Siam Basil in pot with bench The Prudent Homemaker 

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On the try, try, again line I planted seeds in the garden yet again for sunflowers and zinnias. Only one of the seeds came up from all of the zucchini seeds I planted two weeks ago. This next week, I hope to plant again and I also plan to dust the areas where I planted the seeds with diatomaceous earth, which will hopefully keep the bugs from eating the seedlings as they come up (as well as kill the bugs, which will hopefully lead to a more productive garden!)

The Siam basil (pictured in the photo above) that I cut for last week’s arrangements for my table rooted in the vases. I planted the rooted cuttings in pots in the garden. This basil was advertised as having red leaves, which it clearly does not, but it tastes just fine. I am still hoping to grow some next year with red leaves just for the fun of variety in color on our plates.

I cut Genovese basil for the table this week, this time expressly to let it root. By topping my basil plants, they will branch out and give me a larger harvest. I will plant the cuttings that grow in the garden. I took off any leaves that would be below the water line, rinsed them, and left them to dry to use in cooking.

I harvested green onions and Swiss chard from the garden.

My 2-year-old watched shows on YouTube. This is something we do every week but that I don’t mention often. There are plenty of shows to watch this way without paying for cable tv or even for a subscription service such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. Our favorites children’s shows are Peppa Pig, Little Einsteins, Backyardigans, and Rolie Polie Olie.

My husband gave himself a haircut.

I continued to collect water from the air conditioner run off and used it to water the garden. I also used shower warm-up water in the garden.

I read four more Hamish Macbeth e-books from the library.

I used several coupons at Bed, Bath, and Beyond to purchase two sets of new sheets and two new pillows for my bed. I have a California King-sized bed, and most places don’t sell sheets in that size; they are one of the few places that do. I usually only have one set of sheets at a time, but we decided to purchase a second set this time as we were able to do so. The store will take expired coupons, and you can use one coupon per item. Using coupons saved me $60 on my purchases.

My two middle-school children tried out the school lunches a couple of times last week, as we qualify for free lunch. My son decided he would rather take a lunch, and my daughter will take a lunch some days, depending on the menu. Of particular concern to me is the high-calorie content of the lunches, usually hitting 1500 calories for one meal. I won’t be purchasing special items for packed lunches, so our food costs won’t go up from packing lunches. I did end up deciding on these divided boxes which are small enough to fit in their lunch bags.


Dear readers, there were some less than kind comments last week towards one another. Some I did not post, and some that were borderline I let go through, but feelings were hurt. As you share your frugal accomplishments, please remember that others reading here come from all different places in the world, with different religious, political, and personal beliefs, and that everyone deserves respect and kindness. As a reminder, I won’t be publishing anonymous comments.

I share a lot of things, but I don’t share everything, and no one is obligated to share all aspects of their life with others. Our reasons to send three of our children to school are personal, and I don’t know if we will send them next year or if this is just what we need for this season of our lives. I still have six children at home and my days are quite full.

I would like to thank all of you who offered some wonderful ideas for dealing with school expenses and lunches. 

I am deeply touched by those who said they were praying for me as I make some big changes in my life. The transition has been difficult for me and the change in my schedule is difficult. I have thought especially about all of the comments that came from teachers this last week; I have thought how hard it must be to teach all day, and come home to correct papers (classes here are between 36-42 students per class and 6 classes a day), make dinner, and also help your own children with their homework each night. I am touched that you make time to read here.

What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. I found a free class on Prayer, entirely online and was very blessed by what I learned. I will be implementing some of the suggestions in my personal prayer time. The class is free through August, so if anyone else is interested in taking it there is still time. I gain nothing by others signing up—just want to share something that has blessed me. The link is on my blog.
    I am also feeling like I need to clean out my freezer a bit, and use up some of the things that are living in there for a while now. So with that in mind, I went searching for frozen fruit to see what I could come up with for a smoothie. The results were delicious and my daughter, hubby, and I had it for breakfast one day.
    I also used up some older brown rice and turned it into a breakfast rice pudding for another breakfast. Brown rice, soy milk, chopped dates, cinnamon, cloves, Granny Smith apple, and a sprinkle of chopped almonds.

    The details on the free Prayer class and the smoothie are on my blog here:

  2. All of my children started their college classes today and since they all still live here with us we spent some time going over our plans for lunches to take and dinners for reheating since two of them come in well after the dinner hour. They do not purchase the meal plan and don’t buy “out food”, thereby saving themselves and us quite a lot of money. We tried to get a shared commuting schedule together for two of them but the class schedules are so different that it wouldn’t work and we are not on a public transportation line. This will mean a big increase in our gas budget and I’ll need to cut back in some other areas to make that work. None of them has a job at the moment since they are all full time students.
    My garden is still producing and I harvested beets and greens, parsley, zucchini and Swiss chard and some carrots today. I have three very nice sized Jack O Lantern pumpkins growing in my pumpkin patch and this will save me around $30! We carve pumpkins in the fall and believe it or not they cost around $10 and up here.
    We’re back on our bread making schedule after having been off it during the hot summer months. I’ll make a low sugar granola for breakfasts as well as zucchini bread and cookies from the garden bounty. My hens are not laying right now so our eggs are like gold.
    I’m not going to the store anytime soon so I’m going to have to be very creative this week!
    Also, we got three different quotes for replacing our deck – $25k!! It is huge but still! Sooooo…my husband and kids and I began tearing it apart and replacing the boards with trex this past weekend. We can buy the boards a few at a time and I’m having fun redesigning the railing system. Should only take a few years. Lol! We also used up some old weed whack er twine I found hiding in the garage and fixed our dead mower as well.
    Have a lovely week.

  3. I do hope things are going well for you this week. I am always amazed at how mean people can be online comments! Surely if we met in person, people would not say those things!
    As for frugal things this week…not many but I was able to stay on my weekly budget and host a birthday party for my 9 year old son for 17 adults and children for $127 with a goodie bag included. Also 4 extra children stayed the night and I was able to feed them with no extra cost to the budget. My new goal is not to spend any money 2 days a week…Fail only 1…

  4. I started fall garden crops from seed this time instead of buying the plants. I’m not sure about this procedure but at least giving it a try. You are right to be concerned about the caloric content of school lunches. Mom a retired teacher and was around school lunches for many years. I usually took my lunch.

  5. We use diatomaceous earth here as well, most recently in the planting garlic that arrived, as we believe we’ve been having challenges with mites in others we bought, and are hoping this takes care of that possibility. Rooting your basil is a great idea, one I don’t think of. Between harvesting, cooking and preserving food, the garden is keeping me quite busy. I’ll keep this comment short, but look forward to reading all the others.

  6. I’ve been a reader for awhile but never commented. This is a wonderful blog & I have learned so much from Brandy and the readers who contribute! My frugal win for this week is that I needed new clothing for a recent job promotion & was able to purchase from a consignment shop brand new shoes, a sweater (with tags) & 4 tops for $53. I can mix and match these items with things I already own & look professional at my job.

  7. Brandy ,

    I certainly hope that I never have any comment that causes hurt feelings. If I did I apologize and it was not my intent. I always try to help others out in anyway that I can.

  8. Picked loads of fresh veggies from the garden. Cooked as much as I could and we ate well. I shared vegetables with several relatives and took huge bags to the mission and the senior living center. Picked over 200# of peaches from our tree. About 100# are refrigerated. The rest have been shared and a lot are ripening in the utility room waiting for my canner.
    Caught up on my mending. Even found a use for a leftover onion sack.
    Enjoying cooler weather this week. I see a lot of new blooms on my veggies.
    School has started here. I think everyone was ready. Kids and parents as well

  9. .Stayed home 3 days out of 7 so no spending those days
    .Caught up with laundry – washed 5 loads and only used the dryer for one load of towels
    .Used proteins from the freezer for meals – using up a few things that have been in there for long enough
    .Made HM yogurt – found milk at a good price (along with a half pint of cream) and unearthed my yogurt maker so put it to good use
    .Started two bottles of HM Vanilla Essence – had some vodka & rum on hand & used some Loyalty points for Vanilla Beans
    .Spent 4 hours working on email lists for part-time job
    .Socialized twice and while 1 outing was for lunch I kept the other to just coffee
    .Even though I have cable & Netflix I love YouTube. I find great British dramas and all the documentaries I could ever want!
    .Read 3 more books from the library including “The Weight of Ink” – 500 pages but the time flew bye – highly recommend it if you have the time.
    .Donated more books to the Church’s book sale stash (for next year’s sale)
    Glad to hear that things seem to be going well with the children. School meals are not the norm here so I’ve always been fascinated reading the menus when I’ve been in the States – some places even publish them each week in local papers. I’m sure they do their best with the funds they have but have to say that they didn’t always seem to be the healthiest options – and your children are so used to your healthy meals that are heavy on fruits & veg that it must be a real change for them. But they will still be getting your wonderful meals at least twice a day so I’m sure it will all balance out – plus if they’ve had that many calories at lunch perhaps they’ll settle for smaller meals in the evening. 🙂 Good luck with it all.

  10. Brandy I use you as a model to aspire to. I love your blog. Last week I concentrated on not wasting anything-food, money, electricity etc. You get the idea. It is sometimes easy to get careless. This week I want to work on not wasting time. I hope you are able to catch up on much needed sleep. Also thank you for reminding us to treat each other with kindness.

  11. Brandy, I admire you and respect your choices. I learn much from you every week. This blog is a little bright spot in a challenging world. I did the usual to save money. Cooked, bought simple ingredients at good prices, used lovely home grown produce given to me from a friend, used my library, entertained myself with YouTube. I’m looking at my budget again and know I still have room to improve. Praying for you and your beautiful family. Thank you!

  12. You and your family have been in my thoughts this week as you make these changes in your already busy routine. I hope the new schedule is becoming easier for you. I remain in awe of all you accomplish.
    This week from the garden I harvested tomatoes, green beans, chard, zucchini, radishes, mint, and sage. I also dug all the onions and put them in the woodshed to dry. I put several packages of chard in the freezer for winter. I planted more lettuce seed to replace some that had bolted in the heat.
    We had good rain several days, so I was able to turn off the irrigation to the garden beds all week.
    A friend gave me a large bunch of basil from his garden and I used it to make a big batch of pesto – we ate some and I froze the rest.
    I finished knitting a cowl/neck warmer from some lovely Alpaca yarn I purchased at a craft fair. The pattern called for buttons and I wanted some big, chunky wooden ones. My husband made some from the branch of a juniper from our yard, with a lovely purple-red wood grain.
    I did some batch cooking – Spanish rice, bean burritos, pizza bread, and granola.
    I patched my favorite pair of jeans.
    My husband and I checked out ebooks and audiobooks from our library.

  13. Hi all!
    I was surprised to read some things that I thought was rude. I was brought up to treat others the way I would like to be treated. I would think others would do this also. I just do not see the point of being rude.
    Anyway, I have not posted my frugal saves in a few weeks. So my saved & finds
    – FIL received a big tire rebate and gave us for food budget – our food expense has gone up since he lives here now.
    – I am not able to eat dairy and have found some dairy free ice cream & yogurt on clearance. I bought a few. One was a big container of plain yogurt, I mixed in a small flavor yogurt, tastes better! I eat fruit & yogurt for lunch daily. Whatever fruit is s good deal.
    – I have earned several gift cards mostly for Amazon that will be given to my daughter for college books.
    – continuing washing full loads and hanging what I can.
    – staying in most days. Wwhich is pretty easy for me since I usually only have a car on Fridays-Sunday.
    – I used over ripped bananas to make banana nut bread and instead of wrapping in aluminum foil, I put it in a Tupperware cake container.
    That’s all I can think of …I hope all has a great frugal week!

  14. Brandy, I’m a longtime reader, first time commenter. I always enjoy your blog and read the comments.Not only do I get both frugal and creative ideas, but I like seeing the different strategies your readers use to enhance their lives, no matter where they live or their circumstances. I do “the usual” : cooking from scratch from pantry, freezer, and small garden; gleaned grapes with a neighbor’s permission, combine errands to be more efficient with time and gas. We live in a rural area and I love to watch the wildlife for entertainment. This week i watched a flock of turkey hens with their young crossing my back yard! Everyone in our family like to read, so we pass books on to each other. This makes for some lively conversations! We are recently retired and would like to travel, so I am always on the lookout for travel deals! Thank you again Brandy for your work. You touch many more lives than just the ones that comment!

  15. I love your post above – very inspiring! I’ve actually upped my activity level during the day because I am amazed at how much everyone gets done in their week. This blog helps remind me that I know of others that aspire to be frugal and be creative in how we use our resources. Thank you for the weekly inspiration.

    *My two youngest are back in school. I quite enjoy the challenge of making their lunches. Last week, I packed leftovers but also included fruit and veggies. We had salad leftover. I added leftover steak and homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers. I packed leftover homemade spaghetti and noodles. Added carrots and celery and grapes. Another day they had leftover homemade french bread pizza with olives, carrots and celery.

    *All dinner meals were made at home: French bread pizza, spaghetti and noodles, white chicken chili, hamburgers, steak and salad. We had plenty for leftovers for lunch during the week. I made egg & cheese burritos, waffles, pb banana oatmeal shakes for breakfast. One daughter has some health issues and I like to make sure that what she is eating doesn’t aggravate it.

    *Saved money off my weekly grocery bill by shopping sales and sticking to my list. I did find dried cranberries marked down on clearance for $1.14 per bag. I bought all they had which was 10 bags. I make cookies at Christmas time that uses cranberries. The expiration date on the bags is 9/2019. I also bought hamburger that was marked down.

    *I combined my errands and stayed home several days to help keep gas costs down.

    *I finished a cross stitch pattern and cleaned it. I’m watching coupons so that I can either get it framed or find a frame and do it myself. It’s a Halloween pattern and I would like to display it this year.

    *I signed up for a free 12 week course that will teach about personal finance. We don’t have any debt but I always like to learn about finance. This group meets once a week and discusses different ways to help with finances. I’m excited to meet with others and glean ideas or be encouraged to keep doing what we’re doing.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week. I so look forward to reading all the great posts about being frugal.

  16. Blessings on you, Brandy, for reminding us, your readers, to be kind and supportive of one another. We all come from different places and backgrounds with different kinds of families at different phases of family life (I’m a grandmother with my 3 children grown and gone from the house). I follow you and enjoy your posts because you find the beauty in everything, including frugality. I am very frugal out of necessity (I’m a retired teacher) and because I find it a worthwhile challenge. We do not need to be judging each other or casting aspersions or finding others less than us for any reason whatsoever. The decisions you make in your family are yours, and you are kind enough to share parts of your journey with us. I truly appreciate you.

  17. A much calmer week in my life.

    I made garlic mashed potatoes/cauliflower to go with a roast chicken. I usually roast the garlic in aluminum foil but didn’t have any and couldn’t find it in the store that had advertised it. So, I put the garlic in the oven at a lower temperature and shorter period, and it turned out great. The leftover potatoes/cauliflower was made into salmon cakes, and the leftover chicken is cubed and being added to lunchtime salads.

    The 10 lb boxes of peaches advertised had turned into 20 lb boxes, which is much too much for one person. I used the money to buy raspberries for the freezer. I missed local ones a few weeks so, so I am happy to have a few for the winter. I am hoping to buy peaches next week still, if the budget allows.

    Got the results from the vet specialist. Not great news, but we are giving the cat’s new diet a chance to work. I expect there will be some regular expenses related to this, if all goes well!

  18. I’ve posted on and off for years, but recently saw there is another Megan posting now as well. I’ve added my last initial to my username to help tell us apart.

  19. Hi Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    How wonderful you were able to get new herb plants from cuttings we did the same with our thyme plants and got 4 more too. As plants are getting so expensive to buy in the garden centres here it saves so much money. Your family will be in our prayers for the current transition you are going through, international friend hugs to you Brandy.

    Our savings and earnings added up to $154.49 last week :).

    Here is what we did to save, build our pantry and accomplished –

    Finances & earnings –
    – Listed 10 more handmade items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $16.50 in usual listing fees.
    – Made $65.20 from the sale of 1 5 layer cotton eye mask, a homemade triple layer table runner & 100 stems of dried English lavender stems picked and dried from the gardens.
    – Banked more money into home deposit savings account bringing us to 28.04% of the way there.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 2.8 kg of honey, almond, coconut and sultana granola from food storage for $8.55 saving $28.69 over purchasing the same amount in the supermarkets in equivalent quality and ingredients.

    Pantry stock ups-
    – Topped up on special saving an additional $29 on normal prices on 2 x 400 ml cocoa moisturiser, 6 x vanilla beans, 1 pkt of coffee filters for filtering vanilla extract, 12 pkts of 100 g smoked oysters, 6 x 250 g pkts of cracker biscuits, 8 x 100g pkts of twisties for snacks, 2 x 375 g pkts of dried chick peas, 18 x 250 g pkts of baking chocolate chips. The savings included specials and redeeming a $10 supermarket rewards voucher for buying our normal groceries.
    – Purchased 10 punnets of 250 g strawberries for 0.95c per punnet combining specials and a further 5% off using our roadside assist gift card discount saving $15.50 on usual prices. We washed, chopped or halved and froze them for future batches of jam and some for desserts and lunches too.

