Octavius on the floor The Prudent Homemaker

We had some friends visit from out of town. I thought they weren’t going to be able to come, but at the last minute they said they were on their way, and I was so excited they could make it!  I made meals from what we had on hand.

Cyrus washed the windows before they came for pennies, using a bucket of water with a couple of drops of soap and a squeegee (see our method here that uses neither spray nor paper towels).

I harvested a butternut squash and pears from the garden. The squash cracked and split, so we ate it right away, and it was delicious!

I planted seeds for zucchini in hopes of a fall crop (all of my zucchini plants have died, unfortunately).

I finally made it to the store (the first time all month in August!) on the 30th and bought milk, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, and several bags of broccoli crowns for $0.79 a pound.

We had some humidity last week, so I was able to collect water from the dripping off the air conditioning and use it to water one of my potted pomegranate trees.

I finished sewing a blessing outfit for Octavius, who was blessed on Sunday. I made his outfit with a pattern I already had (bought years ago on sale for $1), a linen/cotton blend fabric that I had on hand, buttons I had bought 60% off, and embroidered it using a free printable initial that I found online. I’ll have photos in an upcoming post.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Oh my gosh, Octavius is adorable! So sweet!

    My frugal accomplishments for last week:
    – Made another batch of yoghurt, which I eat with homemade jam for breakfast
    – Am cat-sitting in my home for a regular client/friend, for some extra money
    – Made watermelon rind kim chee. Not sure if I’ve made it correctly, as I’ve never actually eaten kim chee before, but at the very least I’ll end up with some lightly pickled veggies. And at best, I’ll have found a cheap source of probiotics! (I have IBS and probiotics are key to reducing symptoms).
    – Was gifted two Scene points cards – enough for a free movie at the cinema, or as I like to think of it, date night half off!
    – Redeemed surveys to get a free cookie with a sub, twice. I usually make my own lunches, but my anemia has been rather bad lately, so if I didn’t have energy the previous night to make prepare meals, occasionally I’ll buy an inexpensive sub for lunch.
    – Got a free food product in the mail as a tester through Pinecone Research, which was helpful with dinners this past week, as it made the main for dinner for two nights when I was too tired to put something together.
    – Used some of the inexpensive corn tortillas I bought last weekend to make baked tortilla chips which I then turned into a nachos plate for dinner. With some black beans (cooked previously, then frozen), cheese, low-fat sour cream, black olives, and salsa, it was healthy and yummy!
    – Researched seeds online to try to get the best value for my dollar, and decided to hold off for now. Then later the same day I went to the Dollar Store with my sister and walked by a seed stand with packets for 99 cents – I was very excited! And even more excited when my sister pointed out that it was 3 packs for 99 cents! Talk about a frugal steal! They’re not the best seeds, obviously, but now I have radish, zucchini, and lettuce seeds! I’m going to see if I can get a fall lettuce crop on my balcony. Worst comes to worst, I’ll just move my biggest planter indoors to finish growing.
    – Very pleased with the $3 I spent on a large package of corn tortillas at a tortilleria last week. So far I have made nachos (two meals and two snacks worth), taco bowls (two meals), and cinnamon sugar chips (two snacks) out of the package, plus the DH has made about two meals worth of quesadillas from them. And I have enough left to make another cinnamon sugar snack tonight! Definitely a good value.
    – Redeemed an LCBO gift card today, that had been given to me by a friend in exchange for childcare. (LCBO is the government-run liquor store in Canada; it’s an odd artifact of liquor licensing laws). I was able to pick up two different ciders to try (the DH and I will split them as neither of us are big drinkers), as well as a small bottle of Grand Marnier for my baking supplies, and a small bottle of gin for when guests come over. I do love buying stuff without paying out of pocket!
    – As always, I made my own plain soda water using my soda machine, as opposed to buying bottled. (I drink soda water instead of still water)
    – I wanted to pass on a tip that I’ve used for years: when you buy bar soap, unwrap it and let it sit in a dry area (outside, if it’s dry enough) for several days. This helps it last longer, as it doesn’t ‘melt’ as fast when it is used. I think this tip works better with some soaps than others, as some soaps are already drier than others. Personally, I buy Ivory soap in giant bulk packs, unwrap them all, and then store them unwrapped. I’ve noticed that it does make a difference!
    – Made Tomato Basil soup from Brandy’s recipe for dinners for the next little while
    – Treated my sister to coffee at Starbucks using a card I loaded using swagbucks, then we came over to my condo to work out in the exercise room. Frugal and healthy family time! Bonus: the $10 gift card I used was able to buy my sister a coffee, and me two bottled frappuccinos – I only had to pay 13 cents out of pocket. Then I claimed the two bottled Starbucks drinks using the Checkout51 app (Canadian version of Ibotta, I believe), which means that I will actually have *made* money, using a swagbucks gift card. Only 87 cents, but it still made me happy! I plan to give one of the bottles to a colleague as a thank you for a favour that she did for me.

    And that’s my list for the week! Can’t wait to read about what everyone else was up to!

  2. Jamie, I was reading your blog and wanted to mention to you and anybody else who is looking for ways to save on prescriptions to try the phone app “GoodRX” OR http://www.Goodrx.com. It factors in your address and helps you find the best price for that drug in your area. A friend passed this information on to me and I’ve seen a tremendous difference in costs.

  3. My husband and I had a wonderful weekend together. We used a couple of gift cards that had been in my wallet forever (gifts) to go out to eat twice. We drove on back roads around our area, to get to know it better, and discovered a nearby state park to explore. We are eating out of our freezer and pantry for the next ten days, and have been eating well. Also eating whatever is left in our garden. Reading library books.

  4. I can hardly believe how much Octavius has grown. He’s so precious. Bet he’s a happy baby. he looks so excited. Bet he’s saying “thank goodness mama is sending those ladies a new picture”. I’m so glad you are feeling better. I didn’t accomplish much this week. picked up my great-granddaughter friday from school and had her the weekend. Plan on trying to get a fall garden in this week. didn’t have any success with the summer garden, got too hot too soon. Wish me luck.

  5. How is it Octavius is so big already? He is beautiful!

    I found seeds for $.49 at Walgreens in the sales bin. I bought more zinnias, sweet peas, moonflowers,and bachelor’s buttons. I’ve just started growing flowers for cutting this year (as it is it is the first one in a home we won’t have to move from). This year, my zinnias have been lovely, but sadly the dog ate my rose bushes!

    I made homemade cinnamon bread (a new recipe from Pinterest), brownies, butternut squash puree (used some and froze the rest). I use the puree in muffins and macaroni and cheese (cuts down on the fat and adds richness and flavor). I also made a sweet potato pie. As I am having gallbladder surgery on the 15th, I have decided to make some freezer meals, especially my Grandmother’s matzo ball soup that I keep on hand for when we are sick.

    School has started so I am now able to work on painting out kitchen. My daughters are enrolled in a state funded preschool program and we were treated to new backpacks full of school supplies. We were only able to qualify for the program because they can’t count federal income into their formula and as military retirees, 75% of our income is federal. Makes no sense to me, but I’m happy for the program.

    We were able to take our children to the Allentown Fair which was wonderful. The children enjoyed the rises and the animals.

    It was our wedding anniversary and we went out to lunch. The restaurant treated us to champagne and a lovely dessert. We were so surprised. I hope everyone has a great week!

  6. Hi all. I had a very frugal week shopping wise but not health wise. Two emergency appointments last week. Another appointment will need to be made for another medical emergency. I was very happy about a CVS trip I made, paid $4.23 for toothpaste, medical cream and 4 Yardley soaps – received $6 ECBs and $4 back from ibotta. I continue to collect water from a hose leak and hang most of our wash. I did not have to cook as much last week. I was treated to dinner and had lots of leftovers. Have s good week all.

