I harvested almonds, Armenian cucumbers, two kinds of pears and basil from the garden.

I set the basil up to dry; I rinsed it and then put it on a cooling rack above a half-sheet pan. I set it in the kitchen on the counter under the ceiling fan. Once it’s dry, I’ll crumble the leaves to add to my storage.

The pears harvest from all three trees was only eleven pears total. I have decided to pull the trees this fall (they have been poor, dry pears every year) and am deciding on something to replace them in the garden that we would enjoy more.

We continued making repairs to the house. We had to hire someone to help with part of it. This is the same friend we hired before. I’m happy to support a small business and get these things fixed. We had to open up the wall behind our shower in order to fix the leaking shower head. He retextured the wall after he put the drywall back in and my husband will repaint it himself. Since we had him here retexturing that, we also had him repair and retexture two corners in the house where the children had knocked off the texture years ago. That wasn’t a project that we would have hired someone to do otherwise since it was so small, but the timing was perfect since he would already be here doing that. I am so happy to have all these little things fixed that we have been putting off for years until we could budget them in.

I collected warm-up water from the shower and condensation from the air conditioner and used them to water potted plants in the garden. It definitely wasn’ a dry 111-114 out! It’s another hot (115) and humid day today; I’ll have to make sure to go outside several times a day to collect the condensation water from the air conditioner. I am able to collect several gallons of water each day from it right now.

I cut a vase of zinnias to enjoy on our table all week.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. This week, boneless pork loins were on sale for 99 cents a pound, 80/20 ground beef was $1.99/pound. I bought about 20 pounds of the pork loin- paid under $20 and saved $70 according to their tags!

    After letting 1 of the 4 pork loins I bought cook in crockpot for 8 hours (using garlic, Serrano Peppers and onions from my garden and 2 oranges that we were given to add flavor along with spices as it slow-cooked), I shredded the carnitas pork, put it on a cookie sheet and poured the strained juices over it. Then put it under the broiler and oh, my goodness!!! The flavor is amazing!!! We had carnitas burritos for dinner and from that $6 roast, it appears that we will have over 12 family meals using this mixture!! So – 50 cents worth of meat (and we were generous in portioning it!) for each meal!!

    I bought $6.95 worth of 5 packages of tortillas, 2 yogurts and an energy drink (free with digital coupon) and was able to use $6 from my Kroger Cashback to pay (so OOP was 95 cents!) . But then I got another $1.10 added to my Kroger Cashback AND another $1.20 added to my ibotta account! So I actually came out ahead by $1.35!! Small amount? Maybe. But the tortillas and yogurt are things that we normally have in our food storage so I consider it a big win!!

    On Thursday and Friday, our 9 year old Granddaughter was here for a sleepover and we sewed on her next quilt. She is excited about quilting and chose a free online pattern https://www.diaryofaquilter.com/2019/12/fast-easy-fat-quarter-quilt.html and brought fabric from her mom’s fabric stash! We watched 2 episodes (free) of Season 1 of Little House on the Prairie. She has already read the first 2 books in the series. She has 115 books checked out from the library (She is a voracious reader) including the whole Little House series!

    She and I then planted spinach, lettuce and a few garlic. The green beans I planted a week ago are beginning to come up! https://pin.it/2G4HANy Our fall peas are starting to pop up in the garden too! It’s exciting to see an actual fall garden coming up!! Still harvesting my summer green beans every few days! https://pin.it/6y1dt2s So far I’ve frozen over a dozen quarts of green beans (equivalent to about 24 cans!)
    We watched a great YouTube video on propagating strawberry plants from runners and then we did this with the first 6 runners. We have tons more to do, so we will end up with a huge number of new plants with possibly some to sell later! https://pin.it/sB6FeYY
    With my 2 football shaped zucchini from the garden, granddaughter and I got them shredded and made an orange coconut zucchini cake. Today, I made double chocolate zucchini cupcakes https://pin.it/619f5K1 and I’ll portion out and freeze the remaining shredded zucchini for enjoying later on!
    I was amazed to see that the 2 zucchini made so many cups that we can add to our food storage!

    I got 7 masks sewn for grandkiddos who start school this week. Sewed binding on 2 quilts for one of our daughters. Starting on another mask order to go out West. Then I want to put something on Lenni to get quilted. I got a heartwarming thank you and photo from our “daughter” that I made and gifted the queen size quilt for her special needs son. https://pin.it/6geItUt. Seeing his smile made it all worth it! ❤️

    Weather here is more mellow. Going out now to let chickens out and water veggie garden.
    Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. There are additional little house series..
      The Martha years,
      The Charlotte years, and
      The Caroline years.
      I know one of the authors is Melissa Wiley.

      These are the stories of Laura’s mother, and grandmothers.

    2. Garden pat,
      When you make dry muffin mixes do you use your food saver to dry pack them? It seems like I heard it can ruin the food saver if you try to get the air out of dry things.

      1. Lynn Ames- You’re right about vacuum sealing my dry mixes with the food saver. The way to keep the flour from getting into the hose and motor of the Foodsaver is simple. You take a paper cupcake wrapper and place it on top of the mix before you put the jar lid on to vacuum seal it. Easy-peasy! And you can reuse the cupcake wrapper over again after you empty the jar!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

      2. I have the wide mouth mason jar attachment for my Food Saver. I use that to seal my jars of dried meals/mixes/herbs rather than the plastic bags.

    3. Gardenpat,
      I love your comments, and feel I learn from, and am inspired by you each week! I don’t usually post, but reading your post today reminded me of a quilt tutorial series I bookmarked long ago! I’m still hoping for a grandchild to work on This Little House on the Prairie quilt someday! Your granddaughter is learning so quickly she may be ready to tackle this soon!

      Thank you so much for creating and maintaining this community! I don’t usually actively participate, but read each week. I’ve implemented many of your hints, and your lovely photos have added grace to my days.

      1. Miriam- Thank you so much ! The link you gave has an adorable sew along quilt! It looks like one that my granddaughter and I could spend many happy times making it together!!
        I love what a supportive community Brandy has encouraged with her optimism and creativity!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Jennifer in CT- here’s a link to the recipe I have been using for years for orange coconut zucchini cake. It comes from the 1970’s book More Make Your Own Groceries. I love this well worn book as well as it’s prequel- Make Your Own Groceries. Lots of great “from scratch” recipes!


        Gardenpat in Ohio

  2. -A trip to the doctor to get a prescription renewal and a requisition for bloodwork. He was forthcoming about staffing and services available at the moment, which is limited because of government cutbacks on rural physicians in particular, but will provide me with care until I can find a doctor, or they can hire someone for the local practice and rearrange schedules. He is often very noncommunicative, but was very caring in this meeting, so that was good.
    -I spent the rest of the week at home, and spent no money except $1.45 for a loaf of bread on Saturday.
    -The water main replacement construction was very noisy from early in the morning until nightfall shortly at 9:00 PM, and closed for all traffic. By this weekend they had got at least one lane clear the whole block, and there was lots more traffic than usual on a weekend, all driving quickly in both directions on this one lane. My house is very close to the road, so it is very unnerving. It is back to closed for construction this morning. I think they will have it paved by mid-week, I hope in time to get out to buy groceries on Thursday morning (pension payday) before it gets busy with people getting ready for the long weekend.
    -I have been reading e-books from the library, and stopped to order a few more. Not very long waits this time. One had a two-week wait when I ordered it, but arrived later that day. I’ve also been watching shows on YouTube and CBC TV (Gem), which has the backlist on a lot of shows for free.
    -I’ve cancelled Prime, which I wasn’t getting any value from in the second half of the year, because Amazon was so backed up for ordering product. Also, Amazon packages are delivered to the post office here, and have to be picked up during the hours the office is open. It is quite cramped both to pick up the notice, and then the package, and I’d rather not be there when other people are there. (I can pick up my mail at any time of day or night, when it is empty, so it isn’t a problem for that.) I will still make occasional purchases from Amazon, but it isn’t worth having on an ongoing basis. I am considering dropping Acorn as well, since I have been reading more and not watching shows on Acorn, but I will give myself another month to decide. Now that it is getting dark earlier, I may need more things to entertain me in the evening.
    -The government called this morning to let me know they are approving my seniors’ property tax deferral. The tax isn’t due until the end of September, so they won’t issue the payment to my village for another month to save me a month’s interest. The province is my partner is frugality this month!

  3. What a wonderful feeling to get those little house repairs done!
    I made a batch of chicken broth from a chicken carcass I’ve been saving in the freezer. I froze a bag each of chard and shredded zucchini, and about a pint of chopped bell peppers, and some jalepeno peppers.
    I harvested tomatoes, chard, celery, peppers, zucchini, arugula, and a single cucumber from the garden. I’m saving the paste tomatoes in the freezer to process into sauce this fall.
    I purchased a box of tomato seconds from a local farm stand and canned 20 pints of diced tomatoes and a quart of tomato juice. I dried the peels for tomato powder.
    I made a batch of arnica salve, started a jar of sage honey, and made several herbal tea mixes from my dried herbs. I also baked sandwich bread and cookies. I pulled up my older broccoli plants and trimmed the others. I saved the broccoli leaves, chopped them, and used them to make spinach pie (spanakopita).
    It has continued to be unseasonably hot – we’re setting records every day. I only own two pairs of shorts because usually there are only a couple of weeks a year I wear them. Not the case this year – so I dug through my fabric and patterns and found enough to make another pair of shorts – knit with a drawstring waist and pockets, so very comfortable.
    We split and stacked a half a cord of firewood. Our plan was to do a whole cord, but the heat got to me and we had to quit early.

  4. Hello Everyone,
    This week has been unusual to say the least! My community his directly affected by the Carmel and River Fires. Nearby are the Santa Cruz and Dolan fire in Big Sur. Our air is filled with smoke and ash to unhealthy levels. Many are experiencing asthma and trouble breathing well. Nearby areas evacuated and ours was next on the warning list. We offered to house friends who evacuated. We don’t wish the trauma of evacuation plus the risk of exposure to Covid on anyone!

    Thankfully, the weather has been cooperating and fire crews are making progress. Some evacuation orders are being lifted. Thanks be to God!

    While many situations require us to hunker down at home, such as Covid-19, this natural disaster requires fleeing. Please also have a plan in place in case you must drop everything and go! And be mindful of good home security as reports of looters stealing from evacuated homes has unfortunately happened.

    Before the fires, I canned quarts of pears and spiced applesauce. I also made a Greek chickpea salad using cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, oregano, and lemon from our garden. I baked banana bread using old bananas. The only thing purchased this week were canning jars. The only ones available locally are vintage blue and amber glass. Very pretty, but more expensive.

    I’m counting my blessings! Have a safe and joyful week.

    1. I’m glad you are safe. We have had to evacuate for fires twice and it is no fun. Now we keep a bag packed every summer (fire season) just in case. I hope you continue to stay safe and that it rains.

      1. Hi Cindi! Keeping a bag ready is a great idea. We are getting some fog and drizzle, which is a godsend! Have a safe and blessed week!

    2. Julie, I pray that you and your family and any pets will remain safe. Also for more rain. We had to evacuate during superstorm Sandy so I understand what you are all experiencing. Very good advice to have a plan in place in case need to evacuate quickly for both one’s family and pets as many places do not take pets.

      1. Hi Mari! Natural disasters are everywhere. I’m sorry you’ve also had to evacuate. So stressful! You’re right about the pets. Our SPCA also had to evacuate to the fairgrounds. We weren’t sure where to safely put our hens.

  5. Isn’t it wonderful to finally get things done that have needed done?

    I don’t know if they would work in your area, but I am considering planting a Japanese/Asian persimmon tree in our yard. The persimmons are delicious fresh, eaten out of hand. I also pureed some I’ve been given in the past and use the puree in baking and even made ketchup out of it once, which was so good. The nursery had told me that some of the varieties don’t get very tall.

    This week we’ve had a lot of rain — I live very close to the Gulf of Mexico and it’s a busy area right now — so I had to hang some laundry indoors, and use the dryer on some of it. I hung everything I could, though.

    I made a minor repair to one of the mirrored doors on my husband’s vintage cedar wardrobe. A piece of the trim edging the mirror fell off, and I put it back on.

    I cooked and canned three more jars of pear butter.

    I’m drying more stevia from my plant.

    My sister and I are trading titles of free movies to stream, then we watch each other’s suggestions.

    I discovered that lemon grass stalks, the white part, can be chopped and frozen, so I’ll be harvesting some from my big lemon grass plant soon to put up. A delicious tea is made by simmering a handful of the white pieces in a pan of water with a cinnamon stick for 10 minutes, then strain and serve with honey.

    I needed a rolling cart and had looked for one for almost a year in the thrift stores with no success. I kept seeing them new for $30 and up, but yesterday I found one for $15, so I got that one.

    My tomato plant was growing so large, it was shading the eggplant. I moved the tomato vines over and now the eggplant is putting on more fruit.

    I set up and assisted with a virtual health assessment for my husband. He will earn rewards for it with his insurance company.

    I hope this week finds everyone doing well.

    1. Can you tell me more about how you prep your stevia? I have a plant that’s just going to waste because I don’t know how to harvest/prep it fit future use.

      1. I have stevia plants that I cut after the first frost.I put the plant upside in a paper bag and dry it. Then, I strip the leaves off and put
        them in the blender and powder them,and store them in a jar.

      2. Hi, Michelle, I really don’t do much except trim the ends of the stems that are nicely leafed out, taking about four inches from each stem. Since our a/c is running all the time, my house is dry enough to just bundle the stems in a little bundle and let them dry. I pinch the bundled ends in an old wooden clothespin, but they can be tied as well. Then I hang the stem bundle upside down so that air freely moves around it, and let it dry. Once crumbly and dry, I pull the leaves off of the stems and crumble them up and jar them. That’s it! In times when I have neither heat or a/c running a lot, I use my dehydrator and spread the stems out on the tray. I dry at 95 deg. F. per my dehydrator’s instructions for herbs.
        I hope this helps!

      3. Every month of the growing season, I cut back the stevia, rinse it, pat it damp with a clean dishtowel, then place in my hanging herb dryer, either outside or in the basement. Or I put it in my lower oven which has a drying phase to it. When crumbly dry, I strip the leaves off the stem, and put in an airtight jar to preserve. I do not grind it, but just steep it in hot water to make sweetened tea. When I tried powdering it, the stevia powder would not ‘sink’; just float on top.

    2. Hi Jo,
      You can also use whole lemon grass to make chicken soup with onions, ginger and turmeric. This soup is specially good for colds and other respiratory illness.

  6. Brandy, doesn’t it feel good to get all of those nitpicky little jobs done? Plus, the shower leak–left to its own devices–could do some serious damage, if it hadn’t already. I’m glad you were able to things fixed. I don’t know about anyone else here, but it drives me nuts to have things that need repairs. My house may not be the fanciest on the block, but by gum, things work!

    Our son and daughter-in-law visited from eastern Idaho for part of the week. Nice to see them again. They came and picked up his canoe, which I’ve been storing for 15 years.

    These were my frugal accomplishments (no barn burners to report, mostly just the usual frugal stuff)–
    * A friend brought me an unusual purple lupine she had just dug up. It’s hard to transplant a mature lupine because of breaking the huge, deep taproot when you dig. My friend’s soil is so rocky that the roots of this one grew outward, and didn’t break, so…wish me luck!

    *The beans are finished, but I’m harvesting tomatoes (including tons of cherry toms) and more zucchini. Gardenpat, would you please post the recipe (or direct me to a site) for your orange-coconut zucchini cake? I’m sure I’m not the only one whose mouth watered when reading about this cake. Orange is my favorite flavor, and coconut is my daughter’s, so I know it will be a hit! Plus, it will help use up the zucchini…never a bad thing, LOL!

    * I used a coupon for a free, deluxe car wash. They even dried it with towels!
    * I resewed part of the hem in my daughter’s favorite T-shirt. Now it should last another year.

    * In the dubious category of “spending to save,” I used a 20% off coupon from Bed Bath & Beyond to buy a cordless stick vacuum for our vacation home. The coupon saved $60. I am going to try to sell the canister vac that I never use because dragging that thing through the house was such hard work!

