Laundry Soap The Prudent Homemaker

I made a batch of laundry soap.

Cyrus was given a bag of spinach when he started his pet sitting job. He found a note that told him to take the spinach in the fridge, which was a huge bag that we enjoyed over several meals.

Winter downloaded free Christmas music from the library’s website through Freegal.

I finished some Christmas gifts using materials I had on hand.

Christmas was simple and easy. We used our regular plates and glasses, with white napkins. I put a white table runner on the table, and for a centerpiece, we used the orchid that my mom bought for me for Christmas.  At breakfast, I made biscuits and sausage gravy, which we served with orange juice that I purchased on sale the sausage was also purchased on sale).

I made granola

I went to Winco on Christmas Eve and purchased onions, oranges, broccoli and couscous (from the bulk section). Prices this year were higher than I had hoped, so I bought fewer oranges and onions. I purchased 10 pounds of yellow onions for $0.45 a pound, a couple of bags of oranges for $0.68 a pound, and 4 produce bags full of broccoli crowns at $0.99 a pound (frozen broccoli is $1.50 a pound on sale, and this was not only a better price, but it was just the crowns!)

On the day after Christmas, we went to the thrift store. We purchased several beautiful items of clothing for family members, including some wool and wool-blend sweaters, jeans for several people, and a couple of ties.

I made lemonade with lemons from the garden several days.

I had an at-home date with my husband on Saturday night. We had a nice meal together after the children were in bed, and then played a card game.


What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. I have been inspired by reading your weekly frugal accomplishments over the last year, that I have decided in 2016 to reflect on our own frugal accomplishments each week.

    While it may not seem like much, this past week, our biggest accomplishment was only ordering in once. We had gotten into the very bad habit of having takeout several times per week, so for the last week, I focused on making all of our meals at home, and only 1 night ordered in for my at home date night with my husband. I’m hoping in the next week to not have carry out at all, and then start the new year on a clean slate of no convenience foods.

  2. This week my frugal accomplishments are;
    I returned a pair of shoes to re-buy them with a 15% off coupon that I later found. I bought 32 large cans of tomato sauce for $1 each. I usually pay $2-$3 for these so I stocked up at that price. I found cereal for $1 and only bought two boxes. I only used cloth diapers and continued to not buy paper towels and used white washcloths instead. I shut the lights off whenever I left a room and many times walked around the house shutting off lights. I only did laundry in the evenings. I made most of our meals at home except a rare date night meal out with my husband. That’s all I can think of this week!

  3. I kept Christmas dinner simple and invited some friends over. For stuffing I used leftover bread that I’d frozen, the candied sweet potatoes came from my MIL garden, and I used an uneaten but leftover pie from an office party.
    I froze leftover turkey to use later.
    I froze turkey bones to make broth later.
    I had saved up some gifts my mom had mailed for my son a few months ago as stocking stuffers and gifts from Santa.
    I lined dried lots of laundry indoors. It helps with the humidity.
    I took advantage of free health care and medicine for my son. The doctor is across the street so we don’t have to drive.
    I used leftover mashed potatoes and made potato pancakes for lunch.
    My DH saw a 6 ft artificial tree for $5 on Christmas morning. We didn’t have a tree just a small porcelain one we’ve used for years so he bought it! Now we have a tree to decorate next year.

  4. Your Christmas sounds like it was quiet and delightful, Brandy. I too have found that prices have gone up, and sales at Christmas this year were…well…disappointing to say the least. Anyways, here are my frugal accomplishments over Christmas:

    *I shopped the Christmas sales for grocery items and stocked up on those that were at rock bottom prices for the holidays. I bought 12 more blocks of cheese for $3.77/450g block (1 lb block) to put in the freezer for later use. I bought 8 more boxes of snack crackers for the pantry for $1.44/box. I even found cans of cranberry sauce on sale for $0.80/can, so bought 2 in prep for Easter and Thanksgiving next year.

    *Made up bags of treats to give to my husbands family from the treats I had left over after I made all the treat trays. There is still enough to make one more tray for when we get together for a potluck meal with my extended family (aunt and cousins), as well as some for our household on Christmas/New Year day.

    *Filled my tank of gas while gas prices were $0.90/litre. Since I’m not working now, this tank should last a while.

    *Had a conversation with my daughter about cell phones. She is starting to ask for one, at the age of 12 years old, because “all the other kids have them”. I made it very clear I was not ready to get her one as she is not ready for the responsibility of how much they cost. I may reconsider once she is older (like in high school), but for now I think she is WAY too young to really need one.

    *Now that the season is done at the pioneer village I work at, I no longer needed to keep my hair long enough to put up into a bun (at least until next May). After growing it out for at least a year, I had my hair cut in a nice shoulder length style. It may not have been frugal…but man… it was such a treat to have a professional spend extra time cutting and styling my hair for about an hour! I consider this a special Christmas gift to myself.:D

    *Baked 2 loaves of homemade bread to enjoy for Christmas breakfast and to accompany our turkey dinner, instead of buying buns.

    *My mother gave me a dehydrator for Christmas this year. Can’t wait to try it out! My ex-SIL gave me the book “Simple Abundance”, which I am looking forward to reading throughout the year. My brother gave me a gift card that can be used in several different restaurants, which I’m sure we will enjoy using. My daughter bought me a beautiful picture frame at the “New to You” sale at school (all used items that were donated). I was quite surprised and delighted at how well she did with picking out my gift by herself!

    *My mother gave my husband an Android box for the TV. It works through the internet, basically turning your TV into a computer. Someone recommended this box to us, so we thought we’d try it out. We’re hoping having this box may eliminate the need for some of the satellite channels we have, but we’ll know better once we try it out a bit.

    *Went shopping on Boxing Day. I was able to find gifts for all 4 nephews for next Christmas (all under $10 each) and I found a few generic gifts to add to my gift stash. I also bought some Christmas cards and gift wrapping supplies at rock bottom prices. They will be packed away with our Christmas stuff to use next year.

    *My husband and I decided to pool the money we received for Christmas and use it to buy a new laptop for us. My husband went to the store early and stood in line for the 6:00am opening so he could get the advertised sale on the laptop he wanted. He was very pleased with himself for demonstrating such commitment to shopping the sales.;)

    Well, that’s it for the past week. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to reading all your frugal accomplishments. Have a great week, everyone!

  5. Completed 2 pine cone surveys.

    Bought more wool yarn in grey, black & dark blue heather. Placed it in a clean, empty popcorn tin for storage. Worked on the second sock in a set of wool socks for my husband, & finished the set.

    Made chili in the crock pot when the precipitation began coming down. The forecast is for rain, followed by snow, & a white Christmas. For Christmas dinner, I baked a ham that came from the pig our oldest daughter raised for us with hers, along with green beans bottled from our garden, and scalloped potatoes made from scratch, using my mother’s recipe. We also had red Jell-O in the low footed sherbets from my mother’s side of the family, & green Jell-O in the footed sherbets from my father’s side of the family. The cut glass (neither are crystal) makes the inexpensive gelatin look fancy, & we have had both red & green gelatin on our table at Christmas since we were poor married students in college. I have whipped cream for those who want it.

    Visited over Skype with our daughter & her family in Switzerland. Her Christmas present to us (& everyone else) was an adorable photo of their family (which her husband took), with a nice frame in which to put it. They used Shutterfly to print & mail the photos, & the site crashed on the day they were printed, so they sent four 5×7” pictures to everyone, instead of the one that was ordered. Since it was the company’s error, the “extras” were not charged. We happened to get 2 pics of 2 different poses, so the one I like best will stay here at home, & the one my husband likes best will go to his office. I put the 2 extras in a Book of Remembrance for that granddaughter, for when she is older.

