I am making my new garden plans on some old graph paper that my husband had from long before we were married. I know a lot of people want to design things in a program. I find graph paper is faster and cheaper. I’ve drawn and erased and moved things around several times. The more I stare at the paper, the more ideas I’ve had, and the more the design feels like it is coming together. I spent some additional time on Pinterest and on Instagram gathering even more ideas to incorporate into the design. I will be redrawing the plans this week with some new changes we have made.

We will be using many plants that we have, but as the beds will change sizes, I will be digging up and moving many of my existing plants so that they will be in better spots. All of the hedge plants will be dug up, as well as a few trees and several roses, to be replanted again in new locations. Everything in the circle in the photo above will be dug out and transplanted (including the bulbs under the ground).

I picked up eleven free plastic pots from the doorstep of a local gardener who did not need them. I am needing pots to temporarily stage the hedge plants as we dig them from the garden as well as to hold the daffodil bulbs that we are digging. I will continue to search for more free ones nearby. I am just using the kind that plants come in from the store.

I cut and dried basil from our garden.

I gathered a small amount of fresh olives from one of my parents’ trees. They are supposed to be a fruitless type, but one of them fruited.

I needed some more fertilizer (bone meal, blood meal, and worm castings) along with some more soil sulfur (to lower the pH of the soil and allow plants to be able to use the fertilizer) and some more garden soil (in bulk). I buy the fertilizer in the largest bags for the lowest price, but they don’t usually go on sale. I also needed a new transfer shovel. Our local nursery has sales that run from Friday through Wednesday. There are no sales on Thursdays as it is senior discount day. Senior prices are age 55 and up. I brought my husband to the nursery and received the senior discount on my purchase, which was 10% off my total. My husband was pleasantly surprised to see that the nicest looking shovel there was $7.99 (the more expensive ones did not look to be as nice).

I compared seed prices between online companies to see which would give me the best price on the same seeds. While looking, I remembered some seeds that I already had, including those that I had gathered from my own garden! I realized I didn’t need to order those as I still had some that I had collected.

I put together a bunch of items to donate that we no longer needed.

My mom was going to the thrift store with her donations, so she took mine as well and brought me back the receipt, which I can use to claim the donation on our taxes.

I found some discounted shirts for two daughters at Sam’s Club that will be part of their Christmas gifts. We also found a light jacket for my husband for $19.99. This is perfect, as his old one (which was over 20 years old) had worn out.

I added some more items to my garage sale list for the children for Christmas that they mentioned right after they mentioned them. I found out that the community garage sales will be held this October, and I want to be ready with my list.

What did you do to save money this past week? Are you planning and purchasing Christmas gifts already?

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  1. First and foremost, we live-trapped the marauding woodchuck that has been gobbling up my broccoli and other veg from my garden! We lured him into the trap using a chunk of freshly cut cantaloupe! Now we are filling in his burrow openings with rocks/gravel . It’s great because as we are reclaiming soil from projects around our yard, we are sifting out small stones and rocks that we don’t want in our compost. So the stones and rocks are getting used up!
    Harvested 2 more zucchini from our garden and there are 2 more setting on! I shredded them. Another orange coconut zucchini cake was made and portioned into single serve grab and go desserts. The rest was measured into ziploc freezer bags and frozen for later use! I have several big beautiful cabbages to harvest from my garden! That is a first! I grow cabbages every year from little starters from the store but they never get bigger than a tennis ball and are always riddled with cabbage worms. I’m not sure what is different about this year, but I am grateful!!
    I went to produce market (I haven’t been in months) and bought already chopped onions in a 5 pound bag for $1. My bag went into dehydrator and yielded a quart mason jar + a pint mason jar! I also bought a box of 9 large cantaloupe for $5. We are thoroughly enjoying eating these. Gave 2 away to two of my daughters. The rinds are going to our chickens, our worms and our compost piles, so nothing is wasted!

    Hubs is getting ready to bring worms in for the winter so he harvested a full 6 gallon bucket of worm castings to add to our garden!
    My 39 strawberry runner starts have all rooted beautifully so I began making new strawberry beds with tubs that were clearanced 75% (down to $4 each) . They went from this: https://pin.it/3SVKveT to this: https://pin.it/5bFFSS3. I planted up a second planter tub like this but ran out of potting soil. We went to our tumbling composter and using our homemade “sifter” , we shoveled compost into the sifter which was over the wheelbarrow to get a beautiful, fine compost that we added to our planter tub for the next dozen strawberry plants! We still have two more tubs to get planted up. The little stones that were separated out of the compost were used to fill in woodchuck burrow openings.

    With digital Kroger coupon, I was able to buy 2 big tubes of Crest toothpaste free (actually earning an extra 42 cents!) . I as happy because that builds up our supply. Imagine my surprise when the coupon showed up again on my Kroger app and said that I had redeemed it but I could use it again! 😳 I bought 2 more tubes using the $4/2 tubes coupon and again made an additional 42 cents! So 4 tubes of toothpaste go on my shelf without me spending any money and, in fact, getting 84 cents off the rest of my groceries to do it!! Apparently, there are still deals out there on staple items! It just takes a bit more watching!

    I cooked up another 10 pounds of ground beef and portioned into 2 cup amounts in ziploc freezer bags. That way when I have a recipe that calls for 1 pound of cooked ground beef, I already have it ready to go!

    I resisted the urge to get takeaway dinner after a long day working outside and chided myself that my pantries are full and I have modern kitchen appliances that are time savers that my grandma couldn’t have dreamed of! So I made beef chunks with gravy ( using home canned beef chunks and brown gravy mix) over garlic mashed potatoes cooked up in minutes in InstantPot. Home canned green beans rounded this simple meal out and it was served within 30 minutes of deciding to make it! With the leftover potatoes and green beans, I added some of my precooked ground beef and shredded cheese and made 5 servings of Shepherd’s Pie for the next day. I took 2 of those servings as part of dinner I took to 2 older single friends who had another long outpatient heart procedure that day. The other 3 servings went into our “YOYO” drawer of fridge where easy grab and go lunches or dinner leftovers are kept. The leftover beef chunks in gravy are being repurposed as hot beef sandwiches served on free Asiago cheese rolls we were given. So, again, nothing wasted but, hopefully, not returning to plates as the same leftovers over and over! Lol!
    I have been looking through my freezers to try to use up some of the things that have been there the longest and I found a whole chicken that was given to us when the friend of a friend gave us the upright freezer last summer. Knowing that my daughters have cooked up a rotisserie type chicken in their Instant Pots, I asked for their advice. They advised me and I cooked my first whole chicken! After it came out, I put it under the broiler on low for about 4 minutes to crisp up the skin. It was moist and tender and was a great meal for Sunday dinner and I chopped up some hard boiled eggs and red onion along with the chicken to make a tasty chicken salad spread that will make some tasty sandwiches for lunches!
    Since this will be a longer month between our paychecks (5 weeks instead of 4), I will continue to add things to our HandmadeinOldeTowne.com website for sale and will keep the $.015/square inch price on long arm quilting other people’s quilt tops. I will also add more of my finished quilts for sale on our site, including the king size Sheet of Stamps quilt that I made recently. https://pin.it/5d5H8Ws. Hopefully, that will add to our speeding up our mortgage payoff!
    We will continue to look for ways to add to our food security and savings to weather whatever “storms” come our way! And we continue to see many good people doing good and kind things every day so we have hope and faith in the future.
    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. I found that a mixture of water boiled with chopped garlic and a couple of tablespoons of mineral oil seems to keep cabbage worms away. Just spray with a fine mist.

      1. Brandy and I are in agreement on dehydrator! I bought my 9 tray Excalibur almost 7 years ago and use it regularly (almost every week!) The trays are square and I can dry about 9 pounds of produce in one batch! The trays do not need to be rotated. It has a temperature dial. There is a newer model that has a timer. I don’t feel like that’s something I would need for the extra price. I paid about $200. Currently, on Amazon, this model (new) is $229.
        I always say that I am lazy and cheap, but, to me, when there is something that I will use regularly, I will always research and buy the best quality I can afford. But, remember, this is something that I use a lot!
        Hope this helps!

      2. S- Brandy and I are in agreement on dehydrator! I bought my 9 tray Excalibur almost 7 years ago and use it regularly (almost every week!) The trays are square and I can dry about 9 pounds of produce in one batch! The trays do not need to be rotated. It has a temperature dial. There is a newer model that has a timer. I don’t feel like that’s something I would need for the extra price. I paid about $200. Currently, on Amazon, this model (new) is $229.
        I always say that I am lazy and cheap, but, to me, when there is something that I will use regularly, I will always research and buy the best quality I can afford. But, remember, this is something that I use a lot!
        Hope this helps!

  2. This past week was a bit tough emotionally. I think things are finally catching up to me! So I was lax in writing down our frugal accomplishments. I am looking forward to reading everyone posts! I did have a socially distanced visit with a friend from grammar school and her husband. We were able to share a zucchini with them that we had grown.

    1. I’m sorry you are struggling. Your garden is no doubt an extremely frugal move, and it’s wonderful that you are sharing with others. I hope it is possible for things to get better for you.

  3. I’ve never seen fresh olives! Interesting. At first I thought they were plums. I’ve been saving seeds too from our coriander, basil, and mustard green seeds. My husband has helped a lot. We are using our veggies from the garden. I enjoyed reading everyones comments about what they do for Diabetes last week. I am going to use those ideas and I went over a book I have, The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. I am going to try using some of the recipes and see if I can get my numbers down. Last week my numbers were best when I ate Lentil soup for dinner the night before. The week before they were best when I had black bean soup for dinner. We are planning on making black bean soup again this week. We will be eating a lot of veggies for our meals. I planned our meals and snacks through Friday using what we have and we will do a small shopping trip for the veggies we don’t have. I’m glad I froze some asparagus because I plan to make some asparagus soup this week as well. I bought chicken leg quarters for 58 cents a lb. That will be the meat we eat this week. I have a bag of frozen Salmon filets that we splurged on. We will eat some for one meal this week. I want to save money, but I decided that I am ok with spending a little bit more on healthy food if we need it so I don’t have to buy really expensive medicine that we can’t afford. I really hope to get my numbers down. So we will buy veggies. I am so glad that we can buy food right now. I’m glad that beans are working for me. I’m not sure what I did differently, maybe that I put lime in it instead of sour cream? But I was happy to get my numbers down one day. I just have to do that every day. I like having feet and hands and eyes that see. On a positive note, I think I am losing weight. Both my husband and son noticed. I will find out at my next appointment how much I have lost. I don’t want to spend money on a scale so I will wait.

    1. If I have black bean soup with lime instead of sour cream, I can eat 1-3 bowls and lose weight.The more onions and peppers you put in it, the fewer the calories. I need to find the recipe I was working on because I have been thinking about making it for several weeks now. It’s been so hot but I am ready for soup! (It just dropped below 100 finally!)

      1. This is how I make black bean soup…try it and see if you like it.
        I start with two carrots, two ribs of celery, and one large onion diced. I chop all of the veggies and saute them in a bit of olive oil until they are soft. I then add a large green pepper diced, a large red pepper diced, and 5-6 cloves of garlic minced. I know it seems like a lot of garlic but it gives the beans great flavor! Saute a bit but don’t allow the garlic to burn or brown then add two cups of dried black beans, one teaspoon of chicken base, two bay leaves, a handful of cilantro and water to cover. Simmer until the beans are tender adding more water as needed until they are tender. I turn off the burner to allow the soup to cool a bit then add it to my blender and puree until smooth – this gives the soup a great creamy consistency and helps you not miss the sour cream so much. I have added diced tomatoes to the soup while cooking, diced green chilies, jalapenos if you want a bit of spice, cumin, oregano and even a bit of cajun seasoning. This stretches to feed a crowd as you can easily adjust the amounts and freezes well….hope you enjoy!

        1. This is very similar to what I made. I also believe in lots of garlic!

          I believe the one I made used more tomatoes. I did not use chilies as that would be too hot for the children. Most of the children liked it, save for the one who doesn’t like lime.

      2. Hello Brandy and ladies, I grate zucchini and carrots to put into my lentil and black bean soups. It adds extra vegetables to the soup without adding calories . And my husband doesn’t even know they are there !! Win win to get more vegetables into our diet.

          1. I add a bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower to my chili, or fresh if I have it. It cooks down and no one notices they are getting veggies too.

          1. A couple months ago I started having a friend cook us 3 dinners a week. (My husband has dementia and I am his caretaker. I need the time for other things.) Now I have noticed that over the past few years, I have been making our vegetable servings larger a little at a time, and our meat servings a little smaller at the same rate. Now that I am getting these 3 dinners a week, I realize how MUCH I have changed our diet. When our cooking friend gives us each a baked chicken breast for dinner, I cut mine in half and put the half I don’t want right away into the freezer. I will be using these in the future for other chicken dishes. And some of his vegetable servings seemed small but he has been adjusting that to our tastes too. I pay him for cooking and for the food. He is not a professional but his meals are good and he can handle low salt and low fat! His red sauce is great too.
            As is the nature of dementia, each month takes me a little more time caring for him and leaves less time for housework and such. I have a cleaning lady half a day a week, and I am attempting to find a third shift aide as my husband wanders through the house some nights and I have interrupted sleep. He easily takes naps during the day if needed but I can’t always. I would like to keep him at home as long as humanly possible. My only surviving daughter and her husband are both disabled but help as much as they can. My only grand-daughter lives about an hour away and tries to help but also works two jobs. She usually manages to see us about once a month but will put everything on hold if one of us is in the hospital from time to time. She lives close to the hospital.
            We are very glad we lived frugally since we were married, as we have the money saved now to pay these expenses as needed. We are still careful spenders but not able to DIY like we used to do. This is the first year we have not had a garden (I’m 77, he’s 78.) Can’t spare the time for that with everything else.

            1. I am glad to hear you have the help you need but sad circumstances have made the assistance necessary. I hope you and your husband have lots of joy and peace filled hours to come and that you always have the strength you need. As mom’s eye doctor commented this week, “Caregiving is hard work.” We had good news there. Her vision had improved, her eye pressures were normal (with medication), her retinas looked healthy enough to continue her suspension of visits to the retinal specialist (Unless, of course, her vision changes), and her next scheduled visit is in the spring, not in the middle of winter.

              1. Glad you got such good news.
                We have good days and a few dreary ones. He re-remembers things that were difficult for him–like giving up driving–and that ruins his mood for the day. I take him for a lot of rides in the car but can’t do that as much when winter arrives. We have a lot of snow and wind sometimes.

      3. I absolutely love the fall weather. I sit outside each day for several hours working on my genealogy from free sites. I snuck away early one morning and went shopping during senior shopping hour. This week was especially fruitful. I rarely pay full price for anything. The one exception to this is personal care products for sugar cookie. I bought 6 cases of her preferred item for $12.00 a case. That was a savings of about 90% . I’ve never counted but this must be a 2 to 3 year supply. My son unloaded the car and shook his head. Another store had carts of expiring food on the sidewalk with a free sign. I loaded up my car with items for baby Henry and dropped them off. Boxes of organic Cheerios , Cliff kids bars and some muffin cake mixes. Think cases. The lady said no one wanted them. Henry’s family was very grateful. Times seem even more rough. Ill try to help more. I picked up pull ups and wipes today. Cookies and pajamas , all paw patrol. The dumpster diving was especially large. A car full of dogfood delivered to a farmer. Tons of food. My favorite item was sealed bottles of real maple syrup. Some caps were cracked but the bottle seal was intact. We made a huge Paula Deen chicken Florentine casserole recipe with our finds. It was heavenly and devoured by the boys. I am not willing to let sugar cookie travel for Christmas. It will be the first time in 20 years that she hasn’t flown to be with extended family. Her medical issues put her at great risk. We will be having a full blown Christmas this year. Everything over the top. I’m planning it out now. I’ve pulled $100.00 out to buy small gifts. I have picked up several items for the girls. Mostly $3.00. As I find things, I will pick them up. I can’t really think.of much to buy them but perhaps over the next few months I will think of something. I’m thinking I may buy Henry a bed. I’m seeing a little tyke twin race car bed at a second hand listing and thinking that would be perfect. He’s almost two and I’m sure a practical purchase would benefit him most. I doubt they have funds to move him from his crib. He’s never neglected but I’m sure he will receive plenty of toys with his birthday and Christmas being so close together. Brandy has taught me its never two early to prepare. My mother is terminal but loves to go out shopping. I added her to my Sams Club and to my Costco . I have no one else on my account and it pleased her. Costco is not a good fit for me . It expires in January . I wont be renewing it. We may shop after Christmas for an assorted gift or two for Valentines day or birthdays. Have a good week dear friends.