        1. Pat, it is de-lish! Some friends took us boating today and we potlucked our lunch. I brought this and everyone loved it! Since you claim to be lazy (?) I thought I would mention that I didn’t shred the zucchini (would have had to use a box grater) but chopped it up fine in the mini food processor.

  7. We are thankfully not 115 and humid, but are emptying our dehumidifier more than every 24 hours. I’m still picking cucumbers and squash, but was sorry to see the borer moths have found them. I’ve been washing and soaking them, which makes the larvae come out (I know… ewww), and then just cut away anywhere they’ve been, and use the rest. Sure don’t want to waste anything, especially this year. I’m also harvesting some tomatoes, noodle beans, figs, pears, hazelnuts, peppers, apples, and foraging lambs quarter and chanterelle mushrooms. It’s been an especially good mushroom year, so I made pasta sauce with some, used some on pizza, breakfast scrambles, and dried the rest. My computer is in the shop. I had to wait for the repairman to come back from getting parts, so went to two thrift stores, and purchased quite a few items of clothing, and a pair of sneakers for around the homestead. It was really nice to do some thrifting. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/08/august-days-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. I never knew you could get the worms out. I’ve lost at least 30 cukes. I threw them out, not knowing how to remove them. So this totally clears them out?

      1. There might be an occasional one left, but it mostly takes care of them. If there are several holes in a cucumber, it is probably not worth saving, because once you cut away their trails, there’s not much left. But, it’s worth a try.

  8. -I planted bush beans,kale, collards, beets, radishes, snap peas, cauliflower, cabbage, and lettuce for our Fall garden.
    -harvested A LOT of hot peppers (I had them labeled as jalepeno on accident, but they are part of the habanero family) – I dried some, fermented some, frozen some, made mango hot sauce and I still have an over abundance. If anyone has suggestions to use more up, please share!
    – writing a gratitude list.
    -our neighbor’s house was broken into and it made for a very important discussion between my husband and I since he travels for work for days at a time.
    -enjoying a bouquet cut from the yard- echinacea, zinnia, and calendula.
    -went on a walk in the woods of a new-to-us nature preserve. So peaceful breathing the fresh air and hearing the birds chirping.

    1. I made a roasted tomato salsa with some hot peppers and it was really tasty. Here’s the basic recipe: 4-5 medium tomatoes (quarter), 1 onion (quarter), 1-2 jalapenos (pull stems), 3-4 peeled garlic cloves (or more) Spread them on a sheet pan and run them under the broiler for about 15 minutes to get a good char. Then, I ran them in the blender with the juice of a lime and cilantro, salt, and cumin to taste. I made two batches and each made about 2 pints. It freezes nicely, and I’d imagine you could can it as well since you’re adding the lime juice for pH.

  9. I’m definitely still learning about fruit trees, but would it be worth your time to try grafting them? I know with apple trees, it’s usually better to graft rather than try to replant over them because it has something to do with “apple rot” or something like that when you take the tree out of the ground. (You also save yourself the years of waiting for the tree to mature.) Anyway, just a thought!

    (We contacted our favorite local u-pick orchard for free grafts for our apple tree a couple years ago and not only got a bunch of free scions from them, but also valuable advice about how to actually go about grafting our trees!)

    1. I’m not planning to put another pear in their place. I’ve grafted trees before, but you want to start with something SUPER young. It actually takes longer than buying a one year old semi-dwarf tree.

      1. I had great luck grafting with pear scion wood on an old pear tree. There were no other pear trees close enough in the neighborhood. The grafts bloomed the next year. I think my pear tree needs more water so I am desperately trying to get my trees watered in before it gets too late in the fall. It’s a pity to have to take mature trees down.

        1. If they don’t bear fruit and they have always tasted bad, I don’t feel bad taking them down. Christ cursed the fig tree that did not produce figs. I will therefore tear out any fruit-producing tree that does not produce. I’ve done it before and replaced them with other trees. It’s better to have a productive garden rather than a bunch of fruit trees that are giving me nothing; that’s useless. 11 pears between three fruit trees is not enough. Each year it was been less and less. They are so dry that no one wants to eat them.

          1. Maybe I need to pray harder for my fig tree that won’t produce figs! I’ve had it 5 years and not one fruit, though this year it was very happy and about doubled in size. I’m hoping that means it finally went deep enough and that we’ll get some fruit next year. This was the first year my Asian pear that I’ve had for 3 years produced – just 3 or 4 (the squirrels got 1, I think) but tasty – so I’m taking that as a good sign.

          2. Brandy- We appear to be like-minded! I give a new little fruit tree 4 years maximum to bear fruit or at least flower in anticipation of fruit (sometimes a spring storm can knock all the flowers off so I give the tree a pass because it was trying! 😉)

            After that, I’m on the lookout for a replacement! Our little urban homestead has to have each member of it be productive and earn it’s keep! Chickens and worms all seem to understand this!
            Btw- Brandy, did you know that there are gamma lids made for the smaller bakery frosting buckets (2- 3-1/2 gallon size)? I have tons of those buckets that I got free from Sam’s club bakery years ago. They have the plain snap on lids. But today at an Urban Farm store, I happened to see them! I bought 3 and sure enough, they fit perfectly on my smaller buckets! Oh, the food storage possibilities!!!

          3. Well, I think it’s a good idea for your pear trees to come out. It almost sounds as if your pear varieties somehow are ornamental rather than edible especially since your nursery info says pears should do well there. Anyway, on to more productive things. (I never knew Christ cursed anything — food for thought, and inspiring!)

            1. They are Bartletts, which is definitely a pear for eating! I have to sneak them into smoothies every year so they get eaten.

  10. Great job on getting repairs done. I’m sure the man you hired was happy to have the work too!
    We also did one of those small, but irritating-to-look-at jobs. Two of the original oak floorboards had been replaced at one time with unfinished pine boards. They looked awful. When we redid the kitchen, the new floor came out a few inches past where the old one stopped. So we took 2 partially damaged original floorboards out to put the new kitchen floor in. We saved those boards, and used the good parts of them to replace the 2 pine sections that looked so bad. It is an awesome improvement-for no extra money spent!
    I got $5 off a car repair by asking if they gave a discount to teachers.
    We got a check for $179 for taking out part of our grass. We covered the area with free mulch. So the removal cost us nothing, and we gained money too!
    I have mailed out several special orders and one regular order for my Etsy shop. I am so thankful.
    We hosted our neighbors out back to watch a European soccer game. We ran the cords out back and set up the TV on the back step. We stream the game.
    We picked apples and pears at a friends house. I must get them in the fridge today. They will last us for a couple of months.
    I got a flannel shirt for my husband on sale at Land’s End for $12. They last forever, and have a guarantee.
    I did some organizing in my linen closet while I was looking through things in case we get evacuated (in the CA fire zone here too). My daughter-in-law mentioned so does the same-tidying as she goes through the house in preparation for hurricane season where they are.
    Blessings to all!
    Brandy, How are your mini sessions going? I follow you on instagram and the photos are excellent. (I’m @fabricspeaks)

    1. Thanks Kara!

      I have opened up one day for sessions on September 19th. I’m working to advertise them locally this week, starting with as many free options as possible.

  11. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Great to get some house repairs finished, well done!
    It’s been a busy, satisfying week. My husband dug up the crop of Desiree potatoes and we’re pleased with the yield and quality. We picked carrots, kale, radish, runner beans, broad beans, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. We prepped and froze some windfall cooking apples.
    We picked elderberries and I made cordial and froze some berries too.
    I picked sweet peas and zinnias for the house.
    I used some sad carrots to make soup for two days lunches.
    We had some natural yoghurt that needed using, my husband isn’t very keen on it plain so I took a small bag of raspberries from the freezer and whizzed it all up to make raspberry yoghurt.
    One daughter gave us a couple of jars of runner bean chutney she had made.
    I unpicked an old dress which had pretty material and put the fabric and zip in my stash.
    I took several bulky items to the tip and some more clothing for fabric recycling.
    A daughter kindly took me out for lunch on the government scheme Eat out to Help Out. Our lunch was half price.
    My flower arrangers club hasn’t met for months but I’ve been watching some of the free demonstrations they’ve posted on You Tube.
    I was able to lock our electricity tariff for a couple of years, we are on the cheapest tariff I could get so happy to lock in for certainty in the budget.
    I filled some small pots with compost and pegged down strawberry runners to make new plants.
    I sorted through a bookcase which is partially hidden behind a chair and found a couple of books I haven’t read and would like to. Also found a good soup ladle in another declutter session.
    Frugal fail this week, we had a tremendous rain storm, I left an upstairs window open on the landing and the telephone was drowned and wouldn’t work even when dried out. I bought a replacement using some Amazon credit I had redeemed from my consumer research panel.
    Channel 5 TV (UK) in partnership with PBS has remade the series All Creatures Great and Small. For those who don’t know it the series is based on the books by James Herriot who started working as a young vet in the Yorkshire Dales many decades ago. The books are full of funny characters and nothing offensive. It starts screening tomorrow night (Tues) so I hope you can see it in the US soon, if it hasn’t been on already.
    Look forward to reading all the comments.

    1. They advertised it here as arriving in January through PBS. My husband saw the trailer a few days ago and we are really looking forward to it@

      1. I grew up in the Yorkshire Dales, where James Herriot lived in real life (his name was actually James White, I think.) My grandpa from the US came to visit and he went to meet James White in person. It was a great highlight for him. He was a great fan of All Creatures Great and Small.

    2. Thanks for the tip about All Creatures Great and Small. One of my all-time faves. And if the new Tristan is as cute as the old one…wow!

      1. I’ve seen recently in Canada with a minimum $65.00 donation to your local PBS station you can now access the online content of PBS. You can do it online or through the PBS Passport app, with this solution you could watch it on your computer or device ( phone, iPad).

    3. I will have to search this series as I hadn’t heard they had remade it. My mother grew up in the Yorkshire Dales. I loved the books and used to watch the series a long time ago.

  12. Hi everyone! I haven’t posted in a while, but thought I would chime in this week!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • My free tea sources have dried up now that our company has not been able to put on in person conferences. My daughter did give me some of her tea that she didn’t want. I also found a lot of tea on clearance racks though, so I stocked up on that.
    • Ate dinner in 4 times. Dinners were steak, baked potato and broccoli; baked chicken legs with peas and Stovetop stuffing that I got on clearance; SpaghettiO’s with a hot dog cut up into it (it was just me that night); and ground beef and rice casserole.
    • I worked 14 contract hours from home.
    • Hung 3 of 4 loads of laundry.
    • Walked for exercise.
    • Our garden is done for now. We plan to plant some seeds this weekend and will hopefully have a Fall harvest.
    • I’ve continued to rebuild my stockpile of food, due to these times of uncertainty. I have spent more on groceries than usual, but when prices go up, which I believe they inevitably will soon, I will be eating for less. I have started to pay more attention to the couponing apps and combine with sale prices to try to get the lowest price on some items. I did very well on cereal this week, getting 13 boxes for an average of 60c each. Plus I will get 10 books free from Kellogg’s promotion.
    • I’m also trying to move things out of the freezer and onto the shelf, so I have canned a number of things in the last 2 weeks including 6 qts. of beef bourguignon, 2 qts. of beef stroganoff, 2 qts. chicken chile verde, 2 qts. chicken and broth (soup starter), 1 qt. of just chicken broth, 5 pts. of ranch beans, 8 pts. of ground beef, 12 – ½ pts of peach jelly and 12 – ½ pts of plum syrup (jelly didn’t set 😊), and a few jars of plain black beans and white beans.
    • Made homemade zucchini, cranberry and almond muffins with items I have on hand.
    • Used cards I already had to send for a birthday, sympathy and a get well.
    • The company I do contract work for has decided to not reopen the office and just have everyone work from home. Because of this they are getting rid of what is in the office. I was able to take home a large box of snacks, a very nice office chair, 2 monitors and 2 monitor arms to attach to my and my husband’s desks. Also got a garbage can and a stack of greeting cards.
    • Continued to use GetUpside when we get gas. We have been getting between 17c and 24c/gallon back every time we fill our tanks.
    • Since we hardly ever go out since the shutdowns, I haven’t had to buy shoes or clothes this summer. I just am wearing what I have. I have a few nicer shirts that I wear when I need to look more presentable.
    • My husband has saved us money this week too. We had 2 toilet handles break, which he replaced, the sprinkler system valves broke, so he rebuilt it. He has also started painting the interior of our house.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  13. Thank you as always Brandy for these weekly reminders to be frugal! Last month, the four in my family were tested for COVID at a local urgent care as someone came in contact with COVID. Fortunately, we all tested negative but the test cost $75 each for a total of $300. A few weeks went by and my husband started feeling unwell and went for another one. He was informed that insurance now covered the test 100%. I immediately called our insurance company and started the claims process, it will probably take two months but we will receive a full refund! I went to several stores to pickup freebies while running other errands and got: Persil detergent, cough drops, a bag of popcorn, five boxes of cereal and a sports drink all for free. While at Kroger picking up loss leaders, I found several trays of lean ground turkey marked down to $1.39/lb because their best by was that day. I purchased five and threw them in the freezer! The first place I check when in Kroger are the clearance sections, I have scored so many great deals! Every week I am buying extra to have a well stocked fridge/freezer/pantry, toiletries and medicine cabinet for this flu season. My oldest is currently doing virtual kindergarten but the plan is to go back to person next week. If the Flu/Strep/COVID season is rampant and everything is closed down again, I want to be better prepared. I also cleaned out and rearranged my pantry to utilize the space better and use up all the odds and ends that have been sitting. I completed a survey for our property management company at work and earned a $10 gift card of my choice and then my boss let me complete his and keep that $10 gift card as well. I chose to redeem them for Walmart gift cards and plan to stockpile them for the holidays. After work today, I am headed to CVS to pickup two free bottles of All detergent. For whatever reason, CVS keeps sending $2 Extra Care Bucks to my card. All is on sale this week for $2.99, so I have $4 ECBs and two $1 All coupons to make them free. My youngest has sensitive skin so I get the Free and Clear type. Happy Savings Everyone!

    1. I keep getting the $2 extra care bucks sent to my card too. I keep telling myself it’s God providing the help He knows I need at this time in my life.

  14. I have bought some generic Nyquil for winter sniffles and whatnot. I still need to get some more of that and some rubbing alcohol, but otherwise, I think I am about stocked up for the next nine months, which was my goal. I made a soup of spinach, carrots, green beans, green peas, a little tomato, and potatoes for my supper for the week. I also will eat this with cheese toast. Since we are having storms due to the hurricanes/tropical storms, I was in the mood for soup. I am thankful for the rain and for the cooling off because it has been quite hot. I cooked hot dogs in a cast iron skillet in the oven to heat up for lunch at work this week. They cost 88 cents. I had frozen them. I bought a bra that fits perfectly from Walmart.com for under $15. I also bought some almonds and dried mangoes for work snacks. I spent a huge amount of money stocking up on food and supplies since COVID hit, so now I need to concentrate on my savings.

    1. Hi Cindi
      I have been stocking up for the last month and had quite a high amount to pantry/food items. I have decided to do a low Spendtember!

