Cucumbers and Basil The Prudent Homemaker

My freezers are packed full of frozen fruit from both our garden and from deals I found earlier this year. There’s some meat in there, somewhere behind all the peaches, blackberries, figs, strawberries, and blueberries. There’s lemon juice from our lemon trees too.

The garden has started producing Armenian cucumbers. I’m hoping for enough to can pickles this year. I planted loads of them in several places in the garden and the vines have reached the tops of my five-foot trellises and started producing female flowers.

We have Swiss chard, red noodle beans, and green onions in the garden.

Yellow Pear Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

The tomato plants are still producing (especially the Yellow Pear tomatoes), though they are winding down because of the heat (they are not longer producing flowers).

I’ve got butternut squash growing and will have a few to pick this month.

I have 5 zucchini plants. None are producing for me at the moment, but the overcast days in July led to cooler temperatures and I can see a combination of male and female flowers at the base of them. Hopefully, they’ll be open on the same days to be pollinated and we’ll have some zucchini too!

Bartlett Pears on Tree The Prudent Homemaker 

The Bartlett pears are ripe this month. There aren’t many, as the trees have never grown very large in 10 years, but we’ll still have a decent number.

The table grapes are ripe (the birds have gotten a number of them though). We’ll have some to eat (they have seeds) and some to juice. When they’re all done, I’ll pick the leaves to cook. They have a lemony flavor and are delicious in all sorts of recipes. I’ll stuff some this month too.

Bucket of Zinnias and Sunflowers

The zinnias I planted in the backyard are opening! I know they’re late but I’m happy to have them! I have a few small sunflowers too (about the same size as the zinnias).

I’ve got a decently stocked pantry

And I’m not planning to go shopping at all during the month of August for food or toiletries.

We’re having a lower income month along with increased expenses. We’re adding life insurance to our bills this month and in September we hope to add some online college classes for my eldest, which will mean tuition and book expenses. These will mean increased expenses every month, so hopefully, our income will increase to cover the difference. 

With an irregular income, I never know what our income will be. I try to plan a month ahead for expenses whenever possible, but that isn’t always possible. This month, I’m waiting to see what else will come in. Our first priorities are our mortgage, utilities, and insurance. Should anything come in past that, I’ll save it to put toward’s September’s bills.

Whether or not I’ll go shopping in September is yet to be seen. If I do, it is certainly to be a reduced amount. We were very blessed last year to make more money and be able to increase our grocery budget. This year, our income has been lower, and if it continues as it has been, we will make 1/3 of what we made last year (Last year was a blessing! We were able to repair several things and purchase some needed furniture. Before that, things had been much lower, like this year, for the 8 previous years). Consequently, it’s possible that I’ll go back to a $100 a month budget. I know we can do it, as we have in past years where we’ve made this amount, and we managed to build our food storage while doing so. It’s been nice to have had the money to buy other things we like to eat, including more meat and cheese, but we can certainly eat more soups, oats, rice, and beans going forward. I’m collecting lettuce seeds from the garden this week and I look forward to planting them in my fall garden along with other seeds I have on hand. I’m feeling really grateful that when our income was higher last year, I bought a couple of years’ worth of seeds, and that I’m growing almost all open-pollinated seeds, which allows me to collect seeds from my garden to plant every year.

Here’s some of what I’ll have on the menu this month:




Oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins, and almonds

Crepes (I still have some eggs and I’ll use powdered milk)

Whole wheat waffles with fruit from the freezer

Smoothies and toast with cinnamon sugar 

Bread and jam (I’ve got homemade strawberry, apricot, and fig jams, plus apple butter on my pantry shelves)


Summer Pasta Salad The Prudent Homemaker



Black beans and rice with tomatoes and corn

White bean dip with pita bread, cucumbers, and tomatoes (produce from the garden)

Macaroni and cheese with sliced tomatoes (on the side!) and cucumbers in vinegar

Tomato Basil Sandwiches

Pasta Salad


Fig Tarts The Prudent Homemaker




Fig Tarts


Peach Pie Popsicles







Black Bean Burgers with Steak Sauce and tomatoes from the garden

Turkey Curry over basmati rice with peas and chapatis

Pork Roast with fig sauce and mashed potatoes, Swiss chard, and butternut squash

Baked Potatoes with a corn and tomato salad

Stir fry with pork or turkey and vegetables from the garden and bean sprouts

Pinto beans and rice with onions and tomatoes

Spaghetti with red noodle beans

Stuffed grape leaves with homemade pita bread

Ham with Rosemary potatoes and red noodle beans

Ham sandwiches with tomatoes from the garden and home-canned dill pickles



If you’re living from your pantry this month, check out my two weeks’ worth of pantry meals here.

If you need more bean recipes, check out my post on How to Eat Beans Every Night.

If you’re looking for a frugal summer menu, check out a month’s worth of summer meals here.


Are you planning to go shopping in August? What deals will you be looking to purchase?


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  1. Your posts are always so uplifting! I admire how you always stand by husband´s side and never seem to confront him. You say “our income is lower…” Many would start to blame their husbands if they do not provide as well as they did – despite the economic climate (“his income is lower that it used to be”). Many, if not most, would show disappointment and dissatisfaction. Your attitude, as far as we see it here, is outstanding.
    Many would say a´la we can not afford more children as my husband can not provide enough. I admire how you have went forward and done your part, all of it, the best you can, in faith. Doing so you probably have found opportunities and good changes you never dreamed of having as well.

  2. I am planning to spend $140 on groceries and toiletries for the month of August, for my family of four. Our priority is our mortgage.

    We will be eating lots of tomato based meals, as they are plentiful in our garden at the moment.

    I have enough meat for the month and we have slowly been decreasing our meat consumption over the year.

    Things I am buying are essentials only- bread, milk, eggs, vegetables, green apples & bananas, cream, 1 roast chicken, cheese & ham. Everything else I have on hand. I will be getting our vegetables from the farmers markets, fresh and very cheap.

    Meals this month:
    Breakfast-oatmeal, oatmeal with chia seeds & grated green apple (left overnight in the fridge), granola with yoghurt & green apple, toast, wheat biscuits. honey and cinnamon as toppings.

    Lunch-leftovers & sandwiches. Plus 1 lunch of sausages, bread, onion and tomato sauce (called a “sausage sizzle”). Budget includes provision for 1 lunch meal of fish & chips (fries) at the beach.

    Dinner-pizza, spaghetti, lasagne, chicken basil pesto pasta, roast beef with potatoes, onion, tomatoes and sweet potato, soups with either quinoa, barley or lentils, beef bulgogi over rice with tomato, chicken burgers with bacon, vegetable curry over rice, pasta with a tomato based sauce, pasta with a creamy tomato based sauce, frittata, tuna rissoles and vegetables. Many meals will include a boiled egg and fresh tomato.

