Yellow Pear Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

We harvested grapes, peaches, tomatoes,  chives, basil,  chocolate mint, New Zealand Spinach, arugula (which had self-seeded!) and apples from the garden.

I made a turkey salad (aka chicken salad, but with turkey I cooked last week) using apple and grapes from the garden, a few pecans, two stalks of celery, and some homemade Greek yogurt (instead of mayo).

Summer Pasta Salad 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I made a pasta salad using tomatoes, basil, chives, arugula and New Zealand spinach from our garden (and a couple of cucumbers I decided to buy within our $200 budget for this month). I’m down to just angel hair pasta in the pantry so even though that’s not what I normally use for pasta salad, I used it. (I’m still hoping for the $0.49 pasta sale to come around soon!

Summer Pasta Salad The Prudent Homemaker

I cut and froze peaches from our peach trees.

Our normal less than 10% humidity changed this week with large passing storm clouds that brought humidity to our area. I was able to collect a gallon of water a day from the drip off the air conditioner. I used this water to water potted plants. Our water here is like our soil with an  8.3 ph,  plus it is high in salts; I’m always happy to have this water that is neither super alkaline nor salty to use to water my potted plants.

I saved warm up water from the shower and used it to water potted plants as well.

I made yogurt in the crockpot.

I cooked a pot of beans in my solar oven.

I hung several garage sale picture frames in the house this week that I’ve picked up for $0.50 and $1.00 each. I also hung a couple of frames that used to be over the dining room in the sewing room with some old calendar pages in them (the calendar was given to me last year when I was admiring it at someone’s house; she said since I liked some of the images, I could have them when the year was done. I’ve had them since  January and am finally getting them up.)

I continued to work on my embroidery project.

I watched a few videos to improve my French for free.

I mended a hat.

Gallery Wall Detail The Prudent Homemaker

I hung new photos this week that I printed at Sam’s Club and paid for with a Swagbucks gift card. This has been on my to-do list for a year and I’ve had the gift card about that long; I’m excited to have it done!

 Gallery Wall The Prudent Homemaker

I cut small sunflowers from the garden for arrangements on the piano.

Grapes and Branches The Prudent Homemaker

I cut apricot branches for an arrangement inside.

Our van broke down this week in the middle of the desert.  I was at home at the time (my husband was on his way to take my son to Scout camp) and my mom and I went to the auto parts store and bought him a new alternator. We asked for and received a discount after shopping two auto parts stores next to one another; the first was considerably less and also gave us an additional discount when we asked. My husband was surprised when we told him which store ended up being so much less, as he said that store is usually more money! We were able to save the cost of having it towed and repaired, and my husband was able to get up to camp, albeit much later than expected. I would not normally have had a way to get it to him, as we are a one-car family, but my parents had to stay home from their planned trip this year due to my dad’s health and my mom was able to take me. We were also able to bring him some lunch (leftover pasta salad that my mom had made and had ready in the fridge).

My son attended Scout camp without having to pay for camp; he sold enough camp cards to earn him a week of camp (including food) (our council offers a free week of camp to those who sell a certain number of cards. He could then use the money he earned from camp cards to pay for another camp, which he and my other son left to today. They earned all of the money for camp from selling camp cards). He was able to earn rowing, kayaking, canoeing, basketry, archery, and rifle shooting merit badges.

My husband gave one son a haircut.

I figured out some present ideas for upcoming birthdays and Christmas for my daughters using items I already have on hand and added them to my list. Keeping a list helps me know what they will like and what I can make when I start making gifts.

I went through my closet to see what else I need to have in my new size. I added those items to my garage sale list and I will try to make over a few things to fit me that are currently too large. I most likely won’t go garage sale shopping again until fall  (the semi-annual community sales are usually the second Saturday in October when it starts to cool down enough to finally shut off the a/c; this week was 108ºF to 112º). I put aside some items that I will try to sell on a local Facebook garage sale page. I will use the money from the things I sell to do my garage sale shopping. 

I accepted some hand-me-down clothing for a daughter.


What did you do to save money this past week?

Similar Posts


  1. How fortuitous that you were able to bring the needed car part to your husband, and receive a good discount as well. I was pondering photos and frames this morning, and where I’d like to hang family pictures. I’m just about ready to hang things on the wall of my new studio, and got a couple of prints through a Walgreens special this weekend. Those yellow pear tomatoes look so cheerful, and your pasta salad makes me want to add that to the list this week. It’s a great hot weather dish, especially when loaded with goodness from the garden. Joining in here:

  2. Hi all! Brandy the turkey salad sounds really good and I love the photos of your children.
    I was alone all week and only went out when I needed to. Sunday I went to Sam’s club for items needed and was so happy to find allergy medicine much cheaper than some I found the week before. I was able to return 300 pills and got $40 back. Sam’s had 400 pills for under $20! CVS I found some items for my daughter to use for college I paid $3.79 and received $5 back. Dinners for the week I used up leftover 4th of July food and toward the end of week I ate mostly breakfast foods scrambled eggs or waffles and lots of fruits.
    I also earned a $20 card thru pampers (I just enter codes from blogs). That is all I can think of for now.
    Have a good week everyone!

  3. I will pray that your dad feels better quickly Brandy. Your pasta salad looks delicious!!!! Was a low spend week again last week. Savealot had eggs on sale for 49¢ a dozen. I wound up buying 6 dozen. I boiled 2 dozen for use in sandwiches, salads and snacks and we are probably going to have the rest for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. I made a big batch of chilli using 1 can of kidney beans 2 cups of pinto beans and half a pound of ground beef. I didnt get 1 complaint about the amount of beans. Either my dh just gave up or he’s ok with the pinto beans and not the kidney beans. Since he usually complains about black beans and kidney beans being in things, I will stick with pinto beans in everything!!!! I made a big batch of refried beans. Well technically smashed pinto beans. They plan was to make beef & bean burritos but its been bean & salsa buritos, which was even cheaper. I used a staples giftcard from swagbucks, and bought a 4 pack of paper that was $2 after rebate. I can sell each ream of paper for $2, and get the rebate back in the form of a visa card to use on something else cheap after rebate or to use on something I really need. I have a stack of the visa cards, and sometimes if I get a notice from the phone company or cable that they’re going to shut me off, I use all the giftcards on that.

  4. We really needed a new pop up canopy. I was browsing on Amazon & found the exact one I wanted. I normally swear off credit cards, but Amazon was offering a credit if you applied. I ended up receiving a $70 Amazon credit & using another Amazon credit for participating in a survey. Free shipping was included. Ended up paying $9.77 out of pocket!

  5. This week, I did a LOT of shopping. More than I wanted to, but I was able to get us some good deals on things we will use. I also started some Christmas shopping.

    I visited a local grocery store that is affiliated with a restaurant supplier. They often sell bulk food items at wholesale prices, but you never really know what is going to be there when you go. I saw they were running a $10 off $30 purchase deal this month and decided to try it out. I was incredibly pleased with my purchases: I got 20 snack size chip and popcorn bags, 4 (2 lb) bags of tortilla chips, 10 pound bag of pasta, 3 (1lb) boxes of a different kind of pasta, 2 boxes of pectin, a pound of bacon, a 8 oz bag of croutons, a 24 pack of oatmeal creme pies (my husband LOVES them), a 5 pound bag of shredded mozzarella cheese, and a 12 pack of rolls. My total was $26.99! I was VERY happy! I also realized the pasta there was the cheapest price per pound than anywhere nearby. One kind came out to 0.67 per pound and the other for .33 per pound – before the coupon. My mom works near this grocery store, so I can have her pick me up some more when I start to run low again. I’ll use the tortilla chips to make lots of Nachos. I can use less meat in a meal when I make nachos because there are so many other toppings. Tonight, we’ll have pork nachos with some pulled pork (from pork loin I got on sale), peppers, onions, and barbecue sauce.

    Then I had a coupon for a free item and 20% off a purchase from Bath and Body Works. I went into the store to get the free item and noticed a rack of 75% off items. I usually give a couple coworkers a Christmas gift and I noticed my favorite scent was in there. I also grabbed a scent I thought my niece would like for her birthday. So I grabbed a couple items. Then the cashier surprised me when she said I can use my 20% off coupon on top of that. So I got 5 full size body creams and a travel size for the price of ONE full size cream. I put them back for Christmas.

    Then I was able to pre-shop the yard sale of a lady I know. She buys a TON of clothes every year and hardly wears them. Then she has a huge yard sale and sells a bunch of stuff. The prices aren’t the cheapest for a yard sale, but still worth it when you realize the stuff is practically brand new. I was able to get a pair of boots, two pair of tennis shoes, 3 tank tops, 3 pajama bottoms, 3 workout shorts, 1 workout top, a sweater, a pair of jeans, and 8 nice work shirts for $75. The boots still had the tags on them and they cost more than $75 new. I consider it a win! 🙂

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    -A coworker also brought me some rhubarb to work.
    -I worked extra this week and made an extra $165. My husband also worked extra on both Saturday and Sunday, as he’s trying to finish a job up before a deadline.
    -I also put another bucket of ice in the freezer for blanching veggies.
    -I accepted a bottle of Ken’s Honey Mustard from my mom.
    -I charged electronics in the car and at work.
    -We’ve been eating LOTS of salads to use up the lettuce that is starting to bolt in the garden.
    -I am working on another product for my online store.
    -I picked 32 oz of blackberries – some of which I froze and some we are eating fresh.
    -I froze 6 cups of shredded zucchini from the garden to use in breads, jelly, Brandy’s zucchini potato cakes, etc
    – Canned 6 pints green bins and 6 quarts pickles with green beans and cucumbers from the garden. I think I’ve picked 33 cucumbers now.
    -Picked more green beans – we’ll eat some fresh and I’ll can the rest
    -Picked a handful of cherry tomatoes
    -Our electric bill was down $32 from last month. But I will expect it to go up since we are running the AC now. I will just have to be even more diligent with the electricity usage.
    -I’ve started preparing for a yard sale. My sister and I had one two years ago that was very successful. I’m hoping this one goes well. I’ve been taking advantage of the free advertising on Facebook garage sale sites.
    -One of our couches ripped on the headrest. I fixed it with some fabric glue. Now I’m keeping a blanket draped over the back of the couch to cover it.
    -Paid two bills online
    -Froze 4 sweet peppers
    -Dried basil

    I did forget to use a gift card when I picked up some groceries at Aldi. Which means I’m cutting it close on my grocery budget now. I usually spend money to stock up on pantry staples in July and August since I don’t have to buy as much fresh produce. I can use the gift card to pick up other things later in the month, but I wish I wasn’t locked into having to go to Aldi for everything. Good thing we shouldn’t need much else this month.

