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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Yellow Roses The Prudent Homemaker

It cooled down this week to 85°F/30°C. I gladly turned off the air conditioner and opened up the house for as many hours as I could each day, only running it for a few hours each afternoon. By Saturday, it was 77°F and cool enough to turn off the air conditioner for the entire day. We will still need it a few afternoons next week, but we're now coming to the time when the weather becomes nice enough to have the windows open all day.

I harvested rosemary, garlic chives, Armenian cucumbers, New Zealand spinach, Swiss chard, a large zucchini (my first of the year) and red noodle beans from the garden.

My husband and I cut my husband's hair.

I signed up for a free account for two of my children to practice math skills at xtramath.org. Doing math on the computer seems to be more fun for them than flashcards, so I am hoping this will help them want to give even more time on mastering multiplication tables. 

My eldest boys had some free fencing fun at a church activity.

Octavius had some fun with his grandparents watching the airplanes take off at the airport.

I purchased Target's store-brand diapers when they had a spend $100 get a $20 gift card deal. While there, I checked out the clearance and was able to get several uniform polo shirts for two of my girls for $2.10 each! I like that they have some solid-colored shirts without sayings that are a bit more dressy than a t-shirt. 

With all the busyness in my life right now, I have been reevaluating how I use every minute of my time so that I am better able to accomplish what needs to be done. One thing that I am doing is working to become better organized. Drawers and other things become unorganized after a couple of months and then it takes longer to find things in those spaces, wasting precious time and causing frustration. To that end, I reorganized three drawers in the kitchen this week. I needed a new silverware organizer, as the one that we got when we were married 18 years ago is wearing out and doesn't properly fit the large forks that I purchased a few years ago when we needed more silverware (which were getting jammed and bent in the drawer because of not fitting). I purchased a few new organizers at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, using a bunch of 20% off coupons. As they take expired coupons, I took several with me. The drawer functions so much better now. Since I was reorganizing that drawer, I decided to do two others as well, just moving things around that I already had.

I had a couple of children help me reorganize the bottom shelf and below the bottom shelf in a kitchen closet for another time saver and frustration eliminator.

I had been thinking of replacing my diaper bag with a small tote bag. A close-by reader offered me some spray starch, to which I said yes. She then offered me a leather tote bag, to which I also said yes. When I looked at it, it turned out to be the perfect thing that I was wanting to replace a bag of mine that is 23 years old.

I canned 20 quarts of giardiniera.

Now that temperatures have dropped, I can start planting cool-season seeds in the garden. I planted seeds for parsley, lettuce, and beets.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore October 09, 2018

    Maxine, best wishes to your DD and DH during their recovery to good health. Regarding the RXes in the "donut hole" have you tried contacting the manufacturers of those medications? Perhaps they may be able to assist you with their costs.

  • Tina S. October 08, 2018

    Good move on reorganizing the drawers. That's a small thing that really pays off. And glad to hear it's cooling down there. I always like to have a window open, even just a little.

    Frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - I replanted my planters that the deer had nibbled on. So far they haven't been back. I love seeing the planters outside my windows, and they make me so happy during the many gray days here.
    - I needed to mail a package, so I rescued a box from the communal recycle bin.
    - I bought tiny pumpkins (6 for $2 at the farmer's market) for fall decorations. I made a Halloween display using two of the pumpkins and items I already had. Even my husband thought it looked nice (he's not really into holiday decorations).
    - I made chocolate pudding, and the recipe called for 2 egg yolks. I used a whole egg instead, which worked fine. Rarely do I make a recipe like this, as I am the only one who will eat it (the pudding was delicious).
    - I used a Land's End coupon to buy several new t-shirts. Due to a moisture problem in our bedroom (that has mostly been resolved), the old ones had become mildewy.
    - I prepped dinner and several lunches in advance to save time.
    - One day, I had a sore throat. I diffused thyme oil in my essential oil diffuser while I slept. My sore throat was gone in the morning.
    - I bought new short walking boots to replace a pair that had worn out, and used a coupon from the store. It was expired, but the cashier let me use it anyway.
    - I read ebooks from the library. A big thanks to whoever recommended the free Kindle book "Girl of the Limberlost" - I downloaded this from Amazon and am really enjoying it.
    - I was able to dispose of some old fluorescent lights at our city's hazardous waste collection event.
    - My sister invited me over to her house for a "crafting afternoon". I brought my sewing machine and worked on a project. We had a lot of fun.
    - I have several pairs of arch support insoles (Superfeet) that I use in my shoes. And I never wear socks (yes, I know that's weird), so the insoles get dirty and smell bad. So I hand washed the insoles in warm water and let them air dry. Works great!