  7. Beautiful baby!! Yay!
    I stocked up on tomatoes from the Amish farms in our area (mine didn’t produce enough to can sauce for the winter), peppers for pepper jelly, potatoes, onions, and five dozen eggs. I don’t normally buy eggs but a weasel got into our coop and killed all of our hens. I’m so sad about it since I think I might be done with having hens. 🙁 I just can’t keep feeding the wildlife here…The only good news was that the eggs I purchased were $1/dozen. That is an unheard of price in these parts. My sil gave me a zucchini (I don’t grow it here) and my brother caught and cooked bass for us for dinner. He also served us delicious Alaskan salmon that was gifted to them from someone at his place of work. My sil made pesto from her garden. It was a delicious meal!
    We do all of our own animal washing and hair cuts (don’t laugh, some people pay $70/wash/cut for their dogs) and we bathed and washed both of our giant dogs for the fall. I resurrected a silk oriental rug that I thought was ruined by animal stains by leaving it out in the rain and then brushing and vacuuming after it had dried. It looks great, it didn’t shrink or get weird looking. I’m pretty pleased with it!
    The kids took money that they had earned and took themselves to the Kids Get In Free Day at the County Fair. This was also the day there were discounted ride prices so they had a great time for less money!
    I’ve started saying No and meaning No whenever anyone asks me to spend money I haven’t planned to spend. That includes children, friends and, yes, the hubs. One issue I have had is feeling like I can’t tell my breadwinner that he can’t have some cash for X. He doesn’t ask often or for much but if I’m not planning on it I’m starting to say, “well, how about next paycheck?” Big smile. It’s getting marginally easier.
    Still making bread and all meals from scratch. This week is budget review week, after I can 80 pounds of tomatoes. We’ll be setting up the new system for the next twelve months. I’m dreading it but realize it’s the only way. 🙂
    Have a great week everyone.

  8. I so look forward to your frugal accomplishments …I love your blog more than any other I have ever read, I re-read “Encouragement” again for the twentieth time,. It means the world to me and it is a great source of hope in my life. Thank you,Brandy…you truly amaze me every single day. My trouble are still enormous, but I get wonderful ideas from you and your ability to make a peanut butter sandwich look like it was served at Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel is very inspiring….Thank you again and again.

  9. What a lovely baby. You are very blessed.

    I have been helping a dear friend who was widowed. I’ve made her coffee every morning, I’ve made her fresh fruit. I’ve baked her scones and put some in her freezer for guests, I cut her flowers from our yard and told her when they were spent I’d save the seeds for her and we could plant them together, my husband and son and I attacked her yard today as it was quite over grown from neglect during her poor husbands illness. Now it’s looking much better, which at least is preferable to it looking crazy when she is getting so much company.
    I’m looking at how to save my lavender seeds to replant next year, and I am waiting for my flowering onions to dry to save those seeds. I am excited to see if I can grow the onions from seed. It would never have occured to me, but we had a few we missed when we were harvesting last year.
    We staked two volunteer tomato plants that are quite behind, and just flowering now, I figure I’ll leave them up and see what happens, no sense pulling them when we might get a few more mild weeks.
    I’m a bit nervous watching my son as this time last year he had a growth spurt and I had to replace all his clothes within two months of having gotten his new school clothes. So I bought the bare minimum and am going to watch and see.
    My sister very kindly brought down some summer weight black clothes for me to wear to the funeral this week so I did not need to go to the store.

    My husband is slooooowly repainting our kitchen. It looks fantastic. We did a lot of research and are using Benjamin Moore Advanced. We are very pleased( except for the part where we paint after the children are in bed and everything is everywhere, that part is less awesome). We photographed the garden today as we felt it is as good as it will look this season, we’ll save the pictures for the realtor.

  10. Glad to see the new photo of Octavius, what a beautiful, big strong boy!! 🙂 And his Mommy is feeling good again!!
    Summer here on Canada’s west coast is ending, lovely sunny day but cold now in the mornings and nights. The orange fall flowers are in full bloom. Frugality continues with home made bread, laundry detergent and line drying. Bought an older Secret Garden calendar (3.99) and am framing the gorgeous flower photos in frames I’m repainting white. Most of the “art” in my townhouse comes from estate sales, thrift shops, etc which I reframe. Love the hunt! afn, Ann Lee S

  11. Oh my goodness, thanks for the reminder, Gabrielle! My wedding anniversary is this weekend coming up and I almost forgot. Must add getting a card for my husband to my to-do list this week! Sadly my husband is better at remembering these things than I am.:p

  12. He is absolutely adorable.
    this week I canned chicken stock this week. We usually have rotisserie chicken on Sunday for dinner so I freeze the left over bones until I have enough time to make broth. Today I made a triple batch of pancakes. Tomorrow we start our home schooling year so for special breakfast we are having pancakes with fruit syrup and whipped cream.

    Great tip on washing windows.

  13. He’s adorable Brandy!
    After a difficult and expensive few months we are trying to spend as little as possible. The freezers full and we are stocked with canned goods. Not planning on purchasing much other than some fresh produce, milk & eggs.
    Have a good week.

  14. That sweet boy is growing so fast. I am sure he wants to keep up with his big sisters and brothers. That is something I see all the time here in my day care business. One baby will do what the other baby does. Parents tell me all the time, XXXX will not eat peas for me, but here, when the other baby eats peas XXXX will eat the peas too because he wants to do what the other baby is doing. I call it ‘monkey see monkey do’ around here.

    It was a normal week here. Did all the normal things to save a dollar. We ate at home, I hung laundry, and used a few coupons to stock up on a few pantry items. Went to the thrift store today. We went to drop off a box of clothes that the boys have out grown and I was surprised to see that the store (Salvation Army thrift) was open today. HUGE sale. I went in to look around and got 2 pair of nice leather shoes for me. I paid a total of $8.00 for both pair. I also got a big panel (curtain) that is Pottery Barn for 99 cents. It is a pretty print and I plan to make some nice shopping bags from it as gifts. I am sure I can make at least 6 bags, maybe more…

    I got 2 samples in the mail this week, one for laundry soap and one for dish soap. Mailed grandson’s birthday card.

    It is so humid here it is miserable. I can hardly stand to take the trash to the can outside. We have not had any rain, but it is close by, the humidity makes the temperature feel like it is over 100.

    Have 2 doctor appointments next week. Have a few sewing projects going. Will make a quilt for a wedding gift. My sister’s oldest son will get married in May. So I am starting the ‘lover’s knot’ quilt this week. I have the fabric and just need to get it cut so I can start.

    I have mended several things for the boys this week. I cut some pants off for shorts. Gavin is growing is so tall, his pants don’t fit long. As it is so warm here in TX most of the year shorts are worn almost year around here.

    I also got FREE off the internet a pattern for men’s briefs. I am going to make a couple for Gavin and Evan and see how they like them. I hope they like them.

    Used a Amazon gift card to get a book as a gift for grand daughter’s Christmas. Trying to get the Christmas gifts ready.

  15. Oh my…he is sooo cute, Brandy! Just look at those beautiful baby blue eyes! I just want to kiss his little cheeks! Thank you for sharing an updated picture with us. I’m glad you were able to visit with friends and share a home cooked meal with them. Can’t wait to see the outfit you made for Octavius!

