I harvested peppers, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, three huge zucchini, pomegranates, and roselle hibiscus.

I harvested and set to dry peppermint and lemon verbena.

I cut roses and zinnias from the garden to enjoy inside.

I only planned to buy a little at the grocery store, but I made allowances to buy some macaroni noodles that were on an unadvertised sale. Pasta sales have been far and few between and I have been making pasta dishes less and less often.

I received a text the day before Thanksgiving asking if I wanted a turkey. It was a fresh turkey and the woman, who runs a gleaning group, had several that she was giving out. I said yes and cooked it along with the turkey I was cooking from our freezer from last year. She also had some small individual bags of chips and my children’s favorite trail mix when I got there and said I could take some of those too. I decided to keep the trail mix to put in Christmas stockings and the chips to add in boxes with other gifts for the children.

I made a chocolate cream pie using a cookie crust I had purchased months ago on clearance.

I showed my teenaged son how to sew a button back on. Though he had done it before, it had been years, and he asked for a refresher.

The only Black Friday shopping I did was a couple of orders online. I was able to spend time working in my garden Friday and Saturday.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Gas is $2.57 gallon in college town to $2.99 in Selma. I made turkey and cooked it over long peeled carrots and parsnips, cornbread dressing, gravy, rolls, mashed potatoes, cold pea salad, spinach dip, corn casserole, mac and cheese, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and no bake cookies. I just opened up a can of the cranberry stuff though.

  2. The fun part of practicing frugality is all the new learning and sense of satisfaction that comes with accomplishments.

    I made yogurt for the first time in my InstantPot. It truly was as easy as hitting a button to boil, letting it cool to 100 degrees and then adding 4 T of a yogurt with active cultures. Bam! 128 oz of delish yogurt. I use the cheapest gallon of 2% milk I could find (2.67) . I strained it over night and it became unbelievably thick and creamy. The whey that was collected in the bowl will be used when I use the pot to make my whole grain bowl of sorghum ( grown by my husband), oat groats, and rye. It adds a lot of nutrition. I have been pureeing the fuyu persimmons from the tree down on the ranch. I put the yoghurt, persimmons, our walnuts, and some bargain pumpkin seeds together to make a very filling breakfast and snack that will last for two weeks.

    Within the last two weeks we have inherited a 100 year old house. It was a difficult decision to decide to renovate. It came with farm land that is economically beneficial but the house could take as much as $400,000 in renovation. We will have to sell our current house. However, now that the decision is made I have taken over tending to the large garden. This is a riot because I know nothing about gardening. My first act will be to remove about 12 clippings of a succulent that is destination for the trash hep. I am going to put the stems in jars of water and see what happens. I cleared rose trellis and replaced a cheap arbor with the great arbor that was in the front to the house that hd nothing on it. I need to find a cheap source of architectural rose support that are heavy duty. The search begins.

    I have begun to eat popcorn for snack after school. I have back up in my pantry that needs to be used. It is filling, excellent fiber, and free. I spray a little Pam olive oil on it after popping so that salt will tick

    It took me a year to pay for the European Christmas market river cruise my family and I will take to celebrate my 60th. I see now I will make a little of that cost back by being absent for the holidays – no trees, gifts, specialty food, last minute gift events, decorating, ect. . . Our food and entertainment has already been prepaid from Dec. 16 to the New Year. Super excited.

    I am starting my low buy month in December – early. I have kept track of my spending for 2 years straight. My biggest “wants” categories are clothing and travel. My goal is to cut each in half over the next two months. I am retiring in June so there is no excuse for work clothes. Also, with the renovation, traveling should be pretty easy to cut in at least half. too many exciting things happening at home.

    1. Succulent cuttings should be left to dry out on the end and then put directly into soil and watered, rather than put into water.

      It sounds like a fun project! I look forward to hearing how you frugally renovate it!

      1. You are the second person to tell me to dry them out. I am going with your advice. They are Succulent Aeonium ( just looked that up. They are really beautiful. The whole house property sits on 3 acres. The front of the 5,000 square foot house is terraced levels of old roses. I will be coming back here often for advice.

        It is an American foursquare. These usually had one bathroom straight upstairs. A bathroom and a half were added downstairs. The first frugal decision I made had the plumber thrilled. All bathrooms are going to be exactly the same – horizontal subway tiles all around up 36 inches ( available anywhere and cheap. Floor will be honeycomb white with a black accent on the four corners. A black tile line at the top for accent. this is of the period and clean. I will sew all the window dressings. No wood will be painted. The floors are beautiful hardwood will be restored. All the avocado green shag and linoleum will be taken out. We will save all the old window panes we can. Keep it simple. I am adding a claw foot tub to two of the bathrooms. 🙂

        The house is registered in the county but not heritage. Being in California, we are avoiding as much red tape as possible. Actually, the reason we choose to restore was because the only other options was to burn it to the ground. Farm homes that aren’t occupied become filled with squatters and drug deals. California law makes it impossible to get them out. Farmers are literally forced to burn them down because when the cost of renovation is prohibitive. We just couldn’t see this house go. I had a strong feel we were called to be its caretakers.

        1. How exciting! I love old houses and the idea of claw footed bathtubs sounds so nice! If I may add something, how about a handicapped shower that you just walk into on the ground floor. I have one, and really like it! We r getting older, not younger. Lol

        2. What a wonderful project, Mary Ann! And it sounds so nice that you aren’t trying to make the house into something that fights with what it was designed as.
          A friend had a similarly aged house. He said the high horizontal windows in one of the downstairs rooms were so the upright piano could go against the wall underneath them. It is possible there was originally no downstairs bathroom because guests were sent to the little shed outside. The upstairs was just for resident family.
          I look forward to someday hearing that the laws about evicting squatters and non-paying tenants, let alone the drug dealers, will changed soon.

    2. Can you get a heritage grant to help with the restoration costs?
      What a lovely place (even in need of restoration) to be given!

    3. Travel is also my weakness. My daughter is a travel agent and books all our trips. Her boss asked her one time how my husband and I could afford all the trips we take and she replied that her parents were unbelievably frugal! 😀She’s not wrong!

    4. Travel is also my weakness. My daughter is a travel agent who books our trips. Her boss asked her how her parents afford so many trips. She replied that we are unbelievably frugal! She’s not wrong!😀

    5. Mary Ann,
      I love that you are restoring the home – I’m sure it will be quite the process, but these wonderful old homes really come to life when people make the time to love on them. Wishing you smooth sailing and many bargains as you work on this project; your dedication is admired. <3

    6. Mary Ann do you purée your persimmons with the peel on? Do you bake or freeze the purée? We have a Fuyu persimmon tree and it was loaded this year. We enjoy eating them right off the tree. This year the wild critters around our home have enjoyed the abundance of fruit!

      1. Katrina, I puree with the peel on in my small Cuisinart. The bread turns out great. I also put the puree on yogurt with pumpkin seed for breakfast. I freeze extra puree in 2 T amount in ice cube trays for smoothies and bread all year round.

