If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that we had quite the rainstorm here on Friday! The valley received an average of two inches of rain, and containers in my garden measured that amount. It was a thorough, soaking rain. Normally, when it rains here in what we would consider to be a lot, the ground is not wet more than half an inch deep at most.

I dug out and removed a peach tree that has been destroyed by borers, and found that the ground was wet all the way down.

Thankfully, I turned off our drip irrigation early Friday morning, as it was not needed.

I put out buckets and containers to catch rainwater from the roof. I will use the water to water potted plants in my garden this week.

Most of the valley also received rain on Saturday, but we only saw a handful of sprinkles at my house.

Both days were good additions of water to Lake Mead. I read last week than an inch of water in the lake is equal to two billion gallons of water. The lake was up by .38 feet Saturday and .04 feet Sunday. We are still below a very low level that prompted serious cutbacks and new regulations in 2021, but the lake is rising! (This is mostly due to water being released downstream from Lake Powell, which exists due to higher snowfall and rain in Colorado).

The storm brought much cooler weather to us; my new air conditioner was installed just in time for me to not need it for a couple of days! The temperature is already rising again, but we are having cooler mornings, so I open the windows and doors in the early mornings to allow a cross breeze to cool the house ten degrees below where I keep my thermostat set, ensuring I don’t need to run the air conditioning for many hours each day.

The much higher rates we are seeing for electricity and water that started this year are making every bit of savings even more crucial. Summer bills are now totaling $900 a month between the two, which is much more than I have paid in the past. I know those of you in Europe and the UK have had even greater increases in rates than we have, and many of you are planning to keep your houses even colder this winter. For us, the largest bills are in the summer, though our natural gas rate has also increased, and we will have higher heating bills in winter as well. We keep our house cool in winter and last year was warmer; I barely needed to run the heater.

All of which is to say, I am watching my utility usage very carefully, and continuing to look for ways to save every drop of water and every bit of electricity and gas.

The cost of food is also rising dramatically. I am looking at how much more I can possibly grow in my garden, sowing seeds in spots when plants die and continously looking at planting dates.

I have taken advantage of the cooler weather from storms to sow seeds whenever possible. I sowed bean seeds a few weeks ago in a couple of obelisks where my tomato plants died, and they are already this tall! I sowed more seeds this week in another. I have heard good things in local groups about sowing these in mid-summer for a fall crop here, so I am experimenting with this, as srping planted ones tend to burn in the sun before they produce many beans. Adjusting my planting calendar is helping me to grow more food in my garden.

I have started using more peppermint. I used to have a ton of peppermint in my garden before the renovation; it was the only thing that would grow in a shady spot (which we changed to make into the small patio area above). I never needed that much peppermint when I had it! I decided to try planting peppermint in the shade of the nearby fig tree. Though peppermint is considered invasive, I have had issues with it burning and dying in full sun the last two years, so I am trying to grow more in the shade.

I had planned on buying ten plants, but they were $3.99 each (double what I paid just a few years ago) Instead, I bought five plants, and I took cuttings from two to root inside.

I am using peppermint in recipes, but the last couple of years, we have enjoyed it as an herbal tea. I won’t have much this winter as my other plants in the sun just burned to the ground in the sun two weeks ago, but the plants should be able to grow some before they go dormant in the winter, and I will harvest as much as I can before then.

I took advantage of Saturday’s cooler weather and spent the day working in the garden. The extra rain we have had this year has meant more weeds than usual. I pulled weeds, deadheaded and pruned roses, planted a new peach tree in place of the one I took out, trimmed trees back slightly, and took out two caterpillar-eaten Swiss chard plants. I sowed seeds for new Swiss chard plants in their place, as well as more seeds for red noodle beans. I also decided to try experimenting with planting a few snow pea seeds in the garden. I don’t normally sow them this early, but the ground is nice and wet and it’s cooler than usual, so this may give me a head start on a winter crop, which should, in turn, mean a larger harvest.

I cut garlic chives from the garden several days to use in omelets and on top of baked potatoes (I only used the oven on Saturday, after the air conditioner was repaired, and we had colder meals earlier in the week while the house was warmer). I also harvested eggplant, which I have never grown before, but I know grows reliably well here. I have never cared for eggplant before, but I plan to try some new recipes to see if I can find a way that I enjoy it, since it is a reliable vegetable to grow here in the summer.

I cut and hemmed the sleeves to the dress I bought the week before last.

The mattress pad on my bed was a decade old. I needed to replace it, as it was wearing out. I decided to save the old one to use the padding to line some future sewing projects that I have planned. The padding is still in good shape; it is the covering which has worn out. I decided to order the same pad as a replacement; I have never had a mattress pad last that long, and I would love the new one to last, too.

I cut roses from the garden and enjoyed some dessert and meals outside. I always have a lot of work to do, but I am making enjoying a few small, solitary moments in the garden a priority.

One of those times, a hummingbird flew up to me and hovered right in my face, which is always fun.

My husband came home to register his vehicle. We enjoyed a meal out using a gift card that we have had since Christmas.

I cut his hair and he cut mine. So far, neither of us has had to pay for a haircut, even though he’s been away from home.

I signed up for a free online embroidery class. While I know how to embroider already, I wanted to learn a stitch I didn’t know that was in the class. I didn’t do the project for the class, but I will use this new stitch on some other projects in the future.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. What a lovely week, it sounds like: a visit from your husband, lots of rain (well, relatively), and a host of other lovely things. I’ve been enjoying your IG post and reels especially much. And the photos in this post — so beautiful!

    I somehow managed to miss last week’s frugal accomplishments post, so here is my list from the last two weeks:
    – I combined a personal e-offer for family size chocolate bars for $1.29, with a cash back app for $2 off 2 family size chocolate bars, which means I ended up paying less than $1 for two large bars. A treat!
    – I took one daughter with me to the movies on National Cinema Day, and only had to pay just over $11, even after I paid an online booking fee. I honestly do not remember the last time I went to the cinema, so this was a treat.
    – I redeemed Pinecone Research, for a $5 gc to Starbucks. Then used that, and another gift card, to take my daughters out to our start-of-school mummy-daughter time.
    – I made peach jam, from peaches on sale. I only used peaches, sugar, and a dash of vanilla, no pectin.
    – I sorted through my daughter’s uniform from last year, and so far have only had to buy one piece of clothing, a dress that I was able to buy from a second-hand store, in perfect condition (and not prone to wrinkling, bonus!). From the same store, I bought a Robert Munsch anthology for my daughters, who are at the age where they love his books, much more affordable than brand-new, plus a BNIB bath toy, for 1/4 the price of retail. At a later date, I bought winter gear (snowpants and jackets) for my kids, saving at least 2/3 off retail.
    – enjoyed skyping with an overseas friend. Lovely to see each other while chatting, and freeee!
    – bought minimal groceries, thinking I was going to take my kids to visit my parents, but ended up not going. Because I keep a well-stocked freezer and pantry, I have more than enough groceries for the week, and then some.
    – I pulled together a few leftovers to make a new dish: a bit of pesto, a couple of sun-dried tomatoes, a few black olives, scrambled with eggs, served over leftover rice and a bit of corn shaved off the cob. SO good! And every little bit used up.
    – I bought a flashfood box for $5: a few pounds of potatoes, a few pounds of apples, two heads of broccoli (which I roasted), a head of cauliflower (which I steamed), and some yellow beans (which I pan-fried). Definitely helped stretch the budget this week!
    – hosted a friend for a lunch and activity. I served black bean enchiladas (a variation on this http://approachingfood.com/easy-enchiladas/) and watermelon, as well as homemade and home-canned cranberry juice, and then they had a water balloon contest outside in the splash pad of the nearby park, using bunch o’ balloons which I had bought brand-new but heavily discounted from a kids second-hand shop over half a year ago.
    – I dehydrated the cranberries and added them to some homemade granola. I love avoiding food waste!
    – I went through my food storage and boiled up a bag of dried lentils that was aging. I froze them in small portions, for easy use at a later date.
    – I sold an unused item on fb marketplace and set aside the money for Christmas. Every bit adds up!
    – I baked chocolate chunk banana muffins. I made a vegan recipe, so no eggs used, made my own oat milk, made my own bakery style wrappers, and they turned out wonderfully, topped with turbinado sugar (traded for yearrrs ago) and chocolate chunks. I used whole wheat flour, as that is what I had, and tried a new technique of chopping the bananas instead of mashing them. A nice bakery-style treat, at homemade prices!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  2. Kind of a boring week for me, just worked and did school work. I did find a few deals:

    Found baby spinach marked down to $1 a bag. Got 2. I used one that night in a hot dish so didn’t mind it starting to wilt. Froze the second bag to use later.

    Found tank tops for my husband marked down to $3. Unfortunately, only found 3 in his size, but that’ll replace some of his ragged ones. (He’s a mason and hard on clothes)

    I found myself a pair of shorts marked down to $2. They are marked as gym shorts but are a little short for my chunky self to wear in public, so they’ll be sleep/around the house shorts.

    I earned $14.75 in Amazon shopper panel rewards for August.

    Paid off another credit card.

    Went ahead and signed up for the neighborhood garage sale on the 16th. Fingers crossed I can get everything together and priced before then. I told hubby he needs to get busy and get his big stuff together.

    The kid switched one of her classes out and she’s now enrolled in a college level art class(online even, no getting her somewhere else) . She’ll earn college credit for free.

    I also found out since she will complete all the culinary arts classes at her high school(this year as a junior) , she will earn a CTE certification, have her Servesafe certification, and earn a medal to wear at graduation.

    We switched one of our big dogs to a new food and he still has over half a bag of old food left, so I’m just going to give it to the other big dog(he’s ate it before so it won’t upset his stomach)

  3. I am glad you had a good soaking of rain and that you managed to sow your veg while the ground was wet.

    Our water company have issued a warning that commercial, agricultural and industrial companies will not get planning permission for new buildings unless they can find their own supplies of water and drainage. This is from now till 2035. The water companies will build 2 new reservoirs in this time. Residential customers are unaffected at the moment but our prices will go up. I had not realised how bad things are. Our met. office weather station is about 7 miles from us on the coast. We get a lot less rain than them; my garden is parched. I will put in some more water storage over the winter.

    I’m harvesting and preserving crops from the garden, most plants are finishing and I am starting to clear the beds. When the crops are out I will put the compost bins in the space and turn my compost into them then I just have to rake it into place before I start to plant next spring. All the garden frames etc. are stored in the greenhouse over winter. The pomegranate is flowering but I don’t think it will have time to set fruit.

    I am buying dried fruit ready to make Christmas puddings and mincemeat so they have time to mature before Christmas . I made some mincemeat pies to use the dregs of last year’s.

    Both the younger grand children did well in there external exams So will be off to college and university in a couple of weeks time. Only seems a minute ago that they were babies. I am hoping to see them before they leave.

    Have a good week everyone

    1. It is a state thing when water in the UK is at such a premium!

      It is good that they are building reservoirs. That is so important.

      I’m glad you are preparing water storage for yourself.

      My pomegranates bloomed a bit, too. Someone here called it false spring. They do it every year with a bit of cooler weather.

    2. I’ve been reading a bit about the water “shortages” in the UK and it is my understanding that much of it is due to all the different private companies that run things being extremely negligent when it comes to leaks and to general repairs and maintenance of the infrastructure. While they hand out big salaries and dividends they spend nothing on upkeep and now these issues are happening and once again the users are forced to pay up. Really disgraceful.

    3. Hi Chris
      Do you live on the eastern side of England? I know the rainfall over there is much less than ours in the south west and the eastern counties are much drier. We don’t have water shortages here but our water company has been releasing raw sewage into watercourses when it rains heavily. Revolting.

      1. I live in the area of Thames estuary , in the summer we could be classified as a desert but we get wet winters. Our water come from Essex and Suffolk water but our sewage is Anglian water. The main problem for water is the amount of new housing, we are a village outside a small town, we had a population of 500 ish 50 years ago, but it now appears to be an urban city. 1200 houses were built last year and an estate of 646 houses has been cleared by the Department of Environment . With all these houses the demand more water than we have.
        Anglian water have always pumped Sewerage into the Thames and sea. They say they haven’t the money to stop.

        1. Interesting.

          Here, they had to build a lower pump to pump the water out of Lake Mead, because the water levels were dropping so much.

          They planned and charged everyone for it over several years while it was being built.

          The water bils may be very high here, but I am grateful they thought to build ahead of time.

    4. We have just moved to a new area where there is a big argument going on about building a new reservoir. I think the plans sound rather lovely! Cycling paths, water sports, tree planting… but some very vocal people are furious about it. I understand that the construction will be disruptive, but I don’t really see what other option there is. I hope the NIMBYs don’t win out, but I also don’t want to wade into some huge local feud when we’ve only just arrived here!

  4. I’m glad to hear you had a good amount of rain. I’ve enjoyed your posts and stories on Instagram about it too.

    Here in north Texas, we had two good, soaking rainstorms in the past week, after months of no rain. Those were two days I didn’t have to water the garden.

