Frugal Accomplishments

How We Saved Money This Past Week & My Garage Sale Finds

 

I went to the community garage sales with my mom. I always go to these with a list that I add to throughout the year. While I didn’t find as much as I have in the past, I was happy for what I found. I found the pressed glass bowl with the silver edge in the photo below for $1, and a very large flower frog that I placed inside for $0.50.

I found a bicycle for $30, like most of the ones we find, it was flat, but I buy cruisers (which have wider tires) so that we can replace the tubes with solid inserts so that we don’t get flats. I’ll give it to one of my daughters.

I found some teacups and saucers that I will use for an upcoming mini session shoot. I wanted something more 1920’s, and the pattern is actually a pattern from the 1970’s, but I think they will still work just fine, and if anyone drops and breaks any, I won’t feel horrible at $12 for 13 cups and saucers.

 

I found a basket with a handle for $1; the complete Downton Abbey 6-season DVD set (still shrink wrapped) for $10; a doily for $0.50; a vintage kiss-lock clasp purse that was completely falling apart but still has a good frame (so I bought it for the frame) for $1; a pair of vintage art-deco style earrings for $1; a polka dot change purse for $1 that I will gift to a daughter for Christmas for $1; a brand-new mini-clipboard with a pad of lined paper, all music-note themed, that I will gift to another daughter for $1; two enamel roasting pans ($2 and $3 each); a dress for a daughter for $1; a brand-new fireman costume for $7.50 for my 4-year-old; a Chutes and Ladders game for $1; a brand-new preschool workbook for $1; a pair of velvet gloves that were fleece-lined for $2 that fit my hands perfectly (I will wash them twice, including inside-out); a copy of Country French magazine which the seller gave me for free; a keychain for $0.50 that I will gift to a daughter; a necklace for free that I will gift to a daugther (the seller offered me a choice of a free items from a box of small jewelry after making a purchase!); two children’s books for $0.50 each; and a water-bath canner with two funnels, a jar lifter, and two boxes of canning lids for $3.50!

I did ask for lower prices on a couple of items that were priced a little high for me; sometimes I got a yes and sometimes I got a no, but it’s always worth asking, “Will you take ____?” I also walked away from sales where the prices were much too high (for example, one person was selling 30-page paperback children’s books that were well-read for $5 each).

We went to Target on Thursday when they were having a one-day sale on women’s jeans for $15 to find some new jeans for my daughter. We found out when they got there that the sale was only online (I missed seeing that in the online ad) but they gave me the price anyway, so my daughter has new jeans now! We weren’t sure what size she would be, so we bought a 2 and a 4 (We think she’s a 3, but they don’t carry juniors’ sizes there). The size 2 fit her and the size 4 was big, so I tried them on. They fit me, so now I also have a new pair! We found her a pair of denim jeggings in the girl’s section in a size 18 as well. I will watch for another sale and pick up another pair for her when they go back on sale.

I took my husband with me to the nursery on Thursday to receive the 10% off senior discount on some items that we need for the garden that don’t go on sale. I also bought two more 5-gallon boxwood bushes on sale for $7.99 each (regularly $17.99) and chose taller ones than I need this time so that I can take cuttings from them to start new bushes.

I picked up books that we had requested from the library.

I stocked up on some item on sale at Sam’s club that are part of my regular purchases there. I have been trying to stay well-stocked on items we regularly use.

I combined errands to save gas. Most of my errands are within 2 miles from home, but I still combine trips to save gas and time.

I enjoyed watching the birds in the garden when I was out working. The hummingbirds have been particularly busy lately.

We reevaluated part of the garden design changes. My husband and I discussed a few ideas, I stared at all the garden photos I’ve pinned on Pinterest over the years, and a plan for a tricky spot became clear. It adds a considerable amount of work to the spot and increases our expenses in building out the spot, but it should make for a much more useable spot that will yield more food and also make for a beautiful part of the garden at the same time.

As a bonus, it makes for a fun place for the many backyard games of hide and seek that my children play. I don’t think there are many places to hide in the current garden design, but the children like to play after dark most of the time, which helps. The new design will divide the garden into rooms and provide many more places to hide, which I think they will like.

One of the photos that I had been staring at that inspired me for a corner of the garden came up when I did a search this week on Instagram for daffodils! Looking at old photos from the account, I was able to more closely see the far away spot in the garden that had intrigued me in the original photo, which was helpful in planning that little spot in the garden. I adjusted my design to allow more flowers in that spot. I don’t have the space to do quite as many flowers there as the inspiration photo, but I had been planning no flowers in that spot at all until I saw more images of that garden. I love tucking in more flowers wherever possible! I won’t have to buy any flowers, either; I can use the bulbs that we are already digging up in the garden and moving.

We dug and divided paperwhite and daffodil bulbs from the garden.

I dug and moved two peony roots so they don’t get destroyed when we dig out the tree roots near where they are planted. I accidentally split one while digging it. While carrying it to a new location, the same plant broke in half. If all goes well, I will have three peony bulbs now from that one plant. It will be several years before they flower, but if they send out new leaves next year, I’ll know they lived.

I sowed seeds in the garden in a place that is not getting changed for two kinds of lettuce, Swiss chard, green onions, and parsley. The chard and onion seeds were ones that I had previously collected from my garden.

I sowed nasturtium seeds that I had previously collected from the garden into pots on my patio.

I watched a couple of videos on YouTube on air layering plants. I have seen photos of this method before on Pinterest but have never taken the time to watch any videos on it. After watching, I decided that I will try this method for making new hedge and fruit plants. The first video I watched really intrigued me, as the man said this was a way to grow new plants with 100% success (which is certainly not the success rate I have had before!) The second video was even more helpful as the man lived in Los Angeles, which is both a hot and dry climate similar to ours, so he could give some insight into air layering and watering, which was a question that I had.

I need many new plants with the new garden design, so this will save me hundreds of dollars if I can do it successfully!

I watched this video on growing boxwood cuttings, which was very informative (much more specific than others that I have seen). I plan to take cuttings from the boxwood as well as my boxleaf euyonomus to make new plants for our garden.

I cut and dried basil and oregano from the garden to use in cooking throughout the year.

I collected seeds from my basil plants to plant next spring.

I harvested Swiss chard, grape leaves, green onions, three asparagus spears (I rarely get fall spears, so that was nice!), and a couple of Armenian cucumbers from the garden to use in meals this past week.

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

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187 Comments

  1. Sounds like you got some great deals, Brandy!!
    This week has gone by quickly and it’s hard to remember at the end of it what frugal things I might have done! So many things are done as a matter of unconscious habit- using bar rags instead of paper towels, cloth napkins and flannel softies rather than buying Kleenex https://pin.it/2YOAjNa

    With Kroger digital coupons, a few paper printable coupons I got
    7 large (28 ounce) shampoos, 3 deodorants. Final OOP ? I was actually paid 36 cents to buy all this!! 🎉🎉🎉
    I also found 24 cans of corn on clearance for 25 cents each, so I got those to keep on my pantry shelf!

    Our daughter found BLSL chicken breast for $1.49/pound in 10 pound bags so I bought 20 pounds and she and a daughter-in-law bought 10 pounds each to pressure can. She and I will have a pressure canning get-together and get all 40 pounds done! Fortunately, I have jars and lids to be able to do this!

    Received this quilt at 4 PM on Thursday. After dinner, I started the quilting around 6:30. By 7:30 it was quilted and trimmed and ready for pick up! https://pin.it/4eq6OJg
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com – just 1-1/2 cents per square inch!

    With the 4 quilts that came in Friday, our longarm Lenni will have quilted 81 quilts and table runners in the 14 months since we bought him!
    Quilt #1 of the 4 that came in Friday at dinner time was picked up Saturday morning. https://pin.it/3XP9IQK and Quilt #2 of that batch was finished Saturday after dinner https://pin.it/6D4zPwz. Quilt #3 is one that my client is donating to Mothers Without Borders and so I donated my quilting for this one. https://pin.it/6Ld6IIF This was finished Monday morning. Quilt #4 will be worked on next!

    Hubs completed the 2 nightstands that a client had him build. https://pin.it/YEzENNf So we got paid for those. Now he will get started making a computer desk for another local client for her two grade school kiddos to use for their remote learning.

    On a night that had been the end of a busy day, I remembered the IP spaghetti that my daughters and I made and put into our “Tried and True Instant Pot Recipes” Pinterest board! 5 minutes to put everything in IP since I always keep ground beef precooked in 2 cup portions in my freezer (so I saved a step in the process!) https://www.thekitchn.com/instant-pot-spaghetti-264230#post-recipe-13205
    Made apple pie filling blintzes using tortillas ! Yum! https://thecharmedkitchen.com/2020/10/09/apple-pie-tortilla-blintzes/

    Harvested another zucchini that looks like a football and 6 more big Lemon Boy tomatoes! We still have dozens of big tomatoes in our garden but there are still green! I think by next week I may need to pick them because weather is going to get closer to an overnight frost. My tomatillos are still too small to pick enough to make salsa verde. I picked some already and am holding them in my basement fridge while I wait for more to get big enough in the garden. 😢

    Our chickens continue to lay well and we get about 3 dozen large fresh eggs per week!! What a blessing that is! As long as we don’t wash the eggshells, the eggs can stay fresh in our basement fridge and safe to eat for up to 7 months with no other pretreatment! We have a careful rotation system in the way they are placed in the fridge so we are always using the oldest eggs. When we sell eggs, however, we always sell the newest ones!
    Life is still crazy around us, but I feel an inner peace and concentrate on doing what I can to affect my personal sphere of influence (all those I come in contact with) and I’m okay with that!

    1. GardenPat – you do so much every week! Your quilting machine is certainly getting a workout these days – my stepmom is a quilter so I certainly appreciate all the work that people put into these works of art and having you handy to do the final work is wonderful.
      Those side tables made by your husband are also lovely – you two certainly turn your hand to all sorts of creativity!

      1. Thanks, Margie from Toronto!! It’s been such a blessing to find something I love to do that can, besides giving me a way to finish all those quilt tops I’ve made and stored over the years, actually help us achieve our goal of paying off our final debt- our mortgage!
        For my husband, his woodworking has always given him a sense of joy, so, now that he’s retired, it’s been a great hobby that pays for itself!

    2. Gardenpat your quilts are just stunningly beautiful!! Do you quilt only for friends and family or for others as well?? I would so love to have a Christmas flannel quilt made.

      1. Angie- When we bought our longarm quilting machine 14 months ago, we did it with the idea that we would use it for our own quilts but also as a business to help pay for itself! We do machine quilting for people we’ve never even met and who live cross country from us as well. We charge 1-1/2 cents per square inch of quilt top, which is extremely competitive compared to others. We also sell a limited inventory of quilts we’ve made. It’s all on our website: HandmadeinOldeTowne.com. Thanks for asking!

    3. I bought a couple sets of your flannel softies earlier this year and I love them! With fall allergy season they are getting plenty of use now and I find them more comfortable than a regular Kleenex. Plus I love that they help me reduce waste.

      1. Emily- Thanks! We’ve been using ours a lot right now because of the crazy way our weather is- 78 degrees one day for the high, 51 degrees for the high temp the next day! Plants outside can’t decide what to do, so we’re getting all kinds of pollen, grasses, etc that are making our pollen count sky rocket!! I just got my sewing machine back from the service center so now I can finish edging more Flannel Softies to add to our website (HandmadeinOldeTowne.com) . That’s why I’ve concentrated on the longarm quilting before adding stock to other things for sale.
        Stay safe and healthy!

    4. Brandy how wonderful you got so many bargains at the garage sales and that vase is just adorable and looks like depression era glassware 🙂 . I am glad your garden design planning final touches are coming together for you and I am sure it will be beautiful once finished and always good to harvest lovely produce from your gardens too.

      Our savings added up to $551.50 last week 🙂 .

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

      Home deep cleaning –
      – Crawled under the bed and vacuumed underneath it and under furniture as well as the skirting boards to get rid of all the fine dust. We are still very dry here with little rain.

      In the gardens –
      – In 2 garden beds I weeded and took out spent winter vegetable plants, trench composted kitchen vegetable scraps and dried crushed eggs shells in them and put some around our navel orange tree. I planted some more capsicum, cucumber and dwarf bush beans in both gardens.
      – Planted another vegetable garden bed with heirloom sweet corn seeds.
      – To plan firewood for next winter we cut up some more fallen ironbark tree limbs at the back of the property and split 1 1/2 3 x 2 metre rows of firewood we cut earlier with our log splitter and stacked it in the lean- to shed.

      Earnings –
      – DH earned $70 by doing a paid gardening job.
      – I earned $20 from the sale of saved broad bean seeds from the gardens.

      Finances –
      – By ringing up our electricity company and letting them know they had forgotten to apply our pensioner concession from over 18 months ago I got a credit of $535 on our electricity account.

      Internet listings –
      – Saved $16.50 by listing 10 handmade items on eBay on a free listing promotion.

      Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).

      Sewingcreations15.

      1. Lorna,

        I know this has been said to you before, but I am glad you list how you save the way you do. It helps me remember while the Mister is earning and I am out trimming shrubs, patching, or cleaning something that I am contributing too. These non-billable tasks really add up!
        I think often some people do not realize the importance of the “home engineer’s” position (that is a title my mom gave her position and I love it). Hoping you and yours has a wonderful day!

        1. J in PA, I love wrote you wrote! We tend of thinking only of ways to bring in more money, but equally important is maintaining what we have and doing non-billable tasks. As a stay at home mom for 35years, that was always what I was doing on the side, beside homeschooling! Well said!

          1. I agree. I often feel like I’m not of value any more, since my children are grown. But I grow food, sew clothes, mend, watch for bargains, trade with neighbors, volunteer in community garden, help my mother (74), and generally still run the calendar. Today I got 18 oz organic peanut butter for free-regular price $5.99-on special at Safeway. That’s $6 I don’t have to earn.

            But culturally, I still feel like I’m not enough.

            1. When I married my husband and started cooking for him, he told me WOW! You are saving me a lot of money! Having been a bachelor for many years he definitely noticed a difference. You are enough.

