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Lemon tree growing. Chapter 1. (Day 1-8)

I got my hands on some organic lemons the other day, and decided to try if it would be possible to grow a tree, and possibly have one ready for my parents 40 year wedding day next year. I live in Denmark, so it’s a gamble, due to the weather and the cold season, but either way, I will learn from the experience. It won’t be very likely that it will ever produce any fruits, but I actually think they’re pretty trees and the leaves themselves have a wonderful smell, and I think I can use them for something regardless.

Step 1 and 2

Step 1. Is getting the seeds out. I know people usually cut the lemon in half, but “being frugal” I didn’t want to waste any seeds. Instead of cutting the lemon all the way through, I decided to just cut a bit and using my fingers to separate it and dig out the seeds.

Step 2. Peel off the outer shell. I see most people use paper cloth to hold the seeds (they’re slippery as F), while peeling off the hard shell. I decided to use a kitchen towel instead, because I felt it was easier to rub of the slimy stuff. And I was right. It was SO easy!

Step 3.

Step 3. I put the (8) kernels on some paper towel (ok…toilet paper) and drizzled some water on it before putting it in a plastic bag. Most people use ziplock bags, but I want to reuse my plastic as much as possible, so I just closed it with a locking mechanism I got from IKEA years ago.

Step 4. Remember to date it and write what’s in the bag.

Step 4. Leave it a warm place for at least 1 week. We have a quite cold house, so I put it next to my radiators, but to make sure, that it didn’t burn I wrapped it in a duvet.

Step 5… set your alarm/calendar and wait…just like me. Chapter 2 will come within a few weeks.

Christmas and new year makes AHA-moments.

We made it through Christmas and new years eve…and no. We didn’t manage to stay frugal. Actually it went the other way. Having the small ones for the first time made us lose our focus, but it’s fine. My adult son was home too. Next year is without kids, and it’ll be an entirely other level. We spent the night with B’s sister and this was all the presents, primarily for the three small kids there, but I was showered with love in the form of presents as well.

Getting married in a few..five…months time, B decided that my golden and simple engagement ring should have a tiny diamond. We had originally agreed on just moving it from one hand to another, but he wanted to make sure it was something special after the wedding. I was happy to learn he made an effort to make sure it wasn’t blood-diamonds, but it did cost a bit extra. We will add it to the ring in may a few weeks before the wedding.

The best present, however, was this box. The kids wanted to decorate it for me, and had their dad write to “Maya-mom”. A few weeks earlier S asked if he could call me mom, but I said no, as he only has one mom and she’s the most important person next to dad, but that I’d like him to find a new name for me. So he decided to call me Maya-mor every now and then. V has followed him a bit, but I’m leaving it up to them. Still…listening to then while they decorated the box for the giant unicorn they got me, made me melt and I’ll be saving that as a treasured memory forever.

New years eve we spent alone. We needed it. And I got to test my crockpot for real by making brisket. It was amazing. So was the homemade “kransekage” because in Denmark you can’t have new years eve without this. Most people buy it, because it’s pretty sticky and they think it’s too much work, but that’s because they’ve never tried it. If you can live with the amateur look it’s better than the store bought one. The recipe should be with the picture.

January has, so far, brought knowledge that adding your credit card to Google play is a shitty idea. I didn’t…but B did. And we decided to check out how much money had used on his games…which created a relationship crisis. I won’t say how much he spent the last 18 months, but… me deciding to try to save money on my wedding dress and foods and so on because “we don’t have a lot of money”…. I felt betrayed, and he was not in his proudest moment to say the least. He didn’t realise the amount until then.

Buuut… You can only fix what you know what’s broken, so we took off the possibility to buy stuff online, and got him an old nokia. Which actually freed a lot of time together as well. Maybe some day he’ll be back on the android, but we’ve talked about waiting until after the wedding just to keep it safe.

So… that’s all for now.

