Frugal Accomplishments

How We Saved Money the Second Week of September and My Plans to Make Some Major Changes

I spent a lot of time working in the garden this past week.

I spread manure and more garden soil out in the garden in the raised beds to fix areas that had fallen and to add new life to the garden.

The next day, the temperature dropped from 113 to 80! It was very windy (40 mph gusts) but it felt so nice and cool in comparison to the day before when I was moving all the dirt. The coolness also made me feel like I needed to hurry; it’s a good reminder that fall is next month, even though it is 100 here again.

I trimmed the hedges in the backyard to half their height. They had thick stems, so I had to use pruning shears instead of my hedge trimmers. It took longer, but they were much too tall. There were multiple wasp nests in them in the thickest parts. I was stung once through my glove (a minor sting compared to the two others that stung me through my gloves earlier this year). I got out my sprayer and filled it halfway with water and a bit of dish soap to kills the wasps and melt the nests (these are paper nests). I would just move to another spot after I sprayed a spot, and then come back later to prune that spot.

I had the children help me pull the horrible crabgrass that has taken over the garden. I thought I had pulled all of it two years ago, but it has been worse than ever this year. Cutting the hedges shorter made it easier to pull the weeds. I wish I we had been able to get it all; it’s a challenge to remove the rest as it is entwined within the roots of the hedges. I will continue to work at it in the coming months and I hope to eradicate it.

When I pulled the weeds, I was able to dig up some of the new hedge plants that had grown from spreading. I cut them off and taught my 8-year-old how to pot them up. I had her use the pots I had leftover from the nursery from last year and showed her how to pot them. She could not easily pull the weeds, but she could pot the plants. We will need a lot more hedge plants as we plan to make changes to the garden. These tiny plants will take 4-5 years to be large enough (they’ve already been growing for a year) to fill in the hedges, but each one-gallon plant costs $2.88 on sale at the nursery, so these will save me quite a bit of money if they all make it! She potted 24 tiny plants.

I also had the children help me pull some of the voracious mint that has taken over.

The yellow daffodils in my backyard have been multiplying over the years and need to be divided. The children helped me to start digging them out. As they multiply, they work their way up to the top of the planters, rather than growing 6 to 8 inches below the soil. The baby ones are small–too small to flower. Digging them up and replanting them with some fertilizer will help them to flower again in a few years. I don’t know that any will flower next spring, but in two to three years, we should have many daffodils again!

I made a face mask for a child using scraps of fabric and elastic that I had on hand. It’s funny; I was thinking to get rid of a bunch of my small scraps earlier this year, but then I’ve ended up using a bunch to make masks!

I pulled out the Asian pear tree that is not producing much and will be replacing it with a grapefruit tree when the weather cools. I have decided to replace all three pear trees with grapefruit trees; two will be Rio Red and one will be Oso Blanco. Rio ripens from May to Septemeber and Oso Blanco ripens from December to April. This will allow us to have grapefruit almost year-round, fresh from my trees, in about 4-5 years.

We celebrated my daughter’s birthday at home with ice cream floats (purchased on sale) and gifts. She loves to read, so she wore her new mask to the library to choose some books.

I purchased 14 pounds of butter on sale for $1.88 a pound. I was surprised and happy to see it so low and I put it in the freezer. The sale went through Tuesday. Wednesday the new ads had butter on sale, but this time it was $2.50 a pound. I also purchased ice cream, root beer, and cream soda on sale. At the grocery store, I found a less-expensive fluoride-free toothpaste for my toddlers than what I have been using and a less-expensive hairspray that we will try.

I bought lettuce, which was $1.49 a head, as lettuce does not grow here in the summer heat. I am planning to plant even more lettuce this fall in the garden than I have in the past. I have many seeds that I’ve collected from my own open-pollinated lettuce that I plan to plant.

I am concerned that the fires along the west coast will affect seed production as well as food production and prices in the years to come. On Monday, the smoke was very strong here from the fires in California, but not near as bad as what I saw happening in California and Oregon. (Territorial Seed Company reported temporarily closing their retail store due to smoke on their Instagram stories.) I know most of our nursery plants are grown in California and Oregon. Because of this, I am grateful to be growing open-pollinated seeds and collecting them.

This, in addition to what is looking more and more like the signs of a coming global depression (with the news reporting my state as having the third-highest unemployment in the nation, and the three cities in the valley having the highest unemployment, as well as the highest number of houses in default in the nation) have me wanting to make our garden even more productive in providing food for our family. We also want to reduce the expense of watering the grass, as that uses the most water. Drip irrigation uses much less water and I can have food and flowers in the same space for less while also recouping much of that water in fruit.

My husband and I measured the garden again and I began drawing plans to add more beds to the garden, as well as to increase the size of some of the existing beds. I plan to add eight more semi-dwarf and dwarf fruit trees (at least two will be almond trees and two will be peach trees) and more space to grow vegetables. Having gardened in this climate for 19 years, I now have a good understanding of what does well here, and am planning my crops in these new beds accordingly.

This project will take a considerable amount of time, work, and expense. I believe the savings in water will help cover the cost in 3-4 years, at which point the new fruit trees should also be giving us food, which will help to reduce the grocery bill as well. The vegetables and herbs, of course, will help from the beginning. This is a project I have been dreaming about for years, and I am excited to make it into a reality.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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229 Comments

  1. That windstorm that cooled you down so nicely was sent to you from us—we got slammed here in Utah! We got off really lucky and only lost some branches and the shade awning over our chicken coop, but our neighbors lost HUGE trees and whole sections of fences and some went without power for several days…it was a totally crazy week.

    We finally found a house to buy (we’ve been looking for several months), so I eagerly read about your garden plans because they made me excited to make our own! The house we found has a great lot–a half acre–and much of it has already been developed for us, though I also want to plant a few more fruit trees. We’re toying with the idea of getting meat chickens this next year in addition to our egg-laying chickens, and maybe a couple pigs…we’ll have to see. It definitely seems to be on everyone’s mind to prepare for the worst, so we’re having a hard time even finding everything! As soon as winter hits, I’m hoping that food preserving jars and lids and such will be available again so we can stock up for next year’s harvest, which we hope will be very large. Were you affected by the canning shortage, or did you already have everything you needed for this harvest season on hand?

    1. I had jars and rings and was able to buy lids without a problem

      You can do SO MUCH with a half-acre lot! We have .24 acres, which is a good size for here, and I already have over 30 fruit trees, but I want to have lots more!

      1. 30!!! I’ve been a reader for years and didn’t realize you have that many. Could you make a post listing them, likes dislikes etc. we are just getting into fruit trees.

        1. I have a list on the kitchen garden tab as well as post under the Garden tab about how to choose fruit trees. I will change them as I take some out. I think it’s 31 or 32 trees now; it’s been a while since I counted. Several are small and are potted. They just give me a few fruits each.

      2. Wow, I knew you had a lot, but I had no idea you were able to fit over 30! (And with more in the works!)

        Our lot currently has 7 on it, and I hope to put in at least 4 or 5 more in the next year or two. I have to first get really good at actually PRESERVING all that fruit before I go too crazy, ha ha 🙂

        1. It doesn’t all have to be ripe at the same time. I have planned so that different types are ripe at different times. Look at the number of chilling hours. Those that take 400 are ripe before 500, which are followed by the 600, 700, 800, etc. Look at your local nursery and note the hours as well as when they are ripe in your area. I noticed in planning that some trees say one thing online, but the local nursery tells a completely different time(months earlier!), as we have such mild winters.

        2. We planted 2 peach trees here in Colorado one comes about a month before the other. It’s the best way to plan so you don’t have them all at once. Now if we can get rid of the raccoons

      3. Wow! 30 trees! That’s awesome! Do you have a drawing of your garden? And maybe a list of what you grow? I live in a similar climate and we really have struggled to grow a garden. I’d love to know what varieties you use and even when you plant if you have that information available! TIA!!

    2. Torrie, meat chickens are extremely easy to keep and raise, and mature quickly – in about 2 months for most breeds. I encourage you to give it a try! Before we raised meat birds, we ensured that we had a place to process them. We had a neighbor who was willing to let us use her equipment, which made the whole process much simpler, easier, and less messy. Good luck with your new home!

  2. I do have to say that I’m in awe of your standing up to the wasps as you do. All of my life I have been afraid of flying/buzzing/stinging insects and must flee the area when the simplest bee comes around. That you have already been stung three times this year and are still out there fighting the good fight, wins you the gardener of the year trophy in my mind. I’d send you a trophy if I had one. 😀

    1. Aww, thanks Anne! The bees don’t worry me. The wasps are the trouble. I’ll be pruning the hedges in leather gloves from now on, but pulling the weeds in the dirt, I have a different type of gloves on, and they keep getting me through those.

      1. In case you all don’t know this, neem seed oil works wonders on wasp stings! (I’m not sure about neem leaf oil—I use seed). Just a drop or two on a sting makes the pain and swelling dissipate rapidly.

  3. While I have followed this site for years, this is my first post. I come for frugal advice. I am retired, and thru this pandemic I have been striving to stock up on shelf stable foods. I have been happy to stock up on flour, yeast, pasta, oats, rice, etc.
    Now my husband has be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes!
    UGH! Not only the need to cut carbs, but protein are not easy. He won’t eat eggs, tofu, most beans, healthy yogurts, and very little turkey. Think meat and potatoes guy. Add to that, I dislike much seafood, and man is it expensive!!
    Baking is a joy and relaxation to me…that is out the door now.
    I need ideas for meals that will keep him satisfied and not break the bank! Also snacks….
    Please help a girl out! My homemade soups and fresh baked breads of winters past are not going to be the right choices. I am stressed out enough, as are we all, with daily life right now. This is not helping .
    TIA

    1. Your husband’s pickiness will make helping his diabetes diagnosis a problem. If he would rethink eggs, beans, and turkey, he could lose weight and save you a lot of money! Beans work well in soups and also cut cholesterol, though you will need to work on the carb count. I would make sure he and or you attend(s) some classes and meets with a nutritionist; you can also find a lot of info online. There is at least one diabetes magazine; I checked one out at the library last week and it had a lot of meals that were under 300 calories per serving! You can still do soups if they are mostly vegetable-based, and you cut out the bread. Chili helps too (again, no bread) if it has low meat (pork and beef are high in calories, and as a diabetic, turkey is lower in calories and will help him lose weight). Salads as a main meal will be a big help too. Expect complaining and frustration; it happens to everyone as they adjust. Remind him how good it is to have feet 🙂

      Remember to have half a plate of vegetables (not starchy vegetables like squash, carrots, corn, or potatoes; treat those like pasta or rice as they are high in carbs) but green vegetables, a quarter plate of meat (the size of a deck of cards is a serving size) and a quarter or less of a carb. Measure everything and show him what the measurement is.

      1. Following a paleo or keto diet is much easier than carb counting but gives the same results. Also look into keto baking. The carb cough t is very low but the breads, etc are very good. The app carb manager can help and it’s free.

      2. Great advice. How does he go with canned fish like tuna or salmon? Here at least it is economical and can be mixed with a mashed potato or sweet potato into fish cakes, served with a big salad?

        1. Tuna is usually mixed with mayo (high in calories, which isn’t helpful if one is trying to lose weight) and I find canned salmon to be very expensive! We’re not really fans of fish cakes.

          1. I mix my tuna with half low or no fat plain Greek yogurt and half low fat or olive oil mayo. Again, I started mixing just a little yogurt at a time. It cuts down on the fat and ups the protein.

            1. That’s a great idea! I miz other things with the yogurt and have done the same thing. My children usually mix the tuna so I didn’t think about that one! Thanks!

      3. I sometimes mix canned tuna with flavored vinegars, spices, put in fridge and let marinate a couple of hours and serve over a spinach or lettuce . It cuts out the bread and the mayo.

    2. Pam, check out paleo and/or keto recipes. Many of these are low or lower carb, and you may be able to adapt them to your husbands needs and restrictions. At least they may give you some ideas. Also, I really like almond flour based breads and pancakes. You can find many, many recipes for these online. These are not the most frugal option of course, but they are delicious and my be suitable for what you need.

    3. Pam,

      I was in the same place as your husband a couple of years ago. I hated taking metformin. The side effects were awful. I did not want to ever end up on insulin. So I put myself om the Keto diet and lost 60 lbs. It is low carb, mostly meat, fish and low carb veggies. You can google keto diet and find out lots of info on it. I also started exercising- bike and treadmill at least 30 minutes a day. I have not been on medication in 1 year and 9 months and I am never going back. I wish him all the luck in the world undoing his diagnosis.

    4. Pam,
      I live with Type 2 diabetes as well although I have never been overweight. It’s an unusual type of diabetes which falls in the Type 2 category. For snacks I eat low fat cheese and fruit (usually an apple), whole wheat crackers and cheese/cottage cheese or peanut butter, peanut butter and banana or apple, or nuts like almonds or walnuts and raisins or craisins. I keep sugar free candy around as well. I still bake a lot. I make homemade whole wheat sourdough bread and ginger cookies. Ginger cookies are on the list given to me from the dietician/nutritionists. I do a lot of gradual substituting healthier ingredients of “regular” ingredients. For example, I will replace a little of the white flour in a recipe with whole wheat increasing the amount each time I make a recipe until my husband makes a negative comment about flavor or texture or until I have completely replaced the ingredient. He is pretty picky at times but rarely seems to notice. I do the same substituting ground beans or ground turkey for beef. I start with replacing about an eighth of the beef with the substitute and slowly build up. As for bread, maybe try cornbread/muffins occasionally. After reading a few comments in the past I am confused about eating beans. My nutritionist and dietician both told me eating beans was fine as the fiber in the beans slows down the absorption of the carbs. Of course, everything depends on the serving size and what else is on the plate or in the bowl. I suggest going to the American Diabetes Association’s website for information and recipes. Also, I found a very helpful cookbook called Diabetes Meals for Good Health by Karen Graham, RD. This cookbook gives whole meal suggestions with pictures, serving sizes for different calorie allotments as well as recipes. Because I have been very careful with my diet and exercise I have been able to stay off any medication for the diabetes. I would much rather choke down some food I am not crazy about from time to time than to have to take any medication or shoot myself with insulin. Best of luck!

      1. The nutritionist I talked to was anti-beans and whole grains, but the American Diabetes website was full of meatless meals with beans the last time I was on there! They are lower calories than beef and also reduce cholesterol (as do oats, and oats were also listed as being good as a good whole grain choice). Everything I have read as been pro-beans and whole wheat as well as oats, so I thought the nutritionist was rather overdoing it. She also said fish has to happen several times a week (specifically salmon, which is very expensive) and said if fish oil was used instead, it HAD to be certain brands. She was very unflexible about buying the most expensive things, but I have not found the same recommendations online elsewhere.

        I totally agree with substituting things out a bit at a time. Ground turkey (and you can grind it yourself) is a great option. My dad thought he would hate turkey bacon, but after trying it, he was surprised at how delicious he found it, and he started buying it often!

    5. Pam – my husband is also diabetic, type 1.5 and we have already had one week in the hospital this year with a major surgery to avoid losing a toe. Controlling blood sugar is critically important. His sugar has been well controlled for several years but it is the years before that have resulted in some health scares for us. I am constantly walking the tightrope of feeding him enough carbs and protein to keep his sugar at an even keel. I would echo Brandy’s advice and have him attend along with you a diabetes nutrition class – they have lots of good advice that can help. Also find a good endocrinologist – that is essential in managing and caring for someone with diabetes.
      I, like you, am a person that loves to cook and bake. My husband doesn’t eat seafood and complains when I feed him too many beans and greens. I make them anyway and serve them to him in every possible way. Leafy green veggies like kale, collards, spinach…these are all winners and you can now find most of these items in the freezer section of most grocery stores if you can’t grow your own. We also eat cabbage, salads, broccoli and many other veggies. In my experience, my husband’s blood sugar is better controlled when eating fresh whole foods rather than canned or processed foods. Brown Rice and whole grain or protein pasta are life savers. Whole wheat bread with the lowest sugar content you can find – we like Nature’s Own Lite if buying bread in the store.
      When baking I try to augment recipes with almond flour if I can or choose recipes that I can easily incorporate nuts, cheese or other proteins into. I have heard of some people even adding protein powders to baked goods to help balance the carb count. Splenda Baking items can be helpful in this area as well. Play around with your recipes to get a taste for what things might work well for you and your husband. Snacks that work for us are nuts, sliced cheese/cheese sticks and crackers, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, fresh cut veggies with either hummus or ranch dip, homemade pickles, peanut butter crackers
      I have found that I like to make my own jam as I can make low sugar/no sugar varieties and my husband has far less sugar spikes when eating whole fruit jam as opposed to store bought sugar free jam.
      One dish that works well for my husband is a saute of cannelini beans, garlic, onion, tomato and spinach – just saute all in a bit of olive oil and service with a roasted chicken breast and you have a quick, easy, healthy meal. You can use canned beans or dry that you cook in bulk and store for meals down the road. Try looking at the Glycemic Index of foods – this lets you know how quickly the body breaks the food down into sugar. Items on the low end of the scale are good for those with diabetes and will aid with weight loss if needed.
      I hope that this helps you and wish you all the best on this journey!

      1. Hi Pam — my husband is in the same boat but it was a side effect from long-term cancer treatment. I’m also a baker and a foodie so…I found I had to adopt the “adventure” mindset when it came to baking in particular. I did a lot of experimenting and while it’s still a work in progress I found some subs that work for both of us: Barilla high-protein pasta (delicious and does not cause a blood sugar spike), almond flour (Aldi carries this for far cheaper than elsewhere), agave (ditto Aldi) and the Truvia baking blend sugar substitute. Also, used straight up but VERY sparingly, stevia powder.

    6. Pam – adding my two cents about going to classes together that are put on by the Diabetes Assc. and/or local hospitals. For some reason having another person lay it out in plain language helps. It also helps if the doctor and/or other people with the same diagnosis discuss the negative possibilities.

      For gluten free and whole grain pasta I have found that Trader Joe’s has better prices than most places. They also have different varieties to try so you don’t feel bad if there is one that you don’t like (spending $2.0o versus $5.00…).

      I get Diabetes Living. I got it through RecycleBank for points and I know that doctor’s offices sometimes have coupons and sample copies.
      It is a wealth of information on recipes, life changes and inspirational stories.

      BLSL chicken thighs are a great source of relatively inexpensive protein. They stay moister than breasts and can be used in almost any dish. If he has a favorite type of food – Italian, Mexican, etc. – look for recipes that are healthy and have that robust flavor profile that he likes. That can help with feelings of deprivation about what he is eating. Garlic, onions, herbs and spices become a great help when presenting new recipes. Also have meals that are really special (such as a steak) to celebrate milestones, or sometimes, just because. I think of it like this: birthdays, holidays are more special because we have foods that we associate with a special occasion. Having them everyday takes away the specialness (new word). My SO grew up as third generation ranching/farming family. Every day had beef in it – with only occasionally a meal of fried chicken, pork chops or ham. Understanding that a serving of beef is, as Brandy said, the size of a deck of playing cards, really put things into perspective.

      As for seafood – “I don’t like anything that tastes fishy”. So no salmon, etc. The fish sandwich at McDs was about the flavor profile that was preferred. I learned to make cod, tilapia and when available, orange roughy, baked with a little olive oil, diced tomatoes, capers, garlic and onion, and that was a hit. With brown rice flavored with a little garlic and onion salt (and parsley for a little color), veggies it was a weekly meal that isn’t objected to. I’ve found that Walmart has the best prices on seafood – in the frozen section.

      It is a challenge, no doubt about it, but the alternatives are frightening. Diabetes, of all types, seems to be a comorbidity for Covid-19, which looks to be with us for at least a year before vaccines are proven and available enough for everyone who wants one.

    7. Another diet that does well for losing weight with low carbs is the Plant Paradox Diet or Dr. Gundry diet. The carbs he approves are “resistant” which means they feed the good bacteria in the gut. Very few grains, LOTS of greens, and good fats. The Cookbook that he wrote is useful. Most libraries would, I think, have his books. The newest book is The Longevity Paradox. This is an opportunity for your husband to improve his health and expand his food choices; I wish you both luck.

    8. My A1C has gone from 8.6 to 6.5 with intermittent fasting. Look into the book Delay Don’t Deny by Gin Stephens. Also Books by Dr. Jason Fung are excellent.

      1. I’ll add my approval for Dr. Fung. I’m not diabetic but I follow his program to lose weight (approved by my GP and cardiologist). A friend is diabetic and has followed his program for the past 18 months and has now lost over 50 pounds and has been coming off meds bit by bit.

