Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Cyrus and Ivory with Lizard

We spent a quiet week at home this week.

Cyrus with Tiny Lizard The Prudent Homemaker

The children put on a show in the garden and their grandparents watched. We played a lot of games and did some artwork.

Ezrom Sculpture 6 The Prudent Homemaker

Ezrom’s newest scultpure; if you missed the others, see my previous post

The children set up an elaborate make-believe world with wooden trains, Lincoln Logs, and vintage Fisher Price Little People in the library, with which they played for over two days.

They played dress-up.

They donned swimsuits to play in the rain that came on Saturday. I turned off the drip system and the sprinkler system for several cycles, and collected rainwater to use to water the garden later. The storm brought cooler temperatures, so I turned off the air conditioner and opened up the house for a bit. These simple things saved me over $13 in a day (and I was happy to be able to conserve water in our drought!)

I continued to use Duolingo daily to improve my French. I found it amusing that every time I learned/relearned something, I used it the next day (and sometimes only an hour later!) while typing messages to a friend in France. 

I continued to pick and dry figs from my mission fig tree.

I canned three pints and one half pint of fig jam.

I cut a handful of red noodle beans from the vines in the garden.

I collected nasturtium seeds and snapdragon seeds from the garden.

I transplanted stock that had self-seeded in my white garden.

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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104 Comments

  1. I have been very diligently watching my zucchini for first fruit, and picked one 2 days ago. This morning, I found one I had somehow managed to miss. It’s not so big that I have to feed it to the chickens, but I can’t believe I missed it! The army should use zucchini leaves for camouflage!

    Our garden is doing well, and we have been staying busy helping some friends move and shifting gears for the start of the school year. In all honesty, this past week was a rough one for me. I shared more about it on my blog: http://quietcountrylife.blogspot.com/2015/08/our-last-week-of-summer.html

    I did want to ask, Brandy, if you grow other types of figs other than mission figs? I got some figs ‘from Turkey’ at Costco one time…loved them….and unfortunately, they were discontinued. I think they are called Turkish figs, but I’m not positive. I like mission figs, but liked the Turkish so much better, and wondered if you have experience with them. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Hello all and I would like to say that Ezrom has a real talent for sculpting. I used to own an art gallery and did a lot of art classes and activities with children.

    My or rather my husbands and my frugal accomplishments are –

    I made my own stain cleaner for use for all of our clothing. Low cost and works much better than store bought soakers that I found just don’t work at all.

    Made a litre bottle of citrus vinegar cleaner and it was finished brewing this week. I shall run down the small amount of shop bought cleaners down and then use this instead to save on the grocery costs.

    My husband and I planted in our greenhouse tomato seeds, corn, lavender, thyme, bought some sweet potatoes and put them in potting mix to get some slips to plant for the spring.

    My husband dug all of our new spring garden beds ready to plant out all of our seedlings when they are ready after the frosts have past.

    We have been working on using less lights at night and have been cooking only when we have a full oven. We cooked a roast chicken dinner and some chocolate muffins. Hopefully this should reduce our electricity bill as our most recent one went up $30 more than our usual due to an increase in electricity tariffs. We shall gauge how our efforts have gone on our next quarterly bill.

    Picked peas, silverbeet, spinach and carrots from our garden which we used in our teas.

  3. I just found out that regardless how much we use AC (or how much we don’t use it), we still split the bill in half with our landlord who lives on the floor below. The house does not have separate electricity bills. This is a big bummer 🙁
    We get a good deal on the apartment so not sure if I shall complain? It does not seem fair though…
    I am still saving money as much as I can though. My weekly update is here:

    http://www.brooklynbasedgirlfriend.com/last-weeks-frugal-accomplishments-8/

    Wishing everyone a great week.

  4. This last week our family was able to get in a camping trip before school begins again. We shared our site with family members which cut the cost in half. In the past, I have always made special trips to the grocery store to purchase food that would be easy to prepare while camping, such as shake and pour pancake mix and small containers of condiments, which was usually quite costly. This year, I was determined to plan our camping food according to what we already had. Using pantry staples, eggs from our chickens, and vegetables from the garden, the only food I purchased for the trip was milk, which I would have had to purchase anyway. It took a little prep ahead of time to make the food easier to prepare while at the camping site (putting together pancake mix, dicing veggies, repackaging condiments, etc.) but I saved a ton of money.
    I also canned eight more pints of stewed tomatoes, dried basil, and collected basil seeds. This week was much warmer than the past so I was not able to open windows for cool air as much. Trying to keep the heat down in the house, we had a few “cold dinners.”

  5. I love quiet weeks spent at home!

    I made rosemary olive oil bread which we used for grilled bacon and cheese sandwiches for dinner one night. Using a coupon, I got the turkey bacon for 16¢. I also made double chocolate muffins, coffee pudding using leftover cold coffee, refrigerator pickles, chex mix, and french bread.

    We picked 2 quarts of wineberries from our back yard and froze them, and harvested quite a bit from the garden: 3 eggplant, 3 pickling cucumbers, lots of dragon egg cucumbers, 3 zucchini, and a bunch of cherry tomatoes. I shredded the zucchini and ended up with 8 cups and froze it. I also picked basil and froze it and dried parsley and oregano in my dehydrator.

    I was only able to hang one load of laundry to dry outside because of the rain and humidity and this week looks to be about the same.

    I swept the floors instead of using the vacuum.

    We finally finished stacking the firewood we got for free and in total have 10 pallets filled to about 5 ft high which will provide us enough for this year and some of next.

    My husband constructed two more raised beds for me, bringing my total garden square footage to 208 sq ft and we have plans to build three more for an additional 96 sq ft. We had all of the wood on hand so it was free. I also have additional space where I have perennials and fruit trees/bushes planted that can be underplanted.

    We’ve been discussing some future plans of building a greenhouse to extend our growing season (zone 6) and adding chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits, and bees. I plan to take some books out of the library today and start our research.

    Planted cabbage, cauliflower, yellow squash, lettuce, and zinnia seeds.

    And, I took advantage of some of the grocery store deals and bought purex powder laundry detergent (72 oz) for 99¢, dawn dish soap for 15¢, peanut butter for $1.24, pork chops for $1.99lb, 4 ham steaks for $1 each, beef hot dogs for $1.89, kids colgate toothpaste for 38¢ and 2 free kandoo toilet wipes.

    Overall, I think we had a pretty good week 🙂

  6. I find it always enjoyable to keep a list of money saving things that I’ve done during the week. Too often, it’s so easy to see only the money spent or the frugal failures. It’s nice to remind myself that I do do things that help to save money also!

    – did the final tally for money spent in July and it has come in as our least expensive month of the year so far, even with a week long beach vacation (the money for renting the condo was paid in advance so I didn’t have to count it in this month’s expenditures)
    – filled out a survey at meijer to be entered to win a $50 gift card
    – spent the day visiting with cousins at my aunts lake house…kids got to swim
    – my aunt treated us all to dinner
    – my aunt was given a bunch of leftover food from a golf tournament so we got three small containers of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, 3 containers of lunch meat, 3 packages of hamburger and hot dog buns and some single serve ice cream containers
    – bought a ready made cocktail that I like and Meijer had a $3 off coupon and Ibotta had a $6 rebate so it only ended up being $4 (from $13!)
    – when I got back from vacation I went to aldi first and bought most of my produce there….99 cent blueberries, 1.29 Strawberries, .33 bananas, 1.29 green beans, 1.99 gourmet salad blend, etc…saved a bunch over what I would have paid for the same produce at Meijer.
    – took advantage of a special blog price of $10 for my son to try foot golf with his friends (and lunch is included)
    -my aunt gave us tickets to see A Little Princess which I took my daughter and her friend to and then they had some of the single serve ice cream we had on the deck instead of going to an ice cream place
    – my aunt got us tickets to a table seating at the Five for Fighting pops concert that included dinner (she’s very generous and my cousins were in town visiting so we ended up seeing each other a lot!)
    – got Better Homes and Gardens free in mail
    – Transferred $22.65 from my Ibotta account to my paypal account
    – sold two items on eBay and relisted what didn’t sell
    – mailed a paperbackbookswap book to earn a credit that I can use on a book later
    – listed four lots of jewelry on eBay. I decluttered my jewelry and took a big bag up to my aunts and all my visiting cousins went through and chose what they’d like to keep. They got some new stuff and I kept only what I really loved…a win-win!
    – shredded a giant zucchini given to me by a friend to freeze and use for zucchini bread or fritters
    – made zucchini fritters and lemon zucchini bread with the zucchini I didn’t freeze
    – washed and cut up all produce and then dried and put it in Tupperware in the fridge to make it easier for us to all grab healthy snacks and hopefully cut down on produce waste
    – for Mother’s Day I got buy ten, get ten free hot yoga classes. I’ve been enjoying using those and still have 9 classes left on my pass!

  7. I love that all of your kids are (or seem to be) outdoor enthusiasts. Somehow, I got a girly girl who will play outside but would run from that tiny toad. Neither my husband nor myself act this way so we find it amusing!

    This week, my daughter had a camp and enjoyed some cheetos and an ice cream sundae during snack time.
    We enjoyed our neighborhood pool a couple of times. Once on the weekend with daddy (that’s rare since he works a lot).
    Went to the library and checked out a book for me and a bunch for her that’s she is plowing through. Also got a video for her, Berenstien Bears, that she may be too young for but she said it looked fun.
    We changed to a cheaper cat litter and the cats seem to be happier with it. It clumps better than the other (had the other one for my allergies) but so far I’m fine with this one. We also made makeshift cat toys with strings.