    Well, we had an interesting week. My mother cut the grass for the first time in a while. She was trimming around the garden, she was attacked by bees who had made a nest/hive in the ground. She ran away, only to be followed by them. They finally stopped attacking when she used the hose to spray herself down. She believed she was stung over 8 times…good thing she’s not allergic!:p This week’s frugal accomplishments were:
    *Meals made at home included hamburger helper with garlic toast, pasta and sausage with choice of red or white sauce, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with mashed potatoes and veggies, BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with cold pasta salad, corn and lettuce salad, chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce, carrots and choice between white rice or mashed potatoes, and roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw and green/waxed beans.
    *My brother borrowed the tent I bought at an auction for $1. He wants to try some camping trips this fall and was looking into buying a small camping trailer of sorts. I offered the tent to let him try it out before investing money in a trailer.
    *Did a Costco run this week and stocked up on meat for the freezer. Chicken breasts were on sale $4 off a package. I dug and found two that were cheaper, making it about $20 for each large tray. I repackaged 1 tray with my food saver and froze them in packs of 2. The second tray was made into chicken souvlaki and froze into 3 meal sized portions (plus we had some for a meal). Also bought ground beef, stewing beef and a package of 2 roasts, all repackaged with food saver into meal sized portions before freezing. Other deals I picked up included Oil of Olay soap bars, tampons and mayonnaise, all on sale (which makes it cheaper than anywhere else), 4 jars peanut butter (2kg size for around $5.50), 2 bricks of butter (on sale for just under $3), romaine lettuce (6 pack for under $4), and a 2 pack of bread (on sale for $2.50 making it $1.25/loaf!).
    *Received 3 dozen cobs of corn and a 1L container of buttermilk for free after one of our special events at work.
    *My daughter and I had a hair cut. This was the first hair cut I’ve had since just before last Christmas, so I consider this a frugal accomplishment!
    *Frugal fail: Last week I had to go home early from work one day due to a severe cold and this week I lost an entire day of work due to contracting pink eye (they wouldn’t let me stay because I was contagious). Seriously, I can win for loosing!

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments. Have a lovely week everyone!

  16. Oh my goodness your baby is so big already! Such a cutie. Sometimes it takes the family to get ready for company!
    Our fall crop of mustard greens is coming in and I hope to can some soon. Here are the rest of my frugal Accomplishmentshttp://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2016/09/my-frugal-ways-this-past-weekwhat-was.html

  17. Love the baby pic, but he’s growing way too fast!

    I feel like I didn’t do much, but it looks good written down!
    * On a crazy busy day, we used the last of our Subway GC, split a sub , and had water. Free dinner!
    * Then, for a bday present, Dh received two more $15 GCs for a total of $30!
    * We needed to take care of something in a town about 30 miles away so made a long morning of it. It was a pure country drive and a beautiful day. The wild sunflowers were blooming all over. We got directions from the college to the town food strip, so we put one of those GCs to work and enjoyed a little picnic with our free lunch! Wonderful day.
    * Did another market survey for 50 fuel points.
    * Did a free download for a yogurt.
    * Planted a row of lettuce in my pallet/rain gutter wall garden. Never tried a fall planting so we’ll see if it works.
    * We had a great weather weekend so the AC was off for almost two days and a couple of mornings.
    * Lowe’s had small mums on sale for 5/$5 so I got 5.
    And that leads into the beautifying part.
    * I switched my front porch theme from Summer/Americana to a n early fall. My colors for this year will be red, yellow, & turquoise. I hung a little birdhouse shaped planter and will be putting pinecones into it. See pinecone mums on Pinterest. There are lots of pics. I moved some Begonias to a standing planter and put my mums in baskets on the steps, hung my apple wreath, and love the way it came together.
    * I also ‘re-did the mantel with scarecrows, sunflowers, and crows to gently usher in the seasonal changes. No pumpkins until October!

    Meals this week were turkey pepper jack subs, taco pasta, chili dogs, chicken, taco salad, and Subway, of course.

    Hung laundry, used fans, library borrowing, embroidered towels for gifts, and made DH’s bday cake.

  18. I have the same dilemma with my husband. He buys almost nothing, but when he wants something it seems to be unceccesary and expensive. I usually don’t say anything because he wants so little. Sometimes I’ll say something like, how about we wait until x is paid?

  19. Octavius is absolutely darling – can’t wait to see him in his blessing outfit! My “baby” turned 9 this summer, so I am so enjoying baby pictures. *happy sigh*

    We used fuel points from my parents’ Fred Meyer/Kroger card to fill up both of our vehicles on the 31st, when the points expired.

    We watched library DVDs for both education and entertainment and picked up more holds. We sure love our library! (If you’ve ever wondered how much you’re saving by using library services, this calculator a friend shared with me is a great tool: http://www.maine.gov/msl/services/calculator.htm We’ve estimated our savings at over $8,000 for this year already, and we have another museum pass to borrow for a field trip this month still!)

    My mom passed along more cucumbers for me to make both families pickles with.

    My daughter is at visitation with her father – as silly as that sounds, having one less family member home means less electricity used and fewer groceries used. We also see a savings when my husband is away on trips, plus on fuel as well.

    The heat broke here – we went from 85-95F down to 65-70F in a week’s time and have stayed cooler this weekend. We got a few afternoon rainstorms so I didn’t have to water the garden, and the cooler temps mean not running the fans in the afternoon/evenings.

    My husband’s unit threw a kids’ festival which included school supplies for the kids if you registered in advance. I didn’t register as we didn’t plan to attend. The next day, his commander handed him a gift card – everyone his rank and below was given a gift card to go buy school supplies with at the base store. We figured it would be $10 or so, and were surprised and very grateful when we went to stock up on a few things and it turned out to be $50, leaving us with a credit still, as we only needed erasers and a binder at the time, and some snacks for after lessons are done for our homeschool days.

    Wishing everyone a lovely week!

  20. Almost forgot! My husband and son went to a museum up north yesterday – they participate in the Blue Star program, so admission is free for active duty military from Memorial Day thru Labor Day. We also did a road trip on Friday, about two hours north, to a cemetery where one of my husband’s great aunts is buried. Genealogy, some neat mountain roads, and we had our own drinks and a big snack bag to cover when hunger struck. 🙂

  21. * was able to harvest some cherry tomatoes from the garden… my son and I gobbled them up when we were the only ones home (there weren’t that many)
    * had some peaches that were getting a bit over ripe so I cut them up and froze for smoothies
    * was gifted a BUNCH of rosemary which is now drying….
    * got sent a dental bill for charges we didn’t authorize (he went overboard on sealants which we didn’t approve). I called and got the $312 charge reversed
    * stocking up my pantry… my goal this week is to get it organized. Things are out of control…LOL
    * got a free yogurt with an coupon

  22. As I was reading through these comments, I was thinking about how much I enjoy this blog. Brandy, thank you again for hosting this little community and sharing your thoughts and activities with us. I have learned an enormous amount here. But even more important, when I need to be positive or get enthusiastic about managing our life with less money, I come here and reread various sections. Your writing style is very easy to read and I go away wanting to try new things…versus being demoralized that my skills are less than yours. You make the point about what you knew when you started and what you have learned over time, and it makes a really good lesson that huge change is possible over time.

    Last week, we ate at home for all but two meals, and I did very little grocery shopping. I ended August spending $165 for groceries, which is a success. Made a batch of laundry detergent and homemade fabric softener.

    Great photo of Octavius, what a wonderful picture…superman style 😉

  23. Octavius is growing much too fast, but looks so bright eyed and eager to get at the world!!

    We did the usual things but the weather cooled off some and we were able to attack more weeds on one of the days, at least. My garden is late but I hope to still dry parsley, and freeze some beets and possibly some extra green peppers. That’s all I planted this year. I was slowed down this week by gout which has left me with no pain-free feet at all. Seeing the doctor in a couple days for a progress report on my other foot, although progress was minimal so far. The pain is lessened now, although not entirely gone, and I will be starting on a maintenance drug when the swelling is back down.

    I made granola again, bread, pizza dough and brownies this week. Today I tried a recipe for black beans and rice, which made husband quite happy. I decided I could eat it as a side but not as an entree. Just not that fond of beans. We had a visit from family shortly after dinner, so I stuck them into the fridge and will portion out and freeze tomorrow. We also had a wonderful pork loin roast which lasted for two dinners, with some fabulous roasted potatoes as well. Just had to add a new vegetable the second night. I got the oatmeal for the granola at the local Amish store for .75 a lb, which is considerably cheaper than the supermarket. I got 20 lbs, even though it’s only a half hour to drive there and back. Their sliced almonds were also cheaper and already chopped walnuts just a few cents different from the halves at the supermarket, saving me the trouble of breaking them by hand. They are not chopped too small, either, which I like!! Craisins were on sale at the supermarket so I stocked up those as well–$1 for 5 oz is a deal compared to regular prices. We’ll be eating granola for the season!

