Concord Grapes The Prudent Homemaker

This past week, I did a lot of rearranging of pictures in the house. I changed out some pictures in frames that we already had and hung pictures in the house in new places. I also redesigned my gallery wall above the dining table. I had to steal three matching frames from elsewhere in the house to make it work. I had changed the mats in those 3 frames to be custom for the pictures that were in them, so I had my dad cut three new mats for me so that I could make the arrangement work.  Now I just need to take new photos of everyone and have them printed. I’ll post pictures of my new arrangement and dining chairs when I’ve hung new photos.

I finally found a space for the lamps my mom gave me several years ago. They’re now in our bedroom and I’ve moved our two lamps that were in there to other places.

I did some more organizing and bagged up another car full of items to donate to the thrift store.

We picked figs from the garden. I froze them to use in desserts later.

Grape Harvest The Prudent Homemaker

I cut grapes from the garden and canned grape juice. I canned 10 quarts of juice and 5 quarts and 2 pints of grape purée. I didn’t want to waste the pulp, so I canned the thicker juice (purée) with lots of pulp to use in smoothies and popsicles. This is the first time I have ever had a harvest of Concord grapes. I planted my vine 9 years ago. I later moved it in the garden and took cuttings from it to make 2 more vines. All of them produced this year. I cut both Concord and table grapes to make juice (both are seeded types).

I cut basil and picked a zucchini from the garden (my third for the year! I am excited to get some, and I hope that when temperatures go down I will get more!)

I used a pattern and fabric I’ve had for years to cut out a blessing outfit for Octavius. I’ve started on the project and will post pictures in a post when it is done.

I cut apple branches for an arrangement in the house. I’ll share a picture in a post later today!


Be sure to check back later today for an announcement.


What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. This week we earned extra money by making and selling: a wooden spice shelf for a friend, four state outlines (Ohio, PA, CA and Idaho) out of pallet wood and sewing a set of quilted trivets! None of these were things that we had planned to market, but that people asked us to make and sell. They have all seemed pleased and it’s not only given us extra money to put into savings and extra mortgage principal, but also given us a sense of pride that we can use materials that we already have to create new things!

    Used freezer meals for several dinners and breakfasts this week.

    Was able to cut out and donate fabric for 42 neckerchiefs (of the 50 total they were hoping to have donated) for an activity girls event! Didn’t make a noticeable dent in my fabric stash and I was happy to save them the cost of buying that much fabric!! Was also able to share my fabric with one of my teenage granddaughters while she was here visiting this week! The friend we built the spice rack for was so pleased with it that, on top of paying us for it, she brought me a lovely piece of hand dyed fabric to add to my stash! And so, my stash never runs out- it just gets rotated!

  2. Congratulations on getting grapes! My co-worker was on vacation all last week so I worked 6 days in a row. I don’t feel like I got too much accomplished but here goes 🙂 :
    Took my food to work except one planned day when I met my son and daughter in law for lunch. I gave them a box of stuff from my stockpile.

    We ate all other meals at home and cooked from scratch.

    We didn’t have to water the garden/beds much last week because we a few days of rain. I harvested some more basil. I weeded the large bed and discovered that most of my pea plants have disappeared. This bed is surrounded by fencing/wire so not sure what happened there. I am very disappointed in our garden this year.

    Scored an $8 pack of Energizer batteries for $1.42 after sale, store and manufacturer coupons! I got 3 large cans of KC Masterpiece baked beans for .40 each and “travel packs” (soft packaging, new, never seen these before) of Ziploc bags for .50 each (instead of $2 each for the boxes. These were a dollar a piece for 14 bags, I had a $1/2 coupon 🙂 18 pk of eggs for .77 each. I purchased the limit of 3. This store also gives kids one free cookie per visit AND my daughter got her favorite car shaped cart to drive and keep herself occupied 🙂 win/win!

    Rode with my mom to my grandson’s First birthday party! He had cake everywhere!! I had to help my daughter in law clean him off because she almost burst into tears lol We were at the restaurant they work in (son and daughter in law) in their party room so she couldn’t just put him in the bathtub. Then I held him and he fell asleep 🙂

    My hubby got two small round glass tables with butterflies on them for free. He put them together and nothing is wrong with them. These will go on the deck he is putting together (free from Craigslist) when it is finished.

    We also did the usual: saved warm up water to use elsewhere, kept lights off, unplugged things when they weren’t being used. Turned off the AC units whenever we could.

    Have a great and frugal week everyone!

  3. Our concord grapes are starting to color up, and I hope to begin harvesting in a few weeks. I’ve been wanting to try your fig gelato recipe, and was sad we only have 3 fruits this year. Then I realized I have figs in the freezer, so that will be the next batch we make. Watered plants with canner and dehumidifier water. I hope you get all the zucchini you want! Joining in here:

  4. Was my response too long, Brandi? About half of what I posted is missing! I didn’t think that I posted anything off-topic or objectionable, but please let me know if I did!!

  5. I worked quite a bit again this week, and will have a nice paycheck that will get us over having the next 2 weeks off.

    We had a rare out of home date night and watched Star Trek. I used Ebates to get cash back from Fandango. I also was excited to get a coupon in the mail for one free item for a children’s resale shop. I’m not sure what I’m going to get yet, but it will probably be for our son.