            2. Oh please know YOU are for sure enough
              I worked way too many hours away from home and felt like a failure till I decided we all our doing our best

            3. Kara you are indeed enough and more 🙂 .

              Just as an exercise to see how valuable you are list all the jobs that you do in a day and the time it takes for you to do them and then price what those jobs would cost your household if you hired someone to do every one of those jobs and what you save in other ways like the peanut butter you made. Your value is not just monetary either it is in appreciation and love from your family members for all you do as well.

              I am sure you will find just doing this for one day just how valuable you are in your household 🙂 . Not sure if you you are a religious lady but if you are read Proverbs 31 in the bible and in there it describes women as having a value above rubies among other things.

              Culturally there is still a lot of naysayers out there about women staying at home not contributing and I say that is rubbish. Hold up your head and know you are far more valuable than you could ever imagine and ignore all those naysayers as sadly dare I say it they don’t know what they are talking about 🙂 .

            4. Kara, you were not put on this earth only to have and raise children. The average lifespan at the moment is 78 years, and I see lots of people who live a lot longer. We have our children at home for 20 years, give or take. It is only one season of life. Why on earth would we be put on this earth for 78, or 80 or 90 years, if we’re only good for 20 years of raising children? (Personally, I plan to live into my 90s if only to drive my kids nuts).

              I suspect you’ve only recently become an empty nester, and perhaps do not have grandchildren. I will never have grandchildren. (I could not have children, either, but I adopted). I’m not less of a person because I don’t have soccer games to attend every Saturday, and you aren’t either. Hopefully, as you enter new phases of your life, you will feel more fulfilled than you do now.

              YOU ARE ENOUGH. Or, as Mr. Rogers used to say, “I like you just the way you are.” And I’ll bet a lot of other people do, too!

            5. Kara, as of Sunday we will officially be empty nesters, though in the last year it has been much like we were already there. I have already found myself thinking the same way you do…after raising nine kids and their friends, what is my value? We do have value and I often used to think that God wanted us to have this time to breathe, to contribute in different ways. I have been busy with a much larger garden than I ever thought I would do again, but the pandemic changed that. There are days when my hands hurt from all the chopping and such that harvesting and preserving require, and I wonder if I am nuts when I can buy what we need. The thing is, it’s satisfying and when the kids come, they learn and I know the knowledge we have needs to be passed on because some day it will be needed. I take comfort in becoming the wise old woman, even though I wish the old part wasn’t there. Thankfully, my husband is very appreciative of everything I do. And, the kids are learning as they have families of their own. I also have some friends who I know rely on my communications and friendship to keep going in their own lives. Ultimately, our value is not in what we do, but how we love.

            6. I was sad to read that you feel that way often. It sounds as if you have so much that you continue to provide to your family, neighbors and community! I hope you will be able to recognize that, and let go of the bad/sad feelings. Sometimes, those have a way of creeping in and trying to take over. See if you can keep them at bay with some positive affirmations….sounds a little silly and corny, but “I am a smart shopper”, “I’m glad I’m able to help my mother”, “I’m thankful I have a green thumb and can share the bounty”, or whatever is appropriate. Or maybe reminisce a little with your children, and ask them if they have a favorite thing they learned from you over the years that has stuck with them. I’ll bet they each have a few favorites they’d be happy to share to help you recognize that your “value” did not end when they grew up; it continues on and on.

        2. Thank you J in PA and you are so right we as ladies are contributing a huge amount to our households indeed.

          I read a research survey a while ago that said most women who stay at home earn more than their husbands as if you had to hire someone to do every task that we do in a day it adds up to a huge amount indeed. Everything we do in our homes is valuable and we contribute far more than most of us ladies and others think.

          Just the 4 hours of gardening work I did would cost $180 to do if we hired a gardener and I didn’t do it and no doubt all the loving hours you put into your gardens would add up to a huge amount if you had to hire a gardener to do them for you.

          I love your mom’s “home engineers” position and I agree with her.

          I am a carer to my husband after he was in a serious military accident so we are both at home on a permanent basis and he is on a military pension because of this. Coordinating with one another as husband and wife when my husband is having a bad pain day is imperative so I pick up the jobs that he cannot do depending on the day. By working harmoniously we compliment each other and get everything done 🙂 . Most of the time we work together on heavier tasks when we can such as firewood cutting and splitting.

          Have a great day too.

          1. Thank you all! What an encouragement. You are a blessing. I have chronic illness and I’m sure that colors my days some times. I do love that I can be a help to others. And I get enormous satisfaction out of growing food. And shopping the bargains! I hope I do get to become a wise old woman 😃. We received news that our first grandbaby is on the way! So that’s exciting. They don’t live close to us at the moment (military), but hopefully someday they’ll be closer.

      1. Momsav- I didn’t have whipped cream or ice cream to put on top of the “blintzes” but I found a partial jar of caramel sauce in fridge and put that on top! Oh, my!!! It was delightful!!! Lol!!

  2. I altered some clothes that had gotten too big for me, so I won’t need replacements. We planned menus, and were careful to use up leftovers for lunches (or even breakfasts). One roasted chicken made an appearance in 5 different suppers last week! I won a prize at work in a staff contest we were having – it was not something I would use, but it is a really nice item most people would like. I passed it along to a lady (not a co-worker) who recently shared a lot of hand-me-down clothing with me, and she was really happy to receive it. (And I was wanting to do something nice for her to show my gratitude for her kindness.) We read books and I listened to an audiobook from the library, and I listened to podcasts on my walks. We picked spinach, chard, beets and carrots from our garden, and got about 2/3 of the fall garden cleanup completed.

    1. Laura I’m curious – what were the five different meals that came from the roasted chicken? I love learning how others stretch (rubberband?) a chicken!

        1. Lehman’s store in Ohio sell lids in bulk of between 250 and 350 depending on wide mouth or regular. However they are totally sold out this year, but you could think ahead and be prepared for next season.

  3. Wow, what a week you had!

    I have much better luck starting shrubs by layering than with cuttings. Plus, you get a bigger plant that usually blooms sooner. When I have layered common snowballs (simply by laying down a branch on the soil and weighting it with a rock) I have had it root in as many as three places. Simply cut into separate pieces and you’ve got a couple of plants, not just one!

    Big scores at the yard sales! If you do a Downton Abbey marathon, pleasepleaseplease can I come?! I will bring the popcorn!

    So, this was my week. I read a lot all week and didn’t get a whole lot done, but there’s this–
    * I mended a wool throw and sewed a button on my husband’s shirt. The new button doesn’t quite match, so I switched around two buttons in order to make it less prominent.
    * I picked up two books at the Little Free Library. I spent a couple of days engrossed in The Last Bus to Wisdom, by Ivan Doig. I have found Doig’s writing to be a little uneven from book to book, but this was definitely one of his best! I loved it and highly recommend it!
    * I harvested a few tomatoes and what will probably be the last of the zucchini. Made and canned more applesauce, with more to go!
    * I am working toward getting 30 days ahead on all of our Rx drugs. This is a multi-pronged project because of insurance regulations on how much and when drugs are dispensed. I think it is as important as stockpiling food. I wrote about it here: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/thefrugalistafiles/viewtopic.php?f=500426&t=14889&from_new_topic=1

    Hope everyone here had a great week. Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian friends! (Theirs is second Monday in October). 

    1. You can come if you bring me some snowball bushes 🙂 I have been pricing them out (you can’t get them locally) and they are so expensive! A tiny one is $30 plus shipping! I want to get the sterile one that doesn’t make berries and that grows in a zone 9 (which probably isn’t the one you’re growing so far north!) A couple of local gardeners posted that they were successful in growing them in areas with some afternoon shade, and I read that they like the soil slightly alkaline, so I really want to try them!

      1. Oh dear, I do love me some snowball bushes. I came upon them when I lived in Oregon for a few years. But I have no place that gets enough afternoon shade, a few square feet on the back patio, but that’s where all my hydrangeas are cringing.

        If you get yours to grow, Brandy, post some pictures and I’ll put them on my refrigerator and sigh!

          1. Mine are in large pots on my patio hugging the house and the patio has bamboo shades that we pull halfway down all summer to protect them even more. They will never be stunningly large bushes but I do what I can.

            I meant to ask you about a plant in the decorative pot in the center of your front yard. It’s the trailer with tiny white flowers…..what is it?

            1. It’s bacopa. We have to grow it as an annual here. It can burn in summer but needs some sun to bloom, like everything else, haha! It dies in winter.

      2. I wish I could send you some! They are weeds in my side garden – they keep on rooting in sidewalk cracks and in my lupin bed. Happy to wrap up a baby plant and root and mail it. No berries on these. I’m not sure how they’d do in zone 9 – they were here before we moved in – but they sure are tenacious.

    2. I completely agree with having a stock of medication. My insurance allows me to pick up prescriptions 3 days early so I always do. I use the oldest pills first. It takes time but it works. I just recently had to wait 5 days to get a prescription because it was back ordered. Glad I had my back up supply.

  4. You’ve had a busy week! How wonderful to find so many treasures. What a treat to find the new Downton Abbey set, and what a great deal on the canning supplies. You’ve made a good dent on the children’s presents too. I love the idea of buying the purse frame. What a great idea. It really is exciting to read about how you’re figuring out how the create the garden you want, and doing it frugally too. I did some more plant dyeing, with goldenrod and avocado. I plan to use most of this fabric for gifts. Two loaves of zucchini bread were made. We harvested our smaller patch of peanuts. In my oatmeal, I’ve been enjoying figs, pawpaw and persimmons from our land. Our winter produce storage shelves were wiped down with some of the thieves vinegar I made earlier this year. I made your black bean burgers, and froze what we didn’t eat. Zucchini soup was made, which also used our tomatoes, basil, parsley, onion and broth. I roasted our eggplant, and some was used on a pizza. Winter greens were harvested, and used in a salad. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/10/fall-colors-frugal-accomplishments.html

  5. Beautiful white pumpkin! My collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens are regrowing after I carefully cut their leaves for fresh salads. I think I mentioned I do this with dandelion greens, and it apparently works with all greens, which is great because for salads, I like my greens very young and tender. I made a pumpkin, red bean, and chicken soup in the crockpot that was delicious. Since I made it with dried cooked red beans, frozen pumpkin that only cost pennies after Halloween last year ( I got a buggy full of small pumpkins for $5.00; I think there were about 40, I cannot remember the exact number.) and a couple of pieces of chicken that had been in the freezer for a while, it was a really cheap soup. I also used a small can of mustard greens, added beef bullion, spices, rice, water, and let that cook together on top of the stove. The greens makes a “pot likker” that makes the rice taste great and I eat this with hot pepper sauce which is just hot peppers in apple cider vinegar. I also made coleslaw. I ordered one more wool blanket for Christmas. I walked at the park by the river. It is very warm again. The good news is that my electric bill was under $35 for the month. I was so happy! I am sure it will be terrible in the winter because I really hate cold weather. It is a good thing we have mild winters usually. I attended my best friend’s visitation but went very early to avoid crowds. She would understand because she was worried about Covid also, when she was alive. She died of pancreatic cancer and died within a month, actually three weeks of being diagnosed. I am still in shock, as is her family. I guess the frugal thing is that I avoided getting sick, I hope. It sounds like you scored some wonderful deals for Christmas at the yard sales. I am now concentrating on ordering dog and cat food for stock up. I am thinking about giving my sons, along with the wool blankets, summer sausage and cheese, for Christmas. I think they would like that better than sweets. I hope all of you have a safe week.

    1. I LOVE summer sausage! I usually find the best price per pound at Sam’s Club around the holidays. I gift one to my husband and buy a few as special Christmas and New Year’s treats for the family. I think they’re a wonderful gift. I love cookies, but I would rather receive these!

      1. Thank you so much. I have reached for the phone to call her twice since she died. It is so automatic. I am glad she is not suffering but I sure will miss her. I do not make close friends easily, so those I do make are very dear to me. Her daughter and I are both just in shock, I think. Her sons, especially the MD son, seem to be more resolute.

        1. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost a friend to pancreatic cancer and it was the same – diagnosis and then – boom! – he was gone. It is a terrible illness.

    2. Cindy,

      When I was in college (I won’t say how long ago…), I took a really good course from a professor who was a health and nutrition specialist, and during one class she talked about “pot likker” and how nutritious this liquid was. She mentioned that pioneer women often fed it to their babies in bottles, because of its nutritional density. One student had a fit and nearly stormed out of class because she thought the professor was advocating feeding liquor to babies. I’ve never forgotten!

      I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend.

    3. The greens sound so nice. Would you be willing to share where you are finding wool blankets? It is getting chilly here, and I need to get some warmer things for the beds.

      1. I’m interested in Cindy’s reply, too! I have a “thing” for wool blankets. I have all I will ever need (for two houses), but people ask me from time to time where to buy them. They can cost hundred$ of dollar$ each (although I’d bet Cindy’s didn’t, LOL). I got most of mine about 10 years ago at thrift stores for $4-$7 each. Several originally came from Penneys, which I believe sold wool blankets well into the 1960s. Pendleton also makes (or made) a “cottage blanket” out of leftover yarns (no two alike) and I bought some for around $30 at their outlet stores in Pendleton, OR, and Washougal, WA. Several friends have given me their mothers’ and grandmothers’ wool blankets. They tend to be from the 1930s or so but have been well cared for. Two blankets were relatively new because my friend’s mom had bought blankets on several trips to New Zealand. Sales of estates of people in their 80s+ often yield wool blankets. If you are at one and don’t see blankets, ask. I use wool blankets on all of our beds. I wash them in cold water, stretch a bit lengthwise, and drape over the patio furniture to dry. Most used blankets are “full” size because they had pretty much quit making them by the time queen and king beds became popular.

        1. I believe LLBean still had wool blankets last time I looked, but I’m sure they are very expensive. I actually still have one of my Dad’s WWII “army” blankets. I don’t use it but I’m not throwing it away either. Used to use it while camping. Pendleton used to have some gorgeous wools about 30 years ago when we camped all over New England. I haven’t looked for any lately.