  3. Hello, frugal friends from the suddenly winter like cold mountains of Southwest Virginia! Today it barely made it above freezing. Tomorrow is not even supposed to get that high. Thanksgiving was a nice weather day for us though. After eating we all went for a nice walk around our son’s neighborhood as that is where the celebration was hosted this year for the first time. It was a wonderful day as all my children and grandchildren were in attendance. Like you, Brandy, I cooked 2 turkeys (using your upside down method). One to eat and one to share with my children for future meals. It was an especially loving holiday for us since 9 months ago I was lying in the hospital awaiting life saving surgery. Brandy, I hope you were able to enjoy the holiday with all your children and grandchildren. Having your husband home supplied another blessing to be thankful for.
    I spent the past week doing our usual frugal things like cloth napkins and rags over disposable, hanging laundry to dry, and eating out of the pantry, etc. I was gifted with 4 pumpkins which I have processed and frozen. I tried to get loss leaders at Kroger this week. It led me to great frustration as they did not have the brown sugar on sale stocked and were not willing to substitute nor give me a rain check. Upon checking out, the salmon was rung up at the usual price not the sale price and my ecoupon for the sweet potatoes (.25/#) did not come through on my card. They finally had the 8# potatoes but no sale sign was posted. I mentioned it to the checkout clerk and said I would buy them if they were the sale price. I even showed her the ad. They rang up the regular price (almost $10). The clerk was not happy when I asked her to fix the potato prices but she did it literally grumbling about it. The regular price was $1.79/# for the sweet potatoes! I did not realize the mistake on the salmon until after I had paid and was heading out the door. Thanks to the reader here who mentioned checking one’s receipt before leaving the store. I felt my total was too high for the little I bought so I looked at the receipt and realized the mistake. The difference was almost $11! I immediately went to the customer service desk where they graciously refunded the difference. All in all, I would have paid double if I had not been diligent about watching the register for prices as they rung up and checked my receipt. The only other items I bought were bananas and a gallon of milk. I told my husband I am not buying any more groceries in December unless I find a deal on sugars or a ham. I have plenty in the pantry and the LDS powdered milk mixes up just fine and tastes good too. We have plenty of apples and mandarine oranges to snack on for fresh fruit, and believe it or not, even with the freezing temps at night I still have lots of spinach for salads. We will pick up our half a cow this weekend. The price averages out to be $4.35/#. That is for all cuts: roasts, steaks, stew, cube, and hamburger. Food Lion (regional grocery chain) advertised their sirloin steaks on sale a few weeks ago for $8.99/# so I would say we got a good price on beef. We will not starve. We also share our beef with our children so they won’t starve either:)
    I have much to be thankful for this year: my family and friends, my frugal friends throughout the world, this blog which provides the link to share our frugal triumphs and learn from others, Brandy for giving me something to look forward to reading every week for all these years, and a Heavenly Father who looks over all of us with love.

    1. It wasn’t the whole family but we are glad my husband could be here.

      I am so glad that you are alive and right now!

      1. Thank you. I want you to know that your blog helped my morale tremendously when I was in hospital and during my recovery. I received so much support from frugal friends here plus all I could do was lie around so reading your blog and the comments really helped with the boredom of recovering.

    2. I remember when you wrote about your surgery. So grateful you regained your health and found comfort here among friends. 🙂 Stay warm! Winter has finally come to our mountains, hasn’t it? 🙂

  4. Those fresh vegetables look so good. It is currently 27 here, so it will be awhile before we eat that fresh. We have continued walking everyday and walked with family on Thanksgiving day. I have went to a cookie exchange this weekend with my women’s group, we started doing this early to avoid conflict. I have been going to the
    Library for large print books. I went to the eye doctor today and my prescription had changed greatly. My husband got a deer, so we are going to have meat in a few days. I have put my Christmas decorations up and have my cards ready to go out. Thank you for sharing this blog and to everyone that posts.

  5. What a great skill for your teenage son to know. I was so pleased when my niece recently told me she taught her seven year old son how to mend a piece of clothing. How wonderful you were given a turkey, and some fun foods for your children. Last week, I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 gift card. One of the lovely things about the internet is the friendships made online with kindred spirits. I was surprised to find a beautiful handmade card and gift in the mailbox, sent by a friend. A tree ornament was a portion of a quilt made by her great-grandmother for her grandmother. How wonderful to imagine the stories and history in that little scrap of fabric. I will cherish it. I worked at a gallery all week, so the owners could have time with their family. Leftovers (some frozen) were taken for all my lunches, as well as water and tea. I bought what was needed online, and my husband changed the oil and filter in my car on Thanksgiving. He received the veteran’s discount for items we purchased at Lowe’s. We stopped for a few groceries at Food Lion, and found a cart with amaryllis and paperwhites marked down to $4.99. I noticed a few of them had ceramic pots, where most had plastic, and got one of each with the nicer pots. One, possibly both of these, will be used for gifts.

    1. Many years ago, my students & I were at a nursing home. One of the residents had a button pop off her blouse. I instructed the student nurse to go to the office to get a mending kit & sew the button back on. She looked at me like I had asked her to build a rocket ship to fly to the moon. Anyway, she got the kit & I showed the 18 yr old how to do it. Not what I usually teach but it is a good life skill.

      1. That’s a great story, Texas Silver! When our granddaughter (now 14) has visited, I’ve taught her to sew, and cook a few things, skills I know she’s not getting at home. It’s important we pass these things on.

  6. I just love the colorful produce picture!

    Earned $4.80 on Ibotta

    Prime advertised AMC+ for $2.25 a month for 2 months. This should give me time to catch up on several shows. I made a note in my calendar when to cancel before it switches to full price.

    Got a Farkle game for $3 on Amazon

    We had Thanksgiving at my mother in law’s. Since Im on strike, hubby only made a ham, macaroni salad, and cranberry sauce. My mother in law made jalapeno poppers. She sent home a loaf of rye bread, snack crackers, and the leftover Coke from dinner. She also had a dresser that was her last husband’s that she didn’t want, so I brought it back with us.

    Made $60 on Marketplace selling stuff

    The teen went ice skating and only paid for skate rental (they run some free days up until New Years)

    I was off work last week so I ended up watching a lot of TV. I honestly needed the mental break before classes end this semester. Despite being tired from working today, I worked on my paper for one of my classes because my brain enjoyed the break last week. Now back to it.

  7. Brandy, I so enjoyed your beautiful IG photo of your recent harvest! Such a colorful arrangement of all those garden goodies. I’m certain your family enjoyed them so much. May I ask how you use your Thai Basil? I grew it in the past and found it to have a very strong and distinct flavor – was concerned it would overpower other flavors. Would love any tips you have for using it. And, your lovely pergola path photo brought to mind The Enchanted Garden! And what a blessing to receive such great food gifts from the gleaning group!

    April, Laura in Sydney, Jean – Thank you each for your comments last week! I replied to them individually on last week’s post. It’s such a joy to share and glean great tips from you all!

    = = = =

    My vow to focus on creating a frugal and calm approach to Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year is so far going very well. Thanksgiving was calm, joyful and relaxed and even frugal – this year less was spent on groceries and extras. That was such a wonderful bonus! Being mindful of our menu and preparing only dishes that everyone truly loves and appreciates was key to eliminating waste and reducing the amount of groceries we purchased. And, expending less energy on meal prep was a real bonus as well – it was nice to enjoy the day feeling less exhausted. I’m looking forward to applying this same mindset to Christmas and other occasions throughout the upcoming year.

    I’m so glad that I discovered Beth Kempton’s podcast for creating a Calm Christmas – it was the catalyst for this newfound change!

    This week’s frugal efforts:

    *My frugal measures recently seem to center around ways we’ve avoided spending money, rather than direct savings on purchases. Does anyone else find there are times when that is also the case in your homes as well?

    *Family and friends shared that they enjoyed the handmade Thanksgiving cards and it was nice to eliminate that purchase this year. Will continue to make these cards in the future as well.

