I cut and dried oregano, basil, stevia (this is my first time successfully growing stevia, and it’s still small), and lemon verbena from the garden to dry. I planted several more lemon verbena plants this year, and they are growing better than ever. I have found that it is such a mild herb that I need quite a bit to make a cup of herbal tea in the winter, so I am happy to have lots to harvest this year.

We harvested a couple of small watermelons, a couple of Armenian cucumbers, and two small butternut squash.

I cut chives to use fresh in omelets.

I cut basil and made pesto.

Most of our meals were meatless this week.

I collected water from the air conditioner drip (3 to 5 gallons each day) and used it to water potted plants in the garden. I also used shower warm-up water to water potted plants.

I mended a cloth doll and a stuffed animal.

I cut some small circles out of scraps of satin that my eldest had left after making a red dress years ago. I kept the scraps to make some cloth roses and poppies. I’ve decided to start working on this project this week to make some cloth roses and poppies to pin on my coat and sweaters this winter.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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237 Comments

  1. I have my late summer planting of green beans done and they are starting to come up! So are the peas and lettuce! I’m excited! You can see what my garden currently looks like: https://pin.it/75tatVT. The old green ban, cucumber and squash plants have been pulled out but those empty spaces are being planted up quickly!

    I had my 11 year old granddaughter over on Wednesday because she wanted to make more Muffin Mix to replenish her big canister . School starts in 2 weeks and she has been enjoying making muffins on her own for family breakfast! Here’s a shelf price at Krogers for muffin mix that only makes 12 muffins- https://pin.it/6tVDrmK. $3.49!!! We made a enough mix (a double batch) to make about 14 dozen muffins! That saved us roughly $45, figuring in my ingredients that I had in my pantry, purchased on clearance.

    Then I taught her how to make pie crust and she made a cherry pie with crumble topping to take home to her family. There was a little crust left so she made a blueberry tart to take home for her little sister Ellie. I found single pre-made pie crust in frozen food section of Krogers for $7.49!! https://pin.it/3M5e7Yi

    I stocked up on a few more little things that I normally just buy a few when I need them. Penny (our granddaughter) came down to our pantry basement with me to get a jar of home canned cherry pie filling and declared that it looked like a grocery store. 🥴🤣

    This begs the question, though- are there still bargains out there to stock up on?
    Well, today I went to Krogers to get their brand of Dark sweet pitted cherries in heavy syrup (15.5 Oz can),regular price- $3.29, on sale for $2.69 BUT if you bought 3 or more, they took an additional $2 off each can, making them 69 cents each! 😱 I bought 24 cans (there was no limit). I plan to use them in place of my cherry pie filling just by thickening the heavy syrup! Regular price for the 24 cans would have been $78.96 but this way they cost $16.56, a savings of $62.40!!

    I also found in the clearance section- wide egg noodles (Bechtle brand- 12 Oz- regular $6/bag), 49 cents a bag!! Even store brand were over $3/bag! So buying 12, I saved $30 or more!!

    So deals are still out there! It just takes keeping our eyes open and being flexible and patient.

    5 client quilts came in this week- My daughter and I finished quilting the first 3- Quilts #260 for Lenni https://pin.it/2LSpEie and The other 2 were my daughter’s Lucey the longarm machines #5 and #6!

    Because we are only using our window A/C units when we are in a particular room for a while and shutting them off when we leave the room or air outside is cooling, our electric bill was actually lower than last year at this time even though the outside temps have been higher! $151 for the month. I know that may seem high to some, but I’m okay with it since we have the window A/C units being used (sparingly) as well as 2 upright freezers, 2 refrigerators, DW, washing machine,stove/oven, dehydrator and I’ve been canning and baking this month.

    I canned another 12 pints of sweet pickle relish, using my steam canner which heats up on the stovetop so much faster than traditional water bath canner! https://pin.it/10X14j8.

    We continue to be prudent with our purchases and are continuing to build and restock our food storage since we are using up what we previously stored in our everyday meals!

    I did upgrade and buy a commercial size (8 quart)/strength (1-1/2 horsepower motor) Kitchenaid stand mixer. When I do some of my bulk dough/mixes, my current one gets warm. So I sold the former one to offset some of the cost. We consider this a durable good/tool
    that will get everyday use so we research and then look for best price and then purchase. My accessories (meat grinder, slicer/shredder, etc) from my previous KA mixer fit the new one so that is a plus!

    I just saw this article from Farmers Almanac about our Ohio with predictions for this coming winter. Here’s a link to it: https://buckeyecountry1037.iheart.com/content/2022-08-04-bad-weather-coming-for-ohio-farmers-almanac-predicts. They are calling it “Hibernation” weather, so we are grateful we can hunker down without having to leave home for food or materials to keep busy and fed!

    Hope everyone is finding reasons to rejoice and be grateful!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Wow Pat on the commercial sized Kitchen Aid I bet that is wonderful. I want a regular Kitchen Aid this year for Christmas I think. The prices have been so high we looked last year and I didn’t know if I could justify the cost if I would use it enough. I bought a used mixer at the thrift store and have been using it pretty regularly it doesn’t have the dough hook or I’d use it even more. I do love the handiness of it being on my kitchen cart ready to go whenever I am. Its a Sunbeam very old. I too planted green beans for a fall garden did that this weekend so hopefully I’m not to late. I am pressure canning green beans right now in my pressure canner 7 quarts more coming on each day though I doubt I’ll get the 22 quarts I grew last year. I haven’t looked yet but since we’re both in Ohio the weather predictions will be of interest to me too.

        1. Brandy@PrudentHomemaker- sounds like me! There are certain tools like my mixer with it’s attachments that I use daily. For that reason, I have bought the best value that I can afford at the time. I’m sure you’ve found that too, with your big family!

          Gardenpat in Ohio
          HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      1. Anna, I got my Kitchen Aid a couple of years ago on Black Friday or maybe it was Cyber Monday for a much better price. It might be worth the wait.

        1. Thanks for the tip, Marley — I have been wanting one, and will gladly wait until Black Friday if the price will be better. Sometimes they have them at the little discount store I like here in town. Will keep an eye out.

      2. Anna in Ohio- I am loving my new mixer. I put my former 6 quart Professional Kitchenaid mixer up on FB marketplace and thought I priced it great ($225 for a mixer I bought 5 years ago for $600). It works great- I just wanted to make commercial size batches of bread (6 loaf batches of dough) . Guy called and was definite about wanting it and coming. An hour before, he called and said he bought a different one. 🙁 Fingers crossed it will get sold soon!
        Your new planting of green beans should pop up quickly and give you a whole new harvest!
        I’d also prefer NOT to have a snowy frigid winter, as I’m sure you would prefer too, but we’ll see! Our new level pay for Columbia Gas just went up by $50/month because of rate increases and higher useage they are expecting for winter! 😳 I hope they’re wrong!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

        1. I would love to have a new Kitchen Aid, but mine is so very special to me. When my first husband was in middle school, my mother-in-love (we remained so very close after my first husband died) started decorating cakes. She saved every penny until she could buy a Kitchen Aid mixer. Years and years later, she gave it to me when she bought a pretty new one. Mine is ugly harvest gold and about 45 years old. I will use it until it dies because I love her and the story.

      3. my mother in law found a deal on kitchen aids and got me and my sister in law ine for Christmas back around 2001. I had not even heard of them. I think she paid $189 back then. I have used mine almost daily for years. My sister in law used her hand mixer and has only used hers a few times. I have found attachment at garage sales. I hope mine lasts a long time, I love it.

      4. I am in Ohio also and heard the weather forecast. Definitely will be making sure we have propane since we almost ran out last year before they could deliver to us.

      5. Of all the kitchen helpers I have spent money on, my commercial sized Kitchen Aide mixer is at the very top of the list. I use it constantly. I don’t know anyone who regrets owning one.

        1. I sold mine and I know someone else who did the same. I just didn’t do the kind of cooking that demands one and it took up too much space. My sister’s teenaged grandson loves to cook and wants his own!

      6. I think it’s a great tool to have in my kitchen, though mine is not a commercial size mixer. I use it very often and determined, in an analysis of my kitchen that the stand Kitchenaid is one of those “MUST REPLACE” if it ever broke down. On the other hand, the slow cooker will likely not be replaced, not because I seldom use it but because I seem to have to replace often. I am going to use the cast iron Dutch oven when this slow cooker breaks. I’m also not going to replace the microwave. I only use it for reheating and that’s a HUGE amount of counter space to warm up a slice of pizza. I will replace the toaster oven and likely will get a little larger one. No more toaster for me either. It’s unnecessary to our lives now. So really it’s all just a matter of ‘Do I use it, for what and how often?’

        1. Beat way to reheat a slice of pizza: take a frying pan and put it on med heat. Put a tiny bit of oil(doesn’t matter what kind) and put the pizza in the pan. Heats it up and makes the crust crispy.

      7. My Kitchen Aid is 28 years old and still going strong. It makes it possible for me to mix up anything these days with my arthritis. My daughter found one for $20 at a garage sale – it was missing the attachments but I actually found a paddle at an estate sale in a pile of miss matched kitchen items for $1!

      8. You might want to look into a refurbished kitchen aid mixer. Years ago I was told they replace the plastic parts with metal as part of the refurbishment, making the refurbished ones last longer.

    2. Gardenpat I am glad you are finding deals. I am not. Even the clearanced meat has gotten less, I would guess more people have discovered it and are purchasing it. Shelf stable groceries are hardly ever clearanced here. There is a rack in one store and it is mostly highly processed sugar items which we can not have. I have a friend that works at a grocery store and she said the store has noticed less product being purchased so the management is now ordering less for the shelves. So that will mean even less extra that could be clearanced. We live in a county that is one of the lowest in income in the state.

      1. JulieT from Minnesota- I understand what you’re saying! I went around the store today taking photos of prices on standard pantry foods and was in shock! The same PET brand evaporated milk that I found on clearance for 9 cents a can six months ago was marked on the shelf at $1.99 today! So there are far fewer trips to the store with a much more limited list for me unless there is some unadvertised clearance or sale that I run across! Almost all of our meals are made without buying anything from the store these days. If I don’t have an ingredient, I either substitute something I do have or change the meal plan!

        One surprise I had when I got the canned cherries and wide egg noodles is that I found 2 Marie Callender coconut cream pie in frozen food clearance and skeptically looked for mark down price! It was only $2 for each pie, instead of $7- $9! So, we had a treat with those coming home in our cart!!
        I try to make it a game to find things that will use up just what I have and give us a happy result! Hopefully, you’ll find pleasant “ surprises” soon!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

        1. Even if I have only one or two items on my list, if I’m going into a store, I’m searching high and low to both see what prices are and at the same time to see if there are hidden clearance items to be found. Some few items we must just determine what the current low price is and pay it or sub for it. Are bargains harder to find? Yes, but they are still there.

    3. Is the muffin mix you use, by chance, from the Tightwad Gazzette? I like that mix and have used it for 20+ years. I know your house is considerably bigger than mine and you may have cooler overall temps than we do in OK but I was hoping mine would be less than $400 and it was $393.00. My husband said I should have prayed for a bill less than $300.00. Great job on your bargains as well! Thank you for sharing.

      1. Okbarb99- While I have used the TW gazette Muffin Mix which is a mix and match type “mix” that you make just as you are about to make some muffins, I like the convenience of having some dry mixes on the shelf that offer me time savings candy flexibility. Here is the recipe and ways to use it that we made (from Complete Make A Mix book from the late 1970’s.)
        Basic recipe: https://pin.it/tePnyDW
        Ways to use mix: https://pin.it/642vT45 and https://pin.it/6zctmix

        Hope this helps!
        It’s been a good week!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

        1. I bought the Make a Mix book way back win and was looking for it recently when I was purging books and recipes. I think I must have passed it on to someone with little ones because I do not have it anymore. Thanks you for the reminder as it brought back good memories of those times and for the links!

      2. Barb, I’m just north of you and our bill was only $150 last month! On our level pay, it’s $85 per month. Our house is about 1400sf with another 1300sf finished basement. I thought OK had cheaper energy costs than us because your gas is always lower! Maybe get your meter checked?

        1. We do have smart meters and a controversy about them but it takes months to get much done or so it seems.

      3. I’m just east of you in Arkansas and because of all the record temperatures, even with cutbacks on our usage significantly, we were still over $100 more than last year. I’m on levelized billing but my monthly cost was just under $400. We keep our ac at the highest we can stand with the nasty humidity.

    4. Good for you, Gardenpat, upgrading your mixer! I was contemplating that this week as well, as my usual batches of dough are too big for my mixer bowl. I’ve started mixing my overnight doughs in a big pail with a restaurant kitchen spoon, but the dough doesn’t get as hydrated as well as it does with a mixer. Too many floury spots! Wet hands sometimes do better, but a dough hook is such a nice thing. I’ve looked on ebay and different restaurant sites, but haven’t known enough about the motors to take the plunge.

      Brandy, do you find that you need to do multiple batches of dough in your mixer and then rise in a larger container? Or do you just bake more often? We’re only a family of 6, but the boys are only going to grow hungrier! I usually bake about 4lbs of flour at a time right now.

      Many thanks!

      1. I mix dough for French bread (4 loaves) in a large ceramic bowl by hand. For quick breads I have to do the same for more than 2 loaves at a time. My KitchenAid bowl is only 5 quarts.

        1. Thank you so much, Brandy. I had a feeling you probably had a simple way of doing it. Often I resort to the dough hook because I’ve been too disorganized or impatient to set the bread the night before, so it’s definitely cheaper to just get organized. My KitchenAid is the same size, and fits on my counter nicely. Time to go set the bread!

    5. Garden Pat,

      I think whether or not there are bargains left to be found depends on the area of the US that one lives in and how hard one is willing to look.

      Here in Minnesota, as I think another post mentioned, stores are stocking shelves with a lot less product in general and prices are skyrocketing. That leaves very few bargains to be found and a lot more people looking for those bargains. In addition, retailers are cutting orders so they don’t end up with a lot of product that they can’t move or have to discount greatly.

      I have friends on both coasts who say the bargains are as plentiful as ever. So I guess it all depends where one lives.

      1. Jlynn- It makes me sad that the grocery situation where you are is so much harder than we have it here. Perhaps there are alternate ways to stock up while saving. Do the grocery stores still have sales (like our Krogers) that are “loss leaders” or weekly digital sales? Making your own mixes or meals from scratch can help. Also, finding substitutes for needed ingredients in a recipe if something is unavailable may help. At my advanced age, I just learned several weeks ago how to make my own ricotta cheese using plain milk and vinegar and then using the leftover whey from it to make more ricotta cheese. Even as milk gets more dear, it is still cheaper (and probably more available) than ricotta or even cottage cheese.
        So, take heart and do what you can with your situation where you are. And hopefully, your shortages and lack of sales will be balanced by other ways you can economize while building your pantry. I’ll be praying that opportunities will come your way! ❤️

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      2. I’m sorry Jlynn about that. I think it’s very telling that there are not only holes in the stores but holes in different parts of the country. I think we are in for hard times. Can you still stock up on things like beans and rice or are those gone too? Do you have a garden? Can you forage? I’ve never foraged before but our fruit is doing terribly this year between a late freeze, drought conditions and Japanese beetles. I’m trying learn about foraging and we do have a few things like we had currents and now we have grapes. I’m trying to appreciate what I do have and not to take for granted what we have from the garden. I hope you find some deals somewhere.

    6. GardenPat,
      My Mom had a kitchen aid and gifted each one of us one for our wedding . I’ve had mine since 1986. I use it all the time, not quite as much since the kids are all grown. I would definitely replace it if it died.
      Great job on the bargain hunting!

      1. Sue, my mom gave my sister and I a Kitchenaid mixer when we got married. Now, she gifts each of the grandchildren one when they get married. If they already have one, they get the money for something else. At one point, I had four of them (my mom’s old one when she stopped baking, my husband’s, mine, and my large sized one I had to buy when all the kids were in the house) and ended up giving one to one of the kids. My mom’s old one is downstairs for parts, or until I find a replacement plate that the bowl sits in (the lip wore out from decades of use by my mom and myself). I still have the regular size one and it sits on my counter, and the big one purchased as a gift for my husband when he makes all his Christmas cookies.

    7. I would *love* to have a $151 electric bill during the summer! In north Texas with our temperatures and constantly running the central air, it just isn’t possible.