    This dinner list will yield many leftovers and I will be freezing extra spaghetti sauce, lasagne, soup and vegetable curry for September.

    Snacks-raw capsicum (peppers), carrot and cucumber. Hommus. Green apple, banana. Popsicles (home made with berries picked from the garden), yoghurt, home made cookies (flour, sugar and butter) & home made basic butter cake.

  3. Over the past few weeks I’ve been reading through all your old blog posts. I started at your first ever post and just worked my way forward until I got to today. Your posts have been such an encouragement to me, not just in living more frugally but in my desire to raise my children for the Lord. It feels bittersweet to have come to the end, although I know I will still be able to read your new posts as you publish them. It’s been such an incredible experience, helping me to reshape the way I approach life. So thank you Brandy!
    And I hope you get many unexpected but welcome blessings this month.

  4. Brandy, you do such a great job planning for your family. I’m a planner and appreciate the ability to do more with less because of planning and forethought. It even makes the surprises go smoother.

    This month will be our first with me living between 2 places. Thankful for my inlaws as my 23 year old daughter is having her wisdom teeth out in August when I am gone and my MIL has volunteered to care for her here with my son and his dogs. She cannot take anything stronger than ibuprofen, so will need extra care. My son is ready to take on more, but I don’t want to overburden his system. Baby steps!

    The good news is that at home there is a free food day that I’ll get to. I am getting a new bicycle for my birthday (first birthday or Christmas present for me in years…I’m very grateful for the stability) which is a necessity as we only have one car at home now and I’ll need it to get around. I’m also getting a bike basket and chose a bike with the ability to hold packages on the back.

    We have to purchase a very nice present at the end of August, so I’ve been pondering what I could possibly make with what I have in hand…I thought if something. It will be a great deal of work, but pretty much free! If I get going, I’ll be able to take it with me and avoid shipping costs as well.

    Using fabric on hand, I’ve been making shoe bags to pack our shoes in. My daughter will be flying here at Thanksgiving and home for the winter break. And, since I am going back and forth now, I’ll need to being shoes too. Even when driving, though I will start to look in thrift shops for shoes to keep in both places…if I can find them for just a couple dollars.

    I am thinking to fill my suitcase with the present on the way west and work clothing on the way back east. Transitions are difficult, but good for my brain. Having some stability with housing, a job and health wise is such a gift from God!

    Still working on getting rid of that winter weight, so keeping food costs much lower. We are expecting 3 days of rain, so I have planned to cook a bit more. I’d like to cook up anything that needs to be used up. We never had this difficulty before when everyone was home! I had to toss the very last of the jam because it spoiled with so few here to eat it. I used to make breakfast for our family and a couple other children that we gave rides to school to since they just didn’t have enough. Now one is in film school and the other is pre-med. So happy!

  5. As always, your pictures are such a treat for the eye. We’re heading into our hottest weather yet, triple digits for the next week or so. I make salad dinners most nights. I use lots of vegetables, herbs and greens from the garden, homemade salad dressings, and a small amount of protein. I am still canning plums and the tomatoes are coming on so fast now that I will start canning them shortly. I really appreciate having my cupboards full of home canned tomato products. Not only do I put them up as cooked tomatoes, marinara sauce, and salsa, but I also use them green for chutney, salsa verde, and pickle relish (both sweet and dill). Tomatoes are so versatile and in our climate they produce abundantly. Aside from stuffing your grape leaves, do you have other ways that you prepare them?

    After reading your post about your husband shopping for new insurance, I did the same and found almost $400 in savings for our homeowners policy. The car insurance will stay with the same carrier. The car insurance policy is only written for 6 months at a time so I get to shop it every six months, but it remains a best buy. In any case, $400 is a significant savings and I am grateful for that.

  6. Brandy have you ever hand pollinated you zucchini plants. Just take a small paint brush and gently rub it inside a male flower and then go to a female flower and rub it in there. If the flowers are not open at the same time, take a q-tip and rub inside male flowers. Put it in a ziplock bag until female flowers are open. There are a ton of YouTube videos about how to do it. Its worked for me. Good luck.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this info with us, Brandy. I am so interested in how one can feed their family on a very minimal budget. Such amazing ideas you’ve shared today! No one is going hungry at your house, that’s for sure!!!

    I am definitely shopping this month. Since I did not put in a garden, nor is it as evolved as yours even when we have one, I am on the hunt for some good seasonal produce deals. I have already special ordered 125lbs of peaches, which will come in mid-August. They are 2nds, but work great for canning, making jam, and this year I’m going to try making peach syrup. I want to buy a bushel or half bushel of green beans to blanch and freeze for winter. Corn is just starting, so I hope to buy a dozen ears each week or two. We like to cook up all the cobs at once, then cut the kernels off the leftover to freeze for winter use. It won’t meet all our winter needs, but it’s a good start.

    I currently have a list of things we need at Costco, like soap, shampoo, fabric softener, meds/vitamines, lady products, and hot dogs (Costco tends to sell the kind my family likes only in spring/summer, so we buy up a small stash for fall/winter use). I watch for sales on these items when I go in, then stock up. I will continue to watch the loss leader sales as well, for things that my family likes to eat and adds variety to our pantry options. Our pantry is currently well stocked, otherwise, with most of the basics!

  8. My goal for August is to go through the pantry and use up what is near the expiration dates. I hope to build up the pantry for one month’s meals, using your two week pantry menus. Hoping to have a simpler, more frugal lifestyle and am implementing some changes to accomplish that. I so admire you Brandy; wish I had a 1/10th of your knowledge and skills! God bless you and your family.

  9. I have hand pollinated them before. What usually happens is I only get male flowers and no female flowers. I tried a couple new types this year and instead I am getting only female flowers! And I only get maybe three open flowers a month, and never at the same time. Because of our heat, most squash doesn’t even flower (it doesn’t like temperatures in the 110º and up range). So I usually have to wait until temperatures come down in October before I can get any summer squash. That’s when it drops below 90º and the plants start to flower.

  10. Congratulations on the bike! I know what you mean about gifts. I am so happy for you!

    My daughter has been wanting a bike basket. We priced them out and what she really wanted was a more old-fashioned looking wire basket. She found it was cheaper to go to Hobby Lobby last week where she bought one for 50% off. It cost her $9. My husband is going to figure out a way to attach it to her bike, as it is just a metal basket (not intended for a bicycle). It’s less than any of the bike baskets we researched and prettier, too!

    Good luck on the present research!

  11. I had to laugh about your comment for tomatoes on the side for mac & cheese. My grandma made homemade mac and cheese with tomato sauce in it. Pasta and tomatoes with slices of cheddar cheese on top. It was my favorite recipe she made.