    I stocked up on pantry items last week, getting some cash back deals in Ibotta. I overspent a little, but I shouldn’t have to buy anything else except fresh foods for the next month or more.

    I got a refund on one item I bought that arrived damaged.
    I also sold some of my used clothing on Ebay.

    I was running low on eggs, so I used just one to make french toast, instead of using two for scrambled eggs.

    I made homemade popsicles twice – lime popsicles the first time and vanilla pudding pops the second. Having inexpensive frozen treats at home keeps me from buying ice cream when it’s hot.

    1. Elizabeth –

      So wonderful that you’ve received rain! We’re still waiting for a good soaking rain. Grateful for the 1/4” we received last week, though. It was such a blessing after months of drought.

  5. A successful trip to Michigan. Go blue! My son brought friends to the football game and we were invited to his friend’s parent bbq. It is great to meet his “crew.” The football game itself was a spectacular – the largest stadium in the country. 100,000 people wearing the same color. DH and I took in pregame drum corp, cheerleader and band shows.

    I am midway through clean eating – non ultrprocessed food challenge. I am very proud. I brought pbj on homemade bread. Dried fruit, specialty creamer which did leak but I doubled wrapped) and non lecithin chocolate. Every day for the free breakfast I ate fruit and cafe free hard boil eggs. I took a banana and more eggs for lunch. I ate meat and veggie when we went out to dinner. Twice I didn’t eat when the boys ate. I just ate double servings from breakfast. That saved 40 dollars.

    I brought a travel mug and tea bags. Every place in the airport I have asked has filled it with hot water so I have had nice tea.

    I am so proud of really paring down my travel bag which fits under the seat to its essentials. I had just close. A crinkle dress was washed with a travel paper detergent and dried in three hours. On the way home, I stuffed dirty laundry into my socks and everything fit. Five days, two shirts, two pants, one dress, one warmer long sleeve . Levi’s jackets. Slip on travel clogs and a low profile pair of tennies rubber banded together and put in a sock. Ta da. I wore the pants, shirt and jacket on the plane. I have no more liquid since I go the shampoo bar so I don’t have to take it out my toiletry bag.

    Healthy and less expensive. I allowed myself to splurge in the little clothing shop I go to every year I visit. It is locally owned and features small batch clothing. Pricey but everything I buy lasts for ever, travels beautifully, is unique and sustainably made. A big treat.

    1. Mary Ann, you’re not the only Michigan fan reading Brandy’s stuff — both Husband and I graduated from Michigan. We had season tickets while we were students there — LOVE Michigan football, though Husband’s alma mater, Colorado, had an amazing game Saturday. The Buffs beat TCU!
      Now if we could only find a way to watch these college ball games, without having to go to a restaurant to do it…no cable.

      P.S. We also got rainstorms a few times…nasty banging ones. But they’re not watering anything — grasshoppers ate my garden long ago, and are still hanging around. Why plant more for them as a sort-of goodbye buffet…

      1. ESPN 2or ESPN 3 online. My husband has seen several college games for free this way. He said they don’t have all of them but they at least had some.

  6. I think that the rain was such a wonderful occurrence for you – especially that the level went up in Lake Mead. Here is a question for you that my husband and I discussed and were wondering about. My husband, before retiring, had a government city job. He said that one of the biggest water usages in a metropolitan area are the golf courses. We were just thinking of your water restrictions and curious as to whether those restrictions apply to golf courses, too. We have never been to Las Vegas but given the popularity for conventions of all sorts – well, there just have to be numerous golf courses?? Simply wondering about it.
    I found an almost new King size sheet in a thrift store for $5. It is a cream color with tiny indigo blue flowers. Almost done with a dress I am making out of it. Plus plenty of material left for table napkins.
    We have been on quite a few picnics with friends this summer.
    Such a nice alternative to going out for meals. Here is something to watch for when going out. We went to a restaurant this summer and it was a big disappointment. Uninspiring food, poor service and we didn’t notice until we got home that they had charged us an 18 percent service fee! So stupid us – we paid an additional tip to this place without noticing the fee. Then I read an article how more and more restaurants are adding this extra charge. Needless to say, I will always look from now on. Or better yet, just quit going out as often (although we seldom do).
    We have been picking many quarts of wild blackberries for our smoothies, etc. I got a pound of free peaches from the food Coop we go to.
    I found a new dress with tags still attached at a high end consignment store for $20. It didn’t have the original price but was from Nordstrom. I found the dress online and it was $126 originally. Just my size along with being the color and style that I love.
    There is a type of jam that I love which is from France. It was on sale at Whole Foods for $3.46, which is quite a good price. It is made without added sugar, just juice for sweetener, but is very delicious. I think the brand is St. Dalmer.
    Last of all just want to recommend a book that I just finished and loved. “The Tuscan Child” by Rhys Bowen. World War II story – set mostly in Italy.

    1. Golf courses have special rules here. The newest restrictions have outlawed the building of any new gold courses.

      The courses here are not all grass. They have edges with desert landscaping all around.

      If you want to see them, look up Las Vegas on Google maps. The golf courses will stand out. Zoom in and you’ll see what I mean about grass not going to the edges of the courses.

  7. That is wonderful news about the rainfall and the cooler temps. I have been watching the fiasco at “Burning Man” on the news and wondering if it meant that your area received some of that precious rain! Your photos are always so gorgeous and your garden continues to amaze.

    We had some lovely cooler weather this past week although it is now back up to 32C and it will stay there until Thursday! I am ready for Fall.

    I enjoyed an expensive dinner out on Friday – took a friend to a place she chose but it was really for two years worth of birthdays and I had budgeted for it. I came in $10 under budget and have to say – it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had out so I don’t begrudge it. For readers in Toronto – it is Milou – a French bistro over on Dundas West near Dufferin. Otherwise, socializing consisted of inviting a friend for supper on Saturday and the only extra bought for that was some salad greens and a few grapes – I had everything else on hand.

    I tided up the fridge & freezer (a weekly occurrence) and then took some items out of the freezer to use up this week. This then allowed me some space to add more peach slices and both red and orange peppers. They were all on at a good price this week so froze what I could. It’s not a lot by most standards but it’s only me and every little bit helps. Made up some more dried milk to use and re purposed a few other items. I did lose a cucumber and some cauliflower that got away from me and had to be thrown out so will need to do a mid-week check these days as well.

    I had my second Shingles shot on Wed. (all covered by the Govt.) and the only after effect was a bit of stiffness in my shoulder. For some reason these needles were given very high up on the shoulder and it felt as though I had pulled a muscle – all better now and one more thing off the list! I will go in for my DPT booster at the end of this month so that will then be up to date – my doctor’s office is quite strict about adults keeping their boosters up to date but the office nurse takes care of all this so in and out in no time.

    Paid all the first of the month bills online and put aside cash into various savings envelopes – gave myself my allowance and grocery funds for the month, my transit pass is loaded and that is it!

    Hope that everyone’s gardens continue to produce well.

  8. Brandy – I enjoyed the post in your IG stories relating to the history of the printing process. My cousin is the director of Durham Bible Museum (Houston Christian University) and the museum has a replica Gutenberg printing press. The history and evolution of the printing process is quite interesting!

    What a nice week you had – especially with having your hubby home! So many beautiful photos … the rain really blessed your garden! One of my favorite photos you share is the garden view of your home and the arched window. That always makes me smile!

    Everyone – I really enjoyed everyone’s sharing last week of experiences that happened “while hubby’s away” and they brought to mind when my hubby was out of state for two months years ago. The most personally unnerving was having the smoke detector alarm go off due to a low battery, and I wasn’t familiar with how to change it out. We lived in the country and our nearest neighbor was a mile away. Our poor pups were terrified and pacing and whining and I finally let them outside while I called hubby out of state and attempted to silence the shrill noise. I came really close to using a baseball bat to silence it! To this day, when our pup hears a loud shrill noise, she becomes terrified!

    I won’t go into detail about how I wrecked our farm truck in a hidden washout while searching for a lost calf, or how I accidentally let all three pups back inside without knowing they had each been sprayed by a skunk. Country life wasn’t boring and was especially action packed when hubby was away. LOL

    This week’s frugal efforts:

    *Received a duplicate pantry item in an online grocery order shipment and were told to keep it – will result in 2 free meals for hubby and I.

    *So pleased that our utility bill (combined for electric, water, natural gas, sewer and trash services) for last month was less than the previous month. Due mainly to reduced water use. Electric portion was slightly less as well. We have no options for off peak rates or other providers. Any time this bill is reduced, we rejoice!

    *Revamped all leftovers into meals that we ate immediately this past week. Attempting to prepare meals in portions that avoid leftovers … and not freeze leftovers because even though it’s great in theory, in reality for hubby and I, they languish there. Although, our kiddos benefit because we do send them home with them when they visit. But, for just hubby and I, we do best using leftovers within a few days and not freezing them. A savings isn’t a savings if we don’t use them. And, freezer space is best reserved for items we truly will eat.

    *While we’re on two week vacation next month, dear son offered to do yard work for hubby, saving us $125 that we would have had to pay a lawn service. He’s happy to receive compensation in the form of a homecooked meal and dessert of his choice (will be freezer/pantry items and not out of pocket purchases).

    *Gladly accepted the gifts of homemade chocolate pecan cheesecake and a new-to-use brand of cauliflower crust pizza.

    *Began preparing and freezing meals for upcoming RV/camping trip.

    *Repurposed a jar of facial moisturizer containing an ingredient that causes an allergic reaction when applied to my face. Discovered that I can use it as body moisturizer with no issues … product did not go to waste.

    *Freezer/pantry meals this week: Marinara sauce over local meat market sausage and angel hair (sausage purchased with Christmas gift card, sauce made with beautiful tomatoes from neighbor’s garden) with homemade toasted garlic bread; tuna noodle casserole (pasta purchased in clearance bin at 25 cents/pound); Eggplant Parm (eggplant gifted from another neighbor); rotisserie chicken breast salads (chicken breasts from freezer, bought from Sam’s Club – one breast tops two big salads for only $1 total for breast); egg salad sandwiches (eggs here are $2.22 for 18 large).

    *Gratitude – Thankful for a handy and creative dear hubby who can fix most anything; thoughtful kiddos who offer to help us as needed; thankful for the continued safety of our sweet son who is traveling overseas; and, grateful for recovery from sprained ankles.
    *Continuing to do all our typical frugal daily routine items… larger loads of laundry and line dried only; all leftovers refreshed for additional meals; lights/ceiling fans turned off in rooms we weren’t spending time in; central AC thermostats set at 80F degrees downstairs and 84/85F degrees upstairs during the day; kitchen sink warm up water used to water outdoor plants; dehumidifier water used to water outdoor nonfood producing plants; bath water used to water areas of lawn during this period of extreme heat and drought; only turned indoor lights on during the day when absolutely necessary – we have lots of natural light; ate from freezer/pantry except one restaurant meal.
    Wishing everyone a frugal and fun week ahead!

    1. Chocolate pecan cheesecake?!? YUM! That sounds so good.

      I have dealt with a lot of things breaking lately, but I am feeling very grateful, reading your comment, that I did not also have to deal with a skunk!

      1. Brandy –

        Our son’s friend made the cheesecake and it was decadent and so delicious.

        The skunk incident was a bit overwhelming! And naturally the pups ran through our home and into our bedroom that was carpeted. It took quite some time for me to rid our home and the pups of the skunk odor. Lol.

