Frugal Accomplishments

How We Saved Money This Past Week

I picked peaches, tomatoes, figs, red and green beans from the garden. I cut mint, rosemary, green onions, chives, grapes, and the first Armenian cucumber of the year from the garden (it was about 2 feet long).

We had a major savings this week. Our house has two air conditioning units. When one went out several years ago, we found out that the law had changed and that air conditioner companies were required to install new, much larger units that are more efficient. At the time, we had a home warranty company, which covered the cost of the new unit, but it took about a month for them to fix it, because they faulted the home builder for not having installed a larger unit to start (though a larger unit was not required at the time the house was built). Our house was 103 inside both day and night for that month, even with the other air conditioner unit running.

This time, we knew the motor was going out as it was making some awful noises.

My husband replaced the motor. The part was $150. That was a great deal cheaper than the several thousand dollars that it would have cost to replace it with a new unit, and he fixed it early in the morning, so our house stayed cool. While we know that replacing the unit with one that is more efficient should save money over years, it would take a lot of years to make up those thousands of dollars.

I watched two free business webinars. I’ve watched several recently; most were not worth my time, so I did not even mention them. Both of these were very good and I learned a number of things.

They both had offers for classes at the end. I have bought one class from the one teacher before that was very good, but I felt like I already had something that I had purchased for less (from another instructor) that would work for my needs. The other had something that I had been wanting, and she offered her class for half off at the end of the webinar.

If there is an online class that you’re wanting to buy from someone, I recommend watching the free webinar (if they offer one) to the end, as there is usually a significant price discount after watching the webinar. It’s usually not half, but usually $100 to $150 off at least. I purchased the class for half off from the second instructor, as I feel like it is a worthwhile investment in my photography business that will more than pay for itself this year.

I listened to music on Pandora. I laughed when I accidentally clicked on a Christmas station that I had and “Let it Snow!” started to play. It was 107 outside that day.

I picked up 19 more books at the library for my girls to read that they had requested.

We decided this month to spend more than our budgeted amount for groceries in order to stock up on some items. Should meat be rationed or unavailable in the fall, we will have some in the freezer. Should prices of meat soar, I will have bought at the lowest prices. Should I feel unsafe to go shopping as the number of virus cases rises even more in our area, I won’t have to go out. I expect I’ll make up the difference by not shopping for food and toiletries in months to come. If our income stops or becomes very little, I’ll have what we need and not have to worry about shopping. When we went over a year without shopping before, I was well stocked for our family of then seven. We have nine at home now (our two eldest having moved out) and the children are bigger, so I will need more than I did then.

Fortunately, I also have a more productive garden, which I didn’t have the year we didn’t go shopping, having just moved into our house with tiny fruit trees and vines that weren’t producing yet. We had some vegetables from the garden at the time, but no fruit. Now, I’ve planted the front yard as well and I have food and flowers there.

I stocked up at the grocery store (Smith’s) on sale items: I bought three boneless pork loin roasts for $0.99 a pound, two whole chickens (each over 6 and half pounds!) for $0.78 a pound, five packages of chicken thighs for $0.78 a pound (I like thighs because they only have one small bone in them), five gallons of ice cream ($3.49 each when you buy five; it’s 107 degrees here, so that didn’t take much convincing!), five 2-liter bottles of store-brand root beer for $0.79, six 16-ounce bags of mini marshmallows on clearance for $1.04 each, and ten tubes of Colgate toothpaste for $1 each, plus one 2-liter bottle of seltzer water on sale for $0.99. I had a pretty full cart and the total was $112.35. The cashier and the bagger were very impressed. The cashier said to me, “How did you do that?” I said that everything I bought was on sale. She remarked to me, “I need to read the ads better!” All of these items were not just on sale, but they were on sale for the lowest price they go in our area (though I have rarely seen chicken go to $0.67 a pound here but not very often). I froze most of the meat (we sliced the pork into chops and ground some for tacos before freezing) and we enjoyed root beer floats one night as well as one afternoon–plus we will be able to have them again.

The gallons of store-brand ice cream have a limited number of flavors. Rocky Road is not one of them. I added some of the marshmallows along with some sliced almonds (bought in bulk from Sam’s Club) to the gallon I bought of chocolate ice cream. I didn’t mix it in; I just put some in the bowls with it when we dished it up.

I spent time in the garden with my husband removing a chaste tree that had self-seeded from my neighbors in my blackberries and a mulberry tree that had self-seeded that I had permitted to grow, but that did not produce this year (while my potted, self-seeded one did–though I may get rid of that one as well, because the berries were tiny and tasteless). There really isn’t room for a mulberry that isn’t producing, and without it, I can grow more in the space. Also, it was too close to the corner of the garden and there really isn’t the space for a tree there.

We also cut down the elderberry bushes. I will have to take some time to dig them out this next week. They are highly invasive and are taking over my garden, sending up trees in the grass and throughout the planters. I have had them for years but have never gotten any berries to harvest; they flower, then start to turn into berries, then the birds get them within a week (if I cover them, they turn ripe within 2 weeks, but the birds still get through, and they are only the size of peppercorns. Maybe that’s the correct size, but I don’t know; the heat makes fruits and flowers small here). They also shade a huge portion of the garden which has not allowed anything to grow there. I want to be sure to maximize my space for the most productivity, so out these all go. I will put roses in where there were elderberries and I will grow lettuce, parsley, and Swiss chard in the planter behind that which will now get enough sun.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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260 Comments

  1. At Sam’s Club (in Northern Utah, in Logan), they had ground beef in prepackaged groups of 3 lbs for just $5.99 ($4.99 if you were willing to go 80/20). I had to double check with the employee working the meat counter to make sure I understood the price correctly! I ended up stocking up and getting 9 lbs., which we have made into meatballs and tacos.

    We’re also moving this week, and we have had SUCH a headache trying to figure out how to move our chicken coop and chickens. It looked like we were going to have to rent a trailer or truck (to the tune of about $160) JUST to move the chicken coop, but we called around to our family and friends and located someone with a trailer big enough and will be borrowing a truck to tow it down. It’s still not moved yet (and I’m still sweating about how it’s all going to go down!), but at least we saved that initial amount.

    Question: once your chives plant has flowered and the blooms have died, are the chives still good to use? I’m assuming yes (until the plant dies), but I’m not sure.

    1. This is our first time gardening and while most things have been successful, the lettuces and herbs were eaten right up. What do you do for pest control?

      1. Oh darn, I was hoping for a reply. I’d like to know if you use natural ways of pest control or what is effective for you. Thanks.

        1. In the garden, I use neem oil to spray in the dormant season. It’s an organic spray. I have also used diatomaceous earth to kill bugs, which is another organic solution. It’s a powder that kills bugs, but once it gets wet, it is no longer effective. For caterpillars, I spray BT or Spinosad, which are also organic sprays. It’s not good to spray when it’s over 90 degrees, as it can fry plants. That’s five months of the year here, so I don’t spray during those times. You can also use dish soap and water in a spray bottle to kill aphids and wasps.

  2. The flowers of the elder make a great cordial and it had many health properties. The berry’s do tend to be very small and a pain to pick of the stems. They again are super healthy and make a great cough syrup. We make elderflower coridal into ice lollies too sometimes. I forage for both as I don’t have the space for my own tree. Luckily they grow in a few places.
    In the UK it’s a folk lore that the elderberry tree is protected by fairies and you should always thank the tree before taking the flowers/berries.
    At the minute I’m forging raspberries and making jam for Christmas presents. Next will be blackberries and crab apples.
    Have a lovely week.

    1. I know the flowers can be used, but in all these years, though I’ve pinned recipes, I’ve never used them. I have a lot of fruit ripe at the same time, so I can’t get to the flowers. I planned to make syrup with the berries but after 5 or so years of growing them I’ve never been able to harvest berries. I’d much rather put some David Austin roses in their place and grow food behind them.

      1. I’ve not had luck with shaking them off, will have to try that. We use a dinner fork to comb them off the stems.

  3. Not a ton of savings last week, but some

    Hubby repaired his own headlight

    Redeemed a coupon I received in the mail for a free Little Caesar’s pizza. The 13yo and I got 2 lunches out of it.

    My mom sent over 2 half gallons of milk, some mini donuts, a bag of chips, clementines, 2 cases of water, and 2 pairs of capris.

    Hubby purchased a box of tomatoes and a watermelon Friday. He and the 13yo ate on the watermelon all weekend.

    Stayed home as much as I could; it’s hot outside.

    Returned a library book on time to avoid a fine

    Sold an item and made $10

    Turn the ac off in the mornings when I leave for work, then try to leave it off a bit after I get home. (Usually 4 hours)

    Hubby started making his ice at home, saving $3 every couple of days from having to buy a bag for his cooler.

    Purchased a few extra things that will keep(conditioner, body wash) to build supply back up

    1. does he freeze jugs or water bottles to add to the cooler. It helps a lot to have large chunks of ice that doesn’t melt as fast.

  4. We had one of our 9 year old granddaughters over for a sleepover and a second sewing lesson. During the first lesson on my sewing machine, she made a quilt top out of scraps of mine that she chose. This time, put it on Lenni (my longarm machine) and I followed the pantograph she chose and the we bound it afterwards. Here’s a photo of my proud little gal! https://pin.it/4CLixv7
    After just 3-1/2 months, we finally got our $30 rebate from Menards. It’s actually only good to use on purchases in their stores. I hoped to get more 1/2 gallon mason jars but they were out. Also out of lids but they had Ball regular pint jars (boxes of a dozen) for $7.39 each so I bought 4 boxes to add 48 jars + new lids! I will get 11% rebate on those as well so my final cost will be $6.58/dozen! So, I’m pleased!

    My cucumbers have been producing more than we can eat up fresh so I was able to can 4 pints of sweet pickle relish from 4 of my garden cukes + chopped onions and bell peppers that I had frozen previously! https://pin.it/4vSPrEQ. You can see from photo that I’ve been dehydrating carrots for my daughter-in-law and freezing more green beans from our garden for us to enjoy through the winter! I’ll be canning more sweet pickle relish today!

    I found Skippy peanut butter on sale for 94 cents/jar after coupons and rebate. Also Power Ade (I like to keep rehydrating drinks in my basement pantry for sick or dehydrated family.) for 49 cents each if you bought 8 or more! But wait! There were hang tag coupons that said if I bought 3 PowerAdes, I would get a free high protein shake. So I bought 9 PowerAde drinks and found a clerk to help me find the 3 free shakes. The clerk was so nice! Instead of directing me all over, she went with me until we found them! Then she told me that it was my lucky day! The shakes sell for $2.99 but they are on sale this week B1G1Free! She told me to get 6 instead of 3. When I went to check out, the shakes scanned 3 for $2.99 each and 3 free. But then, when I gave her my hang tag coupons, it credited back $8.97 back on my bill!! So that was a nice free add-on to our pantry! We also got 5 more boxes of Creamette spaghetti/ pasta for 69 cents a box!

    I also found at Meijers BL Angus beef eye of round for $2.99/pound! $3.29/pound is my usual price point I like for any boneless beef! So I bought 4 and had butcher slice 3 into 1” slices (that I will cut into strips, then chunks and pressure can in PINT jars! 😉) The fourth one, I had sliced into 1/2” slices that I will cut into strips and package in freezer bags with various marinades I make!
    So, it seems like there are still opportunities to add to our pantry/food storage with sale prices, if we watch closely!

    When our direct deposit checks from SS came in, we were able to zero out excess in our checking account and take 5 additional principal payments off our mortgage! Only 54 more payments left and we have been taking 6 off per month! It’s getting closer and we will be happiest when that debt is retired!

    We planted more fall garden crops in our various beds/containers to make the best use of our space.

    I am now making the whole wheat sandwich bread every week and it has even been grandchildren-approved! So that’s one less thing to buy from the store any more! It’s almost become like a fun game/challenge to see how many items we can eliminate from purchasing at the store!
    In these ever challenging times, we find hope and peace from our faith, our family and our home.

    I hope everyone is staying safe and feeling an inner peace through these tumultuous times!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      1. Brandy- I thought that for a first sewing project using the sewing machine would be a little doll quilt or pillowcase, but she decided on a lap quilt and chose very carefully from my fabric scraps!
        The colors and prints of fabrics are reflective of the woods on their property (she told me!) .

  5. Hello! I haven’t commented in a while but I read faithfully. We have stayed home, stayed home, stayed home. That within itself is a huge money saver. I order groceries for pick up and I have been ordering extra each week to stock up on meat and other items. We remodeled our master bathroom a while back and it was 19 feet long which was too much, so we shortened it 5 feet and made a pantry area for overflow items. It isn’t a years worth yet, but we could probably go at least two months without shopping if necessary. We are putting extra money towards the food budget each week to stock up as much as possible.

    Our checks are direct deposit, so every week I have started zeroing our account. Whatever is in the account on Wednesday is moved to a savings account, since my husband gets paid on Thursday. My check is monthly so that account gets zeroed out at the end of the month. We have made it a game to see how much we can leave in the accounts lol. But staying home has really been the best way to save money.

    1. Myra- That’s what we’ve been doing with the zero-out when our direct deposit comes in once a month! I take the lion’s share these days to make extra principal payments on our mortgage (which is our final debt and now down to $18K) and then about 1/4 to 1/3 of the excess goes into our savings account! It’s amazing how those amounts add up!! I love that you make it a game! I thought I was the only one who did that! 😉

  6. I picked free figs and froze them. I froze both butter and margarine for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I bought hot dogs (chicken) for 88 cents a package. I grilled them in a cast iron skillet on top of the stove and brought five of the eight for work lunches. I brought a loaf of bread to work for the bun because that is what my grandma used to do for buns, loaf bread, and I like it better than hot dog buns. I already have mustard at the office. I packaged them in an old sliced meat container I had saved, I think it was a great value plastic container that had sliced turkey in it. I put the other three grilled hotdogs in my red beans and rice I made for supper. I had cooked my dried red beans in the crockpot, with Cajun spices. I added the sliced grilled hot dogs instead of the sausage usually used for red beans, tomatoes, and grilled peppers (I bought the peppers and tomatoes at the local farmer’s market.) I made a crust less quiche like The Tightwad Gazette’s recipe, using eggs, leftover spinach, carrots, tomatoes, onion, a little cooked rice, and spices. I think I mentioned recently that I am now all stocked up on beans for the year and I am working on stocking up on canned tuna. After I finish that, I will start turning my attention to stocking up on First Aid and cold medications in the coming weeks. My food supplies are still lopsided but so much better than they were.

    1. Cindy, how is your weather? I think I remember you one time telling about your house and the way that it was built kept it naturally cooler.

      1. We have had 104 to 110 heat index but now we have cooled off and are having rainstorms with highs in the upper 80’s. My electric bill last month was $58 so I have been able to keep the air off during the day, since I am at work. How is your weather?

        1. The upper 80’s. . . wow! Sounds like fall weather! We’ll get that in mid-October. Our lows are in the low 80’s this week. I think it’s so awesome that you can have such a low electric bill!

          1. It has been a wonderful change! I am not sure if it is related to the hurricane in the GUlf but it started to cool off when that happened, even though it headed in the opposite direction from us. But, sadly, it is supposed to go back to high heat indexes next week…oh well.

  7. Lovely photos, as always.

    I, too, stocked up on toiletries and supplements. I had a coupon for our local Pharmaca drugstore, $25 off $100 (which I had earned from a prior purchase). So I stocked up on things I regularly use. On top of that, my credit union’s Passport discount card offers a 15% discount at this store. I can’t find my receipt right now, but I ended up saving about $42 on my purchase! I have one more coupon for this store for $10 of $40, which expires Friday, so I need to use it by then. Anyway, I was very pleased with my savings!

    When I picked up my vegetable share last week at the CSA farm, I also picked some swiss chard from their “field of greens”. You are allowed to pick a certain number of leaves from each type of greens each week. I blanched and froze the chard for future use. I am planning to do this with one type of green per week. It always seems like a lot of work, but it usually only takes me about 20 minutes to do the entire process. I also have extra kohlrabi and zucchini I will share with my mom.

    My neighbor asked me to hem two pairs of jeans and alter one of his shirts. He brought me some sushi to say thank you (his wife’s family operates the sushi stand in a local grocery store). It was a nice treat.

    I fixed some masks for my mom. She had a few that tied behind the head, and she wanted elastic instead. I bought a bunch of fold over elastic online, so I used this. It is soft and comfortable.

    Found some lightweight pants on sale at Eddie Bauer outlet. Shortened them into capris, because I dislike wearing long pants during the summer. Found a few sale/clearance tops at Kohl’s. I needed a few things suitable for work, so now my wardrobe has been refreshed at a big savings.

    Bought a new mop (eCloth brand). I decided I wanted to keep my house cleaner with less effort, and this is very easy to use. I hated dragging out my old mop. This one I like, and I already used it several times. The mop head has a three year warranty, which should make it worth the price.

    Otherwise, I did the things I usually do: cooked at home, brought my lunch to work, made water kefir, picked green onions and herbs from my patio garden, watched YouTube and listened to podcasts, sat on my patio, and went for walks at local parks.

    Hope everyone has a good week!

  8. Wow Brandy your photos are beautiful! So glad you got your AC fixed cheaply and quickly! We aren’t far behind you here in Virginia with high temps of 95-100 most days for the last 3 weeks. And the prices on your groceries are amazing. I ventured into Walmart for the first time since March this past week. I was a bit surprised at the still empty shelves. It really does make one want to get what you can while you can. I went in specifically to look for a couple things, one being canning supplies, and was pleased to find regular lids for $2.28 a box. I grabbed 5 boxes to put away for later. I also grabbed some Mrs. Wages pickle mixes since they had them. They actually still had jars, but I passed on them. I have been watching a lot of canning, preserving, and gardening videos on YouTube. Someone posted a stuffed pepper soup (minus rice) video and it reminded me I had 2 large peppers in the refrigerator, and a small, older bag of ground beef in the freezer. I canned up 4 jars of that along with about 8 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I picked up as well. I picked up a large container of quick oats to try to make my own oatmeal mixes and maybe granola bars. I picked up a few school supplies for my classroom and will get more for my Operation Christmas Child boxes while things are on sale. I decluttered my closet and have some bags of clothes to take to Goodwill. I found a few things that I thought I had lost so the decluttering was really needed. lol. I ordered a year or so worth of air filters for my AC/heat unit because I could get a 4 pack for the price of 2 individual ones. I am trying a new dog food for my dog that will save me $20 per bag. My garden is not liking the heat, but the deer have enjoyed my green bean plants. I will be hitting the local farmers market this week for some fresh produce to preserve.

  9. I didn’t leave the house from Saturday morning one week to Monday morning eight days later, and didn’t spend any money at all during that time. I put the garbage bin out, but that was the only time I left. (Living alone, I also didn’t speak to anyone other than online, like commenting on this blog, which is very different than before COVID.)

    The province gives me a very small seniors supplement for low to modest income earners. It is small because I am quite close to the income threshold for the program, so I don’t complain. To my surprise, this month’s check was $6 more than usual, reflecting changes to my income in my 2019 tax. This supplement was $33 when I first started receiving it last year. It is now $45, which I find is really a meaningful amount of money, especially because it is paid two days before any other pension.

