Using red ticking stripe fabric that I had on hand, I sewed a pillow cover to use as part of my props for my Christmas mini session photos. I had bought this fabric with a coupon several years ago, intending to make something for our living room. I still have a little bit left that I can use for a smaller pillow for the living room.

The blanket for my setup was $5 from Goodwill last year. The doily was $0.50 at a garage sale. The cups and saucers were the ones I just picked up at a garage sale, the little basket on the left was also from a garage sale. The vintage basket on the right was given to me by someone who was moving. The lanterns are part of our emergency supplies.

I ordered some clothes and a pair of shoes for my teenaged son from Old Navy while they were having a 2-day 50% off everything with free shipping sale.

I sowed more seeds in the garden: Swiss chard, green onions, garlic chives, spinach, two kinds of lettuce, and parsley. The lettuce and green onions have already sprouted!

We continued to dig daffodil and paperwhite bulbs from the garden to divide and replant in the garden in new locations.

We rented a sod cutter to remove the grass. We were able to use it and return it in the four-hour time, so it was the lower 4-hour rate instead of the day rate. It was worth every penny, as it saved us a month or so of work, plus I can stop watering the grass now instead of weeks later. I’m anxious to see how much lower our water bill we be over the next few months. This time of year we are permitted to water the grass three days a week (through the end of November). The water savings in six weeks will more than cover the $85 cost of renting the machine. It also made it possible for us to move forward with the garden, which will make a huge difference in our ability to plant things earlier. I’m sharing photos of our progress over on Instagram if you want to follow along!

We took five trailers full of cuttings and grass from the garden to the dump. You can dump there for free if you bring a copy of your garbage bill. This saved us the cost of renting the two dumpsters we would have needed otherwise.

I attempted to start 28 new boxleaf euoyonmus plants by air layering.

I harvested two kinds of basil, two kinds of chives, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I gave two sons a haircut.

What did you do last week to save money?

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171 Comments

  1. It was a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    We had a cool front come through that allowed us to turn off the air conditioner for a few days.
    $5 or less meals this week included: pigs in a blanket, chicken fried rice, chicken pot pie, taco salad, and bean burritos.
    I sold more items on facebook marketplace. Even $5 sales add up and make a difference: cash in, junk out!
    I found some new-to-us nature shows for the kids to watch, which they enjoyed.
    One son did a school project (diorama) using only materials we had, plus some weeds we picked from the side of the road.
    I made a pan of cinnamon rolls and didn’t quite have enough cream cheese, but used a little extra butter in the frosting, and it came out fine. One daughter prefers her cinnamon rolls unfrosted, anyway. Her little sister tries to just eat the frosting off. Stinker!
    The sales were good at the grocery stores: eggs (bought lots, even though I don’t need them right away), milk, sugar, marked down dry pinto beans, canned veggies 3/.89, and a few other things. My grocery shopping is more and more “ingredients” after reading this site for years, but the kids and I do love an occasional snack/treat.
    My dad fixed a pressure washer I trash-picked (“roadside rescue”) that wasn’t working, and now is working better. I need to clean the siding on the house.
    My aunt gave us a dozen eggs from her chickens.
    We enjoyed books and movies from the library, and walks around our neighborhood.

  2. My neighbor told me to take what I wanted that was ripe in her garden before our first frost. I picked half a Walmart sack of cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and hot peppers. The guys ate the hot peppers and a chunk of the cherry tomatoes, then I froze the rest. The bell peppers will be used up this week in dinners.

    My mom sent over a bag of chips, hamburger buns, and several packs of cookies.

    Got a free Starbucks drink using points.

    Received a sample bag from Sam’s when I picked up an order…Ice drink, a Monster, cheddar rice cakes, fig bar, and a reusable bag

    Used $10 off code to order a Christmas present through Walmart (from when they messed up a order a few weeks ago).

    Husband desperately needed pants for winter. We found fleece lined pants(he’s a mason that works outside) at Sam’s for $20 a pair. Found 4 pairs in his size. (Retail price on them were $85 each)

  3. You’ve had a busy week, Brandy! But when don’t you? Reading your blog makes me feel like a slug, LOL.

    I am also layering some shrubs to make new plants. It may be too late in the year, but it takes so little time and effort that it was worth a try. I also plant cuttings as a fail-safe. You get bigger plants with layering, but if it doesn’t work, I might get a plant from a cutting. I promise to send you a snowball if anything roots!

    This was my week–
    * I made and canned 7 more quarts of applesauce = 10 quarts so far. I think I am done for the year (there are only 2-3 of us). I still have a crisper drawer full of apples to eat fresh.
    * I harvested 11 more red ripe tomatoes and another zucchini and made a batch of my version of ratatouille. We ate it for dinner last night and I froze two more cartons. We also picked the last of the beets, a big bowl of green toms, and pulled up the vines. We are expecting frost this week.
    * I bought 6 cases (72 cans) of Progresso soups for .99 can. I also got two dozen eggs for .59 each using the Fred Meyer app. We are retired and I don’t cook lunch. We eat leftovers, make a sandwich or open a can of soup. The soup should last at least a year.
    * I tried to repair the zipper on my daughter’s favorite tote bag, but it didn’t work. Velcro was the answer!
    * I am changing my Medicare Advantage policy from a HMO to a PPO, to allow me to go out of network. I spent quite a bit of time last week comparing the 4 plans that are available where I live.
    * Not frugal for me, but I sent two books to friends and donated 4 more to the Little Free Library.
    * I went through my dishes and donated all but 12 of my glass dessert/snack sets (I had about 40 and used them for my son’s wedding reception). It freed up a whole shelf in the china cupboard. I also donated two monitors and some miscellaneous electronics, which freed up shelf space in another room. I don’t have a lot of storage, so this is big!

    1. Maxine,
      Thank you for the book recommendation. I’m hoping the used copy arrives before I sit and wait in the jury duty pool this week.

  4. Brandy, your pictures are fantastic!
    I only left the house once last week to take a granddaughter to band practice. This saves me tons of money on gas and wear and tear on my 20 year old car.
    I ordered Christmas gifts on sale plus free shipping.
    My little business didn’t do well this year. No surprise since I sell Halloween costumes.
    With that small failure in mind I am trying to re-think what I put in my Etsy shop. I am trying to think of small things I can make to sell year round. I’ve been selling there since 2008 and have changed the store around a time or two. It is just time consuming.
    I get a very good retirement so I don’t depend on this money, but it is nice to have. I somehow feel it is a fail even though it is Covid-19 hurting us all.
    Jake has brought food a few times as has Windee. I accept any and all food even if it is something I don’t like or won’t use. I just pass it on to someone else.
    I have been talking to the City about my water bill for 3 months. My bill jumped up over 30 dollars one month. I called and said there is no way. The city secretary adjusted the bill. We have done this for 3 months now. They will be replacing my water meter sometime the end of November. They are adjusting my bill every month, but I have to call and talk about it first. Folks…watch your bills closely. Things happen and no one else is going to say…wait a minute…this isn’t right. *smile* We are our best advocates.
    My daughter and granddaughter decorated my window boxes for autumn. I gave $20.00 to the cause. Windee bought the rest of the things and Jake gave me pumpkins that grew from a pumpkin I gave him last year for the chickens.
    I’m sewing pajama pants for all of the family for Christmas and Hanukkah from fabric I have here.
    All bills paid on time so no late charges.
    I taught Zayne (he is 13) how to make pizza dough from scratch. This will be a wild savings since both of the kids want pizza a few times a week.
    I’ve read 6 free books this week and have seven more to go.
    I can’t think of anymore.

    1. Becky: Some people get very elaborate with costumes for baby and toddler photos. Is there a photographer near you you could work with to make special order outfits? Or even props like stuffed numbers for the photographer?
      Are Mardi Gras costumes made for children? I am a far-northerner and do not know. Or St. Patrick’s Day?

      1. I have sold a lot of things to photographers over the years, but more to the parents that take the costumes to their photographer.
        I also make Mardi Gras costumes, but with most of the celebrations cancelled down here (I live in Texas) I have lost a lot of that revenue also.
        I am immunocompromised so even the things that have stayed open are not on my radar this year.
        The money I make selling usually pays my taxes so this was a hit. I can live through it though so thank goodness for that.

    2. hi Becky, I am a new homeowner of a 2nd house and the water bill was atrocious! I found out that there was a serious leak in the toilet, the bathroom sink and the kitchen sink – this one the pipe had collapsed. We got a lot of that fixed (still working on the bathroom sink) and the bill has already gone done $100/month. A few years ago we noticed our bill going up at our home but couldn’t figure out why – turned out one day we noticed a wet spot in the side yard. The neighbor’s tree roots had broken the pipe and there was a major leak. Huny had to dig down 4 feet to find it and – well, it was a mess. But that got fixed. So, look at everything and pay attention to your ground outside – who knows how long that pipe had been leaking before it finally showed up on top of the ground!

      1. Leaks were the first thing I checked for here as my house is over 100 years old.
        It is so important to watch those bills.

    3. My neighbors has made holiday banners that are so cute. She’s also made seasonal banners. I love to buy her zippered pencil pouches. She sells them in two sizes with one pattern on the outside and a coordinating liner and zipper. It’s perfect to use for small gifts. I give a pouch with chapstick, nail polish or lotion tucked inside. Good luck 👍

    4. Something to keep in mind it might be great to continue with your costume making but market them differently on your site. Many children are at home due to Covid. It might help sales to rename them dramatic play wear costumes so that the children can enjoy them year round.

      1. Neat idea, Angela! And include “accessories” that can be velcroed on to change the basic shape.
        We had a set of hand puppets that were solid color with no features. They came with various eyes, mouths, hats, accessories– sort of like Mr. Potato Head, but cloth– that could be stuck on for different characters.

  5. I love the pictures! So much fun. Thank you for sharing.
    I thawed the tomatoes I froze from my garden this summer and made tomato sauce. I ended up with 7 half-pints of plain sauce, which I’ll use mostly for pizza, and 2 12-ounce jars of seasoned pasta sauce. I dried the tomato peels and ground them for tomato powder.
    We picked half a bushel of apples from a neglected tree on the edge of an old homestead. Since these apples haven’t been sprayed or thinned, they are small and I have to cut out some bug damage, but I was able to make 9 pints of applesauce. I use a Vittorio strainer and put the remaining apple pulp in a crock to make apple cider vinegar.
    We enjoyed lettuce, arugula, chard, and carrots from the garden. I planted garlic.
    I cooked one of the pie pumpkins I grew and made a pie, a batch of pumpkin waffles, and pumpkin alfredo sauce for pasta.
    I cleaned out two closets and part of the crawl space and donated a car-load of items to the thrift store, plus threw away several bags of trash.
    Our neighbors are moving and they gifted us with a very nice garden cart (I have been wanting one!), a nice hand trowel, several bottles of wine, two folding lawn chairs (we only have two and when we have company in summer either borrow or ask people to bring their own) and a second chain saw. We plan to put the chain saw in our camper – occasionally we have wanted one when we came across a tree across the road. I was touched by their generosity.
    Another neighbor cut a tree and gave us the wood for firewood.

  6. Wow! Wow! Wow! You have done so much!

    I’ve been doing what I can to save money, and did order many sale items (as well as not on sale items) to get ahead on things for the house. It was scary spending money, but with super low interest rates, I think I might make more on having dental gloss (an example) on hand since it is likely to cost more when I run out!

    We decided to ship our used smaller telescope to our niece and nephew for Christmas. Will be costly, but no more so than buying and shipping presents. The telescope was given to us.

    Cleared out the greenhouse this weekend (well, I cannot do my dear husband did). I’m just too sick to keep going with it.

    Wishing you all a blessed week.

  7. -I love both the setting and the set-up for your photos! The gold desert colors are perfect with the other Christmas colors, and a beautiful change from traditional snow scenes.

    -Two tires on my car were getting softer and softer from slow leaking. I was having trouble getting them filled since there are only a couple of places in town where an air hose is available. Both had cars parked in front of the hose all the time, and then there was construction from road paving. I decided there must be a way to do this at home, and did some research. I went to one of the three (!) auto parts and equipment stores on the main block of our main street and bought a tire inflator that can be run off the battery of the car. (This needs to be done cautiously so the battery doesn’t run down.) In no time at all my tires were inflated, and I am now set to do a couple of essential errands next week that require a little more distance than I can walk or involve heavier purchases than I can carry. I’ll get someone to look at the tires at the end of November/early December when my budget allows for repair or replacement of these winter tires. The tires look in good condition to me, so I am hopeful just small repairs will be needed.

    -I used a $10 frequent buyer gift card to buy cat food. The cashier said I didn’t have enough points, but I persisted because I knew that I did. A supervisor was able to find them (or replace them, perhaps), and we all left each other as good friends.

    -I have been attempting a small plumbing repair, but have got as far as I can without solving the problem. I have got far enough to have a work-around until I can get a plumber in, so my effort was worthwhile.

    -Our weeks of lovely fall weather are gone now, and cold and rain have set in. No snow, though, unlike in the southern parts of our province.

    1. We haven’t even started our fall weather. It’s 92 degrees here today. We just tied a 1940 record of 158 days this year of temperatures above90 degrees today. We’re also at a record of no rain days. It’s around 180 days now without rain. We’ve only received 2 inches this year.