  9. *Loved seeing the reels of you enjoying the rain. What a blessing! We had a bit of flooding last week after a day and night of heavy rain – not unusual here in our holler which seems to have its own micro-climate. When we have flooding on the gravel/dirt road that runs through our holler, it seems to be isolated here and nowhere else. The power of water in the mountains cannot be underestimated. 🙂 Our driveway crosses a creek and the water level rose to the top of the large culvert but did not, thankfully, flow over the top. Just a little clearing of the culvert and moving of river stone and all was well. Actually, this is often when we find the best river stones for gardening or building projects so cleaning up becomes a harvest, of sorts.
    *Our homeschool co-op had a kick-off party last week which falls under my job as co-chair of Events and Field Trips. Our board had a local business print out T-shirts with our co-op’s logo on it which were available for purchase by the families at a low cost (since it was a bulk order and the business owner gave us the friend discount 🙂 ) We did not purchase any as my kids share my aversion for dressing alike in a group (we are weird like that but it saves money, too, as a bonus) but most everyone else did. We set up tie-dyeing stations and the creativity was beautiful to see. Each family brought popsicles or other snacks to share. Then, the kids broke up into groups to go through stations of field games – tug of war, 3-legged races, sack races, 50 & 100 yard dash, egg toss, and corn hole, with a duck race in the creek as the finale. All the supplies were lent by the host church or family and friends so the cost to the co-op as well as to individuals was minimal. I brought along a big box of books I was given for free from the local Habitat ReStore and everyone took whatever they wanted. This was so popular, we have decided to have a book swap during each of our end-of-the-trimester parties we have planned. We have also received a lot of inquiries from families new to or considering homeschooling and don’t know how to start. So, we have planned a round-table informational session open to the public to share ideas and encouragement. An overwhelming number of parents have offered to help and a common theme among the advice is how to make the home education life affordable as that is one aspect some families see as a barrier. I am looking forward to contributing as well as learning from everyone. Always something to learn in this journey. 🙂
    *Our garden runneth over, which is a great problem to have. It is just about now that my boys start saying they feel like they are turning into tomatoes, they have eaten so many. Putting many up in the freezer as fast as I can. My dear neighbor cans the best sauce and generously gives us all we want so I don’t even try. One trip to the grocery store to take advantage of many Labor Day B1G1 free deals on things like pork loin and Italian sausage but still eating primarily from the garden with things we have stored up.
    *Spent a lot of time splitting wood for kindling. Our stove is efficient enough and our house insulated well enough that we can build fires on Winter mornings and let them go out by evening so we end up using a lot of kindling – maybe even more than larger firewood. Some of it is free for the taking, like the rest of our wood, but some of it is from a stack of cut-offs we bought at a local sawmill 3 years ago for $25 – a bargain. Heating with wood and having no need for air conditioning is definitely one of the primary ways we save money.
    *Scrubbing stains out of clothing and mending, mending, mending. Would be interesting to know how much money I have saved by rescuing clothing and other items from becoming unwearable. I imagine a LOT! Also, cut up a few items on their last legs into rags.
    *My personal shopper, AKA my mom, brought me 3 long-sleeved shirts I had asked her to look out for. She volunteers with her church’s thrift shop and is a champion-level secondhand shopper. She kindly keeps a list of anything we are looking for and, almost without fail, she finds it. The shirts were $2/each and I will get a lot of daily use out of them.
    *Still thoroughly enjoying being a part of my church’s bell choir and vocal choir – so much so that I pinch myself, sometimes. Most of the members are professional musicians, some professors of music at the local university, so it is a tremendous opportunity to learn, for free. I learn something every week and come away feeling so encouraged by the music, itself, and the fellowship. I have never thought to classify my life-long involvement with a church community as a frugal activity but, when I think of all the things I have learned, experiences I have had, connections and networking I have done that have directly solved a problem or literally saved us money and, let us not forget to mention, THE FOOD (my boys say, “Church food is the BEST!”) I think it serves as ample evidence that community (wherever you find it) is essential to living in a frugal way. And, I would definitely include this community, as well, when I think of how much I have learned since discovering Brandy’s blog, I think, something like 10-12 years ago (?)
    *And, where would we be without libraries? Current book I have become lost in – Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. Ideal read for someone who enjoys nature writing and music, such as myself. She has a few more books about birds, all of which are outstanding.
    *Hope everyone enjoys a lovely week, as always!

    1. I belong to a Presbyterian Church and the joke about food is – that you are judged on the quality of your egg salad sandwiches! 🙂

      1. Margie – I can believe that! I often take deviled eggs to church and I think they would eat as many as I could bring. They are always gone in a few minutes. A definite crowd-pleaser. 🙂

    2. I loved reading Mozart’s Starling. Also read her crow book and have never looked at crows in quite the same way again!

      1. ElisaB – I love crows, always have, and have an antique Audubon print one framed at the top of the stairs to my boys rooms. We call their 1/2 story The Crow’s Nest.:)

    3. Hi Mountain Mama Dawn,
      I look forward to reading your comments each week as well as everyone else’s.
      I was wondering where you live that you don’t need air conditioning.
      I’m from Minnesota, where we need both heat and air conditioning.

      1. Sue – We live in the southern Appalachian Mountains in western NC at 3400 elevation. That height makes a big difference – much less humidity and always a breeze. We usually don’t get out of the high 70s in the summer – an occasional 80/82 day but nothing a fan can’t take care of. Some of my Norwegian relatives live in MN. Such a beautiful state.

    4. Thank you for the recommendation of Mozart’s Starling. I just checked it out from the library and I am really enjoying it so far.

  10. August was an expensive month for us as we took a two week vacation to the East coast to celebrate our 30th anniversary. I’m clamping down on spending in September to get us back on track and although we’ve already had a few hiccups, (our 27-year-old daughter got very sick and I happily spent out on comfort items for her) but I think this month will be delightfully frugal.

    I scoured the Safeway app for loss leader sale items and bought the maximum amount of Tillamook cheese and ice cream. I’ve been cooking from the freezer, (somewhat oddly) until I got the chance to do a big grocery shop at Winco. (Sooo much cheaper!) I foraged a ton of free blackberries last month and we’ve been enjoying the jam and frozen berries ever since. Our life is already set for frugal living, so we can continue using the library, cooking at home, repairing our belongings and lending/borrowing from neighbors. Happy savings account. Happy me.

  11. Brandy, I know you are about 500 miles from Burning Man, but I’d wondered if you’d gotten any rain, too. You did! What wonderful news for you and the people of Nevada. I’m glad your husband got home, too. You had quite the week!

    I started the week by making a big pot of garbage soup and it was a huge hit! I liked it…my husband LOVED it. We had a quart left and he told me not to freeze it because he would have it for lunches until it was gone! (And he did). I made a double batch of cornbread the same day and froze 2/3 for future meals.

    I made a batch of Miracle Spray, which is dirt cheap. I didn’t add the eucalyptus oil until after I used the spray to spot-clean my sofa (didn’t want to leave an oil stain). It also took up a stain on the carpet that had defied Resolve and everything else we tried.

    I removed a set-in stain on a pillowcase by leaving it in the sun for a few hours. (Miracle Spray didn’t work on this one!).

    I make a 2-cup pot of hot tea nearly every morning. When there is leftover tea, I add it to the iced tea pitcher. If I have juice from canned fruit, I have fruit-flavored tea. Not a big savings, but no waste.

    I received a $100 statement credit with a new credit card. I also got 45,000 points for free rooms at Wyndham hotels. This translates to about 3 free nights.

    This week I bought ribeye steaks for $5.99 lb, Best Foods mayonnaise for $3.99 and butter for $1.99. (Five each of butter and mayo). I saved $6.50 additional with digital coupons. I have challenged myself to save $125 every month until the end of the year. This has to be “money in my pocket” and doesn’t include the grocery deals. (A windfall would be nice!) I put the $6.50 coupon savings “in my pocket” with $6.99 saved for canceling a streaming subscription and $33.98 saved by using OTC benefits for free products at the drugstore. Challenge savings this week: $46.47. I don’t expect every week to be this good, but it was a great way to start the challenge! If you are wondering how I plan to count grocery savings, I have given myself a $300 monthly budget. I am keeping track of my grocery receipts and if I come in under $300, that amount will be added to my monthly savings.

    I bought a 20 lb. lug of Gala apples at a local fruit stand that sells seconds (blemished fruits). I reorganized the produce drawers in the fridge and filled one with the best-looking apples for my husband and the self-entitled dog to share one every day. I plan to make and can applesauce with the rest…whenever my husband feels like peeling them! I made about 3 cups of sauce with the worst apples, but I had to peel them myself, LOL.

    FRUGAL FAIL–I spotted Wesson oil for $1.98/48 ounces at Winco and picked up two bottles. When I got home, I found I’d been charged $4.28 each. I went back to the store and discovered the corn oil was $1.98, but the canola oil–which I bought–was $4.28. Winco is very good at correcting their own mistakes, but not the customer’s…so $4.28 it was, times two.

  12. Brandy, baked potatoes in the crock pot used to be a go-to, week night supper for me to put on before heading to work. Scrub them and put them in on low for 8 hours without adding any water. They will turn dark inside because the sugars caramelize and will have a deep flavor. I am SO glad you have had so much rain! Your garden is lovely and a breath of fresh air to see.

  13. Hello Brandy! I have been canning tomato sauce the past few days. I was reflecting on the amount of water it takes, even when I am careful to reuse when I am able (like for sterilizing jars). I know you can a lot. How will the water shortage affect you?

    1. I have been freezing peaches instead of canning them the last few year, since the children prefer smoothies over canned peaches.

      The water shortage and rates affect me greatly. There is now an alloted amount per household per month that changes seasonally. In January, I only watered outside one day for the whole month due to rain the other weeks (we are permitted to water outside once a week in winter). I still went over the alloted amount because we have a large family. So, I am being fined every month that I go over. We do all that we can to keep below the amounts, but it is very hard. The winter amounts for my size family would mean only 22 gallons per person per day including outside watering.

      Conservation is key.

      I am gratful that I receive water back in food form in my garden. That is a help. And with the rising cost of food, I still find it worth it to grow a garden.

      1. Brandy, I’m sorry that the water limits are affecting your family so severely. Perhaps the water policy is unfair to large families.

        I wonder, though, if the policy were changed to provide for large families, how that policy would be enforced. Wouldn’t some people say that they have a large family just to be able to use more water? What about multi-family or multi-generational houses? Or a house with many college students or young working people living in it?

        As a single parent of one child, I see that large families sometimes receive benefits that small families do not. One example is tax deductions. Another is that large families can sometimes qualify for Medicaid and other government services more easily than small families, because the income limits are higher the larger your family size. Membership at Sam’s Club or Costco can benefit large families, while small families can’t use up bulk purchases fast enough. A family membership at the YMCA or a museum costs the same, whether you have 2 children or 15 children. I am not saying that these benefits are unfair, simply pointing them out.

        One strategy that some large families in my area use is to buy a monthly family membership to the YMCA or a gym. The facility provides towels and water for showers. These families bring all their children to the facility daily. They swim and then all take showers at the facility. It saves these families a lot of water and laundry expenses, including water for washing towels. (It also saves time, because there are 6 showers in each locker room, and several people can shower at the same time.) The family membership is about $80 a month in my area. If the fine for overusing water is more than $80 a month, the amount of water saved by this strategy might keep a family’s water usage for their house low enough to avoid the fine.

        Thank you, Brandy, for providing this forum where we can share ideas.

        1. The most worrisome thing is that they passed the law to turn off people’s water if they go over by a certain amount.

          This won’t just affect large families.

          It affects 20% of the population.

          Most lots here are 0.10 to 0.15 of an acre.

          But there are people who have an acre or more, and/or a pool–and they have the same water allotment.

          Even cactus need to be watered here. A larger lot, or a pool, is going to need more water.

          I have low-flow toilets, showers, washing machine, etc. Because we were blessed with rain 3 days this past January, I only watered one day for the whole month.

          And I still went over the usage limits.

          We do a LOT to save water, too. I am always doing as much as I can.

  14. Late summer/early fall here in beautiful NE Ohio is a busy time of year! So, we thankfully exercise our frugal habits as best we can and look forward to a slower pace after the Christmas holidays.
    – Throughout the year I devote my downtime to sewing my felt ornaments which I sell in my shop lifeandpeacehome@Etsy.com . I carefully source and accept donations of quality materials to keep overhead costs down. I love to be productive, and this little business satisfies me greatly.
    – In addition to my sewing and my 2-day-a-week job in our hospital lab, our little garden has been nicely productive and keeping me busy. For some reason I usually over plant zucchini each year, but this year…WAY over planted! We have used so many ourselves and given away buckets and buckets to friends and at church and work. I was glad to find a new-to-me recipe using zucchini that we really like – https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chicken-zucchini-casserole/ . We have also enjoyed a great harvest of tomatoes, green beans, onions, green peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, kale, basil, chives, garlic chives, oregano, and a few carrots. Our flowers started from seed or tubers are luscious right now.
    – The raspberry and blackberry bushes have produced well, and the freezer is well stocked for smoothies for the coming year. This in particular is a good savings because the berries at Walmart have about doubled in price in the past 2 years.
    – Our daughter and family are relocating closer to us, and my husband and I are helping them by storing many items in our walkout basement. SIL disassembled their very nice swing set and reassembled it in our yard so the grands will be able to use it when they visit. It will be taken to their new home when they purchase (they will be renting for a time). This is a totally frugal way to help that we love to be able to do. Babysitting and meals and possibly homeschooling assistance are also meaningful and affordable help we can provide.
    – As my husband describes it, we are changing our perspective towards retirement from glancing as we dash by to seriously looking as we consider the plunge. We can afford to retire now with a conservative lifestyle, but we’re both too able bodied and mentally fit to not work. My husband works full time in a hospital, and the environment has changed so much over the years, he may be changing jobs and continue working but elsewhere. Again, so thankful for frugal habits and the helpful encouragement I gain from this group.
    – A trip out of state for a family funeral was not particularly frugal because, since he is working full time, we needed to fly and rent a car rather than take the time and drive. But we chose our itinerary so we would have only 2 nights in a hotel and fewer hours of car rental. We used AAA discounts for both. When our hotel was not able to provide breakfast one morning, we received $30 off our bill. We used a gift card to cover some of our donuts and coffee at Dunkin. For our flights, I packed a lunch from home for the trip out and gathered items from the hotel for the return trip. We indulged in one seafood meal while gone, but I shopped around for value and affordability. I’m thankful we were able to spend those days with our extended family.
    – Routine frugal habits include: reusing ziplock bags or mason jars, packing lunches for work, using up leftovers, filling the grill with meat when grilling and freezing extra for future meals, menu planning around the pantry/freezer, selective salvage store shopping, cooking and baking at home, comparison grocery shopping, checking gas prices via Gas Buddy before filling up, using the library and Libby, harvesting and preserving garden produce, staying home when possible to conserve fuel, hanging out much of the laundry, using A/C rarely and opening windows overnight when possible

    Wishing each reader a happy, frugal week!