    Home organisation –
    – Went under the house and did a stocktake on all the firewood we have to see if we had enough for winter this year and next and we will need to cut more while it is cool. We re stacked it from small to large. Interesting experiment as we are both tall and the cottage is 2’6″ off the ground and we are both tall so our legs were getting tangled up and we were pulling ourselves out from under there, quite amusing 🙂 but we got it done.
    – Tackled organising the 3 bay machinery garage as we just threw things in there when we moved. Took everything out and pressure cleaned the shed, garden equipment, BBQ and smoker, wiped over shelving units, fuel containers and put it all back again. There were a lot of spiders, eek, there was a heap of Redback spiders and egg sacks we blasted into oblivion with the pressure cleaner as no way I am touching those even with thick leather gloves on. Still have the boxes of power tools and bits and pieces to sort and box in an organised fashion next week to finish it off. This will help us when we move having everything boxed, organised and labelled too.
    – Did our 3 monthly grocery shop using 2 of our $240 for $200 e-vouchers and dated, rotated and put everything away. While we were at it we re-organised the food storage pantry room so we have more room on the gorilla shelves to stock up on more food. It is amazing with a bit of re-organisation how much more you can fit into a small space.

    Have to say we are both sore and worn out after this week but it was worth it to see the results of everything looking clean and organised :).

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).


  20. I’m sorry the transition was difficult for you. When I sent my son to school for the first time at the age of 9, it was a choice that I made and I was ready, but it still wasn’t easy, and I questioned quite often if it was the right thing for him (it was for *me*, I knew that). It did turn out to be the right decision for both of us, and I hope that it works as well for you as it has for us, for however long it needs to work!

    This week, I made three or four (I can’t remember) containers of tomato sauce from our garden tomatoes, which I put in our freezer. We still have a LOT of tomatoes left, so I’ll be finding ways to use them up this week. I’ve eaten tomatoes with every meal today, so that’s a start! I organized my boxes of yarn and learned that I’ll never have to buy yarn again for the rest of my life, pretty much! I also found some cross stitch projects in the yarn box, enough so that I’ll have enough projects to last until the end of time. I’ll be staying out of the craft stores, that’s definitely frugal!

    I organized my closet and got rid of a lot of things that had shrunk, that I no longer liked, or that I simply no longer wore. I now have much more space in my closet and have two more bags for the thrift store. I used up almost all of the zucchini my mom had dropped off at my house (the last 1/8 of it is waiting for me in the fridge); last week, we ate zucchini in everything I cooked, including zucchini pancakes for my son’s breakfast. My son and I listened to an author speak at a local school, I read library books, and I bought nothing at the library book sale I checked out. Not a bad week. 🙂

    Have a great week, everyone! 🙂

  21. Brandy: So glad to see your post, was afraid you were going to have to take some time off, hope all is leveling out and just don’t try to do everything, it will still be there tomorrow! My son visited a neighbor yesterday and brought home some pears, some were ripe others not, so cooked the ones that were ripe, a nice change, Our garden did not do good this year, too dry, and we are on rural water so did not try to water it, but those that did water had good gardens, My neighbor let me pick her tomatoes while she was on vacation, put l8 quart juice in freezer and made 12 jars salsa, Great grandson was here over weekend and brought a pair of well worn out jean shorts and wanted me to patch them for him, His very favorite so I did patch them but not very pretty, he was happy!!

  22. It sounds like you and your family are adjusting to the transition in a positive way! Most of my kids preferred to brown bag their school lunches. A couple even started selling their homemade treats until I found out about it (fortunately before they got in trouble with the school! Lol!)
    I still haven’t planted my end of summer crop of lettuce. I will try to get around to it this long weekend! Sometimes other things just change our plans!
    I got 5 five pound bags of already chopped onions at the produce market for $1 a bag, so $5 for 25 pounds. So easy to just spread out on my dehydrator trays and I got about 22 pounds dried and vacuum sealed in half gallon mason jars! Good timing because I was almost out of dried minced onions that I had in #10 cans.
    I decided to “convert” ingredients that I wanted to use up into meals/snacks so I rehydrated retried beans I had in storage, added some ground beef I precooked and froze and leftover chopped onions, cheese and tortillas to make 32 beef and bean burritos. I flash froze them and then packaged 2 of them into each of 16 sandwich ziploc bags for grab and go lunches/ dinners/ snacks.

    In an effort to use up some of my extensive fabric storage of scraps, I found a tutorial last week on making scrappy tote bags. I modified the pattern and changed sizing and have now made up 11 bags of various sizes. I posted photos of the first 2 on Facebook (more as a way for me to keep track of what I’ve made than anything else) and got nice comments from a few of my friends. 2 friends asked if I would sell the bags and out of that, I ended up selling them 5 bags! Other friends suggested that I put them on my business Facebook site to sell, so I will try that this week and see what happens! Worse case scenario, nothing else sells and the 11 kids, their spouses and my grandchildren all get scrappy tote bags for Christmas!! Lol!

    I noticed a couple months ago that there was a volunteer tomato plant growing on the outside wall of the chicken coop. I just ignored it. Well, it grew into a couple huge tomato plants that were using the sides of the coop as supports! Today, I picked the first 4 lovely Roma tomatoes from them and saw that there are literally dozens of big green Roma tomatoes just waiting to ripen! What a fun surprise!!

    The chickens are still giving us about 3-1/2 dozen eggs a week! And my raspberry bushes are starting their second crop of the season! I get them in the beginning of summer and then again just before fall! Yum!!

    I love that fall is coming soon- it’s my favorite time of the year as I try to prepare for winter! Supposedly, this winter is going to be very snowy for us! We’ll see. My experience has been that the predictions are just a guess and not always a very accurate one at that!
    Hope everyone is having a great end of summer! Thanks for giving us motivation to do more things to be good stewards of so much abundance around us!

  23. I loved Rolie Polie Olie when my kids were little. I was busy with using up garden produce this week. I canned 6 quarts and 3 pints of sauce, made 10 pints of refrigerator pickles and 1 1/2 pints of jam. I worked 4 days, went to jury duty one day (I didn’t get picked) and went to see Billy Joel for free in concert with Hubby. It was a busy week but a really good one. My full list is here:

  24. Hope everyone had a great week. My frugal activities included borrowing lots of books from the library although I did spend $1 today buying 2 paperbacks from the Friends of the Library bookstore which I consider supporting the library. Last night my older son and DIL brought over an early birthday cake as we will be at our other son’s on my birthday. Instead of taking them out we fixed a lovely dinner at home while the dogs hung out together. I was truly bored with my small summer wardrobe and found 2 necklaces at a consignment store that will help me be satisfied for the rest of our hot weather and will work in cooler weather too. In the good news category, I went to a podiatrist that turned out not to be in our network but with Medicare coverage I only owe them $30 which is a relief.

  25. My husband is allergic to dairy. He loves Trader Joes plain soy vanilla ice cream. I make him different flavored milkshakes with it. I have done coffee, chocolate, strawberry and blueberry. A quart by us is $3.49 which is much cheaper then other brands.

  26. You all inspire me each week to keep innovating and stewarding with excellence! Brandy, your example is so much appreciated!
    Savings to share:
    – Last week I started putting aside a few dollars from the grocery budget to be used during Christmas week when we will be having lots of guests. If I put aside $5 a week, I would have $75 extra by December! I did this last year and found it to be a huge help. It even allowed for a few fun menu items I normally wouldn’t spend on.
    – While checking out at the kiosk in the grocery store, I found two left behind coupons. One was $3 off any purchase and the other for a free bag of cheese! In the parking lot I picked up a piece of litter only to find it was a coupon for a free Dominoes pizza!
    – My daughter keeps sourdough starter in the fridge and makes bread as a treat or for friends. Recently I discovered it also makes excellent waffles that can be mixed the night before. Cheap and delicious breakfast!
    – Bought several stocking stuffers and gifts at yard sales along with fall clothing for one child.
    – Canned and froze garden produce. Also froze lots of fresh thyme as I’m not a fan of dried thyme. Will use when roasting chicken or turkey.
    – I have made it a habit over the years to ask my kids for ideas on how to do this or that differently. Often, the solutions they come up with are really practical or creative. They learn to problem solve and think creatively and I get great ideas!
    – Accepted loads of pears from a neighbor. Will need to find fun ways to preserve them.
    Looking forward to reading this week’s comments!

  27. Hello Everyone,
    Three cheers for Brandy for having this blog for all of us! I truly believe we have something to learn from every person we meet.
    We have had an extremely unfrugal month, never mind week; some pretty frighteninglay high dental bills, unexpected car repairs, and very sadly, veterinary bills for a beloved pet who didn’t make it. We have always lived frugally, which has allowed us to weather these surprises that are part of life. I recently got a nice raise at work, and will do what I always do when I get a raise. I keep on living on the same salary I started my job with years ago, and bank the rest (have it taken out of my pay, pretax dollars). I do not miss the money because we do not live extravagantly. We live in a modest home, drive very sensible cars that get great mileage, and always take our lunches to work. Unlike Brandy, I do not have a green thumb. Fortunately, we have an Aldi’s nearby! And Brandy, I have also been praying for you and your beautiful family. You are a wise mother to know each child has unique needs. Have a lovely week everyone.

  28. Best of luck with your sunflowers and zinnias! And I’m sorry to hear that there were some less than charitable comments last week. Thanks for taking the time to moderate all the comments, despite it adding to your busy schedule. Your blog is always an oasis of positivity and support.

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I made Creamy Vanilla Pineapple Floats ( this week, using some ice cream that I had a $1 off coupon for. Healthier than you’d think, and so delicious! I loved these so much when I was a child!
    – I made more ice cream sandwiches, using cookies on sale and ice cream.
    -Using the BUNZ trading app, I traded a bottle of balsamic vinegar and a skein of yarn that I wasn’t using, for a set of appetizer dishes that I will gift to some friends, a BNIB deodorant (the one that I usually purchase), and a mini bottle of orange liqueur that I will use in my baking at some point. I also traded a can of mushroom soup (I don’t like canned mushroom soup – my DH bought it by accident) for a package of South African Rooibos tea. I’ve heard that if a mother drinks it, it can help a baby sleep better, so I figured it was worth adding to my pantry on the off chance that I would need it.
    – As usual I brought all of my lunches, snacks, and drinks to work with me.
    – I went shopping with my mom and brought drinks and snacks from home because I knew I’d get hungry and didn’t want to pay for convenience foods (but need to eat before I get hungry, as hunger triggers morning sickness for me).
    – I met a friend for coffee and was able to use a Swagbucks gift card to cover the cost of drinks for her and her daughter, and redeemed a Starbucks reward for a drink for myself. I had enough leftover to get a snack for myself as well. I really enjoy being able to treat a friend without any money OOP!
    – My husband redeemed loyalty points for $60 worth of free groceries.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  29. Thankfully gleaned apples. All are stored in fridge now. Gifted 3 bags of apples to friends

    Making scarves with flannel passed down to me. I will donate these to church that serves homeless.

    Gathered items to send to church yard sale, as well as continuing to gather for my own yard sale.

    Mailed composition books that were gifted to me to one of our kids (frugal for them:))

    Borrowed a required book for college from the library while I wait on the used copy I ordered online with slow shipping.

    Donated shampoo and conditioner left behind by my kids to food bank and my nieces.
    This week I’ve been really happy to donate a lot. It makes me realize the abundance I have, and it makes me happy that these items will be put to good use.

  30. Went to some tag sales this weekend, at one we were told to fill a grocery bag for $4. I got a small Foreman grill (I had been wanting one for a while), two summer dresses, set of sheets, extra pillowcases, 3 sweaters, vases to fill with flowers from my garden and give to friends, 2 books for my husband, 2 blouses and a few small miscellaneous items. Great score! At another one I got 2 coats, a pair of good winter boots, tinkertoys, play basket with play tools, 3 scarves (two will be Christmas gifts). 2 pair of shoes and a designer handbag, a quilt (new) all for $6. I went to both sales toward the end of the day when they were happy to negotiate.

  31. Good evening,
    We are trying eating vegetarian with a little dairy and eggs. I have some of your bean recipes saved and will be cooking them soon.

    Also, I do a little coupon shopping and CVS is my favorite store for coupon deals. We stopped after church on Sunday and I bought $78 worth of body care, hair care and oral care for $4 and got back $20+ in CVS bucks for my next purchase. I rarely buy food items with coupons but I do get almost all our home and personal prodcuts for very little.

    We are retired and we’ve tried earning a little on the side but what works best for us is to just be diligent about careful spending.

    About education, my 3 children were both homeschooled and attended public school, for various reasons. They all turned out fine. One works at a public school library, one works at a high tech factory and the other is an attorney. Trust your heart, Brandy, to do what is best for your children in whatever season they are.

  32. Brandy, change is always hard at first but after a month or two you’ll be in a new routine. And, your children will adjust as well. As for your kids hating the school food….me too!!!!!! I avoid the cafeteria if I can.
    Our frugal ways this week were:
    *Went to the park across the street for a free performance. music, dancing, and a magician.
    *Went to a local festival and got a free beer sample. I almost never drink but it was something different. I got the chance to meet up with friends and had a good time visiting with them.
    *I made bread and cheese. I saved the whey and will use it for bread later.
    *I hung up the laundry to dry rather than using the dryer.
    *I signed up for a Pokemon go social media group and took my son to a raid. He caught a much desired pokemon.
    *A friend gifted me a box of clothing and another gave me two pairs of jeans.

  33. I swoon with envy at your peaches! Once I was in Georgia at peach time and I believe it ruined me forever because now when I get a peach here in Fairbanks, Alaska, it doesn’t even smell like that Georgia peach!

  34. My favorite frugal accomplishment was downloading some of my favorite classic novels at no charge. I’m going to have many hours of free entertainment.

  35. THANK YOU Brandy for hanging in there with us — we are a very diverse group, as you so aptly pointed out. There are such strong feelings about public school vs charter vs Christian school vs homeschooling. It is easy to decide on one, and urge it onto the world as your personal mission in life, on the theory that what works for you or your kids must be the divine answer for everyone.
    It isn’t.
    I mentioned before that both our daughters went all the way through public school. I had two good friends — one taught at a charter school, and sent her son both to charter and a private Christian school. Another started her children in public school, but within a few years was homeschooling them — and continued that the rest of the way through.
    A third friend sent her kids to public school all through… but taught (and still teaches) at a private Christian school.
    If the four of us, not to mention our children, were able to get along with each other, in spite of our different opinions and passions — and we could and did — I would hope that your audience could do the same.
    I realized early on that you weren’t going to discuss your reasons for varying school needs this year…and I don’t think you have to. It was probably quite frustrating to have your readers ask you that, over and over — but that’s partly due to the nature of e-mail comments. We can’t always see that the question has been asked, until we post it ourselves. (And I apologize again, if asking for MORE MORE posts was bossy and pushy. As a blogger myself, I can’t always give what I’m expected to. You are absolutely right — your family and faith come first.)
    So all’s good. I’m grateful to hear you’re there, and still picking herbs, and posting.
    Two questions:
    *Did you put anything in the vase water, to get your basil to root so nicely? Or did you just fill with water, and let them sit on the table? (They look lovely in the planter, by the way.) I have regular mint and chocolate mint — have tried rooting them in water, but they just look nice for a few days…then rot. Ditto for catmint. Would regular basil root in water?
    *Have you started sewing or constructing anything for Christmas? Are you planning on doing the how-to-make-a-gift posts again? Hearing what you’ve collected for stockings and such is helpful, as well.

    I love hearing about your monthly purchases and plans, too. In fact, I just plain enjoy your blog. THANK YOU again.

    P.S. If it would help you, and you’re willing, I would be glad to write a few guest posts gratis. (I normally get paid for these.) I can submit a list of ideas, and you can choose what you want from them. Just contact me privately.

  36. Blessing on all…. I ordered garden seeds using discounts and clearance and ebates. I hope to get some things in for this fall even if it’s just in pots. I do plan to plant my garlic this fall.

    I talked to my Amish neighbor about routines, she has 7 children under the age of 9, the youngest is just turning 1 and nursing. Her 6 yr old was making bread for the family when I was there.Her house is HUGE,almost 4000 sq ft add to the fact she uses a wringer washer (ran by a Honda motor off a lawn mower) and the clothes line and no refrigeration with an acre of gardens and an acre of sweet corn she just was finishing canning…. I would love to have the energy and said so but she told me it’s not energy but ROUTINES that gets it done AND having the kids start earlier at doing chores and cooking. The 7 yr old boy packs everyone’s lunches while she fixes breakfast ,that is leaving the house like Dad for work and 3 of them for school which started this week. AMAZING.They all help with laundry.