    Used the extra boxes from Christmas shopping to cut into strips. Filled 14 tuna & clam cans that I have washed out & saved this year with rolled, corrugated cardboard. Put the lids from the Diamond nut cans, which I have also saved, on top to keep the contents clean. I need to melt several large candles that were bought on steep clearance because they were missing a wick, etc, & pour the melted wax over the cardboard to make “buddy burners” for camping or emergency cooking use. I will probably wait until January to melt the wax, but the rest of the prep work is completed, & it cleaned up the boxes without throwing them in the garbage can.

    We reused bows from “the tins” while wrapping our presents. I have not purchased bows for years; we store them in several clean, empty popcorn tins. I used paper bought 3 or 4 years ago, altho I did buy a few rolls paper last year when the prices went under $1/ roll for the thicker rolls with more paper. When they are available, I prefer rolls with a solid color or with stripes, rather than overt Christmas designs, because they can be used for other wrapping as well.

    Gathered a few gallons of rainwater from the last storm, before it turned into snow. When I shoveled the driveway on the 23rd after a short whiteout storm, I placed the snow around the blueberry bushes again to protect them, & also place some around the base of the shepherd in our yard display & two of the small angels that have a tendency to tip over. Part of that display is in a flower bed, where the daffodil & tulips bloom, so the snow melt there will water those bulbs, too. Placed some of the snow around the base of the fruit trees in the front yard, so they will be watered as it melts. I did the same thing with the snow I shoveled from the Christmas Eve storm.

  6. Here are my contributions from the past week:

    I have also been wanting to mention that one of your photos inspired me to do something different and fun. I have a wee kitchen (which I love!). I had gotten a scale, similar to the one you often use in photos, just not as old and with not as much patina. Anyway…now, I have my $2 scale on the counter with fruit in the bowl up top. It is cute and fun and lets me enjoy my scale without taking up too much space. Plus, I can easily set the fruit out to measure or weigh when I am cooking. 🙂

  7. Hello Brandy and all from Australia :).

    What a busy week it has been here in our household with catching up with replanting storm damaged vegetables, weeding gardens & lawns as we have had so much rain of late, we haven’t been able to get into the yard or garden much at all.

    Christmas –
    – We were invited to friends for Christmas afternoon and had a lovely smorgasbord with fruit, nuts, fruit cake, and sandwiches. We took along a loaf of fresh bread we baked at home, some fresh turnips, beans and spinach beet we had picked from the garden. We had planned to cook tea at home, but ended up being too full to eat anything ! once we got home. We had a wonderful time catching up with friends and talking.

    Gardening –
    – Finished weeding all of the rest of the 300 sq metres of garden beds around the house.
    – Weeded the bottom side of the house, under it, around the house and portable collapsible water tanks as well as flower beds.
    – Picked our first ever on our property, lovely ripe strawberries and shared with my husband while we were weeding, so sweet and yummy !.
    – Picked carrots and beetroot from the garden for fresh juices for us.
    – Picked a huge crop of green beans from the garden & had some for tea Christmas day , saw our neighbour and gave the excess to him for him and his mum for Christmas.
    – Picked all ripe onions and have them drying in the sun on a rack and will move them to the veranda to dry further for the next couple of weeks so they will store well.
    – For multiple teas this week we picked green beans, spinach beet, turnips, sweet corn and carrots and made vegetable bakes and stir fries with a tiny bit of meat.

    Gardening earnings –
    – Made $7 from the sale of vegetables from the garden to friends.

    Online craft hobby earnings –
    – Earned $30.10 profit from the sale of 2 eye masks and a set of 2 curtain tiebacks.

    Laundry frugality –
    – Made our own batch of stain remover & soaked all of our whites, shirts and underwear for the next 3 months for $6. It works and makes all of our clothing white and gets all of the stains out of the my husbands shirt collars unlike any stain removers that you can buy in shops.

    Water preservation-
    – Used water from washing machine and showers most of the week to water in new patches of lawn seed planted.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week one and all :).

  8. Merry Christmas everyone!

    I’m seeking to cut costs more then ever. Some of what I did last week:

    – I haven’t maintained our large vegetable gardens this summer (I live in South Africa) because of a difficult pregnancy, but have kept a few plants going in pots. The bell peppers are doing well but not the tomatoes so I ripped the tomato plants out and replaced them with bell pepper plants I had started from seed. I planted more lettuce. I used herbs and chillies from the garden to make a pasta sauce.
    – We have used the leftover ham and turkey from Christmas dinner in our main meals for the past 4 days. All served creatively so no complaints from the family that the leftovers have grown boring!
    – I have received several comments on the dresses I sew for my daughter. I have started working on some to sell online.
    – Together with my two older daughters (18 and 14), we’ve secured pet and house sitting work that has brought in quite a bit of extra money. Some has been used to put gas in the car, most set aside to cover study costs (for the 18yo) next year (since she is doing most of the work).
    – I had an abundance of knitted Christmas stocking ornaments that I make as gifts and managed to sell some. This helped us buy some extra groceries on sale.
    – I made granola and shortbread to give as gifts. My inlaws follow a sugar/carb free diet so I creatively packaged some fresh eggs from our hens and gave those.
    – My sister was throwing out some salad stuff that was past its best and a chicken carcass. I brought them home for our hens/bunnies and dog.
    – Our 5th baby arrives in about 3 weeks. I’ve started making freezer meals so we’re not tempted to buy convenience foods.
    – I’ve been using the children’s bathwater to water potted plants or do laundry in our top loader (if the water isn’t very dirty!).
    – I’ve become militant about turning off lights and appliances not in use

    Thank you Brandi for continuing to inspire and motivate us to save more!

  9. Hello all! What did we do…
    1. My husband received a ham at work. My son works at a grocery store so he took it and had it sliced for free. I got several meals out of it.
    2. Accepted food from an aunt. Several canned goods, 2 boxes of cereal, and a block of cheese.
    3. Stayed home most of the week as I am on vacation.
    4. Cooked most meals at home.
    5. Went the day after Christmas and stocked up on perfume and bath sets that were half price. Got a quilt for 15.00 and a new apron for 4.00 that were part of the Christmas stock on sale but will work year round.
    6. Made a skirt to wear to my sisters on Christmas Eve from material I already had.
    7. Shopped sales and restocked a few items in the pantry.

  10. Hello Brandy and fellow readers! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!
    Last week:
    -replaced the guts of the toilet, however they must need to be adjusted or something because it still isn’t flushing properly. It only flushes halfway then stops.
    -continue to save warm up water in the bucket, water houseplants with what little water is left in glasses at the end of the day, and use a dishpan for rinsing dishes after being washed.
    -not dawdling under the nice hot water in the shower 🙂
    Electricity/natural gas:
    -turn off and unplug everything possible
    -rack dried all loads of laundry but one (family cloth, rags)
    -making sure I unplug rechargables as soon as they are finished charging (laptop, kindle, etc)
    -keep lights turned off when not in a room.
    -keep the heat on 67 degress
    -turn off the oven and burners a few minutes early when cooking
    -we had two very warm days so I was able to shut the heat off. VERY unusual for northern Illinois in December so I took advantage and aired out the house one day.
    -we did have some food waste last week despite my efforts to use up leftovers. It’s difficult to not have waste when my husband, for the most part, doesn’t care for leftovers and won’t eat soups or casseroles.
    -We ate Christmas Eve dinner at his mothers and lunch on Christmas at mine. We brought leftovers home from his mother’s.
    -The neighbor lady across the street brought us a plate of cookies for Christmas 🙂 They are an older couple that live across the street and are so nice.
    -picked up a few groceries that we needed. I purchased what I could in my own containers and jars or package free to avoid packaging waste. I shopped with my list and only purchased those items.
    -I did find a large bag of oranges and clementines marked down to .79. I bought the bag and my daughter and I juiced them on our electric juicer (we wouldn’t have eaten them all before they went bad). I saved a few in the fruit bowl and used the rinds/skins to make to half gallon jars of citrus vinegar.
    -made all meals from scratch and ate at home, made blueberry muffins, peanut butter granola bars (although they have the consistency of fudge so I am keeping them in the fridge, will add more oats next time), homemade gravy, several rice dishes.
    Have a great week everyone!