  15. So very, very glad about your receiving rain! Rejoicing with you!
    Our school year has started up again, with my hubby teaching and my daughter attending school for the first time (college) since we have homeschooled her for previous grades. She is enjoying her classes, and learning how to run (literally) from one end of campus to the other end as she rushes to get to her next class on time! She started organ lessons, having her first lesson last week. She is taking the lessons for college credit, and while there is an extra cost beyond the regular tuition, it is a lesser amount per semester to do it this way ($200 per semester) compared to the going rate for music lessons in our area which is a dollar a minute, and she is receiving a 45 minute lesson each week. Her scholarships she received for college will cover not only her college tuition, but the added music lesson expense as well so in essence they are free for her. She is faithful in her practice, so the scholarship monies are a good investment in her as a student.
    I accepted a temporary cleaning job for a friend of a friend. The lady was moving into a new to her duplex that she bought, and having some renovations done to the half she is going to live in before she moved in. She desperately needed someone to clean up the mess left from drywall dust, new carpet, etc. and was offering $35 an hour. My friend begged me to help her out, and I agreed and am so glad I did. Not only did I earn a bit of much welcome $, but met a delightful person and have now cleaned for her three times, two days at her new place and then one morning she had me clean the nearby apartment that she moved out of. This will not be a regular job, as she mainly lives in another stage, but she mentioned keeping my number and perhaps contacting me occasionally to come clean for her when she is in town. The location is literally less than 10 minutes from my house, so it is easy for me to go help whenever she has need, though this initial cleaning was mainly the help she will be needing.
    Our dishwasher went out quite unexpectedly, and was not able to be repaired by my husband. We decided we would rather put money into a new dishwasher rather than into having a repairman come out and try and fix the old one, since it was 15 years old. We purchased a new dishwasher, installed it ourselves to save money and had our city large trash pick up haul away the broken dishwasher instead of paying $50 for it to be hauled away by the delivery people.
    Found a super nice KAVU brand backpack for me to use when traveling at our local thrift store. They were asking $20, which I thought was rather high until I looked it up and found they run for $45-65 new. I also had a gift certificate for the store that I received from volunteering there, so I used that and paid zero out of pocket. It replaces a cheap backpack from Walmart that I have used for a number of years, and I believe this new to me one will last a long time.
    Continue to make all meals at home and from scratch, enjoying being able to make them both healthy and less expensive than purchasing premade or going out to eat.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone!
    -Susan in Chattanooga, Tennessee

  16. A little over 3 weeks ago I started eating no gluten, no cow dairy, no sugar, no processed foods, very little red meat. I have lost weight, feel great, my doctor reduced my blood sugar meds, my blood work looks like there is nothing wrong with me. All that is wonderful! But the what really made me happy is my husband complimented me on my beautiful makeup today. He was serious. The funny thing is, I wasn’t wearing any makeup! So I guess I am saving money in a lot of ways, including not having to buy makeup! This diet makes me feel so good and my skin is so smooth now. I am also saving money not buying sugary foods and processed foods and at this point I don’t crave it either. IF I need chocolate I will add cocoa to oatmeal and banana and eat it or cook it with added egg, water, and baking soda to make a sort of cake sweetened with banana. I have bought some sugar free chocolate. But only eat one piece. My goal is losing 2 lbs a week, but I have lost 11 in 3 weeks. My stomach and joints have stopped hurting as well. I am getting so much more done and don’t mind exercising now. I am very, very happy! I also don’t need as much sleep as I did before, allowing me more time for things other than sleep.
    We have decided to only eat out only once a month. Maybe less. We really need to do this for our budget. Eating out has gotten so expensive! I am looking at seeds and thinking about what I can plant now and what I will plant in the house and what I will plant in the spring outdoors.
    We are spending more time at home, getting home projects done.
    I am including beans often in the menu and lots of vegetables and fruit. A little bit of meat. And some grain, mostly rice. Some nuts. As a treat, I have had some goat cheese, a very small bit of it and not often. I drink lots and lots of water and some herbal tea.
    I love feeling great!
    I continue to turn off lights , use the internet for information and entertainment, use cloth napkins, take walks on my land, dance to music from YouTube, look of recipes. My cousin has been helping me with recipes and encouraging me as well. It has been nice to talk to her. My husband and son had a dudes day out one day and I stayed home and enjoyed my time to myself frugally. I listened to music on Youtube and read recipes, and called family.
    I bought some new towels at a thrift shop. Otherwise we are not spending money. Oh a biggie, My husband fixed our shower with just a part. He watched how to do it on Youtube! I was so happy that the shower works and we didn’t have to pay a plumber!

  17. Hi Brandy. My family is not a fan of eggplant at all, except for in one recipe. This is so good! https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/ratatouille-soup-3362677.amp I didn’t have the most frugal week. I had to get my son several items for school and my husband ordered custom boots for work. He has always purchased size 13 shoes to fit his width but found out his true size is 11F. They should be able to be resoled 3 times before they wear out, so the cost is much less than 4 pairs of boots. It was just a lot up front. I am glad you got so much rain!

  18. Up until 6 mo ago, I still had to wear a mask at work everyday. My skin was breaking out all the time. I really had to increase my skin care routine to keep the breakouts down. Since we’ve went maskless, I’ve been able to do without replacing some products after they ran out. I’m using about 1/2 the products I was 6 months ago!

    I accepted 1/2 a watermelon from my mom.

    We attended a wedding this weekend. We had a bit of a drive, but I was able to use Upside to save 15 cents per gallon when we filled up! Here is my code if anyone wants to try it out: JESSICA338779

    I also packed snacks for our drive so that we didn’t buy any.

    I was able to repair a kimono that ripped.

    I picked up a couple extra sessions last week, which means a higher paycheck.

    We used the library to check out two books this week.

    I picked up a secondhand puzzle for my son for christmas. I also bought another gift for him that I had been eyeing for awhile when it went on sale.

    My son recently potty trained, so I’m not having to buy diapers any more.

    I have been focusing on eating down the meat in our freezer. My parents usually get 1/2 a pig butchered for us for christmas, so I’m trying to finish up some of the pork from last year.

    I have frozen some tomatoes so that I can can them when the weather is cooler. It’s been in the 90s everyday for the last two weeks.

    We have picked, sliced, and frozen enough bell peppers to last the year.

    I made French toast casserole with my freezer bread scraps. I keep a gallon bag in my freezer that I just throw random bread scraps into – the heels, stale bread, a lone hot dog bun, etc. When I have enough, I can make scalloped pineapple, homemade croutons, or French toast casserole.

  19. I had a commitment to pay a couple of larger bills this month, which has stretched the budget very tight indeed. I then found that a fairly large branch had been knocked over my front sidewalk in a storm, and needed to hire someone to take it down and remove it from my property. It is all working out OK, but it has been worrying as I figured things out and made arrangements as needed.

    The grocery budget is holding up well. The friend who has brought me mint from her garden a few weeks ago brought me vegetables from her garden. These included pickling cucumbers and dill and garlic, so I can go ahead with some plans to make refrigerator pickles. She also brought huge new potatoes and a large yellow onion and a small red onion, some big carrots, and a bit of broccoli and a cob of corn. My neighbor across the street brought me some cherry tomatoes she had grown, and a few slices of banana bread she had bought at the farmer’s market. Together with the vegetables and fruit I had, this leaves me set until the next pension payday for produce.

    I went to buy groceries today and was able to focus on proteins. There were no great sales, but I was able to get chicken thighs, lean ground pork, rice and canned beans, and four cheese pasta sauce. The pasta sauce is a house brand that I am trying. Most of the house brands are good quality, so this would be a help if I do like it. I already have some lean ground beef and some eggs in the house, so I am in good shape now. I still have enough in my budget for another trip for groceries, so things are good that way.

    One of the things that had to give was that I couldn’t keep going with the lawn cutting service. He will come back once more, and then he’s done for the season. He was very cheerful about it, and is more than pleased to come back in the spring for the coming year.

    Our internet company went down for 24 hours. I wasted quite a bit of time on help lines, because it wasn’t clear whether it was Elizabeth-specific or system-wide. It turned out that some entrepreneurial thieves had stolen a large section of cable with copper wire in it and brought the system crashing down. It took the phone company all day to find and re-lay the wiring. I also lost a day to allergies triggered by some smoke in my house from burning something in my oven, and exacerbated by heavy forest fire smoke and seasonal ragweed allergies. The heavy forest fire smoke has continued for many days, but most days just makes my nose drip. I am trying to keep outdoor errands to the bare minimum.

    Happily, next month should be a different picture financially, with lower bills and some extra income from two quarterly tax credits I get from the federal government. If all goes well, I’ll be able to set some money into emergency savings. I also plan to do some stocking up to have extra food and other supplies on hand for winter, so I can skip some walks to the grocery store when weather, illness or sore joints get in the way. Although there will be snow before then, walking conditions normally stay good until about mid-December, so there is time yet. Canadian Thanksgiving is only five weeks away, though, so there is that to plan for too.

  20. This week’s frugal efforts have centered around selling, cleaning/organizing, and DIY. I have sold 2 items on ebay, they are at the door ready for the post office tomorrow. I have listed at least 30 other items on ebay/FB marketplace.
    I have finished sorting items that need to leave the house (sold or donated, and a few put in the trash). I now need to move on to the garage and shed. I do not buy a lot, but I am given a good bit and it’s tempting to hold onto things ‘just in case’. I am trying to be firmer with myself about what can be kept. I have made a list of things I need to remember to take down to my kids when I go in 2 weeks. As I worked through the 20 or so clothes items that are going to the consignment store, I decided that I could alter the sleeves on one blouse. I did it and though I don’t love the blouse, I do quite like it now and will certainly wear it. I was able to locate the one flat battery that fits my car clicker on my keychain. My organizing efforts pay off in many ways, and this was today’s example.
    In DIY, we wallpapered one wall. I was gifted the wallpaper on Buy Nothing (value $500), I borrowed wallpapering tools from a friend, so all I had to buy was the wallpaper primer and paste. The wall looks lovely. We have never wallpapered before (and I don’t think I will again) but this one wall was just perfect to become a feature wall.
    I ordered a rug from Lowes that was EXACTLY the same as a rug on Pottery Barn. It was a bit cheaper from Lowes, but the savings came from the free shipping rather that $297 for shipping from Pottery Barn. Unfortunately I didn’t like the rug when it came, but I took it into Lowes for a free return this week, so I lost nothing in the whole transaction. Pottery Barn’s shipping fee was not refundable, so if I’d ordered it from there, I would have lost the $297. I will keep looking for a rug.
    I have vegan curry in the solar oven this very moment. I am still learning how to best use the solar oven, this time I brought the curry to the boil on the stove(in a covered cast iron pot) which took 5 minutes and then transferred the pot to the solar oven. I also started earlier than I have in the past. Our daily high temperature is about 2pm, by 5 the coastal breeze has come up and lowered the temps. Always good to be learning!

    1. I like the bringing it to a boil and then putting it in the solar oven idea! That’s excellent!

  21. When I heard of the rain in Las Vegas, I was pleased for you, and all your fellow citizens! I could almost smell the petrichor through the computer when I saw your pictures!
    *We drove the 6hours for a grandson’s birthday, and on the drive home the next day scooped up two other grandlittles to stay with us a couple days before their parents’ planned visit when they would be picked up. It was their first time being allowed to sleep away from their parents, so it was a very big deal for them. Wild blackberries are ripe here and they were keen pickers (in spite of the thorns) both to eat as well as to make jam. They were proud to have 15 jars of ham to show mommy and contribute to the family pantry for winter. Their pleasure in “free jam, we just had to pick them!” was a reminder that children hear adult conversations about the cost of food always increasing or how difficult finances are in this economy and they are affected by that worry too. The 6 year old stood stock-still when he saw my canning pantry, then turned and ran. He came back with his little camera and proceeded to take photos. “Look at all that food, Grandma!” he said with satisfaction as he held up the camera. And his family is doing fine! No food shortages or other issues! Yet he had heard adults complaining about affording their grocery bills, and was worried that he ate too much. Be careful what you say around kids!
    *I helped my daughter can 60 lbs of peaches. The price was $2.25 CDN per pound. They were good peaches, and that resulted in 30 quarts plus 3pints jam. If we are going to chat, we might as well be doing something useful at the same time! (Yes, the little worried grandson was delighted, and counted to 30 a few times on his own.)
    * Otherwise a regular week.