  15. **In May, my husband and I planted our first vegetable garden since we moved here in 2018. In previous posts, I mentioned that I’m not much of a gardener, but with help from videos on the internet, and some earlier experience gardening before, we muddled through and planted a fairly large garden which has and is still producing very well. Our raspberry canes didn’t take so they were removed and returned to the store. The squash plants developed a problem with squash borers so they were removed and plum tomatoes were added in their stead. These issues were learning curves for us. But now, I’m harvesting herbs as well as yellow beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, salad greens, swiss chard, green bell peppers and jalapenos.
    **Needing to further stretch our funds, I’ve decided to include homemade gifts for Christmas this year. My eldest daughter has been married one year now. Last year we filled her pantry with home-canned tomatoes, pickles, preserves, jams and jellies and since she still has plenty of these, I’ve decided to give her some Dried Vegetables and Dried Vegetable Mixes. I’ve taken advantage of the cheaper prices of celery here, and I’ve dehydrated 12 so far. For each bunch, I’ve separated them into 4 portions: leaves; the first one-third top of the celery; the middle part of the stalks; then the bottom. All parts of the celery are blanched first to retain its colour. Then I remove the leaves and dry separately; the top portion of the celery is then diced. (The spindly, skinny stalks that the leaves are connected to are not dried but put into the freezer for making soup broth). The middle portion of the celery stalks are sliced to use as a substitution for fresh celery when making soup stock. The tougher base of the celery is also dried but then powdered to use in dishes where visible pieces of celery are not desirable, as in for gravies, dips or for a quick celery flavour when needed at the last minute. The leaves, along with celery seed, is ground to make Celery Salt. As well as the diced celery, I’ve dehydrated on-sale green onions so far and when the red peppers, carrots and leeks come on sale in the fall, I’ll dehydrate them as a dice. All these diced vegetables will be mixed together with some dehydrated parsley and chives and used as a Dried Vegetable Mix for rice dishes as the small pieces will rehydrate quickly during the time the rice cooks. She can also add to soup if she desires. The celery slices will be packaged separately so she can use them alone in place of fresh when they’re not available. I’ll do the same for carrot slices and leeks as well.
    **Since this daughter loves to entertain, I thought I’d also create Dip Mixes and Salad Dressing Mixes using my dried herbs and vegetables. Recipe cards will be included for her.
    **My youngest daughter will get homemade Sponge Toffee, Peanut Brittle and Almond Roca. During the Easter season when we were quarantined, I wasn’t able to buy my usual Easter basket treats, so I made homemade candies. She loved them, so I’ve decided she’ll get some again.
    **My son-in-law will receive Homemade Trail Mix; both Spiced and Candied Nuts; and home-canned Red Jalapeno Jelly.
    **My middle daughter’s boyfriend will receive Bread and Butter Pickles (already made last week) since he never had them before until he tried my homemade and really enjoyed them; my home-canned Sweet and Sour Duck Sauce, which he likes; and Homemade Caramel Corn.
    **My middle daughter will receive homemade Diabetic-friendly Hot Chocolate Mixes; Vanilla Chai Coffee Mix; Homemade Sugar-Free Gummy Bears and Sugar-Free Caramel Turtle Candy.
    **All my girls will also receive a Recipe Binder of family heirloom recipes – I want these recipes to live on. They’ll be printed on beautiful cardstock, and since I’m able to draw, I’ll hand paint pictures to match each recipe.
    **I mention these Christmas ideas now in case someone is also planning to add homemade gifts – it may spur the imagination. I always get inspiration from the ideas given on these posts!
    **Continued frugal measures of watering the garden with start-up water; hand washing dishes instead of running the dishwasher; line-drying laundry; saving and freezing all veggie scraps for soup stock; making all meals at home; remaking leftovers into new dishes; and home-canning and dehydrating the garden and seasonal produce.
    **To save from buying fruit juices during the Winter, this week I’m going to home-can Watermelon and Lemonade Fruit Concentrate; and Peach Lemonade Concentrate (to use in iced tea) since all these fruits are on sale right now. I have plans to add Grape and Apple Concentrates in the Fall once these are in season.
    –Cheers everyone–

    1. Pat, your diabetic friendly recipes for your middle daughter sound interesting! I am a newly diagnosed diabetic, only a month so far and would love any tips or recipes if you decide to share them! Thanks, Rebecca

      1. -Rebecca, my daughter was 5 when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes – she’s 21 now. I’m sorry to hear this has happened to you as I remember how difficult it was for us to navigate how to eat differently as a family. Here in Canada, she was automatically given a pediatrician that specialized in diabetes, and a nutritionist that helped calculate how many carbohydrates she needed to eat at each meal and at snack times. I hope you’re receiving the same valuable care as it makes the journey easier to understand.
        -I found it more difficult to find dessert ideas, so I’l give you some tips that helped me. I learned to mostly bake Snacking Cakes or Muffins as I could substitute some of the sugar with a sugar substitute, such as Splenda, and use applesauce or other fruit purees to add some of the moisture and sweetness lost because of the lack of sugar. I usually didn’t frost the cakes, but occasionally if I made a banana snacking cake, I would drizzle a thin stream of melted dark chocolate over the top (dark chocolate has less sugar).
        -Here’s a recipe from Taste of Home for Glossy Chocolate Frosting. It’s like an old-fashioned cooked frosting recipe. It’s has the texture of pudding and I use it mostly to frost Birthday Cupcakes. tasteofhome.com/recipes/glossy-chocolate-frosting/
        -Sometimes I add miniature chocolate chips to the batter – mini chips are smaller so they distribute throughout the cake and it seems like each bite has chocolate in it without all the extra added sugar. Nuts or sunflower seeds are great add-ins as they contain protein.
        -I believe in the United States sugar free cake mixes are available as is sugar free powdered icing sugar (keto).
        -Fruit crisps are great for dessert as you can drastically cut back on the sugar and just sprinkle a bit of the crumble over top.
        -Berries have less carbs than other fruits, such as bananas. Great served with sugar-free yogurt (the protein) as a snack.
        -Sugar-free jello or pudding mix is handy for a quick dessert or snack. Jazz up a package of sugar free vanilla pudding mix with coconut extract and add extra toasted shredded coconut. Top the pudding with some light cool whip and sprinkle extra toasted coconut to make a mock coconut-cream pie. Sugar-free chocolate pudding with cool whip folded in makes a mock chocolate mousse. If you want to bake a Coconut Cream Pie, here’s a recipe I use: myrecipes.com/recipe/splenda-island-lover-coconut-cream-pie
        -While in the Splenda site, there’s many other recipes to explore. Iced Mocha Latte and Strawberry Smoothies come to mind for drinks.
        -Here’s some sites for Low-Carb, Sugar-Free recipe sites that I use:
        American Diabetic Association, or the Canadian Diabetic Association has all kinds of varied recipes and ideas.
        -My daughter was told to eat half her plate with non-starchy vegetables like greens, broccoli, tomatoes, dark lettuce etc. One serving of lean protein, like chicken. One serving of a bread or grain, OR a starchy vegetable like a small potato, small cob of corn OR beans like navy beans. One serving of dairy like milk, yogurt or cheese. It’s important to eat fibre rich grains like oatmeal and substitute whole grains when possible, like brown rice for white rice. I also don’t serve dessert or candies very often – it’s more of a treat.
        -This isn’t an extensive list, but I hope it helps Rebecca.
        Pat J.

    2. Oh what a lovely idea to reproduce the family recipes and especially to have handpainted labels. Lovely!

    3. Pat: I love your Christmas gifts ideas. Several Christmases ago I gave each of my daughters a recipe book of family favorites. I went through family pictures, and included a picture of the family member the recipe came from, or a picture of a family event that featured the recipe of the dish. It was a big hit. Both girls have said, it is a treasured possession as several family members have since passed on.
      Be well.

    4. What lovely gifts you have planned. I think it is especially wonderful that you have thought through a different selection for each person, so they know you have thought about them personally as you decided what to make for them.

      1. Thank you Elizabeth for noticing that. I did want everyone to have something specially earmarked for each individual person. If I know my people though, they’ll also try everyone else’s goodies!
        Pat J.

    5. Your recipe books sound like an absolute treasure of a gift! I think I’d enjoy being on your Christmas list.
      Thanks for sharing – I have several ideas now that I think I’ll use for my own Christmas list.

  16. Hello! Hope everyone is having a good week. We have been challenged by heat, humidity and wild fires in our area. The air quality has been so bad that we have not been able to open the windows. We don’t have AC but are making due with our fans. It has been a challenge but we are remembering that we are so much better off than so many. Last week I went shopping for my parents. They generously offered to pay for our groceries as well. The parents of one of our son’s friends gave us 6 pears from their tree that we enjoyed. We have been enjoyed the small harvest from our garden, including lemon cucumbers (which my husband made several batches of refrigerator pickles which were delicious!), several types of tomatoes, herbs, too many zucchini to mention and a spaghetti squash. I enjoyed a phone visit with a friend; we are going to try and go for a walk early during the upcoming weekend. We will also trade garden produce. My mother in law brought over dinner one night and we enjoyed leftovers for several meals. I really thought last week about what I was going to spend my money on. I was on my way out to run and errand and I thought “I’ll just swing by Starbucks and pick up a cool drink.” I then realized that I had ice and tea at home. So instead of spending money at Starbucks, I made my own iced tea at home and took it with me. I also looked for other ways to go without spending. My mom and I bought a joint baby present for a close friend. I didn’t have any baby shower cards, so I thought maybe I’d go to the Dollar Tree to get one. But before doing that, I checked with my mom who had an extra one. She also had an extra anniversary card that I could have to use for a cousin’s anniversary next month. All and all, it was a good week. This week our goal is to make meals using only what we have. We’ll see how it goes!

  17. Brandy, I read your comment as “I had a conversation with the air conditioner..” I think I might have been out in the sun to long today.

    I will start working from home this week, this will be such a savings and like I said last week, this makes things better. I will miss my little cubicle though.
    I traded 2 canned pints of kale/potatoes and some canning lids for 8 lbs of peaches. That will be enough for small batch jam and peach butter. (To spread on not biscuits but just as romantic rolls!)
    A family member made a recipe from a dear friend who is no longer with us. It’s vegetarian, delicious and cheap to make. I asked for the recipe and am happy to have another memory of my friend.
    My garden is producing finally. Next week I should have enough tomatoes to make Brandy’s Tuscan Tomato Bread soup. I am thinking of trying a small batch of cowboy candy as well.
    Mended the Velcro (applied new Velcro) to a pair of leather sandals for my dad. Due to Covid, the few cobblers we have in the area are out of business. Besides being a great dad, he has also done so many little mends for me over the years. It was nice to be able to return the favor. Had the velcro, thicker thread and leather needles in my stash.
    The cat and I sit at the front door looking out the glass storm door in the morning as I wake up, the past few days I have seen hummingbirds feeding off the flowers. In the 15+ years I have lived here, I never saw a hummingbird. It’s been such a treat.
    Hope everyone has a peaceful week.

  18. This week we saved money by eating at home all but one meal. We ate out of our fridge and freezer and only had to buy a couple of things at the grocery store. I used the rest of my grocery budget to buy food for a friend in need. I feel very fortunate for all we have and a for a secure job during these times. The meal we got take out for, my youngest was fed from my husbands dinner, and we still had left overs for a lunch for myself.
    We continued to be able to eat tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, and herbs from the garden. Didn’t have to water at all because the rain has been consistent lately.
    We were able to open the windows and turn off the AC a few mornings. I’m happy it’s starting to cool off where I live.
    I always tear dryer sheets in half to help save money. They seem to work perfectly fine with just half a sheet.
    I made some banana bread for snacks and breakfasts using old bananas and ones I’ve had in my freezer. I also added some frozen cranberries and chocolate chips! Turned out great!

  19. My 88 year old Mum arrived from Toronto last Sunday, viewed a condo on Monday and bought it on Tuesday. It was advertised for 200,000 and she paid 185,000 which is a great price for a 2 bed condo. She is staying with us and moving in in 2.5 weeks. We are expecting DD and 3 friends who will be passing through enroute back to uni at the end of the week for a few days. Of course 5 extra mouths to feed will not be frugal but we don’t mind. In frugal fun, I joined some friends camping out in their new trailer in the mountains for a night last week.

    I had this past week off work and DH and I both return to our PT jobs tomorrow. The leaves are just starting to turn colour here and starting to fall-the days are warm and the nights cool which is just the way I like it. DH and I continue to ride our bikes each day for free exercise. A friend came by yesterday with his new electric bike for $1500-cheaper than a car and fun for a spin around the block but I think we will stick with our old ones.

    Using leftover roast chicken today to make a chicken pot pie and chicken soup.

    1. Oh your weather sounds so pleasant! We won’t see changing leaves until late November. It’s 115 here right now.

    2. Oh what a lovely idea to reproduce the family recipes and especially to have handpainted labels. Lovely!

    3. Oh, I, could you please find out what electric bike your friend bought and where? I was thinking of buying one
      but it was a lot more expensive than your friend’s. That is a great price!

  20. I keep hunting for canning lids. Found some at ACE hardware, Tractor Supply co and http://www.ballofficial.com, I can around 1200 jars a year. Right now I need about 600 to get through next year.
    Started looking for seed to replace what I used up. I’m okay with using this year’s seed for next year. I harvest lettuce seed, dried Bergin seed (type of bean), small red bean seed (along with about a pound for the pantry).
    I mended two shirts of Hubby’s and a pair of my shorts.
    AC goes off in the morning around 5:30 when we light the oil lamp (instead of the over head light, mineral spirits for the lamp was free as it was a gift for taking an Amish family to their bus when their driver broke down). We got a gift of a pint of fresh honey from local Amish when I mentioned my doctor would like me to start using honey daily for medical.We had charged the lawn mower battery that runs his brother’s child nubulizer. I finished 60 cups of corn in the freezer and dehydrated 6 more qts. The corn came from the Amish neighbor she has 250 qrts of corn canned.
    We have some changes in finances coming up that we are still looking out. The pantry is mostly stocked and the last is the green tomatoes, tomatoes and beets I ordered off Amish that is coming in later this week or next week.
    Reading here daily
    Blessed be everyone

    1. Juls, you have such a great relationship with your Amish neighbours, both sides are blessed by your friendship. Lovely.

  21. Hello everyone. I just wanted to check-in and say “hi.” As for money-saving activities, there haven’t been any except for processing the vegetables from my garden. My life has been going from the kitchen to the garden, then repeating. Seeing empty grocery store shelves for months this past spring really rattled me and I planted too much. Now it is all maturing and I can’t bear to see it go to waste so I am either sharing or processing. This is my garden on the last day of July.
    I am looking forward to resting my feet and reading everyone’s news.

      1. Oh Libby, I wasn’t joking! That Tahitian Butternut Squash is almost to the end of the row now and I am not a spring chicken anymore. It can outrun me. Every morning when I check the garden, I kick the errant vines back into the row otherwise it would take over the whole garden. However, its wanderlust is forgiven because I can see some BIG squash forming under the canopy of leaves.

    1. Jeannie—
      Where did you find your Butternut seeds? I am in Chattanooga, same garden zone as you, and I would love to try this type! I need super hardy types of things to survive my gardening!

      1. Susan, I purchased my seeds from Baker’s Creek and they have a video about its history. Be forewarned it is aggressive. This year I planted it late on purpose because a person can only eat so much squash. This is a link to the year one sprouted in my compost pile and took over the garden and field. Pictures will prove I am not exaggerating (like most gardeners and fishermen do).
        This link shows a wheel barrel full of squash (with Scooter precariously balanced on top for scale) which was harvested from that one plant.
        They really do taste very sweet.
        If you can’t get seeds, let me know because I can send you some.

  22. When we recently purchased this house the appliances were quite old although looked well cared for. Now the refrigerator is having some issues, possibly with hoses. So we will have to decide whether to repair it or buy a new one. Our realtor gave us an insurance sort of warranty on our appliances for one year. I will have to look and see if the refrigerator is covered under it.
    As a wonderful surprise our car insurance company sent us a letter saying our rates were being lowered. They just didn’t say what the new rate would be.
    My husband’s pension was given a $230 a month cost of living raise. I guess that might cover the higher cost of groceries.
    I brought my brother the wool blanket I crocheted for him. He needed some clothes and we found them on sale for half price. The day we went to visit him we packed a picnic lunch so we wouldn’t have to buy food on the way home.
    I was in need of a muffin tin and small casserole dish. I found them at a local charity store which benefits kitty rescue and they were in new condition for only $3 each.
    At the grocery this morning they had bricks of cheddar cheese for .99 (and they were two pound bricks). Close to the expiration date but not quite. There were some other good deals, too.

    1. A home warranty will probably cover your refrigerator. There will be a service call charge (about $75, depending on the company) and they will come out to repair or replace your appliances. You can buy one yourself at any time as well.