    I headed out to buy a few groceries. The 5 lb flats of blueberries that were advertised at $10.99 a couple of weeks ago, but which were not in the store, were there this week. There was no price on them. When I asked, I was told they were $15.99. I am blueberryless. They can charge any price they want, and I can pass on any price I want. One of the items I bought was a very small bottle of canola oil, which had a shelf label of $1.89, which is comparable in price per fl oz to the price for the next size up, though it was a different, usually much. much more expensive brand. When I drove home, I looked at the receipt and found I had been charged $4.49. I went back to the store (fortunately it is only three doors away), and checked the shelf. The shelf label was under the wrong bottles. They agreed to exchange it, which was lucky because there have been no exchanges allowed the last few months. Extra money in my pocket, which I’ll be using with some other change to buy gas for my weed-trimmer. Packages of hotdogs here now have 10 hotdogs in them, instead of 12. Hotdog buns come in packages of 12. A bit annoying because this store has only recently started to stock 12 packs of buns instead of 8 packs, and the numbers were actually working out.

    Very small successes, but typical for the week before pensions are paid. I hope you all are finding some peace this week. It was difficult to read many of the posts last week, when many posters were so anxious about possible food shortages and income reductions. My heart goes out to you.

    1. I think in the months and years to come, we will look back at this time and wonder how we ever had such abundance.

        1. “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts huge falls in GDP for 2020 as a whole – an extraordinary fall of 5.9% for the US and 6.5% for the UK.

          In fact the IMF estimates the entire world economy will shrink by 3% this year, making it the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.”

          https://www.bbc.com/news/business-52986863

        2. I’m not Brandy, but, from what I have read, many farmworkers have been struck with Covid. For a while, the government was restricting visas for farmworkers as well. Not sure if this is still the case. If there are fewer people to harvest the food, there could be shortages. And many meat packing plants have been hit hard by Covid too. I don’t think the food production and delivery system is quite as robust as people think.

          1. In the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., meat packing is in a few limited places, and yes, workers got Covid, which caused those packaging places to shut down. You can read about the Smithfield plant here.

            1. It isn’t just food that is an issue. There are shortages of parts to fix AC units, new furnaces are almost non-existent for instal, those that need to replace other household appliances from washers/dryers to fridge stove etc. are out of luck as well. The supply chain has been broken.
              I’ve noticed certain things are not in stores like pails of sour cherries. I guess there’s not enough pickers. And my neighbour was going to buy a flat of pre=picked raspberries from a farm but they were over $70! There’s lots of things that there’s a shortage of pickers, a shortage of aluminum cans etc.

              1. Yes, I’ve seen those shortages too. I heard about sewing machines, freezers, and appliances in general; I hadn’t thought about furnaces, though!

  10. This week the kids made bird feeders out of craft sticks with a hot glue gun. We have also been learning to play UNO, DOS, Phase 10. The card games have been given to us as gifts the past few years. A perfect time to start using them! I went to the Dollar Tree for cleaning supplies and found a few BluRays for $1 each. Perfect for this coming week when I need entertainment for my kids as I recover from my next dentist appointment.

    1. +Brandy, thank you for helping educate us about the economic situation we are in and what maybe coming. As home economists it is up to us to help our households prepare as best as possible and do it thoughtfully but hopefully not fearfully. I think we are all trying to prepare and you certainly set a wonderful example for this community here!

      It has been hot here in piedmont NC, and the blackberries and blueberries are dried up, but the pear tree is loaded as well as watermelon and they are both almost ready for picking. I am picking cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and zucchini; rosemary, peppermint, basil, lamb’ s quarters and oregano. I am drying the herbs and zucchini as well as freezing it too.

      I found more blueberries for $.99 a pint and I have enough for the winter now. I also found organic sausage for the same price per pound and got 5 pounds. It seems to be what I am finding marked down and I try to get only organic so we will be eating a lot of it this fall and winter.

      A small but fun thing I tried is using English ivy for washing my clothes with. I cut dark green leaves and put them in a jar and filled it with boiling water and let it soak for 30 minutes. Then I put the ivy water in with my laundry and put the leaves in a tied up sock with the wash. It did beautifully on my son’s clothes, he is a machinist and it cleaned them. There is a substance called saponin that is a foaming agent that cleans. We already wear our clothes several days before washing except our exercise clothes and undergarments All loads are line dried so the only cost is electricity, we are on well water.

      After the mice problem this month I have been restocking my older dried herbs,I want to have plenty of good medicinal herbs going into the winter. I am doing lots of library book reading on medicinal herbs as there is always more to learn and apply! My kids sometimes tease me about being a mad scientist,but hey always call when they are puny or their kiddos are. So many valuable skills have been lost, and I want to bring them back!

      I hope you all have lovely week and I love the photo, Brandy. It is lucious looking!

      1. Jean,

        Did it take out all the grease?

        I would convince my husband to let me grow ivy in a pot for this! How interesting!

        1. The clothes are stained beyond belief, but it got them clean, if that makes sense, including our workout clothes. Gardenpat, it is just plain old invasive English ivy. I found the post on a blog I read and then double checked it on the internet. There are several things that have saponin, including clematis which grows on my front porch and will bloom in August. I will try it then and report back.

          1. Really interesting! I told my husband (who hasn’t wanted me to grow ivy, because it is so damaging to walls) and he was interested. Interesting to learn that about clematis as well! Is it the flowers or the leaves?

            My hardest stains to remove are chocolate and ketchup/tomato sauce. I just took a shirt out of the washer this morning and the chocolate stains are still there, sadly.

            1. I saw Ruth do this on the Wartime Farm series – but I think she washed her hair with it! Apparently it was promoted as soap was in such short supply.

            2. One cup of Cascade powdered dishwasher detergent plus one cup of Clorox 2 and the hottest water the fabric can take, soak overnight and then wash as usual. This takes out pretty much any stain.

      2. Jean- Do you mean this kind of English ivy? https://pin.it/wQPmxgt

        Sorry for the photo link. This was taken at Halloween one year when we made the ivy covered arch to our front porch look like a monster’s mouth with teeth and a tongue sticking out! 🤪🤪
        I do have a huge amount of this ivy in my front yard that I could experiment with!

      3. I love your comment about preparing our households, “thoughtfully, but hopefully not fearfully.” I think we make better decisions the more we can keep our anxiety under control. Bringing calm to one’s own household and one’s own mind can be done while still taking the situation seriously.

        1. I agree. I don’t think we need to panic buy. I do think that we’ve seen how quite quickly even jobs that seemed very secure weren’t very secure at all. We should all be prepared for job loss. Having a stocked pantry can see us through a long period of unemployment if need be.

  11. Beautiful photo this week! Love the vintage scale. Some things we’ve done in the last month to save money:
    *made a price book for everything I normally purchase for food and household supplies so I can see what prices to stock up at and which stores are worth the drive. We are 30 minutes from cheap groceries so I have to plan well if I’m going to make the drive once or twice a month and still save money
    *gave my husband and two sons haircuts, plus a pretend hair cut for our girl twin, she wants a cut every time her twin brother gets one but she didn’t actually need one!
    *signed older kids up for school online only for this semester, which will save us the cost of new school uniforms (both have outgrown last years) and school supplies since we already have what we need at home.
    *we are purchasing a home and moving out of our rental in 3 weeks. We saved all the decent moving boxes from our last move and will only need to purchase tape and a moving dolly. The move is only 3 miles and we own a van, a truck, and a small enclosed trailer so we should be able to do most of the move ourselves and will only hire movers for one half day, we should spend less than $500 total.
    *During negotiations for the house we are buying, we asked the sellers what they would want for a few of the furniture items in the home. The sellers use the house as a vacation home so the furniture looks brand new and in much better shape than anything we have. They said we could have everything on our list, no charge! So we are getting a large leather sectional, a pool table, 4 televisions already mounted on the wall, and a complete bedroom set and mattress for our daughters room, all free. We will be able to sell or give away a few of our old items. The new house also has an avocado tree 3 stories tall with about 100 ripe avocados and a mango tree and room for a garden.
    *My husband has been wanting to purchase kayaks and was able to find two used ones and negotiated down to $900 cash for both plus paddles. They cost $1600 each new and they look like they’ve never been used. We can walk to a boat launch on an ocean sound from our current and new house so the kayaks will be cheap fun for our whole family.
    *I have sold several items on eBay and Facebook marketplace. I gave some outgrown kids clothes to a friend and she gifted a few jars of homemade salsa in return, yum!
    *my husband bought a used truck and got an offer for trade in on his old vehicle when he purchased the truck. The offer was so low it was funny. We listed the vehicle for private sale and it took a few weeks to find a buyer but we got $6000 more than the trade in offer. It was a nice vehicle that held its value and we would have loved to keep it (we usually keep vehicles 10 years or more) but we bought it before our twins came along and it didn’t fit our larger family anymore. Lesson learned to not ever trade in a car if you can avoid it! A small amount of work is worth the higher return.
    *My husband is a veteran and receives some disability from the VA, so he can get free entrance to our state parks and National Parks. We used both passes in the last month to take our kids to the beach, brought food with us, and the beaches were near empty so it’s good free social distanced fun for all of us. For anyone disabled OR over 65, you can get a free lifetime pass to National Parks.

    1. Kelly, love the story about the “fake” haircut for your daughter. It’s the same at my hairdresser’s house. Her three year old granddaughter insists on having a haircut every time a client gets one, so the little girl gets several cuts per day. Of course, grandma just runs a comb through it and pretends to cut it. But granddaughter insists on sitting in the chair and putting on the cape each time. It’s absolutely hilarious.

    2. Kelly,
      Where are you in Florida? I assume you know that avocados don’t ripen on the tree: you need to pick them. I’m envious, My tree is so old it no longer bears!

      1. We are in Key Largo. I guess I hadn’t thought about when the avocados ripen, I’ve never seen avocados growing until we moved here last year! That makes sense though because even when I buy them at the store, it takes days or even a week for them to transform from rocks to edible. Thank you for the tip.

    3. My parents got the pass! They love it. You can also get a lifetime fishing license for a very small fee at 65+.

  12. That’s funny that your pulling your elderberry bushes… One of my goals for last week was to FIND some! They grow wild in our area though, so I was just looking for some to forage from. I did end up finding two patches that I hope will yield enough to make some elderberry syrup. I’m pretty sure that there will be an elderberry/syrup shortage this year because of the virus.

    1. Prudence, I’ve heard so many good things (both health-wise and taste-wise) about elderberry syrup, although I’ve never tried it myself as a health tonic. Since you mentioned it in conjunction with the virus, I thought I would pass on that I think more research is needed before using elderberry to fight the current coronavirus. From what I understand, elderberry activates the immune system by increasing cytokines. Normally this is a fabulous thing! But given that those with severe covid-19 reactions seem to be having what is called a cytokine storm (basically an over-reaction of the immune system), it *may* not be best to activate the immune system with elderberry, at least not if one is already potentially feeling ill. Not a doctor, so do your own research, but thought I would pass it on. I did come across another supplement that has been researched as a way to support health in those who may have covid-19: melatonin! (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7102583/) Apparently the anti-inflammatory properties of melatonin will help with virus-related diseases, and it is a rather safe supplement to take as well. Also, cheaper than elderberry syrup, if one has to buy it! I’ve bought some to keep on my medicine shelf myself. I was able to find some online at Walmart for around $10.

      Brandy, if you’d rather not publish this, I totally get it. I just thought I would pass on the research about melatonin as a frugal way to support health.

      1. Margaret,

        The warning is a good one; I have elderberry syrup that I purchased on my shelf. Our friend is an infectious disease specialist and he has been posting about what they are learning as they study this disease. He has written about the danger of a cytokine storm. I now feel even better about ripping out my elderberries!

        I also did not know that about melatonin. I know parents who use it to put their children to sleep early every night (which kind of weirds me out) but I didn’t know it was an anti-inflammatory.

        1. We have given our children melatonin when they have gone through periods of having trouble sleeping. It doesn’t put them to sleep, but it does help them to have a more restful night’s sleep. Of course that is beneficial for both their health and their behavior 🙂

      2. I think I had a very negative reaction to elderberry syrup a few years ago. I will never take it again. Elderberries don’t bother my husband though.

  13. This past week has been busy harvesting our berries and our garden. I picked the last of the blueberries. I froze some and made blueberry pie filling with some. I also made apple pie filling and 16 quarts of salsa. This next week will be full of making more salsa and canning tomatoes. This weekend we will pull up our green beans and plant fall peas. Oh, and my hubby and I made fig jam together. It was delicious.

    I will be food shopping this week and will also be stocking up. I am praying for direction on the best purchases for our family and for good deals to stretch our money the most.

  14. Your girls are young ladies after my own heart, with their love for reading. I really love the photos with the scale. They have a vintage vibe to them, and are beautiful too. When I lived without a/c, on the hottest days, I would sometimes have floats for dinner, which alternated between root beer, orange and black cherry. Our a/c is still not fixed, but it does pretty well except when I’m canning, and it freezes up. Once it’s off for a bit, it thaws out, and is usable again. Thanks goodness, as it’s been hot and humid, with heat advisory’s here. Elderberries are small. It sounds as though yours are the same size as mine. I also share mine with the birds, though I expect they may decimate yours more, being a little oasis in the city as you are. I’m harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, red noodle beans and pole beans, lima beans, kale and summer squash. Last week, I canned lima beans, tomatoes, and sweet pickle relish. I have a canner full of tomatoes on right now. There haven’t been many tomatoes to can the past few years. I’m thankful to be having a better harvest this year, as I really want to have a good amount put back. I stocked up on garbanzo beans, baked beans and raisins, as they were on sale. I cut a bouquet for us and for friends, and shared garden produce with several people. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-summer-garden-frugal-accomplishments.html

  15. Hello from Estonia! I am a bit jealous for all this fruit that you can grow, but here the summer fruit and vegetables start to ripen, too.
    We ate lettuce and cucumbers from our garden (cucumbers grown by own youngest boy who is 11). Also, since we had company, I made a cake with red currants from the garden. This week I plan to pick all the currants – red and black – and make juice of them and preserve it.
    We only went to town twice last week, thus saving on gas.
    It was really cold (55’F or so) and humid one day, so I made fire in the woodstove and cooked our supper on it.
    When the kids had friends over and made barbecue, the meat was grilled over the fire outside – the wood from the fire were broken twigs and branches that needed to be burned anyway – too thin to use as real firewood. I used up leftover meat with pasta sauce next day.
    We finally have a builder to do the necessary repairs in our house. My husband and the boys are doing the preparation work – mostly tearing down old plaster and taking apart one wall – themselves, thus saving us about 500 Euros.

  16. Congratulations on the A/C repair!

    Brandy, we are stocking up, too. I’m buying multiples of everything we use when it goes on sale. When nothing much is on sale, I’m filling in with items that usually don’t get any cheaper. Last week I bought a giant bottle of Dawn at Costco and 12 more bars of soap (for bathing, hand washing, etc. Both will last a long time for 2-3 people, and I wasn’t out of either one.

    You might want to re-plant one elderberry as protection from witches! Another old-time legend. I understand they grow well from cuttings. In fact, that’s one of the problems. Pretty much any limb or seed will start a new tree wherever it touches the ground.

    This wasn’t a barn burner of a week for saving money, but it wasn’t bad, either…just nothing exciting to report–
    * I spotted a few little bush beans on the vines last night. I will probably get my first picking tomorrow, although I’m going to check again today because we are having 90+F weather.
    * My husband’s cousin passed through town Friday. She is moving from Oregon to Montana to be closer to her son. I cooked a turkey breast I bought around Christmas for $1.18 lb., made black bean and corn salad and sliced up a watermelon. I cooked dry beans for the salad last week and froze 4 pint containers for future use. We ate cold turkey for dinner Saturday and I will cube the rest and freeze it today.
    * I sent an online greeting card to my pen pal in England. She is 75 today. Sixty-three years later, we still correspond, but not regularly. (We e-mailed about two months ago). We have met up 3 times in Canada and England. I signed up for a free 7-day trial, so the card was free. (Now to remember to cancel!).
    * Last night, I cut off a pair of old, worn-out jeans to become a pair of old, worn-out shorts. I was sort of kicking myself the whole time–they are basically rags–but there is a lot of stuff during the summer where a pair of old, worn-out shorts are just the ticket. I haven’t hemmed them yet, so I still could change my mind!

    Hope everyone here is having a wonderful week!

    This was my week–

    1. Maxine,
      So interesting about your English penpal. My mother received an English penpal in grade school. They exchanged letters their entire lives – through the depression, WWII, everything. When there was extreme rationing in
      England my mom and her sister sent food. Although only some of the food made it, as people working in the post office would sometimes open the packages and take items.
      My mom visited her penpal twice in England and I visited her once!

      1. Christine and I became pen pals when we were about 11. She was required to have one as a school project and wrote to the newspaper in Portland, Oregon, where I lived. She was from North Wales, but married an English guy from Yorkshire…who also was her pen pal when he was in the RAF! We sometimes correspond by e-mail, but we both prefer rattly envelopes stuck with a bunch of foreign stamps. Very interesting and lots of fun! We have met each other’s children, too.

  17. Gardenpat, you are an inspiration. I have been reading this blog for about a month and I enjoy your comments every time.
    Brandy, do you get Amazon credit if I buy Kindle books after coming from your site?

      1. Hi Brandy and everyone
        What a great saving your husband achieved with the airconditioner. Lovely photos of fruit this week.
        It was a week of gifts here. My husband received rhubarb and broad beans from a client, a daughter gifted us a big bunch of fragrant sweet peas and we gave her a jar of sweetcorn relish. We gave leek and aubergine plants to a friend.
        I picked red snapdragons, gypsophila and zinnias for the house. We picked plums, lettuce, rocket, chives, parsley and thyme. My husband cleared spent crops from the garden and planted more leeks. It’s going to be a winter of leeks!
        Our first planting of homegrown sweet peas has been a bit feeble so my husband has bought a few more plants and put them in.
        My husband wants to do a horticultural course which is offered by our local agricultural/ horticultural college. Before enrolling he checked online and found a distance learning course for exactly the same qualification but considerably cheaper.
        I bought a couple of pork tenderloins which had reduced yellow stickers, a 3 kg bag of pasta which will last us ages as we don’t eat lots of pasta and plain flour at a clearance price.
        I sold several items on eBay. I reuse as much packaging as I can to post things off.
        We decided we had too many fridges and not enough freezer space so we sold a fridge and bought a freezer secondhand. The seller kindly delivered it to us for free. This makes 4 freezers but we need them for garden produce, deals on meat etc.
        The UK government launched a campaign today to encourage weight loss, we are an obese nation ( including my husband and I) and as we all know now being obese increases your risk of Covid becoming very serious/ fatal. We had already started losing weight during the pandemic to try to help ourselves , my husband has lost quite a lot of weight but I have stuck at 9lb loss. I have been reading your weight loss posts, salad recipes etc Brandy so thank you for this positive encouragement to keep going.
        That’s all for this week. Stay safe everyone.

        1. It’s so funny to think of those flowers all growing at the same time in your garden! Here, zinnias grow in the summer and snapdragons in the winter. I have never grown gypsophila but I think it would bloom in spring here rather than summer.

          Good luck on your weight loss and good luck with your garden!

        2. It is hard for me to think of gypsophila as a flower someone would want. Where I grew up baby’s breath, its common name, was a noxious weed. It grew wild by the acre. The flower producer’s found out about it in our area in the 1980s and would pay people to pick it. I had left long before that, but my father used to go pick it by the truckload and sell it to florists. There were even signs around the are “No weed picking” as owners of the properties wanted to sell it.

          1. Nancy – that’s so interesting! I would love to see large areas of gypsophila growing, I love to have it to add some delicacy to a vase of flowers.

            1. I’m not sure if you would like to see large areas. Or rather smell them. The scent of baby’s breath when it is fresh, not dried as it is in most floral arrangements, is almost sickeningly sweet. People would wear masks when around it to try and block some of the smell!

