Last week we had highs around 101 degrees, so it’s still quite hot here, but it is cool enough that my tomatoes have started to flower again! Hopefully, we’ll be able to harvest some before our frosts arrive in November/December. We’ll pick everything green and let them finish ripening inside when a frost is expected.

I harvested Armenian cucumbers, chives, green onions, Thai basil, and Genovese basil from our garden. I dried the Genovese basil.

I took stock of my seeds and looked to see what I need to order for next year. I am expecting higher prices next year, and some things I need to plant now. I have most of the seeds I need, but there are a few that I would like that I was not able to collect enough seeds from this year, so I ordered those now to avoid higher prices later. I am really glad that I have been growing open-pollinated plants and collecting seeds from them for myself.

I purchased two grapefruit trees (to replace my pear trees that we are taking out) on sale. The sale price is $29.88; the regular price is $34.88. I am not quite ready to plant them as I still need to remove the trees and add more soil to the location, as they are near a spot where the ground has sunk that needs to be fixed first. The sinking beds are what has prompted us to make the changes in the garden this year, though we have long considered making some changes. I trimmed the bottom branches off to encourage more growth near the top and gave them some worm compost and nitrogen to encourage new growth. These are tiny trees (only about 18 inches tall!) so it will be several years before we can harvest from them. I put the pots in a spot with lots of sun to also encourage their growth. I set the pots inside two plastic pots that I got for free the week before just because they’re prettier to look at. Plastic pots disintegrate in the sun here within one to two years, so I can’t really use them for anything long-term.

I also purchased two 5-gallon Japanese Boxwood bushes on sale to plant in pots that I already have. I plan to purchase more of these in the future, but I will wait until I am ready to install them in the garden (hopefully by next spring, and then I will watch for another sale, though I imagine the new prices will be higher then). I moved the plants that were currently in the pots I am using in with other plants where they will get more sun. I also trimmed the plants to encourage them to start to branch out and fill in. I plan to grow these plants as topiary spheres in the garden. I have found that trimming encourages lateral branches to form and fill in more quickly than if I just let the bush grow taller for several years.

I canned four quarts of giardiniera with Armenian cucumbers from our garden.

The mornings have been cool enough to have the windows open until about 8 a.m., so I have been opening the windows to air out and cool down the house each morning. I also adjusted our programmable thermostats to 80 degrees in the early hours of the morning so that they won’t run at 4 a.m. as they have been (I have it at 79 then). It’s a small thing, and the air conditioner will only run through October, but I know small things all add up. I’ve been waking up around 4 lately, so I can open the windows when the temperatures have finally cooled.

I took two of my daughters to the thrift store to look for some clothes. Because of Covid, we could not try anything on, and their return policy of only returning clothing items for store credit has not changed, so I only purchased a few items. One daughter found a pair of jeans, a sweater, and a long-sleeved t-shirt. One found a couple of pairs of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, but the jeans (the item she needed the most) did not fit. One pair ended up fitting her older sister (the younger one is a bit taller) and one fit her younger sister; they just needed to be hemmed! (I hemmed them to fit her). I found a Banana Republic pullover for myself for $7, and a cardigan for $3. I noted that there was a survey at the bottom of the receipt for a 15% off future clothing purchase. I completed the receipt and printed out the coupon to use when we go back.

After the thrift store, we stopped at the grocery store on the way home. I had not read the ads and had not planned anything for dinner. I never stop at the store for something unplanned for dinner that same night. I found that I did not like the stress of the experience and was tempted to buy more than one item that was not a regular purchase, and that would have also been above my regular spending amount. I had a great opportunity to talk with my daughters about the price of different food items and why I didn’t just go buy certain things. In the end, I found whole chickens on sale for $0.59 a pound! My normal stock up price is $0.79 a pound. I was very happy to find that price and I bought five large chickens. Because it was so late, I also bought one package of boneless skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.99 a pound for dinner that night. While this is within my price point for meat (I stick to purchasing meat on sale for under $2.00 a pound), I have been buying meat more often only when it is on sale for under $1 a pound in order to purchase more meat within our budget.

My husband discovered a way to make a tool we had work for part of our backyard work, saving us $80 plus tax to buy something we would only have needed for the backyard.

I continued to work on my plans for the backyard. There are parts of the garden that are not as productive or as useful as they could be. I made adjustments to my design to make those areas more conductive to growth and also more useful for the entire family to enjoy time in the garden.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Some people have asked why I make quilts (almost always using scraps and stash I have at home) that I don’t have an immediate plan for! They go into my gift cupboard for busy weeks like this!
    I delivered this baby quilt I made to a new mom in our congregation:
    Gave this lap size quilt to a recently-widowed friend of ours: and
    No OOP cost, no extra trip to store or time expended. When the need came, they were ready to take over to their new homes! And every “extra” quilt I make is a way to practice and
    refine my skills anyway! 😉 And hopefully, the quilting part is a way to bring in some extra money to use to further our financial goals!
    With that in mind, I have started a new paper pieced baby quilt that has 48 six inch blocks. Again, using scraps and I’ll quilt it with leftover, pieced batting and leftover backing trimmings from a previous quilt. So, no OOP cost on this PLUS it will be a way to declutter leftover batting and backing pieces!! Here it is (in progress- 24 more blocks to go) on my design wall:

    I grouted the serving counter by our BBQ. We built it last year but then weather turned too cold to grout before winter set in. We’ve been busy but I was determined this would get done! It will have time to cure before our overnight temperatures go down this week! Feels so good to get one of the nagging little unfinished projects get done!!
    Our worms have been moved into the basement for the winter. They are thriving and we want to make sure they continue to do well!

    I belong to a local online gardening group and as part of the group, they have a Plant Library which is an old car wash stall that they have put shelving in. If you have plants, seeds, gardening stuff that you’d like to share, you put it there. All free. One gardener had lots of spider plant babies and so I asked for a couple and she put my name on a little pot with them. So I now have the chance to expand my indoor plants without feeling worried that I will have wasted $$ if they don’t live! Isn’t that a fun idea?

    I found a new mix idea to keep on my pantry shelf that will save time! It is just 3 ingredients mixed together to replace greasing and then flouring your baking pans. One simple step and no mess to clean up! Here’s a link to Pan Coat: Since I’m lazy and cheap, this really appealed to me!! Lol!

    I was able to make 5 extra principal payments on our mortgage this week! In the last 6 months, our mortgage has gone from a bit over $30K down to $15.7K . We can feel the momentum building!!

    Using digital coupons, sales and ibotta, I added more body wash (free) and big 28 Oz bottles of Tresemme shampoo and conditioner for 49 cents! My personal care pantry continues to grow 1-2 bottles at a time, but it does add up! So, no matter whether stores run low or the winter is hard or we just don’t want to spend time and gas to go shopping, we will be okay! My daughters and I have a group text where we alert each other to great sales. It’s a fun way to keep on top of sales we might have otherwise missed!

    I saw a book – The Family Garden Plan, that I thought sounded interesting . It was published in January 2020. About $20 on Amazon and I could have it at my doorstep in 48 hours! Instead, I checked my local library just for giggles and guess what? They have it and I will have it in my hands in 48 hours!! Reminded me again why it’s always smart to check the library first (especially when it’ something you can check online!)

    After spending a long morning hedge trimming, bundling branches and tying them and filling 8 additional yard waste bags for pick up tomorrow, we stopped for lunch! Hubs took a photo of what he made himself for lunch and posted the photo along with the following comment on FB- “Use-it-up lunch: Panera leftover croissant with homemade chicken salad (thank you Pat J. Lewis) on a bed of veggies from the garden – cucumber slices, tomato slices, and chopped swiss chard!” Is it any wonder I love this guy (50 years so far!) We work so well as a team and are unified on the important-to-us goals and values! He makes life fun even when it’s hard!!
    It seems like there’s so much uncertainty in the world around us, but faith and family are still anchors that keep me focused on what’s truly important in life! And life is good when I focus on those!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Those quilts are lovely! I am a quilter, sometimes. I need to get moving on some projects. We have a small house though (2BR, living room) and 4 people. With both of us working at home right now and both kids in virtual school…I don’t have the room. My husband even installed some working electronic equipment on folding tables in the corning of the living room. Hopefully by the holidays I’ll have some space again.

      1. Marcia- These times are SO crazy, with people working from home, kids doing e-learning,etc! Nothing is “normal”! There will be time to get back to quilting! One thing I did prior to having hand surgery and wasn’t allowed to cut out or sew was to make up “kits”. I’d pick out
        a pattern I wanted to make and put a copy of it into a ziploc bag. Then I would look through my fabric stash for fabrics or scraps and start cutting the pieces needed and labeling them in sandwich ziplocs. This was able to keep me occupied and “quilting” for days/weeks just doing little bits at a time! Usually, I’d set my timer for 15- 20 minutes and after timer went off, everything had to be put away so it wasn’t taking up space. Even the little bits of time gave me something to look forward to and let me feel like I was still getting my quilt “therapy”! 😉 This may not work for you, but hopefully might be a springboard for your own creative ideas!
        Good luck and God bless!
        Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Dianna- I know! I’ve followed her also and taken her previous books out from our library. Been able to copy some of her recipes that way. I just got word from our library that I can pick up this new one on planning your garden today! The synopsis in her ad for it says that it shows you how to calculate the number of plants needed for a year for whatever size your family is! That’s the part I’m most interested in!

    2. Great job on your mortgage garden pat! I’m feeling your momentum too!
      Soooo great to see you paying this down so fast. I look forward to seeing it done for you! 😀

      1. Meg- Thanks so much! It means a lot to read your support! In posting about our mortgage pay down, I haven’t wanted to sound like I was bragging. But it’s not the sort of thing you bring up in conversation with people you meet. This forum is a “safe” place to post those wins as well as those “what was I thinking” fails! It’s a nice way to start the week- to read how Brandy and all of you have found ways to make the best use of whatever resources you have in whatever circumstances you are all in! Inspires me to try new ideas and to keep pushing along!
        Again- Thanks!

      1. Dawnelle- the chicken salad in it was a new-to-me recipe that used hard boiled eggs (courtesy of our chickens) and chopped red onion (courtesy of our garden)and home canned pickle relish! The chicken was leftover from a whole chicken I cooked in the IP a few days before!
        So, a real Use It Up kind of meal!!

  2. I spent most of my energy using up what I had: freezing extra corn, cauliflower, asparagus, peaches, and winter squash so they wouldn’t go bad and so I would have a little extra in storage. I am making it a priority to eat leftovers so that little food goes to waste–and I also end up cooking less.
    I made two batches of banana nut bread, some of which I froze and gave away, and also a batch of cornbread. I had an extra loaf to put into the freezer.
    I am working on using my stash of yarn to make items to donate.
    I read books from the library, went running and to free yoga classes, walked to my library and organized some of the spaces in my home.
    I’ve noticed that grocery prices are higher–about 10-15% than the last few weeks. I’m grateful I have food put by and the means to get additional food as needed.
    I, too, am enjoying the cooler weather.
    May you each have a blessed and peaceful week.

  3. *I found a missing key, saving me the $40 replacement key fee.
    *Inspired by my cleaning, my hubby cleaned his dresser and found his missing SS card, saving him a large amount of time trying to get a replacement card.
    *I found I already had some shorts that I was about to purchase.
    *I made “apple juice” using peelings that I had left over from making some dried apples.
    *I am attempting to root some fresh mint pieces that I bought at the grocery store for a recipe, instead of simply chopping them all up for my salad.
    Pictures and details on my blog at:
    Looking forward to reading what everyone has been up to! I am always learning new things from everyone!
    I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

  4. I took a quick drive out to the mountains today to see the golden larches(tamarack) and aspen in their gorgeous fall colours. I have booked a week away on Vancouver Island next month–staying at 2 different apts for free using free guest exchange points which had accumulated on my home exchange site. I will still need to cover gas, ferry and a small cleaning charge but I can prepare my meals onsite. Looking forwaed to a week by the ocean. and having free accommodation is great. I will also stop and visit DD who lives in Vancouver.

    We are still eating some tomatoes my friend brought over-mostly able to keep up as the green ones are ripening. I expect she will bring us more veggies when she visits next week. Entertainment tonight will be the hockey game on TV.

    1. How I envy you! This time last year I took my 90 year old fried to see the golden larches! Although I am not able to go, it’s good to know that they are at their gorgeous peak right now! Ann

  5. I found quite a few good deals at the grocery store. I started using the app for the local store, so I get savings on things that I buy regularly. I still only buy stuff if it’s a good price, mostly. Pasta was really low priced this week, but I can only eat gluten free.

    We made some good inexpensive meals. Pasta, stew, etc. We ran out of eggs, so we made bread for breakfast and I ate oatmeal. I found ground turkey on sale, so we made turkey burgers. A few weeks ago, I’d tried this turkey burger recipe but didn’t have buns. I found a recipe for buns and tried them – husband and kids loved them (again, I can’t eat them). So now we’ve made them 3 times!

    I sliced up the overripe bananas and put into the freezer for smoothies, because it’s going to be hot this week.

    It’s been cool here, so lots of open windows (that ends this week). We have been keeping ourselves busy with walks in the neighborhood, games, card games, and Netflix.

    I got myself a electronic library card and borrowed a book from the library. First time! My existing hard card is so old it is not linked to anything. It was easier to get a new one and link the accounts later.

    I spent some relaxing time crocheting a wrap for my sister.

      1. Thanks, I, for the info but unfortunately I’m not able to go anywhere. If I drove I’d either drive there
        or Kananaskis but I can’t drive nor be in anybody else’s car. Friends have gone in the park and taken photos for the book and the yellow aspen leaves are at their prime, too. I am enjoying the bright blue sky and the yellow aspen leaves in my backyard. I also envy your upcoming trip to Vancouver Island. If it were closer to Christmas, I’d ask you to deliver Christmas presents to Victoria for me! It is a real pain to no longer have Greyhound for shipping parcels. Is your duck pond by Cougar Ridge? I know the one I think. Friends have taken their own chairs and have recently gone to Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and have seen a kingfisher, the usual wood ducks, and other birds. Ann

        PS I have a larch in my yard but it hasn’t turned colour yet!

  6. How nice things are beginning to fall into place, with your new garden plans. I’m glad you were able to find the grapefruit on sale. My husband and I took a vacation to the coast. We went to several thrift stores, and found some great deals. He got several brand new work pants, and a like new Woolrich thick flannel shirt. I found two dresses, a skirt, cashmere sweater, linen shirt, cotton sheets and sewing supplies. I’m harvesting figs, pears, sweet peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, basil, oregano, black eyed peas, winter and tromboncino squash, and a few tomatoes. We planted sweetfern, which my husband bought for my birthday, as well as plants we had heeled in in the spring… service berry, false indigo, buttonbush, and oregon grape. A couple of hazelnut volunteers were transplanted, as well as a wild indigo and black currant that were not thriving where they were. I’m gathering wild muscadines and hickory nuts as I see them. Most of the fall plants are coming along nicely, though only one of the three varieties of lettuce has germinated, in two different spots.

    1. Laurie, I love to read about what you grow and harvest in your garden – all those delicious fruits and veggies and nuts. I sense a gentle and sweet spirit around you. You are truly blessed. My mom made the lower sugar version of the cranberry/pear jam you posted a while back and she said it is delicious!

  7. Last week I bulked cooked a few meals and made sure we ate all the food. We went to an event with our homeschool group to play at a local playground. For enjoyment, I have been watching the Get Organized show on Netflix. I have been getting ideas on how to reorganize different areas of our house. I am using items I already own for changing things around.

  8. Made chicken broth from 3 carcasses and got 12 cups broth in the freezer plus one quart size ziploc of shredded chicken.

    A local convenient store had Burt Bees chapstick marked down to $1 a tube. Purchased 10.

    The clutch went out in hubby’s truck and parts were covered under warranty just had to pay for labor(still pricey at $400)

    Mom sent over 2 loaves french bread(gave one to the neighbor) , garlic spread, 8 eggs, cookies, turkey deli meat, and shampoo.

    Hubby’s expensive sunglasses broke and the manufacturer are replacing them under the warranty. .10 to print out the shipping label to send them in, reused a box we already had. This is the second pair they’ve replaced

    Drained juice out of canned fruit for Ambrosia salad and put in the refrigerator to use in smoothies (ok, I drank the pineapple juice but saved the mandarin orange and maraschino cherry juice)

    Hubby found a 15 pound brisket marked down to $21 at the store. Cut it in half and froze to use at a later time.

    We used to use the 3 pound packs of Wright bacon ends and pieces all the time but price crept up to close to $9 a pack. I found packs marked down to 4.50 each and purchased 2.

    Was able to keep the air conditioning off most days. The temperatures crept up this weekend and had to turn it on in the afternoons.

    While I was at the library, I printed off a $5 reward certificate to Best Buy. Ill probably use it to buy a pack of batteries.

  9. We have been blessed to find meat on clearance lately. First we found 93/7 hamburger for $1.99/#! Then another day we stopped for a sale item that wasn’t the quality I wanted. My husband discovered a marked down chicken for $.69/# and a pork roast that was supposed to be $1.29/#. As we looked, we found one marked $.77/# which was too big for our family of 3, but we had them cut it so we now have meat for several meals at very low cost. Our garden is over for the year. We ended up with 672 pounds of potatoes which will be shared with family, friends, other pastors, and a food shelf. We like being able to share this way since our income is limited.
    We also decided to invest in new windows for our house. Currently, some are single pane original windows and all are very worn.. Our neighbor whose house is the same age actually had a window fall out. All will be able to open and are double paned which is much better for Fairbanks winters. Only 3 of the 8 currently open so we are hopeful to notice a much warmer house during the winter and a cooler house next year. Since my husband will probably be retiring, soon, we needed to improve our housing situation. We heat to 64 degrees all winter, so less drafts will be welcome. We will have to come up with new coverings, but will decide on that when they are here.none of our windows were standard sized, so it will take time to manufacture them.
    We froze 18 pints of celery this year. My husband had planted some seeds which were not ready in time to plant. Instead we potted them and will try to grow them inside. Whatever we get will be welcome in our long winters! Like others, I am slowly adding items to our pantry as sales occur. We ate out of our pantry for several weeks at the beginning of covid. Finally we wanted fresh fruit, milk, and bread but were continuing to do well otherwise. We also notice rising prices and some items being unavailable. Continue to prepare, stay safe, and take care of others. Thanks again Brandy for this blog!

