Vinca Bud

We received some rain! I was able to turn off my irrigation for the next day.

Several people have messaged me about the flooding in Las Vegas. I always feel like this is such overhyped news. It so rarely rains here that if it does, it makes national news. There was some flash flooding that affected a couple of interaction and a few hotels on the Strip, but houses were fine. We were caught out in the storm (it came the day before it was predicted) and I showed some video of the craziness on my Instagram, which you can see here. Turn the sound on for the full effect. We had hail as well, but the garden was still okay.

The rain was very much needed; last year, we did not receive any monsoon rains at all, nor did we have the cloud cover, and the garden fried.

It was very humid all week (up to 75% humidity). I collected around 5 gallons of water each day from the air conditioner drip and used it to water potted plants in the garden.

I harvested peaches, figs, chives, an Armenian cucumber, tomatoes, and watermelon from the garden. I cut and froze peaches and figs every day last week.

A couple of my tomato plants died, so I pulled them out and planted red noodle bean seeds in their place.

I sowed seeds for watermelon at the beginning of the week. They were up by the end of the week.

I pulled zucchini plants that were covered in squash bugs and sowed new seeds for what I hope will be a good crop in the fall.


I listened to music on the YouTube app (the free version). I’ve made a few different playlists (including one that is just all my favorites) that I am really enjoying lately. I’ve been listening to music while I work. My children have grown tired of my playlist already; my son brought me home a pair of earbuds one day when he came home from work! Now I can listen to music early when everyone is sleeping and I am doing my morning chores. I haven’t had this much music in my life for over 20 years. I chose upbeat, happy songs to listen to, which is really helpful to my mood.

I read two e-books from the library using the Libby app: Bloomsbury Girls and Very Valentine.

We were blessed by my mom’s garage sale findings: she found three pairs of jeans for a daughter for $1 each (including some name-brand jeans that my daughter really likes) and a cookbook that she picked up for me for $1. My mom didn’t know, but it’s a cookbook that I had considered buying before from a blogger I know, and it sold for about $20 new.

We hosted friends from Switzerland all day on Sunday. I served a pasta salad that I had made a day before (one pound of pasta for fourteen people with lots of vegetables and homemade Italian dressing using herbs from my garden), made six batches of popcorn on the stove for an afternoon snack, and made bean and rice burritos for dinner. It’s funny how the little things that we do everyday are very different to another person. I had bought iceberg lettuce for the burritos, and my friend asked if I took off the outer leaf and used it to cover the rest of the lettuce that I wasn’t using before putting in a bag in the fridge. I had never done this before, but the next day when we went to use the lettuce again, the cut edge wasn’t browned. My mom tried the same trick this past week (she buys iceberg lettuce every week) and had the same experience. We’ll both do this from now on.

For my friend, the stovetop popper was a new thing.

We buy popcorn in bulk from Winco (in 25-pound bags) and it is my most inexpensive snack (we’ve been having it most afternoons this summer). It was really nice that what was not an expensive thing was really enjoyed by our friends and was a rare treat for them.

Vincas in the garden

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. -I stopped at a grocery store I have never been to in a town on the way to see my dad, as he needed a couple of things. I found some discounted meat. A 4# package of boneless pork steak (4 pieces) for $3.79. I packaged into 2 meals. Plus when we cook it, I will have enough left for a lunch the next day, so 4 meals. I also got 2 packages of beef arm steak. I cut this into chunks and made 2 packages of 3/4# each for stew. This cost $2.50 for the two. I kept the trimmings and added them to the freezer and will use it along with some beef bones in the freezer for broth. As I was looking through the meat, there was another lady there. I said to her only way I can buy beef in the store, at clearance. She said it is the only way we can afford meat period. We are on a fixed income and have a disabled adult child we take care of. If prices keep rising it could become quite scary! I felt really bad for her. I know there are many struggling now with the price increases. I told her that she was doing well looking for decreased prices and using sales. I shared this blog with her as well. If we keep posting and sharing it will be a benefit for many! Thanks Brandy!

    -I stopped at the Boys and Girls Thrift shop in the town where my dad is in the nursing home. Boy prices are going up at thrift stores as well! But I did find some bargains. I got a tank top for $2.99 and a pair of light blue jeans for $3.99. These were high end brands with tags still on but were the clearance tag of the day. I also got a beaded ornament kit of a lamb for $1 and a nice big piece of 14 count Aida cloth for cross stitch for $1. Most clothing items were $7.99/each. I don’t call that thrift store prices, at least prices I will pay. But patience and checking all areas of the store yielded some good buys.

    -But the best deal of the day were 2 pair of sandals found at a garage sale for $2/pair. They are Minnetonka moccasin brand. Had the tags on and were priced $80/pair. They are spring green and pink in color and very comfortable.

    -I straightened, organized, and inventoried my canning. I keep it in 4 places. 1-under the bed in guest room, 2-in a wardrobe in the guest room Hubby added shelves to, 3-in the basement on a couple of shelves in a storage area, and 4- in a 3 shelf bookcase in my upstairs coat closet turned pantry. I can 150-200 jars a year.

    -Picking from the garden- cucumbers, green beans, kale, lettuce, onions, cherry tomatoes, and green peppers.

    -I bought a nut mix type product for vacation for snacks. We liked it except it had larger chunks of dark chocolate that weren’t our favorite. Think the chunks were too big. I removed the chocolate chunks and put it in a bag and brought it home. I chopped them up with a knife and added them to a batch of cookies using the chunks instead of chocolate chips.

    -My mother in law gave me 9 bananas she had in her freezer. I made 3 loaves of banana bread. One for her and two for the freezer.

    -We will be getting our quarter of beef soon. I put a package of beef soup bones, a package of beef short ribs and my bag of beef scraps and fat with my bag along with veggie scraps from the freezer and cooked all night. Strained and canned 5 pints of beef broth. I saved the bits of meat and canned 2 pints of the meat in broth for soup starters. I also canned 2 pints of green beans (they’re coming slow since the deer have eaten them off twice!!)-Sure glad I had 35 pints left from last year.

    -Creative leftover use: We had BBQ boneless country pork ribs (made in crock pot). We ate 2 of the 4. The other two were shredded and BBQ sauce added and heated and put on a buttered browned bun for lunch the next day. We had grilled round steak (from our 1/4 beef from last year). I tenderized it before we grilled it. With the leftover piece, I thin sliced it and warmed it up with cooked strips of green pepper and onion from the garden and we had fajitas.

    Have a great week!

  2. That’s a great tip about the iceberg lettuce! I don’t buy iceberg very often but next time I do, I will definitely do this.
    Popcorn is one of my husband’s favorite snacks too. So much so that I bought him a popcorn popper one year as a gift (for me really, to make it easy on myself when I make it. The butter drips down from the lid as it pops, coating it evenly and saving me the trouble of the added step of buttering it, lol.)
    Glad to hear of your rain. We’ve been blessed with at least one shower a week, which makes me extremely happy as rainy days are my favorite kind of weather!

    1. Brandy, wrapping your head of iceberg lettuce tightly with aluminum foil will also keep it fresh much longer than plastic wrap or bags. (Also works with celery and cabbage) I have part of a head of lettuce in my fridge now that I bought 2 weeks ago and it is still perfectly crisp and fresh.

  3. I am jealous of your rain. We have not had any for weeks

    As we still have had no rain, so I am now using water from the kitchen in the garden I am bailing it out of the sink into a bucket . They get rain in other parts of britain but we are officially the driest area in the country. My gooseberry have died and some raspberries look ill.even the nettles have died. I mowed the lawn without the box on to drop the clover, hawkweed, daisy and buttercup seeds. In the very dry weather my lawn stays green it also flowers like a meadow.

    I have saved seed from Parsnip, Leeks, Hollyhocks, Calendula , Ox eye daisies and Poppies for next year. Also I have collected Bread seed poppy seed for the kitchen.

    There were more plums on the tree than I thought so I have made 20lbs of plum jam in case we don’t have any next year. I have bottled some and will also dried about 5lbs, I freeze them first then defrost in a sieve, decant the juice, then use the dehydrator. The juice is delicious. I have also bottled french beans and tomatoes and am now drying them too. We are eating out of the garden as much as possible.

    Our broad band contract is up so hubby is negotiating with the company to get the price down. We are also looking at gas and electricity as by January these will have risen from £1200 to over £3000 a year. The papers reckon about half the population will be unable to afford to heat there houses. Some councils are looking for ‘Warm Places’ were people can go to get warm.

    I have been batch baking in the Remoska to save fuel costs, doing the laundry using cold water and drying it on the line. Using the library for books. Watching free tv channels.

    We are using the windows and curtains to keep the house cool and we have a ceiling fan in our bedroom. I have been reading up on passive air conditioning, it seems desert countries had ac about 1000 years ago. Trouble is british houses are built for a cold climate.

    I have not bought any groceries or veg this week we are eating from the garden and the freezer, but I have an order of both for next week. The prices are rising and some things are out of stock, but I can work around the shortages but I will have to watch the penny’s

    1. This is out first measurable rain for the year. We did not get the winter rains that are so needed.

    2. Hi Chris – I just spent one month traveling in England and the drought and heat are horrible. One couple I stayed with said they are planning to turn off the heat three nights a week during the colder months, cuddle in bed and watch TV. Reminded me of a Tightwad Gazette story where they did this but ended up with twins nine months later LOL.

      I agree that British houses aren’t built for warm weather – there are so few windows that open and makes it hard to have cross ventilation at night. I was also surprised when another couple told me all fans were out-of-stock after the last heatwave.

      Sending you best wishes, Libby

  4. Hello, frugal friends from the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia. As summer winds down I find I am more busy than ever. Today we are taking our grandchildren to an RV park in Hillsville where we have booked a cabin for a couple of days. I am bringing all our food (mostly from the pantry) and with two pools, paddle boats, playground and trails we should find plenty of things to do for the cost of the cabin, which is rather reasonable for two bedrooms and a full kitchen plus outdoor grill. It is just an hour away from home too. Upon our return I have 3 days to prepare for a trip to Alabama to check on my mother in law who was moved into a memory care facility last week. I have reserved hotels using military or senior discount and earning loyalty points for a future room on our big trip in September. I will bring most of our food as well. I have done a lot of harvesting from the garden, canned and dehydrated the harvest or cooked and eaten them right away. We have mostly stayed home to save gas. I did buy more gift cards at Kroger earning 4 times fuel points. These gift cards will be used on our upcoming trips for gas or a meal. I was able to can salsa and pickles. Brandy, I am growing Armenian cucumbers for the first time. How do I know they are ready to be picked? Do you use them in pickles? My Poona Kheera cucumbers have been attacked by something, probably a fungus, and are just about gone. I only got about a dozen and they were delicious! They are small, mild flavored yellow cucumbers, but I will definitely grow them again next year. While I was harvesting this past week a hummingbird came to visit. It went to my purple beans every time. I will plant those again in the future as well. I told my grandkids they are magic beans as they are purple when picked but turn green when cooked. One of the kids refers to them as Jack in the beanstalk beans:) I finished 2 quilts and have made a dent in the pile on my work table. I will not be able to do any sewing until October when we return from our trip out west. We will be visiting the following states and would love suggestions for places to see, do, eat: Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Mississippi, Illinois, Tennessee (near Memphis), Minnesota. SOme we are just passing through, but I know there are often interesting places to see or do along the way which make for a good break in driving. We will bring food, water, gifts cards and use senior and/or military discounts. Other suggestions in the frugal travel area would be appreciated. Our 3 new garden boxes arrived and are set up and filled with good dirt. I will plant some winter greens and carrots when we return from Alabama. I needed some new pants and found a sale at Belk, buy 1 get 2 free and found some that fit. I am set for years. The only groceries I bought were bananas, grapes, 2 loaves of bread and 3 half gallons of milk marked down to .79 each…all for this camping trip. We also have had quite a bit of good rain so watering the garden and flowers was not on my list of things to do this past week. More rain is expected this week so I will not worry about the garden. As I cannot remember when I posted last I wanted to mention (again?) that I, too, love the Foxfire books. The stories are so interesting and I learn things. I also love the concept which started the series. Wishing everyone a frugal week with many blessings.

    1. I don’t pick the Armenian cucumbers until they’re about a foot long, unless they decide to stay short and grow fat instead, which they do sometimes.

      I absolutely use them in pickles. Some people say you can’t (as they are technically a melon), but they are the one reliable kind that grows here, I use them for all pickles and relishes.

      1. I didn’t realize that Armenian cucumbers are technically a melon! I think that explains why they are taking much longer to set fruit than my other types of cucumbers. They are at a very similar stage as the tigger melons I planted.

        1. They make a lot of male flowers and not so many female flowers at my house, but they are so big they can work for several meals.

      2. Brandy, interesting it is considered a melon. When I tried my first slice that’s what I thought it tasted like. Good to know I can use them in pickles. Thanks for the information.

    2. In Minnesota, see how close you are to Itasca State Park. It would be a wonderful break from interstate driving! Lovely woods and lakes, and the fun of getting wet if you fall in while crossing the headwaters of the Mississippi. One of my favorite places, with a wonderful scent of pine trees everywhere.
      If you are going through North Dakota on I-94, one segment of it is the “Enchanted Highway”, with seven giant sculptures you can see from the road or stop and visit.

      1. Heidi Louise, thanks for the info. I will check our itinerary and map to see if we can go the the state park. Sounds gorgeous! I will look for the statues in North Dakota. Thanks!

      2. Marley, because you are passing through the Dakotas, I’m assuming you’ll be going through northern Idaho, where I live. This is lake country, and you’ll pass right by Lake Coeur d’Alene on I-90. Cd’A has a quaint downtown and there is a public beach right downtown and also adjacent to North Idaho College. Hayden Lake is just north of here, and very beautiful, but much smaller. There is a road all the way around the lake. The public access is on the west side. Farther north, there is Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced Ponderay) with access from Farragut State Park at the southern end and the quaint (and touristy) town of Sandpoint at the north. Sandpoint would be a very pleasant stop with swimming at City Beach. If you have time to get off the road and stay, Priest Lake is the place to go! It is certainly one of the loveliest spots on earth. (Even living in Coeur d’Alene, we are awed by the beauty of Priest Lake). There is camping on both sides of the lake. The state park is on the east side of the lake, but you would need a reservation. We prefer the Forest Service campground on the west side of the lake. They also accept reservations, but I don’t think they are always necessary. Be sure to have dinner at Hill’s Resort, near the FS campground.