  11. I made granola and peanut butter truffles for food gifts. I cut the egg cartons that I saved in half, put mini cupcake liners in the individual sections and put the peanut butter truffles in the liners. I put them in small, clear gift bags and closed them with ribbons I had saved from past Christmas celebrations.

    I printed free labels that were perfect for the food gifts that I gave this year. I saved them to my computer and opened them into a photo editor in order to type onto the label, and then printed them.

    I ironed tissue paper that I saved from last year and used it again this year. I also reused a gift bag that was like new.

    I printed free gift tags onto the cardstock that I bought with a coupon a couple of weeks ago. I love how simple and clean looking they are. I was looking specifically for gift tags that didn’t have background color that would use a lot of ink.

    The boys colored free hand drawn gift tags that I printed out and attached to gifts for their teachers.

    I made a little sweater for a baby shower gift using a free pattern. I also gave a framed copy of a free scripture printable. I saved it as a .jpg file on my computer and opened it in OpenOffice to change the size to fit a 5 x 7 frame. If you’re not familiar with OpenOffice, it is a free alternative to Microsoft Office that can be downloaded from their site.

    I cooked a turkey that we were given in November for Christmas dinner and used some of the leftovers to make turkey pot pie.

    We had some very ripe bananas that I put in the freezer.

    I turned an almost-empty bottle of conditioner upside down in a cup in order to use as much as possible.

    My husband used his Irving Rewards points and paid just $1.97 a gallon for gas for one of his fill-ups.

    We were very happy to learn that starting in February we no longer need to have mortgage insurance for our home loan; a savings of about $32 a month.

    Links to the free gift tags, free crochet pattern and scripture printable are on the blog:

  12. That is a wonderful accomplishment! If you spend $10 – $20 or more every time you eat out, just imagine the savings! I like to try to make a weekly meal plan each week so that I know exactly what I am going to prepare for meals. It makes dinner time a lot less stressful and a lot more organized. Wishing you a very frugal New Year, Vanessa. 🙂

  13. I’ve been thrilled that over Christmas, two of my daughters have made steps to increase their food storage/skills! One asked for a wheat grinder for Christmas and I was able to find one on eBay like mine- just an older version for just $40! It was already running, but Hubby tuned it up and I upgraded it by trading out it’s flour container to a larger size and also the measuring cup part too! She was pleased and we are giving them some of our excess food storage buckets with new gamma seal lids that we will purchase from Lowe’s using a gift card that we had forgotten we had ($86 balance on it!!) we are going up to Amish country this morning with them to buy some bulk grains/baking items that are cheaper than loss leaders or bulk down here! We will give them some of our excess wheat (red and white) to add to their supply! They drove up here from Houston ( to Ohio) and when they leave, they will take a great start for their food storage!
    Another daughter noticed how easy it is for me to put together meals/food for ourselves/others from our pantry. She found canning jars on sale at Meijer’s for 25% off and bought 5 dozen wide mouth pints for me and 5 dozen for her family ($7/dozen!!) she asked if I would teach her how to can pineapples and sweet and sour sauce and beans and the list went on!! She is really excited to learn how so that when they move into their first house this Spring, she will have food to put on the pantry shelves!
    Christmas is now past and we did not go into debt for it (even though with just our children and grandchildren, there are 52 of us!)
    We took out a small mortgage on our home ($50,000) but used it to pay off every other debt we had plus putting a chunk into our savings account and paying off our cell phones so that we could go to much cheaper carrier!
    While some may think this was a bad idea, we got a 15 year fixed rate mortgage @ 3.89 APR which will make our payments (remember- this is now our ONLY debt!) around $360/month! This also frees up over $500/ month with the smaller debts we were paying off plus the cell phone monthly cost difference! The excess will be split into savings and paying off mortgage earlier! We felt impressed that this would be a wise, long term success!
    We have been able to share with others this week from our abundance and feel truly grateful for the skills we have been able to learn to help us become better stewards of all we’ve been given!
    Hope you all are looking forward to a bright and positive new year!

  14. We had a simple and easy Christmas too. Sometimes I think that is the best way to celebrate. Frugal accomplishments for the week:

    Attended a free showing of It’s a Wonderful Life
    Bought wrap and ribbons at the after-Christmas sale.
    My son in Wisconsin sent us a gift box of assorted meats from a well-known Wisconsin meat packer and another son gave us some of his home raised turkey and lamb so we are all “meated” up for the next several months.
    Started a penny rug from free woolen samples.
    The fruit market is closing down for the winter and they had some great sales. I bought bags of chocolate chips for 99 cents a bag! So I bought six bags, enough for the entire year. They also had bags of shredded cheese for 99 cents, which I froze.
    We ate soup this week using the small ham that was included in my son’s gift. That lasted for several days. The rest of the ingredients came from the pantry and cold storage
    Salvaged a large pile of lumber.
    Foraged red pine needles for a home remedy.
    Took advantage of Ebay’s no-fee listing to sell five items on Ebay.
    Skyped with long distance relatives.
    Made macaroni and cheese with all the leftovers in the cheesekeep, the remaining cream cheese and sour cream from holiday baking. It made a very rich dish, but now we can enter the new year with a clean and healthy slate.
    In spite of it being the Christmas week, we did pretty much what we do all year long; heat with wood, hang our clothes to dry, bake our own bread, eat from the fruit cellar and pantry, etc.

    Happy New Year, Brandy!

  15. I had new decorations for our tree this year that I bought at 90 percent off last year after Christmas. For an exchange gift for church, I made a very pretty red apron out of new material I had bought at a second hand store. I have made 1 adult and 3 childrens aprons from it and have enough for one more adult apron. Our Tops had their Christmas Candy 50% off so we enjoyed M&Ms and chocolate kisses on Christmas day. I put the m&ms in a beautiful old candy dish I bought at a yard sale and the kisses in a dish that was my moms. My husband and I endeavor to take time to be a blessing to others. I baby sat 2 precious children for a family in our church so they could go to a Christmas dinner at their work. The little guy is 4 and he unwrapped the chocolate kisses for my cookies and helped me roll the dough ball in the sugar. The baby girl’s smiles melted right into my heart. Wow, this empty nest momma got a sprecial gift money can’t buy!!! We invited our Pastor and his family over for lunch on Christmas day. We watched the new movie out War Room and the boys watched a movie we had gotten them. Their laughter filled our home! Our children came in the evening. My son and I grilled our meat on the grill. Yes, it was unusual for NW PA but it was awesome! May you have a wonderful week.

  16. I was ill for several days last week and wasn’t able to make several gifts I had planned. As a result, I have put them away and will work on them as time allows and use them for other occasions this year.

    I received a box of home grown potatoes from my MIL (that her sister grew). With the hustle and bustle last week (and being ill), I wasn’t able to get to them. I will be making them into hash browns for the freezer.

    I made chicken stock with a chicken carcass.

  17. I love the idea of all-white Christmas decor! It’s so versatile!

    We had family visiting this week. Our frugal accomplishments include:

    I made a hearty, filling breakfast for our guests each morning, and we sampled the local restaurants for lunch, so we didn’t overspend.

