Greek Shadow Puppet The Prudent Homemaker

I cut basil from the garden and hung it to dry inside. 

I cut garlic chives and parsley from the garden.

I cut two lemons from the tree that ripened early and split. My tree is so heavily laden with lemons that I think this will be a regular occurance for a while.

I cut apple branches and lavender from the garden for a floral arrangement.

I downloaded some free piano music for Winter from a source new to me, called

Winter downloaded 4 free songs from Freegal, a free program through the library. All of these songs plus the score were Scott Joplin songs. 

My husband cut my hair for me. It took less time than it would have taken to get my purse, get in the car, and drive to the front of our housing tract, and cost me nothing.

I called my HOA and was able to have a $125 bogus charge removed (they couldn’t find any reason for the charge when they looked at my account).

I watched a new video on the Comme Une Française blog. For those of you who are studying French (which seems to be quite a few, judging my recent comments!) I recommend this blog for learning some new colloquial phrases.

The children watched a beginning guitar video on YouTube, and practiced on the guitar that I bought earlier this year at a garage sale.

I cooked several meals in my solar oven.

I picked up a couple of movies for my husband and I to watch from the library, when I went to pick up a book (Sophie’s War) that I had requested.

My husband and I watched a show for free on Hulu. The number of free shows is fewer than before, but Castle (now in it’s eighth season) is still free to watch online 8 days after airing.

The children enjoyed playing shadow puppets outdoors one night with a flashlight and a sheet. One child was a shadow giant and another was a regular person (just further from the light), in addition to some shadow puppets that Winter had made several years back. It was lots of fun on a lovely evening. I found some really amazing free printable shadow puppets here that we are going to try next week.

What did you do to save money last week?



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  1. It was my husband’s 60th birthday this week and we did a little celebrating. He did receive some bonus money from work which I mentioned last week that we used to pay off a credit card. We also used some of the money to have some fun on his birthday. We went out to eat and bought him some much-needed work boots and a coat. He works outside and we have some pretty brutal winters here in Indiana.

    Since the nights have been getting colder I brought in my potted cilantro from outside. It is sitting in a south-facing window and is still thriving. This is my second time having a cilantro plant but first time planting it from seed and first time bringing it in the house. We often eat Mexican foods and love the flavor that cilantro adds. Any advice on growing herbs inside are welcome! I have seeds for other basil, sage, oregano, and dill too.

    I have been using Ebates for my online purchases and since Christmas is coming up I am making a point of using it more. It’s always nice to get a little extra money in the bank account!

    Since the weather has been cooler we haven’t used the air conditioning or turned on the heat. The days are getting shorter which means we are using the electricity and lights longer. We have 2 outside lights that my husband says must stay on when it is dark outside for safety. We recently replaced the regular bulbs for LED ones. We are hoping this helps reduce our electric bill.

    I requested books from the online library catalog and picked them up on my lunch hour. It is so convenient to have the books that I know I want waiting for me at the desk of the library.

  2. Hello one and all from Australia 🙂 .

    Our frugal accomplishments this lovely spring are –

    In the garden
    -Planted cucumbers, onions, broccoli, and basil seedlings.
    – Spaced out sprouted snap pea seedlings, remaining silverbeet & spring onions to make more rows of vegetables.
    – Cleared spent broccoli and cauliflower plants & picked remaining florets.
    – Picked 3 large bunches of Italian parley and put 2 bunches in brown paper bags to dry on the back veranda.
    – Re mulched & weeded 2 garden beds with thick hay we mulched with the ride on mower from round bales to protect vegetables from the heat & keep the moisture in.
    – Picked greenfeast peas, snow peas broad beans.

    Trading –
    – Traded garden vegetables for 2 1/2 dozen eggs.
    – Traded garden vegetables for some of the cost of bulk honey for the home.

    In the kitchen –
    – Blanched,washed & froze 2 bags of greenfeast peas.
    – Blanched washed & froze 4 bags of broad beans.
    – Blanched, washed & froze 2 bags of snow peas.
    – Made a double batch of parsley butter.

    Water saving measures –
    – Used all grey water from showers, washing machine & vegetable steaming washing water to water in newly planted grass seeds.

    Have a wonderful frugal week :-), one and all.

  3. It looks like you have a remarkable set of shadow puppets and some very creative children, Brandy!

    Here’s my list:

    -We’re still eating tomatoes from the garden. We don’t get enough at one time to can (bottle) but we enjoy them with meals. I’m starting to really savor each bite because I know they’ll soon be gone!
    -I thawed a turkey and cooked it. We ate some of the meat and I packaged the rest for the freezer. I froze broth from the initial cooking and then used the turkey bones and the vegetable trimmings I’ve been saving in the freezer to make Junk Stock. This should provide the base for several meals in the coming weeks.
    -I used some materials I had on hand, some newly purchased supplies, and some graphics that I printed to make and individually package two dozen specialty greeting cards. I have enough materials to make a few dozen more greeting cards, to package two dozen of them, and to make a couple dozen mini gift cards.
    -I started testing recipes for my next “I Tried It: Pinterest Recipes” series using ingredients from my pantry. My husband and daughter enjoyed being my taste testers!
    -I made a huge batch of chicken tortilla soup using entirely shelf-stable ingredients from my pantry. I shared the recipe at

  4. * stocked up on 18 packages barilla pasta (my favorite) for .79 per pound. Also found some lasagna noodles in the clearance bin for .69 each (bought all 3)
    * got a free twix coupon in the mail
    * we are still getting used to our fall schedule and our teen getting home later on a couple days. Takes a bit more effort for meal planning
    * made 2 pans chicken enchiladas; one will be for dinner this week and one in the freezer for the future
    * my husband took advantage of a free bus pass thru his work to get downtown for a sporting event
    * bulk ordered 40 pounds of apples and used some of my paypal fund from cashing out on swagbucks = some apples were free to me!

  5. My husband trimmed my hair this week too! In addition, I’m in the process of making my own 2016 planner, starting preparing for a frugal Christmas one week at a time and we were able to keep the air conditioner off several days this week. Everyone of these things added savings to our pockets in some way.

  6. I didn’t get much accomplished this week – My hubby is sick with a cold and I seem to be fighting it as well, so one day became a lazy recovery day. I notice I need these every now and then to keep my brain from going into daily panic attacks. But here’s what I did get done:
    * Found boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.25 a pound (you had to buy 40 lbs to get that price) and burger for $1.99 a pound. I then used my vacuum sealer and split is all up and froze it. The freezer is now rather full until I get all the frozen tomatoes processed. I was also able to purchase 3 more huge packs of TP. I am [i] very[/i] thankful that we had the money to take advantage of the sales!
    * I processed the last of the garden tomatoes and started the grape juice.
    * I made ALL our dinners from scratch (except the take and bake pizza that was on sale for $8 which was less that what it would have cost me to actually make what the boys like in a pizza).
    * I used coupons for more kitten food, toothpaste & laundry detergent – saved about $5 🙂
    * I also managed to purchase the casters to make my pattern cabinet moveable. I also found some cheapy ones I had stashed away and will use those on another cabinet to (hopefully – they are cheap) make that moveable as well.