    How old is your oldest daughter, if you don’t mind me asking? I’m thinking of homeschooling high school for my oldest, so it’s always interesting to learn how others handle it.

  12. Hey Brandy, you could always use the same or clear colored zipties. You can do that only if there are holes in the basket. It’s just an idea :).

  13. I’m always so impressed with you! Been following your blog for years and rarely comment but read weekly 🙂 Can you share your Dolma recipe, please? I’ve been wanting to make some.

  14. Do you have a recipe for the fig tarts? I have many frozen figs from my late mother’s tree. Figs and mulberries are the two fruits I have stored in my little freezer above the refrigerator. I have a grocery budget of $25.00 for the month ( for myself only), unless I see something that is on sale at an exceptional price, and that I will use, then I will buy it. I, too, plan on eating a lot of soups, bean burritos (from your recipe), and rice this month. I have plenty of canned vegetables also. I have huge medical bills for my youngest child, so that is why I need to conserve. I look at it as a challenge, instead of something to stress over. I cut way back on cheese and meat when I am needing to conserve my money. I tend to use only parm. cheese when I need to cut back on cheese. I am already conservative with meat anyway, but I probably will not buy any meat until before Thanksgiving, unless I find a sale of canned tuna fish or fresh chicken at .39 cents a lb. Chicken has gone up around here. I used to be able to find chicken at .39 lb very easily, but now .59 or .69 a lb is the price for it. I am talking about dark meat only. I think I am fairly well stocked with rice, beans, canned vegetables for the next six months, if I am careful. I consult your meal recipes frequently, and make my own version, depending on what I have available in my house. My favorite are the bean burrito (I am like your kids, I do not like my beans refried) and taco soup recipe, as well as your chicken enchilada recipe. I also like your tomato soups recipe. I wish many, many blessings to you and your family.

  15. Hello from Utah. I’m not sure what insurance you are adding but I have liberty health share that every Dr takes and has a very low deductable of 1500.00 per family. They cost I believe 450.00 a month. My husband is in the same field as yours and this is our best choice for insurance. We didn’t have insurance for amost 8 years by choice. Also I just finished the pathway program put out by the church which gives you the ability to continue your college classes though byui online for very very cheap per credit hour. Look it up. If your oldest is 18 they can go through it. I start my classes through byui this fall and can take as few or as many as I’d like, no requirement.

  16. I was able to purchase 1 dozen eggs, 2 bags of apples, and 1 large bunch of bananas yesterday. That is the first shopping I have done, by force, in 3 weeks.
    I have lots of green tomatoes in the garden that will ripen over the next few weeks. I harvested lots of peas before two bad storms destroyed the plants (they are currently in the freezer). I have loads of green onions, basil, parsley, turnip greens (the turnips are not ready but I have LOTS of greens, I am just careful not to pick to much from one plant). My Bartlett pear tree has given me 2 pears and 2 more are not quite ready 🙂 My Asian pear has lots of little pears, but they are not ready yet.

  17. I rarely make them so I have to search for a recipe. I’ve had so many different styles and I liked them all: Lebanese, Kurdish, and Greek. The Lebanese were my favorite; a Lebanese family made them for me in France and I loved them. I made the Kurdish ones with a Kurdish girl in Switzerland, and I kind of remember her recipe, but it was spiced differently. The Greek ones are good but a totally different flavor from the other two. I have enough grape leaves to make them all; I just have to see what ingredients I have to make them and go with a recipe that is closest to that.

  18. Does anyone have any good ideas for keeping the birds at bay with their fruit trees and bushes. The birds have been doing a number on ours-hardly a berry!!! So disappointing:-( Thanks!

  19. Since we had a vacation in July and will again in August when we go to our niece’s wedding, I plan on buying very little at the grocery store this month. My husband’s birthday is Friday so I may have to buy something for that depending on what he wants to eat, but otherwise I am going to be shopping from the pantry and freezer. Unfortunately we don’t have a garden to help us, but I may go to the Produce on Wheels With Out Waste (POW WOW) event to get my 60 lbs. of produce for $10, depending on what they have available. Hope to keep the budget at $125 or lower.

    I have a very full freezer of meat, all of which I have gotten on clearance and shelves full of canned goods, pasta and rice, so I have no excuse!

  20. We’re adding life insurance.

    BYU Idaho is where she wants to go. They won’t allow you to start classes online until you’re 17. We started her in school early so that she could start college early. She is going to take BYU independent study classes (no age limit) that will transfer to BYU Idaho. Not all of them will transfer so we have spent quite a bit of time researching which ones will transfer and count as G.E. classes. Then when she has 24 credit hours she can apply to attend BYU Idaho as a transfer student. She can stay at home while she takes classes now and leave when she is 17.

  21. Just sharing our experience homeschooling through high school. Our children took online classes through the local community college and they were free for high school students. We even bought a textbook for a class and each child took the same class from the same professor (in different years). They were all able to use that same one textbook. I had bought it used online for $2. I think it was our biggest college bargain!

  22. I’m really impressed with your garden and how it produces, and the lovely meals you make out of it.

    I never did get anything planted this year. I had wanted to do tomatoes in pots, but time ran away from me. My good friend has a few tomato plants that are taller than she is. She’s canned salsa, marinara, tomatoes. She’s made tomato soup. I’m very impressed (and her salsa is delish).

    I love fresh tomatoes but we haven’t been getting them this summer from our CSA.

  23. I am curious about the current real estate market. I haven’t been paying real close attention but I was under the impression it was back in full swing and house prices had soared. I’m in California. Is Las Vegas in a bit of a slump or do you foresee us hitting another large housing recession as in ’08? I figure that you have been paying close attention to this.

  24. Brandy, if you have a local community or regular college ck there for textbooks…sometimes they let the public have a card and you can order from other colleges…some also carry a shelf in-house of texts that they use for their classes. It’s also a good idea to wait until the class has actually started to find out whether a different pub year (i.e. cheaper) can be used, although that might me more difficult with an on-line class.

  25. Thank you for sharing your budget. We are intentionally trying to cut our food budget even more to pay off our debt more quickly, and I am now trying to spend only $335 for a family of six, which is a cut from our usual $420. Reading this post makes me realize how blessed we are to even have $335 for our family. We have tried to plant fruit trees, but they are still young and one did not make it through the winter. We planted grapes a couple of years ago and had a lot of bunches on one this year and then the squirrels and birds got to them. I told my husband that you got lots of grapes, and we both wondered if maybe there weren’t squirrels in Las Vegas :).