  6. Our anniversary was this week. 21! We celebrated by…doing nothing. On the actual day, which was mid-week.

    But randomly, our neighbor gave us tickets for a few days later to see a concert at the local outdoor music venue. He has season tickets and couldn’t go. It was Natalie Merchant, so it took me back to my twenties. Our regular babysitter was booked, but our other neighbors with 3 kids were nice enough to watch the boys. They came over to our house and when it was bed time – mom and girls went home, dad stayed and put the kids to bed. We went early enough to find free parking. In the end, our total cost was a couple of drinks. We have done the same for our friends in the past.

    Sunday I went on a full-day wine tour with a girlfriend, using a gift certificate. I had to pay cash to tip. It included lunch and wine tastings at 4 places (which is far far too many. Mostly, I sipped a bit to get the taste of each wine, and poured the rest of each tasting out in their buckets). I also drank a lot of water (also included). When I got home, my options were to join the Sunday potluck (which had started 30 minutes before), or stay home. After a full day of being outdoors in the heat (90F+), I opted to make myself scrambled eggs and brussels sprouts for dinner, and eat it in my PJs in the air conditioning. My frugal hubby was at the potluck with the kids, and he made an old favorite recipe – sesame cashew noodles. Using 2 different types of pasta because we had bits and pieces. And he tossed in the last little bit of chicken.

    We ate a lot of beans and rice/ tacos/ nachos. Because I made a bit pot.

    Husband continued to work on the interior door painting and staining.

    We watched TV on hulu & netflix. We took the kids to the pool.

  7. That’s fantastic that your son could go to camp because he sold enough cards, and thank heavens your husband was able to take care of the van after you were able to get a part to him.
    I have been doing the usual, using homemade laundry detergent, cleaning with baking soda, vinegar and Sal Suds, and cooking at home.
    I shredded cabbage and put it in a jar to make fermented sauerkraut, which we love.
    I used a dab of sourdough starter to make sourdough muffins, which were quite good.
    I have started taking up the sleeve length on a new to me shirt.
    We’ve been sweltering in high heat and humidity, but we are keeping the air conditioner on 79. The ceiling fans help a lot.
    I used Swagbucks to buy a small Christmas present.
    I look forward to using my clothesline again — it was cloudy/rainy/very humid all weekend.

  8. Hi Brandy! So glad you were able to get your vehicle repaired!
    This past week has been frugal all things considered. We’re halfway through our month of zero eating out expenses and so far so good. My biggest challenge coming up will be trying to get our grocery budget under control while still keeping up with all the various food restrictions that we all have. We live in a ridiculously expensive area north of DC and what it costs to feed and house a family of 8 nearly gives me palpitations. Since we live in a condo community, gardening isn’t an option. I’m beginning to weigh the option of driving north (or south) an hour once or twice a month to do my shopping in cheaper areas to help save money. My month to date grocery spending has passed the $700 mark and I have better things to do with that money than spend it on groceries.
    [*] My three boys were needing summer clothes. A friend turned me on to a thrift store about 25 minutes away from here that usually has decent things. I scored big time. I went on Sunday and they had half off select items. Each kid came away with three new outfits and I managed to find a few blouses for myself as well.
    [*] Had the condo maintenance change the air filters to keep the AC running efficiently. The air filters were provided free.
    [*] Had the condo maintenance come change the batteries in the smoke detectors, saving me the cost of batteries. Also asked the guy that came to replace some light bulbs in the master bathroom. These were bulbs I had purchased myself but I was very grateful to be saved a trip up the step ladder to do it myself.
    [*] Saved my store receipts and collected almost $10 in Ibotta and Checkout51 rebates.
    [*] Cleaned out and rearranged the linen closet. While this doesn’t save me money, it saves me stress.
    [*] The kids bathroom had a bottle of foaming hand soap that had run out. Rather than buy more I made my own foaming soap using a large refill bottle that I use for the soap dispenser in my bathroom.
    [*] By paying closer attention to my dryer cycles I was able to dry several loads of laundry in much less time than I was previously using, thus saving electricity.
    [*] Took the kids for their annual eye exams and six month dental check-ups. No cavities and my insurance covered sealants on their molars with no out of pocket expense. All three kids needed glasses, luckily I was only out $20 per kid after the insurance paid the rest.
    [*] Went for my annual woman’s wellness exam. The cost of insurance is pricey and I like to make sure that I max out the benefits that have no out of pocket charge each year. This helps keep my health in check while also not letting what I pay for go to waste.
    [*] A new oil change place opened up across the street and mailed out a bunch of coupons for routine car maintenance. Using a coupon I was able to get my oil changes for significantly less than what I had paid for my last change.

  9. Several weeks ago I bought 25 pounds of carrots for $5. I canned most of them, but I had about 5 pounds of them left in the fridge. I started making green smoothies for breakfast and I’ve been able to use up some of the carrots in those so that they don’t go to waste. I ate “leftovers” for dinner all week–little bits of this and that that I’d saved in the fridge from previously cooked dinners. When a day’s smoothie turned out to be more than I needed, I poured the leftovers into ice cube trays, froze, and packaged in ziploc bags. Now I’ll have a “free” smoothie or two from those leftovers. I used homemade Greek yogurt in the smoothies. I had some nuts I’d bought for a snack that I wasn’t able to eat because of some surgery on my mouth. I added those to the smoothies as a source of protein–just rinsed the salt off.

  10. That pasta salad looks delicious.

    This week we have been keeping everything simple. Lots of colouring, time at the park and reading. These are the best times.

    I was in a pinch for a quick dinner the other day. Instead of eating out, I found a pack of 4 Angus beef burgers reduced for quick sale. I had buns at home in the freezer. Perfect !! This cost a few dollars as opposed to some fast food, and tasted better too.

    I have started researching epsom salt bath recipes for possible Christmas gifts. I am also doing some letter art trial runs.

    Spent lots of time this week reading, organizing and planning.

    Also Brandy I checked out Kate’s Creative Space and it is lovely. Thanks for recommending it.

    À few other things I did and some reading recommendations can be found here:

  11. Beautiful photos, and an inspiring week, as always!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I traded a pair of café chairs for two bottles of wine. More space in the condo + a better stocked wine bar = win! I will likely give the wine as hostess gifts when the holiday season comes around.
    – I made Nanaimo bars! ( I made my own graham crackers (based on Brandy’s recipe with a few modifications) and for the middle layer, which usually requires custard powder (which I don’t have and didn’t want to buy), I used other ingredients (cornstarch, milk powder, etc.). I used butter that I bought on sale and had frozen, coconut bought in a local bulk store and on sale, and chocolate chips that I had bought in bulk at Costco. In other words, as frugal as I can be while still baking a decadent dessert!
    – I picked some basil from my balcony garden to add to a pizza that I made (homemade crust, homemade sauce, with homegrown basil, and some cheese! Yum!)
    – Boiled a pot of white beans and froze them for future meals
    – I trade a small bag of canned goods/pasta (bought on sale at the lowest prices) from my pantry for a bag of high end spa nail supplies (emery boards, buffing sponges, pumice stones). I think I’m set for the next 5 years in terms of nail care! And then I gave myself a pedicure, which I received a compliment on. Yay!
    – Had a free iced tea from Starbucks. There was a promotion on where you could get a free iced tea between certain hours on one particular day. I was working, but a colleague was on her lunch hour so she picked one up for me. A lovely treat!
    – I made Brandy’s Tuscan Bread Soup, using bread chunks that I had frozen a few weeks ago from a loaf that hadn’t risen, as well as homemade broth, and a bouquet garnis made from parmesan cheese rinds. I also tossed in some scraps of lasagna pasta leftover when making lasagna a few months ago (and frozen), as well as some peas. I used dried herbs that I grew and dried myself. The DH loved it, and I was super-happy to made a delicious meal out of mostly odds and ends! I’ve packed the leftovers for lunches.
    – I made ranch dressing using my homemade mix and homemade yoghurt
    – I bought over 3 kg of cherries for only $11. Best price I’ve seen this year! I plan to eat most of them, but hope to freeze some to turn into jam at a later date.
    – Cut and froze green onions from onions I regrew in water
    – Ran out of flour, so I made pancakes with oats instead (the recipe call for half oats and half flour – I just used all oats and let it sit for a bit to absorb some liquid).
    – Cut some oregano and thyme from my balcony garden to dry. I’ll add it to my spice cupboard when its dry.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  12. That’s excellent about camp cards…our council does not use those. My sons did cub scout day camp last week and then in two weeks they will be attending the overnight week long with my husband. We were able to get a break on price from popcorn sales money and because my husband can double as the camp RN.

    We had a crazy week, one of my older twins broke his arm! (He did it on a friend’s razor scooter). He is now in a cast from his bicep to hand. I was grateful for good health insurance and for wonderful medical providers). To compensate, we have been eating almost exclusively out of the pantry and freezer as no one has had a lot of time to put meals together. As he has been home, I have gotten a lot of sewing done. I blogged more about our trip to Texas. You can read it here:

    Have a good week!

  13. Hello Brandy
    Love your beautiful yellow tomatoes and picture wall!
    What a blessing being able to help your husband in the middle of the desert. Here are a few frugal accomplishments this week:
    Picked blueberries at a farm $2 lb
    Made fruit crumble 2x with blueberries
    Harvested many recipes
    Froze some herbs also for winter
    Made French bread..will make strawberry sugar free jam and more French bread this week as my sister comes in from out of town.
    Made your crackers and tomato n cheese dish. We too with basil and this has become my husband’s favorite summertime snack.
    Cut foliage for vases for the tables.
    Listen to Pandora classical music free
    Went to library with grands again.
    Bought eggs .69 a dozen .stocked up
    Bought chicken thighs. 69 lb…stocked up
    Was given buns free
    Bought 3 small polka dot bags with zipper n tags and some material. Plan on making lavender sachets …from my garden..first time. I’ll look yours up. Plan on these as Christmas gifts. Will fill with more. Cost was .60cents
    Saved on electricity..keeping lights off more…air not running all the time.
    Painted my own nails and toes.
    Made meals at home.

  14. Inspiring as always Brandy! I really do appreciate these posts, especially when I feel a little pinched. It is good to be reminded that I could be doing more.