    *All lights on our prelit living room Christmas tree totally went out two years ago and we’ve manually been adding string lights to it. However, the many unlit bulbs were distracting and weren’t a pleasing look so this week I began removing all the prelit strands of lights (a bit tedious and involving wire cutters), but will result in a much nicer appearance without all the burned out bulbs. A mindless project each evening while watching classic holiday movies. Hubby suggested replacing the tree, but I really do love it and a replacement in today’s prices would be $300-400! Well worth the time to refresh the lights!

    *In years past, practically each year we would add one additional holiday décor item either outdoors or indoors. We both love Christmas lighting and enjoy it so. But, this year we’ve simplified and not purchased anything additional – reduced the strands of outdoor lighting used and eliminated a few features. It made for quicker installation and much less work, with no reduction in the joy we gleaned. We’ll also expend less electrical energy compared to previous years.

    *Free entertainment and exercise: Pickleball and tennis at local high school courts with hubby.

    *Have begun addressing Christmas cards and doing as planned – not buying any additional cards this year and am using all the extras that we accumulated (leftover) from previous years.

    *When dear son arrived on Thanksgiving Eve, he surprised us with dinner –actually leftovers from his office’s Thanksgiving buffet. Coworkers did not want the wonderful catered pesto pasta salad and he gleaned 7 quart size containers of it. It made a very nice dinner for us all, and he froze the remainder for future meals.

    *Continuing to walk one continuous hour each day for exercise – eliminating need for gym membership.

    *Continuing to do all our typical frugal daily routine items (repeating for anyone new here) … larger loads of laundry and line dried only weather permitting; all leftovers refreshed for additional meals; lights/ceiling fans turned off in rooms we aren’t spending time in; unplugging chargers and small appliances when not in use; kitchen sink warm up water used to water outdoor plants; dehumidifier water used to water outdoor nonfood producing plants; bath water used to water areas of lawn; only turned indoor lights on during the day when absolutely necessary – we have lots of natural light; continuing to use small batch DIY laundry liquid.

    Wishing everyone a frugal and blessed week, full of joy!

    1. We had our eldest cut off the old lights from our prelit tree several years ago when they went out. That knowledge served her well when she, years later, bought a used tree at the thrift store in the same situation.

      Trees are very expensive!

      My grandmother used the same faux tree for over 40 years.

    2. Your tree story reminded me of our first 2 trees when we got married. My husband was in the Army. We lived in a rented house in Virginia our 1st Christmas. I made a tree out of garland and attached it to the wall. A few years later we lived on a small base in Germany and had 2 little kids. I took the base bus to the larger base to go to the PX. I found a Mr. Christmas tree that you just pulled out of the box and fluffed it up for $15. I took it back to our apartment and we used it for 30 years.
      We had a great Thanksgiving. Our daughter invited us and her brother to her house. I fixed my turkey on Saturday. About an hour in, the heating element burned into. My son came and took the turkey to his house to finish. We ordered a new element and got it Wednesday.

  8. I’ve had a craving for fruit cake–probably because of cooler weather and thinking about Christmas. I have two recipes which I have never made. One for a cake that is immediately edible and one for a cake that needs to rest for a month. I tried the first cake today using dried fruit–the fruit was really dried and in the back of my cupboard. I soaked it in boiling water for 15 minutes or so and it plumped right up! The recipe called for two kinds of raisins and currants. I used dried cherries, blueberries, raisins, and craisins. I also added some walnuts for crunch. It turned out nicely and isn’t very sweet. It also called for orange zest, but I used the zest of two mandarins that are getting past their prime. I plan to make the “aged” fruit cake in the next few days.

    We enjoyed our Thanksgiving with a free Winco turkey. I also cooked it breast-side down and the flavor was delicious and tender. We are still working through leftovers, but tomorrow I will roast the turkey carcass and make turkey soup.

    We were able to enjoy Christmas lights and three free Christmas concerts. I’ve also started watching Christmas movies on television while I knit.

    I have enjoyed the chance to count my blessings during November and am grateful for this blog and a place to share the good things in life.

  9. Hi Brandy, I would love the chocolate cream pie recipe. I have some chocolate crusts in the freezer! We normally boil a tin of sweetened condensed milk, to make the filling for caramel tarts…and add a bit of cream on the side.

    Our country does not celebrate Thanksgiving. I didn’t shop at any Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales.

    Christmas plans and presents are finalised. I turned my attention to our upcoming adventure – considering what needs to be done, reviewing budgets and goals, prioritising tasks and breaking them down.

    Lots of food was harvested or caught locally. Grocery shopping was $48 for the past fortnight.

    I read two books, enjoyed all the rain, attended a (thankfully dry) Christmas concert and went swimming in the local river with my family. I listened to music and cooked a carrot cake and my daughter cooked banana bread and cookies.

    Have a lovely week.

  10. I did not buy any groceries last week but used what we already had for meals. I did buy some cat food and litter and some allergy medicine for me. I used Ibotta to get cash back on those things. It was $14.50 back on the cat food and only 5 cents on the medicine, but even a few cents is better than nothing, and I was using the app anyway.

    I bought nothing on Black Friday because there was nothing I wanted. I canceled a Hulu subscription I had gotten as a Black Friday deal last year, so I wouldn’t have to pay the higher price when the deal ended.

    This week is a no-buy week to make sure I don’t go over this month’s budget.

  11. Woke up on Friday and overnight 4 family members each had a $4 reward at Hallmark. Since I was in big city pet sitting I was able to use at local HM store. Since my family members were all 75 miles away they let me check out 4 separate times and use each reward. Plus 2 accounts had coupon for free cards. Got tons of cards and stickers for less than $5 out of pocket. I love sending cards. Used 2 of them and mailed out today. Would have sent on Saturday except I had some sort of 24-48 hour bug over weekend so no weekend deals for me.
    -Staying in bed most of weekend allowed me to read 4 Christmas themed library books written by Mary Kay Andrews. Highly recommend.
    -Took advantage of 50 cent corn dogs at Sonic today. Ordered via app so Diet Coke was 1/2 price. I love Diet Coke and it’s terrific at Sonic with their ice.

  12. Frugal
    Thanksgiving went well. We hosted this year and even without all the dishes we could have made and didn’t, we are still deep in leftovers. I’m glad we cut back on original menu.
    Black Friday we took the kids to a candy came making demonstration at a place that has handmade them for a century. Buying treats wasn’t free but the demo was and I don’t mind helping small businesses. I keep the candy canes, different flavors, for when I have a low glucose. They store well and taste better than glucose tablets!
    Had planned purchases for black Friday, cyber Monday sales. I took advantage of kohls deals for replacing bras. I also got a set of sheets since one is worn out and some long sleeve tshirts that I can accessorize for zoom meetings this winter. As I’m remote now, I’m slowly pulling out the old dress clothes that I haven’t worn since early 2020 and donating what I don’t wear on days I do need to go to office. I have been pleasantly surprised what looks good still and what I should say goodbye to.
    Got athletic shoes on cyber Monday sales and a replacement for our microwave that’s dying. Also half off with black Friday deal. Husband will pick up and install to save money.
    Post-Thanksgiving cooking: Made banana bread with extra bananas from the whipped cream dessert.  Used up a salad kit, leftover carrots and turkey legs to make egg rolls to freeze. A package of 20 wrappers only cost about $3 so that was my total extra out of pocket and is a nice treat for hungry teens. Turkey noodle soup. And of course, bone broth to freeze.
    I mended a sock! Yes that’s new to me. 😊 And I bought new vinyl on sale to replace the top of my card table that was wrecked during a kid project years ago. $6 and 10 minutes and a new look!
    Strained the mint extract I made from the garden and will be sharing with baking friends at scouts this week.
    And my happiest thing, I found a way to help at Christmas! I’ve been down since finances have been so tight and we have things to fix and are spending so much to go check on his parents at Christmas. Today an email came out at work where they were doing gifts for kids. Bath bombs were on the list… and they are OK with me making them from my supplies!! I am so, so happy that I can do something for others this Christmas!