    Last week for food….well, it stunk. We got so low in the pantry and payday was Friday. I held off ( I could have gone to the store but wanted to save) and the meals got interesting to say the least. By Thursday all I had on the bread front was some stuff to make biscuits, which I did and I forgot about them in the oven. I did make it to the store the next day and bought more than I normally buy. There were a lot of good deals on eggs, 1.99 per 18, $0.39/lb for bananas, grapes 0.99/lb, and milk is down to $3 here which is my price point. We are stocked up for awhile now and we should have more grocery money coming in.

    I picked Zinnia’s out of the garden and brought them inside (they have a perm. home in the bathroom because the cats love the way they taste so I have to hide them). Also picked tons of cherry tomatoes, cherokee purple, better boys, and brandywine…first one of the year! It’s a late blooming variety here. I pulled the beans out as well as the cucumbers. It’s been a disappointing year for cucumbers. I got one. I think something was wrong with our plant. I am going to start planning for the fall garden. I did plant some gourd seeds I had gotten cheap last year. I hope they work. Have no idea down here but I’m going to try! Also I planted some green onions.

    Take care this week!

    Meredith

  8. Here are some of the things that we did to save money last week:

    I read your site to get ideas and inspiration! Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy it!

    My husband and I had a date night eating a dinner of two very large pieces of pizza and soda for only $4.75 at our local BJ’s club and then shopped and stocked up on about three months worth of things that we usually purchase there. Our membership expired the end of the month of July and we decided to see how many months we could go without renewing it. I am planning on looking for similar prices that we got at BJ’s at other places and if we can’t match them and it is worth the membership then we might rejoin at some point.

    We participated in an Energy Savings Day with our electric company and earned $16.13 off our next bill by using less electricity during certain hours.

    I picked cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, summer squash, zucchinni, basil, mint, chives, peppers, lettuce and swiss chard from our garden.

    I saved seeds from tomatoes, squash, canteloupe, peppers and gerber daisies.

    I made a big bowl of lettuce, veggie salad up, a big bowl of taco pasta salad, cut up veggies, baked cookies, made a huge batch of homemade breadsticks and pitchers of ice tea!

    I hung laundry out to dry on nice days. A good week to everyone!

  9. I was given 8 more pounds of cucumbers, which is funny since I had bought a quart of vinegar the day before. I will make more of my friends recipe since it uses the least amount of vinegar and they are darn tasty.
    I collected the first few home grown tomatoes. I love this time of year.
    I took a king size sheet set and sewed it down to a single size for a my mom’s guest room. We weren’t using the set anymore, and she needed bedding so it was nice to make use of it and regain some space in my fabric shelf. The left overs I am using to line a lace skirt I am making.
    My husbands office had use of the company box for a baseball game. There was a bunch of leftovers (hot dogs, mac & cheese,etc). At the end of the game the food attendee asked if any of us wanted the leftovers, so we all took what we wanted.
    I pruned my Rosa Sharon back a little and brought in some of the branches with flowers to place in a vase.
    Other than the game we stayed in this week and contented ourselves with books, crafts, and yard work.
    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  10. That little lizard is so cute! My grandson was born Friday night! What an awesome blessing he is! Mom, Dad, and baby are all doing wonderful 🙂 Last week:
    -I filled my car with gas on Monday, one week later I still have half a tank. This is AFTER driving to and from work all week, three trips to the next city over to go the hospital to be with the kids, and one trip to the next major city going the other direction. I LOVE my Prius!
    -I made milk, bread, chocolate syrup and most meals were cooked from scratch and eaten at home. We did eat out once as a family and I treated my son to an inexpensive dinner at the hospital waiting for the baby to be born. Unexpected expenses but I had the money. This will be the last “meal out” for quite some time though.
    -My husband’s employer is, once again, late with his paycheck. There is a good possibility that he will be laid off. There has been talk of this happening in the past and it did not happen but it looks like this time it might. I am preparing for the loss of income.
    -I had $100 left over from my last paycheck. I used this money to place an order with Rainy Day Foods (formerly Walton Feed?) I clicked on the link in one of Brandy’s articles so hopefully you will get a referral credit? I believe the U. S. is in for another recession or depression (whatever the Government would like to call it) so we are prepping as best we can. I ordered the “starter kit” of dehydrated veggies, milk powder (cheaper than I can buy locally) and dehydrated peaches. I plan on stocking up with whatever extra money I have once per month after bills, savings, repayment of debts, etc.
    -I used our bucket to save water (veggie rinsing, boiling, shower water, etc) to use on the plants, flush the toilet, etc.
    -I washed and reused glass jars and zip top baggies.
    -Our wooden drying rack was falling apart (literally). I was able to find a stainless steel rack (I despise plastic and avoid it as much as possible) when we purchased our daughter a couple new outfits for school ( awesome sales going on here!). This one will last forever!
    -Other than eggs and taking advantage of any good meat sales I do not plan to grocery shop this week. We are running low on meat but I haven’t had a chance to check our sales flyers yet.
    – I harvested MORE zucchini and yellow squash, and basil. I let my lettuce plants go to seed and harvested lots of lettuce seeds. After I ripped those out of the raised beds I discovered Parsley!! I didn’t even know it was growing 🙂 and some more green onion babies. My lone squash plant behind the garage flowered but I doubt I will get any squash from it. this is in an area we don’t do anything with. I wanted to see if it would produce anything.
    -I will be planting some fall veggies this week. It might be to late but it can’t hurt to try.
    -I went through my daughter’s drawers and took out the clothing that is to small. These will be donated to Goodwill.
    – We kept the central air off as much as possible, however it is in the 90’s here now. We are not in a drought but it has been several weeks since the last rain. I am starting to get concerned.
    -I found a work outfit that was hidden in the back of my closet that i had forgotten about. It’s like I bought something new! 🙂
    – found several shirts my daughter can wear now hidden on a tote in the garage that were given to us by a friend.
    -My husband’s bestie treated him to a round of golf on Sunday. My husband reciprocates his generosity by fixing his vehicle or helping with projects on his house, etc. whenever his bestie needs it.
    -We are being creative with using up leftovers and fridge items to avoid food waste. What little waste there is has been put in the compost bin.
    -I line dried all laundry.
    -I used water from my daughter’s pool to water some plants on that side of the house. It’s a blow up pool the size of a twin bed.
    That’s all I can remember right now. Have a great week everyone!

  11. I have done the usual things I do to save a few dollars. Hang laundry, cook at home, home made dog food etc. We are so very hot here right now that turning off the air conditioner even in the early morning hours is not an option because of the humidity. It makes the house so much harder to cool down later. Last night it was 96 degrees at 10:00 when I went to bed.
    I have used water from our water barrels to water plants. Our garden is done right now. Just plain fried. I got some clearance ‘seed pods’ at HEB (our local grocery) for 25 cents each. These are in peat pots and just need to be planted and watered. I got some tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. When it is a bit cooler (Sept. here) I will plant these to get us through the winter months. I use the squash in our homemade dog food so we use a lot of it.
    I have been working on my hand made items for Christmas gifts. I am proud of the progress I have made.
    At the Salvation Army thrift store this weekend I found a new in the bag King size pillow sham in an off white color. I plan to embroidery on it “always kiss me good night” as a gift for a friend. I also got a new in the bag full size bed skirt in the same colors. I know their bed is not full size but queen, so I plan to take the skirt apart and make some matching pillow cases as a gift. All for the cost of some thread, time, and $3.00….so not bad. I am doing some kitchen towels for a sister in law, and napkins for a sister. I still have a long way to go but at least I am started. l
    I have gone after a few bills and got them lower than before. I changed phone companies and got a deal for a flat fee of $30.00 a month for my husband’s phone. No other taxes etc. Just the flat fee for all text and calling inside the US.
    I have started getting the boy’s school clothes together. Seeing what they have, what they will need etc. Looks like it is going to be shoes and underware and socks. I am going to wait till we have NO TAX weekend to buy.

  12. Sounds like a perfect week! Glad you had some cooler days and rain. We had a heatwave for a couple of weeks in July and Yikes! our electric bill was higher than it’s ever been before. I know it’s peanuts to those that live in the warmer climates, but it was a shock to us. So now I can empathize with you all, about the high cost of cooling a house.

    Frugal accomplishments this week:

    Canned green beans, potatoes and peppers.
    Grated and froze summer squash.
    Harvested broccoli, summer squash, potatoes, onions, pepper and green beans.
    Collected the seeds from hollyhocks and mustard greens.
    Gathered and dried mullien and raspberry leaves.
    Began knitting a scarf from the yarn stash.
    Bartered some work for a bag of oats.
    Got a truckload of compost for free from the village.

  13. We were on vacation in CA last week and since we live in Atlanta it wasn’t very frugal but family visits are wonderful! We did have some frugal wins. We were able to stay in a one bedroom apartment at a college at a very low nightly rate. That also enable us to have breakfast in the apartment each day from food we bought at a grocery store. We were treated to a lovely meal by family one night. Some of the other meals that we ate out we were able to split and entrée for a small savings. The only other thing I can think of that was money saving was that our dog brought home a new to her toy from her stay at the dog sitters. Their dogs didn’t play with it and she loves it LOL.

