We started the week with rain on Sunday night! I was able to turn off my drip irrigation and sprinklers on Monday and Tuesday.

It continued to be humid, and I collected 6 gallons of water a day from the drip from the air conditioners, which I used to water potted plants.

My water bill came. Our garden renovation has cut our water usage by 33%. I also have much more room to grow more fruits, vegetables, and herbs in the garden now (all on drip irrigation), which will help with the grocery bill as prices continue to rise.

I harvested almonds, figs, and peaches from the garden.

I made fig cookie filling and froze it. I froze figs and peaches for smoothies.

My husband made more obelisks for the garden. I shared a video on Instagram here of him building steel.

I made 6 loaves of pumpkin chocolate chip bread. Some of the pumpkin was from pumpkins that I had grown in my garden last year, cooked, and frozen. I have planted many pumpkin seeds this year with the hope to harvest pumpkins later this year. I used home-canned applesauce in place of part of the oil. I think I will be using up the rest of the older jars of applesauce as oil replacement in quick breads. I like that I am increasing the fiber content and drastically lowering the fat content.

Albertson’s offered me a $5 off $5 coupon on their app. This time, my husband did not get the same offer. I only shop for a few deals at Albertson’s, as they are very expensive, and the sales weren’t very good there this week, so I wasn’t sure if I would get to use it.

My husband and I had some work to do at the same time, so we drove together to do that work as the two places we each needed to be were close by. His was across the street from an Albertson’s, so he suggested we go get $5 worth of groceries when we were done.

There was one loss leader deal in the ad (bananas for $0.29 a pound, limit 5 pounds), so I added that coupon to my app. I bought 12 bananas, 6 cucumbers, and a head of iceberg lettuce for a total of $0.55.

A friend from church called us. She had some leftovers from a family reunion and felt like they had eaten enough of them and were done. She wondered if we would like them. She brought over some sliced ham, a lot of salami, three kinds of sliced cheese, chips, a huge jar of peanut butter, and a box of chocolate Malt-o-Meal. We enjoyed the food for several meals.

Another woman from church brought us some games and workbooks that she was given from another friend. Her friend’s workplace no longer needed the brand-new items (and they had multiples of things) so she shared with us.

I turned a pair of $0.50 garage sale jeans into a pair of jean shorts for a daughter.

I mended a blouse and a dress.

I filled up the van with gas for $3.39 a gallon at Sam’s Club. It was $4.09 everywhere else (and now $4.19). It took me 29 gallons to fill it, so I saved $20.03 over filling elsewhere in town.

I requested several e-books from the library. I read two this week, both of which I would recommend (one, All The Light We Cannot See, is a Pulitzer Prize winner). I’ve linked them along with some other recent reads that I enjoyed below.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Brandy- I would love your recipe for the fig cookie filling!! Sounds like your irrigation system is already paying off!! That’s wonderful!!
    Our garden is definitely in production mode now! We had to change out the 1/2” metal pipes that were cross-pieces for trellising the tomatoes on strings for 2-1/2” pipe because the weight of the tomatoes setting on was bending the lighter weight pipe!

    I didn’t pick a zucchini last week that was 6” long and a cuke that was 4” long and this is what they became two days later when I picked them! https://pin.it/4IdgM0t . And that started the harvesting time really being in full swing! We’ve harvested 5 big zucchini (7 quarts shredded into freezer), 10 cukes, froze another 6 quarts of green beans, 8 quarts of blackberries (with no end in sight!!!) I planted peas for fall crop and within 3 days, not only did they germinate but they are standing proudly at 3” tall in my garden! Ohio is definitely a great place to grow veg!!

    My blackberries are producing incredibly well! I decided to look at a ROI (return on investment) for them.
    I bought a single bare root blackberry plant in a quart size milk carton from Sam’s club for $7.
    This Spring I sold about $75 in blackberry cuttings that I had rooted over the winter.
    This summer I have now harvested and frozen 8 quarts of blackberries with no end in sight! The bushes are still loaded with berries turning ripe!! Btw- just looked online Kroger’s sells blackberries in a 6 Oz container for $2.99. EVERY two days when I come in with my 48 Oz container full is equal to $24!! 😳
    And we will take more cuttings this fall.
    Hmmmm…….. 🤔🤔🤔 Was it worth the investment??
    I’m thinking the answer is YES!!!!!🎉🎉🎉🎉

    I just finished the quilting for Quilt #160 on my longarm, Lenni. I love the colors she chose with Disney Princesses to make it. We picked a newer pantograph for my quilting. https://pin.it/4lSazRw. Then #161 got quilted and bound and given to young man who will take it with him to the other side of the world. His Mom wanted to hire me to do it, but I was happy to donate my time and supplemental materials. They insisted on giving me a bag filled with goodies- Soap and lip balm that she makes and sells and two gift cards! Totally unexpected and not necessary! But I accepted and thanked them! https://pin.it/6DVn09B. Another 12 quilts came in on Friday to be quilted! They all use Minkee for the backing which is a dream to quilt on! So Saturday, I got the first one quilted up- https://pin.it/1t6HKAh and https://pin.it/3vg2VRE. That was Quilt #162.

    The quilting is helping us pay for projects at home that we are doing. Today we have hired the same 7 teenagers that emptied our basements and filled a dumpster to paint our wooden fences. We have guaranteed them 5 hours of work each and even paying that ($20/hour- btw, we CHOSE to offer them that much per hour because they are good workers and we have enough in our budget to do that) plus the cost of paint and supplies and it will still be less than half what a painting company would charge plus it’s giving these kids a chance to work and get paid immediately! It will be done in 1 day and Hubs and I won’t be exhausted! Being frugal doesn’t always mean not spending any money! We will spend money to preserve and protect our fence from the outside elements so it won’t need replacing any time soon!

    After giving Maxine the recipe for the coconut and orange zucchini cake, I pulled out the last of last summer’s frozen zucchini (to make room for the new bags) and made a batch for us! I will also make double chocolate zucchini cake which I love but Hubs can’t have because of the chocolate!

    I found a recipe for a cucumber cabbage and ham salad that I made for dinner the other night! Very tasty! https://pin.it/1KD9mTO. It made up a large batch. I gave our neighbor across the alley a dozen eggs for a breakfast casserole he was trying. He came over that night and said that it had made a huge amount in his crockpot and it was more than he or his partner could eat! So we made a trade! We got some of his breakfast casserole and they got some Ham/cucumber salad!! So nice to have neighbors that we get along with so well!

    Even with the projects we’ve been blitzing lately with paid workers and equipment and supply costs, we have been able to pay for them in full with monthly budget dollars and not taking from our savings! This past month (July) we only spent a total of $75 in groceries. We ate from our pantry and freezer at home! So we were able to divert some of that excess plus lower monthly electric and gas bills to pay for the projects in cash!
    Hubs has been re-doing the patio pavers I put in 2 years ago while he was recovering from heart surgery. I wanted to get it done. He prefers it to be level and uniform. So we took our homemade sifter and dug up dirt to make space for pavers.
    Photo 1 is sifting rocks from dirt. https://pin.it/3vJI9ZS. Photo 2 is sifted dirt put in pile by house for later use. https://pin.it/3Wybf7A. Photo 3 is rocks that were sifted out that will go through a second, finer sifter to sort out pea gravel that will go around fire pit. https://pin.it/410uLzp. Photo 4 are the pavers he has laid so far! So much more level and even than what I did 2 years ago!!! https://pin.it/4zdBjjF
    I get to shovel dirt and carry bricks ! That’s my skill set! 🤪🤪
    Life has been good to us! Hope you and your readers are all finding ways to save money while not feeling deprived! I learn SO much from all of you!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. I saw a couple of different ones on Pinterest. Look up Italian Fig Cookies. I had one in my old cookbook that is just chopped figs and sugar, with nuts being optional. It’s basically like jam. I think I may end up using the dought recipe from the one I found on Pinterest and the filling from the cookbook I have and try that as a combination when I’m feeling up to baking.

        1. I have more strength but I’m still sick. It’s not Covid (we took my daughter in to be tested; she was the first one). They just said it was negative, but didn’t tell us what it is. I suspect bronchitis. I had it often as a child and it feels like it, plus it is going around here. I hear it takes 2 1/2 weeks to get better for some people.

          1. Our oldest dog has bronchitis. Vet said it’s going around with people and animals and thinks part of it is the smoke coming from the wild fires. Plus there is a flu going around also. Take care.

            1. Juls, our dog has bronchitis with kennel cough. She was diagnosed last friday. We are in North Alabama.

    2. Gardenpat, we, too, use our extra monies towards helping others when the situation arises. Now, that we are fairly comfortably retired, we are able to do that. This past weekend we went to a local farmer’s market and bought flowers, a loaf of bread and some homemade jam. The prices were all higher than in my regular stores but it was a one time thing and I felt I was helping people who were trying to make a living.

      1. We do this too. I would rather spend a little more when I can and help out a local business then save a $1 and give it all to Amazon. Plus going to the farmer’s markets are so much fun.

    3. I am going to try the cucumber, cabbage and ham salad. We have been cooking cabbage to freeze. I have another cabbage that I am going to make cabbage wraps (first time) and if we like them, freeze some. I should have enough left to make the salad. It sounds delicious.

      By the way, I agree that you can grow good food in Ohio. We went to a family reunion near Marietta one year and we left by a different way we found when exploring. There was a big gas station and a large truck on the lot selling corn. It burned up at home that year so we decided after looking at it to take some home. They gave us smaller boxes to split it up and we loaded it into the Explorer. We froze it the next day. DS was just talking about the year we brought corn home from Ohio a couple weeks ago. It got a good laugh at the Boy Scout meeting the next week.

  2. That’s great about the rain and humidity, Brandy. It has continued to be sunny and dry in the Seattle area, but rain is predicted for later this week.

    Last week was very busy here, but I still was able to find ways to save money. My sister and nephew arrived for a visit from Las Vegas, and I picked them up from the airport. I took them to visit my mom and they are using her car (since my mom fell twice and is not very mobile at the moment). They are staying with my other sister who lives in the area. So all of that saved them money.

    We had a family picnic on Sunday at the outside tables at my mom’s place (a senior living center). My mom wanted to pay for takeout for all of us, but I had produce in my fridge that needed to be used up, so I convinced her to let me bring the food, which she insisted on paying for. I made zucchini fritters (from a family recipe), ham/cream cheese/pickle rollups (which my mom made for us as kids), other cold cuts, a fresh vegetable platter, olives, chips, hummus, and watermelon. This came out to around $5 per person, and takout would have been at least twice that. We all enjoyed the picnic, and I took home the few things that were left over.

    Our washing machine broke a couple weeks ago, and thankfully we purchased a new one. It will be delivered on Friday. I had a huge load of towels to wash so I went to the laundromat. We have a change jar, so I found a bunch of quarters in there. This laundromat has been there for at least 30 years, and it looks exactly the same, and the same guy still works there. I remember going there as a teenager when our washer died. And I have gone there over the years to wash oversized items. So I spent a couple hours there washing towels. This past weekend, I also did three loads at my neighbor’s. I will be glad when the new washer arrives.

    My husband went camping for several days, so I took the opportunity to get the carpets cleaned. The place I normally use was fully booked, so I scheduled a different company. The price I was quoted on the phone was apparently not the price for the “full service” (clean/deodorize/protect) and the guy did a hard upsell when he got there. Anyway, when he quoted me $550 for two rooms and a hallway, I just looked at him like he was crazy. He came up with a lower figure, which was still too high. He ended up coming down to just under $400. I still think what I paid was way too much, but it had been 3 years since the carpets were cleaned and it was time. I will say however that he did a GREAT job. But I won’t use that company again.

    Other frugalities:
    – Our weekly farm share is packaged in garbage bags. I always save the bags and reuse them.
    – Picked a huge bouquet of sunflowers as part of the farm share.
    – Mixed up a batch of toilet cleaner and reused the empty bottle from the store bought cleaner
    – Used take out cutlery that I had saved over several months for our picnic. – – Used paper plates that my mom had on hand.
    – Made a batch of tomato soup, incorporating some old carrots and a sad zucchini with fresh tomatoes from the farmer’s market. I served this to my sister and nephew when they came for lunch, and they loved it.
    – Accidentally cut off a blooming petunia stem, so I put it in a vase. It’s still going strong 5 days later.
    – Sold an item for $15 on Nextdoor.

    Have a great week, everyone!

    1. Hi Tina, can you share your toilet bowl cleaner recipe? I started making an ammonia based windex/window cleaner a number of years ago from a recipe shared on a blog and have used it ever since. Thank you!

      1. I just mixed Sal Suds (Dr. Bronner’s household cleaner) with water. I think I used about half a cup and then filled the container with water. It seems to work well.

        1. Tina, I mix a few big squirts of Sal Suds with about a quart of white vinegar. It seems to work well, using only a squirt of cleaner in the toilet. I also use it on the shower tiles – the vinegar helps cut soap scum.

  3. I hope you are on the mend Brandy. The weather has been lovely and our garden is really starting to cone along. I have grated 12 cups of zucchini for the freezer and there are still more zucchinis growing. A good crop from one plant! Since we are now living without an income we are keeping expenses to a minimum. Since we are so well stocked up, grocery shopping is going to be minimal and paid for through the money we receive from returning beer and wine bottles and cans that we have been gifted. We continue to be blessed by our local buy nothing group and they have provided us with so many useful things.

  4. It sounds like you are feeling better, Brandy! I hope so! This was my week–
    * My daughter-in-law gave me a purse that she ordered online and was too big for her. She started a new job out of town and missed the window for returns.

    * I picked beans and zucchini from my garden. Looks like my bean crop is going to be a near-bust, probably due to some issues with the drip irrigation (not getting enough water). My husband is not a zucchini fan, but he loved zucchini parmesan crisps and snacked on the leftovers. Lots of recipes on the internet–just Google it. I also made Gardenpat’s recipe for zucchini-coconut bars, and they were a big hit. I haven’t done it yet, but I have also been thinking about subbing applesauce for part of the oil in recipes.

    * Last week I placed 6 books on reserve at the library. They all arrived at once! I am just starting The Paris Library, which others have recommended. I also got All the Light We Cannot See and plan to read it next.