        1. Lillianna, I love reading about your adventures every week! I can’t imagine stores throwing away so much!! Good for you and all you do with it! You bless so many!

      4. Made a huge batch of chili using up garden veggies. It is football season. I always double the onions, peppers and beans. It helps stretch the meat and everyone loves it on rice.

    2. Check out the Fast 800 diet by Dr Michael Moseley. Keep your carbs to 70-100 g a day, if you lose 15 kg you can put Type 2 into remission. Read the Direct Study UK on Diabetes UK it might help. Good Luck

    3. I have type 2 diabetes and have been following Trim Healthy Mama for two years. There a many recipes on Pinterest from this lifestyle that have helped me. They have some frugal recipes and some that use items I did not have on hand. I have saved up for collagen and some sugar substitutes and this has helped me immensely. Just suggesting it for variety in case you are interested.

      1. I’ll have to check out Trim Healthy Mama. I definitely am interested in having a variety of recipes. Thanks for mentioning it!

      2. We also are back to following THM. After doing keto and losing 40 lbs, I felt fantastic. Until I didn’t . It made my thyroid go nuts. I’ve been in a thyroid flare for two weeks. I’m finally settling down. Started THM back and going to work hard to heal my body. I’ve got to put a lock on my pantry to keep my daughter away from heavy carbs but we are moving forward. By no means is that kid deprived. Her favorite meal is white bread sandwiches made with a layer of pasta, mashed potatoes and gravy. She’s a carb addict. We have tons of healthy food. My struggle is real with a special needs adult.

        1. Oh my goodness! Just reading about white bread sandwiches with all those carbs made me fall into a carb-induced stupor. I definitely like my carbs too, but I find when I have a carb-heavy meal at night, I fall asleep within 30 minutes to 1 hour after…just can’t stay awake. I am not diabetic, but it always concerns me that it makes me feel so bad so quickly afterwards, so I try not to do that too much.

    4. Tammy, you might look into the Keto diet. It calls for high fat, moderate protein, and less than 20 grams of carbs. It is a bit extreme for some but it can lower your insulin to where many people get off their meds.

      1. I’d love to control it with diet. Today we are making a red bean soup with Kale and onions, garlic, carrots, tomatoes and spices. Smells wonderful.

        1. Good luck, Tammy! My mother-in-love was on 66 units of insulin in December but followed low-carb-high-fat (not quite Keto), lost 30 lbs, and got totally off her insulin. She was so happy! I hope you find what works for you. Here were some youtube videos she shared with me that really helped her with LCHF. Dr. Jason Fung @ 12 min
          This is the short version of other of his videos and says all you need
          Dr. Becky Gillaspy @ 5 min
          She has lots of videos and the most soothing voice –.
          I’ve been doing a modified version of LCHF and have really liked it a lot. Best wishes to you!

          1. Thanks Sarah B.. I appreciate the link also. Wow, getting off insulin is great and losing 30 lbs! I’m getting ready to watch your link. Thank-you.

    5. I have dealt with diabetes for about 20 years now. (I have adult-onset type-1 diabetes and am completely insulin-dependent–so I’m sure I’m different than most, so my ways may not work for others) Everyone responds differently to different foods, I’ve noticed. Just like you, beans are my friend. I have less negative sugar readings with those than some other foods with the same amount of carbs. Exercise is worth several units of insulin in lowering my blood sugars, although I notice the insulin has a quicker result, and the exercise has a longer duration. For me. You kind of have to look at yourself as a science experiment, try new things, and see how your body responds. It sounds like you are on the right track with that. Just hang in there. It can get discouraging at times…like when I’ve been super careful, and have a huge blood sugar drop and end up scarfing down sugar/candy, etc. because when you get that low (40’s-60’s-yuck!) you just have to get it up! So hang in there, and don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to get it right, or if you get it right one day, do the exact same thing the next day and your readings aren’t as good! Just keep trying:)

      1. Thanks for the info and encouragement Becky. The exercise might be what was different for me between yesterday and today. My numbers were higher today and I ate the same snack. But I was more active the night before.

      2. Becky,
        I think my blood sugar drops during the day sometimes too. I really need to take my blood sugar then. But I feel so awful until I drink some orange juice or eat candy or raisins or a bagel. Then I am fine again. I am going to have to take my blood sugar and see where it is, I’m just in a hurry to feel ok again. So I quickly eat something, not really enjoying it either. Then I feel bad because I want to lose weight. I’m just trying not to overdo anything and I’m not eating dessert like I used to. I’m trying not to eat too much at any one time. I think it is helping, both my son and husband think I look like I am losing weight. I will see at my next appointment.

        1. One of my biggest challenges was to eat frequent small amounts and to keep them healthy! I feel so much better when I am able to eat correctly and timely. Please do test your blood glucose when you feel lousy so you can figure out how frequently you need to eat to keep yourself from dipping too low and then eating stuff you might otherwise not eat. Best of luck!

    6. We serve our black bean soup and chili over cauliflower rice. We used to use regular rice. I started as a way to stretch meals when all 5 kids were home.

  4. Living frugally from Portland, OR:

    *I am harvesting the last of the tomatoes and basil from our garden. I’ve been making big batches of spaghetti sauce in our Instant Pot and then freezing it (flat, first) in freezer zip lock bags. I made some pesto with the basil and dried the rest, along with the remaining oregano. I still have zucchini popping up in my garden but I’m zucchini-ed out. I’ve made bread and cake, I’ve grated and frozen it, I’ve sliced and frozen it, I’ve baked and fried and grilled it, and I’m just ready to be done with the harvest. My neighbors are also expressing interest in anymore as well. At least I got my money’s worth from those plants! I also harvested sunflowers from all of my sunflowers that didn’t survive the wind storm and falling ash last week.

    *I was going to buy a small breakfast table for our house so that we could keep food off of our main dining table until dinner, as I anticipated it would be used for school and work most of the day. I decided to wait and see how my kids *really* did their school work rather than how I *preferred* they do their school work. Only one child really uses the table at all, as they both prefer their desks in their rooms. A few of the other things I thought would be important for their distance learning (ie- large monitors, etc.) haven’t been important at all. Sometimes the best way to avoid spending money is to just wait.

    *I reorganized my desk and office supplies and found some markers, glue, etc. that I’d purchased at back-to-school sales. My teens just don’t use much of it any more and I’m not very crafty. My littlest niece has a birthday coming up and she loves to be artsy so I’m going to make her an art basket out of some of it, and look to donate the rest to a family homeless shelter.

    *We took a much-needed beach day at the coast last weekend, after being sequestered inside our home for 10 days due to wildfire smoke. I packed homemade burritos and other items I had on-hand for a picnic and purchased gas discounted by our Kroger (Fred Meyer) grocery card. The $5 fee to enter the state park was well worth the cost of the beautiful viewpoints, hikes and beach we got to enjoy all day!

    1. Jen, my family got tired of zucchini, too, until our niece found a souffle-like casserole called Dilly Zucchini Casserole at the Taste of Home.com website. It is very tasty!!! I have varied the cheeses and herbs, and they all came out good. I made this casserole 5 times this year. I wanted to freeze some, but each time they got eaten up in no time. This is a great savory way to use up 3 cups of chopped zucchini and 4 eggs. I am hoping to use my frozen zucchini this way during winter.

    2. Jen, here’s a fantastic recipe for zucchini or yellow summer squash as a main meal. My super picky eater (9yo) says this is his favorite meal. We just ate it last night for dinner!!

      Summer Squash Casserole
      4 cups squash sliced 1/4″ thick -for 13×9 pan (I just toss in whatever amount of squash I have for stovetop preparation and adjust other ingredients by moisture content)
      3/4 cup shredded carrot (optional)
      1/2 cup chopped onion
      1/2 cup butter
      I can cream of chicken
      1/2 cup milk
      2 1/4 cups of stuffing mix
      1 can canned chicken (Optional for protein)
      1/2 cup of sour cream
      1 cup shredded cheese on top
      Precook squash and carrots. Drain. proceed to method you desire
      Stovetop directions:
      I literally make this on the stovetop anymore. Sauté onions in butter set aside. I cook veggies to tender (add sautéed onion), stir in the canned chicken with its juice (therefore omitting the milk and butter), stir in the can of cream of chicken, then stir in enough stuffing to absorb the liquid. Typically I use 2 boxes. (I use 3 small to medium summer squash and 3 small to medium zucchini usually but have done all of zucchini also.) Then I throw some shredded cheese on top if I have some. I let it set to soak up the sauce and pile it into bowls for a quick one pot meal.

      oven directions:
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté onions in butter and set aside. Precook squash and carrots until tender. melt butter in 13×9 pan and add 1/2 of your stuffing to the bottom of the pan. Then layer veggies, soup thinned with milk, (Or the water from the canned chicken if you add it), and sour cream. usually this makes about 2 layers of vegetables. Then top the layers of veggies with the other half of the dry stuffing. Push stuffing into the juices a bit so it softens. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 30-40 minutes.

    3. Jen, a great way to use up zucchini is to make zucchini relish. It’s easy to make and you can also use it for gifts to friends, neighbours, family. It’s delicious on hot dogs, burgers or even with a bit of cheese and crackers.

  5. -Made an eggless pancake recipe, which turned out well. Not as pretty as regular pancakes, but great texture and taste. Maple syrup on top (any topping would do it), and they looked just fine.
    -Made blueberry muffin tops. There are special recipes, and even special tins, but I just used the regular muffin recipe from The Joy of Cooking, and dolloped the batter on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Very tasty and no muffin tin to wash by hand.
    -I normally buy red potatoes but russet were on sale this month. I’ve been enjoying baked potatoes, because they cook so well that way. I really associate them with dinner at good steakhouses, so I feel they are a treat every time I have them.
    -The weather is holding until the end of the month, and into next month, for me to get my furnace repaired. The temperature dipped just below freezing once, but it generally takes a few degrees for pipes to freeze. All was well. I have a hockey jersey in the back of my closet which I pulled out and wore, along with sweatpants, to bed that night, and it was very warm. I’ll pull it out to wear on bitterly cold winter nights now that I know how warm it is. I have done a search on the local Facebook page and found the names and numbers of people recommended for furnace repairs. I’m ready to make a call later this week to set up an appointment.
    -Went to the lab at the local hospital for bloodwork in preparation for a physical, and came home and made the appointment for the physical, to be paid for by the free provincial health insurance.

    1. I’ve decided on a no-spend Christmas this year. I’m on my own, so I can limit my activities to using decorations I already have, making a Christmas meal from my regular food budget, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas shows on TV, and phone calls to family using my long-distance bundle. I’ll skip the treats like chocolates and Bailey’s Irish Cream. My Christmas budget will go to Doctors Without Borders, which has developed a COVID-19 Crisis Fund. I’ll start donating at the end of October and go for three months.

      1. I recently researched Doctors Without Borders because I was looking for a charity to support. I have read in many articles that they perform abortions on poor women in very poor countries, and I know they can’t feed the children they have, but I just could not support them after learning that. I hope they use your money for Covid treatment. I know they do good in many ways.

        1. They address this on their website, though this is a small part of the work they do. Of course I understand your choice.

      2. Doctors without Borders is an excellent charity. My nephew is a physician and volunteers for them extensively (he is a doc in the box, so he can easily take time off since he doesn’t have a practice, per se, to maintain).

        1. I’m very impressed by the volunteers who take long periods away from what could be lucrative practices to treat people in some of the worst conditions imaginable. I’ve been donating to them for many years. One of the reasons is that no matter where trouble arises, they already have people in place, including many staff from the area concerned as well as physicians from abroad, so they are able to help immediately.

      3. That is great Elizabeth that you are going to donate to Doctors Without Borders.

        If you don’t think you should wait re furnace, I imagine the furnace company would be glad to take a post-dated cheque.

        1. Thanks, Ann. That’s a good point. The weather forecast says it will hold above freezing for at least a couple of more weeks, and I will be able to get someone in in a few days’ time, so it should work out. Personally I am able to keep warm without any problem.

  6. Wow you’ll be so busy in your garden which is gorgeous! I live in an apartment and don’t have a balcony. I have a black thumb as well so I don’t really try beyond a few science experiments with the kids.
    Lately we’ve saved money…
    *eating mostly vegetarian
    *cooking beans. I make a crockpot full and we eat them over the next few days.
    *a friend cleaned out her pantry and spice cabinet. I picked out a few bottles of spices and 3 packages of noodles.
    *I’m working from home these days and don’t have to drive
    *over the weekend I visited some friends and they ordered takeout. I almost never order takeout so it was a treat.
    *I added some clutter to the donate pile
    *I line dry my laundry most of the time
    *I crocheted a dishcloth
    *I ran out of fabric softer and didn’t buy any more
    *I tried out a couple new dishes using ingredients I had on hand
    * I used up some fabric I had on hand to make masks. It was the correct kind as well.
    *I used my employee discount to save 50% on medical tests.
    *a friend works for an airline and was able to mail a small package for me for about $8 instead of having to spend $45 on shipping
    *I used up some sad looking greens by soaking then in water and feeding them to the guinea pig
    *A friend gained weight and passed on her clothes to me.
    *I passed on some clothes that have gotten too tight


  7. * a neighbor gave us a bag of Brussels sprouts that were put in her grocery order by accident
    * harvested watermelon, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers from the yard
    * a friend moved out of town on short notice and gave us all her food storage (four boxes!) — I’m learning some new recipes to incorporate some ingredients I haven’t used in the past
    * picked up a half-sheet pan from a member of our Buy Nothing Group
    * saved all eggshells and ground them up with the mortar and pestle to use as a calcium source for chickens and soil

  8. It sounds like your new garden plans are coming along nicely, Brandy. I agree with you, it’s much easier to erase and redraw on graph paper than using an online program – I have found some useful ideas on https://www.bhg.com/gardening/. I’m glad you and your dh were able to get a senior discount. I know you’re not military, but for your readers who are/were military and may not be aware, Lowes and Home Depot plus many other stores give a 10% discount every day on non-sale items to active & retired military (you need to show ID) on just about every product they carry in their stores and garden centers. Our local independent nursery also does. Your photos are gorgeous – the olives look beautiful and am sure quite tasty once you cure them.

    Autumn arrived a week early – high 60s to mid 70s during the day to 50s at night. Central air didn’t kick on all week nor did we use the sprinklers as had some overnight rain from hurricane Sally; our electric bill should be 20% lower. We turned the gas fireplace on a few chilly evenings and used a blanket at night! My balsam, sedum “autumn joy”, Greek oregano, montauk daisies and few knock-out roses are all that’s blooming; mums haven’t started to bloom yet. The goldfinches have enjoyed the coneflowers’ (echinachea purpurea) seed pods; pulled up the begonias and marigolds and saved seeds. Friends and I went to a farm stand in the semi-rural part of our county and bought gorgeous purple flowered asters, hardy mums (deep yellow and wine flowered), flaming red celosia and velvety burgundy coxcomb It looks like a rooster’s crest). The asters and mums will go in the ground before our first frost, the celosia, coxcomb and grasses are in planters in my front patio. Also large pumpkins to decorate with and acorn & butternut squash to cook. Also a bale of hay to decorate with and will also use it to mound around the roots of my roses before the first frost along with Scott’s screened topsoil to protect them thru the winter; it’s removed in early spring. Their prices were much less than my local nursery or the big box stores and we enjoyed a lovely long drive. At another farm I purchased 1/2 bushel each of ginger gold and mcIntosh apples to make applesauce, dehydrate and eat fresh (cost is about $0.70 a lb). I dehydrated some ginger gold apples and more pears.