      We had a KitchenAid we received as a wedding present, but ended up selling it a few years back to a friend who was starting a home baking business. I bought another one in new condition (made in USA by Hobart) for $30 at an estate sale a couple of summers ago. We recently saw another at an estate sale for $50, but I didn’t have any use for a second one and didn’t know anyone to gift it to. I feel like I should have bought it anyway for that price! I see them often at estate sales here although they are typically priced too high in my opinion – most are priced $250+ for a well-used or poor condition base model with no attachments.

      1. I agree; that’s a winter bill here. Mine is due to be $444 this month; rates just went up.

        1. My summer bill went up by $100 to $250 and we are on the budget plan meaning a set amount per month- it use to be $150-$170 on the budget plan we are an all electric house, winter should be interesting

        2. Our electric bill has stayed the same or gone lower, mostly because we are much more careful now and don’t have all the kids here anymore. We did notice a huge drop when we got the smart meter (which I did not want because of all the “issues” associated with it, but I wasn’t going to pay an additional $33/month to not have it!). However, our gas bill has more than doubled! In the summer it usually goes way down, because we aren’t heating or cooking as much. Even though the use has gone down, our bill has gone way up!

        3. Ouch, Brandy. And I know you are so frugal so that’s tough and kind of scary of things to come. (We got our propane tank when the rates were low for a couple of weeks. I happened to hear somebody mention it on the radio. We usually use our 1000 gallon tank in about a year but I was thinking we should cut that in half next year. I think we can if we are more careful with our heat, our gas dryer and our oven or at least cut way back.) We usually have plenty of rain and water around but the drought conditions have been bad around here this whole year. Suddenly, I’m saving water from kids’ cups and old water from vases and from the dehumidifier etc. (Some how we still have humidity even though there are huge cracks in the ground.) We have water spouts that go underground to keep the water from our basement but I’ve been asking my husband about how we can tap into that. It seems silly to water and then have water run off going away. Actually, today is cool and we finally got rain. I don’t have to water my fall garden. I’m getting a chance to count my blessings.

  2. Brandy: I have never been a fan of Zinnias, but your photography is winning me over. I think I shall try them! Also, the lemon verbena. Never been a fan of herbal teas either, BUT, I think I may give it a try. Getting frisky in my old age!

    Transferring my herb planter to my Sunroom. Need to start seeds and cross my fingers! Also, will have 5 lemon and lime trees in there as well. Thinking of pots of tomatoes?

    Brought in supper twice this week which cancelled any savings. All of us were feeling puny.

    Went through the fridge and froze all leftovers that I didn’t think we would eat soon. Processed and froze vegetables in the fridge and from my garden pick. Froze 2 lbs of figs. So happy with my figs. Last year didn’t get a single one!

    Still being inundated with rain, so am not able to plant Fall crops! Starting to stress. 🙆‍♀️

    Hope everyone has a great week! Take care. Onwards, ya’ll, by all means!

    Went thrifting and was able to replace a set of glasses that had dwindled to two. Found a nice bed/breakfast tray that I have been looking for a very long time. They are so expensive! Paid $14.99. Also found 2 old Pyrex baking dishes at half the cost of the price at the other store I frequent. Same organization. The cheaper one was in a lesser neighborhood. 🤨

    1. I’ve been following and learning so many things from Brandy and the commenters for many years. I love her advice about the zinnias. They are so inexpensive to grow from seeds. They are pretty much fool proof and there are so many colors and different varieties. They last all through the summer and early fall here. Beautiful and hardy!

  3. It’s my first time growing stevia this year, too! Mine are in containers to overwinter indoors, as I don’t think it can survive our winters well (in the Pacific Northwest, so we get some freezing and some years we get snow). The plants are getting larger and I should start thinking of harvesting and drying leaves for winter. Same with all my other herbs!

    I had a good week thrifting and found supplies for two upcoming birthday gifts — an unused sketchbook that I am embroidering a cover for and several yards of a pretty rose fleece fabric that I will finish with a decorative edge.
    Our harvests have been delayed due to a wet, late spring, but things are coming in! I canned several quarts of zucchini pickles and 4 pints of bourbon cherries (for winter holiday treats) this week, and I dried the first batch of apple rings. Stocked up at the farmers market and will be canning more dilly beans and dehydrating salsa for winter. I have enough cherries to make a few half pints of jam, too. I may pick up more so I can dry some for pie and cobbler making this winter, as well. Our goal is to have preserved homegrown or primarily local produce for most of winter so we don’t have to worry about inflation or supply chain issues come the cold season.

    I made two summer dresses from pretty thrifted cotton bedsheets. I also knitted up a few new dishcloths while watching Youtube in the evening. On Saturday, my partner and I packed a picnic and spent all afternoon at pretty park on the beach sipping cold drinks, snacking, people watching, and relaxing. Sometimes it’s lovely to do nothing much and to spend no money doing it!

    My youngest son has decided to stop homeschooling and to go to a small public charter school for his junior and senior year. We just got the supply list and we already have everything on hand. We did get him a few new clothing items at the thrift store, though, to round out his “back to school” wardrobe.

  4. I continue my frugalness with same things gardening, getting books and dvd’s from the library, staying out of the thrift store. We found a Vet here in our city that is free for seniors with limited incomes so we are transitioning our dogs from our current Vet to this new one, it is going to be a huge blessing for us with 5 dogs. I am not quite a senior yet but husband is at 64. We used another Vet in a different county for one of our dogs who needs dental work done ( appointment is in December) to have her teeth cleaned and any teeth pulled during the same appointment. That will save us at least $300 our current Vet charges over $500. This one is $125 but may be a little more if they have to pull any teeth. Last week a house 2 doors down from us underwent a large rehab and a deck porch on the front of the house was torn down and thrown out to be trashed. Me and another neighbor took the parts I took the 3 side panels he took all the floor boards. Tonight if it isn’t raining husband will do a final assessment of what we need to put it together to make a enclosed garden in my back yard so my dogs can’t get in to it. We will need to build some kind of gate, husband will look at work after we measure it for a pallet to use. They also have some scrap wood there he may be able to use. So basically it’s only going to cost us the hardware to put it all together screws, latches, and hinges. Friday I was at Lowes and a couple years back they use to have a grocery cart in the lawn care area with empty pots where plants had died and they were free. I hadn’t seen that cart there since then but saw out in the parking lot area large metal racks with a bunch of empty flower pots. I ask a employee if I could have some she ask her supervisor and she said take all I wanted. So I got about 30 different pots to use for my plants next year I chose mostly larger ones but also quite a few small ones for seed starting.

    1. Anna – Wonderful news about the new veterinarian! He/she is most likely helping people keep their pets and keeping beloved companions out of the shelters. Our Humane Society, whom we work with as a kitten foster family, has a program that provides free food to folks who need it. I love that! 🙂

    2. AnnaInOhio- I’m so happy about your finds! Enclosing your garden area will be such a blessing!!! It’s always so exciting to create something functional out of salvaged/recycled materials!!! Very clever of you!! You are so resourceful!!
      Gardenpat in Ohio
      HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  5. We went camping for three days and took all food from home for the trip. On the way home we were able to stop at Costco and stock up on things that we find cheaper there – dog food, hearing aid batteries, vitamins and some other items.
    I had a favorite shirt I purchased at a thrift store several years ago. I don’t know how old it was when I bought it but I’ve worn it a lot and it was wearing out. I could not find another like it, so I purchased fabric online and made a pattern. It was simple to sew. To dress it up I added some embroidery. I think it will be a new favorite. (I got the embroidery pattern free here: https://trishbembroidery.com/collections/pdf-free-patterns-tutorials)
    I dug my potatoes. I ended up with 25 lbs from a small bed. I set out broccoli, cabbage, and chard seedlings in the former potato bed. I am gambling on having enough time before first frost to harvest these. My cucumber vine was dying off, so I picked the rest of the cucumbers and put up ½ gallon of dill pickles and a quart of sweet pickles. I hemmed a pair of shorts and cut up some stained T-shirts to use as cleaning rags. When I harvested garlic three weeks ago, there were a number of small heads. I spent one afternoon listening to audio books and peeling all those small cloves. I pureed them with olive oil and froze them in cubes. The little cloves were always the last to get used and often dried out before I got to them. This will keep me from wasting them.

  6. You’ve reminded me I need to harvest stevia and lemon verbena. Pesto has been on my list to make again. Last week, tomatoes were cooked down for paste, which was my first time making it. They simmered most of the day, as we don’t grow paste tomatoes. They ended up reducing from 18 pints down to 1 pint, plus a pint of tomato juice. I then canned our carrots, which added six half pints to the pantry. Four pans of figs were halved and frozen. I went through Rakuten for 10% back on an order, while the site had a 20% off sale. For a dinner, I made a pasta dish that used tromboncino, plus our onion, garlic and oregano. I made a loaf of fig bread for J, using our eggs and figs. Cucumbers were shared with our mail carrier, J’s business partner, and friends, and tromboncino with friends. Warm up water and water from washing lettuce was used to water plants. I cut up all the apples that had fallen on their own, or with the squirrel’s help, and ended up with two gallon bags of slices. I shopped on the day to receive the 5% senior discount at the grocery store. My husband harvested a watermelon, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, Iron & Clay cowpeas and lots of cantaloupes. I planted several more potatoes, in hopes of a harvest before frost. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/08/all-about-harvest.html

  7. I love the photo of the butternut squash. It actually looks huge. This week has been a week of attempted savings. I stopped at a gas station and filled my car up with a low price on gas. I was so proud of myself until the car didn’t start back up. That 10.00 in savings went to the wayside when I had to pay $50.00 for a tow truck to jump start the car. My road side service seemingly has disappeared although I was positive I had added it to my insurance last time I had an issue. Looks like I need a battery or alternator. I will check this out carefully at AutoZone before I pay for a repair at the garage. I cleared my house out of many items I did not want. My neighbors took what they wanted and the rest went to the thrift store. Baby Henry’s grandmother came over and I completely filled her car with goodies. I had a new in box bed frame that her son will upgrade to. Its so nice finding new homes for unneeded items. This week I rescued a 40 lb box of sweet potatoes. Grandma and I split the box. I brought home much needed butter and two large trash cans. The cans are missing the lids but I will use them for recycling. I’ve wanted to buy them for a while but am to much of a tightwad. My favorite rescued item was a pair of brand new black Toms in the box. While dropping off cardboard boxes at the dump ,I looked in a random Rubbermaid box sitting on the ground. There were multiple coats and the out of place shoes. I love peeking in boxes. Overall it was a good week.

  8. -Garden is starting to produce. I canned a few pints of green beans and tomatoes. I also canned 9 half pints of pickle relish. Froze some peppers, and dehydrated basil this week. We are eating fresh cukes, tomatoes, green beans, kale, lettuce, and pea pods. From now until frost my life will be preserving produce for the winter.
    -I pulled out the pea pod vines and planted radishes, they are already up.
    -I made my homemade bug juice to hang in the apple trees. I replace this concoction monthly and it attracts moths and bugs. Natural way to keep bugs out of the apples.
    -Did some mending, I had a pile of several things. One of my least favorite jobs but it feels so good when it is done.
    -I ironed some designs on floursack white kitchen towels. I will start to embroider them for Christmas gifts.
    -We went to our daughter’s for the day and took part in their local small town celebration. Most things were free-parade, kids pedal pull, music, tractor pull, and bingo. We did pay $16 ($8 each for the noon meal after the parade)- this included a cheeseburger with fried onions, corn on the cob, a bag of chips, and a bottle of water or can of pop. Fun day for $16. We got home about 7pm and then had BLT’s for supper.
    -Creative leftover use-Diced up a leftover grilled brat with some cubed potatoes and diced onion for a hash for lunch; then had about 3/4 cup of the leftover hash- added that to scrambled eggs with some cheese for breakfast; diced up half of a quart jar of canned peaches and made peaches and cream muffins; used the leftover peach syrup in a pitcher of koolaid (I was able to reduce the sugar by using this syrup).
    -Only groceries bought were 2 gallons of apple cider vinegar for canning pickles and more canning salt. Eating out of the garden, freezers, and canned goods.

    Have a great week!

  9. I picked and dried oregano and stevia this past week, too. My basil plants are doing nothing. I’ve never had them do this before – they just sit there. I’ll keep trying. We have at least two more months of hot weather, so there is time.

    The lemongrass, that I planted when I accidentally pulled up a green stalk with roots on it while cleaning pruned matter out of our original plant last fall, is starting to really fill out. I found out that I can freeze the white ends that are used in cooking and tea, so I plan to try that.

    I didn’t have enough leftovers last night for lunch at work today, so I pulled a small jar of stew out of the freezer and brought it with me. I try to keep frozen meals in the freezer for those work days when there is nothing to pack for lunch.

    Our church’s bookstore had its annual big sale, and I bought two gifts for $12 total: one for an upcoming birthday, one for Christmas.

    I dried everything on the line or on the drying rack again this weekend. We have a lot of afternoon storms, but I’ve been able to get laundry hung outside and dry before they hit.

    I put up five pints of chicken stock made from bones I’d saved in the freezer.

    I keep watching the “oops” paints at the stores for a color I’d like to use when I repaint a small room. I’ve had some decent luck finding paint that way and the paint job isn’t urgent. I have time to look.

    I entered a give-away at my credit union. My chances of winning are small, but the contest is free to all members, and the prize is cash.

    I used the library to get a TV series on DVD to watch for free.

  10. We had to put our sweet dog down last week so it has been a rough time in our home here lately. I called the insurance company and submitted all of the bills collected from the hospital so that we could be reimbursed and applied that amount to our credit card immediately. I made sure to cancel the policy as well so we will no longer be billed the premium each month. We are sad but are very glad that she is not suffering and sick anymore.
    As if we did not have enough going on I noticed that we had army worms in our grass as we were coming down the hill after we buried Luna Grace. I made a quick call to a locally recommended lawn company and they came out the same afternoon to spray. Since we had the yard hydroseeded just a few weeks ago, I did not want to allow any time to go by and risk the worms consuming all the grass. I am watching the lawn carefully in the hope that one treatment will kill them. The gentleman that came out to inspect said that we caught them really early and I have not seen them in our garden at all.
    I used accumulated credit card rewards to apply as cash to my small balance this week.
    I unpacked all of the remaining boxes from our move in March since the shelves for our dining room arrived. My husband assembled them and I unloaded box after box of china and crystal. I was grateful for this task as it gave me something to take my mind off of all of the above. We have broken down all of the boxes and will take them to a local spot for free disposal. I reorganized and took inventory of our chest freezer and canned items so that I know what we have on hand and what is needed. I like to shop sales so I try to keep a list of our pantry/freezer items to help us out budget wise. Keeping with the stay busy theme I made a double batch of pumpkin muffins for the week, a large batch of pinto beans to turn into burritos for the freezer, and vacuumed and scrubbed all the floors in my home. I harvested zinnias, took out leftover pumpkin candles & cones to decorate hurricanes that I had on hand, and washed 10 loads of laundry including pillow covers from my sofa, our duvet cover, all bed linens and towels. I harvested tomatoes from the garden and made a large batch of tomato sauce with a variety of peppers, also from the garden, and spices to use in batches of chili this fall/winter. I cleaned out my refrigerator, hung several pictures that we have been waiting to hang since we moved and reorganized our kitchen cabinets. We brought in a cabinet that we were planning to sell & found a place for it in our keeping room. It now holds all of my canning supplies and all of our games and puzzles and it was free! I have been getting quotes to recover the Parson’s chairs that I purchased at a yard sale a month or so ago and have been discouraged by the pricing. I have never recovered furniture in my life but I will either find a way to do this myself or sell the chairs and look for something else that will work.
    Our garden has still been producing despite being neglected last week. Now that our highs are under 90 I am hoping that we will see more fruit starting to set. I have a huge list of chores planned for the garden this week including fertilizing, weeding, pulling out squash & cucumber plants that are spent, and sowing seeds for peas, bok choy, and some celery. The blackberries that we planted in June are starting to flower and although I don’t expect that we will receive much fruit from them this year, I am excited to see that they are thriving.
    Here’s hoping for a lighter and equally productive week ahead! Blessings to all!

    1. Luna Grace! What a lovely name for a dog who was clearly well-loved. I am so sorry for your loss.

    2. Angie, I am so sorry about your Luna Grace. We lost our Charlie last November and it is hard. I did the same thing…kept super busy. Peace.

    3. Angie, I’m sorry about Luna Grace (beautiful name); pets are truly family members and their loss is felt so keenly. Sounds like you’ve had a really difficult week with everything, but BOY did you stay busy! WOW!