  6. Frugal accomplishments for the last two weeks at our house were:

    I bought whole chickens a couple of weeks ago for 68 cents a pound. With one of them I put the whole thing in the slow cooker with some carrots, celery, onion powder and salt and pepper and a little water in the bottom and set it on low for 8 hours. I then took off all the meat and put the bones and skin back in the cooker, added a little more water and cooked the bones over night. From the chicken I made chicken nachos, chicken soup, chicken noodle casserole, and many lunches. I have two more chickens in the freezer 🙂

    I cut my husband’s hair. My daughter cut my hair.

    We are working on doing some decluttering in the basement. I gave my daughters some books and my granddaughters two dolls that my grandma made for my daughters many years ago. My granddaughters are old enough to take care of them now.

    I made yogurt in the crock pot.
    A co-worker gave me a cucumber, cilantro, and Swiss chard from her garden. I had a yellow pepper, a tomato, and black beans that I used with the cucumber and cilantro to make a chopped salad for our lunches this week. I used the Swiss chard for a quiche.

    Twice this week my company provided lunch for the employees. I brought brownies to share. At one of the lunches I won a meal to Culvers. All other meals were eaten at home.

  7. When it rains, it pours is kinda the theme around here right now….The kid’s former coach has had his state charges dropped so the feds could take over and he now has federal charges, it was also found that he was filming in a second area and the time period means our daughter is affected. I still have not found another part-time job AND hubby was admitted to the hospital Wed for a infected diabetic ulcer on the bottom of his foot, was discharged Friday and was readmitted yesterday afternoon because the infection appeared to be spreading. Since this is his right foot, he can’t drive and since he is self employed we have to figure out how to get the audits he has coming up completed so he can still get paid so it may actually be a blessing that I am not working right now. We also had to cancel our camping trip we were going to take up North to see our daughter… least we have insurance! On top of all that my IBS symptoms have flared dramatically and my panic attacks, which have been under control for years with low doses of meds as needed have exploded into me needing much larger doses to even begin to get it under control… bad that the first time hubby went to the hospital, I dropped him off at emergency and had to go home to get things under control (which does nothing for my self esteem…..makes me feel like an awful crappy wife!) So yeah – prayers or whatever would be welcome right now…..
    Frugal stuff:
    *We won a drawing we entered for free 6 months worth of dog food for one of our dogs. We had to drive to the other side of town to enter at their grand opening of the new store but the certificates can be used at any of their stores 🙂 This was a HUGE blessing for us right now!
    *I sold off my entire flock of ducks to lesson the feed bill. This leaves me with 2 chicken hens for eggs which really is about 2 less that what we need but it is how it is for right now.
    * I’ve picked enough pickles to start a batch of frig pickles this week. Hubby loves them. My Basil plant has also survived the bunny and bugs and is finally looking like I might be able to get some leaves off it to dry! The Lovage is also doing very well and I started picking leaves from it to dry as well. The peas are done and I am letting the pods dry on the vines to collect seeds for next year. I noticed a few tomatoes have a very slight blush of color so it won’t be long now til they are ready for processing.
    * I have not needed to water the garden at all – we’ve had rain about every other day or so and the heat and humidity is finally down enough to shut off the AC.
    * Purchased a few more pantry stock up items on sale.
    * Made all but one meal at home even with hubby in the hospital
    * Re-worked a shoe shelf into a storage shelf that will hold the covered “shoe boxes” for storage in my sewing room. I also used a coupon for Harbor Freight to buy the casters I needed for the bottom of it and the bottom of my cutting table. The cutting table is actually a piece of daycare furniture that was unclaimed freight at my husband’s previous job ($500 piece of equipment!!!!) – it even came with all of the storage tubs for the cubby holes which works great for velcro, zippers, elastic etc. It has a very nice wide flat top however it is child height so it’s really hard on my back to lean over to cut things out. So I bought some nice large casters to raise it up to a better level and make it easier to move around.
    * Found some “lost” meat items in the freezer that were a bit freezer burned in spots but I just cut those parts off and threw it in the crockpot and no one was the wiser.
    * Split and moved some perennials around rather than buy more to fill in some empty spots. Also, started digging out some arborvitae bushes that weren’t working where they were located – I am not sure we can get them out with enough of a root ball that they will survive being transplanted but it is worth a shot. They are somewhere around 7 feet tall so the root system is very deep and extensive.
    * Bathed the dogs at home saving on the cost of using the dog wash. Since I am not longer working at the kennel, I don’t have the use of their facilities so it was interesting bathing the Danes in the tub!
    I think that’s about it – I am mentally “fried” this week 🙂 I hope the rest of you have good weeks and that the heat lets up for some of you!

  8. Our garden has not done as well as we had hoped and I am now living vicariously through yours, Brandi.
    Grapes are something I an going to think about adding to our garden.
    I started a new, temporary part time job (in addition to m current, temporary full time job) so life has been hectic. Fortunately, I have a wonderful partner who keeps our budget in line by planning, shopping for, and cooking all our meals including my lunches for work and even baking me treats! He has also taken on the housework and he is still taking care of our house (renovations) and gathering firewood. He thought retirement was going to be relaxing!
    Have a great week everyone!

  9. Melissa V – will keep your family in prayers!

    We’ve used a credit card with points for the past few months because my debit # keeps getting stolen – every six months, almost, the past few years! Earlier this spring it happened the day of my husband’s pay day and I was scared to death they’d have gotten all we had if I hadn’t caught the first “feeler” charges. So now it is the cc only and I pay it off each month from his pay. Anyway, using that so much gets us points/bucks so we used some of those yesterday for a “free” lunch at the store’s café and to purchase two small items that we needed; that left us with some more to roll toward a bigger purchase some time.

