International Rose Test Garden, Portland, Oregon

I harvested chives, basil, lemon verbena, and mint from the garden.

Boscobel, a David Austin Rose

My youngest son played with the large cardboard box that the paper towls came in all week. My teenager turned it into a rocket ship for him, and my youngest made “improvements” all week to it.

I searched online for a fix to a computer problem and we fixed it ourselves. It actually was a funny thing; the issue was that YouTube videos, while searchable, weren’t loading after we had a browser update. Our clock also wasn’t working despite various attempts at fixing it. We tried several different suggestions that I found online, and one was on fixing the clock. The clock was fixed, and then the videos worked again.

I polished a pair of shoes that I bought 5 years ago and have had repaired once (I’ve polished them multiple times over the years). They should last much longer.

Our housing tract does not have streetlights. Instead, all of the houses have been built with motion sensors that trigger garage lights that go on at dark and go off at dawn. Our motion sensor broke and was on all the time. My husband bought a new one and replaced it. We have LED bulbs in these lights to keep the cost down as they are on every night.

I figured out which child was pouring the soap into the dishwasher instead of measuring it. I went over measuring it with her again using the spoon from the jar I have, as pouring it from the box puts in about five times more than it needs (leaving undissolved soap filling up almost the whole section and soap on the dishes). Now we have less waste and no more dishes ending up with soap residue.

Now that my son is working at a grocery store, I learned where the clearance section for dry goods is. I found some giant candy eyes on clearance for $0.99. These are usually much more than this, and I thought I could have some fun with these this year for Halloween, as I have several recipes pinned that call for candy eyes.

My husband and I flew out of state to Portland to check out a used car we were considering purchasing (we ultimately decided, once we sat in it, that it was not the right car for us). I was seeing higher prices for return-flight tickets from two different airlines. I decided to see what prices I could get if I booked one-way tickets from each airline instead. I was able to get tickets for both of us for $120 there and back this way. We took only a personal item each and didn’t pay for carry-on bags, as we were just there for Friday and Saturday.

I compared hotels online and chose a less expensive option for the one night we were staying that also included breakfast.

We compared rental car companies. This time there were cars available at a regular rental company, and Turo was not the cheaper option. We just wanted the least expensive option available.

We turned this trip into something fun for us. The car was a couple of hours away from the airport, so we got to do a little sightseeing on the way there and back. We saw Multnomah Falls and the Portland Rose Garden, both of which were free to see.

We bought food at the grocery store for Saturday’s lunch and ate it in the park.

I read an e-book, The Art of French Kissing (a modern-day fictional story), from the library on the flights there and back. It was a fairly light, fun story, which suited my mood and worked well for the time I had to read.

We parked at the airport’s economy lot. It’s a little further than the parking garage, but there is a free shuttle that runs between the lot and the terminal.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Beautiful photos and you are gorgeous! I bought sandwich bread (we call it loaf bread here), grapes, hamburger meat, Gatorade, turkey sandwich meat, cheese, an onion, and dark green lettuce. Everything still going up but still cheaper than eating out, I think. I am just concentrating on healthy food. I will meed to buy carrots and apples next week, as I have enough for this week. I walked in my neighborhood. Lots of rain again and the air is still off. I also made red bean burgers, loosely using Brandy’s black bean burger recipe. I did not have any liquid smoke so left it out. I made a simple oven dish my college roommate taught me of shredded zucchini, shredded mild cheddar cheese, and beaten eggs. Fixed middle son, tomato soup, and grilled cheese sandwiches, because that is what he wanted. Gas has gone up, some places are over $3, but I have managed to get it for between $2.79 and $2.99.

  2. The 600 bricks we bought less than 2 weeks ago are being put into place thanks to the mild weather we’ve been having! First, we finished putting down the bricks by our fence that Hubs started last week. so you don’t think he’s doing all the work, here’s a photo of the little wagon I load up with 24 blocks, drag to the other end of the yard and then unload them close to where he’s working. used about 276 bricks for this! Then, on Saturday, we cleared out area that was too narrow to mow with another 260 of those bricks. Here’s the before and after: and and by dusk on Saturday: We only have 64 bricks of those 600 left! Hubs is checking Craigslist, Marketplace for more!! Lol!!

    I harvested the first of our tomatillos- about 22 pounds with plenty more on the vines. Used garlic, peppers and onions from our garden with them to make and can 14 pints of salsa verde for our pantry. and
    I was enthused so I harvested my potatoes. I got about 2-1/2 pounds rather than the 60-80 pounds I hoped for and many were barely bigger than my thumb! 🥴 But, we will eat them and we figured out some things we did wrong so next Spring we will try again!

    I quilted up the donation quilt that a client made (no charge)and am pleased with how it turned out. My seasonal allergies knocked me out for most of this past week so I let my daughter start on a queen size free motion quilting for a client of hers.
    While she did that I puttered and finally got the patriotic wall hanging constructed. Now I just need to quilt it up. I already found a scrap of batting that will fit. It will be a Christmas gift with no OOP cost.
    My daughter is just finishing the FMQing on that client quilt today, so, since I had time to kill, I found this online quilting tutorial and put together this baby quilt using only scraps. . I’ll piece together batting and backing so there,again,will be no OOP cost to have this gift finished and ready for a time I may need it!

    We have had 2 more quilts come in for our business so we will get those done this week!

    Heard about another friend having a baby in December so I saw a cute quilt on Pinterest and although they didn’t give measurements for cutting, after watching the free YouTube video, I sketched the pattern in scratch paper and figured it out. Here’s what I have made so far: It will have one more row below what is there so far to make it an even 48” square.
    I went to Kroger’s on Saturday and found these wraps ($5). I bought it and when I got home, in less than 15 minutes I made 5 more that were the same size using ingredients (same ones)that I had in the house already. So I made the equivalent of $25 worth in that 15 minutes. My ingredients had all been purchased on sale and I figure that each of the 5 probably cost me 55 cents! That savings can add up! Son was over and I had him and Hubs taste test the two versions. They were pleased with the homemade version, said it tasted fresher!

    Of the 16 goals I chose to try to complete by the end of the year, 2 have now been completed! Thanks, Brandy, for the motivation!!

    1. Hi. I am in Ohio and looking for someone who can piece together my Mom’s robes and some of grandpa’s shirts for my daughter. I have a cotton knitted blanket that was my Mom’s and was looking for a way to save the blanket and incorporate the clothing items into one sentimental blanket for my daughter. Her grandpa died last Nov and my Mom’s blanket started to unravel in spots. Would you be willing to email, take a look at pictures and see if this a project that you’d like to take on? Please let me know.
      Thank you.

  3. How absolutely wonderful that you were able to have a getaway with your husband. It must have been lovely to be in a climate that is such a contrast to the one you live in! And those roses – a tonic for the soul.

  4. Such lovely pictures! And I LOVE how much fun a child can have with cardboard boxes!
    For my frugal activities, I :
    *Accepted some viola books that were passed down to my husband but were too easy for him. I do not know how to play the viola—but my daughter has been offering to teach me for some time now, so I finally accepted and now I have a start on my viola music library. The books—plus a viola—were given to my husband by a mutual friend of ours whose wife just recently passed away unexpectedly. It brought cheer to our friend when he discovered my hubby was learning how to play the viola as an adult learner, as his wife had taken up viola at age 69! So now, her instrument and books are helping two other adults learn to play this lovely but often overlooked instrument.
    *I hiked every day with my teen daughter.
    *I accepted my brother’s old phone. My brother was being given a new to him phone by a friend.
    More things plus pictures on my blog here:
    Looking forward to reading what everyone is up to!
    -Susan M. from Chattanooga Tennessee

    1. Susan- I love that learned to play instruments as an adult! My daughter wants to teach me piano but I have resisted. Maybe I should give it a whirl.

      1. Definitely give it a try!!! Definitely take her up on her offer to teach you! I started playing the violin at age 53, and am now taking up viola at age 56. I have no prior music education, so am truly a beginner. I figure learning these new things should keep stretching my brain and keep it healthy as I age! 😁

  5. The pictures of roses are a delight and I enjoyed seeing a few pictures of you too!
    I flew back east using points, my total OOP was only $64 for round trip coast-to-coast. I am helping son and DIL pack and move. I’ve been working every hour of the day to sell the stuff they are not taking. I sent off books to SellBackYourBook and Ziffit, and books/CD’s/DVD’s and a broken phone to Decluttr. They all give you a quote for the items you send in and pay cash when they receive the shipment. It’s a good way to sell things fast. eBay is slower to sell, though 2 items have sold immediately.

    I’ve shopped at Aldi for the family.

    I’m doing my own remote work while I’m here, nice to earn a paycheck while traveling too.

    A friend offered her excess Asian pears, which I will pick when I get back.

    I’m looking forward to hearing from everyone, this move is stressful even though I’m just a helper!

    1. I don’t know if you’ve tried, or the area you’re in, but I had great luck selling on Facebook Marketplace when we were moving. I would only offer porch pickup (so I didn’t have to meet people), and accepted cash/Venmo. I just had people text me when they were pulling up and sat the item outside (with a jar if they were paying with cash). I didn’t offer multi-day holds unless I knew the person would definitely follow through. M

      Your kids are lucky to have your help! Best of luck!

  6. What a lovely trip! And such beautiful roses! I just finished making fermented pickles which are probably the last cucumbers this season from my garden. I use grape leaves and bay leaves to increase the crunch (which comes from the tannin), and garden dill. Also, if you are unfamiliar with Tahitian squash, it is similar to butternut, but grows much, much larger and is supposedly sweeter. I just harvested 6 giant ones for the first time and can’t wait to try them. A nursery owner from my area (San Diego county) found the seeds in Tahiti and you can buy them online. They can withstand high heat but take up a lot of space. I made soup this morning from frozen Costco rotisserie chicken broth and all the vegetables hibernating in my fridge. I took a good look at my spice and herb collection and have been much more liberal with using them to create different dishes using basically the same ingredients but coming up with new flavors. Thank you Brandy for your blog and to all of the contributors, thank you for your suggestions on saving money!

  7. What beautiful pictures! I’m totally jealous!

    Our weather warmed up again – sigh – but only to the high 80ies with evening lows in the mid-60ies so I was able to run the air conditioner a lot less than the last few months. The summer humidity is mostly gone and the temps are good for my garden where the peppers are losing leaves but are still producing and forming new peppers and replacement leaves are forming. The two new tomato plants that I bought a couple weeks ago are growing and flowering. I have them on my screen porch to keep the bugs away from them and still found 10 juvenile tomato horn worms yesterday and this today. I have no idea how they got on them but since the plants need to be put in bigger pots anyway, I’ll make sure that I trash all of the dirt in the pots they are currently in to prevent any eggs that might be in the soil from being moved to the new pot. I’ll keep them on the porch where they get about 7 hours of morning/afternoon sun. I’ll also be checking them a couple times a day to catch any new worms.

    I used $78 in gift cards from credit card points to pay for two-thirds of my Lowe’s purchase which included, among many things, 2 blueberry plants, 2 huge pots for growing them, and a soil amendment to get the correct pH level for them. I made sure to research the plants I need for this area and found two that require low chill hours.

    While running an errand, I bought gas for 15 cents less per gallon than the stations near my house. I made sure to buy at Circle K since I’m totally taking advantage of their Sip n Save subscription. I pay $6.47 every 30 days ($5.99 plus tax) to get a free soda, coffee, iced tea or frozen drink every 24 hours. I love Diet Pepsi and this is very cost effective for me.

    I shopped at a local thrift store that donates their funds to local charities. I bought two sweaters, one blouse, two pairs of sweat pants and 2 pairs of jeans for $23. The tops were all heavily perfumed as in I’m really happy I was never in the same room as the people who owned them, but washing them, soaking them in baking soda and water overnight and rewashing them with vinegar as the fabric softener got rid of the smell.

    I bought a few household items at the same store, including canning rings (25 cents) and a salad shooter ($2.50). I never realized how much I need a salad shooter! I shredded a pound of cheese in under 5 minutes and 6 Vidalia (sweet) onions in 14 minutes. I dehydrated most of the onions and got three cups. Because the onions were sliced so thin and so uniformly, it took only 3 hours in the dehydrator. I used some of the cheese and onions to make a tomato galette (puff pastry dough topped with caramelized onions topped with 1 cup cheddar cheese and ½ cup monterey jack cheese topped with cherry tomatoes mixed with basil and balsamic vinegar – so good!!!!)