    4. I’m so sorry about your dog. We had to put down our 13 year old dog Easter Sunday. It’s amazing how much joy they bring, and grief when they’re gone.

    5. [Hugs] Letting them go is never easy, even when it is what’s best.
      As for the chairs – take them apart piece by piece and take photos as you go. The worst part is the sheer number of staples that have to be pulled! I use a long handled flat screwdriver and a pair of pliers. Use all the pieces, including the cushion ones as patterns to cut new ones, making sure you leave yourself a little extra just in case. I will even reuse the piping cord for the edges of the cushions (or find some random rope left from something else) and the zippers if they still work because I’m cheap. It is really not that hard – just time consuming and hard on your hands with all the pulling.

    6. Angie my sincere sympathies on your beloved Luna
      My girl Sandy was wonderful and died in 1997 I have learned to live without her but it’s always sad

  11. *I picked green beans, peppers and a cucumber from my garden. It’s not enough to can, so we eat fresh. I bought strawberries for $1.25 with a limit of 5. I bought all 5 and froze 4 containers and ate 1 container. I bought a watermelon for $3.99. I didn’t find much in mark downs this week but I keep checking. I submitted receipts to Ibotta and Fetch. I used my gas points to get 60c/gallon off my next fill-up. Trying hard to combine errands and keep things local.

    *My daughter received a more complete health diagnosis and so we are having to change her eating habits drastically. I’ve been looking up recipe ideas on Pinterest and researching ideas. I had ordered some recipe books on sale when I suspected the diagnosis. Those are helpful ideas as well. I like to have an actual book(s) and hand for reference instead of always looking things up online. It’s nice to have both options.

    *I’ve been making new junk journal pages in free time using my scrap paper. I like to use the scrap paper as much as possible so I’m not tempted to buy new supplies. I already have notebooks/journals – definitely a weakness of mine.

    *By using my deferred shipping option on Amazon, I earn digital credits. I use them for videos or books. I got them a TV season and kindle book for free. I also downloaded free kindle books through BookBub.

    *I went to Sam’s Club and bought 2 rotisserie chickens, gum, nuts, bulk M & M’s. We ordered a new printer from them for pickup. I went through Rakuten to earn cash. We bought a printer on sale. It’s pure white – which drives me crazy – but it works beautifully. Holds more paper, greater ink capacity per page printed. The ink is cheaper to replace as well. The chickens were used for dinners in multiple ways all week long. I grew up loving a cold chicken sandwich. My kids don’t see the appeal, but I still love them.

    *I read books, exercised at home, watched movies.

    Have a great week!

  12. So glad you were able to get a bunch of produce from your garden! And always so inspiring to see how much you can do with little bits of things such as fabric scraps!

    My frugal week:
    – picked tomatoes, raspberries, green onions, collard greens, swiss chard, and chives from my balcony garden, and green beans, snap peas, lettuce, and tomatoes from my plot at my parents place
    – I’m particularly appreciative of Brandy’s encouragement to grow what you can where you can, as my kids and I just caught covid, and although we are fully stocked, and have the luxury of being able to order groceries for delivery if necessary, it is such a pleasure to be able to go onto my balcony and grab enough fresh greens for dinner.
    – made homemade pickles on the cheap by adding sliced cucumber to existing pickle brine from an empty jar of pickles. Let sit for a week, and you have refrigerator pickles!
    – baked whole wheat sandwich bread for the week
    – made macaroni salad (https://approachingfood.com/best-ever-macaroni-salad-and-eating-for-two/)
    – made my weekly pizza using homegrown basil
    – baked brownies for the week
    – popped popcorn in my air popper as a snack
    – made homemade bread crumbs from leftover crusts
    – did the weekly pool and library visits with my kids
    – baked oatmeal cookies for a playdate at a local splashpad. Water balloons from the dollar store, and the same sand toys now used as water toys, were a hit.
    – combined coupons and sales when buying this week’s groceries. Took advantage of a milk deal and got a free larger container of half and half cream. I’ll probably use it in a custard or extra rich French toast casserole.

    A question: does anyone have any recipes for ways to use grape leaves in meals, aside from dolmas?

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

      1. Thanks, Brandy! I think I also remember you cooking them with chicken/turkey? How did you do that? I know that you cook your chicken/turkey upside down so it bastes in its own juices. Do you just put grape leaves chopped underneath the chicken before cooking? TIA!

        1. Oh, I forgot all about that! It was really good! I did put the leaves under the chicken. Then the chicken makes a broth cooked like that and I served it with the leaves and chicken over rice. Yum! Now I want that!

  13. -We’ve continued to enjoy all of our fresh produce from the garden. After a few years of poor zucchini harvests, it is exploding. I’ve been shredding it for the freezer, baking it into everything and making casseroles. Also tomatoes, peppers, the last of the raspberries, lettuce, kale and fresh herbs. I made a fresh corn, black bean and avocado salsa as well as muffins and bread. I will be starting to can this week as the garden keeps ramping up.
    -We had family visiting. They brought meat and yummy snacks. We went to a local festival but otherwise stayed home and enjoyed the water.
    -I ordered some back to school supplies now, while they are still discounted. Bought some extra markers to keep at home, and will probably use as a stocking stuffer. Also bought some new “dorm” pillows for the guest room on sale. I will reuse backpacks and lunch bags from last year.
    -Sold another few items on eBay.
    -Using up some random bottles of shampoo and conditioner.
    -We needed an MRI after an injury and with our high deductible, figured it would just be cheaper to pay out of pocket. After a friend suggested calling around, our doctor suggested using a private MRI company. We paid cash with our HSA and it was much cheaper than the cash discount at the hospital. It’s good to remember to shop around even with healthcare. We are choosing options for rehab that are mostly not covered by insurance, like chiropractic and acupuncture, which at this point are a better option than surgery, and should be less expensive in the long term.

  14. *I harvested a handful of wax beans, several zucchini, about 10 cherry tomatoes (they are the size of golf balls!) and several more cukes. I am going to have to treat for powdery mildew though. I thought that I might finally have a year where it wouldn’t be a problem but the high temps and high humidity seem to have kicked it into action.
    *I made 4 wrinkly apples into applesauce.
    *I made several batches of gluten free muffins for my breakfasts or snacks. I make mine in my Vitamix so I can throw in whatever veggie or fruit I want and it blends it smooth (I have texture sensitivities) so you’d never know it’s there.
    *I made 2 “pouches” from scrap material to hold the lids for our pans. They hang right below all our pans on the rack we made. The rack is made from a commercial grid panel. The cupboard they were in was difficult to get into and we have an ongoing mouse issue in that cupboard so this way, it’s all out and visible and much easier on my husband’s spine.
    *I cleaned up the work bench in the basement and sorted all the various screws and hardware that were just thrown into one big bin. Now I know at a glance if I have what I need when I am refinishing things or building new.
    *We skipped buying all but the bare minimum at the store but it is getting to the point that I may need to use the food pantry. Not what I want to do but our pantry is starting to look pretty bare from us eating things and not being able to purchase more of an item to refill. Luckily, we have found some deals (like when I found the gluten free flours and bread items on clearance) which will help. We bought sugar and rice in bulk sizes several months ago so those are still getting us thru. I hope I have enough of the sugar to make raspberry jam at least. We found our favorite chili starter on clearance and bought all of those – it is a very cheap meal if you don’t add meat and eat it over pasta. My husband also found gluten free pasta for me on clearance last week too.
    *I cut out several small projects to sell in my Etsy store and Facebook market place.
    *The younger dogs found a bat to play with so we had to get them booster rabies shots immediately. The vet was kind enough to send out a tech to the car and save us the office visit fee. I think it was actually a baby that got separated from the mom during the downpour we were having at the time but rabies isn’t something you want to gamble on.
    I think that’s it – mostly we just stay home and make do with what we have.

    1. If you would feel comfortable doing it, it might be a good idea to start going to a food pantry before you get to the point where you have very little to work with at home. Food pantries are not known for their variety. Anything you can do to supplement what you have seems like it might be a good idea. Guess I’m worried about you. Thankful you do have a garden. There might be some gluten free flour recipes you could make yourself that might be less expensive than buying one already mixed up.

    2. Melissa, I just read an article that said that many donors at the food pantries are now using the pantries. Many, many people are and that is what they are there for. For many years, I used a food pantry and the people were so kind. You might talk to some vegetable stands around you and see if you could get day old or misfits. Explain your situation. Years ago, I did this to feed my children. Wishing you the best.

    3. Please go to the food pantry if you need food. No one should go without when these options are available. This group understands and supports you.

  15. I found 2 20 ounce Dark Berry Dr Peppers for .58 each

    My husband brought home cookies from a job

    A friend buys pallets from Taget and Ive found a few good deals lately…$20 king bedspread, and tanks, shirts, and pants for the teen for $1-$2 each

    I sold 2 items and made $33

    I received a sample bag from Walmart when I picked up my order… spicy peanuts, oatmeal packet, chili season packet, and electrolyte drink mix

    My out of stock 12 pack dog food was substituted with 36 pack for the 12 pack price.

    I used my free movie rental from Directv to watch the new Downton Abbey movie

  16. I have spent most of this week trying to sort out NHS appointments, we had 2 letters telling use about 2 appointments both for the same day, the same time but one told us we needed to attend in person and the other told us not to go to the hospital as it was a telephone appointment. You wouldn’t credit the time it took to sort this out, our telephone bill will be high this month. I was looking at a hotel close to the hospital, a single room for 2 nights at £241, the next day it was £288 . I closed down the tablet and went upstairs to use the old desk top to find the hotel quoted a price of £241 again so I booked it quickly. Nice saving of £47 just for going upstairs. I have noticed this happen with other websites, they inflate the price if you leave and revisit a page, especially La Redoute.

    I spent one of the cooler days digging out the potatoes, I filled 2 sacks.
    They are now in the dining room which is the coolest place at the moment. I am harvesting tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, french beans,beetroot, and carrots from the garden. I have runner beans but the flowers keep falling off. All that we can’t use we are preserving. I am sowing carrots in any spaces to cover in the Autumn.

    We are cleaning out the water butts ready to fill everything we can in the case of a hose pipe ban. I also have 2 plastic dustbins we will fill if necessary. I am bucketing out kitchen water to try to keep the trees alive. Our apples are billiard ball size I hope that they catch up if we have some rain . None is forecast for the next 2 weeks. We haven’t had any for 10 weeks which we are not set up for in Britain. I need rethink for next year.

    I am still using the library for books and knitting. Watching the Commonwealth games. I spend most of the day outside in the shade. Winter will come all to quickly, I must start making Christmas presents.

    Keep safe everyone
    Chris

    1. Re: Higher prices when going back to hotel websites: This might also happen with airline fares. If you can clear the cache or browsing history on your machine, it will set you up for a clean search, which hopefully will be the lowest current price. Not sure about car rental prices, but I wouldn’t be surprised if those vary as well.

    2. Hi Chris, I have the exact same thing with my runner beans, they are just not setting. It’s been so unusually dry and hot here (it’s usually dry in our town but we haven’t had rain since June). Even my basil has gone to seed prematurely and I have lost some strawberry plants. Fingers crossed for a wetter autumn. Effie

    3. my husband puts a tracker on airline ticket, I don’t know if it I available on other services. We will always have a day where it dips in price, and he books.

  17. Very hot here so to keep the house cool I’ve been serving sandwiches or wraps and homemade soups; Ploughman’s “lunches” for dinner; main meal salads using garden produce or quick stove top meals. Like Brandy, many meals were meatless. On the weekends, my husband uses the grill.
    * Not wanting to waste leftover Coca Cola , I used some in a Coca Cola Chocolate cake for both the batter and the icing. I also made a Barbecue Sauce with some of the cola and basted pork chops with it. The remainder was used in a Crockpot Dried Bean and Green Bean side dish to serve with the meat. I was quite happy with how everything tasted considering I’ve never cooked with soda before (other than to use as a substitute for beer when making yeast dough for pizza).
    * Continuing to harvest green and yellow beans from the garden: shared some with the neighbours, dehydrated some for soup, ate some fresh and froze much of the remainder.
    * Harvested the last of the snap peas. Not enough to freeze so we ate them raw in salads.
    * Harvested many cucumbers. We ate some and shared some with the neighbours. I discovered a few hidden cukes that had turned slightly yellow, so I made a batch of Hot Dog Relish to use them up.
    * Harvested new-to-us-to-grow broccoli, cauliflower and savoy cabbage. We were pleasantly surprised at how easy the broccoli and cauliflower were to grow and how they had a milder taste compared to store-bought. Will definitely plant these again next year. Haven’t served the savoy yet but we usually plant regular cabbage and find it milder tasting than store-bought, so I’m assuming the savoy will be similar.
    * I kept the outer leaves of both the cauliflower and broccoli to cook with. I finely julienned some of the leaves and blanched and froze to use in soup. The stalks were cut for use in stir frys – froze some and some were served as part of the meals. The outer cabbage leaves were also saved and used to make a few cabbage rolls. They were frozen.
    * Harvested some cubanelle peppers as well as herbs. Diced the peppers and froze to use later in the Fall for making salsa. The herbs were dehydrated but some chives were mixed with softened butter then formed into a roll and sliced and frozen. I’ll use this Compound Butter during the Winter to serve over baked potatoes or to baste chicken etc.
    * Both stale crackers and cereal were refreshed in a low degree oven. The crackers were served in the Ploughman’s Lunches, and the cereal was used as a crunchy topping for yogurt parfaits.
    * Continuing to eat out of the freezers to make room for the newer produce that is being and will be added over the season.
    * Continuing to find ways not to waste any food items. So far I’ve been pleased with the results.
    * Doing the usual to save money: line drying clothes; trying to do tasks that require electricity during off-peaks hours; washing out Ziploc bags; reusing saran wrap that was used just to cover a bowl. Because it didn’t touch any food, I felt I could safely wash, dry and reuse it; put patches in T-shirts so I could continue to get more wear out of them for working around the house. I don’t care if I wear grubby clothes in the garden or to get splashed with kitchen grease 🙂
    That’s it for now.
    Pat J., from Canada

  18. Hello! It’s always such a joy to start the week finding this post! *Ventured out to Joanns with coupons. I purchased some fabric with an apple print to make a table runner and a garland for September. I’ve been wanting something different as far as decor and this is an inexpensive way to perk up our living space. I have holiday themed runners and garland, but nothing for the months that don’t have a holiday. The fabric was 25% off. I also checked out the remnant bins and got two remnants of flannel for some patchwork quilts I’m planning to make. While there, I ventured over to the puzzles and found a great one for my husband for Christmas. It was not on sale so I got to use a 40% off coupon! * Stayed on budget for groceries this week, and had a little extra so I stocked up on some canned goods and pasta ’til I got to the budget cap. * My daughter’s boyfriend plays golf professionally (Kornferry Tour) and was doing well in a big tournament. She let us know he was being featured on the golf channel, which we do not have. But we figured out how to watch a free ten minutes, so we did so on a couple phones and my husband’s ipad, so we were able to see him play a few holes. That was fun! * Hubby got an unexpected raise at work. After talking over our budget, we decided we are content with where we are and will just put the raise in savings right away, so we don’t get use to the “extra money” in the budget. That’s a nice place to be. This wasn’t always the way…in the old days that raise would have been spent 20 different ways before we even got it. Blessings. * My son’s debit and credit card numbers were stolen and used. Thankfully the credit union caught it. We had a long talk about safety and responsibility and not putting his card numbers all over the internet willy-nilly. Lesson learned, hopefully. * Homemade meals this week included chicken ceasar salad, baked pasta from leftovers I froze, naan pizza and salad, egg roll in a bowl, brats and coleslaw, burrito bowls, and leftovers. I’m getting better at cooking for the three of us (instead of the eight of us). I used half the recipe for coleslaw and saved the rest of the cabbage for the egg roll in a bowl. And when I browned the sausage for the egg roll in a bowl, I put aside half of it for the upcoming pizzas. No waste! * I continue to work on crocheting Christmas presents, reading and listening to audio books from the library, and watching shows. I found a new channel that I added to the Roku for FREE called Freevee. It has wonderful old shows like the Waltons and Little House on the Prairie, just a few short commercials. Love it!! Those shows help me get through these hard times by watching their hard times and being reminded that a loving family and working together makes life wonderful, no matter the challenges. Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. I LOVE the Waltons and Little House. We bought them on prime years ago and watch something daily. Definitely helps me to keep perspective.