    Used a Shutterfly promo code $20 off $20 purchase to put toward Christmas gifts for my mom and MIL – they both like having those little fold-up shopping bags in their purses, so I put a really cute picture of our dog on bags in their favorite colors. Used Ebates to get a smidge back as well.

    Had 60K mile maintenance done on our truck – they changed out a bunch of vital fluids, which of course isn’t “cheap” but will keep it running for many more miles. The tech also topped off our DEF fluid and didn’t charge us for it, and did a free brake inspection (we’re keeping an eye on it as our rear brakes were just at the edge of the “yellow” zone a month back and I’ve done mountain driving since). The brakes are fine for now and can wait until our next oil change this fall, but I checked into the price so I can set it in savings in advance. Our dealership participates in a “points” type program also, so I received $35 off our service bill, and used the points CC – already budgeted it into the next payment so we’ll pay no interest, but we’ll get the “bucks” at the other store for it.

    Went through my seed tote after we got the garden containers set up last week for the fall/winter garden – I have everything we needed plus a couple of extra items we can try out. No seeds to be purchased after all. I did only have red cabbage seeds; if we decide we want green also, we’ll pick up a couple of starts at the nursery in a month or two – our favorite is very affordable and offer a military & senior citizen discount so it will be a few dollars for a handful of cabbage starts.

    Borrowed books and Downton Abbey season 6 from the library. I finally get to find out what happened in the last season!

    Used my parents’ Kroger-affiliate # to get $1 off on fuel, got half tank of diesel for $1.65 a gallon. My mom told us last night that they are already bumped up for the next month for their family and ours to get 2x$1off for August fill ups too! *happy dance*

    The children and I went on a park play date Tuesday (free) and blueberry picking Thursday (cost me about $10 for all we picked). I will process the berries today.

    Did a freezer inventory & clean out and got menu plan done up to rotate out items that have been in there a bit.

    Wishing everyone a lovely week – I so enjoy reading these posts and everyone’s accomplishments in the comments!

  10. Made two loaves of lemon zucchini bread yesterday–one of my favorites. Also made a double batch of granola from your recipe, Brandy–my husband just loves it, and so do I. I’ve been making a double batch every week and we eat it all.
    I have also been cooking some meals with the oldest frozen items now that my freezer has been re-organized, and I, too, cut off some freezer burned areas and used the rest. I made a mental note to keep closer track of things, as my husband has not been rotating food in the freezer when he puts things in there. We also made good use of some freshly picked corn this week–I just have to run a couple miles up the road to the farm stand, and they were literally dumping a fresh tote from the field in front of me as I picked out my ears. It was SO good! On Wednesday, my “to do” list was actually so short that I pulled the blankets off our beds, along with the sheets, and got them all washed and put back on the bed that day. It feels good to squeeze in an “infrequent but necessary” task once in a while.
    That’s about all that was outside the ordinary for the week. This week I need to make an appointment with the podiatrist, as it appears my foot is going to need medical attention after hurting for 2-3 weeks with no improvement. I’m afraid he’s going to tell me it’s a stress fracture and I am pretty sure yoga is going to be off my schedule until it heals. I get more injuries at the gym, and I wish I didn’t. Between tendonitis and sore feet, I can’t seem to keep myself in good working order.

  11. We had a 75 foot tree of our fall down suddenly and hit the corner of our house so it’s been a week with tree service, electric company to turn off high voltage wires for us and 5 other neighbor’s while the final 1/3 of the tree that was left standing was cut down, insurance adjusters and lots of other workers milling around our yard and alley! We were so blessed not to have anyone hurt by the tree falling or during the clean-up! I gave several workers and friends who came to help us home canned cherry pie filling and pickle relish as a thank you. I know it wasn’t much but I wanted them to know how much we appreciated them! The insurance company was efficient and wonderful and we have averted what could have been a major financial catastrophe if we had been uninsured!!!
    At the end of this week, we have come away feeling incredibly blessed!

  12. I got a lot of freebies this week such as free ticket to the Mets game, some goodies from gift bags as well as free baby formula in the mail. I will gift it to my friend who is giving birth sometime in August.
    I continue to cook from scratch even though it is not fun in this 90 degree NYC weather. But the girl do what she’s gotta do, right?
    My weekly update is up as well!

    Wishing everyone a great rest of Sunday.

  13. Miriam, this is an excellent reuse of your sheet. I have read of women doing this long ago but I don’t think anyone much bothers this day in time. It’s very smart in my opinion!

  14. I picked 4 quarts of gooseberries, since our daughter has a surplus, when I picked up one of the grandkids. She has picked over 6 gallon, I picked a gallon, & there are still quite a few on her bushes this year. Froze them to rupture the cells when I juice them later. Picked a few red raspberries as they ripened & added them to the freezer cup.

    Picked another 16 cups of rhubarb & left the dehydrator full of sliced rhubarb running on the back patio while I drove out to pick the granddaughter that is visiting for the first half of the week. Temps were 101 outside, & all the trays were completely dried by the time we came home that afternoon. Picked & filled the dehydrator again with rhubarb later in the week while my grandson was visiting.

    Picked up grounds for gardeners.