  13. My sister and I cooked Thanksgiving (except the turkey) and took it all to my parents house since my dad had back surgery the week before Thanksgiving and we wanted to help out. Frugal wins happened following Thanksgiving however – we spent the 3 days off together, mostly playing games or hiking. It took us a day and a half but we got the whole basement cleaned up, sorted, all the papers filed, organized the pantry, the meat freezer – the whole shebang! Several things went to our town’s buy-nothing group. We easily could have spend the time shopping – but am grateful for a husband who prefers spending time and effort together in this way.

    We had a plumbing emergency (main drain not draining) and had to stop using all water for about 16 hours while we waited on a plumber. I am so grateful for my husband having a luggable loo at the ready for just such a ‘joy’ of homeownership. It was a hit to the emergency fund to repair the issue, but this is why we scrimp, prepare, and save where we can – so this is an annoyance and not an undoing.

  14. How nice to get a free turkey! I thought of you and your advice to say ‘yes’ when offered something, this week; we never know what opportunities our saying ‘yes’ can create.

    My frugal week:
    – I made my better-than-storebought cranberry sauce (http://approachingfood.com/better-than-store-bought-cranberry-sauce/) and canned it for gifts for Christmas.
    – My daughters and I got invited over for a last minute playdate, and I always like to bring a host/ess gift, so I pulled some pumpkin apple mini muffins from my freezer and gifted those. Always well-received!
    – I used a promo code to get two free custom photo magnets, which I will gift.
    – I turned leftover veggie stir-fried rice into egg rolls, by wrapping it in wonton wrappers, brushing with oil, and baking.
    – I used the last of the homemade pumpkin puree to bake mini pumpkin muffins for after school snacks, and to make pumpkin bread to drop off at my workplace. The kids (and their friends) enjoyed the fresh mini muffins as they got off the school bus. I’m not the mum with a fat wallet, but I am the mum who can give them welcoming and cozy moments like that, and I try to lean into my strengths.
    – I took my own photos for Christmas with my girls, wearing pj’s I bought on deep sale after last Christmas, and using the Lightroom app on my phone. Turned out nicely.
    – I marinated some feta I bought on sale two weeks ago, to have on hand to jazz up cheeseboards for holiday entertaining. I didn’t hsve the ingredients the recipes called for, but I made my own using what I had at home and it turned out nicely enough.
    – I started baking for my Christmas cookie tins that I give to friends and family each year. Butter cookies using butter from my freezer, bought on sale months ago. Double-wrapped, they’ll freeze well. The cookie tins are a holiday tradition, and a labour of love, and I do it pretty economically. Next up, homemaker fudge, and homemade peppermint patties!
    – I’ve started wrapping gifts, using leftover wrapping paper, inherited labels, and scraps of discount faux greenery. Very frugal, but looks so nice!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  15. I’m feeling weary at the moment. I’ve had some unknown infection or other malady in my index finger, and the thumbnail that was removed 2 months ago is not healing correctly and I have to return to the surgeon. I have taken the opportunity to rest after all the Thanksgiving guests left. I’ve ordered some needed clothes and socks which doesn’t feel frugal but I have put it off longer than I should have.
    I found a child’s 2-step stool for free on FB marketplace so I can return the one I just bought.
    I’ve made broth and then soup after cooking chicken carcasses in IP.
    I finished painting baseboards in our house, we had all the needed supplies. Frugal to do the work myself, though I would have dearly loved to hire it out.
    I fold newspapers to use as liner for my kitchen compost pail and my husband’s carpool friend left a big box of newspapers on our step.

    1. I painted all of the baseboards in our last house before we sold it. I found it made the biggest difference in how the rooms looked! That’s a job to use the very best paint you can afford because you sure don’t want to do it more often than absolutely necessary!

  16. We also found unadvertised sales at our favorite grocery store, lots of produce! We were very happy. I was also happy to get beef scraps for $2.48 a lb. and I bought some beef bones with a bit of meat on them to make my own broth. My mom had given me two bags of onions and I hope to make some French onion soup soon. Making my own broth is cheaper than the boxed broth and I think it is tastier well. My husband will make a sandwich out of the meat for work. We watched movies from the library. I thought about teaching piano lessons in the evening at a music store, but decided not to. I love being at home with my family in the evenings and I enjoy making dinner for them. Making dinner for my family saves us money. I am glad that I can be home with my family. So I just teach one evening a week at my parents house to a family member. It is enjoyable and I am still home the rest of the week to make dinner and spend time with my husband and son. My mom gave me some potatoes as well as onions, so I didn’t have to buy either this week. My other son took pictures of us one day and it was so much fun! He came over as the sun was rising. Then we went out to breakfast as a treat. We got to spend time with our grandchildren and went to a pottery place. It was fun watching them paint their pottery! Thanksgiving was great at my parents house! Everyone brought some dishes to share. So nice to spend time with family. We visited my husbands family and played board games. That was fun as well!

  17. I am pleased you managed to get an extra turkey.

    This week the winter has arrived with frosts and ice on the car windscreen. I sorted through the cupboards for thermal undies, hats, gloves and hats. We are still picking brussel sprouts and kale which are better after a frost. Only a couple of parsnips this year as the raspberries crowded them out.

    I have cooked all the meals at home using the hob and Remoska and the cook once eat 3 times principal .I have started preparing for Christmas although our Christmas will be a couple of days late as sil is a chaplain than so is working over the holiday. We don’t give presents anymore we give money. The youngsters can buy something they want rather than receiving something they will not use. We find it hard to go shopping now. When we were first married I made a list of everything we bought for the holiday after Christmas I crossed anything that was not used, I used the list still crossing things off. This has saved us a lot of money over the years.

    I have read 2 library books this week and returned them.

    We have been to the dentist this week, unfortunately there are no NHS dentists in this area so we have an insurance policy for this. I also had a blood test which was on the NHS. Hopefully that is it for a few months.

    I have a meat thermometer which was a gift and several years old. I went to use it and the screen showed 21C all the time and wouldn’t turn off. Hubby changed the battery then all it displayed L’s. I looked at the OXO website for a replacement and I noticed that all OXO products have a lifetime warranty so I have emailed them and they are sending me a new one. I am glad I looked. The classical music radio station I listen to is changing over the DAB+ wavelength which my radio will not support it,so having mended the radio I still won’t be able to use it. I am going to try tuning it to FM.

    Have a good week everyone

  18. Brandy, I’m so glad your husband was able to be home for Thanksgiving. I wish the Idaho contingent of your family could have been with you as well.

    We had a simplified Thanksgiving for just the three of us. I normally cook everything from scratch–this year I did not. I simplified the menu a bit and used some convenience foods. Marie Callender baked the pie for $4.99. It was a lot less work!

    I cooked a 12.5 lb. turkey that I got free last year and spent the next two days freezing every bit of the bird. I made stock and froze 4 milk cartons, each containing about 6 cups of of broth and meat picked from the bones. I also froze a jar of stock I can use to make extra gravy if I need it. I froze a big piece of breast with a zip-loc of leftover turkey gravy. I made a pan of turkey divan for the freezer and also froze two packages of cubes for future meals. I froze everything first and then vacuum sealed them in Zwilling food sealer bags that can be washed and reused.