      1. There is a way to Watch the Walton’s on Amazon for free. It is with commercials. I think it is called “ Freevee”

    2. BeckyH – Aren’t those shows wonderful? When I was growing up, I wanted to be a combination of Pippi Longstocking, Laura Ingalls and Fern Avery (from Charlotte’s Web.) My husband says I succeeded! 🙂 I grew up not too far from Earl Hamner, Jr.’s (the real John Boy) home in VA and one of my most-prized possessions is an original copy of The Homecoming by Earl Hamner, Jr. which was the inspiration for the pilot and the series. The pilot is available for free on YouTube and I watch it every year. Always glad to know there are others who love those stories of family, faith and resilience. 🙂

      1. Years ago, we were driving through Virginia (south of Charlottesville) and saw a turnoff to a Waltons museum. We took the turn and came in through Rockfish (was that the name? which really isn’t a town, just a sign and a widening in the road) but the road was covered with yellow autumn leaves and it was absolutely stunning. As we drove into town, we passed the home of one of the brothers. I think it was Jim Bob’s–we knew because his name was on the mailbox in front. The museum was located in the old high school and included a set from the series, as well as a lot of Depression-era furniture, appliances, etc. You really got a feel for how people lived in that era, plus the Waltons connection. The museum was getting ready to close for the day and a docent gave us a personal tour. I was sad to learn how alcoholism ravaged the family, particularly since we had it in our family, too. This was a wonderful, serendipitous visit. I don’t know if the museum is still open, but if it is and you see a sign–go!

        1. The Waltons Museum is still open! They close each winter but open each spring. It is a wonderful museum. It was one of my favorite television shows, so I have been there a few times. We drive that route fairly often from North Carolina up to Pennsylvania. Beautiful scenery!

  19. This is the week my husband and older boys are at camp in Illinois. They carpooled out there, taking our pastor’s car which is much more economical than the church van or any of our vehicles. They arrived a day and a half early to volunteer which saved them 50% off their camp registration (a total savings of $450). The other 5 children and I have been doing some thrifting while daddy and the boys are away. We went to one thrift shop for their pillowcase sale (as much as you can fit into a pillowcase for $5). We filled 4 pillowcases and got 88 items so each item ended up costing less than a quarter. In this was books, gifts, craft supplies, fabric, clothing, shoes, glassware, and a blender. Then we went to the $0.99 sale at goodwill and got a couple of books to give as gifts, a pair of shoes, and 40 clothing items including 4 winter coats for $38. Today, I sorted through all of our fall and winter clothing and wrote a list of everything else we still need (it isn’t much!) and we’ll go thrifting one more day this week!

    Grocery shopping has been very minimal since there are fewer of us at home and we’re just working on using things up that wouldn’t feed all of us.

    I cashed in $40 from my receipt apps to use toward Christmas gifts and $30 in target gift cards from Crowd tap to use for household items. That freed up the money to spend at goodwill.

    We got a ton of rain which has done some damage to my garden. I was able to harvest cucumbers, a cabbage, beans, peppers, squash, basil, and tomatoes. I’m making sure to use up or preserve everything that comes in.

  20. I went to the farmers market as soon as it opened for the day. I bought cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and peaches.

    I canned the peaches (12 pints)
    Made the cucumbers into dill pickles (8 pints). Made salsa (6 pints) and ate the beans fresh cooked. This is the first canning/preserving I have ever done. I had a canner I bought at a garage sale and the jars, lids and rings too. I used the Ball canning book I checked out of the library.

    I don’t have much space in this apartment this the smaller quantities and as a household of one this will last me quite some time.

    When sweet corn comes in I will buy some to cut off the cobs and freeze.

    I made homemade fried rice and burrito bowls last week too.

  21. Hello Everyone!

    I’ve been accomplishing more as my energy becomes increasingly restored! 🎉. This week our garden gave us more green beans, zucchini, a bucket of pears, a couple plums, and cucumbers. We’re basing our meals around what’s in the freezer and garden. I did dehydrate several trays of zucchini shreds for later use. GardenPat, do you rehydrate these before use?

    I made a pesto pasta salad this week, sandwich bread, muffins, quick bread and several batches of iced tea. Today I’m baking cookies as it’s the first day of school. I’m also meal prepping some chicken and brown rice for quick, healthy lunches for myself while everyone is at school or work.

    I went to JoAnn for the first time in months to buy thread, zippers and bias tape for upcoming sewing projects. I used all the coupons available to save. I finished the cotton nightgown project and I plan for more as it’s super comfy. The fabric is from my stash. I joined the Simplicity/McCalls Facebook sewing group. Experienced sewers are very helpful to those with project questions. It’s an inspiring group! Can’t wait to see your flowers Brandy! 🌹

    Nearby to JoAnn is a Walmart. We picked up milk, eggs, and canned diced tomatoes since my pantry was depleted. One can was $0.50 pre-pandemic. Then it was $0.77. Yesterday the price rose again to $0.88. 9% inflation is baloney!! I think I will compare the price at Costco next time I’m there. We don’t have case lot sales in CA. I don’t have enough room to grow the amount of paste tomatoes we would need to can a substantial amount. I may add some grow bags or pots of them next year though and see how it goes. Each time I go to the store the inflation is astonishing. So I continue to shop sales, price compare, garden and cook from scratch. Although, sales seem to be slim at the beginning of each month.

    I hadn’t driven in almost 2 months. Gas was $5.69/gallon when I filled up. It has come down some.

    This morning I made some online shopping returns. Have a blessed and beautiful week! ☀️

    1. Julie on the CA Coast- To use the dehydrated shredded zucchini, You don’t need to rehydrate before adding to moisture rich recipes – they’ll absorb everything they need from the broth. Dehydrated shreds can be used in pancakes, fritters, muffins, and quick breads as well as soups, stews and sauces.

      Very versatile and takes up small amount of shelf space this way!
      Don’t know if you’re in Southern CA or Northern, but here In Ohio, we just got gas for $3.19 without using fuel points, etc. We remember our S. CA days raising our 11 children there for 10 years and miss it terribly. But the economics of living there was just too hard.

      Gardenpat in Ohio
      HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    2. Costco is cheaper than the store. Trader Joe’s is cheaper on a lot of things as well. I grow Romas too. But, I think it is cheaper at Costco when you factor in the water. Plus, they are already canned and Organic.

  22. I took advantage of a free oil change, tire rotation, and state inspection offered by the dealership where I purchased my vehicle.

    A robin built a nest on a cross beam in my front porch. I’ve been enjoying the progress. This weekend I got to see the baby birds leave the nest. Free education. Free entertainment.

    I gathered chokecherries that grow wild on the edge of my property and canned 7 quarts of juice. The fruit feels like a wonderful blessing and I smile every time I look at the jars of juice.

    From the garden, I picked the end of the blueberries, a few tomatoes, and enough raspberries to freeze.

  23. Beautiful photography! Getting ready to travel for several weeks; taking only a carry on + backpack to negate lost luggage. Also in traveling, we rebooked a Thanksgiving flight, using points + companion pass, as prices (points) came down. (Saved 6,000 points). I found an excellent condition ($2.00) National Geographic Atlas for Young Explorers, for the grandchildren, at Goodwill this week. I am also on the look out for a good old fashioned dictionary and other reference books for their home library. I finished reading The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pattaki.. learned a lot that I did not know about the development of cereal, etc.

    1. Many libraries have Friends groups who manage donated books. We get a LOT of encyclopedias, dictionaries (in many languages) and other reference works (including entire homeschooling curriculums). These are sold very inexpensively, and the proceeds go back to support the library. Win-win! Check with the libraries around your home for details of upcoming sales.

  24. Hi Brandy and everyone
    You are making such good use of your garden, not just to feed the family but to make life more beautiful. Lovely photos as always.
    Inexpensive meals this week were chicken livers and vegetable stir fry, cheese omelettes with salad and I used one small salmon fillet from the freezer to make salmon, courgette and shallot quiche.
    I cut cosmos, dahlia, zinnias and rudbeckia from the cutting bed and made up a bouquet for a friend too. We cut/ pulled cucumbers, courgettes, beetroot, carrots, potatoes, French climbing beans and marrows( we deliberately let some courgettes carry on growing because we like marrow.) We picked enough to give big boxes of veg to two friends and included some of our homegrown onions too. I pickled some beetroot and froze some green beans.
    I checked our electricity usage and we used slightly less this month than this month last year and our usage has been decreasing over the last three years. I’m sure we can bring it down further.
    My husband turned down the hot water temperature dial on our boiler, if it’s fine we will turn it down a bit further.
    We went away at the weekend to our godson’s wedding. We took water bottles with us in the car and stayed with friends. We gave them some nice thank you gifts( I used a coupon for money off the pot plant) but it was much cheaper than staying in a hotel for two nights and we were grateful for their invitation to stay.
    We wore clothes and accessories we already owned.
    Our dog goes to stay with a friend when we go away and although we give her a monetary thank you, as well as flowers and veg, it is much cheaper than putting the dog in kennels. Our friend has a small income and we are pleased to be able to give her this money, she wouldn’t accept money from us otherwise. The dog loves her so everyone is happy.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. PennyP-your quiches always sound so elegant, fancy and delicious !! Combinations of ingredients I would never think of – they sound yummy!

      1. I, thank you so much for your kind comment. The combinations are usually dictated by what’s available in the garden/ fridge/ freezer. I also realised that I have been cooking my quiches at too high a temperature and they are much better now I don’t frazzle them!

  25. Excellent Kroger cherry savings! We do not have Kroger here yet- but when we lived outside of Cincinnati, it was our go-to store.

    1. Nancy in Florida- I was in shock when I saw that!! Since I made the cherry pie with my granddaughter, I already had noticed my supply of home canned cherry pie filling was getting low. This was incredible timing!! ❤️❤️

      Gardenpat in Ohio
      HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  26. I forgot to mention that the ladies on the McCalls Facebook group kept referencing the Palmer/Ptletch Complete Guide to Fitting. I ordered the book on Amazon (on sale) using your link. It very comprehensive and a great sewing reference!

  27. The garden has been keeping us busy this week, like a lot of people. We put up 23 more ears of corn and 7 quarts of green beans. We made 12 quarter pints of blackberry jelly and 6 half pints of blackberry cherry jelly. The blackberries were given to us, and the cherries were almost getting too old to be eaten fresh. I had never made jelly before, so this was fun. I shared with my daughter and son-in-law and my niece, and all were very grateful. My husband found some reduced precooked sausage links and bacon for my son to have while he house/dogsits for us while we are on vacation next week, plus more of the yogurts. I did buy some granola at Ollie’s last week to add to the yogurt, and that has been encouraging me to eat more of it.

    At our community yard sales, I took a set amount with me, and actually didn’t spend it all at the yard sales. I did chip in on buying unopened diapers for my daughter’s sister-in-law, and I bought a few things for me/the house: stationery, a few Little Golden Books that I collect, a HUGE roll of parchment paper (it is commercial, and it doesn’t feel like much had been used). My daughter found a brand new kitchen faucet and her brother’s birthday presents. My niece found a huge amount of baby clothes at multiple sales for her sister-in-law; she is very good at haggling! She also found a serving dish that you put sterno under to keep food warm for 50 cents and a vintage fondue pot for $1!

    My husband brought home 100 canning jars that someone just threw away at the dump. He said the gentleman getting rid of them said he had tried to give them away, but no one wanted them. I know members of this group would have jumped at them! They were all clean and in great shop. This was only about half of what came in – my hubby shared with other half with another employee whose wife wanted them.

    I haven’t been in the mindset to read much, which is very unusual for me, but I have crocheted (finished another set of dishcloths for Christmas) and listened to music for free on Pandora. Saturday night, my kids and my niece all gathered at my house, and we just sat and laughed and talked for hours. It was lovely.

      1. I use cotton yarn, like the Peaches and Cream kind, but this is hand-me-down and missing the wrapping. I have a book of crochet patterns for dishcloths, and I have found the easiest one to be a chevron pattern.

      2. Nancy, I knit a very simple dishcloth from kitchen cotton type yarn (lily’s sugar and cream is a common one). You cast on 3 stitches. Then for each row you knit one, yarn over, then knit to the end of the row. Continue in this pattern, knitting the yarn over as a new stitch when you come to it, until the dishcloth is as wide as you would like. Thereafter each row is knit one, knit two together, knit to the end of the row. Continue until only 3 stitches remain, then cast off.

  28. I have harvested okra and filled two freezer bags of sliced okra. I harvested about 10 lbs tomatoes, and about 15 jalapeños, and 8 pickling cucumbers. I plan to can some salsa and tomatoes, hot pepper peach jelly, and I have 2 bags of apples to make pie filling this week.

    ***Bible Study starts Friday at my house so I’ve been cleaning baseboards, and cabinets out. I used my carpet cleaner and cleaned my car and the dog beds. I am doing the couches and family room area rug this week.

    ***We had rain twice this week, but after so long without you couldn’t tell it rained afterwards. My husband mowed the grass was already dry again a couple of hours after rain. But it was needed! I haven’t had to water any other time, I do pour out cooking water and glass water on some potted plants and vegetables.

    ***I’ve pulled from the freezer Italian grilled chicken, cooked peas, potato soup, taco soup. We made homemade peach icecream with some frozen peaches I put up last month.

    ***Our combined electric/gas/water/garbage bill was $450! My daughter was here for 2 months between apartments and moved out this weekend, so hopefully it will not be as bad next month. She was upstairs and we don’t need to cool it with her gone.

  29. Hello Brandy,
    I would love to know which meatless meals you have been making lately. I would really like to incorporate more meatless meals into my weekly menu.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Lots of vegetable soups and salads! Bean and rice burritos are on our menu every week as well.

      Yesterday I made my tomato basil soup for dinner (we had leftovers with salad for lunch) and I cooked beans for a batch of meatless chili. Both recipes are on my site.

      Even though it’s hot out, soup is one of the least expensive options, so it’s on the menu quite often now. I got out of the habit of soup once a day, but it makes a huge difference to the budget.

      1. Thank you Brandy!
        My family enjoys soup and I’ve gotten out of the habit of making it during the summer months but I’m going to add it back. I think I’ll start with your tomato basil and serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches.

      2. I love soup anytime of the year as well! If only hubby did…😕
        One thing that DOES keep me from making many soups during the warmer months is how much steam they add to our already humid environment, making the heat even more unbearable (and that’s with the air conditioner on and fighting it, lol). I WAS happy to “heat and eat” soups I had frozen during the winter when I came home from the hospital in June though. I was able to quickly heat them and puree them with my stick blender.
        I prefer plant based meals myself, for the most part. I’m not opposed to eating meat, I just rarely crave it. Sweets on the other hand~

      3. Brandy, I make broth-based soups in summer, although soups such as ham and bean seem a little heavy in hot weather…but that’s a matter of taste. I don’t think I’m the only one here that is curious how much time you spend cooking each day. Do your older kids help with meal prep/cooking, or do they actually cook any full meals? I am constantly amazed by how much you accomplish each day/week, and I know how much time prep and cooking take me! I know that you teach your kids to cook. How early (age) do you start, and what do you start with?

        1. I spend a LOT of time cooking each day but when I make soup I always make enough for leftovers, which cuts down the cooking time.

          My older children do help sometimes; it depends on what is going on. I do make sure they learn to make things but I also enjoy cooking.

          I don’t have a set age or thing that the children learn. Little ones usually help to pour ingredients into the mixer.

      4. Our summers are so short that July is the only month I don’t make soups! And now that there are only two of us, I make a pot full and we eat that for several days in a row. Sometimes the same thing day after day gets to me, but then I remind myself how cheap and healthy soups are and I just eat up.

      5. Our former neighbor said last year that she couldn’t believe we were having soup in the summer! I could only think of how useful it was when so many fresh vegetables were coming out of the garden. I mean minestrone makes the most sense right now although I’m sure it’s good in the winter too. I guess we just have a different perspectives.