  23. You are so right about staying home. Last week I spent several afternoons/mornings out of the house and I was incredibly frustrated at my lack of productivity. This week is looking better. I’ve been out foraging herbs and berries: elderberries, peppermint, nettles, horehound and a tiny bit of calendula and dill. We cleaned out a shed that had stuff in it from the previous homeowner. I found some glass domes for cloches,a solar panel and a few other useful things.

  24. -I reconfigured our furniture arrangement in the living room, instead of making a purchase.
    -Learning new recipes on You Tube for free, to incorporate into whole food, plant based eating plan. This plan has kept me off cholesterol medications for 2 years now. Currently eating a lot of Vidalia Sweet Onions, Cucumbers, Plum Tomatoes, and Georgia Peaches (in Fl. close to GA)
    -For entertainment/leisure: library reading, bike riding, made birthday card with poetry verse for grandchild

  25. Brandy I am so glad you were able to harvest some herbs, almonds, pears and cucumbers from the garden and dry the herbs too. We will be collecting water when summer comes here from our air conditioners for the gardens as well but right now it is still frosty and cold outside. Always a lovely feeling to have the repairs done in your home and I know what you mean by budgeting to save for them to be done.

    We have been saving for a while to have 2 ceiling panels replaced & some painting to be done, the tank stand shed beams reinforced and a house stump replaced and happy to say we have finally got there and saved for them. Shortly we will call our local repair man and get him to start on these projects. Unfortunately none of these things we can do ourselves being more specialised repairs. Being that the ceiling panels need replacing the handyman will have the matching paint to do the other little bit of painting we require inside the home so it will be easier for him to paint it all too.

    Last weeks Vicky challenge added up to $78.86 in savings 🙂 .

    Internet listings –
    – Listed 20 handmade items on an eBay free listing promotion saving $33 on usual prices.

    Purchases –
    – Bought a 6pk of cream buns on markdown saving $1.80.
    – Saved $44.06 or 67.58% of the purchase cost on groceries using $10 redeemed rewards points, $10 off from our e-gift cards and combining half price specials on Old Gold chocolate, chicken kievs and 50c off per kg chicken drumsticks.

    In the gardens and sheds –
    – Shoveled some dirt from one large garden bed we are preparing to fill in part of the driveway that had potholes from trucks and machinery driving through during wet weather.
    – Dug out some marshmallow weeds from the base of one mandarin and a mulberry tree and put the weeds in the bin.
    – Dug out grass and weeds from around the base of a tree at the side of the home and weeded one side of the homes shrub garden beds.
    – In the firewood shed moved all seasoned firewood to the front of the lean-to shed on freshly laid roof metal we picked up from the tip for $1 – $2 per sheet. We now have room for the rest of the firewood we are about to split to stack it neatly in there.

    Have a great week ahead 🙂 .


  26. My husband and I decided that he would not go back to work at the university at this time. It would be a frontline job and we didn’t feel it was worth the risk. Of course, this will mean that we will have no income for the rest of the year. I am thankful that I have been stocking up so diligently over the last six plus months. I am also canning and freezing local produce as I find it at a good price. My cherry tomato plants are really producing and I have stewed a large pot of them for the freezer to use in casseroles in the winter. I think we will only really need milk, eggs, juice and some fresh produce going forward. I ordered my seeds for next year when there was a free shipping offer and my husband will spend some time this fall getting the garden ready for spring planting. I hung all laundry outside to dry and we are really trying to keep our hydro use to a minimum. We have a lot of wood so we will be using the fireplace more this winter and keeping the furnace set low as much as we can. We received three free games, a piece of hosta to plant and a large picture frame all for free this week.
    Hope everyone is well and has a good and frugal week.

    1. That was not an easy decision to make, Andrea.

      It sounds like you are well-prepared. I pray that your garden bears well until frost.

      1. Thanks for your support. We have a disabled son and we could just not risk bringing COVID into our home or being separated due to quarantine. I am more than prepared and our cherry tomato plants are still loaded with green tomatoes so I know we will get a lot more from them.

        1. AndreaG, I also have been faced with difficult decisions regarding my special needs daughter. Financially we can get by but it’s hard seeing her not being able to not go anywhere where people are. Her syndrome , a rare disease and her medical issues beyond those are just too risky. I wish you well.

          1. You as well Lillianna. It is such a difficult time, especially For those of us with special needs children. I pray you have peace.

    2. Blessings to you. You have made a brave decision. I don’t know where you live, but if you live in a cold place and are interested in extending your gardening season, there is a book by Eliot Coleman titled Four Season Harvest. I think he gardens in Maine.

      1. Thanks Kara. We live in southern Ontario in Canada so we are definitely a cold climate. I will look for this book at the library.

    3. Andrea, putting your son first shows great love. I am sure you will be blessed a hundredfold. I wish we lived closer so that I can share any bounty, but as that is not the case, I will pray for all of you. I truly believe you will be blessed greatly. This pandemic has shown all of us how much we have and has enlightened us as to where we needed to fill in the holes. It sounds like you are ready, and many of the commenters here seem ready to.

      1. Thank you Laura S. We are well stocked and well prepared and can face this head on. This pandemic has taught us much, especially about what really matters.

  27. Loved reading about your week!

    * Discount grocery store where I got protein bars 20/$1; BOGO free box treats, several sauces and marinades for $1. or less (the kind that’s about $3-$4 a piece); Minute Maid smoothie makers .79 cents each, and a host of other items.
    * Camped one night in our RV
    Saved a lot of money over hotel rooms, and fast food.
    * Enjoyed walks (for free) before the temps go back up. It’s going to be about 20• warmer next week.
    *Traded a few items to clear clutter and get clothes for rapidly growing children.
    *Used credit on a sale app to buy a needed pair of shoes for my daughter.

    Have a wonderful week!

  28. Sorry about your pear trees not bearing much fruit I didn’t think they would survive in your climate. My parents have a large tree full of pears but not quite ready to harvest. My dad says that some years the tree produces more than in others. I think I would pass out in your weather. Last week it was gorgeous here – low to mid 80s with low humidity and ocean breezes. But this week we’re up to low 90s with chance of thunderstorms daily. Enjoyed many walks and gardening. I’m not growing any veggies this yr but will use your method to dry my basil as I don’t have a dehydrator. Family went crabbing and caught about $45-50 worth. They enjoyed a crab boil; I don’t eat shellfish.

    Lots of great deals – stocked up on starkist solid white tuna at $1 can; boneless purdue chicken breast at $1.99 lb; purdue chicken legs at 0.79 lb; angus beef top round sirloin $3.99 lb; angus beef NY strip steak at a very good price. We ordered take out several times to support our local family-owned diner as indoor dining is not allowed.

    Watched “Lucy Worsley’s Royal Photo Album” on PBS. She explored how the royal family collaborated with generations of photographers to create and reinvent their image. It was a “fluff” piece but I enjoyed some of the photos and her re-enactment.

    One of your posters had inquired about the real estate market last week – I thought it a great question as I too am curious how it is thru the country – I read your reply & will add that in my area, Southern NJ, it is booming. Houses are on the market and within a week or two sold above asking price with multiple bids. This is because people are moving out of NY state, NYC, and Northern NJ due to covid-19, shutdowns due to it; crime and protests caused by civil unrest and more people working remotely. We are a conservative county and don’t really want these new neighbors here who tend to be too liberal for us. We had very few covid-19 cases here during the pandemic. This will also price local young people out of the housing market as their city $ are overinflating the market. And our housing prices were high to begin with.

    1. Mari,

      I was reading some info on the local nursery’s page today about choosing fruit trees for the desert. I have read it all before many times but since I am thinking about what will replace the pear trees, I thought I should read it again.

      It said that pears do really well here and are not planted often enough!

      I also thought that my pears were a high-chill choice, but it turns out, they only require 500 chilling hours. That is a low medium chill tree, actually. They did not flower much this year.

      But, they have never been very good (so dry!) and we actually don’t like pears that much. I thought they would grow on us (the apricots certainly grew on me! My husband liked them before and asked me to plant a tree; now we have three apricot trees!).

      I am still deciding. Reading was good. My husband suggested grapefruit. I was thinking to try more citrus as winters have been warmer and warmer. I had two grapefruit trees years ago and both eventually died. We had a couple of winters with a few days where it got down to 22. Apparently, Rio Red grapefruit can handle a few temps below freezing, down to 25 for a few hours with some damage. I think I will try growing them again, and because our poor soil here (even the brought in stuff) has such problems with iron, I will do more to prepare the soil under the trees so that they don’t struggle so much to absorb the iron that I will add. This means adding a lot of sulfur to lower the pH of the soil. I fertilized my trees before, but not so heavily with iron. Next time I will change that. It’s a problem here for all trees; I can see that my almonds right now are very iron deficient as well.

      1. I’m not saying this to convince you to grow more pears, but did you have a variety (like Bartlett) that self-pollinate, or several varieties that pollinated each other? Even the self-pollinators do better with another variety planted nearby. Something to consider when you plant the new trees of something else.

        1. The trees that I am taking out are Bartlett pears. I make it a point to only grow self-fertile trees. Whatever I grow in their place will also be something self-fertile.

          We don’t really like pears. I had some when I was first married and my mother-in-law taught me to can them, so I was eating them then (store-bought ones), but no one here really wants them. Plus, they are DRY–like eating paste. They’re really horrible tasting.

      2. Brandy, the Rio red grapefruit sound so good; I know that you research thoroughly before you plant – best of luck to you with whatever fruit trees you ultimately select. Thank you for explaining your thought process and how you remedy your soil. We need to amend our soil here too as it’s very sandy and as we are at sea level deep rooted trees do not do well. You also reminded me that I need to visit my local nursery and inquire about our crepe myrtles as this yr one barely bloomed – perhaps the soil also needs to be amended.
        I’m a little envious of your almond trees as I love almonds and their flowers. My parents own a vacation home in Southern Italy – Calabria is the province – about a 20 minute drive to the Tyrrhenian Sea. There we have almond, olive, orange and tangerine trees which do very well but the soil there may be better than yours as it’s not desert as we go years without visiting and when we go back, the trees are healthy and producing well. It gets to the low 100s there in the summer with recently a few colder years when its gone to the low 20s for several days in the winter. One of my brothers and his family are there now on vacation and said that the trees look healthy. My parents and my family hope to visit next year so we can enjoy fresh-picked oranges each morning!

        1. The self-fertile almonds are pink-flowering, just like peaches. I thought they might be white like the fields of almonds that I have seen, and that would be lovely, but they are not. I do like that they top out at 15 feet, though. I also love that they are a semi-dwarf tree, which makes them bear earlier than other types. That’s something I love about semi-dwarf trees.

    2. I was very sad to read your comment about not wanting new neighbors who do not see things the way you do. I trust that as you get to know them, you will learn about their strengths and their capacity for kindness, as they learn about yours. If they are moving, they are looking for a better community, so I hope you are able to welcome them to your county.

      1. Hi Elizabeth M – my apologies if my comment upset you in any way – it wasn’t meant to. I’m originally from New York State and most of my family resides there. Dh and I met and both worked in NYC so I know about others’ strengths and their capacity for goodness. Dh and I love NYC but are seeing it being destroyed as it has defunded its police dept and looting and shootings are rampant. With the exception of this year, we visit NYC often as I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art, live theater, and concerts. And to visit family thru out NY state. 20 years ago we moved to southern NJ to leave the city behind and raise our family in a small town environment with emphasis on God, good moral values, where law enforcement, other essential workers and the military are respected and part of the community. Our county is a military county with an active joint base and a large active military community – and many retired military leaders retire here. Many of our streets are named after late military commanders & generals. It is not uncommon to run into active duty in their camo in supermarkets and restaurants. Pre-covid when indoor dining was allowed, dh loved to buy a soldier’s meal at our local diner as a way to thank him or her for their service. Military people tend to be conservative as they have put their life on the line for their country and fellow countrymen. My dh served two tours of duty as a U.S. Marine. During the war with the Taliban, military cargo planes flew over us in the middle of the night carrying the bodies of our dead soldiers. Our county is comprised of all races and religions – but what we all have in common and keeps us strong as a community is a respect for our police, our soldiers, our Flag and for each other. I pray that this long message puts you at ease. May the Lord bless you and keep you safe.

        1. And you, Mari/Jersey Shore. No matter what our differences, we can be sure that we are all in these times together, and doing our best to make our way through them safely the best way we can figure.

        2. I was thinking the same thing and hope that we all can love and respect those who seem different than we. I loved the few years we lived in California as we met so many different people from various backgrounds and religions and everyone seemed so accepting of the melting pot of people, much more so than any other place we have lived. It was wonderful and I miss it. The world needs more love and kindness.

          I am sorry to hear about your fruit trees Brandy! We planted 3 sour cherry and 5 apple trees 6 years ago and since we haven’t taken care of them very well, they have done poorly. We get so caught up in the flowers and vegetable garden and tend to neglect the trees. My husband said that he wants to make sure that he puts dormant oil on next year and fertilizes them more. We try to garden organically and only use OMRI certified sprays. I am almost ready to give up, but they really don’t need much time for care and will probably be fruitful if we do so! I keep walking past a neighbor’s very fruitful pear trees and wonder what they are doing.

          1. Fertilize them with bone meal this fall and then again in spring. I also garden organically. They also need to be pruned each year a month before your last frost date.

          2. Karen,
            I don’t know if this applies to you or not but in our cold climate we are advised not to water our sour cherry trees after a certain point in the fall — probably not after the beginning or early September. Our sour cherry trees are incredibly hardy — trees such as Evans cherries don’t like to be watered after that. They also don’t like high nitrogen fertilizers. I’m not sure this applies to your sour cherry species. Ann

          3. Karen, there have been many years when I have not taken good care of my fruit trees, however I discovered that one of the best things you can do is to deep water your trees during dry spells. This also applies to trees planted in the grass that get sprinkler water, which isn’t enough for the trees. I just lay the hose on the ground, turn it to a slow drip-drip-drip and let it water all day or all night. In fact, I am doing it right now. This is the second time I have done it this summer (after a very wet June when I didn’t have to water anything) and I will do it at least one more time before the ground freezes. This is also a good way to revive plants that have wilted and appear to be dying.

  29. -Meals-BLT’s with salad; watermelon and popcorn; bacon, hash browns, and green beans (jar that didn’t seal); spaghetti with sauce (again a jar that didn’t seal) and Italian sausage, vinegar cukes, and garlic toast (made with hamburger buns); pizza-homemade; rueben soup and tomatoes; halibut with corn cream sauce, scalloped potatoes, and beets.
    -Still picking from the garden-zucchini, green beans, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, onions, peppers, and tomatoes.
    -Putting food up still continues-more beans-8 more pints, up to 82 pints canned. Blanched and froze 8 meals of broccoli (see broccoli purchase below). Also canned 20 pints salsa.
    -I was given a 5 gallon bucket of small apples. They were wormy but I managed to can five 3/4 quarts of applesauce. Free food. I love that!!
    -From the two lugs of peaches I canned 20 quarts of peach slices in light syrup.
    -Groceries bought this week were 4 bunches of broccoli (3 stems per bunch) for $1.80 each; 3 large red onions for $2.30; cilantro bunch-$0.50 from an Amish farm market-total $10.00 there. Also at my local Mennonite bulk store I bought graham cracker crumbs, a head of lettuce, and 1/2 pound deli roast beef (for the rueben soup)for $8.00. I bought two lugs organic peaches for $70. Total this week spent was $88.00
    -Stopped at the Goodwill 2nd hand store. For $50.00 I bought a knee high pair of rubber boots-$10 (brand new-so needed! my pair for the garden are wearing out and it has been on my list of needs), 2 pair of pants, 3 shirts, a dress, and 2 sweaters (one button up cardigan and one pullover). All high end name brand labels and all were $5 each. I should be set for winter clothes.
    -Met our daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids midway from our two houses at a lake for a swim, tubing behind the boat, and a picnic on a warm and sunny day. Only cost the gas to drive there and take the boat.
    -My husband paid off his truck this month. Now we are using the money from the truck to add to the house payment.
    Have a great week!!

