Mission Figs in Basket The Prudent Homemaker

I picked five baskets of figs from my Mission fig tree.

I canned rosemary fig jam.

I used the water from rinsing figs to water potted garden plants. I also collected water from the air conditioner drip and used it to water potted plants. 

I picked tomatoes from the garden. I also cut rosemary, garlic chives, and Genovese basil from the garden.

I collected Danish flag poppy seeds from the garden to plant next year.

I used the whey from making Greek yogurt last week in a batch of crepes in place of the water I would have used in with powdered milk. I used some powdered milk as well (just no water) resulting in crepes with a higher protein content and no waste of the whey. 

I used 8 $1 off 2 packages of pasta to buy 16 pounds of pasta for $0.38 a pound.

I started turning the printer off for days and times when no one is printing. Several people print from it (including my husband for work) but no one needs it on unless it is being used.

My husband cleaned the dryer coil out. It wasn’t very dirty, but my loads seemed to be taking a bit longer to dry than normal and I know a blocked vent can cause trouble in that way. We have a gas dryer, which costs very little to run, but time is an important factor for me as well. After the coil was cleaned loads went back to drying in their normal time.

My husband welded a handle on our side gate to make it easier to open.

We attended a free health clinic where my children received free immunizations, vision checks, and dental checks. If you’re looking for something like this near you, search your city name, 2017, and “health clinic”, “health fair”, or “back to school fair.” Some of these include free haircuts;  (if you don’t already cut your family’s hair at home; you can also search for back to school free haircuts). This was our first time attending a health clinic like this; I had heard about them in the past but always remembered about them a week or two after they actually took place, as while I’m thinking about school supplies sales in July, I didn’t think about these other things as being in July as well.  A few internet searches turned up several of these throughout the country in August and even one in September, so you may be able to find one near you!

I took photos of my son in his Scout uniform for his upcoming Eagle Scout ceremony, rather than paying a photographer. 

July Zinnia Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

I cut flowers from the garden for an arrangement in the house.


What did you do to save money last week?


Please check back later this week for my August Shopping Plans post and a refashion post featuring a maxi skirt my daughter turned into a dress!

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  1. Hello Brandy…your flowers are beautiful and I love your ideas for saving this past week. I feel as if I’m taking a frugal cooking and other ideas class this summer with you. I’m thankful you don’t charge or else I probably wouldn’t have gleaned so much. Thank you. A few of my frugal accomplishments this week.
    . Made homemade saltines. They were a bit hard but looked pretty. Will try again.
    . Had cracker cheese tomato basil treats for lunch.
    . Made French bread again and Basil olive oil.
    . Made fried green tomatoes from our garden.
    . Made pasta salad a few times with tomatoes..chives..basil..from the garden.
    . Made ham n cheese rosemary chives..puff pastry from things in pantry and garden.
    . Froze herbs.
    . Gathered more lavender to hang and dry.
    . Bought greenery to place in vases on tables.
    . Made spaghetti and fresh salad from garden.
    . Went to the library free books.
    . Was gifted a free microwave and dishwasher.
    They are used but new to me!
    . My husband had some unexpected hospital tests that were covered.
    . Cleaned and organuzed papers and folders and found
    some missing items and some much needed paper work for Dr needs.
    . Listen to Pandora free.
    . Had a friend stop by and play our piano beautifully
    And I so enjoyed that free.
    . We have a free symphony concert coming soon near us.
    . My daughter gifted us a free lunch twice as we were running back and forth for tests.
    . Sent out a card I found to my sister.
    . Enjoyed some peaceful moments gazing at our pond..
    The porches…listening to nature.

  2. The last time I made Greek yogurt I froze the whey in ice cube trays and then transferred the cubes to baggies for future use. I have used whey for bread baking and soaking rice and beans. I am making Greek yogurt again this week and will save the whey and use it more often. Thank you for the reminder, Brandy!

    I was able to harvest more green beans, tomatoes, kale, basil, and cilantro. I froze the green beans. We ate the kale roasted (our favorite way to eat it) and in salads. I used the basil for spaghetti sauce and cilantro was added to our tacos.

    I planted lettuce, spinach, and more kale.

    It got cool enough to turn off the air conditioning a couple of times and open the windows. That is always a blessing to me in the summertime.

    We ate all our meals at home. I am on a mission to build up our pantry from loss leaders and from what our garden produces.

    I received from work a coupon for a free entree to a favorite Mexican restaurant. We will probably use it when I am on vacation in a couple of weeks.

  3. I am so proud of you. You make my heart shine every time I read one of your heart felt posts. We are continuing to preserve fruit from our trees. I am finished with canning apricots and am now on to plums. I use the water from the fruit and from the canning kettle to water container plants, of which I have many. Our temperatures never get as high as yours, but we, too, live in a desert climate with hot dry heat and low humidity. This coming week we will be in triple digits, so every extra bit of water is a blessing for my plants.

    Congratulations on your first Eagle Scout. What did he do for his project?

  4. I accepted free tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers and made salsa and pickles with items I had on hand.

    I cut my entire family’s hair.

    My husband worked out at work instead of buying home gym equipment. I only bought what was needed, and bought 3 pounds of cherries for $1.99 close to going bad. I also tried new recipes in my instantpot to keep from heating up the house. Additionally, we “baked” homemade bread on our grill to have yummy homemade bread without heating up the house.

  5. I think you are much better than most professional photographers, as in publication quality. 😉 Congratulations on your son’s Eagle Scout achievement. All your posts are so inspiring and really lovely.

  6. I went in for my yearly health checkups only to find I had a tumor. Thankfully I used the hospital affiliated with my employer so I got a 50% discount and had less than $300 out of pocket costs. My surgery shouldn’t be more than a couple thousand.

    I’ve spent a lot of time outside with my son catching cicadas & playing Pokémon go.

    I’ve cooked most of our meals and stayed home.

    I met up with a friend and we walked around the shopping mall for exercise and avoided purchase.

    On raining monsoon days I take my son to an indoor playground and get a free coffee with 2 hours purchased.

    I shopped the sales for guinea pig veggies.

    My son wanted a smoothie so I made a milkshake for him at home. He loved it.

    I made popcicles.

    We bought fizzy water and make our own lemonade instead of buying it.

    I pet sat for a friend and got 2 boxes of cereal and a bag full of my favorite candy bars in return.

    I got free tickets to a baseball game. They were $30 each if I’d bought them.

    I avoid going to the store unless I really need to.

  7. Oh, that is such a lovely flower arrangement! And the bench is a beauty too! I’ve been keeping my eyes on our figs, but they have a ways to go yet. I’ve harvested apples and peaches. With our extreme dryness, hornets have been chewing on the apples, so most are imperfect. I’m planning on making applesauce with them, so that should work well in spite of it. My husband created a garden gate by welding two together that we were given. I intend to paint it, and your post reminded me I’ve not shared it yet. Maybe after it’s painted! I’m thankful for you and this wonderful community, and happy to be joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/07/simple-summer-meals-frugal.html

  8. Hello Brandy!
    This week was full of making things from scratch. I made the white bean alfredo sauce you have listed in your recipes and it was a huge hit! I loved the flavor and will make again. I made a big stock pot of beans instead of just doing enough for the sauce so I have a half dozen baggies of frozen, prepared beans in the freezer for future use.
    I made several loads of french bread for our week. I also made a plum tart and homemade naan. I’ve traditionally paid $5-6 for a pack of ready made naan so being able to make it myself for less than $2 was wonderful (the higher cost of homemade stems from needing a container of plain yogurt which cost me $1)
    Most of my household has been fighting summer colds/sinus infections/and bronchitis this week. I made dinner each evening for those feeling up to eating. Since only a few servings got used, I froze containers of all the rest and have a weeks worth of frozen meals ready for future use.
    I made and froze several pastry crusts. It’s not worth it to me to make a tart and only prepare enough crust for one tart. I triple my recipe (one recipe makes two crusts), divide the dough up into portions and individually freeze so I can have a handy, quick dessert for another night.
    I worked a double shift to earn extra money.
    With everyone sick I was able to turn the a/c up a few degrees.
    I found a jelly roll pan on clearance at our local La Surla Table. I’m really excited about it because it seems excellent quality. It came with the label glued to the front of the pan and I cannot get the glue residue to come off! Anyone have any suggestions?
    I also wonder if anyone knows any good resources for decently priced almond flour (almond meal)? The best price I have found around here is about $7/lb which is outrageous. I love it in some of my baked goods and I use it sparingly but a one pound bag only goes so far.

  9. We will be having visits from out-of-state relatives between now and first frost. Our front porch and patio will look much better with a few new flowering plants. While driving to our nearest Aldi’s, I passed an open air plant market that was having a closing-for-the-season sale, with most plants only $1 each in five-inch pots. Just what I had been hoping to find so late in the season! We bought four geraniums, a Gerber daisy, one other flowering plant, and some chives for $7. I successfully overwintered geraniums indoors in the past so I have hopes that these will last past October. We never did make it to Aldi’s. Later in the day, when we went to the nearest REAL farm stand and bought a few peppers and one tomato, the nice farm girl offered mom a free bouquet of mostly sunflowers that were not looking particularly perky at the end of a warm breezy day. Ah, the perks of being 94! We gladly accepted them, knowing that the birds fed on the balcony would love them. Last night, I cut off the bottoms of the stems before putting the flowers in sugar water. This morning, the flowers looked so much better. We’ll be enjoying the looks of them for a few days inside before the birds enjoy the taste of them outside. I plan on swiping a few seeds from the birds so we can grow some sunflowers ourselves next year for free. Our local bakery charges $5.50-$6.50 per loaf of bread. We bought one loaf this week and it is good. But the simple half whole wheat loaf we mix in the bread machine and bake in the oven is preferred by my mom and costs less than 75 cents. I need to bake on the days when it isn’t so hot. We live far enough north that heat waves rarely last for more than a few days so I just need to plan ahead (and stash two loaves in the freezer for busy or hot days). Thank you again for all of your encouraging comments and thank you, Brandy, for sharing the photographs and blog.

  10. For glue residue, I’ve always had good luck soaking the residue spot liberally with vegetable oil, and after a half hour or so, it usually comes off. If any glue still remains, add a little baking soda to the spot and scrub gently. Good luck! 🙂

  11. Brandy, I am so impressed with the amount of figs you manage to get your trees to produce! And, I really love that flower arrangement! Truly beautiful. Your family must love having such gorgeous flower arrangements all the time!

