The beginning of last week started out so well. I canned 27 quarts of pears in one day, while the children were awake, and after school was done for the day. I thought the rest of the week would go really smoothly, but it didn’t.

I still didn’t get sewing done, but I did can 20 pints of pickles, so that was a great thing to get done. Though my daughter is growing quickly and needs some new things, the food won’t wait before it goes bad, so pickles became my new priority.

It was very hot this last week. What I had planted previously was eaten by bugs. I planted again, but very little has come up, as it is just under 100º during the day and in the low 80’s at night. It is too hot for many things to germinate. I always have to watch the weather to see when to plant. A couple of weeks ago it was getting cooler at night, but now it is hotter.

Last Week’s Goals

1. Can pears. I purchased 72 pounds of pears last week for $35.28, thanks to a gift card that my husband received from a friend (this is also how I purchased the 100 pounds of potatoes for $8.80). If this is the only thing that happens this week, that’s okay, because the pears won’t wait! I intend to can some as baby food (pear sauce). I canned all of the pears save for a few that we ate. I added to much water to the pears that I had intended for baby food, so they took much longer to thicken, and therefore became brown as they cooked down. I made pear butter instead of baby food.

2. Continue pruning trees and vines. Fill up trash cans each time this week before the trash man comes. I have a lot of trees that need to be topped, and it’s going to take a long time to get the trees to where I can reach the fruit next year. I filled the cans on Monday but not on Thursday.

3. Work on green dress for Winter! Nope.

4. Finish embroidering handkerchief from last week. I’ll work on this at night while watching something free on Hulu. I worked on this but did not even get close to finishing it.

5. Spread manure in the garden. Nope.

6. Plant more Swiss chard in the garden to replace the seedlings that were eaten by bugs. Didn’t happen.

7. Spray the grape vines with an organic spray for fungus.  I hope this works! I also sprayed for squash bugs with a mixture a friend of mine shared with me that I shared in the comments a few weeks ago.  30 minutes later the bugs were still alive. I squished as many by hand as I could find.

8. Make waistband and finish skirt for Winter. This didn’t happen either.

This Week’s Goals

1. Work on green dress for Winter.

2. Make waistband and finish skirt for Winter.

3. Continue to embroider handkerchief at night.

4. Continue to prune trees in the garden.

5. Spread manure in the garden.

6. Replant where seedlings were eaten/nothing came up, depending on weather.

7. Cut out new dress for Winter. This will be a church dress for colder weather that I’ll give to her on her birthday or Christmas.

8. Eat at least 3 dinners al fresco. It’s a bit warm, but not too cold for outdoor meals for the next month. We had a wonderful dinner outside on Friday. I’d like to have more, and so would the rest of the family. We have such short windows of nice weather and I want to enjoy them.

9. Work on eating from the freezer. November is when I buy most of our meat for the year in the form of turkeys. I actually have 3 turkeys left right now from last year, so I will be cooking lots of turkey in October and planning my meals accordingly. I have one defrosting for this week. I have several other things in the freezer that need to be eaten to make room for turkeys, so I will be planning my meals accordingly.

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  1. Mary Ellen, in this economy, not everyone can “get another job”, even if they wanted to do so. This is not the first time Brandy has explained that they have prayed about it & feel they are to stay where they are. Brandy’s children are certainly not suffering, in fact, I dare say they enjoy a significant advantage in both diet & lifestyle. They are eating healthy, home-cooked meals, not fast food. None of the children are obese, & childhood obesity is at epidemic proportions in this country. Considering the direction the economy is taking, I think teaching our children how to make do with what they have is an important life skill. Both of my parents were children during the Depression, & I was blessed to grow up with the skills to garden, preserve food, & sew – – skills many of my friends today do not have. When a young mother is asked what her hobbies are, & she says “Shopping & decorating”, I cringe for her children, because those are consumption, not creation, activities. -Marivene

  2. Being a little older than a lot of Brandy’s readers I might have a different perspective than some. I was raised with a father that worked (very, very hard) and a stay at home mother who knew where we were and who we were with at all times. We were allowed certain activites but when it got too much, our parents had no problem with the word “NO”. I can’t think of a better, more well rounded way of growing up. Sure if their finances were a little steadier they wouldn’t have to work so hard however their children wouldn’t be getting the life lessons they are being played out in their own home by their own parents. Well done Brandy and Steve!Just an opinion,Joyce

  3. YOU GO GIRL!! I just don’t understand some people and their thinking. Your kids are so much better off than those who have both parents working and providing thier children with the latest “whatevers”. I know its got to be hard on your hubby that he can’t at this time provide more than just the basic material needs of the family but things will turn around in time… not ours but the Lords! Meanwhile the lessons you and your entire family are learning will bless y’all through out your lives and thanks to your sharing those lessons via the internet (blog, website and FB) many of our lives will be blessed as well. Heavenly Father knows what he is doing when he sets things in motion. Brandy your doing an awesome job! Amy L