  22. It’s been a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I managed to stay on budget for August, which is usually an expensive month. Plus, I paid cub scout dues ($136/child!) and sports fees for the kids. I love that they’re active, but these activities really add up. Each child gets one sport/year, plus scouts. One wants to do the church youth group ($75), but I haven’t signed up for that yet, we may wait until volleyball is over.
    Our church thrift store has had some pretty steep price increases, and thus hasn’t been able to move much of their inventory. So, when the 50% off everything sale came up, I went and bought a lot of things for prices that would have been typical a year or so ago. I’m not really sure how they come up with their pricing, but it’s all over the place.
    I cared for my mom while my dad took 3 of my kids to a church bazaar, and treated them to bbq, snowcones, and the carnival games. They all had fun. I made a lemon cake to take to my aunt, who let the kids swim and enjoy the popsicles she keeps for them.
    I met a student using Webex, saving myself a trip to campus.
    I dropped off a basket of clothes at the consignment store on my way to work and picked up up after leaving. Only $18, but something is better than nothing.
    I should have gifts from my gift closet for the birthday parties the kids are invited to this month.
    I’m starting to save for and think about Christmas, I know it will be here before I know it. Two of my kids have December 18th birthdays, plus another with a January birthday, so there’s a lot of celebration in a short time. $$$
    I sold some things on Mercari and Facebook Marketplace: cash in, junk out.
    Hope everyone has a good week! Stay frugal, friends!

  23. Brandy, I’m so glad you got some rain and that you got to catch up with your husband.* All the kids were in town and we went to the Minnesota State Fair. It was not frugal, but we did buy our tickets online in advance, saving $3 per ticket and used a coupon to buy a bunch of tickets for the grand kids to go on some rides. It was such a joy watching them. Worth the money spent. *Two friends and I got together for a visit and we made greeting cards while we chatted. We all brought left over supplies, so there was no money spent. It was fun to visit. * While the kids were in town, we did family pictures. One of my daughters brought her nice camera and tripod, so free! I didn’t need it to be perfect, I just needed it to happen. So happy! Since the Fair was pricey, we shared homemade meals for all the other meals. We split time among houses. We had a good time. *Finished a couple more presents for the Christmas gift closet. *Read library books. *Have a great week!

  24. Hi,
    How wonderful that you got some rain. . . The photos of your garden are lovely. We got a little of the rain, also, which was good because our fire danger level was fairly high. This area is surrounded by tree-covered hills that are thick with brush. One night a while back we had thunder and dry lightning, with no rain. That was a little concerning.
    Last week while our septic system was not working, I went to our daughter’s house, and we put up some peaches and pears. We made peach juice out of some peaches and used that juice for the syrup for canning other peaches. We canned the pulp left from making juice as “peach sauce” like applesauce to use on pancakes and waffles. We dried some of the pears and froze some of the peaches for smoothies for next winter. Our work will be shared amongst four family groups.
    I used to can fruit in half of light syrup, but started canning in juice after a family member was found to have diabetes. I tried canning in pineapple juice and plain water, but we didn’t like the flavor. It doesn’t take much juice to fill the jar, but the family member with diabetes eats only the fruit and leaves the juice for someone else. Canning in juice is extra work, but I think the nice flavor is worth it.
    When I got back our son had unplugged the line to the septic tank. What a blessing.
    I have been staying out of thrift shops to save money, but I did go to Goodwill yesterday and bought an antique rose damask pattern tablecloth that will coordinate with some rose glasses I was given years ago, a white flower pot for a white orchid that I bought on sale some time ago, and a three pairs of socks for $4+. The socks are black, ribbed knit men’s socks with 75% cotton. They are narrow and would probably work for young boys, but I don’t think they are really wide enough for most men. They are long enough for me, and they are thin enough knit to work in flat women’s shoes, but they are thinner fabric than my husband would want for dress socks in our climate.
    Today, I made your minestrone soup recipe today. It was a hit. My husband said, “This is better than Olive Garden.” Thank you for sharing your recipes and tips for living nicely for less. It was fun to read everyone’s posts as usual.

    1. Tell your husband that was very nice of him!

      Their soup uses meat. It’s nice that you have a meatless alternative to make that is much cheaper!

  25. Brandy, Have you tried White Eggplants? The skin is not as bitter as the purple sort and the flesh is almost creamy smooth. I was gifted three plants this year, only one of which bore fruit, but I saved seed to replant. This was something I’d never heard of but I was blown away by how much nicer it tasted than what I’d eaten in the past.

    I went to Lowe’s today to take advantage of their 5/$10 mums. I got five mums, two asters and two mums that were on the clearance shelf. I wanted more fall plants but they had only mums and asters that I could reliably consider fall plants. I will combine them with things I already have in my planters to create fall plantings. I’m also going to add in some edible things (Swiss chard, collards, carrots, beets, etc.)

    On Sunday we went into Kroger where I picked up just two pounds of butter on sale for $1.99. I really had room in my freezer for only two (checked to be sure on Saturday, lol) and since I had 2 coupons for 65c off a pound I felt that I’d be foolish not to buy those two at least. I am wrestling with my grocery budget and spending overall. It feels as though no trip to the store is ever less than $150 and that is not for a lot of groceries! I’m also looking at making a LOT more of the stuff I’d been buying from scratch. When there is no more money to stretch then you must make up your mind to WORK for the stretching part, so that is what I’ll be doing.

    I have been on Pinterest pulling ideas of how to put together what I have in my wardrobe to create my fall ‘look’. Nothing on Pinterest is an exact match for anything I have but it does give me ideas of color combinations, how to use accessories that I haven’t thought of. It’s like getting a fresh new wardrobe without spending.

    I ordered a pretty new necklace that was on clearance from a favorite retailer to add to the fall wardrobe and black jeans. I have a coat in my Amazon cart that I’ll order later in the month and that should do me until next spring with clothes.

    My home insurance sent out a pre-bill notice and yes their rates had risen. I had planned on a rise, having heard from you all that it would be going up and though I hadn’t set it up to be quite enough, I find that I only need a couple of hundred more. My husband thought that was too much but when I explained that I’d offset the cost by setting aside hundreds already he was rather impressed with me for thinking ahead.

    My daughter sent me a new recipe the other day and since it used only ingredients we typically keep on hand I gave it a try. It was delicious! We got more servings than they suggested we might from it. I also made my own hamburger buns by a simple adaption of my usual dough recipe, and they were the best buns ever.

    1. I haven’t tried white eggplant, but for me, it was the texture that got me. So I am looking at trying recipes.

      I, too, have thought of new wardrobe combinations by seeing what others put together. I sometimes wonder why I didn’t think to put a certain blouse or sweater with a skirt before, and it almost feels like having a new outfit!

      1. Hi Brandy

        There are recipes for eggplant jams. Also for caponata – some recipes use figs and eggplants.
        My favourites are eggplant parmesan, eggplant lasagna, deep-friend eggplant, eggplant fries, and stuffed eggplants. Eggplant should be soaked in salted water –– that reduces the spongy texture. See YouTube for explanations.

        So glad to read that you got rain!

  26. Your photos are extra special this week, and that’s saying something as they always are so beautiful. I’m glad to hear you didn’t get the flooding like I saw on the news of the strip. Very glad you got rain and a visit by your husband!

    My furnace, and therefore my ac went out in spring. Very grateful we so far haven’t topped 100F this year, but the most heat is usually late September, so will see. We’ve been cooler than the last few summers. Only using fans was definitely seen in a lower electric bill, so that’s a frugal I hope to continue after the hvac is replaced.

    Gas has gone back over $5 a gallon now, and that’s at Costco the most frugal we have. I am planning out my trips even more and try to limit buying groceries only when I’m already driving by. Been trying to only read books from the library online, but I’m lucky it’s close by as have a couple on order. Being able to order books from other libraries is such a gift.

    I borrowed a tens unit from a friend to help with back pain, all it cost me were batteries.

    The lack of ac caused me to use an old countertop oven I’d rarely used, given my lack of counter space, save holiday meals. I set it up in the garage so not to heat the house and now I’m using it regularly. Probably much more frugal than heating up the house oven while running ac. It fits a frozen pizza and I splurged on a bbq chicken one I found on sale by more than $2 at Safeway. This a a frugal throwback from mom, who always cooked “stinky” food in an electric skillet on top of the washer/dryer in the garage.

    This is my favorite eggplant recipe and I love it so much, had to share. I’ve brought it to potlucks with great success. Plus, doing this all in the oven makes it so easy!


  27. That is wonderful news about your rainfall Miss Brandy! After the drought conditions we have experienced this summer, I realized that I would not do well AT ALL living in a place known for little to no rain. We did finally received a decent rainshower this morning after weeks of going without. It was a most horrid summer, but we are hoping the worst is past. I hope y’all have more rain to enjoy in the upcoming days!
    On another note, I was thinking about your older posts featuring your food storage and wondered if you would do an updated food storage pictorial tour of the space you have in your garage and elsewhere (if you do store food in spaces other than the garage). TIA!
    Cheers to rain!

  28. Rain and a visit from your husband, wonderful to read this week was MUCH better than last week!

    On the frugal front:
    I used an old Claire’s gift card to purchase hoop earrings. I downloaded a couple free crochet patterns from Pinterest to upgrade the hoops into Boho-style earrings to use in Advent calendars and Easter baskets.

    I made vanilla pear muffins using the pears I received from my coworkers last week. I froze the muffins in the reusable ziplock bags I purchased earlier this summer at Goodwill.

    Our neighbors invited us to watch a college football game in their garage. After 20 years of friendship, there was no need for them to prepare anything for our visit. We just showed up with our own beverage and cheered our team on to victory. It was a fun night for absolutely no fuss or cost.

    HH is working hard to process the garden vegetables. Dispite scaling back this season, there is just more than we can process and eat. I have shared the surplus with family, friends and colleagues.

    HH thought he had planted pablano peppers but several different varieties grew. (I have read online that seed companies have had problems with pepper seeds this season.) The mystery peppers are not our favorite, but we did not want them to go to waste. HH roasted them on the grill and removed the skins and seeds. I will purée and freeze them to use in dips, sauces and stews this fall and winter.

    Over the holiday weekend, we spent time both at home and at the cabin catching up on yard work. I listened to Lightning Strike by William Kent Kruger and Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen on the Scribd app while working. We also boated, canoed, swam and listened to/watched college football. We packed food from home to avoid eating out and prevent food waste.

    HH and I reviewed our retirement savings and budget through year end. We will need to be very intentional to meet our savings and spending goals. There is some uncertainty, both potentially positive and potentially negative, with our jobs. We made plans for either potentiality.

    Looking forward to reading about everyone’s frugal feats!

  29. I can’t help but notice from your garden picures that you and I arrived at the same conclusions about what flowers will survive in a garden that is surface-of-the-sun hot. The vincas really thrive and zinnias and roses are big winners, too. Lest you think I am woman who learns quickly, let me disabuse you of that idea. I have been here 20 years and each spring I come across stunning plants at the nursery and convince myself that they will work here. Wishful thinking, as they look good for a month or two and then fry in the summer.

  30. Your flowers are just gorgeous, as always.
    We are still doing a lot in the garden, however, we had rain for three days this week. We can use the moisture, and it really helped putting out our fires, so I am grateful.
    While I was making pickles on Monday, my glass stovetop cracked. I mean, really cracked. Bad enough, that it was like a displaced fracture. It would cost over $1,000 to just replace the cooktop. We went to a local appliance store, and bought a replacement stove. Luckily, we have the funds. This new one has a built-in air fryer even. I was thinking of buying an air fryer, now I don’t have to do so. It will be delivered and installed tomorrow. We are in our late 60’s and early 70’s, so no longer feel comfortable picking up and installing appliances ourselves.
    Garden – Made 3 more jars of dill pickles. Picked 24 ears of corn, and froze 18 cups of corn. Picked 2 buckets of peppers. DH BBQ’s them and I peeled tomatoes to make salsa. We will finish next week, by adding onions, garlic, vinegar, lime juice and some salt. Picked lettuce, broccoli, corn, zucchini and peppers from the garden.

    Meals made – Taco salads with meat from the freezer, and lettuce, onions, and tomatoes from the garden. Cheese from the fridge. BLTs for dinner using lettuce, tomatoes from the garden, and bacon from the feezer and homemade bread made this week. Made baked ziti using peppers, zucchini, and onions from the garden, homemade tomato sauce and ziti and cheese from the pantry. Had a BBQ with son, DIL and granddaughter. We even BBQ’d a little piece of chicken for our granddaughter. Made a corn, tomato, cucumber and avocado salad. Had popcorn for snack twice.

    Went to a free symphony concert in the park on Saturday evening, with son, DIL and GD.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

  31. As always, Brandy, your photos are lovely!!!

    I have not posted for several weeks as my garden and our window replacements have taken over my life. I have picked and put up gallons, quarts and pints of tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, squash, corn, figs and okra. My two freezers are packed with vegetables and meat. I am at that point in the Summer when I am ready to say “Uncle”! I will push through, though, and, hopefully, save all that Mother Nature offers.