  30. Gas is $3.99 a gallon by me. Milk is $1.89 a gallon and eggs were $2.29 a dozen.
    Hubby and I went peach picking. They were $2.99 a pound.
    It has been upper 80’s, lower 90’s. We are in a drought. They are asking people to only water in the morning, only run full loads in the dishwasher and laundry, to take short showers. We already do all of this and more. All cooked water gets poured on plants after it cools. All vegetable washing water gets used on fruit trees. All glasses at night get poured into the dogs bowl. The dogs bowl gets dumped into potted plants when it is dirty. We have a small leak in our hose. I keep a bucket under the leak and pour the water where I want it to go. The AC has been on a lot. We all sleep on the 2nd floor so I shut the first floor AC off at night. In the morning I turn fans on and open up windows. I can usually keep them open until 11am.
    We got a new stove on sale and then they gave use an extra $150 off for getting an extended warranty. We paid on our CC that we get points with and we pay in full every month. They were also having a promo if you spent a certain amount you got free head phones. They will be a Christmas gift. We also had to buy new pots and pans because we got an induction stove. They gave us the set when we were at the store. When the stove was delivered they gave us another set. We told the men that we already got them. They said it was on the order to deliver them so they had to deliver them. I called the store and told them what happened. They said to keep the second set. I may try to sell them online. I am holding on to them for now in case I get asked for them back.
    I pulled all of my squash plants, powdery mildew. I amended the soil and planted more beans since my other bed of them is slowing down. I planted more lettuce and beets too as I pick them. I am picking lots of eggplants and tomatoes. A few peppers, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, basil and beets.
    My son spent several days at my sister’s house with her for a mini vacation. A friend of her’s took them clamming. My son brought home 12 dozen clams. I procced most of them and it went into the freezer. My sister also sent me 3 quarts of free ice cream that she gets from Stew Leonard’s, with sprinkles and a beautiful bouquet of flowers from her garden. She gave my son a telescope and camera that she no longer uses. I sent him with a bag of veggies from my garden.
    I made pickled beets and dill pickles.
    I got 2 chickens for 99¢ a pound.
    We made our first batch of pesto. We use walnuts and I throw some carrot tops in to stretch it.
    I worked 3 days so I had free lunch 3 days.
    Our neighbors have Covid again. I have dropped off garden veggies and baked goods.
    Stay healthy everyone.

    1. You know, I stopped putting nuts into my basil pesto and no one even noticed. That reduces the price considerably.

          1. I use a reduced amount of oil and water in place of the rest of the oil.

            So I have basil, olive oil, water, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

  31. We came home a day early from vacation to our sump pump failing (again!) and basement flooded. Decided to rip up the carpet and not replace. Still dealing with fleas anyway. My dad paid for the house on our trip (frugal) but obviously gas wasn’t cheap. Grateful though for family time and the funds to afford the travel expenses!

    Frugals:
    *while there were splurges on vacation, we also made sure to have plenty of easy meals and picked up our groceries from Walmart to save $
    *I packed a few library books and just couldn’t get into them. Went to a bookstore less than a mile away and found an Agatha Christie Treasury with several stories included for $12. There were some thrift stores but gas to get to them wouldn’t have been worth it and I’m not sure what they would have had.
    *harvested 2 cucumbers from our garden when we came home!
    *was gifted a watermelon from Buy Nothing Group

    Hoping to buckle down next few weeks and save some money! Take care everyone ☺️

  32. Gas is 3.42 in college town, $3.69 two hours further south in small towns, and .$3.89 south of Montgomery, the state capital, on the interstate. I walked in the local parks and around the neighborhood. Still not fixing the air at the work house and just using a fan and frozen washcloths. I am mad Alabama Power is increasing their rates. I went to SAMS and bought hamburger meat, Gatorade, soft drinks, eggs, the packs of butter they sell, organic Spinach, corn on the cob because the local Farmer’s Market wanted a dollar an ear and I am not paying that, sandwich bread, shredded cheese for lasagna and froze the rest, ice cream, and something else I cannot remember. I bought tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market. It poured rain on me in my car so I view that as a free car wash… lol. I dried my clothes outside in between rainstorms. Still using my iPhone 6 prepaid. Trying to see how long it will last!

    1. Cindy, what do you mean by frozen washcloths? Do you put them on you? Do you hang them in front of the fan? Thanks.

      1. I put the wet wash clothes in a little plastic lunch bag (but you could use a Walmart bag etc.) and freeze them and sleep with them on my chest with the fan blowing on me. I also read where someone would wet their t shirt, or night clothes, and sleep with the window open. However, you would have to have a screen over the window where I live because of the mosquitoes. When ai lived near the Mississippi River in the Mississippi Delta 35 years ago, I actually slept in bed under a mosquito net inside the house. It was an older home rental and mosquitos would get in at night.

    2. I just remembered, I bought roast beef sandwich meat bc that is the only kind of sandwich meat my kid will eat. I have told him a sandwich is just a sandwich and every meal does not have to be gourmet. It is ok to put meat, cheese, bread and go. I add Mayo. He hates it so I told him not to put it on the sandwich and that made him happy. I had a talk with him about the enormous amount of money he would save if he just ate a simple sandwich at lunch. I pointed out it was not just the lunch, it was the gas to get somewhere, tip, tax, and the savings of time also. He is now repeating “a sandwich is just a sandwich”’… lol. Seriously though, I think the not eating out lunch for years and years enabled me to survive financially. People scoff at the little things but little things turn into big things one penny at a time. I agree it helps to buy cheaper houses and cars also (which I did), but the small things, incrementally done, count also. They count a lot. Cutting one’s hair at home, gardening, foraging, cooking at home, eating meatless meals, gardening, dressing appropriately for weather, save pennies that turn into dollars. That is why a sandwich is just a sandwich but it is so much more. I explained he could take that money he would have used in the drive through and get his car painted. He liked that idea! He may forget it next week but slowly but surely he is beginning to understand and comprehend some things about money management. It has taken me 30 years to get him to eat some type of greens but he now eats spinach regularly!

  33. I have been trying to find as many recipes as possible to use up my garden produce– I made 2 quarts of refrigerator pickled beets, and also picked assorted herbs including mint, garlic chives, parsley, celery plant, and lemons, and grape leaves to make dolmades (and am using rotisserie chicken broth to cook them in). I also used garlic chive blossoms to make chive vinegar.
    I used lemons from the garden and some lavender that I bought last summer at a farm in Oregon to make lavender lemonade, delish! Getting tired of buying drinks and drinking regular water, lol.
    I made zucchini and corn fritters for breakfast, and gave away many zucchini to my hairdresser and neighbors. I have been throwing my figs in the freezer but I really don’t know what to do with them as jam “ain’t my jam!” There is also a TON of japanese eggplant growing here so I made eggplant jerky-lots of recipes online. It tastes like olives to me. I will be putting it in sandwiches and in salads. Most of my gardening neighbors are going to cut back on what they plan to grow in the future due to the water situation and cost. I also made granola from Tucker Inn on San Juan Island, it is on the expensive side to make but so good! (recipe is online, just google it).

    My two ceiling fans stopped working (there was no remotes for them when I bought this house 4 years ago) and I called an electrician to diagnose the issue. He found that the remote control part of the fans quit working so he removed them and put in new wall switches that have a dial for variable speed. This will keep my house cooler without turning on the AC as I only had one low speed prior to this fix. High speed is great!!

    And last, I took a jam class at a local farm and the instructor used a bbq silicone glove to put her gloved hand directly in the canning water to grab the lids! I bought a set from Amazon, the brand is called Wahoo. They are an aqua color, around 20 bucks. We made cantaloupe vanilla jam and tomato jam. So fun.

    Thanks Brandy and readers for your ideas!

    1. Figs are great on pizza and if you don’t want a strictly sweet jam, try a sweet and spicy fig jam recipe. It’s great with cheese and crackers.

    2. I like figs cooked down in sugar and lemon juice (sorta refrigerator jelly like) on top of French bread and goat cheese or cream cheese. I saw in a magazine where a fancy restaurant did that and it is delicious!

  34. Hello, frugal friends from the mountains! First, I want to thank everyone who gave me suggestions for our big trip. I have written them all down and am working out which ones are doable with our itinerary. The rest will stay on my future travel list. I really appreciate the suggestions.
    On the frugal front:
    *husband got a free annual state car inspection at the dealership.
    *I canned 4 more pints of green beans.
    *made and froze a quart of vegetable mix from the few veggies I got out of the garden.
    *I dehydrated zucchini shreds, chard and kale.
    * harvested 8 onions.
    * As Garden Pat mentioned there are a few deals still to be found, but you really have to look, at least at my local Kroger. The deals I found this week included 2# box of spaghetti for 1$, 25# of sugar for 8$, A huge box of Special K cereal for 3$, low sodium soy sauce 1$, whole wheat bread marked down to .99$ each. I also bought the loss leaders of cherries 1.99/#, 5# mandarin oranges 2.99$. I saved $35.48 with coupons. They also had their 4x fuel points when buying gift cards offer so I bought $100 of gas cards to use on our big trip. I earned .40$/gallon for this month.
    *My granddaughter and I made a doll using an old nylon stocking and leftover quilt batting and fabric scraps. My granddaughter designed it and did the hand sewing. It turned out so cute and cost nothing out of pocket.
    *Last week we took our grandkids up to the rv resort park in Hillsville for 4 days. We rented a cottage for $130/night. The cabin had a full kitchen so we brought all our food. The park had nice pools and really fun water slides plus paddle boats and a very nice playground. Everything was included in our cabin rental price. We treated for ice cream two times, but their price was very reasonable (under $10 for the 5 of us)and one game a piece at the arcade. The games were $1.25 each. All these extras cost us $22 total. I would definitely go back there again. The grandkids had a blast.
    * We did all the usual things to keep costs down. But those are the things which allowed us to pay our mortgage off early and was worth the sacrifices. We owe no one anything. As other frugal friends said last week, this is such a freeing feeling and provides opportunities to help others in need.
    Blessings and a frugal week to you all!

    1. CONGRATULATIONS!! This is such an accomplishment! It is freeing! Plus it frees up a chunk of money each month to do something else with.

  35. I picked up the sales at Safeway-$5 off $5 or more (I went 49 cents over) and free 1 lb of carrots.
    Picked organic apples at a friend’s orchard, I’d guess about 80lbs. Half are in the fridge (taking up over half the fridge!) and half are on the table to be used this week. I will make applesauce, dried apples and apple crumble.
    I spent some time making the Scout Tee from Grainline Studio. It’s a great basic shirt for woven fabric and has excellent tutorials online. I plan to make several with some variations.
    We carpooled several places, and also used the ebike, saving such a lot of gas.
    Used the last of our stored rainwater (last rain here was one time in June). We have storage for 900 gallons, all containers bought used, plus rebates from the city. The used containers are mostly 55 gallon drums that originally had some food item in them.

  36. It’s been another good week in Houston, TX!
    We bought door buster school supplies (lots of the .25/box crayons) to redeem for free Chickfila sandwiches. We ended up with 16 free sandwich cards, which we will divide into 2 meals for our family. I buy a few large fries to divide among us to round out the meal, and we drink water. I had a bottle of Mio lemonade flavor in my purse, so I shot a squirt in the kids’ waters to make lemonade. Chickfila is delicious, but gets expensive, and it doesn’t seem to fill us up like other places.
    I bought a $5 stroller that my baby carrier can snap into. I had one of these with a couple of other kids, and it’s so nice to not need to move baby from the car seat. The wrap style carriers don’t work well for us when we’re in and out of the car a lot, with lots of stops.
    I made a huge pot of beanie weenies by modifying a baked beans recipe. It was filling, and I served cornbread on the side.
    I stopped by a garage sale. Among other things, I bought a box of hand tools for $5. Several of the things I don’t know what they are, so I gave them to my uncle, but I got a lot of hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, etc., that I’m dividing among toolboxes I’ve started to make for some of my kids. This is cheaper than Harbor Freight would have been, and even though they’re old, likely better quality.
    I bought several pairs of Lululemon leggings at the thrift store, which rang up as $1.99/pair. I sold them online for quite a bit more, after letting my oldest daughter pick out a pair.
    I did not buy some high quality, used furniture. It would have been nice, I could have replaced some of my current pieces, I had the money, but I really don’t need them. I think polishing some of my current furniture and clearing clutter off the surfaces will help me be more content with what I have.
    I’ve started a basket of items for the consignment store that aren’t worth trying to sell individually.
    I took the kids to our neighborhood pool and the arboretum where I parked for free.
    Needing a fast and easy meal when we were going to my aunt and uncle’s, I picked up a couple of marked down rotisserie chickens, some French bread, and salad stuff at Kroger. The marked down chickens were $4.79/each, cheaper than Sam’s and Costco, but not as big. Our Costco and Sam’s don’t open until 10 am, though, and I needed the food earlier. Still, I got away with spending $15 to feed 9 people in a pinch with no cooking, cheaper than fast food or pizza would have been.
    I washed lunch boxes and backpacks in preparation for school starting soon. The kids will use what they used last year, still in good condition.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  37. We are giving a baby shower for a local nonprofit for families facing hardships. The wonderful part about this program is parents have to earn coupons to “purchase” items; this is done by attending classes, keeping well baby appointments, etc. One of the needs is diapers; went to Kroger’s today to purchase the 84 count newborn size—and with that purchase I received a 192 count package of wipes free! They are regularly $6.49. A good deal for everyone!

    1. Nancy- What a wonderful event!! It’s always a “Count your many blessings” time when we see others who are less fortunate. It is a great reminder to be grateful we are in a position to share with others!

      Gardenpat in Ohio
      HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  38. We have been massively decluttering and have made several trips to Goodwill. The garage had really become a catch-all for items that we didn’t use but were somehow keeping. Also, there were a few boxes that were on high-up shelves that hadn’t been opened since we moved into our place 18 months ago.

    We have been utilizing our library quite a bit and I am thankful for inter-library loans. If my local branch doesn’t have a book, I can still request it from another branch within my county.

    Also, I have been listening to Christmas music on Pandora. It always puts me in a happy mood 🙂

    1. I listen to Christmas music all year except for January (and that is at my husband’s request – I’d listen to it then, too, if I had my druthers!)

  39. I didn’t have a week of huge savings–or expenditures. I am not going to the store as much using either what I have on hand or making a different decision. I did shop today for lemons, avocados and blueberries to get me through the week.

    This week I made granola and shortbread cookies in addition to cooking most meals at home.

    As it is still summer, I attended two outdoor concerts for free and went on an evening hike.

    I continue to work on knitting a sweater with remnant yarn.

    I spent a morning on a whirlwind quest to get my house cleaner. We had family over for a pot luck lunch and swim party.

    I read books from the library and watched “Granchester” on PBS.

    I visited with women in my neighborhood who don’t have many guests.

    We had a huge thunderstorm and lots of rain for about 45 minutes! I harvested some lettuce, kale, a few tomatoes, and some cucumbers from my garden.

    As a splurge, my husband and I took a day and drove to a neighboring town and saw two musicals (a matinee and evening show) and had dinner with a friend we hadn’t seen in more than a year.

    I continue to work on finding balance in my life between a busy to do list and mindful joy in the present.

  40. Well, our role in the book is finished. The book goes to the printer today and the printer will address and Frank stamp the copies that are going out of town saving us a lot of work. It feels strange to be finished. It was good timing because I still have about four weeks of summer left hopefully a bit more and the hummingbirds were still here.I bought four clam shells of Ontario peaches because they have some advantages over BC peaches. At least what I’ve been getting have been smaller and so are much easier to freeze and put in into Ziploc bags. My Evans cherries are almost ripe. Only one tree really bore well; the other two trees were in bloom when it was too cold for pollinators. My chard is still only an inch high and is really struggling. I bought several cans of lentils, unaware that the price increased from $1.39 per can to $1.79 per can. Still they are helpful in stocking my pantry. I will keep my eyes open for a sale – I have some that I bought at a dollar just a year ago. The inflation particularly as it affects food is particularly concerning. The shredded cheese that I love so much has gone up from 12.95 per kg to 22.95 and a $4 increase in the past couple of weeks. I won’t be buying it. I was lucky and got some lovely osprey photos. I thought I’d missed out on getting hummingbird photos but eventually got two beautiful photos but alas only of a female. After the initial outlay for camera and a lens there has been little cost for this hobby.

      1. Thanks, I! I saw your comment about peaches. I bought clamshells of Ontario peaches from Walmart. They are delicious!
        I’m about to do something with them. I know what you mean about its being difficult to compare prices between loose ones and those
        in clamshells!

    1. Congratulations Ann – you did it! What a relief that must be! I hope you get to relax a bit more now and enjoy your garden and the birds.

      1. Thanks Melonie! We just have to wait 4 weeks or so to see the printed copy. In the meantime,
        we have our delivery volunteers and routes all organized, our mailing list for those that need
        to be mailed. Now to put our feet up and enjoy the last month or so of summer!

    2. I’ve been reading weekly hoping to see that your book was finished! Congratulations!! You persevered through many set-backs!!