    My frugal accomplishments this week:
    – Made a batch of yoghurt
    – Traded two $25 gift cards and a homemade caramel apple pie (http://approachingfood.com/ultimate-caramel-crumb-apple-pie/) for a Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker. I had been saving my Swagbucks to purchase a new one from Amazon, but new ones cost over $115, and the one I traded for had only been used once, so I was happy with the trade. I wasn’t out any money (aside from the caramel apple pie ingredients – and I used caramel sauce leftover from my banoffee frappe recipe – as I used two gift cards that had been gifted to me over the previous year). Can’t wait to make tons o’ ice cream with this!
    – Bought at least another 10 lbs of cherries, as they were on sale for $1.49/lb this week (lowest I’ve seen this year). I hope to be able to make some jam later on.
    – Took advantage of a promotion at my pharmacy to stop up on my IBS and anemia medications, in order to get two $10 gift cards. One I will likely give to the DH to use, and the other will likely be used for a date night.
    – Using a local trading app, I traded some items I had but didn’t want, for some other items, and then traded those items for a brand-new-in-box, high quality (and trendy) water bottle. The DH and I are going on vacation next month, and I wanted a water bottle that would stand up to high temperatures. And this way, I got one without breaking the budget!
    – Via the same local trading app, I traded some after sun gel lotions for a fancy pillow case in purple – my living room accent colour.
    – Traded a bag of dog treats for a brand new trough planter with a coco liner. My peas weren’t growing properly, and I think it’s because of poor drainage, so I tore them out (they were dying anyway), switched the dirt to my new planter, and planted some more seeds. Hopefully I will still be able to harvest some peas before the first frost. I am so pleased with this trade! Such a pretty planter!
    – Picked some basil from my balcony garden to make pesto with. Yum!
    – Cat-sat again for cash
    – Used two coupons to get two free root beers. I drank them on my lunch hours for a treat.
    – I made a pasta salad using the first of my balcony-grown tomatoes, along with oregano, basil, thyme, and parsley that I grew. I’d forgotten how delicious home-grown tomatoes are!
    – I made a plum and mint clafoutis using plums that given to me by a colleague, along with mint from my garden. I used half cream and half milk to stretch my cream further (and to reduce the calorie content). So yummy!
    – Pitted and froze a freezer bag full of cherries. I had ordered a cherry pitter online, but it still hasn’t arrived (I used the cheapest shipping option), so I used a paper clip as someone mentioned a few weeks ago. A bit more laborious, but equally effective!
    – Made a batch of tortillas, and froze half the batch.
    – Made a tray of enchiladas, using homemade tortillas, and beans and taco rice that I had made and frozen previously. I finished up a can of salsa sitting in my fridge, and used a bit of the grated cheese from my freezer, and cut some regrown green onions to use as well. A pretty frugal meal, and so yummy, with lots of leftovers to take for work lunches.
    – Received a sample tube of a pain relief cream in the mail, and gave it to the DH to send to his mum.
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 Starbucks gift card

    As always, looking forward to learning from everyone!

  12. You are so blessed to have a husband who can repair the car and appliances, etc. My husband is not “handy”, although he tries. Quite often the repair has to be done over by someone else (at a cost) or it goes unfinished. His heart is in the right place, but it gets a little frustrating. He is wonderful at so many other things, though, I should add.

  13. It’s been cool enough that we have had the air off most of the week. I was even able to bake bread and cookies twice.

    I purchased zucchini at .39 a pound. Froze 8 pounds and made one of my favorite dinners. There was enough lo for lunch the next day. I got a raincheck for milk at 1.99 a gallon.

    Used a coupon combined with a sale to get a new 3 piece outfit for work for $21. All pieces are basic so they’ll be interchangeable with things I already have.

    Emailed college professors to see if a previous version of the textbooks are ok so that they can be bought used.

    Cancelled prepaid insurance on a bike my husband sold.

    Started a new quilt for a Christmas gift using on sale fabrics and fabric that I already have. Planning to use muslin as the back this time to keep costs down.

    Sewed together vinal table cloths from the dollar store to be used as shades for my cousins pergola.

  14. Meijer’s was having a 2 day sale on their boneless pork loins- $1.37/lb!!!! They were each between 4-5 pounds so I bought 6 !!! They were marked originally as about $17 each but they were about $6 ! And they are nice lean boneless meat!!! I had the butcher cut 3 of them into chops and the other 3 in half for roasts in crockpot. I will shred some of the roasts for pulled pork and some for carnitas as well as enjoying pork roast for a dinner!

    I rearranged my basement pantry shelves to make room for the 32 pints of peaches that I canned last week from peaches we were given! My shelves are now more organized and I love that our stored foods keep getting rotated because we are eating them regularly! In the old days, our food storage would sit on the shelves for an emergency! But a few years ago, I realized that it was even better to be constantly eating and replenishing it so everything is still being eaten while it is still at it’s peak of nutrition and taste!
    We spent the evening last night roasting marshmallows over our fire pit and watching our chickens forage freely in the yard! So relaxing!!!
    I earned another $12 in Pinecone surveys and used it to pay down our final hospital bill.
    I washed and dried ziploc bags to reuse. I made several different grab and go lunch entrees and packaged up leftovers from dinner into individual portions for lunches/desserts. We also have 1-2 Use it up nights for dinner where we eat up the bits left in the fridge while they are still tasty and fresh!
    We drove up to Michigan (about 5 hours each way) to spend 3-1/2 hours there visiting my brother! We brought snacks/water with us in the car and filled our gas tank using Gas Buddy to find cheapest gas!
    I got another big banana box full of greens/veggies from our grocery store for free for a supplement to our chickens dry feed! What a blessing!
    Our three new hens are still not laying yet but we get 13 eggs/week from the other two!
    I decluttered and gave away hand weights, polyester quilt batting and a lap stand for embroidery that I wasn’t using. So, each day, more and more things are being re-homed!
    Our night temps are lower again so we are just keeping windows open overnight rather than a/c! So far this summer, we have only run a/c units about two full weeks so our electric bill is way lower than usual!! We are grateful!!
    All in all, a very good week!!

  15. That flower arrangement is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing the picture!

    This was a week of really low lows and then the week recovered awesome in the second half lol!

    Anyone got ideas on how to combat slugs in really rainy conditions? Insecticidal soap isn’t sticking, beer traps just flood out and do nothing and sitting there picking the slugs off and feeding them to the chickens works a bit but I can’t babysit the garden all day. They’re doing awful things to my turnips right now. Thanks!

    My list for the week can be found here…


  16. I use orange oil for all kinds of sticky labels – spray on and cover with a cloth or bit of paper towel. The oil is not super cheap to buy but a little goes a long way and it lasts forever.

  17. Those figs and flowers are so beautiful!
    And congratulations on your son on achieving Eagle Scout. That is quite the accomplishment.
    A lot of this week’s frugals were about making do – and learning some new skills/tricks in the process. I ran out of quart-sized tea bags for making iced tea, so I gathered up all the ‘odd’ tea bags I have received as free samples or as gifts over the last year or so and began making tea with them. A lot of these were herbal tea (I prefer black tea for drinking hot) and white tea or green tea with “different” flavorings (fig and pomegranate, anyone?). They made for some unfamiliar flavorings, but some of them we liked a lot – others were fine for quenching our thirst. We go through a pitcher of iced tea every other day in the summer.
    I wanted to make tacos but didn’t have taco shells. I did have corn tortillas, so I made my own shells – I’ll definitely be doing this again.
    I ran out of potatoes, so made macaroni salad instead.
    I wanted to make ice cream to use up some leftover raspberry puree (from making jam last week) but didn’t have any cream, so I made sherbet instead (which uses milk). It came out great.
    I made chicken stock from bones I had saved in the freezer and vegetable trimmings.
    I used rainwater to water my hanging baskets and potted plants.
    Cut flowers for an arrangement for the house.
    Made homemade cinnamon-raisin bread, whole wheat bread, brownies, and granola.
    Cleared out space in a flower bed to plant some sugar-snap peas. The seeds were freebies I got last year. I’ve never planted them this time of year, but I am hoping for a fall harvest. I also planted some more lettuce.
    Harvested green beans, lettuce, collard greens, chard, and tomatoes from the garden.
    Our neighbor who is moving blessed us with several bags of groceries from her pantry and freezer – frozen fruit, sugar, frozen corn, crab legs, lots of pasta and pasta sauce and much more. I was blown away by her generosity, but she said she is paying by the pound for movers, so it wasn’t worth it to move all of the food.
    Local corn was on sale, 8 ears for $1, so I bought 16 ears and froze the corn. My neighbor gave me 3 quart bags that she froze last year, so I should have enough to take us through to next corn season.
    I’ve been cleaning out closets and cabinets and donated several boxes and bags of stuff to the local Humane Society thrift store.
    I had a frugal fail, too – I forgot to pay my credit card on time (I pay it in full every month) and incurred a late fee and interest – an expensive lesson to keep better track. I paid it off right away, as soon as I got the late notice in my email.

  18. I’m glad you finally found a sale on pasta! I’m glad your family was able to get immunizations for free, too. I love the idea of using the whey and powdered milk to increase the protein content of your crepes. Thank you for sharing! Can’t wait to read the upcoming posts you have planned this week, too!