      2. The blankets cost $25.00. I ordered the army looking wool blankets because it is for my three sons. My daughter had stated she didn’t need any blankets/sleeping bags. I use a sleeping bag rated for ten degrees, and toss a wool blanket (and quilt) over it and sleep inside the house in an attempt to keep my heating bill down. I also use thermal underwear. I do live in the very deep South so we have mild winters, but I hate cold weather. I define cold weather as a high of 55 during the day….lol. I realize the Canadians on here are probably laughing their heads off…lol. In fact lots of Canadians winter about an hour and a half south of where I work. They probably could give much better advice on staying warm in the winter. I also use those very thick socks, and a knit hat on my head. I am really gonna try to keep my heat down this year.

  6. I am seriously impressed at the amount of work you will be putting into your new garden. I have a much smaller, flowers-only garden and I am still constantly pulling out disappointing or sun burned plants and replanting something new. It’s just ongoing.

    In my mind I have an English country garden that is nourished with plenty of water and a reasonable amount of sun. But I actually live in the So Cal dessert and so many of my dream plants just fry each year. The tags SAY they can make it in Zone 9, but the tag writers have apparently never actually hung out where it can be 115 to 120 degrees.

    But, of course, part of it is my fault, as my middle name is Wishful Thinking.

    1. Oh, I hear you! We say here that “full sun” means 4-6 hours of morning sun here with afternoon shade. 115-120 just fries plants. Nevertheless, I keep on trying.

      I am going to pull out three rose bushes. I never thought I would do that to roses, but these ones (French Lace Floribundas) just burn in the heat. They open fully the first day, are not the color they should be (pretty typical for heat to make them lighter, but still) and burn to a crisp the second day. I never get any to cut and bring in and they are so quickly dead in the garden, even when it’s cooler, that it’s time to grow something that actually flowers.

      My style is more Italian/ French with a formal potager. I do grow some English favorites as well.

  7. -The basic prescription insurance that I have covers least cost alternative. I have been paying the full cost for a long-action release alternative. This month I decided to change to the regular release variety, which comes in a generic drug, so my insurance will now pay 70% of the cost. This will save me $30/month. I only have to take it twice a day, and that is tied to meals, so I think I can keep up with this. It took a conversation with my doctors and a few calls to the pharmacist, but it is sorted out now. I used the savings this month to buy some groceries in the pre-(Canadian) Thanksgiving sales.
    -I had a medical appointment by phone to go over blood test results. All is good. It didn’t really save me time or money, since the doctor’s office is across the laneway that runs behind my backyard. Still, I am glad not to sit in a doctor’s office if I can avoid it during these Co-vid times.
    -I made an appointment for a free flu shot. The provincial government has moved shots for the public this year from public health clinics to pharmacists (or doctors) only. I haven’t gone to the pharmacist in the past because there was a bit of a crowd, and no space for the crowd, but this year it is by appointment, so I am happy with it. The pharmacy is also across the laneway that runs behind my backyard, just one building over from the doctor’s office.
    -Several useful items that I hadn’t seen in a while showed up when I was looking through a cupboard in search of a missing wrench I needed for a plumbing repair. The cupboard is quite well-organized by theme, but there is a lot of stuff in the cupboard, and the hallway is a bit dark, so sometimes I don’t see things there. I was most excited to find a loose $20 bill that had drifted two shelves down from a shelf where I used to keep a stash of emergency cash. I was also happy to locate some very pretty batik cotton that I got in Hawaii years a few years ago that I would like to use to make masks.
    -I am exercising every day now, though this is often just a brisk walk to run an errand. Most stores and services I need are within a couple of blocks of my house. I’ll do some indoor exercise as well as we get into winter, since I don’t like to walk outside in bitterly cold weather. I can keep warm with the winter clothes I have, but it triggers a bit of asthma if the air is very, very cold.
    -I roasted a nice chicken and vegetables for my Thanksgiving meal, so I have lots of leftover chicken for meals this week.
    -As if we didn’t have enough things to plan around, there are currently one or maybe two bears who are touring the village when it is dark to empty garbage bins. The berry season is finished and the cabin-dwellers and campers have gone back to the city, so they need a final push of food from us before they hibernate! Fish and Wildlife have put out a live trap. They normally relocate bears they trap to remote areas, so we’ll hope that is what happens. In the meantime, no going to the driveway to the car or the garbage bin between 7:00 pm and 7:45 am.

  8. I am so happy for you at what you were able to get at the garage sales.
    We have been shopping online almost exclusively since March so we haven’t been to thrift shops or garage sales. At first it was because I could not get mom in the car. Now it is because the number of Covid-19 cases in our state are back to what they were in April. Sigh. I am trying to keep our stocks of food, household, and hygiene supplies high. When we finally get out again to visit garage sales, I hope I remember your suggestion about presenting a counter-offer. I once accompanied a friend who was a little girl in Korea while shopping in an open market in a small town south of Tiajuana. I marveled at her bargaining skills as she shopped for souvenir jewelry.

  9. I haven’t been posting back to work, but I do read all the time. The plans for your garden sound awesome. My son was giving 10 pounds of apples. Made applesauce and I try Maxine’s recipe on apple pie filling I am keeping my fingers cross that it comes out right. I been keeping my panty stock. C.VS had there medicine for 50 percent or 75 percent off there over counter so I stock up on it. I appreciate you keeping this blog going I have learn a lot and everyone comments I enjoy reading.

  10. What an awesome garage sale haul!! YAY!

    I had a quietly frugal week.

    1. I WON a $70 Amazon gift certificate in an on line contest! The prize also included a “bonus box” I received today with a bound notebook, a coffee mug, and a beautiful over the shoulder messenger bag! A real surprise!!

    2. I sewed buttons on a few items that needed them.

    3. I bought bruised apples and made a bunch of applesauce in the crockpot.

    4. I did a few art lessons from a year long series I received as a CHRISTMAS gift in 2019.. there are sooo many online videos in that series it will last me through all of 2021!!

    5. I used up a bunch of elder veggies to make a soup.

    6. We exercised together 5 out of 7 days: Walked, rode our bikes, used our treadmill (which I bought one year for a birthday present for myself, on craigslist.)

    A good week.I feel grateful for small pleasures!

  11. Fantastic finds in the garage sales Brandy! Especially the canner and supplies…wow! That will certainly come in handy.
    We had quite a lot of rain here this past weekend as a result of bands from Delta. I am so very tired of rain as it doesn’t allow my little guy to get his full energy out as he is stuck inside but the garden loves it.
    I will harvest my first batch of mustard greens this week as well as Swiss chard, zipper peas and crowder peas. We will get our first cool snap at the end of this week so I will be pulling the zipper and crowder peas and sowing seeds for spinach, more mustard greens and possibly onions and garlic. I am a bit nervous as I have never grown onions or garlic but there is a first time for everything.
    I have a great deal of weeding and cleaning to do in the garden after the big rains we had so I will tackle that project a bit later in the week as the ground is so soft now I would risk damaging the plants if I got in there right now.
    We sold over 65 pounds of chestnuts total which provided enough extra funds for us to purchase mulch for the play area and fire pit, about half of the paint we needed to paint the interior of our home, a frugal date night and takeout pizza when I needed a night off from the kitchen.
    I roasted a large pork shoulder roast this weekend which we ate with lemon parsley red potatoes, peas and homemade applesauce.
    I will use the leftovers for bbq sandwiches with peach salsa later in the week. I made a large pot of beef stroganoff which has fed us several meals over the last few days. I also baked homemade brownies and a delightful apple cider doughnut cake which used homemade applesauce and oat flour…this was a new recipe and was fantastic! I bought eggs, buttermilk, some favorite candy for my son’s upcoming birthday, butter, Greek yogurt at $0.60/each instead of the normal $1.50/each, ground beef at $2.99/pound, sour cream, and cream cheese for $0.89/pound.
    I have been looking for some new sweatshirts/sweaters for myself and found two quality sweatshirts marked down to $10/each.
    I have begun thinking and planning for our Thanksgiving meal and am delighted to say that we have almost everything that we need except the turkey.
    My husband is finishing the two end tables that he built for our living room. We have to order the hairpin legs but even with the cost of the materials to build we still saved about $1k by building them (& the coffee and entryway table) instead of purchasing them in a furniture store. Plus the quality is far superior.
    Part of our home/auto insurance policy renewed this month resulting in a savings of about $35/month. I am excited for the remaining portion of the policy, which is larger to renew in December at a much lower rate as well. I have calculated and this should save us about $100/month in our budget.
    I received coupons from Kroger for eggs, meat and several other things that I purchase regularly. I will use these once holiday sales begin to purchase a turkey, eggs for baking etc.
    I found great sales for low dose aspirin for my mom…$4.49/two year supply and Prevacid…$9.99/3 month supply. Both were Costco store brand which is what we normally use.
    I scheduled my annual physical which cost me zero dollars but was preventative. I received my free flu shot while in the doctors office the same day. My husband got his flu shot from Publix and received a $10 gift card in exchange. We used this to purchase lettuce, coffee creamer and tortilla chips. I filled a much needed prescription at my insurance company’s preferred pharmacy saving me over $15.
    Small wins this week but we are grateful and abundantly blessed!
    Have a wonderful week everyone!!

      1. Happy to pass it on!
        I found it on a blog that I frequently read called ‘the view from great island’. Just search for apple cider doughnut cake in her search bar and it should pull up for you. Lots of great recipes on that sight and scrumptious photography too 😊

  12. Hi do you grow honey suckel?
    I would like to grow some and was wondering if you know if it can it be grown from a cutting and in a pot?

    1. I do! These are from my garden! One was a purchased plant and one was grown from a neighbor from a cutting.

  13. Wow Brandy, you found some great deals at the garage sales and congratulations on the adjustments that you are making in your garden. I’m thrilled you got the Downton Abbey boxed set. What a score!
    My week had few things to report. A friend gave me some Jonathan apples from her garden and I made applesauce. Then last night, we were visiting with a contractor and his neighbor two doors down offered me several basil plants to make pesto, and some kale and hot peppers. I was thrilled at her kindness.
    I borrowed books and videos from the library. I checked out the Home Fires series that was on PBS a few years ago, plus the book on which it was based.
    I’ve started to cull through summer clothes, letting go of those that didn’t get worn or that are wearing out.
    I’ve got one sleeve to finish on the sweater I am making for my husband.
    I attended a free, socially-distanced organ concert at my local cathedral. The music was wonderful.
    On Friday and Saturday night, my husband and I walked through the closed streets to watch city-sponsored bands and dance performances. It was free, the weather was great, and it was nice to be outside. Most people were thoughtful about wearing masks and keeping distances appropriate.
    I worked a few hours on my part time job.
    Thanks to all of your for your inspiring comments!

    1. The book is very good–and very long! It is not like the tv show (which I enjoyed immensely) but I have really enjoyed it so far. I have checked out the e-book twice and am several hundred pages in but have not finished it yet. I requested it a third time and am waiting my turn to read it again. I found out that the Overdrive app keeps your page even if you don’t finish it in time, so the next time you check it out, it remembers! That is a good thing on a book that is over 900 pages long!

      1. I must have gotten the condensed version of the “Home Fires” book because it is only 300 pages of text (and features a photo of the TV stars on the cover). The original book was called “Jambusters”, I believe, so I will need to look for that. Thanks for the information. I’ve started watching the PBS series while knitting and am enjoying them together.

    2. So, is Jambusters the book you two are talking about? It’s a history of the Women’s Institutes in Britain during WW2. I don’t know if Home Fires was based on it, but I know it was used as a fact-checking tool for the series. If you haven’t read Jambusters and want a picture of the British homefront during WW2, I guarantee you won’t be able to put this book down…even though it is a scholarly work.

      1. I loved Jambusters! It was a fascinating book of what the women accomplished . Home Fires is more like the PBS series. I also read Julie Summers’ book, Our Uninvited Guests, about the houses used during the war. I found the second half of the book extremely interesting. These are not books I would typically read, but am so glad I did. I want to read her other books. While they are informational, the author puts a human spin to the information which draws the reader into the lives of real people.

  14. Brandy, your garage sale finds were really amazing and left me feeling inspired.

    In town the thrift stores are just starting to open up on a once a week, social distancing basis. I was so excited to go. My husband found a lid for a skillet that was missing one for $2. I found two nearly new blouses, one Coldwater Creek and the other JJill, for $3 each.
    I found a new queensize flannel sheet, still in original plastic wrapping, for $4. Also bought a really beautiful basket for $2. It was definitely a fun outing.

    A neighbor brought us a jar of blackberry jam she had made. Another neighbor, who is in her 80’s, asked if we would go to a notary with her because she needed two witnesses when she made a change to her will. She insisted on taking us out to lunch. I felt a little nervous about it but the restaurant did a great job of putting distance between the tables and servers wearing masks. It was really fun.

    We bought a portable radiator for our bedroom this winter. That way we can keep our furnace turned down and save a bit on our heating bill. At least I hope so.

    I found out, via a test, that my gallbladder isn’t functioning at all. An ultrasound didn’t show any stones so I am a bit nervous about seeing a surgeon this week:(

    Today I made four quarts of granola. My husband went shopping for supplies to stock up our pantry. He is getting pretty good at it. We also went through our medicine cupboard and purchased any items in preparation for cold and flu season.

    Guess that’s it.

    1. Better preventative than emergency gallbladder surgery. My dad was waiting for his when his burst. Good luck!

      1. My grand-daughter had the gallbladder surgery with the robotic equipment when she was 21. She had the surgery on Good Friday and was back in her classes at university on Monday. Much less trouble than the previous surgery, if it’s available to you. Good luck with your surgery.

    2. I’m with Brandy on the gallbladder – my husband has had massive issues for years due to a misdiagnosis when he was younger. He almost died a few years ago due to complications of not having it out when he should have. Much better to have a planned for surgery and recovery than an emergency – usually it’s done laparoscopically and recovery is about 48 hours or so. Things are SO much better now that he’s not dealing with all the problems it caused.
      Lea

    3. I had my gallbladder removed 18 years ago. It was an outpatient surgery and I was home by early afternoon. Pain for maybe two days, and then back to my normal routine. Best of luck to you. I hope all goes well.