        1. Maxine, thanks for the information. It all sounds great! Everyone has given me so many fabulous ideas of where to go and what to do I will have to plan for more trips out west to see and do the places we can’t get to this trip. I really appreciate your suggestions and hope to do a few of the places you and others have suggested.

    3. Any idea what part of MS you are coming through? I might can suggest some things. Dixon Art Museum and Gardens in Memphis has free admission until 2023-2024.

      1. TCR, We will be driving through northern Mississippi. I will check out the gardens in Memphis for sure! Thanks!

        1. Marley,
          I lived in northern Mississippi as a child – if you’re a history buff, you might consider adding Corinth, MS to your list. A crossroads of both the N/S and E/W railways were located there and the Battle of Corinth was over control of them for moving supplies, soldiers, etc during the Civil War. There are other interesting historical aspects and if you like old fashioned soda fountains, check out Borroum’s Drug Store; it’s the oldest drug store in the US still operated by family. It’s where I learned of “chocolate Coke” and have never given them up as an occasional treat. 😀

        2. Also along the history part – between Memphis and Corinth, MS in Shiloh, TN is Shiloh National Military Park and Bloody Pond – the Corinth Battlefield is actually part of the Shiloh Park governance. I can still remember walking the trails there as a third grader, and I’m many decades removed from that era.

        3. Sardis lake is 5-10 miles off the interstate. I think it is the largest man made dam in the world. My father helped build it, and when I was a teenager, we lived there. He was the superintendent of the lake. They have camping, fishing, boating, and swimming.

      2. Brandy, have you ever made dilly beans? I use to make them after I canned beans for us. They are good in salads or on a sandwich. I have been doing well with digital coupons and paper coupons Krogers sends us. Once a month one of the coupons they send me is for $14 off $140 purchase. Usually once a month I go over that amount when I get tp detergent or cat food. I usually order cat food and litter from Chewy. I order enough to last 6 months or more. I went over 8 months to order so they emailed me a code to get $15 off my order. I got that when I first ordered from them also. I’m hoping they will send me another one.
        I enjoy your blog and reading all the comments. Thank you for a wonderful blog.

    4. Marley, My favorite National Parks in Utah are Bryce and Zions. I also love Arches and Canyonlands. They are spectacular.

      1. Judy, thanks for the suggestions. Those places are definitely on our list. I have a feeling we will have to do a separate Utah only trip in future in order to do all the parks.

    5. Highway 61 along Lake Superior in Minnesota is beautiful! There are waterfalls, you can get smoked fish. There are lots of parks to stop and walk in. There are beaches along the lake. Wall Drug in South Dakota is a neat place to see. It is along interstate 90. Medora, North Dakota has an outdoor dinner theatre called Pitchfork Steak Fondue about “Teddy Roosevelt.” It is an outdoor musical. Cannon Beach in Oregon was beautiful! Nebraska has a big Zoo in Omaha. We also love going to thrift shops when we travel.

      1. Tammy, thanks for the suggestions. We will be in Medora so I will check out the dinner theater. I will also check the map and our itinerary to see if we can do any of the other places. They all sound fun!

    6. How exciting that you’re going to visit so many states! It’s been many years since I went to Memphis (they had just finished building The Pyramid when I went). The things I remember most are seeing the ducks at the Peabody hotel and eating at the Rendezvous.

      1. Dianna, we have stayed at the Peabody and had such fun watching the ducks marching to and from the elevator. We will look for your restaurant suggestion. Thanks!

        1. Hi Marley,
          It’s Friday, so I hope you still see this post. If you are traveling on I 40 thru Arkansas, an interesting stop is the Johnny Cash boyhood home and Dyess Colony in Dyess, AR. About 1 hour west of the MS Bridge. The home was part of a government project that gave farmers that were flooded out in the 20s a new start. The little town and home were preserved. It is interesting to learn about this time in history and the criteria families had to meet in order to be approved for a new start. It is also interesting to learn about Cash’s humble youth.

    7. I live in Christiansburg. What is the name of the place you are going in Hillsville? I am looking to take my 3 grandchildren somewhere to camp that has plenty to do.

      1. Stephanie, we are neighbors! I live near PFES. We are at Lake Ridge RV resort. It’s a very family friendly place. It took us under an hour to get here. Check out their website.

        1. Marley, I was just in your neck of the woods – checking out Virginia Tech for my daughter who is a rising high school senior. My tenth grade son came along, too. We live 3 hours away. We all loved the college. In addition to our tour of the college, we checked out two beautiful nearby covered bridges. I love them and make it a point to look for them whenever we are on a road trip, much to my daughter’s chagrin. :).

      1. Maxine, thanks for the information. It all sounds great! Everyone has given me so many fabulous ideas of where to go and what to do I will have to plan for more trips out west to see and do the places we can’t get to this trip. I really appreciate your suggestions and hope to do a few of the places you and others have suggested.

      2. In Iowa we will just be driving through on the interstate so we are open to suggestions there. South Dakota we will be going to Mt. Rushmore and Custer state park.

        1. If you are going through South Dakota on I-90, it’s worth stopping in Sioux Falls. It’s the largest town in the region and has a beautiful series of parks and playgrounds along the river as well as a park with “the” waterfall that the town is named after. There are several independent stores and restaurants in the Phillips Ave/ downtown area.
          In the Black Hills, there are several beautiful places to visit. Custer State Park is amazing- there are trails, lakes (we love Sylvan Lake) and so much wildlife. Iron Mountain road and the Needles highway are both scenic roads between the Rapid City area and Custer area, but you will need to make sure your vehicle fits on the Needles, especially an RV. Wind Cave National Park is about an hour south of Rapid City and is worth a visit.
          We’ve found it’s so much less expensive to bring our own food while out in the Black Hills- restaurants are crowded and expensive and you can easily find a lovely picnic spot. I hope y’all have a great trip!!

    8. In Idaho, check out Cour d’Alene
      And eat at Meltz
      In Oregon, Multnomah Falls and the Columbia Gorge Scenic highway. Buy the highway pass online well in advance.

      1. I lived in the Portland area for 40 years. Driver beware (especially if anyone gets carsick)–the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway has been a hair-raising drive since at least the mid-1950s. Very curvy and the road is in rotten shape. I haven’t been over it in about 30 years, but since it is minimally maintained, if at all, I can’t imagine it has improved any. Good views of the gorge from Crown Point. However, if you like waterfalls, it’s the place to go–there are half a dozen that are only accessed by this road. The best-known, Multnomah Falls, is also accessible from the I-84 freeway. You can hike up to the bridge. Many years ago, you could hike from Wahkeena Falls to the top of Multnomah Falls, but I don’t know if you still can.

        1. But the highway next to it was fine and not scary at all. We drove it a year ago and it was very simple.

    9. Hi Marley,

      I don’t know if you are a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the Little House in the Big Woods books. A few years ago I flew into Minneapolis and drove across MN to SD and visited her sites. I stayed in Brookings, SD. My favorite places were the actual surveyors’ house her family lived in during their first winter in DeSmet and the actual homestead land her family lived on. At the homestead there is a recreation of a sod house. Also in MN is Plum Creek where the book On the Banks of Plum Creek was set. This was a bucket list trip for me!

      Happy Trails – Libby

  5. That certainly was some storm! Glad to hear that there wasn’t any damage to your garden – hail can really make a mess of things.

    How nice to have visitors! I too made a pasta salad this past weekend – but used way too much pasta for me. I’ve already had two meals, will have another today and then I am going to put the rest of the cooked pasta into the freezer and will use it up later in a hot dish of some sort.

    Got a lot of decluttering done this past week and managed to repurpose a few things to better utilize my small storage space. It also let me give a good cleaning to a couple of wardrobe units in my bedroom – boy things get dusty quickly! I feel a lot calmer when things are clean and tidy. The living room and the bathroom are on the radar for this week!

    I cooked up a big batch of assorted veg to use with various proteins – trying not to do too much cooking when it is so hot. I also made up a batch of egg salad, mixed with some chopped up pickles (the last of a large jar) – maybe sounds a bit odd but is quite tasty!

    Long term food purchases included a few things for Christmas and I’ve even set aside a bin to store these items. I then went through the pantry and pulled a few things like turkey gravy, a can of cranberry sauce and some pumpkin pie filling to add to the Christmas bin. I also added a few more items to my long term storage – tins of corned beef, canned fruit, dried fruit for baking and some more sugar. Regular shopping was still mostly milk and fresh fruit & veg. I also added some more hard candy and toffee to the treat bin.

    Hope the weather isn’t too extreme this week for all you gardeners – prayers for all those poor people in Kentucky.

  6. I love the vinca photos and the happy photo of you with your friend!
    It’s been a pretty frugal week here. I’ve listed more on eBay, and sold some things too. I have a few more items in my Etsy shop, now that fabric to repurpose is coming my way a bit more. Sewing is my happy place. I found a few more things in free piles, some to sell, some things that we needed.
    A fellow Master Gardener held an informal dye workshop last week. We got to explore her garden and learn how to dye fabric with flowers and leaves. I took a linen shirt that I’d found in a free pile and dyed that. It was very fun. I carpooled there with 2 other ladies, and we all brought a bit of food to share for lunch. That evening I went to a group called “Mend and Befriend”. We each bring something we are working on or need help with and then we sew and chat. We held it outside because of Covid numbers. It was such a creative day and friend-filled day and cost me absolutely nothing.
    Thank you to all who gave me ideas for using cucumbers last week! We continue to eat richly from our garden. This week we ate some of my first ever crop of potatoes. They were delicious and the easiest thing I’ve ever grown. I will certainly grow them again. I seeded kale for the fall, and it’s already up!
    Plugging away at my work (admin for non-profit, Etsy shop, ebay selling). Slow and steady.

  7. This week has mostly been hot and humid- in the 90’s!
    I pulled out my green bean plants and harvested the final 2-1/2 cups of cut beans. In their place I planted peas which are starting to come up. In place of a huge cabbage I harvested, I planted green beans and they are standing about 4-5” tall already. I planted lettuce where I had harvested another cabbage!

    And I was surprised as I was harvesting to find 3 giant zucchini that had been invisible a few days earlier! We did have a nice rain in between though! I shredded the zucchini and spread it over my 9 dehydrator trays so I will preserve it on my pantry shelf in jars.

    My cucumbers are waning and I picked about 20. I will start pulling them out this week to make more space to plant some other veg! My goal is to keep every available space in my veg gardens growing something for as long as possible!
A wrinkled apple chopped in food processor went into 2 batches of apple cinnamon muffins. It seems like we are focusing on using every resource that comes our way to the very best advantage so that nothing is wasted!
Only bought a few things at the store that were loss leaders combined with digital coupons, etc. Dave went with me and so I was able to show him the regular price sticker was $4.29. sale price was $2.99, With digital coupon $1.99 and after ibotta rebate- 99 cents! Dave was wow-ed!! I explained that this is why I go with a specific list and time my purchases according to the sale prices.

    Using FlashFood app, I was able to buy two 5 pound containers of ground beef for $8.99 each! That’s $1.79/pound! I didn’t need any and my freezer is full but since Meijers (where it was) is literally next door to the Home Depot we were going to,I went and picked these up for two of my daughters! No extra gas needed! Home Depot was a trip to replace a toilet handle which was inexpensive and quick fix after the plastic one broke. I’m sure grateful that Hubs is so handy!

    I made a 2 loaf batch of 100% whole wheat sandwich bread and we are loving it!

    And quilting has picked up! I quilted these each with a 24 hour turnaround for 2 of my quilting clients: Lenni #258 & #259-, and At the same time, my daughter/partner was quilting and binding a client quilt on her Lucey machine she bought a couple weeks ago: And we’ve heard from a few of our clients that we will be getting theirs to quilt up and if we are counting right, that’s over 11 more coming in soon! Fingers crossed!

    I need to get started cutting out, making a quilt as a donation for a silent auction for Pelatonia (a cancer research center). I made one 2 years ago (pre-Covid) and it brought in a nice price and so I was asked if I would be willing to make one for this year. Always happy to give back for a good cause!

    We noticed 2 auto-renewal payments on things we were not using, so with just a phone call each, those were canceled and money was credited back to our account. It really does pay to keep a close watch on our accounts! This time it saved us $242! Yikes!!

    Made copycat Taco Bell Quesaritos from ingredients I had here at home! It used one 8 pack of tortillas that I still had when they were clearanced at 23 cents. And it made 8 really large servings! I used the IP to make the cilantro lime rice and googled a recipe to DIY the Nacho sauce in the recipe (fast,simple and cheap!) I used ground beef I had precooked and frozen into 2 cup portion (just under a pound)for the recipe, so the meat portion for those 8 large serves was under 1/8 pound (about 25 cents each portion). So, that price point per meal portion is one I can be happy about!

    We did another Ding, Dong, Ditch with plates of cookies to 3 new families in our congregation! It’s a simple way to welcome people and we have fun planning who to surprise and our most fuel efficient route (it’s not unusual to drive about 25 miles east of our house because that is still within geographical boundaries of our Ward (congregation)!

    If you live in Ohio, don’t forget that this coming weekend is the annual sales-tax free weekend for buying clothes, school supplies! My daughters have already made lists and checked their kiddos sizes last week and put items in their carts for the online part of the stores they want to purchase from, so all they need to do is click and they will even have free shipping to their houses, saving them time and money! Many other states do the same, so it would be worth a quick google search!