    9. There are many diabetes magazines available online as well as many sites that offer menu/recipe helps. I was diagnosed five years ago and to date I have lost and kept off 40pounds in weight. I am still taking just Metformin twice a day and manage by balancing my carbs. Diabetes is a very individual thing though and the first year will be all trial and error.
      My advice is to go SLOW. Don’t replace everything in your house all at once. I got very overwhelmed in my first few months trying to do things ‘right’. There should be a nutritionist connected with your local hospital or doctor who can work with you. Look up the Iowa Plate Method for examples of how to balance carbs. Work with your husband’s tastes and find lower carb solutions to his favorite dishes. Buy small quantities of new items and test them to see how his blood sugar levels react and how he likes them before making an investment in stocking up.
      You can do this on a budget, believe me, but give yourself and your husband grace to work things out…

    10. Check with your insurance no matter what kind it is. Many provide nutrition counseling from a Dietitian with a Diabetes diagnosis. I can’t recommend it strongly enough. Also, be CERTAIN it is a Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for the appointment. Being a “Nutritionist” varies from an online got in an hour certificate to a PhD in nutrition…it is not a regulated title and is often used poorly. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website eatright.org has a wealth of information as well for eating with Type 2. For sure homemade soups and breads are NOT a thing of the past! Recipes can be modified and favorite foods still enjoyed. It is a scary time but take it slowly and get good help from reputable sources. You’ve got this. Just the fact that you are thinking ahead and considering how and where to take action shows you’ve got EXACTLY what it takes to make this work for you and your sweet guy.

    11. Pam,

      I eat low carb by choice and still do quite a bit of baking! Here are some of my favorite recipes!

      Muffin like blueberry bread (and highly recommend her website for more recipes)- https://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/keto-blueberry-bread/
      Low carb bread – this is a sweet bread with a vanilla flavor. I bake a loaf and slice and freeze. It makes the best french toast!
      https://www.atkins.com/recipes/low-carb-bread/2287
      Literally the best quiche I have ever had with a crust (and I was able to make it!!) – https://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/low-carb-quiche-lorraine/

      I hope this helps! Low carb recipes have came such a long ways that I think you might be surprised how much you can still bake!

      I have an entire low carb board on Pinterest of tried and true low carb recipes – https://www.pinterest.com/RenewedInterest/

    12. I can relate my son got diagnosed with Celiac. I quit baking. You have to be so careful of cross contamination. I buy his bread at Trader Joe’s and Costco. Our friend has severe diabetes. He eats a protein and veggies. No carbs, no sugar. He also drinks Premier Protein Shakes. Diet restrictions are hard.

    13. It is overwhelming at first, but as everyone mentioned there are loads of cookbooks, websites, etc that you can read and learn from. And, don’t try to change everything at once. A nutritionist can be very helpful. My hubby was also a meat & potatoes guy, although he does like a lot of the things you said yours doesn’t. His idea of a perfect meal is meat, fried potatoes, gravy, corn, and bread. Hello carbs!!! He no longer has all of it for any one meal, that’s for sure. One of the things I do when frying potatoes is to slice & soak them in water for at least 30 minutes to an hour to remove some of the excess starch. I did just read something about a Canadian potato that’s lower in calories and carbs also, although I haven’t actually seen it in any of our stores here. For baked goods, there are substitutions like applesauce instead of oil. For recipes calling for ground beef, you can substitute ground turkey for some or all and that will help make it healthier. Good luck!

    14. Some things that really helped me when first diagnosed: a nutrition class (took one of my good friends, the one who would try to tell me how to eat); using measuring cups (one serving of rice is a lot different than two servings and I had to learn); meal plan (there are lots out there tailored to diabetic needs); work on finding 10 recipes that are diabetic-friendly and use them routinely; test your blood glucose to gain understanding of how your body responds to different foods. Be kind to yourself when you slip then get back with the program.

    15. Rutabagas! also called Swedes. Low in calories, high in fiber, vitamin c, potassium and calcium.
      Low glycemic index.
      Works like a potato in almost everything! Mashed, roasted, in soups, scalloped, etc.

    16. As a personal chef that worked for diabetics along with most of the family having it … I would first ask WHAT he is eating as not all have the same issues. My Daddy could eat anything and I do mean anything(pie, cake, ice cream, hard candy) and not raise his sugar UNLESS he ate too much so serving sizes is what he had to focus on. Another has to limit breads and flour products. Another was nuts and dried fruit but could eat anything else. IF he has not seen a nutritionist, you need to get him scheduled with one, his doctor should have offered that. YOU go also (my mother in law got father in law to go because SHE did the cooking and needed to know). Broth soups are fine. … It’s important to figure out WHAT is the triggers. ALSO he needs to drink water 1 oz for every 2 lbs he weighs is a good estimate and watch what he is drinking. Father in law kept saying he wasn’t eating anything that would trigger sugar but was drinking 12 oz of orange juice mixed with orange crush soda pop… he didn’t realize juice raised sugar and so does soda pop that isn’t diet. He was drinking 3-4 a day. Stopped that and his A1C came down from 8 to 6.

      1. Hi Juls!

        I noticed in your post a few weeks ago that you ordered lids from BallOfficial. I ordered some too and received them. I discovered the company is in China and am wondering if you have ordered from them before? If so, did the lids seal properly? I’ve read some blogs that people discovered that is wasn’t the real Ball site. I guess that one is Freshpreserving.com or something. I’m a little worried about using these lids. So I thought I would ask you your thoughts. From reading your blog – I know you can a lot of food and would have great insight. Thanks! Or anyone else have any information?

    17. Pam, what I haven’t seen mentioned here is WEIGHT. If your husband is at all overweight, losing a few pounds will help. Exercise is also big. I’m not suggesting that he continue eating as he has, but losing weight and getting some exercise will cut him a LOT of slack. My husband is Type 2 but is on insulin, and he keeps his A1C right around 6.5 because he isn’t too overweight and tries to exercise (difficult because he is an amputee, unrelated to diabetes.

      When I had my annual checkup in April, my doc thought I was pre-diabetic based on my A1C and wanted to put me in Metformin. However, when I went back 3 months later, I had lost 9 lbs. and the whole idea that I was pre-diabetic was off the table. (I didn’t try to lose weight, although I’m happy it is happening. It is due to finding ways to deal with my esophagus, and the best way for me is to not eat much).

    18. Hello Pam. I am a diabetic and remember in the beginning it can be very overwhelming. One day and one change at a time and you will help your husband be successful. I eat half a cup of oatmeal each morning. I have a sandwich with Weight Watcher bread as it is only 9 carbs per slice for lunch. Costco now carries this bread. I only drink water so I can save all my carb options for food. I do plenty of baking and I am incredibly picky. I often bake with almond and coconut flour and swerve sugar substitute. Definitely more expensive initially when creating low carb desserts and snacks. I started slow and each month bought one or two items to replace my baking pantry. Costco is the cheapest for me when buying almond flour. There are so many recipes online. Sometimes I will use the my fridge food app and it will help me use up items about to expire. Our favourite recipe we found was Pizza casserole made with cauliflower. So good! We make a lot of soups and all low carb. Soon the pumpkins will be ready. Pumpkin soup, muffins, loaves, granola etc…. Buy a fresh pumpkin and cook to puree. We freeze about 60 + cups a year as we all like pumpkin. On November 1st all the pumpkins go on sale and we buy them. Pumpkin is very healthy and low carbs! Popcorn is my evening snack on the weekends. I wish you and your husband all the best on this journey.

      1. Yes, definitely look into the low-carb options! We found low carb tortillas at Sam’s Club and Winco. They taste fine AND are only 45-50 calories each, rather than being 120 to 220 calories each! They’re taco-sized, not burrito-sized, which means we make smaller burritos (so less filling inside, which also helps to lose weight). They’re a little more than the regular tortillas, so I just buy those ones for my husband and I, and I fill them with mostly vegetables. We’ve both lost weight this way, and we have bean burritos often.

  4. One word for how we saved money this week- hair. I colored my own hair for the first time since we’ve been distancing- I was worried about an allergic reaction or that the color would react with the color already on my hair. I got brave- and it came out quite nice. I also trimmed my hair.

    I watched a video about cutting men’s hair and gave my husband a haircut. In the back of my mind I kept thinking about the comic, whose name I cannot recall, who joked about mom’s thinking they could cut hair without a license when they got the orange handled scissors in their hands. I was concerned I’d give him a chop job that would require him to shave his head afterwards. To my surprise, the tutorial online was very good and my husband looks very nice.

    Lots of money saved. We may continue on this way.

    1. I’ve also been cutting and coloring my own hair since lock down began. It was scary the first time but I’m very happy with the results! I’m with you, I don’t think I’ll be going back to the salon. Such a huge savings!

  5. Hi Everyone!
    It has been a long time since I posted—SO much change going on, so very fast! But realizing that we are in a “new normal,” I am trying to get back into intentionally being frugal. This past week, my teen daughter expressed a desire to have a chalk board on the wall of our new “Music Room,” which is my son’s childhood bedroom as he recently married and is completely fledged and moved out. I was happy for her to have a chalk board, but “I” wanted it to be pretty. I think we found the perfect thing, as we went to the thrift store and found an old picture frame and turned it into our new chalk board which we both LOVE! It turned out so beautiful, and cost us less than $10! I have pictures on my blog at: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2020/09/frugal-friday-week-of-september-6-12.html

    I have been doing other things as well, but need to start writing a list again! One other thing I remember is we are turning a room in the basement into a home office for my hubby who is a teacher and is doing much more Zooming now a days. Instead of purchasing new furniture for him, we moved his desk out of our bedroom down to the basement, and I decluttered one of the two bookshelves from my son’s bedroom and we moved that book case down to the new office. So my hubby is set up pretty well now with a quiet, private place he can do his work from.

    Looking forward to reading what everyone else is up to!

    Susan M. From Chattanooga, Tennessee

  6. I used a coupon to get a free Package of Uncle Ben’s beans-I doubt I would buy them but for free I thought we would try them. Price matched head lettuce from Walmart at my local store for .77 per head. My DH filed his EI report and was not expecting to receive anything as he just returned to work-however he still got $1,000 so that can be tucked away to pay income taxes in the spring. I am considering a little road trip out to Vancouver Island in Oct as I have a couple of weeks off work-I do have some friends I can stay with part of the time. I would rather have to cancel though if my husband gets a date for his hip surgery-fingers crossed. I would have considered overseas but then I would have to quarantine for 2 weeks when I return which I would rather avoid. Helped unload my Mum’s moving container to save her $60 pr hour charged by the guys who were unloading the big stuff.

  7. My mom sent over nearly a full box of granola bars that she just purchased from Sam’s (she said they were too dry for her), plus some ritz cracker crisps, and a quinoa and vegetable meal thing.

    A local pizza place/arcade sent me some great coupons. I could get 2 buffets, 2 drinks, and a $20 game card for free. We invited the 13yos best friend and the 3 of us went. I also had a second coupon they let me use for 2 free attractions (they have go carts, laser tag, trampolines, and a vr thing also). And since I purchased a second $20 gift card, I got my buffet and drink for .99. For under $25, they had 3 hours of fun, so I call it money well spent.

    Our back room project got expensive fast. Lumber has apparently doubled in price so we are already past our $400 budget. Yuck. This week, hubby got the 2 outside walls tore down and reframed, plus plywood up. Windows and the masonry work should get done this week. Our door is on order(6-8 week wait) so he fashioned a closable doggie door so the fuzzbutts can go in and out still without needing walked around to the backyard. It’ll get finished, just not as fast as I had hoped. Thank goodness for the few things we can save money on.

    Hubby borrowed a trailer so while he and the 21yo were putting in the framing and plywood, me and the 13yo loaded all the trash material onto the trailer to haul off ourselves. It took us forever to get it loaded(I’m not the fastest or strongest, I’ll admit) but it probably saved us a few hundred dollars over hiring someone else. Thankfully the weather has been cooler because I would have died if it had been in the 90s.

  8. The newest Louise Penny Inspector Gamache book came out on the first! “All the Devils are Here.”
    The characters travel abroad and hopefully it is pre-covid, so it will be like an escape to the old times.

    1. I have the e-book on order at the library. The wait is 245 days. I can not believe that last year at this time I sat in a room with several hundred other people listening to her speak. It may be the last big gathering of people that I will go to in person, but definitely the best send-off.

    2. I read my first Louise Penny book- A Better Man when it was on the library’s “available now” list. Looking forward to the one you are reading, as I found it to be quite thrilling and fast paced. Thank goodness for the library!

      1. Nina, you need to read the Armand Gamache novels in order, as they are not stand-alone novels. The characters and relationships grow and change with each in the series.

    3. No spoilers from me, but I read this book in two days, despite working full-time! It is one of her best. It is pre-COVID and takes place in Paris because Armand’s children and grandchildren are all living there. She is one of few authors whose books I pre-order for my Kindle. Worth every Penny, no pun intended.

  9. Both your work this week in your garden and future plans for your garden sound so nice.
    By letting people know our ancient dryer had died and being patient about replacing it, we are getting a new-for-us 5 or 6 year old electric Maytag delivered to our house for free. We might have to buy a new 3-prong cord and a longer drier vent hose, but I was very happy when I received the offer yesterday evening. A good friend had mentioned our “need” (Clothes driers are optional after all. I have 4 sheets and soon will have 3 fleece blankets drying on the line in the basement.) to a friend of hers who likes matched sets. Their Maytag washer had broken and they are replacing it and their non-broken dryer with a new washer and dryer pair. Our washer still has 10 months left on its service contract so I am passing up the offer of a matched set of Maytag appliances for the cost of a washer repair. Just the working dryer, thank you very, very, very much.
    Plant.id is a wonderful site. I snapped a photo of something in an overgrown spot in our yard that I feared was poison ivy before touching it and uploaded it to the page and let their artificial intelligence figure out what it was. A raspberry plant. Good. A few days later I took photos of a mystery tree fruiting now and uploaded them. Bummer. The invasive plant buckthorn. It isn’t really edible. It is a host for overwintering pests of soybeans. And its seeds are viable for up to 10 years. So this bush/tree will not be heading for a compost pile. Its limbs will be firewood and twigs, leaves, and fruit will be going to the curb on trash day. I will be pulling and chopping a lot of buckthorn in the future. Sigh. At least I now know what the birds planted and what I am against.

    1. I have never owned a matched washer and dryer. I am thankful they are both currently the same color and approximately the same height. I’m so glad you got a dryer!

  10. The thought of spending money sends me into a panic. We are fine but there seems to be a constant stream of new expenses. I’ve made an appointment to see a naturalistic doctor for my thyroid. When I asked about the price she said it was billed in $80.00 increments for each 30 minutes. I will be thorough in filling out my paperwork and remind myself to not chat incessantly. I’m hoping a compounded formula will help me. I slept 20 hours at a time on 3 separate days last week. Not much room to spend money when you are sleeping. I’m grateful to have my son home to supervise sugar cookie when I’m feeling extremely bad. Boy needs new tires. I guess I will get on phone and look for my best deal. We brought home 12 boxes of food last week. All the children ate well. I have discovered several new and easy recipes on Paula Deens.com

    1. I pray you feel better soon. I had Graves Disease and had my thyroid removed in 94. And, my 22 yo son had his thyroid removed last year.

  11. This was a productive week for us!
    We purchased two couches on a remarkable sale back in August and they were delivered this weekend. This spurred a major cleaning of our living room and a bit of reorganizing. Although we did spend money for the sofas, we got them on sale for 25% off and we donated our old sofas to another family whose sofa was very tattered and worn. Our new sofas are in wonderful shape and I expect that they will last us for many years to come.
    I worked in the garden a bit, weeding and cleaning out some plants to prep the ground for fall. I removed okra plants and banana peppers. Both were still producing but we have gallons upon gallons of both frozen and pickled and I need to clear and make room for fall crops if we are to have any yield at all. I did see that my green bean production picked up this week although at a much slower pace than what we saw in the Spring. I will amend my Spring garden next year to allow for more green beans so that we can put away more and enjoy fresh beans while the garden is producing. After trying out many new crops this year I have determined that the best veggies to grow in Spring are tomatoes, green beans, peppers of all varieties, sugar snap peas, field peas of all varieties, spinach and okra – I will focus the space on these items in order to make the most of the space we have next Spring. I planted mustard greens, rainbow swiss chard, and celery – all from seedlings that I picked up at the nursery. I am starting collard greens, kale, carrots, broccoli, and cabbage from seed inside – the abundance of rain that we have had has made it impossible for me to get seeds in the ground without running the risk of them being washed away. I am so grateful for the rain but frustrated too as I want to get these veggies planted as quickly as we can. I will sow Spinach seeds directly into the garden once this week of rain passes from Sally. It has a short germination so it should produce pretty well.
    I picked up mums for the planters around my home and they will get potted in the next week to go along with winter pansies once they become available. I also found daffodil bulbs and tulip bulbs on sale at my garden center. I had held off buying these several times over the last month and I am glad I held out – the packages I found had twice as many bulbs for half the cost of what we originally saw.
    We enjoyed home cooked meals and combined laundry to reduce the overall number of loads.
    Our power bill arrived and although it dropped a fair amount, we still had a good portion of the bill that was metered before the new HVAC was installed. I am excited to see that number continue to drop in the coming months.
    We recycled our oldest car seat which my son outgrew and received a 20% off coupon to purchase a new seat at Target. They were also running a special to give a $10 gift card if you purchased two bottle of laundry detergent. We were able to purchase a brand new car seat for less than half of the original cost.
    I took a neighbor a jar of sweet pickle relish and a jar of peach salsa and she gifted me 14 pint jars to use for canning. I was so grateful for this as I am having a very difficult time finding jars at all right now.
    I froze brown bananas to use for bread making down the road and baked a peach cobbler for a family member who recently lost his wife of 25+ years. For me this is the most wonderful part of creating a well-stocked pantry – this small gift made this gentleman’s day and cost us pennies out of pocket. We made a batch of rocky road bars to use up a sleeve of graham crackers and a package of marshmallows.
    We entertained ourselves with projects around the house, the garden & swing set etc.
    I had to have a crown last week. I took my dentist a care package including homemade pickles, banana peppers, jam and salsa as I know he likes these items and will enjoy them. This saved me over $80 out of pocket as he gave me an unexpected discount on my dental work.
    Our washing machine has begun to give us trouble so we have a repairman coming out tomorrow to try and fix it. If beyond a certain price point to repair I will being looking for a new washing machine. For any of you out there who may be looking to purchase new appliances – stay far away from Samsung….we had to replace our fridge at 2 yrs old, the dryer has been repaired twice and now the washer is having issues – both are only 3 yrs old. I am praying for a brilliant repairman and a small repair 🙂
    Hope everyone enjoys a great week!

    1. I tend to agree about staying away from Samsung. An elderly friend of mine
      bought a Samsung stovetop and oven (a range). I was contemplating it but couldn’t quite
      see leaving my old range behind. Very soon, the glass top cracked (just did it spontaneously in the middle
      of the night). It was replaced under warranty. It has now broken 4 times, only once under warranty. I suggested she write to the President of Samsung — it must be a defect in design… I think at some point I will replace mine with an induction but not a Samsung!

    2. Consider buying used. We bought a washer dryer set for $250 (the home we purchased did not come with a washer and dryer) on Kijiji. I always would wash in warm as my old washer didnt dissolve the powder. I recently tried washing in this washing machine with tap cold, and it is hands down the best washing machine I could ask for. Sometimes used appliances is a great option.