      1. thank you to everyone for your input. The surgery itself doesn’t scare me. The problem is that having had cancer more than four years ago – I always imagine the worst when anything goes wrong. This doctor is supposed to be good so I for sure will go with whatever he thinks is best. Seriously wouldn’t want a burst gallbladder!

    4. Had mine out in January. If laparoscopic, I can say mine was a quick recovery and only needed pain meds 2 days. Good luck! Such a relief when it is done!!

    5. Hi, Elisa. The gallbladder surgery should be pretty easy, if they can use the laparascope. Pain for only a few days, and very manageable. My surgeon closed the tiny incisions with staples, though, so I couldn’t wear a bra until the staples were removed 10 days later. I was unwilling to go to the office bra-less, so I received two weeks’ of sick/disability pay. (Snicker.) And I haven’t missed that gallbladder one bit. Best wishes for a great outcome!

  15. I ordered my $25.00 a month OTC drugs I’m allowed in my ins. a month. These are free to me. I pay less than this a month for my ins. supplement.
    I have read no end of free books in the last month. These are from Amazon Prime.
    My husband has brought me about a dozen books for free. Someone is leaving free books in the post office and it is nice to get these books since mine are still packed up.
    We have only used the car twice this week. This saves so much money for me.
    I am making a quilt and didn’t want to pay the $50.++ for the kit…so I am using fabric from my stash. It is a little more trouble, but somehow more fun. It sure is cheaper too.
    I always think of so many things after I post this, but this is all I can remember at this time.

  16. Brandy, the garden is going to be so beautiful and efficient when you finish it.
    I did really well this week at the grocery stores. Sales and coupons have not been as good as they were prior to Covid. I had received a free coupon a few weeks ago for Lightlife plant based burgers. I had tried to use it at target earlier in the week but they were sold out. When the Stop & Shop flyer came out they were on sale BOGO this week. I made sure to get there on Friday early and I was able to get 2 free. Then Ibotta had a $2 rebate up to 3 so I got $4 back. The free item from the week before was a Kind Energy bar. They are GF and dairy free so Hubby and my youngest can eat them. I picked that up too. Ibotta also had a $1 rebate. I got 2 chocolate pecan pies on the clearance rack. They were each 75¢ each. One went right into the freezer. I cannot make it that cheap. I got a box of barilla pasta free after coupons and 3 others for 75¢ each after coupons. Italian sausage was on sale for $1.99 a pound so I got a few packages of that to add to the freezer. I then went to Aldi. Eggs are still 57¢ a dozen so I got 3 more dozen. They had 16oz packs of bacon (finally) for $2.49. I bought the 4 I was allowed. I got chicken thighs for 46¢ a pound thanks to a $5 off coupon. I froze them into smaller packs. Their bananas, milk and soymilk are always cheaper so I got it there too.
    The garden is still giving me some goodies I got some yellow pear tomatoes, some plum tomatoes, 1 big yellow tomato, carrots, beets, and celery. I dehydrated more sage, pineapple sage, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and lavender.
    My oldest daughter and her husband closed on their house on Friday. They got a rate of 2.375%. They are doing a 15 year mortgage and we couldn’t be happier for them. Hubby and I are going to visit them and help them with some repairs this week. We are bringing them a used BBQ that hubby repaired and cleaned. We do this often and sell them on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Usually it just needs a small part to get it working again. We pick up so many BBQs throughout the year. It always amazes me. I also made a new house basket for them. I had everything I needed. It is full of cleaning supplies, dried herbs, and easy to prepare foods because they both work full time and are working on fixing up the house. Hubby has been collecting tools for them from yard sales, our house and other family and friends. We also got some items free from Craigslist. They are grateful for all of it. The family that owned the house prior were military and they were going out of state. They gave my daughter their lawn mower because they wouldn’t need it. They were happy to have it. We are bringing lots of paint supplies because my daughter and I will be painting while we are down there.
    My youngest’s college sent a Covid box to each student for free (HA HA). It had 2 masks with the school logo, tissues and a thermometer. If you go on campus you need to take your temperature first and wear a mask.
    I took the puppy to the vet again. They didn’t charge us an office visit fee since she needed shots. They kept us waiting because an emergency case had come in. They apologized and I was very nice and said that I expect them to take emergencies first. The vet took 15% off the bill since I was so nice about waiting.
    My daughter’s boyfriend bought her flowers just because. They brighten up her room and I keep going in there to smell them.
    We went to visit my parents. My mom cooked dinner. I made dessert. She sent me home with cookies for my son who couldn’t come because of work. My dad gave Hubby a lawn vacuum that he no longer uses. Hubby is hoping it will pick up all the acorns. My mom gave me several items that they no longer want to sell. She told me to keep the money but I told her we will split it. She agreed. I gave my mom a bag of stuff to pass onto my sister when she sees her.
    My girlfriend treated me to a very nice lunch. Her dad is the man I help. He has been in rehab for the last month. I have been stopping in to his house and watering the plants, doing window visits and rearranging doctor’s appointments. She has wanted to pay me but I wouldn’t let her. This was our compromise.
    2 friends and I keep having lunch together. We rotate whose house it is each time and pick a nice day so we can eat outside. We have gotten takeout several times. I suggested we each bring our own lunch instead this time. They agreed. My one friend’s husband’s hours have been cut and I know money is tight. She was uncomfortable saying anything. I’m not. We had a great time and it cost us nothing.
    My son had his yearly physical and got his flu shot. Hubby has an appointment for his shot next week. Then we will all be done.
    We are still with no heat. I put extra blankets out for everyone if they get cold. I try to make it until November 1st.
    Stay healthy and have a wonderful week everyone.

  17. What wonderful things you found on your garage sale hunt! The Downton DVDs were a score! I often put Downton on while I cook or clean just to hear my friends across the pond. Lol!

    Today I sewed up a hole in the pocket of my husband’s jeans and then ironed on a patch in the inside where the material was getting a little thin. While I was doing this small task, I thought about you and how reading your blog has encouraged me to attempt repairs like this. Thank you.

    Scored chicken from Lidl (here in VA) for $1.39 a pound. Bought 10 pounds and froze each breast individually (vacuum sealed) and then put all the breasts into a huge zippered plastic bag I had saved from something or another. Hoping to buy another 10 pounds tomorrow. Lidl will have ground turkey on sale starting in a few days so I will stock up on that as well.

    Purchased porkloin from Aldi for $1.39 a pound last week, too. Bought 2 4 lb loins. Found a recipe that will use one of them in a book on my shelf, The Lifegiving Table by Sally Clarkson. I am not sure that I have ever cooked a porkloin before but I am hoping the family will like it.

    My sweet FIL gave us 100 eggs from his chickens when we visited on Sunday. He is incredibly generous with all he has. He also sent some of the last produce from his garden, green peppers. Not sure what I will do with those yet. Still have to process one more of the gooseneck pumpkins he gave us weeks ago. We have TONS of pumpkin and it is so much better than the canned stuff. I’ve been saving the seeds for him to plant next year. I would have never thought to do that until reading this blog. (<;

    We have been utilizing our library to reserve and pick up wanted items, watching free things on Amazon (LOVED Victorian Farm), and working on cleaning out the house. Trying to sell a few items but most have been given to friends who can enjoy them. That makes me happy!

    Hope everyone has a great week. Thank you for this blog, Brandy.

    1. Boneless pork loin is our favorite meat. It’s wonderful! It’s very versatile, too! We make it several ways. I have a recipe on this site as well!

      1. That does give me hope! I’ll check out your recipe today.

        Funny story—when our oldest was a mere babe, probably 6 and he is almost 26 now, I made pork chops for dinner. As we sat quietly attempting to chew our chops, our son looked at me tenderly and with complete seriousness and said, “Mom, it’s ok. It’s not your fault these taste so terrible.” Other than pork tenderloin, I’ve never tried other cuts of pork again. Wish me luck! Lol!

      2. Brandy can you tell me when you make your fig sauce recipe how long does it mast in the fridge? Also I have never worked with fresh figs before. What do look for in selecting them and how do I go about cleaning and prepping them for the sauce? Do they need to be seeded or peeled or anything? We have a number of pork loin roasts and I would
        Love to try this recipe. If it is as good as your garlic chicken rice I am super excited!

        1. You cannot peel figs. Just wash them and cut off the top tip which is hard where it attaches to the tree. I have never bought fresh figs, as they only last about a day off the tree (being in the fridge is important!) without molding.

          Before I had a fig tree, I bought dried Mission figs in a package to make these (they are with the raisins in the grocery store). You still need to cut that top tip off.

    2. I cut pork loin into chops. Then cook as I would pork chops: Italian dressing, BBQ sauce, Dale’s sauce. seasoned with different blends, fried

  18. I am so interested in your garden plan… when you have it semi-finalized (they are always in flux), will you be publishing it? Thanks too for the point to the u-pick.

    1. I will! I thought I was all ready to share–and then we discussed another change again today! Now we have to figure out that part of the design. Then I just need a moment to photograph it!

  19. I love how you take your husband for the senior discount. It makes me smile every time. 😊
    Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were beer-battered cod with green beans, fried eggs with sausage and biscuits, oven chicken fajitas with corn, frozen pizza, pork stirfry with homemade yum yum sauce, scrambled eggs with bacon and biscuits.
    *Ordered my son a Reebok winter coat on deep discount on Proozy.
    *Baked a layer cake and made frosting for it. Since it’s just my husband and I, I only frosted one layer and put the other and the frosting in the freezer for another time.
    *Used a $5 off $25 coupon at Dollar General to stock up on household and pantry items. Also entered my receipt in Fetch Rewards. While out, stopped by a nearby church that was giving away chili, cornbread, pumpkin cookies and sodas that were left from an outreach that was cancelled due to bad weather. No need to cook that night!
    *Used bread heels, shelf stable milk we were given and eggs we were given to make French toast casserole to serve as breakfast along with orange slices when we hosted out youth Pastor and his wife overnight. There was enough to make a small second dish to take to our Pastor and his wife.
    *Met our son and his girlfriend and our daughter for lunch one day in a central location. My daughter’s car had been acting up so my husband took along his computer and hooked it up to her car in the parking lot. 😊 He found out that she had gotten gas that had water in it. She filled up with good gas and he thinks it’ll be ok. So much cheaper than a mechanic visit.
    *My husband has been wanting a dog to take with him to work as he is alone a lot. My parents were having problems with their sweet dog, Bud, chasing cars as they live near the road. They gave us Bud (on a trial basis) along with his doghouse, dog food, bowls, etc. The trial basis has lasted 3 days and I can safely say my husband is in love. 😍
    *Met with friends on Facebook messenger video.
    *My doctor wanted to do bloodwork. I scheduled it as a well visit, which I was due for, so it was covered under insurance.

  20. I feel like the do the same frugal things week in and week out but I guess it is the consistency that pays off…the only new thing I did was to venture into the world of selling things of Facebook Marketplace. I had a bad experience with eBay so wanted to try something closer to home. I ended up selling four items, for a total of just over $200! Now I am pulling out other things to list in the coming week.

    While cleaning/organizing a closet, I found an Easter box from 2 years ago filled with things for Easter baskets (at the time I was frantic to find the box but could not, so ended up rebuying things). Most things I can put to use but I have six packages of Peeps. Rock hard. Any ideas what to do with them? I tried microwaving one, just to see if it would soften up. Instead it blew up! Any ideas would be appreciated.

      1. They might be like brown sugar when it hardens. You could try putting them in a container with some apple pieces or a piece of bread or one of the clay disks you soak in water, which you can get to soften sugar, and see if that softens them. Though the smores sound like more fun.

    1. I’ve found they make rice krispie treats reasonably well. They turn out a little rainbow colored, but most kids like that! You might also be able to get creative and make a modified ice cream sauce by heating them with a little water and some chocolate. We used to find a marshmallow ice cream sauce in jars, but I haven’t seen it in ages.

  21. You found some excellent treasures garage saling Brandy. Few were held this year here; my friends and I like to go to estate sales also looking for vintage and antique items. I love your flower arrangement with the cascading honeysuckle. I enjoyed the talks you liked from the General Conference and look forward to listening to several more. In the “We Will Prove Them Herewith” talk I especially found Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s response to a question asked of him intriguing as he basically foretold current events many years ago.

    We had our flu shots at a local pharmacy – no out of pocket cost as it’s preventative. Also had our 6-month dental cleanings (but due to Covid it was actually 7 1/2 months after our first cleaning this yr as dental hygienists/dentists are only allowed to see a limited number of patients at a time) paid $200 total for the two of us (our insurance gives us the first cleaning and set of x-rays free, the 2nd cleaning we pay a percentage).

    At the grocery store: Blue Diamond whole natural almonds 16 oz in vacuum bag on sale for $4 (reg price $8) bought 8 bags (will be giving 4 away to family as I have over 1 year’s supply already). Flour $0.99 for 5 lbs; Eggland’s Best eggs on sale & with coupons for $0.77 a dozen (bought 4 doz); broccoli rabe $0.99 lb (bought 10 lbs – blanched and froze some); asparagus $1.99 lb; boneless skinless chicken still at $1.99 lb; swordfish steaks at a good price; large Haas avocados $0.79. The first of the pomegranates are in – but at $2.99 each, didn’t buy any (last autumn they were $1.99 each and when on sale at $0.99 each). We hosted dinner for our closest friends (we take turns hosting each month) and my menu was homemade guac, organic chips, crudites, grilled swordfish steaks, sauteed broccoli rabe, grilled asparagus. Guests brought wine and desserts! A good week.

  22. Congratulations, Brandy, on the wonderful finds! And I had to laugh about the boxwood video – I had actually been watching that one just yesterday. The historical garden my mom takes care of (http://dorothyquincyhomestead.blogspot.com/2015/06/roses.html) just got ravaged by boxwood blight and then some visiting dogs who broke off large chunks of old box. It’s sad for us because she had just gotten about 75 feet of new box plants in from a grant, and they were all wiped out by the blight. However, good news, the old dwarf English box plants on the inside of the garden have been unaffected. I’m going to try putting cuttings in soil blocks this winter and seeing what I can do to get a bunch rooted. The old English variety is even more slow-growing than new varieties, but it is hardy, which counts for a lot. I’m going to try Stewart Dorman’s technique as in your linked video, and I’m also going to try this bunched technique (https://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2014/09/how-i-propagate-boxwood/). His site name always reminds me of a wonderful public domain book “A Garden with House Attached” (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/40183/40183-h/40183-h.htm – also available in pdf and epub).