    Bought 10 2×4’s & some self- tapping screws to refurbish the patio swing. I found the idea on a blog by TeeDiddlyDee. I had used the webbing for patio chairs to fix it once before, after the fabric sun-rotted, but the webbing did not even last 2 years in the weather, even with a tarp over top during the winter. Home Depot cut the wood to length (62.5” for my swing), so I began sanding the edges when we got them home, but the temps outside have been triple digit, so it has been slow going, since I have to fit it in around the garden & fruit harvests that cannot wait.

    Bottled some apricots & peaches in half pint jars to make toddler food for our youngest grandchild. There was not enough fruit to fill larger jars, but plenty for half pints. I will take those jars to her the next time I visit, later this month, & will bring back blackberries.

    Bought the chairs for a patio set on clearance for my youngest daughter at our local Kmart, where they still had them. The store did not have the patio table to go with, so we checked all the stores in Utah, without success. However, a Kmart in Portland had them, so I bought one online after my middle daughter in Washington offered to pick it up. I will bring the table back to the youngest daughter the next time I go to visit her sister. Used the shop your way reward points from buying the chairs to take $12 off the price of the table, which had no sales tax since I bought it in Oregon (saved $9), then used the rewards points for buying the table to pay for spray paint for refurbishing the patio swing.

    The not-quite-ripe peaches I picked 3 days before to see if they would help ripen the greener one from the tree limb that broke, were completely ripe by Monday. We picked the remaining peaches on that small Red Haven tree, which produced 17 peaches this year.

    Picked the first ripe tomatoes from the garden. Disassembled the pea fence, which I made from two short veggie ladders & 4 sticks, & used the veggie ladders to support the sprawling Roma tomato vine.

  15. My husband was out of town for work for most of the week, so the kids and I spent a couple of days with my parents. They provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner and even took us all out for lunch one day. While we were there, we visited a local park that used to be a blueberry farm. You can pick as many blueberries as you want for free! My mom, dd(6), ds(3), and I spent the morning and picked a half flat. On Friday, after my husband got back, we visited a nearby nature park and picked a quart of wild blackberries. My mother got a deal on boxes of peaches, so I’m getting three from her. Now I just need to get everything preserved!

    Made most of our meals from scratch. Opened windows when I could to cool the house without the AC. Picked green beans and blueberries from the plants in my yard.

  16. 1. My 3 year old grandson starts preschool this week where my daughter in law works… The list of needed items is unreal (and I am a public school teacher so I know about supply lists!). We scoured sales and her friend used her ten percent discount from the store she works at to help out. This girl is such a blessing! She also gifted me with 9 more bottles of dishwashing liquid she had gotten. He has to have a plastic nap mat. He sweats really bad when he sleeps so I knew that plastic cover was going to make it even worse so I found a microfiber pillowcase to match his blanket for 1.48 to cover the Mat with. Custom made ones, with the attached blanket and pillow, are selling for about fifty dollars. No thanks. Even with getting it monogrammed, I paid less than ten dollars.
    2. Ran to the grocery store Thursday morning for milk and checked the reduced bin… Ground beef for 1.61 a pound. Bought all they had and threw it in the freezer.
    3. Cheap entertainment for the grandkids… We went to the city park Friday morning and I read the Winnie the Pooh book “how to Catch a heffalump”. From there we went to the grocery store and bought food a heffalump would eat so we could set a “trap” (an apple, a few grapes, blueberries, mini marshmallows, jumbo marshmallows) while they were outside playing with their mom, I made the “heffalump” from the fruit and then used old newspaper to make “heffalump tracks” that went all through the house. I then rushed out the door and called for them, exclaiming that a heffalump was loose in the house. We hunted and followed the tracks to the fridge and there he was. The only way to get rid of this “ghastly creature” is to eat him, so that is what we did! Hilarious entertainment, a good snack, and good memories for cheap.
    4. I am getting my classroom ready. I like to make my room bright and colorful, but to me it is more important that it be cleaned and organized so I spent the majority of the week cleaning and organizing and drooling over classrooms on Pinterest… And then used red, black, yellow, and some sunflowers that I already had to decorate my room. No, it’s not Pinterest worthy but it is clean, organized, and decorated in a simple style that won’t distract the children. There are some gorgeous classrooms out there, but I simply don’t have that kind of money.
    5. Went through my closet and organized my clothes so that I could make a list of what I needed for this year. Now I can keep my list on me when I go to yard sales and thrift stores. Thanks Brandi for that awesome idea!
    6. Saturday we took a day trip about two hours away to celebrate the end of summer since we will be heading back to school this week. We visited a replica of a fort in the middle of the downtown area that was free. We have visited this curry multiple times and had no idea this place existed. It was quite fascinating. We then went to the science center. That did cost us a little money but it was well worth it. If you live near Mobile, Alabama, I highly recommend both of these places. They are within walking distance of each other. We then drove a couple of miles and went to the USS Alabama battleship. We didn’t tour the ship itself because it was super crowded, it wasn’t in the budget, and we didn’t have time. We paid two dollars to get into the park and ate at the picnic tables. I had packed stuff for sandwiches and chips and drinks. The kids had a blast feeding the birds and then we went to the beach in Gulf Shores. Very cheap and wonderful trip.
    I think that is all for this week. Hope everyone has a good week!