    It’s been an interesting week for us. This week, our frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included chicken fingers with noodle side dish and broccoli, BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with fresh corn on the cob, hamburger helper with green beans, and waffles with homemade plum syrup.
    *We cooked up the entire dozen corn cobs for dinner one night…way more than we can eat. The leftover corn was then cut from the cob and frozen for later use.
    *On one of my days off, I took the time to make a nice breakfast for my daughter and I. I cooked a bunch of hash brown patties so there would be leftovers to use for several days, made up a package of Hollandaise sauce (should be enough leftover for a second day) and scrambled some eggs with bacon bits mixed in. We made a simplified version of a breakfast bowl which was delicious, and now I have some different breakfast items to eat when I’m rushing to working!
    *On my other day off, I canned some yellow plums for the first time. I decided to follow a hot pack method, but it didn’t work out well. The fruit was so cooked, it was mush when I put it into the jars. So disappointing! I took the leftover syrup with bits of mushy plum pulp/skins, added some corn starch and a bit more sugar to make a plum syrup to use on pancakes or waffles. Hoping my family likes it, as I might end up using the canned plums for the same thing.:p
    *My mom kindly took the time to wash and freeze the 2 flats of raspberries and large basket of blueberries I bought at the market last week. I will make jam when I get time, preferably on a day when the temperature is cooler.
    *My mom also baked a loaf of banana bread for the freezer with bananas that were over ripe and needed to be used up. Always good to have on hand for company, lunch treats or to share with co-workers.
    *My vehicle developed a very distinct knocking sound that grew worse very quickly. My husband happened to have Monday off, so I asked him to take it in, hoping it wouldn’t be an expensive fix. It turns out the lug nuts on the front wheel had not been tightened properly when our winter tires were switched. The tire was very close to falling off! 😮 Someone was watching out for us, because any other week, I would have had to wait until the next Saturday for him to take it in. So glad we caught it before disaster struck and it only cost $42 to repair.
    *Signed up for a ghost hunt at our museum later this month that is only for staff and volunteers. Two of my young co-workers that are seriously into ghosts have also signed up. This may be the most entertainment I will ever get for $20!
    *One of my co-workers decided to try making paper, and I enthusiastically asked if I could help. I love learning new skills and crafts! Although we were too busy this week to get together, I’m hoping we will get an opportunity in the near future.
    *Received a free Freezie while at work during a particularly hot day.:D
    *Took my daughter school shopping. We were able to buy 4 tops. Two were full price and expensive, but I used a Visa gift card to knock the out of pocket cost to a reasonable amount. The other two were on sale, plus a further 70% off, making them a really good price! We also started to pick up some school supplies, but I will watch for sales before buying more.
    *DD attended a birthday party for a boy we met through an ABA program. We can probably count on 2 hands the number of birthday parties our daughter has attended, with fingers left over. I decided to buy a gift that was a little more expensive ($20) as I know that this boy has struggled with friendships and probably has not had many birthday parties. I figured he deserved a nice gift. I made sure to get a gift receipt, just in case he got a duplicate gift or didn’t like it (that happens with Autism spectrum kids, so I wouldn’t have been insulted). Turns out DD was the only kid who came, despite inviting several. DD enjoyed swimming in his pool, hanging out with a friend for the afternoon and best of all, he LOVED his gift! 😉
    *Went to the chocolate and cheese factory while DD was at B-day party. Picked up a stash of discounted chocolate and 2 bags of delicious cheese curds. YUM!

    I will be checking back regularly to read everyone’s comments and to watch for further posts. Have a wonderful week everyone!

  19. I did a quick google search on how to remove glue residue and they suggested using acetone based nail polish. Make sure to wash well with hot soapy water afterwards, to wash off any remaining residue.

  20. The arrangement is beautiful and I love the bench it’s sitting on. Did your husband make it? I’d love the details about it

  21. I am having him teach our children as much as possible so that they can also repair things as adults. He can’t fix everything and tells me he doesn’t know how to do all the repiars, but he knows how to do so many it seems to me like he can fix anything!

  22. I didn’t find a sale. I had coupons for 16 pounds and I noticed at Winco that they had several shapes for $0.88 a package, which is a lower price than anywhere else. I bought only two shapes: fettucini and macaroni noodles, as those were 16-ounce bags and not 12-ounce bags. For a sale I would have bought 80 or 100 pounds of pasta. I never did see a good sale (i.e. $0.49 a pound) but perhaps in September I can find some!

  23. Oh well, it has been a wee bit since I last commented though I had intentions of doing it weekly for accountability. Life sorta sat on me but I have kept up reading everyone’s comments but not posting any of my frugal accomplishments. As I look at incoming expenses and our growing children I feel like everything keeps going up, up, up so I am determined to be more mindful of our habits and cultivate more frugal ones at the same time. This week I was emailed from CVS a survey and received a $10 ECB for completing it, I used this to buy prenatal vitamins as they were on sale for B1G1. I menu planned and used up bananas for banana bread. We celebrated Christmas in July with friends and I decorated with white paper chains, played Christmas music from Pandora and printed out finger puppets for the kids to color. I also wrapped an early Christmas gift and we played games with it and talked about how Jesus is the gift all year long. A friend brought Christmas sugar cookies to enjoy too! As I am 21wks pregnant with our 4th I have started nesting and cleaning out drawers and closets which has helped me see what we have and that things I thought I needed to buy we don’t really need at all or already had hidden away under clutter. I looked at Pinterest for inspiration to beautify my house with things I have and shuffle them around to see what works better vs buying more stuff! I used a gift card to buy new Mid century legs for a chair that was broken, we were gifted a gc for a dinner out and my parents watched our kids. Since the baby is due in Dec I have been looking at my hidden Christmas board for projects I should start now and buying small useful gifts at lowest prices and putting them away for later. That’s all I can think of for now, I hope to keep a list this week so I can encourage myself and not feel so defeated! 🙂 I am very thankful for getting to glean from Brandy and this unique community.

  24. We paid of our mortgage on Monday, 6 years early! (Woohoo!).
    I mended a skirt. We cooked all our meals including a new tuna casserole recipe. (I’m trying to use the stock pile of tuna, canned tomatoes and canned beans.)
    We shopped for new tires for my car. We find quite a price difference for the same tires. We like the local tire store that provides good service but we ended up buying from the national discount chain because it was $220 less for the same tires. If the local store had been within $50, I would have paid more to support a local business, but the difference was too much.

    I arranged the last intern lunch seminar for the summer at work and there was quite a bit of food left over. I encourage the interns to take food with them and some do – but mostly the cookies or brownies. This time we had a very nice beef tenderloin and the male interns didn’t hesitate to take some home. I ended up with the remaining three servings of beef, about 6 servings of tossed salad and some green beans with mushrooms.

    We are leaving for a long trip next week, so this is a “clean out the refrigerator” week.

  25. My special needs daughter has a boyfriend on the spectrum. How wonderful these two have each other. Your post makes me cringe as I relate to this issue so deeply. All children should be taught compassion and not rejection , because it really is important. At age 39, our friend tells horrible stories of being left out and being made fun of. Making a special effort can make a huge difference. I hope he enjoyed his gift. I make a big effort to do small things for JOE , because they mean so much to him and yet are so little for me. Pain last a lifetime.

  26. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia where it is winter in the mountain cottage and we have been getting temperatures of -2 – -4 oc and yes our slow combustion fireplace has been going fairly much non stop. Nothing like a fire to keep you warm 🙂 .

    Brandy what a blessing to be able to attend a free health clinic for your whole family as well as pick so much wonderful produce from your gardens I am so happy for you 😀 .

    Financial –
    – Banked more money into our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us up to 20.53% of the way there.

    Household –
    – Upcycled 4 worn bed pillows into 2 good ones by putting the stuffing from 2 into 1 pillow making 2 lovely comfortable pillows for us to sleep on rather than buying more. This saved us $20 over buying more pillows.
    – Soaked the old cotton pillow covers and washed them giving me more brilliant white cotton fabric to make into dinner cloth napkins for the home rather than buying any saving $14 for 4 it would have cost me to buy them.
    – Used flannelette rags to clean the bathroom and outside of the toilet instead of using paper towels.

    Grocery savings –

    – Purchased 4 x 4pk double length toilet paper on special and coupled this with a 5% off grocery gift card discount saving $4.98 off usual prices.
    – Purchased chocolate sultanas and snakes from a discount variety store for a treat saving $2.50 off supermarket prices and purchased 3 correction pens saving $10.12 or 80% off supermarket prices for a branded variety.
    – Purchased 1 packet of macadamia nuts from Aldi saving $3.51 over the prices we pay in our supermarket.

    Clothing purchases –

    – Brought 4 new thick knitted vests for DH on 50% off special, combined that with a $10 off customer bonus voucher and then another 5% off for using his clothing store credit card to bring down the price from $29.95 ea to $11.87 ea saving in total $72.30. I couldn’t make them for that 😀 .
    – Purchased 5 pairs of new wool cashmere socks on Ebay for $4.69 saving $53.64 over what the local shops are charging here and brought 5 pairs of cotton blend socks on Ebay also saving $1.01.

    In the kitchen –

    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Used our slow combustion fireplace to heat water for our hot chocolates, steam vegetables, and heat water for our dish washing up water saving us on electricity costs.

    In the garden –

    – Picked 751g of shelling peas and 1kg of turnips saving $28.53 over purchasing them in the shops.

    Have a wonderful frugal week ahead everyone 🙂

  27. Congratulations on the Eagle Scout achievement!
    The flower arrangement is just stunning.
    This week I made my Swagbucks’ initial goal 5x and finally earned enough for a $25 Amazon gift card.
    Grocery shopped at three stores to take advantage of loss leaders – this included buying 15 pounds of bananas! I freeze them and use them in smoothies.
    Hung three loads of laundry out to dry.
    Turned over & propped up almost-empty bottles to get the last bits out: DW soap, shampoo, and laundry detergent.
    I always flatten the toothpaste tube to get the most out of it, but after reading the comments about cutting the end off I tried it. I’m amazed to have gotten 5 more brushing sessions from the cut open tube.
    We bulk grilled food to eat during the week – saving both time and propane.
    I took naps both Saturday and Sunday afternoons! Frugal because I slept rather than eating to stay awake 😀

  28. We spent a lot of time this weekend with family which was wonderful. My cousin is on a 3 week leave from his deployment in the Middle East and we were able to visit. I think we will be getting together again before he departs for the second half of his tour.

    We continue to visit parks and outdoor spaces.

    I have been making a lot of bean recipes this week.

    I have been reading a lot of recipes, looking for new ways to use some food I have on hand in my pantry. I have started reading the flyers for back to school deals in case anything on my list of things to purchase comes up at a good deal – but for the most part we have just been trying to not spend money.

    I had not had a haircut in almost a year, so I got one but not from my usual stylist. Unfortunately it was a bad cut which has left me very unhappy. I realize it is not a big deal – I am just annoyed (but not bothered if that makes sense) because I could have
    a) spent the money on a GOOD haircut if I had been able to arrange to travel to my regular hair stylist downtown
    b) forgone the haircut for a few more months (although my hair was getting pretty scary haha) and saved the money.
    On the plus side, the stylist cut my hair so very short (despite my instruction to not do this) that it will be months before my hair is long enough to get it “fixed.” So I guess I’ll be saving money that way! 🙂

    I wrote a recap of our July grocery spending and some frugal accomplisments here;

    I am really looking forward to reading your shopping plans for August, Brandy.

    Have a great week everyone! I always love reading all the comments here.

  29. Staying home makes for great no spend days. Those were Sunday through Wednesday.

    Thursday I had my six month dental cleaning and received the wonderful news that I get to have two crowns. One will be free because it was done within the last five years. Thank goodness we have insurance and we will only be responsible for half of the cost of the new one.

    Friday I hung out with mom and didn’t have to spend any money. I was a cheap date for her as I ate off the dollar menu at BK since she was treating. I drove her car as her driving scares me.

    Home all day yesterday and today. All of our meals were cooked here. All of the laundry was washed with my homemade stuff and line dried. Found five bucks in a pocket. Love laundered money! The thermostat is set to 75 and we use fans in whatever room we are using.