    I wasn’t feeling well Friday and didn’t go to Winco to see if they had marked down their fresh turkeys. I really wanted to do this but just wasn’t up to being out and about at 8 am that day. I bought a frozen turkey breast for $1.48 lb.

    Bought a few Christmas presents on Cyber Monday. I’m pretty well finished shopping. We plan to put up our tree next weekend. (I don’t decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving is over).

    I used Wyndham Rewards CC points to rent a motel room when we go to visit my son and DIL at Christmas (it’s 525 miles and we usually split the driving over 2 days). The room would have cost over $100.

    1. Maxine, I did go to WinCo and the fresh turkeys were marked down to $0.98 per pound. You didn’t miss a thing.😁

  19. We have had a productive but frugal few weeks.
    Thanksgiving was a potluck dinner at a local church. I baked a couple loaves of bread as it was requested by church members.
    A friend passed on some outgrown clothes to us.
    A local sporting goods store is closing as I found a pair of shoes for $19 the next size up for my son. He’s been outgrowing shoes before they wear out lately.
    I scored 8 boxes of sewing fabric for the cost of shipping through a local FB group. Shipping cost me less than $50. There are several pieces of linen and enough material for several pairs of pajamas. I’m sharing some of the fabric with a friend.
    I bought lunch and several coffees with a Starbucks gift card I’d been given.
    I shared some fresh dill that has overtaken my hydroponics pod. I also made a jar of salad dressing with it. The guinea pigs have had some as well.
    I made a sweater coat as a gift from some yarn I had bought at a deep discount and for the accents I used some yarn I was gifted. The buttons were given by a friend who was decluttering her sewing room.

  20. Hi Brandy and everyone
    A free turkey! What a lovely blessing. I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving.
    Your photos are gorgeous as ever.
    I ordered more heating oil this week and lowered the price by choosing a long time till delivery but received a text this morning to say it would be delivered today. Lower price and no wait!
    My husband took a couple of hours to service the oil fired range saving us a lot of money on calling out a company.
    I took full advantage of Black Friday online deals for Christmas presents and with free postage. I will receive a little cash back too.
    There is competition between supermarkets for pre Christmas deals and I have bought some treats at reduced prices etc. Tesco were selling British fresh lamb at half price so I bought two joints for the freezer. I rarely buy lamb these days. When I was paying at the till in one supermarket a member of bakery staff came round with brown bags containing free bakery items about to go out of date. They gave me a croissant split in half and filled with cheese and ham. I heated it at home for my lunch.
    I used a voucher for a free bottle of bleach in Lidl.
    We picked parsnips, kale and leeks from the garden and my husband bought home two butternut squash from a client.
    I have been asked to provide a floral table centerpiece at a Christmas gathering and I found a few lovely sparkly decorations in a charity shop which I can use to make it festive. Quite often ladies at the lunch will ask if they may take the centrepieces home and I won’t mind losing these decorations. I also found a beautiful big handblown glass bauble for £2.50 to replace one I broke a couple of years ago. It was given to me by my late mother and I know it was expensive and I felt so sad when I broke it. I will be happy to display it this year.
    Stay safe everyone.

  21. Brandy, the dim, grey months of winter have settled in here. Your bright, colorful photos bring such pleasure!

    On the frugal front:
    I used the Upside app to save $0.12/gallon on gas.

    My sister hosted a long Thanksgiving weekend at an AirBnB in WI. We prepared all our meals in the house rather than going out. We did inexpensive crafts, played games, walked, took a free self guided tour, rooted for our favorite football teams and just enjoyed each other’s company.

    For one Thanksgiving craft, each of the high school/college-aged girls brought a knit sweater from home. I brought various colors of yarn from my stash. Grandma taught the girls how to embroider words onto the sweaters. They embroidered their school mascot names or winter words like merry or cozy. The sweaters turned out so cute! It was a joy to see Grandma teach the girls a useful and fun skill.

    DD2 drove to WI from college for the Thanksgiving break. Flights were incredibly expensive as is often the case. The drive was about 4 hours shorter to WI than to MN which was helpful. She stayed at her cousin’s apartment and visited with nearby friends for a few days before we all arrived to celebrate Thanksgiving.

    I limited my grocery shopping to roughly $25 for several weeks and enjoyed food on hand. This freed up the budget for travel and holiday meal expenses. It was not a sacrifice since the pantries and freezer are full.

    I read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: A Hunger Games Novel by Suzanne Collins on the Libby app.

    I look forward to reading about everyone’s frugal feats.

  22. This week I made your taco soup( with a couple of substitutions using what I had on hand) and your clafoutis using Saskatoon berries from the freezer. Both were delicious and my husband wolfed them down! I ate them a bit more moderately as I can still use to lose some more pounds. Other things we made include bread, vegetarian pizza, shrimp fettucini Alfredo, pasta with meat sauce and cheesy cauliflower soup. I also accepted some ham and bean soup from my SIL.
    The other day I was reading about a pay what you can fruit and veg market once a week at a community centre-such a great idea! I would volunteer to work there but it conflicts with my work hours.
    We have continued to do the usual frugal things. The weather continues mild so I expect that will be reflected in our next gas bill. I haven’t even started to think about Christmas yet-our daughter and her boyfriend are planning to come home so we look forward to that. I hope everyone has a good, frugal week.

  23. Brandy, the close-up of the rose reminds me of a Georgia O’Keefe painting. It’s just lovely!

    Also, I want to send a very overdue thank you to all who gave suggestions about getting my son ready to live on campus. We were able to send him off last year well-stocked with items he (and sometimes his roommates!) needed, but avoided spending on things he didn’t need/couldn’t have on campus. This year we only had to restock a few health supplies and fill in a few gaps in terms of kitchen items with things from our cupboards/camping supplies. Thanks again!

  24. Brandy, I found myself wondering whether using your draft stoppers in the summer to keep the hot air out might help your A/C bill.

    1. I have wondered that myself.

      The draft is mostly from under the front door, which get the brunt of the winter wind. In summer it is not the same, but still, I think some escapes there.

      In the winter the wind can blow the front doors wide open even when they are locked. We installed an upper flip lock and sometimes that is all that keeps the doors from coming wide open.

      I am glad you said something; I was thinking about putting a towel down two nights ago. I will go do it right now.

      1. For many years now I have had a heavy “quilt” hanging over my doors. They are closed over the doors when the sun reaches the door in the hot weather. They are closed over the doors until the sun reaches them in the winter. They block the air from coming in or going out under the door also. It is a great help.

        1. Becky: We put up a covering over our front door when it is particularly cold and windy out. Even that doubled-over sheet makes some difference.

        2. Thank you for the tip. What do you hang the quilt from? I have a door that leaks cold air that could use some help. The frame is so rotten we thought we would just put up with it with a little extra caulking again this year and not invest in new weather stripping, but we are finding that more cold comes in than we anticipated. We had hoped to install a new door; maybe next year. I read in a book once about a family during the Great Depression that used strips of an old horse blanket they found in a barn for weather stripping in a drafty old house they were squatting in for the winter, but we are fresh out of old horse blankets here.