  17. Wow, that’s a lot of grapes! Congrats on such a fruitful harvest!

    Despite bug infestations galore, the garden has produced a good amount. Now slugs and ants are eating on my seedlings I planted (turnips, beets and carrots), so I set up slug traps in the garden last night. I’ve already found a couple of dead slugs in the beer today, so we’re making progress :). Here’s hoping what is left of my seedlings survive and I can get some more veggies before the ground freezes. But, for the first time since I started gardening I FINALLY got carrots of a decent size this year. Yay!!! I get such a thrill pulling them from the garden and seeing real carrots, not stubby little baby carrots.

    The garden harvest and other frugal adventures for the week can be found here…

  18. What an amazing amount of grapes you harvested this year, Brandy! What a blessing for your family. I love grape juice, so I’m definitely jealous!;)

    After a long stretch of extreme heat and humidity, we have finally had a few days of more reasonable temperatures. What a huge relief! I’m scheduled to work an eight day stretch, which makes it difficult to do much else. But the positive side is that I will be going to pick up my daughter from camp during my next days off. So excited to hear how her 2 week camping experience was! Here are our frugal accomplishments for this week:
    *Meals made at home included baked chicken smothered in cheddar cheese soup with white rice and fresh corn on the cob, BBQ hamburgers with cold pasta and potato salads, pasta with sausage and tomato sauce, chicken souvlaki with rice and corn on the cob, and ham steaks with carrots and mashed potatoes.
    *Blanched and froze 6 bunches of broccoli and a lot of green and waxed beans to use for meals in winter. Also cooked up all the corn on the cob we bought the previous week, cut the kernels off and froze the leftovers for winter. We will be doing this with all the corn on the cob we buy over the next few weeks.
    *Froze bit of veggies (onion skins, carrot peelings, unusable bean bits etc.) for making soup stock.
    *Used the water from blanching veggies to water the very dry veggie garden. We are on a well and there are legitimate concerns that it could run dry, since we have not had much rain this summer. Of course a thunderstorm rolled in a couple hours later, while making BBQ hamburgers no less…it figures!
    *Saved water from boiling eggs to use on garden.
    *Harvested the first tomatoes, and more green and waxed beans from our garden.
    *Brought home 2 onions, some carrots and some beet tops, free from the gardens at work. The carrots included the tops, which we will use, along with the beet tops, as free greens to feed our Guinea pig.
    *My mother emptied all the little bottles of shampoo we brought home from various hotel stays and free sample packets into a larger bottle. She did the same with the conditioner. They are now more user friendly and it freed up space in our linen cabinet for more storage.
    *I worked in the hotel at my work one day, where we offer tea in the afternoon. We received tips for serving the tea, so I brought home $5.50 in bonus cash.
    *My husband went to the farmers market and bought a dozen corn for $6.50 and a flat of raspberries (at my mother’s request and paid for by her) for $50. He also bought a tray of butter tarts from a woman whose tarts won first prize at the Royal Winter Fair (the reason he wanted to go to the market). Not frugal, but so good!
    *Froze all the raspberries to preserve for making jam later and to use in winter.
    *Attended a free Musicfest concert this week. It was a tribute band to “The Band”.

    That’s about it for me. Have a fun and frugal week everyone!

  19. I am sorry that your week was so rough. Panic attacks have no logic, so don’t beat yourself up over having one. It sounds like you found a way to cope, so good for you!

    Is your husband still in the hospital? Hopefully, they will get that taken care of right this time.

    I did pray for you. I am a strong believer in prayer, it has helped me get through quite a few tough times. So, hang in there. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day!

  20. Yep – he is still there for probably another 2 days and he now has been told he cannot bear weight on that foot at all but we don’t know for how long yet. When he does get to come home he’ll have one of those knee scooters. The doc wants to take a wait and see but with him in the hospital on IV antibiotics rather than at home to hopefully avoid having to do surgery. So far it has not gone into sepsis and his white blood counts are improving but he is very, very bored and not happy about the hospital food LOL.
    I have dealt with panic attacks since my later teens so close to 30 years now – at one point they were so bad I couldn’t leave the house even to go grocery shopping without having one come on. These last few were that severe again BUT my psych doc was trying to up my antidepressant due to some depressive episodes + I had been on steroids for 3 weeks due to a really bad poison ivy reaction which then started causing blood sugar issues and racing heart beats……But on the up side the steriod was doing a great job of keeping my guts calmed down LOL. I think it was all just too much and overwhelmed my fragile brain balance and my gut is now just rebounding from the steroid use and the stress. I am taking it easy when I can, doing things which calm me and going back to an IBS diet which seems to really help, Thank you so much for the prayers – they are much appreciated!

  21. The biggest thing we did last week was insist our 20 year old start paying her way since she has been working for 3 months. She has to pay for her cell phone and car insurance. This made all the difference in our budget and allowed us to do a little extra for her sisters’ birthdays.

    I have dehydrated about 7 pounds of peaches so far. We will have to see how many more pounds I can dehydrate before they become too ripe. I will get a couple more batches of jam out of them when that happens. We will break these up for the kids to add to their oatmeal.