      1. Zero degrees here last night and snowing lightly all day. I have experienced above 90 degree temps maybe a dozen times in my entire life—I cannot imagine living in that heat! (Let alone gardening in it!!)

        1. And here we’re feeling like it’s cooling down at 90 degrees! My daughter is wearing a PULLOVER in the house every day . . .

    2. ElizabethM = just curious whether you just had your winter tires put on your car? One year when I put mine on, the install was done incorrectly so that some part was pinching and I ended up with soft tires. If so, you might go back to where the snowies were put on and ask them to check for a problem.I think it was the filler valve got pinched so that it was leaking.

      1. I think that is what the problem is. The tires on the other side were soft, and the owner of the garage noticed and they replaced the valve stems. They checked the ones on this side, but they were okay at the time. I think they have deteriorated with time. If so, it is a very inexpensive problem to fix. It isn’t a new change, though. I drove so little last winter and summer (maybe a few hundred km total) that I never changed over and back.

  8. Wonderful photo set-up, Brandy! The sod cutter was a great idea — saved money by the 4 hour rental, saves money for watering, too. Our museum gift shop is closing and many things were 75% off. I unfortunately am still self-isolating and by the time the staff were able to talk to me by phone most things were gone. Christmas shopping would have been so easy. A book I need for research for our book was still available and a friend will pick it up for me later in the week. A few Christmas presents might also still be available for me to purchase when the store re-opens Wednesday.

    I saved money by not buying many groceries. Last week I finished restocking the pantry with soup on sale. I will start making my own soup soon. I have lots of ingredients to do so. At the end of the month, I plan to buy a case of apples at the market and stock up on pickled vegetables and a tub of sauerkraut. Next year I will make my own pickled veggies. I still might make my own carrot jam which I am keen to try.

  9. Those pictures will be so pretty! I like the way you drew the props together from home, thrifting, and gifting.

    This week we are staying warmer, and the nighttime low is back up in the 70’s, but I’m going to try to keep the A/C off if I can.

    I found a $2 basket at a thrift store for our work bathroom to store extra rolls of TP and paper towel. There was no storage in the bathroom except for the top of the toilet tank.

    I washed my own car, saving at least $15. I’m on a well, so water isn’t much of a cost, but I still used a spray nozzle to shut the water off between rinses. There’s no point in wasting water.

    A local store had a big sale on health and beauty, so I stocked up on the brands we use. I know their regular prices, so I knew this was a good sale.

    I calculated the per-pill and per-sheet cost on acetaminophen and toilet paper to get the best price. Before smart phones, I carried a little calculator with me.

    I turned in my 2021 pledge card at church, instead of mailing it and paying postage.

    I sowed cabbage and spinach seeds and they have sprouted.

    I made sure to freeze leftovers from meals.

    I am slowly stocking the freezer back some, adding sale meats — when I can find them! – and home processed items.

    Here’s wishing everyone a great week!

  10. Absolutely beautiful props for your photos. The picnic basket looks just like the one my mother got in the 1950s from saving up Green Stamps. You are too young to know about these, but one could get stamps back with purchases at lots of stores and then paste them in a book. When you had enough books of stamps you traded them in for an item from the Green Stamp catalogue. It was great fun.

    Later on Blue Chip stamps sort of took over the market. As a young married in the late 1960s I was able to get a couple of badly needed sets of sheets by saving Blue Chip stamps. Gas stations would have “stamp” wars and vie for business by offering 2X, 5X and even 10X the normal amount of stamps with a fill up. It was so exciting to fill up a book and head off for your free gift.

    Thanks for the reminder of a frugal hack from another time period. 😀

    1. I actually do know about the stamps 🙂 I knew there were dish sets but I hadn’t heard about other items!

      1. My granny actually bought me a card table 32 years ago using her green stamps. I use to love helping her collect them.
        A wonderful memory.

      2. Yes, my mother got a dirty clothes hamper with green stamps that she used until the day she died. She collected glass (ours were tin) drinking glasses that were free inside boxes of laundry soap. She got a few kitchen towels that way, too. The grocery stores had china one could buy a piece at a time, but we never had money for that. It was melamine for us. She never used the china my father shipped from Japan at the end of World War II.

    2. When I was a newlywed Green Stamps were a lifesaver. My mother would give me hers. I remember using the stamps to get a set of bathmats once (long gone, since this was 40 years ago). I still have a lovely china teapot I got with green stamps.

      1. We saved our green stamps and bought linen dish towels with them. Possibly other things but I always remember just the linen dish towels. So good for drying glassware.

    3. We had Top Value stamps, too, and there was both a catalog and physical stores in some places where one could shop. I “bought” a Tiffany-style stained glass hanging lamp with stamps for my bedroom in our new house as a teen, and I later “bought” several other household items with them when I was on my own. They used to offer almost everything for stamps. Those stamp books were like cash in hand.

    4. I’m only in my early 40’s, but stores still used them when I was young. It was my favorite thing to help my mom fill up a card. One season we got a nice set of children’s books.
      (The stores in our area finally discontinued the stamp books in 1986.)

    5. Anne, I remember my mom saving green stamps for things she needed. I also recall that boxes of laundry detergent would come with a water glass inside. So she would just save up for a set. Cereal companies would have deals on toys if you saved up the box tops. I remember one Christmas I received a doll that my mom got through saving up box tops and adding two more dollars. I wish some of these things were still around.

    6. Oh my heavens! My mom talks about the S&H Green Stamps often. I am the oldest grandchild on my mom’s side and my grandma gave me the china hutch and china that my grandpa gave her when they married. The hutch is a beautiful Danish modern style but it was always a fun story that the china inside was acquired via S&H Green Stamps. I’ve been gifted matching pieces over the years and found others.

    7. Anne, I was married in 1960 and collected green stamps in California. I bought my every day stainless with the stamps and I am still using them sixty years later! Of course, I have had to replace a few pieces that the kids destroyed in the garbage disposal!

    8. When I was small, helping my mother fill a book with Green Stamps (and later Blue Chip Stamps), then helping choose a “free” gift was such fun! About four years ago, my husband and I drove from Texas to California. In a small Texas town, there was a store with a Green Stamps sign hanging over the door. I actually made my husband turn around so I could get photos. I was overcome with nostalgia!

  11. Lovely pic of you and your son. I am away enjoying some greenery and lovely summer flowers-avoiding the snow back home. Having the occasional meal out but also preparing food in my home away from home. Today I am splurging and going whale watching!

  12. This week, I took in 7 quilts- 5 have been quilted and picked up already. This has been a tidy little sum that I took in and, after tithing and putting 20% into business, still left money to use- 50% to savings , 50% to mortgage pay down! https://pin.it/4kTl7Ut and https://pin.it/2c3y2Fk.

    Finally got my well-used sewing machine back from shop after being there 2 months waiting for parts. She sounds like new and I am looking forward to another 17 years before another service call! Got to love those Janome machines! They can stand up to my heavy use/abuse! I have actually worn the paint down to metal on the base! 😱

    I saw that Meijers had A&H laundry detergent (75 Oz) for $2.99, plus 2 pound bags of frozen veg for $2 each, but if you bought 4, you got 1 free! They also were promoting their curbside pickup by offering $15 off a $50 order. So I got 10 big bottles of detergent, 10 two pound bags of frozen veg and 4 four pound bags of sugar for $34 total! I was pleased.

    My 85 year old quilt client saw my new Excalibur dehydrators that I got for $79 and said how much she had wanted one but couldn’t afford the $200+ for one. I ended up selling her that third dehydrator I bought for the $79 I bought it for and she was thrilled!! So there was a reason to get that last one!

    I pressure canned 20 pounds of BLSL chicken breast that I cut into chunks for my daughter and daughter-in-law. That daughter had found the sale on the chicken- $1.49/pound in 10 pound bags and picked up 10 pounds for herself, 10 for my daughter-in-law and 20 pounds for me. I got it from her and have canned theirs rather than having them come over and help. Between them they have 8 kids and rather than juggling schedules or having littles underfoot, so doing it at my house on my own really worked out the easiest! 10 pounds of chicken chunks turned into 12 wide mouth pint jars! So grateful for my jars and lids I have had in my storage! https://pin.it/3FeDGnv

    Progresso soup is still on sale through Tuesday for 99 cents/can if you buy 8 or more, so I bought 2 dozen more to put on the shelf for winter. Yes, I can and do make soup but because ours is just a 3 person household, this can be an inexpensive and convenient thing to have ready to serve! The beauty of food storage, imo, is that it can be tailored uniquely and specifically for your own family situation!

    Ragu spaghetti sauce is on sale also in increments of 5 for just 55 cents each so I bought 20 jars to put on my shelf. Prego is our preferred brand, but at that price, Ragu can be used in our recipes as well!! There was also an ibotta rebate for 75 cents per jar, up to 5 jars!! So I was paid $1 to add the first 5 jars to my pantry shelf!! Winter is coming and Covid is rising here, so I’m just making sure I have enough and to share!

    I harvested the last of my tomatoes in anticipation of the freeze we had on Saturday and will ripen these tomatoes inside. I also found 2 “bonus cucumbers and 2 “bonus” zucchini as I pulled those plants out to clean the veg beds for winter. https://pin.it/2euCJlc

    We have now ordered the 5 sewing room windows and they will be delivered in 2-3 weeks! That will put us in colder weather, but all we need is one bright sunny day and we can get them in!! As we measured we noticed actual gaps where there was no window or frame keeping the outside out!! 😱 We have bought these same windows as replacements in other rooms as we’ve remodeled and the energy savings has been amazing! Our renovations certainly have been slower (27 years and counting) than the tv shows where they complete a room reno in a weekend!! Of course, our project budget has been much smaller and our work “crew” are volunteers (us!! 🤪)! But in another 50 years or so, it will be finished!! Lol!!
    I ground some more wheat to make a couple loaves of sandwich bread. It’s silly that I don’t do this more often. I also noticed that I was almost out of brown sugar so I put some white sugar into my mixer and added some molasses. I bought this gallon of blackstrap molasses for $3. on clearance years ago and so I’ve been making my own brown sugar fo4 about 7 years now! Sure is handy!! https://pin.it/ewYDRrh.
    We had been having limited in-person church for the past 3 weeks, but unfortunately, the local Covid level for our county jumped back up to red- Level 3 of 4. So we had our first zoom worship service! Technology is so amazing. Our Bishop conducted from his home, the music director did music from his house, invocation and benediction from another house, Hubs and I were speakers so we just switched chairs to take our turns! Even seeing just names and faces of congregants on our screen seemed so comforting!! We were all so grateful!
    Covid numbers are rising here so we are being careful about going out. When we do, we combine trips and definitely use a list to help us get our errands done quickly!
    Hope everyone is staying healthy and finding things to bring you joy!

    1. Don’t feel bad Gardenpat, we’ve been here almost 17 years and only accomplished 2 room remodels. One more big room(the kitchen), then the remaining 4 are mainly cosmetic.

      1. April- So far, in our 27 years here, we’ve knocked out walls to make our kitchen 13×28 (it had been a kitchen and separate dining room) , renovated 4 bedrooms (new windows, insulation, walls), family room, knocked out walls to combine two bedrooms into one large sewing/computer room and 3 of the 4 bathrooms. Still have a lot more to do but our work crew (our kids, except youngest ) are no longer home and we are slowing down. 😥
        Hopefully, we can get organized again and get the spreadsheet of projects updated and start doing some in little bits!!
        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    2. I just hit 20 years this week on renovating this house. We’re down to the last apartment which we’re turning into 2 bathrooms, a walk in closet, a laundry room and a small bedroom. The house was chopped into 4 apartments when we bought it and – 20 years later – the end of renovations is in sight!

      1. JenniferO- Our old Victorian house has been divided into a triplex apartment when we bought it- 4 bedrooms/2 bath main house with 2 identical wings- north and south that had 2 bedrooms/1 bath each. They were even on 3 separate electric meters/accounts which we keep to this day so we can easily see which part of the house is using more or less electricity than previously!
        Most of our inside reno projects get done during the winter, so hopefully, after the 5 new windows, we’ll prioritize another project that’s waiting! 🥴
        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    3. wow thats an incredible price on the ragu sauce. You should probably get more…thats even cheaper than a can of tomatoes.

      1. Kim in Florida- It is a terrific price but there are only 3 of us at home so 20 jars added to the 24 jars of Prego spaghetti sauce I already have on the pantry shelf should constitute a year’s supply for our needs. The hardest thing for me to remember is that we aren’t a family of 13 any more so I don’t need to store the amounts I used to back in those days! Like when I counted 48 jars of pickle relish I had canned and realized that even though I had cucumbers, there really was no need to can more for our shelf! Lol! It was a hard lesson to learn!