    We have settled on how to move this week and as cheap as possible, Daddy fell and looks horrible but no broken bones at 91 that’s a miracle. I have orders from him through my brother that I am to bring pictures of the house being done.

    Rest is here, Not much though

  37. I think zucchini as a great breakfast food. I serve it with scrambled eggs. I’ve never thought to put it in pancakes, though.

    On another blog, I learned to shred it and use it to stretch fillings for tacos and in meat loaf. It helps keep them moist as well.

  38. 1. Since it is raining every day now and our first (light) snow is supposed to come on Saturday, I am harvesting what I can each day. I pull enough to process that day.
    2. Canned tomatoes, spicy tomato jam, pickles and more pickles.
    3. Shredded zucchini for the freezer, plus we ate latkes two nights running.
    4. A friend’s daughter has a September birthday. She loves pumpkins. So, early in the season I lightly carved her name on a small pumpkin and it is now about 25 pounds and her name grew with it and scarred over. I am giving it to her for her birthday–frugal for me and she will be beyond thrilled to have her “very own” pumpkin. (It is easy to please a five year old).
    5. I cut husband’s hair and he cut mine.
    6. For the entire month we bought nothing but milk and a loaf of bread. Everything we ate was from cupboard, freezer or garden. I think we can do it for another week or two. This is a huge savings to us. The garden really , really helps, not just in the summer but all year with what I preserve.
    7. Traded cukes for caribou sausage.
    8. Traded cukes for eggs, with a different person. There are about 6 of us who trade back and forth. A hunter, a fisherman, two gardeners, a chicken keeper, and a duck keeper. It developed over the years, among neighbors and really is a help. I plant extra of certain things each year, knowing that egg woman likes artichokes and hunter man like leeks, for example.

    Thanks to the person who mentioned being frugal with time, using it wisely. I have not thought of it that way before so you have given me food for thought for the coming week.

    Also, I hope I am not one of the ones who wrote thoughtless things last week; if I was I apologize. It is probably a good reminder for all of us who have the flaw of being thoughtless or judgmental to work on keeping that in check. I am sure my husband will appreciate me keeping that in the forefront of my mind!

  39. Brandy I love the community you have created here. I benefit greatly from the discipline of tracking my frugal accomplishments and posting them. I love the sharing of wisdom and experience that both you and other readers share. I love the glimpses into your family’s personal life. Thank you for revealing as much as you do and for taking the time to maintain this platform as well as the courage to speak up and set boundaries. Sending you love and blessings.

    • Mowed the lawn twice since we have had so much rain – my least favorite chore as I am so allergic but I’m not willing to shell out $45 a week to have it mowed.
    • Shopped Staples on way home from work. Bought notebooks for $0.25 that I use for daily planners and $.50 composition notebooks for journaling.
    • Cashed in Swagbucks for a$25 Amazon gift certificate
    • Stocked up on cheddar & pepper jack cheeses at a rock bottom price. Am freezing most of it
    • Made swag goal x 1
    • Bought a bushel of “utility” peaches saving $5 from a first quality bushel. Sliced and froze peaches to put on oatmeal in the winter.
    • Hung up two loads of laundry to dry
    • Washed shower curtain liner in washing machine
    • Tried new recipe (combination of two) for zucchini & corn fritters from Smitten Kitchen – the fritters were delicious but several of the corn kernels “popped” like popping corn and flew around the kitchen. I will probably make the safer-just-zucchini fritters in the future!

  40. Funny — I enjoyed a lot of the cafeteria food! There were no ‘free lunch’ options (though we would have qualified). Instead, my brother and I worked in the lunch line — he washed dishes, and I worked the cash register — in return for our lunch. I still crave the hamburger gravy the lunch ladies made, and still use a pig in the blanket (hotdogs baked in rolls) recipe that they used. (My aunt was in charge at that school, and gave me the recipe.) I was a sucker for the cafeteria mac and cheese, too.

    Since we so rarely went out to eat, ‘made-up-and-ready-to-eat’ food seemed incredibly exotic to me, a little Michigan farm girl.

  41. It was interesting to read everyone’s comments last week. I don’t have children, so I have never had to make a schooling choice for someone else. My niece and nephews have at various times gone to public school, an environmental school with a homeschooling component, and a Montessori school. Different things worked for them at different stages in their lives. I send positive thoughts your way, Brandy, that the continuing transition goes smoothly and works well for your family. I can imagine that it is a huge adjustment for everyone.

    On to my frugal accomplishments:
    – I bought a pair of shorts for a very good price on clearance. The legs were too wide, so I altered them and they fit much better.
    – My sandal straps had stretched out so I poked new holes in them. I bought a leather hole punch a few years ago, and have used it several times for this purpose. The shoe repair place near here charges $2 per punched hole.
    – I borrowed a library book on how to sew knits, and some patterns were included. Most of the patterns offered were not my style, but I liked one top. So I traced the pattern to try out. I cut it out of some fabric I already had, so I will sew it up to see if I like it.
    – A strap on a reusable grocery bag had come loose, so I sewed it back up.
    – I had my three year anniversary of work, and my boss gave me a nice bottle of champagne as a gift.
    – I walked to work and made my lunches. One lunch was composed of various leftovers, and put together they did not taste so great. I ate it anyway.
    – Things finally calmed down at work and home so I was able to get some things around the house done and clear away some paperwork.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

  42. Keeping it short(er) and sweet and on-topic this week to make moderating easier for Brandy. In addition to the usual frugal stuff, this was my week:

    Had a couple of no-spend, no-drive days, which always help.

    No food waste. My mother would be so proud!

    Cut my daughter’s bangs. She gets one haircut a year, and I keep the bangs short. Wish I’d learned to cut hair, and I encourage all of you younger gals to get on You Tube and learn. Huge frugal skill.

    Asked the guys who were digging post holes for our fence to pile the dirt in one spot. I got about half a yard of “free” soil for a raised bed.

    Asked on Freecycle for rabbit poop for raised bed and was offered alpaca poop. I have 6 big bags! The alpaca owner also gave me 2 dozen eggs, including 7 duck eggs.

    Although I didn’t benefit from this, I hope others did: I gave away two light fixtures, a 6 ft. water key and a coffee maker.

    If “spending to save” counts, I bought two storm/screen doors and door hardware at Lowe’s, using 10% off coupon. Saved additional 5% using their CC. Altogether, about $60 saving.

    Received a 10% off coupon in the mail from Home Depot.

    Bought some hardware stuff at Ace Hardware, using a $10 welcome coupon and stacking a $5 Ace Rewards card.

  43. Margie from Toronto, Thank you for the book recommendation. I’m adding it to my mile long list of books to investigate.

  44. I always get so much out of your posts, Brandy, as well as all the commenters. Thank you for this weekly post. Here are my frugal accomplishments for the last 2 weeks.

    I was able to purchase 3 bags of coffee for $2 each at Target after using a gift card and coupons.

    Purchased 6 pair of socks for myself using 15% off at JC Penneys plus a $10 award I had on my account.

    Received $30 in Bonus Bucks from JC Penney from a recent purchase and was able to use it to buy a shirt for youngest son and 2 skirts for myself. Yes, I do like JC Pennys, LOL!

    My husband and I enjoyed an hour at our library and picked up several books.

    The washer stopped working but my husband was able to make a temporary fix until the $8 part arrives in a couple of days. Funny how when an appliance breaks it throws your world into chaos!

    Received multiple gift cards for my birthday a few weeks ago. Always a nice surprise. My sons and daughter in law went together and purchased me a beautiful engraved necklace. I was touched and thought how frugal of them!

    Did some bulk cooking with my daughter in law so we both would have some meats and soups available so we’re not tempted to eat out in the evening.

    My youngest son started his final year of college so we’ve been working on having some quick lunches ready for him. Mostly sandwiches so he can drop by the house between classes or take them with him. He has saved a lot of money by living with us during his college years. We were very blessed in that he received complete tuition paid due to his grades. This will help if he decides to get a master’s degree as we will be in a good position to help him out.

  45. Susie, I found a recipe( goooogle) for peanut butter cookies using sourdough starter. I put chocolate chips in it and love it! The dough freezes nicely, too. They’re super easy, too!

  46. I am glad they tried school lunch, even if one didn’t like it. That would save you some money. The calories are high but they may not eat everything. I had planned on packing lunch all week but my son left his lunchbox at school today so he will be buying tomorrow!
    The Disney Junior app and website also has some shows for free.

  47. Brandy- Thank you again for providing such a blog full of inspiration.
    My Frugal Accomplishments;
    *Received a flu shot at CVS (saving me a co-pay and doctor visit)
    *Turned in recycling and made $16
    * A friend shared day old goodies from the local bakery
    * Renewed library books and checked out books for my kindle
    *The following magazines arrived in my mailbox (via rewardbee and reward survey); US, People, Golf, Money, Sports Illustrated, Women’s Day, Entertainment Weekly
    * Used coupons on all grocery purchases and was able to save a lot of money this week combining coupons with sales.

  48. Hello!

    First of all, I actually found so much about last week’s post and comments fascinating! One thing that really stood out was the discussion on school expenses. Three of my kids attend a private Christian school associated with our church. Every year we spend soooo much money buying supplies, uniforms, etc. I thought it was just us because we were a private school. My husband would constantly make comments about how when he was in school they just bought what they needed. Interesting and kind of nice to know it’s the same at the public school.

    Speaking of that, my husband commented to me this past weekend that our general expense spending was nearly double for the month of August, and that when school started last Monday, the spending literally stopped. We have four kids and the school spending is ridiculous. It’s frustrating to realize that the spending is high and you’re not even being frivolous, just doing necessities. Hopefully everything will last all year and we don’t have to replace.

    The first three weeks of August where also an incredibly busy time at work, with several days of Overtime. One week the most complicated meal was frito boats. It was insane. Thankfully that has slowed down now that school has started back up at the university as well. That meant that our meals were a bit more normal. I tried very hard to cook ahead as much as possible and also took time to cook a few extra things that became lunches. I also got a free sub and two free fountain drinks at work using coupons that the dining hall is giving out like water.

    Due to the OT my boss is giving me a day off on Friday. I get a day to myself while the kids are at school and a four day weekend. I am beyond thrilled. Since starting this new job in January I have barely taken off any time and I almost never take time off without the kids. My soul is so looking forward to this.

    I had a really cool thing happen last Friday. My coworker asked if I knew anyone who wanted some furniture for free. I asked what she had and she started naming things that I have been praying for. I said “if you are serious, we would love to have that stuff!” She got so excited! She’s a single woman so didn’t want to have strangers come to her house but really needed to get rid of this stuff. We went over Saturday and loaded up a sofa, love seat, chaise lounge, dresser and end tables. It’s been outside and needs to be cleaned but it’s all in good condition and even matches our colors. I’m so thankful. This was not a need, per se, as we could have survived without, but it was a definite want as we have more space in our new house and the boys are outgrowing their shared dresser. The funniest part is how thrilled she is. She keeps thanking me for taking her stuff!

    Love all the comments every week. This is my favorite post. Have a great one!

  49. Brandi , thanks for this blog. I look forward to reading it and all the comments every week. Many of the commenters are so much more frugal than I am but I still try. For the first time in my 55 years I’m keeping all my grocery/food receipts for the month . I have a feeling I spend a lot more than I think I do.. Good buys this past week were grapes for $.79 lb and peaches at $.99. The only things I grow are strawberries, rhubarb, tomatoes and chives. We have to much shade and a small yard. We also have property in NW Wisconsin with and old camper set up. No electricity or water just a fun get away in the woods. Normally I pick a lot of wild blackberries. Not this year, there weren’t many blossoms this spring. I only found a handful. I was a little disappointed , i am hopeful next year will be a good harvest. Also, I kept having a tire getting low on my jeep. Hubby found a screw in the tire and repaired it himself.
    Have a great week everyone!

  50. Hi Brandy,

    Glad to see things seem to be “falling into place”. The smoke finally cleared up at least temporarily so tomorrow
    I am going to take things outside to unpack, sort, throw away, recycle from the boxes that came home from storage.

    I, like many of my Canadian friends, have been watching tv programs about John McCain. Some things brought tears to my
    eyes, and I am sure to my friends’ eyes, too. For example, when a woman said she did not trust Obama, he was an Arab, McCain took the microphone gently from her and said “no, Ma’am, he is a decent family man with whom I disagree about a number of things”. Now THAT is the definition of class. And that he wanted both parties to work together for the greater good. It costs nothing to watch programs about him but one gains a lot. I have liked seeing the tributes that have been written about him. Regardless of one’s politics, one admires a politician
    who was honourable in politics and a gentleman.

    It is cold here and feels like fall already. I have picked the larger pears so that they may be ripening inside, and off the tree. I have been
    picking a large tomato for lunch everyday but something has been eating a large hole in the tomatoes so I may harvest the green ones
    and try some fried green tomatoes. I hear they’re good. I am dealing with all the applecrabs that were picked tomorrow. Then on Thursday or Friday a trip to the farmers’ market for a case of pesticide peaches to put in the little freezer. Not a bargain but a treat!

  51. Oops forgot to add I got 12 pints of bluberries for $9.95. Washed and put in the freezer to make jam at a later date.

  52. Brandy i admire you so much. People always say that there is no free lunch, and it is paid for by hard-working men like your husband. We should take advantage of our tax-paid benefits. The government wastes so much of our taxes here and in other countries. I was a teacher and I agree that the school food is fattening. i gained weight from eating at school. When I was in elementary school we had real homemade food which was delicious. Now they have frozen foods because they have to make breakfast and lunch so it is not “mom’s cooking”. I have recently started making homemade bread and was needing a bread knife. I rarely go to yard sales , but I did one day and found one for a dollar. I was thrilled. I try to donate unneeded things to non-profit thrift stores around here, and God blesses me when I need something. I have found some great books at the Dollar Tree. Sometimes I like to keep them, but I usually pass them on. I find books on Thrift books for a good price if I can’t find them at the library. My son buys his college books online, but we try to rent them online at Chegg. They even let you send them back in the same box. We got two estimates for a new roof and they were $10,000 apart! We looked online for a reputable company and will save a lot. I used cardboard boxes under my mulch in my garden which was free. Now i am waiting on Lowes to have a sale on mulch for Labor Day. Thank you for sharing that Bed, Bath, and Beyond accepts expired coupons. I didn’t know that. I love your blog!

  53. Hi Brandi,
    My gardening group did a Basil trial this summer and we grew about 10 varieties of basils from seeds. One of them was Genovese Red Freddy (Baker creek seeds) which looks and tastes like Genovese basil, but is a lovely purple color. If you would like some of the remaining seeds to start some plants for transplanting, I would be happy to send you some.

  54. Hello Brandy,
    I have read your blog for years. Thank you so much for all that you do. I had a house fire this past March and my home was completely destroyed and all of its contents. Your blog has been instrumental in helping me stay encouraged throughout the rebuild of my new home. I messaged you about design ideas a few months ago and you so graciously responded with assistance to me. I will move into my new home next month and I will began the process of planting a fall garden and stocking my shelves. God bless you and your beautiful family! I will share photos with you soon.

  55. Two more are “Red Joan” which is coming out as a film starring Judi Dench this Fall and “The Gravity of Birds” – happy reading! 🙂

  56. I had to spend some money to save some last week. The cat needed dental work and the estimate was about $1000. To our surprise, once under anesthesia, they decided only one small tooth needed to be extracted, plus the rest were cleaned and the gums cleaned as well–amounting to $458 as he didn’t need to stay overnight either. Quite a savings, and the first time I ever remember a bill that far away from the estimate. I was very pleased as things are a bit tight just now.
    I also happened to get to the store just as they had marked down some meats, so bought about 10 meals worth all at less than normal prices–including two meals of strip steaks, which we rarely have. They look quite nicely marbled so I’m hoping they will be tender. A big pack of chicken breasts were marked down to the “usual” sale price, just when I was down to only one left in the freezer. The rest was end cut pork chops with bone for 99 cents a lb. I cut the meat off the bones and divided it into two packages for pork adobo–it was the only package left but was about 2.5 lbs of pork cubes when I got it off the bones. Using super coupons I also got bacon for $3.99 a lb–we use it infrequently but we do use it some. A couple Buy One, Get one frees added to my savings.
    We were invited for a swim and lunch at my sister’s one day–which we hadn’t done yet this summer. Everyone has had a busy summer and my BIL is still recovering from 2 surgeries in one month, but it was good to see them anyhow.
    Also took one of husband’s hearing aids in for repair today, a necessary but generally expensive undertaking.
    Now if I could just stay home a few more days—it seems everyone was just hit by the idea that summer is almost over and we have another lunch invitation tomorrow. We love the opportunity to see our friends and winter will give us plenty of time for housecleaning, I think. Summer must be enjoyed, as it is short here!

