Saturday, February 9, 2013

Adventures With Homemade Ice Cream, and Other Ways to Spend a Frugal Saturday

Saturday, a day when I am with the children all day.  No husband (off working), no nanny (no legal work for me), just mom.  Many women might head to the mall or other venues that suck dollars from your wallet.  Not me.  Frugal living allows my husband the freedom to create our own businesses, so the inspiration to have a fun day without breaking the bank is quite high.

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and we wanted to put Happy Heart Day notes in the mail to family.  No prepackaged cards for us this year.  Friday (my other day off, usually) I set the kids up with blank cards and paint.  For close to an hour they unleashed their inner Renoir.  We ended with seven cards, an exhausted finger paint supply, and some rather messy children.  Today we finished off the creations with some stickers and messages written by mom.

 M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2013
Cooling rack used in baking is working overtime -- drying the cards

Before heading out the door to the post office and a few other stops, I had a chance to hang a load of laundry.  In this house we use a drying rack and laundry line as much as possible.  Many may associate line dried clothes with summer weather, but winter time is great for air drying.  It adds extra moisture to the dry winter climate in our Midwestern home, keeps the energy bill low, and extends the life of our clothing.  Give it try.  Even in an apartment you can air dry: hangers on a shower rack; put a drying rack in the bathtub to save space, etc.  It worked for me the 8 years I lived in a college apartment.  And saved lots of quarters!

First stop out of the house was dropping off leftovers for the above mentioned husband.  Healthy food, no cost, no need to drive to the fast food storefronts near his office.  Dropped the cards in the mailbox, and then it was off to Verona, a nearby town.  To the children's annoyance we had to first stop at our accountant's office.  It's tax time, and for reasons you probably don't care to read about (it involves an s-corp election) the tax materials were needed ASAP.  The drop took five minutes, and then we arrived at our adventure destination....the Verona public library.  An hour and half later we left with a bulging grocery bag of books (the list was nearly as tall as my 2.5 year old!).

At home we read, watched a DVD from the library, and mom whipped up some more food in my frugal kitchen.  While two pieces of beef tenderloin (purchased in bulk at UW Provisions) thawed, I turned mushrooms, leeks, rice, and onions into a marvelous creamed soup.  Shredded zucchini from the chest freezer was transformed into a bread, which we will take as our "dish to pass" at a birthday party on Sunday.  And the final creation was pumpkin ice cream.

Adventures with homemade ice cream fits the bill tonight.  Not thinking, I pulled the frozen insert out of the chest freezer and put it in the machine (on loan from a friend, see yesterday's post).  Working too quickly I dumped in the ingredients.  Problem one, I did not mix them first.  Problem two, they started to freeze to the side, meaning the mixer insert would not fit.  In an effort to avoid a total loss I poured the ingredients into a bowl.  Cleaned the insert, put it back in the freezer to freeze, and gave it another whirl (after mixing in the bowl and putting the mixer in first).  Salvaged the batch.  Because of the delay, it remains to be taste tested yet.  But I have my fingers crossed that I have a new recipe in which to use all that pumpkin I froze last fall.

And that is how this frugal household spent its Saturday.  How about you?

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