  18. I love your week, Brandy!

    Frugal ways this week –
    * my smart watch band broke. I shopped around until I found a new one for $3 made in the US
    * The local school system gave out boxes of produce. You didn’t have to be registered for school, but did need a child to pick up. Lots of corn, potatoes, onions, & cucumber.
    *We made pickles with some cucumbers.
    * Got some beef for $1.98 lb
    Limited, but still nice. It’s the cheapest we’ve had in years.
    * Made coffee concentrate for iced coffee. $1. goes to about 10-12 coffees. With milk/cream sugar, etc it’s .25-.50 cents vs. $1.98 for the cheapest elsewhere
    * On Saturday we were given about 6lbs of fingerling potatoes. They were delicious roasted.
    * I went through and decluttered my clothes. Finding a couple tops I can fit into now that I’ve lost weight.
    * We also went a couple towns over in our county to the library and shopping. It’s the largest county in our state, and so far have zero (confirmed) Covid cases. Everyone is cautious and respectful of one another. Shopping was a very pleasant experience. We got nice sales, and good books. 🙂

    Y’all have a great week!

  19. Do you mind sharing what the cucumber recipe is from the photo? I’ve wondered before about what is the food in the photo (such as the beans in a bowl from a previous weeks entry). I have more cucumbers than I know what to do with currently.

    1. Cucumbers in vinegar and water with chives. You can use any onions that you have; my grandmother’s friend used white onions. I’ll be featuring this and the beans on my site in some upcoming recipe posts.

  20. -Meals-sidepork, hash browns, and fresh cooked green beans; spaghetti with home canned sauce, salad, and garlic toast; tamale pie (from the freezer), vinegar cucumbers, and kolarabi and dip; potatoe, sausage casserole-made with hash brown potatoes, browned and chopped sausage links, cheese, sour cream and home canned mushroom soup, and caprese salad with my first tomato! ; fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and fresh cooked green beans and peas; 3 bean salad, ham lettuce wraps, chicken rice soup (leftover fried chicken chopped in chunks, gravy watered down, rest of the cooked fresh peas, and some rice from the freezer-heated up-it was yum!), and vinegar cucumbers. All leftovers frozen for future dinners and lunches.
    -Picking lots from the garden-zucchini, green beans, cabbage, kale, lettuce, cucumbers, basil, spearmint, oregano, beets, parsley, a few cherry tomatoes, and my first tomato!!
    -Canned another 15 pints of green beans. Harvested 4 heads of cabbage and got sauerkraut made and working in the crock. Also canned 7 half pints pickled jalapeños. Made cabbage rolls with another head of cabbage and 5# ground beef. Made 33 rolls. 11 meals in the freezer! Pulled up all the beets and made 11 pints pickled beets. Blanched and froze 6 packages of chopped kale (for soup this winter).
    -Let the water cool in the water bath canners and used them to water flowers.
    -Spent a lot of time in the garden weeding and harvesting. ‘Tis the season.
    -Went to a different Costco in another town when I went to my parents for the day, I was able to find my cans of organic mushrooms, the dried hash brown potatoes (16 boxes), and organic tomato paste (2 cartons-16 cans). No sauce but the paste can be watered down as needed and will work. I also bought another package of toilet paper. I bought 2 large containers of cornstarch as well. Will need to get over to the Mennonite store for some rice flour, hopefully this week. And hope to get a cheese sale for some cheddar bricks to freeze. I should be stocked on dry and canned goods for at least 6 months. Only need milk, cheese, and fresh produce.
    -No AC during the week. But weekend very hot and humid. Such is the weather in Minnesota, you never know. We have been getting rain about the time it is needed and the hot weather is knocking out the mosquitos so that is good. Not having to use much bug spray.
    -Rearranged the freezers-we have 2(upright and small chest) plus freezer on the refrigerator). We are getting a 1/4 of beef in August and got 1/4 of pork in June. Inventoried as well. Now to keep up with the inventory lists of the freezers and canning. Not so good with that!!
    -Not spending much money except to stock groceries. Going to work and back. Otherwise I am in the garden-weeding or harvesting and then canning or freezing the windfall.
    -Have a great week and stay safe!!

      1. Sue it is called Cherry Grove and it is a bulk foods store. It is in Browerville. So it would be a bit of a trip for you. It is basically dry foods like flour, sugar, spices, all kinds of dry goods. They buy in bulk and repackage. It is so much cheaper than conventional grocery stores. They also have a great deli for meats and cheeses and bulk frozen fruit and veggies. It is run by a very nice Mennonite family so I call it the Mennonite store.

        There is a very nice bulk foods store in Fall Creek, WI (east of Eau Claire called Weavers. I stop there when I take a trip to my daughters in the Appleton-OshKosh area. It is bigger and even nicer and that one is run by the Amish.

        Check one of them out if you get the chance.

  21. After reading your comments from the last post, I went shopping first thing this morning for food grade buckets. Lowe’s had no buckets, but I purchased the last four gamma lids. Then I went to Home Depot. They had no lids, but I purchased the last four buckets. So at least I have a bucket each for sugar, flour, rice, and oats. Any additional bags I purchase will have to be sealed in zip bags in the large rectangular storage bins I have that are not food safe. I am running out of room to store foods. My grown kids think I am a bit paranoid, but I am also looking out for their well-being, as their financial situations are not good. I am aiming to stock enough of some things for 9 months, however, heat is a major issue in my old home. 6 months out of the year, the indoor temperature stays between 80-85, and it’s higher around the wall areas where I would be storing flours and grains. I am afraid of it all turning rancid from the heat. I do rotate all flours and grains through my freezer for 3 days to kill any eggs brought home from the store in sealed packages. Here, we have a major problem with the eggs hatching into pantry moths, even completely sealed up in the original packages and within date. I would appreciate any advice on how to keep flours and grains from going rancid after 5 months in the heat.
    Like most here, I am stocking up on shelf-stable foods and otc meds. My garden is producing, but not really enough for 5 adults. I would have to turn my entire backyard into a food garden, and that would be really difficult and expensive. We spent about $300 this spring on soil, bamboo stakes, and the lumber and blocks to make the new raised beds we put in. We definitely have not recouped anywhere near that amount in food. But the beds will remain, and over time will pay for themselves. We have enjoyed zucchini, butternut squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, annaheim peppers, sage, basil, oregano, and rosemary. My black-eyed pea plants are producing prolifically so far, and I hope to be able to freeze and dry some. My black bean plants and green bean plants are very stressed by the heat and not doing well. My pumpkin and watermelon plants have stopped flowering.
    Clothes-wise, I don’t expect to need anything at all this year. I haven’t had a haircut since November when I cut it myself. It is long enough now for a bun, and I am sure I look like a little old lady, but I am actually enjoying the pioneer look! 😉

    1. There are so many elegant bun style that you can find on Pinterest that you can do with long hair! They are actually very simple though they look complicated. My eldest does several and I tried out a couple of another daughter’s hair last week.

      The food will be okay at those temperatures. It won’t have a 30-year shelf life, but it will be fine as you rotate it.

      I hear you on growing enough food for the family. I have had people ask if I have enough to sell. I don’t even have enough to can on tomatoes and beans! I would have to make the whole yard a garden and even so it would not be enough–but it would be more. My focus right now is on getting as much as possible from it.

      My dad, who was always against having much in the pantry, said something shocking to me last month. He said that he finally understands the value of a stockpile. He always thought he could just go buy food. When the shortages occurred, he realized that that isn’t always the case.

      1. I’m not LDS Brandy but one of my closest friends was and she introduced me to the idea of the 12 month pantry. I don’t have the space for 12 months but I try to keep at least 3 months on often used items. It amuses my DH and DSs as I used to refer to my store cupboard as my Mormon cupboard, it morphed into the Brexit cupboard (I’m in England) now it’s the Corona cupboard. My DSs whisper it if we are outside as they say “you never know who is listening”, as if someone would break into my garage and steal my flour, oats and tinned goods!
        It’s certainly helped me manage though over the past few weeks. My DH is in the entertainment business so he’s had no work wit weeks. I know people dislike the saying “it is, what it is” but hey ho you do what you can do and no more. Thank you Brandy for keeping this blog so helpful and free of negativity.

        1. Joanne,

          I am glad you have some food set aside for a few months especially as your husband is now out of work.

          I think we have seen, worldwide, that any job that we thought was stable and recession-proof suddenly is not, and we should all be prepared for a loss of income as well as shortages and higher prices.

    2. My family sort of scoffed over my pantry, too, but in the past four years they have depended upon my pantry here and there at different times to provide their households with necessary items or even to just help them through the occasional tough period. Now they are all happily stocking up their own pantries!

    3. My hair has been extremely short for about 15-20 years. I haven’t chosen to go get my usual haircut or color since Covid started, so it’s growing out all scraggly in the back. I, too have been putting it up in the back, but I can guarantee that whatever bun you are wearing beats what we are jokingly referring to as my Covid “needs 19 hair clips to keep it up” hairstyle:). I hack off the front every now and then so I can see out, and will let my husband give me a trim on of these days. I just keep telling my daughter that we will all have stories to tell about this time of our lives–we are living history right now.

      1. Becky before I finally got mine cut I was wearing it up in a bun for the first time in about 30 years! I had to buy ponytail holders to get it up off my neck. Luckily it was long enough not to need bobby pins – just up into a ponytail and wrap! It was not a pretty sight! 🙂

  22. *I was able to find corn on the cob for either .25 an ear at Smith’s near me, so I bought four dozen and cut the corn off the cob to freeze. I hope to get more ears this week and get more in the freezer. It is my husband’s favorite vegetable (although I think it is a grain) and we use it often. When I have the kitchen space, I boil the cobbs with some herbs and salt and make corn broth and freeze it, but my temporary kitchen isn’t well set up for that.
    *I am also finding blueberries affordably and freezing them.
    *Cashews and walnuts are on sale this week at Sprouts, so I bought some extra for the freezer.
    *I too am looking for some meat for the freezer. We don’t eat a lot of it, but it’s good to have on hand.
    *I found some storage space in our new garage that is safe and temperature controlled. I want to get rice, peanut butter, soy sauce, some spices, and a few other items in the next week or so and store them temporarily in that space.
    *I am getting a little extra produce from my CSA, vegetables that I am blanching and freezing. It’s not a lot, but a bag of beans or beets later in the year will be wonderful to have!
    *My friend gave me to yarn remnants, enough to make two small baby blankets to donate.
    *I am continuing to run, take an exercise class twice a week in a church gym, walk when I can and eat a healthy diet.
    *I found some books at a free little library. One of them is “Portrait of a Lady” by Henry James, which I read in college. I have wanted to reread some of the classics and started it. It’s great!
    Have a beautiful, productive week!

  23. Brandy you did awesome on your sales indeed. I too am stocking up where I can we just purchased a second car again.. Ugh I did not want to do that but with husbands health issues he was having a very hard time getting in to my Honda so we purchased a used 2010 PT Cruiser for him to drive to and from work. So anyways with a used car we had to get AAA in case it would break down and of course insurance on it. So budgeting is really going to be more challenging. I went to Krogers today for a item I needed and that couldn’t wait, while there I looked at clearance or cheap prices found 2 Pork Butt Roast for $2 something each which will go in to my deep freezer for meals in the future. Found 2 dented cans of fruit cocktails with extra cherries in it for 59 cents each. I found store brand pasta salad half what I was paying at Sav Alot they don’t carry store brands only Betty Crocker brand. I need to learn to make my own but haven’t had time to look up a recipe yet. Having the car will make it more flexible for me to get out and catch sales and look for bargains with out time constraints. I will be canning this week strawberries I caught on sale in to jam, jelapenos I got free this week will be canned up for use in making pizzas. Husband likes jelapenos on a lot of things including his pizza’s. I line dried towels this morning even though it said it was going to rain got them dry and still no rain yet. Anna In Ohio

      1. Here’s another one–cook one lb. pasta (I usually use rotini or bow ties) and mix with 1 cup any flavor oil and vinegar-type salad dressing, then add anything else you want. I like a little salami or pepperoni, celery, green onions or sweet onion, bell pepper, chopped garlic, olives, etc., but use what you like and/or have on hand. (I think this would be fab with sugar snap peas). This makes quite a boat load of salad, so you might want to start with 8 ounces pasta and 1/2 cup dressing.

      2. Does it fill everyone? With no protein, my older boys would be starving in ten minutes. Carbs don’t tend to fill them for long.

        1. Jen, it’s a HUGE salad. We usually have it for dinner, and we tend to eat dinner around 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. The older children have several bowls full of salad. It’s also a great side dish. No one complains here if we have a meatless meal in the rotation. The salad is 50-65% vegetables each time I make it, so it’s not just pasta like most pasta salads. You could always add some cheese and meat in yours if your budget allows it.

          It’s not completely without protein. The pasta itself contains 7 grams of protein per serving (a pound is 8 servings). Tomatoes and olives also contain some protein, albeit a much smaller amount.

    1. Here are the basics for a lovely pasta salad. I will try to get the original recipe. Cook a corkscrew type pasta (say half a pound), Drain the water off of it. Put in a cup of frozen peas, A bit of onion. the spring green onions work well. Them add some of the dried powdered parmesan cheese (I suppose you could use fresh shredded as well). Then put in some (about half a cup) mayonnaise (MiiracleWhip) mixed with a bit of oil (a mild olive oil or canola). Put the dressing in with the pasta and stir well. This will last in your fridge for a couple of days. (not longer than two). Sprinkle a bit more parmesan on top. I took it to a potluck and everyone loved it. I have been known to put in some sliced water chestnuts. Some people add a bit of fried bacon or cooked ham to it. It is great for hot days. You can use any shape of pasta but corkscrew or rotini holds the dressing better. Some people put a little hot sauce in it.

  24. Hi Brandy, I have followed your blog for several years and am so inspired by your frugal living tips!
    I live in zone 5a and am interested in cold frame gardening to extend my growing season. Cold weather gardening probably isn’t needed much in Las Vegas, but between your expertise and that of your readers I thought I might find some suggestions here. I have ordered a book on year round gardening by Niki Jabbour, but any further resources or suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks again for this inspiring blog!

    1. Eliot Coleman is in Maine and he has written several books on gardening year-round. You can probably find them through your library as e-books as well on Amazon here.

      We do have some frosts here, but they are mild.

    2. Katy- I think I had mentioned the year round gardening book! I hope you love it as much as we do!
      Did you know that you can google to find out how many days you have until the first frost day for your town? Then with that info, you can look at seed packets to know what thugs you still have time to plant AND harvest before it gets frosty!

  25. My husband was able to fix a broken belt on our lawnmower himself but we will now have to replace a bent blade as well. I am hopeful that he will be able to repair it himself as well and that this will be the end of our lawnmower troubles for a while.
    I will be planting the remainder of our summer crops in the garden today – crowder peas, zipper peas, and pink eyed peas. These flourish in the end of summer heat and enrich the soil to boot. This is an added benefit as I am trying to make sure our garden soil is rich for our upcoming fall garden which will include a good deal of greens, cabbage, broccoli and other veggies that thrive on those nutrients.
    I baked a loaf of french bread yesterday and cooked a turkey breast in the counter top roasting pan that we have – it is much too hot to turn on the big oven to cook right now.
    We are enjoying zinnias from the garden as well as abundant petunias and herbs. I don’t have a dehydrator but would greatly appreciate any tips on drying herbs to put away for the winter.
    I stocked up on more dried beans for our storage as well as sugar, laundry detergent, a boneless loin of pork purchased for $1.79/pound and sliced into chops, & 8 lbs of oranges.
    I made sofrito using our cilantro and abundant peppers to freeze and used a bit to cook a pot of pinto beans for the family – delicious!
    I was able to purchase icing buckets from Sam’s Club in the bakery and they will help provide storage for our stockpile. At $2/bucket they are fairly inexpensive and include a lid. These will not be able to store food outdoors in the heat or cold but will work for indoor storage. I am thrilled as everywhere I have looked for food grade buckets have been out of stock or very expensive.
    Cooked all meals at home, ate leftovers and moved what could not be eaten to the freezer for quick meals another time.
    Froze the bones from our turkey breast to make homemade stock when the outside temps get a little bit more bearable.
    Brandy, your photos are really beautiful and I find your site a sweet source of inspiration.
    God Bless!

    1. I have a dehydrator but I don’t use it for my herbs. Instead, I place them on a cooling rack on top of a half-sheet pan. Then I let them dry on the counter under the ceiling fan. Any dried leaves fall on the pan, and I can strip the branches of leaves as soon as they are dry straight onto the pan to gather for my jars.

      1. I have a question, I usually just put my dried beans in a container like the large Mainstay container brand from Walmart, which I purchased in their kitchen section. I have 14 of them, all full of beans I have purchased this year. Do y’all think that is sufficient if I rotate my supply constantly? I have also, in the past when I drank a lot of soda, used empty large soda containers for beans. They were hard to get the beans in and out of and that is why I purchased the Mainstay container brand. I tried to purchase some food storage buckets but everyone was out of them. Like I said, I do eat cooked dried beans every day so my supply is rotated a good bit. I have never been one to buy food and not use it.

        1. Those are fine.

          Walmart also sells large glass jars of pickles for around $6. They are very big jars. Our store has a small bulk section and you can find them there, but you can also find them in the pickle section. Once you eat the pickles, you can wash out the jars and use them for storage of beans and other items, like rice.

          1. That is a good idea Brandy. I know I just bought a large container of pickles for around 4 dollars at Aldi. We have also saved nut containers from Sams.

    2. I have made herb butter with chopped fresh herbs (basil, chives and garlic are good), which I then freeze. This is wonderful for potatoes or bread. It also makes a nice gift with a load of homemade bread.

  26. I started out the week kind of down about all we are unable to do this summer that we usually enjoy, but I have made a conscious effort to practice being grateful for what I do have. And I have tried to take some time each day to do one thing I really enjoy – most of the time that is sitting on my big front porch reading, or simply listening to the birds. I am re-reading some old favorite books I already own, which I find comforting. All of this has really helped me to appreciate how richly blessed I am!
    I finished a cotton sweater I have been knitting. I listen to audiobooks or watch Youtube vlogs while I knit. I also did some mending.
    I harvested our first zucchini and our first tomato from the garden, along with chard and carrots. I didn’t plant garlic last fall, but I had about to dozen ‘volunteer’ plants and harvested these. Some of them are quite small, but I will use them all. I have ordered my garlic to plant this fall. I’m still drying a lot of herbs for future use. The seeds I planted last week – including the beans – are up. I think the last batch were eaten by pillbugs, so I ordered some Sluggo Plus, which is supposed to kill them (and it’s approved for organic gardens.)
    We had rain all week, which allowed me to turn off the garden irrigation, saving some money. The rain was very welcome, as we have been in a drought.
    We were still under quarantine, so unable to go much of anywhere, but we did take a drive into the mountains one day.