  7. Sounds like a music filled week at Brandy’s house! The shadow puppets look great.
    It was a water filled week here on the east coast, although not bad for us in Maryland (at least where I am). My relatives in Charleston, SC, have flooded yards and my nephew had to leave his house in downtown Charleston for a time, but so far he hasn’t had any flooding. If he can get through today (Sunday), he might be okay. He bought the house in May and does have flood insurance, but still… My thoughts and prayers are with anyone else who is similarly affected, such as two sisters attending college that my daughter has known since kindergarten. Their cars were hit by the same tree branch. One is totaled and one has $1,000 in damage and neither car had comprehensive coverage so there is no insurance help for them. Brandy and others who don’t get rain – check out the news websites for places such as Charleston and Ocean City, MD, for some fascinating pictures that might also amaze your desert-raised children.
    My daughter is in college in South Carolina near Myrtle Beach so they have also had a lot of rain and classes are cancelled for Monday. We talked for nearly an hour on Wednesday and I gave her a LOT of advice on how to prepare for the incoming weather (not for the entire hour, of course!) and about go bags. She actually listened to the advice, made notes, and shared them with friends. Most said that it would never occur to them to fill up the gas tank and do all the laundry before the storms in case they lose electricity, although they did know to have enough beer and food! We are going to work on the go bags when she is home for Thanksgiving.
    I’m not renewing my Sam’s Club membership because we don’t use it enough to justify the cost. I did a final shop there and stocked up on the items that are a really good bargain for me, including chocolate for baking and candy making, raisins, baking soda, and yard waste bags.
    I found out that a prescription isn’t needed to receive the shingles vaccine so I got that and the tetanus and whooping cough booster at the Target pharmacy. They were covered 100% by my health insurance.
    I dehydrated apples, celery and more basil and parsley and will do more celery and apples plus carrots this week.
    I am currently reorganizing my clothes closet to get rid of clothes that no longer fit since I lost weight and to add those that have been in storage until I could fit in them.
    My electric bill has been creeping up a few dollars over last year’s so I compared the bills and found that I’ve both increased use and that rates are higher. I attribute the increased use to cooking/eating at home, but I’m making more of an effort to not waste electricity and gas and started a spreadsheet that lists my costs for each day based on the readings from my smart meter, which are available when I log into my account on my utility’s website.
    I’m still getting a few tomatoes and peppers, but the garden is almost done for the year.
    Now it’s off to do the dishes, marinate some meat for dinner tomorrow, and make tonight’s meal.

  8. Well, on the plus side my emergency stock is good. And the hurricane passed us by. Thank God. I did spend more to get finished in a hurry but I was not risking it with a possible catagory four coming. So now we have plenty of things and I feel like our food storage is sufficient for us at this time.

    I was going to get my son a new winter coat but he is on the small side and it looks like he will get another season out of his current one, it was his brother’s and is four years old.
    We were able to use extra blankets and hold off the on the heat. We had a twenty degree drop from a humid 80 to a very chilly 60 degrees all in a week!

    I made refried beans and packed them into the freezer for burrito nights. We love this meal and it is so nice ( and thifty), the homemade refried beans are delicious. I am glad I kept experimenting til I found a recipe we liked, I make it about once every six weeks.
    We went to a fire awareness thing that was free and there were free pretzels ( hot dogs too but my kids did not want them. Typical. had we been at a ball game and they were five bucks each they would probably have wanted them). they got to see all the fire trucks and had a keen time.
    I read free books on my kindle.
    I don’t know if it’s considered “frugal” but we have been kicking around the idea of buying a fixer upper and I have been slowly pricing out the work. I realized after talking with Home Depot today that I don’t actually want a new kitchen. It would take somwhere from a month to FOUR months they said for everything to be ready and done and I was not impressed with how the times and prices kept changing. Anyway, if it is going to cost that much and take that long I would much prefer to do secondhand. So I think I probably saved myself potentially 25 thousand dollars. It might cost us 15 thousand but that would be half of what Home Depot quoted me for middle of the line.
    Related, the woman assured me that granite is cheaper than Corian? Has anyone found that to be true? How can that be? I thought Corian was formica’s slightly fancy cousin and she acted like I was insane for wanting it. I have junky formica right now and have lived though it somehow. :0

    I packed our snacks for our free outing today and asked for new sheets as a gift from my mom for my upcoming birthday. I stayed home to “babysit” and my husband went solo to Back To School Night. I said thanks but no to the schools offer of buying my son a weekly soft pretzel. That’s all he needs is some big carb-y treat and then he won’t eat lunch/will poop out after an hour.
    My middle child was feeling ‘middle child-y’ and so we baked brownies together.
    My oldest son and I read some Magic Tree House books I got at the thrift store.

  9. Well, I cant say that things have been very frugal around here the last week. We were denied our home loan because the letter explaining my husbands gap of employment wasnt sufficient…so we re wrote the letter and re submitting it! It seems so silly, but it is a federal loan so the underwriters are very thorough. I keep telling myself and my husband that it is better to take longer and get it done right than rush it and have it all fall apart. Positive thoughts and prayers are welcome!!!

    On a side note, I live about an hour and fifteen minutes from where the shooting was earlier this week at the Umpqua Community College campus. So sad and devastating for our community. We are rallying though!!

    I hope that the people in South Carolina are holding tight, praying that the loss is not too great.

  10. I got very lucky with some grocery shopping this week, especially some produce. There is quite a bit of competition between grocers in the greater Chicago area, so that often works to our benefit. I usually start my shopping at some smaller, locally owned markets, often ethnic, that offer great deals on produce. Some of my great deals were:
    [*] Onions for $0.19/lb
    [*] Concord grapes for $0.99/lb (I bought two pounds and made some quick grape sauce for pancakes)
    [*] Honey Crisp apples for $0.69/lb
    [*] Red bell peppers for $0.69/lb (it’s usually hard to get them under $2.00/lb here)
    [*] Red potatoes for $0.49/lb
    [*] Red cabbage for $0.19/lb
    [*] Avocados – 2 for a dollar
    [*] A 2 pound bag of limes for $0.89
    [*] Fresh ginger for $0.69/lb (the small piece I needed came out to be 15 cents)
    [*] A pound package of celery hearts for $0.59
    I made a big pot of meatless split pea soup. I made potato pancakes from leftover mashed potatoes. I made pumpkin butter from a pie pumpkin given to me, then used some of it to make a gluten free pumpkin streusel coffee cake. I made a gluten free flour mixture myself, which saves quite a bit of money over buying premixed (and it delivers better results). We eat gluten free out of medical need, not just because it seems to be the new craze.

    I bundled errands to save on gas. For my new contract job, I needed to go into the city to pick up a laptop. It’s 35 miles away. Parking downtown is super expensive. I took the commuter train, then walked 1.5 miles to the office building each way. It was brisk and windy so I walked fast, and it felt good!

    I’ve been cooking for my dog to save money on food and future vet bills. I bought a large bag of frozen mixed vegetables, made a large batch of rice and have been finding deals on proteins. My dog’s coat looks great and he is a happy boy. I have no kids, so he is my baby.

    A friend in another state had brain surgery (she is fine, praise God). I found a grown up coloring book on sale for a dollar, and three different crayola crayon “minions” 8 packs on sale for $0.18 each and sent them to her as a gift. She has some minor short term paralysis, so coloring is a good activity for her. If I can find the time, I color too as a huge stress reliever!

    Thank you so much for the duo lingo tip. I have been taking French to refresh the skills I’ve lost since college. I am also using it to learn Spanish.

    Six months after applying for a job I really want, I received an email invitation for an interview. I had given up. I have been doing research on the organization in depth so I can go in very prepared.

    I signed up for Ibotta this week after hearing about it here and adding some items I need to my shopping list in the App. I also found manufacture coupons for the same items so I will be shopping this week at some great prices.

    The temps have cooled here, and it’s getting darker. I have been swapping out incandescent light bulbs as they die for LEDs that I bought at a great sale a few months ago. Been swapping my summer and fall/winter clothes out slowly. This swapping task takes me so much less time now that I have pared my wardrobe way down. I often need to rewash items after they’ve been in storage tubs, so a smaller wardrobe costs less to swap!

    Have a wonderful, frugal week all!

  11. I love the shadow puppets!

    We combined errands. We went to CVS and got 2 toothpaste and a Starbucks Refresher. Spent $1.01 OOP and got $5.50 in Bucks to use next time.

    For SO’s birthday, we went to the movies. I had Hollywood movie cash for one movie ticket up to $15 for the ticket and a $5 movie cash for concessions. We went to a matinee and when we bought our tickets, we did not have to pay anything – they accepted the movie cash for both tickets. We only had to pay $7 OOP for the popcorn and soda and brought our own candy in.

    I cashed out for $12 Paypal at Pinecone. I completed another survey.

    Free in the mail – Real Simple magazine.

    I did a mystery shopping assignment at a grocery store after work. I’ll get a small reimbursement from groceries (I got things to fill gaps in my pantry) and a small shoppers fee.

    I worked in the garden. I picked 2 butternut squash. I planted carrots, red beets, and eggplant. I pulled weeds. I moved a volunteer. I turned the compost. I potted up a couple of plants I don’t have room for that reseeded to share with co-workers.