  10. We got a load of free mulch delivered by a tree trimming company.
    I took cuttings of my collard trees, some for myself, some for neighbors and some for community garden. We are eating zucchini, tomatoes, collards, lettuce, arugula from our garden. And fresh figs from our neighbors. When the figs are over, another neighbor’s persimmons should be close to ripe.
    I helped with food distribution at the nearby food bank.
    I hemmed a pair of my shorts and took in a shirt. I finished a special order of 3 happy birthday banners and mailed them off. I am working on a special order apron. I picked up old jeans from 2 ladies, which will be used for my sewing business.
    I had lovely chats on the phone with an aunt, a good friend and 2 of my adult children. Those are all a delight.
    My husband extended one of my raised beds and we planned out the area that is our orchard, which needs mulch (the free stuff!).
    Blessings to all!

  11. The weather here in Ontario has been lovely so we’ve enjoyed open windows and no air conditioning or heat needed. I am still gathering in cherry tomatoes and peppers from the garden. My husband is working on expanding the garden and it should be ready for next year at planting time. No Frills had apples for .67$ a pound so I bought 5 pounds to can the last of the applesauce I’ll make for the year. I canned some pear sauce today from pears my mom bought for me so I think I am almost at the end of my canning for the season. We have now sold $65 worth of items on our local neighbourhood buy and sell group which will go directly to buying groceries. We are well stocked at the moment so this $65 will go a long way on the few essentials we will need.

    Hope everyone has a good week.

  12. Sounds like you’ve been busy! This week has been a quite normal week for me. I’m working from home and that has been challenging as I’m not accustomed to it but it is getting better. This week to save money I have:
    *line dried all my laundry
    *cooked from ingredients I had on hand.
    *didn’t use fabric softener. I ran out a couple weeks ago and didn’t bother to buy more.
    *I’m part of a clothing rotation and received 3 boxes of clothing in my size. I took out what I wanted and replaced the items with clothes that no longer worked for me.
    *I made my own body scrub with salt and a sample of Dr. Bronners soap
    *My friend gifted me 20 cans of cat food. I don’t have a cat but my munchkin loves cats (I”m allergic) and he feed the friendly TNR strays that live around our neighborhood. They are friendly and well taken care of and well loved. Now the kid and the cats will be happy during the colder months.
    *I found out my medication was lowered to $3/pill.
    *Mid-Autumn Festival is this week and I’ve been gifted a box of kiwi, some fancy juice, and some red ginseng extract. The red ginseng extract is being gifted to someone who will use it more than I will.
    *I’m crocheting a sweater as a birthday gift.
    *I’ve sorted through the children’s bookshelf and now have a box of books to use as small gifts for birthday presents and other gifts.
    *I bought a pair of Lularo Halloween leggings for $5 to wear to a party.
    *We stay home most of the time.
    *I gifted several bottles of hair conditioner that never worked for me to a friend.
    *my donate pile continues to grow! It feels nice to declutter.

    1. I find that if I used the timed dry, I never need fabric softener. My husband taught me this trick when we were first married. If you don’t overdry your clothes, they never have static issues–even in our dry climate. I haven’t used fabric softener sheets or liquid softener for 20 years.

      1. I’ve never been able to conquer static by timing it correctly. Who knows what I do wrong? Anywho, I use wool dryer balls. This last spring, I bought 6 and gave my daughter 3 in her quarantine box. For me, they work. And, they last about forever. I only had to buy them because I forgot them at the cabin and, well, life intervened in my getting back there. I do believe you can make and felt them as well. I saw a video on it and it looked doable. I was just too tired.


      2. I use wool dryer balls as well. I found them a few years ago at Marshalls. They work beautifully to reduce static and drying time! A few drops of essential oil on the balls while drying scents naturally.

      3. I have a ventless dryer that is tricky and often doesn’t seem to dry very well. Ventless dryers are weird and tricky to use. I’ve tried using the timer and haven’t had success. In any event I usually dry on a drying rack.

  13. I’ve been working on planting a fall garden. The neighbor’s cat, while beautiful, is a jerk and likes digging in my beds. I used a staple gun and some plastic mesh I had in the deck box to cover the beds; hope it helps.

    Apples are on sale now, so I’m drying them like crazy. Tried a recipe for apple scrap jelly with the peels and cores; tasty! We have a shocking amount of jams and jellies now. I should probably stop until it’s marmalade season.

    Bought seeds for next year’s garden because I’m concerned about supply. I have plenty to share.

      1. Jennifer,
        I have cats who think it their duty to dig in the garden 🙂 If you can catch him/her in the act, spray them with the hose. The cat will definitely stay away for awhile!

  14. I so admire your consistency when it comes to controlling your food budget. I had a massive fail Sunday morning. I had hoped to give mom a special treat and support the new Tim Horton’s in town and ordered breakfast via Doordash. $29 and 40 minutes later I had three breakfast entrées, an apple specialty, and 20 donut holes. But mom wasn’t particularly hungry and refused both entrées I had bought for her. She did eat 1/4 of the apple goodie and, eventually, three donut holes. Sigh. She would have preferred the King Arthur microwave bread pudding that had been my first idea (and that will be dessert today). I told mom I need to ban DoorDash except for true emergencies or very, very rare treats.
    Last night, I watched Youtube videos, as penance, on how to eat for very little money. One lady showed how you wouldn’t starve for a week if you bought only 2# of beans, 5# of flour, a bottle of oil, and a pound of salt from Target. You’d get 2000 calories a day, and have lots of oil and salt left over for future weeks. I decided to stock up on some basics for winter (To reduce the temptation of Doordash) and ordered 20# of flour, 4# of popcorn, 5# of 15-bean soup, 8# of sugar, and 8# of vegetable shortening from Walmart. Some of the quanties were considerably larger than I’d usually buy, but they were the smallest quantities Walmart will ship for free. Our bread will be homemade for a while.
    I continue brush clearing, very slowly and often sitting down, because of my hip and back–at least two bags a week. I am reminding myself that the overgrowth didn’t take place in just one summer (I have neglected the borders since I was injured) so I just need to keep chipping at it (pun almost intended–I haven’t gotten my little chipper out of the garage) and eventually everything will be neat again. I’ll be able to continue taking down the buckthorn bushes and trees with snow on the ground, but not the brush. The trash guys stop picking up yard waste sometime around Thanksgiving too. Unfortunately, we have several large dead trees on the acre that are too big for me to saw. My rule is that anything too big for me to drag across the lawn is too big for me to safely take down. Licensed and insured tree maintenance services are expensive. This fall, we probably will hire a service to take down the two or three large leafless branches that might become a hazard. When the pandemic finally eases and an out-of-state nephew visits (bro-in-law has a bad shoulder), I intend to put him to work being the second person pulling a toss-it-over-the-branch-that-is-too-high-for-a-pole-saw manual chain saw’s long ropes. That way, we can both stand far away from dead branches and trees while felling them.
    Our Concord grapevines have been growing wild and have lots of bunches of little grapes on them. Most are for the birds. But I picked the ones that were easiest to reach. They are in a pot in the refrigerator ready to be turned into a small amount of grape juice.

    1. I read an article last week I wish I had read about fifteen years ago stating that adult children living with their parents are covered by their parents’ homeowner’s policy for their possessions and liability. What? Really? I called mom’s insurance agent and she, after a call to the insurance company holding the policy, confirmed what I had read. Then I called my insurance company and canceled my policy, effective at the end of the month. I’ll be saving fifty cents a day going forward. I’ll stop kicking myself in a few minutes. Your coverage may vary, depending upon your policy, insurance company and state of residence. But it is worth investigating if your circumstances are similar.

    2. You mentioned clearing brush very slowly, but still making progress. I decided recently I needed to do that with a garage/storage cleanup. It has become a jumbled mess over the years, and seems like an insurmountable project. But I started taking a kitchen timer with me out there first thing in the morning and setting it for just 30 minutes. I don’t necessarily get to it every day, but I’ve managed to get out there 4-5 days a week for about 2 weeks, and I can see progress. Some days I end up going longer than the 30 minutes if I have time. It’s so nice to see progress and makes me want to keep going. If I tried to tackle it all at once, I’d never find a free weekend to dive in and complete it. Baby steps really work!

  15. I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks but do always read about what everyone has been up to. Brandy – the work that you do in your garden just amazing. I loved the Pinterest photos you posted last week about the design you are thinking of implementing.

    They have just announced that Ontario is officially in the second wave of Covid with the peak expected to hit in a couple of weeks. They have been rolling back a few things and I am being extra vigilant about any interactions. I’m going to cut back going into the office to twice a week instead of three times (just the mornings) and I’ve been bringing more things home so I can do some research here. We have also decided to go back to online services only for the next 3 weeks of church services (where I work) and then reassess so staff are quite relieved about that.

    I am really going to restrict how much I go out for the next few weeks – I have been filling in the gaps in my pantry and could last at least three months if I had to – although I would like a few more fresh items. In order to accommodate all the recent purchases I switched my pantry and linen closets and things are now much more accessible. I had thought that I’d need to purchase more plastic bins but decided to go through a lot of my Christmas decorations down in my storage room – I’ll donate some – consolidated others and came up with 5 bins to use – so no OOP expense to finish off my pantry.

    I had some chicken that I was defrosting leak all over the bottom of my fridge and drip a bit into my produce drawer so emptied the whole fridge and scrubbed and rearranged everything! Then decided to do the freezer as well. I’ve dedicated one bin to items to be eaten first – and as these items get used up I’ll go into the other freezer bins to decide what needs used up next! I make sure that there is a variety of food so lots to choose from. I have a similar container in the fridge so I don’t lose any leftovers in the back somewhere!

    Week before last I made a pot of chicken noodle soup and this past weekend I made a pot of mushroom barley. There is a mix of six servings in the freezer. I also stir fried three chicken thighs and made a mango curry – had one serving for supper – I’ve got another ready to take to a neighbour and one will go into the freezer – I serve it over sticky rice which I really love. I also marinated and cooked a pork loin roast that came out perfectly. Had one serving with vegetables for Sunday dinner and I’m going to slice up the rest for the freezer – takes up less space that way. I’m really trying to not waste any food. I also went through all my herbs and spices, washed the jars, redid some labels, topped up the containers and made a note of everything that I need to still buy.

    I finally got some new Winter shoes so, aside from some new PJ’s I’m all set for Fall/Winter as far as clothing’s concerned. I’m reluctant to buy much as I will be home much more than usual and need to lose that Pandemic 15 that I gained! I did buy some new books and I have 4 puzzles that I haven’t done as yet so I am set for entertainment. I do use the library but that may be closed down again.

    People are definitely starting to stock up again – paper towels are in short supply and are limited in most stores. I’ve also noticed limits on a few other items but it changes from store to store depending upon deliveries but no empty shelves like in the Spring. Prices are higher on things like meat, cheese and canned salmon & tuna but there are still sales on other things – this week I got cans of corned beef, pie filling and canned beans. I also went to the Bulk Barn store – where they are extremely strict about how you shop – and stocked up on some treats like wine gums, liquorice and chocolate almonds. I repacked them into snack size ziplocks and then into a bin in the pantry – I hid it in the back so out of sight – out of mind – hopefully!

    I finally got around to doing one of those jobs I’ve put off for ages – I live in an old building and have one of those small cupboards by the door that used to open to the hallway for the milkman and bread man – this outside section was closed up years ago but I still have access from my side. I cleaned it all out and it now contains my masks & gloves, hand sanitizer, a spray bottle of Lysol, my flashlights, battery powered radio and my umpteen batteries! All the emergency supplies in one place – and it took no time at all!

    Stay safe everyone!

    1. Hi Margie,

      Cathi from BC here and I know what you mean about paper towel being low at the moment. A recent article I read said that the TP manufactures (in Canada) have everything set for a second wave (including a 6 month supply of their supplies) but that the industry is showing a shortage of paper towels as “people are cleaning more”.
      Is is crazy that my first thought was “what are you using paper towel for that for?!?!? Use rags or scrub brushes people!” ?
      It wasn’t that long ago (pre-finding Brandy’s site for one thing) that I probably would have done the same thing.
      I’m glad I’m here and learning.

      1. My daughter shops for me and we have been unable to purchase the kind of facial tissues I prefer since February. There are usually other brands I can buy but they are more expensive than the ones I like. She is on the lookout again as I have opened every box but one that we have in the house.

  16. -Meals-tator tot hot dish, creamy cucumbers, and cornbread; taco soup and Mexican chop salad; side pork, hash browns, and brown sugar carrots; popcorn one night; nookla soup, crackers, and spinach artichoke dip; leftovers twice.
    -My 40# box of pears came in at the co-op. I canned pear chunks, pear sauce, and pear juice. I also dehydrated some. I just have some apples left to pick and process. Very tired of canning, freezing, and dehydrating, it is such a long haul. But it tastes oh so good in the winter!
    -Made kombucha, banana bread from bananas in the freezer and pumpkin cupcakes from scratch.
    -Continued to do some Christmas shopping on line. Only have my 5 grandkids left. Hope to have it all done by November 1.
    -Took 5 boxes to the Good Will, continue to clean closets, the extra rooms, and cupboards. It is amazing what you save because you may need it. I used to do more crafts, now it is mainly cross stitch, cards, and sewing. I got rid of all my plastic canvas supplies, beads, and old scrapbooking supplies that I won’t use. Slowly I am getting it done between working full time and the garden and produce.
    -I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to the kitchen. I don’t get into a lot of gadgets. A sharp knife and cutting board are the best tools! I got rid of several things I got as gifts. I was able to give them to friends. Cleared clutter and made someone else happy.
    -Washed my own windows, a job I dislike but love it when they are done.
    -Helped my husband split another cord of wood.
    -We are peak here in central Minnesota with color. It is so beautiful, but it is cool and windy, high of 55. Many leaves coming down.
    -Have a great week!

  17. I haven’t commented in months, mostly because 2020 has turned out to be the most horribly unfrugal year ever.

    In January we found out our oldest was expecting mid-August. Our first grand baby! I immediately started to make plans (frugal plans, of course 😀) At the end of the month we discovered she was expecting twins, as twins do not run in either family it was a shock. Not very frugal.

    In March, just before the lock down, I finished putting in my garden, and made a list of things that my now working from home husband might finally have a chance to get to.

    Both my pregnant daughter and her husband were laid off of their jobs in April. He had one part time job and grad school and she had two part time jobs. Now they had no income, but they had been putting $$ in a savings account to pay the deductible so they had some cushion. Neither one qualified for unemployment. We helped them get into a condo that has room for the babies, which was not frugal, but necessary.

    At the end of May at 27 weeks one of the babies amniotic sac broke and my daughter was admitted to the hospital. I jumped on a flight to them, but my 2lb granddaughters arrived just before I did. Not frugal at all. They spent the next 10 weeks in the NICU, and I spent those weeks taking care of my daughter and her husband while they went through an incredibly difficult test of their faith. While I was gone my garden produced amazingly, and while my family at home enjoyed the fresh veggies, no one was quite up to canning. Not frugal.

    While I was gone my husband developed some serious health issues and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that we will be dealing with for the rest of his life and also places him in an even higher risk category for COVID being dangerous than he already was. This requires avoiding almost all the foods I usually cook. No onions, garlic, honey, gluten, stone fruit, beans, etc. the opposite of frugal eating.

    Our roof has sustained some damage and needs to be replaced before any kind of Fall/ Winter weather happens. Normally my husband would do it himself, but with his current health issues he can not. Not frugal, again.


    Both babies are home and doing amazingly well. My husband is responding really well to the medication, treatment and diet (even if it is exhausting me.) My youngest daughter is going to graduate early. The distance learning model that our school district is following has provided her with an excellent job opportunity, that is allowing her to earn money and save up for college. I thought there was a chance my two kids at home would have to start homeschooling while I was more than a thousand miles away so I learned how to use google classroom and it has been great for our homeschooling. Learning a new tech skill is always a good thing. And finally I am home to put in a Fall garden and get back to real life.

    I can’t wait to see everyone’s frugal tips. This new grandma is going to need them!
    Amber in SJ

    1. Good golly. Glad the babies and your children are fine. Transitions are ever so difficult, especially ones that change your entire way of life. Praying you and your husband health and blessing. Hang in there, 2020 will eventually end!

    2. I will be praying for you and your family Amber. This year has been a challenger for us all and some
      More so than others. So glad to hear that the babies are doing well and that your husband is on the mend. Keep your chin up 😊

    3. Thinking of your family and praying for you all. I’ve found some healing in Terry Wahl’s book The Wahls Protocol, which outlines a diet for healing autoimmune disease. You might find it helpful for your husband.

      If your daughter or son-in-law haven’t found work yet, they might check out VIP Kid. I’ve recently begun working with them (from home after my kids are in bed), and really love teaching English to the Chinese kids I work with through them.

      I’m especially keeping those preemie babies in my prayers. I was a preemie almost 40 years ago, and was just above 2 lbs. I know how trying it was for my mom going through that, and am so encouraged to hear the babies are doing well!

    4. Amber, first, what a year you’ve had so far!
      I wanted to bring up two websites for autoimmune disease — both are basically in line with the Wahl’s method, as well: “The Paleo Mom” and “Autoimmune Wellness.” The bloggers all are affected by autoimmune diseases and study them, and the Paleo Mom, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, is a scientist. There is a lot of information on their websites. No one here is promoting a miracle cure – they completely believe in taking medication when called for, and working with your doctor, but they offer some ways to help yourself (or your loved one) with food, rest, and gentle exercise.

      Best of luck to you!