    I was able to buy 8 bottles each of Garnier shampoo and conditioner for $1 each at my grocery store; reg price are $3.99 each they were on sale for $2 for$6 mix or match plus using $4/2 manufacturers coupon. Also 4 bottles each Loreal Elvive shampoo and conditioner at $1.50 each using store sale & coupons. Also 4 Colgate Total toothpastes – 2 were free, and 2 I paid $0.73 each. I’ve noticed these deals come about every 8 weeks or so – and the store flyers also list the manufacturers’ coupons to use with their sale prices; I’m thinking the manufacturer must be paying the store for the tie-in. With these & previous purchases, we now have a year’s worth of shampoo, conditioner (for my colored hair and for natural hair) and toothpaste! I bought extra of the Garnier to donate. Kellogs’ cereal was $1 a large box after sale & coupons I purchased 4 boxes Special K and 4 Rice Krispies (2 for my dd), this along with Kashi cereals and Cherrios brought previously on sale brings us to 6 months of cereal all expiring early 2022. Marshmallows were $0.99 a bag, bought 4 brought 2 to dd along with the rice krispies for the kids to make rice krispy treats (also brought her Mallomars, apples, pumpkins and squashes). Wild caught cod was on sale for $6.99 lb – I made a hearty codfish stew (served with cheddar muffins and a green salad) that fed us 2 meals with some frozen too.

    Despite the good buys I listed above, grocery prices for real food seems to be increasing each week. In last week’s post I had mentioned that my local stores are having difficulty finding workers with a start pay of $15 an hour. The local news featured a story about Walmart and its plans to raise many of the hourly workers’ s salary to $18 to $21 an hour going up to $30 an hour in some markets. This is great news for Walmart employees, but it will make it more difficult for other stores, like my small grocery chain, to compete for good workers. I am in a HCL area as is most of the Eastern seaboard, so I’m sure we will be affected. Therefore, they will have to raise salary to $18+ an hour, which of course will be passed on to us, the customers. More reason to try to grow, can, find other sources for our food and other items we need. https://www.wrdw.com/2020/09/18/walmart-to-raise-wages-paying-staff-up-to-30-per-hour/?fbclid=IwAR1om2SGSyCsP-TRZ2MAUpZuwnhWfS0ElywSfcIDPQqjcrq-1P_BowTlcZA
    the article in usatoday https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/09/17/walmart-wage-increase-165000-employees-new-leadership-roles/3480101001/

    1. I really hope to have to purchase even less from the stores in a few years as our trees get larger and larger and provide for more us. The changes we are making in the garden should pay for themselves in a few years with a lower water bill and more food.

      1. So true Brandy. I know all your efforts will have a huge return on the sweat and dollar equity you are investing now. I wanted to further add that the article in USA Today also noted that Hobby Lobby is looking to start raising wages to $17 an hour in October. This will probably also impact Michael’s and Joannes. There is only 1 Hobby Lobby in my county so I hardly get there as there are no other stores near it that I frequent, but Michael’s and Joannes have 2 stores each and are near shopping centers so I go to them at least once a month. I have also noticed the scarcity of good quality yarn at Michael’s and the lack of fabric at Joannes. I know that partly this is due to covid19 interruptions, but Michael’s was having financial difficulty pre-covid. I hope that they all survive.

        1. That is good to know; there is a Hobby Lobby nearby. This will surely affect the prices of fabric.

    2. Kellogg’s is doing a special right now for every box you buy you get a free kids book. They are great as Christmas presents or you could donate them. You did great with your shopping. I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for cereal or toothpaste.

    3. Lowe’s will set up the military discount so you just have to provide your phone number at the register. I prefer this as a lot of times I’m the one shopping and my husband is not. They’ll still do the military discount even if he is not present. I’ve asked Home Depot why they don’t have this option a few times, hoping eventually they will offer it as an option.

  9. Hi Brandy,
    I used to live about an hour’s drive from you and I would pick olives and preserve them by following a youtube video called Nonna Franca preserves green olives. It’s basically just water and salt in a jar in your garage for a few months. I have also gifted harvested seeds to friends using your seed packet printout, it is just lovely! Best wishes on your new garden plan.

  10. I ended up taking an emergency vacation day to go to my elderly uncle’s house near Alabama coast to take him gas for generator. His daughter could not convince him to leave during hurricane. The swamp in his back yard did not get in his house, although neighbor got 8 inches of swamp water. However, the neighborhood sewer lines backed up and overflowed in his house, buckling and ruining the hardwood floors on the first floor. What a mess. So it was frugal for him for me to come help, but it was difficult to get to his house with the debris, traffic lights out, etc. That is basically all I have for this week. I am eating out of my food storage now with the exception of cheese, eggs, and root vegetables I bought for this month. I did make a roasted root vegetable melody in oven of parsnips, potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, and turnips. My stomach is acting up so I have had to go to bland foods. It always acts up in times of distress. It will probably be beans, greens, and rice the rest of the week. My greens I planted in my front yard miracle grow bags are coming along nicely. Oh, I did take my youngest son and my middle son their new thermals for winter. They were delighted to get them. I took my youngest son balsamic rice and some fancy bullion I had ordered. He loves to flavor his rice with bullion. He was so happy! I also forgot that my paper road atlas for the U.S. arrived right before my trip to see my uncle. I was so happy because the internet service was down and I used it to take a few backroads to his house. Talk about good timing! I am so happy I had ordered that road atlas. It truly came in handy. When I ordered it, I kinda felt like I was over preparing but had a strong feeling I should get it. I thought it was because I have always loved paper maps. Well, it was useful the day after it arrived!!!!

    1. I read that paper maps have been important when cell towers burned during the fires in the west. They’re always good to have!

      1. When we stop at rest stops I look to see if they have free state maps. I do this based on your preparedness backpack contents list, Brandy. I have found one so far and only need 2 more. I am in Illinois.

        1. You can also request one from the tourist centers and chamber of commerce, some will mail them to you for free and some may have a nominal fee (under $5).

      2. If you are a member of AAA, you can order maps from them for very little money. I think I only had to pay for shipping costs the last time I did this.

        1. That’s a good idea that I have never thought of. I just ordered one for free from the Ohio Dept of Transportation. When I receive it, I’ll tuck it in with my emergency supplies.

          1. DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteers are the best paper maps I have ever owned. They aren’t cheap though. Each state has it’s own gazetteer book and includes small dirt roads, topographic info, etc. The level of fine detail is incredible. DeLorme is/was based in Maine and the books were originally developed for hunters. Mine were purchased 25-30 years ago and I keep them in the trunk of my car. Garmin now owns DeLorme. Here’s a link to the website: https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/575993/pn/AA-001487-000

  11. Hi Brandy and everyone
    It’s great to have a new project isn’t it – I bet you’re feeling really energised about it.
    Another busy week here and glorious weather. We also went to the beach one day, took a picnic and drinks and felt exhilarated swimming in the sea.
    We went to an autumn plant fair organised by a heritage plant society. These are good value because members propagate from their own plants and it’s much cheaper than the garden centre plus you find unusual plants. We bought two herbaceous perennials which my husband split and repotted making several plants from each one. We bought a big healthy Cape Primrose for £4 which is cheaper than the garden centre.
    I picked sweet peas and dahlia for the house. We picked parsley, kale, cooking apples and tomatoes from the garden. We are in the middle of The Great Tomato Glut so we gave big bowlfuls to both daughters.
    I found yellow sticker reductions on fresh salmon and haddock and a big piece of pork belly. It’s all gone in the freezer.
    Celery is a great deal at the moment, 49pence a head(Lidl). I used some to make celery soup for three of us for lunch and used the rest in minestrone soup which fed us for a main meal and lunch the next two days. I also added the crust end of a piece of parmesan while the soup was simmering. I’ve frozen the crust end of some blue cheese to use another day.
    We needed a small electrical fault fixed and our son in law is a qualified electrician so he fixed it. We were able to give him a piece of plywood he needed for a project at their home. Fair exchange is no robbery as my Mum always says.
    We also gave a small wardrobe to some young friends. More stuff out!
    I bought a secondhand cookery book on Amazon that my daughter wants. It can be part of her birthday present.
    I bought myself a new winter dress at half price in a sale, it wasn’t expensive in the first place but half price is even better! I sewed a hook and eye on a skirt and it was the last I had. Happily this week I will be going on an errand somewhere I can also find hook and eyes so no extra trip needed.
    I mended a necklace.
    I read the electricity meter and entered the figures online. The site calculated that we are paying exactly the right amount on our monthly direct debit to cover the bill. I was pleased to find that our electricity consumption this year is less than last year and I feel motivated to decrease it again.
    I wanted to buy a book for a close friends birthday and had credit left on a book token. At the shop the book I wanted was in a promotion, buy one get one half price. Another book in the promotion was one I intended to buy a daughter for Christmas. So using the promotion and my book token I only paid £1.90 for two new books. The loyalty points put on my card made it up to £10 to spend in store next time, so probably another Christmas gift.
    A friend has lent me a book which I recommend to you- it’s “Miss Austen” by Gill Hornby and is a novel based around Cassandra, Jane Austen’s older sister.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. That is a fantastic price on celery! You can dry it, too, or freeze it, if it doesn’t go on sale for that price very often.

  12. *We went for a hike at a free park, enjoying time with my sister, exercise, and no mask wearing!
    *I was able to get a bag of free dog biscuits, which my dog has given two paws up about!
    *I decluttered a box of books that I was finished with, taking them to a used book store and received store credit for them. While looking around the store, I found one book that was on my “want to read” list for just $2.00, and bought it using some of my store credit—yay!
    Nothing that I did, but while I was at the used bookstore a gal came up to me and asked if we were going to be waiting for our books to be processed. I said “yes,” and then she offered to give me her book ticket as she said she didn’t have time to wait for hers to process but was just cleaning out her house. I gratefully accepted, and later received the choice of either $20 something in cash, or $45 in store credit for her tub of books! I happily told the store that I would take the store credit! I appreciated her offering me her book ticket! We are homeschoolers, and having free book credit at a bookstore is always a good thing!
    Looking forward to reading and learning from everyone this week!

    Susan M. in Chattanooga, Tennessee

      1. Yes! I was grateful! My sister has done the same before—giving someone else her book ticket. But this was the first time anyone gave our family their ticket!

  13. Hello Brandy,
    Busy in the garden, so I read!
    I use a bokhasi bucket to make compost and fetilizer.
    You can look it up at youtube. You can keep the bucket in the house, it does not smell.
    Greeting Tanja

  14. Good morning,

    Yes I have been buying Christmas gifts already. I dont want to be out at Christmas time running around to stores I want to enjoy family time and the wonderful Holiday season. I found at one store jewelry that they were having on sale. Each set of ear rings and necklaces were $4-$8 each. I bought some for my neice. I normally budget $14-$20 per person but this year the budget is so low do to pay cuts. I am so grateful that I found these. Will be on the look out for more great deals. We also moved and remade our garden this year for one side of the farm to the other. We now have a beautiful portage garden and will be expanding each year. We also bought a green house to be built soon. I can’t wait. We did have to run outside and pick everything out of the garden last night do to frost. Yes it’s freezing at night here already. I spent the day cut and dehydrating pears for the winter. Hubby loves them and eats them like candy.

    Have a great day!

  15. It’s exciting to hear how your garden plans are coming together. How nice to get the “bonus” olives. I still have two living, of the olives I planted, and plan on creating some sort of stone or brick structure on the north side to protect them. I’m hoping this will help them to thrive, rather than just hang on. Both bronze and purple muscadines were gathered. Figs were gathered and frozen, and squash was grated and frozen. Toothpaste was made for myself, and golden paste for the pups. The last of our butter beans were frozen, and the first of our butter peas were frozen, and some dried ones shelled. A batch of pear port compote was made for gifts. I found meyer lemons at the grocery store, and prepped a dozen seeds to start plants. I don’t expect all of them to sprout, but hope some do. I also zested and juiced them, and froze both. The pups were given baths with my homemade dog soap. Sweet peppers were chopped and frozen, and eggplant sliced, baked and frozen. Two damaged winter squash were cubed and frozen. Tis the season for putting food by! http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/09/the-last-days-of-summer-frugal.html

    1. Hi Laurie!
      I wondered if you might share your recipe for the Pear Port Compote? It sounds like you had a very productive week!

  16. Brandy your plans for the gardens sound wonderful and sounds like you are planning them out carefully to get the design you want and being frugal by reusing many of the plants you already have there. We save a lot of garden seeds here as well and it comes in handy especially when garden seeds were in short supply here due to lockdown and people panic buying them. I was able to supply myself and a neighbour who recently bought the home next door to us too with bean seeds 🙂 . Good to hear you have been able to get some clothing for both girls and your husband on good sales. I was able to pick up a lot of clothing for myself really cheaply recently too and since the prices have quadrupled and more since I purchased them

    Our savings added up to $375.86 last week 🙂 .

    In the home –
    – Washed all our winter blankets, coverlet and wool underlay and hung them out to dry in the sun on a beautiful sunny day. The power used to wash came from our solar panels.
    – Cleaned half of the linen pantry in the bathroom and reorganised and tidied it.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    In the gardens –
    – Harvested 10 kg of sweet potatoes from the gardens saving $109 over buying organic produce in the stores. We are curing them and then will blanch and freeze them for meal ingredients for the freezer.

    Dental care –
    – Had my teeth cleaned, a fluoride treatment and examination done in the public hospital dental clinic saving $215 over paying to go to a local dentist.

    Finances –
    – Deposited more money into our 6 monthly living expenses emergency fund bringing us to 53.71 % of the way there.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased some needed medical items at the local chemist and used our pharmacy discount card to save 15% or $1.26 in total.
    – Bought supplies of our favourite brand of chocolate on half price special saving $30 on usual prices.
    – Bought kiwi fruit for 40c each and 8 tins of corn kernels at a lower price at Coles saving $4.10 over buying them in other supermarkets.
    – Picked up 3 free samples to taste test as a supermarket taste tester saving $16.50 over purchasing them.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).


  17. Both of the grandchildren that live with me (and their mama) have decided to do at home schooling. This saves a lot of gas money since the oldest goes to school in the next town over. This also save precious time for her mom and I.
    Besides my free $25.00 OTC meds I get for free each month I got a larger box of OTC meds from my insurance company this month. Well…it was more than meds. I got 3 tubes of toothpaste, Band-Aids, floss, antibacterial spray, sun screen, dry eye drops, 2 masks, toothbrushes, pill cutter, weekly pill holder, thermometer and more. I valued the box at over $50.00. Oh and 2 face masks. What I won’t use my daughter and her children will.
    I am a seamstress so I have lots of fabric scraps here. I have been making quilted wall hangings this month. All of my daughters have been gifted with a smallish Dresden Plate Neighborhood table cover or wall-hanging for Halloween décor.
    This is helping me get rid of the scraps that threaten to overtake my home.
    There isn’t much else this week since we have stayed home.

  18. If we use your Amazon links, but purchase something else from Amazon ( not the item you have linked) do you still get credit? I want to support your site 🙂

    1. I get credit for anything you add to your cart after going through my link to get to Amazon (save for a few items that don’t pay on at all) and purchase within 24 hours. It doesn’t have to be the item I have listed. Thank you so much!

  19. Last week we ate soup for two dinner meals. I am adding more veggies to our meals. The kids love it when I cook two different kinds and they get to pick. Using thread leftover from a cross-stitching kit I am making my 4-year-old bracelets. One of my boys I was able to purchase winter clothes at a yard sale. The other two boys I went to Goodwill and found the winter clothes they needed. My girl was gifted more than enough clothes I am sharing them. I picked the last of our green beans. The cherry tomatoes are still going strong. Have a great week everyone!

  20. I was given another bag of clothing – I’ve lost some weight, and there is a lady nearby who is cleaning out her closets. Instead of giving the items to goodwill, she is letting me pick up the bags, and it has been a huge help. Most items fit me or are a bit to small, but since I’m still losing, this is great. I now have a tote full of clothes for later and enough things for right now. It’s been a real money saver.