    This week, our garden gave us beets, kale, arugula, nasturtium leaves and blossoms, carrots, lovage, oregano. I picked the last of the concord grapes and shared with friends – good to be able to rake up the last ones, so the hornets will leave us. Saturday was a warm, lovely day to work outside. We thinned the big apple tree, trimmed the cordoned apples and cherries, cut back spent plants and made oodles of space in the herb garden. I ordered more strawberry plants from Fedco so as to get the kinds I really want in Spring. I’m looking forward to trying Mara des Bois and Sparkle. I’m trying to find somewhere to buy leek sets but haven’t found anything yet. I planted more Swiss chard and some carrots I’m going to put under cover.

    This week, I froze pizza sauce into ice cube portions and made marinara for freezer. We made a favorite kind of bread pudding called white pot, with dates and raisins – such a decadent use for old bread. We ate at home.

    I’m seeing what I can do with turning off lights, putting sweaters on the kids, turning down heat at night, making natural light bounce around as much as possible.

    My husband gave me a haircut this week, complete with layers. He did a great job.

    We brought the kids to ride bikes at a nearby church parking lot when vacant. We’re trying to soak up the time outdoors as much as we can before the weather turns cooler. We’ll need to change the day’s schedule in a few weeks so that we enjoy the warm afternoons outside.

    Thank you for all the inspiration. Wishing you a wonderful week!

    1. That’s so sad!

      She might want to try growing euoyonomus. I am going to grow all boxleaf euyonomus in the backyard this time. Previously, I grew Greenspire euyonomus (it grows taller). I have both in the front yard and I want to take cuttings from that for my hedges. It will take a long time that way, but I can picture it once they all grow in!

      Too funny that you watched the same video!

      1. Thank you for the idea about the euyonomus! Those are lovely looking plants. They’re a little constrained by using historical plants sometimes, but it’s sure becoming a difficulty.

    2. Was interested to read, Sarah, that you freeze pizza sauce into ice cube portions. My mother used to freeze spaghetti sauce that way and I have started doing it again — great for when you don’t need a lot!

  23. I love the first flower picture. You found some wonderful bargains at the garage sales!
    How do you use your grape leaves?

    It’s been a week of catch-up for me after being evacuated the week before. There was much to clean and tidy in the house and yard. I’m not finished yet, but it’s looking better.
    Our youngest daughter getting sick (probably not covid, doctor thinks) caused me to clean out my kitchen cupboards so I know where all the medicines are. I hadn’t properly organized since our kitchen remodel. It was very satisfying. I am trying to have enough flu remedy type medicines on hand. I also ordered 2 boxes of disposable face masks from Walmart. We use cloth masks, but I decided if someone was actively sick, I would like disposable ones.
    We, too, are in the midst of backyard renovations. We are extending a patio, pavers are being delivered tomorrow, moving blackberry bushes, planting a 6th fruit tree, and perhaps installing another raised bed. And building some strawberry planters. Our shed roof also needs the leaks sealed before it rains.
    I was paid to teach a small children’s sewing class last week. It will meet for 5 more weeks. The children loved it, and I enjoyed it too. I spent $10 in supplies last week, and $0 this week!
    Our oldest daughter is moving back to the west coast after her job went fully remote due to Covid. I set some kitchen items aside to give to her. We will keep her cat while she looks for a house. My parents still have our cat from when we moved last year! It’s such a blessing to help and to be helped.
    My mother gave me a houseplant cutting. I gave her some parsley starts. I got a purse from my Buy Nothing group. And a seed tray. I gave a cardigan to someone in the group. A friend gave me a pumpkin to decorate with. I didn’t grow up with fall decor, and so I probably will roast the pumpkin and cook with it!
    I’m feeling rather worn and but am trying to keep going. You all inspire me!

    1. I find a pumpkin makes a nice display for a few weeks before I cook it! Squash does, too! You can put it in a bowl, on a cake stand, or on a table runner, and then eat it when you’re done.

  24. In last week’s posts someone was looking for an instapot at a good price – today I ordered 2 from walmart.com (to use as gifts) for $49.00 each reg price of $99. I thought I would post the info in case she is still looking:
    The Pioneer Woman Instant Pot LUX60 6 Qt Vintage Floral (it also comes in Breezy Blossoms) 6-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer. It also Works as a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute/Browning and Warmer
    Micro-processor controls 12 programs: Soup, Meat/Stew, Cake, Egg, Saute, Steam, Rice, Porridge, Pressure Cook, Keep Warm, Multigrain and Slow Cook
    3-ply bottom 18/8 food-grade 304 stainless steel inner pot is dishwasher safe and eliminates health concerns regarding non-stick coating
    3 temperature settings for saute and slow cooker functions, 24-hour delayed start timer, virtually silent with no heat or steam emitted during cooking

  25. That’s one of my favorite paintings (above your lovely new-to-you cut glass bowl)! (In case anyone wants to know, it is “The Lady of Shalott” by John Waterhouse.)

  26. What an awesome garage sale haul you had, Brandy! I have mobility issues, so I’m no longer going to garage sales and I miss how fun those could be.

    Last Friday I went on a barn quilt driving tour with two friends. One drove, one brought snacks and I got to sit in the back and enjoy the gorgeous fall weather, the beautiful and interesting wooden quilt blocks on the barns and good company. The driver wouldn’t let us chip in for gas, which was very kind.

    Staying busy working on hats and scarves for a local nursing home for Christmas with some of my stash. I enjoy this very much. While knitting and crocheting I’ve been watching some old DVDs that I have, like Anne of Green Gables, Christy, and Little House. It’s been lovely.

    I finished the last pair of hand knit socks for Christmas for my kids/spouses. That’s eight pairs! Much of the yarn I was able to get on sale with coupons. It’s a wool/poly blend so they can be washed and dried. Hope they all fit.

    Found a $50 Amazon gift card that I thought we’d already used, but apparently hadn’t for some unknown reason. That will go towards Christmas. I don’t have many piles but this was in the middle of one!

    One of my daughters is expecting her second baby next month. Some friends of hers contacted me and said they wanted to have a surprise zoom shower for her and asked for my help. It was so fun and what a good idea. Presents were shipped to me. I wrapped them (they didn’t ask me to do that, but I thought it would be nicer than only opening shipping boxes). We invited her family over that morning and all her friends and sisters were on the zoom when she walked in. My husband cast it to the TV so she saw everyone right away! It was so fun and all the gifts were thoughtful and a blessing. Mostly, I thought how simple and frugal the shower was. Since we weren’t in one place there wasn’t food and decorations etc etc. Of course, we miss the getting together, but this was still nice. We still played a couple goofy games and there was much laughter and fun. Oh! For the shower my gift was that I crocheted a little white lacy collar and sewed it on some black newborn pajamas…Ruth Bader Ginsberg baby jammies! Very inexpensive to make and my daughter loved it so much (she is a huge RBG admirer and her passing was hard for my daughter). It will be easy to remove the collar so she can use the jammies.

    We continued to follow the menu and cook from home. I’ve been concentrating on using up leftovers right away or freezing them.

    Have a good week everyone! I look forward to everyone’s posts 🙂

  27. I made a list of housewares that we need, and visited a few discount stores. I found a microplane grater for $3 and table cloths for under $15 (originally priced over $70 each).
    One of the Lowe’s stores had put the fruit trees on clearance, and I purchased 2 apple and 2 pear trees for $5 each.
    I picked up a lot of seed garlic from a local seed house. Several friends went in on it with me so we would save money. In exchange for me running the errand, they gifted me some Iris bulbs and strawberry plants for the garden for the coming year.
    I made a batch of apple butter and used my cores to start a batch of apple scrap vinegar. I made another batch of vinegar from some pears that were going soft.
    I have started watching some homesteading videos on YouTube to learn some new skills to apply to our gardens and our home in the next year.
    My daughter & I gave each other gel manicures. We purchase all of the supplies and it cost less than getting our nails done professionally once.

  28. My friend brought me a basket from her daughters garden one province over. It included grapes, plums, pears, Kuri and spaghetti squash, tomatoes, lovage, onions, garlic, green and purple beans, green peppers and parsnips. Oh and a plum torte. They are staying overnight and we enjoyed some of the produce with dinner. Our friend wanted to go out shopping for a new drill and I remembered my DH had found one by the roadside a few months back which he did not need-so our friend was very pleased to receive the gift of a drill from us. Travelling later this week which should be reasonably frugal.

  29. I have been watching Downton Abbey on cbc.ca online. They only had the first series posted but tonight they have Season 2 so I’ll watch that.

    I didn’t feel well so decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow — a small ham, delicata squash, baked potato, baked beets.

    I slept most of the day but discovered we’d had a lot of rain and some places in the City had had snow. I’m glad that the snow didn’t stay on the ground here. The leaves still need raking.

    I had seen a few items on sale in the Safeway flyer that were of interest but no-one was going to Safeway 9although it is our closet store). I decided to check Superstore’s website for those exact items and found while they were not in the flyer they were on sale for the same price as at Safeway so my friend picked them up for me from Superstore.

    I am going to start using nutritional yeast on my pasta or salads. This should help with vitamin B12 and others.
    Unfortunately Superstore seems to be all out.

    Baking Yeast, molasses and shampoo are two things I still could use for the pantry.

    I have been enjoying Honeycrisp apples from the farmers market and also pears from Co-op. The pears are especially lovely.

    I agree with a comment made above about getting a supply of medicine in. I haven’t quite figured out how to do it yet but am working on it.

    Brandy, congratulations on the wonderful sales finds. Your photos, as usual, are lovely. I really liked the bee photo!
    And your comments on boxwood (and the video) are really interesting. Years ago I bought 2 packages of 4 plants for $12. At the time, no-one was growing boxwood here but mine has survived. It doesn’t grow quickly at all here. My only wish is that I had got more… maybe I should root some cuttings…

    I

    1. I was lucky this week Ann – my Shopper’s Pharmacist noted that I had only a 30 day renewal left on my prescriptions (due to those couple of months when we were only allowed a month’s supply at a time instead of the usual 3 months) so they faxed my doctor’s office and she authorized another 90 days worth – so that renewal – plus the 30 days that I still have in reserve means that I should get through to March OK – and hopefully if things are settled down a bit I’ll go in for my regular yearly check up then.
      I have been stocking up on vitamins, Tylenol, Tums, Polysporin – all those things that you can just buy at Superstore or even No Frills so if it’s just that kind of stuff perhaps one of your friends could pick up some for you? I don’t buy much else OOTC stuff as many of the usual types contain stuff that I’m allergic to so this makes my top up list fairly small.

      I was also thinking of getting some Nutritional Yeast to sprinkle on salads and add to some baking – I still see it here and you could order it from Amazon – they have Bob’s Red Mill brand listed as being available. I have plenty of all kinds of yeast but molasses is on my list to pick up this year – love those molasses cookies!

      1. Hi Margie,
        I also have been trying to stock up on basic first aid items. I want to get some Manukah honey from New Zealand for its antibacterial properties. I bought vitamins, extra antihistamines, baby aspirin and polysporin, a couple of extra toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste. I’d like to get some bandages, adhesive tape, etc. Thanks for the tip about amazon having the nutritional yeast.

        More snow on its way! Ann

  30. Hi Brandy and everyone
    What a lovely post- so good that you found great bargains at the garage sale. Your arrangement in the new glass bowl is beautiful and it must have felt satisfying to find some Christmas gifts too.
    Our weather is mixed, sunshine and rain but I am still managing to dry laundry on the outside line.
    My husband replaced the shower hose.
    A friend kindly gave me a pack of notelets she didn’t think she would use and my husband used one straight away to send a letter of condolence to the family of a former client.
    I received a free pair of socks in the post. I have never bought anything from this company but every year for the last five years they’ve sent me free socks! They will go to a daughter at Christmas.
    I sold 4 items on eBay.
    I took more donations to the charity shop.
    I had an odd assortment of leftover veggies so made veg curry. A daughter came to dinner unexpectedly so I stretched the curry with a tin of chopped tomatoes and some unsalted cashew nuts.
    We picked tomatoes, apples and dahlia from the garden. Some friends are moving house soon and asked if we would like pieces of plants from their garden. We helped dig up, split and replant lots of plants we have admired in their garden, particularly things to provide autumn colour. My husband trimmed their hedge while we were there. We brought home 12 plants and my husband was able to split some up again. Some have gone straight in the ground and some have been potted up to overwinter in the greenhouse. So grateful for this, it’s saved us a lot of money , just for fun I’m going to look at nursery prices and see how much was saved ( small things amuse!). When our friends move we are going to look after some of their potted plants and when they’re settled we will take them back ( sadly they’re moving hundreds of miles away and we will miss them).
    We had our flu jabs this week, my husband has asthma so his is free on the NHS and I pay for mine every year which is money well spent. Last year it was £9 and this year £15 but I was glad to get one as there’s a lot of demand this year.
    I have been saving for Christmas all year and did a review of money, gifts purchased and still to be purchased and feel grateful and relieved that we are on track. I buy dry goods/ food/ stamps etc weekly through the autumn to spread the cost. I hope this doesn’t sound smug, I know many families will be struggling with Christmas this year and I feel for them. I make donations to the food banks which I know have been a lifeline to many this year.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. I’ve been buying stamps for Christmas as well PennyP – helps spread out the cost and I don’t have to stand in long lines. I go to one of the nearby outlets downtown when I’m in the office and I’m usually the only customer in the place! I doubt I’ll be sending or delivering many gifts this year but want to be able to send out cards to as many people as possible.
      I will send some gift cards and make donations on behalf of others (a lot of friends have started requesting this sort of thing as they are decluttering & downsizing and just don’t want more “stuff”). The only gift type things we usually exchange now are books or edibles. I hope to be able to see a few folks but it will depend on how well we do at getting our numbers down again over the next 4 to 6 weeks. Have to say – everyone seems to be buckling down again – rode the subway in this morning (2 trains) and the only person not wearing a mask was an 18 month old in her stroller – and even though those under 2 are exempt from masks, I often see toddlers in their strollers wearing them without any fuss.
      The flu jab here is free for everyone so Pharmacies have been deluged with demand and a new supply of vaccine is having to be shipped already. The big public clinics won’t be happening this year (they get too crowded – and many are held in the big office complexes which are mostly still deserted) so doctor’s offices and pharmacies are the way to go. I was lucky to pop into my pharmacy last week to pick up some prescriptions and got mine then – didn’t even have to have an appointment.
      Stay safe.