    My son is starting junior year and I have been busy checking his supplies. I don’t think we will ever have to buy another pencil. It doesn’t look like we will have to buy anything new. *crossing fingers* I’m not buying him any clothes for back to school. We will make do with what he has.

    Now for my downer. Dang blame deer ate all but two of the pears off my pear tree. First fruit I was going to get from it. It was going to be enough to make a tart. I can’t be too mad. One of the does has a pretty pair of twins and the herd is nice to watch from the deck. But dang.

  30. I often use sheets as a backing for quilts and to recover blankets. Top sheets are often very inexpensive in thrift stores, and sometimes even new.

  31. I went garage sale shopping on Saturday and found a lot of name brand clothing for myself including a brand new dress with tags (retail $50) for 50 cents! I was thrilled. I also found a glass mixing bowl. I baked two loaves of banana bread with bananas that had browned early. I harvested tomatoes peppers and green beans as well as blackberries. We discovered a peach tree and a cherry on our property (we moved five months ago on 2 acres that is bordered by more land). I used my cloth diapers and I researched making my own deodorant and shampoo.

  32. If you have not incurred a late fee before, call the credit card company and ask if they would consider removing it to make a good long time customer happy. It worked for me. If you have a good history with them, you may save yourself some money. Can’t hurt to try!

  33. Congratulations on your Eagle Scout. Sometimes I take the Eagle Scout Mother pin out and remember the joy of our son beaming at his ceremony. Truly a family accomplishment.

    Started landscaping our property after taking over a ton of trash to the transfer station, having the neighbor take truck loads of metal (lots of old farm machinery) and moving a couple pickup truck loads of old boards to a place for future bonfires. The land is sloped, so I’m going to have tiered beds. I have access to many perennials, so they are free. My son started off with one pickup load of free composted soil from the town (my son shoveled a full bed of dirt in and than shoveled it out again into a pile on our future lawn…he’s awesome). And we have an abundance of flat rocks here which I used as supporting walls for the first tier. One free tiered bed down!

    Since I am not having a garden…I’m only growing some gifted tomatoes in buckets…I have been looking for extra produce. Today I found my first zucchini.

    Took a bike ride just before dinner to help keep me to my eating plan. Still taking off last winters extra pounds. I have to keep reminding myself that eating less means more savings!

    Saved 5.00 off 25.00 at a store opening. I made sure to only buy what was on my list. I have another coupon for next month and will use it the same way. Their milk is less than anywhere around, too.

    Other than these, I did the regular old frugal things. The unusually rainy summer has me playing catch-up.

    Have an amazing week everyone.

  34. Making all food at home. Black bean burgers, taco soup, Beef pot pie, Lentil casserole, spinach casserole, Quiche and ate leftovers. Had dinner at son’s house one night. Harvested tomatoes, basil and lots of peppers. Froze what we can’t eat now and dried the basil.
    Thinking about birthdays and Christmas. I am going to make things for Christmas and probably birthdays too. Not sure what yet.
    Stayed home, except when we worked on house and visited family. Car is sounding awful, I told my husband that and he told me his truck had some issues too. Praying they will hold out longer, at least one of the vehicles. Didn’t save much for emergency fund, too many bills. But at least we are not putting anything on credit to dig ourselves further in a hole.
    Husbands’s job is still iffy, very stressful. At least he talks to me, and yesterday he brought me some flowers he picked for me and put them in a cup for when I woke up! Sweet man!
    Spent time with both my sons and my one son’s family. Wondering what to feed my grandkids tomorrow, probably gram flour pancake or egg in the hole. $105 dollars to cover expenses left from his paycheck, including gas for my husband to get to work until Friday. I don’t want to touch the very small Emergency fund we started and maybe put part of this in it on Friday. So I am going to limit purchases to vegetable oil, eggs, and toilet paper, oh I’d like to buy a gallon of milk too. We have been out of butter all week, but we are making do. Pantry and freezer meals include: Gram flour pancakes, tuna melts with carrots and peppers, Homemade pizza , masala vada,( an
    Indian bean fritter) Ham sandwiches with peppers, tomatoes and potato salad, black bean soup, French toast, chicken curry salad, carrots, chicken soup, ( maybe with dumpling or the cheap noodles I bought.), Salmon patties, asparagus soup, (from frozen asparagus) canned pineapple, potato soup. Having a pantry with some food is such a blessing!
    I will check on my disabled son tomorrow. Make sure he has food this week. I’d like to invite him over, but sometimes he likes his alone time. He did come over the last two days. I sent him home with the makings for lentil casserole and tuna casserole today. And other stuff the day before. He is doing so much better, I’m proud of him actually living on his own, with a friend, and cooking. It was enjoyable talking to him the last couple of days. He has encouraged me to lose weight in such a nice way. I think you are right Brandy, it doesn’t really cost extra money to lose weight. I really just started a few days ago and have lost 5 lbs already. I have a long way to go. I just don’t eat as much, nothing at night. I eat what I want, just not as much. That is what I did when I was skinny. So I’m going to do it again. Stress eating has got me for several years, but now I decided to drink water instead ,or clean and just keep busy.
    I have also enjoyed talking to family this week. My aunt, my parents, my sons, grandchildren. My husband’s family. Frugal fun!

  35. Oh, I forgot, I also turned off lights often and used the light from the windows. Turned the air conditioner to a higher setting to save energy.

  36. I used to make paper many years ago. It’s very easy and fun! You’ll enjoy it; you get to play in water!

  37. I haven’t posted recently because the garden is in and I am processing food all day long. I am sure there is something frugal I have done, but I can’t remember. All I can think about is the food waiting to be cleaned, chopped, shredded, peeled, shelled, blanched, frozen, cooked, canned, dehydrated….
    Anyway, I have managed to take pictures and go into details about the garden, the Lima beans, the squash, the dog, the kitchen, the bug I smashed that killed my squash plant…..
    Anyway, I think I am cracking up….


    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

  38. We are getting quite a bit of produce from our garden now. I’ve been canning and freezing beans and made pickles twice. It is supposed to be super hot this week–like 108! Crazy for this part of Oregon!! So, I’m thinking that will ruin the rest of the lettuce. Thankfully, there is a smaller planting that will be ok, I hope, to eat later. I hope to plant a little more soon.

    We went to Silver Falls State Park. We hiked for miles.

    I did some needed shopping and got great deals.

    We are preparing to go on a mission trip to Mexico and leave later this week. I’m scurrying around like a chicken getting ready–lots to do between now and then. I’m trying to pack quite a bit of food and snacks. I don’t like going into every gas station mini-mart for those kinds of things, and they make me sick anyway. I cannot eat some of the food the group is cooking, either, so am bringing choices I can eat. We will be taking our van, full of teen-agers, as this is a high school trip. It should be great!

    I have pictures of the falls and my week on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/saving-money-and-weekly-update-july-30-2017/

  39. I haven’t seen a price like 49 cents a pound in years. We usually can get 16 oz for $1, and occasionally for 88 cents, but that is it! Some types of pasta are as much as $2.79 a lb here. Luckily there are only two of us, but I can sympathize with your size family’s needs.

  40. Perhaps there is a different way or two that you can style your hair in the meantime to give you something else to do with it while you wait for it to grow.

    When mine really was getting so long that I was dreading doing it, I asked my husband to cut it. He’s been cutting it ever since, and now I get my hair cut as often as I want. I didn’t want to have him cut it for a few years, but when it had been about a year I took the plunge. I wish I had asked him earlier!

  41. Plus eating less saves money 🙂

    I have thought about what I ate when I was skinny and it was a lot less, in part because I had less money to spend than now (which is absolutely mind-blowing to me sometimes!) I’m still stuck on those last few pounds because I haven’t been willing to eat that amount I ate before, but in order to lose it and keep it off, I need to cut my portions further.

    Best of luck in everything!

  42. Marcia,

    It’s only one store that has that price and it’s 2 and sometimes 3 times a year. I never know exactly when they are going to have it BUT they have sometimes had it in September, so since I didn’t see the sale in July I am going to wait for it. I buy almost all of our pasta at this sale which is why I buy so much at once. It’s only on the American Beauty brand (but in the Eastern U.S. Kroger stores have the same sale on the Ronzoni brand). Unfortunately, Smith’s, our Kroger affiliate has almost completely gotten rid of this on their shelves and replaced it with other brands that don’t have as good of a sale. Also, several companies (this one included) are making 12-ounce packages of several shapes instead of 16-ounce ones. This has led to me buying a smaller variety of shapes because the 12-ounce and 16-ounce bags are the same price, and of course I would rather get a whole pound.

  43. Thank-you Brandy! You are so right! Eating less does save money. Thank-you for your words of Encouragement! I reread them today. So helpful in my whole attitude towards everything.

  44. This week was focused on time management and efficiency with a view to save money and get the same results with less efforts (as we are busy working parents).

    I refocused our shopping and meal plans. I thought showered quick, easy and cost effective recipes.

    I delegated more.

    I did some ‘spring’ cleaning. Sorted through bagged up clothes that no longer fit my children and made a plan as to who gets what (family members, friends, charity).

    I went over August plans and outings and our expenditure and savings.

    I made a large batch of soup and added quinoa. My children and I made cupcakes from scratch and decorated them. Lots of fun.

    I staked the tomatoes in the garden. I planted some Lemon Scent, it is a gorgeous lime green colour.

    Getting the internet seems to be on hold for the time being. Our new laptop, purchased in readiness, sits new and unused in its box.

    The children and I attended playgroup. They had lots of art and craft activities, indoor & outdoor play and singing and dancing.

    I had a lovely night out with my husband and friends. Grandma looked after the children.

    Looking forward to hearing about your August shopping plans and the sewing project.

  45. Just hopping back on the money saving bandwagon after a long string of massive life stresses. So my list is pretty short and unexciting.

    This past week I did a pantry, fridge, and freezer clean out. I threw away an embarrassing amount of food that had gone bad. But the upside is I knew what needed to be eaten within a few days so it could be saved from the garbage as well as what staples and freezer items we had to make a menu plan. I’ve stuck to the menu plan pretty well so far, making adjustments as necessary. We’ve only spent $52 for groceries this week and almost all of it was zero waste/packaging free. This is not too bad considering how much we would have eaten out without this plan and my motivation to stick to it.

    My husband got to go fishing with a neighbor Sunday morning and caught a King salmon! Wild line caught king salmon costs $29/lb at the fancy grocery store near by and we don’t ever splurge like that. So we had a delicious salmon dinner, we froze another large meal’s worth, and will be smoking a good amount of salmon tomorrow.