  18. I, too, have been hesitant to buy clothes at the thrift store since I can’t try them on. I guess I am spending less this way. 😁 Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were ground turkey tacos with nachos, eggs with bacon and biscuits, roast beef with potatoes and onions, frozen pizza,  sauteed shrimp with rice and brussel sprouts, cubed steak with green beans and baked potatoes, crispy haddock with leftover green beans and baked potatoes.
    *My son came home for a haircut. I made s’mores brownies for him using the last of a pack of marshmallows that were getting old.
    *Received a free lunch at work.
    *Decorated for fall using items I already had along with a mum from my husband’s business.
    *Volunteered at a Walk for Life and received free cookies afterwards.
    *Made eye appointments for my husband and myself at America’s Best on the same day. I’ve heard several people like them and they are definitely the cheapest place, so we will see.
    *Our insurance changed and my Flonase is not covered as well anymore. I did a little research and the OTC off-brand is going to be cheaper than continuing to get prescriptions.
    *Went in with a friend on a birthday gift for another friend, making it cheaper and giving us the ability to get something nicer. I put it all in a basket I already had.
    *Had a FB messenger video chat with friends who can’t meet in person and/or live far away.
    *Bought a 10-lb bag of chicken leg quarters for $2.90, a 10-lb box of irregular bacon pieces for $17.99, green peppers for $.69, 10-lb bag of russet potatoes for $2.99, boneless skinless chicken thighs for $1.39/lb, Kraft dressing for $.99 and received $3 back for spending $10 this month, large container of coffee for $5.99 and received $2 back for spending $5 this month, canned green beans for $.52 and received $2 back for spending $10 this month, and Bob Evan’s sausage for $.99/lb.
    *Redeemed a survey code for a free apple pie.
    *Bought 4 8-packs of blank notecards for $1 each. I have found that these are much cheaper to use for birthdays, sympathy cards, etc than buying specific cards.
    *Received a free coffee with fill-up at the gas station.
    *Accepted several cans of soup, cannellini beans, refried beans, pears, cherry pie filling, pancake mix, corn muffin mix, ricearoni, macaroni noodles, dry pinto beans, and 2 dozen eggs from my mom.

  19. -I sent a Menards rebate in.
    -I laid the dish soap container upside down on the counter and continued using it until it was completely gone.
    -Instarted switching out seasonal clothing; as I put summer items away I added some to the donate box. I did the same things as I got out the Fall items.
    -I continued filling up my donate box with items around the house- a few books, decor, toys . Dropped it off too!
    – we paid off 2 debts this month.
    – grateful to have the funds to buy husband a new pair of work boots. I ordered over the phone so I could just run in and out of the store quickly. Sure enough that same day I recieved a $20 coupon off in the mail. When I stopped by I asked if they would honor the coupon. They did! These “little” things that I keep at the forefront of my mind knowing God watches over us.
    – Made birthday meals and cake at home.
    – I have an interview to work online tomorrow! . I have stayed at home the last 9 years, and this would be a blessing to still be able to be home/continue homeschooling etc. but helping financially as layoffs are still happening with my husband’s job (even though they are ‘essential ‘).
    – A window was broken , it is an old window that has not been replaced but when I called to get an estimate they said it could be 6 weeks to get it ordered and shipped! … it took hubby a day to think on it until he realizes we could buy a peice of glass at Lowes and simply replace the pane.. $30 fix! His handyman talent and us researching has saved us so much money over the years.
    – I dropped of 3 expired carseat at Target and upgraded one child to a booster. The carseat was also on sale so I was able to combine sale and coupon for recycling my old ones.
    – completed 2 pinecone surveys.
    – sold one small item on Ebay.

  20. I have spent time on Amazon and other sites looking up the components of cold/flu medications. Most cold/flu medications consist of multiple medications: fever reducer, antihistamine, expectorant, cough suppressant and mucus relief products. Any of these items might well be used alone as needed rather than taken in combination with the others. I priced from several sources and discovered that for about $38 I could have many many multiples of doses rather than pay $48 for a six day supply for one of cold/flu meds and have what is basically a one use medication. I made note in my homekeeping notebook what dosages are used from packages of cold meds. I was prompted to do this because my daughter’s household is sick with Covid and needed medications. I gave them what cold/flu I had on hand, and bought them more, but I was pretty floored by the costs overall. Hence my attempt to figure out how I might have a more reasonable supply of meds on hand should such be required in future.
    Since I just posted on last week’s post yesterday, I have little else to share this week, lol.

    1. Terri, what a great idea to research this! Do you mind sharing what notes you made in your homekeeping book? I’d like to make note of this as well. Thank you!

  21. I have been waiting for several months to see if bone-in chicken breast would come down to 99c/lb in price like it did the last 2 summers. I was beginning to think this was not happening this year, when my husband spotted it in an ad at his mother’s house when he went to check up on/visit her. He got over 20 pounds (4 large value-packs). I de-boned it and we canned the chicken chunks. I boiled the bones and canned broth and picked off the bits of meat, which ended up being almost 4 cups. Then, I used the remaining broth and the bits to make chicken soup, and we canned that. Pictures of that project are on my blog: Lest you think I’m doing all of this myself, I’m not. My husband happily sat by the canner for the long processing times that are needed for low-acid pressure canning while I filled jars and made soup and broth. Also, we can run 2 canners at the same time, and we actually triple stacked the 29 tiny jars of chicken in the biggest canner. It all helps get large-batch canning done more quickly. I figure I have about $25 into the project–6 quarts soup, 6 quarts broth, 29– 1/2 pint jars chicken, a huge pot of soup to eat and share, and that includes the veggies and tiny bit of rice for the soup.
    A friend graciously sent me several boxes of jar lids she did not need. Some were very old–there was a box of 64’s in there! Yikes! I don’t own a jar that fits that size and haven’t seen any since I was a child. But, most were good, and usable, and I was able to use them up.
    I added my sister’s remaining tomatoes to my 1/2 bowl and actually got 7 more quarts of canned diced tomatoes.
    I soaked a large bowl of pinto beans, purchased in bulk months ago and my husband is making chili and pre-cooked beans for me to freeze as I type. I had used up the last of my frozen ones in a huge batch of bean/rice/cheese/salsa burritos. I make these and keep them in the freezer all the time for my daughter, who would eat them morning, noon and night if she could. I use brown rice, often a tiny bit of chicken or hamburger, home-cooked beans, salsa and wrap them in flour tortillas and the cheapest tin foil I can buy. Then, I freeze in large zip-top bags for quick meals. They are nutritious, inexpensive and quick to heat up in the microwave.
    Most of our paid work involves my special needs nephew, and we did the normal amount this week. We also do a few hours a month with our niece, who is autistic. This week, we were asked to work an extra day with her because she needed to get out of the house. This calms her when life becomes too overwhelming, so we had only an hour or so of notice, but hey….why not? It was a better offer than doing house chores:). She likes Rob to take her on “country drives” which means they drive around and look for trains, or cows, or horses, or…..This time, he thought of looking at the sea lions at Newport, Oregon–something that could be done outside and would provide a drive. I decided to go as well. She and Patsy had so much fun. They got candy at a candy store, looked at the sea lions for a long time, and then saw both a spouting horn spouting and whales spouting as we drove up the coast. So, we got a nice drive to the beach and were paid for it. Best of all, she was happy, and instead of a meltdown day, had a wonderful day, which is worth a lot to all of us.
    I’ve been working on embroidery. I love to have a few decorated dish towels in my gift bin for birthdays or Christmas and my supply is low.
    My aunt had a birthday. Since Rob has done shopping for her on several occasions during Covid, he knew of some snacks she liked from Trader Joe’s. So, he went down there and got the exact things she likes and put them in a re-usable shopping bag with some flowers. In our family, it’s not about buying expensive gifts–it’s about being creative, and he scored!!! She was so shocked and surprised to get the exact same snacks she had him buy months ago.
    Most of the garden is over, but I keep finding a zucchini here, a couple of tomatoes there, and enough green beans for several meals…it’s more than enough to keep me from tilling it up, but that day’s coming. Many of my fall/winter vegetables have sprouted and the boc choi I planted a while back is ready to eat. We’ve had it once so far. I hope to get out there and clean out a few things since we are going to have wonderful weather this week and it would be pleasant to do it in the sun, not wait for soggy rain. We were, however, very, very thankful to get a few days of soaking, soggy rain, and we were thrilled, as the moisture helped the wildfire situation so much. They are still burning, but the soaking the forest got is helping control them as the firefighters continue to work.

  22. It is very rainy here today. Since Sally and the other tropical storm, we have received a good bit of rain, and then all that with today’s rain, it has really caused my backyard to be full of water since it is low and flat here. The good thing is that I have been harvesting daily, mustard greens, turnip greens, and collard greens for a salad. This is from my front yard…lol. I love the leaves when they are very young and tender and I have been using kitchen scissors to cut a salad every night. I know I will prevent the turnip bulbs from forming by doing this, but I really prefer the leaves for all to be young, tender, and raw. I have decided to do this as long as possible. So, for my winter greens soup, I have ordered from, six more cans of mustard greens. I think I have enough cans of turnip greens and collard greens. I will have to play it by ear as to whether I need to buy more canned greens because I truly love all greens. The expensive way to make my greens soup is to take a large can of turnip greens, or collard greens, or mixed greens, add a can of preferred beans (most folks down here do black eyed peas or pinto beans but I usually do red beans), add Knorr vegetable soup mix, Rotel tomatoes, garlic, spices, chicken broth, ( some folks add polish sausage but I make my soup vegetarian style) simmer and serve with sliced onions, hot pepper sauce with apple cider vinegar, and maybe a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt. The cheap version is to cook dried beans in crockpot, add a small can of Great Value Walmart brand greens (usually about 50 cents) add a 50 cent can of tomato paste, lots of cayenne pepper or Louisiana style spices, garlic, chicken bullion, and make it more of a bean soup with greens. I usually eat it with a little rice but most folks around here eat it with cornbread. I have lost two lbs this week eating this soup at night. The cheap version is also extremely cheap and both versions are full of vitamins. A volunteer pumpkin plant my son had has given him five miniature pumpkins. They are delicious as are the roasted seeds. I had a free wellness exam required by my insurance. A wool blanket I ordered for one son has arrived, as well as a solar powered radio. I took my lunch to work. I flavored my tuna with apple cider and pickles, rather than mayonnaise. I might as well try to keep those two lbs I lost off… I am forgetting something so when I think of it I may add it later. Church Conference weekend is coming up! I so enjoy Conference weekend! Y’all all have a blessed and happy week!

    1. Hi Cindy,
      I notice that you found a good place to buy a wool blanket. Would you be willing to divulge your source?
      Thank you.
      Elizabeth H.

  23. It would be so fun to have citrus trees. The Pacific NW does not have the right climate for that though. Hope your little trees grow and thrive.

    Joining in from the Seattle area.

    I harvested jalapenos from the three plants I had on my patio. The weather finally got hot in July/August, so the plants did well. My harvest filled a six quart pan. I am fermenting three quarts worth, and will share one quart with a friend. I will use some in cooking, share some, and freeze some. My husband loves jalapenos but they are usually too hot for me. It’s fine if I use small amounts in dishes though.

    Picked green onions from my container garden, and collected arugula seeds. This was the arugula that sprouted from 5 year old seeds. Now I have a few seeds for next year.

    Went to Fred Meyer (Kroger) to buy some fall annuals for my patio. Usually they have a few racks of pansies and violas out front, but they only had some mums and Halloween decorations out. I thought that was odd, so I went back to the garden center. It was deserted. Way in the back I found a rack of fall annuals that they must have recently gotten in. It looked like someone had watered them a day or two ago, but nothing was priced or labelled. In any case, I found some pretty two color (burgundy and yellow) violas, so I put 10 of them in my cart. When I got to checkout, it turned out they were on sale for a dollar off each (sale price was $1.39 each, which is a good deal here). My guess is that the store is short staffed, and the grocery section takes priority over garden items at the moment. Anyway, I’m going to go back and look at the rest of the plants this week, because I could use a few more for my patio, and their prices tend to be good. I usually go to a local garden center, but this year you have to make a reservation to shop, and I haven’t been that organized.

    Had a cooking day on Saturday. Made oatmeal muffins, keto chocolate loaf cake, bone broth, and tomato/carrot soup. Froze muffins, cake, and soup for future meals.

    Visited my mom on Sunday, and my local sister was there too. We had a socially distanced lunch together. I brought soup to share, but it turned out they had both made a lot of food, so we ate that instead. It was such a luxury to eat a meal that someone else had cooked, and I really enjoyed it. They both sent me home with some leftovers as well. I gave some soup to my mom for a future meal. And, Sunday night, my husband and I got pizza and salad takeout. There was enough left over for my lunch on Monday. Again, it was such a treat to eat food that someone else had cooked.

    Picked up my CSA vegetable share and picked extra greens to blanch and freeze. This year, we got two pumpkins for Halloween (the number varies per year depending on the harvest – last year it was four). Picked the allotted number of flowers for the week. Bought some tomatoes at another vegetable stand for my mom. Froze some plums that were getting soft.

    Otherwise, mended a shirt for my mom. Passed on a raincoat that no longer fit to my sister. My mom shared newspapers with me (I have a digital subscription, and she gives her paper newspapers to me after she’s read them). Looked through old pictures with my mom and sister and labelled them with names and dates. FaceTimed with my other sister during our family lunch on Sunday. Watched streaming videos, YouTube, and read blogs. Read magazines that were passed on to me. Did some sewing and made plans for future projects.

    Have a great week, everyone.

    1. You can grow berries in abundance, and hazelnuts, and currants, and so many wonderful things there that we cannot. I hope these do well for me; I lost the original two grapefruit trees I planted in this garden 15 years ago when it got down to 22 degrees.

  24. It’s been another nice, frugal week in heavenly Houston!
    Cooler weather means the windows are open, and we’re enjoying the temperatures. The kids got to swim at my aunt’s house Saturday (packed a picnic lunch), as well as at the neighborhood pool on Sunday (packed snacks).
    I did more decluttering, and sold some items on Mercari and Facebook marketplace. Cash in, junk out!
    Frugal $5 meals included: hot dogs, chicken tortilla soup, bean burritos, bacon sandwiches (marked down $1/# bacon), and cowboy beans (marked down $1/# ground beef). I flavored the beans with bacon grease: yum!
    I went to the Goodwill Outlet, where I paid $1.19/# for: a box of bandaids, a bag of hotel soaps, partial bottle of Mrs. Meyer’s cleaner, a Tupperware veggie tray with lid, an unused scented candle, a pair of sunglasses, an unopened mattress protector, nail clippers from a manicure set (later boiled to sanitize), unopened package of diapers (for a friend), and several tiny Monopoly metal game pieces, which I will either add to our set, or sell on ebay. All books are 3/$1, which I bundled and resold in a couple of similar lots to recoup my spending total.
    I made bread, but I’m not sure it’s a money saver. Breads are $.75/each at the bread outlet for most items, and the kids love the Hawaiian rolls that I buy there.
    I bought gas at Costco using a giftcard a friend bought for me (I repaid her).
    A friend visited and we got to chat outside for a while, as she picked up some hand-me-downs. I hadn’t seen her baby in almost a year, and he’s so big now.
    We’ve had very little food waste, which is good.
    The kids are pretty much set on clothes and shoes for the next several months, which is a relief.
    I mostly stuck to my list at Aldi, but I’m going to have to return some green bananas that never ripened. They’ve been out on the counter for 4 days, and still are very green. I shop there with laundry baskets instead of bags, requiring fewer trips inside to unload.
    The kids watched a movie from the library with Little Caesar’s pizza one night.
    Have a nice, frugal week!

  25. A big thank you to Brandy for the alert/comment months ago about canning supplies. I kept picking up a pack of lids every so often, and I’m glad I did, because they seem to be gone now. I recently saw an ad on Amazon for quart jars for $6 each (yes, you read that right…got a good laugh). I spent the entire weekend canning things from the garden, and I would not have been able to get lids at all if I had waited until July like I usually do. I really appreciate the insight I continue to get from your blog — it is very helpful!

    1. I Began buying jars in February despite my husbands repeated ramblings that I was crazy and we didn’t need anymore jars. I bought them on sale at $6-$8/dozen. One week I would but pints when they were on sale and the next week quart jars. I did the same with both wide mouth and regular mouth lids and rings. Fast forward to last week when I was canning applesauce and apple butter. We stopped into Target to pick up coffee creamer and napkins – they are the only store in our area where I have seen jars at all and they were $14-$16/dozen. Lids and rings were double the price I paid as well. You would think that they would stay on the shelf at that price but a couple days later when I picked up an order from the store, every single one was gone.

  26. Brandy, I can’t wait to see your garden plans! Maybe a before drawing and an after drawing? I don’t have a mental photo of your garden setup. (After I wrote this I rolled my eyes…you already have enough to do before adding before and after schematics on your blog). So never mind 😉

    Here in Phoenix we are doing the same sort of cooling off, now the nightly lows are about 75. Yeah! I don’t have a garden but walk every day and the cooler morning temperatures are glorious!

    I reviewed our 2020 current and anticipated spending to see where we are, and our spending is on track for the year. For the first time in years, we bought a new TV…wow, have things changed ;). It is a 55 inch smart tv, and there was quite a learning curve, but we love it now. And most amazing, the cost of a new 55 inch smart tv is $450. Can you imagine? The last time we looked for a large tv, costs were thousands of dollars. My husband is in poor health so having a new TV has been helpful to keep him mentally busy while resting.

    Anticipating higher costs or other issues, each week or two, I am buying some extra clothes, pantry or medical supplies for next year. I still have a list of items to buy, and will do that over the next few months. I hope that we have thanksgiving and Christmas grocery store sales this year and that prices and supplies are good.