    We decided that we are giving homemade soap for Christmas. I have lye, scents, and colorants on hand, so we found the best prices on the oils I’ll need, and got those purchased this week. It will make nice gifts for our neighbors, along with a couple of friends, my co-workers, and the lady who gave me the clothing. 🙂

    We ate fresh garbanzo beans, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe and herbs from our garden this week. The garden got a hard freeze recently, but we picked everything we could the night before and have been eating from those items as much as we can.

    We are reading books and watching movies from the library. I was able to bring home coupons from last Sunday’s paper (we get the paper at work, but no one wants the coupons), and my husband used Ibotta, sales, and coupons to save a lot on groceries. There is more, but I need to get ready for work.

  21. It has been an exhausting but extremely frugal week.
    *I accidentally bought 100 pounds of tomatoes at a produce auction. All I needed was one 20-pound box to make salsa (my family has eaten all of mine). Pre-coronavirus, a crowd formed close to the auctioneer and traveled as a group as he moved between the sale items. Post-coronavirus people are distance biding. You can walk up close but everyone must move. Organized people make a list, back away then know when to bid. I am not organized. Tomatoes were going high ($26 for one box, $36 for Cherokee Purple, way out of my price range), but I know it drops the longer you wait. Suddenly, no one wanted a box and the bidding stalled. One man begrudgingly offered $2 but I could tell he was not excited. (He is an elderly, retired man who is there every single time and I secretly think he buys something to share with the widow ladies at church. I bet they bring him casseroles.) I jumped up and offered $3 and got the box! Perhaps I should say, he let me win for which I thanked him later. It happened again and I got another box for $4.
    I discovered two surprises at check-out: First, “assorted canners” is code for ugly, misshapen tomatoes that won’t sell at a fruit stand which meant none of the professional buyers were interested. They still taste great and ugly works for me. Second, each box was part of a lot which I couldn’t see from a distance so all total, I got 5 20-pound boxes! Whoops. I also made the same mistake with the yellow squash. Next time, I will (might) pay closer attention by not chatting to the people sitting beside me because we almost couldn’t get everything in my small car.
    *The other big money saver was accidental also. With so much produce I didn’t have enough jars. There are none for sale anywhere in my small country town. I cleaned out my pantry (while the canner was going), moved everything stored in them (spices, dehydrated vegetables, beans, coffee, honey, flower arrangements, toothbrushes, etc.) out to have enough. I never realized how many jars I have stuck everywhere. My son Dustin, gave me some of the millions of empty peanut butter jars he saves for computer part storage. I had to apologize to him for complaining about his massive pile of empty peanut butter jars.
    Other than having to apologize to Dustin, it was a good week.
    PS: One word of warning. Never shoo a fly off of your nose at an auction.

    1. I’m dying to know….how many jars full of tomatoes did you end up with?
      I’ve never been to a vegetable auction. They don’t have them around here. But, it sounds fun. I would never, ever let my husband attend–I would be canning all day and all night he would have so much fun bidding at those prices!!!

      1. I honestly don’t have an answer since I’m not finished yet. The kitchen table is covered from those that are still ripening. (If you leave them where they must be rolled away for room for your food plate, it encourages my guys to eat more). I gave some away to a friend who dropped by…well, I asked him if he wanted some tomatoes and squash, then filled his front passenger seat while his back was turned. (Feels good to be able to share again.) The crockpot is full of leftover junk (seeds and cores) and it is being cooked down to make a sauce. The dehydrator is full of the pieces of those that had a bad spot. I cut the bad spot out, smell the tomato, then dehydrate what is left. I don’t ever can one that has a bad spot since I lost a big batch of salsa one year. No risks will be taken for fear of food poison. The skins are composted since I am not sure if they have been sprayed. My crew has been eating them at every single meal – no exceptions! Except for salsa (which my guys can inhale a full jar at one meal), this should last me for two years. Hopefully next year I will only need to can salsa.

        What threw me for a loop was not being able to find jars. I think I have five hundred but Reese and Joshua both have lots at their apartments. They return the empties and take more when they come home. I found about forty throughout the house I could use when I started looking. Some of the dehydrated teas and herbs are vacuum sealed so I didn’t want to open them. The problem is that even though the garden has slowed, it is still producing more than we can eat plus I want to can meat when prices drop when the farmers take their herds to market before winter. Perhaps thrift store shopping trips are in my future.

        1. Around here, jars and jar lids are in short supply. My husband saw elevated prices on the few jars he saw. Jar lids are non-existent. Thankfully, we still have a couple of hundred in storage from the past when I canned for my large family and one sister ordered many, many boxes of lids in the spring and has been sharing. Plus, any relative that comes across any lids buys lots of boxes to share. The last time we found any was in early August. So, we’ve all had enough, thank goodness:). I’ve been able to share extra jars with my sisters and I’ve filled way more than usual this year. Today, speaking of tomatoes….I had a 1/2 bowl full, and my sister brought over the 1/2 box she picked in her garden and I’ve got another 7 quarts canning away as we speak.

          1. I checked at Good Will, they had no jars. Stopped by a garage sale, the sellers were looking to buy more jars too. Tractor Supply is out. Walmart has none. Saw price gouging on the internet from people who had stocked up and were trying to make a buck. And tonight while at Dollar General I overheard a lady ask the manager for some lids. I rudely jumped into the middle of their conversation in case he had gotten some in stock since I was there last week. He tried to send her to Tractor Supply but I told them they were out as of a few days ago. I explained about the shortage and so the lady and I discussed what she could do with all of the okra she had been given. Exchanging recipes is always fun.
            So far, I still have enough jars. I keep finding them full of things stored in cabinets and on shelves everywhere. If you think this shortage is bad, you should try buying bullets.

    2. Oh Jeannie!
      Honestly, I wish I could just hang out with you for a week, because your posts always make me laugh and I think it would be so much fun! Pajama party at Jeannie’s house everyone! 🤣
      Waving “Howdy” to you from my corner of Tennessee!

      1. Pajama party, no way. It will be a canning party! We can shell beans, blanch tomatoes, pickle cucumbers, chop vegetables, and wash jars all night long…wait… how would that be any different than my life now? If I had a pajama party, I would sleep from exhaustion!
        I do wish I could meet some of the people in person I have met blogging. Just to spend the afternoon chatting over a cup of tea or touring their gardens or sneaking a peek at their pantries – that would be fun. When the virus is over, Brandy needs to organize a convention. Wouldn’t that be a blast!

  22. My friend who came to visit overnight brought me spaghetti squash and tomatoes from her garden. They also helped us move a washer/dryer from my Mum’s new condo she didn’t need and in return we gave them ours for their kids. They work fine but are 10 years old so we took advantage of the free opportunity to upgrade ours. Currently I am out of town visiting another friend and they made some delicious beef korma which I am really enjoying-heading back home tomorrow. I hope everyone has a great week.

  23. What a beautiful week here in Georgia! We have finally begun to get a taste of Fall with temps cooling to the mid 50’s and we are loving it!! Highs in the low 70’s and lovely blue skies – I love this time of year!
    I got another gallon of green beans from my plants – thanks for the tip Brandy – they flowered again once temps dropped below 90 but are now looking rough and we will be pulling the plants this week. I have pulled the banana peppers and okra and was very excited to find some Rainbow Chard seedlings and regular chard plants to add to our garden. I could not locate seed for Chard in our nursery and did not want to order online so this was a great find! I have never grow2n Chard before but am excited to see how we do as this is a great super food that we can enjoy fresh and freeze for future meals.
    I planted seeds for collard greens in several rows and will thin the seedlings once they germinate. I also planted mustard greens and celery. I will be pulling the green and red pepper plants today as well and will sow seeds for cabbage and spinach.
    I pulled all of my petunias and planted fall mums, pansies, and dusty miller. I found a new local nursery that is now a great resource. I was able to get 2 gallon mums that they called ‘blemished’ for $6.50 a piece. Mums if this size would have easily been upwards of $50 in the big box stores. We will enjoy them on our porches this season and I will transplant to the yard at the end of the season so that we cna enjoy them in years to come. This nursery will also have pumpkins available which will save the cost of gas and my having to drive to a farmers market farther away to purchase them. We will display the pumpkins and then use them to make pumpkin butter as well as puree for pies and chunks pf pumpkin will be frozen to add to pots of beans all winter long.
    We ended up having to buy a new washer this week. When the repairman arrived last week we discovered that the washer needed a whole new computer which would cost $455 plus the labor to install. After all the issues we have had with Samsung appliances we decided it best to cut our losses and purchase a new unit. I did not want to run the risk of having the washer quit and force us to a laundromat during a potential COVid surge. We shopped for a good deal and were able to locate a washer with excellent reviews, a good warranty, made in the USA and we saved over $400 on the purchase. This will force me pull everything out of my laundry room to clean, organize and paint the space – It will be nice to have everything freshened up.
    We took our son to pick apples this weekend to enjoy the fall weather and get out of the house a bit. We all had so much fun together eating apples, going for a tractor ride, touring the grounds of the orchard, and painting rocks. We took snacks and drinks with us and carpooled with some friends. We brought home a bushel of apples and I canned 7 quarts of applesauce yesterday and will make apple butter tonight – by my estimate we should get about 12 pints.
    We enjoyed homemade meals last week including a lovely beef brisket that I found for $2.89/pound at Costco, Garlic Chicken Rice (thanks Brandy…this was excellent!) & pork tenderloin, fresh green beans, & bean burritos.
    I am beginning to plan for my son’s 5th birthday party and he has requested a superhero party with Spiderman, the Hulk, Batman and others. he is wanting a bouncy house to play in with a few friends. I called around to check prices and they are in excess of $200 for half day rentals. I continued to call and located an option that is half the price and we will have the house in our backyard for 3 full days. This is something that we have been saving for and with all of the virus shutdowns and craziness that kids have endured, we are really excited to be able to do this for him and a few friends. There are tons of character cakes from bakeries available but I will purchase a chocolate sheet cake from Costco and decorate it with action figures and sprinkles. Cake decor will also serve as toys after the party is over.
    I was delighted to turn my AC off and open windows to air the house out. This should reduce our bill drastically.
    I went to a local consignment sale with a friend and was able to find several clothing items that my son was needing for fall and winter for deeply discounted prices. These items were washed and dried when we brought them home and look brand new!
    I spent $55 in the grocery store over the last two weeks only buying milk, potatoes, fresh corn, broccoli, green onions, greek yogurt, eggs, and some breakfast items.
    I am 75% done with Christmas shopping. I need to purchase some winter pajamas for my son that I will get by using the cash I have from Children’s Place – this will result in a savings of 50% on top of whatever sale prices I can find. I also have to purchase gifts for my husband, Mom, Sister & Brother in Law, and my niece. I will pick up something for my son’s teachers as well. We already have all of the decorations that we need save a few candles. I am working to organize and make room in the freezer for holiday turkeys and hams.
    Have a great week everyone!

  24. I agree that sometimes the old things and old ways are the best! This week has been dedicated to reorganizing packed boxes in garage and selling/or giving to people that can use them. Tried a new homemade salsa recipe that my husband likes- taking everything I buy packaged, up one more notch, and making it from scratch. I know many of you already do this…and you all provide inspiration! The only other thrifty activity this week was the purchase of a Talbot’s Vneck short sleeve white top. This brand fits me well and lasts the longest. They sent a 20.00 coupon (probably to get me back into purchasing-very rarely do I) + 30% off sale, + picking it up curbside during errand driving=70 cents.

  25. Brandy, please tell me what that attractive dark green plant in front of the armillary sphere is. Is it oregano? I hope you get ours of enjoyment out of the changes to your garden.

    I’d appreciate it if someone would tell me if is it normal for sliced onions not to be completely dried out by the dehydrator? Mine were brown and shriveled, but still pliable after days in there! I’d appreciate advice from more experienced onion-dehydrators. Thanks in advance.

    1. It’s an out of control mum! I will leave it until after it blooms, but I will be moving them after that.

    2. I am wondering the same thing about onions. First time for me as well, and mine ended up like yours. Would love an answer!

  26. Brandy, Hubby was going to order a pocket calendar for his business… 3 yr to be exact through Amazon and held off until the next day because he couldn’t remember your website but knew I always go through it to order. I didn’t tell him that you probably don’t get much if anything on that low of a price but figure even if it was a couple pennies it adds up.

    I got 2 bushels of green tomatoes for $10… So far one bushel put 140 plus slices in the freezer for fried green tomatoes. I am taking the end (after coring the tomato) to make relish. Not our favorite relish but better to have something than nothing and I can always use it in potato or pasta salad or soups.

    We started working on the broken field /drain tile in our yard that was estimated , worse case possible, at almost $2000 without the tile costs. Between the guy who built the house, the one that sold it to us , the ditch witch (machine that cuts ground for tile) owner and the local hardware store that Hubby showed a photo of what he was trying to fix… We spent $10… yes $10. As they figured out the tile blew because it of the way it was connected allowed it to develop a sink hole under the tile. We had gravel already that we used to fill in that area and it will help keep the tile level where it joins other tiles. We still need to reroute the drainage tile from the rear if the barn. Our Amish neighbor said if we needed less than 100 ft(what a roll it) he had some he could just sell us. If we needed over 100 but less than 200 he would buy our extra. That drops that down from $750 to $100 the most. Truly a blessing.

    My 2nd pressure canner seal started leaking, Hubby told me to buy a new one… I chose to buy replacement parts for it and got “spare” set for the 1st pressure canner. The total of the parts for both canners was half of what it would have been if I had just bought 2 canners even I could have FOUND any. I talked my MIL into buying parts also .

    Busy in the gardens, getting the harvest in this week as it’s suppose to drop to 60s next Monday. The cool weather crops will be okay but the 70 some tomato plants won’t be. Still talking of what to change in the gardens for next year.

    Blessed be everyone


    1. Pressure canner seals need to be replaced every year or two. (And I don’t can as much as some of you.) If you keep the box each time it makes for easier re-ordering. They do leak air when they are in need of changing. I get a set including a new seal and a new emergency pressure release valve, and possibly one other piece. If I remember correctly the last set cost me about $8 on Amazon.

  27. Joining in from the Seattle area.

    I am very happy to report that after more than a week of very smoky skies (and related air advisories), our air finally cleared on Saturday and we were able to open the windows and go outside without issue. Our condo had been very warm and there was no way to cool it down (we don’t have air conditioning). After having the windows open for an hour, the inside temperature had dropped by 5 degrees. So grateful for this turn of events.

    In the midst of all the smoke, a governmental organization in our state suggested strapping/taping a furnace filter to a box fan to create a makeshift air filter. So I picked up a couple filters at Home Depot (they did not have a lot left in stock, and the highest rated filters were all gone). I bought the highest rated ones they had. We strapped them to our fans, and this really helped the indoor air quality. It was a pretty inexpensive solution too.

    My two sisters (who are twins) had a milestone birthday last week, and we celebrated by getting together and having a socially distanced lunch (me, my mom, and my local sister). I picked up takeout, and my mom made a delectable chocolate torte. I played Happy Birthday on my kalimba for them. My other sister who does not live locally was able to attend by FaceTime. It felt like we were all together, which was really special. After lunch, we spent some time looking through old family photo albums. It was a fun day.

    We installed the Kanopy app on our TV, and I was able to link my library account to it. So I look forward to trying this out. We get five credits per month. They have a large selection from the Great Courses, and you do not use credits to watch these (which is pretty great).

    Otherwise, enjoyed fresh produce from our CSA farm share, and picked extra greens to blanch and freeze. A patient at my work shared some plums with me. My local sister gave me a bar of soap and a foot soak bar (from Lush) that she could not use. Made deodorant from coconut oil, baking soda and arrowroot powder. Watched videos on YouTube and read blogs. Spent a couple hours clearing out clutter, and things looked so much better afterwards. Worked a few extra hours at work to train a new employee. Was able to take short (non-strenuous) walks outside while wearing a smoke mask.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

  28. I hadn’t planned on starting Christmas shopping so soon, but we also stopped at Sam’s Club and saw some things that would be perfect for our two-year-old, so his Christmas shopping (other than stocking stuffers and maybe a couple items of clothing) is pretty much finished. It’s a good feeling!