  26. Dear Brandy,
    I read and re-read your posts for inspiration. One goal I have this month is to try more of your recipes. I found a bag of dried white beans in my pantry, so your white bean Alfredo sauce will be on the menu for sure.
    We, too, have had a decrease in income this year, and I am taking it as a challenge to eliminate things I don’t really need and make the best use of the resources I have.
    Peaches and tomatoes will be ripening this month at the farm where we buy much of the produce we don’t grow ourselves, so I’ll be looking to get a case of each to can, as well as some zucchini to shred and freeze (like you, I have had no luck with my summer squash this year.) I’m putting chard and collards in the freezer to eat this winter, as well as having them and some tomatoes and lettuce to eat fresh. We have meat in the freezer, though I would like to add some chicken if I find a good sale. When the local farms start digging potatoes, I can often get a 50-lb bag for $10. If I find that sale this year, I will buy 50 pounds and can and freeze some.

  27. Brandy, this post couldn’t have come at a better time. Entering the third month living on a third of what was made. I wake up everyday feeling like a trooper…but trying to make ends meet to get the utilities paid and keep smiling is very tiresome. I have been a reader/commenter here for years, and re-read your posts often, sometimes I think it is why I can smile. Thank you so much.

  28. How resourceful you are! I am learning so much from reading your blog. We aren’t in a position that we HAVE to be frugal (for which I am very thankful). But I feel like consistently making good choices about how we spend our money is important – especially if my husband and I chose to have children. Right now, our priority is paying off our mortgage.

    Anyway, we are in serious need of some cleaning supplies. I’ve run out of furniture polish and the cleaner we use on our hardwood floors. I’m also low of toilet bowl cleaner and cleaner for my glass stove top. The good news is that our pantry is pretty full so it shouldn’t impact the budget too much. I go back to work in 2 weeks, so I’m planning on doing some freezer cooking to get prepared. The first weeks of the school year usually mean longer hours for me, so having meals already prepared will be a huge help. I also need toothpaste. I looked for a good sale last month and never saw one.

  29. Does yout state offer post secondary enrollment options where you can be dually enrolled in high school and college? My son will be a high school junior this year, and homeschooled. He will however also be taking college classes. These are free for us, and books are also free, as long as he is still a high schooler. He does earn full credits for both high school and college at the same time. I know things vary state to state, but was just wondering if that is an option for you.

  30. I was thinking you could re-purpose a belt (leather or other heavy material) to make straps to attach the basket.

  31. I have to correct something I typed. My brain is just not functioning today…even my mom is laughing at me with some of the things I have done today (left the house without my keys to the car, put the keys in the sink when I got home and so many more stupid stuff). Anyways, I ordered 75lbs of peaches, not 125lb, which will cost me $39 total.

  32. I told Hubby this morning as he harvested (I’m in a shoulder sling due to surgery) that I saw no reason other than milk and maybe bread,something along that line that we couldn’t get by on $20 for this month for groceries. I have some personal stuff and some household items needing stocked but need to wait for sales. He is a little panicky since he’s the one in the kitchen mostly and he knows it will be mostly from scratch cooking along with processing the gardens and dehydrating the eggs I got cheap. I remember when our 4 youngest graduated the same year..2 of them early.. college costs were nightmares but they got what grants they could and worked part time to help pay. Our 14 yr old granddaughter has already qualified for a 3 year free ride at local college plus taking free college classes while she finishes high school. I’m rereading your posts also. You and the ones that share here have been our life line. Blessings to all

  33. This is a great plan for your daughter’s classes. Very wise. I’m really glad to hear you are getting life insurance, even though it sometimes feels like throwing money out the window. I have a few friends who died in their 30s without insurance and it left their spouses and children in difficult situations.

  34. Such beautiful produce! You always have such lovely pictures, Brandy.

    here are our shopping plans for this month:

    August will be another $200 month for us, since I want to stock up before school starts and make one last trip to Sam’s. We don’t need to buy any meat for the next few months because I stocked up in July, but I’ll be making one last big trip to Sam’s Club before our membership expires. I’ll be getting pinto beans, cheeses, some deli meat, dried fruit, tomato sauce, and possibly some more items depending on how the rest of the shopping turns out. The goal is to not purchase a new membership for at least a few months, though the longer the better.

    We also don’t need to purchase eggs (I have just under 6 dozen in the fridge), though I am tempted by a sale at a local supermarket- they have large size eggs for $0.49/dozen, which is a really great price. We will need to stock up on the usual basics (milk, bread, fruit, etc), but I’ve planned for meals that all use lower-cost staples or things I’ve already purchased so there won’t be any big-ticket items beyond what I get at Sam’s.

    On the dinner menu this month are chicken and rice soup, chili with cornbread, lasagna (I purchased all necessary items for this last month), a pork roast, bean/lentil tacos, enchiladas, pasta with alfredo sauce, fried rice, and red beans and rice. Breakfasts will be eggs and toast/potatoes or oatmeal, and lunches will be sandwiches (either ham, egg salad, or tuna salad) or leftovers. Snacks will be homemade hummus with carrot sticks, fruit, and popcorn, and I’ll probably make a double batch of the hummus so I can freeze some for when classes start up again.

    I hope everyone has a good August!

  35. Brandy, on-line classes at community colleges are often free for high school students. I homeschooled my son and daughter and they both got free college courses. My son even graduated with an associate degree in drafting at the same time he graduated from HS. You can also fill out a FAFSA and get Pell Grant and other financial aid that covers tuition, fees and books. I live in Illinois but I think each state has similar programs.

  36. My friend hangs old cd’s in her trees. I guess the breeze twists them around and it looks like something in the trees is moving. She swears it works. Good luck!! I lost a whole tree full of peaches several years ago to house finches. I’d been checking them daily and decided that the next morning was the one to do the picking. Apparently I was right because when I looked out the kitchen window early the next morning, I shrieked. The whole tree was covered in birds!! 6 mos. later, I lost the tree to an ice storm. I guess it wasn’t meant to be!!!

  37. Jessica, I don’t know of Lebanese but the Greek would be vegan. Normally they are made with just rice, spices, herbs, onions and olive oil and grape leaves. If you want to serve them with the lemon egg sauce you would need to find a substitute there or if you serve with yogurt, use a vegan yogurt.

    They make a nice cold meal for the summer. My recipe makes at least 60 and we serve them on top of salad with olives and feta cheese, onion and tomato.

  38. It sounds like there’s a good sized group of us that will be spending little to nothing this month! I set our budget at $100. We’re still adjusting to the new job income change and pay dates. Who would have thought that it could all be so complicated?! We’re still waiting to see what a normal paycheck will be. The insurance is finally settled, but we’re still working on the HSA, retirement, & our state taxes changed. In the meantime, I figure that if I just keep expenditures reined in, it will hopefully work out okay.