    3. Ann, so happy for you! Congratulations on the completion of your book! What an awesome accomplishment! Enjoy the rest of your summer!☺️

  41. Brandy, your flowers are just beautiful. I’m happy for you with your lemon verbena harvest – it’s one of my favorites for sachets and iced tea. Scarlett O’Hara’s lovely mother always had a sachet of lemon verbena in her pocket.

    This week was reasonably frugal, except for more AC than usual. We dumped water from rinsing vegetables on the pots out the back door. We went to the woods nearby early, early this morning to get the boys some exercise without waking the neighbors. We’ve been enjoying the inside projects I’ve stashed – making crystals, art supplies, play archeology kit – that we’ve received as hand-me-downs.

    I’ve been sorting and sorting clothes, and it’s amazing. The very thing I’m sure I’ll have to buy, I almost always come across in our very own basement. It really inspires me to keep on decluttering and keeping just what we’ll actually use.

    I did some maintenance on our vacuum cleaners.

    I gave my husband and three boys haircuts. I also gave myself a ponytail haircut – I do enjoy those a lot. I think that must have saved us about $150 where we live.

    I hung laundry outside.

    I used our grill and crockpot as my “summer kitchen” to keep the heat down in the house. Crockpot bread, biscuits on the grill.

    Thank you for all your inspiration, Brandy. And thank you to everyone for all the helpful comments. I learn so much here.

  42. Hello, Frugal Friends!
    *We have been laser-focused on getting the remainder of our interior painting done. So, a lot of this week was spent caulking, filling holes, trimming out and painting my youngest son’s room. We just rehung the doors tonight and it looks so good. I love projects like that where hard work results in dramatic change. We still had much of the materials on hand, purchased before prices went up. However, we did have to buy more paint. We saved by finding a coupon for Sherwin Williams and purchasing a 5 gallon bucket versus the 1 gallon sizes.
    *We now have not only one litter of foster kittens, but two! A few days after we caught the first litter, we were notified about a second one in need of help. We caught them in a humane trap without too much trouble (it doesn’t always go that way) and got them started on the road to health. They were seriously underweight and needed a bit of medical attention. The only way we can afford to do this is by partnering with our local Humane Society – they provide us with formula, vaccines and any other medical needs. We have been blessed to have canned food donated to us by family members and were able to feed 5 very hungry kittens for several days before needing to purchase food ourselves. When we did, we purchased it in bulk sizes to lower the cost. It is truly a labor of love and worth saving a bit of money for throughout the year so we can have supplies ready when needed.
    *My youngest son is attending VBS with the church of a friend. Only cost is the gas to get there and it is being held at a beautiful camp we had not visited before. It is only 3 miles from a shopping area so I was able to get a few needed errand done while there (like buy kitten food!) saving gas and time.
    *Sold eggs to neighbors, oldest son mowed for another neighbor and my youngest is earning money watering my mother’s flowers while she is gone. Lots of little things help us all.
    *Eating out of the garden, pantry and freezer. No food purchased last week but I am keeping an eye out for sales.
    *Received my $100 rebate from purchasing my contact lenses. This will be used for stocking up on future food items.
    *While at the library, I picked up some magazines they were giving away. I will share them with a neighbor when I am done. I am still, STILL reading “Bullet Train.” I have just been too busy to read much due to all of the above. But, it is a page turner! I should be able to write about another book by next week, for sure. 🙂
    *Have a lovely week, all!

  43. Hello everyone! It’s been a hot and very muggy week here and I cut corners on dinners a few times, delving into my freezer for plant-based meat substitutes like Impossible Burger meat and Chik’n nugget type of products instead of prepping soups and more meals from beans. But at least all meals were at home and no takeout or meals out. I vow to use less of those products since they’re pricey, but when really busy or I’m looking for a quick substitute, they come in handy. Meals included root veg roasted trays and added some imp burger taco meat with onions to our plates, breakfast for dinner with banana/pineapple smoothies (so filling!), angel hair pasta and spicy marinara, falafel wraps with cukes/tomatoes and hummus, homemade onion/bell pepper pizza with a plant-based liquid mozzarella type product I was dying to try bc it just seems so strange but I don’t care for Daiya “cheese” (it was ok), and fried rice a few times with loads of veg in it. I ran out of enchilada sauce and went to pick some up and the small cans had doubled in price in my store, so I made a recipe from IowaGirlEats and will add some to rice for a spicy rice side dish in a day or two. Tomorrow I’m planning to make your Pasta e Fagioli recipe, Brandy – Mine is tomato-based and I’m looking forward to trying yours! A friend is meeting me for lunch out on Thursday and has said she’s bringing me a lot of tomatoes as she has way more than she can use. I’m excited for that!

    Our library has a program where you can recommend items to them for purchase and if they do purchase one you’ve recommended, they put you on hold for it to read/listen to it first. I love that, and have benefitted from it several times. I like both the digital versions of books and print books. Several are on hold for me now to pick up tomorrow. Delivered free to my local branch which has to cost them a pretty penny, especially now.

    I write my sister a lot of snail mail letters and with postage increasing every six months or so, I’m vowing to write longer letters. I add another sheet in there before sealing them up. We rarely have NEWS but we both enjoy the writing and receiving of letters.

    I missed this news earlier but in case anyone else notices their COVID-19 tests are expiring, the FDA has extended the dates on many of them once the manufacturers proved their shelf life was accurate for a longer period. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-covid-19-and-medical-devices/home-otc-covid-19-diagnostic-tests#list has lists of what tests expire when now, according to lot #s and tests. I went to toss mine but wrote the updated exp dates on three boxes of tests, saving them from the waste. It took a minute or two to find each test’s lot number on the listing but it did seem pretty complete.

    1. Thank you for posting about the Covid Test expiration date update. We had some and updated the new expiration date for them. I always check for expiration dates on our food and over the counter meds, but hadn’t thought about the home test kits.
      Grateful for the information you gave

  44. Still getting over covid, so my frugal mostly comes from not doing or buying.

    My library books were overdue because I was sick, finally got them all back and they waved fees, so that was a blessing.

    I have a dripping tub faucet I’m not repairing given all the plumbing will be replaced soon. Meanwhile, I’m catching it all in a bucket to water the garden.

    Thought I had large day of the dead “Cempazuchitl” marigold seeds to plant, but I don’t. Last year I got transplants and now they are $10 each! (4” pot) I’ll crumble some dried flowers and water to see if anything comes up. Made such nice fall pots on my porch last year.

    I watched the neighbors dogs (like always) while they went on vacation, but their fleas came to my house. Luckily I found flea meds from last time this happened, so didn’t have to buy more. Going to have to figure out a way to tell them I can’t do this anymore (it costs me money and puts my indoor cat through the misery of flea treatment).

  45. We spent several days last week with my son and daughter-in-law in eastern Idaho. We took them out for dinner one night and breakfast the morning we left, but otherwise we enjoyed their free B&B.

    I had two coupons for free car washes so I washed and vacuumed the car before we left home and again when we got back. Probably won’t get washed again for another 6 months or so, LOL, but I’m really enjoying driving a clean car!

    My daughter-in-law gave me a $225 Smith bike helmet (she didn’t pay that for it–my son manages a bike store during the summer) to replace the $40 Giro I was wearing when I fell off my bike.

    My tiny garden produced a Dutch oven full of green beans while we were gone. I just finished canning 5 pints of beans in my late mother-in-law’s circa 1948 Montgomery Ward pressure canner. Probably would have gotten about 8 pints, except that I composted the beans that were big and starchy. I cooked fresh beans for dinner last night and harvested (and ate) our first zucchini today. Harvesting parsley as needed. Still waiting to determine the identity of the mystery plants!

    Last week, at The Bluebirds are Nesting…on the Farm, Annabel blogged about how she accomplishes so much. https://thebluebirdsarenestingonthefarm.blogspot.com/2022/07/get-ball-rolling.html Like Brandy, she seems to have inexhaustible energy. After reading her post–twice–I realized that I do all of those things…just not consistently. I am also a procrastinator. I have really been working on being consistent and timely. Annabel’s suggestions inspired me to unpack from the trip as soon as we got home, do all of the laundry and clean up the car. I made menus to make the best use of the fresh food and prevent waste. As I do housework, I have been planning what I can do in the room I am cleaning to get extra jobs done, make changes, etc., all so that I can enjoy my home more.

    Best wishes to all this week. Brandy, beautiful picture, as always!

  46. Brandy, is the coral-pink zinnia a cactus zinnia (zinnia elegans?) it’s just beautiful and a variety that I look forward to growing; I love the frilly and various hues of its petals. The butternut squash surrounded by zinnias makes a lovely still-life.

    The garden has been producing – lots of zucchini, cukes & cherry/grape tomatoes (the sungold are so good); yellow pear and several early girl tomatoes; a few peppers. Harvested basil, oregano, thyme to use fresh and to dry. The lemon balm is taking over and the mints all insist on flowering and getting leggy – I can barely keep up with them. My little plot on my friend’s land is also doing really well – the bean plants are prolific – we’ve eaten them fresh, giving lots away, blanched and froze some. The honeydew and cantaloupe melons and butternut squash are growing but have not yet harvested any. Marigolds, zinnias, hydrangeas, crepe myrtle, cosmos, black-eyed susan, shasta daisies all blooming. Coneflowers now look very sculptural as the petals have faded and dying off and the cone takes center stage – the goldfinches are feasting on them. Brought bouquets to our library and to 2 friends who love flowers but have black thumbs.

    I’ve been taking cuttings from my wandering jew plant (tradescantia zebrina) all summer long. It forms roots in only a few days using only water and once planted grows quickly. I love its striped purple and lime green leaf with its lavender underside. Along with creeping jenny and bacopa, this plant cascades from most of my container planters. It looks lovely with a combination of white and purple petunias, white geraniums and calabriocha. Several friends and neighbors have asked for cuttings also; it does not over winter here so I will take cuttings and start new plants for my sunroom and plant outdoors next year.

    In the kitchen – trying to use all the zucchini- apple cinnamon zucchini muffins (thank you Bama Holly for reminding me in one if your posts about Patara’s coal miners cake – did not try that yet but saw this recipe and we all enjoyed them); stuffed zucchini boats, zoodles, fritters, 4 loaves of zucchini bread (kept one for us and gifted 3); dehydrated some. Dehydrated vidalia onions – 3 lbs for $1.99 (purchased 12 lbs). For the past several months cannot find plain pecans in the stores – BJs, Aldi, Walmart, my local supermarket – all out. Our neighbors have gifted us blue fish several times (the Atlantic is full of schools of them which attract sharks to our shoreline as they enjoy these oily and bloody fish) and I’ve prepared them as a stew (instead of cod); broiled; grilled. I still don’t like the taste of this fish but have eaten it (pretending it was mahi mahi, my fav fish). I reciprocated with zucchini bread and blueberry biscuits which are much tastier than blue fish, IMO. Made refrigerator pickles.

    Good deals at the supermarket include store-brand organic preserves, 12.5 oz glass jars of apricot, raspberry, strawberry, cherry, and blueberry preserves for $1.99 each (reg price $3.29) with an expiration date of 3/2025. I bought 4 of each for the pantry. 80 0z jars of Vlasic Dill pickles (whole not spears) for $5.29; bought 4. Garnier Fructis and Garnier Whole Blends shampoos, conditioner, stylers for 4 for $10. I used four $4 coupons (from the Sunday paper and the free paper that is delivered to us with the weekly circulars) paid a total of $4 for 8 assorted shampoos and conditioners. I will be donating these to a crisis center on the mainland. Tree ripe peaches, plums and nectarines $1.99 lb (from $3.29 lb) with a limit of4 lb each. I bought 4 lb each and all are delicious. Cherries $3.99 lb (reg $6.99 lb).

    For entertainment, on Wed evening, we with 2 other couples, attended a free concert in one of our county parks on the mainland – it featured Gerard Esposito who regularly headlines at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. He performed a range of songs from Sinatra to Barry Manilow to Tony Bennett. He was excellent. We all brought chairs and picnic baskets shared food and drinks. And, this past Saturday enjoyed a concert by the band America. It was held on the beach (the band performed from a tent on the boardwalk) in a beach town known for its boardwalk and rides and tix were only $40 a person. About 2000 people attended including us and 5 other couples that we are close friends with. We had a great time, with the Atlantic in the background and sand in our sandaled feet. On their Facebook page America The Band they posted a brief video with an opening shot of near sunset panning the audience with the Atlantic and to the crowd; our group is about 5 rows in from the boardwalk. We have tix to see Rod Stewart at Hard Rock Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City on 8/19. We are making up for all the concerts we missed in 2020.

  47. I am eating from the garden! Free!
    My garden is providing a large amount of zucchini, and I grated a few of them for zucchini breads. One was baked, and 2 more were bagged and frozen with fresh blueberries. I still have 5 or 6 large ones, I will blanch and freeze some.
    I sowed some fall veggies, Swiss chard, lettuce and mustard greens for myself and for the community garden (we grow for the food bank) and all of my cabbage seedlings made it to the garden.
    I decided to check out a plum tree on public property and gathered a small bowl of cherry size plums. I think I will can them whole in syrup. Free!
    I also stopped by to pick blackberries. I have a batch of them in the dehydrator. The ones I picked today I may make a syrup with them.
    I bought some dried chick peas this time instead of canned.
    I fed the mosquitoes for free, that should count for something! 🤓

  48. I’ll be interested to hear how you use the stevia. I’d love to be self-sufficient in sweetener!

    I wonder if you’d write a post one of these days about how you use your freezer to save money. We have finally cleared a bit of space but I can’t seem to pull the trigger. I keep thinking about getting a big chest freezer, but am always unsure about how the numbers would add up. It’s more a convenience thing, really – to be able to preserve homegrown produce without faff, and to be able to have homemade meals without cooking all the time. But energy prices are doubling over here, so I’m feeling even more unsure about it than usual!

    1. I would suggest that you run the actual calculations with the Kwh on the freezer with your actual energy prices and your projected prices. I shop infrequently. The grocery stores are 18 miles round trip for me. I have a complicated diet–I have celiac and am allergic to dairy plus some other things. For me, having the food that I can eat is really important. After 9/11 happened, it was probably nine months before I could reasonably order and expect to get it. (Our kindergartener had similar food issues.). I realize that wouldn’t factor into your calculations. If you have a garden, I think your savings are even greater. I also purchase beef from local ranchers. Good luck with your decision.

    2. We use one of our freezers for purchasing a cow each year. I was sharing with a younger lady at church a couple of weeks ago about it. She told me on Sunday that they purchased a half cow and even with factoring in the cost of buying a freezer, the price per pound was still significantly lower than that at the store.

  49. We kept on getting more fire wood. We bought 80 kg of grain (wheat and rye; I have a hand cranked grain mill) and scheduled the picking up after my husband noticed that gas has got cheaper (from 2,60€/liter to 2,40€ liter) and visited a hypermarket as well, for stocking up items that we needed and were not sold at our local grocery store. The farmer knew a lot of history of this region so it was also very entertaining! We had 2 storms last week, thunder, lightning, rain and hail. The first one lasted almost an hour and everything outside took a good beating. The hail stayed for 16 hours! I replaced the damaged plant in flower pots with some ivy I had rooted in a glass of water. I harvested cherry tomatoes, chives, and strawberries from my pot garden, and started picking the first red currants. I have a REQUEST: Please everyone, give me inspiration for homemade gifts! (I really need to ”weed off” my fabric stash! I have started using fabric strips (and braided yarn) as ribbon, and sometimes pretty fabric as gift wrap)

    1. Cloth napkins. They are nicer than paper towels and saves money! I made a big pile a couple of years ago and we use them every day, so it’s nice to have a lot. I’ll make some for my MIL for Christmas this year, as she mentioned she would like some as well.

    2. I’m not a crafty person myself but one Christmas a friend from work made up sets for many of us – each consisted of a couple of cushion covers, a small tablecloth that could be used as a Christmas tree skirt (still use it today) and a number of drawstring bags in various sizes to use for gift wrapping. I thought it was brilliant! She didn’t just use “Christmassy” fabric, in some cases if she knew what colours we used to decorate at home she used them. None of the sewing was onerous – mostly just straight lines and then threading through ribbon for the gift bags – perhaps this would work?

    3. Hi Miriam
      Bunting for children or adults, fabric covered notebooks, pillowcases, easy shopping bags or book bags, shower scrubbies made from towelling, drawstring bags, felt play food for children.
      Non fabric gifts- chilli sherry, homemade vanilla essence, plants you’ve potted up, spring bulbs potted up with instructions for how to bring them to flower, home harvested seed packets, bouquet garni in little muslin bags, fruitcakes, Christmas puddings.