Christmas tree – to plastic or not.

This weekend it was time for us to get a tree and decorate it. We decided a long time ago, that we´d get a plastic tree, if we could get a nice one – and if we promised each other, that we will use it for at least 20 years, we would feel okay about it. Both of us have ADHD and our experiences with real trees are, that we forget everything about them, so when we reach april, the livingroom is fully covered in the needles from the tree. We also have a cat and a dog, and bringing in a real tree would be…too exciting for them, and I was right. I´ve been fighting them off all the other years, but none of them seem to even recognise, that there´s a tree in the livingroom – and the good thing with the plastic tree is alto, that it´s possible to push it up against one corner, so it doesn´t take up too much space. There´s the environmental thing, but I´m not sure it´s as bad, if we use it for as long as possible and go to the recycling station and wort the different bits and pieces in the right materials. I hope we´re right. Either way we´re saving quite a bit of money on NOT buying a tree every year and start up the car to go get it etc. But let me know what you think (and maybe even know).

We bought a Spitsbergen tree – and ofcourse we did that on black friday alongside the last christmas-gifts. We got a decent discount of about 35%, so it was okay. I was pretty surprised how good quality it was and how lifelike it is, although it´s only the outer branches, that are really natural, but it´s a compromise, we were ready to accept.

It´s out first christmas with B´s kids, as they´ve been with their mother every year up til now, and B has celebrated christmas with her family even though the divorce was final almost 3 years ago when I met him. He didn´t think he could give them just as good a christmas as she could, and they were pretty young. This year, however, it felt wrong, for us to go to her family, when we´re kind of starting our own traditions and ways of doing things as a couple with three kids, so we´re having the kids, and we´re turning the christmas-preperations up a notch.

So… this sunday we decorated the christmas tree, and a really good thing about putting it in the corner is, that it is possible to decorate a tree with the same amount of lights as when I only had little trees standing on a small side table. I really enjoy it – and how it brings hygge in to our living room. I´ve decided, since we have a plastic tree, to compensate and not buy “gold lametta”, even though it has been one of my guilty pleasures for decades, when it came to christmas trees. I do need a it more sparkle to be satisfied, but…I will have to think about better solutions that can be used every year.

Yeah – I know. I should´ve cleaned the room, but I was excited.
Yes. This is a unicorn. S made it for me saturday when we went to Glow in Odense. I think it´s beautiful, just like the bits and pieces my son made for me when he was a kid.

Tomatosauce – and pizza -ish

I know – this might not be 100% frugal, but I really need to share this basic-recipe with you, because it is sooo good. The idea came along when I had some veggie-leftovers (more specific soft carrots and almost moldy onions) and “accidently” bought way to many canned tomatos, and B just looked at me with “wtf” written across his forehead. The tomatosause is basically this:

  • canned, chopped tomatoes
  • onions diced
  • carrots – shredded
  • any other vegetable that makes sense to eat – cut or shredded
  • herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano or anything YOU think tastes good

Usually you´d cook it in a big pot, but this one you need to reduce and I find it way easier to do that in a large frying pan, allowing as much steam as possible to leave the dish. If you want to, you can add left -over bacon-grease or bouillon/stock, but remember, that animal products will reduce the durability of the sauce (or any other dish).

In these two jars (500ml each), I had 5 cans (400g each), 10 small carrots, 3 onions and some sellery as well.

I poured into scolded glass and put the lid on immediately, and put it in the fridge. I didn´t know it would “pop” the lid, but I discovered that it did, when I couldn´t open one of them, when I needed it, which means it´s basically air tight.

For the pizzas I used my basic dough with rye, spelt and wheat + an egg or two ( I don´t remember to be honest). I roled out the dough really thin and put the oven om 250C and baked them for about 5-7 minutes, so it wouldn´t get soggy from the sauce. And then the fun began.

Toppings!

This was my topping, and it was amazing – especially due to the sauce and all the flavors I managed to add to it.