    I also dehydrated parsley and basil from my garden and cut up and froze Autumn Bell and Cubanelle peppers. I’ll be using two of the bell peppers later this week for stuffed peppers if I follow the meal plan I created for this week. I already have the meat mixture in the freezer from when I made them a few weeks ago. I made overnight french toast in the slow cooker. I combined leftover cooked pork butt from when I made pork barbecue with an apple and sauerkraut and cooked that in the slow cooker until the apples were tender. It was nice to get 2 totally different meals from the same meat.

    I did a monthly grocery shop but had to really limit my purchases due to the unexpected expense of traveling to my sister’s funeral last month. I’m so happy I have a stocked pantry for times like this. I did notice that Aldi has no canned pumpkin and very little canned pumpkin pie mix so I bought a pumpkin for $2.49. It’s currently sitting on a table on my front porch but I plan to cook it sometime this month when we get a cool day. It won’t last all month outside in our weather. I also noticed that flour was limited to 2 bags per customer.

    I read/listened to 3 books using the library and Scribd. I have 235 books saved on Scribd so I need to get reading more.

    I’m seriously thinking about how much Halloween candy I’m going to buy this year. I marked my calendar to get 175-200 pieces based on the last couple years but candy prices, especially on the chocolate that most kids prefer, have gone up so much in the last 4-5 years and I don’t want to spend that much money. I’d rather buy more items for my pantry given the shortages we are already seeing. My son-in-law works at Target and gets an employee discount so I may talk to my daughter about having them pick up some for me or I may go to Ollie’s. I do enjoy seeing the kids in their costumes so I might just set a budget of $15, buy what I can for that price, and then turn off the porch lights when the candy is all gone. Has anyone else thought about this yet?

    I hope you all have a terrific week and save lots of money.

    1. I solved the Halloween problem by not buying chocolate bars. I buy bulk candy from Winco that includes Tootsie pops, Smarties, butterscotch, caramels, Tootsie Rolls, and other items. It is less per pound than any other candy that I have found. They also have a different brand of Peppermint Patties in the same-priced section.

      1. I buy Hershey’s mini chocolate bars in the bulk section at Winco. It’s a lot cheaper than buying them in bags. This topic makes me want to buy my Halloween candy today. Unfortunately, if I do this, there won’t be any left by Halloween…or even next week, LOL. I need to buy my candy 15 minutes before the door bell starts ringing!

      2. We don’t have the bulk candy in my area as far as I know but I’m going to look for these types of candies. I presume the peppermint patties are Palmer’s and those are really good. I like them more than York’s.

          1. I’m in South West Florida….two years ago Halloween night was so hot the kids couldn’t keep their costumes on, were asking for water, and all my chocolate melted. I’ve since had to rethink my Halloween candy game plan because of the heat. I tend to go big on Halloween and do themes. If that’s where you’re going with it, and you have a ton of trick or treaters consider looking to buy in bulk online with price comparisons. Walmart also has large bulk candy bags which can be very well priced.

            1. That’s a problem here for Easter candy. I do jelly beans now (and sometimes Sweetart chicks and bunnies) because of that in eggs and give chocolate rabbits inside. I know someone who froze chocolate candy for an egg hunt at church one year; the chocolate was not melted (she filled the eggs RIGHT before the hunt) but was just starting to melt. It’s tricky to have chocolate in hot climates.

              1. I now collect free children’s books throughout the year when I see them listed. I give these out instead of candy. The kids get a big kick out of picking out a book they want and it’s a cost (and diet) savings for me.

    2. Re: Salad shooter: I have used my ancient one to grate carrots for cake, followed by chopping walnuts with the same grating attachment.
      And I sliced/chopped cranberries with the other blade.

    3. Good info about salad shooter – thin pieces dry faster. Never thought of that. Should try to shred and dry carrots – i have a lot of those and they do not keep well.

  8. Brandy as always beautiful pictures. I am continuing to pick green beans from my garden. Still hanging clothes outside when the weather cooperates it’s been raining off and on the past few days. All meals are being made from home. This morning I cooked 2 pounds of burger for spaghetti tonight and the other pound is for Veggie soup I plan to make this week. I cooked up a pound of chicken breast in the same skillet cut in to small pieces to make a Emergency Prep Meal ( the recipe actually calls for canned chicken but I wanted to see how this taste and needed to use the chicken up) it calls for canned chicken, a pound of rice, broth (or bouillon cubes) and a can of Campbell Jazzy Jambalya soup which I got on sale for $1.25 a can. Then I took another pound of burger and cooked up hamburgers for cheeseburgers this week. I did all this in one skillet back to back using saved bacon grease. So I saved on time and energy by doing it all at one time and using one pan. Tomorrow I will put the vegetable soup in the crockpot, dinner will be the chicken meal and I will freeze the burgers till Thursdays dinner. And having a meal plan will avoid any temptations to buy fast food. We will hopefully be having a roof put on our house Thursday if it doesn’t rain so a easy meal plan works well for us. I am still sewing cloth TP by hand as I watch you tube videos during the day the cost of the paper TP we use has gone up $1.50 a 12 pack so the more I can use the cloth the less money we have to spend. I buy flannel pillowcases at the thrift store for 59 cents to make them, I’ve found that flannel sheets oddly are not as thick as the pillowcases are.

  9. We started our no spend year Friday and so far it’s going well. Lol. It’s only been four days. I’m keeping track of our grocery receipts so I don’t go over our grocery budget of $200.
    We ate all our meals at home last week. I love to eat out so this has been a challenge for me. But I want to break the habit and save the money to put against debt.
    My husband went to dillons and bought sale priced meats for our freezer. We got several packages of chicken drumsticks and chicken thighs for 88 cents a pound. We also got pork chops for 2.99 a pound. That’s not the best price but it’s better than what I’ve been seeing. We also figured out that milk and orange juice is cheaper at dillons than our usual store. I have a feeling that our shopping habits will evolve to be better over the next year.
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  10. I’ve sold a few costumes this last week. It has been so helpful.
    I’ve gotten my medicine with no out of pocket money. Everyone on Medicare needs to check and see if their medicines are “falling off” the list this year. *sigh* I am finding it hard to find out about mine. It is always such a pain to check things out. I wish they would use my kind of English. *laughing*
    I’ve been listening to 3 books while I sew. I paid for them with points and have listened to them 4 times. I will listen to them again. Good value for money.
    I have found some small turkeys for $1.28 a pound. This is the cheapest I’ve seen them in a month. I didn’t buy them…hoping they will come down in the next month. I probably should buy a few and be happy they aren’t $100.00 each.
    I want to thank the women who gave me suggestions for my business last week. I am going to make some little hats and see how that goes. Thank you again.
    Now I need to get back to sewing these last 2 costumes.
    Brandy, your photos. Wonderful.

    1. Becky, I spent 3 years working on the Part D program as a Medicate software contractor and even I think they could state things more clearly.

      My “Annual Notice of Changes” document from my insurer arrived in the mail yesterday and states, among other things, that the list of drugs covered by my plan in 2022 will be a available on the website on 10/15. I believe that is a government mandated date by which all insurers must post this information so check yours then as well as any other plans you are considering. You can also talk to the people at your state’s SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) office for more help understanding the changes and your options, including whether you qualify for additional help. Good luck!

      1. Thank you…I’m going to need it.
        I got something in the mail that said to ask my doctor if my meds were still going to be covered by my insurance. How the devil would they know? *laughing*
        Insurance should be able to tell me. Apparently that isn’t the way it works anymore.
        What a mess.
        How can you save money if you can’t get answers?
        Thanks again for your help.

        1. It does seem funny. Just when my husband and I think we have figured things with insurance out, it changes. We are meeting with an insurance broker after the 15th to go through coverage again. The insurance companies pay the broker; it makes no difference in our insurance costs. It helps to talk with someone in person, at least for us. Lately, we have been getting better prices on drugs by using GoodRx. We found that it pays us to use different pharmacies for different drugs, so we are not buying everything from the same pharmacy. For example, we were shocked to find that one drug was over $100 at one major retail pharmacy and $10 at another one–for the same drug. is where we found prices. A relative who is a primary care provider does keep what people’s insurance will cover in mind when prescribing. She will look up GoodRx on her phone while she is talking to the patient in the exam room. She does not know all the prices for drugs, but she does know that some drugs are expensive and some are less. She has also had staff help patients with applying for help from drug manufacturers to cover costs of drugs the patient cannot afford.

        2. Hi, Becky – I work for the SHIP program in our state.
          You can apply for assistance paying for your Part D premium (and getting discounted medications) with Social Security. The program is called Extra Help: — it’s based on income, and that is where you apply.
          There is also a Medicare Savings Program that you could apply for that would assist with your Part B premiums, deductibles and co-pays and you would apply for that with your state’s health and welfare department — again, based on income.
          You can’t apply for these things with your SHIP program — they would refer you to SSA and health & welfare — but you could contact them for help in choosing a plan … and better to know if you were able to qualify for assistance before calling them.
          Hope that helps!

  11. Your photographs are beautiful and offer an enjoyable look at your trip and the roses. Thank you! I haven’t posted for a while, but surely like reading your remarks, Brandy, and those of others. They are all helpful and I learn quite a bit here. We are presently a three person household. It’s just me, my husband, and our adult daughter who is currently living here while she works on a degree in English. She is hoping to become a technical writer. I’m learning to make better use of leftovers from the meals we cook. Sometimes there is some creativity going on to combine different things! We were able to reduce our electric bill a little in September. I’ve developed quite a habit of turning off lights not needed and we have raised our air conditioner temperature a few degrees. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with a temperate fall and that will boost our efforts. Our outdoor water has been turned off now, so we will be hopeful that the lawn will be able to come back in the spring. It is looking quite pathetic right now.

  12. Hi Brandy … welcome to my part of the world. I was just at the Rose Garden the week before as we had company visiting. It’s a lovely place and I was inspired by your pictures over the years to try and get some photos of the roses while testing the capabilities of my phone/camera. I’m glad you got out in the gorge … this is a good time; not so many people and the colors are just starting to turn. Your photos are lovely!

  13. I’ve been having fun using the free app Duolingo to practice French, Spanish, German, and Italian. Someday I hope to use the languages when I travel. I’d like to learn more languages but I am going to do this for now. I’ve been practicing the harp and piano for entertainment. Turning off lights. Cleaning for exercise. Cooking at home to save money. Nice pictures Brandy. I love your Beret! That is a nice picture!

  14. Such beautiful pictures! I lived in Portland for 40 years and I remember Multnomah Falls and the International Rose Test Garden very well! I was last at the rose garden about 40 years ago, during Rose Festival week, when Phil Donahue did a show there. I’m one of the people a producer grabbed to stand up and ask a question. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what I said! But Phil made me a star, LOL!

    Thanks to Nancy in eastern WA, who posted about this last week, I bought 15 lbs. of 80/20 ground beef for $2.29 lb. I expect this to be the lowest price. I made 69 meatballs and repackaged the rest of the meat for the freezer. I also reorganized my freezer.

    Our good dog is in her last days and we spent most of last week taking care of her and saying goodbye. She has been a wonderful and faithful friend for nearly 14 years. She probably has a few days left (we are not going to let her suffer). It’s a good thing I made all of those meatballs, because she has no interest in the pricey Rx dog food. Meatballs and bacon are about the only things this girl will eat!

    I made a jar of dry bread crumbs with the heels and scraps in my bread drawer.

    I finished rehabbing my strawberry bed and having it done has really improved my outlook on life! I replanted 68 strawberry plants and composted several hundred more. Not bad for an old lady with arthritis! I tried to pass on the excess plants via Buy Nothing, but none of the 3 people who responded came to pick them up. Unfortunately, this is pretty usual.

      1. Now she is off meatballs. She’s getting sirloin steak and gravy now, LOL. (I draw the line at ribeye). This morning, when she wouldn’t eat meatballs, my husband put some little pieces of steak on top and poured gravy over all. She picked out all of the meatballs and left them beside the dish. She’d licked all of the gravy off them! I’m so glad we’ve had this opportunity to take care of her.

        1. Maxine,
          My heart is with you, your husband, and your Very Good Girl. Ours is turning 11 and had a health scare two weeks ago, thankfully things calmed down but we’re reminded each time that we don’t know what’s next. Loving that you are making the most of these final days with your sweetie and the description of her setting the meatballs aside is a little grin. Thinking of you, sending cyber hugs of support.