    * I successfully removed a nasty stain that had gone through the dryer. Stain removal and mending are big parts of “the usual frugal stuff” here. (I need to try harder to AVOID stains!).

    * A few months ago, I bought HUGE porterhouse steaks for $5.99 lb. I haven’t seen this price in years. They were big and very thick, and honestly…I had a hard time figuring out what to do with them, especially because of the thickness. We did an overnighter at a rustic cabin “up the river” with friends and I took two steaks with me, along with a portable BBQ. Everyone just cut off however much meat they wanted. Turns out our friends don’t eat much more meat than we do! When I got home, I cut off the leftover meat and made a big Cornish pasty with a pre-made pie crust. Shouldn’t have done that–the top crust broke open, probably due to size, but they were still good. The next day, I made bone broth, stripped the remaining meat from the bones and threw together vegetable beef soup with the addition of leftovers and a few sorry fresh vegetables. The only “new” foods I used were a potato and a few frozen peas. Not only was it good, it made a lot! We ate one meal and I froze the rest.

    * Note to Terri Cheney–last week, you mentioned the price of canned baked beans. Dollar Tree carries a brand called Hanover that is made in the USA and compares favorably to Bush’s Original. I typically don’t buy food at DT, but this is the exception. 

    1. Maxine, thank you! I’ll check out the brand. We try to do vegetarian beans or at least those that are pork free. I’ll see what they have!

  5. How wonderful that you finally had some rain! And what a success with reducing your water usage. It is lovely that people are thinking of you when they have some bounty to share. I hope that you are fully recovered from being sick. It is such a challenge when there is a houseful of people to look after, though I know they all step in to keep things going well.

    A busy week here of getting groceries in the house and bills paid. I went to the library for the first time since the pandemic started to get some documents printed and copied. The librarian has offered me green beans and beets from her garden. I got paperwork mailed for my property tax deferral and seniors home repair loans. I am starting to buy baking supplies that I will use this winter.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      I phoned Enmax today. While on the phone, I asked what the floating rate for electricity is. It has gone up to 12 cents per kilowatt hour. The rep said they expect it to go up even further. H said it is because, in part, of the heat — more people are using air conditioning and are working at home. By contrast, my fixed rate in 6.59 cents. It still has two years left at that rate so I am contemplating switching it to a five-year plan starting now at 6.89 cents per kilowatt hour. It is .03 of a cent more so it would be about $15 per year more. On the other hand if the fixed rate goes up a lot, then I could extend my plan to 2026 at minimal extra cost. Hard to know if I should hedge my bets. It is also hard to know how long the floating rate will be up for or if it will come down.

      1. I think I’m on the regulated rate plan, which is going up much higher than that for July and August. I’m considering a two-year contract, which isn’t as good a rate as the five-year, but it ends just after the next provincial election. The predictability would be good, though. I’m pretty good about controlling my usage because I don’t have many appliances.

  6. I hope you feel better! The pumpkin bread sounds delicious. How do you keep the pumpkin vines tamed to an area. I have been afraid to plant for fear of a takeover.

    —I did a trip to Sam’s and Aldi and continued stocking up. Sams had stew meat for the lowest I have seen it in awhile. I bought 13 lbs and used 6# to make home canned beef stew. I added in purple hull peas, corn, and butterbeans for some of the carrots and potatoes. I got 14 quarts canned. I froze the remaining stew meat in packages for stroganoff and an add in to soups. I also bought the double pack of chuck roast. I cooked one and we made sandwiches, then I froze the cooked roast as well as the other uncooked roast.
    —I cut my husband’s hair
    — I harvested green beans, tomatoes, squash, and basil
    — I cut hydrangeas and made an arrangement.
    —We made an extra principal payment on the house.
    —We enjoy going out back every night and watching the sunset, talking, and throwing the ball for the dog. With mother in law living here we just need time alone and it is good to reconnect every night. When it storms we sit under the porch and watch the storm.
    —My husband cut wood to put on my steel wire shelves in the pantry and I organized things better. We have another bookshelf I have been putting canning on and he made extra shelves and we placed them with just enough height to put pints and some quart height. I can put so much more on the shelves now.
    —We bought a travel trailer a couple of weeks ago. I went to the dollar store and got some utensils and then went through m0y house gathering bath, cleaning, and kitchen supplies. I am going to have to buy sheets, because they added a 10 inch foam mattress so I have to get deep pocket, but I have a comforter and pillows. I found two lightweight quilts from my vintage quilt collection and took them to use.

    1. Last year I planted pumpkins in the front yard and I just kept moving them to grow within the bed. That’s what I’m doing this year too,for the one big one that is growing (I think the other areas need more manure; they have not grown but four tiny leaves each).

  7. I hope you are all feeling better.
    I have spent no money this week. *smile* I haven’t left the house so that helps.
    I have read 3 free books.
    I ordered my OTC items for this month. That is a $25.00 savings to me.
    I am working on planning for a larger pantry area. I am working on getting items in the pantry that will be stable for a good long time. I am looking at wholesale and bulk prices. The daughters and I will be buying together for a lot of these.
    Not a savings for me, but I am so thrilled I want to share it with everyone. My middle daughter’s collage loan seems to have been forgiven. She is a single woman and works hard. This is a load off her shoulders.
    Speaking of her she called me today to say that masks are required at her work again as of tomorrow. We are still in a mess with the pandemic.
    Brandy, I thank God that you try to help us by sharing so much. You have helped me more than you know. I am now sharing your site once a week. I want all of my friends to get your information too. Thank you again.

  8. My mom sent over a box crackers, and a container of baking soda.

    I finally got the Ibotta school freebies to download(well, the fruit cups were already unavailable). I also had 5.49 in gift cards for Target I used to reduce my out of pocket even more.

    Sent in a $4.26 rebate for Menards

    Claimed a $5 Starbucks gift card from Verizon rewards

    Earned $12 in August from Amazon shopper panel.

    Finished and returned 2 library books on time.

    I joined a local True Crime book club and the pick for August was free with Kindle Unlimited.

    Hubby ate leftovers without any complaints, lol

    I’ve been putting applications in for part time work. All have been online so I’m saving gas.

    I’ve been reducing the amount of sugar I use in my sweet tea. I’m down to about 1/3 from what I used to put in there. I doubt if I can go completely unsweetened, but this helps to significantly stretch the sugar.

  9. Fig cookie filling? Is that for thumbprint cookies or fig Newton like cookies? Either way if you have extras, I’ll gladly taste some 😂
    I hope you are on the mend from last week.
    This week I cleaned out one work office to move it across town. The new space was missing some furniture, the old office offered the furniture needed for free.
    I got some great free exercise from the above.
    I cut my hair. It ended up an inch shorter than planned, but I won’t need to wait 2 weeks for it to “fix” itself.
    I will be making/canning rhubarb sauce in lieu of making/canning applesauce. I have a large amount of rhubarb and the sauce is a tart like apple sauce.
    Hope everyone has a calm week!

  10. I filled up on Wednesday for gas as it is 6¢ cheaper a gallon. It was $3.09.
    Hubby, the puppy and I went to my sister’s in CT for a long weekend. Her house is like a mini resort. She lives right on the water. Her inground pool is amazing. I brought her lots of veggies from the garden. We ate everything at her house. Hubby grilled and I did dishes for lunch and dinner so she got a break too. Breakfasts were eggs both days. We layed around in the pool, took the dogs for a walk and Hubby took a nap. We watched Black Widow and The Jungle Cruise. My sister sent us home with leftovers which we ate for lunch the next day. She gave me several packs of coffee, tissues and reusable shopping bags that she had leftover from a fundraiser. She gave Hubby an electric leaf blower that she had and didn’t use. We brought her dog home with us for 2 weeks.
    The string beans are finally ready. I picked over 5 pounds of them. Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, basil, parsley, were also picked.
    I got eggs for 46¢ a dozen and chicken breasts for $1.89 a pound. I used the gift card my friend gave me to stock up on some more food. Did an inventory of the food pantry so I have a list of what I need to get everything to a 6 months supply. Most things are there but some items aren’t.
    Went to the library and borrowed movies and books.

  11. This past week was about restocking the freezer and pantry. I admit that I thought that with COVid under better control and the vaccine we thought we wouldn’t have the need to do this again but I was wrong.
    Our summer garden is the first part of our restocking efforts. It has given us enough tomatoes to last well into next spring and we have eaten lots of fresh tomatoes as well. The heat has really set in, although temps aren’t over 100 like what you experience Brandy. 98 degrees and 100% humidity has wreaked its havoc in the garden. We pulled the last of the tomatoes and brought them in to finish ripening. I ripped out all of the tomato plants as well as the Ferrari green beans which were done as well. Our pole beans are almost done and will likely be ripped out this week as well. We have enough green beans to last us into the spring as well. We cleaned out the garden space turning over the ground, weeding and prepping it for fall planting.
    I stopped by a local farm supply store to stock up on some seeds. I love shopping there for seeds as the varieties they sell are almost all grown within our state. I have had very good success with the seeds I have purchased in the past there. They sell seed by the pound which I find to be very cost effective and good if I am trying something new. I purchased seeds for cabbage, green peas, kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens and collard greens. I also picked up seeds for broccoli, two varieties of pumpkins and bok choy.
    I have spinach, cabbage, butternut squash, celery, carrots, and another round of green beans. We are expecting a bit of a cool down to 85 degrees this week and will be sowing all of these seeds. I struggled with the fall garden last year having never planted many of these veggies before. This year I am planting earlier and sowing seeds directly in the garden hoping that will help germination rates and give a better yield. We have had a good amount of rain here this year which has been such a blessing! The ground is soft and I am hopeful it will produce well this year.
    I cleaned and reorganized my pantry making a list of all of the items we needed to restock. I made a trip to Sam’s and purchased 25 pounds of rice, oatmeal, tuna, chicken bouillon, ranch seasoning, salt, cream of chicken soup, a large bag of frozen broccoli, pork chops for $1.89/lb, chicken thighs for $0.92/lb, a bit of skirt steak which was a splurge item, and 10 lbs of ground beef for $33 and 10 lbs of fresh peeled garlic cloves. Has anyone had any success with chopping and freezing garlic for cooking? I bought vinegar, oil, tea, egg noodles, and coffee from Costco.a friend alerted us that Kroger had bacon in 1.5 lb packages marked down to $3.99/pkg so we bought 8 for the freezer. I have several items left to get and will work on them over the course of the next month. Apples will soon be in season in north Georgia and we will take a drive and pick up several bushels to bring home and can for apple butter, apple sauce, coffee cakes, preserves and fresh eating. Even with the drive the quality of the fruit is wonderful and less expensive then we can get from the grocery store.
    Our chestnut tree is full of nuts which should be ready to harvest in the next few weeks. We don’t pull these ourselves as the cones are very sharp and will cut through leather gloves. Once they fall from the tree we pick them up, remove the huts from the cones and sell them. This should be an extra $500 in our budget this month.
    I finished cleaning out my son’s closet and took all the clothes that no longer fit him to a consignment store. He needed new shoes for school and we picked two pair up at a local shop having a buy one get one half off sale. They will hopefully last until the first of the year. He already has. Lunch box and a book bag so we are reusing those items.
    I’ve been trying to be really focused on using up leftovers so that we arent wasting anything. I made pork chops in the crockpot last week using the last of some leftover beef broth, we ate these over leftover rice with some odds and ends frozen veggies. I am enjoying making yogurt but even after thoroughly cleaning my instant pot and seal with soap and bleach my yogurt tasted of the garlic and bay leaves I had cooked in it the day before. Anyone know how to fix this issue?
    I made a large butch of fudge brownies adding in the last of a bag of shredded coconut and some chopped walnuts. My mom picked up some ground turkey and asked that I make some turkey burgers. I seasoned the meat well and added sautéed chopped spinach, garlic, chopped red pepper, and mushrooms. Toss in eggs, some bread crumbs and some feta cheese and form into patties. I cooked some for our dinner but froze enough for two more dinners when we need an easy meal.
    We have stayed home quite a bit and I have only filled up my tank once.
    Or water bill came and was 25% less which can be attributed to all the rainfall we have had. We paid our bills on time and online avoid late fees. We turned the AC up two more degrees. We put together puzzles we had at home, played several rounds of unpacking d parcheesi. We watched dvds that we already owned and listened to free music on Spotify. We attended a free vacation Bible school at our church. He was sent home with a tshirt, an invaluable lesson, fun with his friends and a family fun night to end the celebration. My husband and I had a couple free hours to ourselves and Elijah had a blast.
    I hope that everyone has a blessed week.

    1. I have had no luck getting the curry smell out of our insta-pot’s gasket. For something like yogurt, I would get a replacement gasket and use it just for those times you don’t want the extra flavor.

      1. Thank you for this recipe link. Question: When it says to ferment 3-4 weeks before cold storage, does that mean the jar will sit on the countertop? Thanks!

    2. You can purchase bags for your crockpot. They’re marketed to people for less clean up. I’m not sure if you can also get these for instantpots. But it may be worth looking into.

    3. Yes you can get rid of the smell easily. Put white cleaning vinegar, or your cheapest vinegar if your country doesn’t sell the white, into the pot. About a third of the way up. As a couple of spoons of bicarbonate of soda. It will fizz up. Put on the lid and shake for a minute. Empty, rinse and you are done. No smell. Works on flasks, plastic containers, travel cups, anything that goes stinky.

    4. My DH peels and grinds up fresh garlic in a little mini blender/chopper thing we have-he then freezes in small containers and it is easy to use a knife to break a little off each time to use it.

      This week I am away with my SIL in Vancouver for a small vacation-we are splitting gas costs and staying at my daughters place as she is away. We have eaten out a bit. My daughter had mentioned she was running low on forks and yesterday I bought 9 for $1.05 at the thrift store-my best deal of the week! Today we toured an old salmon cannery which was quite interesting-better yet my Parks Canada pass covered the cost of admission for both of us-saving a little over $20. We had a delicious lunch on the dock of halibut tacos and halibut and chips which we both shared-nothing like super fresh fish in this fishing port on the Fraser river heading into the ocean. Home again tomorrow as my husband has an apt at the hip clinic on Thursday and his surgery in a couple of weeks.

    5. I don’t use my instant pot lid to make my yogurt. I just use a lid from another pot in my kitchen that fits the insert. I use ultra pasteurized milk, so I don’t have need for the instant pot lid. I set it for yogurt and it works well.