  4. Why do you think their children are suffering? My parents were born in 1925 and 1930 right in the middle of the Great Depression. My dad remembers not getting anything for Christmas for quite a few years. My mom said they usually got an orange and a peppermint stick and one year she received a doll. I am so very thankful that Brandy shares her knowledge with us. I have breast cancer and have been receiving treatments off and on since May 2005. If I had not done some of the things that she writes about we would have lost our home. I even wrote to her one time and asked for ideas for a teen age daughter for gifts for her Christmas and birthday. Thanks to Brandy I was able to give her some things that she really did like. I also know that I have passed my frugality on to her. She was at the local college where she attends school and was printing off some school work. The printer is on the other side of the room from the computers. The printer needed toner but she didn’t know that until she had printed what she needed. She still brought the papers home instead of throwing them away and said we can still use the back side in our printer at home. Both of my parents would have been so proud of her. Remember what they said in the Great Depression, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”. I think Brandy does a great job of that and is a wonderful person for sharing her wisdom with us.

  5. Wow! I think this must have been Mary Ellen’s first post to read! I am just so grateful for Brandy’s hints and tips to be more frugal. Let’s face it. We could all easily be in Brandy’s shoes, but would we be so cheerful and optimistic? Probably not. I am trying to use her frugal ideas so that I could withstand a job loss/change. It is a shame that people feel that money cures all and those that don’t have it are “suffering”. We all WANT to be able to buy the latest and greatest for our kids, but SHOULD we? I don’t anymore. My kids have to work and earn money and buy most of what they get themselves, except birthdays and Christmas. We have scaled WAY back on those as well. I am horrified to look back on what I used to spend. If I didn’t take a picture, the kids would not even remember everything they got. It was ridiculous. Now that we don’t have as much money as we used to (my husband changed jobs and makes less money but works from home) we actually spend more quality time together and really have more fun. I still work outside the home and have a 45 minute each way commute, but he is at home when they get home from school and has taken on many of my old responsibilities. The kids help out more and appreciate the things we do get to do. I still have to explain that we cannot afford this or that and it is just not in the budget, but they don’t complain and have really not missed out on anything.No job is a sure thing and any of us could be in the same position tomorrow. Allison

  6. I honestly don’t understand how children that have shelter, clean water, heat/AC, ample food, clothing, beds, toys, music, DVDs, art supplies, an outside play area, books, access to education, moral guidance, grandparents nearby, friends, plus two involved parents can be assumed to be suffering.

  7. I haven’t achieved perfect crunchiness, but they’re still tasty! I used a packet of Mrs. Wages (and followed the directions on the back), as dill only grows here in the fall/spring, and bolts around March/April.

  8. OK, nobody get mad, but I agree with Mary Ellen. It’s not responsible to keep having more babies when your family income is worse every year. Brandy, you do a great job with limited $, yes, but can you honestly say it’s wise to keep adding more people into a tough situation?Regina from LA

  9. Brandy, really? We stopped at 2 because we couldn’t afford more. Are you saying you’ll have as many as possible, regardless of finances?

  10. Brandy, Whenever I read your blog (daily), I always think about how blessed you all are despite financial hardships. God is blessing you and your family as a result of your commitment to Him, your family, and lots of hard work. You have blessed me through your posts in so many ways. Kate

  11. Brandy, Whenever I read your blog (daily), I always think about how blessed you all are despite financial hardships. God is blessing you and your family as a result of your commitment to Him, your family, and lots of hard work. You have blessed me through your posts in so many ways. Kate

  12. Regina & Anonymous, As my father used to say, “If you are not the one feeding or clothing, or caring for the children in question, it is none of your business.” My father did not approve of my choices, but he respected MY right to make the decision. It took me 10 pregnancies in order to deliver 4 children, & your comments take me back INSTANTLY to the countless people who thought their opinion on how many children I should have or times I should try mattered. I would do it again in a heartbeat, even with the emotional pain of 6 miscarriages. I knew we were not done, & I would not have missed being the mother to my 2 youngest children for anything in the world. My children, & now my grandchildren, are one of the most precious parts of my life. I do not have a vacation home, or a boat, or a big fancy house, or a new car, but I do not want those things, either. I have what I need, & so did my children. When I worked as an RN, I took care of many women who let Medicaid pay for the birth of their children – and I consider that not to be responsible behavior, altho it is very popular. – Marivene

