I harvested tomatoes, basil, and an Armenian cucumber from the garden. Each of the squares in the photo below is 6 inches (15.24 cm) across, to give you an idea of size. I love that these never get bitter and actually produce in the heat. It was 115 at our house (a friend recorded 119 outside her house).

My husband repaired two fallen bathroom sinks.

My husband repaired our lawnmower, which had stopped working a couple of months ago. We took a guess on the problem after watching a video on YouTube with the ten most common reasons that lawnmowers go out, and he replaced the spark plug and carburetor. For under $16, we have a now-working lawnmower.

There were a ton of wasps in the tall garden grass. My mom suggested that I buy wasp spray, and after getting the lawnmower to work and testing it out, my husband was thinking I should probably buy some as well. I know from past experience that soapy water in a sprayer will get rid of them, so I didn’t want to buy spray (nor did I want to spray chemicals all over the garden). I also have a spider mite issue in the hedges where the wasps have been making nests the last two years, so I used the sprayer I already have and sprayed neem oil (an organic spray that I already had on hand; you mix a tablespoon with a gallon of water) to rid the hedges of both spider mites and wasps. Because it’s so hot, I sprayed early in the morning (it can damage plants to spray them in temperatures above 90 degrees).

My husband set up our large tarp in the backyard and we used it as a slip and slide with the hose one day.

I stitched up two seams in a dress where the stitching had come undone.

We had a family movie night one night after dark outside in the garden. We brought the tv outside to a table (and secured it with straps so it didn’t get knocked over) to watch a movie. We set up chairs and some blankets on the grass as well. We popped popcorn on the stove and everyone got their own popcorn to eat. This is the third time this summer we’ve done this; it’s a new tradition that we’re making to change up our weekly family movie night. I buy our popcorn in bulk in a 25-pound bag at Winco and we pop it in a stove-top popper.

I took my two youngest children with me to do some location scouting for my upcoming mini sessions that I’ll be photographing and ended up with several cute pictures of them for myself.

I accepted some hand-me-downs for them that I was offered.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. That Armenian cucumber is huge!! Another good week in the garden. https://pin.it/6EGM5MI Green beans (I now have a dozen quart freezer bags filled from this season’s harvest which is the equivalent of 24 cans!), cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and today- 2 odd shaped zucchini! https://pin.it/tZbGt1y I also have some fall garden seeds coming up. Here are green beans planted around a little grape vine in a barrel . https://pin.it/35HKKeo. They look insignificant now but I am hopeful that soon the entire barrel will be filled with bean plants and we will have a second harvest!

    I tried a new recipe in my Instant Pot – Cream Cheese Chicken. It uses Italian Seasoning mix so I discovered that I was out of my DIY mix. So I made up a double batch of Copycat Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix. So easy to make, such a savings!! https://pin.it/7HYlVhU. https://www.eatingonadime.com/copycat-good-seasons-italian-dressing-mix/ I love having homemade mixes on my shelf ready to use! That is such a time and money saver that I sometimes take for granted!

    I was able to redeem $20 in cash rewards for my credit card into my savings account. I got another $15 on my KrogerCashback and $11.50 more on ibotta. Rakuten sent me $6.34 also. So lots of little bits going into savings! I sold a couple of decluttering things this week and made $95.! I can’t believe that I have had things gathering dust that I’m not using that I can actually turn into savings!

    The table runner I made for my sister-in-law to give to her daughter-in-law is now on her dining room table and she is happy with it. https://pin.it/506jDnn. The quilt I made for our “daughter” got finished and I’m pleased! https://pin.it/6EGM5MI. It’s nice to keep Lenni, my longarm machine busy. It makes me feel like investing in it was a good decision!

    With the KrogerCashback , I was able to buy five 32 oz bottles of Hungry Jack pancake syrup for 49 cents each and five boxes of Kroger fruit and grain bars free. Every little bit adds to our pantry!

    Still getting 5- 6 eggs a day from our chickens! What a blessing!

    One of our neighbors across the alley from us set the heavy metal framework for 2 wooden benches next to our back gate for us! We do this back and forth when either of us has DIY materials left over or any type of material or supply that we think the other might use! This was framework for two wooden benches, so over the winter we will use wood from our stash to remake them! https://pin.it/5aTmxLv. Can’t wait to see them once the wood is added and they are rejuvenated!! With our sweet neighbors all around us, I think we could manage a “barter” society if we needed to! People can disparage urban life but our experience over these 27 years has been filled with kind and generous people! It may be like the adage of the traveler coming to entrance of new town and asking what kind of people lived in that town. Gatekeeper asked traveler what type of people were in his previous town and the response they got was that the people in the new town were the same as in the travelers previous one! We have been blessed with good neighbors over our many years!

    Stay safe and hope you find lots of ways to save!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

  2. Oh my, such sweet photos of your sons! The outdoor movie night sounds like fun. It’s good to know neem oil will work on wasps, if we should ever have any in the garden. They’re usually in our shed or outbuildings. I hope last week was my last week to can several days of the week. It’s a lot of work! I canned tomatoes, squash and tomato juice. I dehydrated the tomato skins, to make tomato powder, which I use to add flavor when needed. I went through Swagbucks, for 6% back on business cards. I prepared lots of food from the garden, including tomato pie. Fritters were made with leftovers. Quite a few of the winter squash vines were dead, so I harvested 14 squash of several varieties. It’s a big pear year, so I’ve been gathering a basket full most days. Almost all of them are cooking pears, and I still have to decide what I’m going to do with all of them. Though the garden is slowing down, I’m still harvesting a good amount every day. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/08/a-proper-summer-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. Laurie in Central NC someone nearby is posting fresh pears for $1.00/pound , you pick and now you have me wondering if they are cooking pears or eating pears.

      1. That would be helpful to know, depending on what your plans are. I’ve been gathering pear canning recipes to try. My biggest challenge will be finding enough jars. I’ve canned a lot this year! Where are you in NC?

  3. Oh, I love those pictures of those boys! They are so cute!

    I pulled our our no-longer-producing summer squash and have purchased seeds for fall planting. I am ready to take the bucket of worm castings and amend the container garden soil as well, before time to plant. Our worms steadily produce!

    I had something I really needed the oven for, so on an early morning this weekend, while it was still just in the low 80’s outside, I put in a pan of peeled, cubed sweet potatoes, a meatloaf, a big farm sausage (link style), and a pan of peeled and chopped beets, all at once. I got all of it done in about an hour.

    I peeled, cored and cut up more pears from our tree and made five pints of pear sauce.

    I sprayed neem and BT on my tomatoes — hornworms have hatched again.

    I hung out four loads of laundry.

    I didn’t buy anything except groceries and gas last week.

    I found an item in my house that will make a nice little gift for a child, so I set it aside.

    I used the Duolingo app to practice Spanish. I use the free version.

    I enjoyed a movie night with two of the grandkids, with a DVD I already owned and home popped popcorn. Movie nights are nice in these days of staying home.

    I made up another batch of hummingbird food. We love to see the birds at the feeders.

    I’m looking forward to fall, when we can turn off the air conditioning at night. Later, we should be able to just turn it off, and use neither heat nor air for at least a couple of weeks in the late fall. Sometimes we can do it for almost a month. I love those days.

    1. Mable,
      You got a steal in that young man. Here, that would cost me $20/hr even from my nephews.
      I never thought I’d be a Hallmark tv watcher but you’re right it’s such a wonderful mental treat. I just discovered the Signed, Sealed series and enjoy it too.

  4. I had some lovely things fall in my yard these last two weeks.The first was a man saw me out in the yard midday( neighbors are out early or late), he offered me two large truckfulls of mulch. One load had cedar. I will use it to add to my mulch paths in my gardens and to cover my strawberry bed over the winter, and to put in the flower garden in the fall. The second gift was a neighbor offered me a small load of cow manure, which will need to age but will give me some come February I can plant over. I also got 25 gallons of manure that I hauled in my little suv, from a neighbors. I have gotten so much just by being available and putting out the word that I will take anything! I took the grandkids to see the Hairy Coos, a Scotch cow and some horses down the road.

    We have had some big rains, one of which flooded my lettuce seedlings, so I am starting over with that batch. I planted more kale and sugar peas which came up. The garden is drying up, although the tomatoes, peppers, watermelon and cantaloupe are still coming on.

    My dehydrator dies after using it after my MIL died many years ago. My sister bought me a new one for my birthday, which is not until November. I am so excited to have a good one, I am drying up a storm.

    I ordered some new shoes for walking as mine are wearing out. I walk about 30 miles a week and being on sale makes it a bargain for exercise.

    Blessings to each of you!

    1. I made bread, banana chocolate chip muffins, pancakes, mixed fruit jam (blackberries and mulberries from my yard, strawberries and grapes on their last legs from the freezer) – I had all the supplies on hand. I made popsicles. Dinners included crockpot chicken parmesan, potato soup to use up very sad potatoes, eggs and homemade sausages (ground pork with spices added, super yummy, I found the recipe on Pinterest), cheesy chicken and rice, tacos and homemade cheesy “helper”. Lunches were sandwiches, soup, or leftovers.

      I have been making meal plans to use what I have on hand and avoid food waste. I’ve found ways to throw in the little bits of leftovers into new dishes. I spent $33 at the grocery store to purchase items I was out of and use daily. I had not shopped the previous 2 weeks and will not shop for at least 2 weeks.

      I exchanged books at my library. I won a gift card to a local restaurant for my participation in the adult summer reading program. My employer also handed out gift cards to a fast food chain to all of us to say thank you for not quitting despite our hours being cut in half for months now. It won’t be getting better anytime soon.

      A friend and I used free entrance tickets to take our daughters to a local attraction (masks, sanitizer and wipes, and social distancing were all used. It wasn’t busy when we got there and we left when it started to get busy 2 hours later). We packed a picnic lunch, ice water in thermoses, and snacks.

      A friend put more audio books on my (very old) iPod to listen to at work for free. I give her home grown catnip in exchange for her kitties.

      I have washed and reused baggies and jars, line dried my clothing, turned off lights when we’re not in the room, unplugged everything I can.

      I save my soap slivers in a jar. I chopped the jar full into small pieces, put into a cheese cloth, dip into HOT tap water then squeeze into a ball. Let sit overnight to dry out again. I got this tip from watching “Wartime Farm” on YouTube.

      Have a great week!

      1. I’m using what we have here. Visitors left us with 2 dozen smoked sausage and 1 dozen giant hot dogs as well as 1.5 dozen buns. We’re eating them-stuff we never buy but I won’t waste. They’ve been tasty. Last night I made Mac n’ Cheese with sauted zucchini from the garden and diced hot dogs for added protein.

        Breakfast today? Greek salad-cherry tomatoes and cucumber from the garden. Dinner tonight will be more sauted zucchini, homemade pesto pasta.

        I mended my knee length exercise shorts twice this week. I’m determined to get every thread of life out of them.

        I’ve got about 15 pounds of zucchini from the garden this morning. I’m going to dice, roast, cool and freeze for future use.

        Our blackberry patch has been producing this week. We’ve got about 3 gallons so far and will be canning as much jam as we can get! (hubster likes to help with canning-yea me). We love our low sugar BB jam 🙂

        Happy Friday everyone!

  5. I do the same thing with my kids when I’m scouting out new locations for photo sessions! It gives me a good excuse to make sure that I’m trying just as hard to get great photos of my own family as I do to get photos of others 🙂

    Some things I’ve done lately to save money:
    – I need new glasses and checked around for online retailers that sell cheaper frames, which I will then take to a local optometrist to get fitted (I can’t order the whole prescription online because my needs are so specialized).
    – We recently moved, and I got a library card to our new library so that I wouldn’t be so tempted to buy new books.
    – I wanted to get in the habit of going to the gym again, so I scouted around for a good location and a good price, and I also made sure that my insurance will reimburse the cost of the membership (which they will!).
    – We used a gift card to go out to a restaurant as a family, and our two older kids split a kids’ meal rather than each get their own (which we do every time).

    So I’m curious—did the spray actually work to get rid of the wasps and other pests?

    1. Yes, it does work. But you can also just use soapy water for wasps as well as aphids.

      1. Brandy, thank you for this info on wasps! We have always used the chemical spray around the outside of our house, but there was a nest inside our asparagus patch recently. I had no idea that soapy water could work and I do have neem oil now as I had to do something for the new-to-me rose slugs I have! Goodness, these slugs can completely defoliate a rose bush in no time. I thought Japanese beetles were the worst. We really do try to be chemical free in our home and gardens as much as possible.

        1. I’ve never heard of rose slugs! How awful!

          I wouldn’t use neem oil unless you have another issue. The soapy water is effective and costs less. I only used it because of the spider mites in the same place. I went out this morning and literally “stirred the hornets’ nest” and they are all gone.

    2. Torrie,
      I often find prescription glasses at the thrift store and usually they’re no more than 3 dollars. If the frames are in good condition, fit, and are ones I like, I’ve had new lenses inserted. You can even do that through on-line services. I just searched for “buy new prescription lenses for old frames.” I’ve been fortunate to find some unique vintage frames as well!

    3. Torrie – I have no affiliation with Zenni Optical, but ordered new glasses from them a few months ago and was so very pleased with the purchase. I had a lot of add-ons like the thinnest lens possible because my Rx is so strong, progressive bifocals, etc., and the cost for it all counting a 10% off for first timer coupon they give you was about $110, including two pair of sunglass lens to fit over my glasses. I typically have to go back and forth for them to be fitted correctly but these came out perfectly from the mail. Good luck if you go the online route! I’m sold, as my last pairs from Target optical were several hundred dollars.

  6. I sewed some decorative pillows for a church silent auction using materials I had. The cover for each pillow was a 9 block granny square crocheted from my yarn stash. After visiting 3 yard sales this weekend (Fri and Sat morning are the typical yard sale times here.) and finding no craft materials but a surprising number of over priced furniture pieces, I found one of the charity thrift shops selling skeins of yarn for 25 cents each. There were acrylic, cotton and wool so I bought 4 skeins for crochet projects. I crocheted a pair of mittens and a headband/ear warmer from some of the wool and a beanie and scarf from the novelty Christmas yarn (red, white and green ombre with metallic silver thread.).

    When Covid 19 caused a lot of volatility in the stock market (in April, for example), I stopped our draw on our retirement IRA. The idea is that if you don’t need the income, you try to preserve the capital during volatile times. So for the last several months the market has recovered so I asked that our draw be started again. (In the meantime we had spent down our regular checking account by having new hardwood flooring installed in 3 rooms to replace worn out carpet. We had planned to put the new flooring in next year, but since most of our travel plans (Canada, England, Scotland, etc) had shriveled away, it seemed like a good time to get the flooring replaced.) Because we live in a semi-arid climate we had to install a humidifier on the HVAC to preserve the warranty on the wood flooring.

    My husband and I tiled one wall in our kitchen – between the counter and the upper cupboards. We are not that handy so we watched You Tube videos several times. It was a pain but it does look nice and we saved over $400 for the labor to have it done for us. (Next time I think we’ll just pay someone to do it – but hopefully it will last a very long time.)

    We have been having weather that is much too hot for Wyoming (and being above a mile in altitude) – in the high 80’s and low 90’s. I do my walking early and in the evening to avoid the heat. One day we went to Yellowstone NP for the day (it’s always at least 10 degrees cooler there because it is higher still). The bison rut is going on so we watched in Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley. (No crazy tourist got butted though my husband can’t stand to watch people get close since he is a retired ranger. He will ask people to move even when he is not wearing green and gray.)

    I have started taking more short showers after watching Dr. Dre’s videos about skin care on You Tube. She says people in their 60’s and older should take showers every other day and short ones because long and frequent showers dry your skin excessively. I love a nice hot bath but I save that as a weekly treat.

    I am looking forward to Autumn and some brisk days.

    1. I turned 61 this year and was feeling guilty over sometimes skipping my shower and doing it every other day, especially in winter. I have always taken a short shower (about 5 minutes) but now I feel better about the every other day thing especially when the weather is cooler and the indoor air is drier.