    While we’re still under contract for our new house, we’ve been using the wait period to shop around for the best price on flooring to replace the very old carpets on the main floor. We think that some of the main floor might have original hardwoods underneath, but since it would actually be way more expensive to refinish them and way more work to maintain them, we’ll probably just go with waterproof luxury vinyl panels (which makes more sense with young kids anyway). It kind of kills me to not use the original hardwoods, but our cost will end up being around $4K cheaper by not refinishing. We’ll also be doing all the labor ourselves, which will also be a big cost-saver.

    I can’t wait to start planning out our new garden space! I would love to see some of your plans all sketched out!

    1. I put Pergo over my hardwood floors. I have dogs and they were tearing them up, so I Pergo’d the downstairs (after paying to refinish) and covered the upstairs. Next owner can refinish them both.

  29. Not a whole lot of savings but a few….

    It’s been cooler most days so I’m keeping the ac off and doors and windows open.

    Hubby had 5 tomatoes pop up on his plant. Not sure if they’ll ripen or if he’ll have to make do with green tomatoes

    My mom sent over water and 2 bags of chips she didn’t want.

    My 13yo (and 3/4 of her troop) decided last year was going to be the last of girl scouts. We had planned to take them to Six Flags to use up what we had in our bank account but coronavirus hit. So we did a cookout. Sunday we got together for 3 hours for lots of food and gifts for the girls. We put together scrapbooks of their time since daisy scouts( all are cadettes/seniors now) that we had printed at Walgreens. Then we made them a collage and everyone signed their names and decorated the mats, and got them all matching sister bracelets . It wasn’t quite as fun as rollercoasters, but a send off at least. Kind of sad it’s over, but they are all at the age they are busier in other things. ❤

    My coleader surprised me with a gift also…a nice fleece jacket(I think she was getting tired of resewing seams on my old one 😂) and a throw blanket I can use sitting outside when I’m at cross country and soccer meets.

    Hubby got one window put in this week in our remodel project. His truck needs work so we couldn’t spend a bunch of money yet. He’s supposed to be catching up on the inside work this week, so hopefully I can start moving stuff back in.

    Made sure to get leftovers in the freezer.

    I had bread getting stale and while I would have liked to save it for breadcrumbs, hubby taught the 13yo to make french toast. I at least froze the 2 heels.

    Saved veggie scraps in the freezer to use for broth.

  30. Hello Everyone!
    I can’t say this week was entirely frugal as our dog injured himself. We upgraded our pet plan so that it was inclusive of x-rays. That $13 upgrade saved us $750 at the vet. Unfortunately, we have more vet visits ahead but I appreciate knowing that our pooch is receiving good care.

    Our hens are a delight and I can’t wait for them to lay. They enjoy kitchen and garden scraps as well as bugs and now slugs 🐌. I feel like nothing is wasted with my girls!

    I’ve begun sewing Christmas gifts such as pj bottoms, tote bags, masks, and scrunchies soon to come. I’m using materials already on hand. I pulled out my embroidery machine and added some personalization for a finishing touch. I’ve also been ordering gifts and have begun wrapping to keep prying eyes away.

    The garden provided summer squash, Swiss chard, strawberries, and an abundance of tomatoes. I’ve been planning meals around the garden veggies. We’ll be planting 4 more trees this fall. We’re waiting for the nursery stock to arrive.

    Other money savings this week were shopping at Target using a gift card and Target Circle savings, stocking up at Costco using our Costco rebate, baking a loaf of cornmeal wheat bread and a banana coffee cake from browning bananas, making a fruit salad with bits of fruit that needed to be eaten, giving my son a haircut, and giving myself a pedicure and eyebrow wax.

    Our air has cleared up (hooray!) and we’ve been enjoying the outdoors more by going to the beach, walking at the park and relaxing on the back patio. Even amidst the difficulties of 2020, there is much to be thankful for!

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

    1. What pattern do you use for your pj pants? I’ve been looking for a printable one. My boys are requesting matching family pjs for Christmas, and they’re just too pricey to purchase when I know it’s a relatively simple sewing project (even with my limited skills).


      1. If you skip the pockets, you can make a pattern by using the current pj’s. Outline on paper, add seam allowance, 1.5″ (or whatever) for hem and however much you’ll need on the top for seam and drawstring or elastic. I sketch them out on a side paper to get the proper measurement. Measure twice, cut once is my motto.

  31. I stuck to my meal plan from last week, which is (strangely) hard for me to do sometimes. I am really putting more of an effort into saving money. In the areas/categories I am able to save, I can put that extra cash in my house fund for when I get to build. For the past few years I’ve used a budgeting app called YNAB (stands for You Need A Budget). It’s a zero-based budget, meaning when your paycheck comes in, you allocate every dollar into a category, giving “every dollar a job”. You can move things around as the month goes on, but giving every dollar a job helps me so much, because I never wonder if I have money set aside for the mortgage, or the groceries for each week, or medical, etc. I try to be a month ahead, so I have a cushion. I think it’s similar to some of the other budgeting software out there, I’ve tried a few others, but this has worked the best for me. So, for example when I don’t spend all of the money I set aside for groceries, I can transfer that amount right into my “new house” fund. It’s really motivating for me. If you’re in college you can get it free for a year, too, which has been a great tool for my college students. I wrote out my budget again on my blog, which I’m using to chronicle our build as well as my meal planning/grocery budgeting, and that’s been fun also! My brother and I took a hike (well, we pushed our way through waist high foliage and under branches, etc.) Saturday through the property, to see if we could find the abandoned railroad line- and we really did find it. It’s been unused (and unnoticed) for over 100 years. I love being outside, and I love local history, so this was so fun and interesting! I also found a shed deer antler for my son who was thrilled, as he wants to decorate his room “hunting” style. So that was a fun day (and free!). https://www.hewalkedthisland.com/blog

  32. I know what you mean about paper and pencil for certain things. I prefer to make my lists that way, and a friend makes her budget in spiral notebooks. There is something tactile about doing it that way….
    I had a pretty good week and a near disaster–
    * I went back to the store on the last day of the case lot sale and bought more fruit for .42 can–a killer price–and now I have enough to last a year.
    * Still harvesting tomatoes and zukes! I made and froze more of my version of ratatouille (stewed tomatoes and zucchini). 
    * Winco had Gala apples for .48 lb. I bought a 20 lb. box. Let the applesauce begin!
    * Bulk spices are back! I bought enough basil to fill a spice bottle for .44! I also bought Bob’s Red Mill enriched farina (Cream of Wheat) for way less than the price of the stuff in a box.
    * I used a 60% off coupon at JoAnn’s to buy 5 yards of elastic for $2.40. I also got flannel on sale for $2.99 yard.
    * I made a gathered skirt with elastic waist for my second Operation Christmas Child shoebox (girl 10-14).
    * I mended a pinhole in a T-shirt knit top.
    * I went thrifting and scored a glass pitcher for $3.19 (after 20% off coupon) and a 5×7 picture frame for $1 at Goodwill. I didn’t have much luck finding a fitted sheet to replace one that was too thin to mend. Later I discovered a forgotten bottom sheet among my linens!
    * I canceled Netflix, mainly because of “Cuties,” which sexualizes 11-year-olds, but I don’t mind saving $13 month, either! (We stream quite a lot of other TV and probably won’t miss it).
    * I am taking a free balance class offered through the public health department. I had been thinking of doing this for some time. Then my best friend’s husband fell on their deck and fractured his tibia, fibula and ankle. He was in surgery for nearly 3-1/2 hours, in the hospital a full week, and now he is in a rehab facility for 20-30 days. No one can visit him, either. He is younger than I am. I would encourage anyone who is of retirement age and concerned about falling to look into similar classes.
    * Near frugal disaster averted–I was able to get free samples of my daughter’s medication from her doc when I misplaced a full bottle (still haven’t found it). To have it filled again would have cost about $550, since insurance doesn’t replace lost meds. Bonus: I have been trying to get 30 days ahead on all of our medications. When I find the lost bottle–AND I WILL–I will be 30 days ahead, and at no cost to anyone!

    1. Winco has bulk back? Interesting! I wonder if they do her, too!

      Thanks for sharing about the farina. I though Winco had their own bulk option for that as well. I love Cream of Wheat, but I haven’t bought it for about 20 years because of price. I will look again and see what I think about the price per ounce.

        1. My favorite way to eat Cream of Wheat is with still-frozen blueberries on top. I usually only have milk, but once I had leftover heavy cream, and it was to die for! Probably a lot like Ann’s mother’s dessert…for breakfast!

      1. Good to know! I have missed the bulk section and haven’t been to WinCo for a long time. Wish we had one locally. I have been buying Zoom that comes in a box from the cereal aisle. The good thing about it is that Zoom is whole grain whereas Cream of Wheat is degerminated. We like Zoom with frozen blueberries and cream.

    2. Thanks for the reminder to look for balance classes. So far, I have not found. Does anyone have any recommendations on a good book or YouTube channel on balance exercises?

      Thanks in advance!

  33. It sounds like you are making terrific progress on your new garden plans.
    I’m curious to know how you use fresh olives.
    Sunday afternoon I cleaned out the refrigerator and used up everything that was in danger of being wasted. I used fresh mozzarella and 6 lonely pasta shells to make enough stuffed pasta for our dinner. I turned some too-big yellow squash and some bread ends into a squash casserole.
    Now that cool weather has returned, I mixed up a batch of cocoa mix (I use Alton Brown’s recipe). I also made more ranch dressing mix (the Pioneer Woman’s recipe.)
    I made a fall wreath using items I had around the house, including two very small buttercup squash that look like mini pumpkins.
    We enjoyed lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, onions, acorn squash, zucchini, chard, and sugar snap peas from the garden. I harvested a bunch of shaggy mane mushrooms from my yard and froze them in 4-ounce jars for future use.
    I worked my way through a pile of mending, and made a new mask, as I like being able to switch them out.
    We cut another cord of wood from the national forest. We are working towards next year’s supply, as my husband hopes to have knee surgery next summer, and will not be able to cut wood for a while.
    Most of the tomatoes I harvested green have ripened and I was able to can 7 pints of salsa.
    I sewed several Christmas gifts. I made several snap bags (https://sewmodernbags.com/snap-bag-free-pattern/) I also made a lunch kit for my pastor, with sandwich wraps similar to these: (https://www.sisterswhat.com/2019/07/diy-reusable-sandwich-bag-wraps.html) , some snack bags like these (https://www.sisterswhat.com/2016/02/fold-over-snack-bags-tutorial.html) , cloth napkins and a carrying bag.

    1. They have to be prepared and soaked for a couple of weeks before they are ready to eat, but then you eat them just like olives! They are very good!

  34. Your new garden sounds so exciting and pretty!

    I picked more tomatoes and 6 cucumbers from the garden. I have peppers still growing but they always seem to get ruined before they turn red. They are shaded somewhat because of the tomato plants. I plan to can the tomatoes this week. It will only give me a few jars at a time because my haul is not big – but I’ve been doing that all summer and have canned over 20 quarts and 2 pints. I will take it. Most farmers around here don’t have enough tomatoes to sell. My friends who garden also reported their tomatoes did not do as well this year.

    We did a family picnic at a city park about 30 minutes from our home. We’ve taken our kids there since they were small. It’s a beautiful old park with large trees, a river running by it and covered eating areas with lots of tables. Lots of open areas of grass. The trees were dropping their leaves already and the grass was covered with crunchiness. We took canned soup, crackers, cheese, peanut butter, fruit and veggies from our home. My husband brought our camp stove to heat up the soup. It was nice to spend a few hours outside and watch my college age kids push each other on the swings and play frisbee. We really enjoyed seeing fall colors on the trees.

    I ordered a print of my son graduating from college. His sister took the pictures and I was able to order an 11×14 print for 50% off and free shipping. I already have a frame that I bought for $3 at a garage sale. We’re so proud of him! He already has a great full time job with benefits and a healthy savings account. He graduated without any debt. He kept his high school full ride scholarship for the school. He graduated with high honors.

    I’ve been zeroing out my grocery store checking account when I transfer in the new funds. I’m amazing at how much I’ve already been able to save up in just a few months. This is great to have for the good deals I run into occasionally and want to stock up on.

    I found ground beef on clearance as well as beef roasts. I bought those and repackaged everything and put them in my freezer. I was running low on ground beef and was very grateful the 9lbs that I could tuck away at a discounted price.

    I’ve started pulling out annual flowers each week to fill up the garbage can and break the job into smaller time amounts. The weather has started cooling down a tiny bit. We’re still in the 80s but it’s been going down into the 50s at night. I love being able to open my windows at night and keep them open until around noon. It feels wonderful.

    A neighbor was giving away a baby stroller which we offered to take. It was free and perfect for our pregnant daughter to tuck away to use when the baby comes. She was also able to get a used but new to her couch for $35 to put in their new apartment. Our combined families will help them move at the end of this month. We all have trucks and plenty of guy muscle.

    My kids were attending a religion class 1x/per week that was 35 minutes away from our home. I suggested looking closer to home and they found another one in the next city that is only 10 minutes away. They were able to switch the class easily.

    All meals were made at home except for our date night. But we had a free meal coupon when you buy one meal so we used that coupon. It was at a mexican restaurant which is my favorite kind of food. I ate half at the restaurant and ate the other half for lunch one day. Cheese enchiladas are my downfall! But so good.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. Congratulations to your son! Having a full time job with benefits already is an enormous blessing. What was his major? We have a college daughter who is a senior. She is aware that the job market is tight right now. Our older 2 (23 and 25) are in stable full time jobs with benefits and I am thankful beyond words.

  35. I love the new plans for your garden! I can’t imagine it being more beautiful than it already is, but know it will be amazing.
    *I stocked up on some case lot sales this past week–some canned beans for quick meals, tomatoes, mandarin oranges, oats, tomato paste, peanut butter, and applesauce. I also bought two cases of coconut milk. At .78 a can, it’s the significantly cheaper than other brands.
    *I went to a local craft thrift store and bought a bag of yarn for $18. Most of what I got will go to make baby afghans, hats and dishtowels to donate.
    *I finished another two dishcloths and an afghan to donate.
    *I have also been more careful about freezing fruits and vegetables that are excess so that they don’t go to waste.
    *I found a yummy recipe for banana bread that is vegan and fat free and uses whole wheat flour. I’ve already made two batches and I think it will become a staple in our diet.
    *I made dinner to take to a friend.
    *I got together with my siblings in a backyard for a potluck. We hadn’t seen each other for months. I was able to bring home part of a veggie tray that no one wanted.
    Have a safe and healthy week everyone!

  36. Our big news is a cross country move for family reasons in about 6 weeks. We polished our house a bit and it went on the market last week. We had several offers over the asking price in less than a week. So there are so many things to do. I donated 150 books and 150 garments to the church run thrift shop in town. We have sold items we are not going to move -a bicycle, a chest of drawers and other miscellaneous items. We have more to sell in the coming weeks We are waiting on the mover’s estimate to decide about moving some of the big items – such as leather sofa and loveseat and patio table.

    I am working hard to cook from the pantry and to decide what little bit of food to take in the car with us when we make the move. I am glad we did not have a huge food storage. I will donate a fair amount of food to the local food pantry.

    This was not expected and I would not have had the brand new wood flooring put in if I had known. But it did look really nice for people viewing the house.

    Moving 2500 miles really makes you assess what objects you need in your life and what is worth moving that far. I feel so sad to be leaving Wyoming but I am grateful for the wonderful experience of living in this community and exploring so much of the west. We went to Yellowstone NP for a last visit on Sunday before the move (and before the snow closes the entrance gate close to us.)

    1. I hope you are happy and looking forward to your move. Wyoming is a hard place to leave! My mother was born in Dubois and my son works in Jackson (although lives over Teton Pass in Idaho). Trish, I didn’t realize you were in Wyoming, too.

      1. Maxine,

        Ten years ago we moved from the the Northeast where my Dutch family had been within an hour of where I lived for 12 generations. It was a tough move, but was my idea. I wanted to get to a place that was still rural with fewer rules. Loving it here. If I ever get to travel again, my parents did give me an acre of the family farm where I have a small cabin. I’d planned to hop back to visit friends and family more often – as I expect lots of others did as well. It’ll still be there waiting. Right now, my niece is staying there while she finished nursing school even though she has to drive 1.5 hours each way. It’s free for her and watched over for me. Win-win.