    Also went to the last car show of the year with my husband, and actually enjoyed it. We have done this for over 30 years and they are not always fun any more (for me.) We had a lovely day, though, and good company parked nearby, so it was more bearable. Last year it was cold and rainy and I won’t soon forget that day! Even with a sweater AND a sweatshirt on, I was so cold I had to sit in the car part of the time. I bought a new windbreaker as a result, and this year didn’t even bring it with me. I also took my husband to a favorite yard sale with me on Friday although we didn’t find much of interest, we managed to spend $6 between us. He bought some newspaper reprints from the Civil War era and has been happily reading them since. I bought some fat yarn to tie up Christmas gifts!!

  24. Oh wow! He’s already so big (seriously cute too :). I am feeling good tonight. Today was my son’s eighth birthday and there were a lot of firsts. He blew out his candles. He helped to open his gifts. He showed enthusiasm FOR his gifts and has been delightedly playing with them since dinner. Being a special needs parent you can get so bogged down in the negatives. Normally his birthday is just another year of him not talking gone by and him not showing interest in anything but the frosting on the cake, so today…today was good. I really felt God’s presence in our lives tonight and am feeling very, very grateful for his blessings in this world :).

    Anyway *laugh* now that I’ve gone off on a tangent, the rest of my week in a nutshell can be found here…


  25. I’m sorry to hear about your friends husband. It sounds like she has a really good friend in you. Bless you for helping her so much .

  26. Awwww, Octavius is beyond cute! What an adorable baby! It is amazing how you can get so much done with all the cuteness surrounding you every day!

    This week we made two different salads with one batch of salad dressing. I made cole slaw by grating carrots and shredding cabbage. I used mayo, salt, pepper and juice of one lemon for the dressing. The next night, the left over
    dressing had turned into an apricot color, and had a lovely carrot flavor. We enjoyed an iceberg lettuce salad with the dressing.

    My hubby loves the pictures of your friuits and vegetables. He wants to visit your garden, so I reminded him that we can’t just show up at any time. Hopefully, you will set up a tour next spring!

    Thank you, Brandy, for your time and encouragement!

  27. Octavius is absolutely precious! He’s looks so happy and healthy! Thanks for sharing his picture with us.

    This weeks frugal accomplisments revolved around staying out of the stores. I have a full freezer that needs to be eaten down before the holiday turkey and ham sales.

    I cooked the last turkey I had in the freezer. It was 20 lbs and I cooked it according to Brandy’s directions, breast side down. Brandy, it was so tender and flavorful!! Thanks for the tip! We ate it for dinner the first night with potatoes, gravy and a large green salad. The next day I made 12 freezer meals out of the meat. They included turkey pot pie, turkey enchilada’s, pineapple turkey and white turkey chili. I froze them in sizes appropriate for my husband and myself. I also made a large crockpot full of refried beans from dried pinto beans bought in bulk. I froze them in 3 cup containers. The turkey broth/stock that I made from the turkey cooked breast side down was the best I’ve every had and I was able to make quite a bit. I froze that in quart freezer bags.

    I took my breakfast, lunch and snack to work both days (I work 12-hour shifts, two days a week). I deep cleaned my kitchen, dining room and entryway. I started setting up my sewing/craft room in what used to be my daughter’s bedroom. It’s a good size room which also serves as a food pantry. Right now just the closet is a pantry but we need a little more room to expand. Several weeks ago my husband bought a shelving unit for that purpose so we spent some time assembling it. I think it will be perfect!

    Have a great week everyone! Thanks again Brandy for everything you do!

  28. I forgot to add: We just had an Aldi open in my area. I plan on going to check it out sometime this week. Does anyone have any suggestions on some of the best deals there?

  29. Principe Borghese tomatoes currently dehydrating under the oven light–kitchen smells GOOD!

    Crockpot oatmeal is started and will be ready for hungry family members before they return to work and school tomorrow morning.

    Congrats on your lovely baby, B! He’s terrific!

  30. Hello Brandy and all from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy congratulations on the naming of Octavius, what a special occasion for your whole wonderful family 🙂 . He has the most beautiful big eyes.

    This weeks frugal accomplishments are –

    In the kitchen –
    – Blanched, picked and froze 1.73kg of finished weight spinach from our organic gardens.
    – Picked blanched and froze 12.054 kg of turnips from our gardens saving $90 over purchasing it in the shops.
    – Harvested 6 kg of spring onions that we shall dice and freeze for an onion alternative advanced food stocks, saving $130.43 over purchasing them in the shops.
    – Made a large batch of pumpkin soup from pumpkins picked from the gardens in winter storage which lasted us 3 meals and also fed guests who came over.
    – Made 3 apple pies, one for us and another two for a dinner invite and another for the wonderful young men who gave service by helping weed the gardens.

    In the garden –
    – Picked spinach, turnips, strawberries and spring onions from our organic vegetable patches.
    – Used vegetable peelings for mulch rather than using hay.
    – Fertilised our berry, herb and vegetable patches for another fortnight.

    Water Preservation –
    – Missed one drip irrigation watering cycle in the gardens due to rain saving 270 lt of town water use.
    – Hand watered the house lawns all week with saved grey water from our showers and washing machined without any town water use.
    – Watered herb plants in pots on the back stairs with vegetable blanching water a few nights this week.

  31. Hello everybody there. I’m sorry to read that some poeple have to think about going to the doctors and think about the finances that goes with it. As you maybe know, everybody in the Netherlands is compulsory insured, if you feel sick/ill you go to de doctors, and if you cannot work because of an illness (for longer or shorter time) you still get money to pay al your bills etc. (if you live a normall livestyle ofcourse).
    That is so different in America.
    Well…here are my frugal accomplishments for last week.
    I picked 4 courgetees from my garden (chopped and froze them), picked tomatoes, raspberries, and 2 cabbage. In someone elses garden they let me pick some more apples (5 kg).
    So I made applepie. We ate leftovers and other food from the freezer as I need the space for the vegetables from my garden. I mended 2 pieces of clothing. I finished knitting socks for a friend of my husband, who is a dairyfarmer, so they let me have free milk (biological).
    And I go to the gym every week and after the training I take a long shower, so I don’t have to shower at home.
    Goodbey everybody

  32. What a sweet face to wake up to this morning 🙂
    My mother in law and her partner (boyfriend sounds strange for a woman in her 50’s lol) gave us the fencing, poles, and gate they took out of their backyard. The previous owners had a fence inside the fence, it was weird. She also gave us 3 bags of pork and some plants fro her yard she didn’t want. We had a cookout there on Labor Day and had fun.

    I start a job today! It’s 12 minutes from my driveway to their parking lot. It’s work I’ve done before so hopefully all will go well 🙂

    Ate at home all week using food we already had.

    Watched a show for free online and started watching a show on Netflix I’ve never seen before.

    Harvested more tomatoes, garlic, basil, and pears from the garden.

    Deep cleaned my house for three days before starting work today to make sure it got done.

    We did all the normal things as well: reduced water usage, line dried several loads on the outside lines, turned off lights and appliances when not in use, washed and reused ziptop bags.
    Have a great week everyone!

  33. My Hubby has always been better at remembering those things as well – I often have to count up the years IF i can remember the year we got married LOL! I do the same with how old I am but I don’t think that’s a [i]bad[/i] thing 😀 It will be 24 years for us on October 9th and I am just hoping we don’t have any chemo or other tests on that day.

  34. My poor garden was fried this summer like never before, and I lost some fruit trees. Hopefully I can get them taken out this winter and put new trees in their place. It’s a lot of work to remove trees. I’d like to get it looking good enough for tours again.

  35. Melissa, I wanted to say something the other day when you first mentioned it, but I was reading comments with the baby in my arms and didn’t get to reply that day. I am so sorry to hear about your cancer. I hope you have a beautiful anniversary, however the day goes. I know things don’t always go as planned (we made plans for my 40th birthday this year and then I ended up being at the hospital with a child). No matter where you are that day, I pray that you can enjoy some quiet, sweet moments with your husband.