  13. I meant to tell you last week it is fabulous you are a size 4 and you look fantastic! I LOVE these photos of you with your son! I bought another $25 army wool blanket from Walmart.com. I also went to Walmart in person (which is rare these days) and I bought socks since I seem to somehow always lose mine. I also bought a bamboo clothesline at Walmart, since during the early days of the pandemic, I washed all my clothes in the bathtub using my grandmother’s old washer scrubber. I wanted somewhere to hang the clothes instead of all over my living room. I am afraid things will get worse, and I will not want to go to the laundromat. My mustard green seeds for next spring arrived from Territorial Seeds. I think I have enough seeds for mustard greens through the spring. I cooked my current crop of mustard greens with rice and chicken bones. I know folks traditionally use ham bones, but I had chicken bones, and I am fine with that. I use what I have on hand. I had roasted the purple cabbage and carrots. After eating it roasted a couple of meals, I decided to add it to the mustard greens and rice, along with wild garlic from my yard. That concoction will be supper for the week because it made a huge amount for one person. I have been eating it as a soup, with horseradish, since I like things kinda hot. I also made a mulberry cobbler with my free mulberries I had frozen. I had also ordered from Walmart.com, a Wisconsin cheese and summer sausage package. It was really expensive (to me) at $29.00. But, it had three separate cheese packages and a 12 oz. (I think) summer sausage and crackers.. When I was at Walmart in person, I bought three salami packages for a little under $5.00 a piece. I think they were 7.5 oz. I will split the $29.00 package three cheese packages, and pair it with the salami packages for my three sons for Christmas. I also went across the street to Tractor Supply and got three sausage stick packages for $5.00 a package to give to my three sons. It was in the hand held sticks that the grown sons like. I will give the summer sausage and crackers that came with the expensive $29.00 package to someone I work with (without the cheese because she is allergic to cheese.) I have the wrapping paper for all this. So, I have four gifts, including the one for my coworker, for around $59 total ($29 + 5+5+5+5+5+5), where if I had bought four gift sets at $29, it would have cost me around $116, and I would have had to take the cheese out of my coworkers package anyway, since she cannot eat it. I am calling it a win. I think my math is right…maybe.. .lol. It would have been easier to calculate if I had not added the Tractor Supply hand held beef sausage sticks! I ignored tax. I would probably have done better, pricewise, if I had waited, but I am just so unsure of things being available because of Covid. I have noticed a lot of things I want being low in stock on line, so I just decided to roll with this and go on and complete my Christmas gifts. I have the wool blankets, along with the salami/summer sausage/cheese for Christmas gifts for my three sons. I may make chocolate no bake cookies to go along with their bought gifts, because I have all the ingredients on hand. I think I said before, I had already sent my daughter Christmas gifts for her family. I contribute to a joint gift for my oldest son’s girlfriend’s child. I also had bought that child a stuffed animal I found on sale at Walmart, about a month ago, as well as that child’s little cousin, who is always there when I go visit that child. I do not want any child to feel left out. I am done Christmas shopping for the family. I do not buy gifts usually for extended family and they don’t for us. It just makes Christmas less stressful for everyone. I brought my typical lunch stuff (cheese, peanut butter, or tuna) to work. I walked at the river and in my neighborhood.

    1. What a good idea about putting together salami, summer sausage and cheese packages for your kids. It is very practical, and it makes for very, very tasty treats. I have been thinking the same, that I need to get something to hang laundry on in my small house if I can’t get to the laundromat. I usually bring my trousers home to hang-dry on the back of chairs, because it is less wear on them than going in the dryer, but I would be overwhelmed with sheets and towels. I have been interested in reading about your greens cooking in different posts, since this is not something I grew up with. I have always liked spinach, and then discovered kale and swiss chard, but I am really still a beginner with cooking them. And so very kind of you to think about the young cousin who is always around when you visit your son’s girlfriend’s child.

          1. I bought two wooden, folding laundry racks in 1990 for, gulp, $95 each. They were handmade in New Hampshire. I still use them 4-5 x a week. I carry them outside when it is sunny and then bring them back in each night. Depending upon how large my wash loads are, I can fit two loads of laundry onto the two racks – so one load per rack. A queen sized sheet fits over one rack without trailing on the ground. They are very sturdy and stand up to strong breezes. The top can be flat for drying sweaters as pictured. This style has worked incredibly well for me and has obviously lasted the test of time. Here’s a link to a site that appears to be selling plans for making them. Mine is the last one pictured “Amish wooden drying rack for clothes” https://plant02eol.wordpress.com/tag/amish-wooden-drying-rack-for-clothes/ Maybe someone can make a rack for you?

            1. I love drying racks too. My husband has severe pollen, etc allergies so the rack gets more of a work out when the heat is on

            2. Libby that Amish rack looks just super, much larger than most, and I am sure it is sturdy too! Growing up my Mom had a single rack that was pulled up toward the roof by a rope pulley system, it was kept in our back hallway ….. I learned not long ago they are available online (somewhere sorry I don’t have that) or at least the parts are available, as my daughter in Texas remembered gramma’s rack and got one for her laundry room …. they work a charm and are up out of the way. ann lee s
              vancouver island bc.

        1. I think that is what this drying rack is called. It is just like the one that my grandma used so many years ago. It fold up and it is bamboo.

      1. When I first moved to an apartment with no outdoor clothes line I was very concerned about how to air dry my washing. I bought a dryer rack (like this one https://www.bunnings.com.au/daytek-18m-winged-laundry-airer_p4510723). It is is sturdier than the ones marketed for airing, but still light enough to move around from my balcony to inside depending on the weather. I fold my towels in half over the rail and I fold my sheets double and then over the rail. Everything else I peg out as normal. I hang blouses and t-shirts on plastic hangers that hang side ways at the ends. It is quite surprising just how much laundry can be fitted on it and I normally only need to finish things like towels off in the dryer in the winter. I am in Australia where it’s not so common to use dryers on an everyday basis, so these racks are very popular!

        1. Folding the sheets double is probably the key to solving this problem for me. The last towels I bought are super-soft and even air-dry very soft. I just need to be patient. In winter in northern Canada, the air is very dry, even inside, and it doesn’t take very long to dry anything then.

      2. When I was living in a 800 sq ft house my mother who lived in a trailer told me to do my laundry after baths in the evening and put the drying rack in the tub. That kept it off what little floor space I had. Several in this area have same ones that bolt to the wall that you fold up when not in use for small items like toddler clothes or dish towels. Also get a sock dryer rack (Amazon carries them) I have 2 for the 2 of us and should really have 3 to hang the dish towels and cloths on .

        1. I also have a sock dryer that I bought at Ikea.
          I also have a foldable rack that spans the bath tub – no feet. Just two sides that are connected and then placed with one side on each side of the tub.

      3. I bought a folding rack from Bed, Bath & Beyond about 4 years ago – it has paid for itself many times over and I wish I’d bought a second one! I usually set it up in my bathtub – in fact it’s set in there at the moment holding a couple of week’s worth of undies and socks! I hang things like shirts on coat hangers suspended from the shower rail to dry and to air after ironing. Mine is made of plastic but I remember my mom’s being wooden.

  14. The car is so sweet, decked out in it’s Christmas wreath, as well as the photo with your son. I would imagine a service like that would do very well this year, and hope that proves so for you. Your garden progress is impressive. I dried another two trays of figs, and also harvested black eye and butter peas, lemon balm, baby kale, arugula, tromboncino, eggplant, lettuce, chickweed, peppers, persimmons and a few cherry tomatoes. I’ve been doing a plant based cleanse, and was able to use a good amount of homegrown produce for it. Yogurt was made, and pear scrap vinegar was strained and bottled. A $25 amazon GC was redeemed with 2200 Swagbucks. I purchased two presents on Prime Day, and noticed one item increased close to $5 when I went to checkout. It took over a half hour chatting on amazon, and they never figured out why, but credited me the difference. I found a new discount grocery, and got cans of organic corn, beans, olives and soup for .60 ea., organic peanut butter and juice for $1, 100% unsweetened cranberry juice, which I like to keep on hand, for $2.99, and 3L of olive oil for $15. I look forward to reading what everyone else has been up to. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/10/autumn-outside-my-door-frugal.html

  15. We have had a pretty quiet week at home. I spent 3 days cleaning out spoiled food items that 3 families had not picked up. I have been told that it is too difficult to cook from scratch. Please imagine me shaking my head. Said families have since called back wanting items. We have changed our strategy and will only go out once a week now. I packed up a lovely box of items for baby Henry. After checking out online sales, none of us saw anything that we wanted. I finally received an alert on an item sugar cookie had requested. I stopped in my tracks to immediately process the order. I only payed $50.00 for her Barbie Doll house. I am so grateful to the blogger who alerted me to this. I also backtracked and canceled an order for a DVD set she asked for. With the new sale price and other promotional credit, I got her $100.00 DVD set for $15.00. I’m very happy I was able to get her the items she asked for. She has spent the last 21 years with family out of state on the holidays. Covid will keep her home. We are carefully evaluating the insurance plans available to us under Medicare. I need to make sure we have the best plans available to meet our individual needs. They are quite complicated. Today I said goodbye to my father’s small pickup truck. My neighbors fine-tuned the 26 yr old truck. When I heard the roar of the engine I felt so much joy. My lil truck is now on its way to a mission home in Mexico. Although the orphanage children can’t ride in it, it will work well on their farm and provide transportation to the markets. I’m happy I was able to repurpose it and send it somewhere where it will be loved and needed. I have a strong attachment to it. It’s not in the scrap yard and it lives on. It’s a good day. Final cost of repairs was a $100.00 battery. They have promised to send me a photograph. I tend to be a sentimental fool. Have a great week.

    1. Lilliana, If you’re a sentimental fool, i am, too! What great deals for Sugar Cookie! She will be thrilled at Christmas! You’re a blessing to many!

    2. You know, we ran into that problem years ago when we were part of a gleaner’s group. I would volunteer to work at the warehouse most Fridays and was given several boxes of food sometimes, if they wouldn’t hold over until Monday, with the understanding I would find good homes for the extra food beyond my portion. (Everyone who worked was given a full, big box of food). So, lots of Fridays my husband would line up boxes in the garage, sort the food into them, load them into the van and spend several hours delivering the food. Many were very grateful, but some people didn’t want to cook with those basic foods–things like vegetables and fruits, especially some did not want to sort out any bad portions. It was too bad, because that’s how the gleaner group got the food–by reclaiming some that may be not in tip-top condition, but still had a lot of usable fruits or veggies in the box. Many absolutely refused to come get the food if we couldn’t deliver, and it rotted. Thankfully, we found others who were grateful and receptive.

  16. Great photo shoot. I love the props. We have been doing odd jobs to get ready for winter. We got a light frost at 34 degrees, our neighbor that is 9 acres to our north and down a bit in a valley got 25 degrees. He said his house is about 1,000 ft from us. He was surprised at the difference but could tell it by how the gardens looked.

    I pulled the last of the tomatoes , green and red and am still canning them. Daily… daily canning them LOL.

    We have combined doctor appts with errands to save gas and wear and tear of the truck.

    I got a good deal on apples, 48 lbs of honeycrisp for $22 and 48 lbs of mutsu for $11.

    Reading this daily to glean ideas to save money as we are supporting daughter 4 to keep her in her own home while she fights ovarian cancer.
    Blessed be everyone
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/10/on-budget.html

    1. Best wishes th o you and hour family, our daughter has thyroid, she will have the surgery in October and then treatment after, we are also helping her and SIL granddaughter with anything we can

  17. So sorry we’re not going to Vegas this year so we could get that background. Too cute!

    Mostly frugal week.

    Ate home except for a Breast Cancer wine dinner fundraiser. I won a very nice bottle of wine as one of the drawing items. Ate leftovers from the dinner for 2 meals. Was invited to a friend’s for dinner 2 Saturdays in a row. Said yes both times. Make a cake (special request) for one and homemade bread (requested) the other. Took bottles of wine from my cellar. Took my lunch to work each day. Ate all other meals at home. Took homemade pumpkin bread to work to share.

    I skipped 2 weeks at the grocery store, so this week was a little higher than usual. Found pumpkin ravioli and butternut squash ravioli at Aldi’s. This will save me tons compared to going to dinner at Carrabba’s to get it. The owner of our local Carabbas gave me the recipe for the maple cream sauce they use with it last year. Decadence and indulgence at a fraction of the cost of eating out.

    The “puppy” was supposed to have surgery, but we had to reschedule when he went full Cujo when we got there. We will tranquilize and try again late this week.

    Otherwise stayed home and played with the dogs.

  18. Hi Brandy and everyone
    What gorgeous photos! The vintage car and the other props make a wonderful setting and I love your lace gloves! Your son looks adorable too.
    This week we picked runner beans, tomatoes, kale, apples and mint and I picked roses, cornflowers, zinnia and dahlia for the house. We keep thinking the runner beans are finished but they keep coming. We also picked and ate our sole aubergine!
    I sold 2 items on eBay.
    One evening I cut the fronts off greeting cards we’ve received to make scrap postcards for lists etc.
    We have lots of windfall apples so I made eight more jars of Apple and mint jelly and some small, individual apple pies. I baked two for supper and froze the rest to bring out and bake other days.
    We went to the garden centre and bought a new tool for my husband’s gardening business and some seeds for next year in case they run out. My loyalty card points gave us a bit of money off.
    We needed some new coasters to put coffee mugs on and I remembered a decade ago our daughter brought us some from New Zealand and managed to find them so no need to buy any.
    I asked my husband what he would like for his birthday at the end of this week. He asked for some David Austin roses in the Thomas Hardy group ( we live in Dorset). We agreed on three bare root shrub roses and one bare root climber because they are cheaper and good for planting in the autumn. I was just about to order online when the post arrived with a discount card from David Austin for 15% off bare root roses. Great timing!
    I needed two new tyres for my car and when the mechanic looked up my records on the computer he complimented me on my driving because I haven’t needed any new tyres for 4 years and my mileage is way below the average. Another way reducing driving is saving us money. We laughed that customers like me won’t make him rich.
    We’ve spent quite a lot this week but I’m happy savings in other areas mean we can afford new tyres etc.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. I am really hoping that David Austin roses U.S. site has a coupon code this year. For some reason, they did not mail me a catalog last year. The previous years they have and there has been a discount inside. I want to order my roses as soon as possible (I am afraid they will sell out!) but I am waiting until the catalog arrives. Your comment makes me hopeful that they will offer 15% off here this year! I want to order a large number of roses for the new garden design: Desdemona, Scepter D’Isle, and The Generous Gardener as climbers. I have never ordered so many at once from them; planting them quickly will be a challenge. The roses usually show up right after Valentine’s Day here from them, so I can have my holes dug and ready. Our catalog usually comes in November or December.