  27. The roses and trailing bacopa in the urn are lovely – and i can “smell” your grapefruit tree; I love the scent of citrus. I tried growing a dwarf meyer lemon years ago but was not successful – mostly my fault. I may try again next yr. Great find on the whole chicken and also using the “unplanned” shopping trip as a teachable moment for your daughters. It’s so good to have handy husbands, I’m happy for you that he was able to come up with a workable solution! We had a lovely week. Did not need to use central air all week and have now shut down the system and used sprinkler system only once which will be about 20% saving on this month’s electric bill. We took advantage of the good weather and rode our bikes on the boardwalk; walked the ocean and bay beaches; swam in the ocean – rip current risk and surge was finally low enough to do so the prior 3 weeks the ocean was “angry” due to hurricanes/tropical storms and swimming was not allowed. Lots of free exercise and fun with friends & family.

    Dehydrated more apples. Dh and grandkids actually like the dehydrated apples and pears! I was pleasantly surprised. Dd and her family visited during the weekend and we went to a pick-your-own pumpkin farm where hay and tractor rides, a corn maze, farm animals and lunch was enjoyed. Also bought another bushel of apples, acorn and butternut squashes; dd did the same and will dehydrate (now that we know the kids like them) some of the apples & also make apple sauce. At Aldis we found fresh pineapples on sale for $1.49 each. We each bought 4 to enjoy fresh and dehydrate.

    Our tolls for parkway and bridges went up about 20% – governor & state gvmt quickly passed legislation and it became effective last week without a public hearing – many are very upset. As I average 200 miles a week on the road – we have no grocery or regular stores in our town (all we have are restaurants, ice cream shops, surf shops, geared to a beach community) all my grocery and other necessities shopping, plus doctors, etc, is done on the mainland. I also visit dd once a week if they aren’t coming to see us. We use the bridge (no toll on this bridge) and parkway as it’s the fastest way to reach the stores we like; we can take local roads but traffic is too slow. Dh also averages about 200 miles a week. So we are budgeting more money for the Ezpass.

    I mailed a package to our son and dil out of state via UPS. The weight was 4 oz less than the last package I sent them several months ago but the cost of mailing was $5 more! Exact same shipping method and location- it looks like shipping prices may have already gone up. I didn’t realize this until I returned home and checked my logged receipts.

    Dh and son in law went to lumberyard and filled dh’s truck with lumber – this will be a project for dh to build more shelves in another large double closet we have that we are turning into a pantry for all the canned and tinned food I’ve been purchasing. We already have a large pantry that dh built wood shelves for many years ago which was more than adequate for the 4 month supply I’ve always had. But since I’ve been working my way to a 1 yr supply of just about everything we use, some changes and rearranging need to be made. I’m so blessed and grateful that I have a dh that likes to work with wood and build things in his spare time. Hopefully by the end of the year I will have 2 beautiful and useful pantries. I’m also thankful that we have lots of closets in this house and we can reconfigure them to suit us. Have a wonderful week.

  28. Brandy, I was thinking about the lessons you were teaching your girls in the grocery store. But there was another economic lesson happening, too. Your daughter who came home with two pairs of jeans, and yet neither one fit her. The lesson being that just because an article of clothing is marked as in your size, doesn’t mean it will always fit. Every manufacturer has a slightly different idea of what size (fill in the blank) means.

    I felt a bit sorry for her, but I’m sure she’ll have other chances to shop.

    1. Anne, we talked about that. I went to Walmart the next day and found some new jeggings in what I think is her new size. They are high waisted and skinny legs, like she wants, with a bit of stretch. Unfortunately, they also did not fit her–they were so skinny that they didn’t fit around her ankles! (I had her try some jeans I have in the next size up, and she said they were too big in the waist, so . . . still a challenge!) I bought her a shirt there too, but it was too tight in the sleeves! We’ll keep looking for her; it’s just going to probably take a lot of returning since none of the stores allow on to try on clothing in the store anymore. I told her we will have to wait to go back a bit until the thrift store has received more donations, as we looked through all the jeans in her size and didn’t find anything else she liked.

      1. Just a quick solution that has worked for my teenage girls regarding not being able to try on…all of my girls have been dancers so they are used to costume changes in tight spaces. We go to the thrift store wearing tights & a leotard or a leotard and dance shorts with a t shirt dress or sundress over the top. When they have a few things to try on we find a quiet corner, the sundress goes off, the clothes are tried on , and they use the mirrors at the end of the accessories aisles. They are never fully undressed, so they don’t worry about it too much.

        1. I think it might be different with Covid. Our library makes everyone return books outside only now and the books are quarantined for 4 days before they are returned to the shelves. There are signs that if you take a book from the shelf and don’t want it to not reshelve it but to put it on a special cart. I think of clothes in the same way.

          It’s a bummer; I have taken as many as 20 pairs of jeans into the dressing rooms there before and tried them all on only to find 2 that would fit, so I am cautious about buying too many and only being able to return them for store credit.

      2. Hi Margie,
        That is inspired to switch your pantry and linen closets! I might do the same. Or possibly clear some space in kitchen cupboards. In any event, I think it’s important that food is very accessible — if w do catch covid or even the flu, we will not feel like going far afield to get food to cook. In my case, I’m going to make sure I don’t have to go downstairs but have a week to ten days of food easily reached.

        1. That’s a great idea Ann. I live in an apt. so no stairs but still need to have things make sense for me. The linen cupboard is a bit of a squeeze (I keep all my extra toiletries & paper products there as well – but I made it work.
          I also have a wooden cabinet in my living room and that now holds all my baking supplies – with the doors closed no one has to know and at least I can now see everything instead of having to look through various bins in various locations!
          Take care.

      3. I understand the frustration! I ordered several items online to try and return in the store if they didn’t work, only to have the local store close before I could return… so what I thought was being frugal by purchasing on clearance ended up costing me more. I’m a difficult size (0P), and often things that do fit me at thrift stores are made for teens and not for 30 somethings in terms of style! Oh well… lesson learned, I guess! I’ll stick with the pants size and style I know works and try to go from there.

  29. I have had some good savings luck lately. We are fixing up a previous two-car garage for our adult daughter to move into. We are doing a lot of the work, with specialized help from family and friends. The best bargain this week was a brand new couch for free – a furniture store couldn’t sell it because it had a minor imperfection, so one of the employees offered it to my husband. That saves my daughter from having to buy one! We were given three grocery bags lately filled with deer meat, already packaged. I made deer stew today and stirred in about 2/3 of a cup of juices left over from a roast that I had saved in the freezer – I felt so frugal! Then I put about the same amount of leftover stew broth back in the freezer to use the next time! I’m doing a book swap with a friend, and I got her four books at the local thrift store or by shopping my own bookshelf, so that I was able to give her more while staying in the agreed budget. I have been saving leftovers much more diligently. And lastly I offered a cross stitch picture that I did 28 years ago to my aunt – it’s a large picture of a Victorian boy surrounded by his toys. I considered trying to sell it, but I think she will trade me some bowl cozies for it that I want to tuck into Christmas stockings, so win-win.

  30. Brandy,
    Do the stores stop you from trying on clothing, or do they just have the changing rooms shut? If it’s the latter, I go to 2 thrift stores that never even had changing rooms, and I wear a skirt and an integral bra tank top, with another top over if necessary. I slip the pants on under the skirt and I can try anything over the tight top. You can also slip a dress over your head and then drop the skirt, all while being quite modest.

    1. The dressing rooms in thrift stores and other clothing stores here are closed too. One store I recently visited allowed you to try on items over your clothing, but if you decided not to buy them, you had to give them to the staff so the clothing could be quarantined for several days.

  31. Greetings from the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. I drove down today. I went past my old house and it was boarded up with No Trespassing signs. It has recently been sold. It was on half an acre and I am sure they will be building apartments. They are building apartments everywhere here! (I don’t have a lot of happy memories of that place, so this is not causing me any angst!).

    This was my frugal week–
    * Still harvesting tomatoes and zukes–but they are slowing down. I will probably pick the green tomatoes and pull up the vines in about a week or so.

    * I bought 4 or 5 onions because they were .39 lb., which is my target price. When they are more, I only buy one onion at a time, then check onion prices the next time I shop…and so on, until the price comes down again. (I have never understood the people who fill big bags with onions when they cost $1 lb.). Brandy, if Winco prices are the same all over, the one where I live had 10 lbs. of potatoes for .99.

    * I have a thing for wool blankets. I mended one last week. I washed a couple of blankets in cold water and draped them over the patio furniture to dry. I also replaced the elastic in my daughter’s favorite mask for the second time.

    * This isn’t a moneysaver, but I have a tip for people who occasionally have to use the big washers at the laundromat (I had to wash a bedspread). Go in the afternoon and don’t go on the weekend! It won’t be crowded and you probably won’t have to wait for a big machine. I dried my spread on the patio, too. Another tip–Costco clears out by 5 p.m. on weekdays.

    *  I didn’t have much luck finding a fitted sheet to replace one that was too thin to mend, despite going to several thrift stores. Later I discovered a forgotten bottom sheet among my linens!

    * The windshield washer pump broke on our 15-year-old pickup. The aftermarket pump “that might not fit” was $105. The Nissan pump also includes the reservoir and was $214…but the repair shop couldn’t get it until Monday at the earliest. I planned to drive the truck to Portland Monday (today!) to help my BFF with all of the stuff that has to be done to their house before her DH can come home from the hospital/rehab. The shadetree mechanics here won’t be surprised, but I located the pump and reservoir assembly at a wrecking yard for $39…less if I’d been prepared to pull the part myself. (Uh, no…left my tools at home, LOL). I took it to the repair shop and they put it in. Saving: $175!

    * Near frugal disaster averted–I was able to get free samples of my daughter’s medication from her doc when a full bottle went missing (found it a week later at the house where she lives half the week). Insurance doesn’t replace lost meds, and to have it filled again would have cost about $550. Bonus: I have been trying to get 30 days ahead on all of our medications, and now I am!

    * My boy dog is a nut case and we give him 25 mg. of Trazadone a day so we can stand living with him (he is a sweet and loving little guy when he isn’t on a tear). When I was looking for my daughter’s Rx, I found a bottle of 50 mg. Trazadone that I took when I was on antidepressants. Checked with the vet and they are the same…we just have to cut the pills in half. It was an unopened bottle of 90 that will save us $50-$60 vs. buying the same amount from the vet. (Plus mine were covered by insurance, LOL).

    Hope everyone here is having a great week! Brandy, I’m sure it’s disappointing for your daughter to keep buying things and none of them fit! I hope you hit the jackpot for her soon!

    1. I think potatoes are going to be a lot cheaper for you in Idaho! I only see that price at Thanksgiving and there is a limit of one at that price. Winco doesn’t ever go that low here.

      1. Here’s the thing. I live 500 miles from the parts of Idaho that produce potatoes (I know everyone here thinks that we grow potatoes everywhere in Idaho–not so!). Normally, when I get cheap potatoes, they come from the Columbia Basin of Washington, which is maybe 3 hours away. But these were from Idaho! If you happen to get to Winco (remember, bulk is back!) you really should check. They harvest potatoes along I-15 and you live on I-15, too!

    2. My vet would write a prescription for my dog that I could then fill at a regular pharmacy. The label always clearly stated the medicine was ‘For a Canine’. LOL. For several of his medicines, it was cheaper to fill the prescription at the ‘human’ pharmacy rather then through my vet. And the vet was the one who told me to go this route.

    3. Woah those are expensive onions! I never realized how expensive onions were in other areas in N. America. It is interesting to read this blog and see other people’s stock up prices. (Last year at one point onions were 27cents/10lbs, but they are grown locally)

  32. Brandy how lovely you were able to buy the fruit trees on sale that you wanted to save where you can and harvest many things from your gardens as well for meals 🙂 . I love the way you turned your grocery shopping into a teaching experience for the children and were able to buy whole chickens at such a great price in the process. That was a good saving on your husband being able to turn a tool you already had into something that could be used for a different purchase without buying anything. Lovely also you got some bargain clothing for a few children and yourself too.

    Our savings added up to $133.33 last week 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Made a double batch of chocolate chip muffins and a batch of brownies using our markdown eggs we purchased saving $35.94 over buying them in the supermarkets.

    In the gardens –
    – Harvested the last of the snow peas now that it is warming up and saved the remaining pods for seeds for next year to plant.

    Internet listings –
    – Listed 24 items on a free listing promotion on eBay saving $39.60 on usual listing prices.

    Purchases –
    – Bought 3 dozen cage free eggs on markdown for $1.60 a doz saving $10.20 on usual prices.
    – Picked up a free veggie burger sample as a supermarket tester saving $3.25 over purchasing it.
    – Bought DH’s paracetamol tablets on a bulk script saving $44.34 over buying the boxes separately . Also noted that standard OTC paracetamol has about doubled in price here to over $4 a box when it was $1.89 previously for us to purchase.

    Financial –
    – Banked more money into our 6 month living expenses emergency account bringing us to 54.17 % of the way there 🙂 .

    Have a great week ahead everyone.


  33. Brandy,
    I feel really badly for your daughter. I was a girl who could never get jeans to fit. I wasn’t overweight but just nothing fit! I still have a complex over that about jeans! Ann

    1. We’ll find her something! She is at that hard age where she’s just growing out of girls’ sizes and into women’s’ sizes. We didn’t know what size she would need and since we couldn’t try anything on, we just had to hold stuff up and guess! We think she wears a size 3; the trouble is finding a pair that she likes: she wants light blue, stretchy, high-waisted (which is just now coming back into style) and skinny legs. I tried getting her some new ones at Walmart but the legs were so skinny and tapered that she couldn’t get them over her heels! She laughed about that. So now we need skinny jeans that aren’t TOO skinny at the ankles!

      1. Hollister carries jeans that match that description. My teen loves them as they’re stretchy and comfortable. I’ll only buy them when on sale for $25. It’s frustrating to jean shop. Good luck 🍀!

        1. I had her try on a pair of size 4 Hollister jeans that I bought at a garage sale. They were too large. I think she’s a size three; we just have to make sure the jeans fit over her heels! The ones I went and bought later that week at Walmart ($10) fit everything she wanted (color, higher waist, stretch and skinny) but were so tapered she couldn’t get them over her heels.

          I’m trying to spend less than $25 a pair. I know Target has some for that price, and that’s the plan if I can’t find anything for less. The thrift store charges $6. I am wearing a bunch of expensive brands of jeans (but a lower waist than I would like) that I bought for $0.25 each at a garage sale. They are Hollister, DKNY, Lucky, etc. I will be looking at garage sales as well for her.

          1. I have 4 girls and all of them wish women’s clothing was just a bit more standardized (like their brothers, who have such an easier time finding jeans!)

  34. I remember trying to find clothing for my short, size 0 athletic middle schooler and wishing dresses were the in thing at the moment! So often what we did find wasn’t even close to modest and age appropriate. Wish you the best in the hunt!

    A frugal week here…
    *my husband was dumping yard waste at the reservoir where he found piles of wood already cut up length that he and our son can split. What a gift as he gets all of our wood from the national forest (35.00 seasonal permit). I’d love to be a year ahead on heat.
    *He also found some wood that my son can use to make the raised beds for the greenhouse. Not enough for the entire project though. It all contributes some!
    *Our neighbor had to leave for a family issue suddenly. I’ve been watering her gardens and little greenhouse. I took home 3 sad looking peppers, a couple tomatoes and a couple zucchini that wouldn’t last till they returned. I cannot eat any fresh fruits or veggies with skins. It’s the bacteria that might be on it, so I skinned the tomatoes in boiling water, washed the peppers and zucchini and used them all in a summer’s end chili along with some very old looking carrots from the fridge. I added some of my homemade beef bone broth for extra nutrition which made it runnier, but I need all the nutrition I can get! I figure the rice can absorb the juice.
    *Except for the bathroom, still holding out on turning on any heat. Getting colder quickly though. For me, I like it cool, if not cold, in the house at night. It’s during the day that I need it warmer as I go through treatment. Thankful for a wood burning fireplace with our new-to-us couch (distressed leather and only 35.00!). I was snuggled up today under a quilt and quite warm without any other heat. I always play the little game of trying to get to October without turning on the heat. Looks like a win this year!
    *finally am getting the $150.00 a month increase in my nominal retirement after moving money around to buy back years. This cancer forced me to take whatever retirement I could get. It’s not much, but sure better than nothing at all. I will get a retroactive check that will go toward some expenses and Christmas.
    *I expect to be in SLC recovering over Christmas, so I made a plan to purchase one item for each person here that will mean something. Much more doable. I’m all planned out but for my son. Extended family will just have to live with a Christmas card this year. I expect that my lettuce will go to seed (baring adverse weather), and, if it does, I’ll include a pack of the Bronze Arrow lettuce in the gardeners’ cards. I’m really downsizing Christmas this year.
    *enjoying the Purflix subscription my sister bought me for this year of treatment and recovery. Lovely to see movies that won’t cause me stress or anxiety. I do have to work hard to keep things positive as I’m told these drugs can cause anxiety and depression. I’m not given to them and certainly don’t want to travel that road. The family is helping by sending funny things my way so I can laugh.

    Feeling rather blessed this week. Blessings to you all dear blog friends and Brandy,


    1. Trish your comment about fighting to keep the heat off until October made me laugh! It’s always a competition to see if I can really reach that goal. My husband doesn’t like to be cold. About mid-September the conversation begins…..I actually think I will win this year!!! My husband is sleeping with 4 blankets on as I write this. I too am praying for you.

      1. I know!!!! My dear husband headed for the bedroom thermostat this morning. He was quite startled when I said, “Stop!” I explained that I’m 2 days away from reaching this goal. He was gracious and willing to suffer for two days for me. 😂😂😂😂

    2. You are so organized Trish and always thinking of others! I think many of us will be downsizing Christmas giving this year and given circumstances I would think your ability to even send a thoughtful card will be greatly appreciated.
      Look after yourself and keep your strength up.

  35. I bought more soup on sale from Superstore. Soon there will not be any on sale as we are heading into winter and soup season. Soup has gone up about $1 per can. This is for my emergency pantry. I don’t really like to eat it since it’s high in sodium.