  15. I found in the mark down refrigerated clearance at my Krogers- (2) 5 pound boxes of butter cut into individual 1 Tablespoon pats for $2.50 ! So I bought both boxes!! $5 spent for 10 pounds of butter!!! The 1 tablespoon pats will make it easy to use in recipes!!
    I just canned 8 pints of pickle relish using cucumbers from my garden, dried minced onion from my food storage and red and green bell peppers that I had frozen into chunks and was given by my local produce department with the chicken greens that I get for free! So the 8 jars of pickle relish was made without a trip to the store to buy any ingredients!!
    Our chickens are still giving us eggs every day!
    I found individual bags of salted peanuts marked from 89 cents/pack to 25 cents/pack so I bought them for lunch snacks and for cooking/baking!
    I made a new batch of dry Ranch dressing mix to replenish my jar and took some homemade mini pizzas and some other individually packaged Hero burgers from the freezer to restock my refrigerator lunch entree box! I made the pizzas and hero burgers from leftover baguette and focaccia pieces that I was given! All the ingredients were on hand so I made up 2 dozen of each and flash froze them for 2 hours. Then I put them in individual ziploc bags (which will be washed and reused!) and into a few gallon ziplocs. Then back into freezer to pull out individual bags to reload fridge! This way, nothing goes bad before it is used and it becomes part of a really inexpensive lunch!!
    I harvested a giant cabbage from our garden and will combine it with some of the carrots that were in the box of free chicken greens to make some Cole slaw!
    We made a customized state outline as a going away gift for a family who are moving and it has now become a new option on our Facebook business page- HandmadeinOldeTowne.
    We also finished a custom kitchen cabinet for a client for her apt kitchen! We were trying to keep the price lower for her because her income is limited so she went with an unfinished cabinet (she will stain it herself) and we used recycled/reclaimed wood. We actually found enough board feet of cedar down in one of our basements as we were decluttering that we didn’t remember that we had! She was ecstatic with the price we quoted her and we felt good about it, while still giving ourselves an appropriate wage!
    In our 365 day decluttering/downsizing challenge, this week we gave 2 student desks, 2 desk lamps to a family that could really use them. We gave away a bike and bike lift that had been in our basement for 20 years! We gave a walker to a friend whose husband is just coming home from hospital and a little unsteady. We gave 4 exercise mats to a friend. We sold an instant pot.
    I look forward to seeing how much more we declutter this week! More orders keep coming in for our custom woodworking and we are feeling very blessed!

  16. Oh, this is so funny! We’re both growing the same variety of yellow pear tomatoes. 🙂 Great job using the garden to feed the fam! I’m always impressed by your food forest. We recently got *one* fig from our little tree and I danced with joy!

    This week:

    1. I made a batch of homemade yogurt as well as butter pecan granola.

    2. I got a glass cake holder at the thrift store for $12. I’ve been wanting one for so long and I was thrilled to find it! I baked a batch of homemade coconut cream pie cupcakes to celebrate. Bonus: all the cupcake ingredients came from my pantry.

    3. I baked a double batch of pita bread and froze it.

    4. I turned a few old carrots into oven-roasted garlic parmesan carrot fries. Seriously the tastiest thing I’ve had all month! And it’s reasonably healthy, too. 🙂

    5. I made Italian kale soup over the weekend and we’ll eat it on a weeknight. Pre-cooking meals is a great way to avoid eating out.

  17. I am still working on making lifestyle changes to live a simpler, frugal life, by eliminating what I don’t really need.

    I picked a dish tub of apricots from a tree across the street (the house is empty). I made two apricot and blueberry crisps. For each batch I halved the recipe for the crumble topping to cut down the sugar and amount of ingredients. They both tasted just fine. I also got three large containers of blueberries for $1.88 each and will freeze some of them. I’ll can a few pints of apricots with the remaining fruit.

    Went to a free Bastille Day concert in a local park and enjoyed listening to the music while knitting.

    Took three boxes of unneeded items to a thrift store for donation.

    Paid to have some of our rain gutters repositioned so that the water runs off, it will go into French drains to directly water the vegetable garden.

  18. We went camping for a few days, looking for cooler weather. We don’t have air conditioning in our house, and we usually don’t need it, but a long, hot spell had made for some uncomfortable nights. So we took the camper up to a higher elevation and found a free campsite alongside a river. It was wonderfully cool. We hiked, cooked out, read a lot, and in the afternoon when it rained, we took a nap—something we seldom do at home. We came home to find it had rained here also, breaking a three-week spell with no rain. All my rain barrels are full again, and I was able to cut off the irrigation for a few days – a real blessing. I took advantage of the wet weather to plant more green peas for a fall crop – if I’ll be able to keep the voles and chipmunks out of them, I don’t know, but I have plenty of seed, so I figured I would try.
    I harvested green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, herbs and chard from the garden.
    I harvested 40 bulbs of garlic and have it drying on a wire shelf in the wood shed.
    I made raspberry jam from puree I froze a couple of years ago (discovered when I cleaned out the freezer last week.)
    I baked wheat bread and cut flowers for the house.
    Our local thrift store was having a clothing clearance and I bought several items for $1 each – including a hand-knit sweater which I unraveled for the yarn, a pair of long denim shorts, a very nice lined skirt and a summer dress. We also found a programmable water timer for $2. We use three of these for the irrigation on various garden beds and they don’t last forever, so this will be nice to have for backup.
    I cleaned out my closet and dresser and collected a bag full of clothing to donate.
    I made two Christmas presents. I realized I had all the material I needed to complete them, and a little extra time, so I went ahead and sewed them. It felt good to have something out of the way so early.
    We attended a wonderful free concert in the park and packed a picnic dinner to enjoy. A couple of days later we visited the local state park and took advantage of a free boat tour around the lake.

  19. My little peach tree that is growing at a 45-degree angle and which I had despaired of ever getting a peach from surprised me last week with about two dozen peaches. Yum. The wisdom of keeping even a few days’ supply if food in the house was emphasized this week when I heard from a former co-worker on the other side of the country. She can only walk short distances (2-4 city blocks max) using her walker. She was down to peanut butter and reconstituted milk in her kitchen Friday. No funds for food until next Wednesday. She lives in a large, very prosperous city. I tried to find a food bank that would deliver a box of emergency food to hungry housebound people over a weekend. I failed. She had to live on what was in her kitchen for three days. I haven’t been very thrifty this week but I think I got it through my mom’s head that $20 will go far further at the grocery store than at Bob Evans, no matter how good their chicken noodle soup might be. We were careful at the grocery stores last week. I aim to be VERY careful going forward. With that in mind, I am heading to the kitchen to start a loaf of whole wheat bread and peel peaches and potatoes. I love all your insights and encouragement.

  20. I would love suggestions on what to do with calf liver in the freezer before it gets too old to use. It will have to be tender for mom to be able to eat it. I do not remember ever cooking liver.

  21. Mom always soaked hers in buttermilk overnight. She did that with chicken also. Don’t cook it very long or it will be leather. Mom basically seared it on both sides and then pulled out out and covered with a upside down pie pan and made onion gravy in the same pan then put the liver back in the pan to “warm” it and served immediately. Mashed potatoes was already made and being kept warm by wrapping a towel around the bowl and pizza sheet covered the bowl. Can you tell she didn’t use foil? LOL

  22. Brandy Prayers and Blessings for you and yours.I know how I worry when my Dad or Hubby’s parents are not well. I am glad your Hubby was able to fix the van. I change what pasta I use every time I make pasta salad and about every other time I change the dressing. I have some very small (think 2 tablespoons worth) onions curing and some in the dehydrator. I have curly parsley, garlic chives and chives in the other dehydrator. I recleaned the garlic (lots of mud dried on them) and have them curing for storage. We stopped at a Produce Farm and I bought a large zucchini, large yellow squash, 2 tomatoes, 2 green tomatoes, 2 large candy onions and a pint of yellow and red cherry tomatoes from their Good Buy Good Bye table (good buy for me good bye for them). I will be making zucchini bread pancakes for tomorrow’s dinner while tonight will be fried zucchini, fried yellow squash , fried green tomatoes and smoked sausage.If I have to deep fry , most the meal gets deep fried. I stopped at Goodwill on their 99¢ sale and got 3 prs of boots, 1 pr of shoes and 4 men’s short sleeve Hawaiian shirts to wear while I have my arm in a sling from shoulder surgery at the end of the month. My son liked 2 of the shirts so gave me the money for them so he get them when I give him the shirt he lent me back. I sorted through our medical bag, odds and ends we have kept when someone got hurt or what ever and we could reuse. One of the girls must have as some time gave us their arm sling so I won’t need to buy one for the shower as I can’t move the arm when I am able to shower saving me about $14.00. Our gardens were flooded again this morning. My tomatoes are dying from too much water, onions are starting to rotten in ground but my herbs are growing like crazy.
    more here…

  23. The family pictures are gorgeous! How did your husband survive in the heat of the desert, waiting for your help? I bet that was scary for both you and him. I am so glad you were able to help him and he was able to continue on his journey. I hope your dad gets to feeling better. I went to a sick relative’s house this weekend to help out. In turn, I was given a large honey, a large cottage cheese, and a couple of bottles of balsamic vinegar, which I so appreciated. I made Brandy’s taco soup without any meat, and it was delicious. I picked figs at what was my mom’s house. I bought powerade and gatorade on sale at DG for my son, who works outside a lot in the hot, humid, sun, and I also used a $5 off $25. He goes through a tremendous amount of those drinks in the summertime. I brought my lunch to work, like I always do. When I was not working, nor tending to my relative, I was at home. I hope everyone has a beautiful week!

  24. Brandy, I love your dining room! When I was a little girl my Mom used to get Better Homes & Gardens magazine and on the inside cover of every issue was the picture of a beautiful dining room. This is one of my dreams, but other things always take precedence. I have a dining room set that was my MIL’s but it isn’t exactly my style. But it does seat a lot of people and that is what is most important!

    My frugal accomplishments this week.