    6. I use a pie plate for a lid for my instant pot when making yogurt. Anything heat safe should work fine for the yogurt setting.

  12. Congratulations on the rain and the reduction in your water bill!
    I have paid all this month’s bills online, shopped for a few groceries and have a very small amount of cash to get through August – just enough to cover a few social activities.

    I concentrated on shopping for enough toiletries to cover at least the next six months and managed to get the few items that I needed all on sale between two different stores. Next on the list is filling in a few gaps in my household cleaners and then I’ll be done with all non-food items. Otherwise all I’ve bought are some fruit & veg, bread & milk. With temperatures cooling down a wee bit (and getting up at 6am to watch some Olympic events live) I cooked a few things from the freezer – chicken, liver and short ribs that had been in there for quite a few months! Some of the cooked portions have gone back into the freezer for meals at a later date.

    I finally got fed up with the mess in my dining room (work files piled up plus too many odds & ends) and the fact that the IKEA bookcases that I wanted are still not in stock! I consolidated, tidied up, down-sized and then moved things around and things look much better! I’d still like one more bookcase but that’s down from the four that I thought I’d need so I’d say that was a financial win!

    I finally got an appointment with the nurse to get my second Prevnar 13 shot next week and I’ll see my ophthalmologist on the 27th – no cost for either. I’m booked for my mammogram in October so I am slowly getting caught up on all my medical appointments.

    I am also slowly catching up with friends again and have a lunch this Friday and another next Thursday to look forward to – hence the money for social activities. Last week I walked a lot with my bubble friend and we found a lovely new spot out by the marina at the Port Credit river (for those in Ontario). It’s a new part of the waterfront trail tucked in behind a residential area and then we found a lovely little coffee shop and cafe back up at Lakeshore so it was a very pleasant morning – walked over 3 miles and only spent $7.00 in total. I enjoyed another Zoom coffee hour with church friends on Sunday, read more library books, a non-fiction “The Day the World Stops Shopping” (very thought provoking), two more Elly Griffiths books and I am about to start the latest Donna Leon mystery that I have just picked up from the library – and I watch the Olympics daily. CBC has great coverage – from 6am to 9 or 10am) I watch the early evening events live – then between about 6pm and 10pm I can watch the next day’s morning events live from Tokyo. I feel so sorry for the track athletes – the heat and humidity is awful – and I know it gets even hotter down on the track itself! Plus the Blue Jays finally got to come home last Friday so it has been exciting to see the welcome back they have received – it was 670 days between the last game in 2019 and their return! Covid cases remain low and vaccination rates high so we hope that more things can slowly reopen. However, I just bought myself another box of 50 facemasks as it appears that they will remain mandatory throughout the Winter months when indoors, in public spaces and on transit. I have no problem with that if it keeps everyone safe and lets people return to work and school. Stay safe everyone – can’t wait to hear about all the gardening & canning that so many of you do!

      1. Glad you are enjoying them Penny. I have seen her do interviews in-person and she is quite a formidable character herself. A number of her interviews are on Youtube if you are interested.

    1. I’m happy your Jays are back home! We sure did enjoy having them here in Buffalo for the short-term – I was able to go to my first ever MLB game!

      1. The staff at Sahlen Field did a terrific job but yes, we are happy to have them back home!

  13. All the Light We Cannot See is one of my all-time favorite books!! I’m so happy you enjoyed it. I first read it years ago after my mother suggested it and purchased a copy to keep for my own. I usually reread it each year when I want something beautifully written and from my favorite era (WWII).
    Books are so wonderful! I can smell the sea just from reading your post. (-;

  14. It has been a bit since checking in here !
    * stocked up on vitamins and body care during Fresh Thyme semi annual 25% off sale (I need to keep track of these things now!)
    * harvested- chives (made chive butter and froze), cucumber (refrigerator cucumbers), kale (ate. froze), jalapeños, cabbage (sauerkraut), dried lemon thyme, bronze fennel, and lemon balm. Bought zucchini at the farmers market (froze).
    * Summer Reading is finished – the kids each earn a small toy, and 2 books – I let them chose one and then I chose one with homeschool/read aloud in mind. The kids have been so excited to go back and it was nice to see it “bustling” again!
    * The Paris Library was a good book. I just finished The Island and it was good too.
    * printed coloring pages for the kids
    * decluttered clothes and toys
    * took my daughter to her first eye appt — all is well, although he was a very good doctor explaining and encouraged us NOT to get glasses –that she is just adjusting and growing. I only had to pay for my contact exam fee and a small amount for contacts.
    * cut my first dahlia from the garden – oh so pretty!!!

  15. Yum! pumpkin chocolate chip bread sounds great! We cooked a chuck roast in the slow cooker with potatoes, onion, celery and carrots and then saved everything including broth. This will make a soup tomorrow. We bought pork chops on sale and I cooked it with cumin, tajin, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. I served it with a large Armenian cucumber that a co-worker gave my husband and some cherry tomatoes. I made Tarragon chicken salad that we ate on lettuce one day and a sandwich for two days. We had BLT’s one day. I had some frozen asparagus soup that we made a couple days. I’d like to make Rosemary white bean soup this week. I need to make some things with our yellow crookneck squash. I also will probably make a soup using kale and some other ingredients. We went to the library. Returned movies to the library. One day I made garbanzo beans in the pressure cooker. Then I made an Indian dish with the beans and eggplant. The next day I used some of the chickpeas and mixed it with some garlic, mint and olive oil, a recipe from the Blue zone diet. Yum! I am trying to use beans often in our diet. I feel good eating them and they are economical.

  16. Hi Brandy. Wasn’t the rain wonderful? We had lots of rain here in Phoenix, over three inches at our house. Unfortunately our neighborhood had a huge storm, winds gusting over 60 mph, so lots of damage. We had our garage door partially caved in, trees damaged and tiles blown off the roof. We can’t do those repairs, so it cost us $1200 to get everything repaired. Yikes! Thankfully we had money set aside, it was just sad to see it go for something that just returned us to where we were before the storm rather than improving anything. However, as I type this, I realize how fortunate we were not to be hurt, have greater damage or not have an emergency fund. Gratitude. Overall, our pantry is in good shape and our freezer is full, I am done shopping for now. Good timing! Hope the next few months are kind to us all.

    1. We only had rain at my house for a short time, but we had 70 mph winds. The news reported that Las Vegas saved 64 million gallons of water on Monday from people not using their irrigation system because of Sunday’s rain. I know the other part of the valley got more rain a couple of times this week (we did not) so that would be even more water saved. The saving of water has helped so much, and I’m sure some rain made it to the lake as well, so Lake Mead looks like it did not go down last week! http://mead.uslakes.info/level.asp

  17. Hey all,
    I’m so glad you got rain! We had a downpour here yesterday and I enjoyed watching it so much! Plus I didn’t have to water. I took your advice and stocked up on some basics I was running low on, oil, salt, flour. I still have 25lb rice untouched and 12lb pinto beans untouched. I like to always have several months worth of rice beans, oil and salt at the very minimum and I was low on oil, salt and almost out of flour. I buy the 25lb bags of bread flour from Sam’s. They used to be $7.26 and are now $8.26 but still much better than $1 per lb for fancy bread flour at the grocery store. I learned my lesson about Aldi flour. It’s very low protein and doesn’t make good bread. I shop almost exclusively Aldi and Sams and love Aldi, but I will not buy flour there. It was tax free weekend here in TN right before school starts. There is no income tax in TN but the sales tax is 9.25%. It’s lower on certain essential items but still above 5% So there were several purchases we made that saved us some extra on tax. This year food was included. So I stocked up on food tax free! With having a MasterCard credit card we got three months free of Instacart delivery. So since I still can’t walk without crutches or drive I was able to get $300 dollars of groceries delivered tax free and delivery free. Just paid a nice tip. My ten year old helped me bring in and out everything away. I feel very dictatorial but you can’t carry much on crutches.

    We did a lot of planning Sunday afternoon. We planned our priorities through Christmas and wrote out a school schedule, finalized new updated chore charts for the kids and made a home project list. We split it into two categories with the idea my husband and I will each do a project a week. These are not big things but minor annoyances that we just never seem to get to. I think it will help us slowly improve this fall. We have been just surviving for about 2 years on the project side if things due to the incessant needs of a special needs child. Work, school and safety have been the priority. We have many dents in drywall to spackle and the main areas need paint, the carpet needs cleaning etc. With him in therapy full time 9-2pm we have time to work on a few things as well as continue to homeschool. It’s a blessing to have margin in ones life and after having none for years it is lovely and refreshing to have help with him and the prospect of a future full of improvement.

  18. -I got a $5 digital coupon from Fresh Thyme for my Bday-it expired the end of July. I bought 2 boxes of cinnamon tea bags for $2. Other good buys were cantaloupe for $0.99/each (I bought 3) and bacon $3.99/#.

    -Meals were: Monday-spaghetti with meat sauce (from the freezer), salads, and sourdough bread; Tuesday-leftover garden skillet with leftover green beans; Wednesday-grilled pork steak with hash browns, and vinegar cukes; Thursday-Fried walleye with coleslaw, baked beans, and vinegar cukes; Friday-BLT’s with salads; Saturday-grilled hamburgers with vinegar cukes, and home canned baked beans ; Sunday-grilled hamburgers again (1# of our ground beef makes 2 meals for us) with leftover baked beans, Kansas cucumber salad, and fresh corn on the cob. And we had the rest of the watermelon.

    -Canned 3 more pints of peas, froze 3 more pints of pea pods. I picked 20 twelve inch zucchini from 2 plants. I froze 20 pint bags of yellow and green shredded zucchini. I also made 4 loaves of lemon poppy seed summer squash quick bread. I froze 3 loaves. I dehydrated 2 quart jars of cubed zucchini for soups. I baked a 13×9 pan of faux apple crisp using zucchini. And I still gave away 8 zucchini. More green beans canned-12 pints. I am done now as I have 72 pints canned (had 25 pints left from last year). I will now pick and give away the excess. Some of the sun sweet yellow cherry tomatoes are ripening. They are not making it to the house, they are being eaten in the garden!!

    -I admit I am a coffee snob. I drink a cup in the morning and a cup in the afternoon. I ordered coffee from Door County Coffee Company. I ordered a 5# bag, vanilla creme brûlée. This will last me 9 or 10 months. I saved $15 off my order plus free shipping. This was a 2 day special, either there is a sale OR free shipping. To have both at the same time rarely happens. And to make my own pot of coffee is cheaper than going to a coffee shop for a daily coffee!! I am just finishing my 5# bag of pumpkin spice coffee bought last October. If you come to my house for coffee you get the regular non flavored cheaper coffee I keep in the freezer. Wink, wink !!

    -My coop was selling 10# boxes of blueberries for $40. Last year they were $30 and I bought two. I have an ice cream pail of blueberries left so I decided not to buy any this year because of the cost. Well, they announced this week they had some left and they were half price. So I got a box for $20. That netted me 2 ice cream pails and a cottage cheese container of frozen blueberries, I only had a handful of bad berries.

    -At church this time of the year, we have something we call Share the Bounty. If you have excess from gardens bring it to share with others. I brought 6 large zucchini. Happy they all went to homes. One of the parishioners brought a huge amount of ear corn. He usually sells corn but due to the drought these were small ears and he couldn’t sell them. I brought home 15 ears. We had some Sunday night and the other 12 will be used Tuesday when the grands are here for the week.

    -I bought a roll of forever stamps (100) before postage goes up in August. This should last us several years.

    -I bought the flannel for PJ pants for my grandkids that I will sew for Christmas. All flannel was $2.99/yd at JoAnn’s this last weekend (3 day special).

    -Have a great week!

  19. I saved money last week by staying home. This was not intentional–the battery in my car was not holding a charge. My next door neighbor came over and did a better job of fixing it than AAA. The particular garage that answers when I call from home, I have found to not be very reliable. The battery I bought had to be replaced after 3 months, and now the replacement is acting up. My son in law took the battery and charged it up at his house so that my daughter and I could do our errands one day–we go together to save gas, as we shop in the same stores. My neighbor determined a problem and fixed it and I haven’t had any more problems with it.
    The biggest problem this week was that Saturday morning, my husband was at the nurse’s station at the memory care, talking to the nurse, when he passed out completely. He was sent to the ER and admitted to the hospital. He did have some changes in his condition since the last ER visit so they are working him up to see what is causing new problems. He is confused and unable to understand the change of place and had to be sedated after pulling out the 4th IV. He was dehydrated and needed fluids, and that was the only way they could get him to leave it alone. The mitten like restraints they tried first proved to be no problem to him–he may not remember things but he can figure out how to get them off in no time flat. He had tests scheduled for today and my daughter had promised to take her two grand-daughter to the movies. I could have driven myself to the hospital to visit but I need a wheelchair to get to the far corner where his room is. (Arthritis in my hips.) So I stayed home and did some laundry and talked to a couple people on the phone. We will visit him tomorrow, when he has a cardiologist consult scheduled. I hope they can get a reason for his problems and perhaps a change of medication will be able to help.
    I have quite a lot of meat in packages for two in my freezer which I have been using. I accidentally thawed a larger chuck roast last week–after using it three different ways, I froze the rest (cooked) for later. A few days later I couldn’t find a single pork chop so I cooked a small boneless roast–that also worked for three day’s meals. Each meal is different, so I don’t get tired of eating it. And this pork roast was wonderfully tasty and tender! I need to do an inventory of my canned goods so I can decide where I need to supplement current supplies.
    My daughter is still getting my groceries with hers once a week–usually my list is 6 to 8 items. She says I spend more on cat food than I do on my own. That’s because of my full freezer!! The cat would happily join me for meat meals but he only gets a taste if I have a couple bites left over. I spend a bit more at the farm stand once or twice a week also.
    Had the rainiest July on record here–water in my basement 3 times in 2 weeks. Cleaned up some wet boxes but the floor is still wet. No rain for the next few days so I’m leaving the door open in the daytime and hoping to dry it out more! I need to sweep and possibly hose out the basement to clean up some litter dust and such. Not yet though.
    Hope you are feeling better soon.

