I harvested butternut squash, pumpkins, pomegranates, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I sowed seeds in the garden for lettuce.

My husband borrowed his brother’s dump trailer to speed up our time at the dump. We are able to load up the bad dirt we are taking out on his trailer to take to the dump, which speeds up our work time.

While working in the garden, I found more daffodils that we had missed previously. I dug enough to fill a 5-gallon pot. These will need to be divided and replanted to bloom in a few years from now when they are larger.

I heard about a clearance sale at the local nursery. I went to check it out and picked up some herbs on sale for $0.99 (normally over $3 each) and some lettuce seedlings on clearance as well ($1.49 for the 6-packs and $0.25 for the 4″ pots). I usually grow all my lettuce from seed, but these are large and should getsome lettuce faster than my current seedlings. Lettuce has been so expensive at the store; I will be glad to have some more growing.

I also saw a few of their pansies marked down to $5 a flat. Most of the pansies are $0.99 each; a flat contains 16 plants. I picked up a flat and divided it in half, giving eight plants to two different people as a gift. I know these women eat healthily and don’t want baked goods as a gift, but would appreciate some flowers for their gardens.

I gave one son a haircut.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. *I ordered two “free” gifts from Shutterfly, only having to pay the postage. One of the gifts I had directly mailed to my brother, so that saves me from paying to have it shipped to me and then turning around and mailing it to my brother.

    *We made a quick day trip to our son’s, to pick up a bunk bed set we offered to store for him now that he is married. He is a graduate student, and he and his wife live in a one bedroom apartment with no extra space at all to store the bunk beds. We will store them for them in our basement until he graduates and they move somewhere to a larger place, then will return the beds to them so they can use them for guest beds or even for any future children that may come along. On our drive—which was four hours each way—my husband and I took all our own food and snacks, and generally just enjoyed the hours spent together even though it was a long driving day.

    *My teen daughter and I had our dentist check ups. No cavities, and zero co-pay with our insurance—yay!

    *My daughter and I have enjoyed watching some cat videos on YouTube, and copied one of the projects we saw for our cat. It is a treat dispenser, made out of recycled cardboard and our cat loved it! I caught a video of him playing with it, and you can see the video posted on my blog!

    *My daughter continues to fund raise for her project for the local food bank. She had set her personal goal at $1,000, and she has raised $900 so far!!! A HUGE “Thank you” to all who have sponsored her and shared her video project! Her video has had 111 shares last I looked, which is incredible! My daughter is SO excited, and we are really hoping and praying that she is able to reach her $1,000 goal! There is nothing in it for her—she does not receive anything at all, not even a ribbon or anything—but she DOES receive the good feeling of knowing that she has done something to help others in need, which is priceless!

    Our silly cat video, as well as my daughter’s fund raising video for her food bank project are both on my blog at:

    I hope all have been doing well! Stay healthy and safe! Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments!
    I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee!
    ~Susan M.

  2. Did you grow that beautiful cyclamen yourself? I made spicy African soup in my crockpot this morning so it would be ready for lunch. I used chicken broth from my freezer and lots of veggies including yams that were only $.79 a bag at Aldi’s. The soup calls for one cup of salsa and I always use mild so it’s not really spicy. 3 tablespoons of peanut butter is added at the end. I shopped at Trader Joe’s this morning. First I picked up a wreath and then put it back then I picked up pine greens and put them back. I asked my neighbor when I got home if I could cut a few of his overgrown pine branches and use them for decorations and he said yes. I have been walking a lot and losing weight so I sorted through my clothes and found some things that fit now. I walked 229 miles last month. I have everything I need for Thanksgiving including a 15 pound turkey for the five of us. We will use it for many days and then make soup. Lots of yard cleanup with the help of my boys. This afternoon I will put a lawn treatment on the yard to encourage growth in the spring. I potted lots of my annuals and brought them inside for the winter. I am trying to overwinter my geraniums this year and a few other things. I have put some green plants in each of the children’s rooms to make away for Christmas decorations downstairs. We are also getting ready for my husband‘s back surgery in one week. We are staying away from everybody so we don’t get Covid.
    Stretched a pork roast for three meals including fajitas with leftovers, soup, and sandwiches. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables to keep everyone healthy and trying to do one or two meatless meals a week. Everyone here is walking walking walking including my husband to build up his legs before surgery. Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Susan, those geraniums don’t even need to be in dirt to be kept over the winter. I just yank them out of the ground and tuck them all in a basket stored in the basement. Around the end of Feb or sometime in March I clip off the dead leaves and re-pot them. I have geraniums now that are more than 5 years old.
      It may take them a bit longer to grow and bloom, but it sure saves money.

    2. Susan, I make that same soup and think it is delicious! It’s one of my favorites. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. We have had very typical November weather for Ontario – snow one day and sunny and mild the next! I was glad we had a string of nice days in the past two weeks to get our yard cleaned up for the season. I have finished my Christmas shopping and am very thankful. COVID cases are increasing and I really want to be out very little. It is now just grocery shopping that needs to be taken care of. I have been benefitting from the local buy nothing group. I have picked up various food items that folks were getting rid of and some clothing for myself and my husband. It is such a blessing to have a local group such as this. Right now, we have an income from the Canadian Recovery Caregiving Benefit but this will only last 26 weeks and my husband will not be back to work until September, 2021 at the earliest so I am thankful for all the freebies I can take to stock up at this stage.

    Hope everyone has a lovely week.

  4. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Lovely that you were able to gift plants to other people this week.
    My husband and I worked together this week to plant lots of tulips and some other bulbs. He also planted the rest of the wallflowers he had grown from seed. Annoyingly some creature is digging up bulbs I’ve already planted in pots so I need to outwit them by covering the pots with wire etc.
    We picked kale, rosemary and apples this week and harvested the last of the mini pumpkins. I have been a bit disappointed in the pumpkins and will only use them for decoration, I don’t think I will plant that variety again.
    We had a load of composted wood chippings delivered for a good price and my husband has been spreading it on the garden beds.
    I repurposed a couple of old fleece blankets and sewed new covers for two dog beds. I also sewed a tear on a dog bed.
    I sliced a couple of oranges and dried them in the Rayburn ready for use in a Christmas wreath.
    I sold one item on eBay.
    We ordered heating oil at a lower price this week before the colder weather and higher prices hit. We belong to a fuel club so benefit from group savings when neighbours buy fuel too.
    Due to not going out much or using lots of car fuel we have saved money the past few weeks. Some has been put into a savings account but we decided to spend some on a new bird feeding station. My husband has set it up so we can view it through the French doors when sitting at our kitchen table. It will be free entertainment and help us get through the winter months when we’re still under some restrictions.
    Stay safe everyone.

  5. I’ve lost track of the days/calendar. This is such a different holiday season. Our City/County are now on a Purple-Level 4 Covid status. Basically, they advise us to stay home and only go out for food, groceries, medical reasons or employment. Hopefully, this will slow down spread.
    In the meantime, this week I sent out the 3 out of state client quilts. Here is a photo of the 3rd one : https://pin.it/73jKfuN and the back: https://pin.it/4Dpit5i. Then a local client brought over her grandma’s quilt for her aunt. I didn’t realize that it was King Size!! Got that on Friday afternoon and had it quilted by Saturday night and bound it today (Monday) https://pin.it/7dxtC1G Then I got a new local client who is a friend of a quilting friend of mine who has moved out of state. She also had a quilt of her gran’s that she wanted me to quilt and bind for her daughter for Christmas. So I did that this morning (Monday) early and am now binding that for pick up tomorrow. https://pin.it/4u7rdud. Sadly, not all grandmothers’ quilts from generations gone by can be quilted as the fabric may be threadbare or torn and is just too fragile. In those cases I suggest that they take portions of it a frame as keepsakes for family members.
    The local friend who was going to bring “a few” quilt tops over for me to quilt up (She will bind them herself) brought over 6 of them on , you guessed it- FRIDAY!! 😱 They are large lap size quilts that she is giving to her adult children for Christmas. The first one is loaded on Lenni, my longarm machine and my daughter/business partner will be over this morning to get some of those quilted while I sew binding on the two previous quilts! Feels like a little assembly line going on here!! Lol! HandmadeinOldeTowne.com
    But these 6 quilts will be done by Tuesday (tomorrow) so we’ll be hoping for more to come in! It is helping Hubs and I with our goal to pay off mortgage completely In January!! To that end, Hubs is finishing the storage cubbies and top to this work station/desk that he designed and built for a client. https://pin.it/1rTWWSN. Since they have two rough and tumble boys, it is built completely from hardwoods including the pull out cubbies that will go on each shelf.
    So, we feel like Santa’s workshop here with work and are so grateful!!

    With the pork loin I bought on sale last week (99 cents/pound), I ground it up with the meat grinder attachment to my mixer and then added my DIY breakfast sausage seasoning and mixed it thoroughly in my mixer and put it into the fridge to “marinade”. I had almost 15 pounds! I’ll form some into sausage patties to make McMuffins and breakfast biscuits and some I will cook into crumbles for breakfast burritos and breakfast casseroles. https://pin.it/1ZBhVaJ. At the store, I noticed that a one pound roll of breakfast sausage was $3.49 so I’m pretty happy about this! I’m still shaking my head that I hadn’t realized that I could do this!! So grateful for how easy it is to learn new things with all the technology we have available!!
    This morning for breakfast, I took out a jar of DIY apple muffin mix and added some walnuts and the water, oil and egg and VOILA! In 16 minutes I had these 15 muffins coming out of the oven and sending that wonderful fresh baked smell wafting through the house! https://pin.it/672u0Qs

    It’s getting cold, wet and dreary here, but we have been reminded of all those things we have to be grateful for! I hope you and your family have a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. could you please post the recipe for the sausage seasoning? I’m making more DIY seasoning mixes and will give them as stocking stuffers this year.

          1. You can use pork loin the way I did (on sale for 99 cents/pound when I got it) OR you can use pork butt, etc! They will work equally well!!

    2. I think you will have the whole state covered in quilts at the rate you are going! Good for you. They are so special for the families that are getting theirs done.