    We tried Rice, Lentil and Bean Enchiladas. They turned out great. I used corn tortillas and half of a large can of green enchilada sauce. I will make chicken enchiladas with the other half can. I used less cheese than I usually put on them and they family loved them.
    We made spaghetti and I made extra sauce which I canned. I have six quarts of sauce in the cupboard for those busy nights this fall when I am taking classes again.
    I canned 6 quarts of black beans and 4 quarts of pintos for quick meals this fall.
    I made Hershey’s style chocolate syrup from pantry items for our ice cream. It turned out great at a fraction of the price.
    I got several pounds of blueberries at $1 a pound. We’ve had some peach berry crisp and a couple of dozen muffins. I dehydrated a few of them, too.
    Used powdered milk in several recipes.

    My daughter REALLY wanted ribs for her birthday dinner. I got some riblets at 1.20 a pound. They don’t have a lot of meat on them but they made her happy. We bought a 6 pound bag and only used half for her birthday. We add the other half to a another 5 pound bag because my 17 year old wanted to have friends over for her party. We had plenty left over, too. She had planned a pot luck so each of her friends contributed to the meal. Although I made cakes using cake mixes I bought on sale (and I splurged on Strawberries for the oldest because it’s her favorite) I saved on the frosting by replacing the butter with half margarine and half shortening (the mint in one frosting and strawberries in the other hid the flavors). Their gifts were mostly some new clothes for school. The 9 year old also got a new back pack and some knee pads for her scooter. Her sister got a book she really wants.

    Wow! Didn’t realize I had accomplished so much, and I’m sure I missed others.

  22. I love Gulf Shores. I will sometime leave very early, drive down to either Pensacola or Gulf Shores, spend the day and leave about 4 p.m to get back home….so pretty….and cheap.

  23. Everything looks beautiful as always! I’m sure the frames look great. I’m the type of person that puts a room together and doesn’t touch it again for 8 years. I really should go through the house and freshen the look up a bit. I’d love to take some pictures of our barn in all 4 seasons and hang them together inside.

    We were so busy at our county fair last week that I didn’t get a 5 ways we saved post put together! We ate out of the back of our van (PB&J) several times. I also avoided the games and rides and convinced my kids to spend their own money on goldfish at the store rather than trying to win one with the silly game that takes so much money. We did several free activities at the fair, including shooting BB guns and building small items with the Home Depot.

  24. The grapes look wonderful! Congratulations, too, on the new furniture!!
    .When we purchased our home only half the kitchen was completed and we had a weird empty space in our kitchen. I suspect when it was remodeled they left it unfinished so that it could potentially be an eat in kitchen. My husband installed a 9 foot span of cabinets. We had saved up enough money to add granite to compliment our existing countertops only to discover that no one would install granite because we were under the minimum threshold for installation costs. To get granite installed you had to spend $1200.00 and we don’t need that much nor were we willing to spend it! So we ended up buying butcher block maple for a fraction of the cost. We have to wait for it to come in but we were able to take $40.00 off for a military discount ( we are retirees). We were also able to reuse pull out shelving left over from a previous house in the new cabinets that was sitting in our garage 😀
    Our garden has been a bit of a disappointment this summer. Our beans are doing well, we harvested our first little red tomato. Squash has been slower than usual. Our cantaloupe has flowered beautifully but as produced nary a fruit .My neighbor has the same issue.
    We are traveling out of state for a wedding next weekend without our four youngest. They are stating with relatives and our oldest is watching the house.I’m hoping to have a good time but I’m anxious about the trip. It will be worth it to see my husband in a tux!

  25. The grapes in the baskets are just beautiful. If I were able to grow that many, I would have used a broken laundry basket and honestly wouldn’t have thought my crop to be so special. I love how you take time to make things so beautiful.
    I have been having a lot of “I should go buy this…” moments and thankfully haven’t given into any.
    My sewing machine was out of adjustment and I was going to make the repair call Monday. My husband and I watched a lot of videos on how to re-tune a sewing machine (none were my model) and after a few hours we both got it working properly on Saturday. I do not have a fix-it thumb (unless duct tape and super glue can be used) I feel mighty proud.
    The couple I house sit for took us out to dinner and again left me a nice amount of vegetables they couldn’t use up. They insisted on paying for dinner as a thank you for being able to really relax while they are away.
    Ebay offered 3 days of free listings. Usually, when I take them up on this offer I list my daily amount (usually 10 items a day) this past week with their offer I listed 30 things a day. Why I didn’t think to do this sooner, I am not sure – but I am thankful the light bulb went off – so far all those listings are having a better pay off than my previous limited amount.
    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  26. Wow, Brandy, the grapes are glorious. I’m glad your many years of patience were finally rewarded with grape juice and puree! I so enjoy reading about everybody’s accomplishments.

    This week l made a batch of plain yogurt and a batch of plain Greek yogurt, a batch of granola and canned a small batch of nectarine jam.

    Our herbs were struggling with whiteflies but l sprayed them with soapy water and brought them back from the brink. We now have enough to cut and dry.

    I sold some of my chicken eggs for $5. I traded some others for veggies from a friend’s garden.

    I cleaned out closets and put some items up for sale.

    My husband changed my car’s oil and filters at home, which saved a lot of money.

    I was able to borrow a number of schoolbooks needed for this next school year from a friend, saving us over $250 on school costs. Hooray!

    Have a great week everyone.

  27. Melissa I was on steroids for RA the panic attacks got so bad I had to quit taking them . One thing kind of helped and that was lavender essential oil . I sniffed it like crazy I had a bottle close at hand at all times. Even by my bed if I had them in the middle of the night . Hope things get better soon for you .