    No Frills has lean ground beef on sale — savings of $2.00 + per pound for a value pack. Also, they have the only chocolate bars I can eat due to a peanut/nut and egg allergy and they are only available at Hallowe’en – Hershey’s –each box is reduced by $5. Co-op meanwhile has Armstrong cheese blocks on sale so I’m getting 3 and will put 2 in the freezer.
    I’m also trying to get more egg-free pasta for my emergency pantry. Superstore or No Frills have good prices on it. It is not enriched with folate though so I will take extra folate. No Frills has pie pumpkins on sale for $1.97 each. I’m tempted to get one and make pumpkin soup. Schneider’s bacon is on sale for $2.97.

    I finished University of Alberta’s course on indigenous history (free unless you want a certificate).

    I am splitting a ten pound bag of carrots that I got at Superstore for $3.79 with a friend. We are splitting a ten pound bag of navel oranges ($10 at Co-op) and a ten pound bag of gala apples (also $10 from Co-op). This will help me have enough room to store them in my fridge as well as budget considerations.

    I attended one Zoom funeral (of a cousin I hadn’t seen for years) and then two Zoom meetings.
    My aunt died unexpectedly about a week ago – she had a heart of gold. She lived on Vancouver Island my cousins are going to try to have a zoom funeral for her, too. Fortunately, I had to phone her and tell her about our cousin and then we had two or three conversations just before she died. It was unusual because normally we would not have been chatting. I just found her recipe for a vegetarian mincemeat which I might make soon.

    One of the leading historians in western Canada has offered to proofread part of our book. I am very relieved as up till now we haven’t had input from professional historians. We have found sources that will be useful for his research that he didn’t know about. This fellow has considerable experience and has won the Governor General’s Award. I am so pleased even though it will entail a delay while we wait for his comments. Ann

    1. Proof reading is so important so it’s wonderful that someone with great experience is willing to help!
      I have a couple of cans of pumpkin puree and saw it on sale at No Frills here so I’ll pick up some more as I do like a pumpkin soup or using pumpkin in risotto or with pasta. My apt. is just too warm to store things like pumpkin or potatoes in bulk.
      I did buy a bag of the turnip(rutabaga) and the carrots that were on sale at No Frills – I’ve just cooked a big batch of the turnip that I’m putting into the freezer as soon as it cools – takes up less room this way.
      I don’t buy many canned soups (except tomato & mushroom which I use for cooking) but the Habitant Pea Soup was on sale so bought a few cans of that – it makes a nice, light supper with some bread and cheese added.

      1. Hi Margie,

        Yes it’s great to have a construction historian to proofread. I have to laugh though because we hit a
        problem right off and afterwards he said he’d never done any proofreading like this. It is more like editing. Really, I have two excellent proofreaders but they don’t pick up logical inconsistencies or history problems. One problem is that a lot of the records were destroyed so one has to figure it out by deduction. Sometimes, one is lead astray. That’s why it’s good to have a historian on the team.
        My friend didn’t split the carrots with me so I have a lot of them from No Frills. I’ll probably blanch some and put them in the freezer.

    2. Ellie’s Friend – is this course on the history of indigenous peoples self paced ? I wasn’t sure after looking at it on the website. I want to sign up but would need to watch and interact with the materials on my own schedule. Thanks

      1. Hi Joyce,

        Yes, it is mostly self-pacing. I think my friend does a lesson a week but I finished it all within 10 days. I really wanted to finish it because I needed to know the material for Part I of our book. When I say mostly, I think you have about 3 maybe 4 weeks to finish each lesson. You can do your lesson at any time of the day or night. There are quizzes but if you don’t get 70% right, then just repeat it. You can repeat it up to 3 times in 8 hours. It does not cost anything to take the course as long as you don’t want a certificate which costs $65 I think. I don’t want a certificate. It is oriented towards Canadian First Nations — four in particular, the Haida, Mohawk, Cree and Anishnabe. Occasionally there are examples from the States. I watched a really excellent free series on archaeology that was more oriented towards the States. I will try to remember what that series was. I watched it through Kanopy. I’ll get back to you…Ann

        1. Ellie’s friend – was it The Great Courses Ancient Civilizations of North America? I am watching that one now. Quite good but I am only on episode 4.
          Thanks for the info on the course thru University of Alberta. I think I could complete it in that time frame that you described.

          1. Hi Joyce,

            Yes, I think it was The Great Courses Ancient Civilizations of North America. It was excellent!

  36. Hi Brandy and everyone
    How wonderful to be able to grow grapefruit, I hope they do well for you.
    The weather has turned chilly and the heating started to come on so I turned the thermostat down another couple of degrees to stop it for now and brought out the plaid woollen blankets we keep in the sitting room for chilly evenings.
    The sheepskin rugs on either side of our bed had labels saying specialist dry cleaning needed but I put them through the washing machine on the handwash programme and they’re fine.
    My husband dug up our maincrop King Edward potatoes and stored them in paper sacks. We’re a bit disappointed with the yield but the earlier crops did better.
    We’ve picked oregano, sage, tomatoes, the last of the runner beans and cooking apples. We gave more tomatoes to a daughter and I bottled some more. I picked sweet peas and dahlia for the house.
    My husband has dug a new bed in the lawn and used the turf he lifted to fill in a dip elsewhere in the lawn. He took our trailer and collected a load of sterilised mushroom compost and spread it on the new bed.
    I combined some leftover butternut squash soup and leftover cauliflower cheese, added a bit of veg stock, whizzed it all up and it made a nice soup for lunch one day. I was tired one day this week so we had breakfast for dinner.
    I sold an item on eBay and spent a lot of time this week photographing and listing more items. Some of the things were donated to me by our daughters when they decluttered their bedrooms, are brand new and would make nice Christmas presents for someone.
    I had a thorough declutter of my own clothes and have several bags for fabric recycling/ charity shop. I know where the gaps are now and have a list in my handbag notebook ( old school!) of what I need to buy.
    Back in March I needed new foundation and mascara but through the lockdown I didn’t wear any makeup. I’ve just got round to replacing them and looked for a cheaper brand. Boots No 7 had a deal buy 3 cosmetic items for the price of two. The assistant used a little gadget to assess my skin tone and which foundation colour would suit me. I bought a new eye shadow palette as my extra item. My existing eyeshadow was years old which probably isn’t very hygienic.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog, Brandy and stay safe everyone.

    1. I had to smile about you moving “turf.” Someone in the local gardening groups was trying to decide whether to put in turf or grass. Several people questioned what she meant–aren’t turf and grass the same thing? It turns out that turf is the name of the fake grass that is sold so often here.

      1. No wonder it made you smile! Churchill said the UK and US are two nations divided by the same language and that’s an example!

        1. I frequently have to stop my friend from Hull when we are talking to ask her what she is saying!

    2. Penny, I still keep a small Moleskin notebook in my purse – right now my list includes mostly pantry items that I still need but I just find it so quick. My friends laugh because they have their phones but by the time they’ve scrolled through umpteen things trying to find what they need I’ve already got my list. 🙂
      I love Moleskins and have quite a collection in different colours.

  37. When I was a child, my dad used to bring a measuring tape to the thrift store and measure us and the pants to make sure they fit!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    -Visiting my parents in Tucson, I have used veggies from the borderlands produce rescue (a great organization to check out for anyone in the PHX and Tucson areas – crates of veggies for $13) to make chili, soup, several meals of sautéed vegetables, tacos, zucchini pancakes, quiche, and we chopped and vacuum sealed what we could not get to in time. My parents now have meals for the next week!
    -Drove my own car instead of renting a car, not happy to put so many miles on my car but saves a lot on a long term rental
    -ordered a few items I found in super clearance that have been on my list
    -before I left for Tucson, I canned 30 pints of roasted crushed tomatoes and dehydrated peppers for chili powder
    -I too was having a hard time finding lids, but noted Woodman’s had wide mouth back in stock so I bought a few for apple canning for after my trip

    Hope everyone has a great frugal week!

  38. Your garden plans sound so lovely and are very inspirational.

    *We split a lot of wood, some for our use and some to sell. This was from the trees that were knocked down in the bad storm we had back in the spring so it helped to clean up the property.

    *My husband and I patched several pair of his work jeans to get a couple more months’ use out of them.

    *I refilled many of the homemade cleaners including laundry detergent. I really prefer doing this over buying more at the store.

    *We harvested a few vegetables from the fall garden and hope to get some cold frames up so we can get a few more weeks out of it.

    *More on my blog at

  39. Good morning,

    We have already had our first frost so our garden is running out faster this year than normal.
    – Hubby and I are making plans to expand the garden for huge Market rows to product enough food to never go to the store again.
    – We bought a green house last Spring when it was on sale that will be built in a few weeks. Hoping I will be able to continue arugula and greens into the Fall. My neighbor loved the idea of the green house so asked about and ended up buy one. I did the research and couldn’t believe the price increase $1000 more then what we paid for it. Wow I feel very lucky to have purchased it when we did. I so agree price on everything will be going up. We will harvesting all our butternut squash and tomatoes soon to stock up the pantry.
    – We are also working on fencing for cows and pigs for next year. So excited. We are lucky that one of our neighbor has a bunch of fence posts and rails that we could start with those for free.
    – I took a walk and collected wild flowers for my table. They are gorgeous this year.
    – We had one of our chicken give us a surprise baby chick for Fall. She found an area and decided to sit on eggs. I wish she had more but at least she got to be a mom to one.

  40. My two oldest kids spent Sunday putting together a metal garden shed that I had purchased three years ago and forgotten about in the garage. They kept busy, enjoyed the cooler weather, and increased storage for the backyard. It was fun to watch them work so well together. I hope to store garden supplies in there and organize some of the piles that have accumulated in the yard over the summer.

    I preordered garlic last spring and got a notice that it will arrive in a few weeks, so I’m slowly getting beds ready to plant it. Is there anything else that overwinters in zone 5 that I should plant this fall?

    Made our first trip to the Apple orchard last week: donuts, cider, apples . We went first thing in the morning on a weekday to avoid the crowds. We ate all of the donuts in less than 24 hours! The cider is also gone, we enjoyed a lot of it in smoothies. The apples are waiting to go into pies and sauce. I have never dehydrated apples but I think I want to try it. I like that it doesn’t require canning jars or freezer space and my kids love apple cinnamon oatmeal so we could definitely use them in that or in the muffin mix that has been mentioned here before. So nice to make our annual trip to the orchard. It helps to do something that feels normal and to hold on to an important tradition in spite of Covid restrictions.

    A local grocery store had boneless skinless chicken thighs on sale for .69 a pound last week for two days only. We made two trips and bought a little over 60 pounds for our freezer. I really like these for the crockpot because they don’t dry out the way the breasts do.

    I also had my first cutting order consultation with the butcher who is processing the meat we ordered. This is all new to me. I had no idea there were so many choices to make. Also, the variety is amazing. I have bought meat on sale for the past 25 years, so you know a lot of cheap roasts or sale ground beef , ribs or steak maybe once a year for a special occasion. We eat a lot of chicken because it’s less expensive in our area. The butcher calculates the hanging weight and then any cut you ask for is the same price per pound. There is also the processing fee, but it still works out to be about $3.50 a pound for grass fed beef from a local farm. About $2.35 a pound for heritage pasture raised pork. Steak, tenderloin roast for Christmas, ribs, everything put into custom packages for the freezer. Amazing. Store prices for this would be so much higher where I live. From $8.99 a pound for sale grass fed ground beef to $18.00 – $20.00 per pound for regular steak or something like a crown roast. Butcher prices for better quality meat go even higher.

    I’ve started to collect some free quilt patterns from around the internet to keep busy through the fall and winter months. The quilting community is really stepping up with a lot of quilt along projects to help people connect. A lot of them are scrap based so that you can use what fabric you already have at home and many have Facebook or instagram for sharing pictures of your progress or to check out what other people are doing.

    That’s all I can think of for now. Take care everyone.

    1. Just a tip for apple dehydrating: after trial and a lot of error, I found that apples that are less ripe and more tart-flavored taste better after drying. The sweet flavored apples are sometimes almost tasteless after drying. Our Liberty apples are good when less ripe; Jonathan apples are very good, also.

  41. *I love reading about all your new garden plans!

    *I ordered some canning lids from a place that I thought was Ball but it turned out to false – it was a company in China called and are not Ball or Kerr official lids. I guess there website is fresh My problem or question for readers? Are these safe to use? Has anyone else ordered lids from them and used them? Some discussion groups have suggested just throwing them out but I hate to throw out money I spent. I can’t return them. Thanks in advance.

    *I was able to get a 3 free Kindle books because of my shipping preferences. I like to keep books I want to read in my saved for later section. If I can’t get them from the library, I just wait awhile until prices drop or I have enough credit. I love to read. I was also able to find a 2 new to me authors at the library and have been enjoying their books. I’ve got a nice big stack from the library. With our cooler weather I can sit under our big tree and read for a bit.

    *We made all meals at home except for our date night and we used a coupon and a restaurant reward to get $20/off our bill. It was so nice to get out of the house.

    *I pulled up our summer garden. I picked all the green tomatoes and have them in a box hoping they will ripen. I also picked all my green peppers that didn’t turn red. I will chop those up and put them in the freezer. I was also able to pick one cucumber. I left one cucumber plant in the ground because it is still flowering and has cucumbers growing. Our weather is in the high 70s/low 80s. Hoping I can still get a few cucumbers.

    *My neighbor gifted me with a 50# bag of Idaho potatoes! What a surprise. I’d like to store them through the winter but there are varying ideas of how to do this. One neighbor said to just keep it in our garage. We don’t have a fridge to keep them in. I don’t want to have to buy things to store the potatoes. I read one idea to use paper from a shredder (which we have) and a cardboard box. I could store them in our storage space under the our living room. It rarely gets light and has no heat under there. It’s like a cold storage area. Thoughts from anyone?

    *This same neighbor owns a fabric store and also brought me a blanket/bib combo that I can crochet the edges for my daughters baby. She even brought the thread to use on the edges. It’s so cute! I haven’t done one in years but I’m sure YouTube can help me figure it out.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. Amy, This is how I store potatoes. I live in Utah County. Years ago a farmer told me to store potatoes in an area as cold as possible but where they won’t freeze. I get flat boxes from Costco that stack–like the ones that mushrooms, cucumbers, berries come in. (I use this same method for storing onions.). First go through the potatoes/onions and pull out any that are not in prime condition–like they got nicked when digging, etc. Use those up for your immediate cooking. Then I put the potatoes in a box in a single layer, then put another box on top and fill it with a single layer. Keep stacking boxes until you’ve used up all your potatoes. Then with potatoes, you need to not have them exposed to light so I either throw a heavy, dark towel or an old blanket over them. I try to check them every week or so. I store potatoes in my garage. Our garage is under part of the house so it doesn’t ever freeze. If a potato/onion goes bad you can throw it away and it doesn’t spoil a lot of other ones. Also, you can continue to use potatoes once they sprout. Just break the sprouts off. I don’t store onions in the garage in the winter. I stack the boxes on some shelves that I have in my basement. Onions don’t need to be covered with a towel/blanket. They do better with air flow. Hope that helps.

    2. Amy, we store potatoes in the space under our living room. It works out really well! We put them in a cardboard box and keep the lids closed. We keep a 25# bag of onions there, too, in a cardboard box or two. We wait to buy them until October when the cold snap has arrived so we are sure to get the winter onions that store well. They last us for a long time.

  42. Brandy, would it help you to buy jeans if you measured her at home and determined waist, hips, rise, and length, then measured the jeans at the stores? You’d have to stretch them some if they are stretch jeans. My husband is hard to shop for sometimes, so I keep a tiny tape-measure in my purse to see if the waist and length of jeans and slacks are what the tag says they are (and often, they are not). An older seamstress I know said she sewed jeans in a factory that supplied a well-known brand, when she first came to the US from Europe. She said if they had an order for many pairs of size 4 jeans, and didn’t have enough size 4’s ready, they’d change the size tags on enough pairs of size 6’s to complete the order, and send them all on as 4’s. I pretty much measure all jeans and slacks, now.

    This week my grocery bill went back up, unhappily, after having a nice low one the week before. I always aim to buy on sale, but our sales have been so lackluster or missing entirely, around here. I keep trying, though!

    I saw my specialist for my autoimmune disease, which means my co-pay is $50 instead of $20 with my insurance. I used the reward card from my insurance company, and it paid the co-pay. I have $165 left on the card and will use it at my dentist visit in October.

    I have a dishwasher so I use hand dish detergent sparingly, but I was almost out after many months of use. I found a refill size for the first time for the brand I prefer, which saves me money per ounce.

    My employer is purchasing smoked pork butts as part of a fundraiser for a local school. He’s buying one for each of the employees here, and it will arrive the week of Thanksgiving, so we will either eat it then or freeze it for later. I think we’ll eat it then. A small turkey and some smoked pork sounds good.

    I am still watching out for Christmas gift ideas on sale. We usually have gift suggestion lists ready for each other by now, but don’t have them this year, so I’ll get that ball rolling. I have four gifts bought already.

    Our weather here in North Florida warmed back up this weekend, and is very rainy and humid, but cooler weather may be here by tonight. I had to turn my a/c back on this weekend, but I’m looking forward to having it off again this week.

  43. I can remember tapering the legs (both sides of each leg) for my one daughter and darting the waist for another one, back in the day HA HA. I do wear clothes that I can try clothes on over most often.

    There has been a couple times we ended up with take out even though something was thawed due to family health crisis.

    My 71 yr old diabetic brother went down hard. Final tests results was dehydration, glucose went from 59 to 259 and he is not making enough blood so had to have a transfusion AKA just like Daddy when he was at that age. They are hoping better care of diet, drinking his water and meds will work so he doesn’t go down again. While dealing with this he was suppose to submit Daddy’s death certificate to the life insurance and I ended up dealing with them as much as I could. My niece sent the death certificate and my SIL sent his paperwork.