  12. I agree with you about a coming global depression. With a Covid vaccine unlikely this year and an economy that is reeling from all the people staying home (as they should), it’s inevitable. Our numbers of infections is on the rise in Ontario and I expect we will be moved back a phase to help get the spread under control again.
    I actually kept track of some of the things that happened in our family the past week or so.
    -youngest son has a 10 year old car that he has not been driving. He finally decided to get new all season tires on his winter rims. When he went to start the car the battery was dead. But his sister had a brand new one that she gave him. He was concerned with the squealing brakes but the tire guy said it’s just dust/rust from not being driven. So, that’s a good reminder to everyone who is not driving much these days to occasionally start their cars, drive a little to keep batteries and brakes in good working order.
    -I received a watercolour from my oldest sister for a birthday gift. And I finished a small x-stitch that I will send off to her. It’s a bit of a rude saying and she will find it funny.
    -my DD’s home had terrible cold air return grates on the floor. Her dad spotted a larger one in the trash while walking and it fits perfectly.
    – we had an extra rug that we were not using so gave it to son for his spare room.
    – I found a bushel of plum tomatoes at last. They are considerably more expensive this year at $25 but I now have 40 pints of stewed tomatoes to use. I also found pea meal bacon and chicken leg quarters on sale and divided up the packages for the freezer.
    – I harvested the last of the purple beans from my front garden and the kale.The kale is still growing and I’ll leave it as long as I can. I never did get any zucchini from my plants. But I do have green peppers growing. The cherry tomatoes are still doing ok.
    -I’m drying some of the dill that self seeded and the basil as well. I must look for the parsley and see if there is any to dry or the beasties ate it.
    -I found campbell’s soups on sale at .49/tin and bought a flat. I like their tomato soup and I use the mushroom when cooking certain casseroles. I also got tuna so I’m well stocked.
    – When visiting my neighbour I mentioned I was looking for an oversize zucchini to make relish and her Mom said “I’ve got one you can have”. Today I make the relish that is my DH’s favourite.
    -I have a bunch of peaches, pears and plums that we won’t go through before they turn to mush, so I will process them into jars as well. I love to have canned fruit in the winter months but it’s so expensive to buy.
    -We did order in twice last week; one chinese supper that lasted through 2 extra lunches as well as feed 3 for dinner. And another night when DH had a friend over, Son bought pizza. It’s so nice when your kids buy you something to say thanks. I’ve been doing his laundry since his washer/dryer are not yet hooked up. Other meals included mac and cheese, pot roast , roast beef sandwiches, cheese and crackers and fruit. The last two things are when it’s just me at home and I don’t feel like cooking for just one person.
    -DH and youngest son are closing up our summer place in the next day or so. Son is cooking and feeding his dad lots of “guy type food” and they are having a terrific few days together. I need to make room for the extra foodstuff that will come home.
    – I went and bought some more stone ground flour so I can make bread etc. I was totally out of flour so it was time. I bought a pumpkin scone at the bakery to see what it tasted like. So many people love these and I didn’t want to make a bunch and not like the taste. I’m not that thrilled to be honest. Glad I didn’t waste the time making a dozen or so.
    -I’ll be starting to clean out the garden and will divide plants. Two neighbours have expressed interest in my excess.
    -My local bookclub meeting is at my house next Monday. I told the participants I was not comfortable having them inside my home due to our Covid #’s on the rise again. But I am comfy meeting outdoors on my backyard patio. They agree and will bring their own masks and folding chairs. A number of them have expressed interest in doing this over the next several months. If we dress appropriately, we can probably last through December.
    -Normally I would be spending the winter months in SWFLA, but this year that probably won’t happen. A number of issues not the least of which is the border closure.
    -Becky, I wonder if you pressure can your green beans? years ago people used to just water bath them and most of the time it was ok. But ever since the book “Larry’s Party” where the woman killed her hubby by feeding him home bottled green beans, I haven’t done any. LOL. I was quite impressed with your cold cellar and it’s contents.
    -I got a number of books from the library as a couple of holds came in and we were allowed to go into the stacks again. There’s nothing I like better than sticking my nose in a book and ignoring all the other things that should be done like vacuuming the carpet. I met my DD at the library and we walked back again along the lakeshore boardwalk. It was a lovely afternoon with not too many people crowding about.
    -my frugal fail was buying a 10 lb. bag of potatoes that I thought were Yukon Golds. turns out the are simply a yellow flesh potato that doesn’t seem to have any specific name. They don’t bake very well (too moist) so I’m hoping they will make decent mashed potatoes or soup. It has taught me to pay more attention to the labels again.
    -The smoke from the west coast fires have reached all the way to Toronto and creates a high cloud situation. the Fall weather forecast came out today and it looks like we will have decent mild weather and not too much rain over the next month or so. There’s nothing worse for my mental health than lots of grey, gloomy days. The Winter forecast is still up in the air. DD and I are making plans on where to do some snow shoeing if we have a whopping amount of snow. It’s possible since the Great Lakes are so warm they won’t freeze over. That drives the snow machine dumping lots to play in.
    – I have started a list of things to do in the winter months if we are stuck indoors again. It helps to have a plan.
    I hope everyone has a good upcoming productive week. I so look forward to reading everyones posts.

    1. Green beans have to be pressure-canned! Botulism can cause paralysis and death!

      The smoke from the fires is here again this morning. I noticed it as I went out to the trash.

      1. Hi Pam, just a suggestion,especially since you have already begun stock piling good foods: If you like to research, the book “The Starch Solution” by Dr. John McDougall, and all the Forks Over Knives youtubes,videos and books can show you a way of handling type 2 diabetes and other health issues, with a diet you might enjoy— carbs are not really the problem (BAD carbs are!) but potatoes,beans, rice, ALL GOOD! Of course, it’s helpful to have a doctor who understands this way of life.. but you can learn so much on your own and make changes easily.Just a suggestion if you are looking for options,.Good luck!

        1. I agree about “Forks over Knives” documentary. A family member with diabetes was able to reverse it (!!) over a years time. His wife challenged him to watch the movie and change his diet for 30 days only to see if his numbers got better. He agreed after asking himself “how bad could it be to eat differently for only 1 month when compared to the years left in my life. I could have this diagnosis for a long time”. He knew if it didn’t work he could accept it and live the rest of his life on medication, but he wanted to try. The first 30 days he lost weight and his numbers got better, so he went one more month. He was so encouraged by the changes, that he kept going. After a year, his blood sugar was back to normal and he was off all medication. Wow. Whole foods, plant based. His wife was thrilled to not be buying meat which is expensive. And the cost of his medication went away. Anyway, it’s another option. There are tons of documentaries on YouTube about eating this way and the huge benefits for health and your wallet.

        2. I agree 100%! Dr. McDougall has helped me so very much! And all his information is available free on his web site, along with tons of recipes! Why live with diabetes when you can reverse it? I was borderline diabetic, heading there fast. It was a wake up call to me. Changed the way I eat, went whole food, unprocessed. Broke my sugar addiction, something I NEVER thought I would be able to do! Lost 55 pounds. Lost my prediabetes. Lost the painful arthritis I had in my feet which hurt me every single day. Gained energy. Gained just plain feeling good! I feel better now at age 55 than I did at 25!!! I eat all the fruit, veggies, and grains along with whole wheat bread that I want. My hubby says I eat more food than anybody he knows—and he’s right! But it is all healthy so not a problem. I am never hungry and depriving myself. I have lost my cravings for the unhealthy foods I used to eat. They don’t even taste good to me now, but are too sweet or too greasy. Even my hubby and my teenage daughter have experienced their taste buds changing, since I only cook healthy foods at home, and they on their own pass up unhealthy foods when eating out. I feel happier than I have ever felt, and am finally not ashamed of the way I look.

      2. yeah, I didn’t think anyone water bathed green beans anymore. Just making sure. I remember older folks doing it and I guess it’s a wonder we are still alive.

        I’m just doing a couple of small batch fruit things right now to use up fruit before it goes off. If I can find cheap(ish) mangoes, I think I’ll try making some Major Grey Chutney since we use it a lot with curries over the winter months.

    2. Hi Patsy – are you in the east end or the west end of the city? I was just wondering about which boardwalk you were on. I’m just back from a walk with a friend down at the Humber Bay “islands” and along the lake – it was lovely. We noticed how hazy it was and how the clouds on the other side of the lake looked at bit like mountains in the distance – didn’t realize it was because of the smoke from out west! I cannot imagine how everyone is coping so close to those terrible fires!

      1. Hi Margie,
        We are just now getting the smoke here. I hope that the cold weather continues tomorrow as it is all sinking down into the valley (terrible for those in the valley). I was so happy about a month ago when I realized our summer had not been ruined by the smoke like 2 years ago. I’m definitely worried!

      2. I’m East end. Some time if you get down this way we should get together and walk. Perhaps over the coming Fall and Winter months. I’m always looking for inspiration to get me off the darn couch.

        1. We’re at exact opposite ends of the city! 🙂
          This nice, crisp sunny weather does motivate me – I’ve been babying a banged up knee again but am back up to 8,000 steps per day at long last. If you are in the Beach – do you do the boardwalk when they wrap all the trees in Christmas lights?

    3. I use a pressure canner for many things I process, including green beans. I do them for 25 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure, but every low-acid item has it’s own safe time. A website that is helpful to me is the National Center for Home Food Preservation. (Just google it and it will pop up.). I use brochures from my county extension office, my Ball Blue Book, and that website for correct processing times for all foods. It’s super important, to keep everyone safe!

      Yesterday, we were given between 30 and 40 pounds of beef by a friend who lost their power, and therefore their freezers melted, because of the fires. They divided up a great deal of meat between friends and mine was mostly hamburger. I re-froze the few packages that were still almost completely frozen, but they don’t recommend re-freezing things that have totally thawed. I’d never canned hamburger before, but I just looked it up, found a safe recipe, and went for it!

    4. Patsy, I laughed so hard reading your comment about liking nothing better than burying yourself in a book to ignore things that need to be done…like vacuuming! I read it to my husband and he said…like you!😂😂😂 It does get done eventually.

  13. We also have been feeling the need to enhance our gardening/self reliance! To that end, I have been taking dozens of blackberry bush cuttings and with root promoting compound, they have all been taking root! The same with our strawberries and I just learned how to do the same with my horseradish to start new plants that will overwinter. The horseradish I harvest in the next couple weeks, I will dehydrate and then crush into powder and vacuum seal in a jar! This will give me horseradish that I can use whenever I want without running to store! Our pantry is becoming more and more self sufficient! They are predicting a really hard winter here so we are taking advantage of every opportunity that comes our way- from our garden, from the store, wherever we may find them!

    Strawberries were on sale for an unbelievable price of 99 cents/pound so I bought 3 flats! I bought some earlier in the season that I made jam with and dehydrated a few. This time, I am dehydrated most of the 3 flats! So far I have 2 flats finished and vacuum sealed in quart mason jars. I must admit that I taste tested a couple and they are so good with such a concentrated strawberry flavor! One flat after being dehydrated condenses down to just 2 quarts!! https://pin.it/zXzKQxu
    80/20 ground beef was also on sale again for $1.79/pound so I bought another 20 pounds. I’ve made those into burger patties and flash frozen them and cooked and packaged some into 2 cup portions to freeze.
    Peanut butter was also 99 cents so I got a dozen to put on my pantry shelves.
    The garden gave me two more short, chubby zucchini yesterday. Going to shred them and freeze for zucchini breads, muffins and cakes this winter! https://pin.it/4SFNBMo
    A client brought over 2 Halloween quilts- a door hanging and a lap quilt. I found a free pantograph pattern online. It meant that I had to print 10 copies of the pattern and cut and tape the copies together! It took some time but it was worth it! https://pin.it/3dYo2iF and https://pin.it/40gCSF2. She was so pleased that she brought me a third Halloween quilt on Friday night! I finished it today (Monday). https://pin.it/7l3umJc and the pieced backing she made- https://pin.it/1RV3w1k.
    This has given me an extra little stream of income that we are putting into savings and also paying down our mortgage!
    These are tough and discouraging times, but it’s time to take courage and take control and do what we CAN rather than feel demoralized over what we can’t! JMO.
    Hope everyone stays safe but also can feel peace from within even if outside things are in turmoil!

    1. What kind of dehydrator do you use? Mine has so small capacity…
      Have you ever done those pillows for chairs – you know, those square seat covers, tied to the chairs? For all the chairs by the table it can be expensive to buy them from store. Does anyone quilt those?
      Greetings!

      1. S- I have a 9 tray Excalibur dehydrator. I bought it about 6 years ago and use it regularly! I like that they trays are square with no lost space in the center like some that I’ve seen that are round. On the frame of each tray is a flexible plastic mesh sheet kind of like plastic canvas. Things rarely slip through and when dried pieces might get stuck to the tray, I just flex the sheet and the item pops off! It is pricier than some dehydrators – I think mine was almost $200. Looking on Amazon right now, the same model as mine runs $229. For the use I knew it would get in our family, the durability and capacity was vital. I can usually dry around 9 pounds of apples slices or berries in one batch. A smaller, less expensive brand might work well for someone else!

        About the chair cushions that have ties- Those are pretty simple to make but typically are done in fabrics that are heavier ( think Home Dec fabrics) than quilting cotton. Durability is usually a big consideration for cushions.
        Hope this helps.

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  14. We are finally enjoying cooler weather in our area after several days of 100 + heat. While we are liking the cool weather, we can’t really enjoy it that much. The air from the fires is still really bad, so we do not go outside unless we have too. Hopefully this will clear up a bit in the next few days. We went and picked up 7 days of breakfasts and lunches from my son’s school. They have changed the time to accommodate working parents, which is much appreciated! I enjoyed several books from the library. I have been keeping a list on my phone of the books I want to check out. We also were able to enjoy a few days at our neighborhood pool before the air got really bad. We were surprised one day when the family of the one of my son’s friends came! We got to visit with the mom who had had a baby about three weeks prior and my son got to visit with his friend. I received a rebate check for $1.13. While not a lot, I deposited into my checking account. We were also gifted a few dinners which we enjoyed over several meals. I won a gift basket on a Facebook author’s page that I follow; it contained a free copy of the book, candle and a pair of fuzzy socks. I was having a particularly bad day that day, so this was the brightener to my mood! I mailed a card to a friend from Kindergarten who is having a challenging time; both her husband and mother are sick (non-covid). I used a card from my card stash and was able to include a couple sets of nail polish strips that I had. I am still going into my office once per week. Still don’t feel comfortable taking public transportation, even though it is free. So I park in the cheapest lot closest to my office. I found out that if I pay by the app, I save 75 cents per day. We saw my parents over the weekend. We brought groceries that we had picked up for them. They also paid for our groceries too. We celebrated Grandparents Day and enjoyed sandwiches sitting on the sidewalk. My parents treated for the sandwiches…my mother in law brought snack bags of chips…and we brought home baked cookies. We also enjoyed several tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden. On the downside, we needed about $1,000.00 worth of work done on our car. On the bright side, we had the money saved to pay for it. We have decided to keep our used cars instead of buying a new car. I was in the bank the other day and I overheard a lady asking about the status of her car loan….which would be 60 months! We are glad that we own our cars outright. I also concentrated this week on continuing to purge our house. I dropped off several more bags to the goodwill. I also brought in a pair of sandals to the shoe repair show to be repaired. I had paid quite a lot of money for them several years ago and was glad that they were able to fix them; hoping to get several more years out of them. My husband and I also spent a lot of time talking about how lucky our family is during this hard times. We are so very blessed. I did treat myself to some fresh flowers this week. While not cheap, they were not expensive. They brighten up our dining room table. We decided we will budget for this and do it more often. We are hoping to plan flowers next year so we do not have to buy them. I also went to Target and picked up a birthday present for my son from my parents. I was able to purchase a card a well. All the Halloween stuff is out. It’s amazing to see so much Halloween candy. Trick or Treating has been cancelled in the LA area of California. We are anticipating it being restricted in Silicon Valley as well. I did purchase a few Halloween treats and a card for my parents to give to my son. I spent about $5.00 and it saves a trip later on. Wishing everyone a wonderful week!!!!

  15. When I read the title of this post “big changes” my heart was seized with anxiety that you would be taking down your website. Made me realize how much I value you, your wisdom, and the community of like-minded posters. Thank you again for all the work you do.

    Your new gardening plans sound very exciting. I love your patience and ability to plan ahead. Hedge plants that will take 4-5 years! Fruit trees!

    What a screamin’ deal you found on butter!

    • This week I ate all meals from scratch including having a friend over for a socially distanced dinner. Meals included: risotto with arugula and gorgonzola, stuffed tomatoes, asparagus soup, quinoa with chicken, pesto and zucchini, green smoothies, pork fried rice, chicken with a lemon/caper sauce, and grilled cheese.

    • My wheelbarrow is at least 23 years old and I was horrified to see how expensive they are in a recent sale flyer. I washed the interior part and painted it with two coats of Rustoleum to make it last. I used paint I already had in the basement so I now have a Christmas colored red & green wheelbarrow!

    • Made and canned peach preserves. I found very cute labels for free online, printed them, and glued them to the jars. I will use some of these as Christmas gifts.

    • Watched “how to” videos on YouTube and made fermented pickles for the first time. I think this would be much easier if I had glass jar weights rather than using plastic bags filled with water. This feels like a total science experiment!

    • I made a second compost bin by drilling holes in the bottom and sides of a large Sterlite storage bin that I already owned. I keep the bins close by my kitchen door and the original bin has worked very well for me for 5+ years. I want to have more compost to use next year for my vegetable garden.

    • I picked 3 quarts of raspberries at the PYO field. A change the farm made in response to the pandemic is to pay upfront to purchase their containers. There is no longer a price per pound. 3 quarts cost $35. I rinsed and froze almost all of the berries. I adore them on oatmeal in the winter

    1. Ball now makes lids for fermenting. I saw them at Walmart in the canning section! It’s a package of two. There are more options on Amazon that are even less here

  16. How exciting about the garden plans. I dream about having a garden one day. For now, I am happy I have a patio where I can grow herbs, flowers, and a few other plants.

    The Seattle area has had smoky skies with poor air quality. It is unpleasant, but we are safe and there are no fires close to where we are. I have friends/family in Eastern Washington, Oregon and California, in areas where the situation is truly dangerous. My heart goes out to them.

    We are advised to keep all windows and doors closed to keep out the smoke. It is hot and stuffy inside. Of course, Saturday was the day I had planned to process 30 pounds of tomatoes (I bought a box of 28lbs of organic tomato seconds from my USA farm for $40, which is a great price). I spent four hours canning tomatoes, and ended up with 21 pints. I already had a bunch of jars and lids on hand. Looking at my jars of tomatoes makes me so thankful for the abundance.

    We had bad smoke from forest fires two years ago, and I bought two smoke masks (with carbon filter) back then off of Amazon. We did not use them then, but I am using them now. I wore mine every time I went outside, and it made a huge difference. When I went outside once without a mask, to get the mail, I was gasping for breath. Lesson learned.

    Brandy, I agree with you about a coming global depression. We need to be preparing for our future physical needs, while also preparing ourselves mentally and emotionally for possible hard times. This way we won’t be shocked or panicked when difficult things come to pass. This will enable us to help ourselves and our families, and also others in the community.

    Otherwise, I mended a pillowcase and a shirt for my mom. Cooked from freezer and pantry. Ate at home every day except for date night takeout. Brought my lunch to work. Rearranged a few things so I have more room for food storage. Watched YouTube, read blogs. Practiced playing my kalimba. My twin sisters turn 50 this week, and I am learning to play Happy Birthday so I can play this for them. This is really fun.

    Have a great week, everyone.

    1. Part of my new clothing purchases this year included several beautiful things. I know that’s something I missed before for the last 14 years. While I expect to be spending even more time in the garden in the future (I bought some more t-shirts in preparation) I know I will have days when I am inside, and I want to feel pretty and a little fancy. I bought accordingly. For me, that and more flowers in the garden are the things I know will make a difference to my mental health. I am planning more flowers in the garden as well; many will be from seeds that I already have, but I hope to purchase more roses as well.

      1. Your comment resonated with me Brandy. I sometimes ‘give’ myself an evening- after the youngest is in bed ( teenagers look after themselves) where I have a long bath, basically spoil myself with a face mask, foot mask ( whatever mask I have). Recently I found a pure silk dressing gown in a charity shop ( on sale). I found another one ( new) on eBay. When I wear them I feel like a princess. I do my nails etc and relax. It feels great.

  17. I think you’ll be very happy with the investment in drip irrigation. You must lose so much water with evaporation in all the dry heat that you have. Your garden plans sound very exciting. There is nothing more fun than projects beginning! I love the idea of your crew of mini-gardeners too.

    Very quiet here. Made a batch of brownies using a mix. It used a 9 x 9 pan, but my scratch brownies recipes fills a 9 x 11 pan, and I had no square pan. I built a wall with folded aluminum foil to create a short cooking space. Completely successful.

    Made several suppers of roasted vegetables (peppers, onions, and carrots) and a small serving of rice. The rice was flavored with drippings from a previous pork roast. I had had protein the previous meal, so I didn’t miss it. Bought a 10 lb bag of russet potatoes, so I can add these to the mix now.

    I made baked flour tortilla chips, as someone here had said she was doing. It was a happy solution to too many tortillas and not enough snacks in the house.