    Good times filled with lots of opportunities to save money,stock up and to share! Hope everyone is finding those times in whatever circumstances you are currently in!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Gardenpat,
      Did you attach a link to the whole wheat bread recipe cause all I’m getting is a picture. I’d love the recipe,

  8. How wonderful you got rain! I’m so glad the hail didn’t bother your garden. How lovely to have friends visit, and get to enjoy simple pleasures. Last week, I found a recipe for vegan GF zucchini bread, and made a loaf with the tromboncino squash. It was very good. I harvested carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, tromboncino, eggplant, a beet, yellow squash, blueberries, apples, and pears. I planted a third variety of collards. I made a vegan form of parmesan cheese, which is surprisingly good. Foraged chanterelle mushrooms and lambs quarter were used with our tomato and onion in a veggie scramble. I cleaned my cutting board with lemon peels, after using it for lemon water. I read a good article on using tromboncino as animal feed. We’ll try growing some out this year for our flock. I crushed a pan of egg shells, and placed them around the pepper, eggplant, and tomato plants. Figs were harvested, halved, and frozen. I picked up honey I bartered my time for, and tried to buy a lidded jar there, to replace my broken sugar jar, but she kindly gifted it to me. I shared cucumbers and tromboncino squash with her. I picked up books at the library. At the grocery store, I found our dogfood on sale for $7.30 off per bag, and lemons for $2 off per bag, and got two of both. A lovely fern had come up along our walking path. Not wanting to mow it, I transplanted it to the shade garden. The tromboncino article and both recipes are linked on this week’s blog post, if any are interested.

  9. This has been a hard week for our family as we discovered that our 4 year old beloved Boxer pup is in renal failure. I know that she is only a dog but she was our first as a couple and a family and it is difficult to imagine our home without her. I am extremely grateful that we decided to pay for pet insurance for her as they are covering 90% of the costs of medication, special food and IV fluids that are allowing her to live out her last days as comfortably as she can. I sent in claims to recoup our costs thus far. We are giving her lots of hugs and kisses and spending lots of time in the backyard with her in all of her favorite spots.
    I made my first trip to our State Farmers Market this past weekend. I purchased 16 pounds of Bing cherries for $1.25/lb, 25 lbs of onions, 10 ears of corn, a half bushel of peaches, 8 lbs of green beans, a case of cilantro, green onions, a bushel of crowder peas, and several green and red bell peppers. It was a blessing to stock up in this manner as our garden harvest has not been what is has been in year’s past. I froze 5 gallons of crowder peas, 3 gallons of cherries, 3 gallons of green beans, half of the corn, an enormous batch of Sofrito and another huge batch of cilantro to use throughout the year. I also canned 6 pints of cherry jam and used our cucumber harvest from the garden to can 6 pints of sweet pickle relish. We are getting some tomatoes and peppers from our garden although they are small so I put all that we had together and canned 4 quarts of tomato sauce. I will continue to do this with all of the tomatoes that we get in the hope that I will be able to can enough sauce to last throughout the year. I harvested another batch of yellow squash and zucchini from the garden and will be freezing them later this week.
    I made a stock up trip to Sam’s Cub as well and found sales on many items that we use regularly that went into our storage & freezer as well. My zinnias are blooming quite well and I have a few bouquets of them around our home. They last quite well indoors as a cut flower and I love to see them when I am outdoors working in the yard.
    Frugal fail – I discovered that my rice had teeny tiny bugs inside the airtight containers…grrrr. I dumped the rice into the trash, washed the containers and ran them through the sanitizing cycle on our dishwasher. No surprise that I purchased rice this weekend when I was out and about.
    I made a double batch of applesauce muffins using applesauce that I canned last year – they were a big hit. I broke out my bread machine and baked up a loaf of French bread. I made up a dutch oven lasagna which will feed us for several days. I have been contemplating what to plant on a hill in our backyard and knew that I wanted to add some fruit trees but couldn’t decide between apple and peach. As I was driving home last week, I noticed that several of my neighbors have apple trees that are growing well and are covered in fruit. I am almost positive I will plant apples now and I will stop and consult with them on the kind of trees that are growing well for them as well as ask if the fruit will be used or can be gleaned. I have never seen them out in their yard before so it is possible that they might be ok with donating some fruit to a neighbor.
    I want to improve the soil in my garden so that we can harvest as much as possible. To that end I called my County Extension and will pick up soil test kits when I am out this week. I will also take advantage of the Master Gardener service that they provide once the soil tests are completed. Essentially they will send a Master Gardener to our home once tests are completed to loo at the garden and provide recommendations and guidance on what nutrients we need to add to the soil, where we can purchase these items, quantity, method, etc. This will cost us $9 which is well worth it in my opinion. I will wait on tests but I imagine that we may forego a fall garden this year so that we can focus on building up the soil that we have for next spring’s planting.
    We are now a family of 4 rather than 5. We worked this weekend to change furniture around in two bedrooms and shift all of my son’s toys into his new room. This will free up space in our keeping room which is very nice. We are using furniture that we had planned to sell in a yard sale to add to this space and we now have a guest bedroom which is a good thing. I am using linens that I already own to outfit that space and am looking forward to how it will turn out. I need dining room furniture and although my husband will be building our table, I need a place to store China & crystal. I have been looking for a china cabinet but they are either not in the style I want, too small, or tragically – crazy expensive. Like $5k expensive. So I elected to order shelving that will do the job for about 1/12th of the price. It is not how I originally imagined it but then again most things are not. This will allow me to unpack the remainder of our house and that makes me very happy.
    All the best for the week ahead!

    1. If you are only going to have one apple tree, make sure it is self-fertile! Most apple trees are not and apple pollination is the most complicated of all the fruit trees.

      Definitely ask your extension service for recommendations and polliators for your tree (you may end up wanting two so that you have good cross-pollination; they just have to be two that cross-pollinate).

      Gala is self-fertile and does well in most climates, and is a great apple for eating fresh.

      1. Brandy, that is such good advice. It is upsetting to have mismatched apple trees with one variety done blossoming before another has begun. Zoning is also important. I have lost several trees to winter kill because they were not hardy in my zone despite being sold here. My best tree was started from seed.

      2. Golden Delicious is also self-fertile. But if I’d known that Gala is, too, that’s what I would have bought!

          1. I would love to out in Pink Lady or Honeycrisp but I will be sure to ask the Extension what they recommend. Thanks for the
            Tip Brandy 🙂

            1. I read Pink Lady was self-fertile and then other sites said it needs Gala for pollination, and we love both, so I planted both.

    2. I’m so sorry about your pup. My pets are absolutely family and I have been blessed that God has given them to me. In fact, one of my last things to do is to say a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings they brought to us. Take care.

    3. I am sorry about your boxer pup, Angie. Isn’t it amazing how quickly our dogs become a part of the family? And our hearts? May God bless you at this sad time.

    4. Angie, I just wanted to mention not to give up on your search for a china cabinet as it is one of the things that the youngest generation has no interest in. Their grandmothers, and sometimes mothers want to pass them on but times are very different now and many of the young folks setting up their homes want a lot less stuff. So I have heard there is a glut of certain “old fashioned” furniture on the market. Maybe patience will get you exactly what you want at a good price.

    5. Sending loving thoughts your way, Angie. Our animals are part of our family. The unconditional love they provide is something I could never be without. Wishing you peace. 🙂

    6. Angie, check out fb marketplace and craigslist and such for china cabinets – also restores. Most people don’t have china etc anymore and I see these all the time for really great prices.

    7. Angie, our dogs are our 4-legged children. I never feel they are “only dogs”. My daughter has a boxer. He is old and coming to his last days. I understand your grief.

    8. Angie, I’m so sorry to hear about your boxer… Pets are such important family members who ask for so little. I still get emotional thinking of my dog and cats who have passed on.

      1. If you are going as far as the Oregon Coast, something to remember is that all of the beaches in Oregon are publicly owned Oregon State Parks. The state government stole them from the owners years ago. There a lot of places to camp, but you need to make reservations far in advance. If you get as far as Fort Stevens near Astoria, there is a KOA across from the state park that has a small pool and hot tub that was easier to get reservations for than for the park, and they had spaces for tents. Fort Stevens is a Civil War era ex-military base. Astoria has a couple of good museums, and for food, if you eat tuna, The Bowpicker by the museum has wonderful deep fried tuna and chips. The Bowpicker is a converted boat. South of Astoria slightly is Fort Clatsop where Lewis and Clark spent the winter. That is a nice place to take kids and mostly outside. Seaside is south of there. It is a touristee little town with a great beach with swings and volleyball net and an actual lifeguard. At the Cove beach in Seaside, people surf in wetsuits,, water is extremely cold; there is a hot shower in the public restroom across from the beach at the Cove. It is free. There are lots of little shops. There is a shop that rents bikes and bike surreys. Motel rooms are extremely expansive. South of Seaside barely is a place that has go-cart rentals and a place that give helicopter rides. There is an RV park south of Seaside called Circle Creek Campground. They used to rent tent spaces but I don’t think they do anymore. Cannon Beach is extremely expensive, lots of little shops, a nice little beach with Haystack Rock. There are tide pools at Haystack Rock. South of Cannon Beach are a number of beaches. South of Cannon Beach, Surf Sands beach is a place surfers go. The next good places to stay are in Nehalem at the state park and at Barview Tillamook County Park at Barview south of there. There are tent sites and some have yurts and tiny cabins I think at both the state park and at Barview. It costs $10 to just park at Barview Beach if you are not renting a campsite in the county park. For free parking and beach access in that area, Rockaway Beach, a small town which is a little north of there has free parking in a small city lot. That pretty much covers the Oregon north coast. The traffic this time of year is pretty congested. Some of the beaches won’t have any parking. After Labor Day and the kids are back in school, the older people with motor homes and travel trailers are more prevalent, but the traffic is less busy. That’s probably more info. than anybody wanted, but oh well. Safe travels.

    9. Hi it was probably weevils in your rice they are in the rice when you buy it, the way to stop the eggs hatching is to put the bag of rice in the freezer for 72 hours. I put rice, flour, lentils in the freezer when I buy them also do not store in plastic they can eat through it.

    10. Angie, we had to put down our beloved Westie, Molly, due to kidney failure last October. She was about 15 and we had her for nearly 13 years. Her illness seemed to come on quite suddenly and go downhill fast. We will never get over losing her. ((( Angie & fam ))).

    11. Putting grains into the freezer for 48 hours kills eggs and bugs. Just gross to think that these often exist in our foods, but it is life! Don’t make the same mistake I did years ago, which is put bulk oatmeal into the freezer, pull it out and immediately put into a sealed plastic container. I ended up with moldy, green oatmeal! It needs to come to room temperature to avoid condensation in the final container.

  10. So glad you got to enjoy a visit with friends – one of the greatest joys in life. We also enjoyed a visit with out-of-town friends last week. They came up to celebrate my oldest son’s birthday and just to visit since we hadn’t seen them in a few months. Our children have known each other all their lives and it is wonderful to see that they just become closer and closer as time goes by. We had a cook-out for the party using foods we had on hand and that contributed by our friends and family. The kids ran around and played in the creeks and pond, fished, and generally had a great time while the adults got to visit and share stories. A good reminder that sharing time with others and celebrating doesn’t have to cost much, if anything, extra.
    *We are fostering another litter of kittens we caught last week. Several months ago, when canned cat food was becoming hard to find (it has been a bit better lately), I asked family and friends to keep an eye out when they shopped. Several not only did that but donated some canned food to the cause. Having that stash put away has been very helpful this week. The nature of kitten fostering (especially since we catch/trap them in our community so are “on call” all the time) means we need to be ready at a moment’s notice to take care of these vulnerable babies. So, this is another aspect of our preparedness.
    *We continue to chip away at the list of things to do to finish the interior of our home. That meant more trim work and painting this week in my youngest son’s room. We did have to buy a bit more primer and paint but my husband found a Sherwin Williams coupon on-line so that helped. All the wood for the trim was from our stash so no output of money required there.
    *Sold eggs to neighbors and gratefully accepted some canned goods from another neighbor in exchange.
    *Did landscaping work for a family member for pay which we appreciate.
    *Canceled a yearly subscription to a typing program my children have been using in favor of a free one I discovered.
    *Provided flowers for the altar at church. I have so enjoyed doing this as they are larger arrangements than I do for myself at home so has been a fun way to stretch my creativity. It helps me see the flowers I have in a new way. I normally borrow vessels from the church as I do not have any large enough or matching. However, my mother found me 2 vases at a thrift shop that are perfect so now I do not have to worry about borrowing something which may be needed by someone else or not available. She gave them to me so no cost.
    *Still eating out of the pantry, garden and freezer with no trips to the grocery store this week.
    *I am STILL reading “Bullet Train” by Kotaro Isaka. It is a great read, I have just had little time to devote to it given the kittens, birthday celebrations and all the painting I have been doing in addition to just the everyday stuff of life. Eager to see how it ends up and to get to the next two library books I have lined up – “Lilac Girls” and “Raft of Stars.” Love having a good story to look forward to.
    *Wishing everyone a lovely week! I so enjoy reading all of your comments and hope you all know how much your words are anticipated and savored. 🙂

  11. I love that you just read “Bloomsbury Girls,” as I just read it just a few weeks ago. Such an excellent book!

    We saved money over the past week by reinstalling a clothesline after a storm brought huge branches off a tree and destroyed our last one. Perfect timing too, as the motor on our clothes dryer died. Luckily my husband is handy, so we have a new motor on its way any day now.