  36. Picked grapes, green beans, pears, prune plums, peaches, tomatoes, strawberries, elderberries & red raspberries.

    Continued to dehydrate our Red Reliance grapes into raisins.

    Bottled green beans & grape juice.

    Made 2 pear clafoutis.

    Took a textbook for her college-in-high-school class out to my oldest granddaughter in the Uinta Basin. They can’t buy the book locally, because neither of the small towns where she lives has a bookstore, & the USU branch there won’t get it for them. They told the high school kids enrolled in the class they could go to the “main campus”, which is 6 hours away in Logan, where the bookstore is closed all day on Saturday & Sunday. So if the kids were willing to drive 12 hours to get the book, they would have to miss school to do so…how crazy is that? Since we were making the trip anyway, we took other things as well.

    Dismantled the broken grill, so that I could recycle some of the parts. As I dismantled it, I found another German yellow jacket nest the size of my palm, attached to the lower side of the bottom grate, below the fake lava rocks. We have German, Western & aerial yellow jackets here, & each year it is a constant battle to keep their numbers in check, without contaminating any food plants.

  37. I cleaned the bedroom closets and laundry room- and found several items that I can reuse for the fabric- saving me from buying more! I also organized my sewing area, so know I have a better idea of what I actually have. I started a wall pocket organizer from fabric I already had, and plan a couple more, so everything will be both accessible and neat. Not overtly frugal- but i wont be buying duplicates of something I already have. I did take advantage of the joanns 2 day sale this morning to get some flannel at 1.99/yard (I know I dont have that!) to make some pjs for everyone (and the scraps make such nice cleaning cloths). Yesterday Meijers weekly sale overlapped with their Labor Day weekend sale, AND they had a 5 off 50 mperk, along with a 20% off canning supplies. I got some more jars, along with whole chickens for .89/lb that are simmering away in the crock pot and I will can this evening after it cools off. I also stocked up on peanut butter for .99/lb.

  38. Ohhh, Octavius is so precious!! This week:

    1. We’re closing on our house this Thursday (eek!!!) and are using a big Lowe’s promotion to save a lot of money on our paint. We were going to buy paint this weekend anyway, so it was great that we could take advantage of the sale! After it’s all said and done, we’ll save about $50.

    2. Our home comes with an oven and fridge. Since we’re remodeling, we have no need for these appliances. We’ll end up selling them on Craigslist to make some easy money. Woohoo!

    3. I got a great haul at Clothes Mentor this past weekend. For $65, I got 3 pairs of jeans, a pair of shorts, and 3 pairs of shoes. My little shopping trip was funded by selling a game console on Craigslist, so it didn’t cut into the budget at all. And now I have snazzy winter clothes on the cheap. 🙂

    4. This past weekend I harvested tuna (also known as “prickly pears”) from my in-law’s yard for free. It was a pain to process them, but in the end I was able to create a cup of tuna syrup. I like to pour it on top of my homemade cheesecake. Yum!

    5. My in-laws also gave us a free dozen of free-range eggs from their chickens.

    6. Mr. Picky Pincher cooked black beans, kombucha, and chicken stock.

  39. Marivene, that system you described regarding the textbooks definitely sounds broken. Why would they make it so difficult, almost impossible even, for the students?

  40. Erika, I once read that parents of special needs children are always in some stage of the grief process. I believe that to be true. My son is almost 18. He can’t talk, walk, feed himself or do any type of self-care. Plus, he is chronically ill. I know the pain of birthdays he has no interest in, presents he ignores, family gatherings that are stressful because he cannot handle the noise, not to mention the big things like graduations, dating, sports teams, driving – all those dreams you give up one at a time.

    But I believe with all my heart that my son (and yours) is precious to God and that EVERY life matters and has purpose. We know throughout the Bible God used the weak, the poor, the disabled to reflect the glory of God and accomplish His purposes. I believe it’s no different now.

    God doesn’t reward the same things our culture does. He rewards things like sacrifice and loving when it’s hard, and perseverance and faith during great trials. By doing what you are doing every day, you are pleasing God because it requires much sacrifice and love.

    I enjoy reading your blog, as I do Brandy’s, because you encourage me by your resilience and creativity. Keep on being an encouragement to others!

  41. In addition to what I put on my website http://www.marybethdanielson.com (my writing is not always about being frugal, but this post is) I did what is ordinary around here. Baked bread, cooked almost all our meals from scratch, walked for exercise, hiked local parks for adventure. I did have this extra frugal win: I have a white thin, lacy cardigan that I wore two years ago to my daughter’s wedding. I wore it this past weekend to the wedding of a friend’s son. While waiting for the bridal party to march in, I glanced down and realized I had a big bleach spot of white on my white sweater. First frugal thing I did was not tell anyone (until now …). Second thing I did was, next day, soak it in a small tub of hot water with 12 tea bags. This worked and I now have an ecru cardigan. Hah.

  42. Love the picture of the baby! He is adorable!

    My frugal accomplishments lately include:

    harvesting (dead flowers) zinnia, marigold, and also petunia seeds for wintersowing (www.wintersown.org) which worked great last year for me! Also purchased 10/$1 seeds at Dollar Tree like turnips, spinach, beets, lavendar, etc.

    I made a batch of 5-minute-a-day dough for baguettes, pizza, english muffins. This is a great, easy recipe that keeps in the fridge for up to ten days. It uses only flour, water, yeast, and salt. I also made a new recipe for navy bean soup and used up some carrots and celery that were on their last leg in my fridge.

    I saved leftover bits of potatoes, hamburger patty, gravy, and corn from last night’s supper for freezing and later using for vegetable soup.

    Have a good week everyone!

  43. Fall is definitely right around the corner. The trees are changing colors and daily flocks of geese are flying over. We picked all our tomatoes that were reddening but not ripe to give anything else on the vines a boost, so now we have 300+ on one of those folding banquet tables in the back entry. I don’t care much for winter/cold but I have to say we always prepare for it as best we can.

    Last week was back to school preparations week along with meetings and administration things. Nice to be back to school…today is the first day for students. I always loved to go back to school.

    We did the usual of composting, recycling, re-using, hanging some of the laundry to dry, preserving the harvest, eating at home. We pulled all the rest of the onions, the kohlrabi, the eggplants, beans and the red potatoes. We cut 2 five gallon pails of concord grapes. We picked Brussels sprouts, carrots, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, spicy and mild peppers, red and green cabbage. My daughter tilled some areas and planted cover crops. My fall patio garden (pots) of radish, green onions and lettuce is doing good. Our fall spinach is doing good too.

  44. What a lovely young fellow you have!

    These past couple of weeks the garden has been dying out. My first fall planting did not sprout at all, despite twice a day waterings. My second attempt is having some success, but I may resort to buying some seedlings to jump start have some to eat sooner. The tomatoes, cukes, zucchinis have all petered out, but I have some second plantings that are bearing a little. I so hope to have kale, lettuce and beets for the fall.

    I have been making some yogurt with free milk, and then used that so make dishes as a substitute for sour cream. I also had free whipping cream that I used to make butter. We also had free eggs, so I made crust less quiches several nights.

    My neighbor let me glean apples from the ground, I used them to make apple cider vinegar. We swapped pears for apples last year, but she is moving this week and my source will be gone. I did find seconds of apples, at five dollars for three quarters of a bushel. I will use them for eating,muffins and sauce. Brandi, I see that your pears look perfect. Our pears are getting devoured by ants, do you have that problem at all? If so, how do you deal with that? Your basket of pears from the pervious post just look so lovely, and a teaser for the fall.

    Thanks for all of the effort in the midst of your busy life, this community of like minded ladies you have welcomed and encouraged are a dear bunch! I hope you know we all appreciate each and every post!