  7. First of all, I love your pictures this week. The ones of your sons show just how loving they are.
    I had a pretty good week, mostly surrounding the garden. We picked cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, chard, lettuce, carrots, beets, tomatoes, zucchini, onions, cherry tomatoes and three hills of potatoes.
    We broke our record heat yesterday. It was 101 here. while that may not seem so bad to some of you, in Eastern Washington that is very warm. Luckily we have a basement, as we do not have air conditioning. It is a good 6 to 10 degrees cooler in the basement.
    A friend gave us 2 red onions, and 3 bulbs of garlic. I chopped one of the red onions and minced 3 cloves of garlic to put on our homemade pizza. YUM!
    Cleaned and chopped 8 medium size zucchini. Put them in the dehydrator. They are now all in one jar, to be used in soup this winter. Picked, cleaned and dehydrated parsley. Did it twice, and got 10 trays each time.
    While I was at work, my DH cleaned the garlic for winter storage. It is in our “fruit room” in the basement. This is a room with cement walls and floors and no insulation. Keeps everything at a level temperature year round.
    With the first tomatoes of the season (other than cherry tomatoes) we made BLTs for dinner one night.
    On another day, while I was at work, DH cleaned the kitchen and dining room floors. Swept and “hot mopped” as he calls it. Also vacuumed the living room, hallways and bedrooms. My DH retired about 3 years ago, but I am still working. I really appreciate that he has picked up some of the slack.
    I cleaned the kitchen counters and sink. Also the bathroom – toilet, tub, sink, mirror and counters.
    Washed the sheets from the downstairs bedrooms – hung them on the line to dry. The beds are ready now, if either we want to sleep down there because it is too warm upstairs, or one of our sons comes to visit.
    Visited with my mom through her window. Maybe another two weeks or so, and we can have a socially distanced walk around the outside of her apartment complex wearing masks. Here’s hoping.
    Was able to get 2 bricks of Tillamook cheese (2 pounds each) for $4.99. We love Tillamook cheese. We actually visited their cheese factory in Oregon when we were first married – 45 years ago next Sunday. Our “honeymoon” was driving from Washington to Southern California to my DH’s new duty station in the Marine Corps.
    Went to Winco and replenished spices from their bulk section. Also bought some cheese powder, just in case. Also got some dried fruit (cherries, cranberries and blueberries) for a treat this winter.
    Made a big batch of homemade taco seasoning.
    Topped off all my kitchen seasonings, and the rest are stored in the “fruit room.”
    Planted another round of lettuce. I still had the seeds, so thought I would give it a try. Something ate the last ones I planted, after they were about an inch high. These are in a different location.
    I guess that’s it, At least all I have written down. Hope everyone has a blessed and frugal week.

      1. Kara: Me too. I am a military daughter, daughter-in-law, wife and mother. My dad was in the Air Forces, FIL in the Navy, DH in the Marine Corps and son in the Army. We have them all (except the Coast Guard) covered. I thank your son for his service too. It is tough being a military family.

        1. Nancy,
          Thank you. You brought tears to my eyes. My father and grandfather were army. I did not know how it would affect my own life when our son went into the Marine Corps. Or the lives of our daughters. For good and for hard.

  8. -Movie night outside sounds like so much fun, especially after being inside all day to stay in air conditioning. And the sweetest pictures of your young sons!!
    -The bank got in touch with me, and I went to sign the papers for the new loan to replace my credit card balance. The monthly payment is somewhat lower, but best thing is the balance will be paid off much sooner and at a much lower cost. I can start to set some other financial goals now.
    -The water mains on my block are being replaced. There was a lot of confusion last week as they set up an alternative water supply to each house. My own was complicated by a Manitoba maple sapling having wrapped itself around the faucet they wanted to use and it taking quite a few people some time and energy to detach it without breaking the pipe. Somehow a pipe that normally draws water from the house system is now feeding all the water into the house, which just shows how little I know about plumbing systems.
    -The street is supposed to be under construction for the next two to three weeks. There is a lot of noise for long hours with heavy equipment going back and forth and beepers from heavy equipment, and sometimes a lot of people involved. The driveway will be blocked for part of the time, so I tried to get some errands done before the work started. I am planning to do projects at the back of the house, and in the backyard, so I’m hoping I will get a lot done anyway. This project was financed by government to help get people to work, so it is good to see it done in that way.
    -I packed blueberries into bags for the freezer. I’ve made blueberry drop biscuits, for breakfast and snacks, and roasted pork and potatoes. I am nearly out of coffee until the end of the month, but am stretching it by making lattes with evaporated milk. I find I like it much better if I put water in the evaporated milk – it tastes much less like it’s out of a can that way to me. I think I like it better than powdered milk, so I will stock up, though it is more expensive.
    -I’ve tidied out the mud room at the back door, and washed the walls and woodwork and floor there. I usually use this room as a cold storage for produce during winter, but am thinking I will make a bolster for the door, and replace some insulation and do a bit for the environment instead. I am not visiting different stores in different towns to gather a variety of squashes to store, and carrots will fit in the fridge. During Co-vid, I also don’t have any contact with local people who have gifted me with produce that I stored in the past, and I am not going to the farmer’s market since it is indoors and has long line-ups. Potatoes are usually available in large bags at a reasonable price through the winter, and I have been freezing other vegetables from the supermarket.
    -My pharmacy faxed the doctor’s office asking for prescription renewals, but I only got 30 days, no refills. A call this morning to the doctor’s office says I just need to request the 90 days prescription, so that is a relief. I also made a doctor’s appointment to get a blood work requisition. They offered me a phone or in-person appointment. I’ve said in-person this time, because I really want to get a sense of what is going on there. Rural doctors in Alberta are at war with the government and it is difficult to know how service is being affected. My mask is ready for the office visit, though.

    1. Elizabeth,
      So glad you can move to a line of credit and stop paying high interest. Such a relief to have more flexibility, I am happy for you!
      I find with powdered milk, if I mix it the day before I plan to use it I like the flavour more…
      Take care,

      1. Thanks, Meg. That’s good to know about the powdered milk. I’ll definitely try that. It’s skim milk as well which makes it not as pleasant an addition to coffee.

        1. For Elizabeth:
          I was told to drink skim milk during my first pregnancy, 58 years ago. I have never switched back to whole milk, and find I really prefer skim now. Besides being less fat, it tastes colder to me than whole milk for some reason, and if I occasionally have to buy 2% it almost tastes greasy. Just goes to show you can get used to anything. I also don’t use salt on or in my food and I prefer that also, although there is less of a difference than with the milk.

          1. It is true I use skim milk on cereal and berries, and in baking and cooking, and don’t mind it there. Even 1% tastes like cream compared to that. It is just in coffee I prefer something richer and I notice the difference. Only a short time ago, I realized you could put ice in milk, which makes it wonderfully cold and refreshing! We are so used to what we are used to!

    2. Elizabeth, You might try simply stirring the powdered milk granules into your coffee. I’ve done that in the past, or make up a small amount and double the powder to water ratio. That might make it feel a bit more indulgent. I’m with you … I want something creamy in my coffee.

    3. If you’re looking for a shelf stable addition for coffee, I find that I like the flavor of canned coconut milk or the powdered coconut milk (which you can reconstitute with water). It is a little more expensive, but I find that it takes less than the dairy milk to get the flavor that I like in coffee.

  9. Darling pictures of your boys!
    This was a busy week full of canning. We purchased a box of green beans and a box of peaches from the farmer’s market. I canned 19 pints of green beans and 11 pints of peaches (plus we ate some beans and peaches fresh.) I harvested more than 130 onions – white, yellow, and red, as well as tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, and chard. I made 4 pints of zucchini relish, canned 5 half-pint jars of candied jalepenos (Cowboy candy) and a jar of the marinade, 3 half-pints of pickled red onions, 4 half-pints of peach peel jelly, and dried onion tops for a jar of onion powder. I dried parsley, tarragon, and lemon balm for future use.
    I harvested my potatoes. They didn’t do very well this year – only 6 ½ pounds – but we will enjoy them and be grateful.
    I reorganized all my spices and seasonings. This is frugal because in doing so I discovered duplicates of several things and combined them, plus I threw out a few spice blends that I never use and don’t like, making more room for the things I do use.
    I made yogurt and sandwich bread.

  10. Such cute pictures of your two youngest boys!

    I’m feeling a little better about life in general…like I’ve accomplished something. We went to our vacation home for a few days and I did a deep clean of the bedroom and bathroom. Everything except the loft has been cleaned and is “not too bad.” We will be there this weekend (our son is coming to take his canoe home) and I’m pretty sure I’ll get to the loft.

    Also, I realize how much I’ve enjoyed our two little dogs during Covid. We have always had a dog, or dogs, and I always enjoy them, but I think taking care of these two these past 5-6 months has been a real blessing. Entertaining, for sure! We have two Westie rescues, a 14-year-old female we’ve had for 12 years and a 4-1/2 year-old male whose back legs don’t work right…and he’s a little nuts. The boy just wants to be loved and the girl can’t be bothered.

    OK, on to frugal activities–
    * I made 4 fancy pot holders from scraps last week and got rid of most of the pot holders I already had…some were truly disgusting!

    * My neighbor dropped off another bag of plums. Nothing like free food! I harvested green beans, cherry tomatoes and Early Girls, and two zukes. This year’s garden has been something of a bust, especially the beans.

    * I was given big clumps of three different daylilies (two were mine at the other house!) and a clump of something that has beautiful leaves and the blooms are pink spires. (I think I mentioned this last week–we did eventually ID it). I saved some for DDIL, who is coming later this week.

    * I used leftover black spray paint to paint a $2 thrift store picture frame.

      1. There’s a saying that if a Westie doesn’t make you laugh at least once a day, there is something wrong with you!

  11. My past two weeks have been consumed with tomatoes and peppers. I have canned or frozen 90 lbs of tomatoes, making them into diced tomatoes, rotel, hot asuce, and salsa. By Friday night I was so tired I could barely move. But they are done, and we will so enjoy them this winter in soups and chilis. Towards the end of the week I will start on pears. We pulled up our green beans and planted fall peas. The tomatoes and peppers are finally petering out so they will be pulled up and turnip greens and butternut squash planted in their place. Oh, at Walmart I found a 9lb can of kernel corn for $1.50. I couldn’t believe it. I came home and divided it into four freezer bags and froze them. I have no idea how they will turn out once they are unfrozen, but for $1.50 I thought it was worth the try. I figure at the very least I can use them in vegetable soup. My mom sent home leftovers from a big family dinner and I was able to freeze three bags of taco meat.

  12. Used items on hand to make a Chinese style pasta salad, rice pudding, and peanut butter balls. Used gifted & free items to make split pea soup, which included leftover pasta water & lunch meat from school lunch sandwiches. Use gifted items and other odds & ends to make a mock Chex mix. I was excited about it, but I didn’t realize until it was finished that the peanut oil I used was rancid. I’ll cover it up with more spices and eat it anyway.

    Traded apples & applesauce for other items at the community fridge. Picked up split peas and yellow lentils from someone’s stoop.

    Continued to enjoy free Panera coffee, and a free cinnamon bagel & order of gulab jamun using app coupons.

    A few months ago, I opened a credit card that gives cash back. They had a sign up bonus of $200 and deferred payment. Today I used the $200 cash back to pay off the balance of the card. I will continue to use this card for necessities and put the cash back toward paying off my balance. I always make sure to pay off my credit card by the end of each month. I currently have no debt of any kind.

    Finally joined my local Buy Nothing fb group, after reading about it often on here. Picked up some splenda and a big bag of clothes. Clothes are not a “need” right now, so to have adorable, new-to-me items in my size is just a joy!

    Used the Bunz app to trade some extra bangle bracelets I had for 3 boxes of pasta.

    Wrote on the trading app that I’m an adventurous cook and willing to trade for any kind of food. In exchange for a tiny bottle of hair gel, someone gifted a HUGE amount of pantry items she said her family wasn’t using. This includes all kinds of canned veggies, canned chicken, sardines, cereals, and peanut butter. I am keeping her in my daily prayers for this remarkable blessing.

    1. Chelsea, that was an amazing trade on your trading app! So glad you were able to get some fun clothes from Buy Nothing! Your creativity and resourcefullness will get you through this challenging time! Very inspiring!

  13. I am thankful for this group’s sharing. The person who told me to wait for cooler weather for my cucumbers, it worked! Blooms are now producing cucumbers. They are the best tasting and my kids are asking to grow them again next year. I had two more dentist appointments. The dentist gave us extra discounts since it was 5 treatments. Happy to report I am all set to go back on regular 3-month dental cleanings. The main sewer pipe; which was replaced 7 years ago backed up outside our house on the city side. It as the end of working hours. We were happy to get a plumber out within 2 hours who has lower costs. So happy the water got flowing again because the next day was one of my dentist appointments. The plumber advised us to call the city to televise the line (we did) and thankfully everything looks good. The city said the new toilets (we replaced ours last year) don’t use as much water and things can get back up. We found out the city will do a courtesy flush of the line and got their number. I harvest a few green beans. Many more will be coming so I froze the ones I picked to add to the rest later. Also harvested cherry tomatoes and basil. I dehydrated the basil to use this coming year.

    1. I think that was me 🙂 Glad you are getting cucumbers now! We’re having hotter weather here, but that’s to be expected.

  14. The boys are so adorable. I miss having little ones.

    The man I helped ended up in the hospital this week. I brought him and let me tell you it was an event. He is 88 and gets disoriented easily. They wouldn’t let me step in the hospital. There was a table outside the emergency room that I had to give them an emergency number for and they took him away. It was very upsetting. We had gone to his doctor before that and they told me to take him to the hospital. He is only allowed 1 visitor for a short period of time per day. That is his daughter. I have been talking to him several times a day. He is doing better but we still don’t know when he is coming home. His daughter asked me to clean out his fridge since last time he had this issue he went into rehab after so she is thinking he might be gone for up to a month. I brought home some milk, juice, grapes, bananas and watermelon. I am still working a few hours. His daughter asked me to do his laundry, do a deep clean of the house and to get his mail and paper.

    A friend had a small family get together in their yard. They had some beer leftover that someone brought that they don’t like. I took all 8 bottles. Hubby isn’t picky.

    I made 10 pints of dill relish. It is a different recipe then I have used but the boys love it. I also made 6 more quarts of pickles. The cucumbers are doing great. I have been picking carrots, beets, lettuce, tomatoes, chives, potatoes, squash and herbs. I have dehydrated lots of herbs and my carrot tops. I chopped the beet stalks to use in stir fries. I froze the beet greens to use in several different dishes. I made a pot of sauce with some tomatoes. We are eating the vegetables every day. We are also sharing with family and friends.

    Aldi had some great deals. Eggs were 60¢ a dozen. You can only get 4 at a time. I went 3 times. It is on the way home from P’s house. They had $2 off stickers on some of the pizzas. $4 for an easy dinner is my kind of dinner. I bought all 3. They had pork loins with $2 off stickers too. I took the 4 smallest. They ended up being less than $3 each. They also had heavy cream quarts on sale for $1.29. I got 4 and put 3 in the freezer. A whole watermelon was on sale for $2.99. I looked for the biggest one and got it.

    It has rained several days so I haven’t had to water. It has been cooler at night so the AC has been off for several days. Laundry has been hung outside when possible otherwise it was hung on the drying racks indoors.

    My youngest made more freezer treats for the dog. She loves them.

    A co-worker gave Hubby a slab of bacon that he was given. It was delicious. I used it for several meals.

    I haven’t bought bacon recently because the price is crazy. I haven’t been making it as often as I used to for breakfast. Hubby asked why. When we were out doing errands, we stopped at the grocery store. I showed him the prices. He said he didn’t need it for that price. He hasn’t been is a supermarket since Covid started. I tell him but this was the first time seeing the shelves half empty and the prices. I had gotten 2 hams for less than 50¢ a pound around Christmas so we have been eating that with eggs. Lots of omelets with ham and garden veggies, and also scrambled eggs with ham. He is happy.