  12. Sounds like a wonderful visit! Great pictures too 😊
    My dad and step mom have treated our family (along with my siblings’ families) to a dream trip to a beautiful house in Destin Florida 😎 We will be paying for gas and food for ourselves but the house is no cost to us (plus hotel rooms on way there and back). My dad also let us drive his vehicle since ours are older.
    A few things we plan to make this more frugal: no souvenirs as we’ve been here before, being intentional with our dining out experiences, no shopping (besides groceries), keeping up with laundry while there- I love this especially because I don’t have a ton to come home to!
    I’m so thankful for family time in paradise!
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  13. Hmm my frugals? I was given 5 heads of cabbage last week, I shredded and canned 6 jars of sauer kraut this is I think a unapproved method in todays world as I couldn’t find the recipe in any of my canning books, it came from Whipporwill Holler on you tube “Grandma’s Sauer Kraut” my friend and neighbor who has passed away made it this way all her life. So now we wait 4 weeks to see how it taste. I also received about 14 Mangoes which weren’t quite ripe so I’m waiting to can those probably tomorrow.. I love opening a jar of those in the winter months so delicious. I filled my 50 gallon rain barrel using 5 gallon buckets of water from my neighbors downspout that is overflowing. I continue weekly to borrow dvd’s and books from our library. I am line drying clothes outside daily weather permitting. I am now picking a small basket of green beans every day freezing to Can those we should be about ready now to fill a canner load. I planted cucumber seeds a couple weeks ago they are sprouting and growing and planted more where my sweet peas were at yesterday. I plan to plant more green bean seeds in my current green beans by the time they sprout and start growing the old ones should be done so I’ll have a fall crop. I planted Thousandhead Kale last week it has sprouted, they are supposed to get 3 feet tall but with a fall planting I don’t expect them to get that height. I plan to dehydrate them to add to soups for vitamin boosters this winter.

      1. I do, and I’m following the recipe in the Ball Blue Book. I should be good to can mine soon, but I might just eat it all!

  14. Oh on the iceburg lettuce, we rarely buy it but I saw a tip the other day for a different lettuce that someone used in place of taco shells for Taco’s healthier and often if we are gardening free.

    1. It is not my first choice for lettuce, personally, but I cannot grow lettuce in the heat here and it is the cheapest choice. Plus, several of my family members prefer it. I grow looseleaf lettuce in the fall, winter, and early spring.

  15. Thank you for the tip about the iceberg lettuce; I’ll try that. I have been wrapping lettuce with plastic wrap instead of putting it in a plastic bag, and that has helped the browning issue some, but this sounds like it worked better. It’s so nice to be able to find tips that help make things more efficient and more economical. We are still into our house roof project that our children are helping us with. It was so wonderful to have all of them and the grandchildren home for two weeks together. Fortunately, they all love and support each other and get along cordially. We feel immensely blessed. Financially, we have had some surprising blessings. I shared that my husband submitted a list of materials to Home Depot for a cost estimate, because when shopping online he found that shingles and underlayment were less expensive there, and found that they were willing to give him a contractor’s discount of 10% because it was a large order, and we opened a credit card that gives rewards and received 5% back. This week we found out the credit card also credited us with $275 as a bonus for opening the account. The card has zero percent interest for a year. We could make the payments but had planned to pay the card off with savings. But this week my husband was reading the AARP newspaper that we still get from when we had health insurance through AARP. (I liked AARP medicare supplement because they give you free gym memberships with the health coverage, but this year, it was cheaper to use another carrier.) Anyway, my husband read about I-bonds. The interest the U.S. government is paying on I Bonds is 9.62 percent. A person can buy bonds from $25-10,000 per year, and the interest rate is fixed for six months. Then the interest is compounded and a new interest rate is calculated for the next six months. The bonds are supposed to be held for five years, but they can be cashed in sooner with a penalty of the last three months worth of interest, if I understand it correctly. The bonds can be purchased online at If we were to buy an I Bond with our savings and pay payments on the zero percent credit card for a year, our roof savings would be even more. I thought that bond rate was worth mentioning. Most of the things we do that save a little money are things we have done without thinking for years. We have been called cheap, so we have always kept our money-saving to ourselves and preferred to think of ourselves as thrifty, and told ourselves that it’s because of being cheap with our own needs that we have on occasion been able to help others occasionally.

    1. I have been called cheap plenty of times! I would not worry about what other folks say since it is your money. I have asked folks when they say something about my cheapness if they are gonna pay my bills. That usually gets them to hush… lol. My air is out because lightning fried it, and I have decided, in South Alabama, to do without for the rest of the summer. I am running a fan, but my house is heavily shaded by large trees, it is small, has a white metal roof to reflect the heat, and the front and back doors line up like old timey dog trot style that was so prevalent here during the 1800’s. I also have a large awning over the front bay window. Some of my friends are aghast I have not installed a new air conditioner, but if my ancestors could stand it without a circulating electric fan, I can stand it! I do think the shade trees are critical for it to be comfortable. So far so good! Cheap friends unite… lol.

    2. Thanks Elizabeth for the info on the I bonds. I asked my husband to research them and see if we should invest some of our retirement funds in them- although we live in Canada he has dual US/Can citizenship. I also agree with your sentiment about being thrifty and then being able to share with others.

  16. Hi Brandy and everyone
    What lovely happy faces in the photo of you and your friend. Also good news you had some rain!
    It feels like the same old, same old here – lots of gardening and clutter busting indoors. I am trying to practise gratitude and really take notice of iced water from the fridge, flowers cut from the garden, a good book etc.
    My husband’s car needed a repair and the mechanic said he could order the part locally for immediate delivery at £80 or buy it from the internet for £45 with a couple of days delay. We said we could manage for a couple of days and he ordered the cheaper part.
    I used a coupon for £10 off my Lidl groceries. Red grapefruit were on sale for 29 pence each instead of 49 pence so I filled the salad drawer in the fridge- they keep really well.
    I repotted all my pelargoniums and hippeastrum and took some pelargonium cuttings.
    We gave courgettes to a friend and received grapes.
    Cheaper meals this week included cheese and chive omelettes with salad and lambs liver and onions.
    We have three compost enclosures, my husband emptied one and spread the compost over vegetable beds and he turned and aerated the other two. This is really heavy work and I
    ‘m grateful he does it for us.
    I picked rudbeckia and zinnias for the house. I picked chives, courgettes, lettuce, cucumbers, gherkins, climbing beans and potatoes from the garden.
    Stay safe everyone.

  17. Good Monday to you!
    Love the close up shot of the opened vinca. I was wondering if I could paint one with watercolor. I’m no artist, but it’s still fun.

    I think any rain is big news in the SW right now with all the drought. I’ve been reading a few articles about ideas to tap the Mississippi and pipe it to Cali. I expect that to go over Midwesterners like a fog horn at a funeral. Should be interesting if it comes to that.

    My copy of The Wedding Dress … has finally come in so it’ll be picked up tomorrow. I just finished my nightstand book so it was good timing.

    In savings:
    * Home all but one meal out for a birthday. It was a deli so quite affordable.
    * Found eggs for $1.99 doz. at Trader Joe’s. That’s $1.50ish less than the market. We have several favorites from there.
    I also spun the wheel and won a big bag of gummies that I’ll save as part of a birthday gift for a friend that loves them.
    * Husband got 3 hrs. of a side hustle. He also brought home a small tray of cheese, crackers, and fruit bowls that were left over.
    * Got .60¢ per gallon off gas with market points, coupons, and prescriptions.
    * Got to open all the windows and turn off the AC for most of Friday and Saturday. Love that fresh air!
    * Our Library finally got the Father Brown DVDs so we checked out Season 1. Enjoying it.
    * Picking cherry tomatoes daily.
    * Plus the regular stuff like hanging laundry, catching water, and combining driving trips.

    For reading…
    On my nightstand – will soon be The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle!
    In my craft room CD player – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
    With my Bible study – Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George.
    By my reading chair – Foxfire. I’m reading the family section. I love some of the stories, but they’re all pretty interesting.

    Okay, that’s about it from the prairie. Toodles!

    1. Check out Anna Mason on YouTube. She has several free watercolor tutorials. They are very wonderful.

    2. I don’t think tapping the Mississippi would go over well with southerners either because it is a main travel artery for goods on barges and would affect the terrain, business, wildlife, water supply etc.

  18. I have never heard your iceberg lettuce tip and will be sure to us it next time we have a head. In the summer we eat greens from the garden and I don’t grow iceberg lettuce so we only have it in the winter when we have to buy greens at the grocery store. Sold some items this week on FB that my husband was sure would not sell so we should just take them to the free cycle site in town. Ha!! Made $50 from an old golf cart he dragged home that had never worked, despite the hours he spent trying to fix it. Another $50 for some old fencing. And $20 for a landline with five phones. I know there are people who make thousands selling on places like FB and eBay, but for an inexperienced seller like me $120 unexpected dollars felt like a million. Now I am casting a speculative eye over everything we have, to see what hidden treasures I can sell! We are eating from the garden exclusively right now, with any meats or fish or chicken in a recipe coming from our overstocked freezer. In July we spent a total of $45.30 at the grocery store, so I am pretty happy with that. I am also dehydrating and freezing extra produce for the winter. I have not felt like canning this year and rather than turning it into a huge chore that I come to hate, I am taking a break this summer except for the sauerkraut I will make and can in the fall. You can smell fall in the air here; we often have our first frosts about the 24th of August.

  19. I make popcorn in a heavy bottomed 2 quart pan on the stove top, just like my momma did and I won’t do it any other way no matter how often I eat popcorn. It’s the best snack.

    I never heard the tip for iceberg lettuce. I only buy that kind once a year, if that, but I will have to try it and share the tip with others.

    I live in the midsection of Minnesota and we, and those south of us, are in a moderate drought for the second year. In all of July we received one tenth of an inch of rain at my house.

    College ruled notebooks are 35 cents each for 70 pages during school supply season, so I picked up 6 to have for home use for the next year. There were many other things that I could have bought greatly reduced because of back to school shopping, but I inventoried my supplies and didn’t need anything else so I didn’t get anything else.

    Any type of meat is totally out of my price range so I’ve cut it out completely.

    I just heard that Hershey’s Candy Co has said there will be a shortage of candy for Halloween. Supply chain issues, increased cost of ingredients and trying to keep up with the increased demand during non holiday times were all cited as factors. Perhaps I’ll be able to kick that bad habit too out of necessity.

    I did go to the local farmers markets on Saturday and got high quality, fresh, local fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices. I’m not sure what I’ll do when October comes and our farmers markets are gone until late spring.

    I guess I need to keep up with buying one or two cans of things each shipping trip even though I’m enjoying the farmers market stuff now.

    Gas is coming down slowly, about 30 cents per gallon lower than at peak.

    I helped teach a one time class geared towards kids going off to college at church. We shared how to build a pantry, find low cost filling recipes, budget for food etc. Hopefully this will help these young adults as they move away from home for the first time. We hoped for 24 attendees and had 56.

    1. JLynn isn’t it crazy we are in central Minnesota as well, we are getting rain every week. And we had 6-12 inches in one night at the end of June and the river flooded by us and shut down the town of Randall. Not sure how far apart we are but we are getting rain and you aren’t.

  20. Gas was $3.44 at SAMS in college town ( TTown) and $3.99 two hours south of University town. I cannot remember if I posted about going to SAMs and stocking up on beef hot dogs in a resealable bag, ground beef, liquid detergent for washing dishes by hand, paper towels, garbage bags, tp and dog food. We finished off the huge watermelon I bought from a farmer selling them on the side of the road in the country, ate tomatoes and corn from the Farmer’s market, and ate hot dogs, hamburgers, and spaghetti. Middle son won’t eat pork and will seldom eat chicken (autism and other issues) but will eat sautéed organic spinach, beef, corn, so I feed him that a lot.I also have to repeat meals bc there is a lot he won’t eat. He also generally won’t eat sweets except for certain ice cream. Does not like cake nor cookies. Hates chocolate and salmon but loves catfish. I ate a can of salmon because I had it and I will eat practically anything….lol. I went swimming at the local state park and bc I am 62, it was only $2, rather than $5. I walked at the other free local parks and in the neighborhood. I still have not fixed my air at my work house. I am usually at work except late at night Monday through Thursday. I wish I could say I didn’t run air at the weekend house but I did, especially after we got three inches of rain. Other places in the state that need rain, didn’t get anything much. It is just so random. We just had a rainstorm two hours south of college town and power is out but my phone is charged so posting this from it on my lunch break! Glad I brought a peanut butter sandwich for lunch!!!Lol

    1. Gas for under $4 a gallon WOW!
      It’s around $4.40 a gallon in the metropolitan area in Minnesota. Down from $4.70. Some outstare areas are lower but still over $4 per gallon.

    2. If your a/c was damaged by lightning (sorry I don’t remember details) and you are filing homeowners insurance claim there may be a limit on number of days you can wait for repair claim.

      1. Thanks TCR! True. I have a very large deductible so I usually do repairs on my own if possible. I don’t want my insurance to go up, or cancel, because it is $60 a month (used to be 50ish) so I am trying to avoid using the insurance if possible and save it for a truly catastrophic event. I thought when hurricane Zeta dropped the neighbor’s tree on my house that was gonna be very bad but it actually caused only minor damage to roof… tree was actually sorta of leaning and slowly came to a rest on the roof and then slid off several hours later! It was wild! whew! That was close!

      2. That was a couple of years ago in Hurricane Zeta. About 8 yrs ago, lightning struck another neighbor’s tree and it crashed in my yard missing my house and my car! Lightning seems to love my spot… lol

  21. Rain is indeed such a blessing here in the arid west.
    We’ve been blessed by good monsoons this year. My water bill was $10 – $15 lower than my usual bill for this time of year because I shut off the irrigation every time it rained.
    We have enjoyed carrots, cabbage, chard, lettuce, green onions, new potatoes, and various herbs from the garden. I have been drying a lot of herbs for culinary use and for teas, and I infused a half gallon of vinegar with lemon balm and mint for cleaning, and made a yarrow and lemon balm and lavender salve for skin. I canned three pints of cole slaw. A friend gave me some frozen blueberries, so I also canned 4 half-pints of blueberry-rhubarb jam, using rhubarb from the garden I froze earlier this year. I made homemade bread and yogurt. I did an inventory of my freezer and planned three weeks of meals using up some leftovers and odds and ends that were in there. My husband has begun splitting some of the three cords of firewood we have collected so far. My husband also changed the oil and filters in my car, and replaced the battery terminals, which had worn and loosened to the point where they weren’t making a reliable connection to charge the battery. All this cost $91 in parts – he noted this was $15 or so more than the last time he did an oil change, but still far less than the repair shop would have charged. My big splurge this week was purchasing sour cherries for a pie. The local cherries froze the last two years, and many of the orchards pulled out their sour cherry trees, as it just wasn’t worth it to keep growing them. I stopped at a small orchard on the way home from a meeting in another town to buy a few peaches and they had sour cherries! But the price was twice what I paid in 2019. Still, we have been craving them. I thought I was buying enough for two pies, but it turned out to be enough for 1 pie and something smaller – maybe a cobbler. Anyway, it was well worth the splurge. (Oh and Brandy, they wanted $65 for a 20-lb box of peaches, so you have a valuable harvest from your trees!)