  57. Hello Everyone,

    I love the basil! I need to cut some of mine to transplant as well. I have done this in the past and it worked well to make more basil plants.
    Here are our frugal happenings:
    – We have all the work redone from our hail damage to the house. It looks nicer than it did to start! I would have prefered not to have to have the hail damage but since we did, I am glad we had the house, deck and fence redone through the insurance.
    – My father in law gave me two squash from his garden, since he had so much.
    – I have been pulling produce from my recovered garden including zucchini, lettuce, swiss chard, basil, mint and squash.
    – We had Sunday dinner at my inlaws. We take turns so we can see them. If it is your turn, you cook the dinner.
    – I did a Safeway coupon deal to get cheap granola bars with a sale and coupons. These are good snacks for my kids at school.
    – I volunteered at the co-op place where I consign my handmade items. If you volunteer, you don’t have to pay a fee to put your items there.
    – I also sold 2 more crochet items at this shop. It is on a military base and they brought some items to the hospital there to sell. A couple of my items sold.
    – I had a free dinner at a church women’s event.
    – I ordered more freebies and lots of magazines. I wrote about it on my blog at:
    – Also there is a free 8×10 print at Walgreens that you can order for in store pick up and the code: MINEFREE. I am going to order a nice photo. This is good through today (Monday).
    – I guess that is it besides packing daily lunches, dinners at home, eggs from the chickens, etc….

  58. Have you tried starting your zucchini and sunflowers indoors? I have had to do this when germination has been a problem…or rodents eating the seeds.

  59. We had a REALLY BIG money saver this week. We were able to find someone to mow our field in exchange for the hay. This saves us $175 twice a year which is what we have been paying to have it bush hogged. I am so thrilled! I shared the story here:

    The rest of my time has been spent canning produce from the garden and I look forward to enjoying everyone else’s comments when I stop to rest my feet!


  60. Glad to hear that some of the smoke has cleared so breathing should be a lot easier now. The smoke has come so far east that it has now hit northern Ontario and has just added to the discomfort there as the fires here are still burning. Hopefully the next few weeks will see cooler temperatures for us all and some rain to finally help the firefighters extinguish all those forest fires – it has been a terrible Summer for fires all over NA.
    And I agree with your comments regarding John McCain – while I may not always have agreed with his stance on matters – I always thought he was an honourable man and a true hero.
    PS – I have never tried fried green tomatoes but my stepmom made a green tomato relish which was delicious.

  61. I am sorry you had bad behavior on your blog. I knew you were in for it sending the children to school. People are either too nosy or too opinionated when it comes to education. Plus there is jealousy, with your super human ability to do so much so well. Don’t let the grumblers get you down. You do an awesome job and I so admire you, no matter where you educate your children.

  62. I’m laughing as I write this. My husband just told me that our frugal accomplishment for the week was that we ordered one small pizza instead of two medium pizzas. Funny, I was thinking it was a frugal fail to order a pizza.

    Made almost all meals at home.
    Using food in refrigerator and freezer to save money. Very little grocery shopping and only things on sale.
    Used internet for recipes and entertainment.
    Made your Tomato soup recipe. I love your recipes Brandy. Although I will probably freeze half as I made more than the two of us can consume. I think I will freeze some in individual containers. I may be making your Rosemary Bean soup this week too. It is a favorite of ours.

    Enjoyed watching sunset on our farm several evenings this week with my husband.
    Enjoyed spending time with family this week.
    Played piano for entertainment.
    Took a walk down the road and back. Not far but it is a start for me.
    Enjoyed watching the chickens.
    Turned off light except for above us as we read or eat in the kitchen.
    Waited until we went home to eat after visiting family or running errands rather than eating out
    Husband played wedding song today. It always makes me happy.
    Took food to grandchildren to make breakfast one morning when I was going to babysit one of them. They were happy. I think mom was too as we all know the School routine has just begun and help is often welcome,

  63. I have moved into an old house (it is a Victorian chapel/school) in the UK but it has a bad problem with grain beetles – I had the pest controller in twice but he didn’t seem to use much product to kill the beasts. I’ve sprinkled diatomaceous earth around the crevices in the house (the kitchen especially) and it seems to be doing a cheaper job than expensive pest controllers.

  64. Thank you PJGT for your encouragement it is greatly appreciated 🙂 .

    We are starting to see the light at the end of the savings tunnel here and are getting close to where we want to be at and are pushing ourselves to try and reach a higher savings target than our budget says by the end of the year.

    So very much looking forward to having our dream home built on a small acreage to cater for DH’s disabilities and injuries and we have worked hard to get where we are so far.

  65. Sorry the smoke has gone to Ontario. There is a little more here tonight but it is still low. The furnaces have come on and I’m hoping it doesn’t bring in smoke through the cold air intake. The day turned into a beautiful blue sky day, the norm for us! It is chilly outside so I’m hoping it warms up just a little.

    I liked the address to the American public that John McCain left. It was quite moving. Again, the measure of the man… I agree with your comment –– I definitely did not always agree with his stance on matters, but he was a true hero. One has to admire that he did not trade on being the son of an admiral to be returned to the U.S. ahead of his fellow comrades, prisoners, even though it meant he would have escaped the torture inflicted on him.

  66. Hello every one, my 17 year old daughter passed het tractor theory diploma last week, now she can start the driving lessons. She is going start a vocationaltraining in dairy farming next week. She already has a internship for 1 day a week (in cycle distance from our home), the other 4 days she goes to school. At the end of the second year she wil have a internship in a foreign country. She wants to go to Austalia….for 3 months. So I will start saving money for that from now on. Ofcourse she’ll have to pay a part to, and the school recommended to do this internship connecting the summer holidays so she can work there for a few weeks also, so you can maybe travvel the country a bit to.
    We had a lot of left over food in our freezer from the villagefestival a few weeks ago, so we eat a lot of that. My oldest son came home from a 2 1/2 week holiday to Spain, with a lot of dirty laundry, wich I could wash and line-dry al in 1 day because of the good weather.
    I harvested tomatoes, courgettes, carrots, beets, and basil from my garden.
    The next week most of my cleaning jobs start again, and the kids start school/work again. So we have to live by the schedule again.

  67. Brandy, thank you for all that you do here and share with us. I never fail to get a money-saving idea either from you or a reader each week. We have had quiet weeks here with routine savings each week. All meals made at home and my husband has taken his lunch to work every day. My mom gave us leftovers from Saturday dinner and bought us four cans of soup from a sale at a grocery store that we don’t shop at. I used money I made selling some clothing/books/toys to add to our stockpile and now have canned tomatoes/pasta sauce/fruit cocktail for the winter. My pantry shelves are pretty packed at this point! I hope everyone has a good week. Praying for those affected by the extreme weather we seem to be seeing all across North America and other parts of the worldl.

  68. Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    We have gotten lots and lots of tomatoes. What a blessing. We also picked basil and the last of the green beans. I’m already planning for next year. We don’t have a large space for gardening but if we plan carefully we could plant much more.

    What we have done with our tomatoes: tomato soup, spaghetti sauce, roasted over pasta, roasted topped with herbs and Parmesan, tomato sandwiches, and we froze lots of them.

    I planted spinach and lettuce seeds in containers.

    We took our lunch to work each day except when my company provided lunch one day.

    We used up what was in the refrigerator. By the time we went to the grocery store the refrigerator was almost empty. We bought seasonal and marked down produce, loss leaders, and needed toiletries.

    I made laundry soap and used vinegar for fabric softener.

    We have noticed a drop in our summer utility bill compared to last year since using a programmable thermostat. Although we are on the budget plan and pay the same amount each month, we actually have a credit for the month of July.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s comments. This is the one site I faithfully read each week. Thank you, for all your hard work, Brandy!

  69. The past few months I have been scrimping and saving and scrimping even more due to my fear of “what happens if our tenants stop paying rent”. Well guess what, we found out. I sure am glad I had money set aside. We have a contract to sell the house but cant settle untill the tenants are gone. Legal eviction proceedings were started August 9th. Unfortunately it bought them more time, we’ve been to court once, it got them 10 days, we go to court again and they get more time, and then the constable puts them out a few days after that. In PA, we have to store their stuff for 30 days if the constable puts them out. We have learned a lot from this experience. One is that being a long distance landlord is extremely difficult. Two being, never ever give in to a tenant. There is a reason that so many people think their landlord is a jerk. They need to be to protect their assets. We had to make an emergency trip to PA on Friday(839 miles). I dont know exactly how much we spent in gas but one way it was $234. I put it all on the discover card and will get 5% back in reward points. We shared the driving so there was no hotel expense. This week we are back to scrimping and saving. I need to buy some canned fruit so that the next time we have to go, we can eat that instead of stopping at McDonalds and truckstops. I had absolutely nothing that we could pack to bring with us as Friday is payday and I buy some food on Saturday. I am so looking foreward to better days ahead!!!

  70. School meals in the states are terribly unhealthy for the most part. Also there is a tremendously amount of waste. I used to gape at the kids when they pitched most of it in the trash.

  71. Such a chaotic week here, we moved two children to college in two different states. I used for our travel and earned a free night [after 10 – I’ve been using it for quite some time!] and paid cash for everything while away except for restaurant meals [because my credit card gives me 5% back] and gas [same]. On the second leg our hotel room had a kitchen so we had breakfast there.

    I’m now faced with refiguring my food plans! My son who is a college freshman eats a tremendous amount and now I must relearn how to shop and cook without him here! I’m already talking with my youngest about what she’ll actually eat now that I have lost my ‘trash disposal’ child for the next few months LOL.

  72. This is such a great blog I always look forward to reading it. Frugal….not to much of that. My hubby and I had a surprise with my daughter college we had to help her pay 1000. maybe a little less but this has really set us back. She goes to school full time and does work study. One of her teachers told her she did not need a book so that was a savings of 100. God always has provided and I have just turned it over to him.
    I work full time and clean and maintain the church. In between that we have managed to put up 60 jars of pasta/pizza sauce; 25 jars of pickles; 50 large zippies of frozen greenbeans; 25 jars of pickled greenbeans; and 52 pints of stewed tomatoes. This was our year for tomato canning we were completely out of everything. We also used the last of the greenbeans in March. Thank God for his supply.

  73. i purchased 14 pounds of peaches at $.33/lb. i made dehydrated peach slices, peach butter, and peach bbq sauce. I canned the last 2 and some will be given as gifts.
    I asked on my local Buy Nothing facebook group if anyone had extra figs, and was given a bag of about 30. we ate quite a few, and i also made fig vanilla jam.

  74. First, I want to address my questioning your decision to send some of your children to school. I will not apologize for asking, nor should I be made to feel guilty for asking as some of the commenters suggested. As humans, we are naturally curious for a reason…it is how we learn. I simply wondered if you had chosen this route because your children were asking or perhaps you had found out that sending them to school would help them when applying to college (I really have no idea if it makes a difference between homeschooling or traditional schooling, thus the curiosity) or maybe the school offered something you were not able to provide through home schooling. After all, Brandy, you have proven to rarely make rash decisions without a lot of wise forethought. It was truly a sincere and innocent question, which many of us obviously wondered about. Having said that, your response of “It’s personal and I wish not to discuss it” is also a perfectly acceptable answer. We all highly respect you, Brandy and will of course respect your request for privacy on the issue. That’s all that needed to be said to start with. I hope your children are enjoying their new schools and your household settles into a more peaceful routine for everyone.

    Our frugal accomplishments for this week are:
    *Meals made at home included grilled cheese sandwiches with homemade coleslaw and potato chips, homemade lasagna (prepared second pan at same time for freezer), BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with coleslaw and potato chips, homemade beef stew with dumplings, and breaded chicken burgers with mashed potatoes, coleslaw and fresh corn on the cob.
    *Canned 9 pints of dill pickle slices. A small handful of cucumbers were from my garden, and the rest were a basket of pickling cucumbers I bought for $3.97 at the grocery store. I used dill seed from my garden. When the dill seed ran out, I used fresh dill sprigs. I haven’t made many pickles before, so I hope they turn out tasty!
    *Invested in an 8lb bag of dried chickpeas ($8.50 for the bag) and a 4.4lb bag of dried black beans ($3.90 for the bag). Since I seem to be using them quite a bit, I though it would make sense to invest in larger, bulk sized bags of the dried beans. When needed, I will soak a batch and pressure can them for convenience.
    *Made a run to Costco to fill my tank with gas (paid $1.20/litre), and did a shop while I was there. Was able to cross a few more stock up items off my list.
    *The 50lbs of “C grade” peaches were picked up this week, that I ordered a few weeks ago. They cost $13 per 25lb box, so we paid $26 total. I will be canning them up this coming week.
    *Brought home the “apple jelly turned caramel” from work, bought a couple bags of apples, some thick wooden skewers from Dollarama and made caramel apples for my co-workers as an end of season treat (gave 1 to DD and her friend who was staying over). They loved them!
    *Free thing I received from my work: popcorn, various treats made in the village (including some I made), and a freezie.
    *Hubby informed me this week that he has completed putting away all the money we will need for our European vacation for next April (everything is booked as well) and has now started to put away money in our savings again.
    *Celebrated my birthday on Sunday. Enjoyed dinner as per our usual Birthday celebrations. We used loyalty points for a free appetizer, which filled us up before our meal came. We then brought our meal leftovers home for lunch the next day.

    I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!

  75. Good morning! I am saddened to hear about the comments on last week’s post. (I had a wedding to do last week and was very busy so didn’t get to read every comment like a normally do, so I missed them.) Being a public school teacher, yet sending my own children to private school has resulted in some very snarky comments, until people understood our decision to go private schooling for our children. However, you are totally correct in that we don’t have to share everything over the world wide web about each and every decision we make for our families. I come here every week for inspiration on how to save money, and make it beautiful at the same time. This week, I was blessed with a beautiful china hutch for the “great room” of my new house for free. I filled it with my Blue Willow china (which I got mostly for free with grocery store points about five years ago when they did a promotion) and sent out a picture to my family to share my blessing. I immediately got a comment about how expensive that piece of furniture was and how pricey those dishes were, therefore I immediately had to justify and defend my acquisition. It made me sad. Why can’t we all be happy for others blessings? I love looking at pictures of your home, they inspire me to make mine more beautiful. I love reading comments that people share on what they did to save money, because often I say “I didn’t think of that! Let me try that this week!” I sincerely hope I have never offended anyone on this blog with my comments. Have a blessed day each and every one of you.

  76. Rhonda,

    It was not a problem that you asked. You were right when you stated that I love homeschooling them, and I would love to continue to do so. I had some backlash for not sharing my reasons. The subject of schooling brought out some reader comments to one another that were unkind, and I just had another reader send me a message about yet another comment last week that was hurtful to her on yet another subject, so I just asked for kindness and encouragement. So many readers come here for encouragement, and I don’t want anyone to feel discouraged or judged for their decisions, whatever they are. For example, one person’s frugality may make cooking from scratch possible, while another person lives a life where her frugality means eating out all week using coupons. We all have to approach our individual situations the best we can.

  77. What a fantastic price on cranberries! I froze many bags I found on sale last year and I am still using them in muffins, cookies and breads.

  78. Glad your cat didn’t need as much dental work as estimated. I don’t know about cats but with dogs the estimates for dental cleaning and work are worst case scenarios as it can get quite expensive. Our dog just had hers and like your situation it was less than half of the estimate.

  79. Hi to everyone! We grow our own vegetables. While pulling our many onions out of the ground, I noticed that they still have quite nice greens on them which we just cut off and leave there. I made a mark to have my dehydrator ready next year – i could cut the greens up, dehydrate and use during winter.
    Also I made several meals from mushrooms we pick from our land. Could pick much more. I´m lazy with them.
    Been eating our own fresh potatoes. What a treat.
    Buck-thorns we planted a few years ago have berries! I must pick them before they go soft, I think. I plan to freeze them.
    I found that consignment store near us (may be the wrong word, I mean the shop where people bring their own stuff to sell for little money) has good selection and very low prices. My son goes to school this year and I found him some things without spending myself out of balance. Also I can drop off stuff there I do not need – I just leave it to “free” box.
    My mom sent me pears and plums. I shared them with others. We gave apples and potatoes to others as well.
    I wish i´d done more…
    Greetings to you, Brandy! You´re the best!

  80. Ate dinner out one night as I had errands to run in the city. Did the Olive Garden with the buy one take one deal. I turned it into 4 meals for me. Went to a friend’s for Sunday dinner. She sent me home with leftovers. I will bring a couple of servings of my prepared meals to her when we meet for dinner tonight (I’m bringing a soup, she’s doing an entrée salad) and she will let me use her washer so I can avoid the time and expense of the laundromat! (My washer died last week). Great way to share the cooking load, get my laundry done and get fellowship time with a dear friend. Went to a wine tasting one night and a wine dinner another last week. Not super frugal, but a wonderful experience and a great time to catch up with friends.

    Cooked all other lunches and dinners at home from restaurant leftovers, materials already in the freezer and gifted vegetables. Re-reading books from my library. Took my dogs to a pet wash and nail trim at the local FFA chapter. A bit cheaper than a groomer and I support a good cause. A nice steady rain meant I could skip the car wash. Gave myself a manicure and a facial. Am waiting a week to dye my hair – headbands anyone?