    * Went to the dentist for my semi-annual cleaning appointment, which is covered by insurance. Got a free toothbrush, floss and travel toothpaste.
    * Had some bread that was going stale so I made French Toast.
    * Used a gift card for some of my groceries.
    * Ordered a book from the library instead of buying. My sister gave me Agatha Christie’s autobiography. I decided I would read all of her books in chronological order. My sister had the first one, so I borrowed that.
    * Niece’s birthday was last week, so I sent her a card I had gotten free from a charity I donate to regularly.
    * Had a tube of toothpaste and a tube of facial cleanser run out, so I cut the bottoms off the tubes and then up the sides and got a few more uses out of each of them.
    * My Dad is in Assisted Living, so once a week I drive the hour to see him. I take him out to lunch, to the Dr., and run any errands he might have. This week instead of taking him out to lunch, I packed a picnic instead. He loves chicken thighs, but only gets chicken breasts where he is at, so I bought some chicken leg quarters for 77c / lb. and oven fried them the day before. I also made potato salad and brownies, cut up some carrot sticks and made iced tea. I have a cute red and white 1950’s tablecloth with strawberries around the edge. I set up a nice picnic lunch in his apartment (too hot to picnic outside here.) I also brought him some white wine I had. We both agreed that this was something my late Mom would have done. She was the queen of “romancing” plain food. He really enjoyed it. And I made enough that my Hubby and I were able to have it for dinner then next night.
    * Made Bean Soup with a hambone leftover from Easter. We had enough for 2 dinners for both of us, plus a couple of lunches.
    * Made a new recipe in the crockpot that turned out terrible, unsalvageable. Threw it away (frugal fail!). Normally I would have then gotten take out, but this time I thought about this blog and decided to make tostadas instead. Thanks, Brandy!
    * Used free hotel toiletries and free coffee, tea, honey and jelly that I got from work.
    * For my facial routine, instead of using expensive products I use baby oil to remove my eye makeup and witch hazel instead of toner. I use whatever inexpensive facial cleanser and moisturizer I get on clearance or with a coupon.
    * I was thinking of buying a small grocery cart for when I get my produce from the P.O.W. W.O.W. organization I mentioned in a previous post. Remembered that my Dad had one that he didn’t need anymore, so I asked him and he gave it to me.
    * A few months ago I had purchased the wrong size ink cartridge. I had forgotten about it, but when I cleaned out my office drawer I found it. It was still in the box, but I didn’t have a receipt. Decided to try to see if I could exchange it anyway. Turns out that Staples can look it up via the credit card I used. I got over $20 back in credit on my card! Pleasant surprise! I also returned 5 spent cartridges for $2 credits.
    * Made fake “Crystal Lite” using a Flavor-Aid packet I’d gotten for 10c and using 24 packets of Splenda sweetener, that I had gotten free from work.
    * Found a grocery store near me that sells spices in bulk. Paid 19c for enough parsley to fill a spice bottle.
    * I have an assortment of lids from toiletries that I keep on hand. That way when I have a pump bottle that is running out, I just find the right size lid and replace the pump with that. That way I can turn the bottle upside down and get all of the product out of it. I just did that today with a bottle of lotion.
    * Ate out on Tuesday at our weekly Trivia League night, but had a $30 coupon we had won on a previous Trivia night, so it was almost all covered. Ate in the rest of the week. In addition the tostadas, bean soup and oven fried chicken, we had Italian Sausage Casserole, London Broil (with enough leftover for fajitas tonight,) Grilled Chicken with Spaghetti with Summer Squash.
    * When I was working, I had to have a phone line for a fax machine, so we had the bundle package with our cable company and had internet and TV through them also. Now that I have quit, Hubby got the phone and TV off. This should save us $120/month. We haven’t had cable TV for 5 days now and I really haven’t missed it. We do have Netflix and Amazon Prime (Hubby loves the movies) and the Fire Stick, so we have no shortage of things to watch.
    * I have kept my Freezer Inventories document up to date since May 21st. This has really helped me to plan our meals using the oldest items first. I am trying to eat up what is in the freezer, as the Hubby is going elk hunting in November and if he gets one, we will need a place to put the meat. Also, it is helping to save us money as we have 2 trips coming up that will be dents to the budget.
    * Hubby likes to have steak once a week. I found 3 beautiful bone in NY strips in the clearance section. One was $3.96, one $4.11 and the last $4.45. Each should feed both of us. I vacuum sealed them and put them in the freezer. This is the only meat I am buying right now, as it will get eaten before November.
    * Got a free Quaker Overnight Oatmeal from our local Kroger store. Kind of a stupid product, as I think any oatmeal can be “overnight,” but it was free.
    * Got some more rebate $ from Ibotta.
    * I’ve also been entering all purchases into the budget since June 1st.
    * Got 4 dozen eggs on sale for 69c / dozen. Cheapest I have seen in a long time. Used mineral oil to coat them to make them last.
    * Found some kids bubble bath on the clearance rack. Put it in my Christmas gifts stash to give to my grandson.
    * We babysat our grandson all weekend for my daughter and her husband. As a thank you, they gave us a bottle of wine and a 6-pack of beer. Very much appreciated!
    * Had baked potatoes with the London Broil on Sunday. I baked an extra potato to have as one of my lunches this week.

    Have a wonderful, frugal week everyone!

  25. Great inspiration from everyone and the pasta salad looks so delicious and gourmet with the chive flowers. We continue on with everyday frugalities. Extras this week:
    – My husband pulled up 2 rows of patio pavers that weren’t level and reinstalled them with paver sand to make them level. We are still working our way through fixes needed in our new home.
    – Another house fix, we hired an electrician who gives a discount for residents in our 55+ community. We have a varied list of small fixes from the home inspection that require an electrician.
    – We took deli meats and salads from the grocery store for lunch with the family of a friend who died recently rather than more expensive ones from the restaurant deli nearby.
    – Received the required form from my husband’s employer proving that I have been covered by health insurance since I was 65. He retires at the end of September so I need to sign up for Medicare Part B and this means there won’t be any penalty for enrolling after 65.
    – An item ordered from Amazon never arrived and I requested and received a refund. Still need the item so ordered it again at their suggestion. Lost in transit apparently.

  26. Brandy, I love your pictures and the salad looks delicious. I groaned out loud when I read about your husband getting stuck in the desert. When my mom lived out in the Mojave, that was my biggest fear when I was driving out there. That was before cell phones and I used to white knuckle it between Mojave and Inyokern. I’m glad it all worked out okay.

    My savings for last week:
    *Made coconut oil body lotion
    *Made 2 batches of laundry soap
    *My husband had two long day trips and I made his lunches instead of him buying them.
    *Flushed the toilets with rain barrel water.
    *Rec’d free with digital coupons: an 8# bag of dog food, bbq sauce, & instant oatmeal.
    *Rec’d a $29.62 rebate check from buying 3 new faucets (all old & leaky) during a promotion.
    *Made several greeting cards
    *Did a market survey for fuel points.
    We did have a couple of small meals out. We split a $6 footlong at Subway and we enjoyed our monthly fancy hot dog lunch at the Sam’s Club Chez Café!

    For beautifying, I’m about done cleaning the office. I’ve purged a whole lot, done some rearranging, & I think it looks much better.
    I have some beautiful phlox growing in the front yard and it’s hard to resist cutting them. They look great out there, but I also think they’d make a wonderful centerpiece!!

  27. Check your local Walmart for pasta. It’s probably a long-shot that yours will have the same deal, but ours has Sam’s Choice pastas clearance priced for .50 a package. All shapes, and spaghetti and fettuccine included. It’s worth a look!

    I love your website 🙂

  28. My husband and I were able to take a 4 day get away to the beach. We were in need of de-stressing. We had a gift certificate to a nice restaurant and used that for lunch one day with enough food left over for dinner that night so two meals were free.
    One evening my husband wanted to go to the local ice cream shop but it was already closed when we got there. We went to the grocery store instead and I had a coupon for one free pint of Ben and Jerry’s so we had ice cream for free.
    We spent a lot of time walking on the beach which is very enjoyable and free.
    We visited the local library and got lots of good reading materials which again were free.
    We happened upon a garage sale and got a very nice large terra cotta pot planted with marigolds for $2. I have seen pots like that in the store for at least $25. She also sold me a nice sized Christmas cactus plant for 50 cents. I got an entire box of plastic pots for 25 cents. I will use those to plant up my tree starts.
    All in all we had a very enjoyable vacation that was easily paid for out of our normal budget.

    We stayed in our little beach cabin that we own so there was no cost for lodging. We were even able to do a few maintenance chores while we were there. I painted all the exterior trim. My husband did some yard work. Normally, we are only there for a Saturday and it is rush, rush to get the lawn mowed and take a quick walk on the beach so it was really nice to have the time to relax and enjoy.

    Thank you Brandy for another week of encouragement.

  29. It’s been a few weeks since I last commented, so here are our frugal accomplishments for the last two weeks:

    * We went to Sam’s this week to pick up a few items- cheese, some meat, some ice cream. I got gas there, since it was 10c cheaper than the gas station near us, though I’m still having problems actually filling up my tank (yet another reason to get my car into a mechanic sometime soon).

    * I made bacon, bean, and potato soup, and I added an extra 5 cups of stock to the recipe to get a few more servings out of it. I was able to use up a lb of white beans that I’ve had since before the move.

    * I used 1 lb of pinto beans and a bit of cooked chicken to make an enchilada casserole. I had everything on hand (either in the fridge, freezer, or pantry) to make it and it was delicious and filling.

    * I cooked a whole chicken and picked it clean- some meat went to the casserole, some went into some bbq chicken for lunches, and the remainder went into the freezer. The bones also went into the freezer for chicken soup later this month.

    * I stopped by the dollar store to purchase some lasagna noodles and gift wrapping supplies. It was in the same plaza as Aldi, so I was able to avoid extra driving. The lasagna noodles are $1/12oz, which is the best price I can find near me, and the gift wrap is for a wedding gift- the wedding is this Saturday.

    * I stopped by a local grocery store and stocked up on their meat sale. I think they have one every 4 months or so (based on when the last one was), so I stocked up. I got chicken breast ($1.66/lb), bacon ($1.99/lb), pork loin ($0.99/lb), whole chickens ($0.69/lb), eggs ($1.25/18 count), and some sausages ($2 per pack). I bought enough of each item to last us until the next sale (except for the eggs and sausages), so between this sale and the 4th of July sale on ground beef, we won’t need to purchase meat for several months.

    * Because of said sale, we went over budget by $50, but that should be evened out over the next few months. August will likely be another $200/month budget (since our Sam’s Club membership expires at the end of the month and I’d like to wait as long as possible before getting another), but September should be cheaper, provided I don’t start buying food on campus 😉 Sam’s Club purchases for next month include paper towels, dried fruit, and pinto beans.