        2. The night before we put our dog down we went DQ drive thru. She had 2 cheeseburgers and ice cream cone. We miss her so much. I am very sorry for your loss.

  15. Beautiful pictures. I’m glad you got to see some really cool places in Oregon. It must have been a delight to get away with your husband for a weekend too 💜
    I rescued a binder with new plastic protectors and plastic dividers from the trash. This is what I was looking for to use this coming year for project planning.
    I gave myself a hair cut and color.
    I was able to get my mom a bit of respite care with the mister taking my dad for a bit of a “play date” so she and I could go thrifting. We found gifts for family birthdays/holiday for about $5 a person.
    I finished some embroidery projects that were well started a whole ago and started reading a book for some free relaxation.
    The Mister fixed my dads vintage 3 speed bike for a third of the cost so my dad can continue to ride with a bike familiar to him.
    I hope everyone has a calm week.

  16. What a beautiful waterfall!

    Earned 10.50 Amazon gift card for Amazon shopper rewards for September

    Claimed a $5 Amazon gift card from Verizon rewards

    Used Redbox points for a free rental this weekend

    Made applesauce and dried apple rings(plus apple crisp). I still have a bunch of apples to use. I put them in the refrigerator to give me more time to use them.

    Made sure to freeze leftovers we were done with. I have 3 lunch size portions of zuppa tuscana in the freezer for a later date. I also froze the extra kale I had left.

    I had some heavy whipping cream leftover from making the soup, and my 14yo made butter with it.

    The 14yo also made banana bread with two very ripe bananas.

    Made sure to enter receipts on rebate apps to get points.

  17. Lovely pictures Brandy!! Thanks for sharing.
    I began racking the goal lost this week and to that end weeded our garden, put in stakes to label all the rows and beds, built trellises for the peas from tpoles and gardening wire we already had on hand. I pulled out the last of the banana pepper plants and we harvested about her 15 green bell peppers plus a few kale is and cubanelle peppers. I used the last of the fertilizer we had on hand to fertilize the garden rather than purchasing a 50 lb bag right now. We are expecting a few days of rain so it was a great time to put it out.
    I have a large amount of basil to harvest this week as well as mustard greens. The greens will produce more the more you harvest them.
    After cleaning up the garden a good bit I have discovered that I have a lot of space left to plant in. So I am researching what seeds I will
    Plant next.
    Our chestnut tree is in full harvest and our yard is covered in chestnuts which we are picking up, cleaning and selling to local folks who love chestnuts. Hooray for extra income!
    I bought several of what they call a bum mum since the plant is less than perfect. These are large in 10 inch pots and I pay $3/each, bring them home to plant, water and give some extra attention to and they recover beautifully. This is quite a savings over the big box store mums for $40/each.
    I bought a package of split chicken breasts for $0.88/lb and combined them with some spices, cannellini beans, broth, onions, garlic, a variety of peppers from the garden and a bit of cream to make a
    Large pot of white chicken chili. I fried some corn tortillas that needed to be used to serve with our soup. I made an applesauce cake using home canned applesauce and pantry ingredients we had on hand.
    We ate leftovers from the fridge to make sure we don’t have any food being wasted.
    Kroger had several digital coupons this week and I used them to stock us up on laundry detergent & softener as well as a few packs of chicken for $0.88/lb., grated cheeses, Mayo, coffee filters, cream soups, & 15 pounds of honey crisp apples on sale for $1.77/lb. aside from these few things we at from our pantry and freezer. This has been a blessing as our neighbor hurt her back and we have been able to send meals for her without any issue plus provide some items she was totally out of to save her a trip to the grocery store.
    Gas is still under $3/gallon here but I am using the economy feature on my car to make the gas go further.
    After trading in our car I called the bank to ensure that the payoff was received and that they are processing the refund in interest paid as we as the refund due for Gap insurance that was not used.
    I cleaned out my pantry and rotated stock to make sure that anything outdated is pulled out and the oldest items are used first.
    We cooked our first batch of crowder peas from the garden and they were fantastic.
    I am
    Considering buying a new vacuum since ours appears to have lost suction again. Does anyone have any recommendations on something quality that served there family well for years? I’d like to save money buy purchasing a quality machine that will last better over time.
    Hope everyone enjoys the week ahead!

    1. We have a Dyson which we are super happy with. It has the best suction of any vacuum I’ve ever owned, and it’s very light.

    2. We have a Nilfisk HEPA Vac that has lasted us over 25 years. It was expensive, but it’s been a trouper.

    3. Before buying a new vacuum, try taking the one you have apart and thoroughly clean it inside and out and wash all the filters. Doing this to my vacuum helped improve the suction tremendously.

    4. Mom’s Rainbow lasted for five decades until the motor burned out with just one repair. The cord had to be shortened a couple of inches after about 35 years. Pricey. But it was incredibly reliable.

    5. I have a Bissell and love it. It was not expensive and is really easy to get to and wash the filters. If you have pets who shed Bissell is fantastic to pick up shed hair. Sarah

  18. Fabulous pics Brandy-thank you for sharing. I too had a getaway with a friend. I got a decent deal on a hotel and we shared the cost. When we checked in they asked if we wanted the room serviced each day or $20 in food vouchers for the restaurant which we chose and used the first morning. For our other meals we brought or bought food and ate in the room or had picnics. I also enjoyed the pool and hot tub and walking along the lakeside path. The fall colours were just gorgeous and we were lucky enough to spot and watch a bear the last evening. Driving back today I literally almost ran into a herd of bighorn sheep running towards me on the other side of the road-I did slow down in case they veered into my path.

    I noticed there were a couple of RV’s parked, presumably for free, at the Walmart parking lot. In this case though they had a lovely view right on the waterfront that we had-but without the hotel cost!

    We also visited my friends daughter who lives there and has a large, organic garden in zone 5b. She gave me a large bin of fresh food which included-potatoes, tomatoes, butternut and red kurri squash, kohlrabi, green beans, eggplant, leeks, beets, brown and red onions, garlic, grapes, apples and peppers-such a generous gift of approx 20 lbs of fresh food. I will share some with my Mum as that is a lot for 2 people. Wishing everyone a great and frugal week.

  19. We are buying a whole butchered hog, so we needed to go through our freezer to make better use of our space. We found three large packages of chicken drumsticks that my husband bought on clearance that needed used. I put them in the crockpot to cook while I was at work – I got 9 cups of meat and 27 (!!) cups of broth from these. The freezer is better organized now, too. My son and husband had a Boy Scout activity this weekend, and I stayed home and watched the grand pups while they did their stuff and my daughter and SIL went to a wedding. My best friend came down, and we spent hours outdoors with the dogs, enjoying each other’s company for free. I made us Chicken Alfredo using some of the broth I froze – that fed me all day while the boys were gone and my friend enjoyed some for lunch with me. I made some delicious pumpkin applesauce bread – Google Downeast Maine Pumpkin bread for the recipe. I doubled the spices called for in the recipe and added some pumpkin pie spice and replaced the oil with applesauce that my mom received for free in a food box given to seniors. It made three loaves, so I took one to work to share. I cashed in my Fetch, Checkout 51, and Ibotta accounts to prepare for Christmas shopping. My Christmas Club check will come right when I head to a larger town for my check up on a chronic medical condition, so my husband and I make a day of it.

    1. I just googled that Maine pumpkin bread recipe (and added your suggestions) – I have all the ingredients needed so I will give it a try – sounds wonderful.

  20. I imagine knowing about the clearance section where your son works can only be a good thing! The photos are just lovely. Such beautiful roses and waterfalls. It sounds like a wonderful getaway for you and your husband. At a discount store, I found bags of both tri-color organic quinoa and organic lentils for $1/lb ($8.98 & $6.88 online), organic barley $1.50/28 oz ($3.99 online), a can of Amy’s organic soup .50 ($4.79 online!), and 6 packs of riced cauliflower for $4 ($13.99 online). Online, I learned about a cold and flu remedy, and had all the plants here, so gathered yarrow, goldenrod, wild rose hips and mint to dry and keep on hand for tea. I gathered muscadines, lettuce, eggplant, figs, hickory nuts, pears, peppers, a small tromboncino and two yellow squash. For business supplies, I bought just enough to take advantage of a $25 off $125 special. I used a $10 off $50 coupon at Tractor Supply. Some jobs were accomplished in my workshop, including creating a chalkboard from wood we had on hand. I added a free book from amazon prime to my Kindle, and enjoyed a free movie on prime. Happy October!

  21. Hello Everyone!
    Portland is such a beautiful city with the Rose Garden and nearby Multnomah Falls! 🌹 It looks like it was a wonderful getaway.

    I haven’t been an attentive gardener lately. It’s a lot of work and I feel a bit burned out. However, we’ve been harvesting tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, and patty pan squash. I have yet to harden off my fall veggie starts. It’s on my to-do list…

    My husband is attempting to fix a seasonal leak in the garage. When heavy rains come, water enters the garage. He dug up the dirt near the foundation, plugged the crack with cement and is waterproofing it with stuff leftover from our recent bathroom remodel. $0 OOP, but a lot of work! Hopefully this solves the rainy day problem.

    My daughter and I went through about 12 years of past Victoria Magazine recipes. We marked our favorites and tagged ones we want to try, Some of my best recipes have come from this source! Now we can easily find them which is a timesaver although I should compile them, somehow, into a recipe binder. This week I’ll make a tomato bisque (using garden grown tomatoes) and pistou for dinner from these recipes.

    My daughter fractured her wrist playing sports last week. Thankfully, insurance will cover the cost! I had to purchase a cast cover for her to shower without getting the splint wet. It’s $10 less expensive on Amazon than at our local CVS. Also, we discovered that an old fashioned ice bag keeps cold longer than the instant cold packs and is much less expensive. However, I forgot to replenish my instant cold pack supply in the car and discovered that when we needed it most. 😕

    I have also gained too much weight during Covid. I’m using My Fitness Pal to track calories and macros. I calculated my calorie target using the Harris-Benedict formula. My goal is to exercise 5x per week: 2 days weigh training , 2 days interval training, 1 day cardio-weight combo workout. All workouts are at home. The hard part is getting consistent again because Covid disrupted our routines!!

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

    1. I’ve always meant to do something similar with my Victoria magazines – I believe that I own every issue so it would be quite the task!

  22. We lived in Portland for five years, a beautiful and interesting city. Now, we’re in very warm So. Cal. but I do miss the greenness of the Northwest.

    Brandy, you look absolutely adorbs in that beret. You ought to frame that photo. I, too, love berets and have them in several colors. I hope it eventually gets cool enough around here for me to wear them. 😀