  13. Brandy,If it were not for your trials, and what you’ve learned in them, you would not have so much to share!I’m so sorry that your family has been through such a hard struggle, but I’m so grateful that you share it with us and allow us to glean from your struggle- as many of us struggle as well.Suffering children? Hmm- what would have happened in the Depression if they had stopped having children altogether? What about Little House and Laura? We LOVE to read of their family’s struggles and how those hard times shaped the people in that generation.God’s ways are not are ways. He teaches us in our trials and struggles- and in that- we teach others.Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?I for one, admire your faith and trust in God. Many people will not put their faith where their reality is. You choose to trust God in spite of your circumstances and that is what faith is about. The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT SEEN.In each time frame, there’s always been some excuse not to have children. “Oh the world’s getting too bad.” ..”Oh you can’t afford it.” …”Oh you’ll have to get rid of one of your cars.” ….”Oh you won’t be able to have a career.” …”Oh but there’s wars and rumors of wars.” And when you look at birth control, all the possible risks and side effects……….well- I may be alone- but I’d rather trust God!As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them….let God be true, but every man a liar…Brandy, I praise God for all that you do to help others. And I believe you are RICH and so are your children… because of you! Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.I think most all of us here would echo that and say “You are blessed!” Amen?

  14. Brandy – I am so sorry that your blog has turned into a personal attack on you and your family. While you and I share different ideas about some things, I have never once thought your children were “suffering” or anything negative at all. Thank you for sharing all that you do. It has definitely helped inspire me in many ways.

  15. I am just blown away by the arrogance of some people. I would genuinely like to know how you think anyone in her family is suffering? so anyone make under a certain amount each year doesn’t deserve to have children? We make around $50,000 a year and I am a stay at home momma, we have 3 children, do we make the cut, or do we not make enough? no one else is saying it but I will, those posts offend and anger me. brandy I feel nothing but love and respect for you. I check your blog many times a day just because I enjoy it all and can’t wait for your next post. I also have a question for you but would rather ask in email form, do you have a way for me to message you directly? Keep going you inspire me every single day to be the best mother, wife and daughter I can be.

  16. Brandy, thank for being such a kind hostess, and sharing this lovely corner of the Internet with all of us. To the critics: You are shockingly rude. Would you walk into a stranger’s living room during an open house and say those things to her face, loudly, in front of a crowd?Think about it. All of us a entitled to our opinions. Courteous guests know when to keep their tongues behind their teeth – or in the circumstances, their fingers off the keyboard.

  17. Brandy, I pray that these latest thoughts will not get you discouraged. Your blog and website have helped MANY people across the world as anyone can tell by reading all these comments, there are far more positive ones than negative. Just as with anything else, when we put ourselves out there to help, we will be subjest to those who are hurting enough to take “jabs” at our attempts to serve instead of simply quit reading reading the blog. You are doing something GREAT by having this outreach. I hope that you will carry on and may God keep showing you this side of Heaven the numerous ones you’ve had an impact on.~Heather~

  18. You can find Brandy’s email address on her home site. Considering the personal criticism & nature of some of the comments made, it might be better for you to find it there by poking around, than for her to post it here. -Marivene

  19. Hi! I want to thank you for sharing your money saving tips with your readers.I have used many of your ideas to aid my family.I do not think your children want for anything.Your children live a wonderful life they are with parents who love them.Pat

  20. Maybe I am becoming insensitive but the comments didn’t come close to what I have had said to me and didn’t seem awful. You have to learn to shrug it off and not be fragile. Raising a large family is tough work and you have to be strong in your faith and conviction for yourself, your husband and your children. If you break under a few rude remarks, you have a world of hurt coming at you. (Rhetorical “you”, not directed at anyone.) I have 8 children and some were born under less than desirable economic circumstances. Know what? Those circumstances have passed. We lived through it. Those circumstances have passed and we still have the blessing of a full table at dinnertime. We are starting to enjoy our children in a whole new way as they get older and start their lives outside of our family and bring new young people around and we still have the blessing of a houseful of young children.Life happens. Life happens more abundantly in a large family but in my experience, I can not blame any of my problems on having had 8 children. I can not think of one problem my dh and I have faced that would have been solved by not having had these children. I feel so very blessed that I am now 45 years old and still neck deep in raising children and running our household. I love the fact that my willful, independent 17 yo son never leaves the house without kissing my cheek. I love that my parents moved to our state in their older years (one street over) because they saw what we had and trusted our commitment and stability and faith. I know that what I am doing is stronger and more important that what a jaded few can tear down with their criticism.

  21. I am so sorry you were criticized for your choices. You children appear to be blessed in a way few American children are. I was thinking shortly before I read this set of comments that your lack of funds has led you to being the excellent and creative parent that you are. I can’t remember the last time I saw any group of children, regardless of income level, who are so happy looking, clean cut, and classically clothed and provided for. I would have considered it a privilege to have been raised by you and your husband.

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