        1. I have read that catalog back and forth over the last couple of months almost every day. I believe only the Wildeve is available in the U.S. I have not seen the other three!

          I am trying to be so patient in waiting to order until the catalog comes but it is hard! I am just a bit worried since they sent me one every year but last year. Hoping . . . .

          1. Love me those David Austin roses! So, why not go online and see what they are offering? Call or e-mail to make sure you are on the list for a paper catalog. DH gave me ‘Strawberry Hill,’ a pink climber, a couple of years ago for my birthday. It’s delicious!

            1. I did look online and I have the 2019 catalog. I keep each year’s catalog until the new one comes. I am just hoping for a discount code in the new one.

              1. I’m on their mailing list but I have wondered about calling them just in case.

            1. I’m on their mailing list; last year was the only time I didn’t get a catalog. I will call if I need to.

    2. This may not be applicable to those of you wanting a catalog with a coupon code, but I have often heard that if you visit a website and add an item or two to your cart but don’t order yet, sometimes you will receive an email in a day or two offering a discount code. I also frequently check retailmenot website for coupon codes….when I searched for david austen roses, it did bring up a few coupon codes. Sometimes the codes that appear are no longer valid, but it never hurts to try!

  19. WOW for your eye as a photo stylist! You could be designing and shooting magazine covers!

    What a massive gardening project you are doing in the backyard. I loved the two chairs set up next to each other by the dirt sifter….date night?! LOL.

    My frugal accomplishments included:
    • Made a huge pot of beef with barley soup and added powdered kale to up the nutrients. I froze portions using empty 32 oz yogurt containers. I use masking tape to put a label on top of the yogurt containers saying what is inside and the date.
    • Watched videos on YouTube and listened to Spotify for free. I’m loving the podcast “The Adult Chair” about relationships and personal growth.
    • An area grocery store had Barilla pasta on sale and a digital coupon that if you purchase three boxes of pasta get a jar of sauce for free. Both pasta and sauce were added to my pantry.
    • Hung laundry up to dry inside when it was raining and outside when it wasn’t
    • Tried a new recipe: risotto with gorgonzola and butternut squash using squash from my garden. Not my favorite. Also made cream of asparagus soup and broccoli and wild rice casserole with a cheddar cream sauce.
    • Listened to guided meditations for free on Insight Timer
    • Made pizza from scratch
    • Painted the free baker’s rack using paint I already had and an old shower curtain liner I saved to use as a drop cloth. Painted two coats on the top parts of the ADK chair.
    • The day after the trash was picked up it poured rain. I left the lid off the garbage and let nature wash it! After I dumped the rainwater out, the can was put in the sun to completely dry. I like cleaning the garbage and recycling cans before winter hits.
    • Watched videos on YouTube to learn how to cut rebar stakes. It was cheaper to purchase four 4’ lengths rather than the eight 2’ lengths I needed. I put the rebar into a vice and used my reciprocating saw. After cutting the lengths, I pounded them into my garden and cut lengths of PEX tubing to form hoops. I’m making a winter garden tunnel, which is a first for me so a total science experiment!

    1. My eight-year-old and I were sifting dirt together. We actually have one on each side of the wheelbarrow when we work. It’s a good job for her and my ten-year-old. I found they liked sifting when they could talk to me the whole time.

      Good luck with your garden tunnel!

      1. The dirt-sifting-with-kids just reinforces that kids want time rather than things! A philosophy I know you follow.

        Thank you for the luck! You are the inspiration for the winter garden tunnel 🙂 Now I need to transplant the lettuce, kale, and bok choy I started in another part of the garden so they will be protected under the tunnel.

  20. Last week was pretty good savings-wise. I cooked every night, except for one special treat for my son’s birthday. I tried to either cook just enough or to use up leftovers. I did use up taco leftovers to make taco pie and used leftover tortillas to make breakfast burritos. We received our Christmas Club money, but we haven’t really spent any of it yet – trying to make sure that what we buy is truly wanted/needed, not just something to buy. Using Ibotta and store sales/coupons, I was able to get feminine products for free, plus they gave me a bunch of points on Fetch – enough that I was able to cash out more Ibotta and Fetch points for more Amazon gift cards for Christmas shopping. We spent the day in the mountains yesterday, and, while the men were clay target shooting, my daughter and I relaxed in front of the fireplace; she read, and I sewed. It was quite blissful.

    I love reading everyone’s savings, and the photographs are just beautiful!

  21. What a gorgeous photo Brandy! It makes me smile to think of the families who will take advantage of the Christmas photo sessions and have memories to cherish for years to come I am so grateful for all the photos that we have taken as a family – little ones grow so very quickly!
    This past week has been a busy one crossing projects and tasks off of our to-do list readying our home for my son’s birthday party, cooler temperatures and the holiday season ahead.
    I harvested my first mustard greens from the garden this week and they are incredible. I love all kinds of greens and veggies and am no expert gardener but the taste of homegrown is something truly special.
    The garden is one place that I didn’t get much accomplished this past week so my list begins with weeding and cleaning this week. I will also make a concerted effort to sow more seeds for mustard greens, spinach, cabbage, garlic and onions.
    I pulled all of my impatiens up as there time has come to an end and with cooler temps this past weekend they were beginning to show it. I pulled up all the roots in the bed and turned the soil to prepare it for winter pansies to be planted this week. My snowball bush is still going strong and has several blooms on it that I am saving for my son’s upcoming party as they are his favorite color blue. I typically add lime to the soil to create purple blooms but skipped this step for him. I will cut them this weekend for his party. I am not sure if this kind of snowball will work in your area Brandy but I am happy to send you a cutting if you would like. After pruning my bush last fall I had 8 new bushes that grew from the one and 6 out of those transplants have made it thrived in my yard after being relocated. This bush is almost 6 ft high and full and I love having it in my front yard 🙂
    I washed our windows inside and out and they came out beautifully. Soap, water and elbow grease cost pennies and the difference is dramatic. I washed all of our blankets and will was sheets and change beds this week. I combine loads and dry on the lowest time setting to conserve electricity. I also use a smaller than recommended amount of detergent as it is concentrated and cold water to wash almost everything.
    We sealed my son’s playground this week to protect it from the elements and laid fresh mulch in the play area and around the fire pit. All of the limbs that we have taken down were burned along with ALL of the many cones from our chestnut tree – gosh there were so many of those! The squirrels on our yard are scurrying about hiding nuts everywhere for the winter ahead.
    With all of the build up of food storage and the expansion of our garden shelves in our garage have become a much needed addition in our house. Wood is very costly so we had moved this item to the bottom of our list and planned to tackle it the first of the year. My husband was scanning Facebook Marketplace this weekend and found a couple giving away sheets of plywood and other lumber materials. We only planned on being blessed with a few sheets of plywood but when he arrived they asked him to take the whole lot so now we have at least 15 sheets of plywood – the highest quality you can buy along with materials for several shelves, benches we wanted to build for the backyard ( bucket list items), shelves for our bathroom, shelving for the garage for tool storage and many other wood working projects – all for free. This was such a huge blessing to us and we are so thankful!
    I cooked a large pork shoulder roast last week and we enjoyed it with lemon parsley potatoes and peas for Sunday dinner, I took the remaining meat and stewed it with white beans, fresh corn, cilantro, garlic, onion, green peppers, banana peppers, and jalapenos (from our summer garden) and made chili verde. We enjoyed this all week with rice, lime wedges and a sprinkling of cheese. On Saturday I pulled two chicken carcasses from the freezer and made homemade bone broth. I poached two fresh chickens in the broth, pulled the meat and made chicken noodle soup. This provided several meals and lunches for us thus far and we still have soup left for lunches this week.
    I made a large batch of hot chocolate mix – yummy, yummy and such a better deal than the package stuff. Plus you know the ingredients – win, win!
    Cooler temps over the last month led to my AC being turned off which dropped my electric bill over $100 this month – I am thrilled with this and am endeavoring to keep the heat off as long as we can…hopefully at least until the end of November.
    I am grateful for this blog Brandy! It is a delight to hear what others are doing week over week to save money and the sharing of ideas gives the true sense of community although we ware miles apart.
    Blessings to everyone for a wonderful and productive week ahead!

    1. Angie, it sounds like your snowball bush is a hydrangea and you have acidic soil (making them blue). Hydrangeas struggle here (I have tried five of them and they were beautiful until the heat set in, and then they wilted and died, despite daily drip irrigation) and our soil is very alkaline, so they would be bright pink if they did well. Thank you for your offer, though!

      I am looking for a snowball viburnum (the sterile kind that doesn’t make berries, as I don’t want the children to pick a non-edible berry). I have seen two people in the local Facebook gardening group post photos of ones that their older mothers have been growing here for years. I’ve found some online, but at $35 for a tiny 4-inch plant, I’m not anxious to test it out myself. I’ve seen a few that go to zone 9, and I need that kind. Some are only good through zone 7, which means it doesn’t get cold enough for them to flower here.

      1. Snowballs (viburnum) bloom right after lilacs, which in zone 6B means around the first part of May. The blooms are about the same size as an adult’s fist or popcorn ball. Hydrangeas bloom in late summer/early fall and can change color due to soil acidity. Their blooms are often much bigger. Angie, I’m impressed you were able to propagate so many! I have never had that kind of luck with hydrangeas!

        1. Thank you for comparing the bloom time to lilacs! That gives me an idea for when they would bloom here. How big are the flower “balls”?

          1. About the size of your fist, or a popcorn ball. The blooms are smaller when the shrub first starts to bloom, but they are still showy. The shrub will be absolutely covered with blooms (many more than hydrangeas).

            Something else you might consider is bridal wreath spirea. The old-fashioned kind get very big, but I have a smaller variety that gets to be about 4 feet tall. I am trying to start cuttings, although I’m concerned that it may be too late in the season. We will be having frost this week. I know shrubs and perennials grow their roots during the dormant season, but I’m not sure if they will START growing roots after a frost (maybe before the ground freezes?). We’ll see. If they do take, I’ll be a year ahead than if I started next year, so it is worth the minuscule effort. If they take, one will have your name on it, Brandy, if you want it.

        2. In the very deep south hydrangea bloom in the late spring/early summer. We have a lot of blue blooms (and white “wild” ones) here. I wonder if they would work where you live Brandy? I am guessing not because of how extremely wet and humid it is down here. I am not sure of the variety, but they are quite prolific and common here. I also do not know anyone who waters them but probably has to do with our climate and the fact of the late spring rains.

          1. They don’t make it here at all. I have tried five. Once the heat comes, they just wilt and die (even with drip irrigation).

    2. Hello Angie I recently tried using car windshield washer fluid to wash my house windows, shower door, mirrors, pictures etc and was thrilled with the result, so sparkling clean with no effort at all, and they seem to stay clean a long time. the large containers of this fluid are quite cheap at big box stores, worth a try! ann lee s

  22. Always love to see your name in my inbox so I can get my dose of inspiration! This week I’m “fall cleaning” in prep for the upcoming holidays. As usual, I make myself get a room in good shape (clean, repairs made, paint touched up if necessary) before decorating or purchasing something to decorate for the holidays. I often find that I don’t need to purchase whatever I had in mind once the room is spruced up! I also started cuttings of houseplants to make new plants for gifting. I’ve been printing (and hand coloring) my own greeting cards for all occasions, which has really saved me quite a bit. And I’m developing a new recipe box of low-cost recipes (only!) to bring down the food budget. Thanks for the visit!

    1. I would love a box or book of tried and true low cost recipes as a gift. Perhaps if you have like minded friends, you could make it them a recipe book gift for almost no cost.

  23. I gave myself and my husband a haircut. He used the clippers to trim my neckline for me, which I really appreciate.

    We had an at-home birthday for our teenager – I made a card and we gave three gifts that were things we knew were wanted and would be appreciated. I baked, frosted and decorated the cake, and we made the requested birthday dinner at home.

    I walked 14 miles for exercise this week.

    We have been careful to use up leftovers and have made substitutions in recipes to make sure we use what we have on hand. We planned a menu, and I took leftovers for my lunches at work.