  27. This has been a busy couple of weeks for everyone it seems. I read last weeks post, but didn’t contribute. I love the looks of the new blog layout. The colors really “pop” on the photos.
    This is our very busy garden time. In the last two weeks we picked lettuce, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, carrots, beets, thyme, rosemary, swiss chard and our very first cherry tomato. I offered half to my DH – but he let me have it. I didn’t offer again, and it was down the hatch before I left the garden. We also dug three hills of potatoes and all of our garlic. The garlic is now hardening off before being stored away.
    I froze 12 cups of cauliflower and 15 cups of broccoli.
    We pulled the spent snow pea plants, amended the soil and planted again for a fall crop.
    I prepared and filed my mother’s tax return.
    We had leftover BBQ for dinner several nights, tacos and taco salad, spaghetti aioli, chicken stir fry, and focaccia bread. We also had pulled pork from the freezer.
    I made a ham in the crockpot.
    Made a dozen hard-boiled eggs.
    Made potato salad with some of the potatoes and onions from the garden and some of the hard boiled eggs to go with the ham. Also made cauliflower with cheese sauce to go with the ham. This was our “Sunday” dinner.
    I brought breakfast and lunch every day I worked.
    Filled the thyme jar with dried thyme from the herb bed. Dried rosemary and started a jar of that.
    My son got engaged a couple of weeks ago. His fiancée asked me to go with her and her mother wedding dress shopping. I have never shopped for a weeding dress before. My mother and I made mine 45 years ago, when I got married. It was quite the event. She is a lovely young lady, and we really like her. She also is pretty budget conscious, and had a strict budget for her dress. She found a lovely one.
    I visited with my Mom through her window each Saturday. The isolation is pretty hard on her.
    I planted basil, thyme and green onions in pots.
    I got another pound of yeast. It is in the freezer.
    Went to Costco, got three boxes of masks, a jug of hand sanitizer, a jug of olive oil, toilet paper and some vitamins.
    Best wishes for a healthy, happy and frugal week to all.

    1. Nancy,

      What do you use to amend your soil between plantings? I want to increase my yields and I know I can improve in this area.

      1. Brandy our Amish neighbors used crushed egg shells that have been dried at 200 degrees, used tea and coffee grounds, epsom salt, Molasses tea( 1–3 tablespoons/ 1 gal of water)banana peels chopped up finely,and blood meal and of course manure. You could google it for certain plants… they also do dried milk for tomatoes

        1. I agree with Brandy that you can plan and pay to stock up any way you want. Because I started to stock up the minute in early January that I heard to the virus in China, I was able to stock up gradually over about 3 months. In my case, I look at the flyers from three or four stores online and then decide which has the most items on sale that I am interested in. I try to give priority to essentials and to achieve a balance between protein, carbohydrates (pasta), veggies and fruit. I can’t go out or drive but others can drive to one store, then another, etc. but the cost of gas has to be factored into doing that.

          Since I cannot go out, I’m limited to one store per week by my volunteer (which I’m thankful for). I think I would start with the basics: flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, yeast, Crisco, olive or canola oil, Certo or pectin and powdered or evaporated milk, butter (for the freezer). Since you have your own eggs, these items would allow you to make your own pasta, bake muffins, bread, cakes, pancakes, pies if you have to in an emergency situation. And you can use the pectin to make your own jam. I would stock up on those items now — sooner rather than later — because once summer is over, people will think about baking again or will panic about pandemic wave #2.

          Your question about keeping an inventory is interesting. I suppose you could do a spread sheet on Excel or Numbers on a Mac. And what a great idea! You could date when you buy something, note when you’ve run out of things or are about to and need to replace something. Brandy places newer items at the back of the shelf so you’re always using the oldest items.

          More recently, I don’t have any extra money to use for the pantry but I made a point of not eating any of it (except the soup and beans). At the moment, it is truly a backup pantry for emergencies. So I am almost back to spending my normal amount for food and will just buy the odd item on sale from here on for the pantry. Don’t despair.

          Also, dried peas, lentils, canellini beans don’t cost too much and is something you could add to your normal grocery list without breaking the bank account. You will see that Brandy’s family eats a lot of beans — a great source of proteins and for lentils a source of folate too.

          Then buy canned proteins, like canned baked beans, lentils, fish, ham, chicken, etc., nuts, peanut butter. Since you have a freezer, watch for specials on big bags of frozen veggies. I am keen to try dehydrated Honest Earth Creamy Mash Potatoes — they are expensive in Canada but can sometimes be found at U.S. Costcos for a lot less — now would be the time of year to find it. I really subsisted on baked potatoes last year but if potatoes become unavailable I want the Honest Earth as a backup. A box makes about 114 servings.

          After you have back up staples (or even before if you can afford it), I’d buy the following:
          rice (if you like it –a big bag), pasta, and some form of meat (your 40 pounds of chicken for the freezer is a great purchase!), veggies and fruit. While it’s great to have meat and other items in the freezer, I’d buy some back up canned fruits, veggies and meat (like tuna fish, ham, chicken etc) in case we’re without electricity. And something that you can eat without preparation in case you’re ill or cannot cook for some other reason.

          Speaking about your freezer, if you have room, I’d buy several large bags of frozen veggies (here on sale you can get them for about $3). Buy dark green veggies like broccoli, beans, peas. My favourite are frozen peas — you put them in at the last minute when you are cooking pasta so you don’t cook away the folate. Or steam them. In a crunch, you could live on your eggs and the veggies.

          I’d also have some backup first aid items and medicines. I’d buy vitamins. In an ideal world, I’d have some water purifying aids, some backup water. Elsewhere on this blog, someone talks about matches. Excellent idea — and waterproof them or buy waterproof matches or a Swedish fire stick. I hope that helps!

      2. We are lucky that we have a large enough property to be able to utilize a compost pile. We also had a truckload of 3 way mix soil dropped off at our place. so we add compost and soil. The spent pea plants go back into the compost pile. It is a wonderful, endless cycle.

  28. I stopped at a restaurant supply store and got a huge bag of barley for $16. Today I’m making beef barley soup in the crockpot. I’ll use this all year for that recipe and others. I also stocked up on flour, sugar and bought a case (of 12) of evaporated milk. I ordered some beef and fish from a local co-op. Not any cheaper but much better than that of the store. I made Brandy’s taco “lentils” and my kids enjoyed them on chips w/ cheese like nachos for lunch. I made lentil soup and we ate that for lunches. Made homemade bread (I am fortunate to have a nice breadmaker so it’s super easy). My son has been volunteering at a local place to unload/package food for low-income residents. He always comes home with a food box, which is filled with staples (they have too many). I’ve been thankful to build my pantry from this. I cleaned my big freezer, making shelves for the different types of items (meat shelf, bread, pre-made items, veggies/fruit). I also cleaned my pantry area which is in the garage. I had a couple of my girls help me, and we unloaded it all, swept the area, then re-organized. It’s much nicer and I found a couple things I forgot I had. On the weekend I prepped breakfast sandwiches (english muffins w/ eggs, sausage and cheese), breakfast cookies, banana bread, and many of the fruits/veggies for the first few days of the week. I have 7 kids so it is a bit of prep, but it’s so nice to pull out items that are washed/peeled/sliced for dinner or snacks, etc. I’m trying to lose weight and one snack I like is hummus w/ sliced cucumbers. I made sure I had that prepped too.

  29. I’m so glad your air conditioner is fixed!
    It’s been a financially brutal last couple of months, and this week was no exception, but I did find a couple of ways to save money. We received the reimbursements for the kids’ swimming lessons we paid for then cancelled because of Covid. That was a great boost to our budget this month!
    I accepted a bag of hand-me-down clothes for my youngest daughter, which will be a huge help when the season changes!
    I took some of our eggs to our new neighbors, and also did our regular egg-and-produce exchange that I have set up with a friend for a weekly Mandarin tutoring session for my daughter.
    I salvaged a dresser that was broken in a family member’s move across town that was heading for the dump. It actually has turned out quite nicely, and I am filling it with homeschooling supplies! I also ordered 40 pounds of chicken. breast from our local food co-op, cooked and froze black beans, and accepted zucchini and squash from some generous friends!
    I have a question for everyone on food storage. I have next to nothing for food storage. How would you all go about beginning that? Do you scan the ads and stock up on sale items first, or do you decide what the most important staples are to you and start with those? Do you all set aside money in your budgets each month specifically for food storage stock-up? Or is it just in your regular grocery budget? Is there a system you use to keep an inventory? It all seems so daunting to me!

    1. I buy it out of my regular grocery budget. If something is on sale, I buy extra. Most sales in the U.S. are every 12 weeks, so you’ll often see that sale again, but there are seasonal sales as well. This is on stuff I normally buy.

      Then, for staples like rice, beans, oats, flour, and popcorn: I buy the largest amount I can get, which is usually a 25-pound bag. That comes out of my regular budget.

      I don’t divide my budget between storage and regular items. It’s all the same to me.

      I put the newest cans of canned goods in the back of the shelf, so things get moved up when I buy more of something.

      You can truly do it any way you want. If you want to take your entertainment budget this month (which you might not be spending, since things are closed) and use that instead to buy things like rice and beans, you can do that, too! Just make sure that what you buy is what you will eat.

      1. I do basically the same as Brandy. In the weeks when there isn’t much on sale, I’ll buy extra of food that typically doesn’t go on special. As mentioned earlier, this week it was a big jug of Dawn at Costco and 12 more bars of soap. Something to watch for–sugar often goes on sale during months when canning is in full swing. (It will also go on sale around Thanksgiving/Christmas).

      2. I do very similar to Brandy. When pasta goes on sale for it’s lowest price, I buy 40 pounds. Right now with quantity limits, you might not be able to do it. I buy fruits and vegetables in season and can, freeze and dehydrate them. I shop the clearance racks. I look at the marked down meat. Everything is from my regular grocery budget. I buy corn and potatoes from the local farms in the fall since they are top quality and a great price. Only buy what you eat. You do not want to be making new foods that you might not like if there are food shortages. We eat a lot of rice and beans so I have a lot stored. My kids would happily eat them everyday in a different way. I know my nephew hates beans. We have food allergies so I make sure that I have plenty of GF items for my youngest daughter. I don’t need her sick on top of everything else. Good luck.

        1. Marybeth makes a very important point about allergies. There were shortages of GF foods earlier this year and people with allergies had a hard time finding what they need. If you have allergies, make sure you have a good supply of items!

    2. I wrote down what I needed in separate categories… medical, pets,personal, non food, maintenance for the house (filters for furnace, frig, etc) food( for shelves and buckets not refrigeator) and then freezer food. I do the medical first as I know how often we have used paper towels or bandanna and duct tape for a bandage. I check stores, not just the ones I normally go to. Best deal I got on cleaning products was at a hardware store (not home improvement like Menards, Lowes or Home Depot)

    3. There’s a great (!!) book by Sharon Astyk called “Independence Days” where she talks about sustainable food storage and preservation, and preparing for hard times. She even has a section in Chapter 4 called “Five Dollars a Week Food Storage for Emergencies for People Who Think They Cannot Afford Food Storage”. The Five Dollar Plan gives lots of tips on building up your food stores inexpensively. Your library may have it.

      1. I’ve seen that plan (or at least, something similar) online and also on Pinterest. Even if you only have a little bit extra, you can still start food storage. Here in the US (I’m in north Texas), a pound of dry beans, rice or pasta, can almost always be had for around or under $1 – sometimes the larger bags work out even cheaper per pound if you have enough money in your budget for that. Salt and bouillon cubes are typically very inexpensive, and most dollar stores will have items like cartons of shelf stable milk or inexpensive pantry items, spices & seasonings, otc medications, and first aid items, hygiene items etc. Even if you only budget $5 or $10 per shopping trip, you can get a good start. I watch the grocery sale ads and when something goes super cheap, I stock up. Last week my store had family size boxes of a brand of cereal my husband likes for .49 cents. I bought the 2 box limit. 98 cents and I now have a decent supply of cereal in the pantry. Canned goods go on sale here fairly often, you can often get canned vegetables 3 or 4/$1, so I’ll buy $2 worth. Not a big investment at the time, but it adds up. I also check the clearance racks every time I’m in the store. If storage space is a concern, inexpensive plastic storage tubs under a bed work great for pantry items and canned goods.

        You can also do a few things at home that don’t cost anything. If you empty a jar or bottle – wash and re-use it. Plastic soda or juice bottles and milk jugs with screw-on caps, washed out & sanitzed (instructions here: https://extension.psu.edu/how-to-store-water-for-drinking-or-cooking), make good short term water storage if you have the space available. You should store it somewhere cool and dark, and rotate it out every 6 months – use the water you’re dumping to water your plants or fill your washing machine tub.

      2. I love this. I have had times when I’ve built my food storage up five dollars a week. It really did work! Just took a little time. I also saved money from gifts or tax returns or rebates and used that towards bigger food storage purchases. Every little bit counts!

    4. Thank you everyone all so much for your tips! My first grocery shopping trip for August is tomorrow. Here we go!

    5. Hey Darcy!
      Something that really helped me jumpstart our pantry storage was making a simple list of the meals our family enjoys eating. I could look at each meal, list each ingredients needed, and then add the items to our grocery list. Another perk…referring to the list of meals at 4 o’clock when I have no idea what’s for dinner!
      Good luck! Before you know it you will have a week’s worth of food, then two weeks, then a month…

  30. Hello Everyone! Hope everyone is doing well during this time. I haven’t posted in a few weeks….but have been reading everyone else’s posts faithfully. I was glad to be able to do that a few weeks ago, when I was quite down. Reading the posts helped me perk back up! My mom needed some things from Costco. So I went to pick them up for her; my parents are self isolating right now because of the virus. She told me to get anything I needed. So I took a look at our stock. We didn’t need a lot, but I picked up some berries, dish soap, laundry soap and the hard to find hand soap. It has been almost impossible to get hand soap where were live. I bought these items with the intent of not having to go to Costco until after Christmas. I took a look at my Christmas list and bought several things online. I also purchased some thing on clearance from Williams Sonoma. I was very disappointed when they arrived in damaged packaging. Even though they said it was a final sale, I emailed them asking to return them. These were going to be Christmas gifts for family members and I did not want to give them one that looked like they had been banged up. They sent me a prepaid label to send back. A neighbor was cleaning out her garage. I got two cupcake stands and an snow cone machine. Another neighbor was giving away some cake decorating bags. I will pick up today. I have so been wanting some Christmas dinner plates but couldn’t justify the expense of the ones I wanted. I found a online garage sale where I was able to purchase 12 for $20. Our garden has been producing quite well and we are enjoying cucumbers and tomato. We have still been getting 7 days of free breakfasts and lunches from my son’s school. My parents also purchased a pair of sandals for my husband as a belated Father’s Day Gift as his were falling apart. I purchased several things on clearance from Michael’s for Halloween and my son’s birthday. Hopefully we’ll be able to have a socially distant pumpkin decorating party 🙂 Our next door neighbor gave us some succulents that they had rooted.

  31. I went to the Goodwill near my office and found two pairs of shorts and a skirt. I am almost out of shorts at home, as several pairs have finally just worn out, and I wear them around the house on most weekends in the long summers of Florida. The skirt is for work — it’s navy, and it will go with all but one logo work shirt I have.

    I harvested enough okra to cook for a meal. Our tiny patch of okra is starting to produce.

    I roasted a chicken for my husband and me last week and got four meals, a lunch and a crock pot full of broth out of it.

    I continue to pack lunches, avoid disposable items, and buy used as much as possible.

  32. My oldest daughter got married. Even though we had to change everything, it was beautiful. Everyone that was unable to attend was able to watch the ceremony on Zoom. It was very hot, so there were lots of leftovers. We ate some before we left for home on Sunday. My daughter and son in law kept the rest and ate them throughout the week. I sent lots of photos to family and friends so they could see everything. We stayed at an Airbnb. It was a small farmhouse. The other farmhouses were on the other side of the horse field. We could see them but we were nowhere near people. Every time we pulled into the driveway or came out of the house, the horses came running over. They were so sweet. The house had a full kitchen so I was able to make breakfast every day. We brought drinks and snacks with us too. It was our first time using Airbnb and we loved it. It also ended up being cheaper then 2 hotel rooms and we had a lot more space. Plus horses.
    My youngest daughter’s boyfriend stayed at our house while we were away. He took care of the dog, got our mail and watered everything. I insisted on paying him. It still cost me less than having the dog boarded and she would rather be home. He left the house very clean, I was impressed.

    The garden is doing well. I have been picking lots of cucumbers. Time to make pickles. Lettuce is still going strong. I picked my first few tomatoes. Lots are turning colors so I will be making sauce soon. I picked our first hot pepper. Salsa will be soon too. Peas are done for now. I will be replanting in a few weeks for a fall crop. The kale reseeded itself so I have lots of baby plants. We should be able to pick again in a few weeks. The wine berries are getting picked every day. There is one blue jay that tries to get them through the net. I have frozen 3 pints already. Lots have been eaten fresh. I thinned out the carrots and beets again so we used them in a salad. The tops were frozen for future meals. I picked my first celery. It is so good. 2 of my potato plants died so we dumped that bucket. I got 4 pounds of purple potatoes. This is my first year growing them so I am happy. String beans are going crazy and I am loving it. Herbs are getting cut and used fresh or dried for future use.

    Cherries were on sale for $1.88. I could only get 5 pounds at that price. I made up 8 jars of cherries in Brandy for Christmas gifts. The small ones Hubby and the kids ate. I am hoping to get more on sale so I can make more jars. Friends and family request them every year.

    We received a $60 rebate on Hubby’s new tires. The gift card arrived. We received $50 in store rewards from where we got my son’s suit for the wedding. Hubby and I went and spent $58 after coupons. We used the store rewards and the gift card. So it cost us $0 OOP. Only 1 item was for now. The rest are Christmas gifts. I am 1/3 done with Christmas presents at the point.

    I got 2 pork shoulders on sale for 99 cents a pound. One went into the freezer. Hubby smoked 1 with a chicken. My youngest asked for the chicken with string beans as her birthday dinner. The pork was 2 dinners worth and the rest went into the freezer. I made potato salad with it. I went to our favorite bakery and bought her a GF rainbow cupcake. She was very happy. She received lots of new art supplies like she wanted. Her boyfriend was the only one that came over. Everyone else called her. We did marshmallows on the fire pit at night. I keep picking up wood as I see it on people’s curbs.

    Have a wonderful week everyone.

    1. We attended my nephew’s wedding and although only 50 people were allowed as per health recommendations I must say I enjoyed the smaller number of people-made it easier to visit. I am happy to report that 9 days later nobody has been sick. The bride and groom had made small jars of various mustard’s for wedding favours which was a nice idea-I think likely the mustard seed was grown on their farm.

      We also attended my great nieces 6 th birthday party yesterday so a couple of expenses this week for gifts-again it was a small group with mostly just family.

      I forgot to mention in my other post that we were thankful to find one govt grant my daughter gets was doubled to $4,000 per year for next year which is a blessing. That combined with another grant and her 12,000 govt benefit for being out of work and her earnings will pretty much cover her schooling next year-the total cost is approx $22,000 per year.

      1. Hi I:

        That is wonderful that the government grants can go so far towards your daughter’s education costs for the upcoming year. What is she studying? Did you hear the tornado as the clouds passed overhead? I did and I watched the storm clouds on a replay and it was right over here (but fortunately didn’t touch down!). Ann

        1. Yes the gustnado (according to Environment Canada) was quite close to us-the wind was so strong I could barely close the front door. DD is studying psychology-she is quite interested in forensics but I think jobs are quite limited in that so we will have to see.

          1. What a wonderful name for the tornado — a gustnado. I thought of you. when I saw it was in Springbank. I heard the sound of a roaring train — as there were no real trains passing by I realized it was the “gustnado”.

  33. Such gorgeous photos again this week! And an inspiring week of savings. That’s wonderful about repairing the motor on the A/C. We did that ourselves to give us more time to save up for the new A/C. But we got more years from the old one. Very worth it to us.