    We have a couple of plumbing issues that have proved to be beyond us so we’re going to have that extra expense for certain. We’re also seeing that our cedar fence has some impending repairs to be done this fall. I so miss the slumpstone walls that were in our old SoCal home. Not enough to move back there, haha, but those things even survived a big earthquake. I’m not sure why there are no or few brick walls here. Probably drainage issues. Or tornado?

  39. I assume you know that any male squash blossom, not just summer squash, can be used to pollinate a female blossom. Any seeds produced cannot be saved for next year, as it won’t come back “true to type” but it will get you a crop this year. So if your zucchini get only females but your winter squash gets males, cross-pollinate. (Apologies if you already know this, but many gardeners do not…)

  40. Both my husband and I work on contract in our field, so our income is very, very variable. July, when new state and agency budgets start is a very lean month because often no one is sure exactly what allocations are going to be. (Of course, the opposite is true for June, when agencies spend down their budgets, so we ted to make more in May and June than any other month. But this year was a bad one even for those months…) We also have to wait to be paid, which can take months. So, for August our food budget is $25, which will be spent on milk. We have a huge garden and plenty in the freezer, so we won’t starve. And last night I went under the bed to get one of the suitcases we store under there, and a found a case of tuna and a case of canned clams. We bought them at a tremendous sale about a year ago, four cases of each. Somehow I miscounted and didn’t realize these cases were unopened, waiting to be discovered. We had put them inside two suitcases, to make maximum room under the bed. So, I am shopping the garden, the freezer and under the bed this month!

  41. What is the Produce on Wheels…event? I have a friend who lives in Phoenix who might benefit from some help with her groceries.

  42. This month, I am planning to only buy milk and any good sales items. I skipped the monthly 10% off day at Safeway and I’ll be out of town for the other market’s 10% off day. I couldn’t think of $35 worth of groceries (the minimum to get the 10% off) that I really needed.
    My goal is to eat 100% of my veggies from my garden. I don’t have fruit trees like you do but I do have access to free blackberries. I plan to pick a few ziplock bags worth of berries to freeze and some more to eat fresh.
    I’ll frequent the non-profit grocery store for all of my bread. At $0.10 per loaf, I can’t make it any cheaper. I will also try and buy my fresh milk there as well. What they sell is really hit and miss, except for the bread.
    Thanks for this post. One of my biggest challenges is coming up with menus and a plan for what to eat.

  43. Has your eldest applied for any scholarships?When I was in grad school the past two years, I applied for quite a few, and many did not require a transcript or anything other than an essay. I ended up getting a $2500 one, which just about covered one 8-week session, or two courses.

    We recently increased our budget, but may be decreasing it again as well, as we have increased medical costs. It’s good to know it can be done when circumstances change.

  44. Thank you Brandy for another inspirational post. I really enjoy your awesome photos. I hope your gardening efforts provide abundance for your family this month.
    Last evening I harvested parsley and dill from my garden. I laid them out on large trays covered by a dishcloth to dry in our very warm weather. They should be completely dry by the time I get home from work. I have a dehydrator but using the sun is free. I hope to harvest enough to last me until next gardening season. I also plan to harvest my basil and make pesto to freeze. If I have enough, I will use some of the dried herbs as gifts at Christmas.
    I am currently feeding myself, my husband, my adult son and at least once or twice a week I feed dinner to my daughter, her husband and their child. I enjoy helping out my adult children by feeding them when I can. My meals are nothing fancy, I just use what I can find on sale incorporated with my pantry staples.
    This evening, I plan to forge for blackberries which I will use to make jam and blackberry dumplings. My family loves nothing more than a good pot of blackberry dumplings on a cold, wet winter evening- it is a taste of summer!
    Brandy, I often wish we lived closer together so we could trade garden produce with each other and provide more variety for our families.
    I also wanted to mention that I have a friend that comes each year and gathers dill from my garden- right before Thanksgiving he gifts me with a couple jars of pickles. His pickles are the best.

  45. I have recently started doing a green smoothie every day in an attempt to nourish myself better. I had dental surgery in early June and I still am not able to eat normally. So smoothies don’t need to be bitten or chewed………I have been throwing in everything imaginable and some things you’d never think of. I am particularly looking for any “bargains” on seasonal fruit and vegetables this month. I am fully prepared to freeze, can, or dehydrate whatever I can get my hands on! I have meat so I’m not looking for meat unless I see a special I can’t pass up. I’m also working on eating up what’s in my freezer. That will help keep my purchases, except for produce, to a minimum.

  46. Jessica, for furniture polish try a mix of two thirds olive oil to one third vinegar. Shake well and apply with an old rag. This also is really good for “erasing” minor scratches on furniture and wood cabinets. I put citrus peels in a jar with the vinegar for a couple of weeks so the vinegar doesn’t smell too strong….also useful for salad dressing! For cleaning your glass stove top use baking soda and a damp/wet cloth to make sort of a paste. I keep my soda in a jar with a shaker top (old parmesan cheese shaker bottle cap) to use for cleaning my stainless steel sinks and my glass stove top….just sprinkle some on the surface and rub with a wet cloth. Works like a charm!

  47. My daughter is taking college classes and we have found renting textbooks via Amazon a very economical way to go 🙂
    They make easy and we have been able to rent books for a fraction of the buying cost

  48. So funny! At one time I stored extra cans of condensed soup I had bought at give away prices behind the books in our library. We found them each time someone took a book out. 🙂 There were even some stragglers left when we packed to move.

  49. Local peaches are finally in, so I will buy a bushel.

    Every August I buy a new round of bottled water to put away in my basement. The next three months are when hurricanes are most likely to hit New England, and if that happens, the stores run out of bottled water very quickly. I still keep the older bottled water as it is perfect for flushing toilets, etc in a power outage.

    Peanut butter usually goes on sale the end of this month at the lowest annual price. I’m planning to buy 24 jars if it is my target price.

    I’m also planning to buy school supplies for Operation Christmas Child boxes.

  50. Baby Cocker Spaniel must go to the vet this week. I believe while I was at the hospital with sugar cookie for 3 weeks that pup got in the CAT food. That is a chicken based product that pup is allergic to. Baby boy wasn’t diligent with his puppy baby sitting. I imagine this will be about 200.00. I am hoping to pay half now and half next month. Sugar cookie is leaving to visit relatives while I have 2 surgeries. Between 3 visits to the big city with gas and parking , I will be hurting with puppies expenses. Thankfully, our freezer and pantry are well stocked. My medical expenses are covered from a car wreck. Sadly sugar cookies expenses for her 3 am hospitalization are 200 thousand. She has Medicare but it still leaves me with bills we can’t pay. I am hoping Medicaid will kick in for her. Her issue is genetic so the burden falls on me. I am grateful for having been taught well and the very worse thing is having to go to DFCS and asking for help. We have everything we need so I cannot complain.