  23. I got chicken thighs and legs at Kroger for $.88 a pound. I needed it cut up raw to can some soups, so I cut as much as I could off the thighs and diced that getting 10 cups cubed. I put the bones and skins along with carrot, onion, okra ends in my water bath canner pot since it was larger than my big stock pot and made a huge pot of broth. After an hour I removed the bones and got all the chicken off them, getting about 4 cups, which I froze in two portions, then put bones back in and cooked down all day. I then canned 7 pints of Hearty Chicken Stew, 7 pints of White Bean Chicken Chili, and 7 quarts of Chicken Pot Pie Base. I filled 4 old Ragu jars with broth and froze it for later.
    ***I still had a package of legs so I ended up putting some seasoning on them and roasting them. I poured the juices into a container to freeze, took the meat off the bone and froze 4 meal portions of roasted chicken, and put all the bones in a bag and froze to make broth at a later date.
    ***I took the last of my tomatoes, about 10 larger ones, and cut them in half, tossed in olive oil and Italian seasonings and roasted them. I took the skins off and dehydrated them. I will crush them up and you can make paste or sauce with the dehydrated skins. I froze the roasted tomatoes in 3 bags for sauces later.
    ***I bought a large container of mushrooms and dehydrated 2 trays of them, and left some for use this week.
    *** I harvested okra, sunflower heads and seeds, tomatoes, and peppers.
    ***I noticed I have not been getting Kroger coupons mailed to me since we moved. I found I never changed my address online, so I hope I will start getting them again.
    ***I sold a baby quilt that I embroidered the name on. I am down to 6 left and have another order today.
    ***Last week I shared my dog got in my raised beds and tore it all up, killing all my starts. I ordered a netting online and it came. We put PVC pipe hoops on the bed and covered with the net. We have a stack of leftover stone pavers from our patio we are using to hold the net down. I reseeded today some turnips, carrots, radishes, beets, and spinach. I will add a plastic cover when it cools down near freezing.
    ***I went to garage sales and there were 4 community sales. I got a pretty dressy top, a blush colored sweater tunic, a nightstand, a fall wreath, a copper wall vase, free gift tissue and tags, mini clothespins I can use to make bunting with, earrings, a necklace, and. blue check table cloth.
    ***I brought muffins, biscuits, and venison sausage to Sunday school and took a rectangle basket and laid down the cloth, then used blue transferware plates and bowls to serve the sausage, muffins and biscuits. I took a blue transfware sugar bowl and put jelly in it, and butter in a cup. I used my real silver knife, fork, and spoon, to serve with. It turned out really nice.
    ***At one garage sale she had a whole border of orange coreopsis. We asked if we could deadhead some of the spent flowers for seed and she got a container for us to put them in. At another she had huge hydrangeas and my friend asked if we could get a cutting and the woman lopped off a huge branch that included 3 other branches. It was funny carrying a big ol’ section to the car. We divided it and I have rooted about 20 sections, some in water, and some in soil, to hopefully get some plants.
    ***Last week my husband opened a package of hot dogs and grilled 2. I didn’t eat any so the rest were in the refrigerator. I made corndogs, but used gluten free flour. I’ve never made them before, and they were very good. Normally the hot dogs would sit until I threw them away.
    ***I have been dye free since December 2019 when I had my hair bleached to match my gray, I had stopped dyed the previous April. This is a LOT of money saved. $120 every month, but I needed it touched up every two weeks, so used a spray root cover between.
    ***I cut husband’s hair.
    *** I watched Same Kind of Different As me on Netflix.
    ***Words of wisdom I gleaned about my mother in law that I implemented: Asked her to chop some food while I was cooking. *I asked her to scrub a muffin pan after I made muffins Sunday and the pan had a film. *I asked her to mop my bathroom after I scrubbed the rest of the room. *She ironed my husband’s buttondown. * She has been folding clothes out of the dryer.* She cannot stand dogs, and she goes to the mailbox every day. She has been giving the dog junk mail at the front door to deliver to us. ( we are wearing her down on dogs!) I have had a hard time asking her to do things, and I am listening to those who say she needs to feel useful- and she loves to clean, so it is a win- win!

    1. I hate cleaning muffin pans. How nice of her! Sounds like you are making good changes!

  24. Glad you were able to take a brief vacation with your husband! The rose pics are so lovely!

    My frugal week:
    – Cut my husband’s hair
    – Ate leftovers of my Super-Easy Alphabet Soup ( for three days (cold soup in a canning jar and an apple for a picnic lunch, hot soup and homemade cheese biscuits for dinner the next day, and a small bowl of soup plus a tuna salad on cheese biscuit sandwich for lunch the next day) Anyone who follows me on IG (@ApproachingFood) will have seen pics of these in my stories! I never throw out leftovers; I didn’t even know that some people did, until I was an adult.
    – made bean salad to use up some cans from my pantry. As we ate the salad over a few days, the proportion of vinaigrette to beans changed, so I did two things: used some of the vinaigrette for salad dressing for a green salad, and also just added another can of beans to the leftover bean salad to stretch it further. I love finding ways to avoid food waste!
    – Used up the last of the groceries that we had purchased on vacation (pasta, pre-shredded cheese, sliced ham) to made Mac and cheese with ham. I added in a can of peas from my pantry, and it was an easy, tasty frugal and balanced meal.
    – Made ‘green’ pancakes to use up some kale from my freezer. Doesn’t affect the taste, but adds nutrition. 
    – Found volunteer impatiens on my balcony. Free flowers? I love it!
    – my toddler also played with a cardboard box! She worked with her dad to turn it into a car, tracing shapes (fine motor skill practice), counting parts she had and how many more needed (numeracy, basic addition and subtraction), and just having fun. Educational toys don’t have to be expensive!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  25. I was gifted a grocery sack full of tomatoes. I canned 8 pints from it and I’m glad to have those on my pantry shelf. I wanted to make salsa, but would have had to buy onions and peppers. I decided that tomatoes would be okay and I can add fresh onions, peppers, cilantro when I want salsa. It should taste fresh!

  26. A different friend offered to pick up the top sirloin roasts on sale at $4.95 (reduced from $12.95 per pound). I tried one out (it was cut into steaks for me and it was delicious) so am buying a couple more to stock up with. I have been eating carrots (raw), apples, beets (roasted), sweet potatoes. I have been watching Victoria and it’s free. A friend picked up 70 crocus bulbs for me (costco). Not sure where I will plant them but
    I loved the few that did well this past spring. Safeway has the small cans of ham flakes and Vienna sausage on sale for 99 cents a can (usually at least $2). If someone is going to Safeway, I’ll stock up.

    No Frills has a great price on the President’s Choice frozen vegetables ($1.97 instead of $3.77, reduced price on apple cider, good price on grapes.

    I am trying to cut back on groceries but it would pay to stock the freezer with veggies.

  27. Brandy,

    Thanks so much for the lovely rose photos. I love David Austin roses. So beautiful! What a great trip you had.

  28. I’m so glad you got to come to Oregon! I love both of those places you visited, but I realized I haven’t been to the Rose Garden for years and years. It is so nice to see it looks so good this time of year. When I was first married, I worked near there and would take my lunch down there to eat it on occasion. Now I want to go! It’s about an hour from my home, but sounds like a good field trip for the kids while the fall weather holds. Too bad the car didn’t work out, but glad you got a nice trip with your hubby out of it. Years ago, when my husband and I had a house full of children, get-aways were few and far between. I remember one time when we did go, over-hearing one of the young kids saying to another something along the lines of: “It’s ok. They are just going on their honeymoon. They’ll come back.” So after that, we just said we were going on our honeymoon, and everyone was happy:)

    I started fall cleaning with the garage. It was a total disaster. It’s clean and organized now, after hours and hours of work. I like to keep a close eye on my food storage out there so things get used up, not wasted, and like to be able to find things so I don’t have to replace things I already own. Even more than that, I feel more at peace when things are clean and tidy.

    I cleaned out a couple of places outside–removed branches, weeds, spent garden plants, etc. I can’t possibly do it all at once so it was good to get started. I composted some it it myself and used the yard debris bin for things I don’t want around here, such as ivy clippings or very seedy weeds. I love using the service I’m already paying for when they haul that bin away so try to fill it as many weeks as I can.

    We’ve been spending time with our grandsons 2-3 times each week. One day, my husband did bubbles with the older one for a long time. They both had a ball. Pictures are on my blog: There are very few “toys” that are less expensive than bubbles, unless you count all the time they spent making noises at each other with their mouths:). I was amazed at how long that can go on….While cleaning the garage, I found an old rubber ball and Malcolm loved it so much he wouldn’t let go of it even to eat his meal in the high chair. I guess I know what to buy him for Christmas now…..He’s 15 months now, so this Christmas is going to be much more fun as he will enjoy it so much more. I’m already looking forward to it.

    The younger grandson is still only 3 months old, so he mostly lays there and smiles while we take turns holding him. I do give both of them baths almost every time they come over. It’s a small thing I can do to help lighten the load, and so much fun. We have a drawer full of diapers, purchased on sale, clothes for both boys from yard sales, and books and toys for them over here.

    I usually take the older one on walks. I even took him on a short one on a recent rainy day. He loved it. I’m using the stroller we used for his mother all those years ago. We’ve really gotten our money’s worth out of that stroller.

    I picked pole beans (green and purple), zucchini, Tromboncini zucchini, chives, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers and used them in meals. I canned diced and stewed tomatoes and Rob canned jalapeño jelly.

    I used lots of odds and ends from the freezers for meals this week and spent very little regular grocery money on the weekly menu plan. Instead, I am using money saved over the past few weeks to buy bulk food items from Azure Standard, Costco and a couple other places. I go over my garage pantry shelves a couple of times each year so they weren’t bad, but I found a few surprises, as always. (I could hardly walk through the rest of the garage, but at least that part wasn’t hard). I’m using those items in meals, and actually threw away a couple of things that absolutely no one is ever going to eat…I finally accepted it as I’ve moved them around the last couple of times I cleaned. I used a bag of potatoes up that was under something. There were a couple of rotten ones in there and the rest were going to rot soon, so I used about 5-6 pounds of potatoes up in a new Instant Pot potato soup recipe and potato salad.

    They finally let us into the library for the second time since Covid started. The other time was about 2 months ago. You had to have an appointment. I made one for the first hour of the first day I could and had a blast browsing for books. I hope it stays open this time. I checked out a book of Instant Pot recipes and hope to try a couple more. The potato soup was great, so here’s hoping.

  29. Very lovely photos Brandy. What sort of car are you looking for?

    Our week was good, the children are now back at school. During their holidays I took them to the opera, camping, a puppet show and putt putt golf. All activities, except the camping, were free or minimal cost subsidised by our local county (council). I’m grateful for their holiday programs for children of all ages and will sign up for any suitable Christmas holiday activities once they are released.

    I’ve finished all my Christmas present shopping. $300 spent for 24 people. I will wrap it all and write out cards and tags in the first week of December. I’m not sure what our Christmas lunch with all the family will be like as grocery prices have gotten quite high and there are shortages or products just unavailable. We host each year so I may have to be flexible with the menu.

    All washing was line dried, vegetable scraps dug into the garden, electricity use kept to a minimum, food cooked from scratch and car use minimised by biking (an getting an extra day to work from home approved).

    My work contract finished and two days later I received a call asking me back. So I didn’t have to go back to my permanent job and will continue to get an additional 17.5% more pay until early 2022. This is a blessing.

    We are enjoying tomatoes and lemons from the garden. We are eating lots of fruit and making smoothies and ice blocks as the weather gets even warmer.

  30. The roses are so pretty! I found a marigold plant that seeded itself from last year. The first time this has happened for me and I was excited to see it. Last week my family:
    * Made a new simple “soup”. I took a Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken and made chicken broth. Another meal we had left over brown rice. My son got the idea at lunch to heat up some mix veggies and add left over rice with some chicken broth. My kids loved it!
    * Dehydrated green peppers
    * Went to the Peddler’s Mall (a place with a bunch of vendors booths) and purchased notebooks and fiction books for the kids schooling
    *My oldest took it upon himself to weed our 4×4 garden patch. I was very thankful!

  31. What lovely photos! Thank you for sharing the beauty you found on your excursion.
    The foster kittens we have been caring for for the past 6 weeks will go to the Humane Society this week. Will be bittersweet for all of us but we are glad we have been able to do it and not feel compelled to keep all of them (as we have done in the past when we have found 1 at a time.) I am creating a foster kitten kit with the supplies we will have left over (most supplied by the HS) so, when this happens again, we will be ready and can avoid a trip to the store for formula, etc.
    We finished building a second wood shed with nearly all reclaimed and bartered-for materials. Now, all of the firewood we will need for this winter is under cover, dry, and near the house so we are ready. A very good feeling and one which costs nothing but time.
    Made a triple batch of laundry soap and cut my oldest son’s hair.
    Selling a few items on FB marketplace helps to clear out things we are not using and provide funds for homeschool materials for my boys.
    Found pork butts for 99 cents/pound last week and bought the limit of 2. My husband is an expert at making pork barbeque (a Southern treat) and we share it with neighbors when he smokes one. He has learned how to use our charcoal grill as a smoker. Takes about 14 hours to finish but it is so delicious, it is worth the wait and he enjoys it. Frugal when you consider what it costs to go out to eat.
    Food prices are up a bit here but sales are still good. Planning meals around that and what we have produced and stored up already. Gas is $2.95 – $2.99 and we combine trips, as always.
    Thanks to all for sharing their suggestions and ideas!

    1. Hi. I think that you were the person who wrote about honey several weeks back. I just wanted to thank you for your knowledge on the subject.
      It really changed the way my husband and I think about honey purchases. After reading what you wrote I did some additional research on my own. I couldn’t believe how much honey in the US has corn syrup added to it. And the fact that you don’t know what pesticides might be in imported honey. So the first thing we did was go a purchase a quart of honey from a local producer. It might be pricier but it is one of those items that are worth it. Plus we are trying to cut down on all sweets just a little.

      1. I am not an expert on this, but I’ve read (many times) that local honey is healthier for you than one that comes from far away. It can help combat allergies that are local to your area. I also think it is a good idea to support local small businesses.