    The tripping electrical circuit in the kitchen fixed itself. Hallelujah! I suspect it got damp when they were fixing the roof.

    Waiting until this weekend to go look for a new washing machine, microwave, and sofa. I will get a washer (ours is dead), but will wait on the sofa, if I don’t see anything I absolutely love. The microwave is more exploratory as it mostly works.

  81. Thanks a million! I’m going to do this with my taco meat tonight!! The lentils didn’t go over so well…Methinks the zucchini will not be detected.

  82. I did not put anything in the water.

    It is important that you rip off any leaves that are going to be below the water line to prevent rotting. The nice thing about rooting plants is that they will grow roots from where you ripped off the leaves. Do add fresh water or change out your water to discourage rotting.

    I had mint in those same arrangements and it didn’t root, but I have rooted mint in the same way before. You can also bury a bit of stem on a mint plant and it will root that way; you dig up the new plant later and sever the connection.

    You can root several plants this way; mint, basil (any basil), honeysuckle, etc. In fact three of the honeysuckle pieces I had in the arrangement rooted, but the others did not. I started my honeysuckle with a cutting from a neighbor. Her honeysuckle plant died since then, so I am going to plant these for her so that she can start over.

    I don’t know if I will have time to sew anything for Christmas this year, so I am trying to figure out what to do. Our thrift store had a 20% off sale last week (they never have sales; this was an 80th anniversary sale) and I picked up two things that I will gift to two daughters. I am probably going to have to look for sales. I haven’t been making birthday gifts much either lately as I just haven’t had time.

  83. Hi Brandy- To save money on back to school clothes shopping, I told all of my children that we were going to start at our local thrift shops first before purchasing anything. We have an excellent Savers right up the street and a decent church thrift shop close by. I did well at both. The church thrift shop was having a $5 bag sale which could be filled with as much women’s and children’s clothing as possible. This was an excellent deal. I bought quite a few shirts, a sweater, and a pair of leggings for my children. I bought a large amount of clothing for one of my sons for back to school at Savers half off clothing sale a few weeks ago. One of my daughters brought a friend with her, and we shopped at Savers early this week for excellent back to school clothing deals. Went to Walmart for socks, underwear, and sneakers for my youngest daughter. I told my children to go through their clothing, wear what they have, borrow / swap clothing with friends, and be creative! I am teaching my children that thrift shops are an excellent resource and should be the first stop when shopping. Brandy- I am very proud of you for all of the changes and hard work that you have weathered these last few weeks. You are a blessing to so many people; not only your family and friends but also your readers. You are always steadfast and loyal to everyone around you. Thank you for everything that you do for everyone. You are truly an inspiration to many, many people.

  84. Thanks Tammy. I think the forecast for the week is pretty good but we’ll probably get more smoke before it’s finished for good. It certainly makes one appreciate clean air all the more.

  85. How weird? It cut off the rest of my post…

    Unfortunately due to a bear, I have not only lost my peaches and apples for this season but the trees themselves received major damage (the peach tree is just a stick now, no limbs!). Hoping they will grow back and stay to fruit again in a couple of years.

    I turned in three old iPhones to Apple’s trade-in Program. One didn’t meet their rules, but the other two did and I have received $50 in Apple gift cards for them. This was a nice surprise as I was going to throw them. I’m going to trade the digital giftcards in for physical ones and gift them to my daughter and niece at Christmas (they have iPods and can buy music with them)! I’m so tickled about this as it is two free gifts!

    I decided to not return to my job as the school this year. My husband and I have talked about it for years and decided this is the season for me to try being a stay at home mom. I think this will be the best thing for our family, but don’t like that I would be bringing in any money. I have started to buy things at sales and thrift stores to re-sell. eBay sales had been slow last week but have picked back up this week, hopefully that continues!

    Brandy, thank you again for your blog and this series. I love reading everyone’s accomplishments each week. I’m going to make an effort to keep track weekly myself because (especially) at this point, seeing the frugal saves helps me feel better about this transition!

  86. Will peaches? I had pulled two off my tree (before the bear), but they rotted instead of ripening… wondering what I did wrong?

  87. Brandy, I hope you are settling into your new routine and that the kids are enjoying school. I’ll continue to pray for you!

    I had a fairly frugal week. I’ve really cut back on my television watching and mindless game playing over the last month or so, and it’s made me a more productive person in general.

    I washed Ziploc bags. I harvested apples, onions, carrots, cilantro, hot peppers, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and one regular tomato from the garden (will my tomatoes never ripen?????). I made and froze applesauce (I really need to get the canner out) and gave a big box of apples to my sister-in-law. I ordered fall garden seeds from a new (to me) company that offered free shipping, and they gave me an additional seed packet free because I was a new customer. I’m going to rip out my nonperforming plants and get my fall garden started.

    I made this week’s menu plan using mostly what was in the house. I had another $10 off $40 coupon for Fred Meyer, and got the rest of what we needed plus a few things I could do with sale+coupon. Saved 26% with coupons on that shopping trip! I’m at the end of the month and the end of the budget, but I probably just need to pick up a gallon of milk later this week. I took my daughter out to lunch with a coupon the restaurant sent me. Yesterday we returned cans and will use the money from that to pay for our “first day of school lunch” today (she has a half day on the first day of school, and it’s our tradition to go to a restaurant we’ve never been to before).

    I chaperoned the Girl Scout Troop’s trip to a water park, and the troop paid for my admission (it was their “fun choice” for what to do with part of their cookie money (they also use some for a service project every year). We all brought our lunches and drinks so we didn’t spend any money while we were there.

    My daughter’s school gave me a t-shirt and a pop socket (for my phone) because I serve on their school board. I was going to buy a new shirt anyway, so that saved me $20! We also got a free dinner at the back to school picnic.

    My daughter wanted some contact paper for a project. I forgot to buy it twice, then discovered an unopened roll we already had at home. Good thing I have a bad memory! Yesterday she made a doll dress for one of her dolls from fabric scraps she had. She’s been wanting to learn to use my machine and that was a great intro project.

    Over the last month I’ve tracked every penny we spent and we are in budget. Last week I set up our September budget using the free version of EveryDollar. I’ve been using a spreadsheet but this will help me track on the fly because I can use the app. This will be helpful when I pay cash for things and don’t get a receipt, like at the farmer’s market. Looking forward to using it! We have many bills increasing in September (seems like everything went up at once!) so I’m going to challenge myself to lower our grocery budget by using what’s in the house and shopping for sales and at less expensive stores to make up for it.

    I hope that everyone has a wonderful, frugal week!

  88. I couldn’t remember my comment last week , turns out I didn’t have time to comment last week. I will pray for you and your family as you go through this difficult time . I will also pray for your commenters on your blog.

  89. I’ve been working on teaching my two little ones about food and electricity waste- to not take what we won’t eat, turn off lights etc. Sometimes it sticks 🙂 my 4 year old got after me for turning on a light in a sunlit room- I was proud! Ha!

    I was able to consolidate my student loans after 10 years of paying. I have a lower interest rate and payment, saving us $400 a month! We will continue to pay extra to these loans to pay them off sooner, but the extra financial freedom monthly that it brings now will allow us to better provide for our kids. I’m so thankful for that and a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Things have been so tight.

    I menu planned, packed all my lunches for work, and baked breakfast muffins from scratch with squash from our garden. Add enough cinnamon and they have no clue there is a veggie in there. :p

    My mother-in-law will be out of state this weekend, and we plan to spend the weekend at her house pet sitting. This also allows us to swim in her pool, use her hot tub, Etc. What’s great about this is It’s like a vacation for us. Plus, the kids love going to Mimi’s house and they always sleep so well after swimming! We want to take advantage of the pool while the weather is still nice.

    Our family drinks a lot of sparkling water. We have talked about maybe getting a SodaStream to make our own sparkling water. Does anyone have any experience with this? I’m not sure that there will be a cost savings in the long run…and it seems like a lot of money up front!

  90. We have a SodaStream and love it! We don’t use the syrup – most of it just doesn’t taste right to us. My daughter and I drink it plain or with a splash of lemon or lime juice. My husband puts the Crystal Light packets in. If you search online there are ways to hack it to hook it up to a larger CO2 tank and make it more affordable. We haven’t done that – I just use lots of Bed Bath and Beyond coupons.

  91. I use a sodastream! It was a wedding gift to me 5 years ago and is still going strong. My husband calculated the cost if refills versus buying bottled soda water (even on sale) and said that in the (semi) long run, one came out ahead. I drink soda water for health reasons (it helps with some dental issues I have) and personal preference and love that I can turn tap water I to carbonated water (in Italy, vending machines sell both still water and carbonated water — I thought that was very neat!) so easily. You could probably find a second hand one somewhere — it’s the cartridge refills that are expensive. But you can return the empty cartridge to get a discount on the next cartridge.

  92. This past couple of weeks have been a mix of frugal, not so frugal and anti-frugal.
    I have canned grape jelly, and tomato jam.
    I received two large zucchini which I had planned on using for bread but I ended up having to give them away.
    My dh’s brother-in-law passed away suddenly on the 20th. They live in PA while we are in KY. Thankfully we had money in the savings account for the trip. So Thursday morning we headed up there and left the kids behind. The eldest is 20 and more than able to stay alone. The other two are younger and went to stay with my parents who live in town. This was a frugal thing in itself as it would have cost us more in food and hotel rooms. While we were there we ate with the family as much as possible. His sister had people bringing in food and there was a meal after the funeral. We had a total shock in the price of funeral. They had chosen to go with cremation, so they had to rent a casket for the ceremony. That was $950 !! For two days. We couldn’t believe it. It’s one of the reasons I want a family graveyard. Our personal thoughts are to toss us in a cardboard box and throw us in the ground. We don’t care. The ceremony itself was by the hour. So his sister had two hours. One for visiting and one for the ceremony. No flowers for the casket and that was it. We had actually thought about buying our caskets now and storing them. and I had thought about making a Pall to use instead of an expensive flower spray. Plus, a Pall can be used over and over again for other members of the family.
    Our brother in law passed away instantly while mowing the grass. My dh replaced her mower because of the circumstance. ( they gave the old one to her church) The new mower was a four wheel drive push mower. All she’ll have to do is walk behind it. This mower is usually priced at $400-500. They had marked it down to $225 for the end of the season sale. My dh flagged down the manager and was able to get it for $175. What a incredible blessing!
    In other news, the dryer broke. Dh fixed it. the washer Broke…Dh fixed it. The Dishwasher broke the day before our trip….The Dh worked on it and ran it last night but I have yet to do a full load in it. But it’s probably fixed. LOL .
    I teach a class of girls at church on Wed. nights. a dozen little hungry things. I was buying snack cakes but it was getting old real quick. One week I had made cookies, which they loved. I was thinking about something cheaper and was in Sam’s club and remembered that you had made popcorn. So I bought a bag of popcorn. My own kids have been going at the popcorn like there is no tomorrow. I’ll be trying the popcorn on my class this week. I’m hoping that they love it too!

  93. Brandy, I have enjoyed your blog for several years now. I discovered it during a particularly trying period in my life, when extreme frugality was a necessity due to some dire financial circumstances. Our situation has improved significantly, but we still practice frugality as a way of life. It is important to us to be good stewards of our resources and avoid waste. I really enjoy reading about what you do, and the comments shared by other readers. I believe the purpose here is not only to share ideas & suggestions, but also to encourage & uplift one another. I’m sorry to hear there was negativity.

    I haven’t commented in a while, so my frugal accomplishments for the last couple of weeks were cleaning out & organizing our chest freezer. We divided up & cooked some of the larger cuts of meat that were getting close to expiration, rather than letting them be “lost” in the bottomless pit of the freezer until they went bad or got freezer burn (which admittedly we have done in the past), so I consider that a frugal win. I also brought home several free grocery items left over from an event held at my office. Most people I work with are not very frugal and also do not like leftovers, and there were several things that were going to be thrown away, including an unopened loaf of bread & pack of buns, a large quantity of unsalted butter, and some other random assorted items. I tried to talk several coworkers into taking them home, but nobody would accept, so I did. It will all get used & not go to waste. I used several free item coupons at Kroger to get some cheese & frozen vegetables (they periodically mail me a stack of paper coupons, which usually includes 2-3 free items). My husband found a new leather jacket, couple of sweaters & some dress shirts for work for a bargain at an estate sale in our neighborhood. On our way out, the cashier told us to take whatever we wanted from the garage as they were getting ready to close the sale, so we got a large box of free kitchenware including 2 full sets of drinking glasses. We kept a few items, but gave most of it to a friend who can use it.

  94. Sally, I am so sorry for your loss. That is so difficult.

    You sound very similar to us – we live in a modest home & drive sensible vehicles, shop at Aldi, and live frugally. Even if it is not out of necessity during this time in our lives, it helps us plan for our future and weather any surprises that come our way.

  95. I went to an extremely small, rural high school and I was on free lunches. I remember really enjoying the cafeteria food, probably for similar reasons you mentioned – we rarely ate out and it was almost like a “treat.” There are several items they served that I still miss, 25+ years later! They used to make this one dish called “fiesta stack” that was essentially a giant taco salad.

  96. I forgot some other frugal things. My sil wanted to get rid of some of her husbands things. She gave dh a HUGE bag of socks. She gave me Two water bath canners, a canning utensil set and 4-5 dozen pint canning jars with rings. She gave my youngest a new winter coat.
    plus on our way home we stopped a flea market that I’ve always wanted to stop at. I found a small Le-Creuset teapot in Caribbean blue for 50 cents. Couldn’t believe it.
    I think that’s it.

  97. I didn’t comment last week, as I was overwhelmed by all the comments. Brandy – good luck with the education of your children. Whether in public school or home school, how parents treat education is the most important thing. I know you have put your children first in your decision for what is best for their education. You will remain in my prayers.

    Saturday, the 18th my neighbor, who sells at the local farmer’s market brought over a huge number of cucumbers for me. I ended up making 10 quarts and 1 half gallon of dill pickles. also made 4 jars of refrigerator pickles. These taste kind of like bread and butter pickles.

    We picked broccoli, zucchini, cabbage, beans, onions, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and corn from the garden. We also dug potatoes as needed. Picked basil, parsley, chives, cilantro, thyme, and oregano, both as needed and for drying.

    I transplanted our third seeding of lettuce to an empty raised bed, so they will have more room to grow.

    I made 4 loaves of herb bread, homemade egg rolls with cabbage, carrots and onion from the garden, zucchini relish, homemade pizza, and fried rice.

    My DH was wonderful and cleaned the kitchen after I did the cooking and canning. I was exhausted. I am in my mid 60’s, and standing for up to 10 hours a day (which I did over the weekend) is hard on my back.

    We had rain yesterday, which was wonderful. It washed the air, so we could actually see blue sky and the hills surrounding us. We have had terrible smoke from all the wild fires around us. I am grateful to be able to breathe freely again.

    Blessings to every one.

  98. Thank you Brandy for expanding on your thoughts and reasoning for asking for kindness and encouragement. I appreciate the non-judgmental tone of this blog and enjoy getting ideas even though at this stage of life (retirement) we have more financial flexibility than we did at some earlier stages of life when money was very tight.

  99. Debbie:
    Best wishes for your new home! It seems that became a way for you to re-think what is important to you, but oh! that’s not how you want to do it!
    I’m glad if you were able to choose the shape and the objects to include (and exclude) in your new place.

  100. Juls Owings:
    Thank you for including the story of your Amish neighbor. Part of her routines’ success must be making it physically possible for the children to do the work: I wonder how many step stools she has in her kitchen so they can work at the counters.
    A friend of mine did a study in a school that taught both part Amish and English (the Amish word for non-Amish) children. She found that when the Amish students were put in situations where they could work and learn cooperatively, they did very well in school. That is how they were used to working at home. They did not do as well when expected to work independently. I don’t remember the results she found for the English children.

  101. *Picked up 10 packages of Kool-aid jammers for $.69 each and found our favorite brand of yogurt marked down to 50% off at Kroger

    *Picked up a used dresser that my mom was giving away for my son

    *Bought plane tickets 4 months in advance to save money

    *Restocked our homeschool prize box with goodies from the dollar store

  102. Kim, I know exactly how you are feeling. I moved 2500 miles to help my son and grandchildren and leased my house (couldn’t sell it due to market conditions…sigh) through a property management company. The first tenant cost me over $6000 in unpaid rent, utilities, and court costs. The second tenant was excellent and lived there for several years. I finally sold the house to them last year. What a relief! No more worries about a new roof or furnace or some other huge expense. It will be a real weight off your shoulders when you sell the rental house.

  103. I love my soda stream. I use homemade fruit syrups and juices rather than most of the commercial syrups. It makes entertaining easy as I don’t have to stock a bunch of different sodas for a cocktail party.

  104. Sorry to hear about your brother in law. You sound like you’re having a season like mine with things breaking – at least your husband is able to fix things – what a blessing. Hang in, it will get better.

  105. I find the thrift store to be a good source for frames. I learned to frame needlework items by watching youTube videos.