      I was interested in your sausage project. This is something I would really like to do, since pork is often on sale at one of our stores. I have the figure out a seasoning mix. I recently developed an allergy to black pepper and thyme, which would be favorite ingredients of mine. They make my nose run in a serious way, which is at the very least uncomfortable, even making it hard to breathe, and socially unacceptable these days. I also have to stay away from Accent, which is MSG. It wouldn’t take much research to figure out some alternatives, though.

      1. Elizabeth M- Lol! Actually my quilts have not only been from my home state of Ohio, but also CA, Minnesota, Texas, North Carolina, Michigan and Indiana! I’ll ship anywhere within the U.S.! 😉 HandmadeinOldeTowne.com With the quilts that are here in queue to be quilted, I’ll be up to 95! I’m hoping to get to 100 before December 1st! That would make the January pay off the mortgage goal more attainable without having to dip into savings as much!
        With the amazing technology available to us these days, you should be able to find a breakfast Sausage seasoning recipe that will work with your spice restrictions! If not, it might be fun (and tasty! ) to experiment in your kitchen with various combinations! Good luck!!

      2. Elizabeth, I can’t help much with the thyme, a favorite of mine, too, but I went to an Indian-owned food store and bought ganthoda (pipramul) powder, which is not at all related to black pepper but gives a similar taste and spice. It’s not as spicy, so I use more, but it works in my dishes.

        1. Jo,
          Thanks! I will check that out. I expect that I can find it online. Pepper I really miss. I like a lot of different spices, fortunately, but need to rotate through them. These allergies develop with foods I eat over and over.

            1. I’m 100 miles from a city, so no ethnic stores nearby. Buying online is always cheaper than a trip into the city, unless there is some major reason to go there, since gas would cost around $30 Cdn. With Co-vid, we’re not making any trips to the city, since infection rates are much higher there at the moment. It is surprising sometimes what ingredients we can get locally in Northern Alberta, though, because we have many residents in my village who come from Korea and the Philippines.

    3. Gardenpat,
      I like your idea to frame fragile quilts! What a great idea! My great grandma was a quilter and I have a very special quilt from her, made from scraps from clothes. When I was a child I had it on my bed. Now, I don’t use it for fear of it falling apart. It is special to me. My great grandma was going to teach me to quilt among other things, but she passed before I was able to stay with her and do that. She had a room with a quilting table in it. The entire family saved material and clothes for her to make quilts. I still remember thinking how neat that was that she could make something so beautiful and useful from clothes and scraps of material that would otherwise be thrown away. Tammy

      1. Tammy- My father-in-law served a Church mission for 3 years in Samoa In the 1930’s and he brought home a piece of tapa (sp?) cloth. It was divided between the 5 children and we divided it among our 11 children after not really knowing what to do with it for almost 20 years. We kept it tucked away in a closet. One of our daughters suggested the idea of framing the pieces! This way those mementos are being cherished and seen as an heirloom.

      1. Little bits can really add up!! Sometimes it seems silly to add little bits of income into savings but this year, we’ve already knocked $23K off our mortgage by little additions of income and little reductions in spending!! We pray to notice “opportunities” and to make the best use of all resources that come our way.

  6. I am so thankful for my slow cooker and electronic pressure cooker. It makes cooking so much easier, especially when all meals are eaten at home. I continue to follow our weekly meal plan and spend $200 less a month on groceries. We still have not turned on our heat. The few days it was cooler we shut the room to the office and we all hung out in that room, it is much warmer from the computers. Since private gathering have been limited to no more than 8 people (and we are a family of 6) I went to the thrift store hoping to find some activities. I was blessed finding a board game for the 4-year-old, snap on circuits to add to a kit we already have, and a handful of Boxcar Children books we have not read.

  7. The cyclamen is lovely! In the spring, I often buy a few lettuce plants as well, to tide me over until my plants get big enough to harvest. That’s great you found deals on the lettuce and herbs. I harvested chard, peppers, two tiny eggplant, lambs quarter, chickweed, and even a very few cherry tomatoes. Oh, and one passionfruit. I cooked with our tromboncino, then grated and froze some more. The peppers were all picked while green or barely turning, in advance of a freeze. As I’m not fond of green pepper, I pickled most of them, and shared the rest. Tromboncinos were also shared. A friend shared pomegranates with me, as she got a produce order with more than she could use. Another friend shared purple stemmed elephant ear plants and strawberry plants. I gave home canned jams and preserves to both people. My GD and I visited on facetime. Chocolate cake was made with grated tromboncino, and brownies were made with winter squash. Though I suspect this winter will have more than the usual share of comfort foods, at least we’re getting some veggies in there! http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/11/even-laundry-frugal-accomplishments.html

  8. This week we have been blessed. We have been using our food storage to prepare meals for the family which cuts our grocery bill drastically.
    I continue to exercise for free in my friends gym with her which motivates both of us to get up and get going in the morning.
    We received a free Turkey dinner from a donation box someone gifted us. Since we are having thanksgiving with at my dads house we will be able to store the Turkey and trimmings away for another holiday-maybe Christmas?
    I was able to go clean a house with my girls for my boss and make some money for my girls to save. It was pretty easy work just dusting and vacuuming and wiping our cabinets.
    I gave three of my daughters haircuts, well trims.
    We continue to revive free produce from a local pick up and whatever we can’t use goes to our chickens and they gift us with their eggs.
    My children are taking advantage of getting the free school lunches that are still in effect till the end of the year which helps cut grocery costs.
    My family have been riding our bikes more to save on gas and made a trip to the library and store this week on them. It is not only free exercise but so lovely to be out in the sun and fresh air-albeit cold haha.
    Someone toilet papered our house over the weekend as a prank and yet left a pack of fresh unused toilet paper. Maybe we scared them off before they finished? But hey free pack of toilet paper for cleaning the other bits up.
    We had a little campfire in the backyard using wood that was given to us free from a neighbor. We have enough left for several more fires to enjoy.
    I was able to use a 40% coupon to buy some beautiful blue velvet ribbon. A small wreath was also on sale so I was able to pick that up as well to make our home festive.
    I was able to work a few hours last week and it was just enough for me to purchase Christmas lights for the outside of our home, and a lovely smelling candle. These are luxuries we don’t have extra cash for usually so I was so excited to be able to work and help out.
    I added a bit of water to the almost empty shampoo bottle and gave it a few shakes and was able to get several more uses out of it before recycling the container.
    I have been so grateful this holiday season for the many blessings we have had and for such a wonderful family to enjoy them with-my greatest blessing. Take care!

  9. I hosted a family get together, since we are not forced to do social isolation at the moment in our state. It was wonderful to see my eldest son and his three children whom I’ve not seen since last Christmas. I cooked a turkey breast, made finger foods and chose recipes that would translate well into other meals if there were copious leftovers. I did pretty well with just a few leftovers and not a lot.
    This morning I’ve stripped beds and baths and done a load of laundry to hang on the line. I went through the fridge and formed a plan for every item in there that is leftover. My goal is to completely eliminate all food waste in 2021 and I’ve been earnestly practicing this in this year, plus I feel that using all that we have is a good way to counteract the desire to run to the store and buy more of things. A book I’ve been enjoying that really promotes this idea of using all of what you have in the kitchen is Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal.
    Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving (U.S). Ours will be spent quietly with my mother and then home early. We are having a roast chicken as our meat.

    1. I love that book! I first borrowed it from the library, then bought a copy used to have it for myself. Her writing is fluid and the way she incorporates leftovers into her general cooking is very inspiring.
      That’s a great goal for 2021. I’ve been doing better about food waste, but I still have a way to go. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. My husband got lots of great deals (quite a few free items and/or moneymakers) with the rebate sites – Ibotta, Fetch, etc. – and the overage from his trip helped pay for fresh produce. He used Safeway rewards to get $7 off meat, netting a shank ham for $1.38. He got the biggest turkey he could find for .49 a pound. I parted it out and froze the parts. We will smoke the legs and wings in the smoker on a nice day. We’ll have one breast half for Thanksgiving, and likely roast the other one in a couple months for a meal and/or for sandwiches. I ground the thigh meat and all the meat I could cut away from the frame, seasoned it a little, and made ten turkey burgers and a meal’s worth of mini meatballs. I put all that was left – bones, fat, bits, along with onion and carrot peels, celery ends, a little vinegar, and some herbs into the crock pot and made a rich stock. After that, the fat and anything I could remove from the bones was packaged up so that we can give each of the dogs a little spoonful on their food each way. I buried the bones down deep under our garden. The only things thrown away in the end were the wrapper and the pop-up timer.

    I worked from home 2 days this week, saving fuel and wear and tear on our car. It looks like I’ll be working from home at least 1 day per week for the forseeable future. I brought my lunch to work each day I was there (I always do) and went for walks on my meal break to get some fresh air and free exercise.

    I put a cold frame around the Swiss chard to extend the season for it, and picked Malabar spinach. It functions as an edible houseplant right now. 🙂

    We borrowed books, movies, music, and an e-audio from the library.

    We decided to make better use of the space under our bed. After checking in the garage I found some plastic lidded totes and shoe boxes that are short enough to fit underneath, and I don’t think we’ll need to purchase any containers.

    We had a big blank spot on the wall in our dining room, and my husband wanted a picture for there. I’ve been learning watercolor painting through online tutorials and painted a large picture of a couple of apples. I have a frame it can go in, but for now I just have it taped up, to make sure we like it. I’m already considering doing a different painting for there, of a sea turtle. He is from Hawaii and really loves them, so I think he might like that even better.

    We heated our home with wood heat. On days that were just a little bit cool instead of cold, we wore warmer clothes.

    I’m teaching our daughter how to trim claws on our dogs and cats. As an adult, I’m hoping they won’t have to pay for that service from someone else if they learn it now.