        Also, I read in an old book that honey is the best thing for a burn. Just slather it on. My husband is an amputee and gets pressure sores on his residual limb. Often, they will not heal without professional help (wound clinic at the hospital). Recently, they gave him a cream that contains HONEY. The wound had been open for nearly 3 months and it closed up in 7-10 days. I wonder….

        Honey might be a frugal medical miracle.

        1. There is a kind of honey called manuka that has a higher antibiotic factor and is especially good for wound healing. Ann

        2. You are correct on all counts. Glad you have discovered the wonders and benefits of good quality honey. 🙂

  32. I love that your kids play with cardboard boxes! Mine (10 & 12) still claim big boxes that come into the house for “projects.” They have made little houses, different vehicles, and lots of other things over years!

    My biggest savings last week was on a dental bill. The office called to confirm an appointment for my husband and said that I had a balance of $380! I was perplexed since I had not been there since May, paid my portion when I was there, and never received a bill in the mail. I dug deeper with the insurance company and went back and forth the office manager. Turns out the office thought they were in network as did we but the insurance company changed some things without any notice. Long story, but I was able to get my portion down to $138. So if you get a bill from a doctor that doesn’t feel right dig deeper! If I had only spoken to the first person at the office and taken her word I would have had to pay the $380. And I cancelled my husband’s appointment so he wasn’t going to a dentist out of network!

    I had some berries that slipped to the back of the freezer and were freezer burnt. My kids didn’t want them in smoothies so I made jam with them and it tastes fine!

    We make coffee in a smaller sized percolator. It’s supposed to be 6 cups but really its 1.75 mugs. We were brewing 2 pots a day. I changed to a smaller mug so we are only brewing 1 pot a day. Less caffeine and less cost!

    I live in the midwest so it gets cold! I went through my family’s winter gear to see what we needed for this season. I needed a new knit headband (I wear these instead of hats most of the time). They are usually $10-20. I was at the dollar tree for something else and they had knit headbands so I bought one. It’s as nice as the last one I paid $15 for!

    Have a great week everyone!!

    1. The cardboard boxed bring back memories of a birthday party for our son when he was about 8. My husband was in college full time and we had zero income. I saved all the different boxes and cartons, toilet paper tubes, etc (which normally would have gone in the recycling). We had a “make a creation” party and all of the boys made whatever their imagination came up with. We gave a small prize to each one-most original, biggest, funniest, etc. The kitchen was a mess, but the boys had such fun and it didn’t cost us anything at all.

  33. I was able to get a second quote on my termite issue from a local pest control company based on the recommendation of my realtor neighbor. They were 40% cheaper, with a much longer warranty and the annual inspection cost was half of the cost of Orkin. I had the home treated and he found two other spots were there were active termites, I feel so much better knowing this has been done.
    I started placing a bucket in my shower (a well known tip from Brandy) and collecting warm up water that I then pour into the small pool that we have. We have had very little rain in the part of Texas where I live and I am having to add water weekly. I estimate I am getting 2 galloons each morning.
    I sat down this past weekend and did my very first month long menu plan. Because of all the large expenses that are occurring, I want to lessen the impulse to go out to eat or drive thru. I also meal prepped breakfast for the week for me to take to work and made a freezer meal for next week as we are traveling out of town this weekend and I want to be able to pull something out of the freezer when we return.
    My oldest daughter needs new athletic shoes. Instead of shopping in store, I went on FB Marketplace and gave her several options of new tennis shoes listed there in her size and she picked a pair. I paid $21.65 with tax and free shipping, anywhere from one-third to one-half the cost of them new in store. She is very independent and can tie her shoe laces, however she is also very petite and shoes in her size are mostly Velcro. This was a big win!
    I hung my girls twin size sheet sets to dry in the house versus using the dryer to save energy. It was looking stormy and rain was predicted so I didn’t want to risk hanging them outside. I plan on doing this going forward as it was very easy!
    I listed a few items for sale on Facebook and made $80.
    Thanks to posts I follow on Instagram and YouTube vlogs, I was able to get the following items for free this week combining sales, coupons and Ibotta rebates and bonuses: a large box of Cheerios, tons of mouthwash, paper towels, mascara, toothpaste, deodorant, dressing, BBQ sauce, plant based “chicken” nuggets, concealer, butter, chili mac individual serving cup, tortilla chips, liners, mac n cheese, Unisom, hot dogs, string cheese, individual oatmeal cup, protein bar and a sparkling water drink. I also got 20 bags of Hershey’s candy for $.20/bag or a total of $4!! I am sending five bags to my sister, both my girls schools are requesting candy and the rest will go for trick or treaters. It was a great couponing week!

    1. Which Instagram accounts and Vlogs do you follow that gave you all the information about coupons? Thanks.

      1. I love Star – her Insta is couponwithstar and she also has a youtube channel which she break everything down. She mostly shows deals for CVS, Walgreens and Walmart. I also like OhioValleyCouponer on You Tube because he does deals for Kroger, Target and Walmart and posts frequently. Make sure you are signed up for Ibotta, if you aren’t I would love for you to use my referral code: jnmuxvs. We both get $10 after you submit your first rebate.

  34. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos of your getaway to Portland. And I can just imagine your son in his rocket ship all week!
    *This week I made ketchup and some roasted tomato sauce from 30 pounds of tomatoes I picked from my sister’s garden. I picked a few more yesterday and will make roasted tomato soup.
    *I’ve made two double batches of chocolate zucchini bread. It’s good and uses applesauce as part of the oil. I’ll make a few more batches to use the zucchini we have and keep them in the freezer.
    *I was able to take dinner to a sick neighbor and her family using items in my pantry.
    *We were invited to a potluck stargazing party at friends who live a little in the canyon, about 15 miles away. The husband had made a huge telescope and we were able to view Jupiter and the four moons, Saturn, some of the Andromeda nebula and other features. It was truly awesome to view the grandeur of the universe!
    *We hiked in the gorgeous autumn leaves
    *I fixed problems with two knitting projects that kept me from moving forward…. Now I can work toward finishing them.
    *I bought 25 pounds of whole wheat flour at a scratch and dent store for $4.99. It’s almost to its sell by date, but I think we will use it over the winter in our bread.
    *Brandy, based on your post about goals, I put together my list for October and am focusing on getting several things done in the next few weeks. Thanks for the inspiration.
    *The weather has been moderate enough that I we haven’t had to turn on the AC for almost the entire month. A sweater in the morning keeps me warm enough until the house warms up naturally.
    * I got my quarterly credit card rebate for usage. It came to just under $80. Bonus money for my savings account!
    I hope everyone has a wonderful, peaceful week.

  35. How wonderful that you and your husband had a little getaway — though I’m sorry the car didn’t work out.
    This week we purchased a yard of enriched garden soil from a local dealer to top off all our raised garden beds, which have settled over the years. This is a garden mix which has all the compost and other nutrients we need for our area, so I expect it will help production in my garden next year.
    I made homemade bread and used leftover whey from making yogurt. I did some mending.
    We are still enjoying green beans, lettuce, and chard from the garden. I pulled the tomato plants and have lots of tomatoes ripening inside. I also harvested all our carrots – I ended up with about 2 lbs that were left. I planted garlic for next year.
    I have decided I don’t need to go to the grocery store in October – except for a trip to Costco which is already planned for mid-month. I will set aside the money I save to pay for the beef we have agreed to purchase from a local rancher in early December.
    A package we ordered came cushioned with a bunch of crumpled brown paper. I ironed the paper and saved it on a roll. I use this for so many things – making patterns for sewing and crafts, wrapping packages, even draining fried foods instead of paper towels.
    I purchased some materials to make some Christmas gifts at Joann’s. Everything was a doorbuster sale, so I saved a lot of money. I had been waiting for these items to go on sale.
    I sewed a top from a remnant I bought this summer. As I recall, the fabric was 75 cents.

    1. I save packaging paper, too, for similar reasons as well as for wrapping gifts. I do not, however, iron it. My hat’s off to you!

      1. I “dress up ” my brown wrapping paper baby lightly running an ink pad over it. This highlites the wrinkles an makes it look like suede.

  36. This won’t help anyone out for this Halloween, and won’t help out if you don’t have children who are young enough to trick or treat, but I wanted to share how I’ve saved on Halloween candy the last 10 years or so. After my kids trick or treat, we let them keep 10 pieces of candy, plus all of any other items that aren’t strictly candy (toys, packaged snacks, etc). Whatever is leftover we put in plastic containers and stick in the freezer until the next year to hand out to trick or treaters. We’ve tested it out a year later and the quality is fine, plus I wonder how much of it gets thrown out anyway by parents who don’t want their kids eating a bunch of sugar.

  37. How fun that you were able to enjoy a short trip to Portland. I lived there years ago. Multnomah Falls is beautiful.

    Last week was very busy, but I still had some frugal moments:
    – Altered a thrift store tablecloth to fit our table. It was oval, and I made it into a square. Pieced together the remnants from that and made two matching napkins.
    – Bought three work shirts at a different thrift store. My sister met me there and we had a nice visit.
    – Finished sewing the pants I was working on. They are comfortable and warm, but I think I am going to take in the legs a bit.
    – Read The Kitchen Front. Enjoyed it very much! I had been on the library waitlist for several months.
    – Used up various things in the fridge for several meals. Cooked from pantry and fridge and CSA farm share.
    – Completed part one of my big paperwork sorting and scanning project. Ended up with a large bag of paper to shred. Took the bag to Staples and had the contents shredded at a 20% discount. Our area no longer has free shredding events due to Covid.
    – An item I had purchased at Costco in September went on sale for $30 off. Took my receipt to the customer service desk, and they refunded me this amount.
    – Exercised outside and at home. Read blogs and library books. Watched streaming TV and YouTube.
    – Brought my lunch to work every day.
    – Made a large batch of tomato soup for the freezer. There were a lot of tomatoes in last week’s farm share, and I was able to take a few extras too. Yum!

  38. Those pictures are all fabulous. Those falls!
    I loved playing with boxes and so did my kids. It’s hard to beat a big empty box for fun, and if you have a cat, you will get a lot of free entertainment out of watching the cat with an empty box.

    I froze some bananas this week to keep them from going bad. I’ll make banana bread.

    I’m using odds and ends out of the deep freezer, trying to empty it out some.

    I’m wearing an employer-provided top, thrifted slacks and a consignment sweater today (my work place is cool). Most of my wardrobe is thrifted or consignment.

    My husband’s insurance allows me to order OTC drugs at no charge, up to $25, which is less than some insurances offer, but better than nothing. I ordered several items I know we’ll use.

    I offered a $10 off coupon I got in the mail, to a store where I never shop, to someone who shops there.

    I made a gallon pitcher of Red Rooibos tea, which is actually an herb that tastes much like tea. It’s caffeine free, so I can drink it anytime. It’s good hot, but our favorite way to drink it is iced, because we are southerners after all :).

    I’ve been working on Swagbucks and Accelerant surveys to help pay for Christmas gifts.

    I wish everyone a good week!

    1. If you like that herbal tea, you may want to consider growing it! I am growing Roselle Hibiscus this year for the first time. It is open-pollinated, so I hope to save seeds to plant more each year!

      1. Hibiscus sabdiffera (or roselle) is a wonderful herb for blood pressure as well. 2 cups a day can lower your systolic pressure by 15 points. You can use the whole bud, but traditionally it’s just the calyx (the row of lower petals that is bright red) that is used.

  39. Looks like a great trip! How do you find childcare for your kids when you travel? I don’t have any family able to care for my kids, the oldest is only 10, and getting an overnight babysitter (or any babysitter at all) is $$$. It seems like families willing to trade babysitting disappear when you have more than a few kids. Someday they’ll be grown and gone, I suppose! I’m looking forward to when I feel comfortable leaving the 10 year old in charge of the others, but I’m not there quite yet. I guess a few of your children are grown, which makes sense.
    It was a great week in Houston. The rain watered the grass, which was great.
    I went to the salvage/returns store twice. On $5 day, I bought: 2.5# bags of cashew/almond/cranberry mix, recently expired 30 pack of individual Lay’s chip variety, deodorant 4 pack, and a 3# canister of Tim Horton coffee. Maybe this coffee is a Canadian thing? Never seen it before, but I’m not too picky, and it’s cheaper per pound than Aldi coffee. On $2 day, I bought: Target brand facewash, huge pack of the small Hostess donuts (expired), 12 pack of Whisps cheese crisps, 4# bag of quinoa, and a few other things I can’t remember.
    I found a missing library book (yay)! The library it belongs to is currently fee-free, but I still wanted to get it in ASAP.
    I used a giftcard from some clothing returns at Carter’s to buy a baby gift for an upcoming baby shower. Of course, it will be put into a re-used gift bag.
    The kids helped me clean the van. She’s a 2007 and not too pretty anymore, but still runs, and having a clean car feels better.
    I cut two boys’ hair.
    As always, I bought mark downs and loss leaders at the grocery store.
    The electric bill was a little lower from running the AC a little less.
    I cooked a turkey last week, and I froze the last of the leftovers. It gave us several meals, but it will be nice to eat something different for a bit.
    I used a tea bag twice.
    I sold a few things on Facebook Marketplace.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

    1. We don’t usually travel. We have three children at home who old enough to babysit now (two are older and moved out) and my parents live next door. It’s a new experience for us and while I doubt we’ll get to do it often, it sure was nice!