  106. I know you don’t care to share your reasoning(s) for sending an assorted handful of your children to public school, and I agree, that should be respected. On the other hand, I would consider that it could be a good opportunity to share your wisdom and thought processes in regards to your choices, as you are so talented at doing, since I think some of your readers may be struggling with the same dilemmas that you are facing regarding homeschooling vs public/private schooling. And it would afford you the opportunity to share your heart with them, thus helping them sort out their own unique situations. Sometimes it is helpful when, in the midst of our troubles and confusion, a respected mentor (which I believe many regard you as) offers to share their trials and how and why they overcame them.
    This is just my two cents and maybe food for thought. I know you screen comments and we don’t always know what is going on bts in that regard but I think we can all agree that this community is, and has been, a space and place for community, learning from one another, sharing blessings and burdens, offering and receiving virtual hugs of comfort.
    Again, just my viewpoint and I hope you don’t receive it in the wrong way as it is truly offered with a caring heart and good intentions.
    On the homefront, can you explain where/how you collect runoff water from your a/c unit please? Ours sit on the ground and I haven’t been able to notice were I would set pails to collect the water. Are your units raised? I know when there have been times I had window units it was very obvious to me but this has me perplexed. Thanks!

  107. We had to take a family member out for a birthday lunch to Olive Garden, known for gigantic servings. I orderd the salmon and broccoli and my partner ordered steak and zucchini with fettucini. We both brought half our food home plus breadsticks. The next day I took his fettuccini and added my chopped broccoli and flaked salmon plus i sliced the breadsticks and made garlic bread with them for lunch for both of us. The next day after that , I thin sliced his steak and rubbed it with cumin and coriander, stirfried a sliced bell pepper, onion and tomatoes with the meat, added lime juice and served it all in a warmed tortilla- instant fajitas from leftovers and it served both of us. Today I have a half pepper left from the fajitas so will chop with celery and grated carrots and add to a can of tuna with my homemade mayonnaise Wil serve on chopped lettuce and some sliced radishes. I’ll cut the last bread stick ans make croutons for the salad. Dinner last night was lentil vegetable soup left from last week’s pressure cooker creation. No new food has need buying this week other than a gallon of milk. I will continue to forage around and make meals from what is already here.

  108. I’m smiling as I read these memories of school lunches. My mother worked in the cafeteria when I was in elementary and jr. high (thus we ate free lunches) and everything was made from scratch — I still have a couple of recipes from there that I use. School lunches are much different now.

  109. I went to a yard sale last weekend and knew I was in the right place when I saw a scrawny-yet-blooming petunia plant in the crack between the driveway and garage door. Rather like the volunteer tomato Gardenpat wrote about, I like seeing flowers that appear where they wish. I had been looking for blouses in my size all summer and found several there for a dollar each. At another sale, I found two ziplocs of mostly new embroidery floss for $1.25. I estimate it would cost at least fifty dollars new. Lots of bookmark tassels there!
    I have learned where all the clearance sections are in my supermarket, fortunately on my route around the “outside” aisles of the store, where the healthier fresh food is. This weekend, I found a large pre-made salad, pre-cut pineapple, pre-cut watermelon, and pesto, each for 99 cents a container. The pesto was originally $6.99 (horrors!) and I bought a second one to see if it freezes.
    We are having many small repair projects done to our house, (lattice under the deck, bathroom light/fan, etc.). None are crucial, yet all would need to be done if we someday put our house on the market. This way, we can enjoy the house while it is in better shape, instead of paying for repairs to be done for only the future owners.

  110. This is a different stage in your life. No doubt you will return to homemade presents in the future — for now I hope we can all help you find what you need. (If you have a close friend or relative you can share your ‘wish list’ with, I’ve found this is a great way to source gifts — they can alert you to special sales or garage sale finds that fit your needs.)

  111. Count me as one of those who is sorry to hear there were negative comments. This blog is gentle and kind, and that is one of the reasons I read it.
    I did manage to save some money, but it seems we’ve been watching it flow away from us lately. We’ve had several things that we’d waited on until we can’t wait anymore, plus, the dreaded medical bills that insurance conveniently doesn’t cover. I just discovered that the plan I chose, in part because it had a flat fee for MRI’s with no deductible or other co-pay, pays only for the MRI, not for the reading of it! As if reading an MRI isn’t an integral part of getting one. As I know I will need an MRI every year, this was more than aggravating.
    On the frugal side, though, I’ve been doing better with the grocery budget. Even though I grocery shop on Fridays, and thus will have five shopping trips this month instead of four, I think I will end the month staying under my four-week budget. That’s a win.
    I have $25 dollars from Swagbucks banked away at Amazon. We have a $50 item we need to purchase so I’m working to build up more.
    I have about $30 credit for selling my clothes to ThredUp. I still haven’t bought anything more, though, until I see what I really need.
    I’m collecting things from around the house for my next yard sale.
    Brandy, why did I never think about rooting my basil? It always dies in the winter; I can root some and keep it indoors until spring.
    Thanks !

  112. Cindi, the homemade wooden buttons sound very nice. I suppose in the store they would have cost quite a bit, if you could even find real wood ones.

  113. D in M…birdwatching and wildlife watching are some of our favorite activities also. Birds are just starting to be on the move here now…heading south.

  114. Thank you so much, Lisa, Debora, and Pamela B.
    Losing a beloved pet is always hard. As a wise friend of mine reminded me, each new grief touches all the ones that came before. Pamela B., it’s so nice to share similar values!

  115. Amy, the unopened bags of dried cranberries will last long long past the stated expiration. What a nice find at the store.

  116. If it was a normal decision made in that way, that would be possible, but it didn’t happen that way at all, so I cannot share the reasoning behind it, because that’s not how the decision came about. It was very last minute and we had already started homeschooling for the new year when things changed on the first day of public school.

    On the a/c question–my house has 2 a/c units on one side of the house (on the ground). On the opposite side of the house, there are two pipes near to the ground that water drips from when it is humid outside, which is usually July and August. They are low but not at ground level; I can stick a 1-gallon ice cream bucket under them. I just stick the bucket there and when it is humid, it catches the drips. It looks like not much–just a slow drip–but I have had 3-5 gallons of water a day from it the last couple of months. Now it has stopped dripping as it is no longer humid enough. I like that the water, unlike our groundwater, is neither salty nor has a high pH, which makes it ideal to use in the garden, besides the fact that it doesn’t cost me anything.

  117. Megan, make sure you don’t have any fruit flies. They will get into that “navel” area on the fruit and cause it to be rotting from the inside while the out looks fine. Set fruit fly traps.

  118. I have not read any comments yet so if this is a repeat I apologize in advance. If some of your children have no interest in eating school provided lunches you may want to go ahead and qualify them for free lunch program anyway as this often qualifies them for lots of other fees being waived. Such as ACT testing fees (not sure about SAT’s), AP fees, computer lab fees, some activity fees and most colleges waive the registration fee if you qualify for free lunch. Not trying to be in your business but just wanted you to know this was available if you and/or your readers were interested. Sometimes all you have to do is ask the guidance counselor. The ACT and college entrance fees can also be waived for low-income private school kids with help from the counselor since the free lunch program isn’t usually in private schools. So that might be true of homeschoolers too.

  119. Thank you. Yes, sometimes it seems like everything happens all at once. We just keep plugging away knowing that it will end eventually.

  120. Brandy,
    I’m a long time reader but rarely comment. I’ve learned so much from you over the years and have always respected how you run your household and this blog. While, I feel we are likely complete opposites I’ve never felt judged or belittled by anything you’ve published and your commenters should follow your example. Remember, children always adapt to change more quickly and smoothly than adults, so don’t be too hard on yourself. I hope that all of your children have a wonderful year and make many lasting friendships and memories.
    Thank You,

  121. Peaches will ripen on the counter if they aren’t harvested too early. I’ve had store-bought peaches rot from the inside out more than once. It’s so frustrating.

  122. We, too, received a SodaStream as a gift, and we use it all the time. My husband loves his club soda/sparkling water, so this has been great for us. Like Karen, we rarely use the syrup and stick with lemon or lime, or frozen strawberries or raspberries for a pleasant change. I like the idea of Crystal Light packets, I’d never thought of that. Target used to carry SodaStream products and took the used tanks for a discount on new ones, but I don’t know if they still do. Bed/Bath/Beyond still does, fortunately.

  123. Brandy, that basil plant is beautiful!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate dinner in 6 times, including 40 garlic clove chicken (twice); leftover garlic chicken; corned beef and cabbage skillet made with corned beef from the freezer leftover from St. Patrick’s Day; spaghetti w/sauce I had gotten for 50c/can and some cooked chicken breast from the freezer; and steak w/baked potato and asparagus.
    • Hosted a murder mystery party for 2 couples we get together with 3 – 4 times a year. We take turns hosting. It was a lot of fun and our costumes didn’t cost us too much, as we already had most of the items we needed and what we didn’t have I got at Goodwill. We had food leftover too, so I froze most of it and will eat the rest thru the week.
    • Worked 10 contract hours.
    • Hubby and I our lunches to work every day we worked except for the day Hubby’s boss took him to lunch.
    • I fill up an empty soft soap container with dish detergent to keep by the kitchen sink. I always dilute it by half. Since it is just the 2 of us, I rarely fill the sink with water, but rather wash a couple of items at a time and the diluted soap works much better for us.
    • My sister is in the process of organizing her house. She gave me some items she no longer wants, including a bottle of wine, a jarred candle; 2 pairs of earrings; unopened eye cream, face wash, facial moisturizer and hair serum; assorted greeting cards; and a bag of scrap silk fabric, which I use when I color Easter eggs.
    • Got some more Ibotta rebates. Redeemed some of the money for an Amazon gift card, which I used to buy a tablecloth I had been wanting.
    • Got another Agatha Christie book from the library, plus a couple of others.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  124. Athanasia, there is just no way to sugarcoat how long these things take when you’re doing it yourself, is there?! 🙂

  125. I completely agree with your request for kindness and positive encouragement on your blog. There is far too much negativity and hate in the world already. We could all use a little more kindness in our lives. Thank you for your understanding.

  126. I am surprised you had to expend a lot of money for school supplies in Las Vegas. Things have changed. When I went to public school in Nevada, the state furnished all supplies for every child, so every child would be provided for equally.

    In the state where I currently live, required school supply lists are posted in the stores for the different grade levels and schools in the area, so I am reminded that it is time for that again, and I must say that in my opinion, the teachers in our area appear to be trying to be very frugal.

    A few years ago, when I taught a children’s class at church, I thought it would be fun for the kids to make up backpacks of school supplies to give out at our church’s food bank/free clothing distribution/community services center. The pastor had me tell the congregation what I wanted to do, and people donated on the spot. It wasn’t a lot of money, but I was able to buy backpacks and supplies as per the lists from the different schools. I worked really hard shopping around to get the most for the money. Then the kids in my children’s class assembled the supplies in the backpacks, and we labeled the backpacks for which grade and school they would work for. Then several children met me at the Community Services Center to hand the full backpacks out to parents who came for free food and clothing. The children loved giving out the backpacks, and the parents were very gracious about accepting the backpacks from them. Maybe this service idea would be helpful in other areas. At the time I did this, WalMart was the most economical place I had available for buying backpacks. I used coupons for some supplies. The project took about a day of shopping and organizing because I drove into a larger city to shop. We live in an area with very little shopping. Anyway, it’s just an idea.

  127. Hi Brandy & all-
    I know that last week’s comments and topics of discussion seemed to get a little more heated than usual. I do think that as a whole, that this community is so supportive of each other and (hopefully you agree, Brandy) supportive of your efforts and talents. I’m sending prayers your way for a continued community of peace and support here and in your personal life.

    We’ve had many expenses out of the ordinary that have encouraged us to continue finding ways to save including:
    -Downloading the ‘Hoopla’ app for additional options from my library system for tv shows, books, music, and audio books that OverDrive doesn’t have. They also have hundreds of graphic novels and comics which our family loves but are VERY expensive.
    -Our discount grocer had peaches for $0.49/lb and I bought enough to can many jars of peaches and peach jam.
    -I received a discount code ($15 off) on Chewy for my cat’s food, and also received another discount for signing up for Autoship bringing down the cost substantially, and we were able to stock up. I cancelled the Autoship with no penalty as soon as my order shipped.
    -Made a batch of greek yogurt and coconut granola that was eaten the same night! I planned on using it throughout the week, and will make a double batch from now on.
    -I am reusing a dress and shoes for a wedding, and we are also driving back home instead of staying in a hotel like the rest of the family (who live even closer than we do).
    -I made some frugal big batch meals from the garden as I know I have lower energy after work when the seasons change, including: mushroom and leek risotto, Honey roasted chicken, chicken tortilla soup, green chile, and Hot and sour eggplant.

  128. Good luck with your cat’s new diet, and overall health! I hope the new food does the trick. Our kitty was having some health problems too, and a diet change did the trick.

  129. Brandy, So sorry you had to deal with negative comments last week. Let’s hope that was a one time only thing.
    I know you will quickly settle into your new routine- you are awesome at keeping a household running smoothly!

    I have gotten enough raspberries from our patch for a good batch of jam and some to keep for smoothies this winter. I have also picked enough blackberries for jam and smoothies.

    I had been wanting a new chair for my family room as the current one has a white slipcover which doesn’t do well with a 5 year old boy. I have washed the slipcover so much it is starting to sag and look sloppy. I saw some really nice chairs on sale for like $149 but I just don’t have that in the budget. I found an excellent chair at the restore- in the right color and everything for $5!! I am so happy and now if the grandson has a major mishap, it won’t be the end of the world as I will only be out the $5. This is truly a blessing to me and proof that patience pays off.

    Then I made a major mistake. I was feeling sorry for my two nieces that come from a very dysfunctional home. I wanted to give them some positive memories before school starts so I thought I would take them bowling and out for a meal. I have no idea what I was thinking (a moment of insanity on my part). That little outing cost $200!! I had no idea bowling was that expensive. That was just bowling no snacks or drinks at the bowling alley. We did have a nice Mexican dinner at a sit-down restaurant which added a lot to the cost as well. I now realize why we never go do all the stuff everyone around us does- we would be broke in a hurry. I am still in shock over that experience. I had originally planned on taking them to the beach for the day but there was so much smoke from forest fires in the air that it was just not healthy so I came up with an indoor idea instead. Next year, it will be the beach for sure even if we have to wait for the smoke to clear. The beach will be no cost except gas to get there and back. We will bring our own food and drinks.

    I have very thick, curly hair which means I need a cut every 4-6 weeks because it grows out not down. My hair is too difficult for me or my husband to cut and have it look presentable. This summer I decided to go all summer without a hair cut to save some extra money. I have been wearing it pulled up most of the summer so it worked. I have now scheduled a cut but will continue on this new longer schedule between cuts as it will save me almost $200 a year. This will be especially helpful once my husband and I retire.

    I hope everyone has a good week.
    Kim-Pacific Northwest (United States)

  130. I was amazed on how you managed to get the kids into public schools on relatively short notice. Well done.

  131. I agree with Rhonda. It’s not wrong to ask questions. With good boundaries, people can ask respectful questions, and the person they ask can choose to not answer their questions. And they don’t have to give a reason why or defend their choices. A healthy, lively community is usually full of differing opinions and values. It’s good to make room for that to happen. Being able to share different perspectives within healthy boundaries is a strength. It helps us all to grow and learn from each other.

    Schooling is such a personal decision. So many factors come in to play. All families are different, all children are unique. My brother homeschooled two of his four children back in the eighties until his oldest completed second grade. He was a school psychologist and his wife was a grade school teacher. I have one brother in law that homeschooled all three of his kids all the way through. One is becoming a physical therapist, one is working on an engineering degree and one wants to be a farmer. All of our other siblings sent their kids to public or private school. They don’t seem to be any better or worse off than the homeschooled kids. But it has made for some interesting holiday meals over the years. . .

    Personally, I would have loved to send my kids to a private school. Sometimes I get sad thinking about some of the teenaged rights of passage they have missed out on that my husband and I enjoyed in high school. But this mythical school experience I’m feeling sad about does not exist in my community and even if it did, we would not have been able to afford it. What we do have are excellent homeschool laws in our state, and close proximity to lots of resources. So, we’ve done our best to capitalize on what’s available and have tried to trust that it will all work out in the end.

    And that is my hope for you Brandy, and all of your readers. To do what you can with the resources you have, and to trust that kids who are loved grow up to be exceptional people no matter where they get their education from.

  132. Brandy, I have always been grateful and appreciative that you are so willing to share your life so freely with us! I am also thankful that you have created boundaries where appropriate. Thank you for your time and effort that helps us all!

  133. Lorna – there will be a big whoop and holler from me (and I am sure many, many others) when you reach your house goal! I’ve followed your postings for a long time. You and your husband have weathered some very big storms and through your own hard work, being open to blessings when they occur and blessing others as well you have not just survived but thrived. It is also so interesting to me to have our seasons be ‘opposite’! Really adds to that feeling of global framily. (A word a friend made up many years ago and one that I love.)