    Have a great week, everyone. Looking forward to all the comments.

  • Deb October 08, 2018

    Hello Brandy and all,
    This week I have continued to use up pantry items as much as possible. My grocery purchases in September were $37 (for one person) and consisted of milk, eggs, and fresh produce. I am hoping to continue using things up this month but am also making select purchases for the large Thanksgiving dinner I host.
    I have been doing a lot of gift sewing for Christmas....finally making a tiny dent in the fabric stash. My sister and I have had an ongoing joke that "the one who dies with the most fabric wins!" but there is really no need to have so much and I love to sew so this year is the hand made year. I have made 8 lovely fully lined washable grocery bags, two vintage style aprons, 6 pairs of pj's, and a pretty dress for my granddaughter so far.
    I will be leaving for Australia (my daughter married an Australian and is a permanent resident) on December 6 because I found a wonderful sale on airline tickets for that time period and I will be gone for 4 1/2 months this year. Although the tickets are still expensive, I will save on household expenses by suspending my internet and phone service, garaging my car and changing the insurance to comprehensive only during my absence, and turning the furnace to 60F and turning off the hot water heater. I also will not do any restocking until I return home in April. I have also made arrangements for my oldest grandson (turning 14 soon) to mow my lawn. I have been paying a yard man for several years but he charges quite a bit and it will be less than half of that amount for my grandson to do it. He lives half an hour away and I will pay him $20 each time (he said $10 but I told him he would need to give his dad some gas money for transportation) and I will need to buy a used lawnmower but it will still save me quite a bit.
    I had my son and his family (DIL and 4 grandchildren) for Sunday dinner. We do this every other weekend after all of us are done with church. Since I am cleaning out the pantry and freezer there are some interesting combinations. This week we had bbq chicken drumsticks and buttered rice with canned green beans, home made cornbread (I must have found a really good sale on cornmeal!) and pumpkin pie (only one more container of frozen pumpkin puree from last year is left).
    I am still using the AC most days...it has been in the mid 80's-low 90's but is very humid (South Central Texas) It is starting to cool off a bit and I can have the windows open at the back of the house at night. I hope everyone has a great week.

  • Jenny October 09, 2018

    Hope we put some good weather on for you in December. What part of Australia does your daughter and her family live in?

  • Deb October 09, 2018

    She lives in Victoria....South Gippsland. It's beautiful there, lots of green rolling hills and about 1 1/2 hours from the Mornington Peninsula. We'll camp on the foreshore there for two weeks in January....I love it. (Most especially I love a 5 year old Aussie-American boy!) This year I will stay through the Easter school holidays so I get to spend a good long time with him.

  • Jenny October 10, 2018

    Sounds fantastic!! I live in Melbourne, not to far from there and it is very green and beautiful, and produces great cheese. :)

  • Andrea Q October 11, 2018

    Sounds wonderful, Deb! Depending on the layout of your home and how well it is insulated, you might be able to turn the heat down considerably lower than that, especially if your son can check in on things for you while your grandson mows the lawn. We turn our heat down to 50 F when we're gone in the winter.

  • Jo October 08, 2018

    My location is north Florida, very near the Gulf Coast, where Hurricane Michael is taking dead aim as I type!
    So....
    I love the roses, Brandy. Our roses here have so much trouble with black spot! And how on earth did you manage to can all that giardiniera?
    We are still reaching 90 and above for temperatures during the day. This hurricane may bring some different weather behind it, but we'll see.
    I'm doing the usual -- washing in homemade laundry detergent, hanging out laundry, trying to reduce my grocery bill, staying out of stores, and cutting down or trips for errands. My focus now is to prepare for the storm.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore October 08, 2018

    Jo, I pray you make it safely thru Hurricane Michael. We're expecting heavy rain/thunderstorm on Thursday from it. One of our friends has a winter home in Sarasota and drove down from NJ last week to escape the constant rain here to find themselves preparing for this storm!

  • Margie from Toronto October 08, 2018

    For Margaret Near Sydney - I live in Toronto, a city of about 3 million, smack in the middle of Canada on the shores of Lake Ontario. I love hearing from so many women in so many different parts of the world - just shows how alike people really are.