    I took my father on his errands and shopping at Walmart and entered his receipt into Savings Catcher for him.

    Plus all the usual –

    Have a great week!

  12. The shadow pup show looks like a lot of fun! I love that your children are using YouTube to learn how to play guitar too.

    Well, as I suspected, our temperatures took a nose dive suddenly this week. Even though they are still above freezing, the fact they dipped down quickly makes it seem so much colder. Not looking forward to the inevitable snow that will soon come.:p *big sigh* Anyways, my frugal accomplishments for this week are:
    *Harvested the catnip that I grew in a pot this year from seed. Gave one leaf to the cats and they went nuts, so I guess it was the right plant. I placed the plant into a paper bag while it dries, then will crumble it to make cat toys for Christmas.

    *Harvested the three small peppers that grew in my garden. Was trying to hold out to see if they would turn red, but our weather turned too cold to delay any longer.

    *Filled my tank with gas after two weeks of driving. Gas was only $0.92/litre! Yay!!!

    *Bought a 20lb bag of potatoes for $2.97, a 5kg box of quick cook oats for $5.89, and Secret underarm deodorant for $1.97 x 4.

    *My mom and I did a marathon session and assembled 11 unbaked apple pies and 13 unbaked apple crisps (just big enough for 4 people) which were all frozen for future use. We just pull them and bake them as needed throughout the year for holidays, family gatherings or for a special dessert.

    *Sold 2 of the homemade pies to friends for $8 each. We paid $15 for the entire bushel so this just made the apples free!

    *Home cooked meals included cheese tortellini with choice of white or red sauce, shepherds pie, breaded chicken strips with noodles & sauce and broccoli (an easy dinner after having an eye exam), BBQ hamburger’s and hotdogs with corn on the cob (might be the last BBQ for a while…we’ll see), chicken broccoli stir-fry with spring rolls, and fettuccini alfredo.

    *My daughter came home one day and told grandma that she had a really good day, but don’t expect it to happen again. Armed with that info, I used my mommy manipulation skills to combat evil. I told her I was so proud of her, but if she could have a really good day again the next day, I would buy fish and chip take out for everyone (her absolute favourite). The next day she had another good day at school, so I honoured my deal. Not frugal, but at least she had 2 really good days at school in a row. I consider this a mommy win!

    *Made banana chocolate chip muffins for my daughter’s lunches from bananas that went mushy before we could eat them.

    *I had my first professional hair cut in months. I think the last one was back in early spring sometime, so I definitely consider this a frugal accomplishment.

    *I had my yearly eye exam, which is covered under OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan), so only paid $20 OOP for a special picture of the inside of my eyes. I was told my reading vision is starting to decline. But since it wasn’t bothering me yet, the Dr will reassess the need for glasses next year. Not needing to buy glasses was a definite frugal win.

    *My mom and I attended a performance by a Beatles tribute band. I received the tickets for free earlier this summer when I was the first to fill out a survey for volunteer at my work. I have officially decided that my favourite Beatles song is this one: (it just makes me so happy!)

    *Gutted, cleaned and reorganized my pantry cupboard. While empty, we pulled it and the fridge away from the wall to clean behind it as well. Found a can of cranberries, so we crossed that off the list of supplies needed for Thanksgiving dinner. So glad I was able to get it reorganized to make it easier to find things.

    *With the weather getting colder and threats of rain, my mom and I decided to start cleaning my daughter’s play area. We removed the area rug on a cool, windy but sunny day, placed it outside on the back deck and I steam cleaned it. We then left it there to dry and air out for about ½ the day before we brought it back in. We will be cleaning the actual room this week.

  13. Fox Now has free TV shows including The Grinder, a new show you might like. And the ABC series are on their site after a week.

  14. The shadow puppets gave me a big smile. We used to just play using our hands on the wall, but I can imagine cut outs behind a sheet would be so much more magical. With all the creativity your children show, it’s obvious you are doing something right. You’ve got me thinking about haircuts, which I rarely take the time to do. I’ve cut my own for a while now, and my man has cut it once. I’d been pondering trying a new local place, but I think either I or he will do that this week. It’s definitely overdue. I look forward to seeing what everyone has accomplished this week. Joining in here:

  15. Mommy bribery is acceptable if you don’t do it every day! I am sure the people who bought your pies thought it was well worth the price to save them the time for prepping and the ingredient cost.

  16. I saved both money and energy. My daughter and her friends wanted to have a dinner at our home before their first high school homecoming last night. I agreed, but as soon as I realized the number of teens involved (18) I decided it would be a potluck – both because of the cost and also because I have arthritis that slows me down. I did not wait for parents to offer to bring something; I asked them outright. I provided thin marinated grilled chicken cutlets and Simply Salad pasta salad (an excellent boxed mix.) The parents came through wonderfully, providing hot dogs, hot dog buns and hamburger buns for the chicken, chips, cheese and crackers, carrots and dip, fresh fruit and dip, M& Ms and many other desserts and cold bottled water. (I did not want any colored beverages because I have carpet.) Parents were happy to help and thanked me for being the hostess – I think they were grateful it was at my house not theirs

  17. Honestly – I don’t know what the big deal is with granite. The price is outrageous and it needs special care – give me regular old formica any day ’cause if I happen to stain it with curry or turmeric or berries I can actually bleach the stains right out.

  18. I love Terri’s things done at home and not in a salon as well as your haircut Brandy. You are right about the time saving factor as well as the money savings!
    Last week we did lots more spring cleaning (Australia!) and washing, line drying and planting.
    I added to my pantry and have been working on my Christmas presents. I started a series on how to make really lovely but inexpensive Christmas presents. I had an ebook that I made free also on this subject.
    I think Christmas can be just beautiful but doesnt have to cost a lot. There are areas we can certainly re direct the funds… like the pantry, preparedness, savings etc.
    Have a wonderful week everyone! xxx

  19. Good job calling in to reverse the bogus charge. Something similar happened to me with the phone company. It took 3 calls and 2 billing cycles to see the credit, but I kept after it and I’m glad it was fixed.

    To save money, I continue to shop the sales and use coupons and rebates whenever I can. The only disappointment was the Swiffer deal at Target. Every blog was raving about it, but my stores were totally cleared out. I didn’t shop much due to tons of rain here in New England, but I did manage to find free burn cream, free Colgate toothpaste, free Irish Spring body wash, Scunci hair clips and more. All of my transactions with pics here:

  20. I have been back to cooking since last week. As we all know not eating out really keep the budgets in check and even after one week I see the difference. I am back to my regular work schedule so I can focus now on myself and my household, including all my thrifty ways.
    I am continuously blessed with free items from various sources. Full list of my frugal accomplishments is here:

  21. I agree with Melissa. I think I have Corian (it was here when we moved in) and I can put a hot pan on it, cut on it, use any cleaner etc. If seems to be pretty indestructible.

  22. This week i cut my husbands hair he cuts mine too. Brandy what do you do with your garlic chives? I have been working on gifts our weather has been in the sixties i disconnected the rain barrel otherwise it would freeze and burst my barrel since i would not be using it now till spring. This being conference weekend our tradition is to have chili and cinn rolls i prepared for it earlier in the week we had tacos so i cooked extra meat so i would have it ready for chili i made bread when i made cinn rolls. I have been making baskets for gifts
    i would love to hear what others do with thier garlic chives

  23. This week I cut two boys’ hair, continued use of cloth diapers, and utilized leftovers. I had a leftover chicken breast and Soup Mix from Food Storage so I made it and it was delicious. I am going to make a bigger pot this week with leftover pork and use it for my lunches. I ran out of oatmeal cereal for the baby so I used my food processor and processed instant oatmeal with oat bran. I gave it to him this morning and he loved it. He stays constipated so I hope this helps. I do use formula due to not being able to breastfeed,but I have been purchasing it with discounted giftcards bought from and formula checks. I am brainstorming homemade Christmas gifts. I have been tracking electricity usage consistently and hanging laundry as much as possible. I am currently looking for ways to lower heating bills this fall and winter.
    Sometimes you can get so caught up with lowering bills and saving funds, you forget the simpler pleasures. I was becoming frustrated with never getting anything done with the house so I decided that we had the supplies to do many of the projects. I just needed to plan my time better. I have been working on this and getting some things done. This makes me happy and my home cozier.
    Thanks so much for this community. I feel I am not in this alone. I got tickled tonight. My husband has been very supportive lately. When the kids were super-excited about dinner tonight, he had them calculate the cost for the meal. It worked out to .70 per person. Not super great but much better than we have done in the past.