    Our youngest daughter age 36 whose kids are not in the home, who has lupus and will be grandma for the 1st time in April, has been diagonized with stage 1 ovarian cancer. The company she just started with can not work with the medical limits her oncologist is requiring so now she had NO income (single) and NO health ins. The oncologist office is helping her file for ins and they also gave her the name of a company that hires those fighting cancer as part time office workers. That company put her on the list they have so if there is an opening and her name is up they can call her. Her daughter’s man talked her into doing door dash over the weekend… she made $257 after taxes and mileage costs in 11 hours over the weekend. That is twice what she made at work for the same amount of hours. She said it won’t be steady work or income but at least it’s something to pay on the bills . Her oncologist is trying to get where she goes to for treatment changed because the other place offers FREE transport (instead of me or granddaughter taking her and then sitting in the car for hours) to and from and a nurse that will come into her home after her treatment to monitor her for 30-60 mins to make sure she is okay.
    We are adjusting our finances to make sure we can cover her bills and keep her in her home (with her 5 rescue dogs). We looked at moving her in but our income would knock her out of a lot of assistance. Daughter checked on a lot of programs and said the worse is changing her diet which is already set for lupus to add cancer diet. Organic, not processed, no metal cans, no deep fried, fried or microwaved, steamed over boiled etc. Told her it is cheaper to eat in season. She asked him if he knew what state they lived in because NOTHING is in season during late fall to early spring in OHIO. She can eat anything that is in glass jars without any preservative (salt is allowed). Good news is I have a solid pantry of my home canning. She did find a good place to get a box of organic meat that lets her chose what she wants in the box that will feed her a month with having beans and lentils 2-3 times a week.

    Then I had to deal with credit card fraud and theft as they took it out of my purse (which is my lesson to make sure my purse is Zipped up and I am not carrying the one they can just reach into)

    I’ve been dealing the green tomatoes all week , need to get the last off the plants cleared before the frost this weekend.
    Back to work for me
    Blessed be everyone

    1. Juls – your daughter should look at potatoes, winter squash, onions, turnips, beets, carrots, and rutabaga as they should be all in season fall into early winter and then radishes, green onions, asparagus, lettuce and spinach in the spring. We live in a Minnesota – which is colder than Ohio – and we have those crops April-June for Spring produce and October-December for Winter produce. If there is a farmer’s market someone could pick produce up at they typically run through November (pumpkins, root vegetables) and start in March or April. Not sure how frugal that would be, but it would be fresh and in-season.

      Prayers for your family!

    2. Oh Juls what a week! Why do things seem to come in batches like that? So sorry for your daughter but catching it while it’s at Stage 1 is really good news – so many women don’t even realize anything is wrong until things are much further along. I hope things get sorted for her insurance and she gets the treatment needed.

    3. Juls,

      You have my prayers. What a time you and your family are going through! I second the root veggies if she is able to eat them. Now is the time to buy bushels cheapest. And squash, potatoes, and such will store.


  44. I stuck to my meal plans. Used my Costco rebate (love those) which kept my spending much lower this month. Am really trying to be intentional in planning more when I stock up- finding deals like many of you and buying in bulk. Every bit I save is now put into the fund for building my new house. It’s really motivating. The weather here is beautiful right now, all the smoke from the fires is gone, and this morning on my early walk, I could see the stars.

  45. Our family celebrates Oktoberfest to welcome autumn; to give thanks for the autumn beauty, celebrate our heritage with handed down recipes and spending time outdoors with family activities. Thrifty savings this week included Buy one Get one Free Chicken breasts that the meat counter sliced thinly for Chicken Schnitzel (will also make chicken potpies to freeze from this purchase). Also bought sauerkraut and brats on sale. Plan to make pretzels with cheese sauce, an autumn pear salad, along with an apple strudel for dessert.

  46. -Last week grocery prices had gone down, so I took the small check I get a few days before my pension comes in and spent it. I was able to get good prices on cleaning products, cooking oil, pasta, potatoes, split chicken breasts on the bone, and ground beef. The lean ground beef had a so-so sale, but the store had taken an additional $4 off the package, bring it to $2.72 a lb for a kilo of meat (2.2 lb). I literally never see ground meat at anything less than $2.99, and that is not very often. When I drove home, I checked the receipt while I was still in the car, and found that I had been charged $4.99 rather than $2.99 for the 5lb of potatoes. I drove right back to the store (just a few doors away). It turned out to be a pricing error rather than me picking the wrong product off the shelf, so they refunded me the whole $4.99 and gave me the potatoes for free!
    -This week, I went to the other store in town and bought 8 jars of Classico pasta sauce at the lowest price we are currently seeing here ($2.50 a jar, compared to $3.95 regularly). That will do me for the winter. I’ll buy a few more groceries later this week. We are two weeks away from Canadian Thanksgiving, and turkey is on sale at the first store at 88 cents a lb (limit of one).
    -I have been scrubbing the kitchen and getting it organized for a lot more months at home. I’m glad to finally see I am making some progress.

    1. Elizabeth I was wondering about your furnace.
      My husband is an electrician. He did some work this month for a lady who gave him a post dated cheque for the end of the month. He said it was no big deal as usually bills and gives 30 days anyway to pay.
      Hopefully it is fixed now! I am in Manitoba and it’s getting chilly!
      Good savings on your shopping!

      1. Thanks for thinking of me. This will happen later this week. Some people will bill, some will want a cheque on the spot. I have a reasonable amount of money now that my pensions are in, so it shouldn’t be a problem either way. The forecast is still above zero for the next couple of weeks out. The weather is so odd. We had snow on the ground last year at this time.

  47. Hello Everyone!
    Our pooch is feeling much better. He’s more alert, active, and mobile. This gives me hope that he’s on the mend and won’t require expensive treatments or surgery. We’ll know more at a follow up vet appointment.

    I sold another item on Craigslist. A bit of elbow grease and patience cleared another item out of the garage and placed a few bucks in our pocket (‘till we spend it at the vet that is…).

    I made a dark rye bread for sandwiches this week and some wheat-potato rolls. I harvested just some strawberries, summer squash and tomatoes this week. Veggies are growing in the garden, but aren’t ready to harvest. I made a trip to the farmer’s market yesterday and bought some lovely, organic produce that would’ve cost triple at the organic market. Organic eggs sell for $7/dozen 😳 (didn’t buy any), so I’m looking forward to the day my hens lay!

    We are also planning to but a grapefruit tree as well as a mandarin tree our yard. We’ve decided to turn a portion of the yard into a citrus garden. We already have a lemon, lime and orange trees. My husband spent a few hours tearing out dead bushes to make room. We’re waiting for stores to have less expensive options. Our local nursery is charging $60 for their smallest tree (5 gallon).

    I had to buy new tires for my car before our rainy season. I was able to get a buy 3, get 1 free deal from a local tire shop with a lifetime warranty to plug or replace if there’s a problem and free tire rotations. Not cheap, but it couldn’t safely be put off any longer.

    Has anyone else noticed shrinking box sizes at the grocery stores again? Food prices are definitely up!

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

    1. I went to a different nursery this morning. Their 5-gallon citrus trees were a bit older, but $400 each. Ouch. They were on sale for $200 each. I will just have to start with tiny trees.

      1. Maybe I’m old and cynical, but I’m often pretty suspicious of stuff that is, say, $200 and yet it’s claimed that it’s on sale, marked down from $400. Sometimes I think the company was planning all along to only get $200 (or whatever) but thought it would look like a really great deal to pretend they were knocking 50% off the price.

        Okay, I am old and cynical. 😀

        1. I had to chuckle at this comment. Several years ago I had a second job (online live chat customer service) with a name brand handbag company. They also ran an outlet chain of stores, and everything in the outlet was priced this way. Tags would read “Originally $499, now $89” or whatever, making you think you’re getting a deal. However, almost their entire inventory (save for a very, VERY few items) was expressly produced for the outlets, of inferior quality materials and with less detailing to what was sold in the full price boutiques or the website, and was *never* $499. You were getting an $89 bag, they just wanted you to think it was a great bargain and a discounted luxury item. It just confirmed so many of my suspicions about retail pricing. (I also used to work in furniture sales, and that markup is the most ridiculous I’ve ever seen.)

          1. Jewelry is marked up 7 times. It’s the largest markup I’ve seen.

            I saw those kinds of prices this past week. Simply outrageous.

  48. Ate out a couple of times this week as chores and outings happened.
    Made and froze banana, raspberry blueberry muffins which used up 2 sad bananas, some freezer burned raspberries and a lost bag of frozen blueberries. They were fantastic.

    Did a day trip to Savannah to do some shopping, eating, and enjoying ourselves before hubby leaves. Restocked our spice and tea cabinet as well as my L’Occitane hand lotion (with a savings pass) while there. Received a slew of samples from L’Occitane, some I will use and some will make their way into stockings. Picked up a couple of cute Christmas presents for friends.

    Made a deal with a neighbor for the project jeep in exchange for mowing our yard while my husband is deployed. Since the car is going to be a “gift” for his son (son was saving to buy one), the son “gets” to mow our yard and his dad will buy the parts to restore it. The trade works out to just what we wanted for the jeep, I get the yard mowed, and the boy gets his car faster. Win all around.

    Looking at refinancing the mortgage to reduce the interest rate. As is, we will probably be able to pay in off in 3 – 3 ½ years, but with a refinance, we’re looking at a year maybe 2.

    Saga of my car continues… now I had to replace the key fob battery and the driver’s side sun visor latch OOP <$10. Radio still behaving strangely. Next time I take it in (and surely there will be a next time… I will have the address it).

    Still need a few new bras and 2 cardigans to stretch my winter wardrobe. And possibly a new pair of boots, but it really doesn’t get cold enough here to warrant boots, they just look cute.

    Hope to get a bushel of apples this weekend and make spiced apples for pancakes and apple slices for cobblers, oatmeal, and pork.

    Ceiling fan in the guest room (where the roommate has been living) is making a terrible sound. Thinking we will get a new stained-glass light for the dining room and recycle the dining room fan to the guest room rather than buy a new fan for a room we hardly use.

  49. This last week has been a pretty busy one.
    I am grateful that for now all remnants of tropical storms and hurricanes have moved past us. The rain is wonderful but I miss the sun and am ready for the cool weather that is coming in today.
    All of my seeds planted in the garden have germinated which I am super excited about. I planted seeds for broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and arugula in four separate rows that combined made a relatively large square. Well….the rain relocated my seeds and there are now tiny green sprouts all over the square and no neat rows as I had planned and planted. I count this as frugal becuase it will be entertaining to watch the plants come up and then transplant them to actual rows. Who says growing a garden is without humor? Not I.
    I will be planting seeds this weekend for mustard greens and cabbage. My zipper peas and crowder peas are covered in pods so I am hopeful that we will get some nice dry, sunny days to allow them to flourish.
    I must say that I am enjoying having a well stocked pantry and food storage. My trip to the grocery store this week again only resulted in milk, bread, eggs, celery, peanut butter, and a few breakfast items. Having a food storage that brings our weekly grocery expense to less than $50 is wonderful. I am looking forward to the cooler days ahead when I can hopefully coax my little boy into breakfasts of oatmeal, grits and other homemade items that will reduce this expense even further.
    We enjoyed several homemade meals this week including chicken thighs baked with bbq sauce, corn, applesauce, sour cream muffins; mongolian beef , rice and steamed broccoli; pork roast, rice, great northern beans, collards, okra & tomatoes and a fantastic pumpkin cake. I made a large pot of chicken and wild rice soup last nice and was so pleased that I could fill it with peppers, green beans, corn and carrots that we have put away. I continue to focus on eating down our stock to make room for holiday turkeys and hams.
    I used a variety of coupons and bucks from Children’s Place to build my son’s wardrobe. After savings and sale prices I managed to get him 19 additional shirts, 2 pkgs of socks, 2 pairs of boots and 2 pair of pajamas and only spent $80 out of pocket. We consigned all of his clothes that no longer fit and received $53 so total out of pocket cost for the new items was only $27!
    Some friends are moving and blessed us with a wrought iron table a chair set. We will give them a coat of spray paint and use them in the backyard around our fire pit.
    We have begun painting the inside of our home and thankfully the paint that we have purchased is a high quality so it is taking far less to cover the walls than we anticipated. It has primer built in so I am hopeful that we wont have to repeat this project anytime soon.
    I filled up my car using another 40 cent/gallon fuel point credit. Before COVid I spent about $180/month on gas and now it is only about $50/month.
    Our new washer was delivered and I was able to catch up all of our laundry. When you order the new appliance the store requires that you order new hoses at a cost of about $30 + tax but the gentlemen who delivered were able to use the hoses that we had as they were in good shape and we returned the new hoses to the store.
    So thankful for this community where we can share and glean wonderful ideas from one another!
    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  50. I rearranged my basement pantry with the 2 new to us metal shelving units that we got free last week. I can see everything much better now. I made a list of the items that were not at a 6 month supply. I will be adding items as they are on sale.
    One of our BBQs was giving us a little trouble. Hubby took it apart and gave it a good cleaning. Hubby thinks there may have been spider webs and bugs interfering with the gas. It is working great. Our daughter is closing on a house in a few weeks and we are going down to help them move in and get settled. We offered them one of our BBQs so Hubby cleaned that one up too. We get BBQS that people are throwing away. Usually it just needs a small part and then we sell or give them away.
    My youngest wanted to decorate for fall/Halloween. I pulled up the 2 tubs of decorations and she did a great job. The only decorations we buy every year are a few pumpkins which I cook after.
    We haven’t had AC or heat on all week. I turned the fans on a few times in the middle of the day when it was around 80 degrees.
    I picked up and returned some items to the library. Love that place.
    Hubby’s work offered to allow employees to cash out a week of vacation this year because no one went anywhere with Covid. We signed up for it. We should be getting the check at the end of November. We also chose to push a week to next year.
    We cooked all meals at home except lunch one day. Hubby really wanted Chinese so we shared a lunch special.
    I went for my yearly physical and got my flu shot. I have a $0 copay for it. I set up an appointment for my son since he hasn’t done it yet for the year. I made sure to do it for his day off. Staying on top of our health is very important. We pay for the insurance so we should use it.
    I made another 6 quarts of pickles. I think that will be it for the year. There are still a few cucumbers on the vine but we will eat them fresh. I dehydrated another pints worth of yellow pear and cherry tomatoes. I am still dehydrating lots of herbs. I got a few more peppers, carrots and beets too.
    I have been going for walks every day with the dogs. We do short walks with Oreo(14) and drop her off at home and keep walking with Charlotte, the puppy. She slept through the night all week. She is doing great.
    My youngest requested homemade apple juice so we made a gallon. I used the cores to start a batch of ACV. I used the pulp to make 2 batches of GF muffins and 2 cakes. One we are eating at home, the other I dropped off at my son’s job. They loved it. Nothing went to waste.

  51. I only worked three days last week. Work has slowed down at the same time as garden clean-up has picked up. I brought breakfast and lunch to work the three days I worked.
    We dug potatoes, picked broccoli, lettuce, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, corn, swiss chard, onions, carrots, beets and a few straggling sugar peas. Also picked herbs as needed.
    Put together a goody box for my son in Seattle. My older son was going there with his fiancee, so agreed to take a box of goodies to him. I also emailed him a couple of recipes he asked for.
    Made potato corn chowder with veggies from the garden. Made two batches of tomato basil soup. Didn’t have enough basil, so pulled some frozen pesto from the freezer and used that for flavoring. The DH gave it a thumbs up. Made “hot beans.” This is just stir fried green beans with garlic, crushed red pepper, and soy sauce. It was inspired by a dish we had at a Chinese restaurant we went to years ago. Made zucchini cheese muffins to go with the soup. Made a batch of focaccia bread. Made homemade chow mein using cabbage, carrots and onions from the garden. Bought a single stalk (stalk not rib) of celery for 88¢ from Winco. Used the celery in the tomato basil soup and the chow mein. Still have about half of it left.
    Found chicken thighs for 68¢ a pound at Winco. Leg quarters were 99¢ a pound, as were the legs. We prefer the thighs as they have more meat. Brought them home and baked them with salt-free seasoning. These will be used in a myriad of ways.
    Cleaned out the fridge. Not much waste.
    My DH was driving home on a different route than he normally takes, and saw a bunch of 4×4 wood units by the side of the road for free. He picked them up and they will become 5 or 6 new raised beds for us. We are getting older, and gardening is getting more difficult. (We are 66 and 68). We have very rocky soil, so it hurts my knees if I am kneeling in it for very long. Raised beds do seem to be the answer for us. We have almost 2 acres of property, and a 10 acre parcel behind us that belongs to our water company. So, no one can build behind us. Our eclectic raised beds are put on our back acre.
    The corn we picked amounted to 4 dozen ears. I froze 7 quarts.
    The tomato basil soup made enough for 9 containers in the freezer. I have enough Roma tomatoes to make another batch this weekend.
    Shredded zucchini and made zucchini fritters twice.
    Was able to actually have an in-person visit with my mother for the first time since March. I had to make an appointment, and we were limited to a 30 minute outside visit, and we could not leave the facility property. Luckily, it has large and beautiful grounds, so we took a 30 minute walk. I brought her some of the potato corn chowder and zucchini cheese muffins, both of which she loves. It was so good to actually see each other. We did wear our masks, as instructed, the entire visit. I don’t want to be prevented from visiting her again.
    I refilled my bay leaves bag, from the Winco bulk section, for 43¢.
    I have a plethora of onions this year. Red, yellow and candy onions. Some of the candy onions are bigger than a softball! Planning to make onion rings this week and also dry chopped onions. We work too hard in our garden for anything to go to waste. I have two cabbages left to pick. they will get eaten either in stir fry, cole slaw or chow mein. Nothing will be wasted.
    I guess that is it for now. Hope everyone has a blessed week.

  52. Brandy,
    I found that Old Navy has extended sizes of girls jeans. They go up to size 18 and 20. This was super helpful when my girls were in the “in-between” girls and women’s clothes. They tend to run skinny. The jeans also have the adjustable elastic waist up into size 16 and 18, so that really helps. I always had to sew elastic into jeans that didn’t have it to start with. I know they’re not as cheap as a thrift store (though you might find some at a thrift store), but they do run very good sales quite frequently.