  11. This week has been busy with one daughter moving back to the west coast, she is with us for one week. Our other daughter turns 21 today, and will be home tomorrow. We are making homemade pizza (her request) for her birthday dinner. This uses flour that really needs to be used, so I’m happy on that front too. I have sewed her a small gift, to go along with the bigger gift of new waterproof boots. Gifts are most often practical in our house!
    I have sewed the last item of the week for my shop. It’s a very cute chicken apron, I learned how to add a survey to my newsletter and the vote on “What to make with this fabric?” was an apron. It’s reversible. It satisfies my practical heart, and makes me smile too. And my daughter was home to be a model for the pictures. http://www.etsy.com/listing/896580344/
    I did not buy several items that were on sale online,.I decided I just didn’t need them, though the price was VERY tempting. We live in a very small house and the limited space keeps my pretty careful about what I buy. Clutter makes me anxious, so I saved money, and my mental health!
    I ordered the one Christmas gift I needed for our family name draw. Since I’m sending a flat rate box to the recipient anyway (free baby clothes from Buy Nothing group), I chose to have this gift sent to me, so that I could wrap it. It’s small and will fit in the flat rate box. I also discovered Regional A and B boxes, which seem to be cheaper for mailing some things. It appears these boxes can only be obtained by ordering them from the post office. They are free, and delivery is free, but the actual post office branches don’t stock them with all the other flat rate boxes.
    I picked up goat’s milk kefir after volunteering at the food bank. It was left over after everyone had left and since there is no food distribution next week, it would have spoiled. I’m very thankful for it. They were also giving the excess persimmons to volunteers, which I gladly took.
    Our new attic insulation (installed ourselves) has made a big difference in how warm our house has been, and the heat cycles on less. We are so thankful for the comfort, and the savings.
    I’m thankful for all who comment here, and for you, Brandy, and the truly lovely site that you have crafted.
    Blessings to all!

  12. I made dried red beans in the crockpot, added a can of mustard greens, a little bit of pumpkin, spices, and made a soup. My mustard greens I had planted appear to not be growing anymore after they were swamped in the hurricane, but I am trying to revive them and we shall see, the wild dandelions are still growing, so I still have free fresh greens, if I don’t want canned. I ordered on line powdered heavy cream and pickled carrots last week. I should be well stocked now on powdered milk, powdered heavy cream, powdered sour cream, powdered butter, powdered cheese, powdered eggs, etc. After I ended up having to quarantine for two days until my Covid test came back (negative, thank goodness), I have upped my precautions even more. Stores are a no no. I will live off my canned vegetables, dried goods, frozen fruit, dandelions, tuna, canned chicken, etc. I have calculated and I have enough canned goods for at least eight months, if I am careful, and combine it for meals with the dried beans and rice, flour, oatmeal, grits, or cornbread. I will order on line if supplies go low (if food is available) but do not want to go into a store. Luckily, I had bought an extra turkey breast, so I have two in the tiny fridge top freezer, and will use one for Christmas and one for Thanksgiving, unless I can get a ham easily without much exposure. I still work with the public, so I still have a lot of exposure, I am just trying not to have any more than necessary. Your garden looks so nice, Brandy! I bet you are tired. The soil there sounds like it is so hard to work with. I hope all of y’all have a very Happy Thanksgiving, and everyone stays safe! I forgot to wish Canadians when they had their Thanksgiving so belated well wishes to y’all.

  13. How great that you were able to find more daffodil bulbs! A girl can’t have too many daffs, LOL. Keep on keepin’ on…you will get there!

    Before I list my frugal accomplishments of the week, I would like to tell your readers about making cranberry sauce without sugar. Last year I made my cranberry sauce with Splenda. It took a couple of days to set up–so you’d need to make it ASAP for Thursday–but my husband, who is diabetic, couldn’t tell the difference. I couldn’t remember this year whether I’d used all Splenda or part Splenda, so I used half Splenda, and it set up right away.(Which tells me I used all Splenda last year). This is good to know if you will be feeding a diabetic (who likes cranberry sauce) this Thanksgiving.

    This is what else I did–
    * I got a free 19 lb. turkey at Winco with $100 purchase. I had to work at spending that much and came in at $105.  I ended up buying a ham butt for $1.39 lb. and picked up a few items we use all the time but aren’t low on at the moment. Winco’s deal was by far the best in town. They don’t advertise nor have the loss leaders of some other stores, but I didn’t see many loss leaders ANYWHERE this Thanksgiving. Also, Winco is always .50 to $1.50 less PER ITEM, so I think I got the best deal.

    * I made a few more scrunchies for my daughter’s Christmas stocking. Cost: $0.

    * I made a pair of pajama pants to match a top my daughter already had. No need to buy the pattern, thread and elastic. When she bought the top, the store did not have the matching pants in her size…and they would have been $25 if they did! When I cut out the pants, I didn’t realize the bottom of the pattern was folded under, and I cut the back legs 5 inches too short. (Example of stupid sewing mistakes made by me). Normally, I would have bought more fabric and re-cut the piece, since they are a Christmas gift. And I thought pretty hard about doing this, too. In this case, I added a piece to make the back legs longer. Tried to match the plaid, but it shows a little. But my daughter won’t know the difference, wouldn’t care, and just will be thrilled that her mom made them for her. Don’t you wish everyone was like this??

    *I have tried very hard to shop locally for Christmas. Couldn’t find what I wanted for my husband, so I bought it on Amazon. I had it shipped directly to my son’s home so that I don’t have to hide and haul it (it’s kinda big). This is also a reminder to all of you to place your Amazon orders through this website so Brandy will receive a small commission. Just click on any item pictured under “Would you like to support my website?” and it will take you to Amazon. Then enter what you’re looking for in the Amazon search bar. Tip: If you want to be sure of doing this every time, when you get to Amazon, save that page as a favorite. Anytime you want to order, click on the favorite, it will take you to the same page, then proceed as above.

    * After great difficulty reaching customer service, I canceled Sirius radio and will be receiving a refund of $173. They did not notify us in advance that they would be processing this charge. Because of long hold times, which I think are to discourage people from canceling, there was no deal they could offer me to stay. (I had previously been on hold for 2 hours and 10 minutes before I gave up). When the agent said they are often overwhelmed by call volume, I told her to tell management there is a simple solution: HIRE MORE PEOPLE.

  14. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    Lots of holiday week planning and preparations going on in my household this week.
    I processed six pumpkins this week and froze over 24 cups of pumpkin puree this week. This will make for lovely Thanksgiving pie and cheesecake. I made homemade gingersnaps as well to be used for the crust of the cheesecake.
    I purchased a box of pears from Costco last week and we enjoyed some as fresh fruit snacks. I took the leftovers and cooked them down with spices, sugar and a bit of pectin to make homemade pear jam. This will be served with homemade bread around the holiday. It only yielded 3.5 pints but we didn’t let the fruit go to waste which is a win!
    I baked 3 fruitcakes this weekend which will be served around Christmas and also serve as part of a gift for my sister. I know most are adverse to fruitcake but my Mom’s fruitcake recipe is famous in my family. I look forward to baking it with her and Bing Crosby crooning in the background every year. We used up candied fruits that were purchased on sale last year and added a bit that was needed through holiday sales this year.
    The weather has been so beautiful here in GA – I am loving it! Temperatures have been fairly cool at night but we have managed to keep the heater turned off using flannel sheets on our beds and lighting fires in our wood burning fireplace. We purchased a chord of wood last year and are still using it. The fires are lovely and heat our home well while we are still in this shoulder season. Our electric bill dropped over $100 from last month and I am looking forward to an even bigger reduction for December.
    We cleaned out our son’s playroom and will be listing several items that he no longer plays with for sale on FB Marketplace.
    All the usual things were done to save – combined laundry loads, full dishwasher loads and combine trips to save gas.
    I hope that everyone enjoys a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving!!! Be well, be fed, be blessed 🙂

  15. Those were some great deals on plants, and how nice that you were able to share.
    This week I mostly did all the usual things we do every week: we are mostly eating from our pantry; I bought no groceries this week and should be set until after Thanksgiving, when I will have to pick up a few things. I am roasting a chicken for the two of us for Thanksgiving, since my freezer doesn’t really have room for a turkey right now and I already have the chicken.
    I downloaded more free audiobooks from my library, and worked on knitting some socks.
    We enjoyed lettuce from the greenhouse.
    I wanted to make some Christmas decorations and instead of buying new supplies — my first inclination — I went through all my old craft supplies and found some items that will work.

  16. -I bought a toy for a child’s birthday party gift for $1 and subsequently realised it was $15 at another store!
    -I did some market research for two hours virtually and received $125
    -We did a long bike bike at the beach, followed by a picnic and a swim
    -I purchased the week’s groceries for $66 using a gift card I received
    -We are going to the aforementioned birthday party this weekend and the children will take their swimmers to have a swim
    -I got some great deals at the second hand shop
    -We borrowed books and DVD’s from the library, including Nicholas Sparks new novel, The Return. It was not as good as I had hoped
    -Saw Sparkle Girlz Zuru dolls, 45cm/17.5 inches tall for $6 each and bought two for my present cupboard

  17. We are in the midst of doing a thorough cleaning and some decluttering and rearranging after having now lived in this home for 3 1/2 years.
    Storage wins were rearranging the linen and guest room closets as well as Christmas decorations. I was able to make better use of the storage containers we have already and not buy anything. Tree lights we aren’t using anymore are going to our son.
    For my husband’s 68th birthday we each got small A la carte takeout and ended up having two meals from our choices for not much spent.
    The installers had caulked the bath vent fan cover to the ceiling 3 years ago. My husband was able to carefully cut the seal and remove the cover so we could clean the inside and prolong its life. He then painted part of the ceiling using paint we already have.
    I was able to earn $120 from our health insurance company for completing wellness goals and used it to help pay for an expensive prescription.
    Our dog had a bad reaction to her rabies shot 3 years ago that required costly follow up treatment. I called our current vet and he outlined a pre and post shot regime using Benadryl and a medication she already takes (but at a more frequent dosage) to hopefully avoid the same problem in December. He didn’t charge for this advice.

    1. Juhli,
      I worked with a vet for ten years and we saw many animals who had life-long damage from rabies shots, and it was heart-breaking. Many times the dogs had had bad reactions and the vet simply did what your vet suggests and the dogs ended up with auto-immune diseases, brain damage, and other serious results that we had to try to repair. Sometimes we could help and other times the damage was irreversible. The fact that your dog had a bad reaction to the shot indicates that s/he shouldn’t be vaccinated again. Yes, Benadryl may suppress the expression of the reaction, but the body’s reacting nonetheless. If you’re in a state where a vet can write an exemption, I’d strongly suggest you ask your vet to do this. If s/he won’t then please seek out a veterinarian experienced with holistic medicine. There is so much information out there on the problems with vaccinating animals with bad reactions. Please, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    1. Suze, if you’ve seen my posts on Instagram of the “soil” we have here, it is white lime rocks called caliche. It’s pretty much concrete rocks. If I want to garden, I have to take it out and bring something else in. Check it out here.