    I’ve been organizing and decluttering a lot this week. On one of my trips to drop off donate items I remembered the store was having a half off kids clothes sale, so I was able to pick up four pairs of pants, three pairs of shorts, and a Harley Davidson jean jacket for my four year old and hooded jacket for my 2 year old for about $21. Everything I picked up is in amazingly good shape. Unfortunately, garage sale prices are even more than the thrift store prices in my city and thrift store prices are on the rise too.

    I’ve renewed my focus on removing single use plastics from my life so that was good motivation for packing my lunches for work and staying away from fast food/eating out for lunch saving money this way is pretty easy.

  46. Brandy your photography is really stunning. I think you could easily sell your images i.e. maybe in a Prudent Homemaker annual calendar or diary even… and also be hired to take photos, portraits etc. Its a thought!
    On our farm we get figs, two different types. So I was interested in putting rosemary with it in jam.
    It is winter here (Australia) so I will note this for when the figs come after Christmas. We don’t waste one fig. Last year they were $2 EACH in the stores here.
    I don’t know if any of your readers will remember years ago a blog called Laines Letters. I followed her and she stopped posting and then I found you to follow as there are many similarities! For those that remember Laine is posting again! My last week was pretty good savings wise. I have been trying different stores and travelling a bit further to get prices down and find more thrift stores… and its worked. Prices have really gone up so it is taking more work to keep the food costs down. Each week I am trying to learn new things…. last week I made yoghurt and there is so much I can make with plenty of yoghurt on hand! With love Annabel.xxx http://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com.au/

  47. Your figs look so wonderful. They seem so exotic. I have never seen one here and have yet to try one. One day…
    This week we got stung by hornets and nettles. I was happy to discover the nettles as they are a useful plant, but I was much less happy to discover the hornet’s nest!
    I made jam this week from foraged berries and I visited our local farmer’s market.
    I hope everyone has a great week.

  48. I absolutely LOVE how you conserve water. And I had no idea about the free health clinics–I love that those are offered and that you’re taking advantage of them. 🙂 It can really add up!

    This week:

    1. I really wanted to get a manicure at a salon, but instead I used my at-home shellac nail kit. It looks like I went to the salon and I spent zero dollars. 🙂

    2. We used a Groupon on Sunday to do laser tag. Sure, it’s kind of childish, but it was SO FUN. It was the highlight of our week for sure.

    3. I used up ham and cheese in my fridge and made mini hand pies, which are great breakfasts.

    4. I worked out using free YouTube fitness videos.

    5. I discovered we get PBS shows for free on our Roku, so I’ve been exploring all the free things we can watch.

  49. I also prefer sheets for backing quilts. I have found that, with muslin, if you use the quilt a lot, it gets holes in it — at least at my house. The sheets hold up better. I have a large flannel sheet I bought at a garage sale that I’m saving to back the bed quilt I hope to make this fall. Meanwhile, the muslin-backed quilt that is currently on my bed has patches on patches on that backing.

  50. I took leftover chicken and made chicken salad to take to work for my lunches. I then took the scraps, combined them with a can of tomatoes with green chilies, carrots, spices, a bowl of dried pinto beans I had cooked, leftover okra, and made soup. I drove an hour and a half to visit my aunt and uncles and my cousin. She took us out to eat lunch at Outback, since we had helped clean out her house, and I ordered the $9.99 lunch special, and had enough left over for supper. I was so happy! I used a $5 off $25 at Dollar General to buy my son some things. I went to Dollar Tree and bought eye glasses, wrinkle spray release, and pasta. I went to the cheaper laundry mat, and did my laundry and drying for $2.00. I trimmed my hair and did my own eyebrows and nails. I am still enjoying my $40 Dansko shoes I bought from the daughter of a friend of mine. I usually buy a pair about once every two years, and they cost between $100 and $120 dollars. I was so happy to get this pair that had been worn only twice. I am getting good use out of them, and wore them to church yesterday, as well as work. I exercised at home. I used up the last of the potatoes and made mashed potatoes. I like to make them with plain yogurt instead of sour cream because the yogurt contains calcium and I have a deficiency. I hope everyone has a great week!

  51. Hello all! Last week was not the most frugal for us and movers were suppose to deliver items we are anxiously waiting for. Here’s hoping this week will be better.
    How we saved –
    – shopped alone the few times I did.
    – I had $10 Kohls cash and found a $10 canister
    – I used $20 gift card to Walmart from ibotta (that I lost for awhile….) and spent $14 – getting back $5 thru apps.
    – continuing to buy fruits that are on sale
    – stayed in a few days
    – made all meals at home except 2.
    – worked on swagbucks a little everyday.

    I also have been watching for the .49 sale on pasta. All our pasta has been bought on clearance lately so under a $1 but not .49.

    Have a great week everyone!

  52. Congratulations to your Eagle scout, and I hope my figs do half as well as yours! Beautiful fruit.

    This weekend’s frugal accomplishments:
    Used mint and lemon balm from my garden to make tea, and other fresh herbs in cooking, and enjoyed a few ripe berries from our baby blueberry bushes.
    Cooked grilled chicken, brown rice, pork roast, and potatoes to heat for dinners later this week, and prepared another batch of oatmeal and mixed grains cereal for work-week breakfasts. I learned that the homemade pre-prep hot cereal that I freeze would cost $10 a package in the store!
    Checked out some new books to enjoy from the library.
    Froze leftovers for later meals.
    Used the pantry to make a nice Sunday breakfast and lunch – no grocery shopping this week.
    Planted another dwarf fig tree, some hyssop, butterfly bush, and summer lilac. We have been rewarded with new pollinator sightings already!
    My husband fixed the gate leading to our backyard, using materials he saved from other projects. I so appreciate him and his hard work.
    We each cut our own hair.
    Used yarn from my stash to start a pretty shawl that will be cozy for winter, and might make a nice gift.
    Spent some time enjoying our flower garden – the lavender and roses are doing beautifully and it was a joy to see so many blooms in our own small yard.

  53. Very impressed with the use of whey in other meals. I have only made yogurt once because I can get three 1kg tubs of yogurt for $2.00. I don’t eat enough yogurt to worry about making it. But with the whey factored in… maybe I need to look at the costs versus benefits outcomes again.
    The flowers you show on your blog are always amazing. I would be interested in any post you do around flower arranging. I’d love to learn any tips and tricks you can pass on.
    In Australia we only have daphne and camellias displaying, and just recently wattle.
    I haven’t seen anything else of late…although perhaps the other Australian contributors have other flowers showing.

  54. I’ve been very busy getting ready for a yard sale this week. We had the sale this weekend and I made a little over $400! I was very pleased! I also made an extra $80 last week at work. We ate all meals at home this week, except for lunch one day. It cost $7 for the lunch and I spread it out over two meals, so I didn’t think that was too bad. My husband also caught up on all his billing for work, so I’m ready for payments to start coming in. We paid extra on our mortgage payment again this month. I’m ready to get that thing paid off!

    I canned 4 quarts of pumpkin, 5 jars of spaghetti sauce, and 5 quarts of dill pickles this week. I also picked another 5 gallon bucket of green beans to process (hopefully tomorrow). I picked two more 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce again (we go through a lot of this in a year). Sweet corn is also ready now, so I picked it. We will eat it for supper tonight with some chicken. I have lots of hot peppers ready in the garden right now, so I am thinking of trying my hand at hot sauce. My husband loves hot sauce.

    I made bread and dried herbs. I also picked the last of the lettuce that hadn’t bolted. Melons are getting close to being ready. I hope they survive okay with the lack of rain we’ve been getting.

    I saved canning water to water plants. We FINALLY got a good rain here last week, so I was able to skip one watering. I tried to do the usual – combining errands, being diligent with light/AC use, etc. I also paid a couple bills online.

    My parents treated us to pizza one night. Another night my SIL had a birthday party for my niece where she served food. I was also gifted a dozen quart jars and 2 dozen pint jars. They need a serious cleaning, but they were free! 🙂

    I don’t know if I wrote much about this last week, but my husband brought home a new dog last week. The dog was about to be homeless, so she ended up at our house. We already had an extra kennel and we are using old miracle whip bowls for her food and water. But she will need a bed. We budget a bit every month for buying dog food, vet visits, and other dog supplies for our other dogs. But I think we will need to increase that to cover the extra food we will need for her.

  55. I used to have a problem with slugs coming in the house. I poured salt on them to kill them. Try that and maybe sprinkle salt around the plants.

  56. I love the photos. The figs look so different from ours. We don’t know what kind we have, actually, but it may be Brown Turkey — my late mother-in-law planted a fig tree and my husband propagated it to give us two more, but we have a constant fight with the birds over those figs. The trees are big, and would be hard to net, but we are going to have to try something. We have the same problem now with grapes, only I think it’s opossums and raccoons helping themselves at night. We used to never have this problem, yet we’ve lived on this same patch of land in a semi-rural area for decades.
    I cooked down some soft apples and made applesauce. It wasn’t the best I’ve had, but cinnamon helped it a lot.
    I used my homemade laundry detergent for my laundry, line dried much of the laundry (we’ve had a lot of rain lately, so I can’t hang it all out) and used my indoor rack to finish drying some things that had to be snatched off the line because of sudden showers.
    I used my pressure cooker that cost me less than $4 out of pocket after Amazon credit and Swagbucks. It saved on time and heating up my kitchen. Now that I’m getting the hang of it, I love it.
    I worked on my sewing machine and solved some of the problem with it. I can sew, but it still needs some adjusting.
    I cooked a recipe that called for a cup or so of cooked chicken meat. I thawed a bag of four frozen upper backs from the freezer and cooked them to get the meat, then kept the broth for another recipe. I buy whole butchered and cleaned chickens from a farm, and when they have them fresh instead of frozen, mostly in the spring, I always order and cut up three or four. I save the necks and scraps for broth, and put the rest of the pieces in the freezer by type.
    I did some hand sewing that needed to be done.
    I almost bought lettuce at the store, then realized we don’t eat that much of it, and I can use the “spinach” I am growing at home for the leafy greens.
    I am tired of the summer heat and humidity, and am already waiting on fall. Since it will be every bit as hot as it is now throughout August and well into September, I need to learn patience. Thanks for your lovely summertime pictures Brandy — they make me not mind summer so much.

  57. I should add I wear these shoes because I am on my feet anywhere from 8 to 12 hrs some days, and I have bad feet…plus, I am old…lol. I can no longer wear cheaper shoes like I wore when I was younger. At least, not if I want to walk the next day!

  58. Thank you for letting us know about Laine. She was a great source of inspiration for me. I am so blessed by this website and the ladies that comment here. It gives me comfort to know there are still creative and hard working families out there. I don’t seem to run across them in person any more.