    Have a wonderful week everyone.

    1. 97-year-old Mom left the skilled nursing facility in March the week before the state banned all visitors. Then Mom was admitted to the hospital in June the day after the hospital’s no visitors policy was changed to one visitor per patient. I am so grateful the timing of her illnesses was such that I was allowed to visit her. She has had hospital delirium during three of the last four hospital stays (not the last time). If she had not been able to have visitors, I doubt she would have gotten her senses back.
      The thriftiest thing I do is provide mom care given the cost of skilled nursing facilities and even the most basic home eldercare through an agency.
      Mom had walked only three steps since February 25, the day we learned the pins in her hip had failed. But last Wednesday morning, I thought she was strong enough to try standing, and stand she did, twice. The next day, after I told the physical therapist what she had done the day before, he got her standing and walking five steps at least three times. We were absolutely thrilled. Realistically, she won’t be able to throw away her wheelchair. But being able to walk, even a little, will make things so much better for both of us.
      I also cut down a tree the birds had planted directly over the pipe between the house and the septic tank. I had feared that I was risking major trouble if I left it to grow despite using root killer earlier in the spring. I also completing weeding the cracks in the driveway. I have about ten days to fill the cracks before the driveway will be sealed by professionals for not much more than it would cost to buy the sealer and the brush needed to spread the sealer.

  15. Oh my. The pictures of the children are wonderful. Love the hugging picture. And Mr. big eyes! So darling!
    My garden goal is no waste. Last week I froze minced garlic. Pulled zucchini plants which were no longer producing to allow more sunlight on the pepper plants. Harvested and ate eggplant for dinner. Canned pints of red beets.

  16. It was 115 degrees at our house also, although my husband said the front thermometer was registering 120. Maybe one thermometer was in the direct sun. Honestly, I live in terror that the AC will break down in the next six weeks.

    There are just two of us at home and I have been paying a great deal of attention to tiny bits of leftover stuff. It’s easy to have bits leftover with so few people eating, we get tired of the same food. Before Covid came to town I was pretty sloppy about cooking and really sloppy about leftovers. But now that every meal is from home, I’m wasting very little. My food budget has actually gone done.

  17. Sometimes you just have to admit the fact that you need to hire someone to do things you would have done yourself in your youth. I am in my 60s and the husband is in his 70s so I hired a local teen for $8 an hour and, bless his heart, he outworked grown men I’ve known. (My wonderful nephew who used to help us so much is off to college.) He turned three huge compost heaps, tore out wild raspberries that were taking over our domestic raspberry patch, cut back tree branches that were shading out part of a garden bed, and crawled under several fruit bushes to clean out all the weeds and put down new compost. It was worth every penny. Later his father called to make sure that the son had done a good job for us…that is what I call good parenting, making sure your child has a good work ethic. As it was, I lucked out and did several mystery shops this week that more than paid for the hired helper, so no money taken from other expenses or savings to pay for him.

    A friend gave us a 3 month subscription to Hallmark Movies Now (https://www.hmnow.com). They have a free one month trial subscription, too. Anyway, we discovered a series called Signed, Sealed and Delivered. It is a mystery set in the dead letter office of the post office and has a non-gory mystery, four quirky characters, a slight touch of Christianity in each episode. Corny, but a good antidote for the news! There was a one year series of it and then it was turned into hour and a half films, I think 10 of them. Also discovered Comes the Heart and an offshoot, When Hope Calls, both set in the late 1800s/early 1900s in the wilds of Canada. Sweet. If anyone is looking for a family friendly, happy ending series to watch, these three qualify. I feel like we eked out every penny’s worth from the 3 month gift.

    The garden is exploding. When I get a huge amount of cauliflower or broccoli and don’t have time to blanch and freeze (because you have to cut it to reasonable sizes and then time the blanching and then immerse in cold water…), I cook up a huge pot of, say, cauliflower, in chicken stock. When it cools I use the immersion blender and it turns into a thick cream-like texture. I freeze quart containers of it and in the winter pull out a container to have a fast base for soup. Usually add things like onions or cheese or cream or ham or potatoes to doctor it up in different ways so we don’t get sick of plain cauliflower soup. I now have 31 quarts of soup in the freezer, just waiting for the cold weather.

    A friend moved and gave me a 25 pound bag of pinto beans. I don’t care for them at all but my husband does, so I will be making some of his favorites this winter. On those days I eat an omelet or a salad and make him some sort of bean meal that he also eats the next day for lunch. He’s a good man so I don’t mind making a separate meal for him; heaven knows he has been indulging me for over 30 years!

    Sold four books on Amazon. I don’t make a lot doing that, but $10 here and there adds up.

    We have spent very little money for food, only about $15 a week for milk and watermelon, because we are eating out of the garden for most meals. We also have four chickens who are champion producers.

    The picture of your two young boys is priceless.

    1. As part of our cable package we have Hallmark and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channels. Both have wholesome movies and series thru out the year.
      The Cedar Cove series is also very good – based on the Debbie Macomber books.

    2. We have every Signed, Sealed and Delivered show and movie. Another one is supposed to come out sometime this year! One of our very favorite series!

  18. Such lovely photos Brandy!

    The past week I made cards for the upcoming family and friend’s birthdays.
    My daughter and I perfected a kettle corn recipe. It turned out so well that we are going to make a bag for everyone on our Christmas list.
    I happened to be at the grocery store when all the summer candy was put on half price. I picked out something for everyone on my list for a little Christmas treat. I was able to use $10 off in loyalty points for my food this week.
    I walked to the book exchange in the park by my house to drop off and pick up some new books.
    I was gifted some lawn fertilizer from a member of my buy nothing group.
    I mended 2 pairs of pants.
    Pretty much staying at home and working on projects and crafts for Christmas gifts. Used up food and leftoverrs, and being thankful for everything we have.
    Have a frugal week friends!

  19. It was a good, frugal week!
    I did a focus group through Zoom for a local grocery store, and will be receiving a $100 HEB giftcard for my participation. I just locked myself in the bedroom and left plenty of snacks for the kids, and they were fine. 🙂 No babysitter needed. I could hear bickering outside the door, but everyone survived. 😉
    I found marked down meat at Kroger, .99/# for 96% lean ground beef, expiring that day. I bought 10 lbs, but gave half of it to a frugal friend, since my freezers are pretty full, already.
    I was going to can some peaches on sale at the store, but they were so delicious, that we ate through them quickly.
    I bought an extra puddle jumper at a garage sale to keep at my aunt’s house. She is so kind to let us swim, but there have been several times when I’ve forgotten the puddle jumper, and this $1 purchase will be good insurance against that happening again.
    At the same garage sale, I got some free paint, that I’ll use to prime a room painted red, that I plan to repaint. The kids want to help me paint, but it’s taking me a long time to get ready for it.
    We shopped the hand-me-down bins for “new” shoes in a bigger size for 3 kids.
    I sold more things on FB Marketplace and Mercari, and shipped using recycled packaging. Cash in, junk out!
    A person gave us a free XL twin fitted sheet; I have a bed wetter who has almost worn his out, beyond repair, from washing so much when the pullups leak.
    I softened some hard hamburger buns by heating them in the oven, covered with a damp, clean towel.
    I checked out books and dvds from the library’s curbside pickup.
    I drank tea when I really wanted a Coke. Half tea/half lemonade is delicious, though!
    I continue to drive an old car, wear secondhand clothes, eat simple meals, live in a house that will never look like a magazine, etc. Nothing about my life is glamourous, but we have everything we need, and are very blessed!

    1. Leigh, you are wonderful. I want to be you when I grow up. 💕 (I’m actually 40, I just really admire your lovely outlook.)

    2. A bed wetting alarm quickly cured my son after we tried everything else we had heard of, I would highly recommend one for your child.

      1. Ditto here. Our son wet the bed until he was 7 and stopped within 4 nights of starting the alarm. Sears used to sell one called Wee Alert and that’s what we used. All the alarm does is tell them to get up and go to the bathroom.

  20. -Meals-meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and brown sugar carrots; tacos and vinegar cucumbers; hotdogs and home made coleslaw; grilled pork chops, sautéed fresh green beans, and GF cornbread; spaghetti with sauce and Italian sausage (sauce pulled from the freezer), garlic bread, and salad; chicken popper zucchini boats, leftover GF cornbread, and sliced tomatoes.
    -Ate out one meal for hubby’s Bday-Mexican-very reasonable meal. Haven’t been inside a restaurant in a very long time!!
    -Still picking from the garden-zucchini, green beans, cucumbers, basil, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, onions, peppers, and tomatoes.
    -Putting food up continues-more beans-8 more pints, up to 74 pints canned. Tomatoes finally coming-canned 7 quarts of spaghetti sauce. Froze 6 bags of my mixture of chopped eggplant, zucchini, and onions. I cook it in a bit of oil and then freeze. I add it to casseroles, etc. I made 2 quarts of refrigerator pickles. And I froze 8 packages of bell pepper strips.
    -Groceries bought this week were a log of fresh sliced mozzarella cheese on sale for $4.00, pineapple-$2.00, blueberries-$1.25/quart limit 4. I got 4 and hubby got 4-$10.00, watermelon-$4.00, and chicken thighs (99 cents/lb)-$4.00 for 8. Total $24
    -I stopped at a bulk food store in Fall Creek on my way to my daughter’s. I bought #30 of organic rolled oats for $36 ($1.20/lb); dried minced onion, paprika, xanthan gum, roasted sunflower seeds, canning flats (limit 6 dozen), real salt, and 2.5# new red potatoes-$75.00
    -Bought another food grade bucket with lid-when this arrives I will be filling it with the purchased rolled oats.
    -Made pumpkin spice granola (my daughter’s favorite) and a large pan zucchini crisp to take to daughter #1 when went for a weekend visit. It has been 9 months since we have been to their house (7 hr trip) since Covid. I also brought them some canned goods. The grands LOVE my dill pickles.
    -My daughter and I went to a flea/craft event. We saw some cute wooden pumpkins-$32 for a set of 3. We went home to her house and made them out of scrap wood she had. We only had to buy a sprig of greenery at Hobby Lobby at 40% off-$3.60 total. We used twigs for the stems, ribbon and paint she had. We made 3 sets-would have cost $96.00 but only cost us $3.60!!
    -Starting to sort out my sewing closet. In my extra room I have a table in the closet and my serger and sewing machine sit on the table. I have shelves on both ends of the closet for my fabric and notions. When I shut the folding doors the sewing room disappears. I want to start making some Christmas gifts. I want to use what I have, so I need to clean and do some planning.
    Have a great week!!

  21. Cute kids!!!! My power bill was just under $54 for the month. Since we had many days of heat indexes over 102 degrees, I am calling that a win. I have stocked up on 9 months of shampoo and eight months of conditioner. I have nine months of vegetable oil. I have bought the grown child with sensory issues 150 cans of tuna. I also gave him pickles and mayo but only enough for a couple of months. I do need to stock up on those two items. He will eat that if our grid goes down. I bought the youngest son 80 cans of tuna. He will eat beans, I have given him both dried and canned, I know I have mentioned this before, and lives close enough to the middle son that he will take him tuna if middle son runs out. My oldest son cannot put any more food in the rv he lives in while working several hours from here, so he is as stocked up as he can be. My daughter is fine with a years supply of beans. I send her canned vegetables too, when needed, by Walmart.com. I have double checked with all four of my kids and they now all have jackets, winter bedding/sleeping bags etc. My sleeping bag, it was rated for zero degrees, has arrived. I misread the rating when ordering, but that is plenty warm for down here. I have a combo of nine months of various canned vegetables, and frozen fruit, as well as the year supply of dried beans. I would run out of all canned vegetables at nine months (calculating from September through May), and many before then, but I do have that much. I have canned green beans, green peas. corn, turnips greens, collards, beets, carrots, tomato products, sauerkraut, pineapple, various soups, etc. I also have some canned chicken, and 24 cans of tuna. Of course I will take to the kids if any run low on anything. I tend to live on beans, greens, tomatoes and rice or grits. Plus, my dandelion greens almost grow year around in front yard. I don’t know why, but I sure am grateful. I need to practice cooking with my solar sun oven. I have some generic Nyquil, but not a lot. I need some more of that. I think I have plenty of toothpaste for everyone. I have some dog and cat food but not near enough for dog of son with sensory issues, so I am trying to stock up on that now. I do not have a lot of toilet paper and paper. towels so will, again, stock up for middle son. He will only use certain brand. I use family cloth for urination, and cloth kitchen towels so I always forget about tp and paper towels. I think I have enough other otc meds for nine months but will double check. There is always something I forget. Rubbing alcohol, as always, is hard to get now, but I do have a three month supply. I will never, I hope, let my supplies get low again. I guess I am thinking out loud as I type this….lol

    1. I also have a nine months supply of hand dishwashing detergent, Great Value spray, laundry detergent, bleach, vinegar, so I am well stocked with cleaners. I have some cans of chili, I think I have enough peanut butter including powdered peanut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla, lemon juice, powdered butter, powdered milk, canned milk, flavored vinegars, sugar, stevia, soy sauce, hot sauce, etc. cooking supplies. I probably need to stock up a bit more on honey, nuts, dried mangoes, dried dates. Although I have a good many dried mangoes and dates, I do not have enough to last until Christmas, I do not think. The next thing I really need to concentrate on is stocking up on an emergency fund for anything that breaks during the winter, i.e. car, heater, stove, frig, hot water heater, plumbing, etc.

  22. – I have been saving glass herb spice jars (cumin/paprika etc) and now I have been refilling them with home grown herbs (parsley,basil,lemon thyme, chives).
    -I ordered The Tightwad Gazette from the library. I also borrowed an audiobook to listen while I cook or clean (Anne of Windy Poplars). Oh, and an ebook on decluttering.
    – some of the family doesnt care for kale/spinach/chard stems so I have been adding them to my freezer broth-making bag.
    -I started a process book.- I can rattle off prices of things I buy, but after thinking about the comments last week, I do not in fact know some of my price per oz (for instance avocado oil – is costco the best price, or are 2 smaller bottles from kroger cheaper? I shall find out soon! )
    – starting to learn to ferment vegetables from the garden
    – all food made from home – including meatloaf, chicken avocado sandwich on sourdough, BLT, pesto pasta, baked oatmeal, pancakes, muffins, popcorn, smoothies.
    – clearing out and fall planting has started.
    – we have had no luck with purchasing a set bunk beds. Imbaby boy moved from a bassinet to pack and play since his brother is still using the crib (convertible to toddler bed. I had to double check that it is suitable for everyday sleeping, as I was unsure.
    -refilled bathroom hand soap with diluted dr. Bronner’s.
    – my husband used the sander on sticks we had in the yard to make toy guns…. as he was playing with the kids he unknowing made yellow jackets mad. They had made a home in a hay bail; he got stung many times but was all right.

    1. Hello Everyone!
      It’s canning season at my house, too! It’s the first year all three pear trees have fruited. I’ve got so many that I had to but more mason jars. That was harder than usual! Today I canned a port pear compote and an amaretto pear butter. Both are first time recipes that turned out fabulously! The rest of the pears I will halve or quarter (some are the size of a papaya!!!) to can in extra-light syrup.

      The recent heat has ripe the first cherry tomatoes and lemon cucumbers. I’ve also harvest green beans, strawberries and broccoli. Something has been munching my bush beans and carrot tops! They look mowed. My garden is fenced so it’s a critter that can either climb over or under the fence. Any tips to stop the night time munching?

      We have been warned of possible rolling blackouts this week. We did have a 2 hour power outage Saturday. While it’s “hot” for our coastal region, it’s nothing like other parts of CA.

      My kids started distance learning. I’m thankful to be home to help with technical challenges. Online learning has made mornings so much more peaceful.

      Beautiful photos Brandy! I hope everyone stays cool. Have a fabulous week!