      1. When we lived in Southern AZ, we decided that “caliche” is the Native American word for “cement”!! Lol!! Hubs, being an AZ native would still insist on a garden. Here’s a photo of him with our oldest 5 kiddos in our garden in Tucson! https://pin.it/7wmd5q0. I’m happier gardening where the soil can be rich and it rains naturally and regularly!

      2. Brandy- we lived in Southern AZ for years. Hubs family were AZ pioneers. We decided years ago that “caliche” must translate into English ( From Native American) to “cement”!! Lol!!

        I admire your hard work at having a productive garden in that climate! Being a Midwest girl, I was shocked at how deliberately you have to water in that climate for plants to survive!
        Here’s a photo from the late 1970’s of Hubs and our first 5 kiddos in the veggie garden we had!

  18. A quiet week at home, without spending a penny. The last time I was out was nine days ago, when I went to the post office, and bought one stamp, so I could mail a letter. I had a doctor’s appointment by phone, and heard from my niece by e-mail. She is celebrating that one of her twin sons has just been accepted at university, with a scholarship for academic achievement. Definitely good news that he worked hard for. I also heard from someone by phone who I hadn’t talked to all year, who needed some help with a project she is working on.

    Co-vid cases in the province, and now locally, are surging. (I know they are also surging where most of you are as well.) I am looking at the errands I have this week when my pensions come in, and am trying to decide which can’t or shouldn’t be put off.

    Hope all the American readers have a safe and pleasant Thanksgiving. Thanks to Cindy from the South for her belated Canadian Thanksgiving wishes. It is always a good thing to stretch a good holiday out!

  19. Put a chicken carcass in the freezer to save for making broth

    Repaired 2 pairs of jeans

    Had a friend replace a zipper on a coat

    Hubby used a 15% off code to order the boy a Christmas present (he’s slowly learning, lol)

    A local guitar store honored their 15% off price online in store.

    A friend had me stop by her house and gave me some Ambrosia salad.

    Saved the croutons out of salad kit to smash into panko style breadcrumbs

    Finally got the Ibotta Thanksgiving offers downloaded. The gravy and French fried onions were unavailable, but found everything else at my Neighborhood Market. It didn’t have the turkey breast roasts, so I found the cheapest whole turkey(just under $12) and received the 9.98 back. It’ll be nice to have as meat if hubby doesn’t work much the next few months because of weather.

    Got my oil changed and received a coupon for a free exterior and interior car wash.

    Decided to crochet the boy a blanket, found out yarn is not cheap anymore, lol. Oh well.

    1. Hi April

      As a crochet addict I can tell you that the cheapest places for yarn ( or wool as we call it over here in England) are charity ( thrift) shops and eBay. It is amazing what you can find. It is amazing what you can find.

  20. This week the realization that Christmas may be even more different than Thanksgiving hit home. Two sons are in the Army and they are uncertain what the ruling for COVID will be, that could mean that one son who just got home from Korea snd is turning around and going back might not see his two girls( he is divorced). I am trying to avoid shipping packages as they are so expensive to send. I am communicating with my DIL’s to see what we will do!

    I did more cleaning up of the garden and discover a few yellow peppers and cherry tomatoes, it has been a very mild November so far. I have been drying apples for the grandkids, the dehydrator has been going nonstop all week.
    I am drying some oranges from my #15 I bought last week for .20#. I will decorate with them for Christmas.

    Last night, I thought about what I enjoy for the Christmas season, and to implement them after Thanksgiving. Christmas lights on the kitchen windowsill and mantle. Candles with lovely scents in the main areas of the house. Greenery arranged in various places. A basket of Christmas books for both young and old. Warm blankets out to be used. Reading a Advent devotional by Ann Voscamp by my reading nook. These all help me enjoy the simple things that delight the senses and lift the spirit and bring into focus what Christmas is really about.

    Thanksgiving will just be our youngest son, he still lives at home and his fiancée. It will be a simple meal and I will miss our other kids around the country and world, but hope they can make it for Christmas!

    Hoping each of you a blessed Thanksgiving, counting our blessings!

  21. There have been so many good sales and we made some extra money selling things that we have accumulated over the years but no longer use, so we took that extra money and over-stocked our freezer and cupboards. We could live for nine months now without buying food if we had to, although my husband so pines for milk that we’d have to buy a cow for that! Most of the things we sold were items we needed at the time, like a bed and a bookcase for a room in the last, larger house, but others were not necessities. When I sell things that we did not need to buy, I have to stop myself from spending the next day obsessing about how much we spent…and how much money I lost by selling the item for far less than I bought it for. I was so foolish about money when I was young. When I see other young people wasting money and then not being able to make ends meet, I have to bite my tongue and remember that we are all going to make mistakes in our own time and way.

    Spent an evening mending, with my husband doing machine mending while I did hand mending. We watched a Christmas movie and sipped homemade eggnog. The weirdest date night ever! (The only date night that ever paid for itself in the amount of clothes we salvaged and so do not have to spend money replacing them.)

    Accepted a box of grapefruit that a friend had ordered to support a church money raising project but got grapefruit (which she does not like) for oranges. She would not take money so I am going to make some loaves of bread for her in thanks. We both love grapefruit so none will be wasted.

    With Thanksgiving coming, we both wanted to lose a few pounds so we could eat with abandon on the day and on the next day of leftovers. So we have been eating a lot of egg drop soup with spinach and leeks thrown in. Frugal and healthy and now I have five pounds and he has eight pounds of room for Thanksgiving. I know this sounds odd, but over the years I have found that it is easier for me to drop the weight before holidays than after. The holiday is a good incentive and also I know that I won’t spend the day feeling like I should not eat one more appetizer or use more gravy.

    I don’t always get time to read your daily November Thanksgiving posts, so I am going to add mine for the day here. I am thankful for my kind, kind husband. There is an older man in town who had a stroke (it looks like to me) and the other day he was stumbling through the snow with a grocery bag in his hand; he looked like he and his clothes had not had a bath in some time. It was very, very cold and a few days before we had 18 inches of snow so even the able bodied are having trouble negotiating the streets. We were running an errand and sort of in a hurry to get home due to fatigue but my husband stopped, gave the man a mask and then helped him climb into our van. We could barely make out where he lived due to his slurring of words (plus the mask makes everything harder to understand!), but we figured it out. It was to a old cabin in one of the backstreets of our town. My husband helped him into this house, started a fire in his stove (the only source of heat), brought in more wood so the man won’t have to go out for a few days to get wood from his pile, and gathered up and brought out his garbage and took it to the curb for the next collection day. I am not sure I would have been as kind as my husband, although I think it is a bit different for a man to stop and help a stranger.

    A happy and safe Thanksgiving to you and your readers Brandy. And thanks for your blog and all the work you put into it. I have learned a lot and this community makes me feel less unusual for being frugal.

    1. Mable,
      I loved reading about how you both helped the older man who’s probably had a stroke. Very heartwarming.

    2. I have to laugh about how your husband would pine for milk, so you would need to buy a cow! I was surprised at myself, but when our area went on lockdown and I wasn’t going to the grocery store (even though we were allowed to do that) the thing I missed most of all was bananas!!! We had plenty of food in the house and freezer, and I had other fruit such as apples and frozen berries, but I often take my spotted bananas and freeze them to turn into thick smoothies, and they are kinda like my ice cream substitute. We make different flavors, such as chocolate, strawberry, pineapple,mango, etc. When my stash of frozen bananas ran out, about three days later I was REALLY feeling sorry for myself!!! Everyone else can have the T.P., —I’m going to hoard up the bananas!!🤣

  22. Your white cyclamen is lovely, Brandy – fun trivia – several years ago we were in Southern Italy in March and during our hikes discovered that they grow wild in the woods there under large ferns and shrubs – saw white, pink, magenta – so beautiful. We recently returned from visiting my wonderful inlaws who live in a state south of us and we had an early Thanksgiving celebration with all the trimmings with them and 2 of our sons and dils who live in a nearby state to their grandparents also joined us for several days. My mil makes the most delicious hummingbird cake – a Southern staple for many. As mil and fil are in their eighties, during our stay we put up winter drapery for them, tidied up their gardens, dh doing trimming and pruning and a few other chores – they are financially secure and can afford to hire people to do this, but we enjoy doing it for them. Truly blessed to see them all as last time we spent time together was back in February; we usually see each other every few months but covid of course has changed everything and facetime-ing is just not the same.

    Some good food deals – pomegranetes for $0.99 each; butter for $1.79 a lb (bought 12 lbs); Chex cereal $1.00 for a large box – bought 8 boxes – some to make chex mix with and some to give to dd; wild caught salmon $6.99 lb; sweet potatoes 5 lb for $2.49; fresh cranberries $0.99 lb; red bell peppers $0.99 lb.; cracker barrel cheese logs $1.99 each (bought 20 packages of assorted varieties as will use to make cheese/meat platters throughout the holiday season. Made a trip to BJs – they have now again started limiting t.p., paper towels, lysol spray, wipes, etc to 1 per member – but there was none to buy. I’m so glad I have stocked up and do not need to worry about shortages. There was plenty of Kleenex and I purchased a 12-pack. I donated the free frozen turkey that I qualified for at my local supermarket – I went to customer service with my store loyalty card, told them which item I wanted to donate (turkey, turkey breast, ham) to the food bank and they took care of it. I will cook a fresh turkey for us and dd’s family who will be joining us.

    Wishing you Brandy and your family and all your readers who celebrate a Blessed Thanksgiving.

    1. I just saw some on Instagram a few weeks ago, growing wild in Italy! It was incredibly beautiful!

      1. They grow wild during the winter months here in Israel too. They’re a protected flower and one of the most popular trips taken by people all over the land is to go and see the wild cyclamen in bloom in all their glory after the first heavy rains. It’s truly a site to behold.