  14. I prepared a dinner last night that included two boxes of 33¢ angel hair pasta from The Grocery Outlet, I’ve been selling things madly through Craigslist, my son and I watched a free Redbox movie from texting MOVIENIGHT to 727272, I’ve read two library books over the past week, I’ve been taking care of the neighbor’s house while they’re on vacation and I was able to put some random extra trash out in their garbage can, my husband and I used Ikea coupons to enjoy a free lunch at Ikea and I’ve been using our clothesline like crazy.

    And of course I’ve blogged about my frugal things here:

    http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/five-frugal-things-88/

    By the way, I love your son’s sculpture!

  15. I meant to ask… last week I broke my bubble remover stick while canning squash. I wonder if anyone has suggestions for something else that would work, or if there is somewhere to get just this item? I’ve seen the canning kits with all the pieces, a Ball one that has lots of notches in it (I’d prefer a smooth one like the one I had), and a Victorio bubble remover/lid lifter combo for $7.99. It seems like someone ought to carry a simple bubble remover for less. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  16. A quiet week at home sounds wonderful to me! We had a fun but busy week serving at Vacation Bible School at church in addition to my daughter’s summer sports training and my son’s job. It was all wonderful but I confess I’m feeling rather behind on things at home.

    Here’s what I managed to do:
    [list]
    We picked our first tomatoes of the season! I am so happy!
    I picked celery from our “junk garden” and took some to my neighbor.
    I dehydrated more banana peels to use as fertilizer.
    I dehydrated the vanilla beans I used to make extract and then used the dehydrated beans to start a batch of vanilla sugar.
    I made colored sugar to have on hand for cookie decorating.
    Many of the teens in our church youth group do not have church-going families, so the youth sponsors often get the teens together at a local coffee shop. These gatherings get expensive for the adults, who must pay for their own refreshments and often end up purchasing items for some of the teens who lack the money to participate otherwise. This week the church provided funds and I shopped for supplies so we could have a “coffee shop” for the teens at the church building. We served iced coffee, root beer floats, and pretzels. We spent around $20 for about 4 dozen servings rather than $4-5 per person at the coffee shop.
    I purchased gift cards at the grocery store so I could get extra fuel rewards points toward a discount on gasoline. My son will use the gift cards to purchase some of his university textbooks online. I thought this was a good way to get extra savings on a necessary expense.
    [/list]
    I posted the vanilla sugar recipe, the colored sugar recipe, and the vanilla-mocha iced coffee recipe at AChatOverCoffee.com.

  17. It, in all honesty, has been hard and depressing around here the last couple of weeks. We’ve had a rough go of it the last three years due to my husband’s company not doing well (because of my father-in-law honestly). We have no money to pinch anymore and now we’re going through weeks where we aren’t getting paid because the company is waiting on money to come in. I’m trying to figure out how much more I can do to get across to my husband that he REALLY needs to find another job, or at least a second job, to get us through this. I can understand not wanting your parents to fail, but they are currently dragging us down with them. Which, honestly, is what concerns ME the most. If we don’t get paid today I have to drain what is left in my savings to keep the utilities connected. After that…I’m not sure what we are going to live on or, God forbid, how we are going to make bills next month. My anxieties have anxieties right now *sigh*.

    On the bright side, though, this entire situation really has made my faith all the deeper. I’ve been listening to the bible as I cook or clean. It’s helping to keep me grounded.

    My list for the week can be found here…

    http://makedohomemaker.blogspot.com/2015/07/frugal-friday-money-saving-weekly-recap_31.html

  18. This week I dried the first of my zuchini and dill from my garden, ate fresh tomatoes from the garden. We are using some re-claimed lumber to finish the inside of our garage (free to us because we tore down the shed in exchange for the lumber). We took a full truck load of stuff to the thrift store to make room to work in the garage. I am happy to say we rec’d our lowest electric bill to date. This is due to using all the advice I have read from the wonderful people on this site.

  19. Just wanted to thank you for the Duolingo information. I had received Rosetta Stone as a Christmas gift a couple of years back, but a virus destroyed my computer-along with the Rosetta Stone :(. It was a downloaded version (no disk set) and the gifter nor myself nor Amazon (where purchased) could find the program. I have really wanted to return to learning a second language, but couldn’t afford to do so—until now :D:D:D.

  20. i made salsa today five pints and two half pints. I picked a bushel and a half off our tree if i wait any longer they wont be usable since i do not like to spray with chemicals i have started working on them i now have thirteen trays drying of apple rings.

    we too have been turning air off at nites and mornings we finally have a break in that horrid heat

  21. -I stumbled upon some great sales this week. While grocery shopping at Wal-mart I noticed progesso soup and campbells chunky soups marked down to 50 cents each! I bought 15 cans. I also found tuna on sale at the grocery store for 50 cents each, so I bought 10 cans.
    -I don’t have a garden so I go the Farmer’s Market every Saturday. I was able to get a pint of cherry tomatoes, a cucumber, and a red pepper for $3.00. Definitely better than buying them at the store.
    – We ate all our meals at home
    – A couple mornings have been cooler than normal so I have opened the windows. This allows our A/C to stay off longer during the day.
    – I sold a couple things on craigslist. We are getting ready to move in a few months and I have become a decluttering/selling machine!

  22. * we went to the beach last week and packed our food
    * getting tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden…. lots and lots of cucumbers
    * combining errands with “driving practice” for my 16 year old.
    * went thru last years school supplies to see what we needed, purchased most of it with a discounted gift card I bought
    * My daughter sold a gift card that was not anything she will use
    * cashed out my saving star for $15.xx in paypal

  23. The kids look like they are having a great time!

    We are still deep in renovation. Mercy. We spent last week scrubbing and getting ready for the new flooring. So far we are four days in and it looks to take the rest of the week. It’s very difficult trying to keep the children amused and out of everyone’s hair. Especially now that they played so hard at the pool for two days that they rubbed off the skin from their poor toes. So today has been a lot of tv. I cooked five pounds of chili for our helpers on Saturday. I also made blueberry muffins. Pretty much all I did to save money was spare my husband anything possible so he could work on the floors. It would have cost over a thousand dollars to have them installed. Which I won’t lie, I would call a BARGAIN if we could afford it.

  24. Bought a new pair of jeans on clearance. (I have lost the baby weight! Yay.) Listed 3 jeans that are now too big on ebay, which should cover the cost plus some.

    Sold 3 other items on ebay. Money is to be pay off debt.

    Bought tomatoes from a local farm, $4. Had everything else in the pantry to make spaghetti sauce. I will get 6 meals out of it. 3 spaghetti dinners and 3 leftovers- of either spaghetti or homemade pizza. (family of 5). .. I am really want to purchase canning items this year – I have the jars. .. I ran out of freezer space last year making sauce, jam, stockpiling meat etc. so I would love learn how to can.

    Did 3 pinecone surveys. waiting to cash out a bit longer and then will pay towards debt.

    Bought a large tub of vanilla yogurt and measured out into small containers to grab and eat. (with small kids we use less than the suggested serving size, so it will be stretched even further)

    Jumped back into working on swagbucks.. watching videos with the phone app while in the kitchen.

    Thanks to a tip on here, I started giving the kids smaller portions and they can happily have seconds if they eat their food—definitely a food saving habit to keep up with!

    Saving some grocery money this month to buy meat from my uncle’s cow.

    Received our first full month of utilities for the house. All three were less than the last owners paid last year. Extra money was used to buy insulation and drywall for our master bedroom (thankfully we found this out before painting and moving everything in… although we are afraid the girls’ room needs torn apart and redone also).

    I am breaking a bad habit! … Using baby wipes for cleaning.! … I would mindlessly use them to clean up messes and spills etc. I moved the wipes in the bedroom with the diapers and one in the bathroom. So now when I go to clean something up I reach for the wipes and remind myself to get a rag!

    We had extra money for the month in our baby budget so we bought a movie (on sale) and two frozen pizzas for family night. Only $3 over the budget amount, but definitely saved. i also received $10 target giftcard for buying two big boxes of diapers. I will save this for another time.

    My sister is due with baby #5 in less than a month. I pulled out some neutral (she likes to be surprised at birth- currently has boy, girl, boy, girl) baby clothes that I will gift her. I also ordered a coffee mug from dayspring’s $5 sale that says “Jesus is… faithful” – we both love coffee cups so I think she will enjoy it. I also plan to spend the day over at her house helping with the kids and cleaning and cooking for her about a week or two after baby comes—with three kids I know I wished I would have had more help, so I can only imagine adjusting to five 🙂

  25. Brandy, great photos again this week, and thank you for your blog. Reading your Sun/Mon accomplishment blog starts my week out in a positive way. I have only a husband, a dog and one potted plant….sometimes when I get wondering how to get the enthusiasm to do something, I think of you and all your responsibilities and marvel at your stamina! Thank you for sharing your accomplishments and ideas, it really helps a lot.

    Got a $25 card for taking a new prescription to Safeway! Didn’t think of it at the time, but went back the next day (after seeing a note on the Safeway website) and the pharmacist honored it. Ate in all last week, another huge accomplishment for us. Overall, a quiet but nice week.

  26. My inlaws are very poor and I am concerned as well that their “grasshopper” life is going to drag us down. It is well and good to say you must and should help with a loving heart ETC but just like parents on a plane put their oxygen mask on first,before helping their children, you must save yourself FIRST. You have all my sympathy. If your husband cannot see the problem and truly there is nowhere else to go, then at best you are delaying a very unpleasant conversation with your inlaws waiting for the money to come in.