    Brandy - I though that you'd have an easy week while recovering from your surgery but you are as busy as ever! I hope that you are feeling well and not in too much discomfort.

    Monday I headed downtown to do some banking and pay all the bills for the month. Then it was around the corner to my doctor's office to pick up some paperwork for lab work (they suspect that I have some thyroid issues so tests are needed) - the lab is right across the street at the Women's College Hospital (a wonderful place) and I was in and out in less than 15 minutes with no cost as it is all covered by our Govt. Health plan. I then hit the dollar store, loaded up my transit card for the next few weeks and picked up a few items at a grocery store I don't often get to and still managed to get back on the subway home within my 2 hour window so only used one transit fare!

    Tuesday a friend treated me to a belated birthday lunch at a local restaurant - cauliflower soup & a huge cabbage roll and since it was a cool & wet day this was a very welcome meal. Had a free coffee and some treats at church on Tuesday night before the English class that I teach.

    Wednesday took a free computer course at the library - an excellent teacher so I have signed up for some more.

    Thursday I did the grocery shopping for Thanksgiving and used a gift card someone had given me to pay.

    Friday stayed home and did laundry and cleaning. There must have been something in the air last week as I was also doing a lot of clearing out and reorganizing! I finished switching over locker rooms down in the basement of my apt. building - the new one is much easier to access but it is smaller. I threw out and recycled and then donated a number of things and I am very pleased with the results. I took some things downstairs from my bedroom store closet and brought up a few things that I need to access much more often. The bedroom closet is used for these items plus my luggage and coats & boots. I keep my clothing in two free standing wardrobes. My Summer and Winter switchover of clothing was also finished and again, I am very pleased with the results.

    Saturday a friend had 7 of us over for an early Thanksgiving dinner which meant that I didn't have to do it this year (I am the friend who does most of the entertaining so it was a nice break). It was delicious and we all came home with turkey leftovers. A number of my friends love scarves so I took over a few that I had decided to give up and they shared them out amongst themselves.

    My freezer above my fridge is jam packed so wouldn't this be the week that I found lots of meat on sale or even on 50% off! I hadn't intended buying anymore meat this month but couldn't pass up the bargains - somehow I managed to make it fit! But I seriously don't need anything except dairy and fruit & veg for the next couple of months! I even picked up my favourite teabags at a good price (plus earned a stack of loyalty points) and I estimate that I now have over 400 on hand so it is time to start using things up!

    I hope everyone has a good week.

  • Juls Owings October 08, 2018

    Margaret near Sydney...I am in Hardin County near Kenton OH. We are surrounded by Amish that use no electric, or indoor plumping.

    Brandy, I really have to thank you for listing your menu and recipes. Hubby grew up on a cattle farm so steaks were always in the freezer...he has struggle to adjust to vegetarian meals. He LOVES the pasta e fagioli and the swiss chard soups.

    I spent this morning washing down vinyl siding on the front porch with the window squeegee as we don't have a power washer (yet).
    I am processing the 110 lbs of tomatoes the Amish gentleman that use to own this house offered for free as they were "seconds" and he doesn't sell them at the produce auction.

    I have been organizing (HA HA unpacking from the move) for things I now use regularly. Making bread has started on a regular bases so those items are now in my Hoosier hutch. I did pull out the large rubber spatulas from one kitchen drawer and took them to the basement as I won't use them for just us. I left the drawer empty until I find what is best to go there. I moved my vacuum sealer and meat slicer to the kitchen appliance cabinet. I am still trying to empty and put away 3 boxes a day.

    We keep the heat and AC depending on the time of day, as much as possible.Welcome to Oct. in Ohio.

    Hubby was finally able to put the clothes line in out in the yard (47 ft long 4 lines) I still use the kitchen porch lines when it's raining.

    I am adjusting to getting the store ads on Saturday instead of Tuesday but I found it let's me "think" about what I really need of the sales.

    I finally was able to get a library card at the library in town. It's on the small side and doesn't have much selection but better than what we had at the last house.

  • I've been organizing too Brandy -my closet and dresser drawers were jammed packed with clothes I no longer wear. It feels good to open a drawer easily now. Now just to get to my husband's side!