    4. Miriam, if you have dog-owners among your gift recipients, you could sew fabric poo bag holders. I received one as a gift and I love it. It’s so much nicer than the plastic ones I had always used. I’ve seen several online tutorials for clever and cute bag holders.

    5. Miriam,
      Do you have any beeswax? There is a way to make beeswax cloth wraps with cotton fabric, which helps them stick to themselves with the warmth of the hand, for covering bowls or wrapping foods up. Here is a DIY that also has a vegan version if you prefer not to use beeswax: https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/the-complete-guide-to-diy-beeswax-wraps-including-a-beeless-vegan-food-wrap

      Perhaps pouches that could be makeup bags or pencil cases? Or a bit larger, a lunch bag, tote, or shopping bag.

    6. Maybe cloth napkins? I appreciate them as gifts because then I think of that friend who gifted them to me every time I use them and they last for years!

    7. Aprons, tote bags, hot pads, coasters, tea towels- use fabric to make appliques, pillow covers, pillow cases with ruffle edge, bookmarks, dog bananas or bow ties, ornaments, banner/garlands, bowl cozies, stuffed animals,

    8. Cloth napkins, coasters (like the hot pads Brandy mentioned, just smaller) – both of which could be combined with homemade food gifts. I am always on the look-out for baskets at thrift stores and use them to hold gifts like these. They are always well-received. If there are any children on your list (or adults who haven’t quite grown up all the way 🙂 ), fabric scraps are great for doll clothes, dollhouse rugs and quilts, etc. Have fun!

    9. Depending on the person, I sometimes gift an experience. For my mom, I gave her 3 hours to organize her freezer and help create an inventory list. I’ve also gifted garden help, closet cleaning, and for my kids sometimes a special date like going out for donuts and a card game or hike.

    10. My daughter made us heating pads one year. She filled them with rice so they were very cheap to make. I think with oil prices up this year they would be a great gift. I put some lavender oil on mine and it is wonderful.

    11. Rag rugs, aprons, pillow covers (both for pillowcases on the bed and as changeable covers for throw pillows). It finally !!! Dawned on me yesterday when I was looking at throw pillows, that all I really need to do is make interchangeable covers for the ones I have to change up my decor🤦🏼‍♀️ Why I never thought of this before I just don’t know!

    12. I don’t know if you draw or paint, but I draw people’s pets as gifts and then find cheap frames at thrift stores.

  50. Speaking of Christmas (Mackenzie!), does anyone have good ideas for frugal, meaningful gifts for adults? I’m making each of the 8 grandkids scarves, but I don’t have a good idea for the adults (4 grown kids and their spouses). Last year I made a family cookbook (in a 3-ring binder that we can add to) for each family. This year I need some inspiration! Ideas?

      1. I’m with Brandy–food! How about making hampers (as our British friends call them) with homemade foods, possibly some storebought items, maybe home-sewn potholders or cloth napkins? Before streaming, I made my son and his then-girlfriend “dinner and a movie.” It was a GC to a video store, homemade lasagna (frozen), a bag of salad and loaf of French bread. It was a huge hit and might work for someone on your list. What they liked best was that it was an entire meal they didn’t have to cook. People always love it when I give them a few jars of homemade jam.

      2. Yes, I give food gifts to our neighbors. Why not everyone? Love Maxine’s idea, too, of putting together a hamper (basket?) including home-sewn potholders or cloth napkins. I’m thinking now of maybe my homemade granola and homemade breakfast muffins and some cheery morning napkins. Thank you!

    1. I understand the challenges of shopping for adults!
      If the families play games, and you like a lot of paper-cutting-and-pasting, take a game idea and make it with photos of your family. Concentration (the one with two matching pictures where you turn the cards over to try to find a pair) would work. Monopoly if you got real carried away with places important to your family. Print photos, color and label the family members, use scrapbook type paper for the backgrounds, glue, cover the pieces with plastic contact paper, and provide a decorated box for them.
      Do the adults travel a lot? Look for patterns for packing cubes and make them sets, (with monograms even!).
      Make nice kitchen towels and potholders, matching the colors to their homes. Good potholders are hard to find inexpensively. Those could be given with a food item. Cloth shopping bags made to somehow be personal to them are another option.

  51. Great ideas from the post and all of the comments. I’m new here though I’ve followed on IG for a while.
    This past week I canned six pints of peaches from seconds at the orchard. I still have another peck to can though it takes every bit of energy I have (I’m dealing with what seems to be long covid). We’re eating cucumber, peppers and tomatoes from the garden. Fortunately my second son and his wife and their little ones live with us so she takes care of the garden (I take care of the boys while she works). I’m surprised more people aren’t combining households in this economy.
    I made some calamine bar soap to gift at Christmas and round dish soap to gift with ramekins and round dish brushes. I have a few more I’d like to make and then I need to settle on one recipe I can modify with infused oils. I’m new to soaping and it’s been interesting to learn a new skill.
    Thanks for all of the great ideas. I’m a prepper as well, so I appreciate all those ideas that translate to stored food.

    1. Angie my sincere sympathies on your beloved Luna
      My girl Sandy was wonderful and died in 1997 I have learned to live without her but it’s always sad

    2. Barbara, I would love your recipe for calamine soap, poison ivy is rampant here! Would you be willing to share it?

  52. I have been off the frugal train this summer and the first week of school– eating out far too often as I continue the renovations. Been hunting fixture bargains, but there are no bargains to be found on lumber, drywall, trim, or paint. I have done well on doors, cabinets and tile though.

    Was asked (rather told) I would be doing extended day all year. It comes with a hefty raise which will benefit me now and in retirement. It is also completely wearing me out, making eating dinner out too tempting as I am home alone and exhausted.

    I need accountability and a good kick in the pants.

    I am rededicating myself to eating at home, packing my lunch and finding renovation bargains. So far doing well on fixtures and packing my breakfast and lunch. I ordered a meal service (not frugal but better than take out or eating out) to help me get in the habit of eating at home again. But how do I clear the sheer physical and mental exhaustion?

    1. My niece works two jobs and does a crockpot meal evert day before she goes to work. I watched her spend only 10 minutes in the morning making dinner. If the meal needs rice or noodles, she will make them when she comes home.

      1. I have also made a big batch of rice on a Sunday to prep for a week of taco bowls, stir fry, and rice pudding. (I love a crock pot meal too!) It was nice to just be able to heat what was needed.

      2. I agree Brandy! Crockpot meals are huge time savers if you are away from home all day. I seek out quick dump and go crockpot meals on Pinterest and stick with simple recipes like adding frozen boneless chicken to a crockpot, topping with bbq sauce and cooking on low all day (8-10 hrs); or just add unpeeled potatoes to a crockpot for baked potato bar; another meal is frozen chicken breasts in a crockpot, topped with canned cream of chicken soup plus one can water. Cook on low all day and once home, remove the insert and top with canned biscuits (they may initially sink but resurface while baking) and bake in the oven until the biscuits brown. Bone in ham cooks great in a crockpot. If the lid doesn’t fit, cover with foil . Personally, I am gone so long to work that I cook hams from frozen in my crockpot (all day) for the best texture. Hams make lots of meals for the week ahead. Taco soup is a great dump and go crockpot recipe without meat or even using canned chicken.)

        I also have tried a day of prepping frozen crockpot meals. Lots of ideas on Pinterest and if you use a crockpot liner, cleanup is a breeze.

        Keeping bagged salad mix or prep lettuce once day for the week ahead as a meal starter is good for us too. A crockpot of cooked seasoned chicken is another meal starter for salads, oven nachos, chicken salad, burritos.

        These are meat ideas but I also cook dried beans in my crockpot too and just eat with cornbread.

        For me, I start small and try one crockpot meal a week or make a big Sunday batch of spaghetti for lots of leftovers. Cooking once to eat twice or more really helps me when trying to avoid eating out. Also, I sit out most of my ingredients with the crockpot the night before to save steps the next morning.

        My grown kids make fun of me for so many crockpot ideas but hey, it saves the day and lots of money!

    2. My daughters are both single and work full time at very demanding jobs. They are in their early 20’s. One of them uses the instant pot a lot and then has leftovers. The other one has health issues and really struggles for energy. I advised her to get more ready made things at Trader Joe’s which is quite inexpensive. Yes it’s more than cooking from scratch but enormously less than eating out. It’s an investment in her future. She needs to work and ready made meals are one thing that helps make that happen. I would have liked someone to help me balance full time work and home life when I was just starting out.

    3. Jennifer – Just a few ideas from life-long renovators and DIYers: Check out the “oops” section at the paint store. These are colors that people didn’t want or didn’t quite meet the mixture recipe. If you are flexible in colors, you might find a bargain there. Search on-line for a coupon for your local paint store. We do this often. Consider buying in larger amounts – especially helpful if you want to do the whole house or much of it in one color. You can usually get a discount on a 5 gallon contractor bucket rather than 1 gallon buckets. If you have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore near you, check them out. They are often high-priced for a thrift store but we have occasionally found good deals there on home improvement items. Worth a look, anyway. Let everyone you know what you are looking for. You may be surprised what someone has in their garage, basement, etc. that they haven’t thrown out but that you can use. We get an enormous amount of supplies that way. Some people have luck finding free things on-line on FB marketplace, Craigslist, etc. Check with your local building supply store. Sometimes they are throwing out things you might be able to use. You have probably thought of all these things but maybe some of it will help. Of course, the all-time frugal philosophy of cut back in every other category of your spending and you might find a few more dollars to go to the renovations applies, too. We are well-versed in pinching pennies till they scream when needed. 🙂 best of luck with your projects!

      1. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, etc., usually have paint sales around all of the summer holiday weekends. Labor Day is coming up! They are typically mail-in rebates that save around 20%. Without a sale, a 5 gallon bucket usually costs about the same as 4 one-gallon buckets. When you buy the 5 gallon bucket on sale, you will save even more. Also, if you buy “oops” paints, you can mix several colors yourself to get the shade you want. You will find that it takes more white paint than you think, so sparingly add the color to the white, rather than trying to lighten the color with white. Also mix more than you think you will need, because you’ll never be able to match the color to finish a job. Don’t ask me how I know this, LOL.

    4. Jennifer: Hopefully, you will get more acclimated to the work and not be so tired after the first few weeks. Give yourself some weekends off as the school year starts. Perhaps you need more snacks like fruit or nuts during the day? A break of five minutes sitting where it is quiet, with no one demanding anything from you? Your co-workers might also wish for such a time! Is your boss open to discussing the physical and mental stress of the work, especially as you imply this isn’t something you asked for? If exhaustion is affecting everyone in the office, that is a problem that should be addressed for everyone. If you are a “can’t say ‘no’ to anyone” person, re-consider that!
      More vitamins? D is especially important, and if you don’t have windows or go outside for even a few minutes’ walk, you will be getting less. Artificial light affects different people differently, as does stale interior air. Any live plants in your space? Do you have a good desk lamp and comfortable shoes, a good chair and the equipment you need to do your job? You might be dehydrated without realizing it, or be overdoing coffee instead of non-caffeinated liquids.
      This is a sort of random list; good luck as you implement your new routine! Make a decisions that if this hasn’t cleared up in three weeks or so, you see your doctor for routine blood work or other basic tests.

    5. Have you thought about hiring a stay at home mom or teenager to do some light housework, laundry, and simple meals for you? Yes, it is an unnecessary expense but it would allow you extra time to rest and recoup on your days off.

  53. Just got our electric bill, 4 chest deep freezers, deep well pump, 3 French door refrigerators, 3 dehydrators, clothes washer (don’t use the dryer), dishwasher (don’t use the dry cycle), air fryer, 3 ceiling fans, and 2 floor fans electric came in $117 for 633 kwh… that is 318 kwh lower and $24 less (even with kwh costs up) that last year. Hubby is no longer whining about how I turn things off. Cook stove and water heater are propane. We have over 3000 sq ft.

    Gas is running $3.25 Diesel is running $4.50. Hubby was worried he was going to have to shut down his hauling business when the cost went over $5 but the Amish he hauls for told him not to, they would adjust also.

    I needed some basics in the kitchen (cornstarch etc.) and found the best price at Amazon. Took deferred shipping and got enough digital credits to get the kindle book I had on my wish list.

    I’ve been holding what is coming in from the garden until I have enough for at least the smaller canner. I had enough yellow wax beans for 1 1/2 pints and Jade green beans for 1 1/2 pints so I mixed them half and half and got 6 pints. I can use them for 3 bean salad for Hubby. Amish neighbor brought over a milk crate of pickle cucumbers as hers ran her over. Two pickles made a quart. I canned 14 quarts and 8 pints. I still have 5 of them left for fresh eating. I did get 6 pints of tomatoes. I am hoping they come on stronger so I can put them in quarts instead of pints. I am hoping to get enough to make ketchup to can. Will be first time for that.

    I have been making meals from the freezer/pantry. Taco casserole, pizza (TW gazette dough), chicken (split a chicken breast I grilled between us) alfredo with fettuccine, bacon, lettuce (from store) and tomato wraps and sandwiches. Eggs in different ways as Amish neighbor sent over a couple dozen and 1 lb. of homemade butter. So I made 2 loaves of bread and then proceeded to eat half of the first loaf for breakfast as toast. GEEZE. We aren’t much of bread eaters, mostly tortilla wraps or lettuce wraps when there is lettuce in the gardens.

    Blessed Be everyone
    Prayers for peace.
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2022/08/monday-morning-goals-for-this-week.html

  54. Lovely photographs. That’s half the wonder of coming here to read, is that added touch of beauty to balance the frugality! Thank you so much Brandy! And thanks to all of the readers who take time to comment and thereby help others to see new savings, new ways to add beauty, etc.
    I continued working on the slipcover I’d started a bit over a week ago and am so close to finish. I need to make adjustments to the seat cushions cover and add in the zipper. Then I have a small repair to make and hemming that must be done and it will be complete. It took me about 24 hours to do all I’ve done thus far and cost me $35. I’m reusing the zipper I used in the old seat cushion slipcover. I did rather well; it’s a striped fabric and all the stripes appear to be matched up. Not just patting myself on the back, lol, though it does sound it. I’m just always surprised what I CAN do when I stop being afraid of what mistakes I’ll make and actually take my time to check and double check each segment of work.
    We went to the peach shed and got a basket of peaches that I shared with the girls. I also bought squash, tomatoes, corn and cucumbers. Today I’ve made the cucumbers into pickles, along with the ones that Bess brought to me on Friday. It is my second round of refrigerator pickles, both dill and sweet. I have a total of four jars this time.
    I’ve been shopping sales at Kroger and Publix. This weekend we went into Kroger to pick up milk on digital coupon sale. While in store, we checked for clearance items. I found some tall cans of baked beans 3/$5 (Kroger brand) and my husband, who is getting quite the eagle eye for bargains discovered 29-ounce cans of diced tomatoes for 50c each. These ‘expire’ August of 22 but we all know they’ll be good for quite a while beyond that.
    We ate out one day and as always, we brought home half the meals for another meal later in the week. I made pizza from scratch over the weekend. Have been doing that now for months and months and it’s been a fun hobby/good meal as we come up with new ideas of how we might build them. I planned ahead and made a Mississippi pot roast and set half that meat aside to make an Italian Hoagie sandwich with Provolone cheese.
    I am digging through cabinets and freezer and fridge and making sure we use items that I’ve ignored or put off using and am planning meals based on what is oldest in both pantry and freezer. Tonight, we’ll have a Souvlaki chicken made with herbs from the yard, a bone in chicken breast that I skinned and boned and cut into serving pieces. I used the skin and bones to make broth to cook a rice pilaf in this evening to go with our chicken dish.
    I have been digging deep into our finances and made sure that we’ve cancelled what needs to be cancelled, moved money into savings where we can and am looking at everything with an eye towards how we can be better stewards of it all.

    1. Hi Terri, I am so impressed with how you are using up everything and planning! I remember you starting this and you have seemed to master it!

    1. Because of my injured tendon, I haven’t been able to pan birds in flight ––so I’m especially happy
      that I was able to do it for the osprey!

  55. We found fresh corn on the cob and peaches on sale this week-they are both foods I enjoy fresh in the summer here. Although it was challenging to compare the price of peaches sold loose (priced per lb) with those in clamshells( in 2 and 3 litre containers). Spotted more coffee on sale too.
    Sadly our berries in the backyard are mostly done-but the apples are just about ready!
    DH and I splurged on a day trip to the mountains-we rode a gondola up to a wildflower meadow and enjoyed taking lots of pictures. It was a little cold and windy at 7500 feet but well worth the trip for the beautiful vistas.