    *It’s been hot here – as usual in Utah. We were fortunate to receive a bit of rain last week. My garden is struggling but I have been harvesting zucchini, green beans, tomatoes and cucumbers. My green bean plants aren’t doing well. I haven’t picked enough to can and they look half dead for some reason. My potato plants look very bad as well. I’m not sure why – but I’m going to learn as I go. I planted more green bean seeds this past week and they popped up in just a matter of days! I want to buy more seeds to do a fall garden. I canned 1 quart and 1 pint of tomatoes today. I shredded and froze the zucchini as well as made more zucchini bread of various kinds and put them in the freezer. I also decided to wash and prep any other veggies I bought at the store so that I could use them quickly during the week. I planted more green onions in the garden.

    *I ordered a new backpack for my DD. Found a good one that was 1/2 off and had free shipping. She’s quite hard on her backpacks because of all the things that have to be taken back and forth to school. I also ordered her school uniforms on sale and with free shipping. She prefers to only wear short sleeve tops which saves money by not buying long sleeves as well for winter. She’s my only one in public school now. This will be her last year at the charter school so also my last year of needing uniforms. She also prefers home lunch over school lunch – which is what we do anyways. Using her lunch bag from last year. I’ve washed it and used disinfectant spray. I’ve also set it out in the sun. We went through our school supplies and just bought what we needed for her at the store.

    *We took 6 big garbage bags of clothes and other things to our local thrift store. I made a list of all the items we were donating and received a form from the thrift store that we can use for our tax returns. We discovered that for us – we get more money by donating than by trying to sell it ourselves or have a yard sale. We had to make an appointment for the drop off to the thrift store, but we combined it with other errands that day.

    *Made all meals from home except our date night (we used a gift card for that date). We had taco salad, enchiladas, bbq chicken thighs, fried rice and french bread pizza. Was able to find a few things on clearance at the grocery store.

    *Signed up for 2 free months of kindle unlimited and have been enjoying books by Dawn Lee McKenna. They are set on the Florida coast. Still love to read my old favorites of Diane Mott Davidson, Laura Childs (Tea Shop Mysteries), Charles Todd, Susan Wittig Albert, Carolyn G. Hart (Death on Demand series), Rett MacPherson, Jennifer Ashley (Kat Holloway series) and Earlene Fowler. Grateful for my bookshelves that filled with my old favorites. Also went to the library and checked out a few gardening books to help further my knowledge.

    *Exercised at home with Leslie Sansone on YouTube again. I’m not losing weight (love my Dr. Pepper) but am getting in 10,000-14,000 steps per day. I’ve started using hand weights and doing leg exercises too. Got quite a workout pulling out sunflower stocks that had been broken with our mini-rainstorm of last week. I did have the first big sunflower bloom and few days ago and love to see it out my kitchen window.

    *Made popcorn, vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, chocolate chip cookies for treats and snacks. With the fruit pre-washed and the veggies cut up and ready to eat – I feel like there are plenty of things to snack on in the house.

    *My 18 year old DD is giving piano lessons to my 14 year old DD. It saves so much time and money to have it done at home. I do pay her a small amount to teach her, but it has really helped them have a better relationship. And her piano is improving so much! She is practicing more and more on her own and just playing for fun. She hated piano before and is now enjoying it because her sister is teaching her. She is learning hymns and some more popular songs from Taylor Swift and One Direction. I love to hear them giggling down there.

    *I’ve run out of freezer space. I think I will start pressure canning any reduced meat I find at the store. That will help fill my shelves. I’m also aware of loading up on cleaning and other sundry items. I’ll be hitting the Dollar Tree for a few items and go to Sam’s Club for a few other things.

    I truly love all the comments and ideas shared on this page. Thank you to all who are so generous with your knowledge!

  34. I think this is my first time to comment in the many years I’ve been encouraged by your site. Thank you Brandy for creating this space and sharing your wisdom! In recent weeks we’ve also been focused on stocking up. We’re fortunate to have jobs that are stable and that allow us to work from home— but we feel a need to be well-prepared as we head into the coming months. 



    We’re in Central Texas and our AC was suddenly struggling on very hot days— we keep it set to 80 for our summers. Last week we replaced all the filters, despite having done so just about 5 weeks ago. It seems to have done the trick— we think the Sahara dust might have clogged everything up more quickly than usual!

    When we shut down in March, we set to work expanding our garden. We have a septic field so the largest we can go is about 200 sq ft of growing space, plus some patio planters. With 5 children (2 are teens) that’s still not enough, but we’re learning a lot and will adjust for fall and next year. Our tomato harvest is slowing down now but we still have basil, okra, chard, melons, peppers, ground cherries and cucumbers. This week we enjoyed 2 cold “snacky buffet” dinners of bread, cheese, sliced veggies, etc and that helped us avoid overheating the house. Also a good way to use the garden produce— often we don’t have enough lettuce, etc to make 7 full servings but we can all mix-and-match our favorites. 


    My children have been homeschooled for several years. Although the pandemic has certainly impacted many activities, I think they are rather good at keeping each other busy at home. This week they enjoyed board games, coding with Scratch, cooking projects, swimming in the nearby lake, and reading a Shakespearean play aloud as a family. My oldest will be a senior in hs this year and so this time together is all the more precious.

  35. I LOVE getting the produce bags but husband asked me today to switch to every other week after this week’s bag. I will do as he says but I confess I’ve loved having a variety of produce to actively USE instead of the usual same old stuff we typically buy. Truth is we get mighty low on fresh and are out of budget by this point every month and this go round it’s a five week cycle between checks so…Never mind. I’ve paid out of pocket for a number of things using my personal allowance but I generally use my allowance to get flowers for the yard or needed items for the house or books from the thrift shop, lol. And I’d rather use it there!
    This week I watered chickens and gathered eggs for my son as they were out of town. They paid me in the eggs I collected which was about two dozen, so no complaints on my part. I have been using up all the produce I can from our bags even things I think I don’t like (figs) but did request no more figs go into my bag this week. I’ve been taking time this week to go through cabinets and cupboards and am making out lists of things I think I will need in the coming months like alcohol and peroxide, cold meds, paper products, charcoal, matches, etc. and will try to start stocking up on those as I can. I also have managed over the past few months to set aside a year’s worth of house insurance and the next six months of car insurance so I can cut back on savings a little bit and instead put some of that money towards stocking up.
    I mended the hem on a towel. I have plenty of good quality thick towels and I keep an eagle eye out for hems and ends that might want to come loose and sew them up immediately, one reason I feel they last so very well for me.
    I am also cultivating all the plants I can. I don’t NEED a ton of basil or rosemary plants but someone might or might even wish to buy them and I’ll have them, along with a few succulents I have. I am also going to collect seeds from my zinnias if they ever catch hold and really start to bloom and basil, etc.

  36. What do you use for fertilizer for your vegetable garden? Looking for a cost effective organic solution.

    1. Bone meal, blood meal, Epsom salt, cottonseed meal, earthworm castings, steer manure, and soil sulfur (to lower the pH) all bought in bulk from the local nursery. I also do some trench composting; you dig a skinny hole in the rows and bury your kitchen scraps there. I know someone who chooses one row a year to not plant in her garden and she buries everything there that year. The next year she chooses another row.

      You can grind up banana peels, eggshells, and coffee grounds as well to amend your garden. Just dig a hole around your plants and bury them.

      With back to school sales, some big box stores might be clearing out their bags of fertilizer and potting soil. You may want to check there as well.

  37. Lovely photos! I did not comment last week, but Brandy, I love the new website format! Very easy to read and attractive. I love the comments section as well.

    Like many of you, I too have concerns about what the future brings – primarily with food prices, shortages, and unemployment rates. I also have a lot of concerns about civil and social unrest. We have tried to keep our pantry and cabinets stocked. This week I harvested tomatoes and peppers from my patio plants. I know with our heat, my tomatoes are at the tail end of production. I also stocked up on seeds and bought a few extra seed packs for my AeroGarden, so I will be set for a while. Breakfast and lunches I eat at home, usually something fairly simple like a smoothie, tuna sandwich, eggs, or oatmeal & fruit. Coffee and espresso (a necessity for me) is all at home. Dinners I try to prepare at home, although we do order usually a couple of times a week (trying to cut back on that). Today I have a pork roast (out of the freezer stock, purchased on clearance) in the slow cooker for pork tacos, burrito bowls or salads the next couple of nights. I have been paying close attention to the scant grocery sale ads and stocking up on the best price items. This week we were able to get family-sized boxes of cereal for .49 cents at one of our regular stores (Tom Thumb/Safeway). It wasn’t a cereal I eat, but my husband does, and that amount will hold him for quite a while.

    I am still working at home. I am in Texas, where cases continue to rise. I work for a church, and we have been closed since March. Fortunately the staff is working from home with pay, for which I am incredibly grateful. However, I miss my office and my coworkers, and right now, it looks like it may be 2021 before we are allowed to return. So frustrating. My husband continues to work as normal. He is considered essential (manufacturing for DoD) so they never closed down, however now they are completely closed to visitors. Masks are mandatory here, and some businesses are closed statewide including bars. Schools here are online only for at least the start of the school year, and who knows after that. I have been turning the a/c up a little higher during the days when I am home. With fans going, I don’t notice any difference and the central unit runs significantly less. I keep the blinds closed during the day to keep the sun out. I have been hang drying laundry indoors on the rack as much as possible. My gym is still closed so I have been working out at home each day, varying between resistance bands, weights, yoga, and my treadmill. It is too hot for me to walk outside here right now, but I desperately need to keep myself moving and stay on a routine. I decluttered and freecycled a few items that were not being used.

    I hope everyone has a good week and stays safe and healthy.

    1. Hello Everyone! It sounds like many of us are on the same wavelength, filling freezers, canning, and restocking our pantries. This week I stocked up on hand soap, and canned goods. I’ve been organizing my kitchen pantry, trying to maximize space. I filled in gaps in my Cansolidators and labeled each row. I found duplicate/triplicate spice jars so I consolidated them, washed and filled empty jars with spices in baggies and labeled those. Spices are now neatly organized on a pull out rack. Much better!

      Brandy, what size freezer do you have? We have a small chest freezer that we bought pre-kids. It’s completely full but doesn’t hold a lot. I’d eventually like a larger one but they’re sold out everywhere.

      I,too, am realizing that I do not grow enough produce to support my family on our suburban lot. I have already removed an herb bed to grow more veggies, currently winter squash. Now I plan to relocate strawberries to a tower to free up two additional raised beds. I’m rooting strawberry runners for some free plants.

      I typically direct sow seeds in raised beds and that has been 2/3 successful. Does anyone start seeds indoors with a grow light? I’m wondering if it’s worth the expense to increase germination and get an earlier start in the Spring garden as well as extending later into fall/winter? Anyone have insight between direct sowing and grow lights?

      Back to school shopping consisted of new socks this year, saving us a lot! My teens haven’t had a growth spurt in a year. I plan to pick up a large box of printer paper from Costco and that’s it.

      I think I will begin Christmas shopping. Many items are still unavailable or backordered. I’d like to get a head start this year to keep things as normal as possible in an abnormal year. I follow Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar plan. We save a little for Christmas every month.

      Have a blessed week everyone!

      1. I don’t know what size our freezer is; ours died last year and we got my father-in-law’s. It is smaller than the one we have. It is a stand-up freezer.

        I have already started my Christmas shopping too. I have one daughter who has a birthday in September; I ordered her presents online for her birthday months ago as shipments were taking longer and then I ordered her Christmas presents too. I still need to figure out what to do for everyone else, but I want to order early.

      2. I do start seed under a light indoors, primarily because with our short growing season (app. 100 days) we would not be able to grow some things otherwise. I use a regular shop light from the hardware store that we have had for years and suspend it over a table. Not a fancy set up. I put it on a timer and it is not that expensive to operate.

      1. Just did that very successfully with a sucker that broke off one of my greenhouse tomato plants. It was about a foot long, and I let it sit for an hour or two (for break to heal over) then I broke off a few of the “lower” leaves to give it some bare stem, and stuck it into a 2 gallon pot of compost from my pile. Whenever I transplant anything, I have learned to water it well with some sort of plant food (it’s amazing how much that diminishes transplant shock), which I did. It looked pretty droopy for about a week but I just kept soaking it every day with water, and now about a week later it looks like a happy, vigorous and blossoming plant–I’m anticipating it will produce tomatoes this fall 🙂

  38. A good week here!
    Went to my local Dollar Tree and found Peppadew brand Sweet and Spicy mild chopped peppers – from South Africa, mushrooms in glass jars that are twice the size of the little cans – from Poland, Creole seasoning and Red Lobster seafood seasoning in shaker jars. When I went on line I found that the peppers are betwen $6-8 a jar! I bought six jars – and when I went back for more they were all gone. Made a pasta salad and added those along with “what ever was in the produce drawer” veggies and some buttermilk dressing that needed to be used up. For “mild” they are pretty spicy but added such a nice flavor.
    When thinking about stocking up I realized that there are several things that while not staples go a long way to flavor food – at least the flavors we like. I bought a huge jar of capers (from Spain), a humongous jar of pitted Kalamata olives (from Greece) and some artichoke hearts (Costco brand). When the art hearts arrived it was only one jar and it was obvious that the other one had broken and they shipped just the one jar. I went to dispute it and then got a message saying that what I ordered was undeliverable so being refunded. So essential a large jar for free – guess they got their wires crossed. I went through all our seasonings and have only a couple of things that I need to get – thyme, nutmeg, ground cloves and vanilla.
    Got my free dozen eggs at Albertsons and by careful shopping saved over $50.00 on what I bought! Mostly stocking up items.
    Stopped at two thrift stores – first time in them since March! I found books for .25 – two cookbooks and a couple of mysteries. I also found some shorts for $2.00 a pair, a smaller brim sun hat for $3.00 (found it online for almost $20.00!), a small hand held sifter for the RV and best of all – a pair of Teva “bump toe” sandals for $8.00! These run anywhere between $75-100 new. I love Tevas but learned last year at the R.V. park that I wanted a pair of the bump toe (toe is covered by a rubber toe bump – like little kids shoes). They are much more comfortable for being around a camp setting.
    I stopped at the farm stand that SO’s family has gone to for generations. They also sell at farmer’s markets and some local restaurants. This is at their actual farm. Had sticker shock. Their prices have gone up anywhere from 15-25%! I’ll have to do some shopping around as I have found other farm stands that haven’t hiked up their prices as much. They all pay the same amount for their water and seed – water comes from being part of a ditch association and much of the seed they either grow themselves or get from seed companies located about an hour from here (that have been in business a long time – that is there my SO’s paternal grandparents met in the early 1900’s!). The other odd thing was that the cucumbers that are used for pickling were soft – I am making dill relish with them but will need to find firmer ones for making regular pickles.
    Brought in zinnias and some small flowers that grew from the cheap ‘box’ of wildflower seed I got at Dollar General. They really make me so happy. The zinnia seeds are the descendants of zinnia’s planted almost 20 years ago! The morning glories are the same – just gather the seed each year and if need be reseed areas. Most of the time they are self seeding – in fact, almost too happy as they can get invasive. My herbs are doing well! These are cheap seeds as well and I will gather some for next year. The heat has really been hard on the tomato plants but there are finally tomatoes setting on – both little snacking size and the larger “slicers”. I hope I get at least some romas as I want to make a lot of salsa this year – both tomato based and from tomatillos.
    Finally – we got a $40.00 check from our insurance – the since no one is driving as much ‘gift’ – even out here in the country there is much less traffic even with cheaper gas prices. And my health insurance company sent a refund of $195.00 – there was a lot of confusion for the first half of the year about pulling my premium ($39.00 a month) from my SS check and then the insurance company insisting that I pay the premium. Guess they finally got is figured out. Both of those are going to finalize our ‘stocking up’ – would like to have at least 9 months, if not a year of almost everything we need. Brandy’s guidance along with comments from readers has really impressed upon me the need to be prepared – not just for Covid-19 but also what feels like a coming financial crisis.
    Take care all!

  39. Between work and catching up with friends, it was quite busy last week. I went another week without doing a big grocery shop but I picked up milk, rolls and salad greens. I also managed to find the jumbo rolls of paper towels that I like so bought a couple of those plus some extra boxes of kleenex. I also restocked my prescriptions and I was able to get my regular 90 days worth again instead of the 30 days we had been limited to over the past few months – paid nothing for 4 prescriptions.

    At home I did some more tidying up – decided to move some bookcases so that took a whole day with unloading, cleaning, moving and reloading! One of these shelves is in a temporary position – I have plans for a new dining table – round, and a lot smaller than what I have so that will then free up some space in the dining room.

    I went into the office 3 days last week so that necessitated adding $50 to my transit pass – it’s still not worth paying $128 for a monthly pass so still saving a good bit of money on travel.

    I finally got to see my BFF after 4 months! I had booked us a time at the art gallery (as I have a membership with guest privileges this didn’t cost us anything). They did a really good job of spacing people and had everything clearly marked, with everyone wearing masks so we felt quite comfortable. I had also booked a late lunch on a very nice patio for us and she was especially happy not to be cooking – she really hates cooking so this has been tough on her! We even enjoyed a glass of wine each. The next day I met up with 2 friends for coffee and a chat – again, I hadn’t seen either of them since lockdown! We bought a coffee and sat outside on a very quiet patio and had a really good catch up. I do not begrudge any of the money spent for these two outings as I really needed to see these friends – things have been getting to me a bit over the past couple of weeks so last week made a real difference to my state of mind. Oh and not sure if I mentioned this but both the Art Gallery and the Museum have extended all memberships by 4 months to reflect the time they were closed so hopefully I will get to use both – not quite sure if new exhibits will be arriving or not.

    I washed 4 loads of laundry and only used the dryer for the two loads of sheets. I washed and reused ziplock bags and cooked all other meals at home. I went through the freezer again to move a few things up front and can finally see a bit of a dent in there. I will buy meat if it’s a really good deal but holding off a bit until I get more used up – don’t want to risk losing anything to freezer burn. It’s supposed to be a wee bit cooler later in the week so I’m thinking of cooking some items and refreezing (i.e. making chilli, a pot of stew and maybe a meat loaf).

    My cardiology appointment was still via telephone – office is still not open so that is interesting. I am going to see if I can rebook my opthamologist this week but his office is in the same building so not sure if that will be happening.

    Amused myself with Youtube videos, books I own but haven’t read and Netflix.

    Brandy – you continue to amaze me with all that you do – especially in your extreme heat and your photos are just gorgeous! Two things….
    1) I was reading some of your archived posts and noticed that the margin issue is still happening there.
    2) I need to place an Amazon order soon so wondered if you had had any luck as yet with finding out if we can get your affiliation to work on Canadian orders – thank you.

    1. I can imagine that the older posts might still have it. I don’t really have time to go back to fix 12 years’ worth of posts, so it’s very likely to stay an issue on those, unfortunately. Each one has to be done individually and every photo has to be clicked on individually as well to recenter it, as it didn’t keep my centering of images from before.

      Finding out about the Canadian and U.K. links is on my to-do list for this week!

      1. Oh gosh – don’t even think about the archives! I had assumed it was one of those behind the scenes tech things. I will manage!

        I don’t need to place an order for a few weeks so will wait until you have the time to check about the Amazon situation.

        1. If it’s a page, not a post, I am fixing them as I see the problem. I just fixed three a few minutes ago. I know I can’t go back to fix all of them, though. I just don’t have time.

    2. I’m looking forward to seeing the Winnie the Pooh exhibit at the ROM. and I hear the Van Gogh exhibit that was originally to be at AGO and went drive in, will go back to the AGO.