      1. I bought a half bushel for $25 this past weekend and another half s
        Bushel two weeks ago at a farm
        For $18. Higher than what we used to pay but worth it in my

      2. I live in a resort area and everything is expensive. I’m hoping to find some a little cheaper somewhere else. But so far the cheapest I have seen is $45 for 20 lbs (a box) of smaller, #2 peaches. I’m hoping I can do better.

    1. Hi Cindi! I have lemon balm and am interested in the salve you made. Would you be willing to share the “recipe”? Thank you!

  22. Hubby’s mom told me the other day she served popcorn and tea(hot in winter, cold in summer) every Sunday night for supper as her mom did. Hubby asked me to try that… an hour later he was searching for leftovers and ended up eating fried eggs. Lesson learned.

    I harvest blackberries, a few red raspberries, white grapes, cherry tomatoes, red oxheart tomatoes, mountain fresh tomatoes, a small black tomato(yes it’s suppose to be black), orange tomatoes, banana peppers, cantaloupe (volunteer) and one Yukon gold potato. It was where Hubby could see it in the potato crate so he picked it. I add a protein with what ever we harvest that day and call it done for our meals.

    I found a few good deals on pasta so got the limit allowed. Hubby found an attachment to my Kitchen Aid mixer that makes pasta shapes (not just spag.) and got it 30% off and used his cash back credit card credits to pay for it so ZERO out of pocket. He was so proud of himself.

    I am still looking for some meat but am not willing to pay $5/lb.

    I just bought an iceberg lettuce so will have to try the trick of the outer leaf to cover it.
    Blessed be everyone
    prayers for peace

  23. I love your blog because we can all learn something new each week.
    Hubby’s step niece got married Friday night. I wore an outfit I already had. It was a hand me down from my sister when she lost a bunch of weight. Hubby wore a suit he already had. We opted to not stay over and drive the 45 minutes home. I don’t drink so I knew I would be able to. We had a wonderful time.
    The garden is starting to kick into overdrive. Such a wonderful problem to have. I made 2 quarts of pickled beets with red onion. Beet tops go into salads and stacks got chopped and frozen. I made zucchini 4 times this week, 2 zucchini pies, a frittata, grilled and sautéed. I also shredded several and froze them for the winter. I made a cucumber and tomato salad that my son said is a hit. I froze a quart of sting beans. They have been eaten as snacks as are the cherry tomatoes. Peppers were thrown into the frittata, zucchini pies and eggs. Herbs have been in the dehydrator several days. I need to make a batch of pickles still.
    My son mowed and weed whacked the yard. My daughter and I cleaned the house. Leftovers are being eaten. Laundry has been hung outside and washed on the short cold cycle. Windows are open in the morning until the house hits 80 degrees.
    It is a 3 paycheck month for Hubby. I have barely worked because both of my clients got sick. We were still able to put an extra $2000 to the mortgage.
    Hubby was unable to fix the stove. We ordered a new one. I am saving parts from the old one because my sister has the same one.

    1. Marybeth from NY- Sounds like you are a frugal “warrior”! Amazing what you’ve done! And especially the extra $2000 on your mortgage! That’s really an accomplishment!!🎉🎉

      Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Thank you. We follow Dave Ramsey. We made some stupid money mistakes when we were younger. Teaching our kids from our mistakes. One of our goals this year was to make an extra $1000 to the principal of our mortgage every month. We weren’t sure we would be able to with our youngest still in college but we have been making it work. Our mortgage is our only debt left.

        1. Marybeth – We paid off our mortgage 4 years ago and it is the most freeing feeling. You will have to let all of us know when you do so we can celebrate in spirit with you. Congratulations on your frugal prowess! 🙂

  24. I had never heard that tip for lettuce, either! I rarely buy lettuce, but that is good to know.

    I needed a small gift for a toddler and found a just right, soft, cute ball (this toddler loves balls) on clearance for $1.41.

    All of my laundry this weekend was hung outdoors or on a drying rack indoors.

    I resisted the lure of a drive-through on a long day and went home to a late meal instead.

    I mixed up an antiseptic food-safe spray for my counters and cutting board. The mixture is mostly distilled water and grain alcohol. I add a little essential oil, but it’s not necessary.

    I picked oregano, okra and squash from the raised beds.

    I put out diatomaceous earth to discourage squash bugs (I hope).

    I earned extra Swagbucks by ordering for my office through the SB site. I got almost $5.

    I take two routine prescriptions. I order one prescription from the mail order pharmacy associated with my insurance, because it is only $3 for 90 days of pills while the local price is more. However, I get my other prescription from Walmart, because their price is half ($57) the cost of the mail order pharmacy ($120) for 90 days and cheaper than the other pharmacies in town, plus I usually have a reason to stop by there anyway, so no extra trips. I can reorder and renew both quite easily by using the MyChart app used by my health care providers.

    I mixed up another batch of hummingbird sugar-water, which I leave clear, as red dye is not supposed to be good for the birds. I have used the same dishwasher-safe feeders for years, and they are mostly red. The metal rain shield over the feeders is also red and had faded, but a few shots of red spray paint fixed that.

    We’ve had a lot of rain – I wish I could share it with those in drought! – and I’m using my free giveaway umbrella when caught out in a shower. I find I lose umbrellas too easily to spend decent money on them. In fact, the cheaper the umbrella, the longer I seem to hold on to it. I ought to have this one for a good while, since it was free.

    1. Jo, we are constantly losing umbrellas, too! My husband is a principal and stands outside every morning/afternoon at the car line. I suspect that he might be culprit making off with the ‘brellas and not bringing them home. Ha! I can usually find them at estate sales and yard sales for $1 or $2.

  25. Hope everyone had a lovely week! We spent this past week in Southern California with close family friends. My parents came with us (in a different car). We were able to stay in our friends’ vacation condo about a 15 minute drive from where they live. This alone saved so much, as opposed to staying in a hotel. The condo was stocked with everything you need for the beach, plus a washer and dryer which we used almost daily. I was able to go grocery shopping with a few things to have for breakfast and lunch for the week. We ate several meals at our family’s house. It was so much fun as opposed to going out. We did go out to eat a few times. One morning, my husband and I ate breakfast at a cute little restaurant near the beach. Then one night, my parents took everyone out to dinner at the local polo club which was so fun. My son enjoyed hanging out with the other kids and doing fun activities. We did sign him up for the local surf camp for the week. It wasn’t expensive, but it wasn’t cheap either. But it included the use of a wetsuit, daily sunscreen, hot lunch, photos and a trophy at the end of the week. My son loved every minute of it. We are planning on going back next year. It’s amazing to see how when it’s not your mom slathering on the sunscreen, how cooperative you can be!!!! What was most valuable about the trip was the fact that we got to spend the week with my parents. My husband and I also were able to steal away for a day for just the two of us. We drove down to Malibu and went to the Getty Villa Museum to see the Persia exhibit. It was amazing. We had been there once before, but it was many years ago. For those who do not know, the entrance to the museum is free, but you do have to make a reservation and pay $20 for parking. So I guess technically not free, but well worth it! We were going to go to a nearby restaurant, but decided to treat ourselves at get lunch at the museum. We went on a weekday so it was not as crowded. When we got home, my mother in law had take out Chinese Food for us, which we were able to get a few more meals out of. We also made a menu of dinners for the week. We decided to challenge ourselves and eat out of the freezer and pantry and not go to the grocery store this week. My son was not as excited about this, but when we explained why we were doing it (so we can go on another trip in November), he agreed 🙂

    1. I would love to know the name of the surf club for those lessons, as we get to So Cal occasionally. My kids would be thrilled to get this experience!

  26. Yay for rain and a lovely garden harvest! Sounds like a lovely week, with friends and rain! I saw your post/story? on IG and was like wow, that’s Vegas!

    My frugal week:
    – I picked raspberries, chives, onions, basil, and collard greens from my balcony garden, and snow peas, green beans, tomatoes, a green pepper, lettuce, and mulberries at my plot at my parents place. My eldest loooooves eating snow peas fresh from the garden, and my youngest loves berries best.
    – made pizza ( with homegrown basil and served it at a picnic along with homemade brownies and fruit.
    – went to the public library several times and the public pool too, and took advantage of outdoor EarlyON programs. My daughters are having a great summer: lots of outdoor time, pool time, picnics, library time, $1 ice cream cone deals, splashpad time…they’re tan (despite my repeatedly slathering them with sunscreen and having them wear hats, etc.) and active and happy, and all those activities were free or cost literally $1.
    – went through my baby stuff and set aside a few things to sell
    – as usual, let the website Canadian Savings Group do the hard work of matching coupons and sales for me, and then took advantage of the best deals I saw, including $2.99/pkg for the brand name sliced cheese my husband likes.
    – made my Produce-Packed Fudgy Banana Bread ( using on sale zucchini
    – went to Costco despite not having a membership, using a hack I learned about on this site: used a gift card someone else purchased for me, then went to the membership desk to get a free day use membership. I got a few things for back to school lunches and stocked up on things like mayo and cocoa, and my mother also got a few items.
    – my husband and my kids and I went to the Art Gallery of Ontario, using a free pass I got from the public library. $50 saved in entrance fees!
    – bought a hardcover kids book (a Munsch collection) for 50 cents from the library.
    – celebrated a civic holiday by taking the kids to use the pool in my sister’s building (my husband enjoyed the hot tub and I enjoyed the sauna), plus a picnic lunch and a different playground and splashpad.
    – got 10 free mini retro style photos using a promo code from the Walmart photocentre online. I’ll give a few away with thank you notes to various people.
    – redeemed SB for a $10 gc to Starbucks.
    – gave my husband a haircut
    – ordered some prescription reading glasses through Zenni optical, instead of going to a more expensive in-person store. I had the confidence to go with them thanks to all the reviews i read on here.
    – took advantage of a promo from StickerMule, to order 10 die cut custom stickers for $1 incl. shipping. Perfect to stick on the back of a letter to make it more fancy. Or an invitation or such. Such a good deal, and such great quality.
    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  27. I’d be interested to learn how you use your frozen figs. My sister’s fig trees have produced really well this year and she’s looking for more ways to preserve the figs outside of canning jam.

    I harvested blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, and potatoes from the garden, along with herbs.

    I dried 5 varieties of herbs.

    I used some dried chives to make a batch of chive salt. It will be used the same way I use onion salt.

    I collected chive seeds to plant next spring.

    I started a batch of raspberry vinegar to use in salad dressings.

    A magazine came up for renewal and I opted not to renew.

    I’ve been unsubscribing from all of the marketing emails that come in.

  28. The oven on our 6 month old stove quit working. ☹️ I called the manufacturer and they sent out a repair guy, it’s the control board so it’s covered. Now to wait on it to get in.

    Mended a shirt

    Read and returned The Terminal List to the library

    Had cooler weather over the weekend so the AC got a break.

    Enjoyed an afternoon with my book club meeting(the book we read was free with Kindle Unlimited)

    My husband repaired our toilet

    Returned some stuff to Menards my husband ended up not needing

  29. What a lovely photo of the vinca bud! Like a camera lens! And I am sure you will always smile when you look at the photo of yourself and your friend.
    Keeping a watch for sale foods here, but sale prices are not cheap. Found a very large pre-cut fruit platter on clearance for $2.99 and enjoyed the watermelon, shared the other melons, and froze the grapes and chunks of pineapple for snacking. So glad when someone else does the prep work for me, and the container is even recyclable.
    Keeping the AC as high as possible while still having a comfortable house. Closed draperies and ceiling fans help.
    Do you eat your popcorn plain? I have an air popper and often eat cheddar cheese chunks on the side, nothing on the corn. Friends would mix equal parts of lemon juice and melted butter to pour on popcorn and it was very good; never would have thought of that myself. My father-in-law would watch for bacon ends on clearance in the butcher case and use those for the grease for popping.

    1. I use a tablespoon of oil per 1/2 cup of popcorn when popping it. Then we just add salt.

  30. Those vincas are beautiful. That bud in the first picture looks like frosting.
    Had a pretty productive week. Picked broccoli and cauliflower twice. The snow/sugar peas we planted this year were labelled incorrectly. They were regular peas. Picked them, shelled them , got 9 cups, and froze them. We mainly like them in stews and fried rice. a side dish of peas is not my thing. Picked a couple of onions.
    A friend gave us 10 bulbs of garlic. I was very grateful, as ours did not do well this year.
    Made 4 loaves of french bread. Brought one to work, and used for breakfasts and lunches all three days I worked.
    Picked basil – dried 10 trays of it in the dehydrator.
    I had a low tire. The dealer where I bought the car was only 3 blocks away. Took it there, they fixed it for free. Very pleased.
    Blueberries were on sale for $1.39 for an 18 ounce package. Got 10. Ate some, made blueberry coffee cake, dehydrated 4 trays and froze some. They were yummy.
    Also our local Fred Meyer (Kroger affiliate) had pork loins for 99¢ a pound – a limit of five. I bought five, came home and put four in the freezer. One of the smaller ones I chopped up into bite sized pieces and cooked in a little oil. Froze some and kept some out. I will use this for fried rice, chow mein, or anything else I think sounds good.
    Made chili for DH. He BBq’d hot dogs and had chili dogs for dinner most of the week.
    Made a rhubarb crisp at the same time as the blueberry coffee cake. They cook in the same temperature oven, and both pans fit. Only heated the oven once.
    Had popcorn for a snack.
    Picked the first of our tomatoes. 8 cherry tomatoes. They didn’t even make it out of the garden.
    Our second planting of corn came up really well. Thinned it over the weekend. If it is too close, it will not produce. Seems wasteful, but much like thinning peaches or apples, a necessity.
    I will be going up to my mother’s house three times in the next six weeks. I need to get the house cleaning finished and then get it on the market. I will be meeting one of my sisters there each time, except the last.
    Hope everyone has a good week. Stay strong.