  24. I think that Corian is more expensive than laminate – it can be $50/sf, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some types of granite were cheaper. Wilsonart HD’s line is really nice if you want to consider laminate.

  25. This week, I picked and processed more tomatoes. It’s bordering on ridiculous:) -I’ve given them away, and away, and away and have so many stacked up in the basement that I’ve canned! So, this time, I made an Italian sauce recipe from the Ball Blue Book. I just thickened it up with tomato paste instead of simmering it for hours. We took a couple of the jars that did not seal with us camping and it was really good! I love that I found another yummy way to preserve them. I cannot bring myself to just throw them away, and I know frost is right around the corner here. Then, Thursday morning before we went camping, I made 7 quarts and 8 pints of regular tomato sauce. I have not checked the garden since we returned today, and was putting things away, but I will tomorrow after work!

    There were more green beans on Thursday as well, and I just picked them and put them in the fridge. They are still fine. I also gave away quite a bit of produce to a lady that watched our animals for us last time we went away–she declined money and just wanted garden produce. They like swiss chard! What a great bargain for me!

    The family that watched our animals this time took the 4 big turkeys home, butchered them, and brought them back and put them into the freezer. What a kind thing to do! That is their family business, but they did it for free as a gift to us. The rest of the turkeys won’t be ready until right before Thanksgiving. The chickens will be ready at the end of this month.

    While camping, we did not eat out. Usually, we do eat at Mo’s at the beach at least once, and that was hard on the girls–they like their traditions, but they survived. I took zucchini from the garden, chicken from the freezer(cut into cutlets when an extra person joined us for dinner:)), had spaghetti with the homemade sauce, eggs, sausage, a frozen lasagna I’ve had in the freezer for a while, cereal bought on sale for $1.50 per box, and other things from the pantry. We took Rob’s mom with us. She bought a bunch of chips, crackers, S’more ingredients, grapes and bananas to share. Yum!

    My aunt joined us for the day and wanted to go to the outlet mall. I was pleasantly surprised to find some good bargains I was not expecting. I had planned to take one daughter shopping and get a hoodie. We had set the date for next week and she’s been waiting for over a month for the trip. I was able to get a hoodie, sweatshirt and sweater for $1 over the price I had budgeted for the one hoodie at the mall–a total of $31. I got a skirt for $1.99 for myself. I got a couple of other items for the girls for $1.99 as well, and a pair of leggings in the exact color I had been looking for to match a skirt I had completed for the youngest. (They were more $, but still a good bargain–and completed an outfit). Now, I just need to get some underthings for the daughter and we are set! We will do that next week, during the day I had planned in the first place, combining it with a dr’s appt.

    We started logging our timber. It’s hard. I like my little “forest.” BUT, it’s a blessing that we have it to help us through this job loss. We have been cutting expenses right and left. We have decided to buy our 1/2 beef that we had on order, though. We will need meat and this is good meat and the $ was set aside. However, I’ve already started to stretch meat out in a way I haven’t had to do for many years. (For example, using 1/2 lb of hamburger at a meal instead of the whole lb.) We tend to share meals with people a lot, and don’t feel led to stop doing that. However, they will get less meat in theirs as well. I’m being more mindful of waste. I’m being more creative with menu choices–using things up even more than before. We already ate 50 pounds of pinto beans last year–so that won’t be too hard on anyone to continue that habit. They LOVE homemade refried beans. My husband stocked up this summer and got another 50 lb bag of pintos, 25 lbs of sugar, and we still have a lot of rice from the last time he stocked up on that.

    I took my sewing machine to the beach (we have a camper) and finished a skirt for the youngest. I worked on another one for the older daughter, but did not get very far. I was having to much “fun” fighting with the zipper on the other one–but I won–it’s in nicely! There was some kind of event going on at a cultural center near the campground. So, we had free live music all day Saturday, and had the best seats in the house since we could hear it, but not too loud, and had the comfort of our campfire while we did! We took walks. We had never camped there before–it was in the middle of a town, basically, but on a lake and gave the illusion that we were in the forest. It was the nearest campground we could get a reservation at that still had openings (to save gas).

  26. I remember making shadow puppets with our hands on the bedroom wall. We didn’t progress beyond birds and bunnies but we did enjoy ourselves.
    This is how I saved money this week.
    Cleaned up my beehive and gathered all the remaining honey (about ¾ of a liter) after the bears got into it. My poor bees. Hopefully next year will be a better year.
    My neigbour gifted me with a very large zucchini. I turned it into a batch of pickles, a loaf of zucchini bread and a fritters for dinner one night. It was a very big zucchini. After cleaning out my raised beds, I traded her the last of my cherry tomatoes and green peppers for a couple acorn squash.
    Reused the roasted chicken from Sunday night dinner to make curry that provided one lunch and two dinners for us. I used the carcass to make stock for soup one night and to add to the freezer.
    Gathered rosehips and more nasturtium seeds. The rosehips I made into a tincture and the nasturtium seeds I am saving for next year.
    Repurposed a glass olive oil bottle as a dispenser for the sunflower oil that can in a cheap, hard to pour plastic bottle.
    Went to the dentist for two small fillings. It might not seem like a frugal move but I am hoping to prevent expensive dental work such as root canals and crowns down the line.
    Have a good week everyone!

  27. Well, we’ve been busy around here. Unfortunately for us, winter showed up early this year, which was kind of depressing, but at least everything melted and we’re back to normal for the time being.

    The shadow puppets look like a lot of fun! I actually got pretty good at doing them when I was a kid, so I know how much fun your kids are having doing them.

    My list for the week can be found here…

  28. They do look like grass! I just use them fresh and cut them small with my kitchen shears. They grow year-round for me so I don’t need to dry them. The regular chives die back in late fall. These ones die back a little, but not nearly so much, so I can cut from them quite often.

  29. This week was sort of a “Spend to Save” week:

    *My husband built a raised-bed garden, and we ordered some Fall seedlings and seeds.

    *We had an arborist come out and remove a tree that was preventing us from installing rain gutters, trim the trees that were endangering the power lines, and prune the rest of the trees on our property to ensure their health and get them ready for winter.

    *We had the arborist leave the wood from the tree they cut down for camping firewood. That saved us the cost of the wood, and also the cost of hauling it away!

    *We bought a vintage chandelier for our dining room, and my husband installed it, complete with LED bulbs.

    *Our friends visited again for Game Night.

    * I dehydrated some wilted kale, and ground it into greens powder to add to our smoothies.

    *We bought a gift that our friends have been wanting on a daily deal, as a thank-you for pet-sitting (the gift cost about 1/3 what pet-sitter fees would).

    *I tossed some pasta water onto the lawn. I really want to improve my water conservation efforts!

  30. Frugal, or not? A sporting goods store emailed me a coupon for $15 off any purchase. I knew they sell some camping supplies and I wanted a butane single burner stove to use for picnics and in case of emergency. The Sterno butane-powered stove cost just $5. Goodie. But I have not bought any butane cartridges yet. I live in a township that does not offer any hazardous waste disposal for its residents. To participate in a nearby community’s hazardous waste disposal costs $50 no matter how much or how little needs to be disposed! From what I’ve read about butane canisters in general, it sounds like once I run out of fuel, I should leave the butane canister in the stove with the gas “on” for an hour or so to allow any leftover butane to escape and then use an old-fashioned can opener to slowly punch a hole in the canister without causing a spark. Then the canister can be tossed in the regular trash. (We don’t have to sort our household trash in any manner here.) If anybody is an experienced butane-burner user (especially Sterno), does this sound correct?