    I've been getting ready for the colder weather has well. The mustard greens came in great and we've picked two bushel so far. I've canned 14 quarts. We love this in the winter time. Here are the rest of my frugal accomplishments: http://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2018/10/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-10718.html

  • Rhonda A. October 08, 2018

    I had to laugh when I read your parents took Octavius to watch the planes. When I was a child, my mother, who was a nurse, had to work every other weekend. The weekends she worked, it was my dads turn to watch my brother and I. Sometimes he would take us to the small airport near where we live to watch the little, 2 seater planes taking off and landing. As adults, we laughed about it, because neither of us were that interested in watching the planes (if we could have had a ride in one, that would have been awesome...but it never happened). Our dad really thought he it was doing something special with us, though. Well, at least he tried and it definitely made memories!;)

    As usual, a busy week at our house. Our frugal accomplishments for this week included:
    *Meals made at home included grilled cheese sandwiches with pickles and coleslaw, cheesy ham and broccoli rice skillet (always amazed at how quick and easy this recipe is...here's the link: https://iowagirleats.com/2017/12/12/cheesy-ham-and-broccoli-rice-skillet/?print-recipe=&utm_source=RSS+FEED&utm_campaign=8b4be5e829-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_532f8a161f-8b4be5e829-84116821), hamburger helper with corn, tater tot breakfast casserole (new recipe, see below), and Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimming.
    *Went shopping on Monday at Costco. I was thrilled that some of the items on my list that I needed were actually on sale, especially the food saver bags. I was almost out and thought I would have to buy them at full price ($39.99/box), but was pleasantly surprised to find them on sale for $30.99. I bought 2. This is about a year supply for us. There were a few items on sale (due to our upcoming Thanksgiving) that we use all the time, so I grabbed them to stock up. Other items we needed were not on sale, but I bought them anyways, because we needed them and I was just too tired from working the day before to think through an alternative plan. It was an expensive trip...it happens sometimes.
    *On Friday I did a short run to the grocery store to pick up a few things before the long weekend. While at the store, I was shocked to find boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1/lb! Picked up 2 packages (9 breasts total between the 2) for around $5. That restocked my chicken supply for now.
    *I started using meal planning again for the month of October. My meal planning is a bit different. Using a paperless word document on my computer, I make a list of meals I can make with my existing pantry and freezer stock. I know I need a minimum of 31 meals, but I like to have lots of flexibility built in. My current list has 55 different meal options, some very simple and easy, some more elaborate. I make notations on freezer meals, multiple meat options for dishes or if it is a new recipe I want to try. As I make a meal, I cross it off the list, using the "highlighter" function. If I find new recipes to try during the month or a great deal on something we normally don't have, I can easily add it to the list. Since my family revolts if a meal is eaten too often, this flexible meal plan works very well for us. Each month, I copy and paste the list into a new document, reset the crossed off meals , add or remove meals as needed for the month, then start the process all over again. If you'd like to do this type of meal plan, but can't do an entire month, you could easily start with a meal list for 1 or 2 weeks.
    *Family is currently tired of the same old meals, and are revolting (aka refusing to eat many meals they used to like). Tried a new recipe, Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole (recipe link: https://www.gonnawantseconds.com/tater-tot-breakfast-casserole/), in an attempt to broaden our meal choices. I halved the recipe and made it in a 8 x 8 pan, as I didn't want leftovers, which family don't like eating, plus I had no way of knowing if they would like it. To the egg/milk mixture I added 2 types of cheese, a generous handful of spinach, 4 chopped up breakfast sausages, a small amount of garlic (in place of onion which I don't like), salt, pepper and a bit of seasoning salt (for a bit more flavour). It may have been too much added stuff, but I was winging it a bit, with no real measuring other than the 6 eggs and 1/4 cup of milk. It turned out OK, but not a rave review from the family. I will leave it off the Family Favourites list for now, and will continue my search for new meal ideas.
    *Made banana blueberry muffins (https://www.recipeboy.com/2013/01/healthy-banana-blueberry-muffins/) on the weekend for snacking on while my brother was visiting. I kept 4 for DDs lunches this week and sent the leftovers home with my brother. We also stocked him up on lots of meat, frozen foods and pantry items, as he lost food when his power was out due to the tornadoes hitting Ottawa. His limited budget was strained due to eating out during the outage, making it hard to replace what was lost. The food we provided will help him get back on track.
    *We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. Two additional people were invited, but were not able to come. So it was just my brother, my mom and our family. Dinner was delicious with a very relaxed atmosphere this year.
    *Attended an all day presentation at my work through the Jacquard loom team (therefore as a volunteer). We were asked to bring a potluck dish for lunch. I took BBQ chickpea ranch wraps, which are cheap, delicious, filling and vegetarian friendly finger type food. The talk was very interesting. I'm glad I was able to attend.
    *DD had some health issues this week. She was experiencing sudden onset of severe pain in her tummy, then would make herself vomit to get rid of the pain. Blood was starting to appear in the vomit. The school was concerned and sent her home early. We took her to the after hours walk-in clinic (just happened to be our regular Dr working that night) and he thinks it might be an inflammation of the stomach lining, not an ulcer. He prescribed 2 weeks of a strong antacid type medication to help her stomach lining heal. If this doesn't work, we are to make a follow up appointment. Due to our health care, the after hours visit and the drugs were both free. After reading all the costs associated with medical bills in the U.S., I truly appreciate having the health care we have here in Canada. I just wish all countries had a similar system in place.
    Frugal fail: Because we had to take DD to the walk in clinic around dinner time, we ended up buying a rotisserie chicken dinner from the grocery store that night. DDs stomach issues have not disturbed her appetite.
    *With her friend no longer at the school, DD has been eating lunch with a boy in her LLS class. The LLS kids have various levels of disabilities. This boy is definitely lower functioning than her. He's blind in 1 eye, has some paralysis on 1 side, says the most random things and makes random noises, but DD finds him funny and enjoys being a bit of a mentor to him. We're starting to wonder if maybe she should look into working with the disabled. This week, DD took some of her puzzles to school (100 piece size), to share with him. He apparently likes doing puzzles and they can do them together at lunch. DD is so much happier at this school!
    *DD attended her first Year Book meeting this week, with her new respite worker (we have funding that will cover the respite costs). Her respite worker is 1 of the EAs in her LLS class, whom DD just adores (she works with the boy DD eats lunch with). We are thrilled DD is getting involved with an extra-curricular activity. She will be helping design some of the yearbook pages, via computer. DD already loves to draw on her computer, so its a perfect fit!