      1. Hi Margie
        I know what you mean about not gifting ‘ stuff’. Edibles are a good option and sometimes I send mail order gifts like hyacinths in a basket which will flower at Christmas and can then be put in the garden or disposed of. We have cut down on the number of cards we send but still want to send some this year. Communicating with friends is especially important this year isn’t it. Good you got your flu jab, we need to look after ourselves!

  31. Brandy, those were fabulous yard sale finds! We received some food blessings this week and shared with others as well. I worked on freezing and dehydrating several things to keep from wasting any of it. We now have 2 jars of dried onions and 2 jars of dried apples in the pantry. My daughter helped me clean and reorganize the pantry so now we know exactly what we have and what could use some stocking up. I bought herbs from the local organic farm and dried those for the pantry. The spice shelf looks so pretty! My husband is working on creating more furniture to sell. We ended up with an ER bill this week as well as a surprise need for 2 new tires for the truck. Neither of those were cheap, but we’re very thankful my husband was safe through both instances!

    More on my blog at http://cottageonblackberrylane.com/frugal-fun-homemaking-for-october-10-2020/

  32. I borrowed the Home Edit e-book from the library. A goal for four years- to start exercising again- I am doing! I am participating in a walking challenge for October. I decided to walk around the block two times Monday thru Friday. I have enjoyed watching the leaves turn color. The kids and I have been going to the playgrounds with our homeschool friends. Our homeschool group has a few new families that live in our county so it is easier (ie can afford the gas) to get together with other families. Youtube has been a very good tool. So many things have broke and my husband and I have been able to repair, the George Foreman Grill, electronic pressure cooker, and the motor seat in the minivan getting stuck in the position for my husband to drive it, and my husband’s work truck not starting (it was a bolt that attached to the battery). Sadly, our freezer chest that is many, many years old stopped keeping stuff cold with the compressor running all the time. Thankfully we have two refrigerators and I have been designing new dinner meals using fewer items we kept in the freezer chest.

  33. Your white pumpkin is beautiful! And I am so impressed with your garage sale finds. That canner with the lids was a fantastic deal!
    Hello, everyone. We are back from two weeks camping in Utah – our usual frugal getaway. We only paid for camping four nights, and brought all our food from home. We were blessed with gorgeous weather and beautiful fall colors.
    While we were away, I purchased 50 pounds of fresh Idaho potatoes from a farm stand – I can never find fresh potatoes here. Thanks to the advice of everyone on this board, upon returning home I laid the potatoes in cardboard boxes and stored them in our enclosed crawl space, which stays between 50 and 55 degrees year round. I also picked enough wild elderberries to make a quart of elderberry syrup.
    Back home I picked the last of the sugar snap peas and two huge zucchini. I shredded one zucchini and cut the other into sticks and battered them and froze everything. Then I pulled up the vines. I still have lettuce, arugula, chard, carrots, and turnips growing in the greenhouse.
    I made a batch of yogurt and some bread.

  34. I can’t believe you found a water bather and lids for $3.50. That was a great find! We have a shortage of canning lids here in Idaho. There are none to be found unless you pay a ridiculous price online. I didn’t have many in my storage (which will never happen again) but family and friends have given me a few and I’ve learned you can reuse the lids. I have also been freezing more. Who would have thought that canning lids would be effected by Covid? Something about manufacturing plants being closed down in Mexico. Trying to can as much as possible. Selling things on Facebook to build up our savings and trying to prepare for whatever lies ahead.

    1. Kristy, greetings from a fellow Idahoan (up north). As soon as I realized garden seeds were being sold out, I knew that canning lids would be in short supply, too. Unfortunately, I didn’t take my own advice to stock up, LOL.

      I, too, sometimes reuse canning lids. (I also reuse twist-off, pop-up lids). I am very careful to make sure that they are not bent or the rubber damaged in any way. (It’s OK if there is a little dimple in the middle of the lid from opening the jar. It’s a no-no if it was pried up around the edge). I’ve never had a failure, but I’m prepared to freeze or immediately eat the contents of any jar that doesn’t seal.

      A few weeks ago, Garden Pat reported the consensus of several canning blogs/forums was that Wal-Mart Mainstay lids might not be as reliable as Ball. I appreciate the heads-up, but my own experience has been different. I used about 4 dozen Mainstay lids last year and they all sealed. I’ve reused several this year and they have sealed again, too. I guess I would be a bit more wary about using them on expensive and/or labor intensive fruits, like peaches and pears, but I haven’t had any problems whatsoever on tomatoes, applesauce, etc. My favorite reuse, though, are the twist-off, pop-up lids I’ve reused on their original jars. They not only reseal, but they seal quick!

      I do appreciate that the USDA advocates safe canning methods, but I don’t think they have ever tested reusing lids. People in other countries, not blessed (!) with the USDA, reuse lids all the time. (I would not ever can green beans or any other vegetable in anything other than a pressure canner, in case my devil-may-care ways scares anyone).

  35. No one is having their yard sales around here since our covid count is up.
    I worked up a new budget for 2021 counting on supporting our daughter that is fighting cancer and our insurance went up over 1/3rd of what it was this year. Still was able to cut it back from what we alone used last year including making extra payments on the mortgage. Will be stocking the last of the meat (except turkey and ham) on Thursday. Trying to eat healthier so I keep my immunity up. Can’t nag the child about her eating habits fighting cancer when she eats like I do LOL. I reread your post on cutting the budget almost every day this past week Brandy.

    Will be clearing the gardens this week as it’s suppose to get to low 30s on Friday. I have froze green tomato slices and canned green tomatoes that we can eat one or the other every week. I hope I end with enough red tomatoes to do 2 a week.

    Back to the gardens for me, hope to get the outside windows washed also.

    Blessed be Everyone

    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/10/we-have-set-2021-budget.html

  36. What wonderful yard sale finds! I adore vintage teacups. The more delicate the better (which I am sure might not be the case for a photo shoot).
    Pulled my current garden except for my yellow squash. There were 10 squashes half grown, I am hoping the weather holds out for the remainder of this week so they can finish growing.
    The one company I contract for was offering a cash bonus if you got a flu shot, since I already had I gotten a flue shot, I received that bonus, plus they gave me a lottery scratch off ticket (as a second bonus for getting the shot) that was a $10 winner. This bonus and lotto winnings went towards my new to me car fund.
    Thank you to all that offered congratulations on us paying off the mortgage. It was a goal to be paid off in 2021, but with jobs re-organizing and rumblings of more re-organizations, it was decided to be tackled this year.

  37. That’s a great idea to keep a running list of things to look for at garage sales–I think I’ll have to start doing that. And thanks for all the gardening inspo/resources! We’re about to close on our new home in a couple weeks, and we’re hoping to do a LOT with the nearly 2/3rds of an acre that it comes with.

    I used an Amazon 3-for-2 sale going on now to start purchasing some books for Christmas gifts, and I used the credit card rewards I’d gotten to purchase some clothing for my husband to use as part of his Christmas gift.

    Because we’re moving soon, I’ve been limiting shopping trips as much as possible so that we have less to move, which means that we’re FINALLY using up the little tubes of toothpaste you get from the dentist, the sample things of facial moisturizer, etc. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as truly using something up / wearing it out! I think it’s one of the most satisfying feelings in the world for me.

  38. Great yard sale finds! Prices here at most I’ve stopped at seemed a little steep (which is great to keep me from buying anything)

    Recieved a flyer in the mail about our neighborhood cleanup with free material drop off. While we just made a run to the dump, it also has a coupon for a free TV disposal at a local electronics recycling store(usually $20). It was great timing, my mom had a TV go out and I was putting off taking it and spending $20.

    Repaired a pair of my jeans.

    Saved a packet of salad dressing from takeout salad to use another time.

    Hubby picked pears and brought home . Used to make pear sauce since they were a bit crunchy.

    Ordered 10 free Christmas cards from shutterfly.

    Found a surprise cucumber growing in the backyard. Hubby and I split it to eat with dinner one night.

    Picked 4 small tomatoes off his tomato plant. It has about 6 green ones left and better hurry before it gets colder.

    Had showtime and epic for free one weekend so recorded a few movies we hadn’t seen.

    Hubby had to take his truck back to the mechanic as his clutch was still giving him issues. Apparently, they didn’t bleed the line very well and hopefully the issue is resolved. They also put in $30 worth of gas as they drove it around a bit trying to figure out the problem. No charge for us.

    My mom sent over several types of cookies.

    Went through the 13yos hoodies and coats to weed out what didn’t fit. Listed them on a buy nothing site.

    Took 6 bags of donations to my favorite thrift store.

    Flipped our mattress to even out the wear and tear(I do it in March and October)

  39. Everyone is so industrious. I love this blog, I always find so many good and unique ideas! Thank you Brandy, for keeping your site going year after year. This week I did a few things. I prepared my raised beds for planting some fall bulbs. I’ll be trying Ranunculus and in the spring, heirloom Dahlias. I’m going to practice in preparation for my move, where I hope to have a cutting garden and eventually a roadside stand (which is allowed off my new property) to bring in a little extra income while enjoying flower gardening. I’m busy planning my plot, researching and saving as much as I can. I’m tracking my grocery budget, as well as averaging out my spending per month to get a better idea of exactly what I spend, because sometimes like others, I find a good deal, or I stock up on meat which makes that week more, but not necessarily my average.

    I made frosted pumpkin bars, banana muffins (froze 12, kept 12 out for kids). I weeded the backyard and swept the patio. I turned in my cans through Bottle drop, which, if you use in store, gives an extra 20% of the bottle total towards your grocery shopping trip. It’s only a few dollars, but everything adds up. I also got free Oatmilk and a free Chiobani drink (Kroger app) this week.
    https://www.hewalkedthisland.com/post/budgeting-and-meal-planning-10-10

  40. Looking forward to your garden plans and I think the concept of garden rooms is interesting. Can’t wait to see!
    Grocery: Experimenting with nut milk recipes I can make instead of buying it. ( Plant based-whole foods= no cholesterol medicines).
    Utilities: Opening windows in the very early morning and closing around 9AM. Still using the air conditioner set at 79.
    Entertainment: Riding bikes, taking walks, collecting fall leaves, acorns, etc for fall dining room centerpiece with grandkids.

  41. Your garage sale finds are wonderful. Love the bowl. I would never have thought to use it for flowers. Very creative.
    We cleaned out the rest of the garden. We are expecting our first frost this week, so it was time.
    We have never grown butternut squash before. a neighbor had too many plants so gave some to us. We ended up with 14 butternut squash. They weren’t all the way ripe, but had to be picked.
    Picked the rest of the corn, tomatoes, basil zucchini, peppers, cucumbers, and cabbage. Also picked a few carrots, as needed.
    The corn ended up being about 100 ears. We took 20 over to a former neighbor. Their corn was all eaten by racoons. They had a bunch of Hubbard squash, so I took 2. My DH loves it.
    Worked 3 days, and took breakfast and lunch all days.
    Have a lot of onions, so dried 5 trays. My MIL had a 5-tray Excalibur dehydrator. When we were cleaning out her house last year with all the siblings, that was in the pile to be donated. I asked if anyone would mind if I snagged it, so I now have 3 dehydrators.
    Was able to visit with my mom this week for an outside visit and walk.
    I peeled tomatoes for salsa. While I was at work, my DH BBQ’d the peppers and made what we call the “base mixture.” Added cilantro, onions, garlic and a few other things to make a huge batch of salsa. Some will go to our sons and friends, and 12 containers made their way into our freezer. We eat a lot of salsa.
    Made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, homemade pizza and chow mein.
    Our best deals were – milk for 57¢ a 1/2 gallon, after online coupons and bacon for$2.99 a pound.
    Picked, cleaned and dried 4 trays of thyme. That is the last of the thyme.
    Had popcorn for snacks a couple of times.
    Cut DH’s hair. Luckily he likes a buzz cut. That is the limit of my skill.
    I still have buckets and baskets of vegetables and herbs to work on, even though the garden has been emptied. My garden work will go on for another couple of weeks, at least.
    I have now dried onions, carrots and corn. I will dry some celery and maybe green beans, then I think I will give my sons homemade dried soup mix as part of their Christmas present. I always try to figure something new out each year, but want it to be useful.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  42. I always love your flower arrangements. I remember you saying you took a class years ago but you also are so talented with this. Just gorgeous!