  25. Beautiful photos. Glad your husband was able to come home for Thanksgiving.

    My sister hosted Thanksgiving dinner. Her adult son got a turkey for free when he bought a large amount of groceries. I offered to cook it because he has no oven (he lives in a micro apartment). It was my first time cooking a turkey, and I used Brandy’s recipe. It turned out fantastic! We all split the leftovers so I have turkey in the freezer. I offered to share the turkey bones, but no one wanted them, so I made a huge pot of broth, most of which is now frozen for future use.

    Frugals over the past few weeks:
    I used a $10 off coupon at the local co-op (coupon provided by my credit union).
    Bought groceries at Grocery Outlet. The best deal was a box of 4 cans of diced organic tomatoes for 1.99. This brand usually sells for around 2.39 per can. I bought four boxes. This was an amazing deal.
    Found a Starbucks card with $10 on it when I was cleaning out an old box.
    Used the library repeatedly.
    Got a cute book from a free little library in my neighborhood.
    Did a bunch of mending for my sister who came to visit from Las Vegas. She always brings her mending with her when she visits – I am happy to do it for free. I will also mend a few things for my mother and my other sister.
    Took walks along the local river. Worked out at home and at the gym. Enjoyed the pool and sauna at the gym.
    Ordered a few things on sale on Black Friday. Got some good discounts.
    I’m working on decorating for Christmas, mostly using things I have. I did spend around $5 at the dollar store to make myself a Christmas arrangement that looks great in a red vase I have from my grandmother.
    Enjoyed a few evenings sitting on the patio with the fire pit (when it was not raining).

    Have a great week, everyone.

  26. The vegetables and flowers are so colorful and beautiful.
    Our church is participating in a hat and sock drive with the local food pantry. I had just finished knitting a pair of socks, so I put that in the drive, then found enough yarn in my stash to knit a couple of hats.* I did some mending.* We were out of dog treats, so I found a recipe online and made some.* I want to learn to sew jeans, and scored some denim half price from the Joann’s that was closing. But I was hesitant to cut into my new denim, so I also found a pair of large men’s jeans at the thrift store for $5. I carefully took them apart and used that denim to cut out my pattern. I was able to re-use the pockets, belt loops and waistband as well. My new jeans are just a bit big in the waist, but they look and feel great, and I will wear them. So now I’m ready to sew a pair with the ‘good’ denim. But I think I will use this hack to make more jeans in the future, and will be on the lookout for another pair of large size men’s jeans in good condition at the thrift store.

  27. Back when I was dirt poor( earning $5 per hour as an 18 year old sail cutter on the Great Lakes) I used to make a dinner that I creatively called hamburger, rice and peas! I used to saute hamburger and onions and then add cooked rice and a can of peas. I now buy frozen peas. For old time sake I made it again today but added some cumin so it tastes Indian. Back then I don’t think I had even heard of cumin. Anyway it is a very tasty dish and not too expensive to make.

  28. For Thanksgiving this year, I made pumpkin and pecan pies using what I had on hand, though I did buy pie crusts, simply because my pie pans are packed up waiting on the renovation that was supposed to start back in July. I ended up making two of each pie and we still have one of each in the freezer for a future date. I also made fresh cranberry relish which I find so very good on a turkey sandwich. I froze a portion of that. I accepted some ham slices from my mom following her Thanksgiving meal and that went into the freezer. I will use it to make dinner one evening this week.
    I cut enough lettuce from my raised bed planter to feed us one salad each and still have a bit of what I picked leftover. It was delicious! I was so thrilled to grow my own lettuce and hope that the rest will continue to grow. I have more of the seeds to sow for another crop or three, but I will wait until January. We had a turkey sandwich supper here at home which my daughter and her family attended on Thanksgiving evening. That was a big hit. I purchased a turkey breast because I knew it would be too much for us otherwise. Katie likes turkey fresh from the oven and then she is done with it. I have since had sandwiches once more, made a turkey pot pie and have enough turkey left to make turkey rice soup with the broth. That’s on the menu for this week, too. I went through my gift boxes and discovered that I was very close to being done with shopping for Christmas. I think I have two gifts left to purchase. While I did charge them, the money is all set aside. I’ll send out money orders to those who are far away and grown. I’m trying my best to stay out of the grocery store until we start December (thankfully at the end of the week!) and that has meant setting aside food scraps for the dog. We’ve been working on potty training with the four-year-old boy and he’s close…so close to being fully trained. It’s been taking forever to get this done. I pray it is my last campaign. And hopefully the very last box we shall ever have to buy of pull-ups. I have actually been thinking of trying to skip grocery shopping this month, save any pantry stock-ups I might make. We have plenty of food on hand and since sales are abysmal anyway, I feel we can hang on as I assess what we’re spending, why and how much I want to spend come 2024.

  29. So glad to read that your husband made it home for Thanksgiving and that you had a wonderful gathering. The extra turkey and treats are a blessing and your photos of the flowers is a treat for the rest of us – especially those of us who are well into Winter weather now – had to break out the parka this past weekend.

    Only bought milk, bagels, eggs and bananas last week as I continued to eat out of the pantry and freezer but I will hit the shops this week as there are some deals out there (to build up my loyalty points) and I need some produce, both fresh and frozen.

    Laundry was hung up to dry, ziplocs were washed to be reused and snacks were brought to the office on mornings that I worked. Picked up a couple of prescriptions – next 3 months worth and only paid a $3 admin fee. Returned all library books that I had on hand – our library system was hit by a major cyber attack over a month ago and apparently it won’t be completely fixed until the New Year – can’t access my online account so I have decided to concentrate on reading from the pile of unread books that I own!

    I did have one evening out with a friend – tickets were purchased weeks ago and we decided not to do dinner beforehand. We did try to have coffee afterwards but couldn’t find a spot open! Oh well – probably saved about $10. I visited another friend on the weekend – hadn’t seen her new house as yet but I was able to take a nice bottle of wine from my stash as a hostess gift so no OOP money spend and she put on a lovely “tea” for us – she loves to cook and is a good baker!

    Just finishing up a big clean this week and then I will put up the Christmas decorations. I have a friend coming to stay on Friday so want everything tidy before she arrives. Another friend will join us for dinner and I will cook from scratch with all items already in the pantry or freezer. We will have a nice girls’ night in with some wine and maybe a game of cards or a movie.

    Stay safe and warm everyone!

  30. I showed your pictures to my DH – and since we are not getting much above freezing right now, he said let’s move there so we can garden all year round. I assured him he would not like the heat there, and he agreed. So, no moving for us. All this to say, your bounty looks wonderful. Very appropriate for Thanksgiving.
    We hosted Thanksgiving, for my son, DIL and GD. My son left Friday to go to Seattle for the college football game between UW and WSU. I went down to their house to help take care of my GD and keep my DIL company.
    Did very little shopping. Got 20 pounds of potatoes for 79¢ for 10 pounds. Also got 10 cans of olives for 78¢ each. Only other shopping was socks and underwear for 1/2 off. This sale is once a year on the day after Thanksgiving. I only buy these once a year at this time.
    The only one in the family celebrating that likes pumpkin pie is the DH. I bought a small one for him and made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert for the rest of us.
    Thanksgiving was turkey (from the freezer) stuffing (using dressing mix bought for 50¢ a box over the summer, and onions from the garden) roasted potatoes, carrots and celery (using carrots and potatoes from the garden) and corn with thyme butter (both corn and thyme from the garden). My DIL brought homemade sourdough rolls for dinner.
    I started a loaf of focaccia bread on Sunday evening.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  31. I feel like I need to ask my mom or YouTube every time I need to sew on a button, ha ha — I just don’t use my VERY rudimentary sewing skills enough in order for my brain to think it’s worth remembering, apparently! Sewing is definitely a skill that I wish I already had, but that I don’t really want to spend the time to learn, lol. Too bad that’s not how it works 🙂 I so admire people like you who are so good at it, Brandy! And your children who take the time to learn will be richly blessed for it.