    Thank you to those who post all your frugal accomplishments here. Reading them is one of the most enjoyable frugal things I get to do each and every week. Have a lovely week everyone!

  • Amy S. October 08, 2018

    Hi Brandy and fellow readers! I haven't commented in a few weeks - been a bit under the weather.

    Our weather finally cooled off this past week and I am so happy to be in the 50s & 60s. I turn the heat on in the morning for kids before they leave for school but then turn it off. I run hot and don't need it. I even open the windows a few inches to let the wonderful breeze blow in. The way our house sits it warms up quite easily to 73 on our top floor. I like to sit on our back deck and see which leaves have changed colors on my trees and enjoy the slight breeze. We have also been so blessed with rain! It is wonderful because it has been a hot, dry, smoky summer.

    I made almost all meals at home except for date night. I stay home quite a bit and just enjoy puttering around getting my list of jobs done for the day. I made a new wreath for the door using flowers I found on sale or already had around the house, worked on my cross-stitch, read books, canned 10 quarts of tomatoes and went for bike rides.

    The personal finance class I've been taking has really affected my purchasing even more than I thought possible. I rarely order anything anymore unless desperately needed. I've been trying to make do with what I have and it works pretty well.
    I'm considering doing a 2 week menu plan because I really have so much food that I can use. I might pop over to the store for perishables, but I've discovered that almost all my meals are made with what I have in storage and supplemented with fresh fruits and veggies.

    I noticed that another one of our stores was having a case lot sale but I didn't need anything so I didn't attend.

    My daughters needed notebooks for notes and I had extras that we already had on hand.

    I cleaned out our flower beds and weeded the beds. I went to the library to check out books and movies. Our library is closed for a year for renovations. We went to another branch which is farther away but noticed that the turn light was very long to wait at because we are turning onto a very non-busy street. I found another easier route to get to the library so I am not wasting my gas idling while waiting for the light to change. It was a five minute wait at the light. It's the little things.

    I wish you all a truly wonderful and happy week. Thanks for all the inspiring comments and perspectives.

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba October 08, 2018

    Brandy,

    I hear you on the organization part. I am asking God to help me be more organized.

