Fence Me In

Yesterday we finally achieved a home improvement goal we have been talking about forever: adding a fence to the back of the yard and thereby closing off the yard completely.

I thought the sight of the fence would bother me, that it would look too glaringly new, but I like it. It makes the yard look more neat and organized, and as a control freak, this is good. It does make me sad that the little path worn by the feet of my kids and their friends as they traveled back and forth between our two houses is now blocked off. 😦 (Our friends moved away.)

Now, once we have the money to take the cats to the vet (to prove we are good pet owners) and to pay adoption fees, we could get a dog. Christmas? Maybe spring would be better. The fence also allows me to have chickens if they are ever approved.

In choosing the fence, we unchose other improvements, like a new rug for the family room or a fireplace. And unchose any trips in the near future. And, you know, just saving money. I hope we chose wisely. At the time I scheduled the fence, in the summer, we were all feeling very pro-dog.

In advance of the fence, I spent about 2 hours clearing brush away from the fence line over the weekend. I guess this was frugal in that I could have paid someone else to do it, but that never occurred to me. Sebastian helped me, and we had fun yelling like the Hulk as we ripped giant weeds and miles of vines out of the ground. I did pay him for his help.

The fence purchase is making things a leetle tight this week. We ate out last Saturday night, but it was just Gemma, Aidan and me, and they had to pay for themselves. Sunday was spaghetti, with gravy from the freezer. Monday was chicken nuggets, leftover spaghetti, and pierogies (an effort to try something new that failed; only I ate them). Tuesday was mac n cheese for the kids and leftover Italian bread and mozzarella cheese with pesto from the freezer for me. Tonight, I’m thinking pumpkin pancakes. Tomorrow, I may splurge for pizza because we have a school event at night. Or I’ll see what else I can wring from the fridge and freezer. I do enjoy the challenge. I want to make it to Sunday, which would make it a week since I grocery shopped (and it was a small order). I did have to go to Target today for printer paper, so I got butter and yogurt to help us get through. And a personal Pizza Hut pizza for my lunch, LAY OFF I WAS STARVING.

This afternoon, I’m baking two loaves of banana bread. Do you think I have enough bananas?

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Sitting on the front porch right now. This might be the most beautiful day of the year. Listening to a little Tom Petty (RIP) (“Swingin'”).

Other frugal moves:

–I didn’t buy school photos or soccer photos for any of the kids.

–I didn’t buy a really cool map of the stars that I saw in a new store in town and that I’d love to hang in the newly-painted dining room.

–We made our own thank-you notes for Gemma to send out for her birthday presents, with posterboard, envelopes and stickers we already have. (We are writing about one a day, so we’re not quite done yet!)

–I put leftover taco ground beef (from Friday night’s tacos) into leftover gravy to make a Bolognese sauce on Sunday, for hubs only. He approved of this Tex-Mex/Italian combo. He always wants Bolognese sauce but the rest of us don’t like it that way.

–Last weekend I cleaned out the boys’ closet, got a bag of clothes/shoes together and gave it to the Nesting House for store credit. I completely cleaned it out and reorganized it so there are two bins with lids in there with clothes and shoes in them. I also went through all their pajamas and threw away a lot that were completely worn out. I need to do the same in Gemma’s closet.

–I listed a few things on the Facebook yard sales and eBay, but no takers yet.

–I’m putting off buying new makeup and am “embracing my natural beauty.”

–Free entertainment/education in the form of “The Vietnam War” on PBS, all last week, the week before, and this week too (watching the reruns to fill in the parts I missed). Bonus, the series inspired me to write a poem for the first time in a long time.

–I used garden tomatoes plus some that a friend gave me to make another batch of tomato sauce for the freezer.

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–Last week, we didn’t eat out at all except for one night when Gemma treated us to McDonald’s with a gift card her grandparents gave her for her birthday.

–I’ve been hanging most laundry on the line.

Last week, I closed out the September budget, and realized we really didn’t spend much at all.

I still haven’t gotten to the farmers’ market. Last week, to make up for that, I went to Springdale Farm Market, a farm market about 15 minutes away that is open every day, most of the year. Was able to get local Honey Crisp apples there, and picked up a few other things as well. The “where does my food come from?” saga goes on… I bought peaches at Springdale, jarred by the Amish in Ohio, but no wording as to where they are grown. Are they better than these canned peaches from Acme, which say they are U.S. peaches?

The painting has been continuing, but right now I’m out of supplies and money so I’m just prepping, doing what I can here. I cleared out the foyer and primed over all the dark blue paint swatches that were on the wall from a few years ago. Just need gloss white paint to do the dining room trim and then I’m done in there (hubs has things he needs to fix in there though). So I’ll move on to the foyer and the bathroom.

I took a break from this to make the banana bread — it’s baking right now and smells amazing. Maybe we will just have that for dinner. I made 2 loaves (10 bananas).

One random thing I made note of is that the kids are pretty much all taking showers now instead of baths. This feels almost like more of a milestone than potty training. I have been giving baths for almost 11 years!

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