    This stove is approved for use *IN* commercial venues and for household use *OUTDOORS*. I find the restriction somewhat puzzling. It is safe to use in a crowded place, but not safe to use by one careful adult at home who would be using it on top of her electric range with the kitchen window open a bit. Hmmm…… However, I am totally paranoid about carbon monoxide poisoning after meeting a man severely brain-damaged by his cottage’s malfunctioning propane heater. So, given the manufacturer’s warning, I plan on using the stove outside and on using an alternate method of cooking (tea candles, anyone?) inside if outside is not an option because of precipitation, wind, or low temperature.

  31. Wow!! Those are some great prices on food! Here where I live the Honey Crisp apples go for $1.99lb…not in the budget :p. That’s great that you heard back for an interview, good luck!!

  32. Hello from South Mississippi! Frugal accomplishments this week include:
    1. Only needing 14.00 to fill my gas tank up. I could have skipped this week but Hurricane Katrina taught me to keep at least one vehicle with a full tank at all times during hurricane season. I NEVER want to live through that experience again!
    2. Bought more canned vegetables. Our local grocery store has had them on sale for .33 a can for several weeks so I just keep buying and stocking up. I have canned veggies everywhere!
    3. Did not eat out! Yay!
    4. Our church’s 41st anniversary service is this weekend and I was going to purchase a length of fabric to make a new skirt for it but my sister reminded me she had a huge stash of our mother’s material. I went through it and found four pieces that I can use for skirts and other things so it will cost me nothing out of pocket.
    5. I have to make two large pans of dressing for the meal that will be served after the service as does my sister. We were discussing this and she was lamenting how expensive it was going to be for her as she does not have a stocked pantry. I am very grateful for my stocked pantry as I only had to spend about 12.00 out of pocket for ingredients as I already had most everything already.
    6. Someone gave me a gift bag that had a length of black satin ribbon threaded through it. I took the ribbon out and was surprised to find it was almost a yard in length. That went into my gift wrap stash.
    I’m sure there is more but that’s all I can think of for now!

  33. Hello Everyone! The shadow puppets are so original, I love it! Your children are so creative and I absolutely love that 🙂
    Not frugal: The Director fired me last Friday. It was a wrongful termination and I already have an appointment with a Lawyer at the end of October. He also wrongfully terminated a friend of mine a few months ago. I am going to see her Lawyer. I ran a group on Wed. morning that had one person in it. That person had not shown up for the two previous groups. The group room was right across from my office. I had SO MUCH work to do that day that after I paged the guy over for group I waited in my office, working. The Director said that I should have waited in the group room and fired me. The true reason he fired me is he wanted a friend of his to have my job. I am in the process of filing for unemployment (it’s a process here), I put my student loans in to Forebearance for awhile, and will have to cash in my small retirement plan. My husband has a small income but it’s not enough to live on because he takes care of his other too. That is a long story that started long before he met me. HOWEVER his best friend is pretty sure he can get him in where he works. they are hiring for the job he does. I hope that comes through. Thanks for listening everyone.
    Frugal accomplishments:
    -did not order out at all last week
    -my daughter’s birthday is Friday and she wanted “green slippers”. I found a pair on Etsy for $11 that were green and looked exactly like the ones my grandma used to make. They came in the mail Friday. I will also print her coloring sheets to make a book and paper dolls/clothes. We will be able to buy her a toy also, nothing expensive though.
    -Turned my old work shirt into “family cloth” 🙂
    – We made one trip to see my father in law in the hospital. It was good to get out of the house for a while. He is doing better and is projected to leave the hospital this week.
    -topped off the dish soap bottle with soap nut liquid. My hubby can’t tell the different 🙂 I also used the soap nut liquid to wash laundry. I had to use the dryer this weekend because the load I had on my racks were still wet because it was to cold in the house. We don’t have the heat on yet. Once we do I can line dry again. it’s been cold and rainy so I couldn’t use my lines.
    – I will be pulling the carrots this week sometime. My lettuce and beet “babies” are doing well. I only had one broccoli baby come up but so far so good. We have one more pumpkin in the garden that will be ready to pick soon and my herbs are still growing.
    – I did the usual as well: reused baggies and jars, saved shower warm up water and from glasses to water plants, keep lights and unnecessary appliances unplugged, etc.
    That’s all I can remember. I hope everyone has a great week!

  34. On Sat night, a week ago, I got a text from one of our sons asking what time family dinner would be on Sunday and what they could bring. We had just been to the funeral of our son_in-law’s dad and our 7 local kids and their families wanted to get together one more time before that daughter and son-in-law flew back to Houston. The text was at 8:30 pm after we had spent a really long weekend helping with funeral arrangements. Btw- there would be 35 of us for this dinner!!!

    I was so grateful for a well prepared pantry. I pulled out cooked and shredded chicken breast from the freezer, some corn tortillas, home canned chili verde sauce and made homemade cream soups seasoning with homemade French onion soup mix. Voila- main course for all 35! Got out produce from garden for a salad, boneless ham slices that I cut in half and let the others bring the rest! Easy-Peary!,

    Friday, I canned 18 jars of sweet chili sauce using hot peppers that grandkids picked from my garden when they were here. No ingredients needed from store! Then I pressure canned 7 jars of black beans. Made 3 ingredient no bake peanut butter oatmeal bars, switching 6 grain rolled cereal for the rolled oats. Made cranberry pecan chicken salad for lunches this week, made 5 dozen Boggles cookies and we finished up leftovers in fridge for dinner one night this week.

    All in all, a good week.

  35. On Sat night, a week ago, I got a text from one of our sons asking what time family dinner would be on Sunday and what they could bring. We had just been to the funeral of our son_in-law’s dad and our 7 local kids and their families wanted to get together one more time before that daughter and son-in-law flew back to Houston. The text was at 8:30 pm after we had spent a really long weekend helping with funeral arrangements. Btw- there would be 35 of us for this dinner!!!

    I was so grateful for a well prepared pantry. I pulled out cooked and shredded chicken breast from the freezer, some corn tortillas, home canned chili verde sauce and made homemade cream soups seasoning with homemade French onion soup mix. Voila- main course for all 35! Got out produce from garden for a salad, boneless ham slices that I cut in half and let the others bring the rest! Easy-Peary!,

    Friday, I canned 18 jars of sweet chili sauce using hot peppers that grandkids picked from my garden when they were here. No ingredients needed from store! Then I pressure canned 7 jars of black beans. Made 3 ingredient no bake peanut butter oatmeal bars, switching 6 grain rolled cereal for the rolled oats. Made cranberry pecan chicken salad for lunches this week, made 5 dozen Boggles cookies and we finished up leftovers in fridge for dinner one night this week.

    All in all, a good week.

  36. This past week I focused on not spending much beyond bills in preparation for our upcoming short vacation. We ate all meals at home or brown bagged it. I bought one Fall top at the consignment store, altered jeans and mended a top to complete my Fall wardrobe. Books were from the library. I also started cleaning areas I usually ignore and focused on our unfinished basement which houses the laundry area, furnace, etc. We decided we need to replace the dryer duct as it has a lot of lint in it that is unreachable so that will be part of this week’s continuing basement project.

  37. My Asperger’s daughter is a master negotiator and has been since she was very young. One of the issues with children on the autism spectrum is that they have a disconnect with other peoples feelings. It is part of the disability. For instance, an autistic child would get very upset if someone took their toy, but cannot understand why another child would be upset when they took a toy away from that other child. Because of this developmental disability, they don’t do things just to please other people. There has to be something in it that THEY want before they will do it. Bribery and negotiations are, unfortunately, a necessary evil in our house. It’s just how things get done.

  38. We just got done moving and I am trying to get back on track with saving money.
    Even before moving my grocery bill had crept up to about $750 for a family of 5, This month I have spent $470 with 4 days to go.
    Part of that was buying 37lbs of peaches at .49lb, I canned 21 pints, and 6 24oz recycled jars. And froze the rest for smoothies or milkshakes.
    I started baking our bread again.
    Tried substituting ground turkey in place of ground beef because I got some great prices between a store coupon and Ibotta(free or money maker ground turkey) 1 kid loved it 1 kid hated it, 1 kid hates everything but I make her eat anyway.
    My chickens started laying, but first eggs are tiny, instead of buying one more dozen eggs, I just used 2 eggs in place of one.
    Supplement chickens with kitchen scraps.
    Used hotel soap instead of buying new soap this week.
    made my own foam soap refill mix.