  51. Another fabulous post, Brandy! I don’t know where you find the time!
    Our CSA isn’t producing many vegetables at the moment. We’re still getting lots of salad greens, green onions, herbs and the occasional vegetable. We’ve had two heads of cabbage, with slugs, beets, green beans, carrots and a couple more that escape me. I’m hoping for more vegetables any time, now. We’ve had a huge amount of rain early and now we’re having high heat. I am hoping that the farmer’s market starts selling vegetables, as well. They were rained out tonight. I still have about 100.00 in tokens left to spend.
    The dog needs food and treats. Our local shopco has a deal where you spend 40.00 on dog food/treats, you get a 15.00 go. Tomorrow is senior day where I can stack the two and get an even better deal. So, that’s on the agenda.
    Food will be bought if it’s a great deal. Months later, I’m still looking for a butter deal. If eggs and cheese are so cheap, why not butter? Our best price is running about 3.50 lb.
    Our blueberry season is in full swing. I’ve only been able to go for an hour where I had to hunt and peck. I still have some from last year so I may skip it this year. I’m working too many hours to fit picking in. (And I love picking blueberries!)
    I’m also loving your recipes, Brandy! I’m trying to follow your lead by cooking simple, healthy, less expensive meals. You are a treasure!

  52. Our new house has a fig tree, which I have never had before, so I am also waiting for a recipe. I’m just not sure how to use them. Thanks!

  53. We are getting ready to leave for a mission trip. So, we’ve been frantically working on the garden, picking and preserving blueberries and peaches, making pickles, and canning jam and beans. My 21 year old daughter will keep the garden picked, watered, and keep the home fires burning for us. It sounds like her cousins might be coming over a lot, since we have air conditioning and theirs isn’t on right now as they are renovating. I think they will have fun!

    During July, I gathered quite a few things to take on the trip. There will be food provided for the group (this is a high-school youth trip, with sponsors), but I am not able to eat some of it, so I packed my own. I bought convenience items that I don’t usually buy, such as small packs of gf high-protein mini-meals, diabetic shakes for meal replacements if needed, gf bars, little packets of nuts, etc. So, although less expensive than eating out the entire time, these kind of foods cost more than I usually spend when I cook at home. I’m planning to have fun trying some new things!

    My husband and I agreed that we would go on a pantry challenge of some sort once we get home. I will probably work out the details while I am riding in the van all the way from Oregon to Mexico and back (I expect the van load of teens will keep me well entertained, but they might sleep part of the time! I’ll think then:)!)

    As we looked at the garden we were tilling, weeding, and picking produce in preparation for leaving, and cramming more frozen peaches and blueberries into an already full freezer, we figured we had better eat up some more freezer items since we are not done preserving! Because we were between houses last summer, I did not preserve, so I had assumed the freezers would be empty by now. Not so! God’s provision is amazing. I am having a lot of fun making jam. I think I was down to about 6 little jars after not making any last summer. This week, I made peach and peach-blueberry. I did a double batch of each, and canned them. I’ve also done quite a few jars of dill pickles. My dill is not growing well this year, so I am adding a few dill seeds to each jar to intensify the dilly flavor. Some of them were jalepeno dill, and some were plain dill. I’ve asked my daughter to make sure the cucumbers and zucchini get picked off while we are gone so they don’t stop producing, and hope to make sweet pickles when I get back. They take several days, with lots of dumping boiling water over the cucumbers, and other steps, so I didn’t want to do that until I had the time.

    So, I will continue to preserve produce as it comes along for the rest of the month. I will get milk and the basics as needed. I plan to use the garden to its utmost, and also produce gathered from relatives. I want to buy Gravestein apples and make applesauce. We ran out of it during the winter and I’ve had to buy it at the store. It is not. the. same. AT. ALL. I’m excited to get some home-made in the cupboard again. Because we didn’t like it much, we didn’t eat much of it. So, although frugal, it wasn’t an accomplishment:) I hope to keep the August budget low.

  54. Making ends meet and frugality are two different things; the latter is a choice. The dictionary definition of frugal is “economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful” or “characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources”. Anyone, with any income, can be frugal 😀

  55. I have cooked my frozen figs with a ham. I will also use blackstrap molasses to coat the ham to add iron content (or you could use honey, or cane syrup), also coated the figs, and let the figs cook with the ham. It gives them a nice flavor. Brandy also has a recipe in her recipe list for her fig sauce she uses with pork tenderloin, I think.

  56. Our only child is leaving for college soon…. so our budget will be changing. I’m lowering our food budget and putting that to college expenses. We have a pretty high food budget $500. I can lower it a lot if my husband can remember to take his lunch to work and let me do the food shopping.
    I have meats, veggies in the freezer so I should not need to buy those unless I see a great deal. I also have a lot of eggs. Only need to buy milk, bread and fruits every week.

  57. You always amaze me with your stories. You have helped my family out in so many ways with your blog and your posts. I have been a stay at home for almost a year now and you helped me when I was having budgeting issues and I was looking at your past posts on it. It’s been a tough year but it’s been a great year as well. My hubby has a job where the checks vary every pay period. He is paid on a point system where certain jobs are worth certain points and if he only has a couple of jobs one day it might not be a good pay day. We have been working on paying off debt. I will say we haven’t accumulated any new debt since I have stayed home. And we are slowly paying it all off. Our food budget for this month is $200 and I plan on trying to stay well below that so I can put the extra money towards debt. The only things I plan on buying this month is milk, veggies, and fruits and only if they are on sale. Last month our food budget was the same. Next month it might actually be lower for us. I have enough food in our freezers and pantry to help us through. I am very blessed to have a chest freezer and pantry with food in them. We get laughed at when people know we have a chest freezer with food and a full pantry. We try to explain to them the reason behind it, for when there is no money for food we will have enough to live off of and not be starving. I even explained when my husband was let go at work last year and had not income for 3 months and we didn’t buy any groceries and used what was in our pantry and it saved us from the stress of not having to wonder where our next meal was going to come from. I definitely have price points for all of our food that I don’t go above and wait for sales to stock up on. Thank you so much for being honest and helping us out.

  58. I am not Brandy (lol) but housing prices have gone up in the Tuscaloosa, Alabama area. I have also noticed more new builds happening. However, the Recession was so very long (or it seemed that way), that I am happy the economy appears to have recovered somewhat. At one point, of my three son’s close friends lost their jobs during the recession. They were in their late teens to early 20’s. Also, those with college could not get a job. It was awful. However, it appears in some parts of the country the prices are way out of line and will probably have a correction soon. I am in no way an expert, but I have noticed, and you mentioned you were from California, some prices have soared out there past their pre-recession price. I guess the short answer is that it depends where you live, and my humble opinion is that if we have another housing recession, that will cause all of the apples on the cart to get upset, causing job issues again. I sort of think that will happen not too far away, but again I am not an expert. I really, really, hope I am wrong. I try to keep six months worth of pantry food such as canned goods and rice, just in case.