        We love, love, love Wyoming!


  37. Traded garden produce with family.
    I had a few baseball bat sized zucchini and made Food in Jars Zucchini Butter
    https://foodinjars.com/recipe/zucchini-butter/ very tasty (especially on bread or pasta). Sliced, blanched, and froze some as well. I am trying to stock my freezer with vegetables to get us through the winter. Tickled from how full the small freezer is with vegetables I grew/traded and having enough to eat fresh.
    Had both a sad looking apple and pear and used those for this recipe. (subbing the one apple for a pear). Delicious way to use up the fruit. http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/?s=pear+spice+muffins
    Was able to find some DVDs and books for my parents at 10 cents apiece. They need to stay homebound and need entertainment especially when the weather is not nice. Noticed movies on eBay and Amazon have gone up in price since this spring, so I am glad for these finds.
    Mended some clothing and a bathmat.
    Funny you ask about present shopping. I am behind schedule on all of it. I’m honestly a bit tired to care/do anything (I know this storm shall pass, just a little weary) as the weight of what the economy will be, or where I need a few supplies (canning lids, thread, etc.) are becoming hard to find or overpriced to ship. BUT, what few things I had saved, I am gifting now because I’m seeing it as the recipient needs an early holiday gift now. 😊

  38. The olives are beautiful!
    I think people must be stocking up for Christmas as I had a very busy week in my shop. I am including free Christmas tags with every order right now. It’s another way to use up my scraps, and they really are so sweet! https://www.etsy.com/listing/875143337/coming-soon-christmas-tags-10-variety?ref=shop_home_active_1&frs=1
    We have been eating entirely out of our garden for vegetables. I planted kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach and chard. My lettuce and arugula are doing well. It makes me happy to have food growing at home. We put in fruit trees this year, after we moved, we might see a few fruits on them next year. I have been reading an interesting book called The Suburban Micro Farm, and the author talks about plants that are beneficial to plant beneath fruit trees. I am on the lookout for those.
    We picked up free 8 x 10 foot cardboard boxes to sheet mulch our existing grass. It saves the labor of removing the grass, but with the same result of the grass being gone. We will put another raised bed in. The native soil here is clay that is as hard as rock. Most gardeners have some sort of drilling tool to break into the soil.
    We received $400 each for completing health questions and screenings through our health insurance.
    I called our cell phone provider and asked if we were on the best plan for our usage. We were able to choose a lower plan for $10 less a month. We use Consumer Cellular (I’m 47) with an AARP discount through my husband (53). It gives awesome coverage, good prices for very comprehensive plans (we still have a college age daughter on our plan so we need the whole bundle with data) and all of their customer service is US based and SO helpful.
    Still making Zucchini bread (Magnolia Table recipe) and enjoying Jamie Oliver’s Ribbolita soup using collard greens (of which I have enough for 3 families!) instead of kale.

  39. Your garden plans sound so exciting. Take lots of photos as the work progresses, please.

    We have been enjoying cooler than normal weather, and I do mean enjoying! To be out of the 90’s with more reasonable humidity is great. I have windows open and our a/c hasn’t run for a few days.

    I’ve started re-planting for the fall garden. With the tropical storms hovering around, I’m having to be cautious about planting yet, but I can’t wait too late, so I’ve put in some chard and beet seeds. I’ve never successfully grown either, so we’ll see what happens this time.

    I have started Christmas shopping. I find I spend way more if I wait around until closer to the holiday.

    I somehow managed to cut my grocery bill last week by almost half. It’s been hard to cut spending, because the grocery sales are still pretty sad around here.

    I found out my new insurance pays for my wellness exams in full. I had an appointment last week and owed nothing, which was a very welcome surprise.

    My daughter gave me a present that came in a cardboard delivery box with a cute, colorful print on the inside. I carefully pulled it apart and re-assembled it inside out. I now have a gift box for a gift I’ve already purchased for a child, and it needs only a bow.

    Doing that reminded me that as a kid, I learned from my parents how to cut down larger boxes into smaller ones, to fit the present better and use less wrapping paper. I had forgotten I knew how to do it.

    I continue cooking from scratch for all meals, packing my lunch, combining errands, and wearing used. It all helps.

  40. They have moved the bulk spices at the Winco where I shop to the opposite side…actually diagonally across the bulk foods from where they were before. So, if you don’t find something, look around! The farina has gone up in price to $1.45 lb. but it’s still cheaper than in a box, and Bob’s is excellent quality.

  41. I would love to try and process olives. Best of luck to you.
    This is for two weeks. It has been pretty exhausting here. Not only is the garden just really producing, until a couple of days ago, we were in such thick smoke it was hard to get anything done. I live in Eastern Washington, but was raised in the Omak/Okanogan area of Washington. That is where one of the largest fires in Washington (about 190,000) acres is still burning. It is 90% contained. The house I was raised in is still standing, but I am so glad my mother moved over here. The air quality here was bad enough (499). I can’t imagine how bad it was there.
    I brought my breakfast and lunch to work all the days I worked. I did work 5 days each week, but not full 8 hour days each day.
    Picked cucumbers and made a total of 16 jars of dill pickles during the last two weeks. Used our own cucumbers, garlic and hot peppers, but had to buy dill. Luckily I bought lids for my jars in May. I found a box of wide-mouth quart jars at Wal-Mart. I think an employee tried to hide them. They were with the towels and bedding, rather than with the kitchen supplies. They were $11.97 for 12 jars with rings and lids. I happily purchased them.
    Picked tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, chard, onions, green beans, corn, peppers, green onions, broccoli, lettuce, and herbs as needed.
    Peeled the tomatoes for salsa. While I was at work, my DH grilled the peppers for the salsa, and then prepped the “base” as we call it. It is just a mix of tomatoes and various kinds of peppers (usually bell, anaheim and jalapeno). We then add chopped onions, garlic, cilantro, a little white vinegar, lime juice and salt to taste. Ended up freezing 12 quarts and gave some to my son, some to my mother, and kept some fresh for us. YUM!!!!
    Made two kinds of zucchini muffins and zucchini fritters.
    My DH made a spaghetti sauce with green beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, onions and some shredded turkey (we thought it was pork) from the freezer. He liked it. I don’t eat spaghetti very often.
    Made popcorn for snacks a few times.
    Made focaccia bread a couple of times.
    Took some extra produce to a neighbor that DH had promised some to. Unexpectedly, she gave us a bag of homemade jerky in exchange. That was pretty wonderful.
    Picked, blanched, cut off the cob, and froze 5 dozen ears of corn. It made for 56 one cup packages.
    We are on borrowed time for our garden now. We could have a freeze any day. However, the next week or so looks to be okay. We will be processing as much as we can.
    Good luck to all.

  42. Hope everyone had a nice, frugal week!
    I greased a pan using butter wrappers, and flavored some beans and veggies with bacon grease I save in a jar in the refrigerator.
    I sold some books I bought at the Goodwill Outlet, where all books are 3/$1.
    I’m delaying going to the grocery store, using the food items we have here.
    I used gifts from our gift closet for a niece and nephew’s birthdays, and the kids made homemade cards. My sister-in-law gave me a half-full jar of hot fudge sauce, which she was going to throw away after the ice cream sundaes.
    I sold some clothes online for my sister; we split the money 50/50.
    I refilled an old squeezable strawberry jam bottle with homemade strawberry jam, as I do each time we empty it. It’s not much, but it’s one less utensil to wash each time someone makes a pb&j sandwich.
    My mom helped watch the kids and helped me sort boxes of hand-me-downs, which I hadn’t done in too long. Now, everything in the kids’ dressers fit, and they have what they need. It would have been nice to buy plastic totes for storage, but I made do with the cardboard boxes I’ve scrounged from liquor stores, copy shops, etc. I was also able to add some girl clothes that my sister passed to us.
    My mom also helped us by making pancake syrup to refill our old syrup bottle, and trail mix, which she pre-portioned for the kids.
    I have several large bins headed for the consignment store, a friend, and to be donated. I also have a couple of bins to sell myself on Facebook marketplace. Cash in, junk out! It’s a hassle, but ten, $10 lots is $100, which is nothing to sneeze at. I buy everything for my kids from thrift stores and garage sales, so I’m able to break even (overall) buy selling the fancier brands I find, even if not my kids’ size or preference, on Mercari, Facebook, etc.
    My mom is kindly removing monograms from matching Pottery Barn Kids backpack and lunchbox, also from GW Outlet. It’s amazing what some hot water, Dawn soap, and baking soda can do on items like this.
    Cream cheese is the cheapest kind of cheese I find around here, so I use it when making a dip, equal parts salsa and cream cheese. It’s much cheaper than queso, and the kids love it. It can also be used as the filling in cheese enchiladas, also yummy and inexpensive.
    This is usually garage sale season, but there aren’t as many here, due to Covid.
    We enjoyed books and movies from the library’s Curbside pickup.
    I went in Sprouts, which used to have double-ad Wednesdays, but they discontinued it. There were no sales worth buying, so I left without buying anything.
    I made several meals for $5 or less, including: French bread pizza, hot dogs, beans and rice, and chicken noodle soup.
    We got a lot of rain from TS Beta, so no watering outside was needed, and temperatures were cooler.
    Hope everyone had a nice, frugal week!

  43. Your new garden plans sound so exciting! We had a pretty good savings week:
    *We found shirts for both my daughter and myself at a yardsale for $3 each (they were the LulaRoe brand, which we both like to wear around the house.)
    *We found a toy at a yard sale that we will be giving to the grandkids for Christmas for $3.00
    *I found Christmas jammies for my granddaughter at the thrift store for $1.00 (with a kitten on them. She loves cats!)
    *We made potato soup using potatoes we’d grown and chicken broth I’d made and canned. I made a pan of green chile cheese cornbread to go with it. I am so happy it’s getting cooler and I can make more soups, stews and chili.
    *We froze our tomato harvest this week instead of canning. There were not enough ripe tomatoes ready to warrant getting out the canning stuff. I froze my Roma tomatoes to make into sauce later when I have enough to fill my giant electric roaster.
    *My husband picked and roasted 15 quart-sized bags of green chile for the freezer. I had to do some rearranging as the basket at the bottom of the freezer is full. He is now moving on to the bottom shelf!
    *My daughter gave me two pairs of pants she didn’t like. They both fit me well.
    We were recently discussing that often there is no need to go out and buy new things. We have gotten so many wonderful things used at really great prices. Often it can take a while to find what you are looking for, but the savings can make it well worth the wait!

  44. We adopted a puppy. Not frugal but so good for our souls. I did get a free bag of dog food and a free dog toy.
    We have had several great scores this week from Craigslist. I got a case of free toilet paper minus 3 rolls. The family was moving across the country and it wasn’t worth shipping. Hubby got 2 metal shelving units, piping materials and lots of press board for free. I saw a free pile and stopped to look. I saw a box of books so I took them to several free little libraries. I found 2 books that I kept.
    The garden is still giving me tomatoes that we are eating in our meals. I made more refrigerator pickles with the cucumbers. I picked 4 heads of celery and dehydrated 3 heads and the leaves from the fourth. I picked lots of chives and herbs too. The dehydrator was going most of the week. We picked our first fig ever. It was delicious.
    My husband and I went for a long bike ride at our local state park. We parked on a side street and rode in to avoid paying the $10 parking fee. We have all been going on lots of walks with the dogs. The puppy is doing well on the leash.
    Eggs are still on sale at Aldi for 60¢ a dozen. I got 8 more dozen. 3 went into the freezer. Pumpkins are on sale for $3.49 each. They are very large so I got the 4 I was allowed. Chicken cutlets were on sale for $1.29 a pound so I got the 4 packs allowed also. I broke up the chicken into meal size bags. The freezers are packed.
    Hubby and I went to the outlets. One of the men’s stores was 80% off everything. We bought so many Christmas presents. I was also able to use a coupon and rewards points too. A friend told me Kohl’s was having clearance sale for 80% off too. Youngest daughter got 2 pairs of shoes, Hubby got one pair and I got 2. They cost less than one pair at regular price. All got put away for Christmas. I am hoping to get there with my son one night.
    My in-laws came over one day. They brought us a bag of apples from when they went apple picking. They also gave us a 1/4 of a cheese wheel that my FIL got from his brother in Italy. They shipped it over for his birthday. I don’t know what kind of cheese it is but it is delicious. It is kind of like soft parmesan.
    The weather has cooled off so we haven’t needed the A/C or heat. Cookies and muffins were baked to warm up the house 2 nights.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  45. Can’t wait to see your garden plans! 🙂

    * We had a lot of fresh produce given to us. Also a bag of breaded chicken patties.
    * Picked more okra and peppers
    Sliced and froze as much as possible
    * Thrifting netted us 1/2 price skirts and shoes; a travel ironing board; a long wooden plaque for my living room at $6 – I have been searching for one, and the cheapest I found was over $30; plus a new purse for myself.
    * it has cooled off some and we have spent a lot of time outdoors both working and playing.
    * Used up leftovers by making rice bowls. It’s a favorite of my family. Make rice and serve it with leftover meat & vegetables, add a little cheese, chips, etc
    This time we used beans, smoked sausage, pork chops, corn, and cheese sauce I found on sale.
    * Helped my oldest buy an item using a coupon; practiced driving; found another “school” book from the library.
    * Had an in-person library visit in the next town over. Everyone is so careful and respectful of one another. I love small towns!
    (My town is mid-sized)

    Love reading everyone’s “reports”. Y’all have a lovely week.

  46. This week-
    *Harvested basil and made/froze pesto.
    *Made more masks to share with family members.
    *Returned unused building materials and got a credit and the building supply store.
    *Drove to visit failing family member and rather than spending the evening came back all in one day. Only money spent was for gas. My sister graciously offered me a nice lunch and soda. I brought my own travel coffee.
    *Rescheduled a hair appointment-stretching the cost a little further.
    *Covered my flowers when the temperature was dipping below freezing. I can extend their beauty a little longer with a few sheets and old bedspreads.
    *Cut up old bread and baked to make bread cubes.]
    *Stay frugal everyone.

  47. The leaves are falling in my yard. I have really been trying to get most of the trees watered in for the winter.
    I don’t know how much Christmas shopping I’ll be able to do o afford but I would like to pick up a few things
    between now and the end of November.

    No Frills has Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup on sale for 0.47 cents per can. I’m hoping to get some. Superstore’s new flyer has a lot of baking items on sale in their preview flyer. Superstore also has Mozzarellisima cheese on sale.

    My gardener gave me a lot of carrots. I spent the day peeling them and am now making a stew — so far it’s 2 hours later and they are still not tender.

    1. Did you put something acidic (like tomatoes) in your stew? If so, that’s probably why your carrots aren’t tender. Don’t ask me how I know that….

      1. Good question Tina. The only thing in the stew were carrots (a lot of them), potatoes, and beef and water. nothing acidic.

        After they were finally cooked, I put in some balsamic vinegar (but not before). I thought about putting in some tomatoes but decided not too. I cut the carrots into thin rounds so why it took so long I really don’t know.

        I’ll watch out for acidic things in the future, though. Ann

        1. I always put a can of tomatoes in my stew and have never had a problem with getting the carrots tender. I do know that carrots take longer to cook than the potatoes, so I always put the carrots in first. I add the veggies after the meat is already tender so they don’t overcook.