    1. I knew they had ones for boys; I don’t know why I didn’t think to look there for girls! Thanks! My children love the adjustable waistbands!

  53. Brandy,
    I just did most of the frugal things we all do on a daily basis. But since you are working on new plans for your yard and garden, I had noticed that our fruit orchard had stopped producing this year. Last year it only gave us a few fruits and this year nothing. I did my research and discovered that the neighbor’s black walnut tree is growing too close to our orchard and black walnuts are toxic to apple trees!! This black walnut tree is huge and very tall. We approached the neighbors and asked if we could remove the tree, explaining the reason. He said we could remove it but he would not help financially or otherwise. This weekend my husband and I removed that tree all by ourselves! It was quite the job but my husband managed to have the parts of the tree fall in our yard. My husband did end up with a nice scrape on his back and a bruise on his arm from one of the branches but he survived. Walnut is a hard wood so it makes good fire wood and the neighbor said we could have all the wood. My husband said the tree is so big it will provide a year’s worth of fire wood for us- all for free. The walnuts it produces are worthless because the nut they produce is very small as in it would take hundreds of walnuts to make one very small bowl full of cracked nuts- just not worth the effort. Now that the tree is gone, our orchard and garden will get more light which should really help. The bad news is that the neighbor still has 3 more large black walnut trees but they are not quite as close to my apple trees as this one was so I am hoping for apples next year. The neighbor only allowed us to cut down that one tree and said the others were staying so we are grateful we were able to remove that one tree. We did it immediately after we got permission because we know the neighbors are thinking of selling and we have no idea if the new neighbors would allow us to remove that tree or not.

    My husband and I are going to cut some slices from the largest part of the tree and sand them down and turn them into trays by adding handles. These will become Christmas gifts and yes, I will be gifting one to the neighbor since it was his tree. The wood is really beautiful. I will fill the neighbor’s tray with food goodies before I give it to them.

    In planning my garden and orchard many years ago, I can honestly say I never gave a single thought to how the neighbor’s landscaping would effect my efforts. This is definitely something I should have seriously considered. I realize how fortunate I am that my neighbor was willing to work with us.
    Wishing a great week to everyone.

    1. You may have to put in raised beds. Black walnuts can destroy your soil with toxins. I am so sorry! I hope you can find a way for your garden to be productive!

    2. I’m glad to hear you’re finding a use for the wood. It truly is beautiful! Folks around here make black walnut cake, but hulking the nuts is labor intensive, and the cake probably isn’t worth the productivity of the garden!

    3. Black walnuts aren’t useless. They make a nice wood stain and the nuts are tasty in cookies and candy. You just have to expend the effort. The wood is desirable for lumber in fine wood working. It is much more expensive than cherry or oak. My husband is a cabinet maker.

  54. Like many of you I have not turned on my heat yet. I did use the gas fireplace to take the chill off one morning. I will probably have to break down and switch over to heat by the weekend. I always try to adjust my air/heat before I leave for work. I need to learn to program the thermostat. I saved 50 cents a gallon on gas using my membership card and BJs rewards. I had to buy a new laptop this week, tried to get my current one repaired and it was going to be $500 and have to be shipped off for 6 weeks. Being that we could be sent back home to teach online at any moment, that wasn’t going to work. So found a nice replacement for about the same cost of the repairs (and a warranty). I have been mowing my own yard lately to save a little from not hiring out. I used gift cards to restaurants to treat myself to dinner.

    Brandy, ordering seeds for next year is a great idea. I think I will look into that. I will be cleaning up my container garden area this weekend. Surprisingly my tomatoes rebloomed as well and I have enjoyed a few small handfuls of cherry tomatoes. I have a few radish and kale growing but our frost date is approaching quickly.

    Not much but every little bit helps right?

  55. As always, I enjoy this thread so much. Reading it every week is part of my frugality plan.
    We refinanced this week to a 15 year mortgage at a much better rate (1.99). We are hoping to add extra payments and get it payed off much earlier. Even though we don’t have a mortgage payment next month because of the refi, we are paying it, plus some, to get a good head start. We became empty nesters a few weeks ago and are already seeing savings in our food, water and electric bills from when our 18 year old son lived here. One of our adult children finally got off our phone plan. The kids always go off when they get married, but this one hasn’t gotten married so it kind of slipped by us. But she is 24 and is doing well at adulting, so down to just three of us on our plan. With that, my husband called the cell company and asked what plan would be best for us. We changed to a plan that will save us money each moth. We continue to meal plan and cook from home. I’m working hard to stay within our newly tightened budget. While all food is more expensive, I’ve noticed that potatoes and beans are still affordable, so I’ve committed to have a potato based and a bean based meal each week. I also am grateful for the cooler weather, as we will have soup once a week as well. I’m still cooking too much for just the two of us, so I’m often able to have leftovers. I try to freeze what is freezable right away, so nothing goes to waste. For entertainment, I’m using yarn I already have, or has been donated to me, to make warm items to donate. I’m in Minnesota and warm things are always welcome at charities. I’m rethinking Christmas giving this week. This is our “off ” Christmas (married kids alternate between us and the inlaws) so I’ll need to mail more. I want to be conscious of that as I buy. Also, since our last is now 18, I am eliminating the stuffed-full stockings this year. They will all get a homemade gift, a reasonably priced gift from their wish list on amazon, and $25 gift card. The children and spouses have all drawn names for the first time. So, it’ll will be different this year, but we need to do something that is sustainable long term with our ever-growing family. I’ll continue to get the grand kids a book, a toy, and something homemade. I’m thinking of felt play food this year or a character pillowcase for their homemade gift. It kills me to not buy everything and do stockings for my grandchildren, but I have to remember than I am not their Mama…that joy should be for them. But I am a Granny and I can give them something special without spending a lot. My husband had the utility company in for an energy audit. We are pretty good but could use some more insulation in the attic, so we will do that soon. All in all, a good week. Have a good week everyone!

    1. Becky, before my father-in-law passed away, he bought each of his grandchildren (the ones under 18) who were old enough to read a subscription to “The Friend”, our church magazine for children, or the “New Era” for the teenagers. The subscription is $10 a year. All children got the same gift. He started doing this about 8 years ago and my children all loved it.

      1. I love this idea!! Thanks for that! I get all three of the Church magazines, but I think my kids are all digital. So that would be a fun gift for their children

        1. They love each getting their own copy in the mail every month, and for $10 a person, it’s a great way to go!

          1. I still have all my copies of Golden Magazine, from the subscription my aunt gave me when I was 7 or 8 (50+ years ago…ahem…they are a SCREAM to look back on!). But I remember to this day my delight at receiving my very own magazine each month. I pored over every word, and some of the stories stuck with me into adulthood and contributed to my enjoyment of writing.

        2. I think everyone likes getting mail.
          When my girls were younger their great-aunt and uncle got them a subscription to magazines and they always loved getting those in the mail. The girls said it was like getting a gift every month from them.
          It doesn’t have to be a magazine either. Even a card a month would be fun.

  56. What a good find on whole chickens, Brandy! And clothes too – I love the way that anything one finds eventually fits someone in the family.

    This week we ate grapes, tomatoes, kale, arugula, swiss chard, nasturtium leaves and blossoms, and sorrel from the garden. We used our bronze fennel seed in some homemade Italian sausage. I had been frustrated with how it kept popping up all over the garden and “messing up” the look of the beds, but I do love the way that particular seed tastes in our sausage this year and resolve to not weed a bit of it out next year. I’ll just enjoy the feathery look. And maybe transplant some tiny ones to the back and water well. I also direct sowed and made soil blocks for spinach and lettuce. I’m having a race between my direct sown and soil blocked salad greens to see which are fastest and best. So far, soil blocks are winning on how well they germinate and also how fast they mature. I’m also just better about watering soil blocks and sometimes forget spots that I direct sowed, evidently.

    I also organized our seeds and was delighted to see many things present that I’d forgotten and had intended to order. Now that money can go for other things like replenishing our strawberry bed.

    I gave my husband a haircut and rejoice that I’m improving a bit. I’d dearly love to know any haircutting resources you all like. Any favorite combs or scissors or youtube tutorials? I’ve got a long way to go before my haircuts would be called “good.”

    We found pork loin on sale for $1.47/lb so bought 15lbs and ground it for homemade Italian sausage. Between fennel from home and wonderful prices from San Francisco Herb Company on the other seasonings, this is definitely the best price on sausage we can find. We also found petit sirloin for $2.77 so bought some for a treat.

    Brandy, thank you for all your encouragement to have a fall garden! I am really enjoying the process and my garden’s kind results. I hope yours is plentiful with lots of delicious tomatoes from those blossoms.

    Wishing you all a wonderful week. Thank you for all the inspiration!

    1. Sarah, would you be willing to share your sausage recipe? I have been looking at several and none of them were quite what I wanted.

      For haircutting, I simply use the Wahl Clippers and use a short one on the side and the 1-inch on the top. My husband likes his hair around 3/4″ on the sides and I cut the youngest two sons’ hair at 1/4″ on the sides. I don’t love their scissors so I bought haircutting scissors separately and I use those for my girls and myself (my husband cuts my hair). I just cut the girls’ hair straight across and my husband cuts mine in a bob that tapers slightly down in front.

      1. Thank you, Brandy! You and your family always have wonderful haircuts in your pictures – it’s great to know that it’s not too complicated.

        I’d be delighted to share the recipe. I too didn’t find exactly what I wanted online, so this is an adaptation of a few of them. For about 5lbs of ground pork, I mix in 1 Tbsp kosher salt, 1 Tbsp fennel seed, 2 tsp freshly ground pepper, 1/3 C parsley, and 2 tsp oregano. Once mixed, I refrigerate it overnight to let the flavors mellow before frying it and freezing. I also love making sausage with just the salt, pepper, and then a bunch of fresh or dried sage. That one’s more like breakfast or southern sausage, but also delicious. I hope you can adapt one of these to something you all would find tasty!

        The pork loins I bought were pretty lean, so in normal times I’d add some more pork fat in. However, our butcher shop at the grocery store just hasn’t been staffed when my husband’s been there the past few months, so it’s hard to get special requests.

        1. Thank you! I like sage and fennel and have been torn between which type to make. I could always make half like breakfast sausage and half more like a dinner sausage! Boneless pork loin roast is on sale again this week. Thanks!

          1. We also love the sage sausage for dinner with some Southern sides like biscuits, green beans, and fried apples. If you all adapt the recipe and like it, I’d love to try making it too!

  57. Hello Fellow Frugals,

    This past week we have been enjoying the wonderful Autumn weather and the beauty of the changing leaves. Fall is my favourite season! I have had our natural gas fire on a few mornings, but otherwise it is perfect weather.
    I went for a walk in my neighbourhood to pick up a denim skirt for my daughter from my Buy Nothing Group. On my return I spotted a rusty nail on the road right by my driveway. I picked it up right away and was thankful it didn’t end up in a tire.
    My neighbourhood Buy Nothing Group has been very generous – this week I picked up 1 pound of cotton wool, a skirt, a large bag of dry cat food, 3 bars of soap, 2 bottles of liquid soap, and 1 hair colour in my shade. I was able to gift to others a bird house, fall and Halloween décor, and some craft supplies.
    I sold a few items on FB market place.
    I redeemed another $10 gift card from SB for Amazon. I am keeping all my Amazon gift cards for Christmas gifts.
    I planted some rooted cuttings from a plant into a cute pot for a future gift.
    All meals, entertainment, and socializing was done from home. A little dull but very very frugal!
    Wishing everyone a lovely week ahead. Love this website and all the encouragement.

  58. I love reading everyone’s frugal activities. It’s so encouraging and I always get ideas of things to try.
    Twice a year we pick up trash along the highway with a group we belong to. Last week was our time and I found a $10 bill! That has never happened.
    I canned 6 pints of cole slaw and 7 pints of salsa.
    I found shorts in a style my husband likes on ebay. They were like new but $15 less than new ones would have been. I was also able to get him some new underwear at Marshalls on sale.
    We’re enjoying the last of the tomatoes, chard, lettuce, and sugar snap peas from the garden.

  59. I Have just discovered that we have a chestnut tree in our yard! It must have been planted several years ago because it is producing chestnuts like crazy. We harvested about 20 pounds and there are at least another 50 pounds to be harvested and more falling from the tree still. There is of course tons of info on the internet but I wanted to ask if anyone has any recommendations or favorite chestnut recipes?? We have never eaten chestnuts before and are looking forward to what they will add to our holiday. Any advice on how to store them?

    1. I use them in my stuffing mix. They have to be roasted first and then peeled and chopped. Our tradition is a sausage based stuffing rather than a bread one (I believe this is more popular in the US) so I add chestnuts and chopped apple.
      I also use a chestnut puree – although I buy this in a can – for desserts. I assume if you roast and then puree plus add some sugar etc. (there are recipes online) – you could make this yourself. A can of this is very expensive so if you canned it in a pretty jar it would be an amazing Christmas Gift.
      I’ve also bought chestnut candies – again imported from France – and again they are very expensive so would be a lovely treat if you are a baker or candy maker.
      I envy you that lovely harvest – my mom used to buy a bag – roast them in the oven and then give them to us kids to peel and eat – kept us quiet for ages!

      1. Margie,

        Stuffing recipes in the U.S. vary greatly by region! All the magazines like to feature the different regional ones each November.

    2. Angie – I know that chestnut flour is highly prized for some Italian recipes. And of course hot roasted chestnuts!

    3. I have had candied chestnuts years ago — I think it was a Turkish recipe — but the recipes that use chestnuts are almost limitless — grind them into chestnut flour, make a chestnut cake, (lots of recipes for those), chestnut soup, chestnut pasta, — I think chestnut marmalade sounds lovely. Of chestnut hummus. You could make a lot of marrons glacés — candied chestnuts, or also chocolate covered chestnuts for Christmas gifts! Lucky you!

  60. Your garden plans sound so exciting, Brandy! I’ve been researching nut trees for our garden, and am thinking of planting hazelnuts and perhaps a pecan tree. Our lot has very few trees, and I think a well placed pecan might be a nice shade tree in the summer. I’d also love to plant a few apple trees, and maybe an apricot too.

    We had some savings this past week, mostly focused on car repair and food storage. The food pantry where I volunteer has had to be shut down due to a volunteer with COVID, so I haven’t been able to glean from there. Instead, I focused on work in our own garden and planning a fall garden. I harvested mustard seeds and the last of the basil. I need to process the basil tonight into pesto (or maybe dry it in our dehydrator), and will plant the mustard seeds and garlic for a fall garden. Any other suggestions on planting for zone 6b fall? I’m hoping I’m not too late; we’ve had a couple of really early frosts already.

    I placed our first order with Azure Standard for some grains (organic rolled oats, steel cut oats, and polenta grits). We have overnight oatmeal at least a few mornings a week for breakfast, so I anticipate using this well. I also use rolled oats a lot for energy bites and cookies/muffins. It took a chunk of our grocery budget for the month, but I feel like it was money well spent.

    My husband repaired a broken tail light on my car and fixed the car key battery. He also put air in the tires, which is something I never think to do when I’m at the gas station.

    I’m continuing to work on my blog, but am having really tough time figuring out WordPress. Does anyone with successful blogs have suggestions? I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend on courses, but if there is one that would really walk me through, then I might invest.

    Here are the rest of our savings:
    I hope you’ll stop by!

    1. I really would like to grow hazelnuts, but I can’t find anything that says they will grow here. Pecans are wonderful but they grow too large for my small piece of land, though they can grow here. The hard part for me on growing nuts is having male and female trees. Because my space is limited, I have chosen self-fertile trees for everything else. I am so thankful I found a self-fertile almond tree that doesn’t get too tall for my space. I wish you all the best in adding nuts to your garden!

  61. We were thrilled this past week to be able to go into the library in our little town. We hadnt been inside in 6 months. My daughter and I have been watching French language learning videos in the evenings with our Kanopy subscription through our library card. I continue with my Duolingo in French as well.
    It’s getting cooler here in New England and we are engaged in the “game” of seeing how long we can go without lighting the woodstove. My goal is always Halloween but we usually cave around October 20-23 rd. LOL
    Thank you Brandy for hosting this blog. I learn so much here.

      1. Brandy – My daughter is 9. We have been watching Bonjour Les Amis. I think they would be appropriate for ages 5-10 ? There are only 3 videos available to us via Kanopy. They are old (so old they talk about rewinding your VCR tape. Love it) but I think they are sweet.

        1. Thanks! I like several but they haven’t engaged my children enough yet. I will check this out and see if I can get these through the library here!

  62. I can’t believe September is over. I canned 16 quarts of cabbage this week and am making a crock of sauerkraut from 1 huge gifted cabbage. I bought spaghetti sauce for .79 a jar. I bought 15 jars. I also bought 6 lbs. of clementines for 5.98. Noe I am trying not to be spending on extras, eating at home, baking now that it is cooler, and trying to organize what we have. I need to get larger sizes down from our attic for my 2 younger sons. I had to take my only daughter shopping for some basic clothes. She is in a women’s medium now. She also chose the high waisted stretchy jeans from walmart and they did fit. I was so glad. I will pick up another pair when our next pay check comes in. I struggle with the tight fitting clothing offered for girls. She is 11 but looks more like a 16 year old. When we shop it takes a long time to find pieces that she likes and I will accept. If anyone has ideas for places to shop I’d be grateful. I love fall and the break from the heat.