  59. I actually bought a wire basket and zip ties from dollar tree for my daughters bike and it worked out great, and cute to!! But until you can afford or save for a better one this might be an option.

  60. Mable: That is great information – I did not know that, and I have gardened for over 40 years. I don’t get as hot as Brandy, so don’t usually have an issue with pollination. Always good to learn something new about my favorite hobby.

  61. Brandy, have you ever watched jamerrill stewart on youtube? She just had her 8th child. They spend 800 to 1200 per month on groceries. It always amazes me the amount of food they go through. That’s why I am so amazed that that you are able to eat from your pantry and garden and able to save money by not going to the store. You are doing fabulous!

  62. Most people can’t fathom how much 10 people eat and cooking from scratch for that many people every day. It’s like Thanksgiving every day, three times a day here 🙂 (sometimes a fourth time for snacks!).

    I have never watched her but what she spends does sound about right. We just eat plenty of less expensive meals! What anyone spends really depends on what they choose to eat.

    I’m looking forward to cooler weather and lots more soups. It’s the least expensive choice, nutritious, and delicious! We’ve done them in summer while living on our food storage, but if I can, I would prefer to have more cold meals when it’s 114º out.

  63. I don’t know if you’ll read this, but I’m so inspired by your comment. Brandy is amazing and it sounds like you’re learning to put her ways into practice. Especially making hay while the sun shines- having a stocked pantry and providing in lean times is so important. And all the while paying down debt! So encouraging- just wanted you to know that you’re doing a good job!

  64. This week we are on vacation in Texas visiting our son and his family. I know I left the freezer with no meat and a fair amount of veggies. My husband is a meat lover, and I make a meal with meat each night, and a breakfast dinner on a weekend night, and he is fine with just grits and eggs. I stretch the budget as far as it will go. My dad’s garden has provided us with peas, which we love, I just have to shell them.

    So, it looks like I will be figuring out August when I get home. Here in Texas, we have shopped twice at Walmart for seven people. Sandwich fixings, burgers and hot dogs for the grill, breakfast foods, and some frozen dinners that feed a family, Stouffer’s. Not what I would do at home, but for one week each summer it works. And more time with our four grandsons!

  65. Mable, that will only work if you are within the same genus of squash, & there are four separate geni. The male flower from a butternut squash would not pollinate a zucchini, but the male flower from a yellow crookneck would, & so would the male flower from an acorn squash, since zucchini, yellow crookneck & acorn squash are all “Pepi “.

  66. Brandy, I don’t know if you have checked into AP or CLEP tests. My boys graduated from home school high school early as well. By the time they started college, they had 15 hours of tests which gave them 15 hours of college credit at the state university. I believe they allow 15 hours of CLEPs to count toward college. My oldest son had his AA in less than 1.5 years.

    AP’s are a little different; we found the CLEP tests followed our home studies more closely. A credit is a credit.

  67. Lillianna, did I read your post correctly, Sugar Cookie’s hospital expenses are $200,000? I am hoping it was a typo.

    Jeannie @

  68. When my kids were in college, I got the ISBN #s and looked for them at Amazon or ABE Books. You can save money by looking for one of the earlier editions. You can type in the title of the book and go to the publisher’s website to find the Table of Contents. If you find the closest earlier edition, you will notice that very little, if any, content has changed. Look at the Unit and Chapter headings and the number of pages. I purchased college textbooks for less than half their going price – sometimes as low as $10. Way better than a $150 textbook! Really this takes no more time than ordering an expensive textbook online.

  69. Yes mam, three weeks in the hospital is coming in at over 200 thousand so far. Her Medicare co payments are hitting about 5000.00 right now. She’s been disabled since birth but only collected social security since she was 21. I was always able to support us ,so I never got it. Our income is minimal due to auto accident injories. I have 3 surgeries scheduled. I will be receiving a settlement one day in life but not soon. I see her bills and mine pushing us into bankruptcy. They actually gave her 300 dollar asprin. The system is broke and sadly frugality won’t save me from this. One hospital, 13 doctors, labs, meds, supplies, xrays, etc. I literally don’t have enough monthly income to make small payments to each provider. The funniest part, is there was a doctor who wanted to helicopter her over to the next city to see if the neurologist on staff could determine if her sinuses were infected. I put my foot down on that one. Her primary have her something and a previous mri, showed they were. So happy to be home….

  70. Dang butter was 5.50 last night. Sadly any baking will be on hold. Will stock up when it goes lower.

  71. S,
    I love your comments. One of the reasons I keep coming back to this page. What I have learned to appreciate over my life is a job well done and Brandy does everything, beautifully with poise.

    When I was a single mom I worked in Real Estate (on the finance side) and it is was a huge challenge for me to budget. God took care of my kids and myself. A job opened up in a more stable position and I was able to provide for us.

    This month..we are taking care of some medical bills, so I am going to tighten down the food budget. I am still working on growing food for us, nothing has come in so all our groceries still come from the store. Other than tomatoes..this is my first year..I could not get lettuce to grow…but I will keep trying. Fortunately, the pantry and freezers are very full.

    I found pickling cucumbers for a good price, so I am going to make my family, in-laws, mother and grown daughters enough bread and butter pickles for the year. I cannot believe how expensive the store has them.

    I will cook of Bunch brandy’s recipes. My family loves the black bean burgers, spaghetti sauce(We make this without meat, as we are vegetarian). We also want to try the taco soup. We will have broccoli soup, biscuits, smoothies, muffins and salads. I found a recipe for dandelion greens pesto that I am plan to try.

  72. Brandy
    I enjoy reading your blog and get lots of ideas from it. The bargains I found this month include finding online a used Cuisinart yogourt maker (just like new) for $45 Cdn when it usually sells for $130 Cdn new. Now I will easily make my own yogourt. It probably makes too little yogourt for people with a big family but should make plenty for me and it has a cooling feature so I don’t have to be around when it finishes. And of course one can make yogourt without a machine. I bought a prairie-hardy apricot tree for $30 (usually $65 but on sale because of its shape). A friend gave me a lift out-of-town to pick up the yogourt maker. It was right near a u-pick farm. I bought her lunch there; she bought me half a basket of sour cherries. I bought lovely green veggies, a zucchini for $1 (my friends will bring me more). On our way home, we stopped at our local farmers’ market to see if the pesticide peaches were in but have to wait another week or so then I will freeze a case. I will be freezing the sour cherries. I might freeze them in pies but I only have the freezer above my fridge. When I bought the fridge I bought the model with the largest freezer compartment with less fridge space.
    The single mother who helps with the gardening brings me fresh greens from her garden. And my neighbour’s husband gave me a bag of frozen fresh green chickpeas. I had never had them before but they were great. I didn’t cook them. All in all a good few days. I don’t plan on going to the grocery store for a month.