  39. Last week was a weird week. I ordered a few things from Azure Standard, and the afternoon the items were delivered, I was unable to pick them up at the drop site. So I notified the woman who runs the site, and she said it would be fine to pick up my box the next morning. Unfortunately, when I went to pick it up, a rat had chewed a hole in the box (which was on her porch) and eaten some of my chocolate chips. The drop site woman was very nice and offered to replace the damaged bag, which I appreciated. But thankfully I was able to salvage most of the chocolate, and the rat didn’t get into the other items.

    Then my bike got stolen. It was locked to a pole in front of my husband’s car in the condo carport area. I filed a police report (I was able to furnish the bike serial number and photo). I don’t expect to get it back, but the officer said there was a small chance it could be recovered since I had the serial number. What really bummed me out is that I had special bike bags on the back that I had purchased in Holland (not expensive or anything, but flowered and cheery and purchased on my honeymoon five years ago).

    On a good note, I got a raise. Which is quite surprising because I’ve only been working at my job for a month.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – I salvaged cardboard boxes from our recycling dumpster, and continued to put down cardboard and newspaper in my garden, which I then covered with compost. I picked the last of the holy basil from my garden and dehydrated it for tea. I picked chard from the planter on my patio.
    – A couple weeks ago, people were talking about how to prepare chard. I tried a couple different ways, and they both were delicious. I blanched the chard, and squeezed out all the water and then chopped it up a bit. Then I topped it with oil and vinegar, and ate it cold for lunch, which was very good. Then I tried blanched chard topped with soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. That was great as a cold salad too. I had a white turnip, so I chopped that and added it raw to the salad for a bit of crunch. Yum. Thanks to those who posted the ideas.
    – We get a lot of squash from our CSA. I shared a spaghetti squash with a friend.
    – I patched my husband’s robe and a t-shirt.
    Hope everyone else had a good week.

  40. Mari, I would love if you would share how you dehydrate your celery. I am getting ready to do some for the first time. Do you blanch yours first? I am reading several opinions on weather you should blanch before dehydrating or not.

  41. I took in a shirt (down 2 ½ sizes) that hadn’t sold on Ebay. Added it to my wardrobe and – took 3 shirts from my wardrobe and sold those on Ebay. This new to me shirt is easier to maintain (no ironing needed) than the other 3 shirts.

    I made a headband with the scraps from the above shirt to wear with plain shirts.

    There is a seasoning by Bells used with poultry. One of my favorites! I mixed up my own batch using herbs grown from my garden.

    Finished another Christmas gift – phew! On a side frugal note – My husband and I decided to treat ourselves with a day trip somewhere for our Christmas present from now on. Our day trips are pretty cheap and a lot are some of our favorite memories.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  42. We have solid granite slab counters (not granite overlay) in our kitchen, and I love them. They don’t really require extra special care. I would wonder if the price difference is an overlay or a solid slab. We have had ours for over 12 years and they still look brand new. But, I do know that kitchens are very personal and a lot of people do love Corian. I would say go with what YOU want!

  43. This past week we were finally able to turn our central air conditioning off & open windows in the house, although it will likely be short-lived. We typically keep our a/c between 78-80, and it is our biggest electrical expense. The weather cooled down enough last Friday that we were able to open windows & the house was down in the low 70s, cooler than we would keep it with the air on. It will probably be back up in the 90s by the weekend though, so we will have to turn the air back on again. I wish it would stay cool, but I will take what I can get! Even just a few days with the air off is a big moneysaver. Hopefully fall will arrive in Texas soon.

    My husband recently got a new cell phone, and we took advantage of a trade-in opportunity for his old phone. We ended up getting $200 for it, which was more than what we had originally paid for the phone 2 years ago! That credited directly to our cell bill, which completely covers this month’s bill and at least half of next month. Definitely nice for the budget.

    Other items: I hung most of my laundry out on the line to dry, since we had nice weather. Saved money/electricity on running the dryer. We did some grocery/supply shopping & filled in holes in our pantry. Took advantage of several sales. Found an unexpected markdown on ground beef at Sprouts, so we stocked our freezer with about 6 packages. Most meals were eaten at home. One of our neighbors moved out, and we ‘inherited’ some food from their freezer – not necessarily things we would normally purchase, but I will not turn down free food and was happy to get it. Several packages of hot dogs, waffles, apple tarts, mixed vegetables. We also got a few random household items free – a rug, duvet cover, night stand/end table, cleaning supply caddy, and some heavy duty stainless steel industrial shelving.

  44. This week I made laundry soap, dish soap, and some goat milk bar soap. I wanted to watch a documentary online, and was hesitating to pay the rental fee. I found it on the amazon prime video list and watched it for free. I sold some things we no longer need on Craigslist and got 90$ for them.

  45. I did not blanch this batch but I am going to try blanching the next one and see how they come out. The one that I didn’t blanch is fine. Small and shriveled (as it should be) but fine. I do n’t want to waste anything but since Aldi’s had large stalks for 79 cents each (through tomorrow), I can afford a little experimentation.

  46. So sorry to hear about the job loss. I hope it works out in your favor, you are able to find a better job soon and your husband can get a job at his frien’s employer.

  47. I’m also sorry to hear of your job loss. However, it sounds like it was a toxic work environment. Perhaps this loss was for the best, though not well timed. Best of luck to your husband and you on finding new jobs that are better for the both of you.

  48. Thank you for all of your comments and lifestyle suggestions that help me in my life.

    I had fewer frugal accomplishments last week, but I am grateful for what happened:

    Went on a hike with friends

    My husband and I took my mom and aunt on a drive through the mountains and I packed a picnic lunch for us.

    We went to a neighborhood Octoberfest party. I made a cake to take with items I had on hand to take

    I painted the inside of my bedroom closet, using paint I already had on hand. I did purchase four hooks on which to hand belts and purses. I am purging some of my older clothes that I no longer wear. It felt great to hang back my clothes in a clean and organized space!

    My SIL bought my husband an iphone 5S, which he bought from a friend who just bought the latest model. My husband recently started wearing hearing aids and the iphone works better with them. He is self-employed and uses a cell phone all the time!

    Read books from the library

    Have a lovely week everyone!

  49. Can’t remember the last time I saw hamburger for $1.99 lb! I bought some last week for $3.39 lb, which seemed like a good deal where I live.

  50. Sorry to read about your job loss. I hope something better comes along soon and the trip to the lawyer is fruitful.
    Slippers and coloring pages – that would me me happy!

  51. I bought a few pairs of pjs with the extra money from the diaper budget. I was only going to buy I package of diapers but there was a buy two get $10 giftcard at Target. Knowing I would use the diapers I went ahead and got 2, I was still able to purchase pjs and next month will leave me with more $ to buy some fall./winter staples on clearance or sale.

    Went to get an oil change only for them to tell me I didn’t need an oil change, only a tire rotation which was more than 1/2 less than an oil change would have been. I also had them look at a floor piece that was broke, and it is covered under the warranty!

    Homemade cream of chicken instead of buying a can – so easy! .. which I made a thick chicken and noodle recipe . ate over mashed potatoes.

    Used a 6 lb can of tomato sauce into 8 meals (plus probable leftovers).

    Made baked ziti with meatballs (which I cooked first and cut into quarters to stretch).

    Borrowed a cookbook from the library – Good Cheap Eats … It is on my amazon wishlist now, so good! she also has a blog which I haven’t had a chance to look over much yet.

    Made 2 loaves of banana bread with browned bananas.- one for the freezer.

    Stopped eating eggs everyday for breakfast. Price has went up.

    Biggest blessing was from our neighbor. She got trees cut down and let us take wood. the first day she just had smaller sticks that we took a wheelbarrow full. a few days later she got two more cut down and they left her yard a mess and she let me take the big logs they hadn’t cleared out yet! .. SO thankful! … they will be cut up for our fireplace!

  52. I love my granite and wouldn’t have anything else. I chose a dark color (green) so stains wouldn’t be noticeable if I got any. It requires a bit more attention, but not much (twice a year sealing/polishing).
    The best part is I can put hot pots or canning jars on it without damage. I can also put an ice block on it to chill if for making pastries too.