  59. Annabel,

    Does Laine have a new site up?? I have been able to read the one’s on your blog also. I was so happy to see those!! 😀

  60. Congratulations on paying off your mortgage! You are an inspiration and proof that it CAN be done!

  61. I don’t usually comment, but since I come to your blog primarily because I love your photography, I think that it makes perfect frugal sense for you to do your son’s pictures for his Eagle ceremony (congrats to him, BTW–my son is working toward his). Actually … I think you could pick up a little extra money doing photography for others. Seriously!

  62. Just in case any one is interested for further reference, I use 2 different adhesive removers in the library. GOO GONE works excellent on non porous surfaced and a small bottle will last for years. It smells good too. UNDO removes labels from paper book covers by attacking only the adhesive and not the paper.

  63. Thank Kris.

    There is a glut of photographers in this city and my work isn’t anywhere near what I have seen. Some of that is due to equipment (I could do some different things with a different lens. My camera won’t take that lens, so I’d have to have a VERY high-end camera). Some is due to knowledge of locations (because I don’t even know where they find the locations that I have seen photographed in this town), and most is due to experience.

    I’d need a business license which is $500 a year if I were to make it a regular thing.

    Personally, I think it would be a fun business to have, but it’s not really something I have time to do right now. Taking the shots is the small amount of time; editing is a huge amount of time.

  64. Greetings, everyone!

    Brandy, I love your idea of turning off the printer. I just turned mine off too.

    My week was not as frugal as we went on a vacation, but we paid cash and vacations are one of the reasons we are frugal the rest of the year!

    My back had gone out on the Friday before our vacation and on Monday, it still wasn’t any better. I decided to go ahead and go to the Dr. who prescribed 3 different meds. Since I didn’t know if the first one would work and we were leaving first thing the next morning I went ahead and filled them all. Luckily the anti-inflammatory did the trick (that and one night’s worth of muscle relaxer) and I didn’t have to resort to taking the pain med.

    I did do some frugal things:

    * Drank free coffee and tea I had gotten from work.
    * Used free hotel toiletries.
    * Stayed at my niece’s house for all but one night of the vacation. The last night we stayed at a hotel, where I picked up some more toiletries, tea and coffee from our hotel room.
    * Found some steaks and sour cream on clearance for our weekly steak night.
    * Got a large box of powdered milk on clearance.
    * Turned up both A/C’s to 84 degrees for the 5 1/2 days we were gone. I’m anxious to see what our electric bill is this month, since lowering it has been a frugal focus for me over the last few weeks.

    Hopefully this list will be much longer next week! 😀

  65. Brandy,
    Love your flower arrangement.
    My husband and I stopped by a garage sale and bought a heavy duty fork for yard working for $5. I have decided to start over with my flower bed. It has had sun loving flowers for the last several years but now the trees from the orchard are large enough that they are shading out my flower garden. I am going to move all the sun lovers and slowly replace with shade plants. My husband was digging out the sun lovers last night and commented that he had already gotten his $5 worth out of the yard fork. He said it made the job so much easier.
    We are in for a week of hot weather here in the Pacific Northwest. I have already menu planned for meals that will not heat up the house. We do not have a/c but my son’s house stays very cool and is located only 5 minutes from us so we may be spending our evenings at his house this week.
    We were excited to have the largest amount of blueberries our bushes have ever produced but then unfortunately the birds ate every last one of them while we were at work. We had fencing around them but apparently that wasn’t enough. I was planning to freeze enough berries to last us all year so it was a big disappointment. We are going to fence and net even better next year.
    My husband really wanted to go out to dinner last night. I asked him if he really needed the treat of dinner out. He thought for a moment and said a nice, cold Coca Cola would do the trick. So we stayed home and I bbq’d a nice dinner with an ice cold Coke and he said it was better than anything he would have gotten elsewhere. We saved the expensive of dinner out and the gas to drive to/from and the time- instead we spent that time on our own patio.

  66. Bless you for taking in the puppy. I have had good luck making dog beds out of old comforters — fold in quarters and stuff into a big pillow-case (I often sew one of old sheets or fabric.) It’s comfortable and washable.

  67. I discovered a local “cost plus 10%” store here in town a few weeks ago and now make it a monthly “must go” – they have specials on meat and poultry and a few other items that are astonishing! I bought several large locally grown tomatoes for 65 cents a pound, two pounds of 85% lean ground beef for $1.08/lb, a pork loin for $1.15/lb., two large whole chickens at 61 cents a pound, and three packages bone-in, skin-on chicken breast for 78 cents a pound. Even after adding the 10%, we spent less than $15 and now have enough protein to last several weeks.

  68. Busy week here as well as the garden is coming in.

    Bought 3 lugs of peaches and canned 25 quarts of peaches in light syrup, 7 pints of peach honey butter, and with the skins and pits (boiled them with water) made 5 half pints of peach jelly and 6 pints of peach juice (will be great to add to homemade lemonade for peach lemonade).

    Went to Costco and spent $9.48-on two items 2# yeast and a humongous watermelon!! No other groceries last week. We did go out Friday night for a meal with friends. They invited and paid, we went to a place where you cook your own meat on an indoor grill. They provide baked potatoes, garlic bread (also grill them), and a salad bar. I had shrimp (long time since I’ve had this!!) and my husband a sirloin steak. A treat for us!! We then went to their house for dessert and a visit. Nice time.

    Saturday drove 3 hours for my husband’s cousins retirement party. Took my MIL with. Nice visit with family and they provided the food! My MIL brought me a few more books to read (she is an avid reader and buys all her books and lets me read them when she is done). She also brought some nectarines and blueberries and left them with us. I gifted her some cucumbers and beans fromm the garden.

    This week I made country sausage/hash browns, lots of vinegar cucumbers, lots of Kansas City cucumbers, venison maple sausage/ sauerkraut, salad with grilled chicken, turkey Sloppy joes, cap Reese salad, wild rice turkey soup. Eating out of freezer and pantry.

    This week I need to pick the cabbage and get kraut started in the crock. Will have more beans to can and chard to blanch and freeze. Tomatoes trickling in. Have been eating fresh. I want to try my hand at crockpot yogurt. I buy a 40 oz tub at Costco every two weeks. Made Brandy’s cranberry almond granola. It is scrumptious!

    Trying to start some sewing projects for Christmas. I love the sewing kit Brandy made. Thinking that would be good gift for oldest grand daughter. She is 6-when she comes to my house we work on sewing projects. She has made baby blankets, doll clothes, and a skirt for herself. She is learning.

    I hope everyone has a good week

  69. Egg shells crushed finely works well in the rain.
    When it’s dry – sprinkle used coffee grinds around the perimeter of the bed. Or, if you have a feed store, buy bran that they feed cows and sprinkle the bran around the perimeter.

  70. My husband is very handy too. Now with YouTube its even easier. If he doesn’t know how to do it he just looks it up. Sometimes he just needs a tool or a part instead of buying a new item. He always has my kids help or do it. My bathroom sink was leaking so my son did the whole thing under dad’s supervision. He looked it up, went to the store and bought the parts and fixed it. All of us helped when we built the shed and when we redid our dining room. All of my kids can paint and spackle. He also has them do car repairs such as oil changes. My son even knows how to fix the lawnmower and snow blower. My oldest lives in another state. I’m not worried. She assembled her own bed, hung curtain rods and shelves. Her 2 roommates needed help.

  71. Cindi thank you yes I was thrilled as they are $12 a pair here for any wool blend socks and having brought them previously I know they keep my feet so warm in winter.

    Just a tip for those ladies who have ample sized feet as I do, being tall, is to buy the men’s socks from the Chinese or Hong Kong sellers on Ebay as they fit a good size 9 foot like mine and are so much cheaper than buying the women’s ones advertised.

  72. Congratulations to your son and to you! I hope that you will post some of your Court of Honor ideas. My son finished his Eagle Project last month, and since he is the only Eagle in his troop this year, I am scrambling to find ideas for his Court of Honor to be held in September.

  73. Last week our grandchildren helped to dig up the potatoes that grew from skins that I buried. We have five meals of flavorful potato fingerlings, which I plan to steam and season with basil or parsley, butter, salt and pepper.

    I mended my supply of underwear for the fifth time. Isn’t it a curious thing, that mending begets more mending? After putting so many stitches into each garment, I’m not about to throw it out. Meanwhile, I’ve been saving so much by not having to purchase underwear!

    Brandy, thank you so much for opening my eyes and brains to be aware of all the beautiful things around me. Also, thank you for teaching me not to take anything for granted! I truly appreciate you!

  74. The biggest frugal accomplishment this week is my daughter went away for 18 days with my sister to Italy. My sister loves to travel and has no children so she borrows mine. My kids are so lucky to have such an amazing Aunt.
    -No water, electric or food for my daughter
    -My sister cleaned out her fridge and gave me everything perishable to take home with me. I also took her dog.
    -My manager has a friend that keeps bees. She gave me 2 jars of local raw honey. The BEST EVER!
    -Took my son for his physical. Cost me nothing out of pocket.
    -BBQ some chicken legs that I got on sale. Boiled the bones to get everything off and added it to the dogs food for 4 meals.
    -Hung all laundry on clothes line/clothes rack.
    -Didn’t have to water 2 days thanks to it raining.
    -Poured water from cups leftover, dogs bowl, hardboiled eggs and washing veggies into potted plants.
    -Used cloth rags instead of paper towels. Have been on the same roll for the last 2 months. Still have half a roll. The kids are learning to grab a rag instead of a paper towel.
    -Used brown paper bags to put bacon on.
    -Haven’t used AC in 3 days, just fans.
    -Brought lunch, snack and my reusable water bottle to work.
    -Hubby and I went to a movie with my free passes from work. Brought water and snacks. Got my free popcorn and we shared. Free Date Night
    -We did yard work ourselves
    -Hubby and son fixed spike aerator that I had found. They also repainted it with paint we already had.
    -Picked 7 1/2 pounds of string beans and tons of lettuce from my garden.
    -Picked a container of wild raspberries on public land. Forgot to weight them. My son had eaten a bunch by the time I remembered.
    -I don’t have any zucchini yet so my dad gave me one.
    -Cut up holey socks and used them to tie my tomato plants to the poles. Lots of green ones. Waiting for them to turn RED!
    -My manager brought in cookies one day. Free snacks.
    -My ice maker has been leaking. Called PC Richards since it is still under warranty. They came and looked at it. Ordered some parts. They will come back this week to fix it.
    -Used coupons on items I was going to buy anyway saving $12.50
    -Made my daughter’s birthday dinner at home. Used decorations we already had.
    -Found $3.42 this week in change. I find lots of change at work. People just drop it and don’t bother to pick it up. I do.
    -Did a CVS survey and got $2ECB
    -Finally signed up for Ibotta.
    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  75. So happy to hear your son is able to live on his own. Mine talks about it all the time. I don’t think it will be possible but we may have an alternative some time later. Her long term boyfriend may need some where to go in the next few years. It would be possible for them to marry and live under my roof. I have a huge unused family room on the other side of the house that would make a great space for them. I always tell her God gave her to me because I would always take care of her. She definitely has challenged my life but what a blessing.