      1. Julie! I am also a Julie from coastal California! The north coast, in particular. Mendocino County! If you are close, good GRIEF it has been hot, huh? I’m ready for fog and cool to return. 🙂

        1. Oh Mendocino area is one of my favorite places ever! For ten years we lived in the Napa Valley, and occasionally we would drive from my in-laws in Ukiah over to Mendocino. Such a lovely area!!!

  23. Those pictures are so beautiful!
    Thanks for the soapy water tip for wasps. We have them swarming around our front door and garage door. I can’t use neem oil; for some reason it makes me really ill (I tried it for mites on a houseplant once).
    This week we were without electricity for five days because of the derecho in Iowa. (It is so much worse than people realize! Many will be without power for weeks, and crops, land, businesses, and homes are just devastated in and around Cedar Rapids.) During the outage, I wasn’t able to work, so I got some projects completed. I used leftover paint to paint a cupboard in the garage. (I didn’t love the color, but it’s fine for the garage!) I used other leftover paint to cheer up my cleaning cupboard. I’m using linen fabric leftover from making a crib skirt for my son and his wife to make a scarf for a Christmas gift. Now it’s time to catch up on work! Cheers!

    1. Karen,

      The derecho didn’t make the news here in Phoenix. I just looked it up, the devastation is shocking. It is concerning that over 40% of crops were destroyed. I hope you and your family are doing well.

  24. Your two youngest are so cute. Love the photos!
    Sunday was the hottest day of the year for our area (actually, the hottest day in 11 years for Seattle – 97F). We don’t have air conditioning (only 30% of houses do here), so we closed up all the blinds and stayed inside. We went for a walk in the evening after it had cooled down a little. Luckily, it’s supposed to cool down to normal temps (mid 70s) later in the week.
    I had last week off from work. Spent the first half of the week getting things done, and after that I had time for relaxation and more enjoyable pursuits.
    Got my hair cut. It takes about 45 minutes to drive there now, because the main bridge is closed for repairs. While I was there, visited two parks on the coast of Puget Sound. Packed my lunch and had a picnic at one of the parks. It was a beautiful day.
    Took walks in two other parks closer to home. Did all my grocery shopping and picked up my CSA share at the farm. Picked extra greens. Blanched and froze 2.5 quart bags full of greens for future use.
    Found a recipe for a chilled tomato soup. The recipe called for 2 tomatoes, one peach and half an English cucumber (I used a big chunk of garden cucumber), several basil leaves, 1 tbsp olive oil, and salt. Chop tomato, peel and chop peach and cucumber. Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth, then chill. I have made this three times so far and it is so delicious. Tastes like summer.
    Saved the plastic bag my vegetable share came in and used it as a garbage bag. I do this every week.
    Ordered a few things from Azure standard to stock up. Got a free pound of peaches at my local coop (member perk).
    Met my mom over at my sister’s house, and we all sat in my sister’s yard and enjoyed a socially distanced lunch together. It is so nice to be able to do this. I noticed my sister had a small mountain ash (rowan) tree in her yard with berries on it. I asked if I could take one bunch of berries home to try them out (they are edible). You aren’t supposed to eat them raw, and I had enough berries to can one half pint in syrup. I will try the berries out at a later date. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rowan
    Ordered new filters for my corded mini-vac. Went to insert a new filter, and decided the vacuum needed a thorough cleaning. Detached the front part, washed it, and set it out in the sun to dry. Now it’s all fresh and clean, with a new filter, and runs great.
    Did two fun things on my week off. First, I finally finished listening to the music appreciation course from the Great Courses that I bought three years ago (yay!). Second, I paid $20 to livestream a violin/voice/piano concert by the violinist Joshua Bell and his wife, who is an opera singer. This was the highlight of my week. We had the great fortune to see Joshua Bell once in concert. His playing was the definition of mastery. The livestreamed concert was wonderful, and we can re-watch it until Aug 28. I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it to spend $20 on a livestreamed concert, but it was. Half of the proceeds went toward mental and behavioral health initiatives, so I figured that was a plus as well.
    This is a small win but was pretty great anyway. We have a very long street address with an apartment number at the end. According to the official USPS listing, this all must be on a single line, otherwise it shows up as incorrect when you are ordering something online. This means our address does not fit in many online forms, so I have to use an abbreviated version (which also generally shows up as incorrect). Even if I can get the system to accept the “incorrect” abbreviated address, when the vendor goes to print out the shipping label, the apartment number generally gets cut off. Over the past 14 years that I have lived here, this has led to countless deliveries being misdelivered or undeliverable, and I have to spend time and money tracking them down and/or picking them up at a shipping depot. I have made many attempts to fix this problem with USPS, UPS and FexEx, with no success. I have contacted online vendors multiple times as well, but this never leads to any resolution. Until now. I occasionally order supplements from my naturopath’s online dispensary. After having to chase down my most recent shipment, I called the company’s customer service and explained the problem. The rep actually took me seriously, and brought up the problem with their IT team. It took a couple weeks, but the IT team actually modified their online form to accept longer addresses. So I should be able to order from their store without any problems! This made me so happy, that a company actually took this issue seriously and made a change to fix it.
    Have a great, frugal week, everyone.

    1. That’s wonderful! I have seen that problem before and I’m glad that company fixed it for you!

  25. Returned 2 library books I wouldn’t get to in time.

    Made a skillet dinner using up random vegetables in the fridge…2 yukon gold potatoes, 1 sweet potato, 1 small bell pepper, half an onion, a zucchini, then a pack of ground Italian sausage. it was delicious and there was barely enough leftover for my hubby a serving for lunch.

    My mom sent over some items we wouldn’t eat, so i listed them on a buy nothing site. Kept a head of lettuce and the frozen pizzas for ourselves.

    Sold 1 items and made $5

    Cooked using mostly meat from the freezer…a previously grilled half a brisket was dinner and lunch a couple days, random small packs of chicken legs and chicken breast were cooked another night(accompanied by a handful of fast food sauces so everyone could pick their own flavors 😁), a pound of ground deer and a pound of ground beef(plus bell peppers from neighbor) became Salsbury steak another night.

    The 13 yo had her 6 month check up(no cavities, yay) in addition to her usual free toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, she received a small bag with a cup, play doh, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, healthy snacks, and a couple blow up balls. The play doh and balls she’s passing on to her best friend’s little sisters.

    Thanks to a bit more cooler weather, I’m able to keep the ac off a bit more.

    The 21yo bought lunch for us Saturday. Plenty of leftovers as it was Chinese (the 13yo and I ate ours for lunch today)

  26. This week , I enjoyed many hours of listening to thunder storms. I have two lovely bushes that have hundreds of various bees and butterflies. I’m always in awe at those huge bumblebees. I made one trip out this week. I found 3 ( 12 ) packs of 1000 sheet toilet paper. Sugar cookie attempted to bring home 30 loaves of bread. I gently reminded her, we didn’t have space, we don’t eat gluten and needed the more important items. I’m amused that a simple loaf of bread made her so happy. We made a green pepper casserole , a squash casserole , and baked a sheet pan of root vegetables . Dumpster diving has become a huge blessing. We also pulled out 3 cases of precut fruit . Mangoes , water melon and pineapple. I took it all as it was cold . I hate to see good food go bad sitting out in the heat. I have discovered that there seem to be rarely any others coming to this location. I enjoyed a free Audible book , I played on my phone. I used a pair of free ear buds we had found. ( new ,sealed in case ) I listen while I fall asleep. My mother’s impending death is quite emotional. The book topic and readers voice is calming. We had good news. A family member has weaned successfully off a ventilator yesterday. It occurred to me, I am old and most people I know are older. Therefore, more risk. College girl is coming home tomorrow and I am excited to see her. My children are such a joy . Have a good week dear friends.

    1. Lillianna I sympathize with the emotion you feel as your mother approaches her end days. My mother is also poorly and her dementia has accelerated due to the lockdown. She is in a bad way and it is emotional and upsetting for me to see her now, so agitated and distressed.
      You and your mother will be in my thoughts.

      1. Penny I feel terrible that your Mom is so distressed
        And I can only imagine how difficult this must be

    2. My deepest sympathy on your Mom’s declining health, my Mother died 8 years ago not a day goes by with my regret

    3. Lilliana, I was with my Mother when she passed. So many emotions. And, it gets you thinking more about the future, i think. Take it one day at a time.
      I love that you dumpster dive! If i were your neighbor, i would go with you!

  27. We have been very frugal on day-to-day living, but are stocking up like crazy. I intend to fill every canning jar this year. No sense in letting them sit idle. Just slowly.

    Although I’ve been very ill for the past two months and am now just starting to feel a bit better, I’ve still been plugging away at a project dear to my heart. My sweet daughter was not so cooperative in her teens and refused to learn to cook. I had her sit in the kitchen with me and we chatted away. Now, she wants to learn to cook and not waste. So, I’ve started an Instagram for her, her friends and anyone else interested in making good, frugal food with recipes and my hints. It will be a myriad of recipes and ways to use and save food. It’s working! She and her friends are enjoying the recipes and learning a lot.

    Check it out if you want. You’ll find me at: savingfoodforeating

    Blessings to all,

      1. Thank you so much, Patricia. I have been really in need of such a staunch prayer warrior. May the blessings of heaven return to you hundredfold.


    1. I just followed your instagram – so many great ideas. Thank you! I’m going huckleberry picking in a couple of weeks and will definitely be trying your syrup recipe!

      1. Love huckleberries! Not the picking so much this unusually buggy year. I was covered from head to toe and even had netting over my head! So enjoy being out in the woods and its free. Enjoy!

        I decided on syrup rather than jam as it makes the huckleberries go further. And the syrup is more useful for our family.

        Thanks for following. I’m doing all the work just for my daughter, so might as well share. Lots of ideas here on Brandy’s site!

      1. Thank you! Makes it nicer than just my daughter and friends.

        I keep forgetting to snap photos of what I’m doing in the kitchen. 🙄 I’m learning new habits.

  28. The photos of your boys are precious. And of the bee pollinating your cucumbers.

    I found your blog again thru a post that Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting made linking your blog post on how to prepare to weather the recession.
    Great post. I wanted to add to that that we plan ahead by keeping our monies in different “buckets” that is, we have a 1 year of expenses amount that we keep very liquid – think money market with checkwriting – then several years invested in short term treasuries and CDs maturing at different dates – then longer term we invest in the stock market. We are fortunate to have planned ahead and have a good income and have always saved something each pay period and maxed our retirement. It wasn’t easy at times to constantly save but we made it a priority. In this way if a recession does occur, which statistically it will, we are prepared financially & do not have to withdraw funds from the stock market-which has been very good to us as we have always chosen quality companies whose products we use. We have also recently paid off our house since with the income tax changes there were no tax advantages to deduct the interest on the mortgage – we are in a high income tax/property tax state. So as long as we pay the HOA dues and property taxes, we will always have a place to sleep!

    My frugal win last week – I found 50-pack disposable face masks on Amazon for $15.59. I ordered three packs; received them several days later with free ship. And I used your Amazon link!

    In the stores, have been stocking up on Cottonelle t.p. and Bounty paper towels – not on sale but it’s what we like and buying them when I see them. Also lots of beans; pasta for 79 cents a lb, chicken breasts for $1.99 lb; wild caught salmon for a good price. Hope everyone stays safe.

      1. Thank you Brandy. Glad to be able to read your blog again – your wisdom, your joy in living a good and happy life, frugally but in a healthy and abundant style – shine thru in each post. Your serenity and calm approach are much needed now more than ever. This oasis you have created in a turbulent world is a nice place to be and I’m glad to be a part of it!

  29. Has the soapy water trick worked with wasps on houses, etc? We have some getting into our attic. Our first round of poison didn’t work.

    1. I sprayed them when they were on grapes. I have only used it on paper wasps, not the mud daubber waps, but I know it also will kill bees. I had a beekeeper use it to kill a hive of Africanized bees in my garden. I was hoping to keep them but he said it didn’t look good. He went in with his bee suit and sprayed them all down with soapy water and they died very quickly, so I used that on the wasps. Once their wings are wet, they aren’t flying at you. I used soapy water earlier this year on the nests where I was stung through my gloves the first time, and neem oil the second time for when I again was stung through my gloves this year since I needed to spray for spider mites as well.

  30. Lovely pictures of your boys Brandy!!! I’m sure you will treasure them for years to come.
    The owner of the hone we live in our in a new hvac this week which was our biggest frugal win. Seems odd I know but we have been shouldering $400 electric bills for some time now so it will be a relief to have a new efficient unit that will heat and cool out home better without costing so much.
    Picked up a bushel of tomatoes and put away 14 quarts of diced tomatoes. Also shelled and froze 9 large quarts of fresh pink eyed peas.
    We continue to harvest green peppers, okra and banana peppers from our garden and our processing and freezing those to use in recipes in the coming months.
    Picked up four more pineapples to can this week which should yield about 4 quarts.
    Our crowder peas and zipper peas are growing well and I am hoping that the second crop of green beans will begin to produce shortly. We have had many sweltering days but I am hopeful that temps will begin to peak in the 80s so that our garden can have a bit of a break from the heat.
    Pulled up zucchini and squash plants that had stopped producing and will be planting our first rotation of collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and arugula this week.
    Put out 100 lbs of fertilizer on our yard just before two days of steady rain.
    Accepted an invitation from a friend to go swimming one afternoon. My son had an absolute ball and I was so grateful to have what felt like a normal afternoon.
    We have been looking for a new coffee table and end tables as ours are more than 25 years old and have seen better days. We priced wood and legs from Home Depot and it turns out that my husband can build the set of 3 tables for less that $80 total as we already have the wood stain, screws and wood filler he needs.
    We were able to purchase 10 more buckets from Sams and a shelf from Ikea that we will use to organize all of the food items that we are storing. This will give space and help with rotation as I don’t want to lose any of the food we have purchased or have rodent issues.
    We enjoyed corned beef and cabbage for several meals, bean burritos from the freezer, and takeout pizza as a treat that we made two dinners and three lunches from.
    I am excited to be able to use my
    Oven again…we haven’t been using it because the old hvac wasn’t working well and the oven would heat the house to 90 degrees.
    My husband got a raise which is always nice and our little one has started pre-K at a very small private school. This has been a great blessing as he is learning so much and so enjoys his teachers and friends. In these uncertain times, I am trying to focus on the joy of the situation and not so much the negativity. We have so much to be grateful for…family, friends, faith, health, provision. I pray blessings over each of you this week!

  31. Such sweet pictures of the boys!
    We are working hard to get our finances in good order. My in-laws are going into a retirement home and theirs are NOT in good order. It has motivated us to scrutinize our investments and educate ourselves some more. It seems such an overwhelming topic, but I am determined to learn.
    I spent the morning at the Subaru dealership. The battery ( purchased last year at the dealership where we used to live ) was corroded. I couldn’t find the receipt. I called Subaru corporate headquarters and they gave me a coupon for $250 in parts and repairs. It turns out the battery was good, so they fixed the source of corrosion and also did 2 other repairs. I asked when I took it in if they could do as many of the needed repairs as they could for the $250. They did, and wrote off the small overage. I was very thankful. While I waited (2 hours) I read a book on investing!
    We had rain 2 days in a row. Just a short time, but I was so excited not to have to water my garden!
    I wasn’t feeling well yesterday. My sister had called and we chatted for a while. Later I got a text that she had ordered dinner for us from a local restaurant and all we had to do was go pick it up. It was such a gift.
    I have been busy sewing pencil cases for my Etsy shop. This is one that I sent to my niece. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/814096070135530290/ I am so happy to be able to contribute to my family’s finances with my sewing. I mailed out a happy birthday banner to a reader here!
    My husband picked up 2 armenian cucumbers that a neighbor had put out. I brought my husband a cup of coffee from the car dealership. I picked up notecards from a Buy Nothing member. I love watching for free things. It’s like a treasure hunt and you never know what will appear.
    Thank you for kind thoughts and prayers for my son last week. He tested negative and returned to work today. Half of his staff is currently out sick!
    Blessings to all!