    My past week included a gnarly tailbone injury thanks to a rollerblading incident and a super weird heater duct clean-out, among some other frugal(ish) things:


      1. Thanks, it was pretty unfortunate! However, I’m super duper grateful it happened now instead of during flower farming season…I don’t have to do much right now that’s too physical until late winter/early spring, so if it was going to happen, now was the time for it to happen. Guess I just need to be more careful next time I go out rollerblading! 🙂

    1. Uuuuh, so sorry for your tailbone, Torrie! I had a kind of similar injury in my late teens, and it ”activated” every time after giving birth.

    2. Sorry to hear about your tailbone! I broke mine while I was in University – 6 weeks of squirming through
      classes. I hope it heals well and quickly.

  32. We enjoyed a simple low key thanksgiving.
    We went to the OptOutside hike instead of Black Friday shopping. I bought some kids name brand winter boots on ebay for over $100 off. It gets very cold and we’re outside all winter, so good winter gear is important. I passed along some outgrown boots to friends. I also sold a few items on ebay. I ordered some new sheets and socks on sale for my son for Christmas. I was excited to find some Christmas jammies I bought last year for a dollar at the pallet store.
    I baked bread, bagels and muffins. I made bone broth, wine and applesauce. I ran out of berries for smoothies, so I’ve been using peaches (not my favorite) to save a trip to the store. I found a great deal on clearance brussel sprouts and grass fed beef.
    I needed a stove for a rental and found a deal on marketplace. I also got some supplies for my business on sale. I’m reusing Christmas supplies from previous years, although we will get a fresh tree this weekend.
    We went to the library, it’s a great indoor play option on cold/rainy/snowy days. I was excited to find some beginning reader books.

  33. I was so busy last week, I didn’t get a chance to comment or read any of the posts. I missed it ! 🙂 So, I am catching up now.
    *Part of our busyness involves preparation for a craft sale at a local Christmas tree lighting. Our homeschool co-op was kindly offered a space free of charge by the event organizers. Several families are sharing the space and selling various handmade items. We have been busy making things to sell out of items we have on hand that we already had in the process to sell at our neighbor’s antique booth. We have made walking sticks our of old tobacco sticks and 3D stars out of vintage sheet music. The tobacco sticks are everywhere in our area. People have given us lots of them and we use them for various things. We’ve added leather handles (some with wooden beads) and they have sold well. The sheet music came from books that were donated to the thrift shop where my parents volunteer. They were beyond repair and could not be sold but my parents save things like that for me for various paper crafts. So, none of the items we will sell cost anything but time and it should be a lot of fun.
    *I sold $112 worth of items in my neighbor’s antique booth. It all helps, especially this time of year.
    *Did paid farm-sitting for another neighbor.
    *Sold some outgrown things of my boys’ for $70.
    *Made a pass through a thrift shop while in town and found very useful items – a beautiful tablecloth and 6 cloth napkins for $6 total.
    *Gratefully accepted a box of canned, dry, and baked foods from our neighbor who passes on things from the food bank she can’t use.
    *I am definitely one who believes that frugal and fun are not mutually exclusive (and I know you all agree 🙂 ) We had one such fun event last week. One of our local theatres has an annual birthday celebration on the day it originally opened in 1938. On that day, they have volunteers dress up in 1930s clothes, they serve vintage candies, offer free popcorn, have a photo booth and show cartoons and newsreels before the main picture as they would have then. The movie was (very appropriately) The Wizard of Oz and, best of all, ticket prices were as they were in 1938 – 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for children. My boys could not get over the idea of going to a movie for 10 cents! It was great fun and a wonderful way to support this local non-profit theatre. It only re-opened about 5 years ago after a community-led effort to remodel it so we are glad to attend events like this.
    *We enjoyed quite a Thanksgiving feast with family. Everyone contributed to the food, the serving and the clean-up which makes it enjoyable for all. The only thing I purchased for the meal, in particular, was the turkey (49 cents/lb.) Everything else came from my pantry and was grown, purchased or given to us a while ago. I felt really good about that. I have made bone broth and frozen some of the leftovers. Anything to stretch out the time between grocery store visits.
    *I rarely ever shop the Black Friday sales. I purchase things second-hand almost exclusively so these sales often still seem expensive to me. But, I did find a beautiful tablecloth from JCrew for 75% off (free shipping) that I will use all the time. I have one of theirs I found at a thrift store years ago and know it to be very high-quality so I was happy to find this sale. We bought a bed for our puppy for 20% off (free shipping) as she has outgrown the one we had for our previous dog. And, my husband bought a few longtail T-shirts from Duluth for 40% off and free shipping. He essentially has a uniform of a few items in a few colors and that’s all he wears. He waits until Duluth has these sales and buy a few new ones every couple of years or so. Makes life easy. So, we are set for anything needed for a while.
    *Reading the next book in the Inspector Gamache series – “The Brutal Telling” by Louise Penny. I am late to the party in discovering her books but have been enjoying them for about a year now. Will take me a while to read them all but I love getting into a series like this and feeling as if I know the characters personally. Thank goodness for the library!
    *Have a lovely week, all!

    1. I am a big Louise Penny fan and summer of 2019 a friend and I drove to the area in Quebec where “3 Pines” lives – it’s the area around where the author lives and a lot of the local spots are featured in the books. It is a lovely part of Canada – not far from the Vermont border. This website details many of the locals – we stayed in Knowlton and visited spots such as the bookstore and the Abbey. https://www.easterntownships.org/tourist-routes/12/three-pines-inspirations-map-louise-penny

      1. How wonderful! Thank you for the link. My husband’s aunt recently moved to Vermont near the US/Canadian border. Perhaps I will get up there one day! 🙂

    2. I’m a big reader and discovered the Inspector Gamache series this year. I’m trying to pace myself….only 2 left in the series. I love them. You really become attached to the characters.

      1. They are addictive, aren’t they? I discovered them a year or so ago. Clearly, I am slow to get them read but, then again, it is nice to savor them. Am sure it will be one of those series I don’t want to end.

  34. I sent a package (as usual at this time of year) to my daughter who lives in Belgium. I have known that it has been cheaper to pay (I knew about the possibility, not the price) it online for a couple of years now, but being a stubborn (why everything is pushed to be online? ) person with paranoid (is this going to work anyway? If they only want our personal information?) tendencies and trust issues (with everything online) I had tried to ignore that possibility until now. My eyes are opened. A few clicks saved me 10 euros! (is this how we are lured in?? LOL ) *Last summer my husband and I drooled over a real leather apron for him for his heavy duty jobs/grilling etc, but it was 35 euros and we both thought it was too expensive. I found it online (Yes, I agree with the benefits of modern technology, but… 😉 ) for 9,99 and ordered it as soon as he was out of the same room. I’m tickling to see his reaction! * For the first time we shopped for something on Black Friday sales. It was a 9 l/ 2,4 gallon bucket of paint for 35 euros (50% off). We are veeery slowly doing some repairs on this house we bought roughly 3 years ago, and I couldn’t be happier! *Every time we need to go to the nearest town we take advantage of the lower prices there. Usually it is butter (we use it a lot). By buying 10 lbs of butter we get the gas paid. Butter is usually about 2€ cheaper per pound over there than in our village store which we usually support for everyone’s benefit here.