    I was able to give away 11 grocery bags of clothing – some items were too big for me since I’ve lost some weight, others were items given to me in my new size, but either more than I needed or a style I will not wear. I also figured out a way to alter my bras and underwear so that they fit me again! I was so excited about this, because they are still in good condition, but were just too large. While I was sewing, I sewed up a cloth mask for my husband. I have 5 more cut out, and some of those partially sewn and assembled, and will likely finish those this week.

    We are ‘handy’, and were able to replace a window that had a broken windowpane. The new window does not meet up with the drywall of the windowsill, but I went through supplies we had on hand and found what I need to fill that space and insulate around the window. My husband picked up some spray-on texture we will use to properly finish the window area once I’m done with the patch/repair.

    We had a Target gift card with $7 and change, one we had gotten free. We’re not really Target shoppers, so we used it to stock up on some canned fruit, since it has become really rare for canned fruit to go on sale around here. We also picked up some really wonderful apples on sale, and my husband used sales, coupons and Ibotta to purchase some items that he got for free and/or made a little money on after the rebates.

    I sold some items on Facebook that we no longer need, and I’m setting that money aside for the holidays.

    I picked up two wooden shelving units from a member of a local free/pass it on group – the same one I used to give clothes away.

    We read books and watched movies from the library.

    My most favorite thing? I was feeling like our house looks…tired. I started thinking about how we ought to replace the flooring, and repaint the living room, and that it would be nice to do this and that. Yesterday I took all the pictures, decor, etc. out of our bedroom. I polished the furniture, shined the mirror, dry-dusted the walls and fan, and put back only the things we really love. There are fewer pictures on the wall, fewer items sitting on the dresser, and it feels more peaceful. It wasn’t really cluttered, and I didn’t remove that many things, but I think that sort of re-set will be helpful throughout our home. I think that’s going to be my weekend project series for a little while, room by room!

    1. Laura congrats on the weight loss! How did you modify your bras to keep them going? I, too, have been losing weight and will soon either need to replace bras or figure out how to modify them. Would love your advice. Thanks 🙂

  24. Everyone’s posts are so inspiring and your photos are too Brandy!
    We lucked into finding that the woman who had cut DHs hair before the pandemic had gone independent as a mobile hairdresser. We booked her for cuts for both of us and the cost together with a very generous tip was less than I alone was paying at a salon. The cut is very good too. Neither one of us feels capable of cutting the others hair lol.
    I made broth from veggie peels and ends so that I can make a vegetable rice soup in a couple of days.
    I lost a little weight and am slowly taking up the waistband on pants as I find them needing it. Shopping for clothes only virtually is frustrating to me and I have plenty if I make some alterations and mend a little. Thankful for all those years of 4-H sewing projects.
    We were able to go so our son and DILs for brunch this past Sunday. They are going to be at her family’s out of state home for over a month so we wanted to see them and it gave us a change of scenery. They sent us home with 2 meals worth of frozen pulled pork now that they know it is a favorite of mine.
    Our almost 4 year old granddaughter is starting to enjoy riddles and jokes for kids. We had fun remembering a few to tell her on Facetime so I ordered a used old Bennett Cerf riddle book to send to her. Lots of joy coming to her mailbox for a small fee.
    I am carefully adding to our pantry to address both potential shortages and the always present possible emergency that requires sheltering in place without services. Found on sale some canned vegs and soup plus ground turkey which is a staple for us.
    I inventoried our first aid and over the counter meds supply and only need to order some more disposable masks in case on of us is ill. I thought we needed a lot more.

  25. I spent three days last week bulk cooking meals for my daughter’s freezer. She is having her second baby in early November. I got good deals on ingredients. I ended up cooking up 7 boneless skinless chicken breasts (wrapped them individually so she can grab just one as needed for a recipe), one large bag of calico beans, three quart bags of meat spaghetti sauce, two 8×8 aluminum trays of stuffed shells, one tray of shepherds pie, one tray of tater tot hot dish, two loaves of banana bread, a dozen cornbread muffins and a dozen pumpkin spice cookies. That should help for awhile if she is feeling overwhelmed or isn’t going out. Oh, I also splurged and bought her 100 nice paper plates to help with dishes. She was very thankful. I don’t have very good mobility, but I am an excellent sitter and it felt so good to be able to sit and cook and help in this way.

    Husband and I rented a small cabin for a get away this week. It’s about three hours from home. Because of the time of year (off peak) we got a great deal on it. We packed all of our food so we can just be here all week. It’s cold (below freezing) but very peaceful. My husband needed the break away from work and worry so this is a good investment.

    Otherwise, just the usuals…menu planning, cooking and eating at home, using up what we have and being grateful and content.

    Everyone have a great week!🍁

  26. I have loved seeing your garden pictures on instagram. Thank you for sharing.
    We bought leveling sand needed to put down the new pavers in our SMALL back yard makeover. 3 of the bags had holes. We asked for a discount, and received 2/3 off the regular price. We had paving stones delivered, but the store made a mess of several things. They refunded some money for the inconvenience.
    We just finished several weeks of eating figs from one neighbor, and another neighbor brought over a bag of persimmons last night. I gave her 2 starts of heirloom parsley.
    I made a set of 3 fabric storage baskets. My daughter in law saw them on instagram and asked if I would make her a set for our FIRST GRANDBABY! Due in April. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/814096070137651634/
    I sold an item on ebay, and listed several more. I’m trying out a theory- I’ve read that you get more sales if you list items regularly, instead of large batches infrequently. I’ll let you know how it goes. 2 items were from a free pile. I also found a LOFT tshirt that fits me in the same free pile.
    A friend is doing a small repair on our car today. He can buy parts at cost. We are thankful.
    Safeway has a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $5 or more. I will be using that today. I will stay as close to $5 as I can. Eggs are on sale there, so I will get those. $1.88 for 18, which is a great price around here.
    I asked my parents for overalls from Duluth for Christmas. I am embracing small farmer style!
    I asked for curtain rings with clips on my Buy Nothing Group. Someone had them and I picked them up that same day. I gifted a paper sorter and listed a photo album to gift. A gifting community is a lovely thing!
    Blessings to all.

    1. Kara — I laughed about your asking for the overalls from Duluth for Christmas. That’s what I asked my husband to give me for Christmas, too!

  27. I love the picture of you and your son. It is so heartwarming.
    I worked three days this week and brought breakfast and lunch to work all days.
    Made another batch of BLT pasta using tomatoes, chard, garlic, green onions and basil from the garden.
    I am on a Medicare Advantage plan, and part of my benefits include $50 of OTC products per quarter. I finally was able to get a forehead thermometer, along with band-aids, epsom salts, cold medicine and cough drops.
    My DH picked the final peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes. We are expecting a frost.
    I dried a last batch of rosemary and thyme.
    My younger son visited for 4 days. He lives about 300 miles away, in Western Washington. He lost one of his roommates, who happened to be the cook of the group. He wanted some instructions on making a few of his favorite things. Over the course of a couple of days, we made double batches of Italian sausage and gnocchi soup, chicken tortilla soup, chimichangas, and pizza pockets. I let him take home anything we didn’t eat. He also made porcupine meatballs for dinner on Saturday night.
    I made a double batch of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
    I made up 5 batches of pancake mix, in pint jars.
    While my younger son was here, we pulled the couch away from the wall, and he dusted the top of the 7/8 wall between our kitchen and dining room. I have to climb on the kitchen counters or get a ladder to reach it. He just needed a small step stool. He also vacuumed the walls and picture frames, as well as behind the couch, and around the air intake for our furnace.
    We had a BBQ for our sons and our eldest son’s fiancee, before the youngest had to leave to drive back across the state.
    I voted.
    I visited my mother on Saturday. She is 97 and her arthritis in her left had is pretty bad. It is bad enough that she can’t trim her fingernails. so I brought my clippers (sterilized of course) and trimmed them for her.
    We have 100% vote by mail in Washington. Have had it that way for many years. I assisted my Mom with her ballot. Just explained a couple of referendums to her, and some of the local candidates. (She just moved to our county about 2 years ago). I then dropped her ballot off for her.
    While I am aware that voting is not a frugal accomplishment, I do count it as an accomplishment. My family has been very active in the military since they came to this country, before it even was a country. So, voting is viewed as a wonderful right and a gift.
    I wish everyone a wonderful week. I hope your accomplishments are many and your troubles are few.

  28. Your photo setup is so lovely! As a fellow photographer, I can appreciate the time and energy you have to put into something like that, and you definitely have a knack for it! I’m impressed.

    I just made a huge 101 (goals) in 1001 (days) list for myself to start on soon, and one of the skills I want to work on over the next 2.75 years (the duration of the challenge) is to be better about mending and altering clothing, as well as learning how to use the sewing machine I inherited from my grandmother upon her passing. I’ll admit, reading your posts and all the comments on this thread every week have been a big part of the inspiration behind that!

    I also took advantage of the Old Navy sale to purchase some Christmas presents, and as I also have a credit card through them that I get rewards on (which I pay off in full every month), I was able to get new clothing for multiple family members for almost nothing.

    I’ve also done tradeout with friends and family for some services we’re needing done on our new home that we’re about to close on—I’m taking family pictures for them, and they’re doing various services for us (like helping me design an inexpensive update for the dark, windowless kitchen), install new recessed lighting and light fixtures, etc.

    We also were able to take part in a COVID study of the general population to see if we had antibodies (we’ve never tested positive, but they were wanting to get a sense of the level of antibodies of the general population), and they paid each family member that could participate $30, so we earned $120! I used my portion of the money to buy some deeply discounted home decor for our new place.

  29. Your photos are lovely and styled beautifully; I’m sure you will have much success with the Christmas mini-shoots. We had several days of rain – nearly 3″ – from the remnants of Delta to start the week. It kept me indoors and I was able to work on our overall household budget for next year. We make an annual budget and break it down by quarter then tweak it if necessary throughout the year. I’ve been buying so much extra food and household items to stock up to a year or more supply, coupled with less sales, higher prices, and wanting to eat as organic as possible, our budget this year for those categories has been off. Since we had budgeted and planned for a 3-week vacation this year but because of covid couldn’t travel, I have used some of that vacation fund money to cover those extra costs. We are allocating more funds to grocery/household in 2021 and a little less to vacation/travel as it looks like covid will still be around in 2021 – we love our home & town but we definitely need a long vacation!

    We are overjoyed that DD has been informed by her employer that she (and all her coworkers) will continue to work remotely until late Spring 2021 – she has been working from home since mid-March. Her husband will also continue to work remotely till Spring and his company has been looking to relocate to northern NJ. They were both commuting to NYC prior to covid and this will save several hours of commuting time each day plus $$ transportation costs. Their employers have been paying for (and will continue to do so) high speed internet and have company provided cell phones and laptops as they are both professionals and need secure networks.

    At grocery store: 4 large boxes each of Cheerios and Special K – about $0.75 after coupons & sales; Quaker Oats old fashioned oats large container at $1 each; hunts diced tomatoes large cans at $0.59 a can; a free bottle of bolt energy drink (something new grocer’s started – download a digital coupon for a featured free item each week); scallops and wild caught cod on sale.

    DH and I had a fun afternoon date – we went horseback riding. We discovered this horse/riding lessons farm while pumpkin picking several weeks ago and had to try it. It’s over an hour’s drive but worth it. Enjoyed seeing the leaves change color on oaks, maple, beeches, aspen. We are considering gifting riding lessons to our 2 young grandkids for Christmas. I started riding at the age of 6 and at 7 and 9 they are the perfect age to learn. I hope everyone has a lovely week ahead.

  30. I love the Christmas photographs!! Really lovely job.

    We received 2 huge boxes of food from a friend. About 7 lbs of pasta, 2 juice bottles, pantry friendly chili & stew pouches, canned vegetables, 3 lbs grilled chicken strips, 10 lbs grilled chicken patties, plus about 5 lbs of cheeses and a few other odds and ends.

    Found apples for the lowest price I have seen in about 5 years – .58 cents lb for red or golden delicious and .98 cents a lb for honey crisp. I got as much as I could.

    Ordered a Christmas gift for one son at 40% off, plus free shipping.
    Got a couple decor items for 40% off
    Ordered a thermometer for about 20% of regular price
    Sold a few books for $15

    Our washing machine broke and my husband could not fix it
    He found out it would cost $500 for parts alone. So by searching around he found a nice brand new washer for a good price saving us time and money. It’s the old fashioned style that is my preference.

    Glad I found all the savings on food and gifts so we could get the new machine.

    We are settling in for our winter weather. We have had snow before the end of October and it feels like it could happen again. Our weather is not very nice right now. We are only going out right after lunch.
    I dug our puzzles, etc for us to enjoy indoors.

    Hope everyone has a safe and healthy week!

  31. What beautiful pictures – I’m sure the mini shoots will turn out so pretty! And wow! Great job on the yard and garden.

    *I was hoping to get a few days to myself while my kids and husband went on their annual hunting trip but it didn’t work out that way. Because the kids are in college and working and National Guard – they were in and out all weekend. I hadn’t wanted to be cooking every night so I made up new meals from leftovers and a soup from my pantry. The new meals were cheese & green onion quesadillas, roast & gravy with mashed potatoes, White Chicken Chili Soup and a big plate of washed and cut up vegetables ready to eat. I also washed a bag of grapes for easy snacking.