  30. Almonds! Yum. Didn’t you recently plant almond trees? 115 combined with humidity sounds extremely challenging.

    A local chain store sent an email with a 40% bonus offer if you pay for a store gift card using rolled coins. I emptied out the coin jars I have been saving for a few years and figured out how many coin wrappers I needed plus how many more coins were needed to make a roll. I went to the bank and got free wrappers and 45 cents in change to finish up the rolls. At the store I turned in $90.50 of change and received a gift card for $126.70! This local chain store is a job lot store and I found organic worm casings for 50% off the local nursery price so I bought the four remaining bags. I also purchased organic lawn fertilizer, grass seed, a paint brush, walnuts, and quinoa chips. I’ll save the balance for either Christmas shopping or another need.

    I tried making zucchini noodles alfredo for the first time. I did salt the noodles and leave them in a colander for 15 minutes, but the dish ended up being too liquidy. Next time I’ll add more flour to the roux to make a thicker sauce. It was delicious and relatively healthy and a good way to use zucchini from the garden.

    I’ve been watching YouTube videos about gardening in zone 6 and learned that I can plant in both August and September, which I’m sure experienced gardeners know but was news to me! I ordered seeds from the YouTube channel (www.MIGardener.com) as they were 99 cents per package of 300 seeds, which is the best price I’ve found this year.

    Saturday night I had friends over for dessert and to play board games outside. We created a ring of citronella candles to protect ourselves! I made a peach pavlova for the dessert – taking inspiration from Brandy.

    Ate all meals at home, hung all laundry outside to dry, washed ziplock bags to reuse, froze 2 bushels of peach slices for winter oatmeal breakfasts, and hand washed a small oriental rug and rug pad and hung outside to dry.

    I’m reading Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell which I borrowed from the library. It is EXCELLENT – probably the best book I’ve read this year. Historical fiction about Shakespeare and his family during the time of the plague. It is incredibly well-written.

    1. I did! The trees are very young and small, so it’s just a handful or so of nuts once I shell them. These are semi-dwarf self-fertile trees that only grow to 15 feet tall. They produce fairly early. They are not so good as they were last year. I think the 52 days of temps above 100 (more like 103-115) have just burned them in their shells. I like growing a source of protein. I will be fertilizing these trees heavily this fall; I can tell they are struggling.

        1. I have also planted pistachios, but they have yet to flower. I would LOVE to grow hazelnuts, but after much research, it seems like they would probably not get enough chilling hours here. My garden has quickly become desert/old world fruits: almonds, peaches, apricots, figs, pomegranates, and lemons, and hopefully pistachios.

  31. This week has been full of projects, organizing, and other preparations for the winter season ahead.
    We have relocated all of our food storage so it now has a dedicated spot in our home which has been a huge blessing to us. I also loaded most of our grains, beans, flour, and sugar into sealed and labeled buckets. Now it is easy to see what we have so that we can rotate stock and avoid losing any items. We also organized our freezers and took stock of all we have frozen so that we can eat through the older items ahead of a large meat order arriving.
    I found boneless skinless chicken breast on sale for $1.99/lb and purchased 10 pounds. I also found cream cheese for 89 cents per package which is the cheapest I have ever seen…even cheaper than holiday sales! I bought 10 packages as the shelf life has them good until next March.
    We purchased dog food in bulk taking advantage of a sale and saving over $50.
    We harvested green bell peppers, okra, And banana peppers From the garden. Our second crop of Green beans is doing well and beginning to produce so I expect beans in the next week or so.
    I was just about to sow fall crop seeds when the tropical storm/hurricane began to dump heavy rains on us. Thank goodness I hadn’t planted yet or I would have lost all of the seed. We are grateful for the rain as it results in lower water bills and the growth in the garden is phenomenal.
    We are working on getting our garage organized after some
    Friends gifted us with a ton of wonderful yard tools which we desperately need. Now we have all manner of shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows, ladders, a chainsaw….we offered cash but they wouldn’t take it. Such a blessing!!! All will be put to good use and I will be dropping off some homemade dinners for them in the coming days. I also gifted them with homemade pickles, banana peppers, jams and salsas. My husband will be building some shelves in our garage as that is the most economical way to achieve the storage we need.
    I received two $15 rewards after purchasing fall/winter clothing items for my son and was able to use them for two large packages of underwear and a shirt in the next size up for him at only a small out of pocket cost to me.
    We enjoyed meals from home last week including pasta e fagioli soup, baked chicken with rice and peas, and bbq chicken with mashed potatoes and spinach.
    I was able to stock up on some over the counter medicines, bandages, peroxide and rubbing alcohol this week as well. Like many of you, our food/household supply costs have been higher as we work to stock up but I anticipate these costs being balanced out once we are eating from our stock more exclusively.
    Hope everyone enjoys a great week ahead!

  32. Hope it was a nice, frugal week, everyone!
    Our car lost a wheelcover somewhere, no idea where. Along a street with many medians, I stopped and picked up two that looked to be in fair condition. One fit! It’s not an exact match, but looks better than nothing. The one lost wasn’t original to the car, anyway, but this saved us from ordering one online. These discarded/lost ones would have been picked up by trash crews, anyway.
    I got a free mattress and box spring from my brother and SIL, who were moving. We’ve needed one, and I know that this one is from a clean home.
    I mentioned to a neighbor that my 7 year old’s basketball headboard broke when the goal blew over during a storm. Our neighbor is in her 80s, but she had one, new-in-box, that she gave my son. It had been in her garage for about 25 years, she said, and she had no plans to put it up in her own driveway. How generous of her! She was happy to get it out of her garage. Hopefully my dad will assemble it for us.
    My dad fixed a kitchen drawer where the track came loose. It was the drawer I use most often, so I’m glad it’s functional again.
    I picked a nice virtual background for teaching my community college course. It’s not my office, but it looks like a very nice office, so I’ll enjoy using it as my background. I’m so glad we have technology to enable us to do so many things.
    My kids found some new-to-us nature shows on the Roku, which we have enjoyed having during the quarantine. I’m too cheap to pay for any type of tv or subscription, so this is great!
    I picked out a few clusters of firm, nice grapes from the store. I prefer to take a few seconds to bag and buy the ones I want, rather than find the bottom part of the bag full of brown, mushy grapes. This helps us avoid food waste.
    I took a meal to a mom friend with a new baby using ingredients we mostly already had. I don’t mind taking food to a big family, and her meal was easy-breezy with no restrictions or preferences.
    I washed the van outside in the driveway. I know that this sounds crazy, but don’t you enjoy your vehicle/house/children/etc. more when they’re clean? I know I do.
    I bought a bag with a few unopened essential oils at Goodwill. I’m not sure that I’m ready to hop on this bandwagon, but I was curious, and will only be out $2 if I don’t end up using them.
    We got food from Burger King using coupons. It’s one of the cheaper fast food options for feeding the family, about the same as Little Caesar’s (for us).
    We visited several parks in the morning before it got crowded or hot. Our city (Houston) has lots of great places to explore!

  33. Joining in from the Seattle area.

    The weather has been cooler (mid 70s), so I ventured out to pick more wild blackberries and more rowan berries.
    Picked up my vegetable share at the farm. Herbs (cilantro, dill, parsley and basil) and flowers are part of the share, and we are allowed to pick a certain amount each week. This week I am enjoying mini sunflowers. They have zinnias too, which I am almost embarrassed to say I don’t like very much. So I usually pick the other flowers.
    Made lentil zucchini fritters. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/zucchini-lentil-fritters-with-lemony-yogurt
    These are so good! I had never had lentils like this before, and the fritters were really delicious. I think I’m going to try baking them next time.
    I also made the Greek dish “Briam”, which is a layered dish of sliced potatoes, onions and zucchini mixed with olive oil and oregano (and salt and pepper), topped with sliced tomatoes, then baked until soft. My Greek friend showed me how to make this many years ago, and I saw a recipe for it in a magazine recently. I had everything on hand so I made it. Delicious! Plus it made me think of my friend. She lives in Greece and I met her in Paris. I haven’t seen her in many years, but we still email occasionally.
    Continued to listen to another Great Courses series that I bought several years ago.
    Tried out a top pattern I bought awhile back by sewing a basic test garment using the main pattern pieces, using some muslin I acquired cheaply a long time ago for this purpose. It fit well, so now I will make it in my desired fabric.
    Shopped clearance at Macy’s. Every year, I check out the end of summer sales. This year, they had a lot of stock on hand, and I could actually find my size in a lot of things. Then I realized – this store had been closed for at least 3 months because of Covid restrictions, so they had a lot of unsold stock on hand. You can’t try on anything in the stores here, so I bought a few things and will take back what doesn’t fit (the stores quarantine all returns for a certain period before putting them back out to sell). My best deal was a pair of nice colored jeans for $15.00 (regular price $109.00). They fit perfectly, and I will be able to wear them to work this fall.
    Have a great week, everyone.

  34. Love your photos, Brandy. It’s good to see so much getting accomplished by everyone each week. Good to be with like-minded folks.

    Frugally, we continue to eat from our freezer using up all the bits and pieces of food in there. I did venture out to the thrift store in our low Covid19 area with everything but a hazmat suit on. I’d probably have worn one of I had one. There were a couple things that I needed to buy. In, out and done. The owner accidently overcharged me, but I decided to call the extra 10$ a donation to the veterans. That’s where this shop’s profits go. Our veterans are in need right now.

    Stocking up wise, we are about done (I hope). There will always be things to shop for, but I’ve been on a mission to get us really stocked up. Since I should not go to stores, I’ve been ordering mostly online. In addition to food, I’ve focused on dog food, essential clothing such as sturdy shoes, socks and such. I’ve added a number of backup supplies of household items such as soaps of all sorts, trash bags and such. Where we live, everything is trucked in and there are no big stores, only smaller groceries and locally owned shops. We could be in trouble should trucking slow or stop. Thus far, everything has been going along wonderfully, but I needed to have us better positioned for whatever may come.

    It’s slow going at our house with me being so ill. I have volunteers who would help with the cleaning (which I would LOVE), but I cannot be around people. My dear husband has shown his true cleaning skills! It sure is appreciated as I enjoy a clean and tidy house.

    Blessings to all.

  35. Anyone that is interested. My son and I wrote a book. “I Like You So Much that I Love You.” ( Part 1 of A Mother ‘s Love Series .) It is available for free from August 27th – August 31st for FREE on Kindle.

    1. Brandy,
      Thank-you for letting me post this. People are getting the book on Amazon! My son who has a brain injury playing football help me write it. It was inspired by my boys as children. It is going up the ranks in Christian Children’s books and in Baby and Toddler Bedtime Stories! I’m excited even though I am not making anything right now. But I am still having fun watching it move!


  36. Saved money cooking at home. Entertained ourselves with movies from the library as well as books. I have been avoiding sugar and most carbs. Cooked a big pot of black bean soup. Harvested and ate veggies from our garden. Turned off lights. Will be watching health related videos. Will be exercising inside using videos this coming week . Last week exercise was walking around our land with our grandchildren and gardening. I will continue that as well this week as we have time during recess or after school. Accepted a grill from my parents. We are looking forward to grilling on it before the season ends. I cooked a big pot of vegetable soup using our garden veggies.

  37. I have been following your blog for many years but have only commented once recently.
    I live in New South Wales on the Victorian border on a 20 acre property. We have 2 adult children and are raising a special gift of an 8 year old who has been with us for nearly 6 years.
    We raise sheep for meat and grow most of our own vegetables as well as having hens for eggs. We have a mild climate (doesn’t feel so mild at 40 degrees in summer) and can garden all year round. Summer can be very difficult growing due to the heat – sounds quite like yours Brandy. Water can be a big issue here as well.
    I have a number of questions about products you use if that is okay? When you talk about hamburger (we call it mince) and you say 80/60 or 90/10 – what do you mean?
    Also what is powdered cheese and butter? How is it made? Does it have to be reconstituted before you use it?

    1. It means 80 perfect meat 20 percent fat. 90/10 has only 10% fat, so its more meat and a leaner cut. You don’t lose a lot of volume when you cook it due to it being fat.

      Powdered cheese and butter are purchased commercially. I don’t know how they make them. You just mix it in a recipe as is. In the U.S., we have a commercial product called Kraft mac and cheese. It’s noodles with a powdered cheese packet. You cook the noodles and mix in the powdered cheese, a couple of tablespoons of butter or margarine, and a tiny bit of milk and serve it. A homemade version can be made the same way.

      1. Thanks for the explanation Brandy. I was thinking the hamburger had some sort of filler in it! We have that type of Mac and cheese in Australia too but my husband and daughter both hav3 Coeliac disease so we don’t use that type of product but I get the idea!

        1. Sometimes we label things differently! I was wondering what a “punnet” was but I think we just call that a 6-pack of plants 🙂 I don’t even know if a punnet has 6 plants in it!

          1. We tend to use the word punnet for a number of things. A punnet of seedlings generally has 6 seedlings but in some cases has 4. We also use punnet for a container of strawberries or other berries. I often find myself googling words I find in the comments of your blog – a great opportunity to learn.

  38. I am in awe of those that can and grow and do so much. I am a pensioner and care for my mother and granddaughter. By 7.30 pm I am ready for bed. All I have managed to grow this winter are peas, chocolate mint and dill. Onwards and upwards. Some things for quilts have been prepared. I am thinking about Christmas. I have four family birthdays, a wedding anniversary and wedding to go before Christmas. I know my son wants a quilt.

    I feel for those in the path of storms and fires. They are a real problem in Australia. God bless and stay safe.

    1. Suzan, do not be discouraged. Keep gardening and it will get easier. My secret is that I refuse to weed and that saves so much time. I mulch everything so deeply with grass clippings that nothing else can sprout. My husband mows our yard in long ovals throwing the grass clippings into a long pile. Raking it up is still hard work but I prefer doing that to weeding. You will discover little tricks that make it easier for you as you go along. The reward of free, fresh food is worth the effort.

  39. Our town had the community yard sale event on Saturday and we made $253.00. Since the average price of an item we sold was $.50 we were able to clear a large amount of stuff out of the house! My daughter spray painted her bed frame in the backyard to match the other furniture pieces that she has been redoing. Our wall clock that was a wedding gift 27 years ago has started to chime 16 o’clock no matter what time it is! My husband ordered parts online for $40.00 to fix it. We are still harvesting tomatoes, peppers and zucchini from our garden to eat and preserve and each time I shop I am stocking up on a few items. I have taken advice from this group and I want us to be prepared for the coming winter. My SIL went on vacation and gave us lettuce, hummus and fruit so it would not go to waste while they were gone.

  40. Our cherry tomatoes and cucumbers are finally ripening! The kids are having fun watching the bush beans we planted for fall get blooms and teeny tiny green beans on them. I keep harvesting basil and drying it to use all winter long.
    Brown rice, spaghetti, potatoes, and oatmeal are staples in my house. I am busy researching economical foods high in fats and protein. One of my children needs to eat low carb and a lot more fats and protein. I am thankful for the internet and the ease of researching new recipes.

  41. We also has a leak from our shower, it came through our kitchen ceiling. We traced it back to some sealant that had moved. My husband resealed the who unit, saving us a lot of expense. I repaired 3 pairs of trousers and 2 tops. I harvested herbs from the garden and cut my first Zinnias, I grew them from seed, which were a present from my daughter. I had shown her some beautiful photos you had taken. Have been batch cooking which saves a lot of money, also will help the family when I have injections in my knee this Thursday and will be unable to stand on it for 2 days. Had a large grocery shopping delivered, with being careful I have stocked the larder and saved well over 25% on my bill. I have a list of things I need then get them as they come on offer. Also purchased 2 pairs of sunglasses, a dress and 2 tops, which had 70% off and I got free delivery. I try and buy out of season which has saved me a lot of money. I love your blog it has been inspiring and very useful, thank you for writing it.

  42. Maxine, You can donate that vacuum to someplace like Birthright or Veterans….but….if you choose to sell it, you might make more money by selling the parts on ebay. Seriously, look at the prices for a “wand” (the long part of your canister vac that hold the beater brush) it’s crazy. (and it will be easier to ship….a whole vacuum would require local pickup)

    1. I donate most of my stuff because I really don’t enjoy the buy and sell process. I decided to try to sell this because the same model is $300 new and this was barely used (because I hate it so much, LOL). If it doesn’t sell, I’ll give it away when I get tired of having it around!