  • carrots
  • onions
  • potatos
  • jerusalem artichoke (according to google translate)
  • tomatosauce
  • chickpeas
  • grated cheese
  • diced chicken (200g for 4 pizzas – it was “last day of use” )

Appearantly my car is silver grey.

Having a car comes with many expenses, so be sure you only buy “what you need”. When I bought my car, I was single and living with my son. Now I’m engaged to be married next summer, and besides my son T who is turning 19 this December, and not living at home, I’ve become a stepmom of two, so this blended family of 5 has a car with only four seats. But it’s a cheap car, and it has a pretty good mileage and except some weekends we are 2 adults and no kids, so a 5 seat car is really an unnecessary luxury.

Today we washed it, and we didn’t think it was really that much needed, but it was. I wanted to clean the inside due to the mud the kids smeared all around the inside, and so I could make car seat covers and so on, but then it kind of evolved from “just a quick clean up” to a “what the actual fuck”-experience both on the inside and outside.

Frugal Carwash:

You want to use a very soft brush and get some special auto shampoo.

Wet the car with a hose very lightly.

Put a few drops on the brush and begin the quest. Be sure you clean all the dirt off as little rocks and dirt may develop in to rust.

Take on section at a time so it doesn’t dry up.

Rinse and begin a new section. And remember! Never do this when the sun is shining as you will most definitely need too much water and get ugly streaks.

I have a garden hose with different settings. I used the “mist” for the initial wetting, “jet” for stains, and “cone” for rinsing off the soap. I thought I’d use too much water, but honestly I don’t think I had it running more than 5 minutes altogether on the different settings, and since I didn’t shower yesterday…I don’t feel too bad about it.

Oh yeah… and you want to wash it more often than we do. This was embarrassing. But I promised you honesty. So here it is

Our dog loves the car, so he enjoyed the front seat while I washed the car and B “cleaned” it on the inside.
I’m trying not to cry, because the mud won’t come off. But hey…I have some awesome bedsheets and a tarp, so I will do something with it…I just wish I would have done it sooner.

Kitchen curtains – or “I´m tired of smiling at my neighbours when my kitchen is a mess”

This is my kitchen from yesterday – it still looks like this btw. We´re not perfect people in this house at all, and I refuse to pretend that I am in this blog too. Actually people pretending to be perfect in blogs and on youtube and other platforms scares me. I can´t stop thinking what´s hiding beneath the surface, and having a crazy imagination like me does not make pretty stories just because people are pretty and lead pretty cute lives. So when thinking about starting this blog, we had conversations about how honest to be here on the blog, we agreed to go “all in” – but ofcourse with respect to the people around us and each other and our wish to stay together for the rest of our lives.

As you can see in the above picture, my kitchen window is right next to the street in our little cul de sac, and it wouldn´t be a problem if the people around us were about the same age and had lives, so they would not be so busy. But appearantly mostly “elderly” people lives here, and some how they have time for “strolling” while looking through windows all day long, so I have to smile and pretend, that I´m proud of my mess…which I´m not.

We’ve been wanting to put up curtains for a while, but money are an issue so we were quite hesitant because we remembered the drama and the expenses about the livingroom curtains that we felt the need to buy after only living here for a week.

Luckily I went to the goodwill shop last week, and I stumbled across a sheet with broderie anglaise all around the edges, and since it was cheep (15dkr), and I also found a curtain rod for less than that, I had no more excuses than to make those curtains and keep a nice facade…

Here´s a “how to”

Loooook how pwetty this is. And please ignore the coffee stain that neither of us saw before it was too late and we were too lazy to wash it.

I´m pretty satisifed with the curtains. to be honest. I decided to (have B) hang them a bit above the counter, because I know I´m a mess at the sink, so I have to be able to wipe it off without thinking about moving the curtain to avoid the cloth.