  134. Elizabeth, I didn’t see the original post about your cat, but if you’re using a special food, ask the vet if they can ask the manufacturer if there are any ongoing studies. When my Doxie had a heart attack years ago, she was put on a very expensive canned food. Between the vet bill (the vet was a specialist in Beverly Hills!) and the food, I probably broke into a visible sweat! That sweet Vet found a dog food study on special food and for simply filling out a questionnaire for 3 months, I got a case of free food every month for 15 months. Those simple questionnaire s were worth about $500 of food!
    It never hurts to ask!

  135. Hi Tanja, does your daughter already know which part of Australia she would go to? I live in Adelaide (South Australia) and would be happy to provide some info, tips etc. if it would be helpful.

  136. Cindi, these comments made me smile, too! We were also poor and the school lunch was too expensive. We were allowed to choose one day a month for the caf lunch. I always chose spaghetti day! It was spaghetti, garlic bread, green beans(my favorite), and applesauce. I practically licked the plate clean! My mom hated pasta so that was the only noodle dish I ate. I didn’t try pizza, lasagna, or Kraft Mac and cheese until college!

  137. Shelley, yes, I agree that sometimes people are not so nice in online comments. But, sometimes, they are like that in person too. 😮 I work at the front desk in a small medical office, and you would be surprised at the mean and unpleasant things people have said to me. It doesn’t happen very often, thankfully, and I try not to take it personally (I just figure they are having a bad day or something). But I always wonder what they are trying to accomplish by being mean to the person who makes their appointments and gives them access to their doctor.

  138. Lorna, like PJGT, I love keeping tabs on your house payment fund through the Frugal Accomplishments! It has been fun from afar to watch your total grow steadily over the weeks and months. You and your husband are inspirational for your tireless perseverance, hard work, commitment and creativity in saving money towards your goal. I can’t WAIT for you to get that dream house on your property that will be comfortable for you and your DH. Hugs and best wishes! Save on 🙂

  139. Brandy, I was looking back at your White Garden photos from last year, I think. You had some beautiful ornamental cabbages. Do you grow them from seed? Several years ago, I wanted some but the only ones they had were potted…and very expensive. They didn’t sell seeds and I have never seen them. Do you or anyone have a source. I love the way they look.

  140. I am going to borrow your ice cream sandwich idea. Haven’t had them in years. I need to take dessert to a friend’s house for Labor Day. I can do a dairy free one with Hubby’s soy ice cream so he doesn’t feel left out.

  141. The Frugalwoods blog has a post on the CO2 hack. I want to have my son do this for me when we have time and money. I love making the carbonated water at home!

  142. Oh Debbie, I’m sorry for the loss of your house. I too lost my house in a fire some years ago so know exactly what you have been through. It was a very overwhelming situation for me at times, but we did come out on the other side of it. The design was one of the most worrisome items for me. Had I planned to build a house it would have been different from having to unexpectedly make so many decisions in short order and under duress. But it all worked out and I was so thankful that we weren’t at home and that we (and pets) were safe. Sending hugs and blessings as you move into your new house and move forward.

  143. This week we are on extreme frugal out of necessity. Made it back for school and week one is going well. My son was able to use supplies from last year, so no expenses there. Found that we are able to sell back 2 of his books on line for a few dollars. He also has one text book to use for the second class. Books will be about one-third the cost of other semesters.

    My friend is having a garage sale and asked if I’d like to join her. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to clear out the remaining stuff in the garage and all of my son’s too large clothing from his recent weight loss rather than just donate it as I usually do. These trying financial times can get tiring, but we all persevere!

    Using what we have and we are thankful for all that we do have. This warm week I am extremely thankful for air-conditioning! I’d certainly be miserable without it unlike my friends who don’t mind the heat. I love the cold and hate the heat.

    My friend colored my hair for me and I will do my nails. Starting the school year looking my best.

    Happy frugal-ing friends.

  144. Brandy, I just want to thank you for being so considerate and graceful to your readers when sometimes they are not. I’m sure many readers were curious about the change to public school after so many years of homeschooling but I hope none of them were overly intrusive or judgmental on your personal decision. There is already too much mom-shaming under the guise of concern on the internet. I feel some of us forget ourselves and assume every reader here is X religion, X politically inclined etc so it is good of you to remind us we all come from different backgrounds. But I do hope that one day you update your child naming post to include Hamish – he’s such a cutie!

    This week I went with my friend to a beautiful hotel to have afternoon tea for her birthday. While it was lovely, I can’t help thinking that I could’ve made everything at home and get my own tea set – so it was a once in a lifetime thing. We strolled the gardens after and saw the florist taking down the arch for a wedding that had ended. He was pulling down flowers and tossing them in a giant cardboard box. We approached and asked if we might take a few flowers and he enthusiastically agreed and even helped us pick out the prettiest ones. I got enough to make a very beautiful bouquet that makes me smile to see it every time I pass by the living room.

  145. Thank you Lynn! We have been blessed with an amazing contractor and an amazing home owners insurance company. All of my family and all of our neighbors were unharmed. Thank God! Blessings to you and your family as well.

  146. Hi Lynn from NC Outer Banks and thank you for your encouragement it is greatly appreciated 🙂 , we need all the encouragement we can get.

    Secretly we can’t wait either but it will definitely be worth all the hard work when we get there and we will keep saving with gusto and enthusiam.

  147. Hi S Co Mary and thank you also for your encouragement it is greatly appreciated :), and yes all of us on here are a global framily (love that word) thanks to Brandy’s hard work and dedication in supplying us a site where we can encourage each other and give each other good ideas.

    We will also be whooping and hollering as well when we reach our target and approach the bank for the bank loan for the remainder of funds needed and have it accepted. There will also be a new (or near new at the right price) second car we will pay cash for in the deposit percentage we are saving for as well as a 4 car garaport for machinery and cars also paid in cash, the land will also be paid for in cash and a 4 mt covered entertainment area also paid for in cash . The only thing we will be borrowing for will be part of the house to be built.

  148. I have what appears to be the same basil plant. I bought it at Sprouts, where it was called ‘Cinnamon’ basil. It’s very pretty and fragrant and in addition to cooking, I’ve enjoyed using it in bouquets (with orange mint and lemon balm) around the house. My husband gave me an apple mint and a chocolate mint plant about 5 years ago and they are the hardiest things ever. I use them in fruit salads and other foods, tea, ice water, bouquets, and still they keep on giving. They migrate around the herb garden, which is rather fun… “Where are you guys going next…?”

    I washed and reused freezer and sandwich bags, and also emptied and reused the bag in the recycle portion of the kitchen bin. (It holds only “clean” recyclables, so I empty it into the curbside pickup bin, give it a rinse, and put it back in the kitchen. I figure if I do that 15 times, that’s a box of kitchen bags that didn’t go in the landfill – and that I didn’t have to buy.)

    I’ve continued taking advantage of warm days to use the clothesline instead of the dryer. I collect water from warming up showers, and from rinsing produce, and use it to water the herb garden and potted plants.

    I used several Shutterfly free offers to make personalized back-to-school gifts for grandchildren, and several other gifts I’ll give at the holidays. At a thrift store, I found three books (novels) my daughter needed for a class. She owns the novels in hardback but didn’t want to carry them back and forth to campus, and also didn’t want to mark them up. Thrift store paperbacks to the rescue! I mailed them to her using USPS media mail – $3.00.

    My husband and I consolidated errands, saving time and gas. I remembered the reusable bags and received a $.10/bag credit. We had a few days of cooler temperatures, so we’ve turned the AC completely off and are enjoying open windows all around the house.

    As another frugal blogger sometimes says when signing off, I made the difficult decision to pass on buying that gold-plated Lear Jet. It was tempting, but…no.

  149. thank you for the offer Jo. But she does not know yet which part. I think the school has adresses for them of families/farmers that provide them an internship. She’ll probebly get more info at the end of the first year of school. I saw on the news in The Netherlands that farmers in Australia struggle hard because of the drought, I feel for them!

  150. Hi Brandy,
    I am a long time reader but I don’t usually comment much. I had to chime in on this one for a few reasons: 1. I don’t like people being mean to others, 2. We have actually been dealing with this same situation this past school year. We homeschool our children but last year our oldest went to 8th grade and the others kept homeschooling. This year she is in 9th grade and plans on completing school. One thing I can say is she was never behind but she was always ahead. They said whatever we were doing in our homeschool is working. A wise lady told me we never, ever have to explain ourselves to anyone! She is absolutely right! I also don’t know why people are so mean. The world is full of sadness already. We don’t need any more hatred we need more uplifting, edifying, happiness from one another. I hope everything works out for you guys. I know it will. 🙂 We’ll be thinking of y’all and uplifting your family in prayer.

  151. I got two refunds in the mail. I am shocked at how you have to run down your money now days but it is true you do have to.
    I matched sales and coupons. I continue selling as I am able . I bought some Christmas gift items on half off day at the Salvation Army two really nice shirts for hubby and for grandson new with tags still on high quality brands . It is not often I can find hubby’s size.
    I now have six clients all are fairly sporadic and all need me at the same time it is odd how things work out. Looking for more steady work that is not too difficult given my disabilities and my age.
    Looking to stretch a dollar ever way I am able. I also realize even one penny saved gives me one additional to pay grandson for helping out around the house it is amazing what a six year old can help with when they want to earn money.

  152. Elizabeth,

    There are several different entities here that help those in need. My son who is now in school helped fill backpacks for homeless students as a service project with Project 150 the week before school started. It is a huge project with so many homeless students (12,000 in our district) and many different people and groups collaborate to help these students. Our congregation has an ongoing project to help send home food for the weekend for those students as part of Project 150; it has to be things that need no cooking whatsoever, so it includes things like tuna/crackers and granola bars.

  153. Sometimes they drip from a pipe up higher (I think this is more likely when they are installed on your roof). I had a home inspector tell me about that possibility. Then they are above your eye level. I thought I’d mention that for anyone else who is looking for theirs.

  154. Brandy, I’d love it if you would do a post on how you bought for Christmas presents this year. There are some people who are not very “crafty” that may benefit from tips on how you find ways to give gifts on a tight budget. I’d find it very interesting to read, especially if you included some of the gifts you were giving. You always have such wonderful gift ideas!

  155. Debby, if you want to grow them from seed, you can, but they tend to take so long to get going that though I have tried, I don’t love doing them that way, because in order to have them ready for fall, I have to plant in summer, and here it is too hot for them, so they just bolt. The best price I have found them for before is in a six-pack ($0.64 each). Our local nursery didn’t carry them that way last year, though. They carry small ones in a 4-inch container for $0.99 each during the season, which is fall/winter here. Those go on sale for $0.88 each.

    They do sell big ones at the nursery, too, but those are huge with a price tag to match. They usually run about $3 each.

    I have seen them at Home Depot and Lowe’s, but their prices are higher.

    Our nursery sells both decorative cabbages and decorative kale, with two colors in each.

    I did find seeds at one place before and I did try them; it was Johnny’s Seeds. I haven’t seen them anywhere else.

  156. You’re so right–they are definitely adapting quicker than I am. My day has changed and I am struggling to get things done now, which means I need to work at being even more efficient with my time so that I can take care of the household tasks.

  157. Many tomatoes were ripe over the weekend! I canned spaghetti sauce and barbecue sauce as well as enjoyed fresh tomatoes in salad. I’m grateful the garden has produced fairly well this year. I’m hoping to have another good picking so I can share more produce with my neighbors. I have a number of cucumbers ready to pick and I will attempt pickles.

    Thank you for your openness and willingness to share your life. I appreciate reading what is posted so that I can learn how to do new/different things for my family.

  158. I have found California King sheet sets at Ross and Marshall’s on clearance. I usually pay $20. My boys loved Rolie Polie Olie.

  159. Thank you Brandy for continuing to encourage us all in our goals; your blog is a great source of inspiration for me.

    This past week I worked 32 hours at my occasional office job;
    Batched cooked some meals to avoid eating out during this busy week;
    Made swag goal x 2
    Showed my teenage daughter how to make inexpensive eye make up remover using just baby shampoo and water (ratio is 1 part shampoo to 5 parts water);
    Sold a few items on local FB site;
    Bought 2 items on local FB site for Christmas gifts for my daughters;
    Resisted turning on heat 2 very cold mornings, instead bundled up in sweaters and fuzzy socks.

    Thanks to all who post…this is a great community helping each another.

  160. TJ:
    If you have a combined heating-and-cooling system, you might have different condensation drains than those in a place where the system is only for cooling, which I am guessing is Brandy’s situation. Our air conditioner (unit outside on the ground) and heating furnace are combined to use one fan-blowing-system in the basement. A very small plastic box is attached with plastic tubing that runs the condensation water to a sink, though I don’t know if that is some not-standard installation the previous owners put in.

  161. Our local (45 minutes away since I live in middle of soybean field) bowling alley has bargain days. I took niece and grand-nephews and some of their parents for fun day before school started. $4 each for 9 of us. $2 to bowl and $2 for shoes My sister brought snacks so we had parking lot picnic. I had learned about bargain days from a college student who works at local thrift store. I mentioned i had been to Tuesday $5 movie and he said bowling alley also had bargain days he and his college friends used. Then we went swimming at friends condo and swam for hours with no one else in pool (condo is in college town and not many residents in summer) Had more snacks and drinks my sister provided. We had fun 8 hours, they all went home and back to school a few days later. I went into condo and slept for 9 hours to recover from being around children for 8. I am child-free but take the kids in our family out for fun days several times a year. The bowling alley also had a great arcade, I won a FB contest for 5 $10 arcade gift cards so the 4 kids p!us adult bowler with best score all enjoyed the arcAde between bowling and swimming. I think our next Fun Day when they are out for Fall Break is going to be playing all sorts of board games and eating all their favorite junk food at Grandma’s kitchen table.

  162. Liz, the school meals in my state are really pretty healthy and balanced. For instance, the children are required to pick from each food group as they go through the line. Unfortunately, too many children are not used to healthy eating. It is appalling to see so many perfectly good, untried salads, apples, and oranges dumped in the trash as the children leave.

  163. What a beautiful expression ‘washing the air’, I’m going to use that myself one day, thank you Nancy!

  164. Hi Kitty B.,
    As I am also in Calgary, I was wondering if you could give me the link to your facebook site. I would probably like to sell
    some items.

    I’ll bet your glad the smoke isn’t as bad! I know I surely am. I read it snowed in places in the mountains! Ann

  165. Brandy,
    Thank you for taking the time to monitor your comment section. I know people can get carried away because they aren’t speaking to others in person. I usually like blogs where the comments are more moderated.

  166. Amish and farm families are a lot alike. My husband is from Amish and I am from farm.
    Everyone has to do their part to make it work, meaning children start age appropriate chores with supervision soon as they can understand the concept. You do your chores well and you move onto other chores with more responsibility and difficulty. It is also not optional.

    I am sorry to hear your father fell but thankfully no broken bones.

  167. They are so pretty! I tend to love basil in all its various forms. Last year I found purple basil, which was just beautiful. My house was full of sweet- and purple basil bouquets, and I’m still using what I dried.

  168. Hi Ellie,

    I sell on the . You need a Facebook profile to join the group; most members list the quadrant and community they live in. I have had some very good success, good luck to you!

    So pleased the smoke has cleared!

  169. Debbie, I am sorry you to suffer such a loss. You have a very positive attitude…I am glad Brandy was able to help you.

  170. I had an expensive time last week, we went out for the day and came home to a very sick dog, gastroenteritis ugh, resulting in a trip to the out of hours vet. A consultation, 3 injections and 2 courses of medication cost £244 (€317), fortunately we have insurance so will get some back eventually. He’s as right as rain now but it’s a bill we could do without at this time. My boys go back to school on 6th September so I’ve a few more days left to kit them out, nothing like what you’ve had to do Brandy – although my sons go to a fee paying school we have to supply their personal pens, calculator; pencils etc but that’s about it thankfully! I did go through my small freezer and take an inventory, found quite a lot of food I can use up which will help with the budget, fingers crossed the larger freezer in the garage will give up some long forgotten delights!

  171. Ice cream sandwiches are the best! I like to use homemade cookies, but lately I’ve just been using storebought ones (on sale) as I have less energy. Even if you use storebought cookies, the sandwiches are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than any storebought ice cream sandwiches! Some ‘ice cream’ sandwiches in the freezer aisle are actually oil-based products, so I think homemade sandwiches are healthier, not to mention tastier!

  172. no sugar coating for sure when you do it yourself. We are doing our own deck and I am flipping between black pipe for railing or hog feed panels with “rustic” boards

  173. I also love these school lunch memories! My school district had something called “Cheese Zombies.” Essentially, it was two layers of bread dough with a thick layer of cheese in between, butter poured over the top and baked. It was just about everyone’s favorite and they didn’t make it often because it took two days. My parents were both school librarians and, after I moved back to my hometown after college, they’d both give me a heads up when it was Cheese Zombie day and I’d go have lunch with them!