  23. I started off the week running a low grade fever and headache for 3 days. I went to be tested since my mother in law is here. I am negative, but had to isolate for a few days as I waited for results. I am really trying to get everything stocked up so we can stay in as much as possible. I went to Costco and bought cold and flu, Tylenol, Excedrine Migraine, Advil, Vitamins, and Airborne. I got paper towels and toilet paper at Walmart, but the aisle was depleted , Costco and Sams had none. I got 8 lb of ground beef, 2 large packages of bonesless breasts, sausage, a ham, and turkey. The store was out of the turkey for Ibotta deal and I never got a chance to go anywhere else. I planned to get another turkey and also never made it back out.
    * My husband got a 120 lb doe this weekend. I am organizing the freezer to put the meat in the freezer.
    *I made $150 in online sales.
    *A friend gave us collards, turnips, green peppers, green onions, and eggplant, plus a ham bone. One night we cooked dry lima beans with the ham bone, greens, and cornbread.
    * I used our flex card to pay my co-pay at the doctor. It saves to have that money taken out tax free for medical expenses.
    *my 24 year old lives alone and barely makes ends meet. I am going to make her a basket of snacks, quick meal staples, medicine and cleaning supplies as part of her Christmas. She raids my pantry everything she comes over.
    *I am using Mama’s china for Thanksgiving. We always used china growing up, but husband’s family did not. I am starting it back and making this year special again.

  24. Hi Ladies, this month has just whizzed by! I live in the SF Bay Area of California, and it was so warm for so long, I never really expected autumn to arrive. It did, and very suddenly–now it really seems like Thanksgiving time with all the leaves on the ground and the air has that crisp snap to it. I’ve had to break out our throw blankies, wool socks, leg warmers for my leggings and my sweet little doggie’s pink coat. (My husband swears she looks like a teeny armadillo and claims embarrassment and humiliation whenever he takes her out for a walk.)

    This month, I did a lot of the usual to save money–making my own coffee, ice tea, lunches, cookies, and dinners. There were some lovely grilled cheese sandwiches and soup to stretch the budget, but I love it. I made a batch of Pillsbury Chocolate Chip place and bake cookies for my friends in the mailroom at work, and they were very appreciative. My entertainment has been reading the used books I started stockpiling since summer, just in case it’s a long winter. I never read Judith Krantz’ famous trash novel “Scruples”, so I’m reading that now and enjoying it lots; it’s giving me a much needed touch of glamour, spice , scandal and excitement to life during Covid. I’m also treating myself to watching Big Little Lies on HBO on demand (included in our cable package.) I gobbled up season one and am trying to portion out season two like a box of fancy chocolates. Again, it’s giving me the excitement and fun I’ve been craving. Check it out!

    I treated my husband, sister and stepgrandbunny out for Baskin Robbins with a gift card and we enjoyed getting out and having ice cream cones in the park. There were people playing salsa music and a gentleman who did some fantastic juggling, it was really wonderful to be out!

    Earlier this month, I celebrated the 20th anniversary of buying my cozy condo by making a crockpot lasagna and a one layer dream cake and it was soooo goood I nearly died! I’d bought the ingredients piecemeal in advance during October, so I didn’t really have to pay much out of pocket, except for the ricotta and chicken slices (I’m Type Two, so I used chicken slices instead of noodles so I can enjoy some sourdough baguette with dinner.) and the sugar free cool whip for my cake.

    However, after doing a LOT of cooking and baking for the past year, the lasagna dinner was one homemade dinner too many and I got completely wiped out with very bad fatigue that I’m still having trouble shaking off. I decided to give myself a free vacation: I decided no way was I cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll be going to my brother’s home, which will be fun and give me a change of scenery as well as a break!) I’m so grateful for the invitation, I nearly cried with relief!

    My only real fail was treating us to a real hamburger meal with onion rings from Red Onion. This was after reading about our governor getting caught luxuriating at the famous, pretentious and outrageously French Laundry. I figured if he deserved a 350 meal consisting of nine bites, my husband and I deserved a thirty dollar meal from Red Onion, no kidding! I’m happy I did it!! For once in my life, “Not sorry!” (Reeses peanut butter cup slogan.)

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! God Bless, and we’ll make it through!

    1. Silver, I’m laughing out loud about your husband’s mortification while walking the tiny armadillo (laughing at the visual of your chihuahua in full regalia as well). Our husbands must be related – mine absolutely cringes when I bust out the dogs’ coats, and don’t even get him started on the Halloween costumes or Christmas outfits. 😀

      We noticed the same thing about the seasons. Our liquid amber trees stayed green for so long, and then it seemed as if they burst into fall colors overnight, and now (a week later) are nearly bare. (We’re in So. Cal.)

      Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for the reminder that yes, we’ll make it through this.

    2. Silver, I tried to reply to your post, but the website bumped my reply to the regular reply thread. Sorry about that. It’s down there somewhere! I was laughing at your husband’s mortification when walking the dog, because my husband has the same reaction when I put coats on the dogs. 😉

  25. Thank you for taking the time to share your story and wisdom that you have learned. Thank you for inspiring people and me to live frugally, but beautifully. You have inspired me multiple times and I have shared your blog with multiple family and friends. Thanks again for sharing with us and encouraging me and many others!

  26. What a gorgeous pomegranate! I really enjoy seeing the pictures from your climate. I’m glad things are progressing well with the dirt removal and that you can take some rest along the way. You will be so strong!

    This week, we ate arugula, swiss chard, parsley, and lettuce from our unheated greenhouse and kale from the garden. We’ll be roasting our last pumpkin and making pies for Thanksgiving. We made French bread and challah with an overnight dough recipe again, and overnight waffles. I combined two different batches of soup together and added some orzo – brand new soup! We also had surprisingly good sales this week on pork shoulder, top round roast, and ground beef ($1.97/lb).

    I sorted through some more kids clothes, once again finding exactly those baby pjs I thought I had run out of. Happy not to need to buy them! It’s finally getting into my brain that the time to sort is really worthwhile.

    I’m watching youtube videos this evening of wreath making techniques and bow tying. I’m going to make our church’s advent wreath tomorrow with wire I have, ribbon from last year, holly and cedar from our bushes, and hopefully some ivy I can scrounge from the roadside. I collected pinecones last year to trim gifts with and have extra. I’m excited to try making wreaths and garlands for our home this year. I love having lots of greenery but have never taken the time to do more than stuff it in a vase. This will be fun! I also saved branches from last year’s Christmas tree to make a base of potpourri with. I saved orange peel too, interesting pods and stray scented geranium leaves from the garden. I have a bunch of dishes in the china cabinet that always get filled with whatever scraps I want to dry and add in – rose petals, lemon flowers, verbena leaves. It’s a hodgepodge of a scent, but it’s great fun and a nice present. I also cut some wild vines and made wreath forms for the house to add greens to. I’m determined not to buy a wreath again. It’s only $6 at the grocery store, but still – much more fun this way.

    Our COVID numbers here in Massachusetts are up, and we’re settling into the house for the next while. I’m so grateful to you, Brandy, and to you all who comment for all I’ve learned from you. We’re comfortable, pretty well prepared, and feeling cheerful and ready to enjoy being home. Thank you all. Blessings on your week.

    1. Check out Claus Dalby on Instagram. He has several advent wreath and bow tying tutorials up right now! You’re probably already done with your project, but I think you will enjoy his projects!

      1. Oh, thank you! I did finish the wreath at church today, but it just showed me how much fun I was having. I aim to do more and will enjoy these. Thanks!

  27. We had several medical appointments the past couple of weeks. It’s such a blessing to have medical insurance to help with those costs.
    I made a menu plan and cooked my way through it. There were a couple of meals left over that I did not need to cook due to copious amounts of leftovers, so I started this week with those. We decided to buy some good bargains from Safeway even though we had already done the shopping for the week. 97c/lb ham, $1.47 butter, $5 Tillamook cheese, and a few more were too good to pass up. I was not in desperate need of any of the things I bought, but know I will need them soon, so wanted to get them at such a reasonable price. My husband bought them for my sister, as well, as she doesn’t go into stores right now. I’ve been working on a few Christmas gifts…sewed fleece hats. I’m using scraps from projects I’ve sewed previously, plus a few remnants I purchased weeks ago. We will pair them with Dollar Store gloves for individual gifts. There is one large family we give a gift to each Christmas, and I like each family member to have one present that is just theirs to go with the goodies I put in the family’s group gift. The hats are very fast to make and it’s so good to put some of those scraps to such a good use!

    Pictures and the rest of my week are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

  28. Today, I am thankful for my cozy little home. I’m glad to be at the table, in a warm home reading and writing on my computer.
    We have borrowed movies from the library for my son. I borrowed a book, but didn’t get interested in it, so I put it down. We did a thanksgiving turkey with my mom’s wonderful stuffing early so we could post it on our Youtube channel, Belle Rose Cooks. My mom makes the best stuffing I have ever had anywhere. I was so happy to get her recipe and get to eat that. I watch my carbs, but I made allowance for that. I bought a duck that we are going to cook for a Thanksgiving dinner with my son this week. My husband has been entertaining himself, learning about editing film. I played the piano for entertainment. Used the internet, read too much news. Gave myself a break from the news and enjoyed doing things around the house. We organized my clothes. My husband bought a closet rod and hung my clothes up. Before they were in baskets. I am so happy that he did that for me! Now I can see what I have. It is nice. We are putting my dishwasher on the 1 hour setting instead of the normal setting and it is still getting the dishes clean. Our electricity bill was much cheaper this month. That made me happy. We are using the food we have on hand. Making sure to use things before they go bad or expire. Using up leftovers. Trying to reduce waste to spread our budget. My husband put in his own water line for a green house that isn’t there yet. But we hope to put one up if we can manage the cost. Hubby will be looking for a job soon. I hope he doesn’t bring home Covid. But we will need more income soon. What I make does not cover all the bills. So it is possible that we won’t build a greenhouse. Depends on the cost. My husband will be taking Real Estate classes soon. But he will need to do something else too, as that takes a while to build business. I hope to sell asparagus this year as well as other plants and vegetables, depending what I can grow, if we build a greenhouse. At the very least I will grow a garden, hopefully larger this next spring. Despite everything, I am feeling content to be in my little home, enjoying our blessings.