    We went to free tourist attractions in our area, and had a wonderful time.

    We took advantage of my father-in-law’s senior discount at the attractions we did pay for.

    Each year, we send a box of homemade holiday treats to the homes of our immediate families, but we do not exchange individual gifts.

    We reviewed our budget for 2015, and found a few areas we can improve on in 2016.

    Have a wonderful week ahead, and Happy New Year!

  18. Last week & the week before brought me some bargains on meat. The first one was all the frozen turkeys were marked down to $.49/ lb. $.99/ lb has been the best price I have seen all year so I was glad to put several of these into my cart. After I started picking through the bin of frozen turkeys I found that some of them had a 50% off sticker on them. When I took the 3 with stickers up to the front, the cashier tried to tell me that it was 50% off or $.49/lb but the manager came over to say it is too confusing so they let me have them for $.25/ lb. The three turkeys were between 15-17 lbs each. I cooked one and froze the other two. There was a sale on unsliced ham. $.99/lb but there was a limit of one per customer, so I bought one and dh bought one. A lovely family that we know from church came Christmas caroling and brought us a ham, so I cooked one & put the other two in the freezer. A neighbor brought us some homemade tamales.

    The things that have been terrible for my budget over the last two weeks have been the return of my two college students to my grocery budget and my eldest getting engaged so we are looking at a wedding in May that I have no idea how to pay for. We also have to pay for second semester tuition, housing, books, fees and required health insurance for the two college students.


  19. I forgot two things! We bought paint about a year ago to redo our bathroom and my husband finally got around to it while on vacation this week. We tried painting the bare concrete floor because I really liked the look of it on Pinterest…. We live in the south with high humidity and it was an utter fail so off we went to Lowes. My bathroom is small so we looked at rememant pieces of flooring and I found one that I liked for 30.00 but it had a small tear on one edge which would not affect the amount I needed so we asked for a discount and got it for 30.00. They also had a pile of odd and end construction materials that my husband asked about, said it was well worth over a hundred dollars, and got it for 25.00. He used some of it to frame in a new window in my laundry room and used a window that he had gotten for free a while back so for less than fifty dollars I got a bathroom makeover and a new window!

  20. Canned mandarins and pineapple that we got on sale. Made 6 quarts of ham and bean soup and canned that up. Huge pot of chicken broth made and ready to be canned/frozen. Got a gas card that is saving us 25 cents per gallon for the 1st two months and 5 cents off per gallon after that. Found a $25 gift card when decluttering. Got free “gleaned” pastry and bread from a couple at church. Sold a scooter (the kind that is a chair for those with trouble walking) on Craigslist. It was free to us (inherited it). Purchased an Entertainment book for some cheap dates in 2016.

  21. We made it through the holidays in tact. My son, daughter and husband liked all the gifts I made, which made me happy. I didn’t get much from them in return, which made my husband feel terribly guilty, but I just kept telling him that it was okay and what he got me I did like (he got me some Pyrex refrigerator dishes from a local thrift store that I couldn’t bring myself to buy as it was too much money to spend on me *laugh*). I was KIND of hoping that my birthday might work out a bit better for money and we might be able to treat the kids to a night out or something, but that isn’t going to happen at all, but such is life.

    The rest of my list for the week can be found here…

  22. My husband surprised me Christmas morning with 10 hams . Yep ten at .98 cents a pound. He bought one everyday on his way home from work there was a limit of one per customer. He turned on the fridge in the garage and put one in each day for 10 days. Christmas morning he took me out and opened the door ! But the best part is he cut all but two up and helped me can them the day after.
    He also picked up 7 dozen eggs at .99. We don’t usually buy for each other and this year all the kids and grandchildren stayed home they live in other states. Was a very quiet week and no money was spent except for the ham and eggs. I made him a nice breakfast on Christmas morning of ham and eggs for about $1.20.
    We watched the new version of True Grit one evening on Net Flix and ate popcorn and meat and cheese we were given by one of the salesmen at my husbands job. It was truly a frugal and quiet Christmas !!!

  23. 1. We had a lovely Christmas dinner at a friend’s and brought a veggie dish and homemade cookies. Low cost to make and popular.
    2. The only night we have gone out to eat in a long time was Christmas Eve and that is our empty nester, long way from family tradition. Thai food and not too expensive.
    3. Made a big pot of minestrone soup using homemade chicken broth.
    4. I have been shopping my closet and creating and documenting outfits that work. Finding new ways to combine the clothes I already own saves me from wanting more.
    5. Our basement flooded with the heavy rains on Christmas Eve. I pulled out the shop vac manual and we figured out how to clean it up ourselves! Saved the dehumidifier from working too hard.

  24. It sounds like you found great things at the thrift store! I need to get some jeans as well for the girls. I hope I can find some good deals, too. I’ve been talking about it for a few weeks, but now the situation is getting desperate! Good thing holes are in style:)

    Your granola recipe is great. I had the 4H club make it last year for one of their cooking lessons.

  25. gardenpat, so nice you can shop at the Amish stores. My married daughter and her husband went down to Ohio over Thanksgiving. He has many relatives there and they had several family functions to attend. They brought back new straw hats for my husband and sons, for summer. I needed some fabric that they picked up, some hairpins, spices.

  26. Brandy, glad to hear that you are healing well enough to venture out to go shopping! I also thought of you today when I went to Sam’s Club-I checked out the large tins of Tomato Sauce…wow that is a lot cheaper way to buy it! Thank you for that idea too!

    The week was quiet and nice, nothing exceptional happened. Enjoyed the winter-like weather here in Phoenix and have just relaxed over this holiday period.

    Still working on cooking three new recipes a week, and I make a meal plan (dinners only) for each week, then buy any small item that I don’t already have. I originally tried planning each meal out for a specific night of the week and found that I really don’t like to be forced into a specific meal based on a plan from 7 days ago. So I make a list of 5-7 dinner ideas, then I can make something we want each night. It accomplishes the same thing, I just enjoy the flexibility.

    Happy New Year to everyone!

  27. LB,
    When you can your ham and bean soup are you using a pressure canner? If so, how long are you leaving it in the canner? I do a lot of water bath canning but am always nervous when it comes to canning meat. Would love to hear what your recipe/directions are.


  28. I have two sons in college also. One of the best cost saving measures for us is sending food. I cook HUGE pots of soup and then can it in pint size jars and send it for their meals. I use the reusable tattler jar lids and they know to return them to me. Also, I make homemade crackers and cookies and seal them in fruit jars using my Foodsaver. Every meal costs at least $7.00 at the school. It is terrible because they know they can charge whatever they want because it is too far to walk off campus for other meals.

  29. Not frugal here. I was in the hospital from the 22. I have kidney stones. This is my 2nd go round with kidney stones. Not fun at all. The hospital is not a good place to spend holidays.