  27. If you can hold out for a membership at BJ’s for 3-4 months,they will send you a deal to rejoin. I used to this every year until I got the Groupon deal for Sam’s Club this year. That was just too good a deal to pass up.

  28. We have budget billing on our electricity. It averages your last years usage and you pay that each month. At the end of your 12 months, any overage you pay and they readjust your next year. I still only do laundry or run the dishwasher early morning or late night. I do have to cook during peak times because my daughter is doing her internship from 7pm-7am and need to eat before she leaves for work. This 100+ degree weather and humidity is killing us.
    This one is going to sound crazy, but we are swapping churches. We love our church, but it is a 15 mile drive one way. We have found a church we like that is only 2 miles from our house.
    I did the free trial month of Amazon Prime so my daughter could order her books for this semester cheaper than they are at the college book store.
    Packed lunches for husband and daughter (or whatever I should call the meal she eats at 1am).
    June 29th I gave up Dr Pepper and changed my eating habits. I’m not sure I’m saving any money because I’m now spending it on fruits and veggies vs the drinks. And I’ve started driving 2.5 miles one way to my BIL’s house to walk on their treadmill. Since I have messed up knees and a foot from an accident walking on the street does not work for me. The treadmill is level and I have hand rails to help with my balance issues. I know in the long run this is worth it.
    Brandi, I am curious. Do you not grow green beans, peas, or corn like we do here in the South? I’ve never even noticed you mention purchasing any of these in bulk.

  29. Because of our extreme heat and close to non-existant humidity (10% or less), growing those items are very difficult. For our hot, dry climate, the yard-long beans are recommended, and they are the only ones I have any success growing. The regular green beans don’t flower for me. I do have to have the long ones (which are a pole variety) where they will get afternoon shade, or they will burn in the sun. Even so, they don’t produce in the abundance that I have seen people get in humid climates. I know someone here who has her garden in a greenhouse with a swamp cooler running. She is much older than I am and has gardened for years, and not until they covered their garden and put in the swamp cooler a couple of years ago did she get many green beans.

    I usually buy the canned ones at case-lot sales and in November.

    Corn presents much the same problem; the ears burn on the stalks. I buy canned corn on the same occasions as I buy canned green beans. There are a few people who manage to grow corn here, but it is rare. Occasionally I will buy some when ears are .20 ore less each. I tried corn years ago without any success. It is not a recommended vegetable here by the extension service.

    Peas–I love the petite peas. They have such a TINY growing season here and they don’t do well. I do grow snow peas–planted in October, I can harvest them from March to April, where they always die (it’s easily in the 90’s in April). I buy frozen petite peas from Albertson’s (I like the taste of their brand) when they have them on sale for $1 a pound. We eat a pound and half at a meal. I buy them whenever I can find them on sale. They’re not always a planned purchase as part of my monthly planning, because I don’t always know when I’ll find them on sale. I try to buy my planned items and leave some room for sales like that, so you won’t always see them on my list even if I pick them up.

    You may also notice I’m not harvesting tomatoes and zucchini now. It’s too hot for them to flower most of the time. When it cools off I may get some in fall.

  30. Erika, I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this! We’ve been dealing with very similar circumstances, though things have gotten just slightly better. Do keep the faith, God will provide. I’ve learned that good things can and often do come from rotten circumstances, but God always has a plan and it’s better than ours. 🙂

  31. -I finally bought water for our emergency backpacks-yay me! I’m so happy getting that done
    -beef jerky wowzers! i bought 2 small packs for my husbands emergency backpack-it’s not much but there used to be nothing for food source
    -have been printing coupons through swag bucks, i’ve been keep track of which ones i have used to I know how much should be credited to my account whenever that happens
    -used 2 coupons
    -hung laundry to dry
    -ate at home, except one night we cashed in on rewards points from papa johns and paid remaining amount in cash and coins
    -bought a brand new queen size bed and box spring for the same price as the same version in a twin-its good when the talking is left up to the woman and my son got a stuffed dog as part of our purchase
    -sewed a carseat canopy with material I already had on hand
    -starting packing overnight hospital bag, diaper bag, and our traveling suitcase–I haven’t felt that need to get it done but that I should
    -baby’s kidney’s are normal size-6 weeks ago they said it was slightly bigger than normal but wanted to wait it out before getting overly concerned, I’m glad I never asked “what if it’s not?” as a bonus I got to see the baby and get a profile picture
    -we’re so close to navy hospital that I walk there for every appointment (parking is terrible-so I save myself the hassle)
    -had to cancel a flight, i hope to be reimbursed for full purchase price
    -my friend is coming and staying with us to travel cross country and my son listens to her so it will be really helpful
    -trying to figure out ways to save while we travel as we only get 60% travel pay up front because people were spending it on frivolous things and didn’t have the funds to make it from one duty station to the next-it’s such a pain, not to mention that the person assigned to us to handle our traveling plans doesn’t have the greatest english (reason #532 to get out of the navy) so glad it’s the end for us

  32. Brought breakfast and lunch to work each day, as did DH.

    Cashed in $12 from surveys to PayPal account.

    Found tuna for 59¢ a can – bought 8 cans one day and 4 more on another day. Great for the pantry. One can will feed DH and me for an entire meal if we put on salad.

    Found cheese for $2.99 for 2 pounds at Albertson’s anniversary sale. There was a limit of 2, so I also price matched at Wal-Mart and got 8 pounds. Half mozzarella and half cheddar-jack.

    Made a peach/blackberry cobbler from peaches starting to go soft.

    Made a batch of herb bread using basil parsley, rosemary, thyme and oregano from the garden.

    Picked cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, snow peas, herbs as needed and a small head of cabbage from the garden.

    My neighbor brought me a dozen eggs from her chickens. I gave her a loaf of herb bread in exchange.

    Made homemade pizza for dinner one night. Enough leftovers for 3 meals.

    Was invited to a BBQ with some of DH’s high school friends. (We are in our 60’s, so am amazed they still keep in touch). Was asked to bring a veggie side dish, so used the green beans I picked and made stir fried garlic green beans, also using garlic from the garden we had picked a few weeks ago. The food was great at the BBQ, and the Company was fantastic.

    Enjoyed talking to both of my adult sons, my mother and two of my sisters. None of us live in the same town. While that may not seem frugal to some, I remember when you had to pay for every minute of long distance.

    Have a great week everyone.

  33. Last week was a busy week for me. I was gifted with 2 five gal. buckets of tomatoes. I canned 22 quarts. Made 15 pints of grape jelly. I have several tomatoes waiting on me to either can or put in the freezer. These are from my garden. The heat has been terrible and my green beans have just dried up. I really need to get all the peppers picked this week. This includes bell, jalapeno, cayenne. Praying for rain this week to help the okra survive. Dishwasher is dying. Looking for a new one. I hate to spend the money but when you’re canning it’s so nice to have one to wash canning jars. Have a great week everyone.

  34. This is the time when you need to give yourself a hug, consider all the things you do have and continue to blog about it. I think it I important for your sanity that you know others are in the same boat and can encourage you to do the next thing on the list. AND you encourage people who read your blog. I read it everyday. You are real and truthful. It’s not sugar-coated. I am grateful to Brandi and all of the commenters. You have given me hope and great ideas.
    I hope things improve for you. Talk to your husband and keep praying. Ask your husband if he would like to go on state welfare. If your need to feed your kids and get medications, it is an alternative. Not one you go to willingly but it is there.
    Take care, Barb in PA

  35. Marianna – your post reminded me of my last apartment. Didn’t know until I moved in that I had to split the electric bill with the upstairs two tenants. I guess ‘what goes around, comes around” – I had room for an apartment sized moveable washer (the kind that hooks into the kitchen sink) and a 110-volt dryer. Oh, and a freezer. I think I came out ahead on that deal, hopefully you will too.

  36. I am impressed by the sculpture your son did. That was a great post on art books and art supplies the other day too.

    Last week, my dad was in town for a few days. It was nice to see him, and we planned some simple and low-cost activities. One day, we met my sister at the park where the community garden is located, and had a picnic. We then came back and took a swim in the pool at my condo. The next day, I met my dad for coffee, and then he took me out to lunch. Then we went to a local beach and met my sister there. I went for a swim, and they sat in the shade and talked. On the last day of my dad’s visit, we went over to my sister’s house and had lunch. It was a nice, relaxed visit. My husband and my father don’t get along, so my husband did not join us on any of the outings. It was a good practical solution, although I would greatly prefer if everyone got along. Alas, such is life….

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    – I pickled four pints of pepperoncini and three pints of banana peppers. I did this one morning early before it got hot.
    – I made a white shirt for my husband using fabric I got on sale last year. He will tie dye this using some of the dyes I bought on Craigslist a couple week ago.
    – I was considering buying someone’s large fabric stash (again from Craigslist). I did the math and figured out it wasn’t as good a deal as I had thought it was. So I decided not to make the purchase.
    – I worked in the garden and harvested squash, tomatoes, basil and calendula. I picked blackberries at the park and near our condo. I froze some of the berries for later. The pole beans I planted in June are now seven feet tall and have lots of flowers and tiny beans. I am going to have a LOT of beans. Yum…I can’t wait! My sister is already begging me to make pickled beans.
    – I was able to dry a few towels outside several times without anyone complaining. Drying laundry outside is not allowed in our condo complex.
    – I did all the things I normally do: made water kefir and kombucha, washed out plastic bags, cooked from scratch, kept the blinds and windows closed on hot days, and walked instead of driving when possible.