    I think that’s everything! I hope everyone else has been having a good summer/winter (depending on your hemisphere!) 😀

  30. We recently returned from the Medieval festival we attended in Provins, France. The costumes I made turned out great. I think it only cost 6 euros for the two days as there is a big discount for coming in costume. We met many nice people and had so much fun. The other medieval city we visited was Rouen. Just a gorgeous place and all the museums were free. Our second week was in Paris. Fortunately I don’t like to shop for recreation so there was a savings. We rented an apartment and made all our breakfasts. We chose small family run bistros for our other meals. We used the subways to get places and walked a great deal. Duolingo helped me a lot with conversing in French.
    Here is a bit of information that some readers might want to know about. If you are 62 and over you can get a lifetime national park pass for $10. This fee is going up to $80 as of August 20th. Also, if you live in the Pacific northwest and have a Bartell Drugs nearby – they have 7 oz cans of Wild Alaska salmon for $1.60 right now. Very high quality stuff and less than half the normal price. I bought 2 dozen, as there is no limit.
    We went blackberry picking. I picked and froze a quart of the larger wild blackberries. Today I picked a pint of the tiny type. To be used in pancakes tomorrow.
    We went to a 70th birthday party for a friend yesterday. It was an all day affair with tons of food, so that was two meals.
    At a garage sale I found a pair of denim shorts and cropped pants for $6. A bit much for a garage sale but they were most new and fit perfectly.
    Ya hoo! I signed up for Medicare this week so that will be a huge savings each month. Except, of course, it means I am getting older….
    Lastly, has anyone else noticed that sewing patterns don’t seem to have as good a fit as they used to? I have been sewing since I was 12 and only weigh ten pounds more than high school. The patterns fit but the cut and shape will seem weird. I saw a whole forum online about this problem. Somebody suggested a Canadian and Australian pattern company that seem to be better quality. I sort of feel like giving up on sewing lately. Just curious to know other people’s experiences. I guess I wouldn’t mind paying a little more for a pattern if it fit well.

  31. What a nice week you had. The photographs are wonderful! I think it’s great that your sons were able to go to camp for free. (Of course, they earned it!)
    Well, this was supposed to be a no spend month. My husband wanted pizza so I bought pizza. I did get a senior discount, though. I still have two slices that I’ll take to work tomorrow. Sat. I got a call that my husband wrecked his car. He’s fine, the car is a goner. So, now we’re looking for a replacement. Since it was insured PLPD, this is all out of pocket. Thankfully, we have enough savings but this is a huge ding. Three steps forward and two steps back..
    I finally remembered to take papers to the recycle center.
    I made about eight bee’s wax napkins with thrift store cloth napkins to replace plastic wrap. I’m not sure they’re the best for the refrigerator, but I’m willing to give it a go. (The cold keeps them from clinging)
    I made hummus from CSA garlic scapes, onions and sale chickpeas.
    I made lemongrass air freshener and ‘cologne’. This is the only Scent I use. I’ve been doing it for years and it’s only essential oil and water.
    I paid some bills at the bank saving stamps.
    Baked chicken with homemade breadcrumbs and homemade shake’n bake mix. My husband wondered why it was read and green speckled;because I used red and green tortilla chips from Christmas!
    I had some lentils that were going to go bad. So I threw them into some tomato soup and it was delicious!
    I watered down shampoo, conditioner and lotion.
    Instead of always feeding my sourdough starter, I finally dried some. I’ll reconstitute it when I’m ready to bake. I just don’t eat enough bread to keep feeding it.
    I added more veggie scraps to the freezer bags for broth. I’m on my third bag! Yikes!
    And, I added bread heels to the freezer for croutons.
    I think this is the first week I’ve written down so much. Most of it is just Day to day living that I don’t think twice about. I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  32. Someone, I think on this blog, suggested using peach peels to make jam. It sounds like a great idea!

  33. If it’s calf liver, it should be tender as long as you don’t overcook it. Beef liver, not calf’s liver, is not as tender. I put a little olive oil on a cast iron frying pan, then a couple of strips of bacon (optional), then the liver (often still frozen). I bake it for about 45 minutes from the frozen. That is a guess. After 20 minutes, at 350ºF, check it. It should not be pink inside but you don’t want it to be like leather either.

    There are lots of recipes online for using calf’s liver. Some include putting condensed cream soups over top but that adds a lot of sodium to it which is not desirable. Some recipes add peeled apple to the pan. I, myself, in trying to make it smooth without making a proper paté, would put cooked calf’s liver in a blender and add cream cheese, a tiny bit of onions, a touch of salt and pepper if desired, and blend until smooth and then use it as a spread or as a meat for my mother who could only eat pureed foods. Keep refrigerated of course. Should last a day in the fridge. It would be a great thing to feed your mother as it would be good for her iron and folate levels. Good luck!

  34. I live with my parents and sister, so some of our frugal accomplishments are mine, personally, and some are savings for the family.

    – Harvested cucumbers, zucchini, lots of onions, a little bit of lettuce, and oregano from the garden.
    – Gathered 31 eggs from our 5 chickens; sold a dozen and a half to a friend at church.
    – Made lemon-zucchini cake from gifted lemons and zucchini from the garden.
    – From the gifted lemons I also made lemon sorbet, froze two ice cube trays or juice, and dried 3 dehydrator trays of lemon zest and 1 tray of lemon peels; some of the dehydrated zest was combined with peppercorns in the pepper grinder to make lemon pepper.
    – Made zucchini-cheddar bread from zucchini from the garden. Baked 2 loaves of this and 2 of the lemon-zucchini cake at the same time to save on propane.
    – Made 2 dehydrator trays of plum fruit leather. It didn’t turn out great, but good enough to eat. We only made the leather because I had already made 21 half-pint jars of plum jam (in addition to the 30 half-pints of apricot last month) and we were trying to think of something else to make with the rest of the plums. Our apricot and plum trees produced VERY well this year!
    – Put the plum pits (with all the “plummy” bits attached) into the crockpot and covered them with water. After this cooked overnight, I strained the plum juice from the solids, intending to can plum syrup on Saturday. When my whole Saturday changed, I put the juice into the freezer to hold it until I have a chance to can it.
    – Found out on Friday about a bridal shower on Saturday. Made a card for the bride. My sister and I were going to the shower together and chose to buy 1 gift from both of us. Found the bride’s registry and had a coupon for 20% off. Wrapped the gift at the store’s gift wrapping center.
    – Bought whole chickens on sale at .77/lb and boneless pork chops at $2.99/lb.
    – Did all the “normal” stuff: packed lunches, opened the windows at night (even when it’s 100 – 110 degrees during the day, it gets down to 50 – 60 at night here), hung clothes and sheets on the line.

  35. Julia, this sounds delicious. Do you think she soaked it in buttermilk because it wasn’t calf’s liver or did she soak both calf’s liver and/or beef liver. I think Holly could
    also saute the liver in a pan and then add balsamic vinegar or red wine.

  36. My husband went to help with the high schoolers at camp. One daughter went to camp as a camper, and another one went to help as well. He pulled the trailer, and drove the van full of kids as well. His gas is paid for by the church. They are feeding them, there, although we put a little food in the camper in case he is not in the right place at the right time for a meal. He is shuttling them in our van while river rafting, rock climbing, etc. Our daughter who is attending was able to pay for it all by cleaning house for a lady at church, who then paid into her camp fund. I’m so glad your son could pay for his camp, too. It helps SO much. When you have a lot of children, as I do as well, the youth activities can be so expensive that there have been times that we could not afford to send some of the kids to some of the activities, which is too bad. I’m loving how this church has ways for the kids to earn it themselves. I think it means more to them anyway.

    I’m glad you were able to figure out the car issue. Many, many years ago, we were traveling through the Mojave desert in our pickup and visited the Grand Canyon for a few hours in the morning. We were on a time constraint, just passing through, and really wanted to view it, if only for a short time. So, we started through the desert in the afternoon, heading toward LA, –bad timing–and our air conditioner broke. I’ve never forgot how hot we were. We finished the conference trip we were on (husband’s work), met up with the mission team we were joining, went on the mission trip, and came all the way back to Oregon without air conditioning. We never, ever fixed it in that truck. After that, we figured, it could never get worse. If we survived that, we could survive everything! I guess we were younger and tougher then:) Anyway, I’m glad he’s ok.

    I also had the third daughter who still lives at home away at her camp for a few days. I ended up working hours and hours and hours of extra time, as I was needed and had the time. So, that should help a lot this month, especially since I did not work the first week or so of the month, as they were gone on vacation. (I am a personal support worker for 1 niece and 1 nephew with disabilities–this summer I’m mostly working with my nephew) I made up charts, schedules, and activity lists and we’ve been following them. I don’t mind spending a little money, but was able to figure out many, many activities that cost nothing, or next to nothing, and help teach something that is on his goal list. An example: We walked to the nearby store (exercise goal) with $5 in my pocket and shopped for our list, keeping track of what we had spent and if we had enough to buy everything, or not (money management, life skills). We’ve been doing the summer reading program at the library. Many prizes have been won already, plus all the reading done, of course. (keeping up with academics goal) I’ve had him doing chores each day. (life skills) I took both kids to the zoo today, along with my daughter (science), using our zoo pass, packing a lunch, and buying only small treats. I have to keep an accounting of what I do with the kids–more is expected than simple babysitting. I’m having a blast! It’s like all the fun parts of homeschooling, and my own kids can join in.

    One daughter is now home, and the rest return on Wednesday night. So, I won’t be working as much after that. But, I certainly didn’t have time to be very lonely!

    We did have a family barbecue here, on Sunday after church. We tend to celebrate birthdays a few times in the year–several at once. So, mine was celebrated, although it’s not until August.

    My garden is giving me so much lettuce, I make lettuce salad for every occasion and hand out bags to my family when ever they show their faces. The new planting of snow peas are starting to produce. Tomorrow is a bean snapping party. They developed much more slowly than I anticipated, and I only got enough over the weekend to serve at the bbq. So, my mom and aunt are coming tomorrow, and hopefully we will get a nice amount. When the rest of the family gets home, we will probably let them know that they are going to snap beans later in the week–hopefully Friday some more will be ready. Fun! I love canning!