  48. –I was so happy when the air quality finally dropped from it’s hazardous rating from wildfire smoke of about 524 on multiple days last week to….22– today’s air quality score! It’s been impossible to get outside and do anything, so once it started getting better, I started to get out a bit each day. I was able to get my raised bed cleaned out, composted and planted with fall/winter veggies. It may be too late for some to get ripe this fall, but it is what it is, and they may give me a crop early spring after over-wintering. Pictures and a garden update are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com
    –we started exercising again on Sunday–taking our usual walks once again
    –I canned 18 pints of chicken broth, a few jars of dill pickles and one small batch of pints of diced tomatoes.
    –Most of my canning is done, so I spent several hours on Monday cooking and baking. I made frozen rice and bean burritos for my daughter to eat for quick lunches and dinners, gluten-free bread and sandwich/hamburger buns, cupcakes, a chocolate loaf cake, and some other foods. I froze a bunch of things for quick meals later. I had hit my frozen supply pretty hard during heavy canning season because I didn’t take as much time for cooking.
    –my husband keeps trimming bushes, cleaning areas outside, and working on other projects he put on hold to do after his surgery–we are still happily amazed at how much more physical activity he can do now, over 2 months post-surgery. He was approved for more physical therapy, and will start that soon. He still has quite a limp, but compared to before? It’s a miracle.
    –A close family member had a significant surgery so I’ve been hauling food over there. It’s so nice to have so much to share.
    –Our “guesthouse” (camper) got used by one of my former piano students who got evacuated due to wildfires. She works in our town and they had to move over 2 hours away from here to get away from the fires. She only used it for 2 days (works nights), took care of her own food, etc., and even brought her dirty sheets in for me to wash afterwards. It was such a small thing for us to do, plus the added bonus of me getting to see someone that I care about and miss, but it was big to her because it saved her a ton of money, and kept her from having to drive 4 hours a day for work. When we moved here, Rob had full hook-ups put in for the camper. It’s right next to our house, behind a locked gate. I’m so glad he did.
    –I broke my cake dome cover during one of my Covid cleaning fits a couple of months back. Rob went into Union Gospel thrift store for something else and found a new one for me for $3.25. I use this on almost every birthday for here and the extended family, so I was super excited.

  49. Congratulations on your olives! We have two trees in pots and have had olives off them only once. We were very proud when we were able to eat our own brined olives Even though we only got one jar. You have to watch them carefully when they are ripening on the tree as we saw the birds enjoying them and leaving the stones behind.

  50. The garden sounds like it is coming together. I have been slowly purchasing gifts for Christmas or supplies to make gifts. I am retiring November 1st so I can work on those then. I only have my 5 grandkids left and those gifts will be done by the end of October.

    -Meals-chicken noodle soup, crackers and vinegar cucumbers; reubens, chips, and salsa; chili burgers and salad; pizza; leftover pizza; grilled burgers, German potato salad, and fresh veggies; and pork chops, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans.
    -Canned 10 pints applesauce from the 5 gallon bucket of apples. Will get more picked probably a couple more buckets on the tree.
    -I make scrapbooks for each of my grandkids. They get one every 2 years on their birthday. I use pictures I take of events of when they are at my house. I have been working on the two who will have a party this weekend. I have about 12 pages to go.
    -Groceries this week were a little more-$80. I bought 2 gallons of milk, 2 loaves of bread, sliced corned beef, sliced Swiss cheese, bananas, 2 dozen eggs, fresh mozzarella cheese, 10# potatoes, lettuce, almond creamer, 2 bottles regular creamer, quart of half and half, brick of cheddar, and a larger container plain Greek yogurt. Groceries are definitely on the rise!
    -Put up my fall decorations, including the block pumpkins made last month from scrap wood. No money spent used what I had. The leaves are starting to turn and there definitely is a chill in the air at night.
    -Otherwise to work and back home, a pretty uneventful week.
    -Have a great week!

  51. Just an update… I asked the kids (6 with 4 spouses) and grandkids (13 with 4 spouses) if they wanted cash or something else… they ALL decided cookies, candy and homemade noodles. I did get a couple requests for sliced green tomatoes (in the freezer and vacuum packed), a fruitcake, and a set of measuring cups and spoons from 2 of them and the 5 great grandbabies are books at their parents request. I got Hubby an Atlas as he hauls for the Amish and Google Maps doesn’t always find what road he is looking for. I added up the costs of making all of that and found we would only be spending half of what we would have gave cash wise including the propane our cook stove will use to bake it. I need peanut butter for buckeyes.

  52. The National Guard finally caught up with my husband’s pay and deposited nearly $6,000 in our account yesterday. Thankful we don’t rely on that money to make ends meet.

    We immediately paid off 3 credit cards and put a large dent in my car loan. Our plan over this deployment is to zero all the credit cards (1 to go), pay off my car, pay off his truck, and manage some house repairs. He hasn’t left yet and we’re already off to a fantastic start. Now if he’ll get the project jeep sold, we can pay off my car before he even leaves.

    I worked out a deal with a local workman for meals and dog sitting in exchange for some labor while my husband is gone. That will reduce our repair costs substantially.

    In the process of finding the Halloween decorations, we found 3 boxes of party supplies/ paper products in our attic. We combined them and put the boxes together with the punch bowl so I’ll be able to find them in the attic as needed. Thankfully, it was cold that day – 75 degrees! (I know some of you hate me now, but I’ll take 75 over 95 any day of the week.

    Cool weather has meant the AC has been off.

    Cooked meals at home. Took breakfast and lunch to work. Skipped wing night at the VFW.

    Our roommate closed on his house today, so he will be leaving before the end of the month. I will be glad to get my house back, but it will be lonely with both him and my husband gone.

    1. My husband is on his first deployment; he is a civilian. It’s lonely without him! I have been saving lots of money with less groceries, using up what is in our freezer. I even emptied one refrig/freezer as it was pretty empty. So that’s a savings.

      1. We have done many combat deployments over the years – this is number 15 . You are lonely but you get used to the quiet and start to enjoy it.
        I do the same with the deep freezer, I eat everything out of it, then I make sure all of the junk and frozen comfort things are eaten before he gets back so he doesn’t see. 🙂

        1. 15! Wow!
          I am getting used to him being gone. It helps that we connect thru WhatsApp twice a day. I’m enjoying eating what I like and when I want. Lots of reading and movie watching! Both dogs miss him terribly…

  53. Hello!
    My fabulous frugalities this past week included:
    – Received 1 lavender plant that is supposed to be hardy enough to winter outside from my Buy Nothing Group
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gift card for Amazon. I am saving these for Christmas gifts
    – Tagged along with husband on an errand to the next town that has a No Frills store and stocked up on pasta .77 for 900 grams (2 pounds), and various other pantry items. I was also able to redeem $10 in loyalty points in the store.
    – I made 2 cute polar bear Christmas ornaments from felt that was gifted to me. It is my oldest daughters first Christmas since she has moved out and I would like to make a few more for her tree.
    – I gifted 7 large cookbooks to members of my buy nothing group.
    – Inspired by comments from Brandy about a welding table, my husband made one from items he had. We were able to sell it within a couple of days for $250! Thank you so much for all the inspiration. We are trying to make some extra cash and this was such a blessing.
    Love this website and all the comments; thank to all.

    1. 1. Got a coupon for a McDonald’s combo meal, a tee shirt, and a package of cookies when participating in a blood drive.
      2. Went to day old bread store. It happened to be senior discount day. Got 10% off my purchase. They were also giving away 2 packages of conchas (Mexican pastry) to each customer. I got 11 loaves of bread for 6.50. I also got my loyalty card punched.
      3. Got a free iced coffee on 2 occasions. Dunkin Donuts gives a free medium iced coffee on days the Dallas Cowboys play in Texas DD stores.
      4. A lady who was moving gave me a large tub of premium cat food that her cat did not like. She also gave me some new makeup.
      5. Our coffee maker bit the dust. Someone in my neighborhood was giving away a 12 cup Mr Coffee. I saw the offer of the coffee pot on my Nextdoor Neighbor website. I snagged it. I don’t drink hot coffee but my husband does.
      6. Husband is in the hospital after having both knee joints being replaced. Not a $ savings but health care is a need not a want. He did wait until he had met the insurance deductible for this year so that amount was saved. He can use his new (used) coffee maker when he comes home.
      7. I bought my husband a new pair of stretchy shorts to wear for physical therapy. He wore then one time. When I returned the next day to the hospital they were nowhere to be found. I guess a 10$ loss is a small drop in the bucket when looking at a hospital stay

  54. I am planning and purchasing Christmas gifts. I have bought discounted Lego and sold it for double (and once triple) the price. I did this with three Lego sets. That money was put towards Christmas gifts. I give gifts to 23 people, with a total budget set to $300.

    This year, for the immediate women in my life I have bought each a large tote bag ($30 reduced to $5) and am putting a few personalised gifts inside. I won’t need to wrap these either as it’s a pretty looking bag. This will save time.

    For my two children I have a large box set of Lego each, a baby doll and carrier for my daughter, Hot Wheels large track set with cars for my son and then a few items into their stockings. All items are brand new, in the box and bought on clearance or deep discount for a total spend of $90.

    For the immediate men in my life, I have planted succulents in porcelain decorated pots I found at a department store for $2 each! I had the succulents in my garden.

    For the girls we give gifts to, I got “12 days of Christmas” jewelry sets. They have a piece of jewelry for each day and it is either a necklace, earrings or bracelet. These cost $4 each, marked down from $29.99.

    For the boys we give gifts to, I got a glow in the dark racing track with motorised car. They were $5 each, marked down from $20.

    For the other adults we give to, including teachers, I got some Maxwell & Williams brand boxed platters at 75% off. These will be a husband and wife gift for some family members and friends. I will also give them to teachers.

    For my work colleagues I will bake from scratch some almond macarons, wrap in clear cellophane and tie with ribbon.

    To reduce time allocated to wrapping presents I bought very large thick brown string tie envelopes that have Christmas patterns on them. They were 50 cents each on clearance, normally $4 each. Much more than I usually spend on wrapping supplies but a sanity saver as there will be no need to wrap everything. I also bought large classic Christmas ornaments for 25 cents each, reduced from $12.99 each. I am going to tie one to every adult gift.

    Last year we desperately needed a new Christmas tree as ours is low quality and 12 years old. After Christmas I found baubles on clearance, a pack of 8 for 19 cents! I bought 4 packs and this should make our tree look like new!

    Our big Christmas lunch meal with our families at our house will be simplified this year. I delegate parts out so everyone can contribute. There will be ham and sauce, salads, pavlova etc. I will be preparing and cooking the potato bake and making and decorating the Buche de Noel. I will have two gingerbread houses as the table centrepieces, made and decorated by my children.

      1. Thank you Sarah, I love the Christmas season but it is very easy to spend a lot. I try to find good quality gifts at low prices.

  55. Greetings! You have your work cut out for you, Brandy! No doubt, the gardens will be stunning when finished!
    We’ve been winding down for the summer. The water barrel was emptied. My husband fixed the spigot that was leaking. It had been leaking for a couple of years so it was time. The five large plant bags were emptied into the gardens, dried, and put away. The compost can was turned, plants were cut back and weeded. I still need to do a few things before the snow flies, though. Our two oldest apple trees have only given us one season of decent apples. (earwigs) So, they need to be cut down. They were planted in 2009 so they’ve had plenty of time. I tried neem oil which did not work. They also get very abused every year from the snow when the plows go flying by.
    I used shower water to water the inside plants and flush.
    I’ve continued my quest to can meat so the freezer can be used for the half pig we ordered. This time, i canned some beef which came out great! I also canned a few more pints of store bought carrots.
    Even though the apple trees are doing poorly, i managed to get many that were somewhat useable. Plus, a friend has a tree that produces a lot of apples so i got some of those. And, i added several wrinkly apples from our fruit basket. This all added up to many frozen apple slices for the bread/fruit freezer. I made an actual apple slice, as well. So, so good! It’s like an apple pie but slimmer and more square. I may make more and freeze them. I have enough applesauce, already, so this is a great way to use them!
    We’ve been able to facetime or zoom with all three children (adults) and four grandchildren. That has been awesome! The youngest just turned two and i can’t believe it!
    Just today, i ordered dark chocolate covered pecans for each family for Christmas. These are a fund raiser for Kiwanis. They’ll also get gift cards, which i bought with credit card points over the months. The grands will get books, many of which i’ve bought over the months, too. Last year, each family also received a magazine subscription. I’m not sure if we’ll do that this year. That’s about it for Christmas, very low key. If we’re not under another lockdown, we’ll try to spend the holiday with our sons and their family. (And share some of the pig.)
    On the whole, i’ve been trying to get ready for a long winter with whatever it may bring. The pantry, such as it is, is pretty stocked up. We’ll need more garbage bags, bleach and vinegar. (Which i’ve been making with the apple peels, by the way.)
    Even though i’m not contributing every week, i do read here quite often and get lots of inspiration! I really enjoy this online community! I wish you all a fabulous week ahead!

  56. I just love reading all these comments! And Brandy, I was wishing that I could see your sketches of preliminary garden plans. I really love seeing garden sketches. There’s a wonderful youtube video of Rosemary Verey sitting with her colored pencils, sketching out a new garden (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIgmIOGm1t8). She would have loved your potager, I’m sure. Someday I dream of adding a laburnum arch like hers.

    This week we ate baby kale, arugula, nasturtium leaves (makes a nice peppery salad mix with a dash of balsamic), tomatoes, carrots from the garden, the last of the raspberries, and oodles of concord grapes.

    I just don’t know what to do with easily 2 bushels of concord grapes in a family where no one eats enough grape jelly! That’s an awful lot of jelly. Anyone else have the absurd but delightful problem of too much of something like this? Any suggestions? We’re sharing with neighbors, eating fresh as much as we can, and trying to find recipes. Christmas jelly!

    I direct sowed winter spinach, beets for greens, and am coaxing along a bunch of soil blocks with lettuce, arugula, and parsley that will need to get set out in a few days. I’m liking the soil blocks so far. We had such funny mixed up weather – nights of 41 degrees, days of 79. I’m grateful for the small cold frames my husband made for me and so looking forward to the greenhouse he gave me for a birthday present! I’m hopeful I can get $119 worth of food from it even this year.

    I rotated my small boys’ clothes for the fall and found we had everything we need except the next sizes of shoes. I went through my own things and was so happy to find treasures I’d forgotten about. Little by little, we’re making space for things we love and letting go things that we won’t need.

    My husband snaked a drain for me that was slow. When we lived in the city, we decided to buy our own drain snake rather than keep calling the plumber when the building-wide pipes clogged on us. It was a good investment. He also got all the lint out of the dryer vents and pipes for me – saves lots of time and fuel for the dryer and makes it less of a hazard. He made a plow plane for himself to be able to make groves easily in drawers and saved the cost of a router table. He’s fixing my piano bench for me.

    I downloaded all the pictures from my two cameras and am starting on photo books for the grandparents for Christmas, a tradition. Hopefully in time for good sales and cheap shipping. It inspired me to take more family pictures, something I love to do. Brandy, you inspired me to get a remote for my DSLR also. What fun to be able to have all those photos that I get to be in too!

    I do look forward to Mondays and these posts and comments. Thank you, Brandy, for making something so beautiful and encouraging! I hope everyone has a good week.

    1. Grape juice! That’s what we do with ours! You can then use it for drinking, popsicles, in smoothies, etc.

        1. I’m sure it is! These grapes also have very tough skins; you cannot chew them up.

    2. Sarah, I will be sharing a drawing in the future. I am still making some changes and adjustments to the design,

      1. Thank you so much, Brandy! That will be fun to see. I’m always interested to see how different people notate all the plants that repeat. I haven’t found a way that suits me yet, so I’m always glad for inspiration.