  32. I love those pictures of your boys!!!!
    Hubby and I are doing well with our goal to donate half of our food budget this month. This makes me so happy! We are eating healthfully and simply. For entertainment we have been hiking and walking. I am going to attempt to repair my dog’s leather leash where the stitching has come undone near the handle area. We have had this leash for 22 years, through three dogs (one was a very old rescue that we only had 2 years before she passed), and I am glad that I had originally purchased this quality product. It is now triple digits where we live in SoCal, and I really don’t know how you manage to garden so much in the heat, Brandy! We are still getting some tomatoes, basil, parsley and a few lemons…and I am trying to keep everything else alive. Looking forward to cooler temps but that will be a minute! 🙂

    1. I am only going out to water, mostly, and that’s just the potted plants before dawn each day. I did manage to mow last weeks and pull a few weeds very early in the morning. It’s around 85 then.

  33. This week we picked up 35 6 gallon buckets of food from an elderly gentleman who was going to a smaller apartment and didn’t want his preps to go to waste. He threw in freeze dried food, a wheat grinder, and a water purification system. Based on today’s prices we got about $5000 in free food. It’s all still good and in date as well. I’m still floored we got lucky and found this deal by chance on Facebook marketplace. I spent quite a bit of time in my garden, we have picked a few squashes and cucumbers so far.

  34. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Checking out new photo shoot locations sounds fun and I love the cute photos of your youngest two boys.
    I had some good fortune this week. The lump sum I received on retirement was uplifted slightly and the payment was made this week, an extra £120. It was completely unexpected. I’m not putting it into savings because I have several genuine needs for the upcoming autumn/ winter so I bought a new winter weight nightie in a sale and a new waterproof jacket half price in a sale. There’s money left for a couple of other things I need.
    I have a dressy watch my husband bought me but wear a cheap watch everyday. They still last for years but last week it broke beyond repair. I searched the charity shops and couldn’t find one to fit so I redeemed some Amazon credit and bought one for £7. It’s fine.
    I did a favour for friends and they kindly gave me a bouquet of fragrant lilies.
    We picked kale, beetroot, carrots, runner beans, courgettes, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, spring onions, chives and oregano from the garden. My husband harvested the white onions and shallots and put them in a ventilated greenhouse to dry.
    I pickled beetroot, froze runner beans and kale pucks. I picked zinnia for the house.
    Our grocery bill was considerably cheaper this week as I didn’t buy any extras for storage.
    I stretched some minced beef by adding in lots of grated carrot.
    I ordered heating oil at summer prices, the price per litre is much lower than it has been in past years.
    I have been searching charity shops for a blue necklace to go with several outfits and this week found one I like for £2. I also went to a local church fundraiser held outdoors and picked up a metal scrollwork three tier planter for £5. We might be able to plant strawberries in it as we would like to increase our strawberry production. It feels like I bought lots of things this week, especially for myself, but I’m anticipating winter needs at sale prices.
    A friend who’s a professional gardener offered to put in a bulk order of bulbs for us through their wholesaler . First my husband and I went through the catalogue like children in a sweet shop and madly made a long list. Then we calmed down, went through the list and removed lots of items. We will pay using some of the money I’ve made from eBay sales.
    I took lots of bags of my daughters unwanted clothing, not good enough for a charity shop, to the fabric recycling containers.
    Following on from your tip Brandy to use leftover water from water glasses to put on pot plants I realised I could do the same with dog bowls. Every morning I empty them, wash, dry and refill. Now I empty them onto indoor plants.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. PennyP – You are so right– Bulk bulb catalogs are amazingly addictive! You pick things out, then look back at the total and realize what you have done!

  35. Brandy I love the photos you took of the boys how gorgeous 🙂 .

    I love all the ways you saved money such as your husband repairing the lawnmower, harvesting wonderful produce from your gardens, repairing clothing and gratefully receiving it and using what you have rather than purchasing items. It would be much cooler for your family movie nights being outside in the fresh air too.

    Our savings added up to $812.08 last week :).

    We spent 3 days away from home for medical tests in a city a fair way away from our country home last week but tried to save money where we could.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked 2 1/4 bunches of silverbeet from the gardens saving $10.13 over buying it. We blanched and froze it in meal sized portions for the freezer.

    Trading/bartering –
    – We traded a bunch of homegrown silverbeet and saved egg cartons for a dozen free range eggs from a local neighbourhood friend saving $4.50 over buying them.

    In the kitchen –
    – When home we cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased a set of good 7pce set of Damashiro kitchen knives, a steel and sharpener recommended by a chef friend on special and coupled with a 15% further discount code saving in total $593.50 on usual prices. We paid for these out of some of our tax refund as they have been a planned purchase for sometime.
    – Bought chicken burgers and a jar of masterfoods seafood sauce on markdowns saving $3.95 on usual prices.

    Accommodation whilst away –
    – Saved $200 by staying at shared RSL accommodation rather than staying in a motel for 2 days.

    Finances –
    – Deposited our tax refund into our home maintenance fund so now we have enough money saved to get our house stump replaced, inside ceiling panels repaired and tanks stand shed beams reinforced and also are 35.64% of the way there to getting our solar panels installed for the home too to cut down on electricity costs.
    – Paid an extra months mortgage payment off the home loan from our tax refund. We are currently averaging over doubling our mortgage repayments over the 19 months we have had our home loan which we are thrilled about 🙂 .

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).


    1. Lorna, It must be thrilling to see the mortgage balance going down so much! It won’t be long now before it’s gone.

      1. Thank you for your encouragement Elizabeth and it is fantastic to see the mortgage balance going down and that is what we are hoping for is to see it gone sooner rather than later 🙂 .


  36. Beautiful photos Brandy! We have continued harvesting tomatoes, green peppers & zucchini from the garden. Eating what we choose to and freezing the rest. I picked the last of my basil, chopped in the food processor with a bit of olive oil and froze in a flat sheet. When I want to use some I just break a piece off. I am continuing to stock up on tp, shampoo, soap, etc each time I shop. Eating from the garden has freed up money in the grocery budget to do this. My daughter will be moving back to NYC soon and needs a nightstand. On Saturday I stopped at an estate sale and found exactly what she was looking for. It was the 2nd day of the sale so all items were half price so I paid $7.50. The company running the sale required masks and only allowed a certain number of people in the home at a time, when I arrived I was able to go right in, as I was leaving there was a line down the sidewalk. The biggest savings we have had all summer: a colleague of my husband’s gave us a split system air conditioning unit for free! It had been removed from a social club that was upgrading their unit. My husband painted it and he and my son installed it. Then another friend came over to make sure it was in working order and complete the hookup. We paid him for the parts & his time. So for $200 we have AC for our entire downstairs, normally this would have cost over $2000 to purchase & install. We will now sell the window unit we had that only cooled off 1 room and now it is much cooler to cook in our kitchen.

    1. The last of the basil–you must be in a much cooler climate than mine! I’ll be picking basil for many more months. Most of mine did not germinate this year, or germinated and then burned, so I’m happy to have several months to cut the plants I have and they can keep producing.

  37. 1. My daughter got a job! In our area, all of the low paying businesses like restaurants and retail cannot find workers so they are turning to teens to fill the spots. She is a hostess at Cracker Barrel and loves it. She was not sure if it was her cup of tea the first week until one day a deaf couple came in and needed some help. Since my daughter has been learning sign language for years, she was able to help them and impress her coworkers. She just shined when she told me about it and hasn’t complained since.
    2. I took my mom shopping at Sam’s Club and we found cake mix boxes on clearance for $3 (these had two boxes of mixes, 2 icings, and candles in each box) My mom grabbed three, but when we got to the register they rang up for $.90 so like the good bargain shoppers we are, we went back and grabbed 8 more boxes. We now have enough cake mix to make everyone’s birthday cakes and random treats for the next year. **We have a large family that gets together every month to celebrate joint birthdays.
    3. We got kittens! My kids were severely depressed during the quarantine and since we don’t know what our fall and winter will look like, I decided having pets to play with and care for would be a morale booster. We found lots of items at the thrift store and yard sales over the summer to prepare for this. The kittens were free as well, since we got them from a friend.
    Here are some more frugal things we have been up to lately:

  38. What a lovely photo of your adorable boys — it is hard to believe how quickly Hamish has grown.

    I gave a donation for Lebanon — our government will match donations until Aug 24th, I think, so it was even better.
    I am tight for cash but I really wanted to do it. I listened to an interview of a Lebanese woman who has spent years repairing stained glass that was broken during the civil war; all of her projects were destroyed or badly damaged.

    I spent countless hours proofreading historical research for a friend whose deadline for submission is tomorrow. I felt like I was at university again. I was hoping to resume work on our own book but my proofreading is still needed early in the morning. I got my little freezer above the fridge cleaned out so it will hold the jars of fruit I’m putting in the freezer.

    A critter ate my zucchini plant; it’s a battle for me to get the few strawberries there are. I’m glad you got rid of the hornets/wasps, Brandy. They seem to have calmed down in my front yard but when I was in the backyard on my balcony
    I was at eye level with them. I watched as they were meticulously gleaning the undersides of the leaves for tiny insects. They do a lot of good in pest control. One crawled down my skirt but I grabbed it gently and redirected him without fortunately getting stung. The problem is one sting is bad enough but they will sting repeatedly. The problem with my spraying is that they are not located in just one central spot. And now that they seem to have abandoned cruising at ground level, they are up higher in the trees.

    I was worried that my young volunteer from Viet Nam (here to study agriculture/horticulture) would get stung but they left him alone. He is meticulous but slow; yet by the end, he had accomplished a lot. I hope he will come back several times before winter sets in.

    Superstore dropped its price from $15 to $11 for ten pounds of peaches. They are small and really not ripe but I have my fingers crossed that they will ripen and be delicious.

    I watched the most magnificent dragonfly fly several times around me catching mosquitoes.

    1. I read about that woman as well. Which organization did you donate to, if you don’t mind me asking? I am trying to choose one.

      If you can spray them with soapy water, they can’t fly. You can spray them when they are flying around. I did, and it grounds them immediately.

      1. I donated to World Vision Canada. It is one of the organizations that is part of Humanitarian Coalition Canada that Margie from Toronto mentions below. The reason I chose them is I have an account with them. A company called Sprung here built a temporary hospital in YYC for covid. I don’t think it’s been used yet but it would be an interesting idea if Sprung could build temporary hospitals in Lebanon. Some of Beirut’s hospitals were destroyed. I am also hoping that the Canadian government will send wheat to Beirut once there are storage facilities for it. They import 85% of their food and their wheat storage facilities were destroyed. In addition to the dead and injured, and the homeless, the medical supplies and pharmaceuticals were destroyed in the warehouse near the blast as was the wheat supply. In the U.S., I think UNICEF would be a worthy agency to help children — it’s just my personal opinion. The New York Times has an article on how the U.S. can donate but I didn’t find it too helpful but you might like to read it. Poor Lebanon — over a million displaced Syrians are in refugee camps there. Things were dire before this catastrophe. Now it’s even worse. One of the reasons the Canadian government is chanelling its aid through the Humanitarian coalition is to avoid the corruption of the Lebanese government.

        1. Some friends of mine served a humanitarian service mission in Lebanon during their retirement for several years, so I know about the work that was being done for Syrian refugees, as they shared that on their Facebook page. They served there for several years. I’ve been following Lebanese news ever since.

  39. The pictures of your sons are just precious!
    I’ve been picking a few things from our tiny garden. Beans, two cucumbers, many small zucchini and. potatoes. I used a potato that i’d bought from the store and cut into small pieces. (Organic) I got about two pounds, maybe three, so i was thrilled! A gardening friend gifted me some fresh dill so potato salad will be on the menu this week.
    Also in the garden, i was gifted some lillies, two different colors. I removed a red currant bush, replaced it with a black currant bush i already had, and started planting the lillies in various spots. While at lowe’s, i grabbed Spring bulbs to plant in another month or two. Allium, miniature iris and crocus. I’ve had allium and miniature iris in this garden but they fled for higher ground. So, we will try again in another spot. I also grabbed several packages of seeds to use next year. The bean seeds were all gone so i’ll have to be diligent in the future about looking for some. I had a hard time finding beans for this season. It must be the popular vegetable.
    I’ve been better about saving water. The shower water went to a new, small Korean Lilac we planted. It seems to like it’s new home so we’re happy about that! I’ve also been running hot water for dishes but rinsing in cold. I don’t know why i didn’t do that earlier. The temperature shouldn’t matter for the rinse. I’ve also been washing my hair every fourth day. My curly, grey hair is very dry. Less fuss is fine by me! It still gets frizzy but that’s just who i am! (It doesn’t matter how much product i use.) I have yet to see a real water bill since watering the garden has been on it. I sure hope it went down! Our water barrel isn’t enough for the gardens when it’s hot for days at a time. Which is what we had for awhile.
    A neighbor took me blueberry picking in a new hotspot! We could only pick for two hours. I ended up with 14 cups cleaned berries! So happy! I had to work, then appointments, so i haven’t been able to get back. The berries were soft, even then, so i’m sure the season is done for another year. I thought i was out of berries from last year. Digging through a freezer, i found three bags! Such a great find!
    One of my walking buddies gifted me two bags of foraged blackberries! A wonderful treat! Four of us help each other out when we come across something like this. It really means the world to me to have such great people in my life during this crisis!
    I’ve been watching YT for inspiration on dry canning vegetables and meat. I’m learning quite a bit and comparing prices for the tops that suck the air and the hoses etc. I think i’m going to try dehydrating some burger meat and dry canning it. It will open up space in the freezer and i won’t panic if the electricity goes out in the Winter.
    We’ve facetimed with our daughter and her family. She’s a teacher in Fl. and is going through very high anxiety over having to teach in person. She has two classes that cycle through. One class has the potential, not written in stone, for 38 students! How do you social distance 38 people in a classroom? These are 7th and 8th graders. She’s thinking of quitting. She was born to be a teacher so this breaks my heart. I tried to calm her down. There is too much uncertainty. Rules change daily. Aside from that, we had a great visit with her little guy. He tries to make us laugh and usually pulls it off. He’ll be two next month. He knows most of the colors, and speaks like a three year old. (A little bragging, there! )
    I haven’t read the other comments. But, i’ll assume most of us are still trying to get ahead in our pantries. I’ve bought extra dry and canned beans, canned fruit, pasta, toiletries and various other odds and ends. I’ll be ordering some whole wheat flour from the co-op where i work. It’s still in stock the last time i looked. I don’t have the room for a years supply of food but i think we could get close. Meals would certainly be boring but we’d be fed!
    I’ve dehydrated zucchini, old onions and apples with a sugar/cinnamon topping.
    I made a three day meal plan that lasted all week! Very impressed with myself on that! I hope i can repeat my success!
    Stay safe and have a fabulous week!

  40. Lovely photos! I sowed seeds for leaf beet with colourful stems and for parsley – the crooked one, do not know the word. Both for beauty. In the fall they stay pretty and colourful even in frost.
    We have sheep and massive overload of wool no-one really wants. I use fraction of it as mulch. So far I see that very thick layer is necessary.
    Mom gave me food dryer. Yesterday we pulled out our onions. I wanted to try to dry the tops. Was giving up the idea already. Hubby thought that lots of electricity may be needed for that. Now I go and try to do it anyway!
    We got 10 sheep skins processed. Will use 2 as gifts.

    1. If you put the tops in a single layer on a cooling rack they will dry. If you have a ceiling fan or another fan that you can blow on them, they will dry faster. You can also turn them over halfway through the day.

    2. I dried my onion tops in a gas oven with just the pilot light on. It took two days, but it did just fine. You can also air dry them — out of the sun. Again, as long as you don’t live in a really wet climate, it will work, it just takes longer. My food dehydrator died and I can’t afford to buy a new one, so I’ve been air drying almost everything this year. I just have to be more patient.