  20. We live in a town that is on the border of a Indian reservation. There is a gas station on the reservation that is consistently at least 70 cents cheaper per gallon (now almost 85 cents cheaper!) of gas, so, even though it’s often in the wrong direction, it’s worth it to me to fill up there (and there is no tax) paying only $3.13/gal vs. $3.99/gal! I told some friends about it so hopefully they will stay in business!
    We had lots of rain so turned off the sprinklers! Since we got notification that our water price is going up, hopefully this will come out even.
    I am having shoulder surgery this week and was able to borrow a sling and an ice pump machine from my sister-in-law. I was looking at some models online and would have been about $300 bought off of Amazon. I’m blessed to have her close by! I went to a local thrift store and found about 5 shirts that have very wide and stretchy neck lines to get on and off easily with a bum arm. I was looking for button-up shirts and I couldn’t find any that would have worked! I guess they are popular! Since I dislocated my shoulder in January, I haven’t been able to use my arm much or exercise in the way I’ve been use to (no running, yoga, riding my bike, swimming, weights, etc.) so I’ve gained some weight. It’s been frustrating, but I just want my shoulder fixed, then go through physical therapy to gain some strength back. I originally hurt it 15 years ago and have dislocated it since several times. It’ll be nice to not have to worry about it anymore.

  21. The yard-long beans that I’ve planted the last 4 years with NO success have produced this year. It is so exciting! I also have melons on the melon vines-another first for me. I picked 10 lbs of berries at a friend’s house. We’re eating greens, green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries and herbs from the garden. My rhubarb is finally doing well. I have 2 plants, one was almost dead and one looked poor. I put compost around the poor looking one and have been watering it more (shower warm up water). I dug up the almost dead one and put it in a pot in a spot that gets only morning sun. It is thriving. In the fall I will plant the one in the pot back into the ground. This spot that gets only morning sun is my “nursery” spot. It’s where I grow starts or cuttings, and nurse poorly plants. I have a good number of things ready to be planted in the ground in the fall. When I look at them all, and all free because of being cuttings or re-seeded starts, I am immensely satisfied.
    I gave away 5 mother-of-thousands plants through Buy Nothing. Two of the recipients left gifts for me-6 fresh laid eggs, and a jade plant. It gave me much joy that day. I received a bag of walnuts through BN.
    I baked a 9×13 apple crumble using apples that I had dried last year (and soaked before I used them). It was baked in the toaster oven in the garage, another thing that gives me great joy, since it’s cheaper to run than the big oven, AND it doesn’t heat up the house. This was the last gallon bag of dried apples, I’m making space because I’ve been invited to pick the new crop of apples this coming week. I made chocolate zucchini muffins with the abundant zucchini and the last of the milk that had gone sour (my husband was away this week and I can’t drink milk).
    I sold 2 items on Ebay and listed a whole bunch more. One item that sold was a pair of shoes that I had tried but were never comfortable. I’m glad to get some money back from them, and to have them be useful to someone else.

  22. I hope you are feeling better Brandy. So happy for you that you have finally had some rain and that your water bill has been cut dramatically with the garden redesign. Thank you for posting the video here on your blog. Very interesting. I also substitute unsweetened applesauce for some of the oil/butter in quick breads and also muffins. I’m glad you enjoyed All The Light We Cannot See it’s such a deeply moving novel and the writing is excellent. For a change of pace I have started reading Wilderness – The Gateway to the Soul by Scott Stillman; it’s about the author’s spiritual journey as he backpacks thru the heart of the American wilderness.

    Went for my annual physical (annual wellness check is what the insurance co calls it and it has zero copay). The week before I went for lab work (also all zero copay)and my doctor discussed the results during this visit. One of the many items (a 3-page report!) that dr checked is my Vitamin D3 level. It seems that I’m deficient in vitamin D3 even though I eat many foods that contain vitamin D, take a multivitamin daily and spend lots of time outdoors. But I do wear sunscreen and many times wear a hat. Dr recommended that I take a supplement and the proper dosage. Dr. also said many people are low in vitamin D3 and aren’t aware of it. I mention this in case it may help someone else as vitamin D3 supports our immune system. Also went for my annual mammogram ($45 copay) – the machines are all digital and give superior results (but still hurt, lol) over older models and my dr received the radiologist’s report the next day.

    My 3 closest friends and I did a girls’ day out (planned back in June) and drove to Lancaster, PA (this is Pennsylvania Dutch Country known for its large Amish population) to Sight & Sound Theatres where we enjoyed a live performance of Queen Esther. It was spectacular: fantastic set, actors, special effects, live animals – the stage surrounds the audience on three sides and I highly recommend it to those living in NY/NJ/PA – it’s a lovely area to stay for a few days with lots to do or just enjoy the lovely countryside. We usually stay overnight but this year only went for the day – saw the 3:00 pm show and then had a late dinner at Cracker Barrel (in NJ). In prior years we have seen the shows Jesus, Jonah and Moses – all fantastic. Perhaps not frugal but it was Prudent (like your blog) as it brought us much enjoyment which is part of a well-lived life.

    1. I agree with you on the importance of Vitamin D. I was massively deficient when it was discovered by a blood test. After starting on the supplements, I could feel that I now have more energy and an overall more optimistic attitude. I can clearly delineate between “before” and “after” the problem was treated.

      1. I agree Heidi Louise – I too was extremely low when they did my blood work and now I take at least 2,000 IU per day. I feel so much better in every way. I try to walk in the mornings without sunscreen but I take some medication that makes me extra sun sensitive so have to wear a 60 block by 11am and stay fairly covered up – it’s a bit of a challenge! Glad to hear that so many are benefiting from this relatively cheap solution.

    2. Vitamin D is really important and sunscreen will prevent you from making it. So will washing the skin exposed to the sun with soap before about 48 hours because D is made in the skin. It’s best to expose your entire body at noon for as long as you can without getting burned.

      Those deficient in Vitamin D are much more susceptible to colds and respiratory infections, including SARS-CoV2. In fact you were twice as likely to die of it if you were deficient.

      1. Please note, Vit D is fat soluble. You need to take your supplement with fat, I.e. a meal with fat content (eggs, avocado, olive oil, etc.) or it will not absorb well in the body. I was deficient and started a supplement. After a year, my numbers were up, but not a lot. I learned about Vit D being fat soluble. When I then started taking it at breakfast with eggs, my numbers went up a lot.

      2. Just a reminder. You can get too much vitamin D. Mayo Clinic recommends that adults get at least the RDA of 600 IU. However, 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D from a supplement is generally safe. Get too much and it can weaken your bones and cause kidney problems.

    3. Your doctor is right that so many people are deficient in D3 and there are so many links to disease: diabetes, thyroid, depression, bi-polar disorders, heart, etc that could be helped by increased levels. A local nutritionist/health guru of sorts recommends NOT wearing sunscreen, instead to cover up with a hat, lightweight long sleeves, etc. My doctor said that we require ten full minutes of sun full in the face. Even sunglasses prevent absorption.

    4. Mari J.

      It’s good news that your doctor found you’re deficient in Vitamin D as that is easy to correct and very important. It is better to take it with food, including a little fat (like butter on toast). My gp made sure that in the months leading up to swine flu that I had adequate levels of vitamin D. And he tested the levels every summer so I could work on getting any deficiency fixed before flu season. Some studies suggest that Vitamin D helps prevent or lessen covid. It certainly helps the immune system and the prevention of osteoporosis and helps weight loss. Just don’t take too much. It can be toxic. Ann

  23. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I’m amazed at what you’ve achieved Brandy, even though you’ve been so poorly. Hope you will make a steady recovery. Great that you had rain and your garden makeover is already reducing your water bill.
    I took 2 bags of items to donate at the charity shop and bought brand new oven gloves I’ve wanted for our caravan.
    Our sewing group threw a surprise birthday lunch for a friend’s 60th. I made coleslaw for my contribution and there was a bit leftover to bring home.
    I made vegetable soup with some tired veg in the fridge.
    I finished a cross stitch card and will start a new one this week. I bought a big bag of cross stitch kits at the charity shop some time ago, they were a bargain.
    My everyday sandals have denim fabric straps and were looking a bit grubby. I put them into a lingerie mesh bag and washed them on a short programme and they’ve come out looking good. They will last out the rest of the summer.
    We picked plums, blueberries, gooseberries, tomatoes, courgette, Swiss Chard and oregano. I’ve frozen the gooseberries and most of the plums. I picked crinum lilies and sweet peas for the house.
    A big storm with high winds was forecast so I heaved four big pots of lilies from the patio into the conservatory. We’ve had terracotta pots damaged in storms before so I consider this to be prudent and frugal. My husband was out at a meeting and when he came home and walked through the conservatory he said the fragrance was so strong he thought he might swoon like a Victorian lady!
    I used some of the money I earned this term to buy a new bra and stocked up on half price hosiery at the M&S sale. I also bought a cashmere jumper reduced from £99 to £24. I appreciate my good fortune.
    Stay safe everyone.

  24. Enjoyed the Instagram video… and gain so much from everyone’s comments. I am very thankful for your website! Thrifty action this week was harvesting basil and making pesto. Two books I just finished from the library and enjoyed them both: Send For Me by Lauren Fox ( WWII- intergenerational) and Sunflower Sisters by the author of The Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly (Civil War).

  25. I’m so happy you got rain! Your water use decrease is quite impressive. I’m glad you are already seeing positive results with all your hard work on the garden redo. My current library book is The Four Winds. I got all the potatoes sorted into piles, and covered them with fresh pine straw. Tomatoes were canned twice last week. Lemon balm was gathered, and a jar of glycerite started (basically, a tincture that used vegetable glycerine rather than alcohol). Seedlings and plants were fed with comfrey tea. The last of our blueberries and blackberries were used in a pie. Yard long beans have started producing, and a good amount are being picked daily. So far, they’ve been used in a cold potato and green bean salad, and in garlicky green beans. Five books of Forever stamps were purchased, in anticipation of the price increase, three for me and two for my husband’s business. Our elderberry crop this year is small, but they were picked twice and dehydrated. We’re enjoying lots of sliced tomatoes and tomato sandwiches. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/08/the-latest-in-potato-saga-cute-camper.html

  26. It’s been a great frugal week in heavenly Houston!
    We’ve been enjoying the last few weeks of summer with lots of free, local activities. I pack a picnic lunch for myself and the kids, and we try to do things earlier in the morning before it gets too hot. There are so many parks, splashpads, and things to do.
    I’ve sold quite a few things on Facebook marketplace, but need to go through the kids’ dressers one last time.
    Lowe’s had a lot of mis-tinted paint, and when I was looking at them, the employee said I could buy them at $2/gallon. Most of them were pretty obscure colors, but I picked up four gallons of eggshell in very, very light gray. I think I can mix these together. A week later, I found another gallon that would go well with those in the mistint section, but they were back up to the $10 price (still a great deal from the $35 regular price). I asked the employee if she would sell it to me for what I paid the week before, and she marked it down. Now I just need to get the painting done!
    I bought the Termidor poison for termite treatment at a diy pest control store, and we trenched the house and poured the chemical in. I used a 5 gallon bucket I got free somewhere for diluting it to the correct strength. This should be good for another 8-10 years or so. Even though it was an expensive gallon of poison ($185), it would have been about $1000 to have a company come out to do it. Luckily, our house isn’t very big, so it only took a day to dig all around the slab and treat.
    I’ve avoided most of the back to school school supply deals and door busters, which are usually a big temptation. I typically buy a lot that we end up not needing. The only deals I bought were for my preschool daughter (older kids have school supply fee), and for a Chickfila promotion. Near us, the Chickfilas do a promotion where you bring in 3 school supplies and receive a free sandwich coupon. I bought a bunch of the .25 boxes of crayons and .50 packs of pencils, so all the chicken sandwich coupons ended up being about $1/each. I got enough for us to be able to go back 2 or 3 more times before the coupons expire. We ate there yesterday, using the coupons we got, and I bought containers of large fries for everyone to split, and we all drank water. Otherwise, Chickfila can get pricey, quickly, even though it’s delicious. I figure this probably came to about $2/person for a sandwich and half of a large fry. The big kids still weren’t completely full, but were welcome to fruit once we got home.
    I’ve been washing the backpacks and lunchboxes that didn’t get washed in May. I typically have the kids reuse these as many years as they can, buying plainer styles that they’re less likely to outgrow. We’ve had good luck with the better quality backpacks (bought used).
    I bought two American Girl dolls for $5/each at an estate sale. I’m not sure whether I will gift them to my girls or sell them. My older daughter is mostly past that stage, and the younger daughter isn’t there yet.
    I cleaned the rug in the boys’ room outside and let it dry by hanging over the fence.
    Have a nice week!

  27. Your pumpkin chocolate chip loaves sound wonderful! Is there a particular recipe that you would recommend?

    My frugal week:
    – made some zucchini pizza (http://approachingfood.com/zucchini-provolone-pizza/)
    – baked a loaf of French bread
    – earned $75 USD from my blog and reinvested in my site
    – got $3 back in cash from diaper rewards. Transferred it to my PayPal account. Little bits add up!
    – I redeemed survey points for a $5 Starbucks gc
    – I cut my husband’s hair
    – earned $100 taking part in a PhD research workshop
    – picked mulberries, cherry tomatoes, raspberries, and peas from garden
    – bought two produce boxes from the flash food app, for $10. I ended up getting a refund on one box as I felt the quality was too poor, so for $5, I got numerous red, yellow, green, and hot peppers, several zucchini, a TON of bananas, and about 10 oranges. I grated and froze the zucchini, baked three loaves of banana bread, made orange juice for my family several times, and still have tons of bananas. I stir-fried all the peppers (with some onions from my freezer), and used them to make fajitas (along with the taco-flavoured lentils I made earlier in the week). Served on tortillas and topped with Swiss cheese, it was super delicious and very inexpensive, and fed my family for two meals.
    – I gave my mum some hot peppers, as I could use them all, and she uses this type in certain recipes.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

    1. This is the recipe I have been using. It’s been a good way to get some vegetables into a couple of children in particular.

  28. Brandy that is wonderful you have reduced your water bill by a third with your new garden design and drip irrigation. that you were able to collect so much water from the air conditioner to use to water potted plants and had rain so you could use less water in the gardens. What a wonderful deal you got with all the fruit you purchased with the discount coupon you had and that is a huge saving on fuel by just comparing prices. Prices of fuel have skyrocketed here in Australia too along with the price of groceries.