  30. *I cut the big pork loin I picked up at Aldi’s for 1.49 a pound into a meal of chops and then left the other half whole and vacuum sealed it and froze it for another dinner. Hubby isn’t fond of pork so I try to limit how often I serve it.
    *I cut the ham I got at Aldi’s for .59 cents a pound into ham steaks and then a good meaty bone to use for bean soup. I vacuumed sealed both of those as well.
    *I actually remembered to start the baked potatoes early enough in the day that I could make them in the oven (rather than the micro) plus we topped them with leftover topping from Christmas dinner + I made the brown bananas into bread and baked those 2 loaves at the same time as the potatoes. That saved the oven from being on longer than necessary and it also heated up the house nicely.
    *We only brought home takeout on Christmas Day night as that has been our tradition for YEARS.
    *I put all of the extra sweets left over from making up the treat baskets into the freezer. In past years, the family has gotten sick of what is made and they go stale.
    *I purchased the dog, cat and chicken feed all on sale – I saved around $20 total between all of them off the regular prices. And I am sure we are close to earning another $10 off coupon since the cat and dog food came to $140 alone!!
    *Instead of tossing the old ratty comforter that was my husbands (we have separate blankets/comforters – it works soooo much better for us – 22 years!) I cut it into 2 smaller pieces, mended the holes and zigzagged the edges and made it into dog blankets.
    *I only bought the loss leaders and the couple things we needed for the potato topping and the raspberry jam I ran out of for my baking.
    *Win for me – hubby tried crackers my Mom had put out with cheese – he LOVED them and wanted to know where they came from – Aldi hahahah now he wants to go there and get them. He has always been against Aldi for whatever reason and I love it – with their limited choices I can be in and out of there in no time! Hopefully I can turn it into a weekly shopping trip – He has to go with to shop……don’t ask….it’s a long story
    *I made applesauce with the apples and pear that were in the fruit basket I was given at work and added in the older apples from the frig that were getting soft. I’ll have to can it up later this week when I have time.
    *I figured out a storage container for the dog food rather than going out and purchasing one of the ones with a rubber gasket – I had an unused metal trash can in the rabbit barn that I pulled out and cleaned up. It isn’t completely bug proof but it’s better than leaving it in the bag open in the closet. If the door gets left ajar at all, the beagle eats herself sick. This will prevent that problem.
    We have stayed home most of the time which has saved gas + there’s no temptation to purchase anything. At the moment I am listening to the freezing rain hit the windows and am very glad for our woodstove and that we live in an area where we rarely lose power (and if we do, it is restored very quickly due to where we live and who else is on the same grid)

  31. Hi Judy and don’t mind at all sharing. Despite what the instructions say, don’t put it in a spray bottle as it just clogs it up, so I mix it in an old distilled gallon water container, give it a shake and then empty it into my bucket. Also what I do is take a bucket outside and pour it in ( this stuff stinks and the fumes are quite overcoming), put gloves on and immerse the whole garment in there and ring them out and continue with the next. Then just wash them as usual in your washing machine. You will find also that they come out whiter each time you wash them, so by about the second wash your whites will be a brilliant white, you can also use this as a general spot cleaner for coloured clothes as well. To be safe just do a little test on a small inconspicuous spot to make sure.

    You can find the recipe by clicking on the this link – .

    I hope this helps and as the ingredients are so cheap to purchase this will save you money and more importantly it works !.

  32. Hi Dee and that is such a wonderful story of dedication and love and frugalness. As soon as I read it I could imagine your husband singing on the 1st to 10th day of Christmas song as he was lovingly cutting it up too :D.

    I am fortunate to have a husband who is fantastic like that too. We recently saw our favourite shampoo and conditioner on special one of 4 stores we shop at for $1 ea which was 50% off. When we got there, there was just 2 bottles on the shelf, so we asked the shop assistant if there was any more on the storage shelves above and he said no sorry. My husband then replied being not a small giant at 6’2″ tall, well what about those two boxes on the right hand side, that looks like them, could you see. We gathered at the pained look on his face that he was none too enthusiastic about climbing on the two storey trolley ladder to see, however at my husbands request he did. Low and behold my husband was right, and we came away with 5 bottles each of our favourite shampoo and conditioner to store until the next sale we find. My husband did pleasantly surprise me as he used to say well that is all they have, but now seeing just how much we are saving on shopping the sales and how much we are increasing our food and necessities storage, he willingly asks. He is such a quiet man and usually hates to ask or bother anyone, so the change was fantastic to see !.

  33. Hi Melissa and funny you should mention your husband’s adversity to shopping at Aldi. Great bargains on the meat that you purchased too !.

    My husband had the same thing because when Aldi originally started out in Australia they had a very limited product range and most of their items then were from China & Indonesia and yes they did taste well lets just say yucky :). Since they are now stocking a lot of Australian & German made products the quality of their items has improved hugely I have to admit.

    So knowing that my husband would go grocery shopping virtually kicking and screaming, I took him there anyway and said to him just give it a try and see. When he got there he was overwhelmed at the much lower prices than the supermarkets have and was an instant convert. He went around and saw that their product range had improved dramatically, but the prices were what won him over. He said well maybe you were right and we should have tried shopping here earlier and would have saved ourselves a lot of money.

    It also helps that our Aldi here is much easier to get to and you don’t have to go out of your way to get to it now that we have moved to the country. We now have been shopping at Aldi for around 12 months and get most of our basics from there, but still buy some of our favourite brand things at the supermarkets & independent grocery stores, if there are loss leaders specials on products that we can use too.

  34. Hi Roxie and so sorry to hear of your kidney stones. Unfortunately usually once you get them they are recurring and sort of plague you for the rest of your life. They are extremely painful, so I hope you are resting up after your operation.

    I have a friend who is going into hospital as we speak with the same problem, and again the 2nd time around to get rid of them. I believe they now have a new procedure where instead of waiting for them to get huge they can now whilst operating zap them all whether they be small or big, so minimising the trips and operations to remove them. Not sure if that is the procedure they used on you, but if it isn’t ask your doctor and surgeon if they could use this procedure on you in the future.

    As an ex-nurse who hates hospital stays with a passion myself anything they can do to minimise both your discomfort and return operations is well worth asking about. Yes it is true nurses make the worst patients :).

  35. Roxie, I read somewhere that if you drink natural lemonade it will break up the kidney stones. I was diagnosed with a kidney stones years ago and started drinking lemonade. I have not had any problems with the kidney stones since I started drinking the lemonade. I would check it out first though.

  36. Hi Brandy. I received a food dehydrator for Christmas and wondered if you or anyone else here has any experience/recipes for one. I’m looking to become even more frugal and healthier with food in 2016 and hoping this helps!

    My frugal accomplishments for this week:
    My husband received a free ham for Christmas from his work. I will freeze it in several meal-size portions and make bean soup with the bone.
    We received many wonderful, useful Christmas gifts from family, including the food dehydrator and also a meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer.
    Purchased a ham at Aldi’s using the $3.00 coupon, making the ham .56/lb. I had to spend $25 to use the coupon, but I do my weekly shopping there anyway so it wasn’t a problem.
    Both sets of parents sent home leftovers from Christmas meals we enjoyed at their house, I haven’t had to cook for three days!
    My oldest needed to have some dental surgery this week and we are so thankful to find out our insurance is going to cover a majority of the cost.

  37. Last week was a quiet week here.
    I did have several coupons for our area Aldi, that gave you $5 off ANY ham. The first coupons that came out, had no minimum purchase requirement, so every time I was out I got a ham. I got us 2, and got 5 more for ‘gifting’ to people I know in need.
    not one cost more than $4! I also got several bags of dry black eyed peas at Aldi for .25/1 lb. bag. I now have enough to last a couple years.

    Quiet day at home for Christmas. Made a simple dinner of ham, mac n cheese, and limas from dried ones. Been reinventing ham for several days. Tonight we are having homemade turkey/rice soup with turkey from Thanksgiving.

    Look forward to learning new things with you all in the coming year.

  38. Rhonda, you might consider a pre-paid phone. I have one from London Drugs and Telus. The phone was about $30CDN on sale and you could put as little as $20 air time. The phone shuts down when it runs out of minutes so there are no surprises with a monthly bill. I’m sure other carriers have similar plans.