    Next week we are going out of town for a few days so I am trying to get organized for that.

    I am now going to read about everyone else’s week. 🙂

  37. Harvested more blackberries & added them to the freezer stash. Picked some apples from our baby dwarf Golden Delicious tree to lighten the load & keep the birds off them. They are in a ripening bowl inside. Picked Red Haven peaches, which are also in ripening bowls & yellow pear tomatoes, which went in a salad. Harvested the first green beans this year from our pole bean vines. Picked & froze the first ripe elderberries.

    Continued to trim out the weed trees between the shed & the field fence, preparatory to getting 2 bids on installing a vinyl fence to match the side & front fencing. Pruned the Elberta peach tree & one of the Golden Delicious apple trees that are by the fence line. Continued to trim off the leaves & cut the finger-to-thumb sized branches into “emergency/camping” stove wood. We have 2 bids done & will have the 3rd one next week.

    We had a quite strong windstorm move through. One of our neighbors down the street lost a quarter to a third of a mature weeping willow tree. There is a large Siberian elm tree on the property behind us, & the wind littered our yard with small pieces of wood, but they were all dead & perfectly dried out, so I cut the small ones into more “camping stove wood”, & broke up the smaller pieces to toss on top of the barked area by the garden. More free mulch that only costs the labor to break it in pieces.

    Stocked up on some grocery items for my oldest daughter. She had to drive out to bring our grandson to his post-surgical appointment to have his orthotics fitted, so I bought some things that are MUCH lower priced where I am, than where she lives. Since she had to spend the gas to get here anyway, it makes the gas work twice for her.

    Found several one pound packages of sausage in the bargain basket for $1 & bought those for my oldest daughter. We are not big sausage fans, but her family is.

    Picked up more grounds for gardeners at Starbucks for free. They had quite a few, so I picked up some for my daughters, too.

  38. Menu planned for the week using things I had in my food storage (frozen, canned, dried, fresh from garden) and only had to but a gallon of milk ($2.29 at Sam’s Club).

    Bought $70+ worth of things to add to my storage for $13. Men’s body wash, soap, blueberry pie filling, butterscotch chips, green chili verde sauce, peanut butter, pretzel snacks, multigrain bread, ziplock snack size and sandwich size bags and 2 six packs of small Glad plastic containers to use in lunches. The pretzel snack bags ( I bought 4) said that there were about 6 servings (1/3 cup) in each bag, so I got out my snack size ziplocs, my 1/3 cup measure and filled each Baggie with 1/3 cup. Btw- there were really only 5 servings per bag! I put all 20 bags into an oval basket for DH and son to “grab and go” as they fill their lunch boxes!

    Used the small Glad containers to package up individual servings of double chocolate zucchini cake and coconut orange zucchini cake and put them into the fridge for the same reason! At the end of dinner, I have taken any leftovers and individually packaged those into my Rubbermaid sandwich containers to also make lunch prep faster! Same idea with quarts of home canned applesauce, fresh cucumber chunks, carrots- small Rubbermaid containers and into the fridge! It’s amazing how much faster lunch prep goes and how neither of them are ” forgetting” to take a lunch and then buying lunch out! Definitely a win!!!!

    Bought grandson’s birthday present on Amazon and found that I still had Amazon credit to pay for it! Used their no-rush option for shipping with my Amazon Prime and got another $5 promo credit . Used it for a 20 pack of individual Frito-lay chips making them free and getting another $5 promo credit for choosing no rush shipping on those! Those will be special lunch treats and are tucked away in a pantry drawer kept for treats!

    Bought 3 copies of a fantasy trilogy discounted 80% – only $2.99 – for 2 of my 11 year old grandsons who are voracious readers and love the fantasy & dragon type books. I had them over today and they spent a good portion of the day curled up reading! Our house is an old Victorian with lots of nooks and crannies, so they went up to the third floor to the two bedrooms up there and got halfway through the first book within the trilogy! The third copy will stay here in our bookcase for other grandkids and “tween” visitors! Well worth the investment!

    Realized that our everyday cloth napkins ( I bought 6 several years ago) had worn out, been lost, etc. so I went looking in my sewing room for fabric to make more. My friends gave me a cloth banner that I hung on the outside of my sewing room door that shows a ramshackle 3 story Victorian house with a sign outside saying “Home for Wayward Fabric” ! Over the years my friends and even acquaintances have gifted me bags of huge amounts and small leftovers of all kinds of fabrics, saying that they know that I will make good use of it! At first I thought they felt sorry for me but then I realized that it was meant as a compliment because they knew I could create something wonderful out of their toss-aways! So I make and give away dozens of scrap quilts every year. I looked into one big black trash bag of fabric that I hadn’t sorted through and found enough of two fabrics- a red check and a stripe to make three 16″ napkins out of each! I then found a floral piece of cotton fabric (a home dec fabric) and was able to make a dozen more! I also had a tablecloth that had paint spilled on a part of it, so I cut that into 19 of the sixteen inch square napkins for use in our dining room when we have company!

    Saw a photo of a quilt that my friend just made and printed the photo and then “decoded” it and wrote down what amount of fabrics I needed to use and then made up my cutting instructions. I have sewn up all 64 blocks now, using scraps and fabric storage and am pleased to see the results.

    Rearranged things in pantry basement to make room for new jars that have been filled! Good feeling seeing the shelves filling back up!

    All in all, a very blessed week!

  39. We have been visiting family in Virginia for the past few weeks. I love going downtown to Washington, D.C. but traffic can be a nightmare and the cost of parking is high. I didn’t think we’d be able to go this trip, but then my mom told me about a frugal way to do it! We drove (took seven people in a mini van) instead of paying for the Metro, then parked right by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial FOR FREE at a park! I was shocked that it was free and LEGAL! There is a new public bus that has a route by the Smithsonian museums and big memorials. We paid $1 for two hours for the adults and kids under 5 were free. Transfers were free so we were able to hop on and off throughout the day. We spent about six hours visiting monuments and museums (which are all free) and only paid $6 total (not including gas) in transportation. We packed snacks, lunch, and water so we didn’t need to buy anything and on the way home we found back roads to avoid the toll road. And we didn’t hit rush hour traffic!

    While visiting family, we’ve been able to enjoy the produce of the garden. My parents have a great garden and no kids left at home. They were more than willing to let the grandkids eat as many tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers they wanted! I made some green smoothies from all the Swiss chard and am leaving your recipe for Swiss chard soup! I ran out of time to try to make it while we were here.

  40. I used a code from Kelloggs to get a free photo book from Shutterfly. I re-ordered a cookbook I put together a few years ago of family holiday recipes to give to my son for the holidays (I had ordered one last month for my daughter using a different code).

    I got a $25 coupon postcard from Lane Bryant in the mail, and I have only shopped there once when I got a $10 coupon for signing up for their texts and spent only $1 OOP so I was surprised they sent me another $25! I combined errands and went to Lane Bryant and got 3 pairs of panties for $3.75 total. I went to JCPennys to spend a $10 off $10 coupon and got 2 pairs of clearance sunglasses for $6.40. I paid with a JCP gift card that still had a little bit left on it so no OOP (the sunglasses were originally $28 each!). At Hallmark I did some early holiday shopping and spent some of the money I have been setting aside for holiday gifts. I got a Star Wars ornament for my son, 4 cards for upcoming occasions, and a Yankee Candle on clearance for $7.95 (originally $20). Total was $39.44 with tax which earned me a free woodwick fall candle. The candles I set aside for my son’s girlfriend, one for her birthday and one for Christmas. We stopped at CVS and got a rain check for the free mouth rinse that was out of stock.

    I sold an item on ebay for $44 and got immediate payment. I sold some shoes on the FB garage sale page for $50. I started more auctions on ebay and the FB garage sale.

  41. I really enjoyed seeing the pictures of your kids’ art work.

    I continued to eat all meals at home and took water with me when leaving the house. I spent a lot of time in my gardens. I harvested a variety of veggie and strawberries. The strawberries are ever-bearing and they have not disappointed me. I continue to enjoy the cold cucumber soup recipe. Tomorrow I am going to can more relish and Wednesday I am canning peaches.
    I booked air fare for a fall trip and for Christmas. Because I booked so early, I was able to get a great flight on miles only for my fall trip; taxes only had to be paid. The Christmas trip was booked on miles and cash. For the holiday flight, I was glad to pay cash for the route and times I wanted to travel. Both trips are to see family – a little planning really helped lower the out of pocket costs.

    I line dried some laundry which is such a treat here. I used the short cycle was whenever I could.

    I love this community. You’ll get this one – one of two lights burned out in my very small bathroom this week. I did not replace the burned out bulb and I haven’t noticed a difference. I also have been diligent in turning out lights when I leave a room. I keep remembering a post here where someone said turning out the light is like saving a nickel every time you do it. Thanks to all who contribute.

  42. I used to encourage my daughter to play and she did much as your own children did. One day she came home from a friend’s house and told me “Mama, thank you for teaching me to use my IMAGINATION to play. I have so much more fun that ‘x’ does!”
    Here’s what I did last week to save in my home…and really isn’t it using our creative center which we learned to use in childhood playing our imaginary games, that helps us to save?
    http://bluehousejournal.blogspot.com/2015/08/in-my-home-this-week-banging-out.html

  43. Brandy – I live in Phoenix and successfully grew Silver Queen corn this spring. It was fantastic! I grew it in containers which I will do again this year. I planted it first week in March. Our climates are similar I believe. I think I am either 9a or 9b. Anyways just wanted to share!