  76. Oh that floral arrangement! Brandy you do so many things beautifully. I find you a constant source of inspiration! Thank you for taking the time to share.

    I didn’t have much savings last week but I didn’t spend much either, so there was that to balance the week out. This week….Well I’ve already done well in both spending and saving. I found much wanted items to finish the makeover of my desk space into something that is fully functional for my needs today. I’m ready to tackle a big week…


  77. Dear Kim,
    Laine was going to have a website but it just hasn’t happened. So for now she is posting some blog posts on The Bluebirds are Nesting which is a big honour for me as I love her so much! I need to get them all into the “Laine” subject in the index. There are three posts from her so far. I waited and waited years to see her writing again! With love Annabel.x

  78. Lillianna, I think your idea is perfect for your daughter. My autistic daughter is only 14years old, so we don’t know yet how capable she will be to live on her own. I have high hopes she will be able to as she matures, and I’m doing everything I can to teach her daily living skills until then. However, if she is not quite able to, I’ve often thought that I’d look at buying a home with an in-law suite, so she can have her own space/apartment, but we can help her as needed. My alternative is to look at us both renting in the same apartment building, so again we are close enough to help, but she still has some independence.

  79. I love the photo of the flower arrangement on the rustic bench!
    I made a large batch of granola. It is funny but my recipe is nearly identical to Brandy’s but I have been making it for forty years.
    We have been hiking in a local state park for exercise. We have one latte per day with our little stovetop espresso maker. Several weeks ago I found some bags of organic coffee on a close out for $2.99 each. I use the leftover grounds on my patio plants.
    I saw something flapping in the road and told my husband that it looked like money. I went over and picked it up and it was a $50 bill. The place where I found it – it would be nearly impossible to find the owner. So my husband and I discussed it and decided that the moral thing to do would be to give it to charity. I had fun buying groceries for the local food bank, trying to get the most bang for my buck.
    The next day I found 2 pennies on the sidewalk and kept them.
    For a long time I have been trying to find a 10 1/2 inch cast iron skillet. Our local thrift stores seem to think they are expensive antiques. I found a brand new one in our condo ‘give away area’.

  80. This is for the last couple of weeks as I have not had time to post. But I have been reading 🙂
    -Our income has decreased but the bills have remained the same with the added bonus of our property taxes being due Sept. 1. I have tried very hard not to spend any money beyond what we absolutely have to.
    – My mother in law upgraded her cell phone (she does this yearly) and was offered another line for $35 per month. I have not had a cell phone in over a year. She gave me her old phone for free and I just pay her the $35 per month for a smart phone with all the bells an whistles. I will cancel my land line phone before the next bill is due (they do not issue refunds for unused money when cancelling).

    -I have created weekly meal plans to keep me from using the drive through due to my very hectic work schedule and to prevent food waste. I have made chili, soups, pumpkin bread, banana bread, stir fry, cauliflower rice, white bread, wheat bread, sandwiches using homegrown sprouts and the last pieces of lunch meat in the fridge on homemade bread, pork tenderloin (given to us by my MIL), pork tenderloin stroganoff), homemade mac and cheese, fried potatoes and hotdogs (free potatoes given to me with clearance purchased hot dogs).

    -I have kept a bucket in the kitchen sink and shower to save rinsing/warm up water to use in my garden and on my plants. continue to take “navy showers” and “let it mellow” more often.

    -Have hung all laundry on my outside lines or on drying racks in the house. I have used the air fluff option to get the lint and cat hair off our dark colored work clothing.

    -Turned off and unplugged everything possible, including my coffee pot. We keep lights off when not needed and turn off fans when not in the room for more than a few minutes. I used my bread machine to bake my pumpkin and banana bread (after mixing in a bowl and pouring into the machine, otherwise it gets mixed to much and is like shoe leather).

    -I work in a plasma donation center and am able to donate myself again. Because I am an employee I get paid $50 for each donation (regular donors get $20 for the first donation of the week then $40 or $45 the second depending on how much they weigh). This is an extra $100 per week. It’s not fun but it’s money, which I desperately need to school supplies, clothes, shoes, etc. I also continue to work for a friend of mine for a tiny amount per month, but it helps and it’s easy work I can do from home.

    – I have stayed home unless I am working or absolutely have to go run an errand. I try to group errands together as often as possible to save gas and time.

  81. We have had a busy week gearing up for start of school.
    We had a 2 day trip to Nashville to visit family. My sister mapped out days locations were open and I found which museums had reciprocal memberships. Dinner was pizza out and my sister treated. Stayed at hotel with continental breakfast so that was nice too.
    Stocked up on some uniform pants in next size for son at resale. Did spend extra to get colored polos vs white which will stain so easily.
    Price checked cleats saving us $30.Spent a few dollars more on a mouthguard with dental protection. I know he’s 9 but it’s worth piece of mind.(and yes this year is it on football!!)
    Scoured house for half used notebooks to turn into “looseleaf paper” and found a ton of pencils.

  82. Don’t use salt on your garden slugs..it’s not good for the plants.

    We use diamataceous earth. It doesn’t kill the slug, they just don’t like crawling across it. Also keep all debris cleaned up as they like rotting vegetable matter. Encourage toad because they eat snails and slugs. We place toad houses throughout beds…just overturned old clay pots that have part of the rim cracked out to act like a door. They stay cool and damp and the toads like them and keeps them handy for eating garden pests.

  83. Oh, Shelia, too bad those deer ate the pears! Once we finish our deck we will be able to watch the deer that live in the wood behind our house.

  84. Rachel, in my opinion you can never have too many mixing bowls.

    I read once to keep bananas separate to slow down the ripening. Like separate from each other, so I break them apart and put them here and there around the kitchen. Unless I am in a hurry for them to ripen.

  85. I love how your husband thought about what he was really craving and that just having the Coke at home would satisfy. Such a great savings!

  86. I have to do something about getting a fig tree. My lemon tree spends the colder months already in my sun room. My husband did say if we got a fig we could wheel it down to his workshop, as he seemed interested in having figs, too. One of my favorite desserts in winter growing up was stewed figs with sour cream on them.

    The garden is keeping us very busy. I can’t remember when I last wrote but our raspberries have finished, our corn has just started, cucumbers/zucchini/yellow squash are abundant. Early cauliflower is over but fall batch is started. We have kohlrabi, cherry tomatoes, larger tomatoes are ripening now, edible pod peas, green beans, wax beans, red onions, scallions, various chili peppers, bell peppers not too impressive as usual, lettuce, melon, red potatoes, beets, dill, parsley, cilantro, mint, rosemary, basil. Because my oldest daughter has been using the greenhouse and hoop houses she has split the cauliflower/broccoli growing into early summer and a fall crop. There is also kale, Brussels sprouts are growing but not ready, carrots, rutabaga still growing, cabbage. Daughters and husband have been out to the hedgerows to get blackberries.

    We have done all the usual of cooking and baking at home, washing and drying ziplocks, hanging laundry to dry, using fresh and preserving the garden produce, using up leftovers, packing lunches for work. We do have some expenses associated with housing the missionary for the summer but that is the way it is. She uses our spare room, we provide her meals. When she has had to travel to another church we let her use my youngest daughter’s car and then my daughter and I car pool as needed. It has been very fun to have her here. We went rummage sale-ing and she found several pairs of sandals, some light colored floral cotton-poly fabric and I bought those for her. The fabric was enough for her to make 2 dresses out of and she found some fabric in my sewing room to make a 3rd dress. She had her dress pattern with her as she had hoped to do sewing on this trip. Back home she only has a treadle sewing machine. She would like 7 dresses total to take back and others at church are getting fabric for her.

  87. Kudos to you and your husband for donating your found money to the food bank. My husband also found $50 once and converted it to smaller bills which he gave to homeless people in the area.

  88. Rhonda, how nice that your daughter attended the boy’s birthday party and that they had a good time.

    Also, wanted to let you know that I copied off the information you shared on the rag dolls and gave it to a woman at our church. She and her 3 children help with my summer reading program and come up with an activity every week for the Wednesday night club. Our program theme this year is pioneer life as it is the 150th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birth. She loved it and I think that is the activity set up for next week.

    You could use your mushy plums to make plum butter also, should the family not like them as is.

  89. Lillianna, I am glad to hear about your daughter and her boyfriend. It sounds very positive for both of them, now. I am sorry he suffered when younger. We have a couple at church both in their 50’s now…he had a very poor beginning, being turned over by his birthparents to the colony and grew up there but by the grace of God was found by a loving family in his teens and adopted. She grew up in a wonderful family…they met at camp for special needs adults and dated long distance for years. They balance each other out perfectly…he has the physicality to help her with her care and she has the mental abilities to take care of all the day to day business of life. They have been married 10 years now, have their own house 100% accessible and they both have the greatest sense of humor.

  90. T, your food sounds delicious. I have not heard of masala vada but am going to check my Indian cookbook for it. I probably have any ingredients needed.

  91. Rhonda, I think either of your ideas re’ your daughter sound good, and they grow so fast you are right to start thinking about it now. I have mentioned my brother in law before…he rotates between his siblings about 3 months at a time since both parents passed. For us, we see that continuing as a long term solution as he enjoys all the different families.

  92. Jeannie, everything you listed ARE your frugal activities…gardening, prepping, freezing, canning, dehydrating!!

  93. Becky, I cannot believe how hot it is by you! I always thought it was cool and rainy there year round. I hope you get some nice time away at the ocean.

  94. Mrs. PP, PBS is amazing in the shows they offer! We only have antenna to get out TV and fortunately one of them in a PBS channel. Local, national, international, mystery, DIY, cooking, news, culture…they have it all.

  95. Cindy, what a wonderful price on the Dansko shoes. My RN daughter always wears those…new they are 125+ US dollars. Zappo had a very good deal once, and on Amazon they are much cheaper. Keeping feet in good condition is so important for good health.

  96. Jo, the animal’s natural habitats are being destroyed and they are forced to move into human habitats to survive. Developers are buying up farms and fields at an alarming rate due to housing developments, factory expansion. We have had our original property in this family (my maternal side) pre US Civil War and it has been added to greatly over the years. We have a trust to keep it intact. We are constantly being approached by developers who imply it is our duty to sell off land to keep up with future growth, which is just a ridiculous concept.