  39. We had a very nice month of December…I think the last I recorded here was after Thanksgiving. Much has happened.

    I used many of the store sales and coupons and double coupons for staples. My daughter brought me back bulk cinnamon sticks, Clear Jel thickener, hair pins, hard candies for Christmas like filled straws and pillows and raspberries and ribbons and picture candies, organdy for sewing coverings, quilting pins. They were by Amish in Ohio.

    I had Christmas shopping done earlier as I collect gift cards all year for the adults…ones with no fees and no expiry dates. My youngest and I made re-usable grocery bags for everyone…I made a pattern off one I like and then she did most of the cutting and sewing. We used a lot of our homemade foods as gifts.

    Did the usual of composting, recycling, re-using. Used up all leftovers, cooked extra and froze. We had a mild December , up til yesterday, so continued to hang some laundry outside, some in , used dryer for rest. Rotated up root cellar items so none goes to waste. Cooked mostly from scratch.

    Had several Christmas parties…church groups, Homemakers, that do a white elephant gift game/exchange. I cleared out a few un-needed items for my exchange presents. I got a plastic
    tool tray with a handle (that was full of old garage stuff/junk) but I cleaned it up and
    using it already to hold canning supplies (at one exchange). Took relish trays to all the get-togethers. They are not the most economical as I do need to buy some of the vegetables, like fresh broccoli and cauliflower , peapods, etc, but that way I always have a healthy choice when holiday food can otherwise be so rich.

  40. Hi everyone from soggy Arkansas. We had six inches of rain this past weekend! Yikes! That makes 72 inches for the year which makes 2015 the wettest year on record. Anyway..

    I made bread several times this past week. I ground wheat and I ground white bean flour. I added the white bean flour to our bread in a 25% ratio. The kids liked it. They said it wasn’t as good as regular bread but that it was still good. This doesn’t really save me any money because beans are more expensive than flour but it’s a good way to get a complete protein and a good use for food storage. I am teaching a class on beans in January and I’m experimenting with new recipes.

    I purchased 10 turkeys over the course of the past month at .73 per pound which was the best price I could find.

    We were given a box of food from our church. I don’t know why they picked us because there are far needier families but we received the box with humility and gratitude and we will put it to good use. They gave us beans, rice, a few canned goods, stuffing mix, and a turkey. I will be able to get several meals out of all of that. 🙂

    We reduced our netflix plan to one dvd a month which will save us five dollars or so a month.

    My mom gave us a gift card for our anniversary (20 years!) on January 5 so we will get to eat a nice dinner out.

    I used my mom’s leftover turkey carcass to make stock. I can the stock to use for cooking.

    That’s all I can remember. Have a great week!

  41. I love the ham and eggs story!
    We had butter on sale several months ago for 1.99 lb. limit 2. My husband made seven trips to get me 14 pounds of butter!
    What would we do without these men in our lives?

  42. I have had 6 major surgeries in my life. If I never have another it will be too soon. It hurts so much to recover. My last time in the surgery I had some heart problems in surgery. I had to stay an extra night and wear a heart monitor 24 hours. It is hard to be in the hospital while your family needs to/wants to celebrate Christmas.
    I am better. Had some not so good reactions to some of the drugs they sent me home with. One said it ‘might’ make me dizzy. Well that was a huge understatement. I was so dizzy it is just crazy. I quit taking that pill after the 2nd day home. That dizzy sick feeling had to go. I am not taking the pain medication either. I don’t like how that makes me feel. Instead I am taking some Motrin.
    I drink lots of water, tea, and coffee. I have cut soda from my diet. I will try adding lemon or lime to my drinks. Maybe that will help. It sure won’t hurt.
    I am doing better. Just not 100% yet. I had such hopes to get so much done in this house, not going to happen soon. I am just not up to doing much.

  43. I used to get kidney stones at least every three months and they caused so much damage one of my kidneys is basically useless now…I was put on a daily dose of Allopurinal a decade ago and I have had only three kidney stones in 10 years. There are two kinds of kidney stones, so your stones may not respond to this drug but you might want to talk to a doctor about it. It took three docs before one finally said kidney stones are related to gout (the kind I have) and this medicine keeps gout at bay so I think it will work for your kidney stones. That doctor is dead but I pray for him all the time, in gratitude. Really, it changed my life.

  44. Hi momsav and I agree wholeheartedly about your wonderful men in our lives.

    I years ago was married to a man that had a drinking & violence problem, we are now divorced though. Whilst I was at a counselling session which supported families with spouses with alcoholism, I had a very wise elder woman say to me “well you can settle for the crumbs or have the banquet”. Referring of course to a good man verses one that may not be as stable.

    Very pleased to say that now that I have remarried that I indeed have a “banquet” of a husband :D, and it appears quite a few of us do. What a blessing it is to have a good supportive husband or partner that is on the same page as us.

  45. My husband and I have pay as you go cellphones and they are just good for calling and texting. My daughter is wanting the smart phone technology so she can play games, download apps etc. on her phone like all the other kids. As far as I know, those require a plan. She has said she would be happy with a new iPod, which will do what she’s wanting without being a phone. However, we just spent a lot of money getting her an expensive laptop, so I’m not prepared to spend even more money to get that right now. She has a tablet she got last Christmas that still works perfectly fine in the interim. Trust me, she is not hard done by when it comes to technology. We’re just not into being the first to get the new latest gadgets on the market kind of people.

  46. We stayed in most nights last week and avoided going out to eat. Often right before Christmas I become overwhelmed with things to do and am tempted to get take-out. I went out day after Christmas and stocked up on some clearance items we can use all year. We have spent most evenings after Christmas just staying in and watching a movie on Netflix.

  47. I made my own laundry scent beads! I stumbled across the idea at onegoodthingbyjillee. She used Epsom salts and essential oils. I used a bag of Epsom salt from Dollar tree, and was able to find a 32oz bottle of fresh linen scent potpourri oil there also- enough for multiple batches. Put a bit of the oil in the salt, and stir well. I ground the salt to a fine powder in the blender and added it to my homemade laundry detergent (I prefer to use the dial fresh water scent, also purchased at dollar tree in 2 packs). We like out clothes to be all nice and scented. As an added bonus, we have hard water, and the salt acts as a softener. I also purchase the dollar tree brand oxy-clean type powder in the 16 ounce container. (2 bars dial, 2 cups borax, 2 cups washing soda, 1 container oxy clean, and now 1 16 oz bag Epsom salt scented). As there are only three of us, this lasts almost 3 months, for a cost of $4.62 per batch.

    I also signed up for Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Saving Star. I was able to combine a CVS sale with ECB, and submit to both Ibotta and Checkout 51 for cash back, bringing my OOP total to $11.00 for 3 12 count packs of megaroll charmin TP. I’m excited to see how much I can earn back from these programs on things I already buy!

  48. Tracy, I pray for an uneventful rest of your pregnancy and for safe and sound delivery of you newest child. You can always get back to gardening next year.

  49. Mandy, how are the jobs going? You started a temporary one if I remember right, and didn’t your husband have some interviews?

  50. Our Christmas was very nice. Although we used the china and silver, the foods were make ahead types that just needed some oven time in the morning while we opened presents. It was a matter of a half hour or so to wash the china and silver and the rest of the dishes went into the dishwasher because I had no prep bowls/pans to clean except two.
    We save the bows each year and I buy wrap on after Christmas clearance every four years or so — no rushing around on the 26th trying to catch bargains that way. We went to the Goodwill on the 26th, but only my sister made a purchase, of books she can use in her class room where she teaches.
    My living area of my house is decorated with soft blue and pale yellow, so my Christmas décor is blue, silver and a little bit of gold. That means I can use items for any time of the year as part of my Christmas decorating — my regular blue fruit bowl gets filled with sparkling blue and silver ornaments and the blue table runner made by my S-I-L is used under the nativity scene. I have a small collection of Christmas items to store because I can use so much of my everyday stuff.
    I love the peaceful look of Brandy’s home!