  29. My city is in lockdown again for 28 days since the Covid cases have been rising.We are averaging about 350 new cases a day which may not seem like much to some in areas with higher numbers. But we are trying to get to the zero point that New Zealand did or at least to the point where we can have a few family in for a Christmas meal. As it is, we are already planning to only gather on the front porch under blankets and will skip the meal. I feel so sorry for small businesses since they have to shut their doors yet big box stores can stay open. Surely those bigger stores are more of a problem than a mom and pop operation. Anyway, I’m glad to have stocked up over the past weeks so I really don’t have to go out to anything.
    I should get new winter boots but I will have to try some on in order to pick the right ones. Thankfully I still have useable boots until a month or so from now when I can go into a store safely.
    We’ve had a bit of a snowstorm and the snow stayed on the ground for the better part of the following day. Tomorrow will be the coldest day of the year so far, 30*f for a high. I’m sure there will be some icy streets in the morning. Good thing we are getting the snow tires on one car mid week. The other car is the one we usually drive to our winter house in SWFLA but this year we can’t go due to the border closure.
    My bookclub met by zoom this afternoon. We spent very little time actually talking about the book and mostly just chatted and giggled. I guess we are all feeling a little lonely and cooped up.
    We ordered two separate meals from a restaurant down the street last week. We knew they would have to stop their in-house dining and wanted to support them as best we could. I’m not sure how much longer they can keep going.
    I’ve been going through the fridge and making sure to really use up lots of things every day. Our city has a website link that is trying to teach people about food waste. There’s lots of good recipes to try as well. And I see the trend is now to bake the peels from potato, carrot etc. with spices in the oven and eat them like chips. The website is lovefoodhatewaste.ca in case anyone wants to check it out.
    the weather on Friday night was conducive to our family night watching Mandalorian outdoors at my youngest son’s house. We play every week by ear and simply watch the weather to see if we can do one more week. Other than that we just bundle up on the front porch under lots of blankets to chat and soak up a bit of fresh air and sunshine if it’s about.
    This week I learned about Hummingbird Cake from a reader above so I will hunt up a recipe. And thanks to GardenPat for the sausage spice recipe. There’s always something to learn. Last week I bake another loaf of bread and today I used my food processor to grind up cheeses for the freezer and for tonight’s mac and cheese supper. I also ground up the dried bits of bread and buns I had saved to make crumbs for fish cakes etc. i got a bit lazy this month and didn’t really make out a menu plan. i should do one for the upcoming month soon. I will need to put in an order soon for fresh fruit and veggies plus milk, eggs and yogurt. But most other things are already in house.
    We are awaiting a cure for a tricky boiler in our house. At least it’s still working. And we’ve had a faulty upstairs faucet for a while now. Since they need a special tool to replace , we hired a plumber to do the job. He’s local and it’s nice to keep him in business as well.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all those in the States. If you don’t have to travel this year that would be good. Perhaps you could try having a virtual dinner gathering instead and hope for a Christmas in person.

    1. Our numbers are over 2000 new cases a day here and our new “modified lockdown” starts today for three weeks.

  30. Frugal wins here are swapped some fresh fruit, veges, eggs, and jasmine rice for a huge bag of cake decorating icing in different colours. I got the eggs, fruit and some of the vegetables for free so I feel I did very well. Restrictions are lifting in Australia because we have virtually no community transmission of covid19. There are no cases of covid19 in my state at all. However my friends and family are maintaining our frugal ways by meeting up for picnics and going to each others homes, rather than going to restaurants. I cooked up cottage pie and a tray of lasagne to share on two different occasions.
    Frugal fails…I can’t actually think of any for this last week.

  31. Such blessings for you to have use of the dump trailer. From digging the deep ditch this summer, I would have loved to have had access to that! I too dug up many daffodils to be divided and look forward to spring when the color of them bursts open.

    I was able to pick up a few extra hours from my contract jobs. They both have said that the next few months will be tough, so I am thankful to work/save now.

    I did spend some money on holiday gifts, I’m busier than ever and needed an easy win. I kept to a budget and stayed below in the end. Gifts are a funny notebook/DVD and snacks for the teens, handmade potholders with some canned soup for the bachelor working longer hours, a homemade mug rug with a box of tea for family living across the country. I saved enough points to cash out for a gift card for the coffee drinker. My parents anniversary is coming up, I have packed and ready to mail a favorite movie (bought for $1), a small bottle of wine (think large sample size), and some rich chocolate. A small token for being awesome people for under $5.

    Made my husband’s family stuffing recipe for him this Thanksgiving. I cut up bread, celery, and onions myself instead of buying pre-cut (as suggested). For fun, I am making us each small pie (it is the first time it will just be us and no other family) so to keep help keep moods light we will each get our own favorite flavor of pie.

    Took in the waists of some of my favorite pants and mended a few holes in my sweaters.

    Hoping everyone has a peaceful week!

    1. Yes, it is! We used our other trailer before and it was a lot of work to unload it each time.

  32. Hello Everyone! My 1st savings is really for my parents. I ordered a gift for my Mom & Dad to give to my son simply because it is easier for me than for them to do and they would just give me the money. I found the best deal through Wal-Mart as other retailers sell through them which I did not know. Anyway, I realized that about a week after the expected delivery date it had not arrived. When I checked the tracking info it had not been updated in about 9 days. I opened an online chat with WM & was informed that the package was ” lost” and they refunded my money. Two days later the item was delivered! When I reached back out to WM they said to not worry about it and keep the item! So a savings for my parents. We had a very low grocery bill this week as we have plenty in our freezers and pantry. Our kitchen upgrade is complete and we are thrilled how it turned out! We saved quite a bit of money by doing most of it ourselves. The idea was to have it complete by Thanksgiving as we usually have about 30 people,it is hands down my favorite holiday! Alas, this year, it will be just the 4 of us so I only had to purchase a small turkey-12 lbs. I am used to getting 22 pound and up! So, a big savings for this week’s grocery budget as I have most of what we need for dinner on hand. I went for a haircut and since I opted to not have her wash my hair & only wanted a trim she did not charge me! My son goes for a haircut next week so the plan is to add extra to her tip. She is a good friend of my husband from high school and while I appreciate her gesture we want to support her business. I submitted my mileage for reimbursement at work, will receive over $200. Still not going anywhere or doing anything except work & shopping for basic necessities.
    Wishing all in the US a Happy, Healthy & Safe Thanksgiving! Wishing all readers from the rest of the world Health, Safety & Happiness too!

  33. Your garden is beautiful! Do you have any tips on subtropical gardening? We recently relocated to Florida and I am finding it so much harder to garden here than it was in Pennsylvania.

    This week we went to two free consultations with local orthodontist because I’m trying to compare prices before we commit to braces for our children.

    My husband built a new book ledge for my daughters’ bedroom out of scrap wood we had in the garage.

    I’m learning how to use the Ibotta app and connected it to my Walmart app and my PayPal account. I bought several groceries (sour cream, pasta, cream cheese, etc) for an average of 22 cents each once the rebates were back in my account.

    I did a free exercise video on YouTube.

    1. My Florida readers can give you more advice, and I suggest you check out local resources for classes.

      That said, some of the things that I deal with still apply to you there.

      Where you were previously worried about cold hardiness, now you have the opposite issue: chilling hours. Many things that you grew before will not grow where it is too warm.

      Learn what the gardening calendar is for you there; planting times are different. For example, you may be picking strawberries in February instead of in June. Your gardening season is opposite, for the most part, but there are still tropical fruits to harvest in summer.

    2. Stephanie, I’m in north Florida. First, the soil is often poor. Add lots of organic matter, whether your soil is sandy or clay or in-between. Second, weeds grow overnight, and that is literal. Mulch is your friend, but you will still be weeding on a regular basis. Third, look up your local extension agent, and check the U of F website for agriculture and horticulture information. They have planting times and can probably give you some varieties to plant as well, as Florida is a short-day area, and plants that take long hours of sun won’t do well. Look for low-chill fruiting trees, and be aware that the humidity is very, very hard on many plants, encouraging disease. But there are resistant varieties and even old heritage plants that do well, such as the native “Seminole Pumpkins,” coneflowers, columbine, passion vine, and prickly pear cactus among many others. And last, when a plant says it takes “full sun,” take that with a grain of salt. Most garden plants in Florida could stand some shade for a couple of hours. There is a lot of information online, and if you find a nursery that specializes in native plants, go there and see what’s available.

    3. Stephanie,
      Welcome to the Sunshine State! And yes, gardening is so different here! Growing up in the Midwest, it was difficult to get use to the quality of tomatoes and corn grown here…not the same. But you will taste the most delicious pecans, citrus, okra, etc. all grown in the region. I advise getting to know the County Extension Offices in your county that offer classes in gardening, landscaping, canning, etc. University of Florida is also a resource I use: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/lawn-and-garden/
      I hope this helps,
      Nancy in Florida

  34. Hello Everyone!
    Last week was busy in preparation for Thanksgiving. Friday morning I made a shopping list from the ads. I went two grocery stores to cherry pick Thanksgiving deals. All in all I was able to purchase $0.39/lb. turkey, $0.39/lb. yams and $2.27/lb. butter, $2.50/lb. bacon and a few other things we’ll use between now and Christmas. I bought the limits at each store (which were 2-4 items). I wonder why our limits are so low while others mention being able to buy 12? 🤷🏻‍♀️ I tried the Ibotta app again, but the savings were minimal.

    Being in the larger store made me a bit anxious. There were several people shopping with noticeable colds and sneezing! I will definitely grocery shop as little as possible moving forward!

    I colored my hair and gave myself a manicure Saturday. We celebrated my birthday at home. My daughter baked a cake from scratch for me. We made a homemade lasagna, garlic bread, and Caesar salad. It was delicious! 😋 We only make this a few times per year for birthdays as it’s rich and heavy. We played a home-version escape room game (Exit) and were terrible at it! It was novice level and we found it very confusing. Plus the game is 1x use so we won’t buy another. It’s too bad because Escape Rooms are fun.

    From the garden we ate mixed lettuce, and cherry tomatoes. I’ve been watering the seeds to see if they’ll sprout. 🤞🏻

    Brandy, I can’t believe how bad your soil is. It doesn’t even look like soil! You’ve worked extra hard to turn your yard into a garden!!!

    Have a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving thrifty friends! 🦃🍂

    1. It’s rocks–lime rocks. It’s as hard as concrete and we are having trouble getting some of the deeper holes dug even with pneumatic tools. People here have to jackhammer to dig holes in the ground. It’s really not soil; it’s pretty much concrete.