    Our savings added up to $67.31 last week :).

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked 2 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machine saving $6.98 over buying them locally.
    – Made all meals from scratch.
    – Blanched and froze silverbeet picked from the gardens to make 11 meal sized portions for the freezer and did the same with 5 kg of carrots we purchased from the supermarket. The vegetable freezer is looking a lot fuller and nice to have a good supply of fresh veggies on hand for meal ingredients.

    Purchases –
    – From IGA we purchased 6kg of sausages on special for $5.33 kg, 2.04 kg of chicken drumsticks on markdown for $2.33 kg and a 500g of unsalted roasted cashews on special for $4 saving in total $ 15.33 on usual prices.

    In the gardens –
    – We harvested 10 bunches of silverbeet from the vegetable gardens saving $45 over buying them locally in the supermarkets.
    – Topped up 2 more above ground garden beds with more soil and composted grass clippings.
    – Both of us spent time around the property digging/pulling up large marshmallow weeds and other weeds and putting them in the wheelie bin. The yard is looking much more tidy now :).

    Hope everyone has had a wonderful week 🙂 .


  29. I made hamburger rice casserole, and broccoli rice casserole for my son this weekend, and I am eating the leftovers this week. I stocked up on ground beef, and chicken at Aldi and Publix for the month for my middle son. I plan to make meals on weekends and then take the leftovers home with me. He eats the same meal for lunch and supper on Saturday and lunch on Sunday. He is tired of it after three meals so I take home the leftovers. Works for me.

  30. I hope you are feeling better soon, Brandy. I am also prone to bronchitis and sometimes have to take steroids to get over it. We had rain all week – enough that our official status has gone from ‘severe drought’ to merely ‘drought.’ Everything is so green and I haven’t had to water the outside garden beds all week. My water bill was over $10 less than usual for this time of year. We enjoyed cabbage, chard, lettuce, carrots, zucchini, and onions from the garden. My beans are recovering from last week’s hail and blooming again.
    I baked French bread and sandwich bread and made several meals and froze them for our visit to my husband’s parents next month (I always take meals for the time we are there to save his sister having to cook.) I made a batch of blueberry jam with sale blueberries.

  31. I cashed in swagbucks for a $200.00 Visa card. I used it towards our electric bill. The designated bill money went towards my upcoming vacation. Sugar cookie requested a baby gift for an upcoming baby shower. The item I chose was 25% off on my Amazon account. I checked her account and she was offered 40% off. I purchased 4 packs of a rose print Honest diapers for $23.00. She was very happy. I drove across the state line and shopped at a store that sells Amazon .com returns. On Thursday, any item is $7.00. There are tons of sealed boxes. You have to bust them open. Its like a huge Easter egg hunt. I bought 6 boxes of poise pads and 3 boxes of depends for my mother. I found several items for my college daughter. She’s moving into an apartment on her own. Seems like since she started college in 2013 , many of her items have simply disappeared. My dogs eye issues have been stressful for me. I ended up switching my vet during the dilemma. I’m loving my new vet. They called in additional eye drops for the dog and I was able to order her flea meds online. In the past, we would have been required to make additional office visits to obtain these items. We chose a new surgeon for the puppy. The new doctor has informed me the surgery required is $2200.00 . I realize that is a huge amount , but the other surgeon quoted me $4500.00 . My dog is a huge emotional support for me. I’m pretty frugal so paying it is not a hardship. I will pay it on my credit card to get my rewards and then pay it off immediately. Miracles are in the air. My mothers stage 4 cancers have disappeared from her body and she is in complete remission. Absolutely mind blowing.

  32. I hope you feel better soon. I too have had multiple bouts with bronchitis and it really knocks you back for awhile!
    *While digging for stones that were embedded in a small hill side near the road, I found 2 large planters (long) completely buried with no drain holes and no remains of plants so I have no idea what they were there for. I pulled them out and put all my strawberries in them.
    * In the same hill I found multiple large chunks of broken cement and one whole area was all linking blocks. Currently I am struggling to do anything with a shovel due to the bum knee that will hopefully be fixed Thurs so I will wait til fall to dog those all out.
    * I used some leftover clear vinyl to put on my new recliner to keep the cat claws out of the fabric but still look nice-ish. My mantra has been – I can’t have nice things, I have cats LOL All of ours have all their claws as I want them to have the best chance if they happen to get out and as defense against the obnoxious Dane pup (9 months) and Husky (1 year).
    * I am finally done with putting shelves in the pantry cabinets and it is soooo much easier now to see everything.
    * I discovered that the 5 gallon bucket of flour was 1/2 full yet so YEAH that is one thing I can definitely cross off my list.
    * Our daughter went thru her things and gave me 2 three drawer plastic storage stacks. They are the ones that have a basket weave look to the fronts. She also gave me a bunch of nail polish and Rae Dunn mugs (those I have listed for sale)
    * I started pressure washing the siding – the North side in particular starts to turn green and the front side has what I think is bat dropping from a small opening. I am hoping to make some bat houses and get them out of the attic.
    * Our daughter’s (new) boyfriend (she’s known him thru gaming since she was 12 – she’s almost 24) lives about 6 hours away and last time she visited, his family sent her home with a borage plant which I am THRILLED about. It was the one plant I could not get to stay alive when I tried to pot it up to take with to this new house.
    * We finally figured out what was wrong with our vehicle – the battery was no longer holding a charge. Luckily I had saved most of the money we got from the furniture sold last week and a gift from my parent’s. $135!!! but I am sure that was less than we would have been charged for someone else to diagnosis it! And oddly enough, the dealership was cheaper than anywhere we called and my husband installed it himself. He also fixed the exhaust leak but he has been in severe pain cause he over did it.
    * We have been able to turn off the AC for the past 4 days – the temps at night were even cold enough for a sweatshirt.
    * We ate all meals at home
    * Picked up a free toy at the pet supply store for one of dogs birthdays. We also took advantage of the 25% off promotion to stock up on all of the pet for we need for the month.
    Hope you all have a great week!

  33. It rained a little on Sunday. Just enough for me to go out in it and get my face wet, but not enough to wash away our wildfire smoke.
    I worked 3 days last week and brought lunch and dinner all three days.
    A co-worker that I am helping to train went huckleberry picking and brought me some. She also went blueberry picking and brought me some of those too. YUM!
    The next day I brought her some snow peas, basil and zucchini from our garden. She has problems with deer in her neighborhood, and showed me a picture of a moose in her front yard, so gardens are difficult for her. I guess everyone has something with which they have to cope.
    I picked enough basil to dry 10 more trays. It is now crumbled and in the jar.
    I weeded the onions in the row garden and the chard in the row garden. We have so many rocks in our garden that I have to kneel on a foam rubber pad so I don’t hurt my knees.
    Made broth with the bones from a roasted chicken and onions and carrots from the garden. Threw in a couple kind of wilted celery stalks.
    Picked snow peas, cherry tomatoes, herbs as needed. Picked a couple of peppers for pizza.
    Replanted one variety of cucumbers.
    Made chow mein from carrots, cabbage, onions, and snow peas from the garden. I use the recipe from the Good Cheap Eats blog. It’s really easy and good.
    Made coleslaw from cabbage and onions from the garden.
    I went to Costco for a couple of things. Mainly tomato sauce in the #10 can. They no longer carry any tomato products in the #10 can. Went to Wal-Mart and got the sauce there. They had Hunt’s sauce in the #10 can for $3.28. The price isn’t as good as Costco, but at least they have it.
    Hope everyone has a good, safe and productive week.

  34. Loving the Instagram videos.
    We had a couple of weddings, one family and one friend. We had planned for the expenses so no surprises. It was wonderful to see people and to celebrate!
    I have paid bills on time, read library books on the app and used leftovers. These all feel like solid habits now.
    We’re still picking kale and now tomatoes from the garden. With this success, we will expand next year’s garden. I love to read about what everyone is growing.
    I had to replace phone chargers and cords, ordered through the Amazon link. I also bought $100 worth of forever stamps to use for my work. I am thankful to read about upcoming price increases before they happen.
    I haven’t been to the grocery store in a couple of weeks but I will go this weekend and stock up on the essentials.
    Hope everyone has a healthy and happy week.

  35. You are all so inspiring! I find myself thinking of new ways to save during the week thanks to you ladies!

    -I cut my husband and son’s hair! My son took some convincing but since he only need a touch up he agreed.

    -I have been picking berries, swiss chard, kale, cherry tomatoes, herbs, zucchini, jalapenos and beans so far from the garden. We ate most of these fresh but I made chocolate zucchini bread and pickled jalapenos too.

    -My mom doesn’t like to shop online so I ordered some things she needed from Kohl’s for her and she gave me the Kohl’s cash. I bought some early gifts for Christmas that were on clearance.

    -My parents have been staying with us so while my dad is around he has been helping fix things that we can’t do ourselves. He has fixed doors that didn’t close right, rust on another door, and replaced lights. We also put in a ceiling fan for one light that no longer worked.

    -Checked out books from the library (and returned books on time!). Kids also cashed in their summer reading club prizes.

    -We are on the budget plan for our electric bill where we pay the same amount each month. They take our yearly cost and divide by 12 so we can easily budget for the expense. This was our reconciliation month and I always hope it doesn’t go up for the next year. Our bill for August is only $18 and our monthly went down by $13 for the next year! I am very pleased!

    Trying to be more mindful of our spending–both time and money!

  36. Started keeping the 18mo grandson for my daughter who started a new job. I now know what will help me sleep better…a day spent running behind him! I was frustrated with lots of little waste in my fridge last week but am staying atop it all this week in a much better way.
    I made English Muffins. I’d tried a recipe twice and wasn’t pleased with the results. I really like the way these turned out. I will definitely use this recipe again.
    I repotted a plant that wasn’t doing well in another planter. I think the fresher soil and breaking up the web of roots will help a lot.
    I took advantage of a good sale at Kroger last week and saved about 1/3 of the regular costs of items. With the sale and digital coupons many of these items were cheaper than Aldi prices!
    My basil is up and doing well. I planted it late from seed but I’ve plenty of time for it to grow here.
    Every time we have rain, I think of the drought out west and remember to be grateful for it. It means mowing more often, which means more gasoline needed but it’s still a blessing.
    My daughter cut my husband’s hair using clippers here at our house.
    I hope to get some potato skins with eyes on them planted tomorrow. I’ve done this before and got a tiny harvest. I’m not losing a thing by planting them as the soil can be reused and if the plants actually produce I come out ahead.
    Broke off heavy branches of Kolanchoe and stuck in the soil to root. I don’t need more plants but I seem to be having incredibly good luck with them and they are pretty when in bloom.

  37. Fairbanks has had an unusually hot summer! Yesterday we set a new record high at 86 for the day. It was also the day I di my first load of beans in my dehydrator. Today was 85, but suddenly a heavy rainstorm hit. We catch rainwater off a patio for watering our many plants in our front yard. Each pail now has 3 inches of water and we only have to water plants under our front patio. I know 86 doesn’t sound like wingmuch, but our sun is at such an angle that it really feels a lot like 96. And we are used to -20 to -50 in the winter. We heat only to 64 unless the temperature drops to -50, then maybe to 66. This time of year, the sun rises and sets in the north.
    We did our usual Fred Meyers shop on Senior Day, but really needed only a few groceries. I bought extra sugar and dehydrated onions to prepare for winter. We have so many fresh vegetables now. We really enjoy truly fresh in August!
    We have a morning meeting on Tuesdays at a nearby church. They were set up for a huge funeral of a 12 year old today. I’m hoping that our rain helped cool the building. A funeral like that is sad enough without very hot conditions.
    On Sundays, we have been worshipping outdoors and following with some kind of themed potluck. This week is honey and I was stuck until I thought of honey ham–I would like to do some roll-ups using some celery from the garden. WeThankscan take a few stalks off our plpleaants.
    Thanks to all for your sharing and ideas! Please, if someone has a recipe for lemon, yellow squash bread, please share a recipe. We have many and I don’t like yellow squash. I love winter squash, especially buttercup and my husband will not eat that! We take extra vegetables to church to share.
    Blessings to all! Alaska Gram

  38. I loved All The Light We Cannot See when I read it a few years ago on the recommendation of my mother. One of those books that stays with you for quite a while. While we are on the subject of books (I love how this is a book club of sorts as well as a frugal blog!), I am reading one called The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin. Many of us seem to enjoy reading books that take place during WWII so I thought I would mention it this time around. It is not a challenging read (which I need now and then) but is an interesting story and one I think would appeal to anyone interested in the role of women in WWII in Britain as well as those of us who love books. It has encouraged me to re-read some classics like Middlemarch, Emma and The Count of Monte Cristo. If anyone likes non-fiction and wants to learn more about a prominent figure of WWII before WWII, I highly recommend Hero of the Empire by Candace Millard. It is about Churchill before he was PM. Even though I have read a bit about him and his time as PM and visited the War Rooms when I was a college student abroad, I had very little appreciation for all he went through prior to that time and at such a young age. This book reads like the best adventure novel and I say that as someone who would not normally think a book about a politician or details of war maneuvers would be her cup of tea. I highly recommend it and enjoyed Millard’s writing so much I am eager to check out some of her other books. Another one on my stack to read is Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield. It takes place on the river Thames and sounds like an engaging mystery. Will let you all know how it is when I get to it.
    Reading the prices of gas mentioned here makes me suddenly very grateful for our prices at $2.85 to $2.95/gallon. We can go days without getting into the car but, when we do, we still combine errands and offer to pick up things for neighbors when we are out in effort to save everyone some time and money. My neighbors reciprocate and we appreciate that very much.
    We continue to enjoy the bounty of our garden and trade with neighbors who grow different things or can more than I do.
    We enjoyed a birthday party for our oldest who turned 10 last week. Some friends who live about 4 hours away were able to come and that was a wonderful gift as was all the food that everyone contributed and shared as leftovers to take home.
    Thanks to the bounty from our garden and our chickens as well as items traded for with friends or given by neighbors, I have not had to go to the grocery store in about 3 weeks. I will go this week but just for a few things to fill in the gaps. I would like to make these trips even less frequent and will continue to work toward that goal. One issue I have run across is whole coffee beans. My husband enjoys his one morning cup a day and we grind the beans ourselves fresh daily. I find it harder to find whole beans at the store these days with his normal store brand (Food Lion) being almost impossible to find anymore although I have looked at other stores when I have passed them in my travels. Can anyone recommend a good brand of whole bean coffee I might be able to find? He has tried Eight O’Clock which he says is OK but not as good as the FL Breakfast Blend he prefers. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
    We are continuing to slowly but surely finish the interior of our house which we built and moved into 2 years ago. It is a slow process when you do it yourself but we would not have been able to afford it any other way considering a major goal of this home was to be mortgage-free. If we had paid someone else to finish it completely, we would have needed a loan which we really did not want to do. I am grateful that a neighbor, who is a retired and very skilled finish carpenter, has agreed to help us out and is starting tomorrow to help my husband finish the interior trim. His fees are very reasonable and his help will allow us to get really moving again on finishing the inside of the house. I will be doing most of the painting (I have done 2 rooms so far) and the trim being unfinished has stalled my contribution for a while. I will be glad to be helpful in the project and my boys are good at helping and enjoy learning tedious things like filling nail holes – thank goodness! We hope to have the inside of the house completed by the end of the year which would be wonderful. One thing I am most looking forward to is getting my books out of their boxes in the closets as I have no bookshelves yet. I have missed many of them as they are old friends and it will be good to have them out and visible again. A home just isn’t a home without books all around, to me.
    I am grateful for all the inspiration this blog provides as much from the comments as from Brandy’s reports. This is a great group and I appreciate you all. Enjoy your week!