    I echo everyone else – I truly enjoy reading your blog!

  44. Stain Remover ( recipe taken off the creativehomemaking.com website)

    •2/3 c. dishwashing soap
    •2/3 c. ammonia
    •6 tbsp. baking soda
    •2 c. warm water

    -I recommend you mix and use this solution outdoors on the veranda in the fresh air as it does rather smell, and use rubber gloves on your hands while using it !

    -Place in a recycled bottle and shake, it blocks up spray bottles so don’t use it in one of them. I pour the mixture into an old bucket or you can use your laundry tub, put my clothes in, ring out or just dunk the stained bit of your clothing in the solution.

    -Then wash as usual in your washing machine.

    My husband and I cut timber so have the combination of red timber dust, red soil and a lovely array of oils on our underclothing and shirts. So you can imagine that our light undergarments are a lovely shade of red white and grey. Gets all of the stains out and turns everything white again and your clothing just looks like when you first bought them.

  45. Stain Remover ( recipe taken off the creativehomemaking.com website)

    •2/3 c. dishwashing soap
    •2/3 c. ammonia
    •6 tbsp. baking soda
    •2 c. warm water

    -I recommend you mix and use this solution outdoors on the veranda in the fresh air as it does rather smell, and use rubber gloves on your hands while using it !

    -Place in a recycled bottle and shake, it blocks up spray bottles so don’t use it in one of them. I pour the mixture into an old bucket or you can use your laundry tub, put my clothes in, ring out or just dunk the stained bit of your clothing in the solution.

    -Then wash as usual in your washing machine.

    My husband and I cut timber so have the combination of red timber dust, our red soil and a lovely array of oils on our underclothing, socks, shirts and jeans. So you can imagine that our light undergarments are a lovely shade of red white grey. Gets all of the stains out and turns everything white again or to it’s intended other colours, and your clothing just looks like when you first bought them.

  46. I’ve read your blog for a long time, but this is my first post.

    Sold off some excess clothing last week for $52.80.

    My husband and I helped our elderly neighbor pick the pears off her tree. We brought home two five-gallon buckets for ourselves. I plan to dehydrate some and can some.

    At work, we are having leftover food brought in on Fridays from Thursday night events. This will go on for a few more weeks. I’ve been able to bring home partial loaves of bread, peanut butter, orange juice, bananas, a green salad with dressing, and rolls. There is also some snack food at work that rounds out my brown bag lunches.

    I’ve been able to harvest beans, a few tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, rhubarb,and some herbs from our garden.

    The weather has been cooler so we have only run the air conditioner a few times this week for a few hours.

    Son in law came to town and is staying with us for a few weeks. He took us to dinner on Friday night.

    A colleague has too much zucchini in his garden and has brought it in to work. I’ve been able to take two of them home.

  47. HI Kandace and what a wonderful thought and blessing to help out your elderly neighbour and how wonderful it was for her to let you take some pears home :). There is nothing like the taste of freshly picked fruit.

    Lovely to hear that you have harvested some lovely vegetables from your garden too.

  48. Could you share the recipe/ingredients for your taco pasta salad? I am always looking for new pasta salad recipes. Our current favorite is chicken salad pasta salad (canned chicken, pasta, diced pickles, sliced almonds, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and pickle juice and a little mayo to bind it together.) Thank you!

  49. Green bush beans are fussy here in Oregon during hot weather as well. Normally, they grow great here. I tried the long red ones a couple of times, and they never made even one bean here–too cool, I think. This year, with our many unusual days in the upper 90’s or 100’s, I’ve had to “baby” the green beans along. If the temperature gets that high, they drop their blossoms and beans do not form. So, I run a sprinkler during the hottest part of the day to cool the air around them–for several hours. I did that for several days during this summer when the temps reached upper 90’s or greater. I was able to save quite a few of them, but noticed that a lot of blossoms dropped on one planting despite my efforts. We can only do this because we do not have a water shortage here, and we are on a well. Otherwise, I’m not sure the cost for water would be worth the price of beans. I have 7 rows of green bush beans(Venture–a Blue Lake variety) and 3 rows of yellow (Carson). So far, I’ve canned 76 quarts and 9 pints. There will be more later this week, which I’m giving away. I didn’t actually need 76 quarts–I needed 50, so feel very blessed.

  50. We have 5 months of above 90º temperatures here. This week we have high’s around 107-108º and lows at 81-82º. It’s simply too hot for bush beans.

    The red ones do well, but I do have a problem with ants; they crawl up the vines and eat them. I’ve had people tell me that ants don’t do that, but I’ve seen them do it every year, eating right inside the beans on the vine.

    I’ve very curious–how long are your rows? How far apart do you space your plants? It sounds like a very large section for beans. I definitely need to figure out a way to grow more beans, but they have to have some afternoon shade, and that gets tricky.

  51. Erika – Sorry to hear things are so tough. It’s great that your husband wants to help his folks but now that he has his own family, his first duty is to you and your kids. Can you have a discussion with him and talk through exactly where you are at financially (since it sounds like you’re closer to the financial details of your household budget) and what are his suggestions as to what you should do once you drain your savings? Could you get him to agree to a certain cut-off point where he will at least apply for work? Or if it’s hard to pin your husband down, it might be easier to do with this with a 3rd party, like a marriage counselor or a pastor, present.

    Take care. I’ve enjoyed checking out your blog since first seeing the link here a while ago.

  52. Jenifer.. our neighbors have Rose of Sharon tree’s here. Did you find any ants in the house? I had collected a bunch to dry for potpouri one of my neighbors warned me there were ants inside the petals and to dip them in water first before bringing them in the house. Sure enough those buggers were in them and it saved me from getting ants in the house.

    Anna

  53. Thanks Lorna. We have been helping this neighbor for several years now and she has become the source of our pears. We still have some bottled ones from last year and I’ve also learned how to make pear nectar and pear jam. She is a lovely woman and is happy to share what she has with others.

  54. Anna – good to know. Thankfully, there weren’t any. I didn’t know you could use those to make potpourri. Off to look into this now – thanks!

  55. Thank you Lisa for the tip on the parking for DC.
    My husband & I have been talking about going. We get advice to park for free – but none of those acquaintances can give us a location to park for free. (We don’t travel much, so we are quite novices on how “to do” things.) This is so very helpful.

  56. After last week with a lot of out of pocket expenses for birthday parties and a baptisim I had to buckle down and save where ever I possibly could. I have to say that by the end of the week I really felt BLESSED. I made it through the entire week with only having to put gas in the car (needed to get back and forth to work) and spending $4 at the food store.

    *One of the girls that I work with celebrated her birthday with us and brought in bagels for breakfast
    *My next door neighbor invited me over for a BBQ and I was able to contribute a side dish right out of my garden (tomato cucumber &string bean salad)
    *I was given leftovers of Chinese food and pizza from other friends.
    *Hung all laundry to air dry.
    *Picked up free mulch from our town recycle center
    *Mapped out errands to save time and gas $
    *Borrowed books from the library
    *Worked an extra “job” to replenish some of the $$ spent on gifts the week before.

    It also felt very good to share some of my garden crop with friends!

    I have to admit I “worry” over money a lot but somehow things always seem to work out. I just want to say “thank you” Brandy for this site. It is a nice place to come and learn something new and not to feel so “alone” in this so called struggle of making ends meet. I am a single mom who chose to stay in the “marital” home once I was divorced not to have my children go through another “change”. I bought my ex out of the house and also helped put my children thru college and my income is very low but I have somehow managed to keep the roof over our heads. Most people do not realize the struggle that it is but I have to say I am HAPPY and feel very BLESSED!

  57. Last week my daughter was visiting her grandparents, which cut down on our food consumption/expenses. DH and I also had a greater appreciation than she (at age 9) does for some of the CSA veggies, and enjoyed fried turnips and summer squash; as well as a soup made with cabbage from the CSA plus some ground turkey from the freezer. (We cooked the turkey earlier this year, then ran some of the leftovers through the food processor and froze them.) I packed lunches and breakfasts for work.

    My work had a company outing, a trip to a baseball game. The company gave each employee enough credit on our tickets for food at the game; I used my $2 left over after eating (stadium food is expensive!) for a couple of pencils to add to the school supplies stash. We also received a gift of a travel pillow with the team logo, and those who wanted them got hats. I also gave a presentation to a women’s group last week, and received a speaker gift of a zippered tote bag with attached zippered pouch. Have not yet decided whether I will keep or gift it. I am enjoying the pillow, and the hat is not attractive but functional in the sun.

    I paid some bills online, which not only saves me postage but enters me into a cash drawing our bank is having if you pay a certain number of bills online per month. I also set up a transfer of the grocery/drugstore savings (the amount listed as “you saved x amount” on the bottom of the receipt) for the first quarter of the year to our emergency fund. (I keep track of these amounts and add them up to add to savings when possible.) I received Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks and ReceiptHog, and added them to my account. Also took surveys from a couple of sites which offer monetary credit: Pinecone Research and eRewards. eRewards is partnered with UPromise; after you earn enough credit at eRewards, you can transfer it to your UPromise account. I like that you get partial credit even if you don’t qualify for the full survey.