    1. All of our garden beds are currently on drip irrigation, so we already know the savings from it and how to use it. I have used it for 19 years. It is essential here for anything–even cactus has to be watered on drip irrigation! We only have sprinklers on the grass. We will have less grass in the future but more food and flowers that will be on drip (I would never water those with sprinklers, as wet leaves lead to disease and it’s a waste of water that also increases weeds).

      1. I’m happy for you about your garden plans. It is lovely to hear about how well you manage it to expand what it is able to produce for your family.

  18. I am always so impressed by how you look at the big picture and how your investments in the garden will play out for years to come. Thanks in part to your inspiration, I have planted 5 different types of perennial fruit in our small yard. Right now we are enjoying raspberries and blackberries in abundance and I look forward to picking the first few apples off the dwarf tree I planted two years ago. Our vegetable garden has proved surprisingly productive this summer and we are still enjoying the rewards of my husband’s “panic buy” early in the pandemic (a packet of broccoli seeds while at the hardware store for something else). This is our first year growing broccoli and I have been pleasantly surprised how much we have gotten by letting it keep growing after harvesting the main heads we have gotten many times over the original harvest amount in side shoots. Thank you for being an inspiration and a voice of calm in challenging times.

  19. All your garden plans sound exciting, as well as good ideas. The fires are so sad, and goodness, seeds and nursery plants hadn’t crossed my mind. But you’re right, they can’t help but be affected. I’m glad you got some cooler temps, to work in the garden. Last week, I canned a double batch of Amaretto Pear preserves. If I do it again, I’ll leave out the (expensive) Amaretto, and just use almond extract, as it didn’t seem to add much, to my taste. Fall plants were put in, and seeds sown… cabbage, broccoli, kale, lettuce, mixed greens, carrots and beets. I noticed this morning that some of all of them were up. All the greens but the lettuce are looking great. This is an unusual year, in that much of our garden is finished, but I’m still harvesting pears, figs, pawpaws, apples, eggplant, peppers and herbs. I worked away from home for the first time since February. The gallery was very slow, with no customers the first day, and I was able to mend a sweater, wrap soap, and shell 4 gallons of butter beans. I loved reading about your daughter being your garden helper. Stay safe, everyone! http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/09/september-days-frugal-accomplishments.html

  20. It was a stressful week here just watching the news, we are in the Pacific NW. My house is not even close to the fires, about 25 miles, but my brother’s house was in level 2 (back to level 1 on Saturday, thankfully). Our air quality is awful, everyone is staying inside. It looks really foggy, but it’s the smoke. Eyes are burning/watering, throats are sore, etc.- even in the house. Needless to say, we stayed home and are thankful to have our home, as so many have lost so much. I made a quick trip to the store for produce and that was all.

    I started a blog. My brother and I are excited about the possibility of building homes next door to each other, on acreage (I have a 3 acre plot, his is 7), on land owned by our family. We are doing all the legwork for planning/getting permits. I’m going to document the process on my blog, as well as adding some fun posts. The land was my grandfather’s, and it means so much to even think of living on his land. I used to have a blog about my kids, that I printed into a book. I love, love having all those memories so I’m thinking this will be the same type of thing. Brandy, I referenced you in my post this week. Thanks for your work in keeping up this blog, it’s my favorite! https://www.hewalkedthisland.com/post/budgeting-and-meal-planning

    I’m trying to add one item each month to my emergency supply bin. This month, I ordered rechargeable emergency light bulbs. Hoping this stash of items will slowly accumulate and be a huge help if/when something happens.

    My teenage son had his wisdom teeth out last week. I was able to make tons of soft foods w/o spending any extra. I was pleased with that. I made potato leek soup, mashed potatoes, smoothies, pudding, milkshakes (from home), and a few days after, homemade mac and cheese.

    I’m homeschooling 4 kids, and we are in a good routine. Being home and busier means less time wasted, less gas, etc. I’m happy to be home with them this year.

  21. I feel for all who are encountering the effects of the fires in California. We sold our home and will be moving into a home that is half the size. In the future home, I am planning beds and will do away with grass, in the front yard. In the back yard, planning to leave a portion of grass for grandchildren to play but will use the remained for beds. You have inspired me to do this.
    -Tried slow cooker apple butter recipe and it was a keeper.
    -Stocking up on beans, brown rice, flour, yeast, etc.
    -Read a good book from the library “The Book of Lost Friends” by Lisa Wingate….based on an actual notice that was read in churches after the Civil War.

    1. We will be removing most of the grass in the backyard. We’ll have some around the swings, merry-go-round, and trampoline, but the beds near them will be made wider and we will be planting in the corners near the trampoline and the merry-go-round. The grass walkways will be made narrower (I’ll make the beds wider) and be replaced with concrete (the expensive part) and I’m adding more concrete as well down the middle with planters on either side and beds to the side of that with fruit trees, roses, and hedges. There will still be places to play; they can run on the concrete and the little ones can ride tricycles or scooters and skate, and there will be more places to hide for evening hide and seek games. I’m looking to very much make it a French-style potager with some room to play.

      1. I think that’s a great plan!! My backyard is a problematic area and we have decided as well over the next five years to redesign , increase gardens, create a movie/deck area and Pathways. We’re just going to eliminate the grass for the most part. Helps in a way to just realize it is going to be a huge job for us and piece it out. You are a main inspiration for fruit trees.

        1. No. We will buy new sod for the grass areas. Our grass is thinning and weed-ridden. Tearing it up will not result in big pieces.

      2. Brandy, I am glad you shared how you will be increasing your garden production. I can’t wait to see the results and think it is a wise thing to do.
        I just finished watching a youtube video showing charts and graphs about the depression we are in (not a recession, a DEPRESSION) and how difficult life will be if we don’t prepare. As always, I was able to glean more ideas as to how I can improve my life.
        Thanks for this blog site.
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    2. Have really enjoyed reading books by Lisa Wingate. I will be hunting down this book. Thanks for sharing the title. I highly recommend her book Tending Roses. Also, there are 4 books that go along with Tending Roses, not a series really, but about the same family.

  22. I love when you describe your children’s birthdays. They sound so sweet and so fun. And your exciting new garden plans! Wow!

    *I am still canning and preserving. Finished the peaches and was so thankful the jars sealed! I always worry they won’t for some reason. I canned more tomatoes and shred and froze zucchini. Or made zoodles for meals with the zucchini. I’m not getting many green beans but was able to freeze a quart size bag of them for us to use later.

    *I was able to find out about another case lot sale that was 25 minutes away from me. I was able to buy black, northern and kidney beans, corn, mushrooms, mac n cheese boxes (kids). I bought butter for 1.99 with a 55c coupon. I bought 10 lbs. This was the best stocked case lot I’ve seen so far this year. I’m going to be re-organizing the pantry again as I put the cans away.

    *My husband and I defrosted our downstairs freezer. It seemed overnight to cover the top shelves with ice. We have a nifty system where we put a small heater in the freezer and partly close the freezer door. We use a storage tub that’s meant for under the bed to put the plastic hose in from the freezer. All the water drains out right into the tub. Clean up is super easy and the freezer defrosts in 30 minutes. We had loaded the food back in and were done in less than an hour.

    *Our new dishwasher was throwing a code. I looked it up on YouTube and fixed the problem in 10 minutes. It hasn’t coded again. I need to empty out the remaining water and just re-adjust one thing. My husband was out of town and I was grateful it was an easy peasy fix. I love the new dishwasher. Our dishes come up so much cleaner.

    *My husband fixed my bike tire that had somehow got itself punctured with a huge hole.

    *Made all meals at home, exercised at home, checked out books from the library and use streaming videos for other entertainment. I gave my dog a bath. Worked on my art journal and did some cross-stitch.

    *My mental health has been taking a beating lately – so I also soaked in a hot tub and did some meditation. If I can’t focus on a book or task, I focus on my breathing. I take a nap if the exhaustion overwhelms me. I do lots of stretching. And I write down what I’m grateful for each day. I also write down what blessings from God I saw that day in my life.

    *We had hurricane strength winds last week. I made sure everything was tightened down or put away before it came through. I have a very hard time with screaming winds because of some childhood experiences. Our house didn’t have any damage and we didn’t lose electrical power. I put on headphones when possible to drown out the noise. It has been lovely thing to see so many coming out to help after the winds stopped. I see trucks full of tree limbs and debris, neighbors out with chainsaws to help other neighbors. Meals have been taken in to those without power and shelter offered for those whose homes have been damaged. Our local dumped waived all fees for 2 weeks so that people could bring the trucks in to unload all the debris. One local restaurant offered free meals to all those without power. What a great community!

    Have a great week!

    1. Hi AmyS, I, too, hate winds because of some traumatic past experiences. To me, they are worse than the actual thunder and lightning itself. I never thought of headphones! I will be using them going forward. Many of us are struggling with depression and anxiety today and focusing on the blessings we have helps. My friend and I call it the coloring of life in dark gray. It helps to warm up with special little treats in the day or evening…I like spending them with a cozy blanket, lamp light and scented candles (or diffusing oils) and childhood books like Anne of Green Gables, Betsy/Tacy or the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. I hope your spirit lifts!

  23. My list includes things we did for the past few weeks.
    *With the return of college students in mid-August, our Covid numbers have been rising steadily for the past month. For the past few weeks my area has been either first or second for the state in Covid cases. This has forced me to stay home again. That alone has saved us money in gas and time and impulse buying.
    *It is beginning to feel like fall here in the mountains of Virginia. My granddaughter and I have been collecting seeds from all the flowers we grew from saved seeds. She and I planted a bunch of seeds at the very front of the yard along the road in the spring. The zinnias, morning glories and marigolds cover the entire area. When neighbors walk by they always stop and look at the flowers. Several have let me know how much they enjoy all the color. I am happy we were able to bring a little something to brighten someone else’s day. I love to look out my living room window and see all the colors. Now, though, they are dying off, so it is time to collect seeds for next year. This is a great activity to do with my grandchildren as even the 2 year old can help.
    *I have been air drying my hair.
    *I shopped loss leaders, mark downs and used a few coupons to buy NEEDED items for my pantry. I find I can easily talk myself into buying things at the grocery store because it is a good price even when I have plenty of the item at home already.
    *Used fuel points to save on gas. I only have to fill the tank once every 5-6 weeks and even then the tank is still half full.
    *My husband gave himself a haircut. He has been doing this for decades and it has saved us a ton of money.
    *Used our military discount at Lowes for garden, yard and home repair items.
    *Husband repaired a few things around the house.
    *Our daughter in law gave us a few ends of cheese from the restaurant she works at. I shredded them and put them in the freezer.
    *Much to my surprise, our water bill was $10 lower this past month. I changed the way I hand wash the dishes using less water. I believe this made a difference. I wash all the dishes in the sink of soapy water, then rinse them in the strainer all at once. I used to let the water run as I washed a dish then rinsed it. I also used rain water to water the garden and pots.
    *Our electric bill was only 4$ higher last month even with the extremely high (for us) temperatures. I was able to turn the a/c off several days when it was not quite so hot. Now that the fall like weather is here I have turned it off for the season.
    *Hung laundry up to dry
    *I canned lots of tomatoes and greasy beans.
    *We paid extra on our mortgage. We are hoping to have the house paid off by March or April.
    *I substituted less expensive ingredients in recipes.
    *Our biggest frugal win is that we were reimbursed our round trip airfare for the trip we had planned to go out west! We were actually reimbursed by the insurance company. This trip was the only time we have ever purchased flight insurance. At the time in January I was concerned about my husband traveling after his heart attack. For $114 total we bought the flight insurance. At the time I thought that was a lot, but now I am really glad we bought it. We still have the vouchers the airline gave us when we had to cancel the trip due to Covid which we can use in the future.
    *With all this time on my hands I am making my siblings each a throw sized quilt. I have all the fabric I need for my two sisters’ quilts, but was trying to figure out what to do for my brother. I found some precut 10″ squares in blue and tan in my stash and will use those.
    *This Saturday is my birthday. My kids and grandkids will be here and when they asked me what I wanted for my birthday I told them help with the garden! So they will help me pull the spent plants, weeds and prep the soil for next year. I will attempt to plant some spinach and chard but I have never been successful at a fall garden. As I have plenty of seeds for this trial and for next spring it will not cost me anything except time and effort. Like you, Brandy, the crabgrass this year has been awful! Having the kids help me get rid of it will be one of the best gifts they can give me. They will also help me pull some of the mint which is taking over a flower garden bed.

    Brandy, which brand of fluoride free toothpaste do you use? I have been using fluoride free toothpaste for decades due to a fluoride allergy. It is expensive and I am always looking for a less expensive brand. I usually buy mine on base when I visit my dad, but due to the pandemic I have been unable to go to any commissary.
    Wishing everyone a fun and frugal, healthy week!

    1. I switched earlier this year from using the OralB one to Tom’s of Maine (which is strawberry-flavored) which I found at Target near the children’s fluoride-free toothpaste, because it was less per ounce. At the grocery store, I saw the Tom’s one for about the same price, and then next to that they had a brand called Simple Truth. It’s a children’s toothpaste, and the flavor is watermelon. It was about half the price of Tom’s.

  24. My gardener left a huge pile of carrots on the patio table for me. They are incredibly good! I had one raw carrot for dinner last night.

    I’m trying to figure out what to do with them – to keep them in the vegetable drawer? to freeze some (I have limited space in the small freezer)? I had thought about making carrot jam but since carrots will keep, I may just keep them in the fridge. stay tuned…

    Brandy – your garden plans sound very great. I never thought about wasp nests being paper and could be dissolved with soapy water.

    Do you worry about how much water growing almonds will take? Or is that just a myth?

    I’m not sure if Laura S. read my reply because it was just posted near the changeover to a new thread. Laura, thank you for your sympathy. I am so glad you got out of an abusive marriage and saved the souls and spirits of you and your children. What tremendous courage that takes. And I am absolutely appalled to read about your awful experience with your “friend”. She is beyond stupid or callous – she is malicious and evil. It brought tears to my eyes to read your post.

    She must have had a great deal of insane jealousy for you and your children to want to hurt you so much. I was teary-eyed when I read it. She was/is truly crazy. And you are lucky to escape from her, too, although she caused you mental anguish – she might have done worse.

    Pers0onally, what I find truly difficult is to come to terms with not only betrayal but that I didn’t see it in advance. It then leads you to question your judgment (or lack thereof). Sometimes no-one would be able to predict or recognize it. I still have “friends” who think that I am unreasonable to feel so hurt that my “friend” threw out an 1899 photo of my grandparents, other photos (most of which I rescued by sheer coincidence), a birth certificate, rings (one of which cannot be replaced, a usb with $1,000 of scanned photos on it, etc. etc.

    It took years for me to realize that it is not my duty as a friend to “help” someone with deep problems. I saw the light when I asked one of my specialists for advice and he recounted an experience he had had. He also had trained as a psychiatrist before changing specialties. He basically said that, in spite of my good soul, it wasn’t up to me to help people who needed professional help. It is beyond most professionals even to help some people. I felt tremendously liberated on realizing this.

    When I went to university as an undergraduate, every year I had to get new friends because my friends from the previous year had dropped out, tried to commit suicide, had psychotic breaks with reality. Several years later, I asked my specialist why I seemed to attract normal-seeming people with dark problems – was it because I was like them? That had always worried me. He said, no, it was because I am a very strong person and they are attracted to that..

    Laura, your evil friend was incredibly mean and tried to hurt your heart, destroy your spirit. It was like the proverbial “kick a dog while it is down”. You were down, in financial and undoubtedly emotional need and she did these things to you? What she did to you was betrayal but it shows what she is truly like and I think she is a very dangerous and sadistic person. You survived both her and the abusive marriage. I love that you have not lost your kindness. You undoubtedly regret not having the photos of the children when they were young but you have somethings that are truly more valuable. I hope you continue to see the joy in your present and future life and never lose your kind spirit — you triumphed. Ann

    1. Almond fields are often flooded commercially, but they could all be watered on drip irrigation. I have read extensively about it over many years. The cost of installing drip was a concern as they have such large fields. However, the central valley of California is also sinking significantly due to so much groundwater being used for commercial crops because of the drought.

      I already have two almond trees that I planted just a few years ago (one three years ago and one two years ago if I remember correctly). They are watered on drip like my other trees.

      Interestingly enough I read a couple of days ago that almonds don’t like too much water on their roots at once and can die from it. That makes me wonder how it is that the fields are flooded without killing the trees!

      1. After reading your comment, I became really interested as to how the growers flood the almond trees without damaging the roots. Apparently when the tree has gone out of its productive stage, and is dormant, the farmers flood their field to replenish the groundwater.

        I was also wondering if you grow avocadoes. There are some interesting you tube videos about growing them in the desert.

          1. About the almonds — I should have said that when they are in their growing phase, the farmers micro-irrigate them. Does that mean drip irrigation?

            Interesting that there is such a difference between California and Nevada deserts. The videis I was watching were from Arizona.

            1. Arizona deserts are different, too! That’s the Sonoran desert. I’m in the Mojave desert. They get cactus and 14 inches of rain a year. Only in higher elevations where it gets more rain and is cooler do we get Joshua trees and a very few low-growing cactus, but not the tall saguaros you see in Arizona. They get dust storms and an actual monsoon season. We get humidity and a couple of hours of rain on one afternoon in July (but not this year nor the year before; usually it’s one day between the 14-17th of July). We get 4 inches of rain a year. That’s a big difference.

              When we went to California for my brother’s wedding (after many years of living here; we used to live in California) we were shocked at how GREEN it was. It’s also much cooler. There were wild oak trees and grass and poppies in the springtime on the hills.

              Each state is very different in the type of desert.

    2. Oh Ann, thank you for your kind words. The words of your specialist are true. I offered my story so that you would not feel alone in this and I find that your comments above have helped me. My greatest desire is to not be angry or bitter. I am sad about the photos, but I do not want to carry those rocks in my backpack. It sounds like you don’t carry those rocks either. We are so blessed. Thank you for your kind words. Laura

      1. Hi Laura,

        Your comments really moved me. It is ok to cry about such things; but only if it is not prolonged. One has to regain one’s perspective and find joy and beauty in life. I think the worst thing that she threw out is a beautiful mahogany bellows camera that I was going to donate to a museum. My great uncle took photos all around the world with it circa 1915. It was in pristine condition – even with the glass slides. One or two of his photos are in the British Museum. He hand coloured each of the photos — I was going to teach myself how to do it but my friend who had a camera store said I’d never be able to do it as beautifully as he had done.

        1. I am so sorry Anne. It isn’t the financial value, but the sentimental value and the attachment to someone we love, not to mention the historical value. My cousin recently gave me some leather postcards from 1906 that a neighbor was getting rid of. They are worth money, but I am inclined to send the ones from places to the historical societies there. It only seems right to have them preserved. I think we are kindred spirits.💕 Thank you again for your kind words. Laura

  25. I’m like Libby, my first thought at seeing “changes” in the headline was “Oh, no….!” but it was fine after all. This blog is always a must read for me.

    We have had rain from the tropical storm in the Gulf, and much more is predicted, with some flooding predicted. My yard and house will be fine, but some people on my road have large “ponds” already in their yards, and some low points in some city roads may be flooded. My gratitude that our little property, which we inherited, is high enough not to flood, and that our well taps into a clear spring rather than the rusty, sulfur water so common around here, is immeasurable. So many people here must pay for water softener systems, build mounded septic systems and haul dirt to fill low areas.

    And while we battle hurricanes and tropical storms, folks out west are dealing with fires. Times are very difficult.

    A while back I watched a video on my insurance carrier’s website to get a reward. They sent me a reward card, and I just had the first occasion to use it when I took my husband to the eye doctor. My husband has Type I diabetes, and must have a particular eye exam annually, but insurance only pays for it every two years. I handed the staff that card, a little nervously, and the card covered the $85.00 co-pay for his visit! I have $215 left on it, and two appointments coming up. It should pay for most or all of my co-pays there. I am so glad I watched that short video on Covid!

    I had three very ripe bananas, and the weather was only in the mid-eighties on Sunday, so I baked banana bread. While I was using the oven, I cooked some breakfast sausage for this week’s breakfasts, and some peeled and cut up beets.

    I pulled up my summer container garden vegetable plants, added some fresh soil and put a quart or two of worm castings in each container. The worm castings are from my double bucket system of worm farming. I watered some of my flowers with water from our little fish pond that we built in a water trough. Once this rain has passed, I will start planting fall vegetables in the container garden.