  73. My daughter did something similar. Our school systems will pay for college classes for high school students as a dual enrollment program. When she graduated high school this May, she had accumulated enough hours to start her freshman college years as a Sophomore. With the combination of her scholarship and our states college funding program(TOPS for us in Louisiana) now paying 100%, she is making over $1,400 a semester that is $$ in her pocket to invest. She uses her part time job to pay for books and supplies.This is come in handy when she starts her student nursing rotation next year and will need to use the $$ to supplement her income as she won’t be able to work as much. My advice is to also not look at just the college they want to go to. This is not her first choice. Her first choice offered a two year program for RN, but when we got out our calculators, the four year university cost less, offered her more $$, and she could graduate debt free. It does no good to save a couple of years if you have to spend those years or longer paying students loans.

  74. I just wanted to follow up on my own post to share a wonderful way God provided for us this week. I did my grocery shopping, but did not buy chicken, as it was not on sale — even though I have really been wanting chicken. I have other meat in the freezer that we can eat, so we certainly won’t go hungry without chicken.
    Yesterday my neighbor, who moved today, brought over a large bag full of everything that was left in her refrigerator — including a large package of chicken breasts! I had to smile at this answer to an unasked prayer!

  75. You have no doubt already done this, but just in case anyone else in this situation is reading, please contact the hospital’s financial services (they may also have a patient advocate department)– they should be able to help cut through some red tape with Medicaid, to get them to cover these bills. I am praying for you!

  76. I have never made a menu plan. I have a running idea in my head of what I need to use that is in the garden or refrigerator and that has always worked for me. (Plus we keep a detailed log of what is in the deep freeze) My husband is the breakfast maker as I am slow in the morning just with managing to get myself ready. This time of year we have a lot of plain yogurt with fruit on it and granola, or he will make pancakes with fruit. Saturday breakfast is always a bigger deal with eggs and hash and potatoes..that kind of thing. Sunday is always a coffeecake and hard boiled eggs made on Saturday night. Lunch is sandwiches with a variety of fillings that I make, like egg salad, or tuna salad or sliced meat and cheese. Also we eat leftovers for lunch. I pack my lunch and take to work, my husband eats at home at noon and I usually make him up a plate of food when I make my lunch. When the weather is nice he eats out at the pond while he fishes. Depending on the youngest daughter’s schedule she eats at home or takes lunch with her; she handles that all herself. Dinner this time of year takes advantage of what is in the garden. Tonight I am trying a recipe I found for crispy baked zucchini rounds and we’ll have corn on the cob, cucumber salad, pickles, some of those marinated cherry tomatoes, baked fish, and berry cobbler (using the last of the berries I canned last year with advice from ladies here). We have been in the 60’s and raining for 2 days so I am getting a lot of baking in.

  77. Oh, I just clicked on your recipe for rosemary potatoes and I think I will add that. We will be 7 at dinner as I’ve invited our tenants and my daughter has a friend visiting for the weekend.

  78. When you have a moment could you please share the recipes for the crispy baked zucchini rounds?

  79. I have a mulberry tree and have plenty in my freezer also. It’s my daughter’s favorite jam. She loves them in cream of wheat or muffins.

  80. I was wondering about that! We’re only 4 with two kids (almost 3 and 5) and we already need a lot of food.
    I’m really curious about the amounts you cook, that would be an interesting post!

  81. I am not sure why there would be medicare copayments at all due to having medicaid secondary. All those copayments should!d be a medicaid write off.

  82. Love this idea–it’s the way bike baskets were attached to the handlebars and handlebar stem when I was a kid. It will keep with the vintage feel she’s after.

  83. Yes, be careful with your cross-pollination! Too many times I have purchased cucumbers that had an “illicit encounter” with zucchinis and the result is cucumbers that are spongy, dry, and tasteless!

  84. My one coup this week was stacking a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon to get an almost-half-gallon of ice cream for $1.00 I stick to buying the necessities on sale as much as possible. Was out of breakfast sausage last week and walked past it at $5.99 a lb. This week it was on sale for $2.99 a lb so I got two. I was 10# ahead at one time and stopped buying it for a while. I didn’t realize when I used the last one, that it was the last! I buy the spicy sage sausage and we use it in quiche. Husband loves it! In August I am not looking for anything in particular, except peaches. They are expensive but I will be buying them as cheaply as I can at the farm stand. $8 for 14 large peaches this week. I’d like to make a fresh pie and freeze at least one more pie filling as well. I have about 5 or 6 packages of sour cherries frozen already from last year. Didn’t buy more this year. Butter here has been high too, but goes on sale for $2.69 or so. I have about a dozen pounds in the freezer so won’t buy unless it’s a good price. With just two to feed most of the time, I don’t need so much. Trying to learn to cut back. Last time I cleaned the freezer this spring, I had about a year’s supply of boneless chicken breasts. Not buying more until these are nearly gone. Will stick to non-fruit pies in between the fruit pies as they are cheaper to make. Our schools don’t re-open until after Labor Day, but sales and coupons are usually good at that time, so I’ll just see what is available–we are fairly evenly stocked right now. Green and yellow beans have been beautiful this year. It would be smart to can several pints but not sure I’ll have the time. Still making dr appts for some tests, and want to squeeze in a short (4-5 days) vacation in August to visit the Amish in Ohio. Have to find that many days in a row vacant of appointments first!

  85. I really enjoyed how you included meals that you would be using on a tighter budget. You’re such an inspiration to bring beauty wherever you reside…no matter the circumstances. Thanks to your blog…im enjoying whatever the garden gives.
    . Made a pot of black beans to freeze.
    . Made black bean dip like your white bean and homemade chips several times.
    . Eggs for. 37cents dozen. Made 10 quiches with homemade crust for freezer.
    . Was able to give 2 quiches to a family with a tragedy.
    .worked in my flower garden several hours weeding..cutting back. This gave a clean look.
    I could use fresh rock around them but the tidying up helped a lot.

  86. Ok. It was from the cooking blog Closet Cooking: Cooking in a Closet Sized Kitchen from July 28, crispy lemon parmesan zucchini chips. You could fry or bake. We baked and they were good.

  87. Hi Brandy! You really do have this ‘food thing’ down. It’s a talent!! I’ve been struggling with grocery bills for so long now that I sometimes despair that I will never get a handle on this aspect of our household budgeting. To be sure, thanks to websites such as yours, I am much, much better than I used to be and I am thankful for that, but I still don’t have it down anywhere near as well as you have done. I will soldier on, however. I feel inspired to try harder, thanks to you. You are an inspiration.

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