    DH enjoys old farm machinery exhibits; we went to a Threshers show and listened to a couple of bands on Friday night, when admission was free. I created a Shutterfly photo book of a trip I was blessed to go on earlier this summer, with a free photo book credit from Kelloggs Family Rewards. I paid for shipping; before placing the order, I went first to evreward.com to check which online site was currently offering the greatest cash-back percentage, then went through links via Upromise to receive my cash back.

    Continued to enjoy basking in a Minnesota summer by spending as much time outdoors as possible: walking around the lakes, swimming in the lakes (or collecting rocks and shells, as my daughter and her friend were doing), reading Bible studies and/or library books outside on the porch with a cool glass of lemonade.

  58. Brandy, I’m curious about how you are able to turn your a/c off at times. I know the heat there is dryer than ours here on the coast of Texas but when I was in Vegas during the summertime a few years ago, it was like being in an oven when we went outside (I don’t recall what times of day or night we went out). What does the temperature get to before you are able to turn off the a/c? I so wish that was a possibility for us. Thanks!~TJ

  59. This week that isn’t possible, as we have highs around 108º and lows at 81/82º. However, the day it rained last week, it got down to 77º in the afternoon while it was raining. I set my a/c at 79º. If it is cooler than 79º, even for a short while, I will open up the house (usually an hour or two in the morning when the weather is cooler; not right now!) In the summer that only comes when the summer monsoons come (which doesn’t always mean rain; it more often just clouds that pass over us to rain further east). I watch the weather carefully and sometimes, in the early mornings, we get those occasions. Other mornings it’s like an oven at 6 a.m. I just watch for the rare days. The day after the rain the temperatures came right back up, so the a/c was running again, but for part of Saturday it was beautiful.

  60. My containers are the size of a Rubbermaid tub, they are the Earth box/ City Pickers type container. I planted the corn as seedlings that I found on sale at Home Depot. I spaced the stalks about 6 – 8 inches apart and then thinned as necessary. My dad thought the corn wouldn’t do well and could not believe how tall and well it grew in a container. I harvested it from Memorial Day to the second week of June. I will try to plant a week or two earlier this year. I was lucky our May wasn’t super hot this year and it lasted into June like it did.

    I am trying from seeds this fall. Wish me luck!

    Have a great week!

  61. That sounds so nice. We just keep ours going because of the humidity and lately have had $400+ electric bills ): Our heat & humidity have been so oppressive lately that even with the temp set at 78°, the heat permeates the house and it’s hard to combat. We gave in and put the thermostat down a degree to see if that helps without doing us in on the electric bill (fingers crossed). Do you have any posts about easy ways to “weather proof” the home so that maybe the cool that [i]is[/i] put out is preserved better? Or is that even possible? We did have solar screens put on all our windows last year and that made a big difference in the bills last year but the rates keep rising so we are kind of back to square one in that area.

  62. Fans are a HUGE help. Without ceiling fans I feel too hot. In larger rooms we have really big ceiling fans (52″ across). We have ceiling fans in every bedroom. Without them, I would have to go down to 76º or even cooler. Our rates have risen every quarter for over a decade. My first bill here in the summer was almost $500. Rates have risen more than 32 times since then and my highest bill for the year was last month at $352. My house has 2 a/c units plus we run the window a/c for our pantry in the garage. Every time I can turn it off for a bit, use fewer lights, make sure to turn off fans, etc, I do.

  63. The rows are about 15 feet long. I plant the beans very thickly. Usually beans like to be crowded, at least around here. (Corn will not produce at all if crowded, but beans will). Also, the slugs are an awful problem here, so many of my little sprouts are eaten off. Sometimes, even with my best efforts, there are gaps in the row. But, if all goes well, there might be an average of 1 bean plant per inch. Sometimes a couple are right next to each other and then there may be a little gap. For the first time, I added a little organic granulated fertilizer to the bottom of the rows when planting because we struggle with the soil being as fertile as we wish it was. I think it helped them produce so much, and my husband was given the fertilizer when he helped someone do something–so I thought why not try it?

    These 2 varieties are both bush bean varieties from Territorial. I have had excellent results from the Venture, especially, so have stuck with it from year to year (for probably 25 years). Last year, I bought the really big package–for around $20, if I remember correctly. It is finished now, and I will get another one next year. But, that’s an average of around $10/year for the seeds that way. The Carson is yellow and is a little later than the Venture. I usually get a bulk (smaller) package for around $4-5 because we use much fewer of those. I grow those so I can have a few jars with a green-yellow mixture of beans in them just because I think they are pretty. Since I bring the bean supply up to well over 100 quarts each year (accounting for the left-over ones from last year), plus pints for when some people are not eating here, plus a few frozen for soups, etc., we have them at least 2 times per week-often more. This week, because I’ve been canning, we have had beans every day to use up the ones that did not seal. We often saute fresh ones in butter and add garlic when we have them. The reason I grow both bush and pole beans is because I want to can a lot at once, and that’s what the bush beans do for me. Then the bushes are ground up with the lawn mower and tilled into the soil. I over plant and give away the extras because you never know if things are going to give you as much as you wish they will.

    I am very careful when I pick the beans. I do it early in the morning, unless I just can’t, due to schedule, so they are crisp and easier to work with. I grab the bush with one hand and pull the beans with the other. Otherwise, the bushes pull out of the ground. After picking, I water them, at least for a little while if they aren’t really dry, to settle them back down. They usually produce over a 2 week period, and I have to plan to can every 3-4 days, sometimes even more often. Sunday evening, for example, I was busy all morning at church, so picked for about 2-1/2-3 hours in the evening, until it was so dark I couldn’t see the beans anymore. Then, I snapped before work on Monday, started in again around 2 p.m., and my husband took the last load out around 8:30 pm. I ran 2 pressure cookers at the same time.

    One girl has purple pole beans growing in her raised bed next to the fence, and another girl has one large cluster of Blue Lake Pole beans in her raised bed. They will go until frost, with a few at a time, for fresh eating. I also have 2 staggered, very small plantings of bush beans tucked into 2 of my raised beds for freezing and eating later in the summer/fall.

    My garden is large. I have a tilled section, and around 1/3 of it is devoted to beans. I have 4 raised beds for veggies inside the fence and use those for early spring and fall/winter plantings because it is so wet here we can’t till until late May or even early June sometimes. I notice the raised beds get really dry during the summer, even here. I cannot imagine how much water you need down there where it is so excessively hot and dry!!! There are 2 raised beds (for kids) outside the fence, but deer are an issue. I have berries, including 2 raised beds for strawberries inside the fence. It is not unusual for us to spend between $100-$200 on seeds/plants, even when we grow many starts ourselves from seed (such as tomatoes, peppers, etc.) The cost varies depending on how many seeds I have left over. Although I’ve experimented with dollar store seeds, I would never use them for my main crops that I rely on because I have such great success with the ones from Territorial. I also have used Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Pinetree Garden Seeds, and a couple of others with good success. The $ store seeds have been fine for swiss chard, green onions, zinnias, cilantro, basil, and a few other things. The packs don’t have very many seeds in them from there. I don’t save very many seeds, simply because my life is very full and I have to pick and choose which activities I am going to do, but I did save some lettuce and it’s up and growing right now, and occasionally save some other seeds.

    One advantage you have, Brandy, is that you have a much longer growing season. Here, it only takes 8 weeks to harvest for the Venture bush beans (probably any Blue Lake-type bush bean). Pole beans take longer. I don’t know if you could get some bush beans to give you a crop during the fall. If you could get them to come up when it was still hot, maybe they would produce when the weather cooled off. It seems to be when the temp is upper 90’s-100’s that the blossoms drop. It seems to take about 6 weeks (approx) for the blooms to come along, and another 1-2 weeks for the beans to set and grow. So, you’d have to make your best guess as to when it was going to cool off:) It would be a good experiment, though, and might work! I don’t know if your days get short, if that would affect the 8 week time period.

  64. Erika:
    Sorry to hear. I found your blog through your posts on Brandy’s site and now enjoy yours, as well. I see that you are a beautiful, creative sewer. I know you are beyond busy, but could you sell some of the fun things and beautiful table linens you’ve already sewn on Etsy? It might be a relief to have even $20/week extra coming in for groceries. Table cloths go in the store for $40…could you sell yours for half that and be a bargain for people? Maybe throw in some cloth napkins and be a real steal?

  65. I would love to have had time to read everyone’s posts the last few weeks, but it has just been too busy. I start and then get interrupted. I have quick skimmed and lots of others sound to be in the middle of garden explosions and canning too. This will cover a couple of weeks…

    We have attended 2 more weddings of relatives, an engagement party for my nephew that lives with us and is now partners in my husband’s business. He and Katie Anna will get married in early November, they’ve been courting the last year. They will live then in a small house on her father’s farm, not too far from here. We went to a couple auctions. Welcomed 3 new babies among church and family. Went to one funeral. Attended a 65th anniversary and a 75th birthday, both at church. Still working summer hours at school until week before school start when will be full time again.

    We have harvested much from the garden including since last post. We’ve picked green and wax beans, lettuce, parsley, cilantro, basil, carrots, kohlrabi, cucumbers, zucchini, banana peppers, green bell peppers, red chili peppers, sugar snap peas, chard, kale, mint, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, onions, rosemary, dill….more of some things, less of others as they are starting or ending. Bought pickling cucumbers.