      1. My BFF and I were among the last people in the ROM the day they had to shut down and we had gone deliberately to see the Winnie the Pooh exhibit – it was absolutely wonderful – so charming. I highly recommend it. It is set up for both adults and children. I believe it has reopened.

        I didn’t realize that the Van Gogh exhibit was supposed to have been in the AGO originally – I really hope it does move there. I checked the price on the “drive in” version and it was very expensive!

  40. To carry over from last week, the new site design is very attractive, and I personally haven’t had any issues with the margins. The vintage scale is a lovely prop – so evocative. It reminds me of my great-grandmother’s wooden coffee grinder, which sits on my dining room table and which I frequently use as a prop, surrounded by flowers or fruit or “Americana”-type items.

    **I ordered a CSA (Community-Sustained Agriculture) box from a local farm. For $25, it was delivered to the door brim full of beautiful fruit, vegetables, and fresh herbs. We enjoyed the artichokes for dinner that same evening, along with the abundance of sweet corn, bell peppers, and mild jalapenos in a delicious “street corn” salad. We used the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and the avocado in tuna salads. I blanched and froze the broccoli, chopped and froze several onions, and sliced and froze the (several pounds of ) strawberries. Cantaloupe, nectarines, strawberries, and blueberries will appear in fruit salad this evening. I felt the box was an excellent value, as well as an investment in local business.

    **I saved the seeds from the heirloom tomatoes, the bell peppers, and the jalepenos, and popped them into egg cartons with a bit of potting soil. I now have sprouts! They make me smile every time I walk past. I’m in a new home and haven’t yet decided where to establish a garden, but I have an abundance of planters and will use those until I know what I’m going to do. I also popped the basil in a jar, and it is putting out roots already.

    **My mother brought us delicious bread and cookies from a favorite local bakery. At 80, my mother is taking her own health and safety very seriously, and makes very few excursions. With this particular bakery, she orders on line, then drives to the shop where they bring her order to the car and place it in the trunk for her. She left our gifts in the driveway and we waved at each other from a distance, while wearing masks. We dearly miss our weekly visits with her, but her safety outranks everything.

    **I picked flowers from the garden and have enjoyed them throughout the house. I wish I could take credit for them but must tip my hat in gratitude to the previous owner. I’m hoping I will take care of them properly so they continue to thrive.

    **I utilized the solar-/wind-powered clothes dryer.

    **Our neighbor is having work done on their roof, and the gentlemen working have music playing: it’s cheerful and upbeat and I’m enjoying listening as I work here at the kitchen table.

    **I enjoyed FaceTime with my grandchild in another state. I sorely miss my trips to visit my children and grandchild. Until COVID, we had budgeted for a visit every two months, as my husband was adamant about the importance of being present in their lives. I know we’ve saved money by staying home, and I know that safety considerations come before anything else, but sometimes my heart hurts.

    **Stay safe, everyone, and thank you all for this peaceful and beautiful community of shared ideas and support.

    1. The scale belonged to my grandpa. He used it to weigh tomatoes that he grew for sale.

    2. Ava, I feel the same heartache over not seeing grandchildren and children. I have a hard time coming out of my funk over it all but it’s for the best. Facetime helps and phone calls. Someday…..

      1. momsav, yes indeed…someday. I find myself repeating Queen Elizabeth’s address, “We will be with our families again…we will be with our friends again…we will be together again.” *sigh*

  41. Very busy and not frugal week here-my DD’s birth grandma passed away so we have been busy helping find documents, get mementos for my daughter etc. It is a reminder for all of us to make sure our loved ones know where to find our wills, govt documents etc as it is not an easy time to be searching everything out. DD flew home to visit her grandma before she passed so that was an extra expense-but we are glad she was able to. Sadly her grandpa will now have to go into a nursing home as he cannot look after himself. On Friday we are driving her 10 hrs and helping her move into a larger, nicer apt which should be a bit cheaper as it will be split 3 ways instead of 2. We help her with expenses as she is going to 4 th year uni-but she has earned a lot herself this summer.

    My mum, who is 88. will be moving back here in 3 weeks and staying with us while she shops for a condo for purchase-there is one she has in mind and prices are pretty good right now.

  42. I found this site several months ago and have enjoyed reading the blog and everyone’s replies, and I thought I would join you.

    GardenPat, would you mind sharing the recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread please and thanks in advance. I’ve done a little bread baking through the years but I’ve never made any whole wheat although that’s pretty much all we buy.

    AviaAnn

    1. AviaAnn- Here is the YouTube tutorial with the recipe: https://youtu.be/TwaJss5AQKg
      The only thing I change is to reduce the amounts (the recipe she does makes 6 loaves at one time and I cut it down to make 2 loaves in a batch because there are only 3 of us!)
      Here’s a photo of how my bread looked this week! I love the fluffy texture! https://pin.it/769OEVW

      Hope you enjoy it!
      Gardenpat in Ohio
      HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  43. Brandy, it is so funny about your “Let it Snow” comment. In November we were still living in the Canary Islands where it is very warm at that time of year. Our apartment was on a little plaza/park. Across from there was a sort of meeting room or classroom.
    When we walked by in the evening there was a choir of elderly men rehearsing. In Spanish they were all just singing their hearts out. And you guessed it – “Let it Snow”. I thought it was unbelievably sweet.
    Not any great savings this week although I did make a runner and matching placements from some linen/cotton I purchased for half price online.
    A local clothing store had many things for 75% off so I did buy a few much needed tops.
    When we went hiking close to home I noticed many salal berries ripening so I am thinking of going back and getting some for jam. Salal berries are a bit like blueberries.
    I watched a fantastic movie on Amazon prime last night. I think that it was called “Bob the Cat”. Guess that is all.

    1. ElisaB – I made salal/cranberry jam a couple months ago with some salal berries I had picked previously and frozen. The jam is delicious!

  44. I posted but it was yesterday so I’ll repeat it for some of the Canadians. If you are stocking up on soup,
    Walmart (Canada) is advertising Baxter’s lentil and Smokey Bacon soup for 50 cent per can ( usually $3.50).
    I can’t eat it because it has ginger in it. It would be a great but cheap item for the pantry.

    Today I arranged for my YYC volunteer to go to IGA on Wednesday. They have whole chickens (fryers) for $2 per pound which for Canada is a good price. Because of my arm, I can’t cut them up. The butcher said they don’t usually do it but he’ll be glad to do it for me. Also, he will cut some fresh beef liver (usually their packages don’t cost very much so it will be good for my vitamin B12, folate and iron) so I’ll put some in my freezer. They have some breakfast cereals on sale too so I’ll stock up for the pantry. That leaves some oatmeal, chocolate (!), shampoo, more soap, dishwasher soap, a few cleaning supplies and then I can revert to just my immediate needs and not pay extra for pantry items. .

    My gardener felt badly about not being able to give me a couple of hours of her time so one of her employees has volunteered. I met him — he is young, fromVietnam, and is studying horticulture so I’ll trade him some English lessons for gardening. A great trade off. I may finally get my waterfall (it’s a dry watercourse) done.

    I hope to get some chokecherries from my woods and make jelly. Last year I couldn’t do it because I couldn’t lift the Dutch oven but hopefully I can this year. That will be the final stocking of the pantry.

  45. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy you are wise to stock up your pantry in case of shortages and wonderful you picked up lots of meat and other items on sale too to stock with. Lovely you are harvesting lots of produce from your gardens and looking ahead to expand your business with more knowledge through free and discount courses you can do online too 🙂 .

    Our savings added up to $40.94 last week 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Made up 1.1 kg of strawberry jam in our bread maker from strawberries we had purchased for $1 per 500g previously and frozen saving $10.94 over buying it.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    In the gardens –
    – Harvested 3.1 kg of mandarins from our fruit tree saving $13.50 over buying them in the supermarkets.

    Finances & internet listings –
    – Listed 10 items on a free listing promotion on eBay saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.
    – Banked more money into our 3 month living expenses emergency fund which we have now achieved :). We have decided to save further for a 6 month living expenses emergency fund.
    – Found unspent money in our budget and banked it towards our home maintenance fund to replace a house stump, 2 inside ceiling panels and reinforce shed beams. This brings us to 30% of the way to our target amount to hire tradespeople to do the work.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15.

  46. Your productive garden is so wonderful. I know it takes a lot of work. Well done! I love that you include some treats in your budget right now. The rootbeer floats made me smile.
    My sweet youngest daughter (20) is in quarantine all on her own in an apartment 4 hours from us. Her roommate tested positive for Covid. The roommate went home to her parents, so my daughter is on her own. I have been spending some time each day talking to her on the phone, playing games online, and tonight we are going to try screen sharing and watching a movie “together”. It is quite a stressful time.
    I sold a few things on Facebook marketplace. We have been eating lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans and collard greens from the garden. I am thankful.
    I was given some loppers (garden pruners), 2 throw rugs and 4 sets of curtains. I got to visit with my uncle and his wife, outside and apart. We had a family zoom call this weekend, and played some games, all 5 of us.
    Our son sent a strange picture to me, it was the underside of his forearm and 2 thin green things next to it. All of you mothers of boys will appreciate my first reaction. My first thought was “What injury is he showing me now?” But it was actually 2 yard long beans that he was putting his arm in the picture to show how long they were. I had never heard of yard long beans before you mentioned them, Brandy. I had bought the seeds and sent some to our daughter-in-law. So the beans do well in NC too!
    I have planted a few more new seeds, beans and cucumbers. It’s my first year planting in this climate, so I will see if I get a second crop before fall.
    I sewed a lot of napkin sets for my Etsy shop. There are some cute ones, and some that coordinate with the little fabric coasters that I make. https://www.etsy.com/shop/FabricSpeaks
    Best to everyone!

    1. Hi Kara and I hope everything turns out well for your daughter and it turns out she is negative on her covid test, it must be a worry.

      Sewingcreations15.

  47. Here’s how we saved money last week:

    * I made several dishes for us this week,most of them involving rice or beans or both. I made BBQ bean sliders (with homemade buns), fried rice, black eyed peas and greens (served with rice), homemade queso using some leftover taco meat and beans, pancakes, orange pork (like orange chicken, but using cut up pork chops from the freezer) with rice and green beans, and chicken alfredo. I also made a double batch of the english muffin toasting bread we like (the recipe from King Arthur Flour), though I used half whole wheat flour. I had also used some homemade cauliflower rice that I had made from the stems and leaves of a cauliflower I had bought earlier in the month.

    * I wrote up the meal plan for the next month and created a shopping list for the few things we don’t have on hand to make the dishes. I also started adding a few things to the shopping list to stock up on in case of a rise in covid cases in the fall I primarily need to stock up on canned tomato products- they’ve been harder to find since the pandemic started and I use them quite a bit, so now that my Walmart has removed the 4-item limit on them, I am going to stock up. (I can’t wait to have my own garden so I can can my own tomatoes!)

    * I reviewed our budget and emergency fund again. It helps me gain peace of mind to know how long we can go without serious impacts on our finances. It also helps that we already live quite frugally, because we have not had to cut too much from our spending.

    * I used leftovers and odds and ends from the fridge to make a quick pasta for lunch one day- I even used up the leftover egg wash from making the hamburger buns earlier that day!

    * We utilized games we already had for entertainment, and I participated in a free activity on Zoom. We were also able to watch a few thunderstorms this week, which we both enjoy watching.

    * I made some Arnie Palmer for an alternative to water for drinking.

    * I have continued to freeze milk when I buy a new gallon, and I find that it’s been working really well so far. I waste no milk now, and the milk is generally fresher when I use it. It also helps me space out shopping trips a bit more. (I do still use powdered milk as well, but since my powdered milk is skim milk, I prefer freezing milk because I can use something with a higher fat percentage).

    That’s everything I can think of. We’re going grocery shopping in a few days to get groceries for August. We came in under budget last month, so we can afford to stock up a bit more this month.

  48. Went to going out of business at antique mall. It’s the sort of store I hate but was able to get great deals. Brand new hardbacks for $1 each, really cute necklaces for .50 each (some were originally $12-$14 and I’m a costume jewelry addict) and some really cute Brighton Jewelry heart shaped boxes for .50 (later saw these online in sets of 4-5 for $20-$30). Some of these as happy for friend to use for her sewing notions. I hope to go back one more time as they reduce prices.
    Last trip to Memphis got $7 bags of locally made candy for $2. Found really cute glass jars at $Tree and will fill and use for part of upcoming birthday happies. One bag of candy will fill three jars.
    90-95 % off retail for toiletries, toys, books and winter accessories at my local Dirt Cheap. All were originally from the store with the bullseye.

  49. What are ideal foods to store in food safe storage bins? We have rice, chick peas and flour in some already but wondering about oats? Quick oats?

    1. Oats are good and can be stored for a long time! If you plan to get into the bucket regularly, buy gamma lids for your buckets.

      I also have pinto beans, black beans, popcorn, and sugar in buckets. I get into all of these regularly, so I have screw-on gamma lids on all of them. You can see here; they are the ones under the counter.

  50. I’m so glad that you were able to fix your a/c without having to replace it! I can’t imagine temperatures of 103 degrees *inside* a house! Also, a two foot long cucumber? Impressive! That’s something I’ve learned from you, to try to get more food per plant: yard-long green beans, super-long Armenian cucumbers, those radishes that you grow that grow long and deep (I can’t remember the name now).

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I baked a Produce-Packed Fudgy Banana Bread (http://approachingfood.com/produced-packed-fudgy-banana-bread/) (vegan and each loaf contains a whole zucchini, a whole sweet potato, and 2 bananas) as a weekend/evening snack. Despite all the veggies in it, it just tastes like chocolate loaf cake! A great way to use up zucchini in a dessert, plus with no eggs or butter, it’s relatively frugal.
    – My daughter picked and ate green beans, snow peas, cucumbers, and red peppers from my parents’ garden. I love that she has the opportunity to really understand where food comes from, more so than just from my balcony garden.
    – I saved water bottles to turn them into self-watering containers for my balcony garden, to keep everything growing even when I’m not there.
    – I made chicken-fried cauliflower steaks and mushroom gravy as a special meal one day.
    – I made pizza Margherita using homegrown basil, and a sourdough crust using my sourdough starter discard.
    – I made sourdough pancakes using my sourdough starter discard.
    – I use the water from my daughter’s pool to water my parents’ garden.
    – I took my daughter to Riverdale Farm (a farm in the city) so that she could finally see in real life all the animals in her farm books. After that, I took her for a stroller in walk in the beautifully gardened and very shady necropolis across the street. It was a lovely (and socially distant) afternoon, and best of all, free admission!
    – I found sugar on sale for $1/kg and bought the max, two packages. I haven’t seen it that cheap in years!
    – I finally downloaded the libby app to my phone, and read 5 of the 6 School of Manners books from M.C Beaton, free from my library.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as always!

    1. French breakfast radishes.

      If you like beets, Cylindra is a long variety.

      Houses that go to foreclosure here can get 110 inside. The door frames start to come apart inside and out, and cabinets come apart. We see it in houses for sale here that were bank-owned properties. My husband pointed out the damage to me at a particular house once.

    2. That recipe looks really good – going to give that one a try! I have a few friends who are vegan so I do try to keep a few recipes on hand that I can use for them.
      Isn’t Riverdale Farm fun? I took a friend there last Summer for a walk and she was amazed – she grew up on a dairy farm in Quebec and loved seeing all the animals and talking to many of the keepers. And I always love walking in the Necropolis – it is so interesting. Did you manage a walk through Cabbagetown as well – seeing so many different styles of architecture plus all the lovely gardens also makes for a wonderful walk.

      1. Margie and Margaret, my oldest daughter lives in Cabbagetown! It is so very quaint and fun to see the architecture. My daughter tells me that on the ritzier blocks on trash day people leave out all sorts of treasures for the taking.

        1. I hope she’s found some treasures! I love walking in that neighbourhood – all the different styles of buildings, especially some of the old cottages are quite fascinating. I once arranged for a historical walk for a group of people that included the Necropolis & the architecture and it was so interesting to hear the history. Some of the people who lived there even came out to speak with us.

      2. Hi Margie! I didn’t walk around Cabbagetown as it was rather a hot day and I thought my daughter (and I!) had been out in the sun enough, plus the next door park and neighbourhood were full of people not social distancing so I thought it better to go home. I love living in Toronto! Some of my university friends weren’t fond of bigger cities, but really, most cities are just made up of little neighbourhoods, like Cabbagetown, and once you realize that, living in a city isn’t the homogeneous concrete sprawl that some might assume. Did you ever read the ‘Booky’ books by Beatrice Thurman? Based on her childhood in Toronto during the Great Depression, she references places like Cabbagetown and High Park and Sunnyside Beach, and even the TTC. They’re children’s books (young adult, I’d say), but fun to read, and there’s even a frugal aspect to them as she often writes about how they survived on unemployment, wits, and whatever work her father was able to scrounge up. I loved them as a child and can’t wait to introduce my daughter to them.

        1. I do know of the “Booky” books. Did you know that the CBC made a series of TV movies based on them? I remember seeing them on TV not that long ago.
          I live next to Bloor West Village and it is much the same thing – used to be a separate “village” and gradually got incorporated into the city. I’m lucky to live by the Humber river just across from the Old Mill so I am very lucky to have such a wonderful area to walk in.

    3. My daughter and family lived in Toronto for 5.5 years and I loved going there. Hearing some of you talk about places you visit bring back fond memories. I would live in Canada in a heartbeat if I could.

  51. Dear Brandy,
    I got so encouraged by your elderberry story! I have a goji berry bush which I planted at my sunniest spot which grew like crazy. It is a little tree now, but isn’t producing for me. I had it there for 5 years and kept it just because of the foreign appeal and all those things I COULD do with the berries. For a while now I was thinking to get rid of it but somehow didn’t, which now seems insane as I don’t ever buy goji berries but I do buy lettuce and I could grow 6 heads there(if I did romaine and cut it at the stem it could regrow giving me 12 heads). At 22-30 norvegian korons a head, this is the 300 that I am not picking up from the ground! And if we have anything in our climate it is berries! (Sorry for the rant, I am just having a ‘what was I thinking?’ moment). The whole week I was thinking about your reply to my last weeks list, that you never picked wild food. It made an impact on me. I am not sure what I am thinking about it, but I am thinking about it.
    This week we did some more of the same:
    – My biggest score was 3kilograms(6,5 pounds) of cloud berries which we picked near by. They are considered a delicacy here and what we picked is easily worth 50 euro. I always feel so rich and fancy when I serve multekrem (cloudberry cream) on Christmas! And picking them is super fun!
    My older boy found a meat eating plant on that trip which we picked to add to his collection and his nature study book.
    – On the same trip we raked in 2 more kilograms of blueberries for freezing.
    -I made a Woldorf doll for a little girl’s 6th birthday, she loved it and asked me if I could teach her to sew and knit to make more clothes for the doll! Heart melt…
    -I hand picked caterpillars off my cauliflower plants, trying to save them.
    – We ate salad from the garden every day.
    -I bought 3 small packets of lego at 40% off to have as small gifts for different occasions.
    Thanks to everyone for the great tips as always.

    1. I have taken out a whole slew of apple trees that never produced. I gave them ten years, which was plenty of time.

      I don’t know if they grow that far north, but my friend in Denmark grows Seaberries. He says they taste like orange juice, and they are full of vitamin C.

      I have read about cloudberries; they sound so amazing!

      We cannot forage here because we live in the desert. There are no trees. Those who hunt have to drive to the next state to do so. They have to get a license and then enter a lottery to get a single deer tag. My husband did the math, and it would be very expensive for him to go hunting even if he got a deer. Fishing is not really something one can do here; you do need a license each year, but fishing is very limited. There is a park where they sometimes stock fish, but they have to drive them in to put them there in the man-made lake.