  35. I didn’t buy much this past week. I did buy two family size packages of chicken thighs,
    on sale for $2.99 per pound. I spent $30 and saved $20.

    This week, the best sale is at No Frills on Dole’s canned tidbits for $1.29. It is usually $2 to $2.50 per can.

    I have earned enough points that I can buy a portable induction element.
    This is for safety as we can set a timer with automatic shut-off. I may have missed out on the one that’s on sale.

    I missed Giving Tuesday but will make up for it by making my modest donations soon.

  36. Hi Brandy and everyone!
    Mended a purse this week using a paperclip and pliers – felt just like ‘The Tightwad Gazette’!
    My friend, who is taking care of the green areas at a big apartment block texted me to say that she was going to prune their big Laurel bay tree – if I wanted the prunings? Yes please! So good for soups and stews throughout winter. I biked there and was a bit overwhelmed to see how much she was pruning the tree! I was glad I brought string to attach the branches end twigs to my bike! It looked so much out of place here in the big city, biking around with half a tree on top of the bicycle basket. I washed the leaves and dried them – some of them on the branches and some of them I picked off. I made small bundles with yarn I already have, and I have gifted laurel bay leaves to just about anybody I have met up with recently. People are very pleased, and the leaves smell so good!
    I have made lots of winter minestrone and lentil soup using root vegetables that are cheap this time of year.
    We bought malted rye flour for rye bread at a great price online – that was our Black Friday shopping 🙂 I also bought a few non-toxic cleaning products the same place at a reduced price – free delivery.
    I went to an art exhibition using my discount card to get 50% off the entrance fee.
    Biked just about anywhere this week.
    We are moving a raised bed in the garden which so far has involved shovelling a lot of dirt – a few days later I had the most horrible back pain! It lasted several days until I tried doing a yoga exercise – it kind of made a ‘click’ in the back like being at the chiropractor I think, but it scared me – big surprise was, I suddenly felt much better. Still on the mend, though, but much more mobile. When we have moved the raised bed we want to make a pear espalier and a small pond where it used to be – looking forward to that! I already have the pear trees, I grafted them myself a few years back.
    Have a nice week everyone!

  37. The flowers delight me.

    My roselle is about to sing it’s last song. We had frost last night.

    I picked roselle and green beans before the cold weather hit.

    I finished stocking up on baking supplies.

    I bought a couple of gifts at Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales.

    I sewed a small gift with no pattern, and amazingly, it turned out.

    I am keeping the heater low to keep my bill low!

  38. Your flowers are beautiful. I’m thankful you had a nice Thanksgiving with your husband home. My own Thanksgiving was very unusual compared to what I usually do. A granddaughter brought some fabric and a pattern and wanted me to help her sew a skirt, so I helped with a little sewing. I hope it was a good memory for her. I left my husband and four adult children to do all the cooking and cleanup. They made the homemade gluten steaks, including washing the gluten out from flour, that I have made since the children were small. One son made bread, and my SIL and one granddaughter baked apple pies. The cranberry sauce was canned last year. They baked sweet potatoes and made a green salad. Everything was pretty simple. It was so good to have them home for a few days. I am very thankful.

  39. Hi, Brandy: I mixed up a batch of your laundry soap to try, (recipe under the “Money Saving” tab at the top of the page). We have very hard water; do you? I expect to have to do some playing around with amounts. Thank you!

  40. Since discovering the furnace wasn’t broken, but still waiting on a thermostat, I’m trying out using less heat. Being in a mild climate, I’ve been turning on the heat in the morning to take the chill off, then leaving it off the rest of the day. I’m hoping to see a noticeable difference in my bill.

    I haven’t put up holiday lights yet either. My friend visited over the summer and helped clean and organize the garage, which I am grateful for. However, everything is in a new spot and I can’t find where the hooks (I had to custom make to fit) for my lighted wreaths are. Given everything is rearranged there’s no it was in a bag on that shelf to go back to and I have no idea where to look. I’m feeling rather guilty as my house now is the one dark spot on the block and I was the one encouraging everyone a few years back we should all decorate our street.

    A small frugal was a few years ago was buying a Black Friday special of 12 nail polishes, over half were free, the other half 50% off, plus’s free shipping. I chose colors for every season throughout the year. So I just painted my nails “for free” with my winter selection.

    I stock up all year with sales of flour, sugar, etc for the holidays. I’m planning my Christmas cookie and food treats box to ship to my sister and family. I’ve carried on the tradition from mom, as I found a note after she passed, in with the cookie cutters saying “now you’ll need to be the one to make the sugar cookies”. So I make iced sugar cookies, chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, chocolate peanut butter surprise, and peppermint cookies. Sometimes a gingerbread or spice cookie, usually banana bread, and some type of candy. This year I’m thinking of changing it up a bit, so I’m looking at recipes and wondering what are all of our favorites cookies and treats traditions for Christmas?

    1. You can eat them fresh. They’re great on a salad. I tried a recipe last year that is a Persian dish with chicken, almonds, rice, chickpeas, onions and spices with pomegrantes on top that I absolutely love.

      They’re good on top of desserts as well.

      If you have a whole lot, you can juice them and make a beautiful jelly.

  41. It was a great frugal week!
    I bought 50# of boneless skinless chicken breasts that were .99/# at Kroger. I’m not sure this was a great deal, since it came to about $1/(big) breast uncooked, and the day old Sam’s rotisserie pieces are the same price for breasts, already cooked, with wing attached.
    I did a lot of black Friday shopping. I price matched at Academy. Even matching store prices to Academy.com for the same price, it will then take off an additional 5% for their “can’t be beat” guarantee. I price matched a very expensive baseball bat and left hand throw first base mitt off Amazon, saving over $100.
    I asked the .99 Cent Only manager for a bargain on the $6 large goldfish cartons that were a couple of days past the date. He told me he could do half off, and I told him I would buy all 8 of them if he would sell them for $1/each, which he agreed to. Kids are in for a treat; I don’t usually buy snacks like goldfish. Many will go in the freezer.
    .99 Only store also had 24 oz sour cream for $1, 8 oz cream cheese for $1, and some fancy cheese for $1.49. I bought a few of all of them, they’ll be fine in the fridge.
    I bought and resold a few things from Goodwill and GW Outlet.
    I cleaned out a couple of kid dressers. Turns out they have plenty of clothes, they just need to be better organized.
    At our church thrift shop, I bought an American Girl doll ($8) for youngest daughter, Patagonia fuzzy pullover in my daughter’s size ($10), and hoodies for two of my boys, which will be set aside for Christmas. I found a few other stocking stuffers, too. They honored the sign that said children’s books, 4/$1, even though the sale had ended.
    Stretched a couple of meals with rice or homemade rolls.
    I bought the day old bread from Jimmy John’s, which make good sub sandwiches. They’re 17″, .50/each, and I get about four sandwiches from each one. What we don’t eat will turn into French toast or croutons this weekend. The kids like this bread better than store bought sandwich bread, and it seems to hold up better than my homemade bread.
    I used old bananas with a .25 cake mix to make muffins for breakfast one morning.
    It’s been cool outside, and I haven’t run the heater or air conditioning.
    Have a nice, frugal week!

  42. Brandy, how do you use your Pomegranates? We recently moved and there is a pomegranate tree in our yard. I’ve harvested them and I’m in the process of removing all the Arils. After that I haven’t a clue??? Blessings

    1. In salads (fruit salad or on a green salad like you might with cranberries), on desserts (and you csn freeze the arils to eat later) and just fresh.

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