Banana bread and why dirty kids in a tiny car is a bad idea.

This was supposed to be our weekend with the kids, but they had signed up for their first scout-camp this weekend, so we picked them up today and they´re going to school (and their moms place) tomorrow. It´s a bit sad for us, but they had an amazing trip with their friends and we picked them up all covered in mud and dirt with glassy tired eyes and red cheeks. Just as they´re supposed to be.

The only thing that didn´t go in the washing machine today was the kids (they showered) and being a bit too frugal I overloaded the machine with jackets, snowsuits, sleeping bags and everything else…so it refused to function and we had to empty it manually and…yeah…*deep breath*… we had to use the dryer to make it before midnight. Little monsters really generate a lot of laundry.

I don´t enjoy the thought of tomorrow though, because the mix of a tiny car and the boys´muddy boots are just…*sigh*… oh well, we thought about going to the carwash anyway, and I DID think about making car seat (and trunk) covers from an old tarp I have laying around somewhere…so yeah, no need to complain – except from the fact that I wish I didn´t procrastinate the first time I thought about makin it, so I didn´t have a muddy car on the inside as well. I will make a post about the tarp-project some day this week… and post pictures of my muddy car seat below this paragraph tomorrow.

But anyway, my little monsters are going home tomorrow, and because I had a lot of ripe bananas and a few carrots left, I decided to experiment and bake a banana bread – thingy for them to take to school.

B worked in London “back in the 90´s” and when we visited one of my many ex´s brother in law – who has the CUTEST and most amazin cake-shop named “Cravings” in Copenhagen – a few months ago, B had banana bread and said it brought him back to “when” while he looked at me with teary eyes and a smile on his face that wouldn´t come off.

SO…of course my plan was to destroy that sweet memory and bake a different version of banana-bread and maybe even make it healthy-er, so the teachers don´t frown too much because the kids are bringing cake to school…

I don´t know how it will be just yet – it´s in the oven right now, while I´m sitting here writing. But if it is a crappy recipe – you will know what NOT to use, right? 😀

Banana and carrot bread

READ the recipe before you begin – I am a very spontaneous person when cooking, so I don´t even out spoons or anything – it´s pretty much a “go with the flow” thing.

Ingredients

3 very ripe bananas (dark spots on the peel is good for the sugar-level)

3 small (ok mine were tiny) carrots – peeled

1 egg

50g (1/3 cup) butter (I used salted)

Salt – a little more than a so called pinch

1,5 teaspoon of baking soda

50g (about 1/2cup) white sugar

50g (1/2cup) whole wheat rye flour

100g (1 cup) wheat flour

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1,5 teaspoon vanilla-sugar (or what ever kind of vanilla it measures up to)

My left over bananas and carrots from my “too good to go”-bag fron Lidl a few days ago.
  • First I preheated the oven (convection) to 175C/350F
  • Then I mashed the bananas completely (use a fork if you don´t want to do too many dishes, but I´m lazy and B is amazing, so I used my tupperware-chopper-thingy (I googled it and its called a smooth chopper)
  • I tupperware-thingy-chopped the carrots as well, but you may grate them if that is what you prefer
  • Now melt the butter and mix it in
  • Crack an egg and throw it in along with the salt
bananabread
Yes….a pink bowl is pretty – if it´s not tormented with splashes of carrot orange and yellow yolk 😀