    1. Mountain Mama, the Cabinet War Rooms are my all-time favorite from 3 visits to Britain. For those of you who don’t know, during WW2, the British government operated from a secret bunker underneath Westminster. Churchill ran the war from this location. When the war ended, people left just as they were at that moment and everything was left (for decades) exactly as it was when they walked out the door. My favorite thing was the “loo” next to Churchill’s office and bedroom (people slept on cots in their offices). The door to the hall had the kind of bathroom stall latch, turned from the inside, that shows “vacant” or “occupied” on the outside. What’s unique about this is that no one ever questioned that it was “occupied” throughout the entire war–it never showed vacant, LOL. No one knew that it wasn’t a loo–it housed the secret telephone between Churchill and Roosevelt. The telephone wires were buried under the street and connected to secret telephone equipment in the basement of Selfridge’s department store.

    2. Mountain Mama – if you have access to Costco, their house blend is excellent and very affordable. It is roasted by Starbucks and around $13 for a 2.5 lb bag.

      Also, Folgers surprisingly makes a couple of surprisingly good whole bean roasts – the 1850 Black Gold or Pioneer Blend.

    3. Oh, I completely agree with you on a home not being home without books! We have bookshelves filled in every room of the house! Hope you can get your house finished soon, and good for you for working hard to be mortgage free!

  39. Wow Brandy I love the 55 cent OOP grocery deal! I hope you are on the mend too.

    We spent $59 on groceries. I haven’t been to the grocery store for awhile and noticed the large glass jars of passata sauce had increased in price by 10 cents each. I had a rather large quantity on my shopping list but was only able to get two thirds of it. At its new price, this passata is now 50 cents cheaper than other grocery stores.

    Our lockdown is extended and schools are closed as the Delta strand is unfortunately going through our community. The children have been doing lots of baking and we have way too many sweets. It’s a good problem to have! We are taking daily bicycle rides and enjoying the back yard. Lots of art and crafts too.

    Our food this week has included lots of homemade sweets, spaghetti, gnocchi with chicken breast, scrambled eggs on toast, avocado on toast, toasted sandwiches, kaleslaw, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, green apples, bananas and mashed potato and pumpkin. Tonight we are having home made pizzas.

    I did an online Target order as they had many needed items on clearance. This included flannelette pyjamas for my son who is currently wearing two sizes too small.

    We are still trying to sell our car and trying different strategies. Harder in lockdown as people are unable to come and look at it.

    Electricity for the quarter was a very low $45. All washing line dried and fruit and vegetable scraps buried in the garden as usual.

  40. Brandy I pray everyone in your household gets well and stays well.

    Hubby came home told me to stock it up and batten down the hatches. Two Amish in our neighborhood (within 3 miles of us) are having to sell items. Businesses they were running just not made money during the pandemic. We will be going to the sales. H( how built the bar for Daughter 4) is selling extra stuff from his furniture making business(things ordered but not paid for that he held a year) and what he didn’t use when he remodeled the upstairs. J is selling business stuff( lumber supplier for Amish that collapsed) and extra home furniture. Both are hoping the sales will get them through another year. Both are looking at taking some of their foals/colts to auction also. I bartered with the one. She was going to sell her pint canning jars. M sent her to me. She wanted $9 a case (5 cases) I paid her and then asked if I could barter her for some canned goods. She asked what I wanted… I asked for 7 pints of beets and 7 pints of green beans. I would supply the jars and lids in exchange of her taking 3 dozen jars as payment. She took the deal and cried. We got a blackberry pie out of it also.

    We have been to the vets office 3 times. Twice with Wilbur (13 yrs. old) with bronchitis. We noticed he was drinking the warm water in the outside water bowl but not in the house. So I put another water bowl out with warm water in it for him. AND Rascal (12 yrs. old) with ears inflamed. We did catch it before they got infected. Charlotte felt left out… no ride by herself or meds so Hubby took her around the block and I give her a broken Snap (type of dog treat) when the boys get their meds. Two more days and no one will be taking meds ( or her a treat) which means Wilbur wetting everything (steroid makes him leak) should stop meaning no more washing dog beds and protectors. I told Hubby when we get to that point ourselves we should have enough furniture protectors LOL.

    The rest is here.

    1. Dear Juls,
      I am so touched by what you did for your Amish neighbour. That was a kind way to help her out while preserving her dignity. Well done! Ann

    2. You are a kind neighbor Juls. Helping by letting someone keep their self respect during hard times is priceless.

    3. What a kind gesture, Juls. It is awfully hard to sell off your belongings. May God bless you and them.

  41. I made 12 quarts of tomato sauce from my garden haul this week, which I froze. This year’s garden has been a bit of a bust but we still got some produce, and now we know that we need to make some significant amendments to our garden this fall if we want to have a productive year next year.

    I was able to work from home for three days so that saved 75 miles of driving! But, at some point I ran over a nail and the tire had to be patched, so that was 25.00. ha! Oh well!

    I made whole wheat plum muffins with plums that were a little south of great….I was told they tasted “healthy” so I don’t think I’ll be making those again 😂 but we used up the plums!

    I zoodled (is that even a word?) About 5 lbs of zucchini from my garden and froze it for later use. I was thinking it would make a nice addition to chicken ‘zoodle’ soup…I guess we will find out.

    My mom has kindly let us borrow her truck to take an appliance to the dump. This saves us the cost of hiring someone to take it away.

    I used a cash back rewards to get a new duvet cover for my bed. Zero out of pocket and our bedroom feels so nice!

    Dug up some struggling flowers from the garden and replanted them in a pot. They are now a lovely addition to my front porch and thriving.

    Cut some lavender from the garden to hang by my husband’s side of the bed. He won’t admit it but he has had some trouble sleeping lately (which means I have, too, with all his tossing). It seemed to help. At least I slept better!

    I am so yearning for fall and cooler weather, but I fear that’s a ways off still. I have been collecting soup and chili recipes to try, though! Can’t wait!

    Have a great week and stay safe, everyone.

  42. Congratulations on the rain and water savings in your garden! I hope you are feeling better son.
    I had a good week of frugal savings.
    *While cleaning through my mother’s home, I was able to bring some canned goods for my pantry.
    *I went to the farmer’s market and got a box of seconds tomatoes and made two batches of oven roasted tomato sauce and froze four gallon ziplock bags of tomatoes.
    *A friend gave me a jar of his homemade apricot jam.
    *I borrowed a yarn winder and wound roughly 25 skeins of yarn than have been given to me by others.
    *Our neighbors had two extra theatre tickets and invited us to join them. We had been to a production in months and it was lovely!
    *A friend drove one of my art pieces to the exhibition venue, which was an hour away.
    *A friend gave me a huge basil plant, so I made pesto for the freezer.
    *From my garden plot, I harvested some tomatoes, beets, more basil, and a few plums.
    *Met friends for a hike and carpooled to the trail start.
    *I needed new walking shoes and hat a $10 off coupon for the store.
    *I was taken to lunch one day
    *We also had rain, which was sorely needed, and it dropped the temperatures, so we needed less air conditioning.
    *I made a frame for my art piece, saving the cost of having it professional done.
    *I found clamshells of blueberries at my store for $1.97. I bought four and froze them. I was there two days later and they were back for $4.97, and I was sad that I hadn’t bought more the first time.
    *I am experimenting with my new dryer. I discovered that if I dry on the permanent press cycle, it takes half the time and the clothes get just as dry as if I used the normal cycle. Who knew?
    Have a glorious week everyone!

  43. -Caught a 95% off clearance at store that resells TarJay excess. (Dirt Cheap, maybe only exists in the south) Plus it was 10% off senior day so 84 mostly health and beauty items for $23. Some I’m keeping and some to include for upcoming friend-family birthdays and happies. It’s very much a trash or treasure dig-it store but I find great deals each time I go which is every single time I go into town (17 miles away).
    -Ground beef is on sale at Piggly Wiggly for <$2/pound so I just asked the mom to make me a grocery list for her homemade spaghetti sauce that takes 4 pounds and 3 hours. Unlike most of you we don’t keep a stocked pantry (very sporadic cooking happens here simply because I hate to cook) so except for spices I’ll need to pick up all the ingredients plus bread and salad. Recipe makes a huge batch and we are a two person don’t eat leftovers family so I always share with neighbor lady plus my brother’s family and sister’s family. We all live within 2 miles of each other on country road so they either drop by or pick up to take home.
    -Found Thomas the Train $35 10 piece set for only $8.48 at local WM for 3 yo birthday. Went for hot wheels but when I saw this decided too good a deal to pass up. Think it was left from some really good clearance WM has been having to clear shelves for toys for Christmas. Wished they had more so I could have stocked up for toys for St Jude for Christmas.
    -The next day I was headed to next town with WM to see if they had any but realized I had left my purse at home so I decided that was sign from God to just stay local for the day. Luckily I had credit card in my glass case in car so I just used that until I met my sister for lunch and she gave me some cash. My mom keeps emergency cash in glove box of her car, I may need to do that too. I have emergency $ in wallet in my purse but that does no good when purse is hanging over kitchen chair and you are 17 miles away.
    -Don’t forget to buy stamps before price increase.

  44. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I’m amazed at what you achieved this week despite being so poorly. Hope you’re continuing to recover. Great that you had rain and your water bill is already lower because of the garden makeover.
    I took 2 bags of donations to the charity shop and bought new oven gloves there which we need for the caravan.
    My sewing group threw a surprise birthday party for one of our group, I took homemade coleslaw as my contribution and there was a bit leftover to bring home.
    I made vegetable soup with some tired veg in the fridge.
    I finished a cross stitch card and will start a new one this week. I bought a big bag of cross stitch kits a while ago at the charity shop for a bargain price.
    My everyday sandals have denim fabric straps which were looking a bit grubby. I put them in a lingerie mesh bag and washed them on a gentle quick programme and they’ve come out well. They will last out the rest of the summer.
    We picked plums, gooseberries, blueberries, Swiss Chard, tomatoes, courgettes and oregano. I froze the gooseberries and some of the plums and we’re eating the rest fresh. I picked lilies and sweet peas for the house.
    A big storm was forecast so I heaved four big terracotta pots of lilies into the conservatory so they wouldn’t blow over and smash. My husband came home from a meeting and said the fragrance in the conservatory made him feel like swooning, like a Victorian lady!
    I used some of the money I earned this term to buy a new bra, some half price hosiery in the M &S sale and a cashmere jumper reduced from £99 to £24. I appreciate my good fortune.
    Stay safe everyone.

  45. Does anyone know if I can blanch and freeze crookneck squash with good results? Will it be mushy when we eat it? Thanks.

    1. Linda, for what it’s worth, I have blanched and frozen crookneck squash several times. They are not as good as fresh, but they are still good enough to us to make it worth freezing them. I also like to incorporate the frozen ones in things like squash casserole or squash fritters. The flavor has always been good, but the texture is softer than fresh.

      1. Thanks, J0. My small garden is blessing me beyond my capacity (and friends’ and neighbors’ capacities) to keep up!

  46. I’m so sorry you’ve been sick. Thank you for posting. Get better soon!

    * I’ve kept the grocery bill down again. I put the amount not spent back into my savings. We have a separate bank account for our groceries. It’s great to see the amount rising in savings. There is a Winco not too far from me. I bought some bulk items and bread items for my daughter. The bulk candy is great! I bought a small amount to take on our vacation.

    * I’ve been having increasing anxiety attacks that have been wearing down my energy. I am on medication but also have increased my self care and taking small naps or quiet time each afternoon. Journaling, stretching, exercising and spending time outside helps. I’ve also been organizing which helps calm me. Frugal activities for better mental health. And being conscious of my breathing…slow even breaths and a back rub. If no one is around then I use a back scratcher.

    * I packed food and extra supplies like first aid, extra toilet paper, Kleenex for our vacation. We used my grocery points to fill up both cars before we left for our trip. We are enjoying time on the Oregon Coast. We brought food for sandwiches and snacks so we wouldn’t need to eat at a restaurant. We arrived on Sunday. The cucumbers and tomatoes I picked from the garden were brought for the week of vacation and snacking. I ate two strawberries I found on my plants in the garden.

    * I listened to free Audible books that I got from using their free trials over the past several years. It helps pass the time on out long drive.

    1. I don’t know your age but if you are sensitive to hormone fluctuations, peri-menopause can be very, very difficult if you have anxiety. I struggled thru all of this last year with my mental health becoming so bad that the suicidal thoughts were becoming overwhelming. Previous to that I had cognitive decline so bad that I was tested for stroke and early onset dementia. Once I was put on systemic estrogen (just estrogen no progesterone so the health risks and near zero) by cognitive function improved but my anxiety and depression just continued to tank. I had to raise the dosage of both my antidepressant and anti-anxiety meds and I am finally starting to stabilize. ((HUGS)) hang in there – your meds may just need a bit of tweaking and it is not as if this crazy world is helping any of us stay calm!