      1. It really humbles me to think about that. I sometimes had an attitude about living so far north. Norway is very expensive and the climate is a challenge for a gardner. It isn’t always easy to stay content. But when I read your posts and hear of the challenges of the heat, it helps me see how we all just have to do the best with what we have and focus on our unique opportunities.
        It is indeed possible to grow seaberries here. Maybe I will put them in the space of goji. I also start to consider a DA rose…

        1. I know there are some David Austin roses that can survive colder climates. They will need mulching in winter. On their website, they list the ones that can take the cold. They have a site for several countries, including England and France; you can probably order in a country in the E.U. and find one that has shipping to Norway.

          Sometimes we think we can’t grow something in our climate, but when we do a little research, we find that we can.

          Every area has different challenges: some have an overabundance of rain, some have giant slugs, some have tons of caterpillars, some have high humididty and fiungus, some have drought, some have clay soil, some have rocks, some have too low of a pH, some too high, so it’s super cold, and some it’s super hot. We just need to learn to work with those challenges, and find out what things might do well in our area.

          1. I have grown David Austin roses in Zone 3 (now 3a) with success. In the fall, I mulch them sometimes but I always cover them with styrofoam rose cones. It is important to take the cones off soon enough in the spring or you might lose a rose due to lack of moisture. I lost one of the hardy roses (not David Austin) that way this spring much to my great sadness. It was called de Montarville and was beautiful.

        2. Kinga,
          Thanks for this post and Brandy for the responses. I live in northern Canada in the boreal forest. Right now on my property and the woods all around we have cloudberries, but in all honesty no one eats them here. You could not even buy them.
          I also have lingonberries growing, again, no one eats them. Very funny what different cultures/countries enjoy!
          I also have wild strawberries and wild raspberries, and Saskatoon berries. Those we all gladly eat.
          Sometimes reading Brandy’s posts I feel disappointed we can’t grow things in winter. However, we make the most of what we DO have. We have Snow 6-7 months of the year. But, when we do have summer our garden does well. We grow many staples including enough potatoes, peas, corn, beans, tomatoes and herbs to last the year. I have one freezer just for garden produce, which I was pretty grateful for in March when we could not shop!
          Right now we are eating freezer veggies every day making room for this years crop. As Brandy says, every region has challenges, you just have to overcome them!
          I’ll try some cloudberries this week and think of you!

          1. Lingonberries are delicious! They make a great jam. Ikea sells a lingonberry flavored water that I tried once and really liked.

  52. Rain today. A couple weeks ago we were approaching drought status. We’ve had a couple good rains but today a couple storms came through one after the other. We got plenty but didn’t check the amount. When the news came on, we discovered that the next two towns east of us (each about 6 miles past the last) got between 5.9 and 7. something inches of rain. From the weather maps, we were just on the bottom edge of those storms. The two towns past us had major flood issues, roads impassable, and no un-necessary driving for at least tonight. The fire company will be working all night, pumping out basements and such.
    My DD has been shopping for me since April–we are still experiencing shortages and without much in the way of sales lately, there has been darn little opportunity to stock up. She has been to the farmer’s market and has put beets, and summer squash and some tomatoes into her freezer. I have been unable to find the kind of facial tissues I prefer for the past 4 months, and have been making do with smaller, more expensive purchases, a couple boxes at a time. Toilet paper, paper towels, and generally paper products of all kinds are in short supply–there may be one or two brands available.
    My sister gave me a coupon worth up to $14 on personal hygiene products for women. DD will be looking to use that this week–it’s only good for about 15 days.
    It’s been quite hot here, normally a temperate climate. Several days with heat indexes near 100, with humidity extremely high as well. Supposed to cool off tomorrow. My medical problems make it very difficult for me to be very active under those conditions, so I have been elevating my feet and trying to do just essentials. After my last doctor visit, I am supposed to be on limited liquid intake–between heart disease and kidney insufficiency, no more ” drink all you can.” A liter and a half a day is my limit, or it collects around my ankles in most unattractive fashion. Rinse and spit is one way around a dry mouth, if anyone else has similar problems.
    I so enjoy reading of everyone’s harvest and canning projects, although those days are mostly behind me!

  53. This past week was dedicated to food preservation around my house. Besides the garden produce that needed dealt with, I picked peaches Friday. My sister has a u-pick peach orchard, and so after getting my batch on Friday, I got them all preserved, and then last night, she told me they had “uglies” left on the trees and they would be open this morning for a short while, but most people would not want to buy the banged up ones. So, I sent Rob back and he got a bunch of those to freeze for smoothies. Once they go into the blender, they are all mashed up anyway. I ended up canning 35 quarts, making peach jam, blueberry-peach jam and freezing several trays of slices. It was a generous gift. Pictures of the canning are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com
    I have also been canning green beans, zucchini relish, and my daughter shredded 32 cups of zucchini this morning for winter baking. I got enough tomatoes to make some pasta/pizza sauce once I combined them with a container of tomato-vegetable juice purchased for very little a long while back. It needed used.
    My husband stumbled upon a 25-pound bag of gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats at the restaurant supply store while buying canning supplies such as vinegar, peppers and celery seed for me. He also found 50 pounds of Jasmine rice for $10. The oats had damage on the bag, and they told him they rice had been ordered by mistake. So, it’s been stock-up week, for sure.

    1. Becky, I’ve been looking for Jasmine rice and haven’t found any. I have an appointment in the next town over, where they have large mainstream stores, where i’ll check again. Good deals for you!

  54. I was fortunate and found sensitive toothpaste reduced to 30 cents each. Eight came home with me. I have been trying to slowly add longer life foodstuffs to our stores.

  55. I have been following for a while and love all the things everyone gets done…my husband (of 60 years this fall) has slowly been putting solar on our house and adding whenever we could… the stimulus was a big help… we’ve got enough to run our microwave, coffee pot (very important!) instant pot and my breadmaker…(arthritic hands slow my bread making down) and
    are adding a small chest freezer for backup hoping if we lose electric for any length of time we will still be able to have the use of our appliances. It sounds like we are spending more than saving but it will be better in the long run. Have a wonderful week everyone, stay safe and be blessed!

      1. Beets: Boil until skins can be removed easily peeled and cut into desired size pieces cover and boil until tender pack in bottles and heat bottles. Pour syrup over beats and Seal. 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup vinegar 1 cup water (use the water you boiled your beats in ) 1/2 teaspoon salt

        1. I’m not sure if after you get the beets and syrup in the jars if you then boil the jars and contents or before?

          1. I just copied the recipe from my email.

            Boil beets, peel off skins. Slice. Pack in jars.

            Make syrup and pour over beets. Remove air bubbles, place hot lids on and rings, and can in a water bath canner.

      2. Here’s on for carrots but they need to be pressure canned

        Brown Sugar Carrots

        5# carrots, peeled and sliced
        8 T brown sugar
        8 pinches canning salt
        Water

        Fill pint jars with Sliced carrots. Should get 8.

        To each jar add a pinch of salt and 1 T brown sugar. Fill with water leaving 1inch headspace.

        Pressure can 11# for 30 minutes. (Check pressure for your altitude).

        My grandkids LOVE these carrots

  56. Brandy your photos are stunning this week. Your website is beautiful!
    I had a busy week prepping, cleaning and re-staining our back deck. My husband received a 20 litre bucket of high quality exterior stain that was left over from a project. We were thinking that this particular project may not be completed off our to do list this year due to our job losses. We are very thankful as this stain is over $200 and our deck looks great.
    We have had “hot” (for our area near the Mountains!) weather so I have been mindful to close our insulated drapes, open up windows in early morning and turn on our ceiling fans. We don’t have A/C but really don’t require it as it rarely gets above 30 Celsius in the summer. We had a few hail storms, marble sized ice chips, that have damaged some of my garden, but they are mostly making a comeback. Picked more strawberries, lettuce, and spinach to use this week.
    I redeemed another $10 for Amazon through SB, I had enough credit for an order for free shipping so I purchased dishwasher tabs, a case of cat food and a large Dawn detergent.
    I did a big grocery shop and was astonished at the still rising prices of food. Many items I just said No! to as the cost has tripled since March. The sales items were sold out, the only deal I did purchase was 4 litres of vinegar for $1.47. I was able to redeem $40 in loyalty points.
    I continue to work on making some Christmas gifts in the evening, taking advantage of how light it still is to work on my projects.
    Staying home, reading this wonderful blog, keeping busy, and counting my blessings. Thanks to all for sharing, this is such a positive environment.

    1. Hi Kitty B.
      Glad to hear your garden survived — so did mine. It was pretty scary when the tornado passed overhead! I have been thinking of staining my deck although I might wait a year.
      Wha colour is your stain — was it transparent, solid or semi-transparent? Fortunately, my deck is not big –it’s more like a balcony. Anyway, great deal to receive the stain! Ann

      1. Hi Ann,
        The product was called Sharkskin exterior stain, it was purchased at Cloverdale paints. It is supposed to be scuff resistant and made to withstand a Canadian winter. It is a semi-transparent stain and I used 2 coats. They have dozens of colours but I was gifted a pail of “Copper” colour; and it worked out great plus a huge savings for our budget!

        1. Hi Kitty B.

          I checked the website – colour is a beautiful colour. I am contemplating changing my stain colour which is a brown. I had aimed for cedar but got a brown instead. Great bargain for you! Ann

  57. Feeling very Blessed for you having this website Brandy and all that share here. Except for the Amish neighbors I am pretty much alone among our family and friends in being frugal.

    I went over the budget, check to see where I could cut corners, rechecked ins and found some mistakes. Paid most of Aug bills.It’s always a sigh of relief to do that early.

    After going in to get some dog food , Hubby called home and told me to get the house stocked up as the shelves are going bare again. So I’ve been doing that, changed where I shopped (to any place where I might be) and any brand except my cleaning stuff, toilet paper and stuff that triggers my allergies. Don’t need to get sick and end up with medical bills as that doesn’t save me anything.

    Some changes in hours and distance for Hubby and how I cook and clean we saved $5000 with in 1 month with the things I changed in the bills…. not that we will see that happen again LOL.

    We pulled 9 months worth of money from our IRA in March and planned for it to last until Dec covering at 50% of the business since it is his first year. At this point it will last until beginning of Feb.Nov thru Jan is low employment for Hubby in his business . He’s broke even until June and was short 2 wks this month.

    I really hope the gardens start doing better since we got rain.Right now the Roma tomatoes are about half gone with blossom rot if they grew at all.

    Blessed Be Everyone.
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/07/how-we-saved-5000-of-ira-withdrawl.html

  58. Brandy, the cucumber looks delicious!
    We had a financial set back this week. My husband had a tooth fall apart a few weeks ago from too many fillings over the years. The bill to have the tooth replaced after insurance will be $3600. This is a bill we did not anticipate while closing on our new house. There is always something. A good reminder to take good care of our teeth and utilize the free teeth cleanings available through our insurance.
    My frugal accomplishments this week:
    -Using less of everything. Less coffee grounds per pot, still tastes great. Less makeup, I’m not going anywhere these days. Cooking in smaller batches, I don’t have a microwave oven right now to easily re-heat leftovers.
    – Walking, walking, walking. It’s free exercise, and our temporary rental is in a very walkable urban area.
    -Working on a plan to re-purpose what I already have to furnish and decorate when we move into our new home.
    -Being aware of my attitude. It doesn’t cost anything to have a positive attitude. Realizing that my attitude does really set the tone for the atmosphere in my home and the attitiude of my family. Trying to be uplifting and positive.
    -Studying using free materials that I already have. I was planning on going back to work next year in my field, traveling retail merchandising. Given the state of the world, I have decided to go back to school next year to learn a trade that can be done from home or office and as an employer or contractor, very flexible, yet always in need. Now I am studying the basics using free materials, which I hope will make it quicker and easier for me to get through the online program when I can afford to start school.

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s frugal accomplishments this week! I always learn so much!
    Have a great week! Stay safe!

  59. I finally succeeded in ordering the big box of Honest Earth mashed potatoes. I saw 6 boxes were left
    last night for $38 each. Today they are down to 3 boxes. I was really surprised anyone had them on Amazon.ca. Another vendor on Amazon.ca was selling them for more that $50. At Costco in the States they are a lot less but hard to find as it looks like they are only in stores (including Costco) for a very short time. There are 114 servings per box so it’s 35 cents per serving. They get great reviews! It is one of our rare really hot days. I am going to turn my furnace fans on — it will circulate the cold basement air to the upstairs. My yard isn’t as hot as other yards because it is surrounded by shade trees.

    1. Ellie’s Friend, so glad you were able to find the potatoes. We have purchased them at Costco in the past, and I really think they are quite good! Enjoy!

  60. Dear Brandy and fellow Prudent Homemakers,
    I have been reading for a while, but never commented. I had read with concern the upcoming financial issues and I told my husband that I was worried. He wanted to know what I thought we could do. He works for the Church and it’s possible that his pay will be reduced. We have 7 children, all of them living at home, even though 2 have graduated college. It’s just difficult to live alone right now with job insecurity and the virus. We live in Kansas. I said maybe we could look into refinancing. We have a 4.875% interest rate. My husband called on Friday. We did the paperwork and got the documentation over the weekend. The loan officer called and said that he noticed our home insurance seemed high and he suggested we check with an insurance guy. Long story a little shorter…We now have a rate of 2.75% and a reduction of $351 per month on our mortgage. The insurance guy found that we could save another $1700 a year on home owner insurance and an extra $96.91 per month on car insurance. So because of this blog, a loving husband, a phone call, a bit of paperwork, an observant loan officer and a great insurance guy, we are saving a total of $586 per month. and our mortgage payment is under $1000, making it much more doable to pay if something does happen with a reduction in pay. I am very grateful for this blog and for God’s great graces.

    1. Hooray! Wonderful news!

      I would encourage anyone who can refinance for at least a point lower to look into it. It’s a huge savings!

      Also, if it’s been more than two years since you’ve shopped your car insurance and homeowner’s insurance, it’s time to shop it again!

    2. Bethanne, congratulations on your refinance! It’s so wonderful that you were able to find ways to save so much money!

  61. Today I viewed the new look of the blog, it is such an upgrade, very beautiful! I tried using car window washing fluid on my windows and mirrors, such a delight and sparkle!! Its much better than the vinegar mix, or anything else I have tried. Also worked well on a glass shower door. I’m making my first loaf of sourdough bread in years, hope it turns out well!! its become very popular here to make sourdough bread. thanks for the pretty new blog, Ann Lee S

  62. Hello everyone!!

    Been reading all of your posts every week, enjoying and learning but haven’t posted myself in a long time. This blog has encouraged me to learn how to use different wifi technology. We’ve enjoyed and been uplifted by our own parish and other parish streaming Masses and events. We’ve been entertained and learned how others during other struggles survived and thrived in watching Youtube. If you remember, we were very impressed with the BBC series War Farm with the historians who lived and worked a British farm the same way the British did during WWII. We were thrilled to see the same group of historians did another 5 part series in France where a 25 year project is ongoing to build a medieval castle with the same methods and technology as in medieval times. So interesting and in my opinion, very educational too!! If you have a chance, try “The Secrets of the Castle” on Youtube.

    About six weeks ago, early one morning as I was grabbing milk and something to defrost for dinner, I realized the water heater tank was leaking. Good news, it wasn’t gushing and a couple towels on the floor were all that was needed to wipe up the water that had leaked.   More good news was that Lowes had the water heater we wanted and my son did the install and we had hot water within a few hours.  It was an unexpected expense for the month but it could have been a whole lot worse if we hadn’t noticed right away and had water damage or if we had to pay for install too. 

    Since the shutdown, I have been actively using worn or stained dish towels for as many times I’d use a paper towel  It usually doesn’t matter if they get washed in a dark or light load of laundry and it’s been interesting to see how often a paper towel really isn’t needed. 
    For really messy messes, flyers and catalogs are especially handy. I keep at least one handy to empty the sink strainer on for instance.

    The shutdown and shortages gives a different perspective to use what I have right in drawer  It’s a good reminder of what Brandi says about how there’s always another way we can spend less if we look for them. 

    Have also learned during the shutdown how long a bar of soap can last compared to liquid hand soap. We have 3 adults in our household. In March, I put brand new bars of hand soap at 3 sinks, 2 of them bathroom sinks, one kitchen sink. The busiest bathroom’s bar of soap needed replacement first but only a couple of weeks ago!!   Interesting how the liquid hand soaps became  commonplace everything considered.  
    And by the way, believe me, I have been washing my hands and have no problems asking my husband and adult son if they’ve washed theirs too!!

    Realized the other day as I was getting some correspondence for my own mom and my motherinlaw too, that I’ve never mentioned that we print our own stamps. There are a couple of companies that have software that works with US postal system. We use Stamps.com. Printing your own only costs .50 a stamp.  We’re only saving a nickel each stamp but there’s only 20 nickels in a dollar!!

    I’ve been using more postage during social distancing not only for our elderly moms but we have other friends who had emergency surgeries during the shutdown, are pregnant and being extra careful, or just need a “thinking of you” reminder. It’s costing extra in postage but it’s money well spent in my opinion because I am letting family and friends know they havent been forgotten. Not everyone is email or social media savvy and everyone loves to find good mail in the mailbox.  I often cut something cute  from the comic or an article from the paper. As I’ve been reorganizing drawers, I’ve found postcards from trips taken years ago and have been including a postcard with my notes too. I  talk about the trip and the picture on the card.  Its a small effort but I can do it safely and remind others they are part of our lives.

    Here in SouthCentral PA, counties very close to us are on drought alert but although we’re low on rain, we’ve had a couple of storms and the rain barrels are more full. I borrowed someone’s idea of letting the wheelbarrow collect rain as well as buckets and trash cans too.  Three little tomatoes have ripened which beats last year’s record until almost Halloween but the beans plants instead grew Poke weed. Go figure!  The waist high raised bed has made a big difference for the tomatoes and the peppers look promising too. Starting to think about making plans for the cooler weather vegetables. 

    We rescued a bonded pair of mixed Terriers from our Humane Society. We aren’t sure if they really are sister and brother but they are very cute.  They are beginning to feel comfortable here but they’ve had a rough past so they need lots of love and patience. Our Humane Society gives a discount if you take two at the same time and our pet registration rules gives one discount if you pay the lifetime dog registration fee and another discount if you’re over 65 which was a pleasant surprise.                                                                               
    Thanks Brandy for all you do, especially with  and thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences and tips.  Here’s to all of us getting through the pandemic!!!

     Oh, and by the way, based on your recommendation, we ordered the POM brand of toilet paper from Sam’s Club and so far, so good!

    1. Kaye, I saw that series as well. They did others, too: Edwardian Farm, Tudor Farm, and Victorian Farm. All of them were very good! We found them all on YouTube.

      1. I believe the first one they did was “Tales from the Green Valley” so if you haven’t seen that it’s worth a look.

      2. Yes, we saw watched the other Farms too!! Now we are enjoying Time Team. Was very happy to see there is also an American Time Team!

    2. Kaye Beverly, I had to chuckle at the soap comment – bar soap vs liquid. When things started getting really bad here in March with grocery shortages, I would notice that the soap shelves in the stores would be barren, meanwhile the bar soap hadn’t been touched! I remember thinking, “Y’all do realize that is also soap… right?”