  • It´s obvious that the picure below has the wheat flour, baking soda, rye flour, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla in it, right? Well…it has. Mix it for a few moments, but not too much, just to make sure everything is “wet” and mixed “okay”.
Dry ingredients and a sweet smeel of cinnamon
  • I have this silicone baking dish from Tupperware as well, and yes – it´s expensive if you have to buy it, but I got it as a hostess-present 7 years ago, so here´s a frugal tip for you: host a tupperware party and get a free gift – but remember to check out and wait for the right present, or you´ll end up with weird sh*t….Anyway I did oil it up a bit today, because my darling B put it in the dishwasher last time I used it, and I wanted to be sure I could get the bread out for pretty pictures for you lot.
bananabread
In the baking dish – don´t mind the messy table, mkay?
  • baking time? Yeah… that´s actually a mystery for me, because the usual recipes online says 45-50 minutes, but it was still sticking to my knitting pin when I tested it, so I turned off the heat and left it in there for “a while”…and yes…it´s dark, but I didn´t burn it…and it doesn´t really taste burned, although there IS a caramelized and unknown flavor to it, so maybe I did burn it a little?
  • REVIEW: It´s really soft – waaay more than I expected – and it´s not too sweet but still yummy, so I guess I´ll go grab another piece before someone eats it all within a blink of an eye.
I looks dark, and maybe even burned, but it´s REALLY soft and sweet… I´m pretty surprised by this, to be honest. I´ll make it again some day, I´m sure.

My top 5 money-saving food apps.

I don´t know how it is in your country, but here in Denmark almost all supermarkets have their own app, where you can find things on sale and so on. There´s also a few apps that manage food waste, apps where people who has gardens and an overflow put up fruits and vegetables. I will list the danish apps below ofcourse, but if you have an app YOU use and would recommend, let me know, and I´ll put it on my links page for other people to find as well – and yes, I´ll sort it by country and maybe even leave a little word/recommendation from you, if you wish.

But – as you know, I´m a dane, so heres a short list of my money-saving apps.

Lidl Plus – I like this because it´s the nearest shop, and because their coupons are actually giving a fair discount on specific products. We don´t have the coupon-system as the states, but in a Danish perspective, it´s pretty good. There´s also a bonus-ticker, but I haven´t spent enough money there to know what it is…or…yes I have, but I forget to scan my phone, and it´s a problem when B is shopping, because the app is personal. I´d like to have two or more persons added to one account.

Mad skal spises is an app, by Salling Group who has the supermarket chains Netto, Bilka and Føtex, but in this app, they invite everyone, shops or consumers to add different products that are maybe on the edge of “too old” and extremely cheap. I downloaded it a few weeks ago, and I´ve used it three times at least. If I need something specific, I go through the list and see if I can get it cheaper. I hope the other local supermarkets will use this soon.

Too good to go is where it´s impossible not to make a good deal. Supermarkets, bakers and restaurants list “bags” with food, that they sell for a lot less than the normal price. It´s important to act quick and look out for the time they list their bags, because sometimes, they´re sold – “just like that”. The other challenge is, that you don´t decide what goes in your bag. If you buy from a baker, you might end up with a lot of cakes and no bread – or the other way around. I bought a bag from a supermarket three days ago, hoping there would be a lot of vegetables, but I´m still baking banana-muffins and tomorrow I´m making plum-chutney. The roses are still pretty though 😛

E-tilbudsavis is amazing when you´ve gone through you fridge and freezer and made a food plan, and you know what you need. It´s an app where every shop or supermarket that usually sends paper-ads to fill your mailbox have digital versions of their “papers”. It´s possible to make shopping lists and share that between people you know, and it even has this little feature where it adds the price, so you know how much you´re spending BEFORE leaving home. That feature saved me a lot of money, to be honest, because I didn´t like the amount at the bottom, so I went through the list a few times and again re-thinking if I really needed stuff, just because it had glitter on it.

Vild mad is for when you are adventurous and wants to know if the plant you see, when you´re hiking, is safe to eat or not – or tasteful too ;-D I´ve used it a bit when walking the dog, especially this autumn with all the rain and moist that make mushrooms grow all over. It breaks down every now and then, and I wish I could use it without internet-connection, but…if you can live with that, it´s a fine thing, and it looks pretty awesome too.

So – that´s the first 5 apps that I use the most. Not every day, but at least once a week. I hope you will share your food-apps and share some tips with the rest of us in the comments.

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