  43. Brandy, I didn’t comment last week, but wanted to let you know how endearing the picture of your young sons was.
    Here, we’re spending to prevent possible damage in hurricane season! We had all our trees trimmed and kept some of the chipped wood for mulch. We’re waiting for our shutters– some will be permanently affixed to the house, and some we’ll have to put up each time; this is due to the configuration of our windows, and I wish they could have all been permanent! It will be such a relief, however, not to be putting up plywood!

    Our refrigerators developed some rust in the paint and it looked terrible. I scraped, sanded, and used Ospho on the rust then painted it with Rustoleum white oil paint which was really gray and looked bad I had some very white latex and painted that over and you don’t even notice.

    We’re putting old windows (wooden, double-hung sash) on the porch of our rental property. They exactly match the sash in the rest of the house and will look much better than the aluminum awning windows there. Years ago, our contractor removed them from a house that was being demolished and we’re finally gettig around to finishing the project. Instead of buying all new sash-pulleys, I’m using a wire brush and emery paper to get the superficial rust off, then putting Ospho on them. Not only does it save resources, but also the old steel is superior.

    We continue to save rain water for washing, line-dry, make our meals from scratch and stock up.
    Thank you Brandy for hosting this blog.

  44. I’ve had a very expensive two weeks. My YYC free grocery delivery service is closing down. The students are going back to school. So I asked them to go to the farmers market for me. I bought a half case of peaches, a case of Italian prune plums, a case of blueberries and a case of apples. I have the blueberries, apricots (from before), and plums in the freezer.
    The apples I’ll keep in my fridge.

    Co-op had quite a few specials this week — I bought 5 yogourts for $10 (savings of about $5.00), 10 cans of baked beans, 10 cans of soup, 3 jars of mayonnaise, 2 big boxes of cereal. All were on sale. I have been carting things down to the pantry and organizing it. Some I will leave up upstairs in case I get sick and can’t go downstairs. I would still like some
    more shampoo and an extra laundry detergent.

    Also one of the volunteers stopped at a store (on his way from the market to my place) and picked up two items I needed for my camera. I haven’t been able to download my photos since April but now I can. I have beautiful Western Tanager and Swainson Thrush photos from the spring but the highlight of the summer came last week..It was expensive but I’m set up for winter photography.

    Another expense is that I have been watering my trees like crazy. I lost 3 trees last year and I think it was because they needed more water — it seemed they had enough water but I guess not. I had been watering in the backyard while I was washing and putting blueberries in jars at the patio table. I went around to the backyard only to find that the water pressure had surged and my sprinkler was going very high. And there on a dead branch of a tree were 6 warblers all enjoying a shower. There were about 20 warblers in all. I sat and watched as several flew trough the sprinkler spray. In an hour I had Tennessee Warblers, a Magnolia Warbler, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a native sparrow of some sort, a Philadelphia Vireo. One of the young Tennessee Warblers spread its wings horizontally and then stood up on the branch and looked upwards. It was a magical, enchanted hour. And I had my camera! It was hard to take some photos because they were against the light and I had to do quick exposure compensations, not always successfully. I have the water drops in the photos and two lovely warbler photos as they perched in the water.

    I had been feeling sad because it is the first time I’ve not been able to go to the mountains or elsewhere for a country drive. When I was surrounded by the warblers, all wistfulness disappeared!

  45. I have not commented in a while but have been listening and reading and stocking up even though I live by myself. My son and grandchildren live nearby and are trying to do the same but I am putting some extra away in case they need things later on. I have rearranged pantry and cupboard areas so I can store more efficiently. I have been taking advantage of good sales although I had no garden this summer. I found gala apples at 97 cents for a three pound bag and bought three bags and made applesauce. I made zucchini relish and zucchini muffins from sale zucchini. I bought a 10 lb bag of chicken leg quarters for 39 cents per pound and cut it up. I froze the drumsticks in meal size packages and roasted the other portions with no seasoning. When done, I pulled the meat from the bones and froze it in one cup portions for casseroles. I chilled the liquids and skimmed off the pure chicken fat to use later for baking (it lasts as long as bacon grease and is neutral in flavor like oil) and then put the jelled juices along with the remaining bones and skin in the crockpot overnight to make broth to freeze and use as soup base. I changed my homeowners and car insurance, combined them, and have saved almost $100 per month. I filled my car’s gas tank for the third time since March. I continue to eat all meals at home and avoid food waste. I am working on many small projects that were started long ago and need to be completed. This weekend I am having my son and his family over for an “end of summer” bbq and swim party and every single yummy food item will be from my freezer and pantry. Slow but steady wins the race.

  46. I love those cucumber pictures! Those things grow so big!!!!

    *We took a quick family trip to go river tubing. We had our truck break down twice on the way up. My husband had packed an extra fuel filter because that’s what the code said wasn’t working right. He changed it on a freeway exit and off we went only to have it go to reduced power again within a few minutes and then stop. We were able to pull into a gas station. My husband got on the phone with his network of mechanic sources and checked the air filter. It was quite full of junk – my husband knocked stuff off and was able to use a small vacuum to blow off some stuff. Put it back in and away we went with no more problems. It added several hours of drive time but no cost to repair because of my husband working it out with some help. He went and picked up a new air filter the next morning and quickly installed it. We didn’t have any issues driving home.

    *Because we were so late to get to our destination, everyone was so hot and starving. I had precooked the meat we were using for that meal. Quickly threw it together on the trailer stove instead of dutch oven. We had dinner within 20 minutes of parking our trailer. No money out of pocket for our starving family – able to use our own supplies. All food made was from our own supply. All treats were bought on clearance/homemade/or deep discount. We had plenty and it was a relief. We usually run to the local grocery store for items and we didn’t do it ONCE this entire trip. Such a blessing.

    *My husband and 2 kids went tubing for several hours with the tubes we had purchased. I stayed at the trailer with the dogs and read my books, cross-stitched, art journal and meal prep. It was relaxing. I was able to stream some entertainment while I worked on things in the trailer. We did make a peach french toast with our dutch oven which was soooooooooo good!

    *I did more canning of tomatoes, freezing zucchini and baking zucchini bread and chocolate cake. I chopped peppers from our garden and put them in the freezer as well. My husband pulled out our large sunflowers and placed them in the garden to dry. I picked up my order of Oregon pears. I got 40# for .71/#. They are ripening and I should be able to can those in the next week or two. They are in a cardboard box in my kitchen so I can check them every day. I would prefer to can a few at a time instead of having to do the whole box at once. I’m so grateful to have food that I can preserve.

    *My husband and I went to the Case Lot sale at our local Krogers store. I was surprised at how little was offered, but happy there was anything offered. We stocked up, stocked up, stocked up. I came home and spent 2 hours in our pantry unloading and organizing. We also found cleaning wipes at their store and bought more. We have a nice supply of cleaning and medicine and food.

    *We went to the library, worked out for exercise at home or walking around our neighborhood. My husband made many small repairs around the house. I cut flowers to decorate our home. We read our books, watched movies, texted and or called friends. My husband took me to lunch for our date and we used a gift card. My daughter started in person school and the school decided to waive all the registration and other fees for the school year. We did buy a few supplies for her – but I’m so grateful we don’t have any other fees!

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    *I want to order seeds for next spring – I’m worried I won’t find seeds I need in the spring locally. Any ideas where I should order from?

    1. I have thought about seeds as well.

      I have changed companies over the years as I have learned about new places and better prices. I have made an emphasis on growing open-pollinated/heirloom vegetables so that I can collect the seeds to plant more. I order the bulk of my seeds from Territorial Seed Company. Unlike many companies, which are sold out in fall, they have a fall and winter gardening catalog that they send out. I can usually find what I need in stock from them and at a good price as well.

      1. Thank you Brandy for the info. I want to order seeds now instead of later. I would like to use the heirloom seeds so that I can eventually not have to buy seeds. People in my state have gone crazy for gardening because of COVID. Things sold out super fast in the spring. I want to be prepared.

  47. I remember when you got your almond trees. Now they are producing! We have English walnut trees in our yard, but they take about 10 years to produce.
    Not necessarily frugal – but an accomplishment – My DH and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary last week. I guess in a way it was frugal – we couldn’t go out and do anything – so worked in our garden. Made the comment to each other that it is a good thing we both like gardening.
    Picked broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, zucchini, a few green beans tomatoes, onions, carrots, beets, chard, parsley and chives.
    Gave both DH and son haircuts last week. I don’t really know how to cut hair. My DH likes a buzz cut. When my son asked me to cut his, I told him a buzz cut or nothing. He just picked a longer guard, and it turned out pretty good. He has thick, curly hair – but likes a buzz cut in the summer. It grows quickly.
    Made focaccia bread – YUM!
    Brought breakfast and lunch to work the four days I worked last week.
    Blanched an froze 12 cups of cauliflower and 7 cups of broccoli.
    Visited with my Mom through her window. Brought her some tomatoes from the garden.
    Had broccoli stuffed baked potatoes for dinner one night and BLTs another two nights. I use cucumbers instead of lettuce on mine – love the crunch.
    Had BBQ ribs (ribs from the freezer) one night with potato salad (potatoes and onions from the garden. Homemade pickles from the pantry.) Also had a cucumber and tomato salad with the BBQ.
    Made zucchini fritters using zucchini, chives and parsley from the garden. Next time I think I will add a little minced garlic.
    We have a great crop of candy onions this year. Some of them are the size of a softball.
    We are hoping to not get an early frost. We haven’t picked any peppers or corn yet, and those are two of our favorites. We had a weird late spring and early summer (weather-wise as well as everything else) so the garden did not grow well at first.
    Hope everyone has a good and productive week.

  48. Watched a fun cooking episode on Delish about making cheap dinners, and I made Red Cabbage Okonomiyaki, substituting with what I had on hand when necessary.

    School lunch chocolate milk sweetened a batch of rice pudding, allowing me to use less sugar.
    Switched my normal powdered coffee creamer for the school lunch white milk.

    Learned how to fry sage and rosemary, and topped a box of mac & cheese with canned pinto beans & peas with it. Very easy and yummy! For a snack, I made a faux chex mix with shredded wheat instead of chex and other substitutions with what I had on hand. It was so tasty and gobbled it up and made a second batch.

    Traded apples for herbed english muffins at the community refrigerator. They went into a sort of panzanella with tomatoes & herbs from a friend’s garden.

    Received free socks and a pillow from my Buy Nothing Group and free iron pills and Japanese candy from the trading app. My stoop finds were some fun greeting cards and a 5×7 silver picture frame that I’ll use with a free print from cvs for a Christmas gift for my sister.

    Was accepted into an Instagram campaign where I can receive $3 for mailing in sneakers to be recycled. On an evening stroll around my neighborhood, I found 6 pairs. I sprayed them with lysol, bagged up each pair with baking soda, then sealed them in the shipping bag to send right out to the company. Fingers crossed they’re accepted and I’m paid for them. The company sent me several bags, so it’s possible I could send out another haul.

    I was also accepted into a trial for a new kind of at home hair color. It was easy to use, but unfortunately the color is much, much darker than what I prefer. I have a few surveys and videos I need to do over the next month, but then I’ll be paid $150. Thinking it’s better to be paid $150 for a hair color I’m not crazy about, than to pay that much for the same result.

    My one roommate had a large tv that he wasn’t using. I asked if I could borrow it and moved it into my room. (We don’t have a living room). A friend sent me my antenna that I had previously let her borrow, but now she no longer needs. I set everything up, and now I have 40 over the air channels! It’s been almost two years since I sat with a remote in my hand and flipped through the channels. It’s a delight. Plus, I very much enjoy watching local news. And, there is a channel here that’s dedicated to all programming about NYC and it’s fascinating. I don’t pay separately for electric–I pay the same amount in rent to my roommate every month. So watching tv costs me nothing extra.

    Had a medical procedure I was nervous about. The night before it, my female roommate gave me a little back massage and hair brushing. Such a kind gesture. I’m very lucky for the generosity of the people in my life.

    1. Chelsea, your adventures in the big city are always fascinating. You show so much ingenuity. Urban living can be fairly lucrative when you really pay attention to all that is around you. Especially considering how much stuff other people dispose of that is still good. Extra credit to you for getting in on the recycled shoe offer.

  49. First, for Nancy who asked last week, I am using a remedy a friend of mine suggested for my blocked Eustachian tube. It is 1 tsp. of olive oil mixed with 5 drops each basil, tea tree oil and lavender. I was only using the basil and lavender because I couldn’t my bottle of tea tree oil but my husband went by the pharmacy and got a fresh bottle. Adding those five drops seems to have made ALL the difference. I still have a blocked ear but it’s less swollen and by end of each day I can hear more and more.
    The ear is symptomatic to something that blooms in our area early each spring and I think ragweed in late summer/early fall. It is not triggered by dairy, but thank you for suggestions!
    My daughter brought me an office chair she’d gotten for free. She’d called to ask to purchase one of them and the man said she could have it but only if she’d take both. These were quality chairs, soiled from use but so sturdy. I can do a reasonably good slipcover or upholstery job so will recover mine. I was pleased as punch to get such a nice chair as it shall be both my sewing chair and a good seat for any guests who might come.
    I had a bit over half a gallon of milk go sour, though it was well within the sell by date. I was going to take it back and swap for fresh but I decided to see if I could use it up instead. I made flapjacks, a lovely tender spice cake, and a lot of biscuits (scones for our non-Americans) that I have frozen unbaked. They won’t rise as well when thawed but they will taste just fine.
    I used an older recipe to make a tuna casserole for tonight’s supper. It’s good and as with most older recipes it’s more frugal than some of our more modern day recipes. I have been looking for new recipes that use pantry staples and while I have a really good tuna casserole recipe already this one is different enough that if I served tuna four times a month it wouldn’t feel as though we are always eating the same thing.
    I had some potatoes that grew healthy eyes so I trimmed them off, let them scab over and then planted them. I’ll see if anything comes of them. If not I’m not out anything except a wee bit of space. I cut the potatoes into slices, dices, and home fries and put them in containers covered with water. These will keep well in my fridge and I can use them as wanted. I am assured they won’t go bad.
    I harvested a big handful of tomatoes from my yellow pear cherry tomato plant which is the one that has most consistently produced this summer.
    I have also harvested a nice bouquet each week from my zinnias. This is such a joy to me as I was accustomed to buying flowers every two weeks for arrangements in my home but during shut down we didn’t go but once a month and often I couldn’t afford the blooms with increased prices.
    I used the whey my daughter-in-law gave me to make bread. It has made lovely loaves.

  50. Lovely to hear about everyone’s week!

    I had a long weekend away in Hampshire visiting the Jane Austen house and Chawton house, a stately home, owned by her brother (who got adopted out to rich cousins so he ended up inheriting three estates!). The scenery was lovely and the village Chawton had chocolate box-like thatched cottages-gorgeous!

    I also went with my friend to a lavender farm which was beautiful and the smell was divine!

    The above was fun but not very frugal! Frugal accomplishments include:

    1)eating all other meals at home. Ate a few strange freezer combos to use things up! Potato cakes, ham mush and liquidy peach cake anyone?
    2)yellow sticker heaven meant I re-stocked my freezer at very low prices. Got meat, ready meals, potatoes, fruit, veg, bakery items. Often at ten percent of original price.
    3)Free blackberry picking and made Summer crumble
    4)washed clothes on a low quick cheap wash and dried outside for free
    5)got audio books free from library and used free book exchange near my house
    6)kind friends treated me to a meal at her house and another friend bought me coffee
    7) I did one dreadful thing. A lady in our team is retiring. She is a really unpleasant person. I did not contribute to the leaving gift- I couldn’t bring myself to. However I did contribute money to two colleagues’ donations who are having special birthdays.
    8)decluttered and posted items on olio. Obtained free magazines and bath oil from the site.
    9)made cards to send eg for my cousins birthday
    10)did a ‘stuff’ audit and realised I had excess of some things-ten shampoos, seven bathroom cleaners, five deodorants etc, Will use these up before I buy any more.
    11)went onto sales at Cath kidston website etc and bought lovely presents which I will use for gifts at Xmas
    12)learned how to make Lemon cheesecake with silken tofu (Instead of dairy filling) which is perfect for when my vegan friend comes round. It is surprisingly delicious.
    13)watched classic comedies for free -Green Wing, W1A etc. So funny. I work for the NHS so Green Wing is my favourite, it’s like a documentary!