    *For what little time I did have to myself, I read a book, watched the show Sanditon, did my grocery shopping, exercised, went to Hobby Lobby and used my 40% off coupon for stickers I wanted and bought a few other things on 50%. I slept in and treated myself to pizza at my favorite local shop. I only get a pizza once a year there while the hunting trip is going on. I like artichokes on my pizza and no one else does – that’s the treat part for me. Plus I didn’t make it nor have to clean up – that’s the other treat for me. And it lasts me several dinners and/or lunches.

    *I got 4 more quarts of tomatoes out of my garden tomatoes that were green and have been ripening in a box in my kitchen pantry. It’s so wonderful to do small batch canning for me. I don’t have to stand long (very bad feet/ankles) and yet my pantry is still getting stocked. I might get another 3 quarts from the last ripening tomatoes in the box. The skins come off so easily.

    *I cancelled my hair appointment that I had scheduled. I haven’t colored my hair since March and am good with the color growing out. I have white hair in the front around my face – but I don’t miss getting it colored. My hair has actually gotten curlier again – I think the coloring process was straightening the top part of my hair. I was thinking of having it cut only but actually enjoy the length it is at right now. My husband has not interest in cutting my hair at all! You got lucky with your husband on that one Brandy! 🙂

    *I love the candles at Bath & Body Works. They had a B1G1F sale and I bought some candles and used the coupons they sent me. I got 2 free candles, 1 small lotion and 20% off my total purchase. It was fun to be in the store with other women smelling candles. Everyone was asking others if they could sniff a candle for them because their noses were “drunk” from all the other smells. People were so happy and the store was filled with laughter and talking. I did feel a little lonely being there by myself, but was pulled into so many “what do you think of this scent” conversations that it was a very enjoyable time.

    *My daughter had her 19th birthday this past week. I took her out to breakfast at her favorite spot – Kneaders. I had a $5 off coupon for the meal and spent $7. I made her a birthday sign on 12×12 paper listing 19 things we love about her and decorated it with my old scrapbook stickers. Gave her the lotion. Her birthday meal request was spaghetti. I made everything from my pantry. She wanted a doughnut cake. Krispy Kreme had a B1G1F dozen. Those are her favorite doughnuts. Everything turned out very nicely and it was fun to watch her blow out the candles and wear out birthday hat we bought at Disneyland 2,000 years ago (it seems anyways).

    *I got a free book from Amazon because of shipping credits for my Kindle.

    *Went to the library and checked out many, many books to read. Found a new author named Lisa Black who works for the medical examiner. Her stories are set in Cleveland, Ohio.

    *I have a sweet cocker spaniel mix dog who is 10 years old. We love her to pieces. She does have arthritis and heart issues and the vet has given her medication for pain and the heart. She has prescriptions and her vet suggested fish oil and omeprazole as well. She’s a happy dog. But there is an issue that we can’t seem to fix and I’m wondering if anyone has any ideas of what I could talk to our vet about to try to help her? She gags all the time and does a dry heave after she gags. Occasionally will throw up – but it’s rare. Sometimes she seems to be choking and won’t eat first thing in the morning because of the gagging stuff. I’m not looking for medicine – just ideas of what we could talk to the vet about to help her? I would have thought the omeprazole would have calmed any stomach acid/heartburn. We’ve spent money of this darling dog and I would like her to be more comfortable. Thank you.

    1. Hello Amy
      Has your dog’s kidney function been checked? Painkillers used to ease arthritis can sometimes cause kidney problems and being sick can be a symptom. You say the dog gags and chokes
      more often than actually vomiting so this might be a long shot but worth asking the question maybe? We have an arthritic Labrador and have had to change painkiller to protect kidney function. Good luck.

    2. Amy S:
      I don’t know dogs from personal experience, but from a friend, whose dog would throw up after eating. After, (or even during), each meal, he would have to hold her up, I think like standing her on her back legs, to keep the food down. I suggest this only as something your vet or another reader might be able to explain further.

    3. Hi Amy S/Utah – Have you been affected by smoke from recent fires out West? Perhaps your sweet dog’s gagging may be due to an inflammation of the larynx due to irritation caused by dust or smoke in the air; inhaled bits of food; or a respiratory disease. Some dogs can experience something called laryngeal paralysis. This is caused by the larynx not closing properly, allowing food, dust, and other debris to enter the airway. If this has been going on for a few days, I would take her to the vet. Good luck.

      1. Thank you everyone for the suggestions – definitely things to talk to my vet about at our next appointment! And yes – we have been affected by the fires Mari – crazy stuff.

  32. My granny actually bought me a card table 32 years ago using her green stamps. I use to love helping her collect them.
    A wonderful memory.

  33. We finished a tiling our bathroom. A project that was put in hold for a few months, but had all materials.
    .
    We purchased a riding lawn mower and mulch kit. We mowed ours and old elderly neighbors in less time than my husband push mowing just our front lawn. What a time saver and neighborly help this will be continuing on.
    .
    Kids made used recycled boxes to make crafts.
    .
    Never recieved an Amazon order. We found something at home to use instead (tool for a project) and recieved a refund.
    .

  34. I love the old-fashioned car and all the props. I’m sure your customers will love that!!

    Although I keep expecting the garden to be empty, I find a few veggies out there each week. This week was no exception. I found zucchini, lettuce, broccoli, a few strawberries, lots of weeds. I worked on it for a while.

    I finally braved JoAnn’s. We wore masks, used hand sanitizer, and were careful, but I wanted to browse and look, feel the fabric and choose. I’ve done curbside pickup twice. One time it was done in a timely fashion, the other, it took 5 days to get my order. At that time, a while back, I was not allowed to order patterns for that curbside pickup option. So, I grabbed a handful of sale-priced patterns since I was needing some new ones badly. I got fleece for $2.99/yard and made my daughter a cape. I posted about it on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. I made a few changes from the original pattern options, and will see how they work out. It was inexpensive and easy, so I’m having her wear it like crazy and will make another one if this one wears out.

    We recently purchased her several much-needed items for her wardrobe, focusing on things I cannot sew, or I don’t care to buy second-hand. Now that I have more patterns in her size, I’ve sorted out several pieces of fabric I already had with the intention of making tops with those patterns. I also purchased fabric for 2 more tops. I’m working on one already. For whatever reason, we’ve had good luck finding pants in the thrift store during the very few trips we’ve made, but the tops that were there, and her existing tops, are in awful condition…..so……sew it is! I’m glad the garden is almost finished except for fall/winter veggies.

    We’ve spent some time and money over the past few weeks to top up our bulk food supplies. I skipped grocery shopping last Friday (I usually go each week) and only needed a few items this week. All that canning/freezing/pantry stocking is paying off for me:) I had my husband pick up 25 pounds of sugar and 12 cans of the 99c soup for the pantry with the saved grocery budgeted money coupled with a $8 rebate from the store.

    We just had word today that our 1/4 beef is ready. It’s a good deal to buy it that way, but a large investment at one time. So, we will take all the money we have saved and pay for that and will immediately start saving for next year’s 1/4 beef. It’s less stressful to us to do it that way. Recently, we were given around 30-40 pounds of beef from a friend whose freezer unthawed unexpectedly during power outages caused by the wildfires, so we have a little more left over from last year than normal. (I canned most of that but there were several packages that were safe to re-freeze, and I’m using them up first).

    Rob cooked the last turkey from last year’s sales. I hope we will see good sales this Thanksgiving and plan to buy a few more, but even if we don’t, the turkey needed cooking! I made several cartons of thinly-sliced “lunchmeat” and froze it. I don’t have a meat slicer. I use a very sharp knife and cut the slices very thin. It saves me a great deal of money to do my own, especially with a turkey that cost less than $10 last fall. I boiled the bones for broth, made soup, cut up bits for salads and casseroles and we ate some and froze some.

  35. I think I am going to start posting my frugal accomplishments…you are all an inspiration and remind me that I am not completely crazy for doing the little things to save money. Suze Orman says, these days, every penny counts. I have been selling things on Facebook Marketplace that have sat in my basement for years. I put reasonable prices on them and the money I make goes directly to our saving account. I am feeling a great urgency to get a several month emergency fund which we have never had. I am like obsessed with it right now. I canned homemade applesauce from apples given to us from a neighbor. That makes a total of 14 quarts. My daughter helped me both times and work counts towards her senior project. With the left over applesauce, I will make applesauce cookies and dehydrate the sauce into fruit leather. I will also continue to dehydrate apple slices for snacks. My kids love it that way. I cancelled my gym membership and have started doing walking workouts in my basement that I find on you tube. I haven’t eaten out at work all month-that was one of my goals this month. I used the scraps from the apples to feed my chickens, saving on chicken feed. Canning lids are scarce here so I have learned to reuse them when canning and saving older ones to freeze more jars of stuff like juice and applesauce. I juiced plums a couple of weeks ago and canned plum juice. My family drinks it all the time and its packed full of nutrients. I livc in Idaho and my family raises potatoes, so I glean the fields and have potatoes to last for months. So, I baked some of the larger ones, peeled them and shredded them. I then froze them as hashbrowns to used for dinner and such. Saved myself from buying them. I also made homemade granola for breakfast at work. I also scan all my receipts into Fetch Rewards and Swagbucks to earn points which I will use to buy gift cards for Christmas. Bough a family pack of chicken thighs for $.88/lb. That will make several meals for us. Feeling very motivated and empowered right now.

  36. I made a chicken and rice skillet meal yesterday that used cooked chicken (rotisserie from Costco), celery, carrots, rice, onion, and just a little bit of a white roux and cheese (I used way less than it called for and cooked the rice in broth). All my kids liked it and it was really economical. It’s from the Budget Bytes site, here’s the recipe link if anyone is interested: https://www.budgetbytes.com/creamy-chicken-and-rice-skillet/.

    I mostly stuck to my meal plan, except for one meal- I took the 4 youngest out for lunch after church, a special treat. They loved it and it was a fun time.

    I planted bulbs for spring, cleaned up the yard, and also was able to visit one of my older kids at their university. He bought us lunch off his point system (he had extra) which was fun and “free” haha for me.

    My continuous grocery tracking and averaging is starting to give me a good picture of what I spend. I make most everything from scratch, but not as frugally as you, Brandy! I do get lots of great tips and hints from this site and continue to develop more frugal ways. Thank you! https://www.hewalkedthisland.com/post/budgeting-and-meal-planning-10-17

  37. 1. We met some friends at a park on a cloudy day for a much needed play date. There were only three other kids there so we just told our kids to keep their distance. I remembered to bring my son lunch in the car, so we had that on the way home. **We are trying out the concept of homeschooling pods this fall and so far it has worked out nicely.
    2. I found nice storage containers at the dollar store and a three pack of rulers. The store doubled the amount of crafting supplies and now has a large wood crafting section, so I plan to go back soon to stock up for gifts.
    3. I found bird nests and fake birds at Hobby Lobby for really great prices and used a coupon to get a pack of unfinished wood ornaments for a project I am working on. **My daughter is going as Ms. Frizzle for Halloween so we are shooting for a bird themed costume.
    4. The thrift store was very well stocked on Monday so we brought home a storage cube, a duffel bag, a sweater, and a real football for my son.
    https://thethriftyeducator.com/2020/10/20/frugal-things-30/

  38. Brandy, what a beautiful set up for pictures! And so great for you to have pictures of yourself and your son!

    This week we got the new greenhouse up and covered. It was just bliss to sit inside and soak up the sunshine out of the wind. That part of the garden will be very well weeded! The greenhouse was only $119 on Amazon, so I’m convinced that, between the mental health benefits of the sunlight and the salad greens, we will somehow benefit greatly.

    I spent some time reorganizing our downstairs pantry for food storage, moving heavy things to shelves that could handle them better, etc. I find that I’m more efficient with my cooking when I’ve touched or seen the contents of the pantry like this recently.

    We also had some great deals on meat this week. $1.97 for 80% ground beef and $1.67 for chicken breast. I froze whatever we could still fit in the freezer. Oddly, there have been so many good meat sales lately that we’re almost full. I did go to our regular grocery store last week – first time since February, as my husband has done our shopping since then – and found it very surreal. Produce and dry goods prices are either 10-20% higher or just at their usual highest point. There were no disinfectants except bleach and small bottles of something expensive. This is in greater Boston. I’m very glad we stocked what we could.

    I’m hoping to put together a list of what we want to stock, and how much we go through in 6 months. I’m hoping to make my price book and shopping list more efficient as I get a better sense of this.

    I’m planning out Christmas as much as I can. I really love to give books, usually old ones, and I love abebooks.com with their used books and free shipping, but shipping can take quite a few weeks. I should have enough time for it if I work on it this week.

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

    1. Hi Sarah

      I’m in the greater Boston area as well, up on the north shore. Have you tried Aldi? I’ve largely stopped shopping at Market Basket and switched to Aldi. They’re in NH mostly…Plaistow, Salem, Portsmouth, Derry, etc. The website can tell you more. It’s made a HUGE difference in my ability to stock up. Nice to “meet” another New Englander :). Valerie

  39. Last week I went to Ollie’s Bargain store for a birthday gift. They were well stocked with toys and I was able to purchase my kids Christmas gifts. Each child is recieving 3-4 gifts and I spent $15 per kid. I am glad to have that done! Apples were on sale for 68 cents a pound. I purchased 30 pounds for the family to eat and 20 pounds to dehydrate. I am also dehydraing bananas. My kids love to eat apple and banana “chips”.