  35. How on earth did people grow food in your area in the past, before jackhammers and trucked in dirt? Or did they even grow anything?

    We celebrated our Thanksgiving early as planned, and it was so nice. It was also nice that we can break up the expense and everyone brings some of the food with them.

    I avoided the stores except for groceries. I am winding down on my Christmas shopping. I have a few smaller things yet to get, but the main gift for one family member has proved difficult. The maker used to run a good sale every few months, but there has been no sale at all on this particular item for a year. I’m having to think of a backup plan just in case, as the full price is both out of my range and way over what I spent on others. Unfortunately, I can’t split the cost with anyone else, as they have all already bought this person a gift.

    I know charities are struggling hard this year, and I am choosing carefully, but trying to donate a little more, as I am able. I know so many people simply can’t donate this year, so I’m trying to help where I can. I find donating online to be the easiest, and there’s no mailing and check writing cost. I even pay my tithe to my church through my bank’s billpay system.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed, as I’ve yet to find a sale on butter. It may be in some stores where I don’t normally shop, but since I purchase organic butter, those stores carrying it are limited.

    I’m looking forward to a trip to visit a sibling across the state this weekend. I spend on gas to drive, but save by not having to ship all their gifts to them since I take them with me, so I actually don’t spend much at all to drive there. And the time away is real blessing to me.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all celebrating it this week!

    1. Most of our city has been built in the last 20-40 years. Not many people lived here before air conditioning and the dam. There were a few people who tried gardening here back then, but drilling a well is not an easy task as not only is the ground so hard, but the water is very, very deep. Drip irrigation is very important here; if you miss a day or worse, two, of watering in the summer, or don’t water enough, your plants will die.

  36. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Brandy, I love your cyclamen plant — it’s huge. It does remind me of the mountainsides in Italy where it grows at the edge of the chestnut woods.

    GardenPat — I admire all of your quilting. I bought a lot of material to make a quilt — it has Scottish terriers on the border and is a subdued tan colour in a plaid design. I was hoping to do the Italian technique of trapunto using cording, fill, to outline the scotties and give them a dimension. I doubt I ever get it done now but never say never.

    I gave myself my fifth haircut since the lock down in March. I had trouble with the side of my broken tendon but
    as a friend says “time for winter hats”.

    As to bargains, we (the book people) decided to send Hickory Farm gift boxes to our indigenous advisors. The gift boxes were reduced a bit in price. I hope they are as tasty as they once were…as I haven’t had them in quite a while.

    I notice that Superstore has a 4 or 5 tier dehydrator on sale from $49 for $39. I don’t know the quality of it though.

    The cutlery set that replaces the one that was thrown out while I was in the hospital arrived today. It is a Christmas present and was reduced from $99 to $39.00. At last I’ll have more than one fork and one knife – I’ll even have spoons for which I am immensely grateful.

    I have now officially finished my Christmas shopping.

    1. There are three plants in the urn 🙂 It’s a small urn, so they are all touching in the pot.

    2. Ellie’s friend- I would love to see photos of your progress on the quilt! I love Scotties!! For me, if I set a timer for 20 minutes to work on a project that seems really big, I find that after a very short number of days that I have made real progress on it!! It’s the “How do you eat an elephant?” question. “One bite at a time!” Good luck!!

      Gardenpat in Ohio

  37. That is a lot of heavy work in your garden! I hope that you get some time off this week to celebrate Thanksgiving.

    I’m in the same province as Patsy and my city went back into modified lockdown as of yesterday morning. Most of us could see the writing on the wall so last week I concentrated on picking up milk & bread and fresh fruit & veg. I really didn’t need anything else. I stayed home over the weekend (when stores were swamped) and only went back into the office this morning to do some last minute work and then picked up a new laptop so I can work more at home (my personal laptop is on it’s last legs and just couldn’t stand up to office work). I will probably only go in once every 10 days and combine that trip with picking up groceries in order to limit my time on the subway and in stores. Otherwise I’ll just be walking around the neighbourhood with the one friend that I am in a bubble with.

    I only plan on sending a few gift cards this year so not stressed about Christmas shopping – I’ll concentrate on sending Christmas cards and decorating my little apt. I’m hoping to be able to donate money that I would have spent on gifts or eating out to my church’s feeding programs and to our local food bank – I watch those horrendous lines of people on the news of people waiting for food and it is horrifying. I know we have more social relief here but there are still those who fall through the cracks or who are in the grip of addictions and many of the usual programs have been shut down due to Covid so I’m happy to support those that can still operate.

    I rotated more things in the freezer and used up some previously frozen soup, chicken thighs & stuffing mix for meals. I also had a couple of light meals of avocado toast topped with tomato as I wanted to ensure that nothing went bad (and a couple of small meals won’t do me any harm)!

    I’m just watching CNN and hearing about the restrictions going into effect in Nevada so Brandy, I hope you and your family, and all the US readers have a very happy but very safe Thanksgiving.

    1. Yes; our new restrictions start today. We knew they were coming.

      It is too windy to shovel today like we had planned, but I hope we can do some more this week. This is prime growing season here and I worry that I will miss the planting season if we take too long to do this project.

    2. Hi Margie,

      glad to hear you are all right and sorry to hear about the necessary newrestrictions. Our Premier just declared a public health state of emergency.

      Prayers for you and everyone

  38. Brandy, and all of our friends on here.
    My daughter works in a high-end grocery. She is the cake decorator. She called me today to say that a vendor told the management that there is going to be another paper shortage. They expect it to last for a few months. Don’t panic, but start buying your toilet paper, tissues and paper towels to get you through the tough times.
    Her store has already limited TP to buy 2 only.
    I have ordered 2 industrial dispensers and 2 boxes of toilet paper and tissues from Amazon. Using my points I only spent what the dispensers cost. This was a $70.++ savings.
    Lyric, my daughter, has shared other “store shortages” with me in the last year and they have always been right.
    I paid my bills on time saving late charges.
    Eaten all meals at home.
    One trip in the car to pick up groceries. Saving gas…wear and tear on car.
    My tomato plant is giving fruit again. Not many tomatoes…maybe 6.
    We, as a family, are NOT getting together for Thanksgiving. This is the only time we all get together every year.
    I just felt it was safer for all of us.
    It sure will save money too.
    I have made face masks and a “turkey” wall-hanging out of scrapes or fabric free to me.
    I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
    Stay safe.

    1. There is already a paper shortage here. It started two weeks ago when the governor announced possible restrictions. Those restrictions started today.

    2. Hi Becky,

      There are no J clothes anywhere here. So I’ll be cutting up old towels. (I should have done that anyway.

  39. Thrifty activity for the week included making a free winter wreath using clippings from the yard of ivy and holly, on an grapevine wreath. Pinecones are dropping by the bucket full now, so will add those to the wreath, along with bow and holly berries. Finished reading two good library books for free entertainment: Digital Minimalism by Carl Newport & Beheld (historical fiction on certain Pilgrims), by Tarashea Nesbitt. Thanks for the recommendation on the Adler book! Happy Thanksgiving.

  40. It was a nice, frugal week.
    I went to an estate sale and found an XL twin fitted sheet ($1), two sturdy spatulas (.50/each)and a package of small magnets that we will use for crafts (.50). I offered $2 and they took it gladly. We needed the fitted sheet, as those seem to be the first to rip for us.
    I managed to get my boys to both scout meetings. One was at a park, so it was no problem for the other kids to play at a distance, during the meeting. The other was in the den leader’s driveway, which was a little more challenging, as the kids stayed in the van while I took my Lion cub to his meeting. It was not ideal, but worked.
    There were a lot of great Thanksgiving sales at the stores, which was great. I bought lots of broccoli to blanch and freeze (.77/#), butter for .99/#, Blue Bell ice cream ($3/half gallon), as well as a 22# turkey (.17/#). The butcher agreed to cut it in half with the saw, so I left it overnight, but they ended up thawing, then cutting it, so I had to go ahead and cook it. Luckily, I was able to get it in the crockpot in two batches, so it’s now cooked and frozen.
    $5 or less meals were: turkey, bbq turkey pizza, turkey quesadillas, crockpot chicken, and breakfast for dinner. Plus, we had a lot of leftovers.
    I raked leaves to fill trash cans before garbage day to avoid using trash bags.
    I resold some items from Goodwill on facebook Marketplace and Mercari. I took what I didn’t sell to the consignment store. Cash in, junk out!
    I found items from our gift stash for the toy drive at the kids’ school, as well as church.
    I moved some pictures around on the wall and placed them in different places.
    I treated stains on kids’ clothes using Dawn, baking soda, and peroxide, then hung them in the sun.
    We hand delivered some thank you notes to save on postage.

    1. Leigh Ann, I have often had turkeys cut in half by the butcher. (I have never been charged extra for this). Usually, the metal or nylon thing that holds the legs together is left on the bird. After I get the turkey home, I let it sit on the counter for an hour or so, then take a pair of pliers and pull the thing out. At that point, you can put the half you plan to cook into the fridge to continue thawing, and re-wrap the other half for the freezer. It doesn’t take long to thaw enough to take out the leg holder. If anyone here gets a hellacious deal on turkeys after Thanksgiving, this is a great way to handle a big bird. Just wrap and freeze both halves once the metal thing is out.

      1. Thank you, Maxine. I purchased another one at a good price, but it’s frozen. I don’t have a roaster and my oven was small, but I was very happy to cook the last one in shifts in the crockpot. I use it in recipes in place of chicken.

  41. Silver, I’m laughing out loud about your husband’s mortification while walking the tiny armadillo (laughing at the visual of your chihuahua in full regalia as well). Our husbands must be related – mine absolutely cringes when I bust out the dogs’ coats, and don’t even get him started on the Halloween costumes or Christmas outfits. 😀

    We noticed the same thing about the seasons. Our liquid amber trees stayed green for so long, and then it seemed as if they burst into fall colors overnight, and now (a week later) are nearly bare. (We’re in So. Cal.)

    Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for the reminder that yes, we’ll make it through this.

  42. I continued to harvest sweet limes and Cuban oregano from the yard. The navel oranges I’ve been watching are coming along nicely and should be ready to pick within the week. If I can find one that’s ripe enough, I may pick it to use in making cranberry sauce.