    Froze 18 pints of whole raspberries, 13 pints and 4 half pints of rasp freezer jam, we did strawberry too but I am sure that was in a previous post. My order of blueberries came in from Michigan week before last week , 70 lbs, so we did 18 quarts into the freezer and make 15 half pints of jam and 6 pints of pancake syrup. Made 11 pints of dilly beans, and tried something new from the Ball book, pickled grape tomatoes. My oldest son brought us the grape tomatoes and we made just the one recipe of 4 pints and used our rosemary. Very easy. Cousin-in-law gave me a recipe for microwave pickled banana peppers so we made one batch of those. Easy.

    Last week picked up order of pickling cucumbers and we did a full day of those, helped by my mother, 3 girls, daughter in law and her mom and one sister in law. Normally I can in the kitchen but when we do big days like this or applesauce etc, we set up the summer kitchen in one end of the garage. There is a sink we connect with garden hoses and a cooktop. We can open the bay doors if we want as my husband made screens that fit over them to keep bugs out. Great for parties too! My husband’s sister picked up the Amish water bath canner from another sister. It holds more than double a large canner. We did the brining portion ahead of times on the recipes that needed it. Finally tally was 31 pints of sweet gherkins, 40 quarts of dill, 15 pints of dill hamburger slices, 15 quarts and 29 pints of bread and butter pickles, and 4 half gallon jars of refrigerator Kosher dills. (I do relish later in the summer with too large slicing cucumbers and when we have lots more peppers and onions).

    The men set everything up for us, did some jobs around the property then went out to the pond to fish. They had set up the firepit. We had prepared chopped onion, carrot, turnips (from a cousin), potato, frozen corn and peas, celery, cauliflower, put into a seasoned white sauce so they put that into the dutch oven and topped with biscuit dough drops to make like a pot pie.. Then they fried bluegill and bass for dinner and we had ice cream and rhubarb cake for dessert. Another fun day.

    The weather has been hot in the 80’s and sufficient rain for the gardens. This week has been back to the mid 70’s so still good, but a little drier. We had to water for the first time this summer. Did some mending, hung many things out to dry, composted.
    Bought our new refrigerator. Our old one was 22 years old and not working well. We have a freezer on the bottom and French doors on top. Much fits into the doors. I like it more than just about anything, right now. We ordered it from a local store where we have bought other appliances. We put it on the Visa to get our points back at the end of the year, but we had the money saved for it so paid the bill when it came. Went into the County fair early in the day before the admission fee applies. Let daughter’s young adult group from church have a day at the pond for cookout and games, fishing, canoeing etc. Gas suddenly dropped 11 cents per gallon!

  66. This past week, I canned beans and dill pickles. I worked in the garden a lot. More and more garden items are ripening every week. The plantings for fall are up fairly well.

    I sewed with the girls, helping them learn to sew. I cut out a skirt for one girl. They want to exhibit at the county fair, for 4H. They also practiced their cooking for upcoming contests.

    My husband received some extra $ he was not expecting. He stocked up items like 50# of sugar for $22+, 50 lbs of pinto beans for about the same, parmesan cheese, etc.

  67. Erika, I am so sorry for your difficult financial trials and I pray a solution comes soon. Your husband needs to put you and the children first and I hope he realizes that sooner than later. Possibly your church has something like a fund to help members with an urgent need, should that low point in your finances arise. I pray your husband’s eyes be opened.

    I too enjoy checking in on your blog.

  68. Faith, you will always be happy you learned to can. Ball just had their CAN IT FORWARD day…I wonder if you could wAtch the videos on their website. Also find a copy of the Ball Blue Book as it has the best illustrations ever to guide you step by step in the basics. Good luck.

  69. My husband is an energy auditor – find one in your area that will come in with a blower door and an infrared camera and they can show you where the air is coming in/getting out. You can then caulk it up to prevent heat or cooling loss. Make sure you find one that will walk around WITH YOU and actually show you what needs to be done. Most don’t! It is hard to fix what needs fixing if you don’t know where the problems are. Also, he recommends getting rid of fiberglass insulation and doing cellulose or the best option is foam since that will seal leaks as well (but it is expensive!). Most people think of insulation as something you need for a cold winter area but it helps just as much in the hot south to keep the cool air IN.

  70. Love the sculpture that your son made. I just read your page on art and I was SO inspired to make art a bigger priority in the lives of my children. I never learned to draw or paint but I do hope to pass down a love of art to my children. My children are 1 and 5 and my son has made good progress with Usbornes I Can Draw Animals. 🙂 I do have a practical question for you. Do you have all of your children do an art time? Right now my son rushes through art projects but I wish I could slow him down just a little bit. 🙂
    As far as frugal things go the past few weeks have been hard. My daughter was diagnosed with a chiari one malformation in her brain. It is not life threatening but we are waiting to hear if she will have to have surgery to correct it. It’s so hard not to just be overwhelmed and waste money because I am so upset over it and don’t feel like cooking, saving money etc. I am trying to jump back on the frugal wagon. Here are a few of the things i was able to accomplish this week: http://lifeasmrsemerson.blogspot.com/2015/08/frugal-things-i-did-last-week.html

  71. Yes, we have art after lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but the children will often do something on their own on other days, too (like today, when my 5-year-old pulled out one of the How to Draw books from Dover and started drawing). It doesn’t always take a long time; they are usually very short. As they get older I try to try to get them to do projects that will take more than one day, but it depends on what they want to work on. I give them a lot of leeway in choosing what project they want to do. This is part of our homeschool, but of course you could do it without homeschooling, too.

    I am sorry to hear the news about your daughter.

  72. Bush beans really like cool weather. I grow a couple of different types that take 54 to 60 days to mature. I plant them a couple of days before the last frost date in the spring, and then I count back about 70 days from our last frost date and don’t plant any after that time. I never check soil temperature.

    This year, I spaced the plants a couple inches apart in two rows about 3′ long with 1′ in between. Last year, they were planting in a circle about 2′ in diameter, spaced the same.

    Beans can be started several weeks before the last frost date if the soil is thawed/drained and you use cloches. In zones 8-10, I think you could probably have a huge late-winter/early-spring garden that would be completely done by June if you had row covers (or something similar) for a few weeks.

  73. Erika,
    My husband has never been a big wage earner and he used to be quite the spender. I had to go back to work ten days after my c section because we really needed the money I earn.
    We went through a rough time with my husband’s job where his hours were cut and I finally said, “You don’t have to quit your job, but you are going to apply for a part time job at WalMart today. They are hiring and we need the money you can earn there. I have updated and printed your resume. Sit down and eat, so you can go with a full stomach.”
    After he ate, I said “How can I help you get ready to go?” He went because he really had no idea how to refuse me. They hired him and he worked there quite a while until he was able to get his main job back on track. It helped him grow up a little, too.
    I am praying for you.

  74. This week we were on a family vacation. We had been setting aside a little money when we could, but a chunk of it did come from an unexpected gift from family and friends. The children went to grandma and grandpa’s house for the weekend while we had an anniversary weekend (celebrating 10 years!). For the weekend my husband and I went to dinner, rented a redbox movie (with a free code), and toured the USS Edson (a navy destroyer ship) that was in a town about 1 1/2 hours away. The cost of the ship museum was $20 for both of us.

    During the week we used a free 2 night, 3 day stay at a campgrounds we received after listening last year to them try to sell us a timeshare there. While there we rode bikes, went swimming, took a boat ride, played board games, and relaxed…all for free :). We also took the boys to the zoo (thanks to the gift from some friends). Finally, we went to a fun nearby park. The only cost to us was the gas money and groceries bought to feed ourselves. We did buy ice cream cones at the campgrounds one day ($1 each) and slushies at the gas station for a fun treat during the week as well ($1 each).

    We had a great, low cost vacation!

  75. I got a good deal on a dishwasher from Costco last year. I was going to hold off as we are all adults, (Mom lives with us and son is 20, working and going to college locally), but my husband pitched a fit (literally) so I was motivated to find a deal.

  76. A busy couple of weeks for me, including a 13 hour drive to visit family. Here are some of the frugal things I still managed to do:
    – Zucchini bread for breakfast and leftovers for lunch.
    – gratefully received an empty shampoo bottle from a co-worker to store a homemade hair remedy. It was just what I needed and she has one less thing to take to the recycling and I get exactly what I need. A win-win situation for both of us.
    -Picked up my new set of sheets from the post office. I “bought” these sheets using airmiles that were set to expire, so they cost me nothing.
    – Preparing for our road trip using the codes from milk cartons to enter a contest and received coupons for two free coffees to enjoy on our drive. I also packed some snacks, a bottle of water, and our to-go coffee cups.
    -Stopped at a roadside stand and bought fresh corn on the cob and tried a new recipe for corn relish.
    – My Sweetie took some tomatoes from our mutant tomato plant into work to share. They went quickly.
    -Made another batch of salsa to use up some odds and ends of peppers leftover from the corn relish.
    -spent a wonderful day with a friend picking blueberries and talking before we went to sit on the beach for a snack and drink.
    I hope everyone has an amazing and frugal week.

  77. I am just now able to get back to read your replies…thank you both! Those are great ideas. We do have the fans in each room but also have two a/c units to cool our up and downstairs areas. I’m pretty sure that we have a lot of “leaks” around doors, etc (I was discussing that with hubby the other day as a matter of fact). I’m not sure what our insulation situation is though. I appreciate y’all’s feedback!~TJ

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