  41. • We took in a roommate until he deploys again after the first of the year. He will be a big help around the house as he’s working from home until then.
    • Packed lunches and breakfasts for work every day
    • Ate dinner at home (except for wing night at the VFW – and that supports veterans)
    • Lunches and dinners were based off 2 rotisserie chickens, a bag of meatballs, a pack of hotdogs (BOGO), some shrimp, and lots of vegetables
    • Several items I needed to restock were bogo this week. Still hunting rubbing alcohol and Lysol. Plan on starting with dehydrated/ freeze dried meats next week.
    • Grocery bill is now regularly $100 a week for 3 adults, plus Butcher Box and a Sam’s run once a month. I am stocking up with that too, but it just feels ridiculously high.
    • Picked up my prescriptions on base – so thankful for our military service as it provides us with free prescriptions and low-cost insurance. One of my medications would be $600 alone! I don’t know how some other families do it.
    • Got a rebate for the flea pills for the dogs that paid for the ones for the cats. We will do the same deal again 2 more times next week to maximize the savings.
    • Mostly it was things I didn’t do… I stayed off Amazon! I didn’t go out for a fancy dinner with wine. I didn’t buy any new clothes (that will be coming up though, some of my shoes for work need replacing and I need a new pair of boots for the winter). I declined to buy school supplies for my students (I still have a stash if students don’t have any).
    • I’ve been keeping a pitcher of low or no sugar iced tea to drink when I want a glass of wine.
    • Saved enough between not using our wine and dining out budget this month and the roommate’s rent to make an extra payment on my husband’s truck.

  42. Wonderful pictures!

    Last week we received a box of produce- corn, potatoes, cucumbers.
    Made pickles – both sweet, and hot & spicy.

    Got to make a trip to a Catholic/Amish store They team up together to make wonderful spices, jams, candy, etc. Also sell in bulk oatmeal, dried pasta, flours, and such.
    I stocked up on as much as I could.

    Sold another item online, using the $10 toward children’s clothes.
    Bought a Christmas present for my youngest at 50% the off.

    Otherwise the usual, school preparations, yard/house work, reading, a city park visit. Getting ready to camp out one night later this week.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!!

  43. Brandy, how is the real estate market across the U.S. ? I have the impression that since the initial grind-to-a-halt shock of Covid that people are buying and selling again. They have to get on with their lives. However, it can’t be easy to get people to look at homes in 115 degrees.

    1. Anne, it really depends on the city. I’ve been reading this week of radically different housing markets across the U.S. (San Francisco and New York) having the biggest changes with people moving out). Summer is still the busy season here and houses are selling.

      1. I always find it interesting how different things can be in different places. I live in a small, rural area that is considered a vacation destination. Usually it takes property a long time to sell here, but lately things have been selling like crazy. A real estate agent friend said it is because people who can afford to do so are seeking a ‘getaway’ in a ‘safe’ (read, not very populated) area.

  44. Your little ones are so adorable, and clearly get on, which is lovely to see!

    I had a good week although our lovely hot European weather turned into four days of relentless storms and rain. Was great for my garden though!

    This week:
    -I went through my freezer and wrote down everything in it so I can use up the contents. So many food surprises lurking in random Tupperware containers! I will always keep a log of it now.
    -I went to the Victorian graveyard next to my home and picked wild blackberries several times to use in crumble and jam.
    -I got free bread and biscuits by using the Shopmium app.
    -I used several websites to earn points to exchange for M and S vouchers.
    -I used tomatoes and lettuce from the garden.
    -I made chickpea and lentil curry, soup, lemon cheesecake and fruit and cherry buns. I took the latter to my friends house, and her little girl, who usually eats like a sparrow, wolfed two down immediately!
    -I gave a friend some cakes and she gave me some homemade apple and blackberry jam
    -I took free exercise biking and walking by the Cam river and round town.
    -I saved up recently as I want to go to the Jane Austen house in Hampshire next weekend. It is where her later home was. I absolutely love her books. Looking forward to it!

    Wishing you all a peaceful week!

    1. Oh Jenny — Jane Austen’s house, how wonderful! I’d highly recommend reading (or listening to, which is what I did) Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley…it was really fascinating. Please enjoy your visit and do share here. I’m incredibly envious! 🙂 Val

  45. Lovely photos!
    -I am slowly stocking the pantry after I organized the shelves. Brandy, your pantry is inspirational. How do you organize your freezer storage?
    -My officemates and I have decided not to renew our lease since we have each paid thousands of dollars to keep the office going when we can’t use it. It feels like the right and prudent decision but it leaves me a little sad.
    -I have been participating in free virtual trainings in my free time. In one today, a therapist recommended making a feelings chart with your children. They draw faces with various expressions which they can use to “frame a face” at times or point out how they feel. Anxiety or stress might be apparent in the drawing and can be a prompt to talk. I liked her idea and it could easily be accomplished with items at hand.

    1. I like to have sections for different things. In my upright freezer, I have a shelf for chicken, a shelf for pork, a shelf for peaches, and one for other fruits and vegetables. When I have hams and turkeys those are on the shelves as well. In my inside freezer with the fridge, I now have a bottom freezer. It’s a drawer. One side has whole chickens and the other side has pork roasts. Above that I have ice cream.

    2. I’m not Brandy, but since our freezer is different, I thought I’d offer another approach. We have a modestly-sized chest freezer (10 cf?), and use the stiff polypropylene grocery store bags to contain various categories, with the smaller and/or most frequently accessed items in the wire baskets above those. I actually bought a fourth wire basket to make max use of the storage space.

  46. I love the pictures of your sons. My husband and I went to grocery store that we normally go to it is about 25 minutes away. I went to check out bargains they have whole section of different food items any way I got 2 bags 5 pounds of carrots for 50 cents. I was wondering if I could can them in Brown sugar and orange juice in water base cannier? Also at this store I got 2 bags of spinach, 2 bags of coleslaw and 10 mixes of different salad green some of them had dressing and nuts in them all for 25 cents each. I froze 1 bag of coleslaw and 1 bag spinach. I also got 3 bags of apples 5 pounds in each all for 1.00 each. Kiwis 2 package for 50 cents. My husband brought some shrimp for dinner. I am still getting vegetables from the garden zucchini, bell peppers, green beans, onions and green beans. Going to can some tomatoes for salsa next week.
    I been trying to talk to my husband about refinance trying paid off some of are bills and I still need to get another used car for my husband to get in and out of my small ford focus is not cutting it.I like to do this all before my husband gets disability, I am still working going back to school district after Labor day. I did get some recipes from site to help save money on groceries. I been stocking up on my pantry, freezer and canning goods. Also I been using the ivy plant for my laundry soap, and I been using the Kroger’s Krazy site that 1 of your members talk about. I enjoy reading this blog and everyone comments.

    1. I think the carrots would be mush, but they’re great in mixed pickles. I have a recipe here: https://theprudenthomemaker.com/giardiniera/ You can vary the amounts of specific vegetables depending on what you have on hand.

      The other thing you can do is slice them and dry them to use in soups. Those slices can also be powdered after drying and then added to soups or baked goods.

    2. Carrots and cabbage keep really well in the refrigerator for quite a while too. When I harvest my carrots, I dry a few for soups, but mostly we just store in the refrigerator.

      1. I was taught that carrots are a low acid food and should only be canned using a pressure canner.

        Carrots can be water bath canned only if they are used to make some kind of pickle. Like Brandy’s giardiniera posted above. The literature says to use commercially made vinegar when making pickles to water bath can. Your orange juice wouldn’t have enough acidity. Checkout any good canning book for more recipes for pickled carrots.

        1. SJ is correct, Lisa. Carrots, like all vegetables, are a low acid food and cannot be safely canned using a water bath, the exception being pickled foods. Then, you should use commercial vinegar to get the right acidity. OJ would not provide enough acidity. All vegetables need to the pressure canned. Lisa, if you have a freezer, you can cook the carrots in brown sugar and orange juice, freeze them, then all you have to do is thaw and heat.

          Lisa, I’m with you on refinancing your house if you can reduce the interest rate by 1% or more. My son’s re-fi resulted in them saving $200 month on their house payment after rolling the re-fi costs into the loan…in other words, no out of pocket.

          1. Thanks for all the comments about the carrots. I just froze them with my brown sugar and orange juice after I cooked them. Also I gave some to neighbor and they gave me some blueberries. I really appreciate all the help you give.

  47. Your two little guys are beautiful Brandy – and so photogenic! I am so impressed with all the canning and preserving being done by so many of you – all I do is shop and put away! You must all be completely exhausted come September!

    I have managed to fill in some gaps in my pantry over the past two weeks – extra TP, PT, Kleenex and toiletries – all set for at least the next 6 months. I’ve also added some nuts & syrups to my baking supplies, along with some more mixes, both cake & muffins (like to have some backups). Also added a few more cans of beans and fruit and will look for a good sale price on canned salmon as I am getting low. I finally remembered to look for dried milk – it’s always on the lowest shelf so I have a tendency to walk right past it and then remember when I get home!

    I also cleared out a few more things from the kitchen which has now meant that I can set up the baking supply cupboard that I wanted closer to hand. This in turn means that I could rearrange things a bit in both my pantry cupboard and in the cabinet I have in my living room that contains a lot of food. I need to sit down this weekend and go through all my herbs & spices and see what I need to replace or replenish.

    Heard some sad news at my staff meeting this morning – a colleagues brother has died of Covid-19 and other family members are ill. He was just in his 30’s and has a couple of young children. They don’t live in Canada so it is especially difficult for my colleague not to be able to be with them right now. We have been getting a bit complacent up here so this is a timely reminder that this virus is still very much with us and doing a lot of damage. Stay safe everyone.

    PS – Brandy – I did place an Amazon order from your site so hope it worked.

    1. I don’t think it is working! It shows me no clicks have been made and no sales. Since it doesn’t even show any clicks, something isn’t right. I will see what I can do.

      1. I have also purchased a couple items using it. I don’t always use Amazon but when I do, I go through your site.

      2. Brandy, if I click on your link it brings me to the Amazon.COM site. If I then switch to the Amazon.CA site, will you still get credit? Or do I have to order from the Amazon.COM site and have it ship to Canada for you to get credit? I’m planning on ordering a few things in the next week or so and would love for you to get the credit for it.

        1. Hmm. It’s not working right then. I will see what I can find out. It’s supposed to take you to the Canadian site.

          1. Perhaps that is the problem with mine as well. As Margaret said – it takes me to .com and then I have to ask it to change to the Canadian site and I guess that is where the link from you gets broken.

            1. Then their link isn’t working right. I was going to ask you ladies what was happening on your end. I will see what I can find out because it shows no visits to the Canadaian site through my links.

    2. Oh, bad news about your colleague’s brother. I think we may be in for hard times with this virus in the fall and winter. I wrote the premier asking why they couldn’t vaccinate for seasonal flu early so the two don’t coincide; finally for a reply from the Ministry of Health full of reasons why not. My penpal in the UK says they are getting flu shots right now.
      Fingers crossed and prayers for your colleague’s brother’s family.

      1. I haven’t seen any notices about getting our flu shots here in Ontario either. They normally start the ads around the end of September so perhaps the vaccine hasn’t arrived as yet…. I’m going to stop in at Shoppers Drugmart this week and check with the pharmacist as they are recommending that we get the pneumonia shot now. I’d just as soon get it done there than have to go into my doctor’s office so perhaps you could start with that one for now Ann.

  48. When I planted my garden my husband wasn’t on dialysis. After cardiac ablation and open heart surgery he had to start dialysis in July. Unfortunately what I planted doesn’t work for a dialysis diet so I invited one of my friends and her little boy over to harvest some vegetables. It was nice seeing someone other than doctors and nurses. I haven’t been able to work since June 26 and can’t go back until September 23. Mainly trying to not spend $. Friends are being log rounds over and will be having a wood splitting party the end of this month. That will keep our home nice and cozy this winter (we heat with a wood stove, it keeps our bill for an all electric house below $100 a month). Other friends brought over 2 gallons of raspberries, I froze half and made jam with the other.
    I’ve been getting a lot of cleaning and organizing done, even found $15 in an old purse which I’ve set aside for emergency gas (that amount will fill up the Prius).

    1. I’m sorry you are unable to work! And sorry to read about your husband.

      What a great blessing the wood and raspberries are! I cannot imagine so many raspberries! What a blessing! They are my favorite but are very hard to grow here.

  49. I went back to work yesterday (I work in a school foodservice). We are making meals to-go for six weeks, while students learn virtually. Free and reduced-price lunch students will get a breakfast and a lunch delivered to them daily. I had forgotten how wasteful my co-workers are. I rescued a dozen vinyl tablecloths and almost as many handmade aprons which were being thrown out just because they weren’t used any longer. Two of the tablecloths I will use tomorrow on tables on the porch when we have some friends over for a birthday party. They’re perfect! Also, we store our equipment over the summer in large trash bags (commercial strength) and I had a big pile of clean, perfectly good trash bags I had taken our equipment out of, and a co-worker threw all the bags – at least 20 I would say – into the dumpster. I went out to the dumpster after work to see if I could salvage it, but it was on the bottom, with stuff on top, and I couldn’t reach it. 🙁
    Once I found a “dogloo” in the dumpster (doghouse shaped like an igloo). I managed to fit it in the car, cleaned it up, and sold it for $50. One of the janitors put it there, I found out later. My thing is, why not donate? are people really unable to try that?
    I made all meals at home, except one lunch my husband and I enjoyed out. He asked for the receipt and I noticed I’d been charged for a double burger when I had only wanted a single (and asked for a single). So $1.80 back to me. I wasn’t even going to ask for the receipt, so I was glad he did.
    I was gifted two nice cucumbers and some corn from gardening friends. All we planted was tomatoes and thyme. Reading all your wonderful garden posts has me wishing we’d done more, so I am planning for future gardens. I do enjoy this blog, especially during times of duress as we are in.

  50. I had a produce bag last week and managed to use, dry or freeze nearly every item in it except two cucumbers and an Eggplant. I’m proud these days of using all that we have. I had a meal plan up this week and then checked my fridge and realized I had food in there to use right away. No need to take food from pantry or freezer when there are edible things in fridge.
    I took some of my extra money I’ve set aside over these last couple of months and went into our small town to see what I could add to our pantry reasonably. I will check other stores to compare prices but I bought things I felt were reasonable today. I also picked up some flower and vegetable seeds at the dollar store that were marked down. I’ve put those aside for next year’s planting.
    I am studying up on lots of things at present and looking at how I might most frugally add to our pantry/freezer supplies as well as preserve here at home.
    I have been using a natural remedy for my blocked Eustachian tube. It’s not painful but it is unpleasant with constant ringing and not being able to hear anything. The natural remedy doesn’t appear to be helping but it’s not impeding healing either, and I do like the aroma of the oils I’m using. The last time I had this my doctor, who is big on natural healing, said it would take weeks and I’m only one week in. I am trying to be patient.
    My husband wanted a steak dinner. We bought a twin pack of on sale steaks but I convinced him that one was more than plenty for the two of us, so one went into the freezer and the other was cooked for our meal.
    I’ve not had to water plants due to plenty of rain lately. So glad of that!

    1. Terri,
      What is your natural remedy for you Eustachian tube? I have a dysfunction tube in my left ear and also tinnitus. Thanks, Nancy

    2. Terri, Jo from “all the Blue Day blog” has had trouble with a blocked ear. A commenter on her blog suggested she eliminate dairy from her diet, and it worked! Not sure if this would be helpful to you, but I thought I would share. Jo has a whole post on it.
      Hope you feel better soon.