  53. We have corian in our house, they are white and about 20 years old now. Stains come off with bleach and they seem pretty indestructable. I don’t see why they won’t last another 20 years or more.

  54. I agree. I purposely bought a very neutral formica for my kitchen counters and it’s still going strong. I made grape juice a couple weeks ago and a stain was left, I kind of missed when straining the juice. Luckily, it’s slowly going away every time I wash the counter. My daughter said something about blueberries–which is better than grapes, so I guess it’s faded some!! It will disappear any day now, and I’ll be happy it did. I thought I ALWAYS used my chopping board, but with the stain, I can see that I have some small cuts on the formica that don’t normally show. I must have skipped the chopping board a few times!! NO MORE.

  55. Rhonda, great job on getting all the apple desserts into the freezer! We will do the same with pies. I have never frozen the crisps, pre-made, but I did get a hint from Martha Stewart to make bulk batches of the struesel topping and store in the freezer. So I have done that.

  56. I would be happy to have a countertop of any kind: granite, Corian, wood, tile, laminate, marble etc. Someone stole the cabinets, kitchen sink, toilet, etc. out of my house before I bought it, hence, the bargain price. I have a toilet and a kitchen sink. I use an old hoosier cabinet for my dishes. I literally have no cabinets or countertops. I am also too broke to spend more than $500 for a kitchen and so far, I have not been able to find cabinets and countertops for that price…

  57. Mandy, too bad about the job situation but it does sound like he wasn’t the best of bosses. I hope you will find something else soon. In this state if one is a caregiver and the person needing care is on state aid there is money available to pay the caregiver, even if a family member. Do you have that option there where you are? That would supplement your husband’s income, if so.

  58. Recent frugal accomplishments.
    Went to goodwill to get sweats for my son for his flag football games. Got a pair for him and for the kid whose parents sponsored him this fall. Also got pants since apparently he is no longer in slims.
    Also found southern living Christmas books for my mother in law for Christmas. Mint condition but she loves them!
    Got a fall work sweater for $2.

    And all my slim pants? Went to a friend in a trade for glass wipes for my car. That I need but don’t have $ for We both won. 🙂

  59. Love all the comments. Keeps me motivated to do the best I can on the frugal front.

    -am using some leftover meatballs from work for dinner tonight. They were free and I have them in the crock pot with homemade marinara sauce. Yummy!

    -working on curtains for our bedroom window. The blinds broke and I hate blinds. Using fabric from my stash so no extra out of pocket expense. Looked at curtains at the store and cheap ones would still be around $30!

    There has been some changes at work lately and my supervisor has treated us a few times by bringing in breakfast tacos or biscuits. It’s a great treat and boosts the office moral.

    -ate out just once this weekend.

    Enjoyed some at home grilling and free movies on Netflix instead of going out for drinks with friends.

    Eating from the cupboards and fridge/freezer as much as possible. Hubby wants to go to the store for almost every dinner to purchase supplies. This is getting so pricey! Trying to pre-plan meals to save a bit on dinners.

    Am trying hard to spend as little as possible each week. Taking it one day at a time.

  60. Diana, I agree sometimes we do get too caught up in the ‘saving’ part and forget the simple pleasures and what we CAN do with what we have. I stayed so busy all of August and September with just about what I had on hand that I had to take a week off and slow down, lol.

  61. I understand a [u]little[/u]bit since the child next door is autistic. I apologize for making such a flip comment; I forgot that you have a different situation than I did. I think you are doing an awesome job and we all parent in a way that works for our families, not those of other people.

  62. The writer of Good Cheap Eats actually has two blogs. The second one is Life as Mom. I have two of her cookbooks and have enjoyed several of her recipes. She feeds 6 children(4 teen boys) and they eat very well.

  63. Thank you all for the kind and supportive words. I needed them. He was a horrible boss, but wasn’t around much. And I Loved my job, I was helping people and good at it. However I also believe everything happens for a reason so I shall see what the reason is

  64. Not sure if you’ve tried it, but my daughter (as well as some of my previous daycare kiddos) had the same problem of constipation with formula… I would give them a tsp of so (with a medicine dropper) of prune juice each morning. When they’re closer to a year I’d also start with an oz or so of water in a bottle. Hope the constipation goes away!

  65. Hi Celia, I wondered if you might share your recipe for refried beans? I’ve tried several different recipes this year and while we ate them, they just weren’t quite perfect. I’m can’t figuring out what they are missing….but it’s something! 🙂

  66. I picked the last two cucumbers from our garden.

    One of my children went on a school field trip to an apple orchard and brought home a little bag of apples. When he came home he already knew what he wanted to do with them: make apple pie. We made the pie together and it was delicious!

    I made Whole Wheat Apple Oatmeal Muffins with a few apples that were starting to get soft.

    I cooked a chicken in the crock pot and made overnight chicken broth.

    I bought whole wheat bread from the bread outlet store for $1.03 per loaf.

    Earlier this year I signed up for CN Brown Rewards and I earn points when I buy gas or make an in-store purchase at one of their Big Apple stores. I often get $.50 off coupons and we use the coupons to buy milk (they usually have some of the lowest milk prices in our area). This week we used a coupon and paid $2.71 for a gallon of milk.

    Our younger son signed up for his own library card and we borrowed several books from the library.

  67. We tried it last year and they worked great from frozen. We don’t cook them, just make them up and freeze them. When we’re ready to have it, we bake it then. They taste like freshly baked apple crisp, not like something that’s been sitting in the freezer for a while.

  68. No worries, Mari. Many people don’t understand Autism, so I’m used to explaining my child’s differences. This summer I had a conversation with a father who has a child in a wheelchair. He was expressing how frustrating it was that people assumed because his son was in a wheelchair that he cann’t do certain things. I said I wished that was my problem. My daughter looks like any other child, so her disability is harder see. When she acts up in public, they assume I’m just a bad parent.

  69. Love those shadow puppets!

    I forgot to keep a list the past week so this is from the week before:

    – Project Use It Up: this week I finished an Olay Regenerist Recovery Night Treatment
    – my gym had member appreciation day so I got a free water, apple and baked chips
    – my daughter had a two night, three day camp experience with her sixth grade class. The PTO covered the cost of most of it so parents were only asked to pay $75 for the whole experience, plus they were given camp sweatshirts as well
    – made stuffed cabbage (I had everything I needed to make it except the cabbage) and a crockpot beef stroganoff. I ate leftovers of each and the stuffed cabbage made so many that I was able to put about six in the freezer for an easy meal later on a busy night
    – I carpool with a friend to take our sons to soccer. On her night she bought him Wendy’s for dinner on the way home!
    – on my night to drive to soccer I went to goodwill after dropping the boys off and dropped off a bunch of donations. While I was there I looked around and found two premium brand jeans (7 for all Mankind and Citizens for Humanity) for $5! They are $200 jeans. I am going to try to sell them on ebay…even if they only sell for $25 that’s a $40 profit. I also found a pair of jeans I am keeping, a nice sweater, and a Christmas Cd brand new for $2.
    – I had two separate codes for free Shutterfly photo books so I made ones from our mini vacation this past August and from Spring Break in April
    – had a coupon for a free 8×10 print from Walgreens. While I was there picking it up I found a Nerf gun set normally $25 on sale for $2.50. I bought it and now have it in the gift closet for a birthday party invite. I also picked up a Raid on sale from $7 to $1.79 plus it had a coupon for 45 cents off! Sometimes Walgreens has awesome stuff on Clearance
    – was invited to a brunch Friday. Had good food and good times with friends.

  70. Tell me about it!!! I cannot tell you how many questioning looks, glances, remarks, etc., I have heard over the years. My children look normal as well, but suffer from drug and alcohol effects, effects from trauma, neurological disabilities, and ADHD (which is neurological, but different than others.) There are times where you just pick your battles and count yourself lucky if you got off with a Coke instead of a full-blown tantrum:)

  71. We just did a brand new kitchen and went with the Wilsonart HD laminate line. It was 1/2 the cost of granite. I chose it because I really wanted an under-mount sink, (so you can just brush the crumbs in and there is no seal to clean.) WE LOVE IT. We get so many compliments on our counters. People want to know where we got them etc. Side note, we get TONS of compliments on our floor as well, and I got it at Sam’s Club. Very inexpensive and it holding up perfectly. We got a barnwood floor, but they had tons of options.