  31. I am enjoying the bounty of summer entertainment. We attended three free outdoor concerts last week: a bagpipe and drum band, a jazz quartet, and a local rock band. We were able to walk to two of the concerts and brought food to two of them.

    My friend gave me regular and Thai basil and some beautiful blackberries from her garden. I made two batches of pesto for the freezer.

    From my own garden I picked a cucumber, lettuce, two tomatoes, some kale, mint, and more basil.

    I read books from the library (Just finished The Maid by Nita Prose–a good mystery!), knitted from my stash, used the shower warm up water for potted plants, ate from the fridge, ete.

    I was able to deposit four reimbursements for out of pocket medical expenses. I was grateful to get something back on them.

    A previous poster mentioned hummingbirds. There is a large tree outside my deck and in the mornings I spend time on the deck reading scriptures and writing in my gratitude journal. About 7:00 when two squirrels awaken and start their day, there is a hummingbird that arrives and intentionally plays with them–or at least teases them. It’s fun to watch all of their antics! I have observed this several times this summer.

    Enjoy your week, everyone!

    1. My gratitude journal is such a blessing to me. Just going back and reading through it brings me so much happiness. My adult daughter loves to read it, too, because it reminds her of things.

  32. DH and I stopped at my 90 year old mothers today to drop off groceries and cook her a vegetarian lasagna to freeze in individual potions and a small potato salad for fresh eating over the next few days of hot weather. My Mum has a small appetite so we added some hard boiled eggs and fresh veggies for extra nutrients-an easy one dish meal for her to serve herself. She is kind of picky about what she likes and we try to help her eat well. Living with support in her own home as long as possible will save money and keep her happier and healthier. We accepted 2 containers of borscht and a loaf of bread from her.
    We were also gifted with homemade cookies and a banana bread kindly brought by visitors-since hubby and I rarely eat sweets we froze them and will share and serve when we have company. I do realize in many households these would be consumed quickly!!!
    Our next door neighbours are on vacation and told us to help ourselves to strawberries in their garden-we are also picking Saskatoon berries in our backyard every day so lots of free fresh fruit this week. We have been blessed this week. I hope everyone has a great and frugal week.

  33. The cat was startled this morning by an odd sound outside—rain. We got a splash of yours, not enough to fully wet the street, but that’s how long since the cat heard rain. She didn’t know what it was. My savings mostly come from not going out (gas) and not buying. Still recovering from the sick, but picked Meyer lemons, zested them and froze, juiced them and froze in ice cube trays, then took what was left to steep in my white vinegar I use for cleaning. I’m not fond of the vinegar smell and this helps a lot.

    Found out my Walgreens delivers for free, so saved on gas instead of picking up rx.

    Hoping it’s not too late for Halloween, planted day of the dead marigolds in big pots. Got them as transplants last year and they made quite the statement. Never tried from seed. Fingers crossed.

    Trying to come up with new ideas for holiday food gifts that are both savory and shippable. The yearly quest has started.

    1. I think food gifts will be appreciated this year more than ever with the inflation of food prices!

  34. I am writing this from the Teton Valley of eastern Idaho where we are visiting our son and daughter-in-law. As we passed through Brandy’s kids’ college town, I stopped at the Deseret Industries thrift store, hoping to find a Foodsaver. No luck, and I didn’t buy anything. I have been to other DI thrift stores, but this one seems to be the mother ship for Idaho!

    It occurred to me that I have only bought 3 items other than groceries this summer, and all were birthday gifts.

    We had a heat wave with 100+ degree temperatures at home last week. We used ceiling fans in addition to the AC so we didn’t have to crank up the AC quite so much. Other than the heat, it was a pretty good week. I hope yours was, too!

    I’m still reading a lot–three books last week. I took two more with me on our trip. All from the library. The library also just accepted another suggestion from me for a new book buy.

    A friend showed me how to download the Libby app on my phone. We had planned to listen to a book on our way here, but couldn’t get it to work with our phone/car. I was driving, so didn’t have time to research it further, but I’m going to do this before we leave for home.

    It was a good week at the grocery store! One store had top sirloin steak for $3.99 lb. (my pre-Covid go-to price) and blueberries for $1.39 per 18 ounce package–that’s less than $1.24 lb., which I haven’t seen in years, if not decades. I bought a bunch of both. I had the meat tenderized for chicken fried steaks. I froze some and took the rest with us on the trip to cook my son’s favorite meal. I bought 14 cartons of blueberries. I measured the amounts for two batches of cooked jam and froze them in one gallon zip-locks, along with some one-quart bags. Another store had boneless pork roasts for .99 lb. and I bought one, cut it in half and froze it. (I probably should have bought two). I also bought strawberries for $2.49 for two pounds and nectarines for .99 lb.

    Using my Medicare Advantage OTC benefit, I bought $60.69 worth of drugstore products for $0. United Healthcare allows the unheard-of amount of $175 per quarter and issues policyholders a prepaid debit card to use in retail pharmacies. I hope I never have to use $175 per quarter! The yearly benefit is more than the annual premiums on my policy!

    I pulled up and composted the lettuce when it bolted in the heat. (It was too bitter to eat). I’ve begun harvesting green beans and I have two zucchinis on the vine. I also have mystery plants growing in the strawberry bed. I thought they were zukes, but the leaves and blossoms are different and they have a sprawling habit. I can’t wait to see what they are! (I am easily entertained, LOL).

    I moved my houseplants outdoors for the summer. Using parts I already had, I added a drip irrigation sprinkler so I don’t have to water them.

    Almost a giant frugal fail, but saved by the bell! The night before we left, I put a gallon jug of water in the freezer to use on the trip. When I took it out the next morning, it had failed to freeze and there was frost all over the packages of food. I couldn’t do anything because my fridge freezer is stuffed full, too. I left it and asked my friend to check today, knowing it was going to be a crapshoot. She did, and everything is frozen solid again! (I told her if it wasn’t, to salvage what she could for herself). Apparently the door did not shut tight when I put in the water jug. I thought that probably was the case, but you never know. That one’s on me, since I’m the one that shut the freezer door.

    Thank you to Brandy, who makes this such a warm and welcoming place, and to the commenters who take the time to post. I’m 76 and I am still learning! Also, the pictures are beautiful this week! (But when aren’t they??)

  35. Hello Everyone!

    This week I was able to get in the kitchen a bit more. I made a loaf of sandwich bread in the bread machine as well as baked 2 loaves of plum bread using plums from our tree. I made an easy chicken enchilada casserole and simple meals such as fish sticks and burgers. Easy is still all I’m up to. My husband brought home some food from a work BBQ which we had one evening.

    We are eating fruits and veggies from our garden. This week we had lots of cucumber, fennel, giant zucchini, green beans, sugar snap peas, plums, berries and peaches. I’m having a lot of success with the Beit Alpha and Marketmore cucumbers. I may dehydrated extra shredded zucchini as GardenPat suggests. We love zucchini bread and muffins!

    Now that I’m no longer required to be on the low-fat, low fiber post surgery diet, my skin is looking better already! I’ve been adding a tablespoon of natural peanut butter to my oatmeal, putting peanut butter on toast rather than jam, drizzling olive oil on veggies, and made golden milk with coconut cream. The healthy fats in addition to the homemade sugar scrub are making a visible difference and for very little money. 👍🏼

    I’ve been slowly working on my cotton nightgown sewing project. I used bias tape that I already had even though it wasn’t quite the right color and I already had the thread and fabric. I’ll probably finish it tomorrow. I only have to gather and attach the skirt to the bodice.

    I did online grocery shopping at Walmart. It saved us time and money. My teens picked it up for me and put everything away. They’ve been a real blessing!

    Thanks again to this community for being such a warm, caring group. Have a blessed and beautiful week! 🦋

    1. Julie on the CA Coast- One thing that I think may have helped dehydrate my shredded zucchini faster was by accident! I shredded the three giant zucchini into the big bowl. But then I got busy with some other things so it as actually about 2+ hours later that I remembered to start loading the dehydrator trays! 😱. But, because of this, the natural moisture from zukes all went into the bottom of the bowl, leaving most of the zucchini shreds less drippy. My opinion is that this “mistake” actually meant less drying time in the dehydrator!

      Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Gardenpat,
        I did the same thing and it definitely helped! I ended up with a pint jar of dehydrated shredded zucchini. What a great idea! Do you rehydrate the shreds before using them in baking?

  36. Forgot to mention, I had a bike accident Saturday and landed on my head. It’s hard–no harm done! Plus, I was wearing a helmet. You are supposed to replace helmets after they have been in accidents because the structural integrity may have been compromised. My daughter-in-law gave me a helmet that pulls her long hair! (My hair is short). My son works in a bike shop during the summer and I’d asked him to get me one with his discount, but as you all know–FREE is a very good price.

    1. Maxine,
      I once fell off a bike sideways and because of the helmet my head bounced off the ground. Helmets are a great idea!!! Glad you’re okay.

      1. That’s exactly how I fell and landed! I didn’t realize the seat was loose. As I turned into a friend’s driveway, the seat turned 90 degrees. The bike went over on its side and landed on top of me. My head took quite a thump and I don’t like to think what could have happened if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet.

  37. What a lovely picture of you and your friend, Brandy! And I’m so happy for you with the rain!

    We’ve had a dry summer for Boston, but it’s nothing as bad as what others have. We have had to irrigate more than usual, and somethings have just been allowed to dry up. Unfortunately, our raspberry patch has stopped bearing early because of the drought. However, the apple trees seem to still be fine, and the grapes seem likely to be abundant. My husband built me a trellis for an old grape vine we’d thought was barely worth tending, but this year it’s covered in lovely clusters. I hope the taste will be good too! Worth a couple of 4×4’s, wire, and gravel.

    I save what water I can from inside to throw on the nearest garden beds to my kitchen door. I have the rosemary there. My mom says, “A dry rosemary is a dead rosemary!” And I can attest to having killed several, but this one, well watered for once, is still kicking.

    I baked bread in the crockpot to avoid heating up the house. We try to open the windows on the correct side of the house – west and north windows in the morning, east and north windows in the afternoon, to try to get airflow when we can. We use thick curtains and bath towels where we can to shield out the sun. We bought a new sunshade for the car windshield. It’s wonderful what a good one can do!

    I donated three large bags of clothing and am sorting more. I hope to take this month and get a really good handle on what we have, need, and don’t have room for. Sometimes I store too much and can’t find or access the good things that we have. Time to rein it in, again!

    I used up cleaning products that I don’t really like. I made some of Heloise’s shower door cleaner and really liked it.

    We turned the page on the homemade calendar we have. I get 11×14 watercolor paper in January, write the months and days as nicely as I can, and give each member of the family a couple of pages to decorate. It’s memorable, cheap, and lets me have gigantic spaces for each day, as I use two sheets per month.

    Wishing you all a beautiful week!

    1. Sarah, I love the calendar idea! My art group did a similar thing. There were 12 of us so we all took a month and made 12 of them. I did February.

  38. It was exciting seeing and hearing your monsoon, and your “take” on the storm as compared to the media!
    -I made Apricot Preserves, using a French-style recipe I like.
    -We picked the first green beans at last! “Harvest” is too strong a word for the handful picked and quickly eaten! This year I planted pole beans in large pots each with a long bamboo stake. I lashed more bamboo sideways for a makeshift trellis. This was put in front of a window and some of the bean tendrils moved to cling to the verticals. This filled in very nicely and gives a lovely green effect from the inside as well as filtering out the direct sun that hits that spot. Beans like the sun, we like the cooling— win, win!
    -I always check the Marked Down vegetables at the store as it is 2/3 off the usual prices, and today I found every ingredient for my salsa recipe in the quantities to make exactly two batches! And it was all in perfect shape too. So I cancelled the rest of my day and canned salsa.

    Blessings on your week, ladies!

  39. We put up six pints of bread and butter pickles and five of sweet pickle relish. We froze 48 ears of corn on the cob. We thought we might have green beans to can, but not yet. We still have plenty of cucumbers, tomatoes, and green peppers to enjoy fresh. I finished my daughter’s 25 Days of Christmas gifts by buying really nice books from the Dollar Tree and off of a local friend. I found my son-in-law’s Christmas ornament (I like to give every child one each year at Christmas) at a yard sale for only a $1! It is a beautiful glass fish, which still has the store tag in it for $13.99. My mom was admitted to the hospital TWICE in the last week, but I was able to use personal and vacation time to make up for my missed time at work. This week I have volunteered to come in early and stay late for 3 different meetings to take the minutes, which will give me some overtime (and endear me to my boss ☺️). Our town and the neighboring county is hosting WV’s Largest Yard Sale. I don’t really need anything, but I am going to ride around with my niece who is coming in to visit with my mom and go to the sales. I will only take a certain amount of cash with me so that I don’t overspend on unnecessary things. I always am on the lookout for notecards, vintage greeting cards, or vintage gift wrap. Plus books – my obsession.

    We went to a pig roast this weekend. These friends are great – they invite a lot of family and friends, but understand that I get anxious around new people. So I am welcome to sit in one spot with a book or my crochet and visit at my comfort. Friends like that are priceless!

    I did have some food waste this week with not being at home and just missing using up food.

      1. Thank you, Brandy and Mountain Mama Dawn. She is home again, home again, jiggety jig. She had COVID on her birthday at the end of June, and I truly believe that this is just lingering effects from it – pneumonia then a severe exacerbation of her COPD. She is 80, and I know I am blessed to still have her.