    Ingles had boneless rib eye roast for $9.98 a pound for their loss leader this past week. Just gorgeous meat! Definitely will save it for special occasions. They had Tyson boneless, skinless chicken breast for 1.98 a pound and Libby’s beans for .68 a can. Kroger had Blue Bell ice cream for $4.99 a half gallon which is an unheard of price!

    Our air conditioners have run nonstop this past month and I have had to water my garden and plants. That said, my utility bill was $28.00 less! Go figure! KUB, our utility provider, is raising rates 4.5%. I peruse several different sites for projections on food and supply chain predictions and the consensus is things are going to get dicey between now and the election. Hope they’re wrong.

    Our window install has gone smoothly with the exception of two windows being broken in transit. All our windows are custom as our home is old. So, not sure how long it will take to get the replacements. I can already tell a great difference in the noise level in the house. It is so quiet! Hope that translates to energy savings this winter!

    The Homesteader that I follow cut open her Persimmons today. For those of you who don’t know, when you cut the seed open, you may see the image of a spoon or a fork or a knife. A spoon means a harsh snowy winter; a fork means a mild winter; and a knife means high, cold winds. It’s an old Appalachian tradition and, surprisingly, quite accurate. We shall see!

    Hope everyone is doing well. I have missed you guys! Take care. Onward, y’all, by all means!

    1. CherylB – Oh, yes, persimmon forecasting is very accurate. 🙂 The wooly worms here are surprisingly so, as well. 🙂

  32. I haven’t commented in awhile. Here are a few things that have been happening over the past several months:

    Keeping motivated with frugality by watching vloggers on YouTube (Frugal Queen in France, Wallflowers UK for a couple) and reading this blog! It helps a lot to have fellow frugal folks.

    My partner was diagnosed with a severe auto-immune disorder a little over two years ago. The first year was miserable as we couldn’t get into a good specialist and the one we did have prescribed a medication that had constant nausea and vomiting as ‘side effect’. After getting into a good specialist 75 miles away the first change was to a med that would cost $1700 out of pocket per month. I had some background in benefits and started to find out how to get the pharma company to provide it free. A LOT of work but I did get it approved. Nine months on it but Dr. didn’t feel it was being effective. Prescribed another that has to be done by infusion. The center is 30 miles away. Again, I dealt with another pharma company and was approved for free med – instead of $1300! On our first trip up,the center said there was no need to wait so I found a discount grocery store. A bit of a disorganized mess but I was able to get name-brand salad dressing (Newman’s own, Kraft gourmet, Ken’s) for .25c, a large tin of Coleman’s mustard (from the UK) for $2.00, low sugar Sure gel for .99c a box, a massive box of Salidita saltines for $1.50, 3 boxes of good stuffing mix for .99c. I did a small run this last time and found Pepperidge Farm thin sliced bread for .99c, a tube of Cento tomato paste .99c, a jar of gourmet marmalade from Sicily for $2 and a package of very high end crackers for .99c. I am putting most back to be used as treats over the holidays and most were well within date (although I am less concerned about that). At a King Soopers (Kroger) store I found large packages of imported salami/salumi that has three types for $3.50 each! Good until 2024. I love finding items that provide that fancy touch for pennies!

    A cousin-in-law is a fantastic gardener. We were gifted peaches, a LOT of corn, cucumbers, watermelon and Tuscan melons. We ate most of it right away but I have been freezing some of the corn. When I went today to pickup up what he’d set aside for us there were more melons and cucumbers and LOT more corn. So, I’m going to make some pickles and freeze corn. Here in CO Western Slope peaches are coveted. We stopped at one of the local farm stands and they had 25 lb. flats for $20.00! We bought two – froze one in two cup bags yesterday and will freeze most tomorrow. They also had strawberries for $1.00 a big box – I bought 8. They were rapidly going bad so I cleaned and sorted and had at least 5 big containers left. Will freeze most until we can get jam-making going. It has been so hot here in S. Colorado that I must wait until cooler weather to do canning.

    An interesting side effect of the meds is that my partner, a lifelong carnivore (descended from ranchers), now has developed an aversion to beef, especially ground/minced. About the only meat tolerated is chicken. I can put a small amount of ham in casseroles and soups and we’ve had BLTs this summer with bacon I squirreled away last year in the freezer but not much other meat. And eggs – nothing now but scrambled. Good thing is that veggies and fruits seem to still be a hit!

    Working hard at keeping utility bills down, having minimal waste, finding use for things we forgot we even had (in various sheds on the property) and trimming down our streaming services to a minimum.

    Thank you everyone for your postings and encouragement. Finally, I am not a ‘swearing’ person but I have to say when I walked out one morning and discovered that one grasshopper had mowed down all of my basil starts I was hard-pressed not to recall all the cussing I heard in my childhood. I am restarting them inside this time. My parsley and rosemary were spared but the little monster did seem to be heading for my three varieties of thyme. Argh!

  33. Well, when I read the comments from readers who have household problems arise when husbands are away, I can really sympathize.
    I had a horrific Saturday. First, I had forgotten to close my bathroom window on Friday night. It is a blessing I had not tried to close it in the evening. When I went to close it on Saturday morning, the inner glass pane fell out, lodging itself precariously between the outer pane and the screen. I couldn’t close the window. I couldn’t lift the inner pane upward and out. The span of my arms outstretched was not wide enough to enable me to hold the pane on each of its sides. I had a friend on the speaker cellphone standing by in case I was hit by falling glass and needed someone to phone 911. I had never noticed that in that room, the screen covers the entire window. If I took out the screen, the inner pane would fall on me. I texted my former window washer for advice but he was in church so couldn’t reply for a while. I decided to retreat into my bedroom and contemplate the problem. I really felt panicky, teary, like just having a nervous breakdown and felt totally incompetent, until my inner voice said to just think about it. I went into the bathroom and looked at it. In the meantime, the weight of the inner glass pane had pushed the screen almost horizontal (but fortunately hadn’t dropped out) so I could stand on the stepstool and pull the pane towards me. This was hard to do, given my damaged arm but I managed to do it. Just as I was doing it, the screen flew out and towards me but I didn’t drop the glass. I was unscathed by the screen. I will have to do minor repairs to the screen, use a screwdriver to tighten the little latches that ought to hold the inner pane in place, (apparently they get loose with age — who knew?) wash the inner pane and the inside of the outer window. So the good news is that I will have a very clean window and screen. I will have help to put the inner pane back into place. At the moment everything is in the shower stall. I was, however, totally un-nerved by it all, felt really incompetent, and retreated to bed.
    I have almost finished transcribing my great aunt’s diary. I emailed most of it to my cousin for safekeeping in case my computer crashes but I still have about ten pages to finish plus proofreading.
    I had been working on clearing hard drive space on my computer so that I could have installed the scanner I was given and then scanned the diary but could not understand how after a day and a half of efforts in this regard, I ended up with little new space. Then I realized that every time I transferred a file onto a memory stick, and then moved it to trash on my computer, in some mysterious way my computer was duplicating it back into my hard drive.

    Anyway, on Saturday I had phoned a 93 year old friend who has the same type of windows as I was going to ask her a question. She didn’t answer so I became worried about her. I just had the windowpane out when another friend phoned me to say she was worried. I phoned the
    hospitals to see if she was there but no. Then I thought to call the phone company, waited an hour on hold, and asked them to do a check on our friend’s phone line. Sure enough it was not working. My other friend drove into the city to visit her and make sure she was ok. The phone company has now fixed her phone.

    The shoe store phoned me on Saturday to say the half-price sneakers were in. My friend went to pick them up on Sunday but the sales clerks couldn’t find them. I suggested over the phone that they may have just “walked away”. LOL. Today they phoned me to say they had found them and asked if we had ordered them online yet. Yes indeed. It will cost me $10 more for shipping but I got a $10 coupon. And my friend won’t be inconvenienced by another trip to the store. The two pairs of shoes that I originally had bought on half price were just the smallest bit too small so they were returned for full credit. I was running out of options and it looked like I might have to “trade up” and spend more for one pair. I had not bought a pair of shoes for about 20 years. Previously a store was going out of business and was selling high quality shoes regular $300 for $30. They only had one size, mine, so I bought all 5 pairs ($1500 of shoes for $150) and have worn them ever since. My last pair had a 4 inch hole in the sole. Anyway that brand now costs even more usually and at least here is never on sale. I started surfing the web and to my surprise found a Montreal store where that same brand was on sale. I bought one pair there. They are (blue!) low cut boots good for orthotics which should be good for walking and in the yard, especially in the taller grass. They had said delivery by Sept 8th but the tracking has been changed so it is now tomorrow — not bad, free delivery in four days over a long weekend! Then in Nova Scotia, I found a store that was discontinuing Clark’s shoes and they had a black pair that hopefully will fit me that were greatly reduced so I bought them. My only objection is that I had to pay Nova Scotia sales tax (which isn’t right – one ought to be charged sales tax according to the rate in the buyer’s home province — Alberta has no sales tax — but considering how difficult it has been to find shoes I guess I don’t mind supporting Nova Scotia too much). And at least the Montreal store did not charge me Quebec sales tax and I got free delivery. And finally, a pair of sneakers at half price from Calgary. I have my fingers crossed that all three pairs will fit. If so I shouldn’t need to buy any shoes for a long time, except perhaps for some slippers but I can wait for those. Also the store that sold me the sneakers threw in a couple of pairs of free socks.

    So Sunday arrived. I was hoping for a more peaceful day. Well, the lovely weather had yielded to smoke. Before it got too smoky I took my Dutch oven, filled with water, outside and washed my peaches, pitted, cut them, put them in baggies and then into the freezer. I used the water to water my flower pots. I had hoped to make jam but after all the stress of the day before, I just couldn’t. And to top off the weekend, I stepped outside to discover the high winds we had, had toppled a tree across part of the driveway. Now the smoke index is very high here (although in more northern cities/towns it’s even worse). When the smoke dissipates, I’ll be calling my tree chopper fellow.

    And so, windowpanes falling out, shoes walking off, falling tree, just another long weekend…hardly frugal. I treated myself to two small prime rib roasts on sale. One will be for my Thanksgiving dinner in early October; the other one probably for Christmas day. I also bought three pounds of extra lean ground beef for a good price and will make soup, lasagna and meat loaf out of it. Because of the extremely hot summer and poor quantities of grain in the harvest, some of the ranchers are culling their cattle herds. Also, it is expected the price of pasta will skyrocket because of the below average (in quantity) Canadian wheat harvest so now rather than later is a good time to stock up on pasta.

    1. Ellie’s friend ….

      Oh my word! I was cringing at the thought of your windowpane dilemma! Working with glass, especially large panes, is frightening. Were you wearing gloves? The sides of those panes are sometimes very sharp. I’m so glad you weren’t hurt. Good for you for staying as calm as you were, and finding a solution. Whew!

      Also glad to know that your elderly friend was well and the issue was only telephone service related. How kind of you to check on her. Hoping your week is much more relaxing and less eventful!

      1. Carolyn in Texas,
        Thanks so much. I didn’t even think to wear gloves. The pane is actually encased in a metal edge. The danger arose from if the inner pane would drop on me. It was interesting today as I was discussing this with a friend who grew up with brothers. I said I wondered why some women when confronted with a problem had a creeping feeling of incompetence. My friend said she was told she was incompetent when trying to do things in her brothers’ domain. On the other hand, I wasn’t told that growing up, and I had to do typically male things like getting up on the roof and cleaning gravel out of eavestroughs, shovelling my share of snow, mowing my share of lawn, my share pf weeding and gardening, changing a tire, charging a battery, helping lay a hot asphalt driveway on a 90º F day, plus I had to do all the “inside” “women’s” chores like ironing, scrubbing floors, doing dishes, grocery shopping, cooking meals, (none of which my brothers had to do). So although I was trained partially to have a “how can I fix this mentality”, there are times when I am overcome (temporarily usually) by a feeling of incompetence. Is it a generational thing?

    2. Oh Ann – how scary – so glad that you weren’t hurt. Also – glad to know that your elderly friend was ok. We once had to call the police for an emergency check on my parents (they lived rurally) – we hadn’t been able to get them to pick up the phone in days and we were getting very worried. Turned out dad had accidentally turned off their phone – and they were wondering why none of us had called that week!
      I hope that this week is a lot calmer.