    My work outfit today is all thrift store clothing.

    I brushed my dog’s teeth as usual. Removing a bad tooth on a dog is $200 per tooth here.

    My husband needs a heavier cover for his hospital bed, with cooler weather coming (some day!). I found a Twin XL comforter at Goodwill, still in it’s bag. I checked it out thoroughly before buying it, and it looks unused, although of course, I washed it well first. A hospital bed for home takes Twin XL bedding, but if one looks for hospital bedding, it can get quite pricey. I find it much cheaper to look for dorm bedding.

    I am trying to get ready for future shortages and difficulties. I pray that any future downturn is less than we fear and better than we expect!

    1. Suz- Your kind words came at a time I was feeling the “weight of the world” on my shoulders, as my mom used to say, and it made my spirit smile!! Thank you so much!!

      Gardenpat in Ohio9
      HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  26. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Our thoughts are with those in the US affected by the fire and smoke, hope you are all safe and that help is available if you need it.
    Your plans for the garden are exciting Brandy and no doubt very practical and sensible in the light of an uncertain future for all of us. Really looking forward to following along with you on this project. Thank you for sharing with us.
    This week we picked Jill be Little mini pumpkins, tomatoes and cooking apples. I picked asters and dahlia for the house.
    I moved a volunteer seedling to a better spot in the garden and repotted erythronium and several pots of hippeastrum which I have coaxed back into flower for several years. I planted Paperwhite narcissi and prepared hyacinth bulbs for indoor Christmas flowering. I planted three pots of iris reticulata, using pots we had and we will give two of the pots to our daughters as part of their Christmas presents. My husband planted out the cyclamen we received as part of our wholesale order.
    I bought two big boxes of chocolates for Christmas on a deal ( 2 boxes for £7) and will probably use one as a gift. This week’s grocery bill was lower than usual as I didn’t buy any meat or fish.
    We have been providing some doggy day care for our daughters puppy and when she came to pick him up she was very tired and said she needed to shop on the way home for something for supper and it felt good to be able to give her something from our larder so she could go straight home.
    I restrung a favourite bead bracelet using elastic we already had and mended the cover on another dog bed.
    I gave a friend a bag of fabric scraps for a project she was planning which helped her out and cleared something out of our house.
    One of the best money savers this week was resisting temptation and not going out to eat and not buying a pretty jug in the charity shop. We have plenty of jugs and plenty of food at home!
    Stay safe everyone, wherever you are.

    1. We cannot find cyclamen for many months. How wonderful to have some now! I suppose that means it is much colder for you, however 🙂

      1. My cyclamen in the garden are blooming — usually they are the last to bloom — although sometimes the
        colchicum bloom slightly later.

        They are not usually grown here but they like my yard.

        Last week, my Ohio buckeye tree looked as if its leaves had been dipped in orange paint; today the whole leaves are flaming orange. It is so beautiful.

        This week, No Frills has good specials on…
        Ann

      2. Yes, much colder than Las Vegas! We are having a couple of days of high temperatures(26 c) then next week we’re back down to around 17c. It’s the right time of year to plant cyclamen in the UK.

  27. It sounds like you’ve got some great garden plans, Brandy! It is exciting to plan, and we’ve been planning here too.

    Our loan was finally approved, after shopping around at several banks. I think some were just dragging their feet due to COVID. The loan officer we have now seems like she’s really working with us, and has expressed that she’s really busy with refinancing, but seems to be making our loan a priority and things are moving more with her than they did elsewhere. So, we’re looking forward to building (even though costs are higher now), and I’m planning more for gardens than ever before. I’m grateful to live close by, and the builder has agreed to look at our plans for gardens to make sure we can establish a few without being in the way of construction. I’m hopeful that we’ll at least be able to establish a few this fall with cardboard and mulch, so we’re that much further ahead in the spring. The deer seem to eat everything, but a friend told me about a motion activated sprinkler that has worked well for her in the past (our POA is picky about fencing and it’s pricey to put split rail around everything!). I’m trying to save seeds that I can from our garden this fall to plant in the spring/summer there. My mom has also agreed to share perennials with me.

    I’m enjoying my new side work with VIP Kid (https://www.vipkid.com/mkt/landing/personal?referralToken=dcdbd7abbe68bd890e5f3902fad7fbf4&refereeId=48592422&channel_id=copy_link_pc). I’ve worked about 7 hours (from home, evenings) and earned about $100. It’s fun and nice that I don’t have to leave home to do it, meaning it’s not costing gas/transportation. I probably won’t do it forever, but it’s a nice side income stream and is helping to bolster our bank account while we build the house.

    We’ve added to our pantry/freezer stash. I put up 4 more half pints of hot peppers (mix of jalapenos and cayenne), froze some tomatoes, and hope to put more pesto in the freezer this week. I roasted two sheet pans of veggies to make easy lunches/breakfasts (I love them with eggs or breakfast meat), and now that weather is cooler, we’re enjoying salads again with greens from the garden and local market.

    Check out the rest of our accomplishments here (still a work in progress): https://livinggreensavinggreen.co/savings-for-september-week-2/

    I love reading everyone’s comments each week! Thanks for such a positive place!

  28. Brandy, those were very wise purchases. Beauty and creativity make difficult times so much easier to bear. Things that give us joy are so important.

    (And, to correct a typo in my post above, I meant to write “CSA farm”, but autocorrect changed it to to “USA farm” instead.)

  29. I ordered more powdered Gatorade, hand sanitizer, rice, and bullion for me, and my more local kids. I sent thermals to my daughter and son-in-law in Utah, by Walmart.com, because they were without power for a couple of days. They can use them this winter. My daughter was very happy to receive them, although they got them after the power outage, the wind storm reminded her they needed that item. My oldest son who almost bled to death at the start of the summer, is still recovering nicely, and still able to work almost full time. He gets tired very easily but I am so grateful he is alive. I think I have stocked him up pretty well for the winter. I have considered retiring and moving a couple of hours closer to him, but we will see. So, I just plod along and see whatever the next year brings. It certainly has been a year of change. My mustard greens, collard greens, and turnip greens have sprouted. I am so happy. They are in the highest part of my front yard and I certainly hope Hurricane Sally does not cover them with water. I fully expect my back yard to go under, and most of my front yard to go under water, because of how much rain we are expecting. I have already made plans to park on the street which is higher That is what we do during bad rain storms. I did purchase turkey legs for Thanksgiving, in addition to the turkey breast I bought last week. I hope I don’t lose power now, or at least for any length of time! I do have a solar cooker, but the sun has to be out to cook in it….lol. I diluted laundry detergent. Y’all have a great week!

  30. Living frugally from Portland, OR:

    We had a very frugal week since we’ve been locked inside due to wildfire smoke (we live in the city and aren’t in any of the evacuation areas but the fires aren’t far away at all). Smoke levels are off the charts in the danger zone. I’m grateful that I’ve been good about stocking up on food so we didn’t go without and didn’t have to make an emergency trip to the store. I have budgeted for N95 masks and air filters to attach to our fans (which creates a cheap but very effective air filtering system) for next go-around.

    Other things we did to be frugal:
    *I put wet towels under doors and windows to keep the smoke out.
    *I simmered sage, cedar, lemon and rosemary on the stove to get the smoke out of the air, all from my garden except for the lemon I had on hand. (Note: I’m unsure of the scientific validity but it did make the house smell nice instead of like a campfire).
    *I was able to stay home from work the three days I usually have to work out of the home. I used the extra time to help my kids with online school and to negotiate a slightly better rate for our Internet. I also helped both boys deep clean their rooms which was unexpectedly gross but needed. I also spent a fair amount of time in existential rage and self pity, but I don’t think I’m supposed to write about that here ;-(.
    *I had planned to wallpaper a couple of accent walls in bedrooms to brighten things up using the wall-friendly peel-and-stick wallpaper. I had found some cute patterns but didn’t love the prices I was seeing. My sister told me Target carried them as well and I found cute patterns at a fraction of the price. I’m glad I didn’t rush to buy anything. I am ok if the quality isn’t as good because I’m sure we’ll be swapping and redecorating rooms in the next few years.
    *I, also, am anxiously awaiting for my spinach, kale and lettuce after losing my last harvest to the heat! I’ve hated buying these things the past few weeks! I am trying to eat green salads for lunch these days. I found these homemade salad dressings and the honey mustard is my favorite to make so far — and also easy with ingredients usually on hand at my house https://wholefully.com/healthy-salad-dressing-recipes/

    1. I feel for you. On the coast we could pretend the smoke was just fog–well a little discolored–and leave the windows shut. For a couple of days it was pretty bad, but then we had rain which helped a lot. Someone we know from the Eugene area, where the smoke was a lot worse than we have, tried the fan idea. When he told us he “strapped a new furnace filter to a fan,” we laughed, but he said it helped. The only thing was, he said, he had to run the fan on high to force the air through the filter, and it was rather noisy. I wonder how expensive an air purifier is and if that would work with smoke. We have a whole house fan, so we turned that on. It sucks the stale air out of the house. We don’t have air conditioning because there aren’t many days when we need it. Another relative in the Eagle Point area who was under a Level 2 evacuation with air tankers flying low over their house could see the fire from their house and wondered if they were going to need to jump in the car and leave any minute. They ran their central air conditioning with new filters, and it kept out most of the smoke out of the inside air. The firefighters were trying to save Shady Cove which was Level 3, and they did. I don’t know if they were able to save Butte Falls. We had a fire near here that the rain finally put out, but all of the area volunteer and paid firefighters who weren’t in California, showed up and kept all of the homes from burning while the Forest Service worked on the fire. They lost only a small garage. Then the county sheriff’s department patrolled like crazy to keep out thieves, so nothing was looted. Volunteers and businesses donated food and fed all the firefighters and police personnel. People took in other people into their homes and took in livestock and pets. They opened the 4-H dorm at the fairgrounds which also took in livestock, the YMCA, and a school just in case people fled from Lincoln County. They had more donations than they could use. It was amazing.

      1. That’s good to hear. friend of mine is in Albany and the photos and air quality levels she has been sharing are very scary. I’ve seen photos of burned housing tracts where all the houses are gone. I read yesterday that half a million people have had to evacuate, and a number of those people don’t have a house to go back to.

        1. The half-million evacuated people was a little misleading. That many people were under some type of evacuation order but only about 1/4 of that amount (I believe) actually had to evacuate. Most were waiting for the official call. That number was quoted widely and I even used it until I understood what it meant. BUT….last week was horrible for so many people in our state. Yes, so many lost homes and a handful lost their lives. The stories of how fast the fires traveled are just crazy and I’ll never judge anyone for getting caught in a fire again! Most still can’t go back yet because of fire dangers (“root fires” under the ground, etc.) and we are still assessing all of the trails that were lost as well. We went hiking at one of the beautiful waterfalls that may have been destroyed by fire just a couple weeks back. I truly love this beautiful state and it is all overwhelming to think about, but I am also thankful for all of the good and for all that was spared. The air has drastically improved and I can’t be outside enough the past couple of days just inhaling deep breaths of fresh, cool air!

  31. It is in the 30s at night and 40s during the day now, so our menu is switching to more soups. My husband is an absolute peach and will eat the same meal for three days if I have gotten carried away. I try to make different breads or rolls for each night, to reduce the boredom, but he just says he is so thankful to have someone cook for him that he’ll be happy with anything—this after 37 years together! Anyway, this was the week for harvesting potatoes and leeks and kale so we had leek soup one night, which then became leek potato soup the next night, which became leek/kale/potato soup the third night. And our chickens are producing more eggs than usual, so we had various egg dishes the other four nights. A very inexpensive week for eating!

    Cleared out the garden and greenhouse over a series of days, and each day the chickens got vines or immature fruit that would not ripen. Also, the husband mowed the lawn and they got a basket full of greens from that. As a result, they ate very little feed, so the eggs they produced cost us less than usual. I also harvested my bright orange marigolds two weeks ago, before the frost, and fed those to the chickens. I may be imagining it, but I think their yolks are more orange in hue!

    Since we are seldom leaving the house, we wear the same clothes day after day, unless they get dirty or smell bad (not our under clothes, obviously). This has really reduced the amount of washing and drying, so one benefit of Covid I guess.

    Had several birthdays but rather than going out and getting special cards, I used a lovely box of cards I had been gifted and just made sure the notes inside were extra personal so that the cards still felt special.

    A friend is being sent to England for your job and will be there six months. We lived there for a time and I came back with a lot of British stamps that I can’t use here. I am not sure why I went to the trouble of bringing them, but I did. As her going away/good luck gift, I gave her a manila envelope full to the brim with stamps she can use. Got them out of my house and she was happy, so a win/win.

    I put out a call to neighbors saying I needed egg cartons and to please leave them on my porch so no contact. Four families brought over a total of 33 cartons, all saying they were relieved to find a home for them. I gave each family a dozen eggs in thanks. We had several crisp but sunny days so I let the cartons air out on the back porch for 10 hours, to insure they were as germ free as possible.

    Other than that, just the usual frugalities, like cutting each other’s hair, using empty chicken and dog food bags as garbage bags, trying to use the oven to bake several things at once…it all adds up.

  32. Love your proactive measures to enlarge your gardening space and replace non-productive trees.

    We continue to live as close to the financial bone as we can. Without my income, it’s doable; however, we are not accomplishing the extra financial goals we had planned. I stayed at home for so many years that I was excited to get back to work. Looks like that is not going to be a reality afterall. Good thing I like being home.

    Frugally, we continue to seek and find the best deals for daily living. I’ve been mending pj’s recently, and am back at finishing a flannel 9 patch quilt for my son. Watching the food waste and keeping the lights off help as well.

    Our daughter finally is engaged and we sent some special cookbooks as an engagement present. I wrapped them reusing tissue paper and some ribbon that I had on hand. I made sure they were very pretty! And, I was able to mail the box book rate which saved 15 dollars.

    These past couple months I have been ill. After recovering from the digestive issues, there was still pain so I contacted my Dr. about having the already scheduled tests a few weeks earlier. It’s not good news. I just had a biopsy and am one of the few where the cancer returns within the first year. I’ll start a more aggressive chemo treatment that will result in a bone marrow transplant. At least I know what I’m getting into this time (sort of). I had just finally recovered from the last round of treatments, so I will start fairly strong. Took off much of the cancer weight I gained, am back to walking miles a day and have great blood work.

    With such uncertainty in our world, having my house organized, our finances in line and a pantry built up seems prudent. I continue to take advantage of all the frugal opportunities that come up, but being at home seems to really help with the stress of the times. Brandy, I too like the idea of wearing pretty clothing. I’m restricted to leggings, and needed two more pair to make this work. I ordered 2 pair of on-sale plaid ones with free shipping. Hope they are cute and give me a boost when I wear them.

    Blessings, Trish

    1. Trish,
      I’m very sorry to read this but will send prayers your way for a good outcome. blessings to you and bon courage! Ann

    2. Trish: Your strength of spirit comes through despite your news. May this second round of treatment be successful. You remain in my prayers.
      Grace always.
      Patricia/Fl

    3. So sorry to hear that you are not feeling well again. I hope your treatment goes well. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    4. I so appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers. It’s going to be a long road and I’m going to need them. Just a reminder that no matter how healthy one is, the unthinkable can happen. I’m so glad I have lived everyday to the fullest and always encourage others to do so also. I enjoy reading all the comments and feel you are dear friends after these many, many years.

      Trish

    5. Trish, I am so sorry to hear the cancer has returned. You are in my prayers. Your courage is inspiring. May God grant you a miracle. Laura

  33. Thanks, Brandy! It’s always such a pleasure to read about you and your family.

    The kids are in school virtually this quarter and the entire district qualifies for free breakfast and lunch, so once a week I can go pick up a gallon of milk and a box of food. Not all of it is great, but there are some entrees they like; the fruit and juices I’m using to make smoothies, fruit leather, and dried fruit bits for trail mix/baking; the frozen veggies I’m either dehydrating or freezing to use in soup for the winter; breakfast pastries, cereal, and cheese sticks are enjoyed right away or pastries are frozen for future use (I have stuffing plans for the cornbread).

    Since I pulled up the incredibly productive cucumbers (ave atque vale, cucurbits) and decidedly unproductive green beans, the volunteer grape tomatoes that sprang up around them have gone crazy. So there are also tiny little tomato flavor bombs in the dehydrator, and some fresh ones went onto foccaccia last week.

    The dehydrator has been getting a workout, actually. Rosemary and the third (!) mint harvest I dried earlier in the week. Got a bargain on a 5 lb box of cremini mushrooms, so those are dried for soups, and I tried shredding and drying zucchini as a test for next year, when I expect to plant some.

    I’ve never planted a fall garden, but working from home has given me a little more time, so I dumped some compost into the raised beds and planted kale, lettuce, and some very old carrot seeds. The kale has already sprouted! Looking forward to extending the season a bit.

  34. What a lot of dramatic changes just to accommodate one vagabond frog! (Hee– referring to last week’s post). Certainly your knowledge of your space and climate and the kinds of work you can do in the garden for the yields you want will make for some great improvements for you.
    I have had a hard summer and fall isn’t looking so good either, so I need to start listing some frugal positives. Reading through everyone’s posts is soothing to me, thank you!
    In spite of neglect and lack of watering, my green onions, parsley, and rosemary in pots seem to be doing ok. Basil might choke back to life after being cut.
    The children playing outside next door always sound cheerful!
    I found pea pods on grocery clearance and am enjoying them raw, as well as a log of chocolate chip cookie dough (also to eat raw) and a carton of orange juice from the dairy clearance section. We get in the habit of going to the same grocery store in town, but when my husband stopped by the other one, he found better prices on some items, as well as a few sizes we were looking for. It was a good reminder to shop around.
    I have my Dad’s walker to use for my upcoming knee surgeries, and we will work out some kind of a chair in the shower so I don’t have to stand much, just not sure what it will be. It needs to be more tall to lean on, rather than short to squat down to sit on.
    My husband replaced a part of the flush equipment inside the toilet and this seems to have taken care of water running in the tank.
    Weather here in the midwest is wonderfully cool, with off-and-on rain. I am sorry for the extremes those of you nearer the coast are experiencing!

  35. This week has been more pickles 16 pint jars of dills. I was convinced I was out of pickling spice so I dug deep into my spice cabinet to find all of the spices for pickling spice and when I got to the back of the cabinet I found pickling spice moral of the story inventory your spices more often. I’m going to try canning something very new for me this week pickled Japanese eggplant the ball book actually has it under aubergines. When we lived in Italy we would eat them all the time on sandwiches and on top of pasta right now in Guam they are prolific so we’ll see how far I get with those I also froze three more pounds of long beans. I really appreciated your article this week I am getting ready to start my dry season garden and this has motivated me to start getting it laid out thank you.

  36. Trying to picture all the changes for your yard and gardens. Wish you had a blueprint with the old and new on it to better imagine it.

  37. Brandy I am so glad you have been able to do lots of maintenance in your garden and the children were helping you to the best of their ability 🙂 . You are so right I think this current situation is dire for many families and think it will indeed turn into a depression. You are making a wonderful decision to increase your vegetable garden beds and add more fruit trees to your gardens as the food price rises are quite astonishing here in Australia as I am sure they are there too.

    Our savings added up to $110 last week.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch and concentrated on cycling through and using older stock in our walk in pantry.

    Grocery purchases –
    – Bought some bulk quantities of blocks of chocolate on half price special saving $30 on usual prices.
    – Saved $12 by picking up 4 free samples as a supermarket taste tester.

    Electricity savings –
    – Been using most power to charge electronics and cook during the day to take advantage of the free power coming from our solar system.

    In the gardens –
    – Harvested 8kg of turnips and a kilo of potatoes from the gardens saving $51.50 on buying them in the stores. We have blanched all the turnips in meal sized portions for the freezer.

    Internet listings –
    – Listed 10 items on a free listing eBay promotion saving $16.50 on usual prices.

    Earnings –
    – DH made $150 from 2 gardening jobs he did.

    Finances –
    – Added a little spare money in our budget to our home maintenance fund.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone 🙂 .

    Sewingcreations15.