    Here’s the rest:

  37. Thank you for the reminder about the extra ice for canning. I always end up emptying the ice bins. Preparing extra ahead of time is a good idea.
    And I agree that nachos are a great frugal dinner. We had them the other night with chips I made from home-fried tortillas. As long as I have plenty of toppings for them, my husband is happy with very little meat. For the batch I made the other night, I crumbled up maybe 1/4 cup of leftover breakfast sausage and fried it up with onion. Along with the beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, peppers, salsa, sour cream and some avocado, it’s a great meal — and a ‘fun’ food.

  38. Brandy, I love the photos of your family and the picture frames are great. I also really like the colour (pale yellow?? a warm beige?) of the wall. And your living room is exquisite. I love the dining room table and chairs! Ann

  39. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    I love the way your sons have worked so hard to get themselves to not 1 but 2 camps through being industrious, tell them congratulations from me. Brandy your decorating on a budget always inspires me to do better and what a beautiful result with your family photo display.

    Last weeks frugal accomplishments included –

    Financial –
    – Banked more money into our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us to 20.24% pf the way there.
    – Earned $42.53 from the sale of saved pumpkin seeds from our gardens on the internet.
    – Took advantage of a free listing promotion on Ebay to list some of my handmade items saving $66 in listing fees.

    Groceries and household needs –

    We have been exploring cheaper alternatives to usual places that we shop at and have had great savings results.
    – We purchased new 8 face washers, 2 hair brushes, 2 bath sponges, 30 hairbands, 4 x 9v batteries, a pizza cutter, and 4 new bed pillows saving $44.87 over purchasing them in the supermarket.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch

    In the garden –
    – Harvested 7oog of turnips, 29kg of sweet potato and 200g of cherry tomatoes from our gardens saving $293.70 over purchasing them at current supermarket prices.
    – Used vegetable steaming water to water in newly sprouted vegetable seedlings in the garden.
    – Used our saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water all the house paddock lawns without using any town water.

    Electricity savings –
    – Boiled our kettle for cuppas and dish washing & steamed vegetables on the slow combustion stove and used our solar lanterns to light our home at night without turning on any mains powered lights saving $20.98 in electricity this week alone.
    – Heated our home with firewood cut and sourced by us for free from a friends property.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead one and all .

  40. Love your family photo wall!

    Our week has gotten off to a good start. We have:
    -consistently stayed on track with our goal of paying down our mortgage
    -went to a fete last weekend with the children and lots of fun was had. I took along $20 and we went on the train, 3 rides, got a special treat (hot chips!), watched a show & walked around taking in the atmosphere
    -went to the library with the children
    -baked a basic butter cake and the children and I had lots of fun attempting to pipe out the frosting and adding toppings
    -researching internet providers. We just bought a computer and now want to get the internet at our house
    -lowered my husbands monthly phone bill, which I have been meaning to do for some time. Reduced it from $40 a month to $25, which includes 8gb of data
    -the lasagne my husband made has stretched to 3 nights of dinner. Just!
    -harvesting multiple herbs, spring onion and carrots. Made a carrot salad this week with beetroot, chickpeas, spinach and red onion & olive oil
    -made more Popsicles with riberries from the Lilly Pilly trees in our garden. Yum!
    -remained focused!

  41. How fascinating, a medieval festival. Are they held every year? And people dress up…it sounds amazing!

  42. She soaked both though calf liver was few and far between. She also used buttermilk to soak wild meat which is what we ate most the time anyways. My son said he soaks his liver in coke a cola well actually diet coke .

  43. I love your family photos in your dining area, Brandy! They look wonderful in those frames. I also love that you used what you had to make the pasta salad. Do you have the recipe for the turkey salad/chicken salad on your website? The apples and grapes mixed in sound delicious!

    This week, our frugal accomplishments incuded:
    *Meals made at home included BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with Caesar salad, ham & cheese crescent rolls with Caesar salad, bacon & cheese sandwiches with a variety of simple sides (planned as a picnic dinner, but rain cancelled our plans), chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce, rice and green beans, hamburger helper with corn, meat balls in Diana’s sauce with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies, and breakfast bowls.
    *Did not go out to eat at all this week. Whoohoo!!!!!! Huge accomplishment for this family!
    *Baked a pan of Chocolate Banana Applesauce Cake for dessert one night to use up some ripe bananas and an open jar of homemade applesauce (recipe link: It lasted for 4 desserts this week. This cake is very frugal, healthy and perfect for when you are running low on pantry staples as it does not require any oil, butter or eggs!
    *Baked a pan of brownies (from a mix) with walnuts added for dessert when I my brother stopped for a visit on Sunday.
    *After getting bit by a mosquito, one of my co-workers suggested I use wild catnip to keep them away. I do not know how to identify wild catnip, but expressed that I’d love to have some to dry. We have 3 cats and I often make them homemade catnip toys for Christmas. A bag of cheap dried catnip is minimum $2! She quickly went and found 2 big plants growing nearby and gave them to me. I gave 2 leaves to the cats when I got home (great entertainment!) and now have the rest drying in a place the cats can’t reach.
    *A co-worker and I learned how to make rag dolls this week from one of the young volunteers that comes in regularly to help in the village. They are made of fabric strips from recycled clothing or sewing scraps and require no sewing. She has made 23 of these dolls this year alone (since the end of June) and ALL of them have sold at $10 each! She can’t keep up with the demand. We plan on helping make them to sell, as well as teaching our youth interpreters how to make them, too. In fact 1 of my dolls is on it’s way to Scotland! Here’s a tutorial for anyone interested (note: we use bits and pieces of fabric too small to use for anything and/or the threads cleaned off the fabric strips to stuff the head): They make a great craft project for children to make or a wonderful frugal gift idea. Don’t have a young girl to make them for? Well, last year this same girl made miniature sized rag dolls with “angel wings” that we sold as Christmas ornaments!
    *Since I don’t do much baking at work, but always enjoy what everyone else makes, I decided to contribute in a different way. I made up a batch of french bread dough in the bread maker (very cheap with few ingredients) for one of the girls to try baking in a dutch oven on the open hearth. I also shared some of my crabapple jelly to go with the bread (made last fall from crabapples I was given for free). Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the treat of homemade bread and jelly!

    Love reading all the comments each week. Thank you to all of you who share your frugal ideas. Have a wonderful week everyone!

  44. I’ve never tried thin noodles in a pasta salad before. Definitely want to after reading this! Something different over the usual rotini.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons/rebates when possible. Last week I found lots of good stuff – $0.29 cookies, free Colgate, free dental floss, free Oral-B toothbrush, and a moneymaker on Crest. All of my deals can be found here:

    Also, if anyone would like a porcelain butter dish, I am doing a giveaway.

  45. Have you tried making a simple home made pasta? It’s easy and fun for the kids. You don’t need a pasta machine–it can be kneeded and cut by hand.

  46. Your butter dish looks lovely and it would go perfectly with my white china. I’ve never used a butter dish before but have always wanted to do so. I entered your giveaway contest but don’t know if you’d send it to Canada. If not, don’t pick me to win! Ann

  47. Excellent idea, especially whn the peaches are absolutely organic.

    I appreciate the suggestion for the liver.

    I came across yesterday and was simply amazed at the language learning resources available online for free. I didn’t want to wait until next week to share.

  48. Personal liability and property damage. We get no money from damages. It’s all on us. The other driver can get his deductibles from our insurance. Other than that, I’m not sure. It’s pretty basic.

  49. Wow, what a great week. That salad looks fantastic. We had a good week here also. First, we received two unexpected refund checks in the mail. One from over paid prescriptions and the other from school book fees. We used the money for needed things from Sams.
    I purchased 24 containers of strawberries at .25 each for a total of $3. From them I froze 20 quarts for future smoothies. A friend posted about the sale on fb. I immediately went to the store. Eggs were only .59 a dozen

    We enjoyed a free day at a nearby camp ground by accepting an invitation from a friend. We got to swim, play mini golf, and ride around on a golf cart.

  50. Cindy-You can buy Gatorade in powder form and ix it yourself for about 1/3 the price of the bottled. We mix it and put it in ice trays then fills bottles with the cubes and poor the cooled mix over those. We use a tiny bit extra when mixing the cubes because the South equals condensation!

  51. I appreciate all the suggestions. I will try the quick paté recipe first. My mom is, forntunately, not limited to pureed food but her meats and vegetables have to be tender.


  52. Hi Jenny, Yes, they have the festival every year for, I think, the last 33 years. Even the shop owners in town dress up. Lots of booths with crafts and traditional Normandy food. Provins is a UNESCO world heritage site. The old medieval walls and castle are still intact plus many half timbered buildings. Music and dancing … so much fun. The town, fortunately, seems to have escaped bombing from WWI and WWII. There are great photos online.

  53. Took Grandson’s bike to be fixed two tires $35 I only paid $10 for the bike ! Oh well he will ride it a few more years.
    Continued to get free bagels from Panera. I also accept the free butter. Ordered Pizza from Dominos when they had half off (worst Pizza I have ever had!) Make my own from now on.
    Made a bunch of meals on grill and in toaster oven so as not to heat the larger oven.
    We live very upscale area but use room a/c it is cheaper.

    Our neighbors likely hate it.

    Got .30 Taco shells and .30 beans made tacos last night using meat from the freezer bought at deep discount.

    Buy all meat at $3.99 or under and use coupons when ever I can.

    Get all other items on deep discount and with coupons and often doubles where and when I can.

    Accept all free items I can and try to earn cash where and whenever I can.

    This is every week of my life.

    To the very very young on here I will say I have been extreme frugal my entire life and I managed to save over 400K by the time I was 40 years old but I saved everything always. Still do.

  54. Brandy, the view of you dining room and living room is just lovely. It looks elegant and put together. You have a good eye. So, it sounds like your husband was able to fix your solar oven.

    Looking ahead we apparently have thunderstorms running through to Sunday. We have been up to the 80’s lately which is pretty hot for us, but the humidity is also in the 80’s so very sticky. I’ve been doing smaller canning batches in the kitchen with the air conditioning on rather than the garage.