  51. Amber, as far as a wedding they can be done very economically. No one needs a fancy dress or band or catered meals…I hope you don’t have to go into debt for this. I have had 2 married so far but our biggest expense is always the food as we have large weddings up to 400 guests. But most of the food is homecooked with help from church and family, our weddings and meals are held at church ; we have a very large hall 🙂 and we do not do alcohol, bands or dancing. Also there is no rule that the children can’t pay toward their own wedding, if needed. My son’s wife had her wedding dress made by her mother and my daughter bought a very modest cocktail-type dress at a consignment wedding store. It is not our custom for men to wear tuxedos or the women fancy bridesmaid dresses. Men can wear a nice suit and shirt. Ties could be matched inexpensively should you want to coordinate. Most bridesmaids sew their own dresses par for the course. My best wishes to your daughter and her fiance, and good luck to you.

  52. Tell us how you like “Simple Abundance.” I liked the writing style very much, but felt that it put a lot of pressure on mothers to make everything beautiful and handmade. Frugal with dollars, but not hours–her ideas seems to be very time consuming. I like the trifecta- good quality, good value, and time efficient.

  53. Hi, Louise,
    One of my favorite things to do with my dehydrator is to do celery. This year I waited until Aldi had it for 69 cents, went to Wal-mart and ad-matched it. I bought four bunches. It is so easy to do. I just wash it, chop sort of thick and put on trays. I dry for probably 8 hours but drying time is dependent on your machine, humidity in your house, and what you are drying. When it is done I simply put in a mason jar. I love having dry celery at all times to use. I do not live close to stores (we live in the boonies) and it is great to not have to need celery to make something and not have it. I use it in potato soup, chili, various other soups that I make, when I make homemade chili dog sauce and other things. For things that will be cooked I just throw it in dry. I have never tried it in egg salad. My family can’t tell and has never complained about the texture or anything. Also, you could try to see if your library has any books on dehydrating, mine does and there are lots of things to dry. I also mainly use it do make jerky on when my son gets a deer. Hope the info helps!

  54. It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’m hoping to join in again. Last week, I: finished the Christmas cards, which this year were purchased over several months through various Shutterfly free card offers/deals, using a photo I shot of a wooden Nativity set. Used free Christmas-themed return address labels from solicitation mailings. Did not buy any wrapping paper this year; we had plenty left from previous years. Used tissue paper that was saved, then saved it to use again.

    Our Christmas Eve was spent in our traditional manner: candlelight church services (it will be another few years before we make the late service, I think); followed by a “snacky” supper of popcorn, little smokies and cheese and crackers and watching Christmas shows/specials either on live TV or from our DVDs. We stayed home for Christmas and 9-year-old daughter and I had a “mini tea party” as she calls them, in the afternoon, with two different kinds of tea (one in the “fancy” flowered teapot), milk and sugar and Christmas cookies. The dolls had their own tea party. We also watched “Barbie in the Nutcracker,” a DVD we own (purchased a few years ago from a video rental store that was going out of business).

    My workplace distributed gifts of meat in December to those who wanted it; I chose a ham, which was our Christmas dinner. Prepared it with a glaze of mustard, honey and brown sugar (all on hand). Subsequently made broth in the crockpot with the bone and froze 6 containers of it; husband later used some ham, wild rice and green beans to make soup.

    Husband shared “prizes” won in a holiday game at work, which included a nice picture frame for me, fancy notepad for 9-year-old, and Stanley tape measure for him. Our local newspaper (a free subscription model; we do submit a voluntary payment some years in support of them) listed local houses with Christmas light shows synchronized to music; we drove to several of them, including a church with a lighted, narrated Nativity interspersed with Christmas carols.

  55. Erika–so appreciated your lists of homemade gifts which show the true meaning of Christmas. Your family also deserves praise for accepting them and appreciating them. When we were in worse financial shape I often sewed for the boys and wrapped cars and other small gifts. So different from our grandson who was upset with his gifts this year because he wanted what his sister got–but she is 4 years older.
    Today we were able to donate some hand-knitted hats to a local organization and give some meat we had been given to a veteran who is struggling financially. That meant more to me than the boughten gifts that were not really appreciated.
    Happy birthday! AK gran

  56. My husband and I also sleep with separate blankets! We learned quickly on our honeymoon that if we didn’t each have our own, he wouldn’t have any!

  57. Early I December we joined my husband’s family at their annual hog butchering . It’s not something I enjoy working at but my husband and oldest girl like to get share of the meat. I’m not a pork fan but I do like getting scrapple and bacon. My youngest daughter and I watched babies and the younger children. My oldest son brought his in-laws along for the first time and they had fun helping. I was assigned baked goods ….It’s an all day project so there is lots of food. There were 58 people all together , including the children. I brought an applesauce coffee cake, 2loaves of pumpkin bread and 10 dozen cookies…oatmeal raisins and snickerdoodle.

    We had Christmas Eve at oldest son’s house, after church. Everyone brought something. I made a large kettle of potato soup and chex mix. Christmas day was at daughter’s house. We had goose and ham, rosti potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, rye rolls and crescent rolls , tomato jam, pecan pie, mince pie, lots of cookies. Christmas Day eve is for visiting , especially for the younger generation who are back for a visit. So we always have hot cider and cookies ready for the drop-ins.

    Cooked all from.scratch, that I can remember. Over the month made 8 types of cookies, multiple pies, macaroni and cheese, sweet and sour meatballs, Spanish rice, stir fry vegetables and fried rice, nachos, applesauce, popcorn, lentil soup, vegetable soup, the earlier mentioned items, baked fish (my husband had caught and froze), tuna melts, bread, chocolate pudding, spaghetti sauce. I put 2 quarts each of the S.rice and lentil soup in the freezer. Most cooking ingredients I have on hand.

  58. Hi Mandy and I totally relate to the no blanket scenario as my husband is a 6’2″ man that has a build similar to a large gladiator, he is neatly just under twice my weight.

    We learnt a couple of things when we were first married as well.
    – Get a king sized blanket so little pretzel like wife can have some in winter when my husband rolls over.
    – Secondly and most amusingly was which mattress not to buy when there is a dramatic difference in the weight ratio between husband and wives.

    We worked out from trying different mattresses in a showroom, that if you have a light wife or husband and on one side of the mattress a heavy wife or husband on the other side that mattresses with interlocking springs when husband turns over will launch said wife 2 feet clear of the top of the mattress and into the air. Mattresses however with independent springs will keep smaller wife safe and secure on top of the mattress where perhaps she should be. Fortunately for me I had experience using trampolines & doing gymnastics which gave me the experience to land in somewhat of a graceful position, well as best you can in a situation like that anyway :p.

    When I landed safely I did notice the saleswoman desperately trying to stifle hysterical laughter and a crowd of other shoppers stopped in their tracks laughing so much that they had tears rolling down their cheeks. I simply and gracefully looked at my husband and smiled and replied to the saleswoman ” no I don’t think that one works for us at all”.

  59. The book I received is called “Simple Abundance – A Daybook of Comfort and Joy”. It’s meant to be read through daily passages for one full year. I’m not sure this is the same book you read, as I know there are a few different Simple Abundance books published. However, I would be happy to share what I think of the book as I read along over the next year. I plan on starting to read it beginning New Years Day as this is where the book is intended to begin.