    1. Renee, I love Ollie’s! When we visit our son, i always have him take me there. I buy books for grand children and always load up. Some of their food prices are excellent, too!

  40. Well, I have a little over $3 left in my bank account to get us through to the end of the month, but I think this will be fine. All of our monthly bills are paid, there is plenty of food in the pantry, and I don’t need to go anywhere for awhile. I do have some emergency cash if something unexpected happens, but this is good: not too much, not too little, just . . .enough. It feels good to have enough.

    This past week we processed and froze lots of sale chicken, found canned diced tomatoes and sauce for $0.39 each, made 9 apple pies, froze 8 quarts of applesauce, and boiled dozens of eggs. We also picked up our meat from the butcher, so that is safely tucked away in the freezer.

    I borrowed Home Fires the book on Libby and I am really enjoying it. I love the idea behind the Women’s Institute, and how they came together to improve their own lives and their communities even before the war began. I wonder what type of equivalent we have today. I think extended family used to provide more of this, or maybe a church community of some kind, scouting used to perform lots of public service and community projects. Does that still happen? I hope it does.

    I am also watching Victorian Farm and I find it so fascinating. Lots of similarities to the lives of our pioneers, only they had zero infrastructure out on the prairie when they were starting out. No hedgerows full of wild berries or orchards planted by previous generations to rely on. I love all of the simple machines they employed to make chores easier or more effective. I will pass on the coal fired stove though. They built a pig sty out of stone and created a layer of insulating air in the floor with a layer of empty bottles that they then covered with concrete. I wondered if that would work under a Northern greenhouse to help protect the plants from the cold and frost.

    My son finished his training at his new job and he is very happy to be there. My daughter is working many overtime shifts at the nursing home because they have had a lot of staff turnover and cannot find anyone new to fill CNA positions. Even temporary workers from the state are not available. It’s going to be a busy winter. I hope they find someone soon.

    1. Stacey, I’ve wondered about the US equivalent of the Women’s Institutes, which are still going in Britain. Remember that they were founded as a pacifist organization. I think a lot of their success came from bringing together women from all social strata. I think the closest we’ve had in the US were the Home Extension Units run by county extension offices. They were homemaking and social organizations, but never had the clout of the WIs. Some states may still have them. Also, the Federation of Woman’s Clubs worked for social betterment, but I don’t know how many are left (none around here). There was a branch called the Junior Woman’s Club for younger women. I was a member of the Juniors in Livermore, CA, nearly 50 years ago.

      1. Woman,s clubs still exist in the USA and your closest one can be found by an online search. Of course now we welcome men as members too. I the current President of the Somis Thursday Club in S Cal which has been in existence for over 110 years. We support the community by fundraising for scholarships for graduating seniors and donations to local charities. We are meeting via Zoom to continue education and social opportunities for our members and we own, rent and maintain our historic clubhouse. Small but mighty is how I think of us and the other clubs in the federation.

        1. Thanks Juhli, I did an online search as you suggested and I’m delighted to learn about your club and the national federation of women’s clubs as well. I am so encouraged to know these small but mighty groups of people continue to support their communities. It seems like we are always hearing about the problems and failures of society in the media, it’s hopeful to hear about the work that you and your club are doing and the difference that your club and others like it are making in the lives of real people.

      2. The book refers to similar organizations having existed in Canada and other European countries as well. I think you are right about the social strata aspect because it allowed networking and connections across society, and also for people from diverse backgrounds to come together and learn from each other. They had common goals, and a spirit of encouragement and mutual support even before the war years. I like the grassroots aspect, and that they were solving problems with practical solutions on a local level instead of just pointing out the issues and then waiting for someone else to come and fix it. I also love that having fun together was one of their founding principles!

    2. Do you have a Grange near bye?
      Their motto is to keep Agriculture alive one backyard at a time. Our local Grange is for any age. They have classes on everything related to agriculture. We also have a community garden that anyone can use. To encourage apartment dwellers or small plot homes to grow their own food. We are located 30 miles inland from San Diego. Our town is bustling with farm to table- micro farms, wineries and micro dairies. It is really neat to see a revival of small family farms.

  41. Hello Everyone! I’m back from a week away in Sedona. My husband needed to be peeled away from work and my kids from screens. It was in the high 80s and low 90s. Mild for Arizona and very hot for us coastal dwellers! I laughed when I read your daughter wears a sweater in similar weather. 😆 We acclimate!

    We kept costs in mind while traveling. We drove rather than fly. Gas is $1 less in AZ than CA! We filled up the gas tank in AZ. We rented a townhouse and made meals and packed picnics all week. I forgot my Pack-It, so we used the Playmate cooler and I froze water bottles for ice. I brought items from home to reduce the need to purchase things at the store such as oil, vinegar, salt/pepper, butter, snacks, jam, peanut butter, baggies, foil, laundry detergent, etc.

    Right after we got home we signed refinance papers. That will save quite a bit of money in overall interest and each month. It took much longer than expected as we started the process in early August. I think many are doing the same thing!

    I just launched a free Fall Food & Fitness Challenge. Covid has disrupted people’s routines, they’re stress eating, less active, and have gained weight. I’m trying to encourage others to get re-focused before the holidays. Anyone is welcome to join! I’ve put my website if you’re interested. Just look for the blog post (there’s a blog page) about the Fall Food & Fitnesses Challenge.

    You’ve already made great strides on your yard, Brandy! Your photo shoot is so sweet. 👏🏼

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

  42. Hello everyone!

    Brandy, your photos are not only charming and fun, there isn’t a detail you haven’t missed!! I love and have a handful of those picnic baskets!! Mine are red and had been made by a company in Ohio. I will be on the look out for one like yours.
    Your new garden layout sounds very impressive! I look forward to seeing your blueprint so I can better picture the revisions and new additions.

    So glad so many are doing well and staying well during the pandemic. I remember in prayer everyone who is having a more difficult time and your families too.

    We began what has become a month long project sorting and rearranging a pole barn which has been used as a garage and storage. A couple of items we had been hoping to find second hand were found on the second level. A 20 gallon aquarium was one of the items. I converted it to display and protect antique family firemen dress hats. Also found a couple of still packed boxes from my move here when I married my husband. The 7 year rule applies, I didn’t even remember the what was in the boxes!
    The extra room in the pole barn/garage is letting us rearrange other storage areas so everything is getting a once over as to need, what kind of shape it’s in and so on. At the very least, everything is getting a good dusting or a good wash and we’re getting extra physical activity too.

    Outside, two new firewood storage stands are conveniently right outside a side door and also under a wide eave. We’re hoping of course we won’t need much wood but better safe than sorry.

    Sometimes frugal finds are surprising. My husband’s hearing aids were 6 years old and failing. The hearing aid place had a new specialist who broke the news that hearing aids have about a 5 year life span and a new pair by the same maker now cost about $1400 more than the same pair did 6 years ago totaling $6400. We began lots of research and were amazed that Consumer’s Reports ratings for the Costco hearing aid were so good. My husband made an appointment was very pleased. The hearing test was as good if not better than the tests he had at the previous hearing aid specialist, he was encouraged to walk around the Costco with a sample pair to give them a “test drive” and lots of pluses such as he’s able to take a cell phone call directly through the hearing aid, etc, etc. AND the price in total was $1499.00!!! A couple of other nice incidentals is that Costco is 5 minutes away, the previous hearing aid specialist 20 minutes in a very busy commercial area near a very large hospital and the batteries are the same so we can use what we already have. We have told everyone we know and at least one friend has purchased a pair too.

    Always wonderful when something costs much less than you originally expected!!

      1. We wish we had known the first time around which is why we’re telling everyone. It was a very big reminder how even when a doctor recommends a service, researching other options is always a good idea!!

    1. When it came time for my husband to get hearing aids three years ago, we researched and also chose Costco. He has been very happy with them and the service has been excellent — he gets them cleaned and checked whenever we are by there and so far they have held up well. (Our nearest Costco is 4 hours away, but it was such a huge savings on the hearing aids it was well worth making the drive to get them there.)

  43. My writing partner and I published our first book on writing made-for-vv Christmas movies (ie Hallmark, UPtv and Pixl. We were super frugal in that we had one of our parents and a student do an editing pass for us. My partner’s daughter designed the cover and my daughter did the copy editing (that is what both of them do professionally). We published it on Kindle publishing which is free. We had such a good time and it is already making us income. Can’t help but check the sales every day and was delighted to find out we are selling best in India of all places. Here’s a link in case you want to check it out https://amzn.to/31oP7OE. We also got this shortened link for free from Bitley.

    If you’d like to read it you can do so for free if you have Kindle unlimited.

  44. Always look forward to reading your blog each week,Brandy! Your garden overhaul sounds incredible- I’m sure it will bless you for many years once it’s all done and established 🙂
    This past week I ordered my seeds for next year from Berlin seeds so that’s taken care of. Good feeling to have everything we’ll need except for plants. I’ll have my little greenhouse to start plants in so it’ll only be onion plants and seed potatoes.
    Garden is slowing down here in NC-had a possibility of frost over the weekend but my garden was untouched. I had expected it so I harvested everything possible except for the sweet potatoes since I let the frost touch them first. Have a gallon of jalapenos to refrigerator pickle. I also covered some basil seedlings I’ll transplant into a pot for the winter in my greenhouse. I dried some basil and parsley and have frozen basil in coconut oil to use this winter. My hotbed lettuce and radishes and cilantro will soon be ready for harvesting. Swiss chard is still growing well- I need ideas on how to use it!
    My husband bought a commercial meat grinder for $160 that retails over $3,000 new! With all the venison, pork and chicken we butcher we’ll definitely be glad to not hand crank anymore 🙂
    I bought a dress up dress for my 5 year old daughter at Goodwill and paid only $6 for it. She’d been asking for dress up clothes and online places like Mercari or eBay were over double that plus shipping.
    I also bought deer apples for $8 a bushel to make applesauce with. Usually comes to about$.50 a quart. I have done 42 quarts now which is about half of them. I’ll make apple butter with some sauce too. My sister let me use a victorio food strainer she found at Goodwill for $5 this summer-that definitely helped! I did 60 quart last year and ran out with my family of 5 so hopefully we’ll have enough this year.
    I have been looking for a set of Bible story books by Uncle Arthur since our kids just devour them at friends’ houses. My sister found a new set at a thrift store for less than $10 and planned to sell them. I saw how much she could make online selling them so I decided to keep looking. I found a set minus book 10 for $13 on Mercari with free shipping! So tickled 🙂
    My husband and I spent a day in the mountains for our 8th anniversary and had a lovely time. Instead of paying tickets to sight see, he flew his drone and we could see it that way.
    For part of school one day, we went on a scavenger hunt in our woods and had a good time.
    I only bought shaver heads for my husband on Amazon prime day. Saving about a dollar per shaver.
    I also bought 15 avocado since they were $.49 each as well as a bunch of bananas for $.24 a lb. at Aldi. Avocado last long in the fridge and bananas I’ll freeze for smoothies.
    Blessings, Mari

    1. What deals!

      Swiss chard can grow to around 25 degrees. You can pick the leaves, cover it (like with glass or plastic) and it can overwinter and come back up.

      I steam it as a side dish, but I also use it in soups (both chopped and blended) and put it in pasta dishes. I cut a bunch last night from an area we are going to dig up.

    2. We LOVE the Uncle Arthur Bible books! And when I was a small child, my mom had an Uncle Arthur Bedtime story set—20 volumes!!! When I moved out, I had to share the books with my three siblings, so over the years kept looking and trying to fill in the rest if my set. I finally, just a couple years ago found the last two books I was missing at an affordable price on eBay and completed my set, even though my youngest was 14 at the time! Now they still publish the Bedtime stories, but they have condensed down to just five volumes—not the same as the 20 volumes of old!

  45. Brandy, your photos are beautiful and I looked at the before and after photos on your Instagram account. The results are dramatic!
    I was taking lunch to my Mom and aunt last week and her next door neighbor asked if I wanted a large banana squash from his garden. I gladly took it and will probably cut it in pieces and share with friends because my husband isn’t much of a squash eater.
    I finished knitting a sweater for my husband (while watching Home Fires–I wanted another season!) and am now hand sewing the seams and will hand sew in the zipper. I had to special order a zipper for it because it was an irregular size and Joann’s didn’t have the proper color.
    I have two summer dresses by the same designer that I bought at thrift stores. They are exactly the same, but I like the fit. I have been wearing them for three seasons. I went to ThredUp and found two more and got a 30% off on my first order. They are new to me and were affordable and I am set for next year.
    I cooked a pumpkin and made a loaf of pumpkin bread. We were invited to dinner with friends. We sat in their back yard and enjoyed our meal and the pumpkin bread for dessert.
    Other than that, I have been doing yoga, running, reading books from the library, cooking at home, creating some art pieces, working, and trying to keep life tidy and organized.
    May you each have a joyful week!

    1. One thing I do with large winter squash is to cook and puree it all, then freeze in 1 or 2 cup portions, according to recipes I often use. It works great instead of pumpkin in any recipe that calls for that, and tastes better to our family. I make “pumpkin” pie, custard, muffins, bread, etc. with winter squash. We love a kind called “Sweetmeat” but I don’t have enough garden space or good enough dirt to get that to grow at this place where we live now. Another challenge to keep working on! This year, I plan to buy a couple at a farm stand, if I can find good ones!