    We did all the usual over the last 2 weeks of recycling, reusing, composting, hanging out laundry to dry when it wasn’t raining, using up leftovers, mending, cooking and baking at home. Youngest daughter and our resident missionary for the summer Patti returned from their approx 2 week trip. I am happy to have them back. I am not an empty nester kind of person, so I spent some extra time at work just to be around people. The evenings were the worst as my husband usually goes back down to his shop to work so I sometimes went over to my oldest girl’s and helped her or over to sister in law’s and helped her around the house. Some evenings I just took my book and walked down to my husband’s shop and sat and read. I could feel him roll his eyes at me 🙂

    We have harvested cucumbers, zucchini, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, kohlrabi, lettuces, kale, chard, edible pod peas, mild and hot peppers, basil, parsley, dill, oregano, mint, cilantro, beets, raspberries, rhubarb, cabbage, radishes over the last 2 weeks. The cucumber harvest was earlier than usual for us so we had to do our big pickling day last week. We canned sweet gerkhins, hamburger dills, kosher dills, bread and butter and pickle relish. I made 7 half pints of raspberry freezer jam so far. We finished the beets…a few weeks ago we pickled the thinnings as whole beets and then later pickled the rest as sliced. I also diced some for the freezer. I froze raspberries on trays and then put them into pint freezer bags.

    Some out of town relatives stayed around longer after the reunion weekend 7-1 to 7-3 so that was nice. We didn’t have to cook much that week as we used up leftover food…meat, buns, chips, relishes, salads and desserts. Some of the things I did cook were a blueberry buckle, cherry kuchen, white bread, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Husband grilled fish and vegetables several times. We tried out one of his Father’s day presents…a rack that holds stuffed popper peppers for cooking on the grill. He liked that. We used jalapenos, poblano and banana peppers. We’ve tried a couple different recipes…cream cheese, cheese and onions and cornbread batter and cheese are two of them. The girls played around with it one night and put pointy ice cream cones in it with chocolate and marshmallows. Also made cold potato salad (American), vegetable stir fry with choice of broiled tofu or beef, bok choi ramen salad, cold pasta salad with chopped vegetables, hard boiled egg slices and cheese cubes, tuna salad sandwich filling, egg salad sandwich filling.

    Our deck building is moving along. My husband said it should be ready in time for my birthday. (He is building it himself with help as needed from various cousins (of mine), brothers/brothers in law (of his) and our oldest son.)

    This past Friday and Saturday we (husband, self, mother, youngest daughter) went over to younger son’s house (about 1 1/2 hours away) to do some work…cleaning, some painting and do some demolition in the downstairs bathroom. They are took out the tub and put in a roll in shower with wheelchair access. It is the house he and his sister lived in while at college there, they roomed with the couple that are friends of my parents. We don’t do dorms for our children. He has continued to live there through graduate school and now work. He met his special friend Christy at church and she is an RN and does home health care. Her dad is a plumber and he helped with the work. Hilda and Paul are still in pretty good health but at a certain point it gets to hard to climb in and out of tubs. Christy is helping them with some needs. They are like extra grandparents to my children. I brought food along for the 2 days lunches…sandwich materials etc and desserts and snacks and Markus took care of dinner Friday night with a grill out and he cooked breakfast Saturday.

  55. Susan, Plum Butter is one of my husband’s favorites 🙂 I make it whenever we can get some plums. I also make a Spiced Plum Pie (let me know if you would like the recipe). With the scraps (good parts, not bad) I placed them in a quart sized canning jar and added some White Vinegar. The Plum Vinegar has been ‘steeping’ since the 4th and smells amazing! I use this for salads 🙂

  56. It’s actually not fixed yet, but I managed to cook in it anyway, although it took longer than usual. Hopefully, he will mend it this today so that I can cook outside and not need to turn on the oven. I want to cook a bunch in it this week.

  57. That pasta salad looks delicious! A friend gave us a zucchini plant a few weeks ago and we planted it in a large pot. It’s actually growing well and we have our first ever homegrown zucchini growing. We also visited family this past weekend and my MIL sent us home with loads of free food.

  58. Made yogurt in the crockpot.

    Gave my husband a haircut.

    Made pinto beans in the crockpot. Ate some for our dinner this week and froze the rest.

    Made a large batch of brown rice to go with our pinto beans.

    Harvested lots of basil! I used some fresh and froze lots of it.

    We picked and ate our first two cherry tomatoes! They were delicious 🙂

    A co-worker gave me more Swiss chard from her garden. She is a wonderful gardener but didn’t know what Swiss chard was until she was given some seeds last year and planted them. She thought it was lettuce and used it as such. Then she brought it in to work last summer to share and I told her what it was. She says she will always grow it because it’s delicious and so easy to grow.

    I made liquid laundry soap.

  59. Hi everyone! Brandy, your dining room table with the framed pictures looks very regal 🙂 Your kids are growing so fast. Thanks for sharing their pictures with all of us.
    My frugal accomplishments are as follows:
    I made my 25 yr old son his favorite cake for his birthday-Funfetti!
    I took home all of the leftover crawfish from his house after his birthday get together because no one else wanted them. We had 3 dinners from those as well as 1 lunch my husband to take to work.
    We ate all of our meals at home this week except for 1 lunch for me because I forgot mine at home.
    I borrowed a book from my mom and another one from my friend at work.
    I made my mom a 2nd dress because the 1st one fit her perfectly. I love sewing for her. She was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it is progressing very quickly, despite the medication she was given. She’s the one who taught me to sew so I’m paying it forward right back to her. I’m so grateful for the skills she taught me, a skill I love so much.I will be driving to visit her this coming Sunday.
    We cut our own lawn as we do every week.
    I planted a few more green bean seeds as the ones I planted last week didn’t all sprout.
    I watered plants every day that it didn’t rain from water stored in my rain barrels.

    I hope everyone has a good and frugal week 🙂

  60. Our air conditioner stopped working last Thursday. A relative checked the freon but it was full so we had to call a repairman. Fortunately, it was a small repair instead of an expensive part or having to replace the whole unit. We really lucked out! The cost of the service call and part, along with some extra cash for dining out while it was not working, has put a crimp in our cash flow. To help rectify this situation, I started a “no/low spend week beginning Monday night. (I picked up some vegetables and groceries Monday along with our prescriptions.)

    Today, I also accepted a job offer. It is a (very) part time position and it is low wage but it will help us with our second largest bill (car payment) each month. I have been looking for work for over a year and a half with no luck.

  61. Holly, you comment about your former colleague has stuck with me for days. I really bothers me to know there are people struggling to survive on little to no food in a country that has such abundance! I hope she was able to get some help. Her story makes my heart break!:(

  62. I just might have to put Provins, France on my bucket list of places to visit! Thanks for the info, ElisaB.

  63. I finished crocheting an afghan made with yarn my grandmother gave me more than 20 years ago. I did buy one additional color of yarn for about $3.

    I ate salad that came home from a luncheon at work – for three dinners, adding a sliced hardboiled egg and shredded cheese. I also ate pulled pork for dinner that was a leftover from work and was in the freezer for about a month.

    I baked cheesecake brownies and chocolate chip cookies for church related events using pantry items. (I’ve almost used up the 10 brownie mixes for $10 I bought about a year ago.)

    I tried a new banana bread recipe from the Weight Watchers cookbook. It used whole wheat flour, 6 small bananas and 1/4 c. of applesauce, but less oil and sugar. I really like the outcome. I often have too ripe bananas since I am the only eater of bananas in my household, so my freezer usually has quite a supply.

    I enjoyed 2 free plays performed by Montana Shakespeare in the Parks – McBeth and a George Bernanrd Shaw comedy.

  64. Mrs., this is the 2nd time in 2 days I heard the term food forest. Is this a new name for garden?

  65. Kandace, on most recipes I use for fruit crisps it is written in “double the topping amount”. If I halved it no one would be happy.

  66. Also, enjoy the Agatha Christie books. I’ve read them all. Does the autobiography have a list of all her books? Are you going to divide them out between the different sleuths? i.e. Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence, Hercule Poirot, Inspector Battle? Some of them do criss cross. About 3 years ago I decided to re-read them. I am using FictFact to keep track.

  67. Rhonda,
    Thank you for providing the 2 links: the cake looks fantastic– I plan to make it for tonight’s supper, and the rag dolls are so darling! They are going on my Christmas craft list for this year.
    Cat in NC

  68. When you freeze your basil, do you cut/shred it, or leave as is? I’ve dried basil, but never have frozen it.

  69. have you tried dollar store brand of noxzema for cleaner. I use either olive oil or safflower oil for moisturizer. My stepmom used vaseline at night before she showered.

  70. Sharon,
    We would love the Spice Plum Pie recipe. I suppose you could share it with all of us, or my e-mail is ablolson(at)att(dot)net.
    Thank you for the other ideas as well.

  71. I love hearing about the children and their activities. This is something that is not as popular where I live. I always thought it was such a wholesome activity. I drove out to see my dad and had a lovely visit. We talk about history and other stuff that usually is not of interest to anyone else. I watched several short series he recommended and enjoyed them tremendously. I do wish we had started these conversations so many more years ago. My frugal fail for the week was driving into the city twice. The gas used comes to an extra tank but thankfully I did not have to pay parking. I stopped and picked up Indian food for my daughter and I and we had a lovely visit. I have always enjoyed my children and now that they are young adults they are twice as amazing. I recently bought a Groupon to purchase two of my favorite magazines. I was saddened to find that they immediately sent me the last three issues. These are issues I purchased as soon as they had come out. The subscription only has 6 issues so I received half of it at one time. I called them and told them how sad I was and they have made an adjustment to my account. This seems to happen often to me. While in the city I stopped at my favorite thrift store. I found a double holiday issue of Cooks Illustrated for 15 cents. I wish I had more time to search in the stacks for other back issues. My visit in the city was productive. I visited with a new surgeon and had a MRI done .My last car wreck left me with substantial damage. I need three surgeries. I hope to one day have much less pain. It has been a long hard year. Now I can make some plans. They aren’t what I had hoped for but the answers bring me relief. Disability at 50 will be tough but being frugal makes it manageable. We continue to cook from our stockpile. I hang out all my laundry. I continue to clear a 3X3 section in the yard each day. It is a good thing my lot is only a quarter acre.

  72. I’m so glad you were home to “rescue” your family when the van broke down. Having spent the first 18 years of my life in Phoenix, I know that breaking down in the desert is no laughing matter.

    I’m also glad your son was able to fully cover his camp costs by selling camp cards. I think kids appreciate camp more when they have to work for it. 🙂

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate at home all but two times.

    * Kept our AC set for 80F and opened up whenever we could.

    * Son volunteered at our church’s VBS and received a free T-shirt and free lunches each day (plus he had a great time!).

    * Made more grape jelly, and when we went to “redo” the original batch we discovered that it was actually starting to jell after all. Yay!