    2. Tim Horton’s is definitely a Canadian “thing” – it’s the home of the “double/double” – I prefer the regular to the dark roast. They do have outlets in some of your northern states and they have a few UK outlets now as well. Everyone know “Timbits” – I think you call them donut holes….

  40. Brandy, I grew up just south of Portland and your pictures felt like a big hug from the past this morning! Thank you so much for posting those!!

    1. I visited the rose garden several years ago and was astonished that the roses were as big as my hand. I still remember the weight, scent, and feel of the petals when I held one bloom, (without picking it, of course). They are the size of peonies.

  41. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Lovely to see photos of you wearing a hat and clothes for colder weather. You look fabulous. Beautiful roses too!
    We have been away on holiday to Northumberland, Scotland and Cumbria. I can’t claim it was frugal but there were several ways in which we reduced costs. We stayed with family and friends and hired a holiday cottage for a few days. We walked on lovely beaches and around lakes. We used our binoculars to bird watch and enjoyed the beautiful views from our cottage.
    I bought food to feed us at the cottage and we took our water bottles out with us. We used our National Trust membership to visit Cragside, an amazing house ( the first in the world to have electricity) with a lovely garden.
    The highlight of the holiday for me was swimming with a friend out to the centre of a Scottish loch and watching the steam train cross the viaduct as it does in the Harry Potter movies, on the way to Hogwarts. It was thrilling and cost nothing.
    Since we came home we’ve harvested lots of tomatoes which I’ve bottled and we gave some to friends. I gave a bunch of flowers from the garden to another friend and received two jars of homemade pickle from our sister in law.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. I do not even want to try to imagine swimming in a lake in Scotland. And I mean any time of year, and now?Brrrr. I am more than impressed by your fortitude!

      1. Hi Cara
        Open water swimming is becoming very popular in the UK and it’s exhilarating! My friend has swum the English Channel and is a swimming teacher so I knew I was safe with her. She swims every day of the year in Scotland!

  42. Brandy, you look so beautiful in your cream beret and scarf! And what a rose garden! I’ve heard of that one and am so happy to have gotten to see it through your camera.

    It was a good, if groggy, week. My 6 month old son is teething and up a good bit at night since what feels like forever, though only a few weeks. Time to save money by resisting take-out (we rarely do indulge anyway), planning meals a bit more, having kids help pick up a bit more, trying to keep the wheels on with my own routines. We’ve had lovely rain (I’ve thought so much of you, Brandy, and wished I could send you some!) and the spinach and tatsoi seedlings are gorgeous. I seeded a whole flat very heavily and then potted on the sprouted ones when they were an inch tall. My husband tried sowing them in cells, and for whatever reason, we have a lot more success if we sow in flats and then pot on. One lovely and silly problem, we planted marigold borders around the vegetable garden. It was tame and very sweet until the past month, when they got about 2 feet tall and dwarfed everything but the tallest tomatoes and sunflowers. I can’t stand to pull them up, but I need to get fall seedlings in, so I might put them in pots to enjoy easily until frost.

    I’m brushing up my sewing and mending skills. I mended my husband’s shirt and my skirt yesterday. I’m also trying to make better use of the clothes we have and be more organized about my bins, what’s in them and where they are. We have four boys 6 and under, so it feels like a lot of clothes, though it’s nothing compared with some families!

    I made French bread yesterday and have really been enjoying making a 15 minute preferment to stretch how much yeast I need to use and add a bit of chew. I liked this tutorial about it – It’s a nice blog in general with lots of wonderful book recommendations.

    I was wishing for a trench coat to use for my part-time teaching job. My mom brought two by and said she didn’t need them right now, and which one did I want? So nice to still be able to borrow from my mom’s closet!

    Wishing you all a beautiful week!

  43. Mari,
    We usually look for the mixed bags that don’t contain chocolate bars since they’re the cheapest. I also learned that many of the more expensive candies are not allergen friendly and many kids may not be able to eat them. I also usually started buying in August and spreading the cost out (when we had more treaters, lately we’ve had very few – most of the kids in our neighborhood are grown and we live on a busy street).

    Hope you find a solution for you!

    1. Thanks! I’m going to look at a couple stores for the non- chocolate candy. If any child complains, they don’t have to take it.

  44. What gorgeous photos Brandy – and you do look very chic in your beret! How nice for you and your husband to get away for a bit – hope you get to do it again soon.
    I paid all my bills online, saving on stamps, hung up the laundry to dry rather than using the dryer and washed out Ziploc bags to reuse (Wow! the price for these have almost doubled in the past month)!

    I bought some new flashlights for the winter and also stocked up on some extra batteries. I’m thinking of buying a one-burner Coleman camping stove to have as backup in case of any power outages and a couple of extra hot water bottles will also be purchased. People laugh at these old-fashioned things but one Winter Indigo was selling them with beautiful covers and I bought a stack as Christmas presents – everyone loved them – they do keep you lovely and warm when watching TV or doing crafts.

    It’s Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and turkey’s at my local No Frills have been in short supply – although Walmart seems to be OK so it’s probably just a delivery issue (and may be due to so many stores being stuck with large turkeys last year when no one wanted them). I’ve bought a few packs of turkey thighs and legs and put some away for Christmas. I won’t bother getting a turkey breast but have a couple of ham steaks that were on sale as additional meat. I also put a couple of those into the freezer for Christmas. I made a big pot of turkey noodle soup with a pack of turkey wings and I ate that for lunch all last week. I also bought a few bags of frozen brussels sprouts when they were on sale and one bag has gone away for Christmas (it’s one of those traditional things). I also bought a 5# bag of turnip (swede/rutabaga), peeled, chopped, boiled and mashed the lot and have one ziploc bag for this weekend and a couple put away for Christmas and whenever. It’s another one of those items that you see all the time – until you actually want it! It’s nice to know that a few things are already set for December.
    I also had some luck with nuts & seeds. I had gone for a drive in the country when my friend spotted a famous nut outlet (that I’d never heard of) but I got pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and 3 different kinds of peanuts = all at great prices. Then, a couple of days ago I was in my local drugstore and they had bags of walnuts on sale at half price. They are bb the end of November but if I don’t use them in time I’ll put them into the freezer. I’m going to check this same store tomorrow and see if there are any more available. My friend had checked at Costco for me but there were no walnuts and the almonds were the same price as I can get at a local store so didn’t bother.
    The only items on the shopping list for the rest of the month are butter, cheese, a bit of fresh fruit & veg and some Christmas items to put away. I tend to buy British imported items for certain treats and they were in short supply last year so I intend to buy now rather than wait. Otherwise, I aim to use up a lot of the bits & pieces in the freezer in order to make some more room. Last week I invited a friend for tacos and in return, she gave me some stuffed peppers that she had cooked. Half the taco mixture (and some refried beans) are now in the freezer so I’ll probably take out some late in the week and then again next week. I think I will make some carrot and red lentil soup this week – I try to vary things so this will make a bit of a change.

    I continue to walk for exercise, take my water bottle and snacks to the office and just stay out of shops in general – that is the best money saver!
    Have a great week everyone!

    1. I think the Coleman camping stove needs to be operated outdoors only. Carbon monoxide! If power goes out, there may be warming centers available for you.

      1. It’s fine to use indoors. Just leave a nearby window cracked a tiny bit if you are concerned. You don’t really have to worry about cook stoves, because they aren’t on very long and use minimal fuel. The real concern is portable heaters that run for hours. Leave the window cracked for those, or better yet, put another blanket on the bed.

        1. I would only use it right by my kitchen window and I have a carbon monoxide detector. It’s one of the ones that you often see women using in youtube videos from Korea or Japan and it’s always indoors. My dad used ours a number of times during power outages so I know the precautions to take and I would never leave it unattended.

    2. There is a kind of honey called manuka that has a higher antibiotic factor and is especially good for wound healing. Ann

  45. We’re still having to run the air conditioner here in north Texas – highs are in the upper 80s, mid 90s predicted this weekend. I have my fall decorations and candles out, now I just need some fall temperatures!

    We’ve cooked and enjoyed most meals at home. Today I have a beef roast in the slow cooker, which we’ll enjoy for dinner this evening with mashed potatoes or rice and green beans. I had a stomach bug all weekend that stretched into Monday, so I was not feeling well and didn’t do much cooking over the weekend. Meals over the past week have included pasta with ground lamb (which I had bought on 50% markdown last week), lasagna rolls with homemade garlic parmesan bread, homemade pizza, grilled chicken tacos, grilled chicken burrito bowls, and salmon filets with rice and green beans.

    Randoms: We did a large grocery run at HEB and Aldi, and stocked up on quite a few things. With enrollment coming up for health insurance, we opted to move my husband onto my insurance, as my employer pays 100%. This will save us about $70/month. Went to several garage and estate sales and picked up a new KitchenAid hand mixer for $5, a Le Creuset casserole dish in a size we did not have, and a couple of nice kitchen knives. I returned some items I could not use to the store for a refund. I did my own manicure.

    1. Replying to myself because I commented in a hurry yesterday afternoon and left out a couple of things I had forgotten. (I feel like I always remember things *after* I comment.)

      We’d been on the lookout for a good wooden pizza peel as we make homemade pizza fairly regularly. The restaurant supply store near us had some starting at $25, but they are only open on weekdays during office hours, so I hadn’t made time to go over there. Last week I received an email from my local Freecycle group with someone offering a new wooden pizza peel, very close to home. I was excited to pick it up (it is a very nice quality one, too), and happy to save the cost of purchasing a new one.

      Grocery sale items this past week: orange juice for .99 cents, jars of pasta sauce .99 cents, boxed pasta on clearance .71 cents, potatoes au gratin boxed mixes marked down to .31 cents/each (boxes were slightly dented), milk .99 cents/gallon. Our local store also has chicken leg quarters for .29 cents/lb in a 10 lb bag, but I am not sure we currently have the freezer space. I may see about purchasing it, cooking some right away, and splitting the rest into several packages. We also brought our lunches, snacks, coffee, etc., to work with us all week. I received a free piece of cookware (6 quart stock pot) to test and review. It was a size we did not have, so that was an appreciated addition to our kitchen.

  46. I love the pictures. I knew that was Multnomah Falls as soon as I saw it. That was one of the stops my DH and I made on our honeymoon over 46 years ago. We were driving from North Central Washington to his duty station with the Marines in Camp Pendleton, California. Brought back a lot of memories.
    I haven’t written for a couple of weeks, not because I haven’t been frugal, but just busy with the garden and work. I am a CPA, so final tax deadline is next week. Some of my clients are real procrastinators.
    I worked 9 days in the past two weeks. Brought breakfast and lunch all 9 days. Made a big batch of potato corn chowder, with corn potatoes and onions from the garden. Other days brought a BLT or BLT salad for lunch. Also made a batch of Italian sausage and gnocchi soup. Had that for lunch and/or dinners.
    Made ratatouille with eggplant, zucchini, onions, carrots and tomatoes from the garden. That was for DH. I like tomatoes, but not in soup.
    Picked corn for corn on the cob several times. Also blanched and cut off the cob about 50 cups of corn. Froze some for us, used some in soup, and gave some to my SIL.
    Made a final rhubarb crisp for the year. YUM!
    Picked tomatoes, basil and cilantro and gave some to co-workers. This is our best ever year of tomatoes, after gardening at our house for 35 years.
    Picked cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, red bell peppers, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots and herbs as needed.
    My DH made two batches of salsa. I peel the tomatoes, then he picks a large variety of peppers and BBQs them. Blends them together, then we add onions, garlic, cilantro, salt, lime juice and vinegar. We ended up with about 20 more quarts of salsa.
    Made 3 more jars of dill pickles with cucumbers, dill, garlic and hot peppers from the garden.
    Dried 9 trays of parsley and 8 trays of chopped zucchini. Will use the zucchini in soup this winter.
    Made some focaccia bread, then decided to turn it into cheesy garlic focaccia bread. That was so good with the soups I made.
    Made pesto chicken with some of the pesto I made a couple of weeks ago.
    Made 4 loaves of whole wheat bread.
    We had an abundant amount of corn, so I took some to a former neighbor. It was nice to have a visit with her for awhile, too.
    Made a huge batch of tomato basil soup for the DH. Most of it will go in the freezer for him to eat this winter.
    We are expecting a frost in a couple of days. The race is on to get everything out of the garden today and tomorrow.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  47. I am so behind on reading your posts, hoping to get caught up over fall break which is next week. Loved seeing your photos — I’ve never been to that area of the country, so it was a real treat to experience it through your photos. The one of you on the bridge is just lovely! Some friends of ours have just returned from a long weekend anniversary trip at Disneyworld, giving them 4 days away from their 3 young children. I remember the days when that would have been so welcome (and it was so needed). My husband and I have never traveled without our kids. We just don’t have family nearby who would watch them, our parents were not able to stay with them, and we never wanted to leave them with a sitter. Now that my daughter is a young adult, we could probably go away for a couple of days, but neither of us wants to anymore. We just want to stay home and sleep in our own beds. So funny how that works!