    We made the difficult decision to forego getting together for Thanksgiving this year. Happily, everyone in our local family was completely on board with our decision . We will roast a turkey breast and enjoy it with stuffing and salad while watching football. We have made the conscious choice to thankfully embrace a quiet, low-budget holiday. It’s worth the effort to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy now, so we can have plenty of big, happy get-togethers in the future.

    I located most of my Christmas decor and have it dusted/cleaned off and waiting for the day after Thanksgiving. I plan to use only what I have and spend zero on new decorations – with a new house to “play dress-up with”, there’s no need to buy new stuff – I’ll enjoy finding new ways to use what I already have.

  43. Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! We had a quiet, regular week, around here. We are mostly locked down again, so staying home. Did our regular grocery pickup. I’m so thankful for that every week. I’m still plugging away at the homemade gifts that I’m making for Christmas. I only have to mail one big package this year (to my oldest daughter’s family) and I’d like to have that ready to go next week. At home meals included tacos, pizza, penne rosa pasta, chicken pot pies and hamburgers.
    I’d really like to express my gratitude for Brandy and this wonderful thread each week. I really look forward to it every week. I feel like I am among friends here, and it has been a real boost for me. Thanks so much!

  44. New “Darling Dahlias” book, “The Voodoo Lily,” came out in October, but I had missed it, (only paperback or kindle). I ordered it for myself for a treat, as my library doesn’t have it.
    Working on physical therapy for my arms so my shoulders don’t freeze up, due to stress and overworking them to support my bad knees when I walk. The physical therapists have been very helpful in suggesting stretching actions and exercises to do at home, including an over-door-pulley for less than $10 that really helps. I reached my yearly health insurance limit on PT and rationed my appointments.
    Going through Amazon to buy those two things really brought home to me how little I spend money on outside of local shopping for groceries, and how good my life is. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    1. Thank you for the info on the new “Dahlias” book – I’d been hoping for a new one before Christmas!

  45. Thanks GardenPat for the suggestion for using pork but roast and grinding it into sausage, I got some a while back and so fat did not even like it for pulled pork that I used part of it for. the sausage is a good idea. and will try to sausage seasoning you shared. Thanks again. and to you Brandy for hosting this blog. Ann

    1. Ann, you probably won’t want to use all of the fat from a pork shoulder (Boston butt) in your sausage, but you will want to add extra fat to boneless pork loins. Save what you don’t use for when you need it. My dad used to make his own breakfast sausage from pork loins, which had more fat then, and it still leaned toward dry. The only seasoning he used was salt, black pepper, sage and a tiny bit of cayenne, and it was good (if dry).

    2. Ann- Happy to share the suggestion! I felt silly to think that after all these years of having a meat grinder attachment for my mixer (and using it for other things), that it never occurred to me that I could make my own ground pork!! Lol!! This has opened up a whole new avenue for savings in the future!!

      Gardenpat in Ohio

  46. I still say WOW Brandy at the gardening project you and your husband are undertaking. It will be something you can enjoy for decades to come. I have also wondered how earlier settlers managed. I didn’t realize how young your city/area is. I’ve studied various native tribes and have found that they didn’t settle in adverse areas, but traveled through them using what they could. Very interesting what changes technology brings.

    I’ve not much to report. I was critical for over a week, so spent much of it lying down. Numbers are up and praying treatment can continue again shortly.

    We live in an area without any Covid restriction to speak of, but cannot celebrate any holidays with others because of me. It’ll just be us and we ordered a dinner because I’m too ill to cook. Although now that I feel better, I’m going to sit and make an apple pie. I had my son buy the crust and have all the other ingredients. My father owned a cider mill and I used to make 20 pies a weekend (my own crust recipe too) for him. I’m thinking I can manage one without having to make the crusts! 🙂

    I asked the neighbors to make meals for us (they keep asking what they can help with) and we received our first two. It is such a Godsend to have this. Twice a week someone brings something and we are so grateful!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving 🦃


    1. Hi Trish. My husband and I spent Thanksgiving together just us two. He too cannot be exposed due to leukemia. We had a lovely day watching his favorite HGTV show, Home Town, and then my son dropped food plates off for us. It was a great day. My husband just finished 5 days of maintenance chemo, but is feeling stronger and healthier. Just know that you are not alone. We are thinking of you.

  47. So sorry you have been feeling so ill again Trish. But how wonderful that your neighbours have offered such practical help. I pray that you feel a bit better soon and that treatments can continue.

  48. I made banana muffins with 2 bananas and a birthday cake and special meal. I made apple butter twice. I canned hamburger twice, something I have wanted to do for 2 years along with chicken. It finally feels like I am catching up on some items that we were out of or running very low. There was some cartinas leftover after eating it twice and I put it in the freezer to make into a meal or soup soon with leftover vegetables like some of you do. I have been trying to direct small amounts of leftover vegetables to the freezer if I am not the one clearing the table to form the habit. The refrigerator looks better. I did some decluttering around the office and organizing of more odd stock up items.

    I ran across a top I bought about 5 years ago from the thrift store. I could wear it but it felt a little tighter than I liked. It fits perfectly now with the weight I have lost. I have other things that I need to take in and hem up.

    Brandy, reading your hauling trips reminded me of when we moved into our house. There was an out of control crabapple tree in the back that hung so low and was so wide that no grass would grow under it and a plum tree that needed some pruning. We cut and pruned one Saturday and started hauling it off. That crab apple tree was so dense it took 7 full size pickup loads to get rid of everything. We were exhausted.

    1. We’ve filled 7 dump trailers so far and before that we filled our regular trailer about 5 times–and we’re just getting started! There is so much to take out!

        1. I don’t know yet, but I’m sure it will be many cubic yards. We are putting concrete in one place where there was good soil, so we are taking out the good soil and will use it in another area. We’ll take the native “soil” that we dug from another area, wet it, and pack it down where the concrete will be going to provide a stable foundation for the concrete.

          Then, we’ll need to pack down whatever we get. So, even a measurable volume of soil doesn’t equate exactly, because we need to compact it. We will also be adding manure to the soil. I plan on buying 100 bags of manure to add to whatever else we purchase. We’ll mix some in with what we’ve already dug and the soil we skimmed from underneath the grass that we put down before installing sod years ago. I don’t know how much that is, either; right now it’s just a couple of big piles (one sifted and one not sifted).

          We can pick up a couple of scoops at a time from the nursery in our trailer, so we’ll go buy two scoops at a time and bring it back, mixing it with manure and soil sulfur, and fill in as we go.

          1. Brandy, if you haven’t already, call around to see if anyone in the area sells compost in bulk. It will be much cheaper than the bagged stuff if you can get it. Also, I gather you are planning to haul top soil yourself. Price it out with delivery included–if you are buying full truckloads, it may be comparable in cost to hauling a yard or two at a time yourself. We had a truckload of jumbo bark mulch delivered for much less than I expected. We put a tarp on the driveway, had them dump it there, and wheelbarrowed it to the backyard.

            1. Maxine, we have bought soil in bulk before many times (even earlier this year) and we skip the delivery fee ($65) when we pick it up in our trailer. They sell it by the cubic yard. We have also bought on Thursdays to get the senior discount on top of the bulk price. I have shopped around at all the local places and this is the least expensive option.

              I will never, ever get manure again from someone locally. We’re having to rip out the soil that we bought that has local manure mixed in. That manure was too green and not sterile as promised. It killed half my trees and bushes when I first put it in and it contained crabgrass that I have not been able to eradicate for 15 years. This year it has been worse than ever. Because we cannot get rid of it and it is several feet down, we are tearing out all the bushes and the soil in two of the main planters and throwing it all out. I will buy sterile bagged manure to add to the soil from now on. If I buy at least 10 bags at a time, it’s $1.99 a bag instead of $2.20 a bag. This is what I am talking about buying bagged. This is just an add-in to the soil that we are buying in bulk.

  49. Aside from the usual frugal activities we do each week like using what we have, meal planning, staying home, etc, this week I decided to make an Advent calendar for my grandchildren. I am missing my grandsons a lot lately what with the pandemic so I decided I wanted to do something to connect with them. They only live an hour away but we cannot get together like we usually do. I printed off a Christmas themed calendar for December and filled in each day with an activity. I thought of activities the boys could do with little to no materials like watch a Christmas movie, dance to Christmas songs, and sing Christmas carols. Other activities include instructions and materials for a simple Christmas toilet paper tube snowman craft and a toilet paper tube bird feeder. I created a Christmas scavenger hunt and printed off free Christmas coloring and word search sheets and a Letter to Santa page for the boys to write a letter to Santa telling him all the kind things they have done this year. I will send a weekly envelope with the week’s materials. The only costs are a few sheets of printer paper, some printer ink, stamps and envelopes. I actually have not had to buy any of the supplies as I have all the items listed as well as the bird food and craft items. I did order each grandchild a Christmas book to be sent directly to them as a big surprise. They will read them to me via facetime as one of their activities. My favorite activity will be every Wednesday. I will read them a Christmas story via facetime. As a retired elementary teacher reading stories aloud to children is one of my all time favorite things to do. Before the pandemic I did this as a volunteer at the local elementary school every week. It is something I miss very much so now I will have a chance to do something which makes me happy as well as spend virtual time with three of my favorite kids:) The total cost for this project (mostly postage and the three books I ordered) is $25 for 24 activities for three children. That comes to roughly .04/child/day for the 24 days.

  50. *Mended the strap on a belt pack (also known as a fanny pack). The quilted vinyl was too thick to use my machine for the whole repair. I machine stitched some & hand sewed the rest.
    *Got 2 free iced coffees when the beleaguered Dallas Cowboys played on 2 separate days.
    *The young man who worked at Dunkin Donuts on Thanksgiving day gave me & my husband a free iced coffee & donut holes. He said they were closing early & would throw the products away. The iced coffee kept me alert for the rest of the drive to a friend’s house.
    *My childhood friend gave me a haircut during our Thanksgiving visit. She is a licensed hairdresser. My hair had not been cut since March of this year. She touched up my husband’s recent haircut.
    *Made chicken pasta soup from a chicken carcass.
    *Sent Thanksgiving cards from my card stash to those we would not be able to see in person on the holiday. Hopefully it brightened their day. I felt better after sending them.

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