      1. Thank you for your comment! My doctor is keeping a close eye on me. I will definitely discuss this with my doctor. Hugs to you.

      2. My first time commenting although I read weekly. I also suffer from anxiety and depression. Am on meds but found, like others, getting my Vitamin D to the correct levels has made a world of difference.
        Love reading frugal tips. Have lead a frugal life for 30 years and it is the only way to live! It is fun as well as calming.

      3. Hi Melissa,
        Sorry you went through this. Progesterone is not a danger: unopposed estrogen is. In fact if you’re using bioidentical hormones (not synthetic ones, which are problematic), it’s important to use both progesterone and whichever form of estrogen (estradiol, estriol, estrone) you choose. SOme forms are more proliferative then others. Dr. John Lee has a very good book: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. His colleague also wrote one about Peri-Menopause.

        I hope you get some relief.

    2. I am on anxiety medication too and sometimes it still gets to me. I use Joy organics CBD oil then to just take the edge off. It really helps me and doesn’t contain any of the properties that get you High. They do have sales occasionally. I also find that therapy helps A LOT. It took me a few different therapists to find the right one for me. Good luck.

      1. I don’t mean to equate my dog with what you are going through, but we have a nut case for a dog and his anxiety is GREATLY helped with CBD treats. The brand we use is Pet Honesty Calming Hemp, which we buy from Amazon. We give him one a day (he weighs 20 lbs.) in the morning. The brand at Petco was not as effective for this dog, but might be just the ticket for someone else’s. We have had Hap for 5 years and for the first 4-1/2 years, I put up with him. Since we started giving him CBD–about 6 months ago– he has really tried to be a good dog, and I love him for it. We boarded him earlier this week and even the kennel folks commented on how much better he is–that he really tries to mind. I’m not suggesting dog treats for people with anxiety, but Marybeth’s comments about her own anxiety reminded me that others may have crazy dogs that need this.

  47. So many uplifting posts to read here – thank you.

    It’s turning out to be quite the year for our family. Over and above COVID (the effects of the pandemic in general as well as our health after we all contracted the virus), cancelling our daughters wedding because of another lockdown (she still got married just without any wedding guests though, like your daughter Brandy), the riots and protests, the massive tax bill, and then a drop in income, last week our daughters health spiralled downward and ultimately she needed to see 2 specialists today, an MRI, and will be admitted to a neurology unit tomorrow for more tests. We are thankful that insurance covered these bills in part, but the co-payments were significant.

    One thing I’m learning is that sometimes when frugality is most needed, it can be hardest to practice because life becomes overwhelming and busy. Nevertheless, we’re trying anyway! I’ve managed to get homemade meals on the table for the past 3 evenings even though I’ve been out most of the day and only got home late, and takeout was not only tempting, but would have even felt justified. It’s very helpful to have a meal or two in the freezer for times like these, and I also have long been in the habit of keeping portions of bolognese sauce in the freezer – it’s easy to defrost and serve over spaghetti which I always have on hand. My family have graciously accepted me serving spaghetti twice in the past week!

    In the past month I’ve stretched several meals into multiple portions by adding inexpensive extra ingredients, like extra potatoes and carrots to a curry and extra vegetables from the garden into soups. One of the easiest ways I can find a bit extra in our budget right now is to cut back on food spending, so I’m trying to stretch the food we have on hand further than usual, and only supplement with inexpensive or on sale ingredients. An easy freezer meal to make and freeze in bulk is chicken, broccoli and rice bake. But the broccoli can be expensive, and my children don’t care much for store-bought broccoli either (it tastes quite different when harvested, cooked, and served within an hour or 2). I succeeded in growing several heads of broccoli which I’ve been harvesting and using to make and freeze these meals. I make my own cream of mushroom soup rather than buying canned cream soup, which is expensive here (in South Africa) and not very healthy. I’ve been serving coleslaw as a side using carrots and cabbage (both red and green) from the garden, and I also have had lots of lettuce and Swiss chard. My summer goal is grow and can lots of tomatoes and also to grow and freeze lots of zucchini. I add carrots, zucchini and lentils to all ground beef dishes, so having free zucchini through winter will be a blessing.

    We’re going into summer so our power bill should drop, and so should our water bill as we have rain throughout our warm season. We accepted lots of offers of clothes from friends who have cleaned out closets recently, and passed on what wasn’t wanted or needed to a charity. I’ve started sewing summer dresses for my youngest daughter and shorts for my sons using fabric on hand. Our older daughter wanted a bicycle and asked around until she found one that was being given away for free. She did the same for a new tank for her turtle! I found an online resource for several free books (all older books now in the public domain), and also downloaded free versions of several onto my Kindle. I’ve discovered a fondness for classic literature, as has my son, and have added several of these titles to our reading list. On Saturday my husband used an old tyre and strong rope to make a new swing for the children. He also drilled a hole through a tennis ball and strung that up on another branch for the boys to bat, and added a climbing rope to yet another branch. The children have loved the additions to the garden, and they didn’t cost anything!

    In the midst of all the worry and stress, it’s important to do things that help us remain positive and cheerful. I continue reading my Bible, using a free online daily prayer book app and reading other spiritually uplifting material, knitting items for charity which I find very meaningful, singing and making music with the children and simply spending time in the garden, observing the beauty of nature as spring arrives, and watching the children play. There is joy in every day if only we care to see it.

    1. Thank you for your wise words. They brought tears to my eyes. It is true that we are constantly blessed, if only we choose to look around us and see!

    2. Tracy,
      Thank-you for the reminder to look at the positive and to read my Bible. I so needed the reminder today.

    3. Tracy, your positive attitude in the midst of what you and your family have been going through is admirable. Your last paragraph is inspiring and like you, I try to practice joy everyday. Sending up prayers for you and your family and for good health for your daughter.

    4. Tracy, I really enjoyed your uplifting post!! I like how you find things to enjoy and to help your children have fun !

  48. – Today I made “tortilla soup” in my crockpot using tomatoes from my garden that I froze whole almost exactly a year ago. I admit to being a total snob about chicken broth – only Trader Joe’s low sodium will do – but today I figured that with all of the spices and tomatoes in the soup I could get away with making the broth with salt-free chicken bouillon powder and boiling water. It should be fine in the tortilla soup but I really don’t care for it on its own.
    – I haunt my local Buy Nothing Facebook Group but there is one woman who posts “interested!” on nearly everything! People have asked her politely to share the names of the shelters or charities she is taking all-the-things for but she never tells us. I find it very frustrating especially when she informs us she can’t pick up something over the weekend because she will be at her beach house. Technically its up to the giver whether or not to give to the first person who expresses interest. When I give something away I either say “preference to soonest pickup” or “if multiple people are interested I will draw a name”. Anyway. The other day a woman was giving away new BarkBox dog toys since her dog doesn’t play with them. I was the first to respond and she wanted me to take them all, so I did. A month or so ago I had given away a basket full of toys my three dogs weren’t playing with – I washed the toys first in the washing machine. So much for decluttering!
    – I’m going into the office two days a week now but my bus service is still suspended indefinitely so my husband (retired) drives me in and picks me up. I’m not saving money or time but at least I don’t have to take public transportation with the Delta variant still around. Although I’m fully vaccinated since March, I have started to wear masks again when I go out and they are required in my building, except in my office with the door closed. I can get away with wearing the same two work dresses for the rest of the Summer especially since most of the people in my building are still WFH 5 days a week. I’m not sure why my boss feels WE have to come into the office when most people are not, except that HER boss said he wants to see the offices staffed in person.
    – I harvested cherry and grape tomatoes, a few strawberries and some green beans. I live in a City outside of Boston so all of my vegetables are grown in containers (the soil in the yard is beyond hope – lead, etc.). Therefore, I have one plant of each variety. This is my first year growing butternut squash and the single plant I have already has four squash on it – they are so cute! For some reason, my zucchini plant stopped producing after two zucchini. Lots of blossoms but no more fruit. I have only seen a few bees in my garden so that might be part of the problem. I am not dedicated enough to pollinate my own plants.
    – I sold an Eddie Bauer shirt on Poshmark for $15. Then I made the mistake of checking out the new HomeGoods store in my town and walked out with a Rae Dunn ceramic bird house, on clearance for…$15! It is adorable though and for decoration only.
    – Although I am the breadwinner in my household, DH manages the money. He’s better at it than I am and he has the time. He shared with me the new budget for 2022 – we do spend about $600 a month on food for 3 adults and 3 small rescued dogs but I think we can do better. Although Boston is a HCOLA, we have a lot of competition for our grocery dollars. However, I never, ever see the low prices that some of you post and it makes me wonder why our groceries are still so expensive.

    1. Most people are sharing their loss leaders, which are much better than the regular sales prices. I have several stores within a mile and a half from my house, so I am able to buy the best sales that are there just to get you in the door. Sometimes it is just one of two fantastic items at this price, which is why everyone shares, because it’s such an amazing deal.

      Some regions are definitely lower than others, too. My readers in Tennessee and nearby states usually share the lowest prices in the U.S.

      Some states charge sales tax on unprepared groceries, and some do not, which is another factor to consider.

      1. No tax on unprepared food in Massachusetts. Grocery stores’ ideas of loss leaders are “5 for $5” kind of deals.

        1. I live in the South and our stores run their loss leader items on a six week cycle, so I try to buy at least enough to get me through to the next sale. I have heard that other regions of the country are on a 12 week cycle which would be more challenging.
          If grocery prices are really challenging, one thing to consider is using the drug stores and their reward programs to buy non-food items. I mainly use CVS and have not paid for toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, sunscreen, toilet paper, paper towels, etc. , in the last ten years. The savings from the drugstore shopping could be used to offset the high grocery store prices.

          As Brandy pointed out, some areas of the country are just more expensive. On a recent trip to California a dozen eggs were priced at $3 at the Safeway store. We usually pay 89 cents per dozen at our Kroger. Living cheaply in California would be a challenge.

  49. I’m a bit late, but wanted to check in.

    This week I used a $5 gift card, earned from a survey, at Lowe’s. I also earned enough Swagbucks to get a $25 Amazon card for $22 this month.

    I used another survey gift card to buy two books for my bookworm grandchild as part of her Christmas present.

    I waited until we got cooled off (a relative term – it was a little bit cooler for Florida in summer) to bake a few things at once in the oven last night. I included a casserole we will eat tonight, so meal prep this evening will be fast.

    I used Swagbucks to purchase four Christmas gifts, earning 4 Swagbucks for every dollar spent, plus I had a coupon, plus they had a sale on two of the gifts.

    I paid all my bills through my bank’s Billpay or online through the companies’ websites, saving time, stamps, checks and envelopes.

    I picked the remaining elderberries, stemmed them and put them in the freezer for later.

    I used the saved juices from pressure cooking a pork roast, and made gravy for another pork meal on another day.

    I cooked some rather meaty chicken backs saved from cutting up a couple of hens, and made chicken and dumplings with them.

    I reused some old file folders for my home files. I write on them in pencil so I can re-use them.

  50. Hi Brandy,
    (I have not had time to read all the great blog and comments for the past few months, but just recently spent some time catching up on the July entries.)
    Your mention of All the Light We Cannot See reminded me of the book tour my church book group took related to this book at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts a couple of years ago. In non-Covid times, they do a monthly docent-led tour arranged around the theme of a specific book: the docent picks out items from the collection that they think are relevant to the book. It can be an interesting perspective, and it’s a free event. Since I was thinking of this, I looked to see if they are currently offering anything, and they are: the book tours are currently offered as free Zoom virtual events, at a few different times during the month. So people who live elsewhere could also register for the tours and participate, if they are interested. This is the link to the list of which books they’ll be focusing on for which month: https://new.artsmia.org/event/inspired-by-books/ There is a link on that page to the Zoom registration page. I’m not sure if the different times of the tours are conducted by different docents; if they are, it could be a different experience each time: the docents themselves get to pick out the items featured, so in the past, a tour focused around the same book but led by different docents could feature different items. (Now I need to remember to register for September and October, since those are books I have read!)

  51. I’m a little late posting, so maybe no one will even see this, but I wanted to share. Lol

    One night when it was too hot for me to cook, my husband picked up rotisserie chickens for dinner. I cooked the leftovers and carcasses and froze 9 cups of chicken broth. When he went to buy those, he was also going to buy fried chicken, but they were out. Kroger has a guarantee that if they don’t have the chicken you wanted, you get a raincheck, so he got a raincheck for chicken. Well, we went back today, and the fryer was down, so we got ANOTHER raincheck!

    We had friends over and served lunch meat subs, a reduced veggie tray, and make your own sundaes with store-bought brownies. Not too expensive for an evening of fun. We used the leftovers for lunches for ourself and I froze the sad looking celery that was in the veggie tray.

  52. Brandy, I am so sorry you are still sick. My husband had that bug and the first 2 days were horrible. He actually stayed home from work and that’s not like him at all. It’s been 2 1/2 weeks and he is finally feeling better. I got a shorten version of it, and mine only lasted 3 days. Love all of the information you put on your site, thank you! Feel better!

  53. We make a pass through Costco once a month but I have not always been careful to catch their monthly bargains. This month I carefully checked their mailer and found an unusual number of items on sale that we would use. I made note and purchased them all and counted up the savings, $25.10. Also, their 88% ground beef was only $2.99 per pound, a really good price. I bought a large pack.

    All in all, an excellent day for grocery bargains.

  54. Greetings, everybody. Long time reader, first time posting.

    We have embarked on a summer project of staining our exterior siding. The last 2 weekends have been prep — sanding and power washing, much done on a ladder. This weekend we hope to stain the front and south side of the house. We bought a paint sprayer … It speeds things up, but it takes a lot of cleanup at the end of the day.