  38. This past week was crazy! Although the wildfires are a distance from our house, they are close enough, and we are very affected by the smoke. I haven’t seen the news for a couple of days, but one statistic I heard a while back was that there were over 40,000 displaced people and countless other on stand-by who may need to evacuate. That’s a lot of people wandering around the state just trying to get through each day! Hopefully, that’s better now, as I heard one town was allowing people back, at least, and it was still standing. One day, the sky did not lighten until past 9 a.m. and it became as dark as night before 4:30. We used to live in an area that is much close to where one fire is burning, so many, many people we know have been evacuated. Various needs have arisen from some of those. One couple needed help finding a hotel in our town, when they realized they were going to have to move yet again, further from the fires. That was easy to help with, but they were smart to have someone calling around while they were taking care of details because the hotels were filling up rapidly and it took several tries to find a place. My husband hauled some food for them over to the hotel for the first couple of days, but then restaurants started bringing it in for the evacuees to eat and our friends just ate that. (many restaurants are closed due to smoky conditions, not to mention the added expense for all of these people who had to get a hotel–food wasn’t as available as normal….so nice of the restaurants who did that!) They got to go home today, thank goodness.

    Another friend lost their power, and freezers thawed. Thankfully, they had been allowed to go to their home to check on things, but as far as I know they are not back living there yet. They caught it in time to hand out pounds and pounds of beef to friends, and we received between 30-40 pounds, mostly hamburger. I canned beef chunks in 10 small jars and hamburger in 20 pints. I also re-froze about 6 pounds that were still frozen enough that I’m sure it was safe to do so, and we ate about 1 pound last evening. I made a large vegetable-hamburger soup with one pint that did not seal and garden veggies, along with leftovers from the fridge. There is enough to share with my sister’s family as well as what we ate today. Since Rob went into the affected area to pick up the meat, he also drove by another house for a friend to see if it was still standing, and not being looted. It was all good.
    I think the needs will increase in the next few weeks as the extent of the damage will be revealed. We also have relatives in souther Oregon, and one man’s job has burned down there. So, obviously, he’s now out of work, at least for a while. I expect there will be a lot of people who suffer, from losing their houses, losing their jobs, and the already harsh effects of Covid. Add that to the possibility of a recession……I’m glad we have a good, good God to rely on and the ability to pray for and help out each other.

    I’ve been canning pickled peppers. Rob wanted to try this, so he cut up the hot ones. I did them in teeny-tiny jars since I can’t see us eating large quantities of them at any one time. They are potent!!!! The second batch I did today, and used the yellow and red sweet peppers and did pepper rings. I’m hoping they will be nice on salad and sandwiches. We had such a prolific pepper crop this year, so it was nice to figure out something to do with them besides all of those I’ve chopped and frozen for cooking. I was pretty sure the garden wouldn’t yield much with the low light, cooler temperatures and smoke this week, so I was pleasantly surprised to get enough cucumbers for 3 more jars of dill pickles.

    I have filled more jars this year than I have for many years. This is because we ate more last spring, because the garden has burst forth with so much produce, people have given me food, I love to can–it’s a useful hobby for me, and I am happy to stock up during such an uncertain year. My husband went upstairs in the shop and went through the spare jars that were still in boxes from our move a few years ago and inventoried them. We have plenty and were able to share with my sisters who are canning extra this year as well. A friend shared a few jars lids with me. She doesn’t can. Some were very old and were stuck together, so I didn’t use them, but a few dozen were good. Jar lids are absolutely non-existent in this area, and my husband has seen used jars (with no lids) selling for very high prices–like way over $1/jar. Not sure how they are going to can in them since you literally can’t buy a lid around here right now….but….I’m so glad we bought lids early in the season and topped up our supply mid-summer. I will need to buy a lot as I don’t have the carry-over I like to have and will do that when they become available again. I usually keep quite a few on hand for if I want to do winter canning…things like broth, etc.

    It’s so funny–I bought 14 boxes of butter, too, and 10 small peanut butters. $1.88 for butter and .99 for peanut butter.
    Your garden plans sound very nice. We’d love our growing space to be larger, too, and have talked about enlarging our garden as well. Since my husband’s surgery, he’s been doing project after project like a man with a new lease on life. We will see if that one gets done or not.

    1. Becky: I checked on Walmart.com and they had canning lids. I am unfamiliar with the prices, I am not a canner at the moment, so I am not sure if it is a good deal of not but I thought I would put this out there so folks looking for lids and canning jars would know they could look there.

  39. Your garden plans sound wonderful. I can’t wait to read about your progress over time.
    Last Saturday and Sunday we set a record for high temperatures here. I saw 87 degrees at my house – which I know is nothing to some of you, but it is the highest I have ever seen it here at 8000 feet, and definitely crazy for September. But on Tuesday we had our first dusting of snow, with a low of 30. In preparation for that freeze, I harvested all my celery, green tomatoes, zucchini, basil, peppers, and most of my winter squash and pumpkins. I had three pumpkins too green to harvest and wrapped them in blankets to keep them from freezing and that seems to have worked. I covered a jalepeno pepper plant and two zucchini plants and they survived, and draped frost cloth on the lettuce and sugar snap peas. I planted more lettuce, arugula, and chard in the space where the tomatoes were. The turnips I planted last week are coming up.
    A neighbor gave me several yellow squash – something I didn’t grow – and I froze some and we ate some fresh. I washed and wrapped the biggest bunches of celery in foil and stuck them in my garage refrigerator. When I did this last year, we had celery that lasted two months. I chopped and froze all the smaller bunches of celery for use in soups and casseroles, and dried a bunch of the celery leaves. I made salsa verde from the smaller green tomatoes and am leaving the larger ones to ripen indoors. I froze the zucchini and am curing the winter squash and pumpkins. I made pesto from the basil. I brought in and stored all my onions that had been drying in the wood shed. I also harvested and am drying a bunch of mullein leaves for tea.
    I made homemade yogurt, granola, and sandwich bread.
    My local grocery had beautiful baskets of fall mums. I really wanted a couple for my front porch, but they were $18 each. Instead, I was able to get pots of mums for $5 each at Home Depot and I transplanted them into pots and put them in baskets I already had. They looks great and I only spent $10 instead of $36.

  40. Like quite a few readers, when I saw the title of this blog I got quite a start! Thankfully the news was a huge garden project ;).

    Found ground beef on sale so bought 8 pounds and split them up for the freezer. Also made a large batch of chicken noodle soup (from two Costco chicken carcasses) , also now mostly in the freezer. My husband is going through garage and making a list of items to sell, hopefully in the next few weeks he can get organized!

    Thanks again for this blog, it is the high point of my week,

  41. Hello Frugal Friends!
    Mondays are such a treat knowing you will publish to your blog, Brandy. Good luck with all of your garden plans and thank you for inspiring your readers to do more with less while enjoying the beauty that surrounds us each day. It is always there if we remember to look for it!
    Only a few frugal wins recently…
    *found butter at Lidl for 1.67 a pound
    *found a 3 pound chub of 73% lean ground beef for 3.39 at Kroger
    *found 1% milk for 1.89 a gallon
    *took a few surveys through Pinecone Research (hoping to get enough points for a few gift cards)
    *sold a couple of the kid’s outgrown toys using our neighborhood FB page
    *found a psychology workbook on Thrift Books for under $6. We homeschool and needed this for her coop class. New was ridiculous!
    *resisted the urge (and it was STRONG) to order pizza last night. Saved $37! Made Sally Clarkson’s Little Italy Spaghetti Pie from one of her books. It was a hit!
    Several months ago we had a terrible hail storm here in Central Virginia. I’ve never seen anything like it! Our roof, some trim, gutters, and downspouts were all damaged. Initially, our insurance claim was denied. We were told there was no damage. But we could SEE the damage along the side of the house. My DH kept at it and after many phone calls, second opinions, and emails our claim was approved. We now have a new roof (and our roof was 16 years old). This is an expense we will not have to deal with down the road. We are thrilled!
    Hope everyone has a safe week.

  42. I love your garden plans! French potager. . . Yes! Lovely. I so wish I could do something similar. I watch a lot of Gardeners World on Britbox and my grandmother always kept a huge garden. My lot is very wooded and boggy. Not a lot of growing space. We did put in two raised beds this year and I hope to do more as money allows. I didn’t realize butternut squash vines pretty much take over your entire garden. I looked out the kitchen window one morning and suddenly they had covered everything! Lesson learned.

    My daughter continues to work a lot of hours at the nursing home. Many staff have quit recently and they are having trouble finding replacements. Good for her savings account, but hard on her mentally and physically. She continued college online through the summer and plans to take all of her classes online through next summer deferring her transfer to nursing school until later. I guess it all depends on the vaccine.

    My husbands extended family got together over Labor Day at my in-laws cabin and found out the next week that a niece had tested positive without having any symptoms. So yeah, that happened.

    We continue to use up everything we can find in soups, quiches, smoothies and casseroles. We also make weekly desserts because treats are important when life is challenging and you are all living on top of each other. I highly recommend the Double Lemon Cheesecake Bar recipe from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese box. Amazing!

    Take care everyone!

  43. We have had nothing resembling cooler weather here but it looks like autumn outdoors. Leaves drift to the ground, golden rod is starting to bloom and the water from our well is noticeably colder so there must be a seasonal change occurring even if it’s not felt.
    I started washing and drying curtains in the house this past week. Today’s lot went into the dryer. I could have kicked myself when the sun peeked out 3 hours after they were all dry.
    We have opted to not do a big shop this month. That is not to say we haven’t shopped. Last week I picked up peanut butter at Kroger for 99c /16oz. I bought 1 dozen jars. This weekend my husband went into a store and picked up items on my shopping list which included chicken breasts for $1.99(bone in). Had I gone into the store I’d have gotten two packages most likely but I didn’t go in, so… I have been deducting these small shops from the month’s budget.
    Picked up another produce bag this past week. I have been making sure I use or freeze all that comes in these bags.
    I pulled up the tomato plants. I did NOT even begin to get a return on the money spent on the three together. I left the cherry tomato in place as it had new little tomatoes on it and I noted two more new ones today. Also one of the potatoes I’d planted has put up a plant. Here’s hoping I get potatoes off this sprout.
    I picked and dried peppermint for tea.

  44. Brandy,

    I planted a dwarf banana tree and it is doing amazing in our climate here. Since it is a similar climate, I wondered if you had ever tried growing a banana tree? I too stocked up on the butter at $1.88/lb. That is the best price I usually see so I bought 10 lbs. We received our half of the cow that we ordered so the freezer is full right now. I think my next goal on my list is to try growing some sweet potatoes in grow bags. I planted some carrots in a container – I am battling the bunny rabbits in my yard right now.

    Hope everyone has a great week!
    Amy

    1. My children were asking me about them! Oddly enough, I saw them growing in Missouri!

      How do they do in the winter? That’s my concern.

      1. I planted mine on the east side of the house near where the house meets the block wall. It gets protected from wind and the block wall helps keep frost at bay because of the heat it radiates from the sun. I never realized that banana trees grow here but now that I know, I see them often in people’s yards. I ordered my dwarf tree from gurney’s for around $12 I think. I have also seen full size young trees at Lowe’s. I really wanted a dwarf because of where in my yard that I was going to plant it. When it arrived it was about 5 inches tall, a year later over 4 feet tall. It survived our heat great this summer – another reason for east side of the house so it gets afternoon shade. I belong to a gardening group and many plant in full sun and have great success. You do want to plant them somewhere there is some protection from the wind. I think winter isn’t a challenge if it is somewhere near a block wall.

        1. Good to know. A banana tree doesn’t really work with the plans I’m working on, but it’s very interesting!

      2. banana trees will even grow in Toronto. There’s someone in our neighbourhood that discovered a variety for colder climates. How exotic.

      3. Mine is in a large pot. In the winter I put it on the west side of the house near the dryer exhaust and it survives quite well (South coastal Georgia). If it is particularly cold, I put plastic over it overnight.
        Same with my avocados and mangoes.

  45. I’m looking forward to your garden re-do, too! I live on a lot about the size of yours, and I have no idea how I would plant 30 trees on it! I have 11 trees, 3 of them dwarf fruit trees that I planted last year. I think the apple and plum will bear next year, but the pear doesn’t look too encouraging.

    I live in the Idaho Panhandle. We are fortunate that the fires in our area are few and small, but we are getting smoke from the Oregon and Washington conflagrations, and from fires in Canada. A small town in eastern Washington about 50 miles from us burned on the day the wind blew–80% of the structures were destroyed. We used to know people that live there (or lived, is my guess).

    I had a good frugal week–
    *I’m still harvesting tomatoes, plus a zuke about every other day (I only have one hill). I made another batch of zucchini ratatouille, ate it for dinner the same day, and froze another pint for a future meal. I have 5 pints in the freezer, and the tomatoes and zucchini just keep a-coming! I also made a quart of pickled beets.
    * Made veggie soup with beef stock/bone broth I cooked a few days earlier. It featured the ever-popular tomatoes and zucchini, plus everything in the fridge that wasn’t nailed down! This was basically a free meal and there was enough for three people for dinner and lunch the next day.
    * I inventoried my OCC shoeboxes and filled in most of the gaps at Dollar Tree and JoAnn’s (with 40%-50%-60% off coupons), plus a few things from my stockpile. Still a few things left to buy or make.
    * I cut my daughter’s bangs.
    * I filled a big hole in my pantry at a case lot sale. I stocked up bigtime on 15-1/2 ounce cans of sliced peaches and fruit cocktail and 11 ounce cans of mandarin oranges, all for .42 can. I have not done much canning this year because fruit has been so expensive. I can’t buy fruit, sugar and a lid for .42 pint!
    *  I bought three smallish (2-1/2 to 3-1/2 lb.) boneless chuck roasts for $2.99 lb. at Fred Meyer (Kroger). Really beautiful beef with nice marbling and almost no extra fat. I had to do some reorganizing to get them into the freezer. Honestly, between the meat deals I’ve gotten lately, and the case lot sale, I’m in great shape for so early in the fall!
    * My daughter and I both got new glasses at Costco. (We have considered buying online, but there are reasons we don’t). We each saved a minimum of $100 per pair. I have had cataract surgery and now only need glasses to read, but constantly looking for my readers, putting them on, taking them off and losing them again convinced me to go back to progressive bifocals (clear lens on top). Besides, they hide the dark circles under my eyes, LOL.
    * We have a lamp on a timer. It’s just an old timer with a dial that we’ve had for years. This week I had to adjust the turn-on time because it is getting dark earlier. Of course, this will use a little more electricity…but shutting off automatically does save juice. We also use timers on the Christmas tree and any outdoor decorations we happen to put up.
    * I’ve mentioned the $3 cinema a few times. It is locally owned and the owner has been willing to try anything to save his business during Covid. At one point during the lockdown he painted a screen on the side of the building and turned the parking lot into a drive-in movie. He shows older, fun movies for $10 per carload and delivers concessions at the curb. Friday night, we saw American Graffiti. Not only is this the perfect drive-in movie flick, but my husband has always considered it “his” story because he graduated from high school the same year. (If you’ve forgotten, it is set Labor Day weekend of 1962).
    *I unsubscribed to e-mails from Land’s End and JCPenney, which should cut my e-mail about in half. This doesn’t save me any money, but it makes my life easier and it was free.
    * Tip for readers in Oregon, Washington and northern Idaho–Costco sells $100 gift cards for Miller Paint for $69.99. My family has used Miller since the 1950s and it is great paint!
    * Frugal fail–my daughter’s room is upstairs, over the garage. She lives with us half the week. When she left us Tuesday morning, I forgot to check that she’d turned off the light in her room. Wednesday night, I saw that she had not only left on the light, but also both ceiling fans! 

    1. So happy to note I’m not the only one who only needs reading glasses and has clear glass on top!! I’ve worn glasses since I was 8 years old–I’m 77 now. I was afraid I would feel as if I was missing something ALL the time–so I went ahead and bought them too. I am fine with the way they worked out.

  46. It’s so nice to have so many little hands helping you in the garden! They are learning invaluable life skills while having fun playing in the dirt as my mom and dad called it when they asked us kids to help out. Your plans for the garden sound exciting and well-thought out – a lot of hard work but in the long run it will benefit you all greatly. We have also decided to add several more raised beds for veggies and to also plant more blueberry and raspberry as they do well in our sandy soil. Lavender and rosemary also do well directly in the ground. Reading your post reminded me that I also need to separate my hosta, coral bells, daffodils & narcissi and dig up the calla lily tubers; placed an order for tulip bulbs.

    I learned to use a dehydrator! Dehydrated pears, basil, Greek oregano; also made some freezer/fridge jam with the pears. My first try at it and it was pretty good.

    Had a nice & informative chat with the asst store mgr (whom I’m on friendly terms with) at my favorite grocer regarding supplies – frequently the shelves are not well stocked especially with canned goods – I was looking to purchase more canned beans and chickpeas – and she said that they cannot get enough workers to keep the shelves stocked. The store pays $15 an hour to start plus benefits, even to part-time employees, they have help wanted signs all over. They are not the only store with this problem. Aldi’s, Walmart, Lowes and Home Depot also start at $15 an hour and all have help wanted signs. She asked me what I wanted, and sent an employee in the back of the store to fetch it. I was able to get a case each of chickpeas, black-eyed peas, cannellini, kidney and black beans. With this purchase, plus purchases I have made previously, I am now fully stocked – one year of canned beans with expiration dates of 2024/2025 and a 2 year supply of dried beans – lentils, navy, kidney, black-eyed peas. I like to have a large supply of canned beans in case we lose power for many days, as can always rinse and use them in a salad. I also have a 1 year supply of canned corn; of Ro-Tel, and of Dole pineapple in its own juice. We do not eat any other canned veggies or fruits but I may add some canned peaches to the pantry.

    Wild caught salmon was on sale at a good price for us; skinless boneless chicken breast still at $1.99; chicken legs $0.89 lb (we use raw chicken in the crab traps as crabs gobble it up); various pork and beef cuts all on sale; butter also on sale here – $1.99 lb, bought the limit of 4 lbs; bought 4 dozen eggs at $0.77 a dozen after sale and coupons. We eat fish 3 times a week and am always looking for good, easy recipes. I tried the kale-quinoa bowl with miso dressing and fresh tuna steaks from the Sept 2020 BH&G issue and it was delicious.

    I pray that all your followers in the line of the wildfires remain safe.

    1. Hahaha! Not one of them found it fun! Still, we have to learn to work! I learned to scrub the kitchen floor by hand by doing it with my mother on our hands and knees.

      1. So did I, and my sisters. Today I can’t find a cleaning lady to do it on hands and knees–which is how I still do it although it’s difficult with arthritis. Getting back up is hardest.
        Don’t get discouraged about your child gardeners—I taught my 2 daughters and grand-daughter to spot what was edible right from the plant, including clover and nasturtiums, violets–and they all have/had at least some interest in gardening as adults. I remember making my daughter angry when I had the grand-daughter at 2 years old up to her elbows in peat moss and her Mom came home and told me she was wearing a brand new outfit! I got it clean for her, no problems. They loved to smell the herbs and especially to chew on some mint or chives while walking around the yard.

  47. I bought $100 worth of qualifying toiletries at Costco. I will get a $25 gift card back.
    I bought generic claritin at Costco on sale for $7.99 for a one year supply! This is so much cheaper than CVS!
    We got a coupon for 10 free car washes in this month’s Val-Pak. This was very handy since it has been raining ash here.
    I removed 2 out of 3 zucchini plants to make room for fall planting. We, too, are going to put in more vegetable beds, and perhaps one more fruit tree. We only plan to be here a maximum of 10 years, so we need to balance what will give good return in that length of time. Our community has a produce exchange, where we can bring our excess and then take some of whatever others are bringing. Whatever is left at the end is given to the food bank. It makes me happy to be in a community that shares resources. There is also a seed bank with free seeds, all of them grown here locally and so work well in our climate.
    I have been doing yoga on youtube, and really enjoying that.
    I have worked hard and stocked up my Etsy shop. Cloth napkins have been popular, and they are so frugal! This is a good year to be more sustainable in our homes. https://www.etsy.com/shop/fabricspeaks

  48. ~I too was apprehensive when I read about coming changes and was relieved to read of the exciting garden plans instead of ending the blog. As always, thank you for bringing us all together, Brandy.
    ~Question: is it normal for sliced onions not to be completely dried out by the dehydrator? Mine were brown and shriveled, but still pliable after days! I’d appreciate advice from more experienced onion dehdrators. so thanks in advance.