  28. I finally made two sets of curtains for two rooms in my basement. I bought the fabric on sale in the fall and have been meaning to get to this for months.
    From work, after an event, I was able to bring home a quart of milk, two kinds of cheeses, cauliflower, broccoli, and hummus.
    I hiked for free with friends.
    Attended a work-related concert for free and also got a free meal. I was able to bring two friends with me as well.
    Attended a free work-related one-day retirement seminar. Got good information and some snacks.
    Cooked what I had on hand–made a peach cobbler and took it to another concert, and a shrimp salad, which my husband and I took with my mom and aunt to the canyon for a picnic. We had to pay a $2.00 fee for the canyon.
    My tomatoes are starting to come on. Also basil.
    I cashed in a gift certificate for a massage (it felt great!). My husband and I also took a sushi-making class (it was a groupon gift). I am trying to use up gift cards and certificates because I find it easy to overlook them.
    We are also running our AC as little as possible, letting the night air cool down our house.
    Not frugal, but feels good is cleaning through the clutter and donating it.

  29. Each week when it comes time to remember what I did last week for frugal accomplishments, I draw a blank. So last week I kept a list of all the meals I cooked, as a starting point…refried beans, minestrone soup, roasted a turkey, beef bourguignon, baked salmon and left over: pork chops, spaghetti and split pea soup. Since there are only two of us, that meant lots of extra food into the freezer 🙂
    Ate [u]all[/u] our meals at home last week!

    Also baked bread from scratch and froze slices for use in the next two weeks. Finished up shopping ahead for August. Aiming to only spent $100 for food in August to offset the higher purchases in July.

  30. Great to read everyone’s frugal accomplishments, as always!

    Mine for the week:
    – made blueberry jam
    – make crockpot yoghurt (a big hit, so I plan to make it every week from now on)
    – someone gave me some tea in little Canadian-themed boxes, so I packed some up to give to the MIL
    – got a free Vitamin C sample in the mail, which will also go to the MIL
    – clipped some coupons for items I often buy
    – made sandwich bread, tortillas, and pancake mix for a camping trip with the DH, my mum, and my sister
    – also brought along dehydrated zucchini for snacking instead of chips and dehydrated strawberries to add to our morning oatmeal
    – carpooled with my mum and sis to campground
    – made some citrus and vinegar cleaner
    – set aside a bunch of stuff for a future garage sale
    – got some plants from my mum to add to my balcony garden. My plants from seeds are coming up, so I have hope that maaaaaybe next year I could plant some veggies and possibly have them survive!
    – read several magazines and books from the public library, both paper and e-version
    – redeemed a $5 swagbucks gift card to Starbucks. I never buy anything from there, so it’ll be a nice treat!
    – returned something to the store that the DH bought (I told him the wrong item, whoops!) and managed to buy several items on sale with the refund
    – got contacted by a media company about a “revenue opportunity” on my blog; still waiting for the (admittedly not large) payment to come through, but am very excited that my blog is finally income-producing

    And as usual, I’m sure I did a lot more, but that’s all I remember right now! Looking forward to coming back over the next few days to read everyone’s comments about their week!

  31. I entered coke rewards from coke lids I pulled out of the garbage can at work.

    Used the rain barrels for watering seeds I started. I gifted some co-workers with extra everglades tomato plants I had.

    I put together and set up my new tumbling composter (now I have 2!)

    I made pear bread with a couple of pears that needed to be used up.

    I got a free bag of BBQ potato chips with a coupon I got in the mail. I put them aside for dinner one night as SO and I don’t need to be snacking.

    I started updating my price list. It’s probably a year out of date and boy have prices gone up!!

    Have a great week everyone!!

  32. Most of my normal routine. I’m happy to report that my new laundry trick is working well and the clothes look great. That’s the 15 minute soak and minimum 6 minute agitation. Hopefully that will help counteract the cost of the A/C running more because of the heat.

    I made some more storage boxes for organizing. I asked our local paint store for any old wallpaper sample books and the man said he had 4 and offered to put them in my car! I have so many beautiful patterns to choose from and can match the room. I’ve also used them for drawer liners. And, made a bunch of tabletop trashcan s by covering empty oatmeal canister s. My quilting group loves them cuz they’re small and so handy right on the tables.

    We’re still gathering and cleaning out stuff for a garage sale next month. This is ou biggest purge ever so we’re hoping for a good ending.

  33. Hello Brandy and all 🙂 , and I am late in posting as we have been full steam ahead in the garden to prepare for our spring crop planting and harvesting and blanching produce.

    Congratulations Brandy on getting a bumper crop of your grapes !, as we know with bumper crops it is then preserving mania to get it all preserved too.

    In the Kitchen –

    – Blanched cut and froze 1.85 kg of sweet potatoes, and likewise we blanched cut and froze .955kg of yellow, red and green capsicum picked from the garden. It is rather strange as we are having 0oC and negative temperatures here at the moment so I am embracing getting anything from the garden at all.

    – Made a large batch of pumpkin soup costing around $2 total, from stored pumpkins under the house picked from our organic gardens to feed us and two guests and gave our guests the leftover to take home with them as they were financially struggling.

    – Made a large batch of magic mix chocolate pudding costing around $3 from pantry items to feed us for two nights dessert and our 2 guests as well.

    – Cooked a large family sized whole chicken purchased on special for tea which fed the two of us and we now have four more packets portioned in freezer bags in the freezer for 4 more meals for us.