    * Hubs made a Dutch oven apple pie with apples from our tree.

    * Our dog got “skunked,” so I cleaned her up using an anti-stink solution/recipe recommended by our former vet. (1 qt. hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 C baking soda, and a squirt of dish detergent. Mix well and apply to the affected area within half an hour of being sprayed. Rinse off with water.) My husband then bathed the dog with her regular shampoo. We’ve found this to work even better than any anti-stink solution we’ve ever purchased, and it’s much less expensive. I have heard that the peroxide will bleach out the fur of darker dogs, but ours is a golden retriever so she’s a blondie anyway so it’s not an issue for us.

    * Accepted produce scraps for our chickens.

    * Hubs trimmed our huge magnolia tree (at least what he could reach). He saved some of the larger branches for the scouts to use in their Knife and Ax Safety program, and the rest he chipped up for mulch.

    * I’ve been doing some cleaning out of things, and I was able to salvage some old school papers to use as scrap paper for lists/notes.

    * Paid bills online.

    * Saved used canning lids to tie to the fruit trees to discourage the birds/critters.

    That’s all I wrote down for last week. Hope everyone has a great week!

  73. We were able to save towards our emergency fund. We did this by not spending. Cooking at home. Making the minimum payment on everything, which is the opposite of what we were trying to do. But right now we decided an emergency fund is important.
    We had a lovely anniversary day, our 7th year together. We went to the grocery store and talked that day, a lot. It was nice. We saw an amazing deal on imported pasta from Italy. .50 a box! So we bought some for our pantry. It worked out perfect because we needed pasta. We also watched a beautiful sunset together. It reminded us of our wedding day.
    Found myself going back and rereading many of Brandy’s posts for recipes and frugal ideas. I appreciate everyones comments and ideas. Resisted urge to buy things for grandchildren used borrowed toys and books instead. They are just as happy. Went on nature hike with grandkids and enjoyed all the beautiful things in nature with them. Enjoyed a vacation Bible school production.
    I drove less than usual, trying to save on gas. Didn’t even try to bargain shop at thrift shops. Because I really am ok in the clothes department and so is hubby. Hubby is trying to finish building our little house so we can stop paying for the apartment. He is building it himself on his days off. I’ve helped where I can. Although I know very little about building a house. Hubby hooked up washer and dryer at the house so we don’t have to pay for laundromat anymore. We still need to put in the water heater. But clothes seemed to get clean in cold. I added vinegar to towels.
    So happy to have money left to put in emergency fund. Overwhelmed with everything one day, but listening to music and simply cleaning the apartment has a way to make me feel calm. Also, just going outside for a little bit and noticing nature is wonderful!

  74. Really love your photos.

    We bought 20 lbs. of cherries, as well as peaches and apricots on sale. The cherries were one dollar a pound which is a really good price for around here and the raccoons ate all our cherries on the tree this year.

    I made a peach and cherry clafoutis and froze some of the fruit for smoothies and future baking. You might like the recipe Brandy (if you don’t already use it) as it is made with inexpensive ingredients if you get your eggs on sale and use your own fruit:

    I dried the rest of the cherries and apricots to make dark chocolate and cherry granola bars and apricot oatmeal muffins. Pitting that many cherries took a while.

    I bought two pork roasts on sale and cut them up to make shish kebabs with onion, mushroom and zucchini – we had company. I made a marinade and froze about three meals’ worth of marinated leftover pork for future shish kebabs. I also made plenty of greek pasta salad and greek potatoes (sliced and baked with fresh lemon, garlic and oregano) so we’ve had leftovers.

    I picked raspberries, strawberries, a few wild strawberries, blueberries, peas and currants from the garden. All of them got eaten. I also picked gladioli and roses for the house. Our tomatoes are not ready yet, but we’ll have a lot when they are. I’m planting a lemon and a lime tree so hopefully they do well over the winter – they’ll need a bit of protection (Victoria BC). We also installed drip irrigation which has been a big help.

    We face-timed with our younger son who is overseas which has been a great free way to stay in touch. My older son packed lunches with reusable water bottles a hiking trip with a friend. His friend had originally suggested buying sandwiches. He was volunteering overseas for six months in some very poor countries and he has come back with a lot of enthusiasm for frugal/minimalist living.

  75. You’re welcome! My brother, who is a very picky eater, was up on the weekend. I still had a few cake pieces left, so I offered him one. He really liked the cake! As for the dolls, it’s easy to get creative with, once you’ve made your first. The girl who taught me has even used little straw hats from the craft store instead of the cloth bonnet. They are super cute!

  76. I cannot believe (as a figure of speech) that you’re harvesting tomatoes in that heat! I’m in S. FL where it’s far cooler, but our tomato season is over! I wonder if it’s the lack of humidity, but it’s amazing that your garden is still going.

  77. The autobiography does not, but I found a list by googling. I intend to just read straight through chronologically. I’ve read quite a few, but not all. Am already enjoying the 2nd book. I’m glad I decided to do this!

  78. I haven’t tried the Noxzema. I usually like the St. Ives in the tube, but always keep my eye out for sales, coupons and/or rebates.

  79. I would be happy to Susan! Here it is:

    Spiced Country Plum Pie

    Pastry for double crust pie:
    4 cups halved Italian prune plums, unpeeled (really you can use any firm plum)
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons quick cooking tapioca
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    2 teaspoons unsalted butter
    ¼-1/2 teaspoon coriander

    Roll out bottom pastry and fit into 9 inch pie plate. Do not trim. In large bowl, combine plums and lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine sugar, tapioca, cinnamon and coriander. Add sugar mixture to plums and let stand 15 minutes. Spoon plum mixture into pie shell, mounding slightly in the center. Melt butter and drizzle over filling. Roll out pastry top and prepare lattice top if desired. Trim and flute edges. Bake in 425F oven for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 375F and continue baking for 35 minutes or until pastry is golden. Let cool on rack and serve while still warm.

  80. If you have a Dollar Tree near you, ours carries 2 lb. boxes of pasta. Of course the selection is limited, mostly penne, but it works if you need pasta at 50 cents a pound. : )

  81. Susan O, would love your cake and bread recipe that you mentioned. Sounds tasty and my zucchini is coming on.

  82. My husband and I built our home together last summer. We live in a Morton building style shed with a 750 sq foot apartment in it. He has a construction business and needed the space. By adding living quarters, we were able to get out of our renting situation. It’s hard work building a house on your own. We had some help from family and friends, but it was mostly just us doing the work whenever we could find the time. It’s overwhelming, but you’ll be so glad you did it when it’s done. Saves a TON of money. Good Luck! 🙂

  83. Thank you for the idea of using FictFact! I’d never heard of this website and just signed up and joined! What a great idea for my reading. I’ve been using GoodReads, but I like this FictFact help too.

  84. You can order them online from dollar tree –they have spaghetti, thin spaghetti and Penne – but they aren’t 2 pound packages. They are 24 ounces which is only a pound and a half. They have free delivery to the nearest store if you order an entire case.

  85. Thank-you Jessica. We are going to live in a metal pole barn building also. I’m really looking forward to the money we will save when we are finally in it. It takes a lot longer to build than I thought it would. But we are saving a ton of money doing it ourselves. Family has helped us a bit too, but mostly it is my husband doing it on his days off with a bit of help from me.

  86. Huge accomplishment however, one negative I fail to mention is exhusband stole it all and had to start all over again at 40.

    Live and learn .

    Keep your money in your own name.

  87. Lilllanna Pickles,

    I was in two very bad auto accidents one in the year 2003 and one almost one year later to the date in 2004 both times the vehicle was totaled I know what you mean about recovery. I applied for disability after all of my ordeals and was turned down. So, I try to find work as I can and cut corners everywhere that I am able to.

    I am considering applying again now that I am older and have even more issues.

    I hope you have great success with your recovery, one thing I have learned is keep moving and looking towards the future it keeps things lighter and easier!

  88. I always enjoy reading everyone’s frugal hints. I’ve been frugal/cheap all my life. My girls used to tease me about it. Now that they are older and running their own households they appreciate the frugal ways. I have been on a pantry challenge since the first of the year. My pantry itself is in pretty good shape but my two freezers are still loaded. We planted very little garden this year, only enough to eat fresh. Last year was a bumper crop fruit year, this year very poor showing but that’s why I froze so much last year. I’m enjoying trying to use what I have now. The chickens and dog get anything that we don’t eat in a timely manner. I have an instapot even though it’s just the two of us. The wonderful meals out of inexpensive cuts of meat make it we’ll worth the purchase. My frugal hint is to really monitor the leftovers. One lonely chicken breast can make chicken salad for several sandwiches. A leftover pork chop, a bit of bacon chicken or sausage plus the dried up cheese and a little salsa or beans can make several burritos or enchiladas. A couple of ripe tomatoes and a pepper plus a little onion is the basis for salsa fresca. A couple of eggs plus leftover bits and dabs of veggies and cheese can make a wonderful omelet for any meal. Being frugal is more about using what you have than what you spend. Thank you Brandy for your blog. Even after a lifetime of penny pinching I still learn things!

  89. Janet (and Lilliana),

    My husband was turned down for SSDI. We went with a company called Allsup. Please check it out. It does not cost anything (unless you win and then it is a small percentage of retroactive award). They have lawyers that work for them that know exactly how to handle the cases. We won 🙂 Here is the link:

  90. Angela, the Lemon Zucchini Cake recipe is a new one to me this year. I found it here: . It looks so delicious on her post…it tastes even better! The only adjustments I made were using 1 cup of sugar instead of 1 1/4 and using less glaze.

    The Herbed Zucchini Cheese Bread is a recipe I took from a magazine many years ago and I don’t remember which one it was.
    2 C all-purpose flour
    2tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    2 Tbsp combination of your favorite fresh herbs, chopped (I usually use Rosemary, basil, lemon thyme, and oregano)
    2 Tbsp green onions or shallots, finely chopped
    1 C sharp cheddar cheese, grated
    2 eggs
    1/4 C olive oil
    1/2 C milk
    1 cup zucchini, shredded

    Combine dry ingredients, herbs, green onions, and cheese; stir to mix well. In a separate bowl, beat eggs lightly, add oil and milk, and mix well. Stir in zucchini. Add liquid ingredients with zucchini to flour mixture and stir just until ingredients are moistened; do not over-mix.
    Pour into a greased and floured 8 x 4″ loaf pan, and smooth top of batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes or until a tooth-pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let loaf stand for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.