    I’ve been doing better at cooking at home, even though we’re busy almost every weeknight with one practice, lesson, or game. I’m also making sure to freeze leftovers in individual portions so we can heat them up when needed. That has saved us several times over the past few weeks. We have a new Publix in the next town over, so we shopped there this weekend. It was nice to have a different selection of items, and we got good prices on many things we were planning to buy. We splurged on some really nice salmon fillets. Even though we spend a lot on groceries, I don’t feel as bad about it when we’re cooking at home versus eating out.

    There are so many tiny cherry tomatoes still ripening in my garden. I feel guilty about not getting out there to pick them. Hoping to get to them over fall break. I was thinking about making tomato powder. We froze several gallon bags of tomatoes, but I did not can any because it takes so long to process tomatoes and cook them down for sauce. I got outside for about 10 minutes on Sunday and picked many dried zinnia buds for seeds. Just in time, since it rained after I picked them! I’ll have to give away most of the seed because there’s no way we’ll use it all. I was hoping to find a local seed swap or something. Just don’t want all of these lovely seeds to go to waste.

    1. I like to put cherry tomatoes on a half sheet pan (line it with foil or a silicone baking mat), drizzle them lightly with olive oil, and roast them. They reduce in size greatly. I then freeze them. Then I use them over pasta in the winter.

  48. Brandy it looks like you had a nice trip!

    -Tomatoes are pulled up. I added 4 more gallon bags to the freezer. The last 3 watermelon was harvested along with a half an ice cream bucket of small peppers. Garden is cleaned out.

    -I stored a 5 gallon bucket of honey crisp apples in my crisper drawers. These will keep into February or March. But we will probably have them eaten by then. Have 2 more buckets and I made 6 apple pies for the freezer and canned 8 more pints of applesauce.

    -I do have some things in the freezer to can-beef broth, frozen cherries from Costco to make into cherry pie filling, and the last of the pheasant. But it will wait a week or two!

    -Specials this week were: turkey breast for $1.66/lb (we will use this for Thanksgiving along with a small bone in ham from the freezer), lettuce $0.97/head, frozen tortellini 2/$5, and link sausage $2.79 a package. The sausage used to be this price when not on sale but regular price is now listed at $4.99.

    -It has been cooler, I cooked a beef bone in chuck roast. We had roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. The next day we had hot beef sandwiches with mashed potatoes. The third day I made beef barley soup from the bits of beef and watered down gravy. We ate that and I froze a meal for later. I cooked the bone, scraps, and onions from the roast and got 3 pints of beef broth for the freezer. So 4 meals plus broth for later.

    -I made some awesome gingerbread muffins. I added some home canned apple pie filling I had in the refrigerator left over from making apple turnovers. They were so moist and yummy. Plus I love the taste of molasses.

    -I just finished the 20 book series by Lauraine Snelling set in North Dakota. Starts with immigrants coming from Norway, living in sod houses, and their lives on the prairie. Set in the late 1880’s to about 1910. I have read this series before but it has been about 5 years. So interesting! I borrowed them all from the library. At about $12/book this saved me $240.00. Library is such a great way to stay frugal and find free entertainment.

    -I bought two lego sets on sale $24.99 and $26.99 from target for my 2 grandsons for Christmas. Over $50, so free shipping, no tax, and I had &10.00 gift card and $5.00 in circle points. So $36.98 and came to my doorstep. Target did announce they are doing their toy sale in October again. I have been looking for these lego sets at several targets and shelves are always empty. I have all the toys bought for my 5 grand kids. Now I just need to cut out and sew their pajamas. I already bought the flannel from JoAnn’s $2.99/yd flannel sale.

    -We took a 3 day trip to South Dakota to see friends. On the way we stopped at Pipestone National Monument (free), went to Blue Mound State Park to see the Buffalo (again free with our state park license plate). These two places were in Minnesota. We stayed one night in a motel, very reasonable, and clean. Went to Falls Park in Sioux Falls. The second night we stayed with friends, so no motel. We took a cooler and food. Only ate out for two suppers. On the way home we stopped in DeSmet SD and toured the Laura Ingalls little house on the prairie venue. Nice to get away.

    Have a great week!!

    1. Thank you for writing about the book series. I had a Norwegian grandmother and still have family who live there. I love to read stories about Norwegians and the Scandinavian culture in general. I will add these to my list. Thanks again!

      1. My Mom grew up in that general area – they combined several cities into one for the town in the books but it has a lot of familiar places for those who know the area north and west of Grand Forks, North Dakota well. It’s my favorite series ! I’m so glad JulieT mentioned them here! The series is named “The Blessing Series” and has several “sets” within that one – each focusing on a different set of characters.


    2. JulieT
      We took our kids to DeSmet many years ago on a three week camping trip out west. It was so much fun and really made the books come alive. Last year one of my daughters and her family did the same out west trip and did DeSmet!

  49. Beautiful pictures- thank you for sharing them with us!

    *gratefully accepted food from Buy Nothing Group
    *donated a few new shirts that ended up not working out for me (frugal for whoever receives)
    *packed snacks and drinks for daughter’s long tennis tournaments
    *cleaned and took care of household items I’d rather replace but are perfectly usable when properly taken care of
    *intentionally chose to be grateful for having what truly matters when had a rough few days and was feeling discouraged

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  50. Haven’t commented in a while but this is always my favorite thing! The past month has been a costly whirlwind. First, I had my routine mammogram and it came back abnormal. Then I had to have more extensive mammograms, followed by an ultrasound and a biopsy all to find out that it’s nothing and just normal aging! Got the bill yesterday and I owe over $1,000 for all that. We have an HSA which I am pretty sure has that much because we just hardly ever go to the dr. Just need to call and find out balance. Then my son and I got covid. Then it hit my husband hard. He missed 2 turns of work and I had to take him to the ER twice. Haven’t received those bills yet. I am a substitute teacher and didn’t work those 2 weeks because he could not be left alone. While that was going on my son’s tire had a bulge in it and had to be replaced because it was unsafe. Then my daughter’s check engine light came on with another light. I was upset at first because we just had over $1,000 of work done to this car. I googled the 2 lights and was reading on a forum for Toyota’s. The people saying they had this happen said it ended up being the gas cap was not on right. I remembered she had just got gas the night before so I went out and checked it and it did feel loose. I put it back in and the forum said your car had to go through 3 drive cycles before the lights would go off and thankfully that is what happened. I was so glad I could take care of this stuff while my husband was incapacitated.
    I stopped at a garage sale and spent 50 cents! I bought a vintage kitchen spatula that is very well made. I like buying older items because they are so much nicer.
    I live outside of Fort Wayne Indiana. I was doing errands the other day and noticed all the gas stations had their gas at $3.39 but Kroger was still at $3.09. I stopped and filled up and with their card got it for $3.06!
    Unfortunately when we all had Covid so much food got wasted. I had been to the store the day before I got sick and had bought 3 things of strawberries. No one could eat or wanted to eat and by the time I had the energy to look they were a total loss. I was so mad at myself. They were too far gone to even feed to my chickens. My husband also tried to eat several things and just couldn’t so that all got trashed too. He also went through 3 meds trying to get his vomiting to stop. The third one that worked was only $1.37 out of pocket!
    This past week my daughter showed rabbits at our 4H fair. She won supreme showman! It was a long week because we are at the fair most of the week. We ate at the 4h stands because it is a lot cheaper than if you go out to the rides and food stands. Plus they also give the kids coupons for meals and ice cream, which we made sure we used.
    Although this month has been totally crazy mentally and financially I am so glad I have my money-saving skills. I am so glad I have a fully stocked pantry. Brandy, I must have started reading sometime around the end of 2007? I think you had just published your article on living on your food storage. I read and read the article and it all made so much sense to me. I started getting really into food storage and researching what to buy. I now have so much food and cleaning supplies. When we were all sick, we had what we needed. I didn’t have to worry about getting food. Since my husband missed work, he is lucky to have sick pay. Many don’t have that. But we have our food storage so I won’t worry if we will eat or not. Please people stock up food, even if all you can afford is 3 to 5 dollars a week. If you have young children stock up on diapers and things they eat. Don’t buy food that no one in your family will eat. I am guilty of that. We all have car insurance and homeowners insurance, and I also have food insurance. On someone’s blog I made a comment about food insurance and the person was not nice saying it’s not right to hoard food. I have no intentions of hoarding food! We use it!
    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments!

    1. If food prices jump 4%, then I make a great return on my money by investing in food. I don’t empty shelves and my family eats quite a bit.

    2. Just a note from growing up in a family of mechanics and years of driving “oft-repaired” vehicles: the check engine light is almost always related to emissions (it typically isn’t a “your car is about to die” scenario). The #1 cause of that light coming on is a loose gas cap, regardless of car make or model. We’ve had it happen in several of our vehicles over the years. If you ever get that light, remove & tighten the gas cap (even if it doesn’t feel loose). How long it takes to reset varies by vehicle – some are # of miles driven, some cycle through a series of “system checks” and you just have to drive until the cycle finishes, with some cars it will go off on the next ignition start. (Tire pressure is another warning light that comes on and is often just a variation in the outdoor temperature causing a slight pressure change.)

      I completely agree with you about “food insurance!” We refer to our pantry and freezer a form of savings account. We are not hoarders, we eat everything we purchase, but we do stock up and prepare, so we would be able to go for a longer period without shopping if necessary, and to maximize our savings by purchasing on sale. People who think that stocking up is “hoarding” are probably those who keep 1 roll of bathroom tissue in their cabinet for a family of 4 and run to the grocery store daily for dinner.

      1. We call our stockpile “Debbie’s IGA”. Any food that we decide we won’t eat, for whatever reason, as long as it’s not expired, we donate to the food pantry. They’re having issues, too. Crazy times for everyone!

  51. My husband and I had a get away last weekend. We rented a small town home on a lake an hour and a half away. It was lovely. To save, we brought food from home. Travelling to and fro, we talked about our finances and are plans to retire in the next ten years. It’s good to talk about goals and dreams often, to keep them in the forefront of our minds, especially when day to day life gets to be overwhelming.

    We just keep doing simple things: menu planning, staying out of stores, using the library, reusing plastic shopping bags in the bathroom trash cans, watching shows or playing games instead of going out for entertainment, making all we can from things we already have, being happy with our lives.

    I mentioned before, but our way of dealing with the rising prices is trying to eat less (we don’t have little ones here anymore). We have both been pretty good at snacking less. We are also really focusing on eliminating food waste. I’m trying to be flexible with menus, to use up things that are leftover. That or I freeze leftovers right away. Being vigilant really does help save money.

    Hope all have a great week!

  52. The pictures were wonderful. Thank you for sharing them. I have been in the Portland area but it has been a long time. I wish we lived where it was cooler. Here in central TX the air conditioner runs all the time. (it seems like) Today for example was 91 and very humid. Your clothes stick to your body and you are miserable when out side.
    I told you about a book a couple of weeks ago when you wrote about reading books set in the WW2 era. It made me want to re-read the book I told you about. It really is very good. It is Bridge to the Sun by Gwen Terasaki. If you can get it I think you will enjoy it.