  45. ** I packed my own food when I went to the hospital and now I am bringing it for all his outpatient care – blood draws 2x a week and depending on counts there will be more time spent there for plasma and transfusions when they are needed + Chemo every 3 weeks with will take at least 6 hours.
    **Right now my poor hubby can’t come home – he is out of the hospital and living at his parents house because when me and the kids were deep cleaning, we moved a very large executive desk away from the sub-basement wall and discovered mildew growing under the wall paper, behind and on the drywall and down into the carpet. All the trim was rotted as well. We could not see any of it due to furniture being up against that wall all the way down. We had to gut it to the studs and remove all the carpet and after doing that, found 2 cracks in the foundation. The insurance adjuster was here today and doesn’t think any of it will be paid for cause it was water coming in from outside…….we have had the same company for 19 years with ONE claim during the big remodel, 19 years ago – if they don’t pay – especially when I told her our circumstances with hubby not being able to come home – then we are leaving the company. Guess loyalty gets you no where with insurance! We also found a leak in the plumbing at the same time and my dad will be helping me fix that tomorrow. And then the kids and I and anyone else I can wrangle are going to have to dig the entire outside of that wall out and get those cracks sealed + put a membrane in and regrade the whole thing (and lay down chicken wire so the dogs don’t get in there and dig). THEN we’ll have to drywall and (my favorite part – not) mud it and sand it.
    ** A friend of my family sent a check to help with costs associated with the mess we are in – I am saving it for building supplies we are going to need.
    ** My hubby’s brother paid to have all the duct work in our house cleaned (something heavily recommended by the cancer doc)
    **Not much else frugal – I don’t have the time right now to really cook and with only me home many nights, it just doesn’t seem worth it to go thru the trouble of cooking a real meal. I have eaten alot of rice cakes and p-nut butter and otherwise am living on Immodium and Xanax due to all the stress. I have not gotten anything at the grocery store except milk and some lunch supplies our daughter requested.

  46. I love Aldi! I do the majority of my shopping there. Baking supplies, chips, milk, bread, canned tomatos, tortillas, lunch meat like ham, the meat deal of the week and produce deals of the week.

  47. So, am I the only one whose mouth waters when that picture of the lemonade pitcher and those chopped lemons show up? Brandy, it makes me crave a big iced glass of lemonade. Yum!

  48. I harvested more tomatoes from our garden and besides saving some for eating, I canned tomato sauce for my pantry shelves! I also pressure canned 7 jars of kidney beans so I will actually use the beans I’ve had in my food storage for 20 years! The recipe I use doesn’t require you to pre-soak or precook the beans at all, but when the pressure canned jars are opened, the beans are tender but not my shy or crunchy!! Whenever there are less than 7 pints of my home canned beans on the shelf, I get my dry beans out of their buckets and pressure can another 7 pints!
    We bought a treadmill for $75 from some friends who are moving to Hawaii! It works great and since fall and winter will bring weather that won’t let me do my daily walking, this will be a way I can keep following my doctor’s orders without paying for a gym membership! I’ve lost almost 70 pounds now and I don’t want to lose momentum!
    I cut up and made more rags from t-shirts and cotton pjs that are too big on me now and decluttered and donated the rest of the too-large clothes from my closet! My wardrobe has certainly “shrunk” both in size and amount!! Lol!!
    Our electric bill continues to drop and our budget amount for our level pay gas heating bill for this coming winter season has been lowered by $40/month!!! The new furnaces are paying for themselves!!

    All in all, a great week!!!

  49. Brandy your baby is too cute for words! He’s a doll!!! You and your husband are very blessed. Thanks for sharing with your adoring fans!

  50. Marivene,
    Have you ever tried the yellow traps that you bait with a liquid pheremone? We’ve always had good luck with them (in SLC). Once you own the traps, you can get refill bait a lot of places. I usually see it at Smith’s and Home Depot.

    I also wanted to ask you if you’ve ever had borers in your prune plum tree? It looks like we have them this year, and I’m looking for a non-toxic way to take care of the problem.

  51. I forgot I wanted to mention some possibly easier way for your granddaughter to get text books. My son has found that some of his books are available online (or you can download to a computer or iPad). He also discovered that, as a student, he qualifies for a free amazon prime account w/ free 2-day shipping. When he found that the “optional” text for his math class was really going to be a necessity, he found a good-quality used copy on amazon, and had it in his hands two days later. Just a suggestion for any other time she needs a book and you’re not able to deliver 🙂 . I’m still shaking my head that the USU branch told the kids to go to the main campus bookstore! I wonder if your granddaughter could have ordered it through the campus bookstore and had it shipped to her.

  52. I gave my husband a haircut. I picked pears, strawberries, green beans, tomatoes, and zucchini. I finished canning the peaches from our tree (42 quarts in total). My husband fixed some sprinklers in the backyard. I was sick one day last week and though we were tempted to get fast food, we ate leftovers and fixed sandwiches for the kids. It was my oldest son’s birthday, and one of his presents was a set of scriptures and scripture bag. The bag I found online on clearance and got it for less than $3 with free shipping (and it was only available in his favorite color)! I was thinking of sewing a bag, but decided I couldn’t buy the materials for much less than that!

  53. When my husband and I got married I created a new email address with my anniversary year in it 🙂 So now I have a reminder and can count how many years it is LOL I also do the same thing with how old both of us are. Early happy anniversary and I hope your day is amazing!:D

  54. We cut our golden retriever’s fur as well. It would cost us $100+ here. She isn’t “salon beautiful” but that’s ok!

  55. What a cutie!

    I am amazed at your ability to sew and managed young children. I haven’t touched my knitting needles in years.

    I did a research study yesterday that earned me a $75 Visa card. I’m going to use it to buy one week’s worth of groceries. I have worked more than usual, and I was able to set aside $450 from last Friday’s paycheck towards my Roth and our vacation fund. I also got one of the new Kindle First books that you can get free every month with a Prime membership.

  56. It would have been easy not to be frugal when Hurricane Hermine blew in. People were panic shopping and spending tons of money eating out at the few open restaurants, as well as buying batteries, flashlights, fuel, etc. Our own non-frugal part was that we had to pay about $50 for gasoline to keep our generator running, but we are so thankful we have one (it was a gift to us a decade ago)! We were without power for four days, and we couldn’t run our air conditioning — it is a small generator — but we were able to save all our fresh and frozen food, have water (we have an electric well pump), have lights and run ceiling fans.
    I had already stored plenty of lamp oil for my handed down old family oil lamps, which we needed the first night during the actual hurricane landing. The next day we got the generator running, but we still lit lamps at night to save generator power. No new money spent on lamplight, though.
    I washed a few items by hand and just held off on the rest, instead of going to the Laundromat when it opened back up. I dried the things on a clothes rack inside, as it was still rainy outside.
    I used the crockpot to do some of my cooking. We had some creative meals with varied leftovers, but we never once had to go find a place open to buy restaurant food. The stove drew too much power to use.
    We have two floors in our house, so I have a lightweight battery powered vacuum to carry and use upstairs when I clean. I used it to help me go ahead and clean house the day after the storm, without drawing any electricity. I wasn’t going anywhere out in that mess with downed lines everywhere, so I figured I might as well get something done.
    We are so grateful to have our power back on, although not everyone does, and to have had no damage to our home or car, which too many people had. Of course, we are grateful for the safety of our family as well as ourselves, too. This is the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida in over a decade, so it’s reinforced to us the importance of being prepared, and purchasing things needed ahead of time, when on sale, rather than shopping at whatever price you can find at the last minute. People had gotten slack after all this time and let their supplies slip– it’s so much better to have what is needed, when it’s needed.

  57. Why have I never tried to make my own tortilla chips???? I’ve got a bunch of corn tortillas in the freezer; I’ll definitely have to try this. Thanks for the idea.

  58. What an adorable child!

    Like many of you, I continued to do the weekly small things that eventually add up to notable accomplishments. I had a fun day hunting thru a friends leftover estate sale items. I was able to bring home three boxes of mid century collectibles to sell at my antique booth. My friend and his wife are selling/giving away all of their possessions, and going to travel the US in a truck/camper. They are retired and ready for a change of lifestyle.