    ~I dehydrated and ground oregano, sage, rosemary and tarragon. I pre-sprouted collard and kale seeds and potted them up. I’ll always do this in the future because they sprouted so much faster. I planted okra seeds and now wish I’d pre-sprouted them as well. I need to cut back the holy basil to make room for Vitamin Greens. We cut a bunch of bananas a bit too late and animals had gotten some. I can’t really begrudge them because they need to eat too. We made ice cream by freezing, them, and putting them through the Champion juicer. Delicious, creamy, and not too sweet.
    ~I sold some dragon fruit cuttings as well as some Piper lolot and turmeric plants. I ground-layered dwarf ever-bearing mulberry plants and put then up for sale. I bought two of the 4″ plants mid-March, step-potted one up to a huge terracotta pot, and planted the other in the ground. The potted one is about 7′ tall now. The one in the ground is only about 4′. We love mulberries and supposedly these will bear in about 2 years.
    ~The paint saga continues: the color I mixed was passable, but with all the primer I put in to lighten the color, the finish was too flat and was impossible to clean, and it was still a bit too blue (the original was semi-gloss, but became too dark by the time I tinted it to make it green). I went to Habitat for Humanity and got 2 quarts of off-white satin paint with a yellow undertone for a dollar each, mixed them in a gallon bucket and added some of the original paint. The color is better and there’s some sheen. I didn’t want to waste the gallon of flat so I researched on line and apparently you can add a glossy clear acrylic to increase the sheen! I called my local paint store that formulates paint especially for the sun tropics and they said they’d sell me some of their acrylic gloss (the Benjamin Moore dealer told me I could not change the sheen). I’m confident Acrylux knows their stuff, and I’m so happy I’ll have that paint to use on the ceiling, especially because it’s too blue for the walls and perfect for the ceiling.

    Happy week, all!

    1. Brandy, your garden plans sound fabulous. I can’t wait to see the finished project!

      This week I finally ventured out into the garden. It was neglected for several weeks when we had local fires, followed by record heat. The air continues to be at unhealthy levels from nearby fires and the skies dark and hazy. We have family and friends living near fires in Oregon. What a year!

      I put in 10 hours of work in the veggies garden this week. I pruned, amended, and planted. I saved $112.50 by growing 30 strawberry plants from runners. They’re now in a garden tower, which frees up 2 more raised beds. Like most here, I am trying to grow and preserve more.

      I canned apple pie filling from our Granny Smith tree and dehydrated apple slices and shredded apple, which I can add to pancakes, muffins and granola. My dehydrator books have recipes, which gave me additional ideas for use. Thankful for the abundance of pears and apples this year and also glad to finish with processing them all! 🤪

      In the kitchen I sprouted a sandwich blend sprouts, made a 3 seed sandwich bread, and 16 wheat dinner rolls. I used extra apple pie filling (not enough to can another jar) as a delicious pancake topping. A few weeks ago, I made 6 bottles of vanilla extract. I try to remember to shake them. It’s much less than purchasing vanilla right now.

      I organized my garage pantry this week…a huge job! I need a better system. I’ve asked my husband to make shelves for a large garage cupboard. Because the doors close, it will give me peace of mind since we are also in earthquake country.

      Now that the 30 masks I’ve been working on are complete, I will turn my attention to making pillowcase dresses for the Dress a Girl Around the World ministry at church. I never had time before while working pre-Covid and I’m excited to get involved.

      Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

  49. The best remedy for wasp stings is fresh basil. Take a few leaves and CHEW them ( to activate the chemistry within) then place on top of the sting. In 10 minutes no pain. An hour later no sign of the sting.

  50. So happy to read the changes are garden changes. Yours is one of only 2 blogs I read, Brandy.

    Over the past two weeks-

    We went camping for 2 nights
    I frugally shopped for and bought all our food. Our only outside treat was ice cream cones from a favorite restaurant that we don’t have in our town.

    Picked tons of okra and peppers. I have sliced and dehydrated, or frozen, as much as possible. This week I’ll finish up on those along with my onions and carrots. This is supposed to be the last nice week. Nights are already getting quite chilly.

    Found a needed textbook for my high schooler at the library.
    Since it’s only needed for a few weeks we’ll recheck it and should be fine.

    My husband needed a few jobs done and couldn’t get to them so he hired our 16 yo to do them. A win-win. The jobs get done for a fraction of the professional price, and my son has a job. He’s been wanting one. He is also an “almost expert” in many hands on areas.

    One evening when I didn’t feel well I ordered pizza using coupons and fed our family a meal for $12
    I had wisdom teeth removed and I can finally eat regular food again. 😁
    We got our bill from the surgery and the insurance covered all but 1 X-ray and $19 of the work.
    So we owe about $114 of $1200.
    (It was only the uppers, not all 4 teeth)

    A friend gave me some aloe Vera shoots and a monstera deliciosa plant. Researching now how to care for them. Looks like our zone is too cold for the monstera outdoors. It is an air purifying plant so should be a good addition indoors.

    Not extreme frugal, but after our trip I had a shopping trip to our local Kroger affiliate and got $260 worth of groceries for $155. Divided into 1/3 for this week, 1/3 for the next 2 weeks, and 1/3 items that will last longer such as peanut butter.
    A lot of nice meat that will last 3 weeks. I bought 5lbs ground beef for $8.50 I personally don’t care for beef, but others love it.
    I even got a roast and cooked it in our rotisserie. My family declared it as good as Texas Roadhouse. Quite a compliment indeed!!
    It lasted for 1 meal and 1 work lunch. Plus I dehydrated the little bits I trimmed into a small batch of jerky.

    I’m am going to try to figure out the best plan for more frugality over the next few weeks. Thanks to everyone who comments so I can get ideas!

  51. Brandy, I don’t know you face-to-face, but as I read this post, my heart swelled with pride just to know OF you! The name of your site is so wholly appropriate, for as you learn from the past, and look towards an uncertain future, you indeed handle it all as a ‘prudent homemaker’. You inspire me to keep walking by faith and keep seeking to honor the Lord and serve my family by also being prudent. May our children arise and call us blessed, and may our husbands praise us!

    My winter garden (here in South Africa) produced more fresh food than we could use and we enjoyed sharing from it. My husband has encouraged me to learn more about preserving excess harvest, and I am keen to do so. We do not enjoy a heritage of canning here, and I would have to learn from scratch as I do not know anyone to teach me. I feel up to the challenge though! I have lots of tomato starts which will hopefully be ready to plant next week. Our zucchini, bean, and cucumber plants are all up, and I have a steady supply of cabbage and chard coming in (have had for several months now). I’m hoping to grow more aubergine and bell peppers this year, which I plan on smoking and freezing for pizza and pasta toppings through winter next year. It’s worth a try…. The food garden on our pavement outside our property has become popular. People are picking food and neighbours come out to chat to me while I work out there, or our kids ride their bikes up and down the road together, so I feel it is accomplishing so much in the way of true community!
    Our national electricity supply has again become unreliable while prices continue to rise. We are often without power 5 hours per day 3-4 days per week. We are considering a solar system to power most of our household and business needs (My husband works from home). Although we have to pay for it all upfront, we can claim back large amounts from our tax over the next few years, while ensuring more reliable electrical supply and simultaneously buffering against the increase in utility costs (which have averaged 6% per year for the past decade).
    I’ve started making a few Christmas gifts in anticipation of a simpler, more frugal Christmas. While my husband’s business has not (yet) been hard hit by the pandemic and obvious recession (whether our leaders call it that or not), our food and fuel prices have risen alarmingly, and many have lost their income. This is not a time for flamboyance.
    As a family, we are again trying to examine every cost and expense, and feel strongly that prudence is a necessity for everyone!

  52. I love hearing about the upcoming garden plans. We are thinking hard on changing ours. More dwarf fruit trees ,more rhubarb and apple trees.

    The weather is cooler highs are in the mid 70’s when it was closer to 90’s. This morning was in the low 40’s. I know I need to clear the tomatoes, dried soup beans and what ever is left out of the gardens in the next 2 wks when we will start looking towards a frost. Last year we didn’t get a frost, it went straight to freeze so I don’t want to lose anything like I did last year. Then it didn’t freeze the rest of winter.

    I ordered some 3/4 length sleeves tops from Thredup using a 20% off code. I used a coupon and a code for King Arthur Baking , Hubby has mentioned more than once he would like some doughnuts and I am not deep frying much any more so I ordered a doughnut baking pan and a couple mixes as his birthday is Oct 9th so this will be his present.
    We had a drainage tile blow out, first estimate was $2000 for the ditch witch (a machine that trenches for field tile) to dig the tile up and ditch for new tile, and $750 for new tile… Our Amish neighbor ran into the guy that built the house and found out that all the tile but one ran to the pond so if it wasn’t running the block was in the main drainage tile coming from the pump house… yep right at that drain where the field tile connected. Now it’s not hiring the ditch witch at all saving $2000, using our own tractor to dig the bad part up and the line to reroute the one tile that doesn’t go to the pond. meaning tile is now going to cost around $100. AND that puts water in the pond. It’s still 3 ft lower than it was but the fish are no longer in danger. We got 6 inches of rain, that usually floods everything, NOTHING was flooded and is still low.
    The bad news is Hubby refused to use a paper calendar for his business nor did he use his phone calendar and missed 2 deadlines of filing paperwork. He had gotten a notice in the mail and didn’t bother to open it, assuming it was just acknowledgement of something. I saw something and it had the word WARNING on the front of it so opened it (don’t usually open his business mail), he had missed filings and his payment (connected with out of state fuel as he does transportation for the Amish)his $2,17 amount that was due became $52.17 TWICE. He now has put in on his PHONE CALENDAR and the HOUSE CALENDAR. Lesson learned. He has also started doing his book keeping once a week. If he doesn’t have it done by Sunday, he gives up his day of rest to do it. It was our agreement I would not do his book keeping as it’s mostly digital and he can use his apps for it.
    Blessed be everyone
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/09/when-needing-lift.html

  53. How I treasure this blog! I was one of the ones who scrolled quickly through your post, Brandy, worried that you were taking a hiatus from the blog. I love the beauty and encouragement you share here, and I greatly value and admire all the wonderful commentators.

    How we saved money this week:

    *We packed a picnic and walked in the woods a couple of times to share new spots with our kids. I used a fancy picnic backpack, a wedding present that hasn’t gotten enough use, found we all enjoyed the plastic goblets and silverware, and have started keeping it stocked for adventures.

    *Planted more salad greens. One set is up and looking great.

    *Ate at home, organized the refrigerator and freezer, made homemade bread for the week, and started making more soup. Brandy, you’re right – soup is amazing. I admire you all for eating it in the heat. My family made me a list of soups that they like, so we’ll get more of it in our menus. I also made myself a menu template for a week, so that the many choices and options don’t keep me from fixing something, anything, in time for dinner. I’m sure I’ll have to keep tweaking it, but, for now, it’s helping.

    *Read a bunch of Flylady emails and did some good decluttering. I find her website helpful to revisit sometimes when cleaning starts to take me too long. I got inspired to go through children’s clothes in the basement and found just what I needed, and a whole bunch of things just taking up space to let go.

    *Brought our small lemon and fig trees in last night to manage the 45 degree cold snap. We have one Meyer lemon on the tree. How I hope it ripens and we get to taste it!

    *I am planning ahead for Christmas and upcoming anniversaries and birthdays. I went through my stash of presents and have Christmas almost done. For birthdays and anniversaries, I’m hoping to find out what the folks are really wishing for.

    *I purchased some more winter greens seeds on Fedco and think we might be setting up the greenhouse next week. It’s going to get in the low 40s for a few days. May I ask when you all usually start your greenhouses inside if you’re in a cold zone? I’m in zone 6, Boston.

    Wishing you all a wonderful week!

  54. Really lovely to hear about your plans Brandy, please write about any progress!

    I heard today I will lose my job at Christmas. Really very upsetting but at least I have income for another couple of months. I am so grateful for this community to share advice on income and frugal practice. I am glad I bought all my xmas presents early in sales this year. I also have a little bit of savings. Unfortunately I can’t see any jobs advertised that are relevant to me at present (I have quite a niche job) but I will keep looking. I know some readers will be in similar positions and I send you all big hugs!

    1. I am so sorry that you will be losing your job, Jenny. I am glad they gave you some advance warning and I hope you find something for 2021.

    2. Jenny,

      So sorry to hear that you’ll be losing your job. I’ve been there myself, and it’s really shocking, even if you’re in an industry where it might be somewhat expected. You will be in my prayers as you search for something new.

      I’ve found it helpful to have a side income as sort of “insurance” against this in the future. I’ve recently begun teaching with VIP Kid and really love it. You teach Chinese kids English online, and the lessons are all pre-planned for you. I find it really fun, as a trained teacher, but I know several other people who do it who are not trained teachers and they still find it fulfilling. It’s nice that the schedule is as flexible as you need it to be, and it really is fun to work with the kids. I currently make between $15-20/hour, and I can do it all from home. It did take several weeks to work through the application and approval process, but they are also very quick to respond to inquiries.

      If you’re interested, here’s a link: https://www.vipkid.com/mkt/landing/personal?referralToken=dcdbd7abbe68bd890e5f3902fad7fbf4&refereeId=48592422&channel_id=copy_link_pc

      1. Thankyou so much for your very kind message! I’m in the UK and we aren’t able to work for VIP Kid unfortunately but I will keep looking for something else to tide me over. Many thanks for your thoughtful words Jenny

    3. Jenny, I’m so sorry that you will lose your job. Prayers for you that you will find a replacement job soon. Un abbraccio (a hug) to you! Ann

    4. Yes Jenny I wanted to say how sorry I am about you losing your job
      My hours were cut severely in Feb/March/April/May with no notice
      I never thought I would face this as a nurse
      This blog and Brandy’s calm, methodical approach has been the Zen and kindness that has gotten many of us thru difficult times
      Best wishes to you and your family

  55. Brandy,
    So nice to hear you have big garden plans and lots of helping hands. I have taken your gardening advice and have removed plants that I didn’t think were pulling their own weight so to speak and now I can use that space for edibles. I have now dehydrated enough onions for myself, my daughter and her family, my adult son and my parents. I had a good crop of onions this year and none will go to waste! I made some more freezer jam and 3 loaves of zuchinni bread but I didn’t have any freezer space left- then I came up with an idea to use the top freezer of the frig at work. It was funny because when I went to put my items in the freezer, the gal that works the night shift had the same idea and she had a box of her items in there with her name and “please do not eat” sign on them. I plan to harvest my pumpkin crop this week. I will use some of it for dog food. I harvested my potatoes and have them spaced out in a basket in a cool, dark space in the garage. We don’t eat a lot of potatoes so these should get us through half of the winter at least. The potatoes were a test this year- I will see how well they last and how good their flavor is to determine if I plant more next year. My husband and I were both feeling down this week as the smoke from the wildfires has made us feel sick. It is very thick in our area. My husband got us take-out Chinese dinners one night to lift our mood. The food lasted for at least 3-4 meals for both of us. It was a blessing not to have to cook dinner when you don’t feel well.
    Since we had to stay indoors all weekend due to heavy, thick smoke- I used the time to move all of our vitamins and medicines to a much more convenient and safe place. Now I can quickly see what we have and what I need to re-stock. Taking inventory, I have two items I need to re-stock so I will make that happen this week. My husband works from the office one day a week now and he will pick up those items on his lunch break. We currently have about a 3 month supply of most and more of some. I will continue to work on this project.
    I agree with others that we are in for a long, difficult and challenging time but together we can do our best to help our families and others get through. I wanted to mention that I listened to someone on the radio saying we should expect food shortages- not limited supplies but out and out food shortages- he explained this will be due to weather conditions and due to the shortage of fertilizer for the farmers. Apparently, one US company is trying to take advantage of the situation and has plans to make the fertilizer we do have very expensive. A lot of our fertilizer is imported and due to trade issues, there could be shortages for US farmers. I have no idea if this is true or not but just another good reason for all of us to keep gardening.

    1. Yet another reason to grow more.

      I appreciate the heads’ up about fertilizer. I am needing quite a bit and will try to make a trip tomorrow with my husband, who qualifies for the senior discount they give on Thursdays.

      1. I work in the fertilizer sales industry and wanted to comment that prices are very low. Potentially your supplier may raise the price, but that has nothing to do with cost of production.

    2. I read the comment about the fertilizer to my husband, and he said they make fertilizer out of natural gas, and he thinks we will be just fine. Personally, the first thought that came to my mind was of all the stock yards we saw in, I think it was Kansas. Maybe Brandy will be adding a rabbit hutch to her new garden plans:) One town known for being a vacation center for the rich has passed an ordinance allowing people to keep TWO chickens in their backyard.

      1. We talked about rabbits, but at this time we have no plans for them. If meat was to become a serious problem (like you couldn’t find any) I would get rabbits. People can only have two at a time here.

        1. Um…what happens if you get a buck and a doe and send the buck over to visit? So much for the idea of only two rabbits, LOL. Actually, this brings back a funny memory. My dad had a pedigreed lady rabbit and big plans to raise litters. He would take her to a friend’s house to visit the friend’s buck, but nothing ever happened! I mean, “it” happened, but litters were never forthcoming. My dad used to take us to rabbit shows, which we hated, but now the first thing I head for at the county fair is the rabbit barn! I would keep rabbits for the poop, but I never could eat a rabbit that I raised.

          1. You have two weeks where you’re allowed a litter. I don’t know that that is enough time for them. Rabbits are quiet, though, so if you had them longer, no one would hear!

            1. Rabbits are incredibly sensitive to heat and get heat stroke very easily. They handle brutal cold temps much better than heat. I would think keeping in the desert would be quite a challange.

              1. It would seem like that! However, there are wild rabbits all around here! They eat people’s rose bushes to the ground! A few weeks ago, I counted 40 wild rabbits in one small area of the park. I see them in the desert quite often.

                I know someone who kept rabbits here for meat (before she moved) and we kept rabbits in Southern California when I was a child. We used to take blocks of ice out to our rabbit each day during the summer and she would lay on it.

              2. For some reason I can’t reply to your reply – I just wanted to mention, the wild rabbits here in the US are not related to any of the domestic rabbits. Domestic rabbits are from Europe and actually dig big tunnels to live in colonies (Alice in Wonderland) – those we have here only dig a shallow hollow for their young and line it with grass/leaves and fur and cover the little ones during the day. They only feed their littles once or twice a day. If by chance a domestic and a wild cottontail were to breed, the offspring are “mules” and usually sterile. Hares are in a different category and survive better in many different climate zones but neither do well in captivity (and the rabbits called a Belgian Hare are not true hares – just bred to look like one). Currently I am w/o any rabbits 🙁 I had to give them up when my husband got sick 4 years ago – it is the longest I’ve been w/o one since I was 3 years old (I’m 52)

  56. Tracy–Years ago I bought a pressure canner and learned to can following the directions closely. Unfortunately, my husband talked me into selling my canning stuff before we moved to Alaska. I’m thinking of buying a dehydrator before next summer so that I can use my freezer space for meat. We currently freeze celery, tomatoes, green beans and peas mixed, and carrots. You will be thankful for whatever you are able to put aside for times when you cannot grow vegs. Even living in a city, we grow enough potatoes for winter and feel so blessed to have potatoes to share with other pastors and a food shelf. We do not have optimum storage for potatoes, but had them through May and then used what was left as seed potatoes. It is a great feeling to be able to share excess and have enough for most of our own needs. Still harvesting potatoes, but so far have 442 pounds!
    We are looking at living on Social Security soon, so I have a pantry with many things we need for the future. I really believe we all need to prepare for our needs as much as possible. Blessings to you in South Africa and other warm climates!

  57. Hope everyone had a nice, frugal week!
    Our Kroger marked down back to school and summer stuff, 70% off. I bought things like playdough, bubbles, and some different school supplies to use for Christmas and birthday gifts. I also bought some small Rubbermaid containers that were included in the sale. I bought some socks and underwear, also 70% off, in sizes that everyone will eventually grow into.
    I went to three garage sales, but bought nothing at two of them. At the other, I only bought a few unopened boxes of Kleenex. The man running the garage sale told me 50 cents each, but I asked him if he’d accept $1 for all 3 boxes, which he did. We like to have disposable tissues for guests and people who visit, as well as in the van for convenience.
    My 4, $5 meals this week were: hot dogs, chicken noodle soup, pancakes and bacon using marked down ($1/#) bacon for dinner, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, and tuna noodle casserole.
    My sister passed us a bag of hand-me-downs, from which I picked out several items for my youngest daughter.
    I stopped in Goodwill outlet and bought several things: nail clippers, unopened diapers, a pair of black Nikes, a puddle jumper, desk lamp, a pair of kids’ Keen sandals, and lots of books. I usually let the kids pick out something small if they cooperate and have good behavior while I dig through the bins. I also find buy any silver-looking silverware or baby spoons: sometimes it’s silver and I sell it to the store based on weight, sometimes it’s silver-plated and I strike out. But, at $1/# at Goodwill, when silver is currently so expensive right now, it’s worth taking a chance. My oldest will usually read a book or two while we wait. 🙂 I bundled some books into lots by series and sold them on Facebook Marketplace, recouping what I spent.
    Corn was .10/ear, so I bought quite a bit to blanch and freeze. It’s so good fresh, too.
    We used Burger King coupons and the app to eat out at Burger King. We are able to do it pretty inexpensively, for less $3/person, when I order strategically. The $3 deal that includes a cheeseburger, fries, 5 piece nuggets, and coke is easy to share, as is the family bundle ($12).
    We watched some nature shows we hadn’t seen before on Roku. So glad I bought that at the start of the pandemic!
    I’ve been washing the dishes with car wash soap that my dad gave me. It sounds crazy, but he got some for free, and I figure that if it will take the grease and grime off a car, it will take it off my dishes, too.
    We visited a playground we haven’t been to in a long time, which was fun for the kids.
    Have a nice week!