  34. Hi Brandy and everyone
    It was so nice to see the rain coming down in your Instagram posts. I have vowed not to complain about the rain we get here(UK) even though sometimes it rains for days on end. It is a blessing really. It must have been lovely to see your husband and go out for a meal etc. You have a busy life of hard work and I applaud you for finding the moments of joy like a quiet breakfast in the garden.
    This week I mended the strap on a swimsuit, a scarf and a cardigan.
    Our electricity consumption for August was the same as that month for the last three years. As we go into autumn I am determined to keep our consumption down as much as possible.
    My husband’s small van passed it’s MOT ( annual safety certificate) with no work needed which was a win.
    We declined an invitation to an event which would have cost £50 minimum.
    We received pears, tomatoes and plums from clients and from our garden picked tomatoes, spring onions, radish, carrots, beetroot, French beans, potatoes and flowers. I took a bunch of dahlia, rudbeckia and sunflowers as a hostess gift to my sewing group and it was my turn to make a cake which I was able to do with ingredients from our larder.
    This week I checked over all the torches, batteries, candles and matches and only needed to replace a few batteries.
    I stocked up on dog dental chews on a deal.
    I found some excellent buys in a charity shop, a new tunic top, a new lighter weight jumper for autumn/ spring, a couple of books and best of all an Emma Bridgewater mug. Our youngest daughter likes this brand but it’s expensive ( £25 per mug!) so I was delighted to find one with swallows on it in perfect condition. It will be part of her Christmas present.
    Stay safe everyone.

  35. Brandy I am so glad you had some soaking rain there and nothing like a good downpour of rain to make things grow in the gardens and your gardens are looking magnificent and glad you could collect some water in barrels 🙂 . Lovely you were able to plant so much more in your vegetable gardens. We have not had much rain at all since February this year and so far have used 2 x 3000 gallon rainwater tanks of water and are working on our last 5000 gallon rainwater tank for household use. I do hope we get some good rain here shortly to fill up our rainwater tanks again otherwise we will be buying water in.

    I am shocked at the price of your water and electricity in the US Brandy and wondering how large families such as yourselves can live along with the higher prices of groceries and gas. We have just had increases of around 20 – 25% increases in electricity rates here in Australia too so we are fortunate to have solar to really reduce the cost of our electricity bills here. Gas prices have also gone up considerably but we run an all electric home as well as grocery prices.

    Glad you have been having some lovely meals in the gardens for a tranquil break from everything for a while and lovely about the hummingbird.

    We have been away on holidays and sadly our old Ford Territory collapsed on the side of the road with the cv joints and ball joints on our left hand front wheel giving way so the brake line and steering arm were the only thing holding the wheel on. Usually this would result in a car roll over but we were blessed and looked after and managed to pull the car up and off the main highway. The repairs would have been more than the vehicle was worth so we purchased a new 1 year old car which was not an easy task considering there is very few new cars to buy in any car lot.

    We managed to put slightly over a year of our wages in our emergency fund, we built up our bills account to cover a years supply of bills and topped up funds in our working account so we can pay bills from this account without loosing interest on our bills account.

    In the kitchen-
    Baked our own bread and cooked meals from scratch.

    In the home
    Did some more sorting of clothing and sorting through what fits us and what doesn’t and packed others away.

    We bought a year old LDV D90 in like new condition with low kilometres saving $3000 over the price of a new vehicle.
    Purchased all the car accessories (car seat covers, floor mats, bonnet protector, and boot cover) on eBay with discount codes for considerably cheaper than offered from the car dealer saving $26.55 on eBay prices.
    Bought a new ride on mower on sale reduced from $9899 to $8799 saving $1100 on usual prices. We will sell our old one secondhand.
    Purchased 3 sets of mower blades and 3 air filters and haggled the prices down from $417.50 to $375.90 saving $41.40 on usual prices.
    Bought a new Stihl hedge trimmer and bartered the price down from $1149 to $1065 saving $84.00 on usual prices.
    Purchased 2 cotton coverlets to replace ones that had worn out with a discount code on eBay saving another $20.
    Purchased 3 puffer jackets for DH from Best and Less on clearance for $15 each reduced from $45 ea saving $90 on usual prices.
    DH found 2 grain grinders on Amazon to suit our Kenwood Mix Master on sale for $127 ea saving $103.20 over prices quoted at Harvey Norman.
    From IGA we purchased a whole rump on sale for $8.99 cut free, 2 blocks of Old Gold chocolate on sale for $1.50 ea reduced from $2.50ea saving in total $148.27 on usual prices.

    Hoping everyone had a wonderfully frugal week ahead :).

    1. So glad to read that you weren’t injured when the car died – it must have been very scary. I am always amazed at how much you also accomplish – I see your comments sometimes on The Bluebirds site – you are all so busy and creative in how you save money.

      1. Margie from Toronto thank you and we were glad the car pulled up straight from 100km per hour with the broken suspension buried in the front wheel rim too 🙂 . It was scary to be sure as we both knew by the noise it was a catastrophic failure of the front suspension. Fortunately we have both done defensive driving courses but someone was looking after us for sure 🙂 .

        Many lovely frugal Bluebirds for sure too and with prices being so high everywhere we all have to save money where we can and do as much for ourselves as we can too 🙂 .

    2. Lorna,
      I had the pleasure of visiting Australia this August and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! You live in a lovely country and I can’t wait to visit again.

      1. Lea I am glad you loved your visit to Australia and thoroughly enjoyed yourself too 🙂 . We do have a lovely country here and where we live we are currently in drought and have not had rain since February so things are very dry and the grass is hay coloured. Hopefully we will get a good downpour of rain shortly to fill up our rainwater tanks, of which half are empty, to help us run the home. We have put ourselves on water rationing to save water so we don’t have to buy water in.

  36. So glad to hear about the rain and the rise in Lake Mead! Your utility bills sound horrendous, I feel for you!

    Funny you mentioned peppermint, just this week I thought about drying some and thought that someone in here would know if it is worth it? Does the taste keep well? This is the first year I have it in abundance, as I moved my mint to a much larger pot last fall.

    I’ve saved some notebooks, my son brought home from school before the summer holidays. The covers were torn and the pages completely wrinkled after they had been laying for a long time at the bottom of his school bag with computer and lunch box on top! The kids get new ones at school after the holidays, and there were only a few pages that had been written on. So after a brush up, we will use the notebooks for school work here at home. I removed the torn covers and the pages with writing, and ironed the remaining pages one by one – it looks really neat now! I plan to let him choose some crafting paper we already have in a color he likes and glue them to the first and last page to make a new cover. Then I will let him cut out letters from magazines to make up the words for each subject (english, math etc.) and glue them on the new cover. I think this is going to look really nice and entice him to take better care of the books.

    I continue dehydrating the last apples. I hand pollinate the squash to get a better yield. We are having a really nice and warm September so far, so I hope to get a good crop of squash and beans this month and maybe into October if we are lucky.

    1. It keeps very well!

      My parents visited the Celestial Seasonings Herbal Tea factory and they told them on the tour that peppermint is so strong that they have to keep it in a separate room from everything else. It keeps very well!

      1. Oh, thanks Brandy, that’s very encouraging to hear!
        I forgot to write about recipes for eggplant – here at home we love baba ganoush – a very delicious dish made from eggplant. We eat it as a sidedish, as a dip or on top of bread. We also dip slices in a thick batter (flour, water, salt, pepper and a pinch of curry) and fry it until golden brown and serve it with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top. Hope you will find some good uses for your crop!

      1. Hi Maxine. :-))Thanks 🙂 I think I just like the process of making something broken into something nice! The covers look so good now with the colors and the cut-out letters. I also sewed on a new blue cover with red thread – it just takes a couple of stiches… Because I was so glad about the result, I think I will make a similar photo-book as a birthday present for my mother together with my family. My husband usually finds all the nicest photos from the past year and order paper copies from a cheap internet site. I think I will glue the best ones into a homemade book, write something about each photo underneath and get my son to write her a birthday letter in the beginning.

  37. That is great news that your husband was able to come home for a short visit, you got rain and your A/C is working again. They say things come in 3’s.
    I was sick all week with a cold /cough so I was home for the week. My lungs have still not fully recovered from Covid and pneumonia that I had earlier this year. Thankfully we had lots of leftovers and meals in the freezer so we had plenty of food to eat. I tried to do a little in the garden everyday. We are still picking lots of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, swiss chard, lettuce, beets, parsley, and basil. I dug up the potatoes too. I am hoping to plant more seeds for fall plants this week. Hubby and I went for a drive to get me out of the house. We stopped at a little free library and I got 2 books, A Dave Ramsey book and a vegan cupcake book. I told Hubby to pick a recipe he wanted to try and I will make it. The weather has cooled off so windows have been open and the A/C was off. Today is supposed to hit 90 so it is back on. I made a double batch of a Greek salad dressing I love. I made banana nut muffins and chocolate walnut chip cookies. I froze half of the dough for another day. I froze another quart bag of jalapenos. I dehydrated more swiss chard and parsley. I made 3 batches of zucchini muffins. 1 was regular for me, 1 was GF for my daughter and 1 was dairy free for Hubby. The recipe is actually for a quiche but I make them muffin size. Laundry has been hung outside. I cut up several paper bags to use for greasy food. I had cut our grocery budget in half since the kids moved out. This was the 1st month that I was able to do it. The kids do eat over a lot and I still make them stuff since I enjoy it.

  38. As someone in a neighboring dry state also knows, two inches in a weekend is a LOT!! I’m wondering if I’ve ever seen that much fall here at once. What a huge blessing, not least of which because it cooled everything down for you. We’ve also had a bit of rain here, which has been nice. It sure has made it cold at night though — down to the low 40’s. It makes me wonder if I’m going to get a killing frost before I can cash out on our flower farm’s dahlia crop. Have you ever tried growing dahlias? I’m curious how they would do for you, esp as how you wouldn’t need to lift the tubers in the winter. They do need a lot of regular watering though, much like pumpkins, which I don’t think I’ve seen you grow?

    Here are my own frugal wins:


    1. I have tried dahlias, but they burn to death in May if they grow at all. It had been an expensice experiment. I wish they grew well here.

      1. Yes indeed, dahlias would be an expensive experiment! I will say that the dahlias I grew myself from seed actually have surprised me with how well they tolerate extreme temperatures. I planted mine in my high tunnel, which easily reaches temps of 110-115 in the summer (even with the sides vented), and they perform WAY better than the traditional “named” varieties you get from tubers. A packet of dahlia seeds isn’t very expensive — I think you can buy a packet of 50 or so from Johnny’s for probably $6 — so if you don’t mind the simpler look of seed dahlias, that might be an inexpensive way to continue to experiment.

        Your pumpkin comment made me laugh, ha ha 🙂

          1. Germination hasn’t been a problem for me, but that’s because I do almost all my seed starting inside under shop lights, using heat mats, seed starting mix, etc. The trick for me seems to be to do 80% organic potting mix with about 20% seed starting mix on top to help with germination, then I put the seedling trays on a germination heat map, use the humidity dome until about two-thirds of the tray has germinated, then take it off and just leave it under the lights for 4-6 weeks or so. It’s a lot of work, but if you ever start seeds inside, it’s a process that’s given me pretty amazing germination rates!

      2. Dahlias were one plant I never bought as I understood the deer love them. However, my friend,
        who was asked only to buy me fuschias and petunias for at most $32, arrived with huge pots of dahlias
        (and other unrequested flowers) to $123. Anyway, it was mid-May. I was worried about our extreme heat (not as hot as yours)
        but the dahlias did well. They were continually blooming from mid-May to mid-August and are now coming back into bloom.
        The fritillary butterflies loved them. I am going to try to overwinter the tubers. I hope to grow them next year. I’m sorry they didn’t do well for you. It would be interesting to know if they would grow in your winter…

      1. Have you tried potatoes and sweet potatoes? They tend to keep well, and sweet potato vines double as a flower 😍. Potatoes and zucchini seem to be the 2 things I can always count on in the garden.

        1. Potatoes have to be planted here in January and we can eat 10 pounds in a meal, so I have not found it worth the price to grow potatoes in my limited space. We are not fans of sweet potatoes, but I grow a decorative sweet potato vine (it doesn’t make food) in the garden in summer to have a green vine in the garden.

    2. Just finished reading your blog Torrie – boy are you a busy lady! I totally agree with what you said about not equating the amount spent with how much you love someone (I’m paraphrasing) – your baby looked lovely in her second hand dress and the ceremony and family party looked like a lot of fun without having to spend a fortune to impress people.

      1. We’re lucky in that we’re not surrounded by a lot of people who would expect us to impress them with our ability to put on lavish parties lol, but I do think the tendency to feel that way is more ingrained in us from marketing, social media trends, etc. than I think sometimes we realize until we start to really think about/question it. Thank you for your kind compliments!