    Had a number of Ebay sales this past week. Recently my mother passed on some vintage jewelry she no longer wants. I had her permission to sell anything that I didn’t want to keep. I have sold 4 earring/brooch sets.

    Thrilled to discover that we have many wild grapes growing on our property! We moved into this home last Thanksgiving, and had no idea what type of surprises we might find come spring/summer. I have been researching wild grapes to learn the best way to take advantage of this nifty freebie!

  59. What a cutie. Just look at those eyes!

    Frugal accomplishments:

    * Ate home-prepared meals all but one time. This is huge for us; I think being back into a school routine is helping me be more disciplined in terms of meal planning and food prep.

    * Dehydrated fruit that was a bit beyond prime. The guys will use this in the fall when they go backpacking and hiking with the scouts.

    * Used some zucchini from the freezer to make chocolate zucchini cake.

    * Hubs changed the AC filter so the unit will run more efficiently.

    * We’ve been blessed with some milder weather, so we’ve not needed to run the AC quite as much (some days not at all).

    * Hubs fixed a sprinkler head that was broken.

    * Harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, pattypan squash, zucchini, and radishes from the garden.

    * Made salad dressings.

    * Broke up three leftover taco shells to use as “chips” to go along w/ a tamale casserole.

    * Paid bills online.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  60. Cathy, I have tried those. In fact, at the start of the year, I caught 5 queens in the pheromone traps. Just think how many more yellow jackets we would have had those 5 queens started colonies!

    I have not had borers in my plum trees, but my oldest daughter did. She killed them by laying tobacco leaves at the base of the tree. Apparently the nicotinamides paralyze the borers & they starve. She & a friend got the leaves for free at the local smoke shop. When she explained why she wanted them,the owners gave her some leaves that had been the wrapping for Cuban cigars.

  61. Interesting suggestion. I’ll look into it. I wonder if planting nicotiana at the base of the plum tree would have the same effect.
    Five queens, yikes! When I get stung, I get a very localized reaction, but wherever it is swells up huge, and then it takes 1-2 weeks for the swelling to completely go away.

  62. CarlaM, my little brother is close to 18 and is in a similar state as your son. I just wanted to give a hearty ‘Amen’ to your comment. Praying for you as you care for him. Big hugs to you!

  63. Melissa, I am so sorry that you are faced with so many challenges right now. Please remember to take some moments out to care for YOU. Take a walk when you can. Breath. Meditate. Pray. Reach out and ask someone to cook some nutritious meals for YOU to soothe your body and soul. If you are strong, you will be able to extend that strength to your dh and children. You are in my prayers.

  64. Thanks, Mandy. Sadly the year and date are very easy to remember, it just sneaks up on me every time. I was married in 1999 and the date is Sept 11th. On our second wedding anniversary, the twin towers came down. For years I had a build in reminder. Whenever they started talking about 9/11, I knew my wedding anniversary was coming up. Over the years, though, the talk has subsided, so now I have to rely on my own memory…which, honestly, isn’t a reliable source!

  65. Though my work at the pioneer village, I have had the privilege to work with members of the First Nations community (Americans would refer to them as Native Americans). In their culture, people with disabilities are highly prize as they see and interact with the world from a very different point of view. Their unique perspective provides others with the opportunity to learn from them…a teacher of sorts. Having a child on the Autism spectrum, and having struggled with understanding and acceptance of her differences, this belief just made my heart sing. I wish the rest of the world could feel this way too.

    Carla and Erika, I applaud you both for your strength and resiliency that you have had to endure as a parent of a special needs child. It takes such an amazing amount of effort to care for these children, but you love them unconditionally anyways. I realize I am very lucky. I have hope that my child may eventually hit some of those milestones, though she may do it at a different rate and in a different way than others. But I remember all to well that feeling of grief when I received the diagnosis and realized that all those hopes and dreams I had for her life were permanently altered. A hard pill to swallow and accept, that’s for sure. Sending my love to both of you!

  66. I’m so sorry that you are facing such a difficult time right now, Melissa. Your struggles just seem to be piling up! I’m so glad to hear that friends and family are starting to offer their help.

    Don’t be afraid to put the word out for more help. Many may not know what they can do or what you need. Perhaps if you put together a list of some things you need help with (such as dealing with the necessary house renovations so your husband can come home, preparing some freezer meals/snacks that are easy for your family to prepare between or for hospital visits, etc.), and send it out to your family and friends, it may result in more offers of support. I wouldn’t know where to begin to help if this happened to a family member, but would be more than eager to extend my help if they asked.

    If nothing else, perhaps you could throw together something in the crockpot to cook during the day, so you have a healthy meal to eat at night. Make extras and freeze the leftovers for another day, or use it as a meal for several days. You need to eat properly to keep your strength and well-being up during this time.

    Sending you lots of hugs and warm wishes of hope and healing for you and your family!:D

  67. I found wild grapes growing at the pioneer village and was interested in doing something with them. Will you share what you find with your research?

  68. I am so sorry to hear all you are going thru. I second Talia ask for help from friends, neighbors, etc. Also, taking care of yourself. I will pray for you.

  69. I agree to be prepared is such peace of mind. In our neck of the woods our town has run dry of gasoline three times in 20 years. Due to wildfires. Our whole electric grid went down in so. Cal. A few years ago, it was an eye opener to say the least. Our Stater Bros. Was wiped clean in about an 1 1/2. My husband and I witnessed how people transform when they are scared.

  70. This post is more about being grateful for what I have. I lost everything back in the recession, my home, car, job, savings dwindled to nothing, health crisis etc. I have since gotten a better job that I enjoy much more, a vehicle, and was able to get financed, only by the grace of God, a small house that is in good condition. It is not in what most people would consider to be a good location, but it suits my needs. I was not living high on the hog (that is a saying we use down here) before the recession, but I am so grateful even more for what I do have now. I have not recovered financially from those lean years yet, but I am so much better off than I was after I lost everything. I say all of this to say, bad things happen in life and sometimes, terrible things and sometimes it is not our fault and despite our best planning. However, life is still beautiful and it helps to try to find joy every day. So, there is joy in my peanut butter and jelly sandwich at lunch, because I have food to eat. There is joy in my beans and rice for supper, because I had the money to pay my electric bill to cook it. There is joy in my walks around the neighborhood, rather than a gym, because I have two legs that can move. There is joy in dyeing my own hair, because I have hair to dye. Much love and blessings to all of you. I appreciate you Brandy, for giving us a safe community to talk about our struggles and successes in frugality, especially since we live in a consumer world.

  71. Athanasia, I do not know. I talked with my granddaughter last night, & over half the students still do not have the textbook. I suggested they order it online.

  72. Melissa,

    Have you heard of Meal Train (mealtrain.com)? It’s a web-based service where people can sign up to take meals to people who are having medical issues, new babies, etc. We were blessed to have friends do this for us two years ago when I was undergoing surgery for breast cancer.

    As I understand it, one person sets up an account and emails the recipient’s friends, relatives to let them know about the need, and then those friends/relatives sign up to cover a specific day/meal. Meal Train sends reminders out to those who have signed up.

    I’ve never been a coordinator (or whatever they call the person who initially sets up the account), but we have signed up to take a meal to a family in my son’s scout troop who was also dealing with cancer. It was very simple to sign up. And, I know that when we were on the receiving end, it was [u]such[/u] a blessing.

    Anyway, I imagine you have too much on your plate right now to coordinate things, but a friend or relative might be able to do this for you.

    Praying on your behalf.

  73. Melissa,
    Your trials are something I think about and pray about regularly. May God bless you with the peace only he can provide.