    In addition to saving money, doing projects yourself helps you get the quality you want.
    All meals made at home … I got some splendid bargains on markdown meats at Kroger:
    bone-in chicken breast $0.67/lb; about 8 lbs
    chicken leg quarters $0.74/lb; about 3 lbs
    ground beef $2.22/lb; about 3 lbs
    hot Italian sausages: $2/lb; about 2.5 lbs
    ground lamb $3/lb; 2 lbs (Regular price is $10/lb !!!)
    high-end premade burgers; half-price
    ground pork $2/lb; bought 2 lbs
    Yesterday, I made and cooked meatballs, meatloaf, lamb meatballs, and roast chicken. (It was cooler and rainy; no problem running the oven)
    Deboned the chicken and used the crockpot to make stock.
    Today I grilled burgers, sausage, and lamb patties.
    Much of the cooked meats went into my (overstuffed) freezer. Froze meatballs, lamb meatballs, ground pork, grilled burgers, and most of the sausage.
    And I got most of the meat wrappers into the trash just before the garbage was picked up!
    Tomorrow I’ve got to use up some of the bits–and-pieces of veggies and some markdown mushrooms … maybe I’ll make a mushroom/broccoli soup.

    I have tremendous amount of energy first thing in the morning, but it dissipates as the day goes on. I cook a lot in the a.m. and heat up plates for dinner.
    Menu plan:
    Tuesday – leftovers
    Wed — burgers/lamb burgers
    Thursday — chicken stew (using a simmer sauce that’s been in the pantry too long)
    Friday — meatloaf
    Saturday — leftovers
    Sunday — chicken casserole
    Monday — maybe pasta? I’ll have to see what the leftover situation is.
    One of the most frugal things I do is pack DH’s lunch. He takes 3 small proteins, 2 ‘bars’ (like granola bars, but he prefers the prepackaged stuff), a fruit, a vegetable, and a V8 drink.
    For example, today was
    2 deviled eggs (4 halves)
    1 cup cottage cheese
    4 meatballs topped with salsa
    canned pineapple
    crudités with ranch dressing

    I made up and portioned out enough meatballs and deviled eggs for Thursday and Friday. That’ll make tomorrow’s prep much faster.

  55. Not sure what is going on here is frugal, though at least at present, we have had no unexpected expenses.
    Traveled some hundreds of miles to my mother-in-law’s postponed funeral. Met good family members who wished everyone to be well-fed!
    Took food for in the car and motel, and the new-to-us vehicle gets better gas mileage than previous one. Found fast food prices varied more than I expected across states, and they are going up.
    Filled out “How was your stay” survey from the motel with such detail that the manager emailed back and offered me 30% off our next stay. I worked housekeeping one summer long ago and always fill out such surveys. I tailor my comments to appreciate the challenges of their work, (especially keeping and supervising a staff in Covid-times), yet call on them to keep their standards up. I email reply thanked him.
    Husband is having knee surgery tomorrow, so we can use equipment from mine when he gets home, (walker, ice bags, etc.).
    Interviewed two realtors to decide who we will list my parents’ home with. Both are professional, though their styles are very different.
    Confirmed that our phones are on the “Do Not Call List”, using that website. I am tired of paying 20 cents a call for SPAM calls!

  56. Brandy,
    I hope you are feeling better. There is a strange bug (non covid) going around.
    I really like the photo of the flower but am not quite sure what it is?
    Also, congratulations on the reduction in water consumption! That is absolutely fabulous.

    I had written a post but it seems to have disappeared. Like Margie from Toronto, I have been watching the Olympics. I also was doing the mind-numbing job of correcting the punctuation in the bibliography of our book. I can hardly wait until it is finished (probably another month). I got my blueberries washed and frozen. I saw that Walmart has Ontario peaches for sale at $2.84 per 3 L and nectarines at the same price for 2 L. There are about 9 peaches in the clamshell – they are quite small which is fine with me. I am going to buy some and put them in my freezer. Normally I get organic peaches from B.C. but won’t this year. In a couple of weeks I will get Italian prune plums from the farmers’ market which are easy to freeze and are great stewed on a cold winter’s day.

    I also note that Superstore has Western Canada yellow peaches on sale for $1.26 per pound which is hard to beat.

    I was stung by a hornet/wasp. Luckily because of the forest fire smoke, I had an abundant supply of allergy medicine on hand. And I was lucky because although I was swarmed by about 20, only one stung me (and then lightly) and on my ample derriere. Two came in the house but I swatted them against the window and luckily did not break the glass. Still I was sick for about a day. But extremely lucky. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get rid of them. My back garage door lock could not be fixed due to its proximity to the nest. The lock company said when I am ready that they will not charge me the service call fee. They charged $267 to replace my front door lock. It was really expensive for the front door but I could not get out that way as the lock that was broken was in the door knob and the back door was inaccessible due to hornets so I was down to one way outside which involved stairs and then climbing a hillside to get to the front. I am glad I got them to do it and not a neighbour because it turned out that it was not a standard lock that was needed. Tomorrow the security system repairman is replacing the second wired-in smoke detector as a preventative measure so it doesn’t suddenly fail like the first one downstairs. It is going to be a super expensive month. I am trying to keep my spirits up. Things could be worse. I have been living mostly off my pantry — so much for being prepared. I will have to stock it back up again. Covid numbers are rapidly rising here.

    1. Both are Lilliput White Zinnia, in different stages.

      I’m so sorry you were stung.

  57. Brandy, you pumpkin chocolate chip bread is in my file to try. You gave me an idea if I find fresh figs somewhere. I have a recipe for Apple Danish. One day I decided to substitute apple butter and we loved it. I think figs would be equally good.

    I was looking at a recipe book that was celebrating 50 years of DuPont being in our city that came from my parents. It was so interesting looking at the ways recipes changed when things like Pepperidge farm dressing, canned biscuits, Veg All, V-8, etc. came out. Also, Velveeta was used in just about everything with cheese. But there were a few recipes from the 30s (older than the plant) that were printed too. Some had to be made outside in very large pots over a fire when you read the quantity made and canned. One was for ketchup! I had to read one to the guys about someone cooking a salt cured ham for Christmas dinner. It involved sawing the end off, cutting out any mold, how many hours it took to cook, and then taking a knife and cutting squares on top to make it look pretty. I think they were feeding about 30 people. Wow! I asked DS if he knew what it would mean to see a fryer in the ingredients. “Something to cook in.” No, a whole chicken. Weird face. I had to admit I hadn’t heard that since I was little. I also found familiar names and recipes that my Mom had made over the years given to her as the book wasn’t published until after Dad retired.

    Ok, on to this post before this week is over. I washed some storage bins and specialty combs and donated them along with a book. I have continued decluttering. DS has done some old school files; DH, papers on the desk. They were also given a new battery for the new one that didn’t work for the riding mower. So far so good.

    A couple things from the previous week. I made chili beans using frozen hamburger, canned tomato sauce and beans. When I made the Reuben casserole I used some cut up frozen swiss cheese slices that came with the bargain tray we bought in the Spring instead of shredding more block cheese as we don’t use the slices that often. I still have plenty.

    I made an English roast and substituted some cut small squash for potatoes in the crock pot. I combined leftovers with fresh salads, tomatoes, etc. for a meal. I still have some small portions of things in the freezer than I plan to use for meals to clear them out. While I was baking something I refilled and went through my spices and started making a list to order. I combined 2 containers of chicken cubes and kept the jar after washing.

    I went back to CVS for DH’s supplies and paid $3.46 (16.39 purchase) instead of 5.49 with an extra .66 EB on the bottom of the last ticket and a 30% coupon about to expire on top of the $10 & $1 EB earned on last purchase. This is probably the best deal I’ve gotten since they changed the percent off coupons from the mail to being deducted last.

    I went back to Big Lots and used the $10 off $40 coupon to get 2 large containers of laundry detergent, 2 large soap refills, 1 Old Spice BW, 9 Rotel diced tomatoes, and a snack to go with dinner. I should have enough detergent and hand soap refills for 6 months or more. Dinner was chicken salad with rye bread/mixed crackers, raw vegetable, and strawberries and the movie was “News of the World” with Tom Hanks. It was very good.

    I also went to Walmart and they were stocked well for a nice change. I purchased some regular groceries as well as stock ups like canned meats, carrots, 2 large cans of pumpkin on the shelf (haven’t seen in a long time). I would have gotten some other things but I was by myself. I freeze carrots but I bought some that looked real good at Aldi until I took them out and they had some big, bad places on them. I hope its a fluke, but I want to be prepared for winter.

    I also got a new canner but haven’t had the opportunity to try it out yet, maybe tomorrow.

    There is a 50% off coupon for Belk in store and online that was extended until August 8th. Check App.

    DH and DS bagged some small pieces of wood from projects, etc. and took it to the dump. They trimmed part of the dogwood in the back that was too close to the Rose of Sharon. I trimmed the Rose of Sharon except for some high ones that DH cut for me. I have never seen one so tall and the blooms are on top of each other since it gets more sun. When planted, it was a hybrid with large white with red center flowers. About 5 years later another came up on the other side that bloomed purple with a red center. I plan to root cuttings from it and a pink one in my MILs yard. We had to drip the dogwood in front as the sunny side dropped some red leaves like fall. It helped. No rain here last week. We have 9 ft. of access in the back that wasn’t level so we are trying to gradually fill it. I believe there are some small trees that are coming up that can be cut down to allow more sun like it was. The nursery that was behind it has 9 ft. access too and they use to clear their part every year. The owners died and it has been allowed to grow wild.

    I hope there is corn at the Farmer’s Market soon. As dry as its been I don’t think the growing season will be as long as usual and we have only had a few weeks of things coming in.

    Have a wonderfully productive week in whatever you do!

  58. I haven’t gone through all the comments yet, so perhaps you’ve already answered this. But what type of blackberry do you grown? I am in growing zone 4b and have been seeing what may grow well around here. My father has tried blackberries in the past with no luck, sadly. But I’m thinking of giving it a whirl.

  59. You mentioned that you had filled your van with gas. Here in England petrol (gas) is much more expensive. We pay the equivalent of $7.44 per gallon at the moment which means it costs the equivalent of 35 cents to travel one mile in our car. You can imagine that we are travelling by car as little as possible and making every journey count!

    1. Yes; I have lived in Europe and it is much higher there. We limit trips here too.

  60. Your comment about turning the garage sale jeans into shorts for your daughter sparked inspiration in me. I have a hard time finding used jean shorts in the size my daughter needs and the styles she likes. Her favorite shorts can run $40-$50 at Lane Bryant, and still around $25 on clearance. Ouch. Sometimes I can find jeans at yard sales, but they’re usually boot-cut (which she doesn’t like.) I don’t know why I never thought of making them into shorts though! That is brilliant.

    Last week I had inservice every day, plus got my classroom ready and met my students in an outdoor meet-and-greet on a 96 degree day. It was a LONG week. I still cooked almost every night, though. Thank goodness for the crockpot and the dishwasher. I tend to neglect my garden once school starts back, but this year it’s getting more attention. There are loads of tomatoes daily. Have been starting new seeds, but each time I plant a new seedling it gets eaten. It’s happened 3x now. We have a fenced in yard with no critters—only marauding birds, which must be the culprit. I guess I need to cover the seedlings with a berry basket or something. I really wanted to get a second run of zucchini and yellow squash but I’m not sure I’ll be able to get them going in time.

    My $5 Kohl’s reward that was going to expire July 31, so I used it to get my son a new Star Wars shirt for the first day of school. After the reward and coupon code, I paid $4. He loves it. He also needed new underwear; Target had a 10-pack for $12. I got two. He has grown so much over the past year that it’s hard to keep him in even the basics!

    I made homemade spaghetti sauce but my family did not like it. We’ll stick with Ragu, I guess! I froze the leftover sauce in case I can figure out another use for it. Sauce for baked beans, maybe? Over the weekend I read The Family Garden Plan by Melissa K. Norris and it was really motivating. I would love to grow enough veg to last our family for the year; her charts and extra tidbits really make it seem doable. The gardening info wasn’t really new to me, but would be great for a beginner. Now I’m reading her other book, The Made From Scratch Life. The man at the library checkout said, “Looks like you have big plans.” LOL

    Thanks to the person who posted about the free ibuprofen on the CVS app last week! I was able to get that, plus use my expiring extrabucks to get some items we needed (and some I wanted…chocolate.) I have been holding out on signing up for the extraCarePass that they offer, although it does seem like a good deal. Does anyone here recommend it?

    1. I have used the CarePass for about 18 months and I like it. I pay $48 for a year long CarePass and receive a $10 ExtraCare buck every month in return. You will also get 20% off some CVS brand items and free shipping as well. The $10 ECB is considered a store discount so it “eats” the sales tax on the $10. If you don’t have sales tax in your area that might not be a consideration but our tax is 7% on non-food items and 3% on food, so the CarePass bucks saves me an additional 70 cents on some items.

  61. Hello friends! Let’s see……
    The freezer part of my fridge gave up the ghost last week. I finally had a repair person come out this morning to look at it (why is it that almost no one works on Samsung models??) and he said the cost to fix it would be $800 and there is no guarantee it would work. The fridge is 13 years old and came with the house when I bought it. So I guess I’m going to be spending part of my weekend comparing prices on options that will fit. Hopefully I will be able to find something reasonable.

    I am finishing up The Last Bookshop in London and loving it! Thank goodness for the library! Tomorrow I will go in and browse and pick up some new titles. Library browsing is one of my very favorite pastimes.

    I have been canning every single day. This morning I finished up with the peaches I had (3 more jars). Slowly but surely I will get as much canned as possible. This weekend I will do tomato sauce and salsa. It’s a lot of work but I will be very glad I did it come January.

    I bought some homemade soaps as part of a fundraiser that benefits my local farm animal sanctuary where I volunteer. They are beautifully made and locally sourced. I try to buy all holiday gifts locally throughout the year so this was a benefit for the farm animals, and made a dent in the list. I call it a win.

    My dogs and I have been eating Hermiston watermelons daily (YUM!) as they are finally ready! I LOVE watermelon and these are the tastiest in my opinion. My neighbor happened to spot them while they were out shopping so they delivered one to me as well! Yay for an extra melon!

    Everyone’s gardens are just going crazy right now. I love that all the neighbors share the bounty with everyone else. I handed tomatoes over the fence to one neighbor, and they returned with some Korean cucumbers. I took lemon cucumbers to another neighbor who gave me some zucchini. I love that it all finds a home and we all get to share in the produce!

    Covid numbers are up again in our area and I am immune compromised so I am mostly staying home. The library has been my one outing as it is necessary for my mental health to have books. If they go back to pick up only that would be fine as well, as long as I can get my books! I hope you all are well, take care.

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