  63. I love the new look of your blog! Your photos are always so wonderful. I’ve never learned much about photography. That’s my hubby’s department. I usually just set the camera on automatic and keep trying until I get a picture I like. Maybe someday I’ll take a class…
    We haven’t had any huge savings the last couple of weeks.
    -We’ve harvested potatoes, zucchini, peppers and beets from the garden.
    -We found some good deals at yard sales for clothing and a toddler bed for my granddaughter. Details of our week are on my blog: http://thebudgetinggranny.com/savings-and-goals-journal-12/
    Mostly we are just saving by staying home and cooking and eating meals at home. I’m beginning to feel concern about the food supplies for later in the year and so I am planning a small fall garden. I am also searching the sale ads for things we can stock up on. We last did a big stock-up in March and many things are getting low by now. My husband works in maintenance for the public school. He still has a job now, but school will start online only in August, possibly starting in-person classes after Labor Day. It just makes me wonder what will happen if they push the date even later. Therefore, I am so thankful for this website and all of the ideas and encouragement here. Instead of sitting and worrying, I am planning and preparing.

  64. It was another great, frugal week!
    We made homemade lemonade, yum! Using a tip from the Tightwad Gazette, we added a little baking soda to neutralize the acidity, allowing us to add less sugar. It was fun mini-lesson for the kids.
    The Aldi cashier mispriced two half-price stickered items, and missed another. I try to always check my receipt, and this time I caught it. There were probably six people in line, only one cashier open, and my own kids were getting restless. I could see that the cashier was annoyed, but every little bit matters. I insisted that he correct the mistake, which required him to call a manager, etc.
    There is a lot of delicious, inexpensive produce on sale right now, which we have enjoyed.
    I participated in a taste testing focus group, for microwavable flavored rice. They will be priced $2.99/8oz (prepared), and I thought of all of you ladies, and how you can season and cook rice for much, much cheaper. 🙂 Still, I made some money for participating.
    I resold some items on facebook that I picked up at Goodwill and the Goodwill Outlet.
    I was able to find some hand-me-downs for a friend’s son, that my older son has outgrown. Often, others are generous with us with hand-me-downs.
    I did curbside pickup for more library books and movies.
    We went to a new-to-us park, where we got to feed the fish and turtles some old bread. My aunt let us swim at her house again, which is wonderful, since the neighborhood probably won’t re-open this summer.
    I covered a casserole with a cookie sheet instead of foil.
    I bought several Walmart .43 marked down Italian loaves of bread, which I made into French toast, with eggs my aunt gave me. We at some for dinner, but now have several days’ of breakfast prepped.
    I used a coupon to buy donuts (a rare treat) for half price, which we took to the arboretum for a picnic breakfast on Thursday, the day that our arboretum has free parking.
    I cleaned with some Norwex rags that my friend bought for me from a thrift store (she found what was maybe a salesperson’s old inventory?). Are these really any different from regular microfiber rags? I’m not into MLMs, so I really don’t know.
    We continued to eat 4-5 dinners, each $5 or less.

    1. Eight ounces of dried rice would cost me $0.19. Eight cooked ounces is probably half that. I can add seasonings for probably 10 cents, so it’s still going to cost me about $0.20 to make that much seasoned rice.

      I wonder if we will see more or fewer prepared foods on the store shelves in the future. If this recession ends up being a long one, those types of products may go away. I know right now a lot of products have been discontinued permanently from the grocery stores as companies stopped producing their less popular items.

  65. Sooo I bought my quick oats and put them in my food safe buckets and banged on the kids and then remembered you are maybe supposed to freeze them first? So need advice do I open the buckets and freeze them – some how as the paper bags are not useable, or do I leave it as we will be using within a year??? Help!

    1. I know you meant lids but oh how you made me laugh!

      You need a tool to open the buckets like this one.

      You don’t have to reopen them. Some people freeze them to avoid pantry moths, but not everyone gets pantry months.

      For regularly opening them, you want to have gamma lids so you can easily get into them without cussing up a storm breaking a nail wondering why you ever bought buckets without any trouble.

      1. Thank you so much for A) understanding my typos lol B) peace of mind that I don’t have to try to freeze them and C) I’ve ordered an opener and gamma lids!!!

      2. I so giggled at your bucket lid description. Last week I bought another bucket and another gamma lid, had to balance myself between a chair back and the counter so I could stand on the lid to get it seated properly on the bucket. The things we do to keep our food safe!

  66. I am envious of all the people with very handy husbands, and I’m very impressed by the skills.

    I’m still enjoying whole-lime concentrate mixed with water and sweetened with stevia. I use maybe a tablespoon of the concentrate I made by blending, then straining the whole limes. It’s delicious. We went out of town (drove) and stayed at a very inexpensive AirBnB. We take our dog once a year to swim at a huge dog beach, and we celebrate my birthday. It was a nice change and we went thrifting there. I bought a lot of paperback books for twenty-five cents each– I like to read when we go on vacation (if we ever get to go away again) and prefer mindless, light books. I also found (boy’s size 14, which is crazy size distortion) shorts and a sweet teabag holder/strainer (very old) to give as a present.
    I sold dragon fruit cuttings! Today I acquired a whole lot of organic radishes and made radish chips with them. They’re surprisingly tasty and easy to make, and a good way to use up the radishes I’m often given.

    Happy week all!

      1. Cindy,
        I slice the radishes, then put them in a bowl with some salt so they lose some of the water. after about 5 minutes, I drain the slices (I save the liquid and use it in salad dressing), dry out the bowl, add olive oil and a bit of chili sauce (you may skip that if you don’t like hot things), then put them in the oven at 370. Keep an eye on them because cooking time depends on how thin they’re sliced. Flip them when they’re cooked on one side. I’d guess they cook in about 10-15 minutes.
        That’s how I do them, but these sound really good, too
        https://cleaneatingveggiegirl.com/2015/06/08/roasted-radish-chips-recipe-revisited/

  67. It has been a good week. I am getting ready to be a learning coach for my grandkids online schooling. My son brought us a box of fresh food. I really appreciated it. I worry about them but I think he worries about us too. He is such a sweetheart.
    We harvested tomatoes, peppers and okra. My husband cut up veggies and we froze them. I have been cooking our veggies from the garden. We have turned off lights when not in use. Utilized the library. Enjoyed the internet for music and reading.
    I’m finding that it is simply more relaxing to be at home. I’m enjoying home now more than ever.

  68. Today my volunteer delivered all the beef liver — it came in packages costing $1 to $1.50 each. Most are thin slices just perfect for an individual serving. I got about 14 slices. I got 2 boxes of cereal on sale, 2 rolls of aluminum foil, the two cut-up frying chickens.
    I hope to get up early tomorrow and bake a piece of the liver and the chicken before the weather gets too hot. The beef liver is usually really good– I’m not fond of it but it’s one way to get your levels of folate, B12 and iron up in a hurry.

    I applied for a grant for our book. I just read about it late last night so we really moved it getting our application in.

    I sat outside for awhile and saw the first hummingbird — it was so tiny! I think it’s an immature Ruby-throated. There were lots of birds in the trees, all busy trying to catch bugs — including butterflies. It was too hot for the mosquitoes.

  69. As always I love reading the comments. I’ve done some new things this week so figured I would share.

    I did the usual of trying to hypermile when I drive, using cloth diapers, washing it Ziploc bags and eating all left overs. The new stuff:
    – went on vacation with my folks and accepted all the food they purchased that they didn’t think they would eat.
    – my oldest son outgrew his sneakers. I wanted to go to the thrift store to get more but didn’t have time so my husband (who hates going there) went for me and bought him two nice pairs of Nikes for 4 bucks each. So proud of him! He of course didn’t look around otherwise, which I may have to go back and do. I’m wondering if their supply there is finally better.
    – sorted through the next sizes of hand me downs for my daughter
    – bought only things on sale at the grocery store- a dozen eggs for 44 cents (we usually get eggs from the farm but I had a hard time passing up that deal), blueberries which I put on baking sheets to freeze for smoothies, pasta for 77 cents per box etc.
    – our neighbors ripped out a bunch of their shrubs which opened up a new area in our yard to be full sun. I cut things back to access that area and got two trunk loads of compost for free from our DPW. I’m going to plant some raspberry bushes there!
    – harvested some blueberries. Not a ton though. I netted them but the birds still got in.
    – my kids love the mini cucumbers from the store so this year I found seeds for the small quick eating type and they’ve been just pulling them off the vine which is awesome. It’s now so hot though that a bunch that were starting to grow have shriveled up! The heat here in New Engkand is supposed to abate a bit soon.

    I’m so proud of myself for what I have been able to grow and make beautiful in my home and so appreciate all the tips and encouragement from this community!

  70. One lovely thing in my neighborhood is that people leave food, clothes, shoes, books, whatever in good/new condition for free out on their stoops. I recently picked up unopened whole wheat spaghetti and an unopened container of soy milk. I had a jar of Lidl pasta sauce that I jazzed up with thyme, kale, & chicken all three of which I was gifted. I added spices per Brandy’s recipe, a carton of free school lunch milk, and a bit of ranch dressing leftover from my tasting panel. I’m not a fan of chicken, but my dad offered me a package of chicken breast and I didn’t want to say no. First I boiled the chicken, then shredded it. I saved the boiling water for soup. For one meal I mixed some of the shredded chicken with a can each of baked beans, corn, and green chilis (all from Lidl), and it was delicious. I froze the rest of the chicken and will get at least two more meals from it.

    I used a gift card I received after returning some books to Barnes and Noble. They were a gift, and while a nice gesture, I don’t have space for books. They aren’t a “need,” and I can get them free from the library. I used the gift card to buy ground coffee. The price point is more than I would ever pay out of pocket, but I would rather get it for free even if I’m “paying” more, than spend from my budget.

    While I was out, I got a craving for a salty snack and was tempted to use part of the gift card to buy something. But I remembered that I have some flour tortillas that I got for free in exchange for doing an instagram post for the company. When I got home, I fried them in palm oil (that I had previously found unopened on the street) and seasoned them adobo. Sooooooo delicious!

    I made coleslaw from a purple cabbage gifted from a friend. I dressed it with leftover free mayo and mustard packets and added carrots from the free school lunch and green onions I regrew from the roots.

    I printed three free 5×7 photos at CVS using the code JULY57. One was a family photo and two were cute images from The Graphics Fairy. I used the pictures and art supplies from my stock to create personalized (and free) birthday cards.

    1. I love the idea of people putting free things out for their neighbors to pick from. I’m always decluttering and would love to do that. However, we live in a development with a very strict HOA. I asked my husband if he thought the HOA would mind free stuff on the front lawn and he got this horrified look. I knew it meant, no just no, but HECK no.

      1. Anne,

        You might be able to put it out with a sign the night before trash pickup. I’ve seen people do that here. Of course, if your HOA is one of those that only let you have the trash cans out for 2 hours a day (not caring what time the trash man actually comes or if you’re at work) then you could have trouble.

        1. Our next door neighbor is a true hoarder, so we no longer put free things curbside (unless he’s in residential care.) But we have a couple of friends who will let us put things curbside in front of their homes on well-traveled streets, so long as we fetch them if they’re still there 72 hrs. later.

  71. For any Canadians – No Frills has StoveTop Stuffing on sale for 25 cents a box this week (unadvertised). This can cost as much as $2.50 per box normally. BB is end of Oct. but I’ve used boxes nearly two years beyond the BB date and it was fine.
    When I make stuffing from scratch I make a pork sausage based recipe and then when I’ve only got a bit left I’ll mix it with a boxed variety, make stuffing balls and freeze them.

  72. I love the photos! And kudos on the AC unit repair. The cucumber is impressive.
    We’ve only got a small garden here, while we rent my mom’s basement apartment, but we’re trying to make the most of pots and a small planter bed. We’ve got Swiss chard, mustard greens, green beans, tomatoes, and herbs growing now. The deer took out a lot of the beans last night, and the tomatoes too :(. They even took a nibble of the hot pepper plants! We’ll learn, and figure out ways to keep them out while preserving our harvest. I really don’t want to spray things and am trying to do this organically.

    We harvested several quarts of blackberries for free from the wild canes that grow around here. It’s not my husband’s favorite job, but he’ll do it, and since he’s tall, he can reach the ones the rest of us can’t. I froze most of them, and used some to make a mixed berry jam. I also made citrus marmalade last weekend, which yielded 10+ jars of marmalade. I plan to use the jams for Christmas gifts, along with a loaf of Brandy’s French bread.

    Here are the rest of our accomplishments: https://liveandsave.blogspot.com/2020/07/july-frugal-accomplishments.html
    I hope you’ll stop by! Thank you for your encouragement and positive thoughts, everyone. It is so appreciated, and this continues to be a bright spot for me each evening.

  73. Hi Brandy,

    Like you we have spent more recently to stock up on things we regularly use just in case. In the spring, many normal items were out for months so I am stocking up gradually to have a good stockpile for my family of 8. Our garden is going along well and I need to replant some new things as we finish up the ones I planted in spring. This is our second summer in this house and each year we add more. The most exciting part for me this year is that our fruit trees we planted this year are still alive! Last year, we had saved up and purchased eight beautiful fruit trees and because we had such a wet spring they all died. This was so incredibly sad, especially as everything we tried failed. So, we again saved up and purchased five more this year and they are all alive and doing well! Hooray!

    1. Lauren, whenever you buy plants or trees, save your receipts! (If you bought them online from the producer, they will have the record in their computer). Many nurseries and some big box stores guarantee their plants for up to one year. Losing that many trees must have been heartbreaking. I hope your new trees survive and thrive!

  74. It has been hot and humid here in New England recently – well hot for us 🙂 I have been opening the windows after the sun sets and leaving them open overnight, closing before I leave for work. It has been helpful as we do not have air conditioning. The little town library has been open for curbside pick up, so have been taking advantage of that. Occasionally meeting friends out for distance socializing. Soon I will be sitting down to plan out the homeschool year for my daughter, hoping to keep to my budget with that. I am working on snowballing my next debt (I loosely follow Dave Ramsey)
    Thanks to those who gave the youtube farm series video recommendations – I am so curious to check these out.
    Wishing everyone a peaceful week

  75. Hello. So much has happened everywhere in the last 6 months. An amazing scary time. My mother reminds us of the polio outbreaks and how children were locked down and not to go from their own yards to play with others and closed pools and other gathering places. Her best friend’s husband was a victim at 16 years old and spent the rest of his years in a wheelchair. We have all been fine. In fact I know of no one personally that has been sick, though of a few who have had possible exposures and self quarantined. We as a family and church have very limited our contacts. We would like this to end as quickly as possible.

    Our weather has been hotter than usual with a number of 90F days which combined with our healthy rainfall has caused a rush in the gardens. So far this year we have harvested asparagus, rhubarb, shell peas, sugar snap peas, beets, radishes, spinach, lettuces, cilantro, parsley, mint, chives, green onions, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, broccoli, basil, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, mini watermelons, hot peppers, kale, green beans and wax beans, and sweet corn. Folks are buying from the farm market like never before…the main stand is in front of our house. My uncles and aunts and their kids that run them are busy busy. We grow rhubarb and asparagus for the stand and did very well with that. The corn is early for us.

    The fairs have been cancelled which we will miss. Though they are still in some areas running the meat animals so that the children that have raised them can get them sold. My husband did not have to shut down his woodworking shop because they already wear ventilator masks to begin with due to all the dust and they just separated out to eat lunches and take breaks. Our school closed as all in the state did and transferred to online
    classes which were not really that easy. We do not have a high tech school in some ways and some of our families do not have good computers. Fortunately we had a fund raiser a few year ago and bought a number of ipads and those have been used by the Jr and Sr high students so that at least the younger children in the family could use what computer access there was. Our church did not reopen until the middle of June. We broke into 2 church services to spread everyone out in the church and used other means of keeping folks separate. No nursery, no Library on Sunday, no Sunday School. Youth groups have started up this summer with some outside gatherings. I have our summer reading program going and it can be done virtually or by making an appoint to come in as a family and use the library in their own time slot.

    I have read some very good books over the last few months. I am still reading the Hamish Macbeth series recommended by Brandy and am up to
    #21 in the series. HOME FIRES by Julie Summers was the story of the Women’s Institute in WWII. That was very very interesting. The CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR by Jennifer Ryan also was a WWII book written in correspondence style. THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot was a very interesting science based book on the woman who’s cells are behind the success of so much research. I started rereading the MISS READ series which I haven’t read since teen years. I read the DOOMSDAY BOOK, #1 in the Oxford Time Travel series by Connie Willis, and I was reading it just as the pandemic was being noticed. The book takes place during a flu pandemic in present time and during the plague during the time travel. THIS TENDER LAND by William Krueger I highly recommend….Depression era Minnesota. THE RADIUM GIRLS by Kate Moore about the girls who were exposed to radium while painting clock and watch dials and how it was so covered up and ignored and their fight for a cure and treatment. We’ve been getting our books as ebooks from the public library, though it is open for carry out service. We also did a free trial again of kindle unlimited and read a good many books from there, too.

    As usual we have done most of our cooking at home. We seldom ever did go out but we do miss all the big potlucks and weddings and birthday parties and family dinners etc we were used to attending so often. Our oldest married two live in town so we get together with them for backyard occasions still. Andreas and Joy, both counselors, had their work moved mostly to on line. Eliana has the farm full time and Theo her husband has the veterinary business (large animal) to keep busy and they live next door to us. They sent their Amish girl back home and our youngest Olivia moved in with them to help with the 3 little children and meals etc. My mother lives with them but is getting on in years and a 3 year old and one year old twins would be too much for her. Olivia teaches at our school so she just worked on line. Our tenants moved out temporarily as when this all started they wanted to be in with in-laws who are older and not in good health so they could take care of them. Our daughter Johanna the RN moved into their garage apartment from our house with their OK. She always works nights and she thought if she had a quiet separate place to sleep she would do better. It has been good for her and she also worries about bringing germs home from the hospital. We have not seen our married son and his family that lives and 1 1/2 hours away. He and his wife have both been busy, he in Social Services with the elderly and she in home health care. They live in a higher Covid 19 area than we do…their population is about 4 times ours and so far our rate has stayed very low.

    It is interesting reading how all of you are coping and managing and making do in these times. I think we have an easier time not missing things as we were not so much out there in the world as people normally are. I just miss all the spontaneous get togethers most, I’d say. We are enjoying though our deck and patio and bird watching and star gazing and quiet times.

  76. We are building a home and are closing in 4 weeks so we were able to lock in our interest rate at 2.35%. When we started building rates were 4 6% so we are so happy they dropped so much! We are doing a 20 year loan and plan to put an additional $500 a month on the principal. We planned to do a 15 year, but went with the 20 so we aren’t locked into paying more if something happens, but can pay more as long as things are going well.
    Our last child at home gets married in one week. We will have a lower car insurance, cell phone bill, as well as food and electricity. Bittersweet. After 30 years, we will be empty nesters.
    I harvested my green onions. I have them in a cup of water in the fridge but want to dehydrate most, as it was from 6 plants.
    I put my embroidery business on vacation when we moved in January as we would be renting while we build. I opened a tote of colored shirt blanks and listed them and sold as a lot on Marketplace. I was glad I didn’t have to piece them out. I also found 4 hats leftover that I made embroidery patches on and sold those. I have kids shirts listed as well as a few other items that I hope to sell. It cleared out two Rubbermaid boxes of items.
    I embroidered a name on a baby blanket for a friend. She drives a school bus and we are online the first semester. Her husband is in real estate and has had one sale all year. She is making masks. Although I could make them, I wanted to help her out so gave her material to make 6 masks for me.
    My heart breaks for those out of work. I try to look for ways to help others affected by the virus and loss of work.

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