  63. This week I managed to cross off multiple items on my wants need list. I found a lovely wheel chair for my mother at Goodwill. On half price day , it came to $15.00. I’m sure her insurance coverage would have provided it but she refuses to place order. It is easier on my back to simply purchase it. My son spent the day with sugar cookie. I was able to shop worry free and she didn’t burn my house down. We had a close call earlier this week. I hit a salvage store and purchased Depends for mom. At half price, I will return my earlier purchase from Costco. I stocked up on Dollar tree items for 69 cents at this warehouse. Full size boxes of Kleenex and art supplies. The child requested more art stuff for Christmas. I found 5 packs of canvas, multiple Crayola items, and poster paints. 69 cents per item is about as cheap as you can get. We canceled Netflix and replaced it with a years subscription to Boomerang. At 40.00 a year, its cheaper and she can watch tons of Scooby. She’s requesting a Barbie doll house at age 31. I guess I will buy it. We’ve never had one. I imagine I will be doing a bunch of swag bucks to cover at least part of the cost. Special needs children stay young forever. I took two stone crocks from dumpster diving and spray painted them. They are now used in the bathrooms for the toilet brushes. They look quite nice. Much better than the white plastic. I believe these may have been intended for kitchen tools like spatulas. I discovered a new dumpster by accident. It is a treasure trove. This week we collected Lays chips, Nathan’s Frank’s and bacon. Cases of snack cakes. Everything is in sealed cardboard boxes. They are heavy and more of a struggle to retrieve. My local homeless ministry was happy to receive them. Its a lovely day. We are going out prowling tonight and hope to find many goodies. I hope everyone is having better times.

  64. I have a question for everyone.
    This week I went to Kroger for the first time in a month and a half since we have been eating from the garden. I was shocked to see it was not fully stocked like before the pandemic. There were many empty gaps throughout the store and it reminded me of how it looks after a big snowstorm or the time the truckers went on strike. There was plenty of food and choices, no reason to panic, but I felt uneasy. (It was about 1/6 empty of food). Seeing the shelves bare during the pandemic has awakened me to be more aware of my surroundings.
    I took pictures and texted them to friends to compare them to their stores. Some places were completely stocked, some were missing a bit here and there, and two other friends (who work in retail) said there are big supply problems from items coming from China.
    My Farmer websites say the farms were hit hard this year due to the hurricanes, storms, fires, floods, pandemic confusion, etc. and our food supply is low.
    How are the stores stocked in your area? Am I over-reacting or experiencing 2020-PTSD?

    1. I’ve been reading the reports about the food supply, and I am concerned about rising prices due to how much has been destroyed. The weirdest story is the 300 cattle that died due to clouds of mosquitos after a hurricane hit the area!

      I’m still finding deals, and the stores are mostly stocked (though I have seen some gaps) but I want to grow more of our own food. I’ve long been considering taking out some of the grass in the middle of the yard to add more beds in order to add more fruit trees. My husband suggested widening some beds as well, which was something I hadn’t considered before. We should lower our water bill and be able to grow more food. There will be a significant expense to make the changes, but I believe they will pay for themselves in 3-4 years in lower water bills as well as increased food.

      1. The cattle deaths were news to me – what a horrible way to die!
        I was wondering if it was just my area or if this was more widespread. It seems we are in for even higher prices than what we have now. I have been able to get some good deals, but they appear to be loss leaders to just get you in the store. Regular prices are going up.
        I have been working on the garden, adding many more winter vegetables and it just seemed like I was planting too much, obviously not.
        Thanks for giving me the heads up.

        1. I went to two stores this morning: Walmart and Winco. Walmart still has empty shelves in the cleaning section. They have been that way since March. Most of the aisle is empty. I’ve had a hard time getting the Great Value brand apple dishsoap in the big bottle; it’s $4.97 but the name brand, Dawn, is $8.98. I had trouble getting this before the pandemic; it would be out 1 out of 3 times. Now I’ve only seen it twice since March. They had the Great Value brand blue one this time (not before, though), and I just bought one; I am allergic to a lot of soaps and my husband is sensitive to scents, but I went ahead and got this one; I’m not a fan of the scent, but I want to make sure we can wash dishes and not be stuck buying a more expensive option.

          Winco had mostly normal prices but lettuce keeps creeping up in price; it was $2.98 a head! It has been so hot that I haven’t dared to plant my lettuce seeds, because they just dry out, but I will be doing that tonight!

          I’m really glad we’re going to plant more in the garden. Some things, like the fruit trees, aren’t going to give us anything for a few years, but I’m sure prices will be even higher then.

    2. I don’t think that you are over-reacting at all. I have seen some combination of shortages and low supply since the pandemic hit and it has been in varying stages. Even though I have seen empty shelves and shortages – toilet paper, paper towels, meat, produce, dried beans and rice, yeast, canned tomatoes and other good with long shelf lives…I have not yet felt that there wasn’t enough food. It is concerning to me however as I have read report of farmers plowing under their crops when the pandemic hit. We are likely to lose more with fires, floods and the like. In short I believe that there is no better time to be growing at least some of the food your family consumes and keeping reserves as well stocked as you can. I am often shocked to hear peoples reactions when shopping – complaints that the store is still low on frozen pizza or other such convenience items. I know a lot of folks rely on that but I become more worried when I can’t find yeast, dried beans or rice to purchase. All of this said we have a huge garden planted, a great pantry and a large freezer stocked. I will continue to replenish stock as I can and plant not only the garden but veggies in flower beds as well so that we have enough for ourselves and to share.

      1. Angie, thank you for replying. It is rare when someone tells me I am not overreacting. We are in a small town and were two months behind the closest big city (Nashville) at getting toilet paper restocked. I kept texting pictures to my brother of empty shelves and he would reply with pictures of shelves (although half-empty) that been restocked. I was wondering if it was just something unique to my area. I have researched it deeper now after hearing from Brandy and it seems this shortage is worldwide, now THAT is bothersome.
        I will continue growing food and add more staples to my pantry…just in case.

        1. And we are using more than we were because we are home more even with everyone working.

          Also, keep in mind (and prayer) that without workers, there will not be a harvest even if the growing climate is perfect.

          I am taking a sober and accurate analysis of our household. Pray for the best, prepare for the worst.

        2. It Is really strange. We have empty and half empty shelves for toilet paper and paper towels all the time, and we live in an area with two huge paper mills with a hundred miles of us, and we follow chip trucks driving slowly up the hills on their way to the paper mills all the time. I guess toilet paper is just not their specialty. I have found Costco to be the only reliable source here for those items. So far, I have been able to buy enough to have a little on hand and not feel like I am nearly out.

    3. Our Aldi in SW Michigan is still placing limits on the amount you can buy. Two pounds of butter, 4 of a canned food. The last aisle was finally stocked with more than chips and lunch meat was back. And they have toilet paper and hand sanitizer but no bleach wipes.

      1. Interesting. Sam’s Club here limits toilet paper to one package per shopping trip.

      2. Our Shaws in Boston has limits on the amount you can buy too on meat and butter, I know, and sometimes other things.

      3. Candy, I just got home from my Aldi which is 50 miles south of Nashville. It was half empty of everything and looked like a hurricane had blown through. This time I decided to investigate and so I asked the stocker (who wasn’t putting anything on the shelves just clearing out the empty boxes). He said the store was closing for two days for inventory, repairs, and restocking. I felt relieved. Evidently, I wasn’t the only one asking questions because I overheard another employee say it wasn’t a pandemic but a “planed-demic”. It seems everyone is wary.

  65. We have just cleared all our French bean plants from our allotment. I could not believe how many beans I had managed to miss on those plants. The bean seeds inside had all grown big so I shelled them all and have dried them to use as haricot beans in the winter. I have not done this before but if it all works out fine then I will put in some extra plants next year so that I can have some dried.

    I love reading about all the frugal things people are doing so thank you for all the ideas.

    1. If they are open-pollinated seeds, you have just collected your seeds to plant next year!

      1. I love hearing about your changes to your garden, Brandy. It is inspiring to see how you are trying to increase your growing space, decrease water usage and doing it as cost effective as possible.

        My seedlings have been mildly successful at best due to rabbits, but the cloches have been the most helpful. All of this has made me appreciate the foraging I can do with lambs quarters and dandelion right now. They help stretch the greens and require zero effort. The spring onions my daughter gave me for compost two years ago are still going strong. I put them in water, rooted them and planted them. Again, no cost and a lot of use from them.

        I got $35 in gc from our insurance company for filling out a survey. I also got a $10 gc from cvs for beauty items which I purchased on sale and with coupons. I had a $5 reward from kohl and some credit so I got a pair of jeggings for a granddaughters birthday , today. I went to a big yard sale today and got things for a granddaughter due this month, my GD birthday today, and triplets birthday next week.

        My son got in after a year deployment and he and his two girls are with us for two weeks and my DIL and triplets are coming for a couple of days so I am doing lots of simple meals to enjoy this time with them. I made a peanut butter pie with a marked down crust and free cream cheese and a birthday cake with free flour.

        The weather is lovely here, nights in the upper 40’s and days in the upper 60’s to 70’s. So no heat or ac yet!

        Hope you all have a lovely week!

  66. I am in Canada here. Both stores in my small town are well stocked. (They are from different large chains.) There is the occasional missing item (mid-sized flour packages, for example). A few vegetables and fruit have been missing, but there is plenty of choice. Some have not gotten to low seasonal prices, which has been disappointing. An exception is US potatoes, which have been very, very inexpensive. Both stores have had quite a lot of warehouse-type sales, which they only have when they are feeling pretty confident about supplies.

    There were very few frozen vegetables for a while, but they have come back and are on sale again.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      I think things are changing here — with the realization that we may have a second wave of covid, I think people are starting to stock up. I alas missed out on No Frills special for a valu pack of lean ground beef at $2.79 per pound (a savings of $2.90 per pound). I haven’t seen it that low for a long time. By the time my friend got there, they were all sold out and half of the things I had on my list were sold out. I cannot usually eat chocolate bars but at Hallowe’en Hershey’s makes peanut/nut free little chocolate bars. I treated myself to a couple of boxes. They are usually $9.95; No Frills had them on for $4.95 per box. And my friend managed to get them. I’ll put a box or two in storage for treats later on. Now that sale is over, Superstore has them on sale for $7.95.
      A friend went to Superstore and they were extraordinarily busy today with many things sold out. Superstore’s new flyer has sweet potatoes for $0.67 per pound which is a great deal. The stores also have good specials right now on baking supplies such as Crisco, lard, chocolate chips, flour, etc. Anyway, I think people have started to stock up.

      1. I’m glad you got your chocolate bars. It is heartening to have a supply of a favorite treat, I think. I stocked up on several months worth of coffee at a great price, and am happy about that. I was not the first person to the shelf, but they still had quite a lot left. They didn’t have the on-sale turkeys the day I was there, but I didn’t go back to check later in the week after another truck had come in.

        I imagine the increased COVID numbers and the transition from CERB to the increased employment insurance program are driving some stocking up, combined with Thanksgiving and some super sales. The food manufacturers are saying they have a lot more stock than in the spring, and not to worry — If there is a surge in demand, they will make more. There has been an astonishing amount of Kraft Dinner on sale, so I think they have already made a lot of it.

        1. Probably the makers of Kraft Dinner anticipated that everyone would start restocking up in September and made a lot of it.

          My chocolates were decadent. I am putting two boxes into the pantry and will have one at Christmas. It will certainly be a test of will power! I got my little and rather expensive ham — it is made by a company called Valbella and only available at Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. I got a rotisserie chicken today and put 9 servings in the freezer. I’ll make a lasagne and put individual servings in the freezer, too.

          I was very lucky today — some friends went back to the park and retook photos because the first ones were done with a cellphone and not high enough resolution for the book. The new photos are really nice!

          Elizabeth, I hope your furnace is fixed now. I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! Ann

  67. My husband made me a cold cellar for our canned goods and root veggies. We are only able to do this because we harvested the wood from our land. Since covid lumber prices have gone through the roof. I was attacked by a dog three weeks ago so I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to can all the veggies in our garden since the dog mauled my right hand. But hubby stepped up to the plate and did over 60 jars of salsa, harvested 30 lbs of honey and I was able to help dig up our potato patch and pick pumpkins and our spaghetti squash. Right before the attack I canned 40 jars of yellow beans. Next week we will be canning our carrots. We should be able to can at least 40 jars.

    We still have some tomatoes and peppers left in t.he garden and cukes in the greenhouse. But our season is coming to an end soon.

    Spring Peeper Farm

    1. I am so sorry you were attacked by that dog!!! I hope you called the authorities and reported it—a dog like that could attack again, and even kill a child!

    2. Lisa,
      I am sorry about your hand and hope you heal quickly. And WOW what a great husband! You both are very impressive.

  68. The on real shortage we have is paper towels for some reason. There is very little choice and many stores are limiting it to 1 per person. I’ve noticed a few other items here and there with limits but not too much. Most stores are fairly well stocked but prices are high. There are a few decent sales but not as many as usual at this time of year. I have been stocking up over the Summer so at the moment I’m concentrating on fresh items – fruit, veg and dairy – trying not to let these items get too low just in case.

  69. I cooked a pot of pinto beans in the pressure cooker after soaking them and dumping out the water and adding more with homemade taco seasoning. We made burritos with the pinto beans, avocados I bought for 38 cents each, and a bit of salsa, cilantro and lime juice. Yum! I was inspired by you, Brandy, to make these type of burritos. My husband and I both loved them! I also made a soup with our garden fresh kale, red beans, onion, garlic, and a bit of sausage in our bowl. The next day we ate vegetarian soup and enjoyed it just as much. Enjoyed a day out with my son to get Sushi for my birthday and a seaweed salad, Yum! Had a a burger with my husband. Bought 10 lbs of chicken for 58 cents a lb. My husband grilled part of it for barbecued chicken to eat with a chopped salad made from Kale, cucumber, and carrots from our garden. The rest of the chicken was boiled and then my husband peeled the meat off. We then froze the broth and the meat. I had oatmeal with peanut butter and cocoa powder for breakfast one morning. Another day I actually ate a bean burrito for breakfast. Other days I ate eggs and an orange. One day my husband wrapped blue cheese mushrooms with jalapeno bacon and baked them.
    We borrowed library books about the stars so we could look for star constellations together. Turned off lights. Used the internet for entertainment and information.

  70. Oh, I forgot. I looked at 4 different grocery stores online for their sales. We went to 3 of them and bought their sale items and items we knew were cheaper at those stores.

  71. Dear Brandy, could you take cuttings of the Japanese Boxwood to propagate into more plants. I haven’t had time to check on Google …just thought it might save you some money…slow and patient is my motto in the garden.
    Great work as always x

    1. I have considered it. It is very slow growing. I will try for certain with the euyonomus that I am growing. It grows much more quickly.

  72. This week-
    -Made pesto, picked last of the cucumbers, made sun dried tomatoes in the oven and have been covering our flowers to keep them from being taken out by the frost.

    -Sewing machine has been humming; saved 2 pair of husbands pants by hemming them (used gold thread/lengthened stitch so they look like they were when they were purchased new-made the hem 1/4 inch), made a pair of potholders to give to a friend, making a wallhanging for a friend, and next is a pair of oven mitts.

    -Posted a book for sale on Ebay.

    -Washed and dried all bedding, spreads, and blankets. Hung everything out on the line.

    -Dropped out electric bill by turning off dyhumidifyer, outdoor pump, and keeping furnance off and only using when necesary to warm up house in the morning.

    -Took inventory of entire pantry and freezer. Made a list of everything we have and continue to purchase loss leaders and really shop around. Frustrated that milk was on special and when I stopped to pick a few things up, the expiration date was almost here. Have cut back on trying to over buy product but still eating healthy.

    -Sumitted 2 rebates with a value of $25.

    -Husband caught two meals of fresh fish.

    -Used my harvest decorations and rearranged goodies in different places in the house.

    Have a safe and frugal week everyone.

    1. How nice to be able to catch fish where you live! I looked at the prices of fish at the store today. Trout was $5.99 a pound. Catfish was $7.09 a pound. Cod was more than that. I like fish, but it’s out of my price range.

  73. I occasionally buy frozen fish on sale but normally as you say it is quite expensive. I have noticed some price increases in my store-for eg canned milk and eggs. Paper towel was also a limit of 1 but I don’t use much so that will work out. My DH is just applying for his last govt payment-I don’t think he will receive any as he just got paid but perhaps in future weeks when he works less he may qualify for something through EI. I don’t think I will get any more either-perhaps just in low work weeks. I have booked us both in for free flu shots coming out soon in Alberta.

    We continue to eat our green tomatoes as they ripen-our friends are visiting mid week next week and I think they will bring more veggies. Our weather has been lovely and no need to turn our heat on and no killing frost yet-average frost date is Sept 15-so we are living on borrowed time but enjoying it while I can. Took the one year old triplets and 3 year old brother out to the park and duck pond yesterday-free exercise pushing about 7o pounds of babies!

  74. It Is really strange. We have empty and half empty shelves for toilet paper and paper towels all the time, and we live in an area with two huge paper mills with a hundred miles of us, and we follow chip trucks driving slowly up the hills on their way to the paper mills all the time. I guess toilet paper is just not their specialty. I have found Costco to be the only reliable source here for those items. So far, I have been able to buy enough to have a little on hand and not feel like I am nearly out.

  75. I’m looking forward to seeing your garden before and after pictures. I can sympathize with trying to find girls almost into women’s size clothes; my granddaughter is in that size range, also. I found a size small jacket I had bought, washed, and closeted that I thought might fit her, so I texted her and asked her if she could use a coat. I thought it was really nice and looks like new. She said to send her some pictures, so she could look at it. (Gone are the days when she was thrilled with whatever I came up with.) But I think it is good that she decides what she wants. So I sent her some pictures. She told me she thinks she will really like it; it’s pretty, so even though it’s not pink or purple, but only mint green with a pink and burgundy and mint flowered lining, I guess she likes it. So for ten dollars she has a very nice warm winter coat. She showed me her clothes when I was at their house last, and I noticed she didn’t have a coat warm enough for winter. I also saw her younger sister’s clothes and saw the still nice North Face jacket I bought at a thrift store last year in her closet. I said something to my daughter about the younger girl always getting hand-me-downs, and she said, “Oh, that’s not a problem. I have to tell her to leave her sister’s things alone, that she cannot have them yet because she will try to take them over prematurely.” I don’t know if you have that problem. I really believe God helps us find what is needed. Sometimes it takes a bit of searching though. I’m glad to hear about Old Navy’s sizing.

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