    Here is what we did last week:

    * We drove our car with excellent gas mileage to church.
    * I packed my husband's lunches every day so that he would not need to eat out. He likes my cooking better anyway!
    * I purchased a pack of 60 greeting cards at Michael's for 70% off.
    * A life coach and I made plans to collaborate on an event.
    * We took walks for exercise and fresh air.
    * A few nights I went to bed exceptionally early and saved money on electricity. :)
    * To increase productivity and focus, I worked at the library one day; in addition, I dropped off mail there instead of driving an extra mile or so to the post office.
    * I used what I had on hand to make soup for a potluck. We also brought a loaf of homemade bread (from the bread machine).
    * I read an excellent book that was gifted to my husband and me.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada October 08, 2018

    It is snowing yet again! I do not even have the rose cones on the roses. - they still have green leaves on them. I watched a couple of films on my free public library screening site (Kanopy), and am starting re-organizing kitchen drawers since I cannot find anything that others "organized" in my absence. This way I will ultimately not feel so dislocated. I am greatly enjoying the 5 pounds of russet potatoes I bought for $1.98. They make great baked potatoes at about 0.15 cents each. I am celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving one weekend late (next weekend) by taking a maple favoured, birch smoked ham (not a money saver but a rare treat) I bought to a friend's house along with a church-made apple pie I bought. She will do the veggies. This is my friend approaching ninety and it should be nice to have a meal together. Then I hope to have quite a bit of ham leftover for upcoming meals. We interviewed a young woman for a scholarship. I took the handibus to my second cousin's house (she's almost ninety, too) so we could identify some photos and visit. She gave me lunch. My gardener delivered over some sunflower seeds for the birds so that saved me a trip by cab. Really I'm now staying home mostly and that does save money. I'd like to take advantage of some sales that happen in October to buy some Christmas gifts and finish shopping so I can stay home later. I paid off a credit charge for servicing my furnace so had no interest to pay.

  • Mandy October 08, 2018

    Hello everyone! I haven't posted in quite awhile but have been faithfully reading every week :)
    My husband lost his job 3 weeks ago through no fault of his own. He filed for unemployment but this will be a process because he worked in a different state that where we live. It happened at the worst possible time but isn't that the way things usually go? lol I have been re-reading this blog and the Tightwad Gazette books to "freshen up" my frugal arsenal.

    I made white bread, banana bread, jello, power balls (also called protein balls), chocolate chip muffins, beans and rice, taco/pasta bake, chicken in the crockpot now that will also give us several meals this week, chili using ingredients I had to use up or already had prepared and frozen. I made the sauce using whole frozen tomatoes from my garden and made the spice mix from ingredients in my spice cupboard. My birthday was two weeks ago and my husband made a cake using a box of mix and frosting we've had for months in the pantry.

    I've made sure to wash full loads of laundry in cold water. When my husband "helps' he uses the dryer :) but I have started hanging laundry up on my racks again. It's almost always raining on my days off so I can't my lines.

    I picked some flowers that (finally)grew to enjoy on my kitchen table.

    I have been borrowing books and movies for my daughter from the library.

    I make coffee at home in the morning and drink water all day.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Bethany October 08, 2018

    Mandy- even though he worked in a different state ( which may delay the unemployment benefits) you can look into applying for SNAP ( "food stamps") in the state you live in, along with heating assistance. Those programs are county based, and the gap between getting wages and getting unemployment may be enough to make you eligible. You can also look into free/reduced school lunches for your daughter, or WIC benefits, depending on her age.

  • Jenn in Indiana October 09, 2018

    Mandy, I have wondered where you have been!!! I have always enjoyed reading your money saving things you do. Could you tell me how you cook the chicken in the crock pot? Do you also cook it again to make broth or does it sort of do it all at once? I am sort of late to the whole cooking a whole chicken game and need some ideas.

  • Bethany October 09, 2018

    I'm not Mandy- but here's my method. I skin the chicken, and trim off any large pieces of visible fat. Then put it in an 8 quart crock pot, cover with water, and add some chopped onion, salt, pepper, and a couple of bay leaves. Then cook on low. I often do this at night, it cooks overnight and leaves my crock pot free during the day for dinner. I dump the entire pot into a strainer with a large pot under it, and pick out the bones, tendons, bits of fat, and the bay leaves from the meat. I let the pot of broth cool, and skim any remaining fat off the top. You can either refrigerate both the meat and the stock, and use them in your favorite recipes, can them together, or can them separately. If I plan on canning, I pull out a separate crock pot and do 2 large chickens. The cooked chicken makes easy work of casseroles, enchiladas, chicken salad. The broth can be used to cook rice or noodles in, as a base for gravy, or stock for soups- using chicken broth along with tomato juice in minestrone gives it a nice "meaty" flavor with no meat.

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