  51. Speaking of stocking up I heard on a local radio station yesterday that pepperoni is now becoming very difficult to find. So I stopped in the store and bought 3 packages to freeze. We don’t eat it a lot but it’s nice to have for making pizzas. And the woman at the checkout mentioned she had heard of this as well. Thought I’d share! 😊

  52. Glad to learn about the soapy water trick for killing pests! Your cucumbers are amazing! I have to admit that I have garden envy!!!
    -We are closing on our new house in a few days. I’m so excited to be start a new chapter for our family in a house that will work so much better for us!
    -I’m trying to figure out a meal plan for the moving days, about 4 to 5 days. This would normally be one of the few times that we splurge on take out or fast food, but that is out of the question. I am immune compromised and am not willing to risk it. Maybe some items that I can make ahead and heat up in the microwave?
    -Tried to keep on the frugal path during this time of transition: collected all the small bits of soap into a container to make hand soap later on, cooked and baked from scratch, made pancakes, bread sticks with pizza sauce (that was a big hit with my son), stir fry, brats on the grill, fried potatoes to use up the last of my free potatoes, chef salad, chicken salad.
    -I started labeling ALL the containers in my fridge. This has saved me $$ and time! I label the contents of the container and if it is a leftover, snack or to be saved for another meal! Sometimes, I even put a name on it if it is prepped for a specific family member. The food loss is a lot less, healthy snacks are easy to find and the items that I prepped for meals are not accidentally eaten! A HUGE win in my house! I just use a roll of masking tape and a sharpie.

  53. *Brandy – what a great week you had last week! Thanks for the beautiful pictures and inspiration.

    *My week was pretty much the same – but I’m grateful for the consistency of small and simple things that add up to small and simple savings that over time bring stability, comfort and peace in hard times.

    * I lowered my grocery bill from last week and am planning on doing it again this week. I started doing grocery pickup because they are waving the pick up fee. Wearing a mask causes some major anxiety for me and I no longer wish to endure the attacks while shopping. I hate missing out on clearance items, but I need a break for a few weeks. The pickup last week went great and they subbed in a few items that were a name brand over the generic I had picked out.

    *I’m going to zero out my account as has been mentioned many times on this site. I’ll transfer the money over to savings and start with the new balance. I’m excited to do it this way because I believe it will be more effective. I just found out that my local Kroger is going to have a case lot sale that will start this next week! Rumor had it that they were not having one. I’m glad it wasn’t true! I will be there bright and early to get my case goods. I’m so excited!

    *Most meals were made at home except for date night and a lunch with my husband. I prepped veggies and fruits for the week so that they were washed, cut up and ready to use. Used up my food fragments to make chili & cheese over rice, nachos with leftover chips, cheese and refried beans, and a summer garden soup using veggies from our garden again.

    *I exercised at home. I just love the Leslie Sansone videos on YouTube. I’ve increased my steps, stair climbing and activity minutes. I did download her app to my iPad and have enjoyed using that option as well. I’ve also been out for walks around my neighborhood in the morning before it gets too hot.

    *We have a plastic cutting board that had been stored in our trailer and had warped from heat and/or cold. I laid it out on my back deck in our 95 degree weather with weighted items on top of it to flatten it out. I then brought it in the house and put weighted items on it again to let it cool down and hopefully be flatter. I was pleased with the difference it made and am doing it again with weights in different spots. I need that extra counter space in our camper trailer that it provides for me.

    *We took our car for a free car wash that was being offered at a local business. They wanted us to buy a $40 monthly pass which we declined.

    *Was able to can tomatoes and freeze additional zucchini from our garden. I also made another chocolate zucchini cake and 2 loaves of banana/zucchini bread. Put the bread in our freezer. I diced and froze the red peppers that grew in our garden.

    *Planned our camping menu using food items we already have on hand or that we usually pick up in our grocery store order. We switched to a cheaper campsite recommended by our neighbors. It will save us over $100/night. We have our own tubes for river tubing. And we always enjoy doing dutch oven cooking for our meals. The past few months I’ve been stocking up on treats & snacks on sale so that we could take them camping with us.

    *Love all the ideas, support and inspiration from everyone each week. Thank you all so much!

  54. That little bee butt picture is adorable (as are your very photogenic children)!

    My frugal week:
    – Using the provolone cheese that I bought on sale last week (50% off!) I made Zucchini and Provolone Pizza (http://approachingfood.com/zucchini-provolone-pizza/). So yummy, and a different way to eat zucchini while they’re in season! Plus, it would be easy to sub out the provolone for a cheaper cheese if necessary.
    – I baked brownies and chocolate chip cookies and packaged them in re-useable takeout containers that my mom gave me, then dropped them off at the homes of several friends as a fun surprise.
    – I made sourdough pancakes using the discard from my sourdough starter. I froze the leftover pancakes, and will pop them in the toaster whenever I want hot pancakes for breakfast.
    – I picked peas, beans, tomatoes, and red peppers from my parents’ garden.
    – Using the flash food app, I bought a 9-inch ready-made quiche Lorraine for $2 (made a lovely quick dinner for the family) and a package of cheese-filled sausages for $3. This is such a useful app!
    – I used a two for one Starbucks offer and a gift card given to me, to treat my mother and I to cold drinks one day, and combined it with double loyalty points to get the most value for my money.
    – I bought three shirts for my daughter at 50% off, and got a free mug for signing up for a mailing list. I plan to set aside the mug as a Christmas gift.
    – My husband won a cake at a local bakery after dropping his business card in the raffle jar. It was a super-fancy cake (very European in style, I thought), and a lovely treat as I can’t recall ever buying a cake.
    – My mum pulled out some toys and wooden puzzles from my childhood, and my daughter is LOVING them! It’s so nice to see her enjoy the same sturdy classic toys that I did as a child (my mum did go through them and removed any if she wasn’t sure about the paint or the quality of the plastic, since standards have changed since I was a wee ’un).
    – I bought a trial parenting magazine subscription (3 issues) for $5. I am really looking forward to receiving them!
    – I made homemade chocolate milk as an evening treat several times, using homemade chocolate syrup (http://approachingfood.com/a-ton-o-hot-fudge-sauce/)

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  55. I’ve been canning, freezing and drying pretty much non-stop lately. I have that feeling of being on a treadmill going backwards! But, I’m gaining on things, I think. Besides the garden I grew, my husband’s cousin gave us 2 huge boxes of food that she did not need from a gleaners’ group she belongs to. In there were 2 huge bags of broccoli, for one thing, and I froze it. Rob’s been helping up at my sister’s u-pick peach farm. He brought me peaches and wild blackberries he picked up there more than once. I’ve canned, dried, and jammed peaches and make blackberry jam and both strawberry and blackberry pancake syrup. Every few days, I make 4 pints of dill pickles from my cucumber patch. Today, I started a batch of sweet pickles instead. We only need a few, but it takes 4 days to make them. I have the time this week, so… My sister was given huge boxes of pears, so she passed 2 of them on to me. Today I started canning them, drying them and made one batch of fruit cocktail. I took some very old canned pears and made fruit leather. I’d rather eat the fresh ones, canned. On top of it all, we drove down to the coast and bought lots of tuna from the docks. Both of my sisters wanted tuna this year, so we stayed up very, very late canning it all–72 little jars full. I also did 6 little jars of chicken from some chicken that was in those 2 boxes of food–my freezers are getting super full, so I canned that.
    I’ve been making and canning salsa with tomatoes as they ripen. I have a goal of 50 jars because the troops ate 28 last year and we had to start buying it. So far, I have 18, but some are bigger jars. Why waste lids, right? They seem to inhale it, anyway, so I don’t think a large jar will go to waste.
    We have continued to remove old plants from the garden and today my husband tilled up the empty part. I will plant some additional fall/winter veggies very soon. The first patch where we did that a couple of weeks ago has cabbages and broccoli and a few lettuce plants that are growing bravely, 2 lonely spinach plants and some green onions. I did a little flower-bed weeding, but I have to confess they are getting away from me while I preserve food non-stop.
    Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com
    I am preserving extra this summer because we used extra last spring. I ran out of some things, which is unusual for me, as I always try to have a year-and-a-half’s supply on hand because you never know if a blight will get your tomatoes, or a heat wave will fry your beans…..Also, the farmers in our area seem to have great crops and produce is readily available, and the prices don’t seem to be jacked up. I plan to get Gravenstein apples this coming weekend, and they seem to be close to the same price I remember from before. It only makes sense to put as much away as possible, and I’m preserving proteins as well, like always, but in slightly larger quantities.

  56. I’ve been reading your blog on and off for a few years, and I’m so happy I’ve starting following again. It’s nice to read the weekly entries from like-minded individuals. It’s encouraging and helps me stay frugal! Thank you!
    *This week I’ve saved money by harvesting peppers from my garden, dicing them up, and freezing them for future use. Also, I harvested a very large basil plant, processed the leaves in my food processor with some olive oil, and froze in ice cube trays. Hopefully I have time this week to make pesto with the rest of my basil to freeze. I also was able to pick tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers from my garden. I’ve tried gardening in the past and most of those efforts were unsuccessful, but this year I think we have done pretty well and we hope to do better next year.
    *I purchased about 150 ears of corn from a friend’s farm for a great price. I processed most of it the same day it was picked and have corn stocked in my freezer now. We also have a good amount to eat fresh this week. It’s delicious!!
    *We didn’t need much from the grocery store this week, so I focused on stocking up on some canned goods, butter, and eggs.
    *We ate all meals at home. I was even able to have breakfast and lunch for free the couple of days I worked last week.
    *My daughter needed a new clothing item, so we used a coupon at kohl’s plus a gift card I’ve had in my wallet for over a year from a previous return, so it wasn’t much out of pocket for me.
    *I had recently purchased a new face wash from Target, but the product cause me to have quite a bad reaction. I usually would given away a product I don’t care for, but this was so irritating that I didn’t want to risk someone I know having a bad reaction too. I looked up Target’s return policy and they will accept returns even on opened beauty products. So I returned the face wash without any difficulty and got my money back!
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  57. I had a fun day today. My grandchildren were here and it was fun to watch them pick carrots. My granddaughter looked in the garden and declared there were no carrots. I told her they were in the ground. It was so much fun to watch their excitement to find carrots when they pulled the greens. My sweet grandchildren are so appreciative of anything I do for them. It makes anything I do a joy. I made a pumpkin pie and Italian noodles for the kids. We also had brats. We had a picnic on the porch and it was fun. So many simple things make them happy. I am glad.
    I used the library to get books for the kids to read. We froze some Thai melons after we cut them up. Actually my husband did. We harvested carrots, tomatoes, peppers, Swiss Chard ,okra and kale. I have some cucumbers I will probably pick very soon and aronia berries. We also have tons of basil. Yum!
    Saving a ton of money cooking at home and eating from the garden. Besides, the garden is entertainment and exercise. I am so busy, I think I am losing weight. My clothes are looser.
    I am learning more about computers. Enjoyed listening to my granddaughter play piano. I will take my son to get movies at the library this week.
    I think the picture of your little ones hugging is absolutely adorable.

  58. My volunteer gardener was meticulous but slow. But I am still very grateful
    for his help. I’m hoping to have his help through the fall.

    The peaches I got on sale at Superstore are lovely but few will make it into the freezer. They are that good! I think peaches and ice cream ill be the order of the day.

    Brandy, the photo of the boys is superb and they are adorable. Hamish’s expression is incredible.

  59. I love the pictures especially of the boys.

    I have been working on cleaning shelves,drawers and cabinets since last week as part of the fall deep cleaning. Sorted out my spices and herbs and condensed down jars. Made 3 spice blends we were out of and ordered what needed to be brought through Brandy’s site at Amazon.

    We went to great grandson’s 4th birthday party . His grandmother on other side gave it, she’s a retired nurse and definitely made sure social distancing was there but also made sure everyone got a fist bump from bday boy. We stopped at Walmart in that area to see if they had baby formula for Amish neighbors(she has to supplement with formula) They were out also but they had flour and sugar in 25 lb bags about half of every where I had priced .

    Yesterday I had to set up withdraws from my late Daddy’s IRA’s. Rough emotional and trying to be respective of all the hard work and sacrifices Daddy made for this money to be there. Neither Brother or I wanted money and Daddy knew that but he was terrified of out living his money and us having to pay for nursing home for him ($9,000 to $12000 a month) . I stopped and got stamps. Since I know that money is now coming in I went ahead and paid the heating season propane bill ($1.559/gal) bought 100 stamps roll, and finishes stocking the flour and sugar. We are stocked for a good year and more especially if the kids and grandkids out on their own stock like they are talking about.

    I was going to freeze corn today… Our is in what there is of it… Our Amish neighbor told Hubby they had some sweet corn still in the field and to pick 2-3 PILES of it (their pile is 6 dozen) we don’t need that much but he picked some to finish out what we need with the help of their oldest daughter and next to youngest son. They also sent home with him 4 lbs of plums, 3 lbs of apples, 2 cauliflowers, 3 cabbages, celery, radishes, onions, cantaloupe, and 6 tomatoes that are larger than soft balls. I also have potatoes, chives, kale and dried beans to pick myself. Going to be a busy week.
    Great reading all the comments.

  60. Beautiful photos of the boys!

    This past week, my car needed more extensive repairs. I missed an extended warranty on this part by 2 months. Since I was keeping the business at the local garage and not taking it to the dealership, the garage is giving me this part at cost. I trust this garage and we had a lengthy discussion on if this car would be able to make it another 2 years – he promised it would. (fingers crossed). So as I save for a new to me car I added these money saving techniques:
    I cannot make biscuits successfully to save my life. They look so romantic and like some one is on the best vacation ever when I see photos of them with melting butter or jam spread across them. BUT I can make these delicious rolls well http://www.thyhandhathprovided.com/2010/01/oatmeal-rolls.html and they seem just as romantic and vacation like spread with jam or butter for breakfast.
    I go into an office twice a week, but will work from home after there was a Covid scare. The bosses offered as they are confident I will be just as productive. This will save a tank of gas each week.
    I have a nice bounty of grape tomatoes and looked for a few ways to preserve them before they spoiled. I will freeze this time but was delighted to see so many canning recipes available.
    The garden is producing enough to enjoy with meals and preserve small batches. I am very grateful for that. I made a 4’x4′ space for next year that I can grow potatoes in.
    Hope everyone has a peaceful week!

    1. J, at the end of the season, I make juice from a mixture of whatever tomatoes I happen to have. This usually includes some cherry tomatoes. I usually make the juice, pour it into jars and add 3/4 teaspoon of salt per quart. (the canning directions say 1 teaspoon).

      1. Pam, believe it or not. I tried those…they turned out better than my other attempts but still not good. 😁

  61. Your movie night sounds like so much fun!
    We were busy here this week, harvesting and preserving: We made Harvard Beets, froze shredded zucchini, froze okra, canned green beans, roasted and froze green chile. Still waiting on those tomatoes!
    Hubby and I had a date night at home. We made taco salad and watched a movie on Netflix.
    I temporarily repaired the hose on our vacuum cleaner. I hope it lasts for a while.
    We’ll be eating leftovers from the freezer this week to use them up. I freeze things in single-serving portions so hubby can take them for lunch if needed. But there are several things in there I’d like to use up.
    My hubby is a volunteer for our local fire department. They helped with a food distribution, and the volunteers received a box of fresh produce. We have lots from the garden, but it had lots of things we don’t grow: honeydew, celery, carrots, dates, onions, apples, lettuce.
    Details and photos are on my blog: http://thebudgetinggranny.com/savings-and-goals-journal-15/

  62. Hello!
    I have been reading/looking around your site and blog a lot this last month. Our family currently is experiencing a season of a really tight budget and with the arrival of our first child soon and my decision to stay at home to raise our family every dollar counts. I have searched for encouragement, tips, and ideas from other friends, blogs, books etc. but usually their idea of frugal is lavish for us. It seemed like we were the only crazy ones out there until I stumbled across your blog. So thankful to find this resource and someone else who may not have much in material goods but has an abundance in the things that matter most. Thanks for all you do!

        1. Welcome Elissa
          You are so smart to already know staying home with this precious baby is most important and truly we all just needs basics
          You have come to the right blog, this community is smart, kind and the best I have ever found
          Glad you are here

  63. I was blessed with 192 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast at 89 cents a pound. It took 2 full days to can it all, but it is now done! My neighbor and I can together so it went faster, two pressure canners running at full speed! We saved the fat that was trimmed off and made delightful broth with it. It is also canned. All the jars have been washed down, so now we just need to split them and put them in the pantries. What we learned this time around: we’ll stick with pint jars, particularly wide mouth jars. They hold the right amount for our families and the wide mouth makes it easy to get everything out. I foresee lots of chicken and dumplings this fall and winter.