  46. Those photos are just lovely Brandy – you are very talented. And so much work in the garden done already! I too will look forward to seeing the plans once set.
    Not too much on the frugal front this past week or so as I haven’t done a major shop – just picked up a few sale items and a few more baking supplies here and there. My pantry is stuffed and my freezer above my fridge is packed within an inch of it’s life! I am trying to cycle through things now and use up things before freezer burn sets in. I made another pot of soup and a shepherd’s pie – using ground lamb – which is pricy but so good! The cooked up a large pack of chicken thighs two different ways, and returned some to the freezer for future use. I also baked for the first time is ages, made a sponge cake, a loaf of whole wheat soda bread and a lemon/blueberry loaf. Half of each has been crammed into the freezer so I don’t eat it all at once (although some has been shared with a couple of neighbours).

    I participated in a charity 5km walk and personally raised about $600 thanks to the generosity of friends and family. Because of Covid, the race was organized differently this year so some of us did it in two stages (I walk with a cane so this was easier) and others walked as a team this past Sunday – all wearing masks and socially distanced). I stayed at the church and had coffee and a takeout breakfast ready for when they returned. It was mild enough that we were able to put some chairs out in the courtyard so that we could eat and visit outdoors. The final tally isn’t in as yet but we are very pleased with the preliminary amount raised as this all goes to various church programs – some of which are being run on a modified basis, some of which will have to wait until Covid is in the past. The organizers of this walk are a large Cdn. Bank so they have sponsors who donate things to our kits. I came home with various cans of juice & non alcoholic beer, energy bars, granola bars and some supplements which have been added to my health cabinet.

    I have enjoyed some walks with friends, downtown along the lake, across the road along the river (and watching the salmon coming upstream to spawn is fascinating) and then this past week a friend asked me along for a drive in the country to see the Fall colours. We wear masks, keep the car windows open and bring our own lunches. We stopped at an antique market, had our lunch on the patio of a lovely bakery/coffee shop (we’d bought coffee and shortbread and asked for permission to eat our lunch there), visited an artist enclave of workshops that included glass blowers, jewelry makers, sculptors and one artist who did pencil sketches on commission and we got to see them at work. On the way back to the city we stopped off at a farm we’ve been to before to pick up produce, jams, relishes etc. but they were having a pumpkin patch day and it was very busy. But everyone was being careful – wearing masks even outdoors and keeping their distance. We decided not to go into the shop as there was a long line but it was just fun to see the kids having a great time. On outings like this my friend drives and will rarely accept gas money so I always buy the coffees and treats – the whole day out cost me just $13 and the colours this year do seem to be particularly spectacular.

    I did go into work 3 mornings last week but it will just be 2 this week and hopefully just once a week after that. A refurbished laptop has bene donated for my use at home so it will be loaded with all our extra software and connections so I’ll now be able to work from home much more conveniently. This will help me to isolate more as our numbers have gone up and it all save me on transit fares so win/win!

    I’ve sat down and made a list of some non-food items that I need to buy – paper towels (which are scarce and limited), dish liquid, laundry detergent and some more bleach. I’m not desperate for any of this but would like to add a few more of each to get through the Winter. I’d also like one more shampoo, some mousse and a couple of cans of hairspray (having longer hair now means more maintenance) – but I’ll wait until my favourite brand is next on sale as I refuse to pay full price for these items.
    I see that infection rates are really starting to soar in Nevada so please stay safe Brandy – and that applies to everyone else as well.

    1. Keep in mind that simply testing positive means little because most of the tests will detect the smallest amount of even inactive (dead) virus. There’s a stark difference between a positive test and having symptoms, let alone severe symptoms. This virus is not going away and we’ll need to live with it, perhaps by acquiring immunity by exposure to small amounts. Polio was a terrible disease and the history of how we dealt with it is very interesting https://www.aier.org/article/no-lockdowns-the-terrifying-polio-pandemic-of-1949-52/

  47. I am still out on the coast enjoying the sun and the ocean. Today I went down to watch the boisterous sea lions jostling for position on the floating dock-they are a scream. I am unlikely to see any in landlocked Calgary- which is also cold and snowy right now-one more day to enjoy the green. Stopped into the local grocery store-there is just one- and bought a single serve chicken pot pie to heat and eat-a tasty $5 lunch which saves the expense of a restaurant and tip-there is some leftover for tomorrow. I also went whale watching and was lucky enough to spot 3 humpbacks. I also got really fresh fish and chips the other day too. The tsunami warning siren just went off but the neighbour told me that it was just a practice drill-thankfully as I am definitely at sea level staying on a peninsula. Tomorrow I will take the ferry back to the mainland and head home on Friday-weather permitting!

    1. You sound like you are having a wonderful trip. It is a great time of year to visit the West Coast, when you can stretch out the season, and make winter just that much shorter. I am always happier after some time near the ocean, too.

  48. I like the pictures of your yard and garden and look forward to seeing it completed.

    We picked our pumpkins and I baked two, threw the pulp in the blender for pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. My little guy has been begging for pumpkin pie and his sister wants the cookies. I’m glad I can make these things for them. Our chickens are enjoying the skins and seeds. I canned the last of my tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and jalapenos, making awesome spaghetti sauce. I got an additional seven pints and I’m grateful for them. I could not find my canning ladle; my great niece thought it belonged in their cooking utensils and so it didn’t make it home. I improvised and will pick up my canning ladle the next time I visit. My son completed our long-awaited chicken coop and we’re helping the chickens transition to the new coop. Four out of five eggs yesterday were laid in the new nesting boxes so they are adjusting. The garden is done for the season so we pulled out all the plants and turned them under to enrich the soil. We are going to shovel the dirt/poop from the old coop area to further enrich the soil. We continue to wash and patch walls, getting ready to paint another bedroom. It’s sure a lot of work, but I like seeing freshly painted walls. I’ve gone through kids’ clothes to make sure we are ready for colder weather. I’m trying to pass on the outgrown items to people in my neighborhood. We are taking time at the dinner table to talk about the things we are thankful for. It’s a great way to get the little ones sharing.

    Have a fabulous week and stay well!

  49. It was a quiet week here. Not much done, not much money spent. I guess we all need those weeks. Our frugal accomplishments were:
    *Meals made were garlic orzo chicken bake with tossed salad, shrimp and veggie pasta with green beans, baked ham with corn and macaroni, pan-seared salmon with leftover sides, grilled steak strips with stirfry veggies, crispy haddock with baked potatoes and green beans.
    *Walked in our church’s gymnasium with a friend since its getting dark so early.
    *Bought a pack of cards, 2 water-and -grow gummy animals and a box of gag teeth all for $4 to mail to my twin nephews for their birthday. I will reuse a shipping envelope that was sent to me. I also earned 10% off my purchase. Not sure how that happened, but I’ll take it!
    *I cooked our final ham from last year to make room in the freezer for this year’s sales. Froze several bags of ham and the bone to use for beans.  I still have one turkey to use, as well.
    *Made a batch of homemade brownies and sprinkled the last of a bag of peanut butter chips I bought on clearance over them. So good!!!
    *Enjoyed a meal out at a Mexican restaurant with friends and they treated us to show their appreciation for my husband pressure washing their porch and patio.
    *Took a drive to my son’s to deliver his car tags and pick up a remote control that he accidentally took when he moved out. Traveled down the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way home for free entertainment.

  50. Brandy, I don’t recall if you use Adobe software – if you do and may not know, Adobe has been holding its MAX Conference – The Creativity Conference – a free virtual event from 10/20 – 10/22.
    There was a live interview with Annie Leibovitz – I didn’t view it – I don’t know if it’s available to stream. Also many other sessions that can be viewed. Here is the link
    https://www.adobe.com/max/2020/agenda.html

    1. I didn’t know they did that! I have a full day today but perhaps next year I will check it out. Thanks!

  51. Thanks for the great photos Brandy-Beautiful!
    This week-
    *Pulled my flowers and put them in their pots in our lower level. I save what I can and have several that have been alive for many years. It’s also wonderful to enjoy the foliage during the winter season.
    *I took out geraniums, took off the dirt from the roots and stuck in a cardboard box to dry until next spring.
    *My husband and I got our dock out using a simple handle wench. This little motored tool is amazing to me and the capacity and uses that it has.
    *Made out a 10-day meal plan based on the freezer and pantry.
    *Fixed a seam on a pair of jeans.
    *Cut up an old large camper tarp and used the smaller pieces to cover and protect our outside deck chairs.
    *Gifted apples from my sister in law. Have been enjoying for our lunches.
    *Turned off dehumidifier, and timed dryer or hung clothes outside-saved $40 on electricity bill from last month.
    *First snowfall; used shovels rather than fuel in snowblower to remove.
    *I cut my husband’s hair.
    *I learned how to alter boxes for shipping rather than send items in larger boxes and pay more postage.
    *Sent inexpensive Halloween cards to my son with coupons for a local grocery store he shops at and to my granddaughter with little stickers.
    Stay frugal and healthy everyone.

  52. Snow does have its advantages — I’m on Day 3 of shovelling — I have figured out how to do it with one arm.
    The tracks are wonderful, a mouse, a coyote, a hare, magpies, juncoes. Yesterday at the feeder I had a Blue Jay visit.
    I have been trying for a Blue Jay photo for years. I got one but hope to do better today.

    I am sitting listening to a lovely song called “Monarch Season” by Jennifer Castle, an Ontarian musician. I am going to purchase the cd as one of the Christmas gifts.

  53. 1. My husband had to cancel a plane trip last Dec. (pre COVID). Usually AA charges 150$ to reinstate frequent flyer miles. I called them last week & they reinstated his miles at no charge. That was a pleasant surprise.
    2. I booked him a round trip flight to Florida for late December using to reinstated miles plus a few more). I already have my ticket. I need to check on the condo there & long for a change of scenery. Of course if FL goes on lock down again we will cancel (again). The airlines are more helpful now & allow you to cancel an existing trip once w/o penalty.
    3. On my drive to work last week I passed by a Walgreens. I noticed some boxes of things on the ground next to their dumpster. I went to investigate. There were 4 medium bags of ground Starbucks coffee & 2 boxes of 10 pack Starbucks K cups. I don’t drink hot coffee but husband does. I will give K cups to my friend. The K cups were out of date. I don’t think coffee spoils quickly.
    4. I do like like iced coffee w/ milk. I stopped at McDonalds for a large 99 cent iced coffee using my app. Heck maybe I’ll make some iced coffee from the free Starbucks coffee.
    5. Used my 7 eleven app to get 11 cents off per gallon for Exxon gas. We have a Sams card but the Toyota dealership told me they sell low quality gas & top tier gas better for your cars engine. My husband a mechanic tells me not to put low quality gas in my car also

  54. For the last few weeks, I have been just going along as frugally as I can – combining errands, decluttering, trying to stick to my lists when I do go into a store.
    I am trying to piece together a Halloween costume for my daughter this year without going out and buying anything new. I almost bought a long sleeved black leotard for part of her costume – then I remembered that she had a short sleeved leotard that she could then wear a black long sleeved t-shirt under and achieve the same effect. We tried it out last night and she found it acceptable – zero $$ spent on that part of the costume. Now on to try to reproduce a very specific type of belt that she needs…….
    Thank you Brandy for your continued hosting of this blog !

  55. Biggest thrifty find of the week: $5.00 Chico White Button Down, No Iron Shirt-Perfect Condition…retails $80.00 at thrift shop. It is an addition I have been looking to add for November-March wardrobe capsule. Florida weather=2 wardrobe capsules. Nov.-March & April-October.

    1. We have similar seasons here! Glad you found a new to you shirt! It’s hard to find good used white button-down shirts at the thrift store that aren’t stained by food or iron burns. I’d say almost impossible, really! I love white blouses!

  56. Brandy,
    I received an email from David Austin today with a 15% offer. I’m not sure if you received this or if it’s from the U.S David Austin.

    1. I doubled checked my email but the last email they sent me was in March! I just rerequested a catalog. If anyone gets a code for the U.S., I would love it if they would share! I hope I don’t miss out!

  57. I love your Christmas mini shoot setting and props. I wish I lived close by to participate.

    My week was busy:
    -I was accepted into completing 1-1.5 hours of market research virtually. I will earn $150
    -It rained on the weekend, so we played in the rain and the children had leaf boat races
    -My Christmas shopping is complete. My children’s birthdays are right after Christmas. Target had some great clearance items and I spent $38 total on presents for each of them. They both want a party too. Depending on COVID restrictions at the time, we may have a party at our local park. We are social distancing at the moment but apart from that we are back to normal. If the parties go ahead, they will be simple with a homemade cake and a few easy food dishes
    -My husband completed one overtime shift
    -I read books from the library
    -I worked from home one day this week, saving public transport fares
    -Dinner meals were hamburgers, lentil pasta with leftover hamburger mince meat for two nights, chicken kievs and salad, tuna carrot peas potato and rice and vegetable pizza for two nights
    -We went on a bike ride
    -We caught up with friends at the local park
    -I avoided grocery shopping for the week

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