    1. Alice, I hope your mother’s health improves very soon. I am sure she was glad you could be with her. 🙂

  40. So glad to see you got some rain, Brandy. I’m sure every little bit helps. * We drove from Minnesota to Utah for a tw0-week trip to visit three of our children and two grand children. It was not inexpensive, but this is why we are frugal in other ways. We had the money for the trip put aside, so no debt incurred. We always view these trips as an investment. We tried to find less expensive hotels for the nights we traveled and my husband had some Marriot points we applied to a couple of the nights. I took the little bottles of shampoo and soap to add to my “in case we ever run out” drawer. Before we left, I made up some sandwiches and froze them for our son who stayed home to take to work with him. Saved him a little time and money. * For our road trip I downloaded one of my favorite books, “The Chosen” by Chaim Potok, from the library using the free libby app. We enjoyed listening. After we finished, I looked up some discussion questions and my husband and I discussed the book for some time. It was very pleasant. *While on the trip I finished one afghan and most of another. * We drove out two very heavy afghans I made for Christmas gifts for my grandkids who live out there, saving money it would cost to ship. They are wrapped in very non-festive opaque black lawn bags. I did add a bow. Not pretty but effective. *A friend of mine from here in MN asked us to pick up and drive back a couple boxes from a friend of hers in Utah. It wasn’t too far out of our way, and it was nice to help a friend. * My son remembered to water my four tomato plants on the deck while we were gone which is miraculous and greatly appreciated! * We got the wonderful news this morning that our son got into the Nursing program at his community college. It is one of only two schools in our area that offer a two year R.N. so there are many, many applicants. It saves soooo much money for him over a four year school. We are so thankful and he is very very happy. * I reduced the weekly food budget for August by $25 in hopes of starting to build up our savings from our trip. Did well week one by eliminating some snacky foods and choosing simple meals. After a two week trip, we are more than content with simple home made meals. * I have two more thick and chunky afghans to make for my Minnesota granddaughters for Christmas. I saw a sale at Joanns this week of $3 off per skein and had a 20% off total order, so I ordered for curbside pickup today. The real savings is in me not wandering around Joanns!* I read three library books on the trip. I am absolutely in love with The Darling Dahlias book series!! Just finished my fourth and requested the next two. Thanks to whomever suggested them from here!!* I hope everyone has a thrifty, peaceful and lovely week.

    1. I once had the chance to hear Chaim Potok speak. He talked about how magical books at the library had been to him as a young boy from a Hasidic Jewish community. They opened up worlds to him that he would have been unaware of otherwise. This is close to 40 years ago, and I can still here the wonder in his voice. I suppose most of us who love to read understand this.;

  41. Last Monday I finished canning vegetables. In total I did 49 quarts of green beans, purple hull peas, butter beans, butter peas, speckled butterbeans, and then 34 pints of corn and purple hulls.

    *I harvested green beans, okra, tomato, and carrots. I sowed more yellow squash and zucchini. I cut large suckered off tomatoes and put in water to root.

    * I sliced yellow squash and froze on 3 trays and bagged. I grated two for fritters and froze in bags.

    * We finally got rain yesterday and today. It is so nice. I’ve poured canner water, rinse water, blanching water on my garden before the rain.

    *I read The Winemakers Husband.

    *I did a grocery trip and got things I keep putting off going to those sections: 3 toothpastes, 8 bars of soap, Immodium, Pepcid, Tums, cotton rounds, Q-tips, 2 large Dawn, Oxyclean, mouthwash, 10 boxes regular canning lids. I ordered hangers. I got two t-shirts at Walmart on clearance for $2 each. I wear these to sleep, exercise, around the house so I always like a lot.

    * I have cleaned a cabinet and drawer everyday. I will be hosting our Bible Study starting next Friday so it is a great motivator to keep things clean and organized.
    It doesn’t get too messy around here, but motivation helps.

    1. We have had a good bit of rain in South Alabama and in mid Alabama in Ttown. It has been wild how hit and miss the rain has been in our state this summer!

  42. I redeemed Amazon giftcards from Pincecone Research and bought canning supplies I needed.

    Blueberry picking — 11 lbs. and bought peaches from an amish store.

    Made homemade sourdough english muffins.

    Made Cold Brew Coffee with chocolate mint and stevia leaf for added flavor.

    Canned Earl Grey infused peaches from my Ball Canning Book.

    Had a playdate at friends, I brought pretzels and grapefruit for to add to lunch provided.

    Bought a cookbook for myself, on sale , and a “real food” cookbook – I’m looking forward to many, many recipes!

    Pulled out cucumbers and squash that were overtaken by powdery mildew, and both my tomato plants were attack with another disease 🙁

    Harvest herbs for tea, chives, radishes, green beans, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, sage, and kale.

    I’m looking forward to a Fall garden this year!

  43. I bought 10 lb of British Columbia blueberries, cleaned them, and packed them 2 cups to a medium Ziplock freezer bag. I have 28 cups in the fridge freezer now. This will last me the winter.
    I use them in blueberry pancakes or oatmeal, and make the occasional fruit crisp or crispy squares.

  44. It has been a productive couple of days. I canned apricots, they were on sale. I boiled them in apple juice and then I had to make simple syrup to can them with. I have a quart of simple syrup left and additionally canned 4 pints of apricot-apple juice. I made zucchini bread with zucchini from the garden, with blueberry and lemon. I froze some shredded zucchini for later use and 3 more zucchini just arrived!
    The garden is yielding kale, cucumber, zucchini, spinach, strawberries, beans, potatoes and herbs. I am cooking, freezing and dehydrating some and of course eating fresh as well.
    I learnt about – I hope it is ok to post here and share with the readers. It’s a worldwide website that maps fruit trees and berry bushes in your area. The location of these trees/bushes is available for all- I have found a plum tree and a pear tree near my home and I will make sure to check them out when harvest time arrive. Nothing better than free food! Blackberry season is coming and I have my favourite areas to pick them. If you sign up you can receive updates by email of new locations.
    I am now 12 months away (or less if I can do an anniversary payment) from being mortgage free and I look forward to that. I keep on checking the mortgage calculator to see my progress. That helps me not spending money.
    Glad you got much needed rain- though I hope your tomatoes did not crack.

    1. Only my cherry tomatoes are still producing. The others quit in the heat here around this time and sadly several plants died, which doesn’t usually happen, so I don’t know what happened there.

      I have info about that website in another place on my site; sharing again is always good, and I think it is especially important this year.

    2. Kati- Being mortgage free is such a weight lifted! You are doing great with that goal and I am cheering you on, having achieved that goal 3 years ago!! Well done in staying the course!! 🎉🎉

      Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. Kati – We paid off our mortgage 4 years ago and it is the most freeing feeling. Congratulations on being so close! You will have to share with all of us when it is paid in full so we can celebrate with you in spirit. 🙂

  45. Like Elizabeth M. I too bought B.C blueberries but only 5 pounds as they were expensive.
    I still have some frozen ones from last year and I’m thinking of making jam with those.
    I also have a box I got on sale that are stashed in a friend’s freezer.

    I washed and cut peaches and put 7 big jars in the freezer. I gave 6 ripe ones to my friend who has done so much for me.
    They were perfect. I also froze apricots but I didn’t buy many.

    In a couple of weeks, I have a medical appointment two blocks away from the market so will stop (it’s on my way home) and buy a case of Italian prune plums, one of my favourites. I love having them stewed on bitterly cold days. My aunt discovered you don’t have to freeze them in syrup.
    You just wash them, cut them in half, pit them and put them in ziplock freezer bags. So easy!

    I left the wild aster plants in my peony bed and they are in bloom. 4 different species of orange fritillaries are fighting turf wars over the blooms.
    I posted a photo of one on my account and someone identified it for me. In the meantime, I now have 3 sets of hummingbird photos. I’m asking a friend who’s an expert birder for help identifying them. At first I thought it was the same bird but now I realize from the photos that I have 3 different species. I think I have a female Black-chinned (which would be rare here), a male rufous (not quite mature yet), and a female Ruby-throated. I couldn’t figure out why the hummingbird food level was not going down but understood it when I watched the female ruby-throated go only to the beebalm flowers and not the feeder. I watered my little wooded island and a woodpecker came along and had a shower. While I was working on the book at the patio table, a little skipper butterfly landed on a pink impatiens plant and I got lovely photos.

    Then I saw a bobcat going up the driveway. A beautiful rusty orange. I hope he/she catches lots of mice! And a friend has a moose — I’mnot keen to have a visit.

    I am making photos to frame as a gift for one of my doctors who retires this year — he’s been my doctor for 40 years!

    1. If you freeze your prune plums halves on cookie trays (skin side down), you can pack them into freezer bags after they are hard without them glomming together. You can then remove the amount you want from the bag whilst frozen without thawing the whole bag. This works for blueberries and most other fruits too.

      1. Elle W.

        thanks so much for mentioning this! I always put the halves on cookie sheets to freeze first

  46. -Our garden is in full production mode. Zucchini is abundant. I shredded the zucchini and laid it out in the sun, as drying it makes much better baked goods. I made zucchini and tomato casserole to take to a party. I made a big batch of tabouleh and some pesto. Sharing produce with my parents and someone that works for me.
    -I was hosting a family party and ordered some catering from a local company. I could have made it cheaper but then I would have ended up cooking the entire time with how the timing worked. Our families help us out a lot so it was nice to do this for them.
    -I went to Aldi and found their summer stuff on clearance. I was able to get kids sandals, water shoes, raincoats, life jackets, and shirts for $1 or less each. We are set on the next few sizes for my son now. They also had door mats for $2 so I got 4.
    -Ive been continuing to make sourdough. I always end up with one last end piece that no one eats. I’ve been putting them in a bag in the freezer and make bread crumbs when I get enough. I make sourdough waffles with the discard and pop extras in the freezer. We normally eat eggs for breakfast but those waffles save us on busy mornings or when we run out of eggs.
    -Not frugal, but I bought a new car. We aren’t mechanically inclined, and having safe reliable transportation is super important. I’m thankful to be frugal in other areas because car fixes are not something we can DIY. I got a great price for my trade in.
    -Sold something on eBay and FB marketplace.
    -Replenished frozen burgers to have on hand. We had unexpected company and I was thankful to have those for a quick meal. Resisted ordering pizza or going to the store.
    -Went to a free outdoor boot camp class and I’ve been running and swimming. It’s frustrating that the scale isn’t moving much but my body shape is changing dramatically. It’s tight but I’m finally getting back into my pre-baby clothing.
    – Finally got out gutters cleaned. Our roof is high and steep so we paid a roofer doing work for us at another property to do it, and he was happy for a quick and easy job. This will help protect our foundation long term from water runoff. The previous homeowners had gutter guards but they don’t work.

    1. Hi Susan,
      It sounds like you’ve done an amazing job of changing your body composition! A pound of muscle is much smaller than a pound of body fat. Having more muscle mass raises your metabolism because it takes extra energy to maintain. The scale only reflects weight, which matters less than body composition. Awesome job!! 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼🙌🏼

    2. Susan – I need to come visit you when you make sourdough. I am famous for hoarding the heels (or, as we call them in our family, the butt 🙂 ) of bread. I love it! But, I do make crumbs and croutons from the other random pieces that might have hung around a little too long. Congratulations on all your recent successes!

  47. So, I am at that point in the season when I AM OVER IT! I have planted, hoed, picked and preserved myself into exhaustion. This happens every year. I just need to do something totally unrelated for a few days and I’ll be fine. Does anyone else do this? I realized I have been a Prepper all my life. I started with my parents. Waste not; want not. So grateful that I was raised with that principle. Has seen me and my family through many lean times.

    No deals to report. Have been cooking and baking. Trying to decide whether we need an electric bread maker or a nice cast iron bread pan.

    We have had so much rain here. The grass is growing at warp speed, but the garden is drowning. If we get some sunny days, I think we’ll be fine. Have a friend whose parents lost their house in the Kentucky floods. Just so sad.

    Those of you in East Tennessee, please let me know if there are any great deals out there. I’ll do the same.

    Stay frosty out there! Onward, ya’ll, by all means!

    1. I know exactly what you mean about reaching the point where you can’t wait for the garden to die! Luckily in the interior of Alaska, spring comes late and fall arrives early. In about three weeks we should have our first frosts so only things like my leeks will survive. I do love being able to go out and puck whatever is ripe for dinner, but sometimes I think I would rather set fire to my raised beds and greenhouse than pick another weed! And even the weeds must be harvested, to feed our chickens and cut down on their feed costs. When I am really tired of the garden, my husband, who hates gardening, takes over watering duties and gives me a week or two of resting from chores. Of course, right now is prime harvesting time so if we want anything to eat this winter I need to keep moving! It makes me feel ungrateful to complain about all the gardening chores, so it is nice to hear I am not the only one who sometimes needs a vacation from gardening!!

      1. Contact me anytime you need to vent! I am so glad that you commented. I was feeling like a total whiner! It truly is very hard work if your garden is of any size and especially if you do all the work! Take care my grateful, but tired, friend! 😊

      2. Oh boy, Mable, I have that same feeling! I have so much to do, especially since I had to be away again this week unexpectedly. And still have to plant the fall garden. I feel bad whining as well because I am thankful for the harvest and what I can put up, but it is overwhelming. Two more months, maybe three. Then I will enjoy what I have done.

    2. CherylB, I totally understand! I’m a teacher so most of my gardening time is in the summer. Once school starts back, I just don’t have the time or energy to get into the garden. I haven’t even walked down to it in at least a week. When things calm down a bit and I’m not so tired, I hope to get down there and plant some things for fall…but right now, I need a break from it to deal with the rest of life!

  48. Hi!

    The green tomatoes that I had to pull from the vine early due to excessive heat and not ripening, finally ripened using the brown bag method. I placed them inside first using a banana, then an apple. The apple seemed to do the trick, but it took nearly 2 weeks. I will continue this practice going forward.

    My six year old son participated in a research study through a local university. He received $100 and some toys for his first visit.

    I’m still looking for any opportunity to save electricity. We turned off the alarm clock on our nightstand, since we keep our phones nearby. We are also trying to exit the back door whenever we go outside, rather than using the garage door. Little things!