    – Cooked all meals and all bread from scratch using grocery storage and either fresh or frozen produce from our gardens.

    In the laundry –

    – A new discovery on how to remove grease stains from clothing that works a treat is to dab with ammonia and put dishwashing liquid on it, rub in a circular motion with a toothbrush both inside and outside the garment, rinse and yes the stain is all gone, it works fabulously. I might try this on DH’s white shirt collars now and let you know how I go with that too.

    In the garden –

    – Picked capsicum, spring onions, cherry tomatoes and strawberries.

    – Started harvesting crops and amending soil for preparation for planting our spring crops.

    Water preservation –

    – Watered all house lawns with saved water from our showers and washing machine rather than using town water as we are on water restrictions.

    – Supplement watered all new seeds and seedlings with tank water rather than using town water.

    Firewood –

    – Cut 1.45 cubic metres of firewood free from a friends farm to stock up our winter timber needs saving $145 over buying it at local prices.

    Craft Earnings and purchases –

    – Made $149.36 profit from the sale of my handcrafted items on both Ebay and Etsy.

    – Downloaded money saved in my Paypal account for last month and this month so far and managed to pay for $106.40 to replace 2 chainsaw blades that had worn out, and also paid for $261.96 of our home electricity account which was fairly close to paying the whole quarterly bill 🙂 .

  34. Greetings!
    It’s been a busy, working period here. I’m not accomplishing a great deal, but i plod on!
    I love the grapes! I tried to grow them at a different house and the vines all died. I don’t have room here or i’d try again. I do have two gooseberry bushes which taste similar. The thorns get me every time, though.
    *This past week was all about picking wild blueberries. (I was way off when i said i couldn’t find any. It helps that i had someone who told me where to go!) I ended up with about 7-8 gallons. Picking was the stuff of legends. I ended up with tick bites and the bullseye on my arm. I self treated and it looks like i took care of it.( I did call the Dr.)
    *I made two batches of blueberry syrup.
    *I froze three 1- gallon batches of berries for wine making. And, i froze most of the rest i picked. I’m making jam this AM. I also gave some to neighbors and friends.
    *I shelled more nuts from my garage sale score.
    *Trimmed apple trees and cherry tree.
    *I cut back rhubarb, sage and dead flowers.
    *Went to dinner with my SIL and her new husband. They picked up the tab.
    *Skyped with my son and his children. The nine month old is becoming very vocal.
    *Watered plants from the rain barrel.
    *And the usual; hung clothes to dry, walked as much as possible, saved shower water…
    Have a great week!

  35. Hilogene, I always love when people share what they made for dinner. I know that some of the things you make are probably old hat to your family. But sometimes I read something and get inspired for a new meal idea. Often they are such simple frugal ideas too! Thank you so much for sharing your list of meals you made!:D

  36. Oh, those grapes! Someday, I hope to be able to grow some here, as well!

    Our frugal accomplishments this week include:

    Having a Happy Hour Date Night at not one but *two* restaurants: we had a half-price appetizer at one, and then went next door to enjoy another half-price sandwich for our dinner!

    We also attended a movie at the Austin Film Society, where my husband has a FREE membership because of his student status. AFS reserves 20 free student tickets for most movies they show, and we were lucky enough to get one.

    We enjoyed a fun night visiting our friend’s Airstream, which she lives in full time. Had a great time cooking out and eating BBQ, and spend no money!

  37. Those grapes look amazing!

    * was gifted 2 zucchini plants, I forgot to plant any this year and I love zucchini 🙂
    * was gifted about 10#’s of pears off our buy nothing site
    * was gifted a small dish that is one of my favorite colors ~ green!
    * gifted some twin sheets
    * hit a clearance on pudding packs… 40 individual puddings for $3.90 (i have 3 teens so yeah……) LOL
    * our local grocery had grapes for .99 per pound.. bought lots but should have bought more (yeah… 3 teens)
    * used some Kohl’s bucks to purchase a king size blanket we will need for winter.
    * sold a couple items on eBay
    * my husbands truck battery bit the dust… recycled the old one for $18 refund

  38. Did I miss the shopping plan for August? I always enjoy those and the tips for what to look for on sale. I’m working on my own list, but still have a ways to go.

  39. I’m late posting this week. Oh well. :p

    Frugal Efforts for 7/24-7/30

    * Hubs and I canned 5 pints of tomatoes (he’s tall, so he gets to lift the jars in and out of the canner).

    * We also canned 4 quarts of peaches.

    * Saved leftover simple syrup made for the peaches to use in homemade lemonade.

    * Used the canning water for the outside plants (after it cooled, of course).

    * Gave the tomato skins to the chickens.

    * Collected eggs from said chickens.

    * Baked bread.

    * Made trail mix.

    * Cooked up and froze 12 cups of refried beans.

    * Set the AC for 80F and turned it off at night and during the a.m.

    * Mended son’s scout scarf.

    * Finished up a month-long pantry challenge (shaved 31% off our average grocery spending).

    That’s all I remembered to write down. Have a great rest of the week/weekend, everyone.

  40. Oh Roberta, that is such a GREAT idea to use the leftover sugar syrup from canning to make lemonade. I’ve always felt guilty throwing it out, but never knew what else to do with it. Thank you so much for the idea!!!!:D

  41. Brandi, do you run your grape pulp through a victoria strainer? I usually juice my grapes down until there are only skins and twigs left, but would love to know your secret. Thanks.

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