    This past week I:
    • Roasted chicken, roasted carrots, and colcannon. Made chicken stock in my slow cooker using the carcass.
    • Harvested 15 butternut squashes from my garden. This is the first time I have ever grown butternut squash and I am THRILLED! I watched YouTube to see how to harvest, clean, wipe with vinegar and let harden off. I can’t wait to try a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for a butternut squash galette.
    • Made applesauce using the 32 lbs of apples I purchased for 79 cents per lb.
    • Met a friend down by Long Island Sound and went for a three mile walk. Gorgeous homes – my version of “window shopping!” And most of the houses had gigantic, blue hydrangeas.
    • Listened to The Great Courses for free on Hoopla via my library card. I’m loving the series about King Arthur and Arthurian Legends.
    • I had a friend over for a socially distanced dinner outside. We wrapped blankets around our legs, wore winter coats and hats! It was too windy to use candles so I brought out my glass hurricane lamp, which was lovely. We ate Brandy’s Swiss chard soup made with chard from my garden, leftover roast chicken, pommes dauphinoise, and rhubarb crisp using rhubarb from my garden. Before dinner we dug up half of one rhubarb plant for my friend to put in her garden. In return she brought me two outdoor “Telescope” sling chairs that she had found at the dump, which are in excellent condition.
    • A few weeks ago while out for a walk, I came across a “free” pile that included a metal baker’s rack. I hurried home to get my car and figured out how to strap the rack halfway into the trunk of my Camry. Well I finally got around to sanding off the flaking paint and rust spots and giving it a good wash. Next step is spray painting it with cans that I found in my basement. The baker’s rack will go into my basement to help organize my food storage. I also sanded down an ADK chair my son had made years ago at a summer camp. It has a large daisy as the back. Next step is repainting the chair again using cans of paint found in the basement. The temperature is supposed to warm up a few days so that I can paint.
    • I walked 17.8 miles this week as exercise! A new milestone for me 

  43. Hope everyone had a nice, frugal week! Great buy on the canning supplies!
    There weren’t as many stellar grocery store deals here in Houston this week, but I went to Aldi for the things on my list. Another store had blsl chicken breasts .69/#, but I just wasn’t going to be able to make it there. Lo and behold, I found packs of the same, at Aldi, with half-price stickers, making them .79/#, which is still a good price here. I bought them and threw them straight into the freezer. I am paying more attention to the number of servings in a package. For example, my kids like the chocolate marshmallow Aldi cookies, but one package only lasts for one dessert (or snacktime), whereas I can stretch a pack of generic Oreos (slightly more expensive) over two snacks or desserts. These are treats, not everyday foods.
    I found a NWT scout shirt at the thrift store.
    One son needs a Lion cub scout book. I really don’t want to pay $10 for it, when I don’t need the stickers, parent guide, etc., so I put an “in search of” post in our local kids facebook group, in case someone can sell me their old one. No luck so far, but at least I tried. BSA fees for 2 boys were $225, and none of that money goes to their local troop, unfortunately.
    We did go out to eat once, but we managed to do it for less than $10 (for 5 people eating) with the Burger King app and coupons.
    I bought myself an inflatable T-Rex costume at Goodwill. This will probably lead to buyer’s remorse, but at least it was very inexpensive. I tested it in the store to make sure it works, but I think my youngest will probably be afraid of it.
    My older son cleaned the van (with help), inside and out. I like our old van more when it’s clean. Same for the house and kids, too, actually.
    I made fried rice using leftover bits left in the fridge. Our $5 or less meals included: spaghetti with meat sauce, fried rice, bean burritos, bacon sandwiches, and homemade pizza.
    Have a nice week!

  44. Can’t wait to see that garden plan Brandy. It sounds very functional and lovely.

    This week my husband was awarded a $10 Amazon gift card from work because a client mentioned him by name in a positive review. Sweet! So proud of him!

    My son the lifeguard had given up his job at the park district this past summer. Even though they reopened the pool with restrictions and vigilant cleaning plans, we just couldn’t risk it. After many months of not being sure how to move forward a job opened up as a dietary aide and we spent last week getting him interview ready on a budget. Fortunately I had found him some like new Carharrt pants and a plaid dress shirt several months ago at a thrift store. We had his clothes taken care of for $6. I gave him a less than professional haircut at home, and he did his best to make it look good. My boys have thick course hair and men’s styles are NOT my strength! He was such a good sport about it. Pending background checks he was offered the job, and we are so happy for him and more than a little relieved for him to have work to do and a reason to get out of the house. I think of all of us he has struggled the most with quarantine. New people, new job to learn, more structure in his week. I hope it goes well.

    I am reading a lot, cooking a lot, and rewatching Stargate Universe on Amazon prime in the evenings with my husband. Take care everyone.

    1. Congratulations to your son. These are not easy times to be starting out in the world, and it sounds like he is going to do just fine, especially when he has such a supportive family. Being a great mom is not about giving great haircuts.

      It reminded me of a time when I colored my hair the night before I went to an interview, and someone had switched the hair color in the box, so my reddish blond hair became dark brown! I used all the mental toughness I had to be confident in the interview, and I did get the job too. The next day, the people on the Clairol help line told me how to get my color back to reddish blond. I still remember how sympathetic they were.

      1. Thank you Elizabeth. I remember what it was like to not have much family support, so maybe I go a little bit overboard trying to do better for my kids. Maybe being a good mom can look a lot of different ways. It would be interesting to hear what others have experienced, either as a mom or from their mom. I often feel like I am flying blind and just trying to figure it out as I go.

        I love your story about the interview. I would have had a total meltdown in that situation. I like how resourceful and tough you were, not letting yourself get derailed, and nailing the interview anyway. Very Cool.

  45. Always fun to read the yard sale specials! Perhaps in twenty or thirty years, the fire fighter’s costume for the four-year-old will be among the most remembered items?
    I am recovering well from the first of two knee replacement surgeries, so new active money saving measures are few. My patient husband is shopping carefully, (though he doesn’t like shopping and doesn’t search out extra bargains– I really miss bargain hunting). Resting and doing my stretches is frugal in its way, as knee surgery without committing to the follow-up rehab is pretty much a waste of money.
    I have a few potted plants to bring in from outside before it gets much colder, (rosemary, green onions, parsley, poinsettias), and guessed today would be a good day to do so, as it is warm, and perhaps the insects that live in them outside will be out in the sunshine and not come inside with them.
    My Amtrak Rewards account has only a few points, and I am going to cash them into a gift card, as traveling by train or plane isn’t in my near future.
    My husband and I share the same health insurance policy, but have separate log-ins to look at our statements. The company has a rewards program, for reading short brochures or watching videos about healthy living, and we each can receive points in our own name. I have redeemed those points for several hundred dollars this year.
    The Chicago Botanic Garden had a thought-provoking article for Indigenous People’s Day yesterday, under the heading “Garden Stories” on their website. It was insightful into how the garden employees think about their role in an inclusive and diverse world.

  46. Brandy, I love how exciting your garden plans are! You inspire me to work toward starting some of my own plants from seed and cuttings, rather than purchasing them.

    We worked really hard this past week to keep our budget low. We did our usual laundry and dishes practices, and kept our heat off. I volunteered at the food pantry and gleaned a lot of produce, including fall greens, radishes, turnips, onions, and some fruit. I picked up our Azure Standard order on Saturday and am pleasantly surprised at the quality of the oats and grits we ordered. I’m so pleased to be able to purchase organic oats for a reasonable price, because I know that oats are so heavily sprayed with pesticides (which has lead to some of our health issues).

    I also worked for VIP Kid some more, earning close to $60 from home in the evenings. While the initial interview and mock trial process took some time, I really like working for them. Teaching some of the same kids each week has become a lot of fun, and it’s so nice to just do the fun part of working with kids. https://www.vipkid.com/mkt/landing/personal?referralToken=dcdbd7abbe68bd890e5f3902fad7fbf4&refereeId=48592422&channel_id=copy_link_pc

    I’m excited to have found a local acupuncture school that offers treatment on a sliding scale, a pay what you can model. I’ve never tried it before, but it really has, in only two treatments, brought some significant healing and detox for me. I can get a treatment for as little as $15 and get so much healing! I’m excited to continue treatments with them, and am looking forward to finding healing through this and the dietary changes we’ve instituted. I’m using some of my VIP Kid funds to pay for these treatments, as well as some reductions in other budget areas, so our budget is still on target.

    I hope you’ll check out our meal plans for this month: http://livinggreensavinggreen.co/

  47. We enjoyed a gorgeous week last week! Beautiful fall colors and 70 degree weather. It was balm for my soul. I spent a lot of time outside tidying the yard and trying to prepare for the cold and rain that will surely come. My two pear trees provided 8-5 gallon buckets of pears. We gathered an additional 2 buckets of windfalls that were fed to our large flock of chickens. My pears won’t be ripe for about a week so I hope to get some housework done! I also picked grapes off of our vines. I canned 60 quarts of grape juice and 6 batches of grape jelly. With that my garden and fruit are officially done.
    I purchased two packages of boneless skinless chicken breasts and got 12 more pints of canned meat. I also canned 12 pints of mirpoix (onions, carrots, and celery). I have already used 2 jars in soups over the last week. I did a bit of organizing of the food room and filled in on items getting low such as spaghetti (2lb.s for .99), spaghetti sauce at .79, and a case of green beans .44. The hot dry summer burned up my garden beans. It feels good to know that I can feed my family because I have canned, frozen, and purchased foods at the rock bottom prices for my area. Today I found name brand popcicles for .99 a box at Aldi. I bought 8 boxes to tuck into the freezer. This year I have kept a list of monthly sales and that has really kept me organized and watching for sales trends. I am getting ready to redo our budget. I am going to have to increase my food budget. Prices continue to go up on smaller sized portions. I am so hoping that there will be baking sales in the next 2 months. With all the canning I need to stock up on sugar. AndI would love to get several hams and turkeys. Thank you everyone for your frugal examples. I know I need to step up my game in severeal areas in order to add to our savings. I am thinking I might start selling items we no longer use on social media selling sites. Due to my rural location garage sales are not worth the work it takes to put on.

      1. Laura I got the beans at my local WalMart. I’m in the central michigan area. (An hour north of Lansing.) They price match milk ($1.28 gal), eggs (.66 a dozen), and canned goods (fruit .98 a can and veggies .44 a can) to compete with our Aldi. I typically buy at Aldi, but since March you can only purchase 4 cans of each item. There is no such limit at our Walmart.

        1. Deanna,
          I grew up in Mt. Pleasant. My parents were faculty at CMU. What a small world!

          I don’t live there anymore but it always make me smile when I hear of people living in that area or who are from there.
          Lea

          1. Fire up Chips!!!! I was born here and have stayed. Both my husband and I are CMU Alumni. It really is a small world! Thanks you made my day!!

  48. Brandy, the photos this week are particularly stunning!Thankyou.

    This week-
    I ate all meals in-I ate out of my freezer. Also some batch cooked meals made earlier in the year.
    I went to Waitrose and got all their yellow sticker bargains (pastries, Melton Mowbrays, fruit, chicken).
    I was awarded £5 on Swagbucks and £5 on Lifepoints, both for M and S. I’m saving up to send my mum some flowers.
    I got some free sweets from M and S with my loyalty card.
    I used my NHS discount to get money off my normal supermarket shopping.
    I bought loo paper from the company Who gives a Crap which uses recycled paper and gives half the profits to build toilets in Africa.
    I wrapped some birthday/xmas gifts using pressies from my present cupboard (I buy reduced gift items all year to store in this exciting cupboard).
    I made cheesecake with silken tofu and white bean brownies with store ingredients.
    I had my first Airbnb guest for ages who stayed 4 nights (she was doing a course in town) so earned £197.
    I got money back from Quidco shopping app.
    I didn’t have a birthday card suitable for my friends child so made one from a cool postcard and gave her gifts from my cupboard.
    I swam a lot in our local pool.
    I had a free glass of wine using a new app for my local pub.
    I am working from home so no petrol costs at present. I only have two more months pay checks to go so am trying to sort my small savings out so they are in the best place at the moment.
    I got a free lipstick from a freebies website. It is gorgeous!
    Got free online books, magazines and audiobooks from RB app from library.
    I made gift tags from cards and saved tissue paper for wrapping.

    I wish you all a very peaceful and safe week x

  49. Brandy, I am living vicariously through you and your garden upgrade. So fun!

    Last week was an icky week, but this week is getting better. My nurse was super helpful this week as we left the hospital. She pointed out everything we should take home that they’ll have to throw away…bed pads, wash wipes, alcohol wipes, a trash bag, box of Kleenex and a few other items. They also let my husband stay with me for my night in the hospital. It was calming and saved us the cost of yet another night in the hotel.

    I have bought each person in our family a nice Christmas present. I’m using up wrapping paper I have. I will be in or nearby the hospital this Christmas and want to make sure I have this much done at least. I’ve also started addressing cards now before my handwriting gets too wobbly to do so. I bought the cards for a dollar a box last winter. Not sure the couple sewing projects (Pj pants for the guys) are going to get done in time, but they’re extras.

    I mended a pair of my socks and sewed a button on my son’s pants.

    Dehydrated a number of tomato slices to use eventually. I’ll probably make tomato powder to use in recipes. Or use them on pizza.

    Harvested the little beets and the greens. I’ll probably freeze the greens and decide what to do with the beets when I get back from SLC.

    Feeling good about having stocked up on dog food and chewies. Such a relief to be able to just open another bag. I use the licked clean bags to gather kindling for this winter’s fires.

    My husband has been bringing in lots of wood from the dump at the reservoir (he rescued the rest of the wood someone kindly cut and left) and the national forest on permit. We are heading toward my goal of having a 2 yr supply.

    I put together a bunch of seed saving packets from this site in preparation for saving lettuce and tomato seeds. I have 4 pots of lettuce and came home to find one of them with the tops munched off. Would moose do that? Humph! Fortunately I have one pot hidden in the greenhouse even if the skallywags nip the tops of the other lettuce before I get back this time.

    Hope to get some frozen foods either dehydrated or canned soon. My apple order finally came in. Only one box, but that’s OK. Hope to can apple pie filling and see how it works. Also dehydrated more parsley from the aerogarden. Need to be working always toward food preparation, storage and growing. Getting ready.

    Doing what I can.

    Blessings

    1. Glad you could get your Christmas shopping and wrapping done! I want to wrap some things early this year; I think it will be such a help!

      1. It is such a relief to have it done. Might not be the big sales I usually look for, but they’re useful presents and are here. I’m not sure if there will be shipping issues toward Christmas or not. And, we all don’t have to get skiing presents from my ski enthusiast husband. 🙂

      1. Thank you Patricia. This week, for the most part, has been better. Some days are worse, but that just tells me all this is working!

    2. I don’t know about moose but I think you may have one happy snowshoe hare or jackrabbit in your yard that ate your lettuce.
      I’ve been watching a snowshoe hare prune and eat the green leaves on one of my shrubs. I’m so glad this week is better for you and how lovely to be so organized for Christmas. Prayers for you, Ann

      1. Ann,

        We do have one snowshoe hare in the vacinity. I keep looking for others, but it is only that one.