  174. Brandy,
    Thank you for sharing all you do. I am grateful for all database of recipes and tips that you have posted in the past, that I keep referring back to.

    Our frugal accomplishments:
    -Accepted a sponsorship to a basketball tournament for my youngest son who has a passion for basketball.
    -Accepted a deeply discounted all day camp for my youngest son, I needed the time to work my income producing job, that is much more difficult when we is around.
    -Accepted some long-term storage food that my mother-in-law will never use and that we can add into our rotation.
    -Cut hubs and my youngest sons hair.
    -Purchased less than perfect canning cucumbers for 20 cents a pound versus the $1.79 they normally are here.
    -Canned 48 quarts of dill and, bread and butter pickles(hubs even helped).
    -Accepted basketball training for both my son and daughter for a very low monthly fee.

  175. Hello Brandy and all the lovely people who visit your site! This is my first comment and decided to come out of hiding. Thank you for your kind and compassionate spirit. You are truly an inspiration. I’m sad that some have chosen to be mean in their comments and hope that everyone will be more accepting of the diversity of your readership community. The world can be cruel, let’s not be cruel to each other as we visit this little bright spot. May God bless you and your family!

  176. I love your comments about what you make in the Village. Might I ask what museum or living history place you work at? Every summer our family visits Greenfield Village in Michigan, connected with The Henry Ford museum, and we absolutely love that place!

  177. Thank you for sharing how you reused your leftovers. I’m always looking for new ideas on how to stretch a food budget. This was very inspirational!

  178. After getting over the shock that yet another colleague quit (and his caseload was dumped on me), I am going over my retirement numbers. I had planned to retire in three and a half years. If I can, I may move that up. Going over one’s budget is frugal. Otherwise, I wore thrifted clothes, ate at home, walked in my son’s neighborhood when visiting him, and just did the same things I do daily, in and out. I sometimes feel a little silly listing what I do, but what I don’t do is much more important to my budget, and that is I do not shop unless I have to, and usually that is for food.

  179. Juls, I looked at some of the pictures of your new house on your blog. Very nice, very spacious. You could have some big family gatherings there.

  180. Cindi, juncos are fun. They aren’t shy and they are good at eating up the seed the pickier birds leave behind or scatter.

  181. Elizabeth M, and anyone else with pets, if you live near a veterinary school you can sometimes get pets into experimental treatment programs for things like cancer. It all varies by what study is going on at what time but if they fit the criteria care is covered and so are meds and often followup for a number of years. This is information from my son in law re’ our state veterinary school. I don’t have knowledge of other states but he says they would have similar programs.

  182. You are all bringing back memories to me. I went to school in the pre-free lunch days. My Mom was a single parent (my dad passed away when I was 7). My dad had done most of the cooking and my mom had very few skills in the kitchen. We had very little money but on the few days I could buy lunch, I really enjoyed it! I remember in high school I had a part time job as a hostess at a local restaurant. I used some of my tip money to buy what we called Pepper Belly’s. A small bag of Frito’s. The bag was cut open along the long edge, then topped with chili and shredded cheese. I remember how much I love those! Thanks for the memories!

  183. Thank you. I’ll look into that. Fortunately this is a good country vet, who has relatively reasonable rates for services, but he charges a little more than in the city for the food. It is cheaper overall even for the food because I don’t have to spend money on gas to go buy it. He is giving me a senior rate on services too, which makes a bigger difference in vet services than it does on a lot of things.

    Typical of cats is that the other healthy cat immediately decided that no food but the vet food would suit her, so I have two of them eating this. Fortunately, they eat dry food, which I think is less expensive.

  184. Lorna, I googled the redback spider. UGH! It is poisonous it says and is close relative of the black widow spider found in some areas of the United States. Sounds like you really accomplished a lot.

  185. That’s a very good idea, Athanasia. I wish that I had thought of it when I lived in the city and had a senior dog with some serious illnesses. I financed her diabetes treatment in part by giving up meat for 18 months. My vegetarian cooking improved a lot, so I didn’t suffer very much.

  186. LOL! That’s excellent Juls! We had pallet railings for a year! We’re going for the cable railings but it could just as easily turn into the very chic No Railings. 😉

  187. Brandy-Might I suggest a series of books by Susan Wittig Albert? It is her “Darling Dahlias” mystery series and centers around a group of ladies in a garden club during the Great Depression. They are “gentle” mysteries and include recipes etc. They are best read in order so the reader can see the growth of the characters as they band together to help each other and their community. (They share the canning surplus and baked goods with others who are not as fortunate.) The first book is “The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree”.

  188. I affirm your emphasis on helping others even when struggling to make ends meet. It is really amazing and encouraging that so many people are organized to help others. I’m sorry so many people in NV are homeless. I grew up in Elko county. We always had homeless men coming through as they rode the rail cars, but there were no homeless children, although I suppose some people were technically homeless because they were living with relatives.

    My husband and I have struggled during a couple of economic recessions, too, and I can also testify to the value of stocking up on necessities in case of a downturn. In our case, my husband would find work somewhere; go there and work for a while, and then we would move. We were afraid of moving somewhere and then finding out that the situation would not work out. The children and I would stay at home where we knew people and were established until my husband was sure he could provide for us in the new area. If my husband did not have work in one area, we always moved to where he did have work. Some of our friends would stay even after the economy tanked and try to eke out an existence, but we always moved on as quickly as possible. In retrospect, we are glad that we did. During the worst time for us, we were only without much work for about six months until my husband found a job 3000 miles away. He went there and worked for some weeks to make sure things were going to work out. He found housing for us and called me on a Thursday evening to ask how soon I could be ready to move and then broke the news to me that he needed me to pick him up at the airport on Sunday. He told me on the drive home from the airport that he thought we should put the house on the market and drive the 3000 miles to where he was working. We disposed of most of our possessions and worked some on the house before we left a week later. We made payments on that empty house for a year before it sold, but we were grateful that we could. Disposing of our possessions and moving into a much much smaller house was a huge blessing to me because I had so much less to take care of. This was in the early 1980s. Our children were small then, and we look back on those years as some of the best of our lives, in spite of the difficulties. Like you, we are Christians, and we believe God blessed us as we tried to be faithful to Him and to each other. You speak of your life changing; changes are always difficult, but I pray that things work out nicely for you and your beautiful family. Forgive me for rambling on.

  189. Wow! What delicious sounding “re-dos” using your leftovers. Very well done! I always reuse my extra bits of food, but you were incredibly creative with yours! Thanks for sharing.

  190. Kitty, thank yo7 for the eye make up remover. For some reason my tried and true mascara has not been coming off when I want it to. Being on a tight budget at the moment, I couldn’t bring myself to spurge on remover…never thought I could make homemade.

  191. I love rooibos tea and I think you will like it also since you are a big tea drinker. The only thing I don’t like about it is I have trouble pronouncing the word “rooibos”.


  192. I have to start everything either inside or on my front porch. Something always gets my sprouts. I call the east corner of my porch “the nursery.”


  193. Lynn, so sorry about your loss. It had to be difficult.

    A suggestion about feeding the girls on Wednesday night at church. They may be hungry because they have gone straight from school to church, so, of course, they need something. On the other hand, they may be skipping dinner because you are giving them a treat. I would suggest offering them a healthy snack like carrot and celery sticks, or maybe apple slices. Test them and see if they really are hungry. I learned this from my children. They were always hungry if there was cake on the table, but not interested if it was vegetables.


  194. Hi Athanasia and yes the Redback spiders are nasty and are poisonous and have killed quite a few people from biting them. I err on the side of caution and either blast the Redback spiders into oblivion with the pressure cleaner or vacuum them from the rafters and shed as they don’t make it past the motor impeller.

    We have the most poisonous spiders, snakes and jellyfish in the world in Australia and Koalas that are not friendly and not to mention kangaroos that will literally tear you apart if you frighten them or get too close. Above ankle boots and thick leather gloves are a must if working in the bush here and all council workers are issued with snake chaps to protect them from the snakes here whilst working.

    They breed us tough out here in Australia 😉 .

  195. Lorna, you must indeed be tough! I saw a show once, years ago, on the hazards of Australia and there were even poison toads. I have heard that koalas are not just furry sleepy fuzzballs as they appear. They have pretty good talons.

  196. The food is supposed to be healthier in our state, too. But it is pretty bland for the most part, even the less fortunate students do not eat it. I work at a school and hate to see the waste daily. One of the custodians will try to salvage some of the food even though it is against the rules… but teachers and even some of the elderly who care for the kids will take it.

  197. Lynn, I am sorry to hear of the loss of your brother in law.

    I was thinking the same as Jeannie re’ the girls at your church group and snacks. Try them out with the popcorn or some vegetables. If they are hungry they will eat it. Children will most likely take a sweet when offered whether hungry or no.

  198. Such a good idea to save up extra grocery budget for the holidays. That way you can make celebratory food without ruining your food budget!

  199. Jeannie and Athanasia, Thank you for your kind thoughts. As for the girls, some of them really do come to church HUNGRY. Sweets are always wanted just like both of you said, but so not needed. I tried the popcorn last week and 8 out of 9 loved it. That ninth one is my granddaughter and she’s fed before church. 😉 When I see a sale on vegetables or fruit I’ll grab them and see if the girls will eat them. Thanks for your help.

  200. After the cast clinic, I was able to go to the farmers market. I didn’t know how I was going to afford $40 for a case of my favourite peaches but when I got to that area, I found that they were only $10 per 20 pound case. It is an unheard of price because there was so much forest fire smoke in B.C. that they did not get sweet and are being sold for canning purposes only. I was sorry for the orchard but they were glad to sell them to me. They are not ripe yet but will be son. Instead of canning them, I will freeze them so I don’t have to sterilize the jars which would be hard for me with the broken arm. I will get a pantry filled with things I can use as it appears I may have to have surgery for the arm. I am also freezing prune plums. They are great stewed in the winter. I will be buying an electric can opener so I can open a can after surgery.

  201. Oh, I also meant to mention I am hoping that friends will give me their extra zucchinis. I read a lovely sounding recipe on the Blue Flame site for zucchini jam that I am keen to try. If interested, others could just Google Blue Flame Kitchen.

  202. To me, there is nothing as beautiful as making jam or jelly or applesauce, especially on a chilly day. I suppose it reminds me of childhood when I helped my mother make chokecherry jelly and other jams and jellies. Last night, I made a small batch of applesauce. There is something lovely about when the steam fills the room with its flavour. There was so much juice, I made a small batch of jelly which I put in the fridge and will enjoy right away. A woman across the street, a neighbour, used to invite me over to her kitchen to help her make jam. For both my mother and my second mother, I would pick the chokecherries, then help them make jelly or jam. I loved the feeling of accomplishment! This year, I actually have a lovely crop of chokecherries in my woods but I am leaving them for the birds. There is only so much I can do with a broken arm. Today, I will look outside at the leaves changing colours while I cut up more apple crabs and finish making applesauce. With the frozen plums, and applesauce and blueberries, I will have easy-to-open treats. I am contemplating what to do with the peaches, once they ripen. Ann

  203. I just got an email from my library saying that the 1st two books in this series are in so I will pick them up next week – thank you for the recommendation.

  204. I missed last weeks frugal accomplishments. No matter whether you’ve always sent your kids to school or not the beginning of the school year is stressful. My dd doesn’t like school lunch or sandwiches, where we live they got rid of the free and reduced lunch and offer it to everyone for free. Seems the cost of administering the program cost more than just offering it to everyone for free.

    I realize you have already bought supplies, but keep track of what they actually use and adjust accordingly next year if they go to public school again. In lower grades buying exactly what they ask for is more important than in middle school and high school. My dd school has a three binder system, that frankly most of the kids abandon as it is too cumbersome to deal with. I buy more spiral and compostion notebooks because she ends up going through more than one in the classes she uses them for, so I get them when they are at rock bottom prices. These are just a few examples of the changes I make to the list, that end up saving my money. Also, I don’t give all the paper towels, kleenex, wipes etc at the start of the year. The teachers actually don’t have enough room to store, so I roughly give one-third at the beginning, somewhere around Thanksgiving, and March/April based on sales etc.

    Love the lunch story re:bread! DD who has been going to the same school since Kinder, with basically the same kids gets similar comments still!

  205. Can’t imagine that. My granddaughter has always loved apples in particular, and at 26 still eats about 2 every day. When she was 16, she worked at Panera Bread and often closed up in the evening. After a short time, if there were any already made up fruit cup sides at the end of business, they automatically gave them to her. Too fragile to serve the next day (most of their leftovers went to the local soup kitchen)–she could generally eat two or three of them WHILE driving home. She has always been a huge fruit lover, though she is equally fond of salads. She cooks more now that she’s older but I know salads were about the only thing she knew how to make when she left home.

  206. It is a special person who can teach Bible classes on Wednesday evening especially after working all day. I am in bed asleep before most churches even begin.

  207. I am thinking my girls were making their own school lunches by about age 7. They knew what they liked or felt like eating, and if it was in the house, it was available to take. It was leftovers or peanut butter and jelly most of the time, although I did buy some cold cuts in those days. I was up and available to help–I didn’t start working outside the house until the younger girl was 10.

  208. My part of the Midwest has been experiencing drought. So my garden has produced very little I have been able to put up for winter. I have grown many jalapeños. We don’t eat spicy things but a friend gave me these leftover plantings and I accepted. Are these what becomes chili powder? If so, how do I make it? If it’s the makings for chili flakes? Same question. Please share any thoughts you might have. God provided me this abundance of peppers. I’d like to honor that gift.

  209. You could make chocolate chip cookies with jalapeno peppers, or stuff them with cream cheese, wrap a bacon around it and roast in the oven, make salsa. I would not handle them without wearing gloves and definitely don’t rub your eyes after handling them. I now how you’re feeling about a bad produce year but admire your making the most of the blessing you have!

  210. Hi Brandy,

    I see that you’ve used diatomaceous earth for your plants. I really would like to try this as a non-pesticide alternative for my vegetable garden, but I was looking at a package of food grade diatomaceous earth, and it said to use appropriate respirator and goggles. However, it also said it was safe to use around pets and children. Have you had any experience with diatomaceous earth being an eye or respiratory irritant?

  211. Jeannie, I’m a stay at home mom with two home schooled teens. I don’t work outside the home. Even still, I’m dragging the next morning cause those little girls wear me out. LOL I would love to be in bed by 10 every evening, but Weds. nights I’m just pulling in the driveway at 10 pm. And my own teenagers are night owls at this stage in life. (which drives me nuts;).)

  212. Hi Angela,

    If you were to eat it, you would be ok if it is food-grade BUT you don’t want to breathe it as the particles are very fine and sharp. Nor do you want to get it in your eyes. I was going to use it in my bedroom under the baseboards as I occasionally have ants but thought twice because the powder that wasn’t under the baseboards might be blown around by the hot air furnace which wouldn’t be good for lungs. I am still contemplating using it for places where there is no draft. I read a lady had used it for grain beetles which are very hard to get rid of. I would follow the directions when applying it.

  213. TJ, I checked on Pinterest and there are lots of ideas and instructions on how to preserve jalapenos. You can dehydrate, freeze or can them. If you dehydrate them, you can grind them into a pwder to use in cooking with. I just typed in “how to preserve jalapenos” into the search. If you don’t have Pinterest, I’m sure typing this into you regular on-line search engine will also result in lots of information you are looking for. Hope this helps!

  214. I have had better luck with zinnias when I start the seedlings indoors, then, when they get a few leaves, move them to the sunny porch outdoors during the day and in at night for a bit, and finally move them into the garden once they are bigger than than bugs! This may be more shifting than you want to deal with but it has worked well for me. For whatever reason, the zinnia seeds that self sow from the previous year fare better with the bugs. It may just be that so many self sow in a tiny spot that the bugs simply do not get them all.

  215. Google Jalapeno jam/jelly. You can make it mildly spicy and it makes a great gift. It also makes a fabulous appetizer when poured over a block of (on sale) cream cheese and served with a sliced baguette or cubes of another sturdy bread (home made, of course.) One of my favorite holiday appetizers 🙂

  216. I have never read any of the comments before but I can’t believe someone could be negative about your blog. You have inspired me and gotten me through some unbelievable times like making less than $13,000.00 a year for 3 people and not getting any help except $72.00 a month for food stamps. All of this without going into debt. I can’t thank you enough. And to whomever posts something negative just leave. Lots of other places to go, don’t let the door hit you on your way out!

  217. Teaching is a work of the heart — I teach 4th grade and it can be very difficult some days! But remember, you are a teacher too! You teach different grade levels, which is not easy, and you obviously put so much thought into your curriculum and the way you run your homeschool. I know this is a huge transition for you; it will be different, but every different season in life is always a new adventure! I pray you and your family will be blessed this school year!

  218. I purchased a Soda Stream and ended up giving it away. It gave me heartburn when I used it?? Weird, because I can drink Perrier or Pellegrino and not get heartburn.

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