  72. I like your (Winter’s?) shadow puppet. It makes me think of a librarian. 🙂

    We have so far avoided frost here. We are still bringing in tomatoes…over 100 yesterday. Broccoli and cauliflower are done, just pulled all that was left and will use for cooking. Froze plenty for the year and pickled some cauliflower (in chow chow).
    My oldest girl has the hoop houses up and has greens in them. We ended up with 59 butternut and 66 acorn squash. These will divide between my household and oldest girl’s household, as we do with all the produce. My son gave us each 2 hubbard squash from their garden in trade for apples. Well, he could have had the apples any way…:D Picked more herbs for drying. Earlier I brought in pots of everything. The only one I really care to keep going over the winter is cilantro because dried it loses all it’s flavor. Brought in 5 large overgrown zucchini…they store nicely when the skin hardens.

    We had our family apple cider making on Saturday at an uncle’s house. Everyone brings bushels of apples from their trees and we have a day of fun and work. Everyone takes a job…washing, chopping, pressing, pouring into quart or 1/2 gallon jars, canning, or pouring into gallon cartons, for freezing. The frozen ones will taste like fresh cider when thawed. The canned ones I use for making hot apple cider as they will taste more like just apple juice. We even had a table for making caramel apples to keep the youngers occupied. Of course, there was a potluck of food dishes.

    Last week we had one funeral to attend, of one of my father’s cousins. It was a hour each way but my son drove the Prius and they get very good mileage. It held the 5 of us that could go, we have used it before for trips. I took half a day off work but I just make up the time somewhere else.

    We have had a small fire in the stove each evening to take the chill off and enjoy sitting in the living room reading or playing games. The day’s are 50’s. I keep forgetting to check the thermometer when I get up in the morning so not sure what nights have been. We have not had to turn the furnace on yet.

    I did some more mending, got my Christmas card list written out and checked to see if I have enough cards. I do with the clearance cards I bought at the Target last year. I put together and addressed birthday etc cards for October and November. I was a bit late on this and had to send a belated card out to an out of town friend. If the friend or relative goes to our church or school they have a mailbox in the mailroom next to the office, so that saves on postage. Just slip into their mailbox. Did the usual composting, especially of the falling leaves, recycling and using up leftovers. Packed lunches and snacks.

    Made macaroni and cheese, baked squash, crumb topped apple pie, banana cake with chocolate frosting, tomato basil soup, another kettle of the kale soup, garlic bread, croutons, roasted chicken and mashed potatoes, used the left over chicken meat to make sandwich filling and cooked up the skin and bones for broth. I froze the 2 quarts of broth…since the youngest who lives at home does not eat meat I routinely make my soups with vegetable broth. I will use them later in a dish she wouldn’t eat. Made 2 loaves of white bread and 2 of whole wheat. Made tuna noodle casserole …I made the mushroom sauce with one of the 50 cent cans of straw mushrooms and it turned out just fine. Canned 2 quarts and 5 pints of diced tomatoes. Made and canned chow chow which uses up cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, and green tomatoes. I love anything pickled. Our last major canning project will be applesauce, this week.

  73. Athanasia, I just adore how your family does things together, like making apple cider. It is so Victorian…I LOVE it! What a fun idea to have the younger ones make caramel apples too! I wish I was part of your family!

    I will be volunteering at my work again this week in a pie making and applesauce bee. They had a bunch of apples left over from the Applefest event. So in the spirit of not being wasteful, they decided to make pies and applesauce to freeze for use in the village next year. It’s always so much fun doing this.

  74. My favorite time of year is here – FALL! I love all the colors and the cool crisp air. This year I decided to make myself a list of all the things I love about Fall and like to do and budget myself so I can do it all and not feel like I have missed out on anything. I figure if I spread things out I can probably do something each week for around $5! So I started this past weekend by pulling out my decorations and started to display them…I decided I wanted a couple of pumpkins for my fireplace mantel so I headed to the dollar store. I picked up 4 of them (painted styrofoam) since they were so nice and I put 2 on the mantel 1 in the kitchen and 1 in the family room. This coming weekend I am planning on making an apple crisp or pie since apples are on sale for $1.99 for a 3lb. bag and I have all the ingredients to make either the “crisp” or the “crust”…then will pick-up a mum the following week to put into my planter at the front door…then carve a small pumpkin the following week and to end the month (Halloween weekend) I will bake some cookies that look like candy corn. Of course I have more on my list that will bring me into November but I will share them then!

    My frugal week:

    * This past weekend I decided to “re-charge”. I stayed in the weekend and just relaxed. It was a chilly weekend here so I pulled out a blanket and kept myself warm on the couch while I watched movies and read during the day, made a pot of chili and baked potatoes (had all ingredients in the house) At night I burned a small fire in the fireplace (wood was given to me by a very good friend) I am not ready to turn the heat on at this point. I made “fire starters” from a cardboard toilet paper tube stuffed with lint from the dryer. It worked well. I found this idea on another site.

    * I was able to pick a butternut squash from the garden. Not sure if it will turn into a pot of soup or it will be roasted this coming week.

    * My tomatoes are still producing nicely from the garden….have had a few tomato salads as a side dish and they were also a nice addition to sandwiches.

    * Have been spending some time on Pintrest to get some ideas to help me with my winter wardrobe. I have found a few good ideas on how to pair up the clothes I already have to make it look like different outfits and adding inexpensive accessories to change things up.

    * Making a list of things I need to build up my food pantry. Since I had a lot of expenses in September one of the ways I was able to get thru it without breaking the bank was to make meals out of what was in my pantry. Now to rebuild and eat this month maybe more of a challenge to the food budget but I have learned to be very creative.

    Looking forward to seeing what everybody else has been up to this week!

  75. It was “marked down for quick sale” Every now and then we get lucky at that market and find the ground beef that low. Doesn’t happen often though!

  76. I made chow chow for the first time a couple of years ago. We love it! I made a lot, so we are still eating it, but when it runs out, I’ll make more. I mostly made it because the name was so interesting and I never had before, but it tastes good! My recipe came from the Ball Blue Book.

  77. I have a high end laminate counter top that I had the edges belved and everyone thinks it is granite. We installed it 5 years ago. It still looks new and has not stained. Wilson Art is the manufacturer. I would stay away from Home Depot and Lowes for buying kitchen cabinets and counter tops. My husband is a licensed General Contractor and we have nothing but trouble with the quality. Find a local company you will get much better service and quality product. My husband said that typically starter line Granite is cheaper then Corian. Corian is a man made product.

  78. When I redid my kitchen, I chose a Wisonart HD pattern that looked like black granite with black, white and silver ‘flakes’ in it. Many people thought we had splurged on granite when they walked into the kitchen. It was only after very close inspection that they realized it was laminate. The surface was amazing and survived a household of teenagers and homestay students.
    Also, at the time, Lowe’s had pre-built cabinets that were all wood and ready to refinish. They were very reasonable in price and held up well.

  79. Cindy – check with Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore centers. When I redid my basement, I found some great used kitchen cabinets and also counter tops that were really inexpensive there.

  80. Kathy, I think you did a very good thing with the home party and maybe you will start a frugal trend among our daughter and her friends in the future.

  81. Tomatoes are the best. If I could only grow one garden item EVER I would tomatoes would have to be my choice. They are so versatile, across all types of food, Italian, Indian, no matter what cookbook I use.

  82. Rhonda, we are not spread out as so many families are these days. That makes it much easier naturally to do family projects. Most of my relatives either own small businesses or farm or work for the county or are teachers, nurses (like my middle girl and several others) , that kind of thing. We’re not “upwardly mobile”, I guess you could say 🙂 , so no one is getting transferred around the country for jobs.

    We are doing our apples pies for the freezer tonight!

  83. Becky, that is the recipe I use…I use the Blue Book for almost everything. I’ve never had anything turn our poorly.

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