      1. I read every week and so appreciate the comments. I do not post often. I have been pushing myself to do a better job with the garden produce. I have canned and canned. I had three sheet pans of various sizes of tomatoes. My hours at the church have jumped, I am full time, but sometimes so much is happening. I finally put a bunch of tomatoes in the crockpot, I cut off the tops and any blemishes and cooked all day and night and would every couple of hours pull out the skins. I ended up with 5 and 1/2 cups of sauce which I popped in the freezer. I have three other quart bags in the freezer. This doesn’t include the dozens pints of canned tomatoes, a few pints of salsa, tomato juice and a few half pints of sauce. I don’t buy tomatoes in the grocery store in the winter.
        I have been using up bits of this and that to clean out the freezer to re-stock. I made a big pot of sauce last winter, as well meatballs and froze them in packages for a dinner for two. Used up the last of those. When it gets cold again, I will “repeat.”

        I have planted and replanted a fall garden. My lettuce is just not coming up. The temps are finally going down so maybe they will take. My husband built a green house up against the garage and I intend to try a pot of sugar snap peas there using one of the bigger tomato cages. If it works, I will do another pot or two.

        I used communion bread from sunday to make croutons. Not sure how “kosher” that is, but doesn’t go to waste. 🙂

        If you have not watch Country Life Vlog on youtube I HIGHLY recommend it. It is from Azerbajan, and it is just a couple who farms, and she cooks over an open fire. Everything from the garden that I can see, and they have chickens and cows. The videos are from 15 to 30 minutes. They are a balm for my soul. I started with the best meatballs and pasta video.

        Thank you Brandy and all you who comment week in and week out.

  53. Brandy, my only complaint about your rose pics is that they’re not scratch and sniff! I found myself starting to lean in for a whiff!! It gave me a giggle!
    I saw that Dillons (our Kroger aff) is having the 49¢ Am Beaut pasta sale so I need to check my stock on that. I had a coupon for a free tube of body cream from Bath and Body Works. Haven’t used the a/c much, but we’re going into the 90s again tomorrow so I expect to use it in the afternoons. I can usually wait until about 2pm.

    I’m reading a book series by Jacqueline Winspear. The character is Maisie Dobbs and it’s set in London around WW1. She’s a detective. Very enjoyable. I recently finished a great trilogy starting with Not Enough Flamingos. Can’t recall the author. Set in dust bowl Kansas in 1930s into WW2. It was very good and my friends and I buzzed through all 3 very quickly. I’d tell you to not read the backs of the 2nd or 3rd book to ruin the storyline. I simply forgot and was glad I did.

    I have a huge to-do list for the next week. I hope I can complete half of it!!

  54. I thought this might be of interest – so NO – it’s not our imaginations…
    Curious how much more we are paying?

    Here’s a sampling of some of the increases since January, provided by BetterCart, which monitors food prices in Canada.
    Butter, up 35.5%
    Ketchup, up 7.3%
    Potatoes, up 11.5%
    Frozen french fries, up 26.2%
    Bananas, up 4.9%
    Macaroni, up 12.7%

    1. Buying butter on sale and putting it in the freezer is a great investment for those of us who have just a little bit to invest!

    2. Hi Margie,
      Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for the info. I have 3 pounds of butter stashed in my freezer. I don’t even like buter anymore. The farmers have been feeding the dairy cows palmitic acid a derivative of palm oil and it means the butter doesn’t soften at room temperature. This week Real Canadian Superstore has prime rib roast on sale — usually it’s about $12.95 per pound but now it’s $7.95 — I am really tempted to splurge. I don’t usually use ketchup but stocked 2 bottles when it was on sale. I don’t usually eat French fries. I get my macaroni on sale at No Frills.
      Beef, and lamb are up really high. And flour is going to follow suit due to the drought. Ann

      1. I don’t have any issues with my butter – I tend to buy the PC churned butter and I haven’t noticed any difference…

  55. Your pictures as always are simply lovely. You have a really good eye.

    I’m reading the last book shop in London, per recommendation here and I am loving it. Reading on my Libby app from the library, so free.

    I saved money by getting my haircut at the local beauty school and after years of waiting was able to donate 14 inches and still have hair below my shoulders. The shorter cut really brings out the gray streaks in the front and I’m genuinely glad I stopped dying my hair a few years ago. Plus, it was a big cost savings.

    My train trip to visit a friend and save on shipping for some big bedding grow bags I wanted, turned into a bit of a bust because once we picked them up I wasn’t sure how it was going to manage bringing them back on the train given they don’t let you check any baggage. Turns out we were able to ship them all for $10 vs the $50 if I’d bought online. So really, I could’ve just had my friend pick them up and ship them to me versus me coming up on the train, but we got a fun visit out of it. I did save 30% on the train tickets given they were having an anniversary sale.

    I brought all my kitchen knives on my trip and my friend’s husband sharpened them all for free. He professionally sharpens scalpels and such for hospitals. Everything cuts like butter now and I love it.

    I got some Halloween lights for the house at 40% off. The rest of my outdoor decor I prefer to DYI and change up every year. I also have a lot of vintage decor I’ve collected. Living next door to a theatre director means I have to bring my A game, but we have fun collaborating. He is lending me a smoke machine this year. Also, I let a small area in my backyard go to towering weeds the wildlife loved and I’m harvesting for free decor. A win/win.

    I was able to turn off the ac due to a few days of cool weather and don’t yet need the heat.

    The mayor announced further watering cutbacks yesterday. Outdoor watering will only be allowed twice a week on certain odd/even by address days. May have to reconsider my fall relandscaping project I’d planned.

  56. I couldn’t stop and gather the black walnuts but there was a youngish walnut tree right next to the sidewalk between the bank drive-thru lane and a rundown house. (I had a friend providing volunteer grannysitting for mom while I went to a a medical lab and the bank and I did not want to take any longer to get home than necessary.) The house is in an area with old homes but now a commercial district in a growing suburb and I expect the price tag is high–or an estate still needs to be settled. It has looked forlorn for a while. There were so many walnuts sitting on the driveway and sidewalk. I hope somebody gleaned them for their own use or to donate them to a food pantry. Facebook has had postings of walnuts free for the picking up (and use of a nut roller was offered too to make it easier) and even free bags of walnuts.

  57. Hello friends. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the change of seasons.

    Here in Portland Oregon, the leaves are changing and there is definitely a chill in the air. I just love it! Though I have to admit it makes it quite difficult to get going in the morning. Often, I get up to take the dogs out and we all pile back in bed to read or snooze a bit. It’s quite a lovely routine I must admit.

    My dear friend was in town from Boston for a long weekend. It wasn’t entirely frugal, but I managed to stay on budget. As she said, she was here to visit with me, not to see the city. We took walks, watched movies, and she went hiking. We did go to two local bookshops (Powell’s and Third Eye Books) so that we could support local businesses. We also picked up some local wine for her to enjoy. I cooked most of our meals including Halibut my dad caught in Alaska last week (yum!). We did get take out a couple of times but it was well worth the expense in my book. And we ate all the leftovers so nothing went to waste. I picked up 20 lbs of apples from the local nursery to make more apple sauce while she was off hiking. I use applesauce in baking so I’m glad I was able to make more! I also used some to make vegan carrot cake (cupcakes) for my friend as her birthday is next week). I hadn’t taken any real time off in two years. So 5 straight days off was SO wonderful. It did my soul so much good.

    I returned library books and picked up some holds. My produce box arrived yesterday and it had some items that I hadn’t ordered and couldn’t use. My neighbor was grateful to receive the brussels sprouts and kale! I couldn’t stand for it to go to waste but I can’t eat those. I need to pop out to the garden to pick the last of the green beans and check on the snap peas. Hoping that they will be producing before too long. That’s all I can think of at the moment. Take care friends.

  58. Yes, and your “costume” with your beret and scarf looked perfectly vintage with the “vintage” stonework along the road. Did you drive the part of the old highway that is still there? The photos were especially beautiful. Thank you for sharing your talents.

      1. Good thinking! The old Columbia River highway was scary 50 years ago. I’m not even sure that it is maintained anymore. The only thing is, all of the waterfalls (I think there are seven) are on the old road between Crown Point and Horsetail Falls (just east of Multnomah Falls). I always liked Wahkeena Falls the best (pictures: We used to drive the old road a lot when I was a kid.

  59. I got a box of Roma tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market for $15. They are 2 to 4 times large than the size of ones in the store. This is the first year anyone has ever brought them to sell. I also got some green beans for several meals.

    I froze 3 1/2 gallon bags of whole tomatoes, canned 2 qts. and 3 pts., and had some in a couple meals. Some needed a little more sun and they are ready to make salsa plus a little more. I was only able to buy one box of wide mouth lids and rings last year and forgot I needed to get more lids. I was prepared to order some and DH thought of one more place to check besides all the hardware stores I had called. They had the 18 month wide mouth lids only. The signs under them were $3.99 so I bought 5. When they rang up at $5.99 I told her the signs said $3.99 and the manager told her to change the price. I was happy to get them.

    I have cooked some larger meals so we could freeze leftovers or have some for another night. One night as a side I roasted some of the quartered or more big Roma tomatoes and onions and squash from the freezer with basil, a little salt and pepper, and oil. There were no leftovers that night. DS made Mozzarella Chicken with tomatoes one night that was delicious.

    I bought a gallon of shampoo at Sally Beauty Supply for $9.29. Cashier asked if I wanted to join their Rewards Club. I said I wasn’t buying for a business. She told me individuals can join now, price was waived, and points do not expire so I joined. The next day I got an email with a $5 coupon for that day only. I had errands to run so I bought more shampoo for $4.29. I shouldn’t have to buy any for a year and a half or more.

    It was cloudy with not as much rain as predicted so we walked more on a part of the trail where you usually see deer eating on a hillside. We were either too early or late as we saw none but thoroughly enjoyed walking that part since it was cooler. There were more little flowers on the sides of the trail than I expected.

    I am continuing to reevaluate things that I really want at this stage in my life. I was amazed how little my Mom and Dad wanted to take with them when they retired to the beach, but now I see the wisdom of lightening up their life so they could open it up to enjoy their present and future interests and friends. I have often said that I got to see them like they were when they were first married: completing projects, exploring, experiencing things they had never done with people they would never see again, and enjoying friends. Sounds wonderful to me.

    1. I have only been into Sally’s beauty supply once. It sounds like I should check it out again! My daughters use a lot of shampoo.

  60. Lovely photos, I really liked the one of you (with the beret) on the bridge, it was really well done! We received and approved two estimates (window awning recovering and house exterior repainting) last week, they should be completed in the next month or so. Then we are done, we hope, for this year. When the stock market was up in 2006, we bought a new pickup for my husband…then the market dropped and we realized that it is good to spend money on necessary items when we have it because we won’t spend when times turn bad. He still owns the pickup ;). So this year, I made a list of overdue or needed home exterior maintenance items and we will be done with that list next month!!! It really can be hard to spend money sometimes after years of being super conservative. For example, I upgraded all our exterior lights to LED’s as well as our fluorescents this year. It seemed expensive to buy all the fixtures but now it is done and we will have lower bills in the future. You had mentioned swapping out LED’s and that got me started. Thank you!

    1. My husband just remarked this morning how glad he is that we did that. It only took a year to pay for itself and now we are good for many years!

    2. Hilogene, it’s even harder to spend on wants, after a lifetime of frugality. For some time I have been wanting to have our carpet replaced with wooden floors. I have yet to find the color of wood/fake wood that we like, but we haven’t given up completely. But I also wrestle with spending a great deal of money on this. We have it in the bank, are retired, and have a safe retirement income. But, dang, it’s hard to pry that cash out of my hands.

  61. My husband had a free motel night at Holiday Inn that will expire at the end of this year. We decided to go on a short trip through the mountains to see the aspen trees in their glory. I was not disappointed! We had a picnic lunch at Independence Pass. I made chicken salad with rotisserie chicken from Costco. I wanted to get the already packaged chicken that they sell, but the price was way more. So, I picked the chicken that was the biggest, pulled the meat off and used that for the chicken salad.
    It make enough for several meals. Enjoyed the hot tub at the motel that night and breakfast the next morning before we left.

  62. Has anyone stored beets, carrots or potatoes in sand over the winter? If so, do you have any tips for me?
    Bargains of. 10 pounds of beets at $3.97 too good to pass up.

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