    1. Jerri, Holy cow, that’s a lot of chicken! It must be nice to be done with it. It’ll give you delight every time you open a jar!

  64. Brandy, I have a question regarding affiliate links and amazon smile. I usually use smile.amazon.com so a small amount of my purchase goes to a charity. I have stayed away from affiliate links in the past thinking they were exclusive of each other. I finally did some research and it looks like you can do both. It said I could click on an affiliate link, then change the beginning of the webpage to smile.amazon…. and it will give credit to both the charity and the affiliate link. I tried it yesterday and hope it worked for you when I purchased something from amazon. Do you know if this is accurate information and gives credit to both?

    1. I don’t know. I was thinking that it was one or the other myself, but that would be cool if it did both! They’re cut our commission by so much and again this year. If they cut it again they will just stop allowing affiliates altogether. I worry that that’s where they are headed.

  65. We attended a free community movies by moonlight. They hold them on a practice field, its like a free drive in, we took our own snacks and drinks.

    I found curtains for the family room at goodwill, and spotted the fabric for the valances in a bulk bundle of fabric. While getting the fabric out, I also found a floor length curtain that worked for the glass door in the same room.

    I’ve canned tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes, along with zucchini, beans, corn, and pickles. I was able to get 90% lean ground beef for 2.39/ lb. I canned several jars of ground beef, using taco seasoning, sloppy Jo seasoning, spaghetti sauce, and mushroom and onions. This frees up freezer space and makes for fast meals. To stretch the meat i use a cup of brown lentils added per pound. While redeeming a coupon for a free jar of peanut butter, I saw the store had chicken buy one get one free, so i also canned 10 lbs of chicken for easy meals.

    1. Bethany, I like the idea of adding brown lentils to stretch ground beef! I think i need to try it! Thank you!

  66. Brandy,
    I love the photos you took of your boys-priceless treasures!
    I had some items to take to Goodwill but they were not accepting any donations so I decided to put on the items out on the curb for free. It was so nice to see how thankful and grateful some of the neighbors were to take the items they needed. One neighbor got a much needed chair, one got an almost new microwave my son no longer needed and one neighbor was thrilled with a basket. It was much more fun than donating to Goodwill.
    I have been drying my laundry outside. I have picked almost 2 gallons of blackberries that I am freezing and will use for making smoothies this winter-my grandson loves smoothies. I should have a good amount of ripe raspberries soon and will make most of those into jam. We have been eating cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden almost every day.
    I had a dentist appt for a cleaning but the dentist called and said my insurance wasn’t going to pay for the cleaning. I thought about it briefly and decided to go ahead and pay out of pocket because my insurance said they would not pay until January and I was fearful that by January things could be closed in lock down again. When I got to the dentist, he explained that they normally charge $150 for a cleaning but since I had to pay out of pocket, he would just do a good cleaning and only charge me $80. I really appreciated that!!
    My husband is 65 years old and has been working from home during COVID. I have noticed a huge decline in his cognitive abilities which I think is due in part to the isolation. I had a frank discussion with him regarding this and he agreed to go to the office at least one time per week (there are very few people in a very large office building). I am also making an effort to have him run a few errands. Last evening I asked him to go to the grocery store at about 9pm which is when it is mostly empty. I didn’t really need the couple items immediately but he needed to get out briefly. I think we have to find a balance between physical and mental health which is not easy in today’s world. I still go to work each day but I am going to have to keep a close eye on this situation and work to improve things for him as best as we can.

    1. Hey Kim:
      I relate to your hubby’s decline in cognitive abilities. I am noticing it in myself but i am just 40 but with a hearing impairment in both ears. The technicians have said that I should keep playing audiobooks or reading out aloud as it helps. I too am finding it hard especially during these times but you make do the best you can with what you are given.

      1. I, too, noticed the gears slipping a bit with continuing work from home (since 2000!), especially once the NGO’s founder died and I wasn’t meeting irl with him once a week or so and having near-daily calls.
        I’ve since learned about studies which show that 40 minutes of cardio 6 times a week will go a long way in warding off dementia and even remedying mild cognitive impairment. Daily vigorous exercise makes a *huge* difference for me in how well my brain functions. I highly recommend it.

  67. The idea of outdoor cinema really grasped my imagination. What a great thing. I love that you make this magic just happen! I totally will copy that. Once we are home, that is…
    This week was the schoolstart here in Norway. I was really conflicted about this one. We had more cases of Covid lately but, as everyone keeps on reminding me, I can’t isolate us from the whole world forever. We have the single homeschooled kid in our area, so it is a difficult call what to do and how to do it.
    We are not starting school until 1st September(besides writing, reading, math which we never stop), so we went for vacation! We packed a tent and here we are out in the wild, watching reindeer roam around, swimming in a lake, plucking wild fruits and berries. All is here for us for free. In Norway you can camp wherever you want, even in someone’s garden as long as you are 100 meters from the house! I know, right? We did have all of the equipment from our young days when we wild camped all around Europe. Most of it is outdated and quite small with two kids who joined us since, but we decided to just make it work. I ‘pulled a Brandy’ on this one, remembering from your post a while back that I can make quite some meals ahead of time. I made some batches of muffins, cooked a meal to take, and packed some quick meals out of the pantry. All we had to get was 3 breads (I am not there with my bread baking right now) and some instant coffee. We also got two thermal cups(our old ones were broken after 10 plus years of use), and we got them at a gas station with free coffee/tea/cacao for the rest of the year! These are great cups with a lock and they keep beverages warm for a good while.
    I use my mobile data to read your comments in the evenings for a bit of mama time. You are all really inspiring to me. I love to get back here and read what everyone has to say❤

    1. I wouldn’t want anyone to camp in my garden, but that’s pretty amazing!

      Our tv isn’t that large, but it still works well to be outside!

  68. Kim,
    It is good to watch over your husband’ mental/cognition abilities. A walk every day would also be good for him (for everyone) and folate and other vitamins. 50% of people in North America are folate deficient and it makes a huge difference to mental abilities. Fingers crossed it improves. Ann

  69. Hi Brandy,

    I replied to your question about who to donate to for Beirut. I don’t see it posted so I’ll just say that in the U.S., I think my choice would be Unicef.


  70. This heat wave is the pits! Stay safe AND cool, everyone.

    That said, I don’t believe I’ve run my dryer more than three times in the last month. Everything dries so quickly and beautifully on the clothesline, and smells so good. When I do run the dryer (usually just for towels, since they get scratchy when dried on the line), it’s during off-peak hours, and the same goes for the dishwasher: I don’t run it until it’s full, and then use the energy-saver cycle during off-peak times.

    We’ve challenged ourselves to keep the AC off until we absolutely can’t stand it, and then we try to run it for as short a time as possible. I discovered that the AC in my new house has a drain for condensation, so following Brandy’s example I placed a container under it and empty the water on potted plants or flowers.

    Now that we are settling in and getting acclimated to our new space, I’m getting back to some of the daily frugal habits: collecting water from rinsing produce and warming up showers, for use on plants; composting eggshells, banana peels, etc. Moving and re-acclimating has been stressful, and it feels good to start getting back to the little normal things.

    This seems silly when I write it, but, I have so very many soaps from our various travels, and I’ve been making a point of using them. The fragrances remind me of trips we’ve taken – pleasant nostalgia in this time of no traveling. I have enough that we wouldn’t have to buy soap for a year if it came to that.

    My husband reminded me how much he enjoys sun tea and asked if I’d make some. Since we moved, I had completely forgotten that I used to make sun tea about every other day during warm weather, and I immediately had him reach the big jars from the high shelf where they were sitting. I scrubbed them out and brewed several gallons – some with caffeine, some without. We have so much tea, much of it (like the soap) collected during past travels, and it’s fun to mix flavors and see what works for iced drinks. So refreshing – I was glad he thought of it and reminded me.

    I took advantage of Shutterfly’s “freebie” offers to make several items that will be Christmas gifts, and also stocked up on various vitamins and supplements during a “buy one get one free” sale at Rite-Aid. I feel this was a very good investment.

    I picked the last ripe orange from one of the orange trees. I will zest it and then eat it! There are lots of new oranges appearing, so I’ll have more in a month or so.

    The Realtor with whom we listed our home asked if I’d be interested in writing the verbiage for several of her listings. I said sure! and she put me to work immediately. I’ve written up three listings for her and the money goes into the Christmas fund. A windfall and a blessing! She says she’ll continue to ask me, and I’ll be happy to help.

    Backyard movie night sounds great. Friends of ours have taken to moving their TV onto the back patio and breaking out the peanuts and Crackerjack to watch baseball. 🙂

    As always, thank you to Brandy and everyone here. I read the blog, then the comments, and then go back and re-read the comments and replies several times throughout the week. I get great ideas and take great encouragement from this community.

  71. -Harvesting beans, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and the last of the blueberries. Enjoying fresh cut flowers. Made chocolate zucchini muffins, salsa and tabouleh. Our cheap grocery store is shut down for several weeks for remodeling, so I did a huge stock up trip on their last day. I was disappointed in the lack of clearance sales, I imagine they threw away a lot of food. I stayed out of the store since except to get milk. A neighbor also shared fruit.
    -Had a few people move out of rental properties. I took home several car loads full of toys and clothes in the next few sizes for my kids, many with tags. Already sold one of the extra toys. I’m planning on sharing with friends as well. Stocked several away for Christmas gifts. Also got a new toaster from another house, as ours burned everything! Gave some unopened canned food to my parents. Gave tons of fabric to a friend. I’m always amazed at how much stuff people leave behind.
    -Sold a few things on eBay and listed more stuff. Bought some school supplies from Staples and used ink credits to cover some of the cost, with free shipping.
    -Accepted clothing for dd from another friend. She is now set on clothes for about 3 years!
    -Realizing I am spending way too much money on coffee again. Trying to cut back on caffeine and get more rest, as I am exhausted. Also doing sun salutations every day for energy and to help stretch out my neck and back.
    -Bought a new pair of running shoes, on sale at a locally owned shoe store. I have ankle problems and good shoes are an investment in my health, keeping me running pain free. I was happy for their great sale and support a local shop.
    -Cooked all meals at home, except for weekly date night and a breakfast out after our plans got sidetracked and I was hangry. Will try and plan better next time.
    -After reading your stories, I’ve been stretching out days between washing my hair. It is much less dry and itchy, it saves me time and so much less shampoo and conditioner.

  72. 1. Bought 2 pr of scrub pants at Dollar General for $2.50 each. They had been 8$. The fabric is a bit thin but I think they will be fine. I hemmed them up on my machine & they are ready to wear.
    2. Got a small quantity of free cat food from an online posting. My cat loves to eat & will eat most any brand. I also feed a stray cat.
    3. Got my free (w/ insurance) flu shot.
    4. Got a free donut w/ my Dunkin Donut app & one free from taking their survey.
    5. Used some coupons, CVS bonus bucks, & CVS offers to get 2 bottles of conditioner & 2 bottles of body wash for very little out of pocket expense. I’m stockpiling some toiletries in case supply chains go kaput.

  73. Brandy the photos are beautiful-thank you for your inspiration.
    -Had non-working air conditioner and dehumidifier that would cost $20 each to be recycled. Our son took to the local community recycling center for free.
    -Helped a neighbor with some yard work and he generously gave us a cheese box with 4 lbs. of cheese and sausage-it was so kind and thoughtful.
    -Made 4 quarts of refrigerator pickles and gave to our son and daughter.
    -Sewed masks and used upcycled 100% cotton shirts.
    -Have been stocking the pantry, As you all know it’s a big puzzle-saving, searching, preserving and feeling a little more comfort knowing that it’s our safety cushion.
    -A critter ( not sure what animal) “ate” all my ripe cherry and regular tomatoes. The disappointments of a gardener. I planted more lettuce and have been hand pollinating my cucumbers.
    -Have been trying to remind myself of blessings with devotions, beauty in nature, and the joy of family and friends. Some days when things feel overwhelming I write in my journal and check my attitude.
    Thanks for the opportunity to be part of this community and the kindness that is wonderfully comforting.
    Stay frugal everyone!!!

  74. Good news: I lost 8 lbs recently. Bad news : the diabetes medicine my doctor wants to put me on is almost $800 a month. I am going to try really hard to exercise and lose weight and not eat sugar and very little carbs and see if I can save us $800 dollars a month. I have to bring my A1c down. I can buy a lot of healthy food with half of that. I just have to do it. It is important. I hope I can save the money and be healthy. I am also going to work harder at saving energy. Our power bill was expensive this month!

    1. Dear Tammy,

      Just think of how far you’ve come — from the surgery and the struggles before you got on the farm. You can do this! I’ve known a lot of people who’ve reversed their diabetes by diet. You’ll succeed!


    2. Tammy—
      I reversed my pre diabetes by following advice I learned from this site: https://www.masteringdiabetes.org/ I didn’t pay for the coaching services, though I am sure it is awesome. I simply watched every free talk that they did, and implemented what I was learning. Much more Whole Foods, much less refined foods. Lost 55 extra pounds, lost the pre diabetes, lost my painful arthritis I had for years in my feet, lost my sugar cravings, feel so much better than I did when I was much younger!

  75. Tammy if you haven’t looked at the Diet Doctor website you really should. It has wonderful advice on low carb and keto meals and many testimonials from people who have lost weight and reversed their diabetes. The website is free to look at and so are the recipes. There is a charge if you want more personalized advice but we have used the free bits and it has really helped my husband with his A1C – 8.1 down to 5.1.

    Also we have found to that exercise is not the key – it is 95% your diet.

    1. Jennifer H,
      Thank-you. I am going to check out that site! It is so important that I lose weight and lower my A1C. Thank-you for sharing. I would love to lower my A1C that much!


      1. Tammy, I can recommend Dr. Jason Fung’s books and YouTube videos. He is a Nephrologist here in Canada and his program “The Obesity Code” and “The Obesity Diet” is highly recommended by both my GP and my Cardiologist. His program works especially well for diabetics. A friend of mine who is diabetic has lots nearly 60 pounds in just over a year and has come off all but one med. I follow his program for weight loss and it works without making me feel deprived.
        Some of his videos are aimed at his students and are recordings of lectures but others are aimed more at you and me – and he’s got quite a dry sense of humour. YouTube is free and you might get some good tips.

        1. Margie,
          Thank-you. I have another friend that also recommended Dr Jason Fung. I will definitely take a look at his videos. I definitely need something that works and doesn’t make me feel deprived.


  76. My husband had diabetes lost a lot weight now he doesn’t have it. His medicine was suppose to be $800.00 to $1000.00 but our doctor got the insurance to paid almost all of it except $ 50.00. Now my husband has to fight cancer. Good luck you weight loss. You can do it.

    1. Lisa,
      Thank-you. I am so sorry that your husband is having to fight Cancer. I said a prayer for you and your husband.


  77. The pictures are precious, and I love the new look of your website. I want to thank everyone for their ideas. This has been a nice, blessed week. Our son painted our living, dining, kitchen, bathroom, hall areas the colors we picked out before we left and refinished some woodwork while we were gone and then stayed a few days to visit when we got home. I think that he wanted to check up on us to make sure we really are okay after our brush with COVID. I made cashew casserole, one of his favorite main dishes. It has roasted cashew pieces (a larger canful), a fairly large onion chopped, chopped celery (about 4 stalks), two cans of mushroom stems and pieces (rinsed) made into a homemade soup with flour and broth or commercially canned soup concentrate, a can of water chestnuts sliced (broccoli stems peeled and sliced works, too) and chow mein noodles. The cashews were from a sale some time back, but I guess I need to find a recipe for the chow mein noodles because they were kind of expensive and hard to find. The weather and the scenery are gorgeous, and the temperatures are cooler than what so many are experiencing. Yesterday, we had a lovely breeze, too. The new blue color on our ceilings is lighter than the sky but I think it will be good this winter when everything outside is gray. We are enjoying the sunshine while it lasts.

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