  60. Someone told me that her doctor said to drink a beer every day. She does that and has not had a kidney stone since.

  61. Trying to get back on track. I had a knee replacement in November, so things have been different. My husband did the shopping for awhile. He is not very frugal! I had bought most of our grandkids Christmas gifts at clearance sales and thrift shops, so not much money spent there. This week I have resisted the urge to grab a snack somewhere when I go to therapy. I wait until I am home. We went to the Dollar tree yesterday and I bought some stickers, Yardley soap and a book by Madeline Albright. My husband found a few things too. Would love to start hanging out the laundry again, but rain for weeks now. Hopefully next week will be drier.

  62. I realize I am a bit late, but wanted to add a frugal holiday tip: save all of your Christmas cards and cut them down into gift tags. We always did this when I was growing up, and it was one of my favorite post-Christmas activities. We would cut out pretty shapes around the pictures or wording/verses on the cards, trim the edges with pinking or scalloping shears for a nice shape, and punch a hole for a string or ribbon. So much better than throwing them out.

    I admit our Christmas week was not terribly frugal. I did make Brandy’s “honeybaked ham” recipe for Christmas dinner (we use that recipe every year on a spiral cut ham from Sam’s Club, and it is DELICIOUS). We went for a walk on Christmas Day as it was 80 degrees here in Texas.

    Other frugal accomplishments – my husband fixed our house furnace, so saved $$$ on a repair.

  63. Dear Miss Brandy and Readers,

    I too am late posting but thought I would go ahead. Although I have read the postings, I have not posted anything for awhile. For me the most frugal accomplishment was getting ready for Christmas. We had a quiet and simple celebration.

    My frugal accomplishments include:
    Making gifts for my girls–prayer shawls, hat and scarf sets, USB drive holder, t-shirt scarf
    Eating dinner at my sister’s home so did not have to prepare a meal (brought things)
    Last minutes shopping at Dollar Tree included finding Pillow Pets for a $1
    Last minute finds a Walmart included getting 6 boxes of French’s Fried Onions for free (26 cents in tax)
    Another last minute find at Walmart was large stuffed animals for $1/item, I got six
    Walmart started their 75% and 90% off Christmas sales on 12/23 and 12/24 so I go a few items as well
    Avoiding the after-Christmas sales!

    I never buy “toys” for my girls. This year the idea of toys under the tree appealed to me so I got some toys for them at a wonderful price. Although we are not materialistic, it was nice having something fun under the tree and seeing their faces of surprise!

    Happy New Year’s to everyone.


  64. Tracfones are cheap and cost about $6 a month to use. My teen pays for it himself. I love how I can contact him anywhere at any time.

  65. I got a Kindle book I wanted on Amazon for $2. I don’t have a kindle, but there is a free kindle app that allows you to read a kindle book on your computer or laptop, or you can read your book on the Kindle Cloud.

  66. Both my husband and I like to cocoon ourselves in our blankets when we sleep. Separate blankets are a must for us. In fact, we both hate beds that are made each day, because we have to go through the tedious ritual of separating the blankets out every night before we can go to bed. Unfortunately, my mother (with whom we live) insists on making our bed. But on the odd day it doesn’t happen, both my husband and I are always giddy with excitement that we won’t have to rip the bed apart yet again.

  67. Athanasia, you mentioned having crescent rolls. Do you have a recipe for these that you could share? I keep buying the Pillsbury crescent rolls, but would love to learn how to make home made ones to use in some of the meals I make. Also, how do you make your tuna melts? I wonder if my daughter would eat something like this.

  68. Thanks so much! I’ve found that our love grows every year. Each year just gets better and better no matter what happens. 🙂

  69. Hi Rhonda and totally understand your separate blankets for cocooning in then.

    Who would have thought something as simple as a mattress could be a health and safety issue. Not only was I launched upward it also launched me sideways as well away from the bed. So I had to do a mid-air hip swivel trampoline move to get my legs underneath me to end up landing at all on the mattress :). My poor husband’s instant reaction was to say “are you alright” as the poor man had seen me airborne out of the corner of his eye.

  70. Happy New Years Eve! I’m taking a little break from the activities and putting my feet up. Most folks are still outside, except my mother and me and two lady friends from her senior building that she invited along. She’s giving them a tour of the house , which is the house she grew up in. (We are next door) We’ve got youth group kids here too. The church van will drive then home later.

    We put out the desserts and will call people in in another hour or so. . We have a nice bonfire going in the yard . It’s our tradition to cook out over the fire for this night’s dinner. Usually there is skating on the pond but it is not frozen enough this year. Many are out cross country skiing….We finally got out first snow storm Monday night. Way past due. At about 11:30 Some cousins down the road will start the fire works display.

    Rhonda the crescent rolls are called that but only because of the shape. The recipe is in the Better Homes cookbook (red and white plaid cover) and is just the roll recipe. They don’t have all the layers. I’d like to try real crescent rolls with the layer of butter…some day.

    I’m not sure if “our” tuna melts are like a restaurant one. I make them whenever I have some leftover hamburger or hot dog buns. I make a mix of tuna, shredded cheese, pickle relish, chopped onion. I moisten with plain yogurt though you could use mayonnaise. Spread the mix on the bun half. Then I bake them in oven until browned and melted. We usually have tomato soup with them in cold weather.

  71. Aw thank you on the birthday wishes. And you’re absolutely right. Being able to help others is so important. And I’m very appreciative of the family members who liked and appreciated what I gave them. It meant a lot :).

  72. Well, you can pretty much dehydrate anything food related IF you have the proper trays for liquidy things (to make fruit leather and such out of, etc). My favorite things to dehydrate are herbs as they take no time at all to dehydrate (a couple of hours), keep their lovely green color that way and it saves you from having to hang said herbs to dry. I also dehydrate onions (just mince and dry), apple slices (peel apples, slice, treat in lemon water to stop browning and dehydrate), celery and carrots (just slice/dice and dehydrate). One of my favorite tricks is to slice lemons and oranges into rounds and then just dehydrate the circular slices. Those are great to put in with some poaching chicken, rehydrated they work great to add to fish and you can put the slices in a pitcher of water to help flavor it. After I dehydrate things, I then use a mason jar vacuum sealer attachment for my Food Saver to seal the jars up for long term storage.

  73. Thank you for sharing , Athanasia. The tuna melt sounds good and really easy to make. I just might try it to see if my daughter will eat it. She’s been very picky with her food lately and eliminated a lot of meats from her diet. Anything that will add variety is welcome at this point.

    As for the crescent rolls, I’ve had a hard time finding recipes for them. They’re out there, but certainly not in abundance. I’m wondering if this is because they require a bit more skill to make. Perhaps your idea of using a bread recipe would be a better solution. I’ll have to play around with it.

  74. Athanasia,
    I ALWAYS feel hungry when I read of all the good things you cook. I love to cook, as well, and think it is fun to cook for a crowd. However, my crowds are not as big as yours. We have been eating almost every Sunday with my sister, and have from 10-20 most Sundays, and that’s fun. My husband and I get to her house before she does, so put the food out, finish it, etc. then we all can eat when everyone shows up.

  75. My “accomplishment” (prayers please) is that God took my husband’s unemployment and a paycheck error at my work, and may be turning that into my children qualifying for a school voucher next year. I am praying and trusting in God on this one, particularly since it would be ongoing for life.
    In the meantime, I have taken a sharp look at ways I can take deductions from my blog/amazon income and am setting up an appointment at school to understand the decrease in income deductions, because we are THAT close.
    As my kids say at school. God is good all the time. All the time God is good!

  76. These recipes look pretty much the same as the one I used, though the chocolate looks like a nice addition. I think in order to get more like the pillsbury we need to roll out and layer butter and fold and chill and reroll etc.

  77. Becky, yes it is fun cooking for a crowd. There is always extra help too with set up and clean up;), right? Your Sunday routine sounds very nice.

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