  56. What a gorgeous shade of pink and I love the way you displayed everything on your silver platter – so pretty.
    It has been very hot here for the past few days – humid and feeling like 40C – yesterday just about broke us – everyone I spoke with said that was it – they were done! Thank goodness the temps dropped last night and we even had some rain so it is a lot better today – but frankly, I am ready for Fall!

    I used $20 worth of loyalty points to pay for fresh fruit & veg, milk and some sausages. I then added a few more items to the long term pantry using sale items or loss leaders – although a lot of the “sale” prices are what would have been their regular price 6 months ago! I have also been trying to add some more non-food items and I had been on the look out for my favourite non-scented deodorant (why is the non scented always more expensive than the scented?) – I found one stick at a Shoppers Drugmart close to a restaurant I had been to with friends but it was $6.99 – no way would I pay that! I walked over to the subway and popped into the Shoppers close to that – a 5 minute walk from the previous – and found it on sale there for $2.99 – bought 3 so I am pretty much stocked for the next year with what I had on hand, It pays to check out different locations even of the same company! I often find that the shops in ritzier parts of town charge a lot more!

    I got up very early on Saturday & Sunday mornings to do some cooking while I could stand to be in the kitchen. I cooked up a # of ground beef with a large chopped onion, added a can of drained lentils and then divided the mixture in two. To one half I add a cup of frozen corn and a can of Stagg’s 4 bean vegetarian chilli. I had bought a few cans but hadn’t tried it – so – instead of opening a couple of cans of black beans & kidney beans I used the Staggs and it worked out great. I did have to add a bit more seasoning to it but will definitely do this again so I have now added two more cans to the pantry. Ate one meal and packed up 5 servings for the freezer. With the other half of the mixture I added some canned veg – the last bit of cream cheese and some shredded cheddar – stuffed two peppers – I’ve had one already – put the other into the freezer and froze the rest of the mixture – there is enough to stuff another 3 peppers. I roasted the last 3 chicken thighs – picked the meat of the bone – added it to some cooked rice, frozen broccoli and peas and then mixed it with a can of cream of broccoli soup that was past the B/B date and baked it in the oven. Have to say, it was tastier than I expected. Ate some for 2 meals and there are 3 more generous servings in the freezer! Hard boiled some eggs and then cooked up some veg – and that was it – I was melting! I keep think that I’ll be emptying out the freezer when I take out meat but then I just add back prepared meals so don’t seem to make much of a dent! 🙂 I also added a few more items to my Christmas goodies bin and found the mini chocolate bars – Coffee Crisp, Aero, Smarties etc. on at $10 for 50 pieces so they have been put away. I have a real sweet tooth but find that one or two pieces of the mini treats satisfies me so I don’t open a large bar or box!

    No Frills had Green peppers on for 99 cents a pound this week – a good price for here – and my dozen, extra large organic eggs are still $4,49 a dozen at my local veg store – BUT – my favourite President’s Choice butter is now up to $7 a pound at No Frills! It has jumped from $5 to $7 in about 9 months! I am rationing my use and will look for one of the cheaper brands to use in cooking.

    Stay safe and healthy everyone.

  57. Hi, love the flower photos. I would guess pink is a favorite color of yours? I love coming here and reading everyone’s ideas and adventures. I am thankful for a number of things this past week. I went with my husband to another follow-up from cancer surgery where we were told that the doctor does not think there is more cancer lurking; he wants my husband to do another test and come back in six months; it has been every three months. Our sons worked more on our house on their days off. They are asking what else we want done when they get this project finished. I was able to finish the capstone project, the last class for a master’s degree I have been working on for a long time. Sales on groceries pale in comparison to my other blesssings, but I was thankful to get cherries, probably the last of the season, for $1..77/ pound. Sales are not very good. Prices are high here. But I did find a sad, withered little orchid sitting alone on a small table in the flower section of the grocery store. It was bravely blooming five blooms in spite of being thought to be worth only $5. I took it home, watered it, and snuggled it up next to my other orchid. I’m not good with plants at all. My husband teases me by saying the plants shudder when I walk by at the store, afraid I will be the one to choose them. He says I let plants nearly die because I like trying to resurrect them. . . But my other orchid bloomed this year. That’s a first, probably in spite of my “care.” I did do a slight amount more of cooking this week. I made pizza dough with my bread based on threes recipe minus a little bit of the yeast. I asked what the boys wanted, and they said plain food. One option I gave them was lentils and potatoes . . . They might have been being nice because they knew I was doing stuff for my class when they chose that, but I boiled some lentils with onion and salt, boiled some potatoes, mashed them and made mushroom gravy, made a salad, opened a can of olives (usually saved for holidays) heated some canned corn. They ate a lot of it. Another day I cooked some fried rice with stuff I had on hand. We had that with vegetables in it and more vegetables beside it and vegetable salad and some cottage cheese with pineapple rings. In other words we ate cheap food I always fixed when they were little kids, and we had hardly any money, and I aimed for good nutrition for low cost. I made four loaves of whole wheat bread. I planned to make a pie. I have a number of cans of pie cherries languishing on my shelf begging to be included, but I haven’t gotten to pies yet. Maybe next week. When I changed the sheets on our bed this week, I washed the blankets, too and was thankful our monster washing machine would handle them, and I didn’t have to go to the laundromat to wash them. My husband helps me make up the bed, and he said he was thankful he has a wife who cares about clean sheets every week and a made bed. I said it makes me feel rich to crawl into clean sheets in a made bed because it means we have the water to be clean. Our sheets are in good condition and not even patched. So many people have less. So we’ll see how next week goes when I’m less exhausted, I hope.

    1. Congratulations on finishing your capstone project!

      I don’t generally like pink, but I like it in the garden if it’s a light pink, and I like blush pink to wear. It took a long time for me to like pink though.

      1. I’m the same Brandy – never liked pink as a little girl and didn’t want to wear it – but – as I’ve gotten older it has started to grow on me. But – it is only certain shades of pink – your photo this week is the perfect shade, so soft and pretty but not wishy washy.

      2. Thank you! I just noticed so many of your flower pictures are of pink flowers. Pink is one of my favorites, but I don’t wear it much.

        1. The front garden is all white, but I primarily planted white and pink flowers in the backyard. I like color repetition in a garden.

  58. Hi all!  It’s been a long time since my last post but I have been reading all posts each week.  I’ve been cheering your successes and commiserating in your struggles!

    Sometimes frugal is the only way something can happen!!

    A family member had a very important milestone birthday a couple days ago but as with so many of us, most family lives far away in different directions.  Travel, expenses associated with travel and putting on a party seemed insurmountable until I remembered we have a Zoom subscription which allows for Zoom meetings to be longer than an hour.   With guests only being on a screen, we had to structure the Zoom party meeting to give as many people a chance to participate but all in all, the guest of honor was surprised and was very touched so many people did participate. 

    We used a “This is Your Life” theme with great grandchildren presenting a wrist corsage, tiara, birthday sash and a live potted orchid they had chosen on line by way of Zoom “magic”. ( We used matching gift bags and tissue paper so what the great grandchildren were “passing thru zoom” matched the bag waiting in the honoree’s closet.  Once or twice, Zoom “magic” changed the pattern on the bag but not all magic tricks turn out the way you expect!!)

    The itinerary continued with grandchildren sharing favorite memories or influences. One granddaughter shared a photo of a baby quilt her grandmother made for her that she carries in her wallet, another brought and shared books she is reading as she knows of her grandmother’s enormous love of books, another shared memories of a trip made with grandma, etc.
    Great/grandchildren who couldn’t attend sent a short video with birthday greetings.

    We presented a “Birthday Card Avalanche” including a birthday greeting from Pope Francis and the Governor of our state. 

    A former neighbor “stopped” by to share old neighborhood memories, a daughter used her genealogy software subscription to make posters of ancestors, a second of descendants and a third of famous cousins.  Another daughter made a power point presentation of important events of her  birth year including prices, music, movies, books, foods and world events.  

    Former coworkers, church members, graduate school professors, etc, shared funny stories and very touching ones too.

    An family member famous for her blue ribbon cakes sent a “cake” made of fat quarters ( quilt fabric)  trimmed with buttons and  birthday candles.  

    We had a few technical blips but  problems so everyone was good natured about them and the birthday honoree didn’t seem to notice either!

    All in all, considering one of the guests reported they tested positive for Covid the next day, I’d definitely do a Zoom party again. 

     We used the Facebook Event to invite and give updates.  
     We wanted to make guests feel welcome so we sent each guest a “party kit” which served as the party favor.  Because we were dealing with heat and possible mail delays, we chose Tootsie Pops and Twinkies which came on the market the same  year the guest of honor was born, party horns, little plastic hands they call “clappers” and birthday candles.  Buying the favors and mailing were the biggest expense as we didn’t need to buy food, drinks or rent a hall. 

    All in all, it was a great lesson in using what you have and how team work adds to creativity.  People from both coasts, north and south, in a cabin in Maine, in a car riding through the Outer Banks all were able to participate. 

    And  saving money at the same time!

    Thanks to all for sharing, and Brandy for all your efforts. I learn something everything time I read your posts!

    1. What a fabulous idea! All the effort made by the different family members and friends just goes to show how much the birthday person is loved.

  59. On another blog that I read from California , I learned of an heirloom bean that I ordered yesterday from Baker Creek. It is the Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean.
    It can be eaten as a green bean ( after tough strings on both sides are removed) or if left on the plant to dry is used as a dried bean. I read all of the comments and almost everyone had very positive comments. From looking at photos and reading comments, it seems to be a black bean. The comments were from all over the USA and it seems to be relatively easy to grow and very prolific. It needs a trellis or poles to climb and gets rather tall. It is the bean that the Cherokee Tribe carried with them when the US government moved them off of their lands in the Eastern USA and forced them to walk to the Western USA along what is called the Trail of Tears.
    I am trying to learn more about heirloom seeds so I don’t need to order all my seeds every year.

    1. Margaret- I bought and planted Trail of Tears beans on an arch made with a cattle panel between two raised beds last year. This year I noticed a small group of volunteer bean plants growing a short distance from the cattle panel so I stuck a tomato cage over them and decided to let them grow. Well those beans are like magic beans! Even though we olive in mid Missouri and get harsh winters below zero, the beans grew this spring. They have grown thick and dark green with light purple blooms and purple blushed green pods. They have overgrown the tomato cage and completely overtaken their side of the arch. Last year I waited until they died on the plants and then harvested and shelled for dried black beans. I saved last year’s beans to use as seeds this year and then didn’t need them. I can see why the Cherokee people chose these seeds to bring west. So hardy and so lush!

      My only issue was that I also planted green bean pole beans but the trail of tears beans are purple blushed and dry almost fuchsia so can tell them apart. You are going to love these beans!! They are like the beanstalks fairy tales were written about!

  60. I love your butternut squash photos. How good to hear your lemon verbena is growing better than ever.

    I qualified and was chosen to participate in a 90 minute online session for market research next week and I will receive $90.

    It has been a very long time since I have come across a shop selling almost expired/use by food at a deep discount. I stocked up, knowing next week I would receive the $90 to replenish.

    I spent $34 on groceries for the week, excluding the items bought that are almost expired.

    I used two market research vouchers to buy some needed items at Target that were all on winter clearance except one.

    I cooked brownie, fish (that we caught), steamed vegetables, soup, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, toast, porridge, pizza wraps and crumbed chicken. We enjoyed fresh fruit from our garden.

    We had friends over and I served brownie and tea/coffee.

    One of my children was given a brand new pair of Asic running shoes, which will be worn all the time.

    My goal at the moment is to start decluttering, particularly the childrens clothes as they have moved up a size.

    Have a great week.

  61. We picked Kale and had a salad from Kale that we planted 3 years ago! We are in Kansas and it just keeps coming up! The roots survive our winters! I don’t pull out the dried stuff in the fall. I just let it set there and cut the brown stuff in the spring so the green can grow out. We harvested okra, tomatoes, peppers and basil. I need to plant some seeds for a fall harvest. I’m thinking radishes, maybe carrots? Not sure yet what else I can plant. I need to do a bit of research. But I know I want to plant what I can. I’ve been so busy this week. I hope to make time to do some gardening. We are eating what we have in the garden, pantry and freezer. I enjoyed some asparagus soup from the freezer this week. I made vegetarian split pea soup and froze what we did not eat for easy eating later. I thawed out some chicken and we cooked all of it for several meals. My husband cooked part of it for me one day as I have had some very busy days. It was much appreciated and kept me from eating out. It was so nice to come home to dinner. Made me see why my husband smiles so big when I have dinner ready for him. I cooked the rest of the chicken so my husband can take curry chicken salad sandwiches to work. I need to either freeze or use our okra tomorrow and pick more I am sure. What a blessing! We are growing pink okra! It is really pretty and prolific! I’m enjoying home grown tomatoes and peppers. I hope to dry some basil this week. My son has expressed interest in helping me do that. It would be a good skill for him to learn. I’m thinking about growing little basil plants to give as birthday or Christmas gifts. If I can grow them inside in a window. Or maybe chives. My sister loves chives. I think my niece would enjoy herb plants as well. As things are getting more expensive, we don’t really have a lot of extra funds. So I am going to have to get creative. I loved reading everyones gift ideas. I have grandchildren and great nephews and a great niece. I want them to know I am thinking about them at Christmas and birthdays.
    We used the library. Even spent an hour at the library enjoying a book. I love libraries! It is so relaxing to read a book at the library. I turned off lights, used sunlight from windows during the day. Washed full loads of laundry and dishes.

  62. Thank you Gina for being so encouraging with your comment about the Cherokee Trail of Tears beans. My husband and I are still very much in the learning stage of
    gardening. This year we have harvested more out of our garden than years past but we still need all of the help we can get from more experienced gardeners. It is so helpful to hear of the positive experience of other gardeners with certain seeds and plant varieties. The stories of heirloom seeds are so interesting and knowing that we can save our own seeds for the next year is very comforting with the recent seed shortages and price increases.

  63. It has been a busy week around here. My daughter had her baby girl Monday evening at a birthing center about 30 miles away. I got to go with her younger sister to help. It was the first delivery where I haven’t driven home in the middle of the night! My daughter’s MIL and 4 yo granddaughter are here for the next two weeks to care for mom and baby. I am taking the other grandkids to the park and library to give mom a quiet time to nap. I brought dinner one night and am bringing fresh veggies and fruit daily for them to eat. We are thankful for another healthy baby and momma!
    Meanwhile a neighbor is clearing out his rental where the occupant died and the family didn’t want to mess with the furnishing and housewares. I got to pick whatever we wanted. So, I got a set of pots and pans, a kitchen table with benches and chairs, some casserole and mixing bowls for one son and his wife, some flatware and a casserole for another son and wife, some spoons for a daughter and two stainless steel pots for me! I also brought home 10 boxes of Kleenex, a microfiber cloth and two matching hand towels. It was a huge blessing to all of us. I also got three more five gallon buckets of apples for free. Pears are coming in too, so I am drying and making sauce. I got two free gallons of figs for swapping greens I brought. I picked six cantaloupes this week, peppers, tomatoes, cukes and a few peaches. We have had almost daily showers which saves time on watering, very timely for the busy week. My Swiss chard and kale transplants are doing well, along with some radishes. My lettuce has sprouted somewhat and hope to plant another flat this weekend. I am hoping to have a thriving fall garden and continue sharing with church folks and neighbors!
    Blessings to each of you this week!

  64. East Tennesseans/All: Costco has Chicken Wings/Party Wings for $2.99 lb plus $5.00 off per pkg. Might be a good time to stock up for Football Season! VFL!!!

  65. I just read about the flooding and at least two deaths in Las Vegas. I hope and pray your area and home are ok.

    We had a bad electrical storm last night and a home on my street was struck by lightning.

    1. We had a lot of lightning but the rain was just a few drops here. The flooding was a few intersections and some places on the Strip.

      I don’t live in a flood zone (one of the things we checked for before we bought our house) so on the rare occasions we get rain, I’m fine. We also rarely lose power at this house; the lines are all underground.

      We received the most rainfall that we have in 10 years in the summer monsoon season (the other years we weren’t getting rain) but we are still lower than our average rainfall for the year. The drought situation is very serious.

  66. Aw, thank you ladies! We lost our fourth child at birth, and so I don’t take for granted healthy babies! Each one is a precious gift!

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