  39. Brandy,
    I’m so glad you got the rain! I’m also glad you are taking time to eat outside and enjoy the space you work so hard on! Earlier this summer, we purchased new cushions for our outdoor furniture as well as an outdoor tv- I make it a priority for us to eat outside a few times per week.
    Early last week I realized that Imperfect Foods/Misfit Market would be sending me a large ($190) grocery order in spite of the fact that I had cancelled it during the shopping period. I contacted their customer service and they cancelled the charge to my card but said I would still receive the order. I did and I froze what I could and we are using the rest of the perishables this week before we go on vacation next week. We will be renting a beach house and I’ve started a grocery list at the nearby Safeway store. I will build our meal plan around what is on sale at that suture with the exception of a couple of nights of local seafood. All meals will be eaten at the beach house.
    We’ve been eating meals at home and spending as little $$ as possible in preparation for our trip to the beach
    next week followed by a short trip to Disney the following week for my daughter’s birthday. My daughter’s best friend will stay at my mom’s house while we are at the beach (to watch her dog) and then at our house to watch our dogs while we are at Disney. We will compensate her but it is more frugal than boarding our dogs.
    I’ve been watching The Waltons on Freevee via my Amazon Prime app on the television and not only am I enjoying it, it is also a good reminder about living frugally and using what I have on hand.
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  40. Hello Everyone!
    I’m so happy to hear about the rain that is replenishing Lake Mead. Much needed! I will join the chorus by complimenting your flowers, Brandy. Your bougainvillea is a gorgeous shade with the tinged tips. I have also found that nursery prices have nearly doubled in the past few years. I have been trying to stick to starting seeds for what I can. My husband and I need to replace some plants that have died and I do my best to grow some perennials instead of paying $20+ per plant. I’m getting ready to start some seeds for my fall garden, but still have to find a way to keep rabbits out of our fenced garden area. They especially love cool weather fall veggies. I think the rats are gone because I actually have non-nibbled strawberries (for the first time this summer) in my grow tower. My husband and I did some front yard clean up yesterday and our green bin is full. I cut some David Austen roses for the house and put them in a vase.

    Your electric bill is alarming. Our rates have gone up as well about $100 per month. We’re on a plan that averages our rate so that we pay the same each month. It helps me budget better. Even so, we’re getting ready to add insulation to the attic and I need to source some wood for our stove to help reduce energy costs. Our power went out 6 times for extended periods last winter with the storms, and it has gone out twice for no apparent reason this summer. I’ll feel better prepared with some wood when it’s colder.

    My husband’s term life insurance is expiring soon. We’ve begun to shop around for rates. I was surprised that Costco did not have the lowest premiums.
    In addition, we baked several loaves of country bread, made soup, pancakes and cookies from scratch, and had meals from our freezer. I made a blouse from some fabric in my stash and it turned out very nicely. One of my teens came down with Covid and we had over-the-counter medication and homeopathic remedies on hand to help her feel better, hopefully more quickly.
    Have a blessed and beautiful week!

    1. The more I look at different nurseries, the more I see that even with doubled prices on some things, my local nursery is still MUCH much cheaper than all others I have visited. I am grateful for that.

      So if you have a second place to compare or can start plants from seeds, definitely do that!

    2. Re: term life insurance:
      Our university alumni association has group rates, and I think our auto/home insurance agent sends us stuff about their plans. If you belong to any kinds of organizations or fraternal groups, you might find they have plans as well.

  41. I hope you have a good bean harvest from your experiment, and am very happy for you for the rain. I canned tomato sauce twice, and made your black bean burgers, using our onions and garlic, red pepper flakes and homemade lemon pepper. Leftover burgers were frozen for another two meals. I harvested cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, pawpaws, two pears, and figs. I brought a bunch of pawpaws to my massage therapist, and froze several batches of pulp. We bought seedless watermelons for $3.99 ea. All laundry was dried on the line. We’ve noticed organic potatoes have not been available in three different stores this week. As that’s one of the things I can eat in abundance, it’s a bit concerning. Almost all the potatoes we planted in the grow bags died, so we don’t expect there to be much if any potato harvest on the homestead. I had heard there would be a potato shortage, and I guess it’s true. However, yesterday we stopped at two Food Lions, and I was able to get six 3# bags. I’m considering trying dry canning potatoes, which is not one of the recommended methods, but has a following, including some of the people I follow online. If anyone has had experience with pressure canning potatoes in this manner, I’d love to hear. I do have jars of the small potatoes I canned the traditional “wet” way, but would love to see if this method is more like fresh.

  42. What a blessing the rain and cooler temperatures are! And I’m glad you are taking some quiet moments for yourself in the morning.
    We are headed out on a three week camping trip, so I spent most of the week getting ready for that. I made a lot of food to take with us, which saves money and time. *The green beans I purchased at the farmers market last week were so good I went back and bought a lot more. I canned 32 pints of green beans and froze two more packages.*We both downloaded a bunch of books from the library to read on our trip.* I planted seedlings I raised of cabbage, chard,and bok choy, and seeds for lettuce and arugula for a fall crop.

  43. Carolyn our dog got sprayed once by a skunk and never went near them again !My hubby bathed her twice in Avon bubble bath lathering her well all over then I diluted a gallon jug of vinegar half and half with water and he rinsed her really well making sure to cover her eyes.For a big strong rottweiller she never moved a muscle while he bathed her because she knew he was trying to help her.It worked really well.

  44. Thank you Brandy for your beautiful photos. I adore eggplant but have family members who share your viewpoint but they will all eat eggplant parmigiana – it’s fried and topped with cheese, very hard to resist…

  45. Oh I love Hummingbirds. We don’t get them in our country. I’m sorry to hear how high your electricity and water bills are.

    I came across two free upcoming community events to put in the diary, both of which provide free sweet and savoury food plus free carnival rides, activities, entertainment and craft. We will ride our bicycles to both and enjoy lunch and the festivities.

    I found and booked a free childrens theatre show in the city, to catch the train to on the upcoming school holidays. The children enjoy going on the train.

    My daughter was gifted a large bag of clothes.

    We enjoyed smores around the firepit whilst camping, movie night, bingo, plus lots of swimming, giant chess, soccer (football to those in the USA), waterslides, mini putt putt golf, and riding our bicycles. All activities including smores were free. Camping was $40 a night, which I booked via a sale email. I packed all food and made a few meals ahead of time.

    I bought 2 kilogram (4.4 pounds) vacuum sealed, frozen packs of chicken breast and vegetable mild curry from the grocery outlet for $3 each. I stocked up with 15 packs. They are like home cooking with no additives..just fresh and natural ingredients and plenty of chicken. We have been enjoying it over rice and with a side of steamed sweet potato.

    We enjoyed free bakery products from the grocery outlet including bread, bread rolls, english muffins, donuts and two sweet fruit loaves with icing (frosting) and cinnamon.

    I also got bananas at the outlet for 50 cents a kilogram (2.2 pounds) and free sweet potatoes.

  46. Brandy your flowers are beautiful as always. I am so proud that your husband got to come home for a visit. The rain there must have been like the halleluiah choir singing. We have had a lot of rain here lately. I have enjoyed your Instagram stories. I have a swing on the front porch I like to sit and read. I have been reading a series from the library-Tales from Grace Chapel Inn. They are Guidepost books and really good story lines for light reading. I think there are maybe 40 books in the series. We have paid off the credit card. I have been paying on this for ever. I used when we were at the hospital for a month and it has taken me two years to get it paid off. We have been cooking and eating our meals at home, and hanging up the laundry on the racks. Our families came over Sunday night for a fish fry and we all had a good time visiting and playing frisbee in the yard. It is almost cool enough for the fire pit. I can’t wait. Lots of good memories sitting around talking and laughing around the fire pit. Our utilities are going up, so we are being extra careful on turning things off and conserving where we can. My brother in law was approved for his transplant, so the paperwork wheel is in motion. My niece is going to donate bone marrow. We will be married 6 months on Sunday. Happy life.

  47. Frugal this week:
    Finally transferred my home and auto to USAA after a lifetime with State Farm. Their customer service has been atrocious. They disabled a policy without telling me even though it showed in their app, and found out when my car was hit! I did not save money on premiums but to be honest we were vastly overdue in updating because home values have gone up so much and we just don’t have a financial buffer with my husband out of work these 11 months.
    We did get news he was denied disability and is reapplying. Got the advice to add his bathroom schedule to his medical record as he deals with fallout from a considerable colon resection. Fingers crossed that this makes a difference.
    Requested financial aid for the next calendar year for boy scouts. I asked council if they would help both of us as I’m a volunteer.  If needed I’ll resign as volunteer to save the $72 in fees next year and we’ll save that money for my son.🤷‍♀️
    Brought 15 year old computer books home to shred for compost bin as they don’t have a monetary value anymore.
    Brought home newspapers from work also for shredding. A good destressor!
    Purchased some UA shirts for my teen athlete in labor day sale as he asked for one or two shirts as he didn’t have enough.  They averaged $15 each with shipping and I got some long sleeved ones to have for his birthday.
    Got 2 pair of jeans for my daughter for $50  at kohls. She only had one pair and needed more for work and school.
    Needed some pantry storage but realized I had extra Mason jars that we weren’t using for fermenting.
    I signed up for a fabric recycling bag with fordays.com. I will have lots of textile scraps from my daughter’s t-shirt blanket and will use the credits for a pair of shoes.
    Drove to other side of town to pick up some staples at Trader Joe’s. Picked up some spices next door at the Penzeys for $1 a container and will use in gift boxes at Christmas for family who are new to cooking (along with recipes that they can use with them).
    My pcp is leaving so checked in to see if I was due for labs or mammo before she left.
    Picked up 6 meds with no copay. Yay, deductible?
    Have a blessed week.

    1. Hi Robbie,
      I don’t post very often but read about the denial of disability. My husband was denied the first time he applied and then we heard about Allsup. We submitted information to them and they said that they would represent us. They have lawyers that will take the cases. The only monies that they take is if you win, and then it is a certain percentage of what was awarded. They don’t take any more than that. It was a blessing for sure and may be something for you to check out. I hope things work out for you and your husband.

  48. For everyone looking to reduce water and kitchen stove electricity/gas use, Cook’s Illustrated recently did a study and found that 1 pound of dried pasta cooked in 1 quart of cold water (rather than 4 quarts of boiling water) turned out just fine. For shaped pasta, they recommended a ratio of 8-16 oz of pasta per quart cold water in a large saucepan. For strand pasta (spaghetti, fettucini), they recommended cooking 8-16 oz of pasta in a large skillet with 6 cups of water, and partially covering the pan. It sounds like this method will take a bit of trial and error to figure out the proper cooking time, but I’m going to give it a try!

    Frugal wins this week: accepted peaches and pears from a friend, leftovers from a church dinner Wednesday night, and brownies and muffins from my lovely mom. I saved two shirts that had gotten dye transfer stains by soaking them for 48 hours in oxiclean and then washing again. I saved $137 on my last visit to the library, according to my checkout receipt. I stocked up on items we use a lot (glue sticks, binders) when Target reduced school supplies to 70% off. I cut up three very worn bath towels into rags and “hemmed” them with my serger.

    1. I use less water plus I only cook the pasta for 4 minutes, turn off the burner (gas stove; move the pasta, if electric), and let it sit for 10 minutes. Perfect pasta every time.

  49. Brandy, I have chopped up peeled eggplant and used it in spaghetti sauce with or in place of ground beef. Sometimes I add chopped mushrooms as well. No one has ever noticed or complained. I also sometimes mix a little mashed eggplant in with the ground beef to make meatballs or the occasional meatloaf. Again, no one has ever noticed.

  50. I’m so grateful for this group of like minded people. I’ve been frugal as long as I can remember, owing it to my wonderful Mom. I’ve been made fun of over the years for my frugal ways, but I was able to retire at 58 . “ Oh, just spend the money “ they’d say. But having been mindful of my money I can then spend on the things that matter to me.
    Things really kicked into gear 30 years ago when I subscribed to the Tidewad Gazette . I’m a self professed homebody, and figure I could live anywhere as long as I can make a home.
    Taught myself pressure canning, which was scary the first time but I feel so accomplished when I do. To me, seeing home canned foods out of the canner looks like artwork to me ! I have a small garden, no food waste, hardly ever buy food that comes in a box, cook three meals a day, or batch cook . There’s a food pantry that I go to once a week, which helps my food budget , mostly picking up vegetables and fruit if they have them. I just take a few items and not all so those truly in need have them. My food budget is $100.00 a month which includes anything that goes in my mouth— no toiletries or pet products.
    The last 2 years I’ve been teaching water aerobics during the summer at a nearby outdoor pool. I get a little bit of money, make new friends, and the pool is beautiful located right on the ocean ! My husband and I both stay active, even though I’ve had 4 joint replacements, but I’ve gotten so much stronger through the years and. Will be 70 next year.
    Thank you for continuing to help me learn and be inspired.

  51. I don’t know how to spell Babaganoosh but it’s so good. We made that this year for the first time with our eggplants and we froze some of it for later. (BABA GANOUSH, I guess.) Yum!

  52. Hi Brandy
    have you tried Calabrian eggplant “meatballs” (polpette di melanzane, aubergine fritters) ? Might be popular with spaghetti, lots of receipes on the web.
    Eggplant also works as a dip (I microwave it, mash it and add one (1!) drop of liquid smoke to get that chargrilled taste … plus lemon juice and some olive oil. Your peppermint might come in handy, too).
    Pasta alla Norma and eggplant parmigiana also come to mind as no doubt you know.
    Happy experimenting and eating!

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