        Thank you for the prayers. Much needed,

        Trish

  50. I love your pressed glass bowl Brandy! I did a bit of thrifting this week and found two dresses and a blouse for under 10 dollars. We made beet soup with our garden veggies. Cleared the beets out and replanted some on the chance that we might get more or at least get some beet greens. Our mustard had replanted itself many times over what we planted originally which made me very happy. I started clearing our our cucumbers and planned to plant radishes. We will be picking our green tomatoes and our corn before it gets really cold at the end of this week. We planted a variety of corn that produces after 55 days. It is sweet and delicious! And we planted it late! I warmed up a kale,bean soup that we had preciously frozen. It was delicious. My son loved it! I made a pumpkin pie. My family was happy, but it did not help my numbers. I should stick with pumpkin soup for me. I love soup and it seems to help me lose weight. My husband grilled burgers one night. We got a pork roast for 98 cents a lb and cooked it in the slow cooker. Roasted our garden veggies, hubby made gravy. Yum. Tomorrow, I plan on making carnitas tacos or burritos with the leftover meat and add some black beans to make them yummy and spread the meat. We are working on using what we have in the fridge and garden. I like to use our leftovers. As usual, we turn of lights, open windows, use internet for entertainment and information. oh yes, We have enjoyed the wildlife. My son and I saw about a dozen turkey on day. My husband and I saw a deer in the middle of the day and we all saw a bunch of deer another evening. I’ve enjoyed listening to the birds when the windows are open.

  51. Hello, Brandy and everyone. I very rarely post but read faithfully each week and always enjoy “catching up” with all of you. This time of shelter in place has been a tough one on our budget (I am working 80% time, partly by choice so I have time to help with distance learning, and partly not, as my company has been hit hard by the recession). I had a big win this week, though – my husband has been itching to build a workshop in our backyard for his woodworking, but we’ve been hesitating to spend the money/commit to the yard space it would need. Likewise, I’ve been wanting to clear out our storage shed, just to get a handle on what garden supplies are lurking in there. Well, this weekend we took everything out of the shed, trashed 1/3 of it, put another 1/3 aside to sell on FB/Craigslist, and put the last 1/3 back neatly – and it turns out, there’s room in there to do woodworking now! There’s no power, so he’ll continue to need to use our side yard during the day for power tools, but since much of what he does is with hand tools, he’ll be able to work in the evenings (using a lantern) or in the rain.

    My chickens continue to produce, even the old lady, so we’re still eating a lot of eggs and sharing as we can with our neighbor. Chickens are the best way I’ve ever found to turn food scraps into food & fertilizer, though with how much we still spend on feed, I don’t think we’ll ever “get ahead.” (They are wonderful pets, though.)

    When food supplies got tough this spring, I joined a CSA that a friend recommended and have been blown away by how much produce we continue to get. I’m still enjoying the last of the cherry tomatoes I picked before ripping out my plants, as well. It will be a while yet before my Fall garden produces. I sowed some more rainbow chard seeds this week, as the ones I already sowed are a few inches tall – I’m hoping to have a continuous source, as I try to eat greens almost every day.

    We’re going apple picking this weekend – our membership fee included a case of Asian pears (which my kids love) plus a reservation for a social-distanced slot to pick. I’m hoping to find a pumpkin patch to visit while we’re there (it’s about 2 hours away) and make a day of it. It was 82F today (in SF Bay area), so I’ll take what little bits of Fall I can get.

    Take care!

    1. How nice about the shed!

      My husband has long wanted a shop (instead of garden space!). This year he did some rearranging in the garage and with the door open, he can do a significant amount of work just outside the garage. He bought some tools (instead of going to use his brothers’ welder) and he has been able to accomplish a lot more at home than he could before.

      I’m so happy your husband is able to have a place to work! That’s wonderful!

  52. Happy belated Canadian Thanksgiving everyone! It has been on my mind to post this ever since I heard this recently- “If the world were 100 people.”

    86 would be able to read and write; 14 would not

    7 would have a college degree
    40 would have an Internet connection

    78 people would have a place to shelter them
    from the wind and the rain, but 22 would not

    1 would be dying of starvation
    11 would be undernourished
    22 would be overweight

    91 would have access to safe drinking water
    9 people would have no clean, safe water to drink

    This is just an excerpt (you can google it).
    It made me realize how incredibly blessed my family is, even though I “feel” our finances are tight. We have shelter, food, and safe water; very thankful for our abundant blessings. Just wanted to post this too for others to realize, that even though some of us are struggling financially, most of us are very blessed (we are the minority in the world to have internet access!)

    1. Wow. Thank you for sharing.

      I have a bachelor’s degree. That is a sobering number.

      Clean water initiatives are where I choose to donate, as they save so many people’s lives, especially children under the age of 5.

  53. We have had very, very few yard sales here, whereas normally we have several each weekend. You did well at the garage sales, Brandy.

    I sold a bit of scrap metal and cans this week and got $5. The recycling center is on my regular path to town, luckily. As I work outside, I am getting rid of old metal parts and tools that are no longer useful to anyone, and giving away what someone can still use.

    I bought another Christmas gift on sale.

    We had a two-hour-each-way trip to one of my husband’s doctors, his first in-person visit in months. I packed a cooler with snacks and drink.

    I’ve ordered a few clothes from ThredUp and they are starting to arrive from their different warehouses. So far, they fit.

    I used my pressure cooker and slow cooker this weekend to make several meals ahead for this week without having to heat up the house with the oven. Our temperatures have gone back up and yesterday reached 90 again.

    I found dried cranberries on a good sale. I love them in baked goods, and I don’t know if we’ll see the usual baking ingredient sales that we normally have at the holidays, so if I see a sale on holiday ingredients, I try to go ahead and get them.

    I renewed magazine subscriptions for two of the grandkids at half-price. These are part of their Christmas presents.

    Looking forward to the big garden plan reveal!

    1. Me too! I wrote it all up, and was just about ready to share–and then we made two more big changes! I’m sure we’ll make some more adjustments. These were fairly large, so I will have to finish these changes on paper before I can share the plans.

  54. John repaired the dryer. It’s 24 years old but every site we visited said the same thing: thermal fuses were bad. We ordered from Amazon and had them by end of last week and now the dryer works just fine. Ditto for the Keurig. It locked up and quit working. I had to look up videos on You Tube for possible causes, then spoke with my daughter who suggested descaling. It works very well once more. Then I had an abscessed tooth but was able to treat it with peroxide rinses, colloidal silver. It seems one small thing after another but here’s hoping it’s a small season as well!
    Cooked all meals at home.
    I found a pair of shoes at Walmart that have worked well for casual wear and are very comfortable. Also underthings I was needing which had not previously been been in stock. My happy find was a 25 pound bag of flour for $5.18.
    Made Corn dog muffins and Rice Krispies treats for grandsons the morning they came to visit.
    Cooked a whole roasted chicken which has netted us a chicken dinner, chicken salad, Chicken Broccoli and Rice casserole and I still have chicken left to deal with plus the frame to cook up into broth. I love a good roasting chicken!

  55. Brandy, I want to applaud you on the fact you can wear size 4 jeans! That is amazing! I know you work hard and it shows! You look great!

  56. Brandy, what is the lovely gold flower, in the beautiful photo with the bee? I had a volunteer plant that put out that very flower, several years ago. It was clearly some sort of gourd, as the flowers would fall off and a gourd would begin, but always shriveled up and fell away.

    **I used my dryer once in two weeks, for a load of towels. Everything else goes on the line. In the heat we’ve had, most things dry in 10 minutes or less, and smell so good and fresh.

    **We try to run the AC for just a few hours in the heat of the afternoon – we leave windows open until it’s just too warm, then turn the air on. Once the day begins to cool, we turn it off. I continue to collect condensation from the unit and use it to water potted plants.

    **My CSA farm box arrived. I split it with my mother via “contact free” delivery, then spent an hour or so chopping, blanching, and freezing things I don’t plan to use right away. Meals using what we had in the ‘fridge, freezer, and pantry included build-your-own salads (Brandy, your balsamic vinaigrette dressing is a favorite here), street corn salad, bean and cheese burritos (I cooked and refried the beans), and copycat Olive Garden “Zuppa Toscana” (using this recipe: https://www.momontimeout.com/one-pot-olive-garden-zuppa-toscana-soup-recipe/ – I had no heavy cream so used a bit of milk and a dollop of sour cream and it was delicious).

    **I picked olives from the tree in the back yard and set them to cure. This is a first for me so I hope they turn out all right.

    **I gave the dog a bath instead of taking her to the groomer. She didn’t thank me.

    **Several months ago I completed a tele-conference wellness check with a nurse practitioner. My insurance company sent me a gift card for participating in the new program. I used the card this week to purchase Christmas gifts.

    1. It’s a pumpkin flower! It’s a male flower; up until this morning, the entire plant only made ONE female flower (which is now the white pumpkin). This morning I finally saw another! A bee was pollinating it! I don’t know that there’s time to grow more pumpkins before frost, but it’s 91 degrees here today (about 15 degrees hotter than normal for this time of year) so perhaps our first frost will be later this year. Officially it can be as early as November 15th, but I have only seen it before December 3rd ONCE, and that was last year when we had just enough frost one day in November to kill everything that was finally fruiting again. It warmed back up after that for a month.

      1. When we get a day of frost, or even a couple, when we know it is predicted to still warm up. We cover our gardens and plants with old sheets and cloths. Alternatively an intermittent sprinkler will keep the plants wet. The moisture can freeze on the plant but once the morning sun/temperatures begin to rise thrice melts off and frequently a majority of flowers survive. Some plants like carrots can take some freezing but still be intact in the garden.
        I’m in zone 2b/3
        When your frosts arrive if they are not continuous freezing nights below zero, you may be able to extend your growing dates with the above methods.

        1. I could definitely try with the low-growing plants. It’s very difficult when the tomatoes are 8 feet tall! We get frosts usually a few days in December, a few days in January, and a few in February. That’s the main extent of our winter. We have high winds here, so I don’t know that something like floating row covers would work for me, but if I could find a way to keep a grow tunnel over some plants that would work well. As I’m redesigning the garden, I will definitely keep that in mind!

    2. Love the remark about the dog. My husband and I often remark how ungrateful the cats are for their “three hots and a cot.”

  57. This week I stayed inside my budget for groceries and cooked all meals at home. I baked two loaves of bread to have with jam I already had and made homemade pizza once. I made peanut butter cookies and I didn’t read the recipe closely so it made a whole lot. Of course they are still gone at the end of the week- ha!

    I listened to free audiobooks from the library and biked in the local parks for exercise. It is getting cool but it’s still sunny and beautiful most days. We bought some bulk cleaning stuff at Home Depot because it’s by far the cheapest place for that in our area. We buy large jugs and refill our smaller handheld ones at home. I bought two Christmas gifts using credit card points and I still have points left for another. This is a huge get! I didn’t realize how many points I had saved up since I never think about them.

    I took in what will probably be the last of our peppers and eggplants. It was a lot and some of it went into a chili bulked out with beans and ground turkey from the freezer. I made some cornbread to go with it.

  58. This time of year is so busy with canning and gardening work that the weeks just seem to zoom by! I thought I was done with applesauce making but I found apples this week at No Frills for .27 cents a pound so I bought another four pounds to make some more applesauce. My son eats it every morning for breakfast so I always can a lot. Canning lids seem to be in short supply but I have found them at our local Dollar Tree store. I have enough for this year and to make a start on next year as well.

    The Canadian government created a new benefit for caregivers that must stay home because their loved one is at higher risk if they contract COVID. With the support of our doctor and nurse practitioner we applied for and were accepted for this benefit. This will provide us with income for 26 weeks which is a huge blessing. I am trying to keep to our bare bones budget and save as much of this as I can for the time when this benefit runs out and we are back to no income. We hope that my husband can go back to work, even in a part-time capacity next September when the university starts up again.

    We had our first ground frost last night but I had already harvested all of the green tomatoes and brought them in. I am going to try canning some green tomato relish to use them up. For having very little planted this year, we certainly made good use of what grew.

    Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.

    1. I’m so glad your family will have this new caregiver benefit. That is wonderful that some of the worry is gone through the winter, anyway. We hear these programs being announced but it is reassuring to know that people are actually being approved for them. I wish I lived near a No Frills. It is great to see you able to take advantage of some of the prices there.

      1. We are thrilled to be able to benefit from this program. My husband has heard nothing but bad things about his place of work at the university and the students not adhering to COVID protocols. He could not have been there in that environment with our disabled son potentially exposed to the virus.

        I could not believe when I walked into No Frills and apples were that price. I have never seen them so low. We are lucky to have a No Frills less than five minutes away from home.

        1. Andrea-very happy for you. My husband and I are now back to work so we may not qualify for much more except in low earn weeks-but very thankful we were both able to get it when we were laid off in March. I like you find that sometimes No Frills really marks fresh stuff down to clear it out which I really like too. My DD surprised my DH last night by driving home to pick up a rescue pup and bring her over for the night-that certainly won’t be frugal and I am sure her days of sleeping in are over. I am still out of town enjoying some green and warmth before driving back to the snow!

  59. I love hummingbirds. We don’t get them here so on the rare occasions I have seen them when in LA I was in awe.

    My week has been busy but good.

    -I completed a two hour online meeting and received $125 for my thoughts (market research company)
    -I am relieving in higher duties at work, earning an extra 17% per week, for up to three months
    -We did a long family bike ride, stopping off for a picnic en route
    -I overspent on groceries, but stocked up on some very reduced sale items. This will mean the grocery spend in the coming weeks is reduced
    -I went to the library and borrowed books and DVD’s for myself and my children
    -my husband and I gave my son a haircut. Thank you Brandy for your clippers recommendation. I also trimmed my daughter’s hair
    -We ate simply all week, with scrambled eggs on toast, lentil salad, avocado and tomato on toast, vegetables and rice, oat and berry smoothies, butter chicken, sandwiches, bananas, apples, yoghurt and cookies
    -my mother in law gave me a large slice of maple syrup cake she made. I enjoyed it for morning tea at work today

    Have a lovely week.

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