  57. Your garden project sounds wonderful. What is the round thing in the picture? Is it something your husband made? This has not been a good few months of frugal accomplishments for me. It has been a time of learning and change. I found out that I love being with my husband all the time. I learned a castor oil poultice applied to one’s back for a night may have helped small kidney stones dissolve. I learned going three days without food but drinking plenty of water with its little bit of weight loss may have helped morning blood sugar numbers drop to around 100 and junk food cravings diminish, and a plant-based diet seems to maintain. But maybe it is just us. Frugally, this week I did find a lovely jacket hidden away in a closet I purchased at a thrift store and washed up for my granddaughter. She’s getting older, and I hope she likes something not purple and pink. But if she doesn’t care for it, it can be saved for another year, and her sister will like it, I’m pretty sure. Another tiny saving thing–I remembered to cut open the “empty” oil bottle and use the oil left on the insides of the bottle to oil pans. A couple of conditioner bottles and a shampoo bottle wait in the bathroom to be disembowled. Maybe it’s a frugal beginning. i have done nothing for Christmas. I am glad to hear WalMart is raising wages. Maybe a near relative will be able to afford to rent a place to live. He told me how much money he takes home and how much it costs him for things, and I can see why he cannot afford even a studio apartment. He says WalMart sales are three times what they were before the pandemic. He says people are home and buying more food. He says the reason for the shortages are that stores have to order ahead, and they order based on what they have sold in the past. He says that recently, stealing has increased (shrinkage), and he suspects more people are out of money. WalMart has lousy health insurance for employees, and they restrict the number of hours they can work (full time is 32 hours). It is hard for people to work more than one job because all of these types of employers expect employees to be available for any day. Our relative has worked at WalMart long enough that he has a regular shift and days off and “full time,” but he only once found another job to add on that fits with his schedule. Managers at WalMart do have to treat employers with respect though, or employees can write them up. If a manager gets written up (and the employee has witnesses) three times in a six month period, the manager is fired. Our relative wrote up his manager for yelling at him. The manager cannot retaliate either or that causes her trouble, also. Our relative tried to get some education and ended up with school loans and no degree because of learning disabilities. Colleges are big on requirements for lots of unnecessary math. (e.g. five quarters of calculus are necessary to get into engineering school at Oregon State, and engineers say that on the job, they never use it. A relative who is an engineer told me this. Courses have lots of writing requirements. It seems like requirements at universities intentionally try to keep out everyone except the brilliant. Every occupation requires some kind of license that requires passing some test–even lawn mowing, according to a friend of ours.) Our relative has allergies to grass (he swells up) and dust that make some other jobs like construction not work for him. He developed fairly bad asthma. He researched beekeeping and started small hoping to eventually have a beekeeping business only to discover he has a severe allergy (anaphylactic) to bee stings. He went to work as a second job with a cleaning business to try to learn that business. He was about to the point of thinking he could start his own cleaning business when the pandemic hit. Now he’s researching mushroom growing. It’s not like he hasn’t tried to do something besides work at WalMart. So, I don’t know what is behind the price increases at WalMart besides greed, but I don’t begrudge the employees a pay raise.

      1. Elizabeth H does your relative live near a community college? They usually are cost effective & have many occupational programs both certificate & associate degree. I teach at a community college. Most of my students are of limited $ means. If your relative is low income he may be able to get a federal grant to pay for school. (I started out at a community college at age 18 while working at a Dairy Queen.) He could take online courses as most schools are online right now. That might work out better with a work schedule. I have seen many lives changed for the better thru education (including mine).

  58. -Purchased more toward our food stockpile. I WILL be done with a 6-12 month supply before November.
    -Found good deals on walmart.com for Sparkle paper towels and Scott toilet paper.
    -Our church had a potluck on Sunday. I took 3 ingredient oatmeal bars and potato salad and enjoyed lots of yummy food. An older lady sent us home with her leftover baked beans.
    -My mother in law catered a party and gave us lots of leftovers. They fed us for 2 days.
    -My mother in law babysat for us so we could go out for dinner. She fed the kids and left more food for later.
    -I canned hamburger, turkey and broth, & brisket and broth.
    -I bought 2 bushels of apples for $5/bushel. I’m canning and freezing applesauce. I also made apple pie jam.
    -Oiled my canner’s seal when it started leaking to pump it along. I ordered 2 more. One for now and one for later.
    -Most of the garden is finished now. I still have green beans that I’m harvesting. Also, beets are still growing. Hopefully they do well…I love pickles beets!

  59. Brandy,
    I look forward to your post and the comments from others every week. I have learned many time savers and other wonderful ideas from this site in the last few years. I have a question about food storage supply versus what it says in the bible. I ran across this verse this morning in my devotions from Luke 12:29-31:
    29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
    So my question to you all is how to understand this verse. Are we not to build food supplies?
    But then I’m torn with considering my food supply as another blessing God has given me. And being wise with the financial gifts he has blessed me with.
    I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and don’t belong to a bible study at the amount. Any input would be appreciated.

    1. Sue, I believe this verse applies to those who in full-time ministry (Jesus was speaking to the apostles). As a full-time missionary, I did not worry about having a food storage.

      I believe that as we seek to be prepared, God will bless us in our preparations. Our food will bless others and be a way for us to serve others as well.

      Joseph of Egypt set aside seven years’ worth of food, which helped to sustain the people of Egypt during seven years of drought. From that food, he was able to bless his own family.

    2. Sue,
      I think that it all comes down to our hearts. Jesus encouraged His listeners not to worry about what to eat or drink. But that’s not the same thing as not being prepared . We must put our trust in the Lord and His provident care, and out of that seek His guidance as we prepare. And He would have us always be ready to bless others in need. So prepare, but don’t live in anxiety and fear!

  60. I have been working on the non-ending book. I’ve been writing to people we quote and asking permission to quote from them. I send them how we’ve quoted. Last night, a very eminent historian wrote back and offered to proofread. Although I have two excellent proofreaders, neither of them are historians so I jumped at the offer. At least for a couple of the chapters. During this book project, I have been amazed at the kindness of people. I am sure the historian will like doing it because our research dovetails with his.

    I have been asking people who did local photographs for us to go back and re-take them with high res cameras, not cellphones. They were each warned previously that this might be necessary. No-one minds. I hope they get beautiful photos with autumn leaves in the background. Mine are falling but elsewhere (even 5 blocks away) they are still green.

  61. Sue- I want to share the notes from my study Bible regarding Luke 12:22-34. “Working and planning responsibly is good; dwelling on all the ways our planning could go wrong is bad. Worry is pointless because it can’t fill any of our needs; worry is foolish because the Creator of the universe loves us and knows what we need… he wants to help provide what we need as well as guide how we use what he provides.” This passage is specifically addressing worry. The idea of “setting our hearts” and “chasing after” such things suggests our focus is on those things instead of where it ought to be- the maker and provider of those things. The scripture is reminding us that shifting our focus from God’s provision to our own self reliance is what’s wrong and not the act of preparation. There are several passages that remind us to be prepared for various circumstances, eg. Proverbs 27:12 says “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” During this time of uncertainty, we can be wise with our resources without being fearful. I hope this helps.

  62. Our big blessing of last week was two of our neighbors saw we were working on downing some large dead limbs and the top of the tree, which was dead. One drove over his Jeep with a wench and helped topple the dead wood, which has scared me for falling on someone without warning. This saved a large sum and we so appreciated them just jumping in to help.

    I brought 20 more gallons of manure from neighbors cows and am hoping to get all three beds filled this winter with the manure. The tomatoes and peppers are slowing significantly and the fall stuff is not big enough to harvest. I had about twenty lettuce plants that I sprayed with organic spray for rlly polys and covered the plants and they got all eaten up! My kale seedlings I will let get larger and hope they make it. I have replanted more lettuce seedlings in a large tub and will cover with cloches this time and hope they make it. There are a few chard seedlings and a few beets. The first radishes are almost ready. I am still drying pears, making fruit leather and sauce with the pears. I swapped an hour of work for a bag of mountain 🍎!

    I got some birthday books for my GD with store credit and purchasing from Goodwill.

    A friend is moving and brought over a treasure trove of things. 3 half gallon mason jars, my favorite jar, 5 quart jars, some fish fertilizer and need oil, 10 packets of seeds, and a matching bedspread and sheets which my ex DIL needed! I was so thankful as we all know jars are at a premium these days!

    Brandy, so looking forward to hearing more of your plans. With all of the unrest and uncertainty, you are a beacon of hope and wisdom to our community as we all try to prepare for the unknowns! Bless you!

  63. Kim,
    That is very helpful. It took me most of my adult years (to date) to learn not to worry — my Mother told me “Don’t worry until you need to worry”. I especially like Proverbs 27::12. Thanks! Ann

  64. I always think of Israel when I see olives. Love that you have olive trees in your yard. I have an oil press that I bought years ago that is metal and sturdy. It is hand cranked. I’ve always wanted to buy olives and try pressing oil.

    This week vacillates between frugal and extra expensive because of the medical travel. Chemo started and means that we have to have a hotel room for 2 nights. We found a clean and comfortable place close-by for under a hundred dollars a night. My husband changed the oil himself in the car which saved. The Cancer Institute is a 4 hour drive. I was able to have the twice weekly labs done locally so that is a big help. Unfortunately, I need an injection and the first one didn’t get covered by the insurance locally due to lack of time, so I’ll need to be driven down to SLC for that this weekend. My husband was wondering how much the shot would cost here (thinking it might be about the cost of gas). When I said $6,000, he said we’d be driving down! I am grateful for excellent insurance as this treatment is not optional.

    It turns out that my staying in the hospital for one overnight has had frugal side effects. The room I have to be in is an isolation room, so anything opened has to be thrown away when I leave. When I found that out, I brought home the box of Kleenex we opened, my N95 mask, and opened hand lotion. I hate to waste, but understand. Keep the patients safe! Also, this is a more severe chemo and it is changing what I want to eat. In order to eat enough to keep the nurses happy, I ended up ordering meal after meal. I think it’s a smell thing – a meal sounds good till it is close to me. (wasn’t really much of a problem with the last chemo, but these are different drugs. So, who knows. At least I can eat!!!) I had the nurses tuck the unwanted meals into the fridge and gave them to my husband to eat. They would have had to throw them away as well. We are very happy that they loosened their no-visitor rule at 4:00 on my final day. It was comforting to have him there for the last 6 hours…even if he was just snoozing for the drive back.

    Any way, I did have to give some tomatoes away that ripened before I left, but I’m sure they were appreciated. I will at least dehydrate the remaining smaller tomatoes and probably freeze the larger ones. I’m going to try the various suggestions to make tomato powder. Not sure how I’ll use it, but I will use it. Someone said it is a good tomato past substitute?

    I had ordered 2 very large bags of local potatoes before I got sick. Instead of canceling, I decided to keep them and, as was the plan, will work on dehydrating them into slices to make potato au gratin. I have been doing this, but not on this scale. We just use our dehydrated sliced potatoes, cheese powder, pats of butter and milk to make potato au gratin. So much less expensive than buying the boxes, and no unwanted ingredients. I was thinking we could venture out and try other flavors as well. To this end, I did have to order large glass gallon and half-gallon jars. A bit more expensive than I wanted, but at least they are in stock online. I’m just storing dehydrated potatoes, so they need not be canning jars. The lids to seal the jars using my food saver are not in stock anywhere, so that sealing will have to happen at another time.

    I do continue to follow agriculture around the world, and am more and more concerned about food scarcity in the future. It has propelled me to make sure that I am properly storing the food that we preserve or buy. In the past, for example, I’ve just tossed the bags/boxes of pasta in a closet until we get around to using them. I’ve also never sealed the jars of dehydrated foods. This is a new adventure for me. This past weekend I pushed on and put all of the bulk foods we had sitting around into mylar bags and moved them to a cool place. We actually don’t have all that much, I just don’t want to lose one grain. Gleaning lots of storage ideas from here!


    1. I’m sorry your cancer has returned.

      The olive trees are in my mom’s yard next door. They started dropping olives in my yard. Only one tree makes olives; they are both supposed to be fruitless trees. I was hoping they would both turn out the be fruiting trees. I am grateful that one of them is.

        1. I am soaking them each day in water and a little salt and then draining them for about 10 days. Then I add a little bit of fresh basil and olive oil. This is how my neighbor taught me to make them. You have to check them to make sure they are not bitter, and they have to be squeezed the first day to help expel the bitterness.

    2. PJGT –
      Have you checked with the hospital you are getting your cancer treatments from if they have any “patient housing” available? I know from experience the U of U and Huntsman has patient housing for those of us who have to travel more than 150-200 plus miles for treatment. We had to use it quite a bit and it was $54 a night. They even have shuttle services to and from the hotel to the U of U and up to Huntsman so you don’t have deal with the traffic. You should have been assigned a patient case social worker who can help you find clean affordable accommodations. It was a blessing for us when we had to spend three weeks in SLC. Another bonus is how super duper clean they keep the hotel. No it’s not a “new” hotel but it is clean clean clean because the families that need accommodations usually have someone very sick with them getting some kind of treatment. Even now when we go up to SLC every six months for follow up visits we can still stay at patient housing.
      Best of luck with your chemo.

    3. Trish, I was sorry to hear of your latest mdical news, but glad that another treatment plan has been developed and begun already. Sending ((hugs)) and prayers across the miles from NC to Wyoming! Hoping many blessings are returned to you.

    4. PJGT – my husband has leukemia. He has been in and out of the hospital 18 weeks this year so far. Remember that EVERYTHING in your room is thrown out after you leave: boxes of gloves, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, gauze, bandaides, saline flushes, scissors, special body wash to prevent germs, Boosts-ask for extras so that you can take them home and drink them when you can’t eat anything, any plastic trays and containers….. Take it all with you. In fact, I take a small roller suitcase in and load it up before I leave. Usually nurses will help me load it all.

      Prayers, blessing, and love to you

  65. I am in agreement on paper and pencil…not only for designs, but for lists as well. 😊 Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were soy and brown sugar chicken thighs with rice and broccoli, leftovers, Aussie chicken with green beans and macaroni, leftovers, salmon with baked potatoes and green beans.
    *We bought a pizza one evening and took it to the park to eat. We drank water we had brought along.
    *I cleaned out our fridge freezer, throwing out a few things that I knew we would not use/eat. I felt bad doing it, but I decided I needed to use that space to stock up on food we will actually eat.
    *We attended a family reunion. Meat and drinks were provided. I brought pasta salad and a honeybun cake. We stayed through dinner, where we had roasted hot dogs and s’mores. We were also give 3 18-count brown eggs by a cousin and 3 small decorative pumpkins by another cousin.
    *Took 2 pieces of leftover cake to my Pastor and his wife.
    *My husband vacuumed our car at home instead of at a car wash.
    *Got gas twice at a gas station with gives a free coffee with a fill-up.
    *Redeemed a coupon for a free apple pie at Mcdonalds. Filled out a survey to earn another free pie.
    *Needed to order 2 more bible study books. A friend who has Amazon Prime offered to do it so we would have free shipping.
    *Bought gala apples at .99/lb, london broil at 2.99/lb, chicken thighs at .79/lb and 2 packages of bacon marked down to 2.99/lb.
    *Had my aunt over for a visit. Served her coffee and she was happy with that!

  66. Our week mightn’t sound frugal exactly but it was. We saved money last winter for a trip to the beach but couldn’t go due to the pandemic thing. We were finally able to go this past week and it was absolutely awesome. We rent a condo, cook most all of our meals in the unit. I opted to not pack food to go with us for the very good reason that my husband will insist we take all the luggage at one time up to the room and there are never any luggage carts. It always end in an argument and some minor injury besides hurt feelings and short tempers. It’s more expensive to buy food to prepare meals in a tourist area but worth every single penny in saved tempers. Sometimes the most frugal things we do either will enhance enjoyment in our lives or create ease in an area where we are highly stressed. For me, paying the extra and shopping for groceries in the vacation area was the better choice. I planned well and we did not have any waste. We brought a few items home but we ate all but one meal at the unit and I made a picnic lunch to stop and eat on our way home plus we had supper from the last of the sandwich making stuff. All in all, I felt it was a good thing to do as we did.

    We opted to pay for all day parking and walk the historical area which saved us loads over the driven tour. It also meant we explored some areas and shops we’d never have bothered to visit. It was, all in all, a lovely week away and we were extremely relaxed during the whole of the stay.

    Cooler temperatures means that our electric bill is dropping so that is most welcome. I also noted on the latest bill that we received our co-op percentage back on our bill, which saved us about $35. I also received a notice from my health insurance that they owed me money and would apply it to my next premium.

    I never did do a big shop this month and still have money left. I had not realized that it would be five weeks between pays this time, so the extra bit of grocery funds will be really welcome.

  67. I firmly believe that a part of having food storage is to be able to share with others, including skills to build that food storage. I spent a day this week with my niece, teaching her to can jam for her family. It was great to visit with her and her children while we worked together. She was so pleased to see the rows of processed jars and she now understands why I like to hear “pings”. Her children were so excited to have homemade jam to put on the homemade bread that I took to them. It was a pleasant day and I hope we were able to create some fun memories. I took my youngest granddaughter with me and she was thrilled to have a cousins’ day.

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