    Natural gas prices are predicted to rise again in our area, so I may get a water heater blanket and see if it makes a difference in our bill. I have a credit at Home Depot, so I think I will use it for that.

    I had a large bunch of portobello mushrooms, so I tried two new recipes: portobello pot roast, and portobello French dip sandwiches. Both were relatively simple and delicious.

    Have a great week!

    1. I make Portobello mushrooms pizza. I take the fins out of the mushrooms then put salt and pepper on them. Broil them for about five minutes. Mix whatever you like on your pizza. I use sausage, olives, peppers and onions and mix with some pizza sauce. Stuff the mushrooms with some filling put cheese on top and bake till heated through and cheese is melted. Yummy

  49. It’s been a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I cooked meals at home, and it seemed like we ate lots of leftovers. This gets dull sometimes, but is definitely a money saver!
    I’ve been cooking a lot of meat from the freezer, and I now have space for more bargains.
    I found some change in the coinstar machine.
    I’ve been drinking more water, although I did enjoy some iced tea that I made one afternoon.
    I took the kids to a park. We didn’t camp there overnight, but we still enjoyed the nature trails and playing in the creek for a lot of the day.
    I’m buying a gift for a child to take to a birthday party using a Target merchandise credit, likely art supplies on sale with school supplies.
    One hot afternoon, I took the kids to a McDonalds with an indoor playground and drank a Diet Coke while they played on the playground.

  50. We had a fairly good week. We went out to see a play, 1776, that three of our friends were in. That’s not typically something we’d do but we used entertainment fund money to pay for the tickets. It was very well done. The next morning, I watched the latest Netflix production of “Persuasion” which was well done. I’ve made it a habit to pick up the odd item I find on a really deep sale for the children. This past weekend, my granddaughter was pleased to find a paper doll set that you can color. She had a good time playing with that. I was contemplating buying a new notebook because the one I’d already recovered with contact paper was looking so very worn and shabby. Then I remembered how we covered books in school to keep them clean and unscuffed. I contemplated using paper but as much as I handle the notebook knew it would soon tear. Then I thought about choosing a piece of fabric. I had a sturdy piece of blue and white floral fabric remnant that made a lovely cover for the notebook which looks like new. I finely minced some cooked chicken and mixed up sort of like crab cakes and fried them. I needed more seasoning, but these weren’t bad and I’ll definitely add that to my list of things I might do with leftover cooked chicken in the future. I dropped my bottle of coconut oil and broke the cap. Fortunately, I recalled having a pump nozzle and lid in the cabinet that fit perfectly and was able to replace. I lost a little of the product when it broke, but not enough to fret over. I started making a slipcover to go over an old but heavy and solid wingback chair that I purchased from a friend for $5 about 10 years ago. It was upholstered in a darker fabric and I’m covering with a white and charcoal ticking stripe that is a polished cotton type of fabric. I stapled cotton duck from an old slipcover over the old upholstery so the dark won’t show through the new fabric. John and I combined errands one day and then went out to eat. It’s a new experience to us to eat out in a restaurant with a two year old. Grandson was well behaved once food arrived at the table. We used a gift card to pay for our meal.

  51. I went to my Safeway grocery store, which was having a grand opening sale. I purchased only loss leaders. My cost was around $69 and the coupons totalled around $70! I will be checking the sales there and adding their coupons to my savings card from now on.

  52. We popped popcorn this week too! I love that happy picture of you and your friend! We have just done the usual stuff we always do. I am reading under a small lamp this evening. All other lights are off. I try and turn up the air during the day to a higher temperature. We read books from the library. Cooked at home for health and frugality. Put water in my lotion container to extend its use. Squeezed the last bit of toothpaste out. Tried to use all leftovers. I’m feeling blessed over very simple things; a good smelling bar of soap and a shower, water, food, electricity, a cool house in the summer, a soft bed to sleep on, clean clothes to wear, the love of family, and friends who will pray. These things are blessings that I am so grateful to have. I’m glad you have this blog Brandy. I enjoy reading what you write along with everyone’s comments every week.

  53. I’ve started working on Christmas gifts. I’m crocheting dish cloths and piecing pillow sham tops to quilt later. My husband and 3 oldest boys are going to Illinois for a church camp (we live in Maryland) and will be gone 9 days. The five kids and I who will be at home are planning several thrifting adventures to look for other Christmas gifts while daddy and boys are away.

    I’m harvesting kale, lettuce, dragons egg cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, beans, zucchini, and lemon squash. The first tomatoes are ripening and I’ll be getting a few peppers soon. My broccoli and cabbage are looking pretty good, but I know the bugs will be a problem.

    Grocery spending was pretty minimal this week, although we did pick up the first 3 bushels of peaches from our 5 bushel order. That was $15/bushel. I’m working on getting them into jars and the freezer.

    Other than food, all we purchased was gas, dog food, and a knife sharpener (which is making processing the peaches much easier!)

    I have a double ear infection and I was thankful for insurance that allowed me to get some antibiotics. My hearing is very slowly returning!

  54. I just thought I’d mention an exceptional buy on athletic shoes from at Fred Meyer yesterday. Maybe Kroger there has the same deal . . .
    I went in to town because we had been eating what we had on hand until we were out of a lot of things, and the first Tuesday of the month is senior discount day on Kroger products, shoes, home, garden, and “most electronics.” My husband really needed a new pair of shoes, and we found a pair of Sketchers in black that he liked. Pretty much all the shoes seemed to be 25% off. Then we noticed a coupon deal flyer that we found there in the shoe department that said if we bought shoes that cost over $70 we could get $10 off. I think it said if we purchased over $100, we would have gotten $20 off, I think. Anyway by the time the 25% and the 10% discounts and $10 coupon were taken off, we got shoes for $42.48. That is an unusual sale for us. I thought I would pass on the idea while the sale may still be on and could be available in your area.

  55. We are hooking up a new well at our ranch just so we can pump water into our nearly empty pond. We don’t want the bottom to crack and risk losing water in the future or, even worse, risk damage to the dam. This project is being done by me and my husband, we are slow at our age but we will get it done. I gave up on my garden for summer. I pulled up the drip irrigation and stakes and built four new raised beds closer to the house. I planted lettuce and radishes in one; beets in the second, pumpkins and peas. I also made a new area for herbs that I still need to plant. All meals were eaten at home and I am trying to use from my freezer and pantry. My frugal buy for the week was a 60 quart lobster pot with two burner stand for $20.00. It is brand new. I look forward to canning outside.

  56. Hello. I enjoy everyone’s suggestions every week. It is keeping me from going crazy to know I’m not alone. I’m surrounded by people who refuse to see the inflation. Last year I warned them this was going to happen, suggested they prepare and they all laughed. When I’m with them I have learned they don’t want to discuss it so I remain silent. Thanks to everyone for commenting.

    We have saved quite a bit of money this past month. Both of the peach orchards in our town did not open this season. Farmers are having a hard time purchasing supplies and diesel. I don’t blame them for not wanting to go into debt but I wanted peaches. We decided to splurge on the gas and try visiting another orchard 50 miles from our house. I loaded up on peaches to make the drive worthwhile. While coming home, the transmission went out on our car. Calling a tow truck to go that far would have cost a fortune (we know, we have done it before) so we risked it and limped home on the side of the road in first gear with the flashers blinking. It was nerve-wracking. When home, my husband called around and the only transmission mechanic was in another town. We borrowed a friend’s car and I followed my husband to the shop with the number of a tow company ready to dial in my phone. We made it.

    The transmission for our car was only manufactured for one year so there are no parts available. The mechanic found one in a junkyard in another state. We decided repairing it would be cheaper than buying a new car. We are in the country so there is no bus service, taxis, ubers, or car rental companies available. We stayed home for three weeks and ate from the garden and the pantry. I was so glad it was stocked!!!!! I didn’t just grab something out of the cabinet to cook because we were in the mood. All of my meals were planned according to what was available in the garden and the pantry. It was good because I was able to see if I was able to go without a grocery store for a while and I did. Whew!


    1. Jeannie,
      I enjoyed looking at your harvest pictures! I’m glad you were able to eat from your garden and pantry while waiting for your car to be fixed.

      1. Tammy, we were going to do grocery shopping after getting peaches so I was already low. We ran out of fresh milk early but I had a couple of the shelf stable cartons of milk from Dollar Tree. That was very handy. They aren’t as good as fresh but it is fine in morning coffee. I have bought a few more to replace them and they will sit on the shelf in the basement waiting for the next disaster.

      1. Judy, thank you for asking. Physically he has healed from covid but being so close to death for so long has changed him emotionally. He is a better man. He appreciates life much more now. Two months ago I got that dreaded call. My 90-year-old Mother tested positive and was in an ambulance heading to the hospital. It was a whole different experience. I didn’t have to suit up in a Tyvek suit and only stay a few hours. I could visit from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and spend the night in the room. No mask was required with the patient. Just matter of fact, common sense, relaxed medical treatment. It was much kinder and less stressful for Mom. I wish it had been that way for Bill.

        1. So glad to hear your husband is doing well! Love the common sense medical approach that should have been used all along. I am blessed to have a few friends like me, but not as deep into frugality. Others look at me like I’ve grown two heads. Then there are those like the latter that have woken up to see the light and I get a lot of questions. Happy to share what I have learned on my journey and always recommend this blog. Thankful for a like-minded community that Brandy has brought togethet🥰

    2. Hi Jeannie,
      Although a lot of my life is pinching pennies and trying to stretch time and money, most of the people around us (church, neighbors, school, etc.) are very different. Maybe they have higher incomes, family money, who knows? I think a lot of the ladies who comment, although I would love to know them in real life, would be consider outliers in my area.
      I sympathize! I’m sure that people know I’m frugal, so they could always ask me about it, but until I meet some frugal friends in real life, I’ll just have to keep enjoying this community of lovely likeminded ladies.

      1. Thank you, Leigh Ann. Sometimes I feel like I am pretending to be somebody I’m not to fit in. Learning how to spend money wisely while providing a good quality of life for my family is a big part of who I am. I just wish I could share more. Nevermind. I have plenty of friends here!

      1. Anne, it wasn’t fun at all but every single driver was gracious to us. Nobody blew their horns. Everybody let us have the right away. Once when we were blocking a man from turning I yelled our transmission was out and apologized. He smiled and patiently waited until we were able to move again. But, we saved a fortune not being towed! Everybody here will appreciate that.

    3. That must have been nerve wracking! That was good luck in finding the part – and congrats for proving just how valuable a stocked pantry can be for all those unexpected things that happen!

  57. Marley- depending on your route through ND, you can see the Peace Gardens on the Canadian border near Bottineau, Kenmare has a real dutch windmill in the town square, and the Medora Musical in the badlands runs through Sep. 10. The “enchanted highway: near Richland has life size welded sculptors along the way, In SD, Mount Rushmore is worth the trip, along with taking the drive through Custer State Park. The crazy horde memorial was not worth it. Wall Drug is a fun stop.

  58. Jeannie, it is a blessing to come here and have like minded folks, isn’t it? I have a handful of like minded friends and a few of my kids, but most folks think we are crazy! Your bountiful garden and determination to make the best of tough situation proved the blessing of gardens and stocked pantries!!
    This week I had a box of free food come my way, yogurts, cheese, milk, gluten free bread! We pulled out some and took the rest to a blessing box and soup kitchen. My neighbor brought some tomatoes, I will give them, fruit leather and cucumbers. Another friend shared a few more peaches and a different friend and I swapped her figs for my greens. I am drying applesauce leather and figs. I am making more apple cider vinegar, too. I have been freezing the peaches. Brandy, you must have a very healthy peach tree to freeze all that you put up! I am sharing cukes and tomatoes with neighbors and church folks. We have picked cantaloupes , peppers, and pears. I have dried more stevia and lemon verbena.
    I had a old college friend come stay for 2 days and sent her off with some snacks and veggies as she was heading off for an overnight trip elsewhere.
    I am reading a memoir called, the Silent Wild, about a couple dealing with a neurodegenerative disease and doing hiking and being outdoors to help slow the progression of the disease. The descriptions of the British countryside was so mesmerizing and I highly recommend this book.
    I have been swimming at a friends neighborhood pool with her and walking for my exercise.
    My grocery purchase was limited to marked down bananas, which are now 40 cents a pound. I was thankful to find them.
    Our electric bill was better than last year and keeping the thermostat set high, minimal baking in our toaster oven and dehydrating outside seem to be helping! We eat very simple fare with lots of cold salads which suits us just fine!
    Blessings to each of you this week! Brandy, thanks for your ongoing work to make this space encouraging and helpful!

    1. Jean (such a beautiful name), every week when I read the comments here I feel like the work I do is valuable. You have done a good job lowering your electric bill. We just got a notice today that our electricity is going to double and then go up again in a few more months. I will now start looking for advice as to how I can save more on electricity. Learning never ends.

      1. I know this sounds like I think you are an idiot (I don’t!)–but inventory all of your lightbulbs and replace any incandescents with LEDs. My son (also not an idiot) thought he had all LEDs until he looked and discovered two lamps hadn’t been replaced.

        Replace weatherstripping on doors that need it. Make draft dodgers for exterior doors. Seal electric outlet and switch covers with foam covers on exterior walls. We have blinds AND curtains on our windows. Most of the curtains are lined.

        1. Maxine, you are right, I haven’t thought about checking all of my lightbulbs but now that I’m thinking about it…I don’t even know what kind we have. I must check (or you will call me an idiot). I bought the foam for the switches because I can feel the cold air coming through some of them but haven’t installed them yet. Now that the weather is warm, I forgot (that is being an idiot). I roll up a towel to go at the bottom of the basement door but now I think I need a better solution.
          Oh, so much to do…and tomatoes are waiting to be canned in the kitchen.

    2. Hello, the book you mentioned is The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn, also she wrote a previous memoir The Salt Path which documents a walk on the coastal path in Cornwall UK. Both so compelling and much enjoyed by me. I can recommend them both.
      Thank you everyone for your comments.

  59. You are absolutely right, I have the title incorrectly, Pam. I can’t wait to go back and read the first book!

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