    Wishing you all a happy hump day! Jenny

    1. Jenny – I would love to see “Jane’s” house. I first read P&P in high school (US) and fell in love with it and soon read her others. I reread them occasionally when I need a respite from today’s world! I picked up a free book at our library’s used bookstore – printed in UK and all about Bath. I was there 15+ years ago and loved it.

      About your ‘not nice thing’. One aspect of being semi-retired and not looking forward to if I return to the world of work is the compulsory “gift” giving, donations, celebrations. When I was an HR Manager/Director it was always one of the things that I sought to change. Going from celebrating everyone’s birthdays separately to a monthly celebration (and then those who really, really didn’t want to have their birthday’s celebrated – for either religious or personal reasons, didn’t feel like they had to participate), buying or having someone make cards that then everyone signed (if they wished) and were given to the employee for the occasion – and limiting work celebrations to two events – monthly birthdays and the adoption/birth of a baby/child actually improved morale. I convinced the managers to use some of the celebration funds (usually for holiday parties, etc. but that changed too) for a gift card for someplace like Target (here in the US) for the gift for child/baby took the burden off of everyone contributing – but everyone could sign the card. And we did away with having alcohol at quarterly work celebrations for meeting goals, holiday parties, etc. I had a great colleague who was a member of the LDS church and he pointed out that a lot of people, not just from his church but from other faiths, as well as people who didn’t consume alcohol for personal reasons were mighty uncomfortable at those events – and as an HR person I knew 1. we had major liability for drunk driving charges if something occurred and 2. some people were making right royal fools of themselves at these events due to alcohol consumption. So we changed to root beer busts, pizza parties, baseball opening day bar-b-cues and even did away with the horrible holiday parties that everyone dreaded but no one wanted to say anything. There is a way to get around these things but still have celebrations for life’s great events.

      1. My last job had these at work and I felt rather odd about it. I would rather have gone home three hours early than being forced to hang out and socialize with everyone else there who I literally did not know (save my brother, and he hung out with the other people from our department). My job was mostly alone; my “team” was in another room (I answered the phone and emails at the help desk and my team was the IT department), and I couldn’t believe the company was supplying multiple drinks to people in the afternoon who were then all supposed to drive home during rush hour in L.A. traffic. The liability of such a thing bothered me too.

        I think most people would prefer a holiday bonus (or a larger bonus) over the obligatory holiday party, but that could just be me!

      2. Thankyou Mary and Brandy! How kind. Lovely to hear your perspective on the work gift/event/celebration/forced work events thing.

        Mary-I love Jane Austen and you are quite right, it is perfect escapism into a calm ordered world. Her use of language is so beautiful. It was a joy to see her home!

  51. We have also been doing home repairs too. I am so grateful that my husband can do as much as he can. I am glad he has taught our kids how to repair things too. The workman finally finished so I was putting everything back together in the basement. I did a pantry inventory and found a few slightly expired items. We used several of them this week. I put them all on the side and we will use them up ASAP.
    Hubby and my son had to put some wood up so that we could get the hand rail back on the stairs. Hubby also had to fix 2 doors upstairs. Having the main house beam leveled made the doors not close correctly.
    I think this is my best year ever with cucumbers. They are going crazy. I made 6 more quarts of dill pickles. I have been giving cucumbers away to anyone I see. Tomatoes are doing OK. They aren’t as good as I would like but you get what you get. We are enjoying them in lots of meals. I dumped another bucket of potatoes. I got almost 4 pounds of potatoes out of it. I have been picking scallions and using them in our meals all week. I picked another zucchini. I have been picking carrots and beets as we need/want them. I thinned out my baby kale plants. My plants went to seed in early July and I let them do their thing. String beans are still giving enough for a meal here and there. There are a bunch of flowers again on the plants since we had lots of rain and cooler temps. I picked a few peppers. My lettuce went to seed. I have been picking celery and dehydrating the top half for soups over the winter. We have been enjoying the bottom half fresh. My dehydrator is going almost every day. I made 2 pints of tomatoes. One is just tomatoes and oil. The other is tomatoes, oil and basil. They are so yummy. I have dried so many herbs this year, I think I am going to make some of them Christmas gifts.
    I cashed out $106 on my CC in rewards last week. Hubby buys things for work and we get the rewards. We pay it off in full every month and his job reimburses us every month too. Hubby worked at the office last week. He brought me home a candy bar one day at lunch. Free chocolate makes me happy.
    My son brought home half a meatball pizza that was left over. A customer bought the shop 2 pizzas as a thank you. He also went to a garage sale and bought a few tools that he didn’t have.
    My daughter has been tutoring my cousin’s oldest son. She had to change the day last week. My cousin had plans to meet up with a friend so we brought him to our house. I” kidnapped” him for the day. We played board games, he helped me pick vegetables from my garden, we made cookies and I pulled out the Wii. We had a great day and he got some special time away from his little brother’s. My cousin kept thanking me. I scheduled her middle son for some alone time this week. I will do the little one next week.
    I made a batch of homemade CC cookies. My youngest made a batch of GF CC cookies.
    My daughter’s boyfriend works at an ice cream parlor. He came over after his shift one day and brought us ice cream.
    We went to see my in-laws. We sit outside with them. We brought them some garden veggies. They gave us a dozen peaches. We have been enjoying them fresh.
    The lady across the street moved in last year. She works long hours at the hospital. I saw her struggling trying to trim her tree. Hubby went over and helped her. I gave her some cucumbers.

    My sister dropped off her dog. She is listing her apartment in the city for sale. She rarely uses it anymore since she retired from her city job. We offered to take her do so she didn’t have to worry about him. She brought me a mason jar that she had, treats for the dogs and some snacks for my kids.
    I went to Aldi and got 8 more dozen eggs (2 trips). I froze 2 dozen. I made a dozen into hard boiled. We had some as egg salad. I looked up a few new egg recipes. One was ham and egg cups. You were supposed to use ham cold cuts (too expensive). I just put ham I had from Christmas that I got for less than 50¢a pound in instead. They came out great.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

      1. You break up the eggs, especially the yolk just a bit. Then you can either freeze them each in an ice cube tray, pop them out and put them into a ziplock bag – or – you can put 1 or 2 or 3 into a dish, whisk them briefly (and I add a tiny pinch of salt) then put them all into a small ziplock. If I use the bag option then I label how many eggs are in each). They are fine for baking, omelettes, quiche etc.

  52. I harvested cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, pumpkins, corn, and green beans. We have been canning as much as possible and so far have been able finish red sauce, salsa, and sourkraut. We have shared our beans with family and haven’t canned any of those. We are already planning for next year’s garden and more green beans! I have been watching a lot of gardening videos on YouTube to help me with the planning. I purchased some Cedarshield to use on wood for raised bed gardens to help them last longer. Once I get the layout planned, I will work over this fall and winter to build them an incorporate them with our big garden next year to produce even more of what we really eat. I’m planning for perennials, fruit and nuts. Thank you Brandy for sharing your experiences with them.

    I have almost gotten my pantry well stocked, just a few winter preps to make (including some cold medicines) and topping off what we have used over the past few months. I stopped at the store this evening and noticed that shelves weren’t deeply stocked. There was a lot of meat available at decent but not super prices. I passed as we still have plenty in the freezer. It was a little concerning to see the stock at such low levels going into the first of the month which is when most people in our community shop. I hope to have everything ready for winter by the second week in September.

    I had a very big savings week by calling our cell phone provider and making some changes. My employer offered a cell phone for me since so much of my work is now on demand, so in combination with changing plans and that decreased expense, I was able to cut our bill by two-thirds!

    I have a question for some of you who preserve a lot. Does anyone use Tattler lids? I’m thinking of investing in some of them for next year over the next few months instead of just using one-time lids. Any feedback would be appreciated.

    1. I have some Tattler lids. They are okay. I have had a few unseal wheras I rarely had that problem with the regular lids. They are put on a little differently so that just takes some getting used to, and you do need to leave the rings on them while they are on the shelf.

  53. I always love reading the blog, Brandy! I wish I could share some pears as our two (very old) trees are loaded. I think you would like the flavor. I must can pears this week. I admit they aren’t our favorite as say, peaches, but we enjoy them so-so. I wish you the best in finding a replacement. Grapefruit sounds delicious!

    My children wanted to start back to school so we did with what we have, not buying any new books. A neighbor who was done homeschooling donated a huge box of school books back at the start of corona, and I just got to go through those this week. I was amazed at what we will be able to use this year from her stash. For free! My MIL brought the children stack of school supplies that she had got at a local burn out type store—notebooks for 3 cents each! So safe to say we have started our homeschooling year! With no purchases so far.

    Last week I pressure canned a batch of pizza sauce from
    Tomatoes I had frozen earlier in the season. I used my own garlic, onions, and basil I had harvested. I plan to do salsa later and that will wrap up my (poor) tomato harvest. I planted 104 plants and only harvest about six gallons of tomatoes. I think I overpruned. Live and learn!
    I also picked bush Lima beans from The garden and froze three quarts.
    I cooked all meals from scratch.
    My dad worked for us everyday last week on our new barn and doesn’t charge us a dime. We are so blessed. My boys help him and it’s such a wonderful work ethic for them! I can’t imagine the money he has saved us!
    I continue to line dry our clothes as weather permits.
    I bought no groceries last
    Week but used what I had, other than a tub of ground beef for $1.99 per pound. I separated this into two pound increments and it will last us about two weeks (family of nine).
    I visited a thrift store after an OB appointment and found some cheap treasures, including a couple of vintage dishes that
    I will use as wall decor. I love vintage home decor and found lace curtains, and other treasures. Most things were $1 or $2 each. It has been a while since I’ve got to go thrifting.
    My 8year old son brought in two ripe, huge watermelons last
    Week from our cow
    Pasture. Apparently the cow and horse had been given the leftovers from a watermelon and um, well…what can I say? They were both delicious and it was a nice surprise!!
    Blessings to all!

  54. Well , here we are , 6 months in of quarantine. I’ve learned a great deal from my pantry. After feeding all my children who landed on my doorstep, I know where to make changes. Sadly we all have gained a few extra pounds. I went this week and filled in all my empty or weak spots. I certainly hadn’t budgeted for this type of replacement but caught a couple of breaks. I saved several hundreds on a replacement car tag when a friend was able to resolve that issue. I shopped at a salvage type store that we rarely go to. I had seen a Facebook post and thought it was worth checking out. I bought an entire cart of can goods of ready to eat type products . Soups, stews , ravioli and meats. I easily save 66% off. That was one heavy load. I turned around and bought a huge amount of canned vegetables at the lowest available prices. In all, I spent about $400.00 . But now I have a real life idea, of what I need to feed my family when they are all home with me. The hardest part is getting it un loaded and added to the inventory. I must say , I’m going to put certain items in my walk in closet and put a deadbolt on there. Sugar cookie frequently makes midnight visits to the closet. I need her to eat healthier options in the refrigerator and not emergency canned goods. Parenting a special needs young adult is a round the clock job. My own covid symptoms finally seem to be lessening. My few shopping trips were done the minute the store opened up while the place was virtually empty. At one location I sat in the floor and went through 12 boxes of goods that had arrived from a drugstore. I bought 6 boxes of nasal strips for 1.00 a box. 20 count. They have really eased my breathing the last 6 months and I was completely out. Found several 100 ct bottles of meclizine for the daughters severe motion sickness. It was an expensive week but hopefully we have everything we need for another year if necessary. I sense an early winter. I walked outside and realized my summer has disappeared and I never knew it arrived. I hope all is well. Please take care.

    1. I am glad your symptoms are easing Lillianna. It is a trying time. And yes, a special needs child is a 24/7 job and we definitely have to get creative to find solutions to problems only we could have!

  55. Last night our very kind neighbour brought me some baby tomatoes, purple beans, onions and carrots from her garden-so they will be on the menu in some form today. Quiet day today as I work the next two days. Perhaps Mum and I will go for a drive in the mountains looking for some bears and enjoying the scenery.

  56. I must try those gorgeous Armenian cucumbers! They look wonderful, Brandy.

    This week, I tried various methods of planting lettuce and arugula – planting seedlings I had in flats and direct sowing. Brandy, I can’t imagine how you keep new seeds watered outside! May I ask, does your irrigation take care of it, or do you have to water more often? The direct sown seeds seem to be doing better than the seedlings I transplanted, but not as many of them germinated.

    I brought a couple of the free small frosting buckets from the grocery store to the beach with us. They’re great for holding leaky water bottles, bringing home clam shells and seaweed for the compost pile, a reasonable seat, and, with a rinse, holding a huge bunch of lovely, free beach plums.

    I cleared a bunch of spent plants in the herb garden to make room for fall planting. Right now, we’re harvesting kale, oodles of tomatoes, blackberries, herbs, and green beans.

    We saw a neighbor who picks up scrap metal in his truck. I’ve always wanted to connect with him, so I left a note on his dashboard. He walked right over, and we were able to get rid of a broken snowblower, mower, chimney piece, chandelier, random rebar, and a giant battery. He just took it all for free and will sell it to the scrapyard. Since we don’t have a truck and would otherwise have to pay the town $25 per item, it was a huge savings and a decluttering delight. Now I have his number for the future too.

    Thank you, Brandy, for all the beauty and good ideas. I love looking at older posts or recipes when I need some inspiration. And I appreciate all the comments! We certainly live more comfortably because of all the ideas and cheery words here.

    1. The drip irrigation lines have emitters built in every six inches. I plant my seeds right next to the emitters. I then use a programmable sprinkler clock to water them several times a day to keep them from drying out. This time of year I can’t plant seeds that are thinly planted as they will dry out during the day (plus it’s too hot for them to germinate anyway). We are not supposed to water during the day in the summer. In the spring and fall that is different and that is the best time to sow anyway. I did try sowing some zinnia seeds in little containers and watering them by hand with a hose this summer and then transplanting them at night. That has been successful. Normally I do best by direct sowing everything.

  57. Hi Brandy and everyone!

    Here in the UK we’ve had a very wet August topped off with a recent storm which had very high winds. Feeling quite autumnal already in my neck of the woods even though we’re still in summer!

    Recent frugal accomplishments –

    *Free cards were being offered on the Hallmark website. I requested 3 and received them this week – added to my card stash
    * Innocent smoothies were offering a free postcard to send during lockdown – ordered one to send to our friends who we hadn’t seen for a while to let them know we’re thinking of them
    * A local bike shop was offering a free bike service for emergency service workers so I took my bike in and took advantage of this offer
    * Received a small packet each of seeds for tomato, cress and peas from a website. Enjoyed the cress in egg mayo sandwiches and waiting patiently for the tomatoes to ripen!
    * Washed and dried several loads on the line
    * Cooked most meals at home however the government is offering a scheme for 50% off food on Mondays to Wednesdays called Eat Out to Help Out in many restaurants during August. This is to try and help kickstart the economy so we have eaten out a couple of times too.
    * Growing lavender in pots from starters
    * Had a delicious Roast dinner at my Mum’s on Sunday
    * Made Applesauce in my Instant Pot using up old apples that had been in the fridge for ages
    * Gifted bananas and homemade plum jam from Our next door neighbour
    * Gifted a 1kg bag of plums from friend so made plum jam – 3 jars which I shared with my Mum
    * Collected two brand new boxes of porridge oats (best before date 2021!) using the Olio app
    * Collected a bag of plums and bag of large pears from Olio app – shared these with my next door neighbour and friend
    * Gifted jams and jellies from next door neighbour – damson, Apple and blackberry and blackberry jam – yum!
    * Storm Francis hit on Tuesday with incredibly high winds. We have a beautiful wisteria tree in our back garden and sadly the storm made it lean over making us worry it would fall completely. Hubby bought a large metal stake and managed to support the tree with it. Whilst hubby was propping it up I trimmed it and saved branches for kindling in the wood burner this winter.
    * We’re having our roof replaced which is not frugal given the cost but our house still had the original roof on (from the 1930s!) which had missing tiles and was unlikely to last another winter. In the long run I hope this will benefit us with better insulation etc.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  58. Lucy, I see you are an emergency service worker and I thank you for the work you and your colleagues have been doing for us all during the pandemic. Bless you.