  58. Brandy, I appreciate your willingness to always reevaluate what is working and what isn’t. I can find myself getting stuck doing things one way because that’s the way I’ve always done it. You inspire me to rethink things. Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were garlic tomato chicken orzo with salad, cheeseburgers with homemade french fries, garlic chicken orzo casserole with french bread and tomato/cucumber salad, crispy haddock with corn on the cob, frozen pizza, grilled steak with tossed salad and baked potatoes.
    *Made two loaves of french bread.
    *Washed shower curtains, liners and bath rugs to freshen them up.
    *Made a Christmas list so I can begin Christmas shopping.
    *Checked into a possible refinancing of our mortgage.
    *Sent my son an encouraging card from my stash.
    *Weeded my flowerbeds and sowed a few lettuce and herb seeds.
    *Colored my own hair using 1/2 a coloring kit.
    *Hosted a kid’s ministry leaders dinner/meeting. I served garlic chicken orzo casserole and homemade french bread with pumpkin cake for dessert. One guest brought a tomato/cucumber salad and another brought peach cobbler and ice cream. I had iced tea and water to drink.
    *Joined in on a FB video chat with friends.
    *My parents had a yard sale. Once it was over, they told us to come and take anything we wanted that was left. I got a bundt pan, soup thermos, reusable water bottle, pillowcases, decorative pillows, scrapbook paper, a purse, flowerpots, and several tables and shelves that my husband can refinish and sell. I also took my best friend over and she got a box full of items.
    *Attended an outdoor baby shower and received an early dinner there.
    *Received a free lunch at work.
    *Added water to my empty laundry detergent and fabric softener bottles and got another use out of each.
    *Hosted our youth pastor and his wife overnight. Served them cinnamon rolls, grapes and apple slices and scrambled eggs for breakfast along with coffee.

  59. I was invited to go with two other women for a long hike in a national park. We had a free place to stay, one person had a national park pass, and we each brought a meal. So for the price of some time and a half a tank of gas, I had a nice get away, lots of good conversation, and 10 miles of hiking in a beautiful setting!
    I found a nice stock pot at a yard sale for .50 cents. While I won’t need to use it all the time, when canning season comes, I never seem to have enough big pots to get the job done.
    I made a baby afghan for a friend using yarn I had on hand.
    I continue to knit dish cloths using cotton yarn I purchased at a thrift store.
    The plant-based eating plan seems to be going well. I feel great! Much of what I have stored in my pantry fits this eating plan, but I do like to add fresh fruits and vegetables.
    I am grateful that I didn’t lose power during the tremendous wind storm that roared through our area.
    Brandy, congratulations on the new garden plans! I once visited the chateau Villandry in the Loire region of France and loved how the entire garden was edible. I imagine that is how your garden area will now look.

    1. Villandry has been on my radar for years! They have a lot of space and I have a .24 acre lot. They have rectangular beds and rose trees. I brought out pictures of it from several sources again as inspiration, but it won’t be quite that square, though it will be that formal. I have hedges with food and flowers inside already. I’ll be adding more, but there will be a lot more circles. Besides the circle in the back, I’ll be adding another two circles in the lawn. The merry-go-round and trampoline are two other circles that we have, so as we work around those, we’ll keep the circle design going. I want to keep the play areas, otherwise I would have it more rectangular like Villandry. Their only roses are rose trees, but I plan to include several (additional) rose bushes (I already have quite a few). We can’t easily grow many of the things that they grow, as it’s too hot here for many, but this will give me more space for butternut squash, tomatoes, Armenian cucumbers, green onions, Swiss chard, lettuce, and fruits and nuts, plus allow me to have more flowers for the house. I’ll continue the circle theme with several ball topiaries; I have a few right now, but I’ll add more. They will take years to be large and round, but that’s okay.

  60. The new garden plans sound so exciting! My garden this year has not produced nearly what I had hoped for, but it was really an experiment as our lot (.42 acre) is about 85% shaded by giant oak, hickory, pine and cedar trees. My husband trimmed all the lower branches that were about 16-18 feet, but then we had tree trimmers out this spring to remove parts of two trees to open up for more sunlight. I would love to have atleast two of the trees cut completely (or more) but because they are so massive and can only be cut by climbing, the costs are $1250-$1500 per tree. That is not in the budget for now, so I learned a great deal with experimenting on placing plants in various areas of the new garden plot. Next year I will focus on growing more of what produced well and not regrow several things to make it more productive.

    *I pulled out several tomato plants that were close to being finished and brought all the mini green tomatoes inside to ripen. I should get another small batch of salsa from these. I planted more swiss chard, lettuce, kale, mustard greens, winter choy, cabbage, spinach and carrots in any open space I could find.
    *We harvested a few carrots and more green beans. My green beans are starting to produce a little more since the weather isn’t quite as hot as it has been. I planted three more types of pole beans several weeks ago and have my first purple blooms, which is so exciting!
    *A friend dropped off a produce box with onions, potatoes, carrots, apples and oranges. I made a veggie soup with homemade bone broth, home canned tomatoes, onions, potatoes and carrots from the box, a bag of frozen mixed veggies that were long overdue needing to be used and fresh garlic, rosemary, thyme and sage from the garden. It was delicious and the kids and I ate on it two full meals and I have 4 pints leftover.
    *I cooked two batched of bone broth and canned a total of 8 quarts from it, along with 3 quarts made I used for soup. I have more cooking up right now.
    *I made all our meals at home from food from the freezer and in my pantry.
    *I made my husband coconut yogurt in my instapot.
    *I used a $10/10 coupon I had for The Children’s Place to order a dress for both my daughters for $.24 with tax and free shipping!
    *I ordered several items online to add to the pantry for items I can’t get locally for my husband’s AIP diet. I am very concerned as things get worse over the winter how our supply chain will be affected from overseas and many of the items I use for him, coconut oil, coconut milk and cream, cassava flour…all come from overseas. I don’t have the means to stock up a years supply, but I am trying to make sure I have 3-6 months of most of those things on hand. I combined a sale with a coupon code that was emailed to me to get almost 40% off.
    *While not really frugal for my mother-in-law, once or twice a year she buys clothing/gifts for each of my children and my husband and I. This month when she started hinting she was going to buy clothing (she asks the children’s current sizes), I specifically told her a few of the things the children still needed instead of her randomly purchasing things I already had plenty of, like winter coats for the children. It is so kind of her, because she ordered new jackets/coats for each child but I had already done so and they needed other things. She was very happy to shop for the needed things and it checks several things off my list to purchase.
    *I’m really trying to focus on being thankful each day for the blessings my family has and the simple things that we have in life.

  61. I had thought Beans did not help my numbers, but I’ve given them a try again and they are actually helping me. I just ate a bowl of Indian Lentil soup last night and my numbers are better this morning than all week. Also very frugal! I ate black bean soup last week and again, my numbers were down. So glad I tried them again. I’m not sure what I did differently, but I am really watching what I eat, maybe eating less. Glad, because beans are yummy and cheap! I was so happy to see all the ideas this week for diabetics!
    Working on not spending extra money. Turning off lights, utilizing library, internet for entertainment and information. I have started cooking more again, should make hubby happy!

  62. How exciting about your garden plans! I am also working on expanding and reworking our backyard garden area. They are finally here today to remove the giant trees that fell on Easter Sunday. Our garden has produced well this summer in spite of the trees. I have been able to can tomatoes in many ways, beans, harvest pumpkins, and freeze zuchinni. Our peppers are dehydrating . Some things have failed, but others have been a pleasant surprise. Once the trees are removed, we will start to lay out our beds and plan for next year. I decided not to put in a fall garden to make this possible. I have almost completed my stocking up for winter and Christmas shopping. I hope to have all that finished by October 15. Seeds, fencing, and yard materials are the major things left. We are having our HVAC serviced for the upcoming heat season. I believe in preventive maintenance! My most recent savings are changing our cell phone service, cancelling cable and Netflix. This has added up to over two hundred dollars a month! We are actually enjoying our viewing time even more being more selective about what we stream. I know many of you are looking for jars, and wanted to mention that recently on a stock up trip, Target and Meijer in a larger city a few hours away had LOTS of pint jars…just what I needed!

    I am sorry to hear of so many commenters who are facing difficulties. Your resilience inspires me and I continue to pray for those who share in this community.

    Recently, someone mentioned the Little House on the Prairie series. I didn’t get a chance to comment but wanted to share a wonderful blog/YouTube channel I think many readers would enjoy. Jennifer L. Scott is an author (Lessons from Madam Chic and more) who recently posted a series of homemaking lessons she learned from Little House on the Prairie. Her work is beautiful, real, classy, and inspiring. Here is her webpage with links to her videos and her blog: https://jenniferlscott.com/. She reminds me of you, Brandy, bringing beauty into our world! I always appreciate when others share what they are reading and listening and hope this will bless one of you.

  63. I so admire your commitment and planning of your garden. I wish I had the drive you do.
    • Got my car back from the shop… AGAIN. This time, it was the alternator, battery, and a tire sensor. Again, thankful the warranty saved me an $1800 bill. At this point, the warranty has paid out nearly $9000 and I have a nearly new car. My OOP cost -$107
    • Sold the RV. We were looking at getting a new one, but my husband will be deployed over a year, so no point in paying for storage on something I won’t use. Didn’t get what it was worth, but someone in need now has a place to live. He moved it to him and helped him get it all set up.
    • Switched our Butcher Box to every other month. I don’t eat that much and with him away, I’d never use it all.
    • Mylar sealed rice, arborio rice, gifted dry milk, lentils, AP flour, polenta, and oatmeal for long term storage.
    • Replaced laser cartridges in both the work and home printers. (Getting my office to buy one takes months) Bought knock offs as it was 2 for $30 vs $85 for 1.

    Checked my supplies and it looks like I have a year (plus) without my husband here. Still seeking bread flour, rubbing alcohol, a preferred hand cream, and my preferred floor cleaner.

    1. I’m very excited! I’ve been trying to figure out a way to do this for years (and still keep the swings, merry-go-round, and trampoline) and now that I’m drawing it all up, it’s coming along nicely!

  64. I am so sorry for everyone who experiences those extreme weather events. It frightens me to think about it.

    I can’t wait to hear more about your gardening plans. Do you think you could share about your planning process. Where do you even begin? It will be amazing to see the results as I like your photography so much.
    This week’s accomplishments in my home:
    – I worked a lot in the garden. Cleaning, weeding, digging. Harvesting some produce (zucchini, salad, kale, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes), planting autumn seeds(leafy greens). Also preparing for the next year.
    -I went to ‘shop’ my parents-in-law’s basement. I found some furniture and kitchen equipment amongst the things they prepared to get rid of.
    – I knit 2 dishcloths.
    -I had to have some dentistry job done. I don’t like to use the numbing shot, so I went without. It is my preference to do it this way, but I kind of also like how it saves some money . It’s my little treat for enduring the pain😉
    Stay safe out there!

    1. I am beginning by measuring and drawing a plan. I’ve been referencing things I pinned on Pinterest years ago to solidify my ideas. Since Saturday, I came across three new photos of gardens that had some very similar features to what I have drawn out, and it was shocking to see what I have imagined in my mind as an actual garden somewhere. I stared at one for a long time, looked up the landscape designer’s page, looked at what the architect had done, and even checked out the house and garden on Google Earth.

      1. I have based my kitchen garden on pictures of yours😊 Didn’t turn out quite as planned, but it was good to have that idea.
        I hope you will share the plans and ideas. Maybe mention what features you love and why. I don’t mean to pressure you for more gardening content but I like it so much how knowledgeable you are and how you execute your vision. It is really exciting!

  65. We are thankful that we decided my husband should not go back to work at the university at this time as the students have been back a week and there is already an outbreak of COVID-19. The numbers in Ontario are steadily going up so I know that we will be moving backwards with more things closing. I hope that the library stays open, even for outdoor pickups as we use the library extensively. Since we have no income at the moment, we have been buying only what we need. I stocked up for months prior to this so we have lots and really do only need milk, eggs and fresh fruits and veggies. We have been working in our garden. There still a lot of cherry tomatoes to ripen and several more peppers so they will all go into our food supply when they are ready. Our garden will be much larger and more productive next year and I am looking forward to it. As the garden winds down, I am looking into indoor activities for the cold weather. I want to get some sewing done and I am always cross-stitching. I got some lovely brand new Harry Potter colouring books on our neighbourhood buy and sell group that we will give our son for Christmas.

    I hope that everyone has a lovely week. My prayers are with those affected by the wildfires on the west coast.

  66. Brandy great idea planning ahead with your garden! As I am cleaning out the garden and cleaning up I am planning as well. I wanted to plant 2 pear trees this year. They sold out very early. I have 2 on hold at the local nursery when they come in next spring.
    -Meals-side pork, green beans, and hash browns; side pork, eggs, and diced fried potatoes; chili burgers and salad; Reuben soup and cornbread; grilled steak, smashed potatoes, and salad; garden veggie skillet and rolls; and hamburger roll ups and green beans.
    -We had a hard frost 2 nights in a row. The garden is done. I striped out what I could. Froze 2 more bags of sliced peppers. Canned 7 pints pickled jalapeños. Froze all the red tomatoes for now. I have 5 large trays of tomatoes ripening. Froze 20 two cup bags shredded zucchini. Picked the last 2 watermelon and about 15 pretty small cucumbers. We picked a 5 gallon bucket of honey crisp apples from one of our 2 trees and they are waiting to be processed.
    -Did get back to Aldi-picked up 4 more rolled out pie crusts for $1.45 each. Also bought a half gallon of milk, 2 small creamers, celery, bananas, and 2 single almond vanilla yogurt (for my lactose intolerant grand daughter). Spent $20.
    -Need to get a #30 bag of sugar yet. I bought one this summer but with all the canning it is almost gone. And I still have a couple lugs of pears coming.
    -Had a bridal shower. I sewed 2 kitchen towels from some cotton I had. Plus I made a large hot pad to use under casseroles from co-ordinating fabric. And I picked up a magnetic shopping list and some recipe cards. Placed in a reused bag and reused ironed tissue paper with a hand stamped card.
    -Signed up for a 5K (actual event-first one I have seen as they have been virtual). It was only $5 thru the YMCA and we got a nice heavy T-shirt. Win-win, exercise plus a very reasonable t shirt. They did a great job social distancing.
    -Cleaned out and buttoned up the garden. Got all cages and trellis’ stored for the winter. This week of course is going to be warmer-70’s so will leave the deck furniture out for a while since the mosquitos are now gone and we can enjoy the time outside.
    -Have a great week!

  67. We have been in our new home 12 days and I have been busy unpacking and seeing what I have had picked up for so long that I forgot so many things. Some things I bought at thrift stores to decorate with and they don’t fit my new home so I have been selling on the yardsale site. I am letting people do porch pick up so I don’t have to meet up or come in contact with them. I have made couple of hundred dollars selling these things! I have a storage building we rented when we put our home on the market in July 2019, so my husband has been getting about 6 boxes a day and I unload and sell or wash and find a place for the items.
    * I have a large wall in pantry and have half for food and half for dish/appliance storage. I have my canning jars and items like that. The builder put in wire shelves, but eventually I want my husband to build wood shelves and maybe lower cabinets strong enough for heavy canned jars of food. I have never had this large of a pantry so it is one feature of the house I love!
    * We have zero trees or bushes in the backyard. We have around a half acre and do not want a lawn, but more of a private space to hang out with meandering paths through flower beds and gardens. We found 2 Elberta peach trees, and a Fugi apple tree at the nursery on clearance for $7 each. We then stopped by Lowes and used my husband’s military discount to buy a Gala apple for $25 before the discount. The tag said that it would pollinate the Fugi. I also bought two blueberry and two blackberry bushes at the nursery.
    * Our lot sits higher than the homes behind us so we look right into their back yard pools. We have 150 feet along the back so are planting 50 Arborvitae trees to grow and create a hedge blocking the view. When we chose the lot, it was an item we left in the budget to do right away. We have a small hill from the yard down to the fence line and I plan to create a terraced vegetable and flower garden on the hill. There is so much work to do to build the beds we will not be able to get a fall garden in, but will plant in my pots. The weather is still in the 90s and humid so we will work on beds when it cools off in a few months.
    * I have been eating from the pantry and freezer preparing for the move and just unpacked my Food Saver so plan to start buying a bunch of meat again to fill the freezer.
    * I watched the new series Martha Stewart has out called Martha Knows Best on Demand through You Tube TV. It is themed on building perennial beds, vegetable garden, pets, paths, etc. Her farm is amazing to see how it is all laid out and I try to glean tips. There i also an Instagram account from a lady in Australia that has beautiful gardens named JennyRoseInnes. Their seasons are reverse so go back and see her video clips of her garden in the season you are in for ideas. Another one I love is themontydon account. I think he is British, his gardens look like a Botanical garden.
    *A friend that lives in a garden home asked if we wanted a wheelbarrow. It is like new and we really needed one. When we picked it up we were given banana peppers, jalapeños, and a few tomatoes.
    *I dropped off items at the thrift store, so went in to look around. I found a set of 4 colored nesting mixing bowls for $6 https://www.instagram.com/p/CFNfpZ-HHZW/?igshid=1clvk37uijfuq. I also picked up 6 books. My mother in law is staying with us a few weeks and reads a lot.

    1. Fuji and Gala apples are both self-fertile types, so they don’t actually need a pollinator, but if they can cross-pollinate, that is helpful. Fuji requires 400 chilling hours and Gala requires 500, so your Fuji apple trees will ripen slightly before your Galas.

      Your garden sounds wonderful! How nice to have such a big lot!

  68. Found a sale on Russell Stover sugar free chocolate chips (online 25% off) https://www.russellstover.com/ They now have bags of chocolate chips!

    I thought it might help some of you do some holiday baking with lower sugar so our friends and family with diabetes can have some moderate treats.

  69. I’ve been busy rebuilding our food and household stores. I plan to be done with a 6-12 month supply by the end of October. Who knows what is coming?? My husband will be laid off by thanksgiving and we’re not even sure that the unemployment benefits will be available for him, even though he consistently pays into it. It could get very scary. As I’m stocking up, I’m trying to be very thorough. Here are a few things I’ve thought of recently…
    ~”fun” foods and other mood boosters. Especially with kids I’m feeling an urge to stock up on things to distract from stressful situations. I’ve been buying games and puzzles at the thrift store and including some special food items in the budget.
    ~a sick kit. Canned soups, orange juice concrntrate, crackers, gatorade, sprite. These things will come in handy when we inevitably get sick.
    ~shelf stable versions of refrigerated items. Things like shelf stable milk (in addition to powdered), packages of pepperoni, dried cheese, etc.
    I wonder if anyone else might be able to give me some ideas of things I might not have thought to stock.

    1. Jello mix, pudding mix, chocolate chips (lots of them), melting chocolate so you can make seasonal treats, white chocolate, powdered Gatorade, some 2-liter bottles of soda for a fun night at home popcorn for popping on the stove (inexpensive snack and fun for family movie nights), powdered sugar for icing for Christmas cookies, vanilla extract, lots of spices to make your rice and beans go a long way, a variety of beans, powdered Knorr Chicken bullion and tomato bullion (it comes in a bulk container)–perfect for making soups and flavored rice, parmesan cheese for soups/pasta, alphabet noodles and a variety of noodle shapes for fun, lots of flour to make bread, cookies, cakes, pancakes, etc.

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