the juice. Realizing that there needed to be some liquid in that jar, he put water in it. This made the pickles rather tasteless. So I prepared a new pickle syrup and poured it over the pickles (savings of $6).
  • I made my own dishwasher liquid from baking soda and borax with a vinegar splash in the rinse cycle. It works pretty good. I hope to get washing soda this weekend to make the solution even better (a savings of at least $4).
  • I spent $120 on food this week and have about 30% of what I bought left over for next week. We even have a large organic ham from the freezer for next week. (This is a savings of $80 since we usually spend $200 a week on groceries.)
  • We are keeping the house at 64 degrees to stretch our bio fuel. (This is our usual temperature, so there was no extra savings here.)
So we saved $138 this week!

Blessings, Dawn


  1. I'm so sorry about Boomer. Great job kids on following directions. I would like to think Keilee would do that but I am afraid she would just freak out. Great job on the starting back homeschooling and the finances! We are doing it too but we are very frugal anyway. I have to be. :)

  2. So glad Boomer is better! How scary! Nice going back to school! great job on the finances! We are organic here and spend about $ 120 per week on food. Keep up the good work! Huzzah to your weekend!

  3. That was great that you were able to take Boomer to the hospital right away! Great job about saving money, but I don't think I could live with 64 degree temps.

  4. So sorry to hear about Boomer but sounds like y'all did a great job on taking care of him! Good job on saving money too. The 64 temp would be very hard on a couple of mine here.

  5. Poor doggie, I am glad he is doing better. We are doing No Spend January too! Good luck!

  6. I'm happy to hear Boomer is doing better. I'm sure that was a very scary event for everyone. Good job on staying calm and listening. Glad to hear you all survived the very cold weather. I'm not sure we could deal with 64 degrees, my family complains lower than 74. Lol. Have a good week!

  7. Wonderful with your saving plan!! We had to get 400 gallon of propane this month because the tank was dry and it cost over $800. I'm wondering how long it will last...with this cold spell last week I'm thinking that will only last us a month. ugh

    So glad that Boomer is getting well. How scary for that to have happened and how lucky that you were home!!

    I totally understand cutting expenses. We have cell phones but no internet on them. We have dish which is cheaper than cable and my hubby can download dish from his room in CA and we don't have to pay cable twice. I have cut everything that I possibly can.

  8. I had a little smile at everyone baulking at 64. I just converted ours from C to F. We keep it at 15 Celsius which apparently is a Fahrenheit reading of 59 degrees. We do have a wood burning stove in our living room which we put on at night, which is really cosy. But during the day we wear bed socks and our onesies! (well, only if it's really cold and we're not expecting guests....)
    Good job on saving all that money. Can you come and help me do the same please?