  59. Brandy,

    What will you do with the pear tree wood? Is there any that could be carved by someone? It is highly prized for carving.


    1. I was just going to cut it up and throw it out. Our city does not have a green recycling program.

      1. If there are any people who carve things in your area, they would absolutely love to have it. You might be able to sell it or trade for something. Not sure how big it would have to be but most people who carve things like bowls, little boxes, etc would love it 9they would, of course, have to age it but I’m sure it would be a great find for someone.

  60. For those readers in Calgary, the art and handicrafts store Galleria (with quilts, pottery and a million other things) is going out of business. It has reduced prices and one might do some Christmas shopping . They will be closed as of the end of September. Check their website for times and dates. It is very sad they are closing — hit hard by the recession of the past few years, then covid and a storm-caused sudden flood a month or so ago. They carry beautiful items from 700+/- artists. Not everything consigned will be on. sale but quite a bit is. Ann

  61. This is the final trip of my YYC volunteers. Safeway has cases of 12 cans of Campbell’s soup on sale for $5.99. Co-op has them on for $7.99 which I thought was a good price until I saw Safeway’s. co-op has boxes of Bergen’s frozen blueberries on sale. Usually I’ve only seen them on sale for one week in January or February but they are on sale now. I won’t have room for them in my freezer but a friend is going to keep them in her freezer for me for a couple of months. They are from B.C. and are so good! I am also buying a box of 100 Hallowe’en candies because I’ve noticed they are priced low now but in. another couple of weeks they will be double the price. I am not sure what will happen for Hallowe’en but if worst comes to worst I will donate the box to the food bank. Lots of good bargains this week.

  62. Brandy, it was your first mention of what is to come that really lit a fire under me. Thank you, Brandy! Because you rarely touch on events that are happening (greatly appreciated because this site is a respite from all that), it really struck deep and I heard it in my heart. I have been diligently stocking up and now my garden is producing abundantly, which will add to my stores. I feel like the Ingalls family must have felt as winter approached, or the proverbial squirrel hurriedly gathering nuts for the winter. We only will need eggs (which I get from a farm), milk (have dry if needed) and some fresh produce for the next year. Another commenter mentioned Christmas presents. Our children are grown, though I continue to prepare like they are still here (just in case), but I was in Hobby Lobby for some fabric for our new grandson (everything I have is pink), Kohls (to return an Amazon purchase), and TJMaxx (looking for organic hand soaps to stock up on). I was shocked at the empty shelves and that there was no new merchandise…still summer clothing and last year’s few decorations. As I walked the store, I felt like I was in an alternate world and remembered your comment about how we will look back on this time as a time of abundance. I think that parents will have a difficult time finding Christmas toys for their children this year (at least compared to the past years) and, hence, will be turning to alternate sources for gifts. Even though it feels surreal, it is not a bad thing that we step back from the consumerism that so many have become accustomed to. Blessings come out of even tough situations. I am grateful for this community that you have brought together, Brandy, and for all the commenters that bolster our ideals and our hearts.

    1. I am buying gifts online now. One reader commented recently that her husband works in shipping and that prices are going up in November. I’m going ahead and ordering now to make sure what they children want is available. I’ve been asking them what they want so that I can be prepared. It will also make things less stressful, having my Christmas shopping done ahead of time, and not worried about what they want not coming in time nor being unavailable. There are a lot of shortages out there.

  63. My sweet neighbor gave me peaches and told me to pick as many apples as I would like from her two trees. She got a job with a local school a couple of weeks before school started so she didn’t have time to preserve the peaches and apples and get her lesson plans developed. I have a few pints of peaches for the winter and my other neighbor is steaming the apples for juice for us this winter. I’ve picked tomatoes a few times and canned a few. I’m grateful for anything I can preserve. My chickens continue to give us eggs and they were thrilled with the windfalls I picked up at the neighbor’s tree. Her yard got a bit of clean-up and my chickens got treats and I’m getting eggs! I’m grateful for the tips I read here and the encouragement. Thanks to everyone who shares and thanks to Brandy for hosting!

  64. Hi Ladies:
    We have had a quiet week the last two weeks. I have had difficult conversations with my workplace as they have reopened. I cannot comply to some demands which led me to leaving them. I have accepted this; as faith will allow me to do so… You cannot see ahead at which point you have to let faith take over and drive your decisions.
    A highlight of this week was that I started watercolor painting again, its a medium i found refuge in about 20 years again and its reappearing in my life. I don’t know if its peer pressure of social media or what but I have gotten a lot of encouragement from my FB groups to restart painting. My heart is to be able to teach adults and kids and share my story as I paint and paint to retrain and rekindle creativity in life.
    I would love to meet other artist who have monetized their arts to bring a livelihood to their families.
    Again Brandy I have visited your photography website as I needed inspiration for mine and its beautifully laid out. Simple and yet artistic.

    SO my sister again introduced me to a lovely Youtube sensation from China. She is impressive ladies and lovely to watch. She is entirely self-sustained and supports herself and grandma in a little mountain village in China. My socks were blown away as she makes Martha Stewart look like a novice-she is self taught most of the time. Her name is Liziqi and this is her channel on YouTube:
    what is impressive is that she cooks and she really cooks with flowers, fruits and veggies and herbs all homegrown(i am envious of her garden) , sews her own clothes; makes wool for her coats; designs clothes; makes her own furniture; makes her own decorations; helps a neighbor in need without hesitation; etc. She supports herself with an online shop and sells her clothes and herbs teas and knives. See for yourself…
    Anyway Hope this inspires you all…Take Care

    1. Thank you for that link Sheeba. I have a couple of Chinese friends who are now stuck in China (they both spend about half the year in Canada normally) and I miss them. I follow a couple of Korean Youtube ladies and they always seem so calm as they go about their day.

  65. Went to the farm stand for milk for $1.00 a gallon and it was free! I only picked up two as there is just one milk drinker in the house.

    It has been a struggle for me lately – emotionally, so I am doing the good self care I know to do – including spending time with my herbs and tomato plants, harvesting zinnias for fresh flowers for the house and reading literature that at a minimum entertains me and when lucky to find something uplifting I savor it! I can’t express how much having fresh herbs to cut and use and sometimes just brush my hand through to smell them have lifted my spirits! I swear that if they made a basil or rosemary perfume I would buy it…

    Did a deep dive into the pantry and found some stuff to use. I went through my box of toiletry samples and found some Dr. Houshka samples to us. I love those products and had bought some sample packages for really cheap last summer and promptly forgot about them!
    I also found some other things I had put into a swim bag that I am going to use up as it is unlikely that we’ll be able to go to senior swim any time soon.

    One of the free books I picked up at the library used bookstore is a guide to having book clubs. It is actually a great resource and I am writing down books to look for (or I may have in storage) to read. I have so enjoyed the Georgette Heyer mysteries (except Penhallow which surprised me with the fact that almost all of the characters were the most awful people one would every know! Found out that she wrote it hoping it would be her break through to critical acclaim as a writer therefore the different style.)

    Have some chiles coming on – not sure what they are as the markers disappeared when we moved them to the raised beds. And cherry tomatoes are going crazy!!! Found a fresh bruschetta pasta recipe and will make that soon – have garlic from cousins, a lot of basil and of course the tomatoes.

    Working on keeping our electricity costs down. Took Brandy’s advice and turn off the ceiling and floor fans when we aren’t in a room, raised the AC temp (which prompted a lot of grumbling but finally getting used to it) and not heating the house. Even baked a pie on the front porch – I dragged the convection/toaster oven out there. I can rock on the porch, read and keep an eye on the oven.


    1. Hi Mary, I’m pretty sure if you get rosemary essential oil and use a carrier like fractionated coconut oil In a roller ball tube, you would have your perfume. 🙂 Rosemary is good for the memory and people apply it to the temple area or diffuse it. I turned off my ceiling fans when we aren’t in the room because of Brandy’s comments that fans cool people, not rooms. I never realized that!

  66. Mary,
    Because you find those scents uplifting, perhaps you could buy (or ask around to see if anyone has them already) bottles of essential oils. Those can be diffused with a tea-light burner to make your house smell wonderful.

  67. I wish I was finding the items to stock up on that you all seem to find. Of course, my daughter is still doing my shopping every week but I do pore over the ads so I don’t miss any specials. There just aren’t many–our town has only a few grocery stores and not enough competition to lower prices much. I did buy some zuccchini to shred and freeze for breads. My daughter had extra oranges and made a delicious orange bread with a glaze. She made mini loaves and brought one to us. If I can find time, I’d like to make some too. I love having mini-loaves of various kinds in the freezer to perk up meals when it feels like we have the same old same old menu! I whipped up a pan of brownies yesterday because my husband and I had eaten everything good for snacks already this week! They did hit the spot.
    My husband has been walking around the house in the middle of the night (due to his dementia) and turns on lights and generally keeps me awake when I want to sleep. I am going to talk to some care providers and see if I can find someone to come 3 or 4 times a week to watch him from bedtime until morning. I cannot function without enough sleep and this week was a trial. Maybe my daughter can help me make some of the calls.
    I am continuing to spend, but just to get the house and yard set for winter. My sister had us over for lunch and a swim this week and she is almost finished staining and sealing her upper deck and the stairs down to the patio and pool level. I must paint the stairs on the two porches–I will start with the stairs and hope I get to the decks as well. If not, they are not as much in need of paint as the stairs. Also noticed how badly the upstairs window frames need painting outside. That can go on next year’s list, as I’m sure we won’t get to it this fall. My roofers should be coming this week or next, and once the roof is done we have some repair of water damage to do in our bedroom which will require painting the ceiling and one wall for sure, but probably all four walls! I’d like to paper the bathroom too–pay to have it done, I mean. We have done our last do it yourself wallpapering!! It’s small and shouldn’t be too pricey.
    My daughter did find a large 6 pack roll of paper towels to replace the 5 rolls that “drowned” in the basement flood. We have had way too much heavy rain this spring and summer–more expected tonight and tomorrow. The basement is drying out slowly and I should soon be able to sweep it and hose it down. I am tired of changing to old shoes at the top of the stairs!
    Thank you for all the wonderful ideas for meals this week. I am so glad to find new suggestions every week. I hope to try some very soon. Sorry your family doesn’t enjoy pears–although grapefruit would also be a good investment. We both take medicine that keeps us from grapefruit and alcohol. I wasn’t much of a drinker, but I did enjoy grapefruit a lot!! We love pears and buy quite a few in fall–there is a farm down the road with cold storage for apples and pears both.

    1. I’ve had good tasting Bartlett pears from the stores. These are horribly dry. I always thought they might get better tasting. They don’t taste like pears from the store at all. Usually, homegrown fruits and vegetables are better tasting, but these are not.

  68. Brandy, what kind of hand/shower soap do you use and where do you get it? I usually get mine at Costco and get whatever is on sale.

    1. Janie,

      I am allergic to most soaps and skin products. I use Great Value apple dishwashing soap in all of our soap dispensers as it doesn’t make me break out in a rash.

      For showering, I use bar soap. I use Oil of Olay. It doesn’t dry out my skin or leave a film, nor does it make me have a rash or itch. I buy it at Sam’s Club, which carries larger bars (4 ounces) than other box stores, which have smaller bars.

  69. This blog is my landing space and uplifting when I need it! I’m not having as much time to post as I’d like, but try to read the comments each week. Brandy, thank you for working to create such a supportive community.

    We’ve been maintaining our frugal ways as much as possible, but it’s more difficult now that I’m back at school but teaching remotely. Our county is requiring that we report to the building each day for work, rather than work from home, unless we have a compromising health condition. It’s making me nervous that I’m in a building with 60 others, but everyone seems to be following precautions, and I’m alone in my classroom most of the day. I am spending more in gas, though.

    If you are the praying type, please pray for public school teachers and staff this year especially. We are having to work so hard, many serving more than one grade/subject area, just to make the remote/virtual school thing work for all families, often taking more time away from our own families or self-renewal. Our cafeteria staff is also at risk of losing jobs if students do not continue to purchase lunches (they are not on salary, but are paid from cafeteria sales). So, if you’re in a position to purchase lunches from the schools or pick them up if you’re on free/reduced lunch, please do so.

    We continue to glean from the food pantry when I volunteer to help with the grocery store donation pick ups each weekend. Since they don’t open for clients until Wednesday, there is often produce that is marginal and won’t last until then. Last week I came home with precut pineapple, tomatillos, jalapenos, a super ripe honeydew melon, eggplant, summer squash, two containers of organic mushrooms, butternut squash, and some basil. I made pesto with the basil (about 24 oz), roasted tomato salsa and tomatillo salsa with the jalapenos and tomatillos, and a huge batch of roasted veggies for the week. The pineapple went into smoothies or popsicles, and the boys ate up the honeydew pretty quickly. On the food front, we also had a friend who lost a large peach limb from one of his trees. He gave us the peaches (he actually had just loaded the whole limb in his truck, so we picked from there!), so I poached those yesterday and froze one quart. The other quart will be peach sorbet for dessert tonight.

    We are saving on preschool, since our youngest’s preschool decided not to reopen for the school year due to COVID. My mom has been a huge help and is doing schooling (the oldest is doing virtual school from our school, but needs support) for both the boys from 7-1 so that my husband can still work the majority of his hours. He works the rest on Saturday, and sometimes has work he can do in the evenings. She’s a retired teacher, so she has the skills, but she’s still also trying to work her 25 hour a week bookkeeping job too. I’m trying to make life a little easier for her by inviting her for meals a few times a week or making extra of something when I fix breakfasts so that she doesn’t have to worry about that too. I’m hoping that this school year doesn’t burn us all out!

    I’ve been grateful for the food that I’ve got in the freezer. When I was really tired last night, it was so nice to just pull a container of soup and cornbread out of the freezer. It was really quick, and much healthier and cheaper than takeout would have been.

    I’m also continuing to try to work on building my blog so that it might become an additional income stream for us. WordPress is a new platform for me, so it’s taking some time to learn it. I’m hoping to have things up and going soon, with at least a few posts, even if they’re not pretty. I hope you’ll stop by! livinggreensavingggeen.co

    Blessings to you all this week!

  70. I, too, work at a food bank. In the ten years I have been there, it has built up quite a few relationships in the food community. We used to have to buy bread to give out but now we are simply overwhelmed with bread donations. We actually donate some to a cow owner each week as it goes bad eventually. Because of this we volunteers are free to take home bread each week. It has been kind of fun because I try to pick a loaf of something interesting that I probably wouldn’t buy in a store. And I also get a pack of bagels. I consider these two things as quite a treat.

  71. We’re in the process of selling our house and buying another. Our house is under contract and was just inspected. The inspector found a few things that needed attention that we never noticed. One of those things was an issue with our wells holding tank. We had to hire a company to fix a few other issues found with the well & to replace the tank. They were a small family company & charged us a thousand dollars less compared to what a few of the other local (big named) well companies would have charged. The pandemic hurt a lot of our local smaller mom and pop businesses and as a result of that they seemed happy to have the work & we were happy to save a thousand dollars. We also had to replace our jacuzzis air switch. The plumbers I called said they charge $95/hr + house call fee of $85 and the job requires a minimum of 3 hours to make it worth their while. I wasn’t thrilled about that so I turned to YouTube for help. Needless to say were able to fix it ourselves & the part cost $30 to replace. We saved around $350 by fixing it ourselves, thanks to YouTube. Now that everything is fixed, we’re packing up our house & waiting to close on both houses. The profit we’re making from the sell of our house will pay off the small amount of debt we owe so we’ll only have the mortgage on the new house to pay off. That’s an awesome feeling!

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