  97. Julie T, what are Kansas City cucumbers? I would be interested. We eat cucumber salad daily this time of year.

  98. Elisa and Juhli, thank you for thinking of the less fortunate. I am sure it was much appreciated and we don’t know what specific good will come out of it, but there will be something for all involved.

  99. to continue….I forgot we have eggplant, also.

    Some of the dishes we have made the last couple weeks are baked eggplant Parmegian (sp?), baba ganoush (roasted eggplant dip) and have chopped up eggplant and cooked with onions and peppers for the freezer. Made spaghetti sauce. I noticed a lot of people can spaghetti sauce, but I never have. I always just cook up what I want to add in the way of vegetables with olive oil and spices and then add a quart or two of my canned tomato juice. Simmer it for 1/2 hour or so, add a couple TBLSP of tomato paste (I like it in the tube) and it is ready. This last batch I added zucchini, eggplant, onion, spices and mild and semi hot chili peppers. I had one link of hot Italian sausage so I cooked that and my husband sliced it up and added some to his serving as did Patti, the missionary. It was somewhat spicy but without the hot sausage my daughter and I were able to eat it. Made macaroni and cheese, tuna macaroni salad with extra shells cooked same time. Made a new batch of hummus and ranch dip to go with the the cut up ever present fresh vegetables. Made fried rice with leftover cold rice and chopped up fresh vegetable and leftover corn cut off the cob and frozen peas. Added lots of scrambled egg to it and served it with a fresh fruit salad. Made bean burritos, Spanish rice using home canned diced tomatoes from last year and this years peppers and onions, also with fresh fruit. Made pancakes with gooseberries in some and diced banana in others with enough for several days of leftovers. I am trying to make better use of our gooseberries. We sell a lot at the farm stand, but we don’t do much with them ourselves. I found a recipe for gooseberry trifle on the internet by Tamal from the Great British Bake off and I thought that would make a nice cool make ahead summer dessert. I just need to translate the measurements to US/non metric. I even have a few star anise in the cupboard which it asks for. Made several pies…chocolate pudding, banana cream, rhubarb. Made sweet cherry kuchen times 2 and ate lots of fresh cherries. They were very cheap, for here, in the store so I bought 5 pounds. NOrmally they are 3.99+ which is what they were back to yesterday. We froze, canned, jammed and sauced 70 pounds of blueberries, then we divide up between us, my daughter, daughter in law and their families. I also will give some of the jam as presents. We have high hopes for the blueberry patch planted last year to take off so that we will have our own harvest rather than having to order. Made marinated cherry tomatoes and more refrigerator pickles. Cooked diced and froze more beets. Made jalapeno and banana pepper poppers on the grill again. My husband grilled fish he caught, which is almost always bass or bluegill. He caught a decent sized trout the other day and smoked it. Nothing much is happening with the celery we tried to grow. It’s growing but I find it too bitter. I have used it in cooking. Sweet corn with most evening meals now. Zucchini in pancakes, in quiches, in bread and muffins, on kabobs. Put extra bread and muffins in freezer. BLT sandwiches twice so far, but more often once the slicing tomatoes are abundant. Lots of salads…tomato mozzarella basil and tomato cucumber and onion and creamy cucumber and cucumber viniagrette and coleslaw. Took a pound chunk of cooked corn beef from freezer and sliced 1/2 for sandwiches and chopped up half for hash breakfast casserole. Made rye bread, grated horseradish and added to mustard for the corn beef sandwiches, served with coleslaw on them.

    We had the usual variety of family and church gatherings for birthdays and anniversaries, game nights, pot lucks. No weddings the last few weeks or no new babies. It’s been a lull in that area. Time to “make” dinner… we are having leftover smorgasbord tonight.

  100. Here you go, I have been making this for years. Got from a magazine I believe.

    Kansas Cucumber Salad
    1 c mayo
    1/4 c sugar
    4 t vinegar
    1/2 t dried dillweed
    1 t dried chives or 2 t chopped fresh chives
    1/2 t salt
    4 medium cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
    3 green onions, chopped

    Mix first 6 ingredients. Pour over cucumbers and onions. Chill 1-2 hours.

    I think they are better the next day. I usually will double or triple the batch for the week.

  101. Thank you Athanasia, you are right! I could not see the forest for the trees, or maybe I couldn’t see the garden for the Lima beans.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

  102. Thank you, Athanasia, for the idea on what to use the mushy plums for. I know next time to ignore the “hot pack makes a better canned produce” comment and go with the raw pack method with plums…Live and learn! Anyways, I’m glad you could use the rag doll craft to share with others. I’d love to hear how the session went!

  103. Athanasia, if you type into google search “convert ____ to ____” there is a conversion program that will pop up. You enter in what you want converted (e.g. 50g) and it will automatically convert it to whatever you asked for (e.g. ___cups or ___lbs). I use this all the time for things like miles to kilometers, Fahrenheit to Celsius or even tablespoons to cups when doubling a recipe. Really handy once you know it’s available!

  104. Rhonda, I tried and failed! 100 gm of flour comes up as .8 cups or .44216etcetc cups which don’t even sound close and cups don’t come in 1/5ths or 4/5ths. Also it seems I have to figure out the grams for each by figuring out the density as 100 grams of flour would not be same as 100 gm of sugar or 100 grams of fruit. Now the soda, spices, cornflour and vanilla paste are all in tsp/tblsp so no problem there. But the oil is in grams as is the honey. Can I just use ml for those, like would 35 gram = 35 ml for the oil and 100 grams of runny (runny??) honey = 100 ml of honey? My liquid measuring cups are all in metric and ounces so I could just use that if grams =ml. Math is not my strong suit.

  105. Try converting grams to ounces for the liquids and grams to pounds for flour/sugar since it is more of a weight measurement. Once you’ve converted to a measurement you understand, it will be easier for you to convert that to cups. Or just weigh out the amounts on a scare, if you have one, and note the amount for next time. Hope that helps!

  106. I have never had gooseberries, but I substitute mulberries (which are free because I have a mulberry tree) for blackberries, blueberries, strawberries etc. in all recipes since they are free. Could you do the same with the gooseberries?

  107. Hi Athanasia I have the opposite problem as I am mathematically challenged and as I’m in the UK I tried to convert your measurements from cups to grams- nightmare!! I love American cookbooks and collect them when I can! I have used this link http://allrecipes.co.uk/how-to/44/cooking-conversions.aspx before and it’s very useful when converting. Good luck with the gooseberry recipe- I used to have to pick these for my grandad when I was a child – my little hands could weave between the ferocious thorns better than his, well that’s what he said anyway!

  108. Brandy, your figs look so nice in the basket. It’s a little early for figs here, but are trees have quite a bit of fruit. I think we’re going to try to make fig jam this year for adding to bars and cookies over the winter. This is the first year there were enough to make it worth our while.
    Last week was a pretty good week, savings-wise:
    Gathered 31 eggs.
    Harvested cucumbers, zucchini, pears, basil, oregano, and thyme.
    Canned 2 pints plum syrup; dried basil, oregano, and thyme; and braided onions for the first time. We also put some nice onions that didn’t have enough leaf to braid into our onion storage bags to use first and chopped the last of them for freezing.
    One of the parents at the preschool where my sister works gave her a baguette and a cantaloupe.
    My mom and dad met some friends for lunch. Since the restaurant was fairly near where mom’s sister lives, they went to see her, too. When they left, my aunt gifted them several lemons from her tree. She also sent gifts for my sister and me, a body gel and lotion set for each of us (they were big bottles, too!).
    We had the last of the chopped plums from our trees in the garage refrigerator. So I pureed it, added water and gelatin, and made two baking dishes of yummy, dense “Jello” that we enjoyed very much.
    On Sunday afternoon, there was a baby shower at church. I gave the baby a home-crocheted blanket in a box that we had around the house, wrapped in paper and ribbon from our stash, accompanied with a home-made card. My sister and mom had previously purchased home-made cards for the baby as well. My sister won a prize at the shower – a nice-sized bottle of bubble bath. My sister prefers baths over showers, so it will come in very handy. We added the gift bag and (very fancy) tissue paper to our stash, along with the tissue one of the other prize winners gave me. The hosts of the party gave me some game props they were done with that I’ll be able to use for making cards. (I’m hoping to start selling cards on Etsy soon.)
    My sister and I both give shoebox gifts to Operation Christmas Child each year. This year I’m compiling boxes for two girls (one in the 6 – 9 age group and one in the 10 – 14 age group). I used a smaller composition-style notebook that I bought at the Dollar Tree and scrapbook/card supplies that I had on hand to make a journal for the older girl. I also crocheted a headband for each girl from crochet cotton I had in my stash.
    I sold a few greeting cards to my mom and sister.
    Mom REALLY needed new bras, but she’d had trouble finding ones she liked at a price she was willing to pay. She used an online discount at JC Penney’s and free shipping to our local store to buy 4 good-quality bras for the unheard of price of $45.23 including tax. That’s better than even cheap bras, here.
    Our frugal fail last week was going to the fair. We really wanted to go this year because I was in the hospital during the fair last year, but we didn’t realize that it had gone up by $2 per person this year. We spent more than we had intended on food and water, too. The silver lining is that we learned for next year. 1. Buy tickets at a discount in advance. 2. Even though we’re not allowed to bring in outside food and beverages, each person is allowed 2 unopened plastic water bottles; bring them. 3. Don’t buy food in the stands near the main entrances; the food over by the livestock area is MUCH cheaper. Lessons learned!

  109. Probably not, but Athanasia may know better as she grows and uses them. My understanding is gooseberries are very tart and require more sugar in a recipe than a typical sweet berry.

  110. Maybe add more sugar in recipes then? I am all about trying to figure out how to use free food…lol I have dandelions in my yard and I am always trying to incorporate them in recipes because they are free and are supposed to be good for you. I also have wild onions and use that instead of green onions because they are free (although I prefer green onions).

  111. Rhonda, I think I might just look for one of those digital scales they use on the baking show. I do have a canning scale that goes up to 5 pounds but that’s not sensitive enough to do the smaller amounts.

  112. Thanks, Joanne, I will check it out. Gooseberries seem to be more popular in the UK just by recipes I have seen for them on the internet. They are thorny; we probably have the same kind your grandpa did.

  113. Cindy, like Rhonda said, gooseberries are more tart, like rhubarb or cranberry tart. So best cooked with sugar. Not usually eaten raw, as blueberries or strawberries or raspberries, blackberries etc. We actually have several mulberry trees around the family properties. We don’t use them, we let the birds take them. I know, you like the free stuff, but they bribe the birds away from the other fruit trees and bushes. We planted the blueberries and strawberries for our own use but the raspberries, grapes, blackberries and cherries are all cash crops for the family. I hope this answers.

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