  74. To continue…We have done all the usual of composting, recycling, preserving the harvest, cooking at home, taking lunch to work, using up leftovers. Mended several loose hems, tightened loose buttons, fixed a torn out buttonhole. Noticed that two embroidered pillowcases that my mother embroidered YEARS ago are getting worn. A bit of the stitches have even come out. So I thought I would cut out the embroidered section, cut off the tatted edges done by my grandma (her mother) and then edge the sides of the embroidered rectangle with the tatting and put in frames or shadowboxes and give one to each new baby. One is of dancing cats the other dancing chicks. Read one book ONE THOUSAND GIFTS by Ann Voskamp. We watched several episodes of Agatha Christie’s MISS MARPLE on HULU. Were given some SATURDAY EVENING POSTs and some MARTHA STEWART and my husband is reading the first and I’m reading MS, for now.

    Our shop and the front of our house and walkway have all now been decorated for Fall by my uncle and his wife. The family farmstand shares the same drive along with daughter’s house farther up. They are selling the fall items now like cornstalks, hay bales, gourds, flowers etc and they want to give others inspiration. OK with me as they do a good job, it’s free and much less work for us. My husband will put up lights on house as we’re dark so early now 🙁

    Cooked and ate at home. Baked 2 loaves white bread and one rye. Made chocolate zucchini cake with vanilla frosting. Made 3 pineapple upside down cakes in 9″ cake pans. Made oatmeal cookies, tapioca pudding and a peach pie. Didn’t have quite enough peach so added 2 stalks worth of rhubarb. Had corn on cob and coleslaw daily. Made scalloped corn with any leftover cooked cobs. Cooked up tomatoes with onions, cilantro and all the rest of the hot peppers and garlic and canned in quarts (14) as base for Mexican flavored foods and pints (10) for a vegetable curry recipe. They use the same basic seasoning but I can add the specific curry seasonings or specific Mexican seasoning when I cook. It was thinner than salsa, like seasoned tomato sauce. We did sample and tasted good. I used to use my salsa for this but salsa’s more work what with peeling and dicing and all and here I just cooked the tomatoes and food milled them first. Made zucchini pancakes, roasted all the rest of the beets w salt and olive oil that were too small to slice for our pickled beets. Baked squash. Had melon at just about every meal. Made pigs in a blanket (hot dogs, regular and veggie) wrapped in biscuit dough, baked beans, American potato salad (cold), creamy cucumbers, pistachio fluff jello for our Labor day picnic…we cooked the dogs over the fire pit, spent most of the day outside with games, visiting etc. There was other food brought by rest of the family. Sunday before Labor Day was church meal which is where I took the chocolate sheet cake and at school we had a staff potluck one noon and I took 2 of the pineapple upside down cakes.

    Made 81 quarts of easy grape juice with help of 2 of the girls, my mother and our tenant. She brought over 2 cases of quarts and lids and some sugar. My daughter in law and her mother helped another day and we made 45 more. They planted grape arbor at their house last year but has not taken off yet. We don’t have to borrow the large (15 qt) canner anymore as my daughter and husband picked one up on their last trip to Ohio. We also canned gardiniera (sp?) for the first time…used up some cauliflower, jalepeno, bell pepper, and carrots. My younger son asked if we’d make it as he’d had it when he spent a few months in Chicago. We didn’t have red bell peppers but my uncle had some at the stand so he gave me some in trade for a jar of gardiniera. We had to buy green olives but we bought the commercial size one and now have a nice large glass jar. My daughter in law took the jar to make kombucha.

    Well, it’s the end of another week. Oh, we’re having a downpour now. Sounds like it could rain for awhile. Only 57…I think I’ll make soup for dinner…it’s that time of year again.

  75. Dear Melissa, I am so sorry for all your trials…they seem overwhelming I am sure. We’ll pray for you and your husband’s doctors.

    I have heard of that mealtime site and also caringbridge…they serve as an informative network and just about everybody uses email or the internet now.

    As for ideas for food, try and go to the store and pick up bags of apples, oranges and bananas. That way you could have 3 servings of fruit a day, even if your other food is not so spectacular. Also, since your mother in law must be cooking everyday, could she cook extra and make you up a dish or two every day to take with you back to your house for you and your children? And when she goes to the grocer ask her to pick up some staple supplies like bread, lettuce, cheese and milk. You need to stop for gas once in awhile and our gas convenience store sells staples very cheaply…milk, eggs, bananas, buns and bread…all cheaper than the grocer.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for help, assign the children things to have done by the time you return home, if you get home after them. Tell them you absolutely cannot come home to a mess. ( Not counting your lower level…but at least the immediate area you need to function in.) I hope the medical has come through or is at least in the works. That will be one less worry for you. I think this site is similar to a prayer chain in that you let us know your needs so folks know how to pray.

  76. Cindy, this brought tears to my eyes. I wish you were here so I could hug you. Thank you for sharing your testimony with us.

    Candace in Louisiana

  77. Cindy, your comments brought me to tears and were so well said. We must find JOY. It is our strength. We do what we can do to be good Stewards of what God has given to us and then we step back and try to live with gratitude and joy! I am recovering from foot reconstruction and sometimes it’s difficult to stay joyful. It will be a long processes of about a year to recover. I am strengthen by the hard working people on this blog. I do what I can do to save our family money and then I rest. I will be having the other foot operated on in November. This time next year I will be dancing. Lol

  78. Jean, even though your neighbor is leaving the tree would still be there. Maybe you can reach an agreement with your new neighbors. I hope so.

  79. Brandy, I haven’t seen many pictures of your husband, but as soon as I saw this absolutely cute picture of Octavius, I thought he favored you! Thank you for this fun and informative website. After reading one of your past posts, I decided to try storing some food, flour, rice and beans in the plastic buckets, and went to Lowes and purchased three of the food grade large ones with gamma lids and two small ones with regular lids. I bought the smaller buckets so it would be easier to just refill them from the larger buckets and bring them to the kitchen for use. I plan and washing and drying them, but then wasn’t sure how to keep the food in them. Do you just empty bags of beans, rice, etc. into the clean buckets, or do you store the food still in the bags in the buckets, or do you line the buckets with anything?

  80. My MIL doesn’t seem able to understand that between hubby and I, there are ALOT of food challenges – I am gluten intolerant + cannot seem to eat many veggies w/o a reaction (especially garlic, onions and green (but not red) peppers) and have texture “issues”. Hubby can no longer tolerate onions, garlic, anything that causes gas or anything spicy. One of the first meals she made was a spaghetti and Italian sausage dinner with garlic bread (and she starts with processed stuff and doctors it up) – it didn’t sit well for both of us or taste right to him. According to the nurses, he needs to stay away from as much processed foods as he can and eat LOTS of protein to keep his muscles from wasting (which is already noticeable) His taste buds have changed and we’ve been told this will only get worse with each round of chemo. So, his Mom, as much as we appreciate the thought cannot be counted on for food/meals :/ I am hoping that once we get a bit more of a routine with his treatment, that I will be better able to plan what to make and when to make it. My kids have both been incredible at helping with what they can – the are both in college full time and our son also works 30+ hours a week at a job that is 45 minutes away (a very. very good job so no, he cannot quit and get one closer to home) and our daughter is currently searching for a new job which will also be around 30 hours a week. I think once I have my house back, I will feel much less overwhelmed. Right now, I just take it an hour at a time – things are getting done – it just takes longer due to doc appointments and work.
    I really, really appreciate the prayers from everyone – they are very comforting.

  81. We frequent Aldi’s regularly; the prices are great, the food tastes excellent, they are adding more and more organic and gluten free products, and have recently announced the removal of eight unhealthy ingredients from all of their products to include dyes I believe.

  82. Melissa,
    I’m so sorry that things haven’t improved. I think your right, when you are back in your home, it will help. We all need that feeling of “home”.
    Please know my prayers for you, your husband and children are continuing. Prayers for healing, strength, comfort and peace. Also prayers for the medical professionals that are treating your husband.

  83. Hi all from Melbourne, Australia;
    I really love that phrase ‘high on the hog’. I’m going to try and work it into my conversation.

    In Australia we have christenings or dedications for babies, and I suspect that is similar to a blessing.

    My frugal accomplishments for the week.
    1. Ate rocket, also known as arugula, from the garden and I’m about to start eating kale from the garden.
    2. Air dried all my washing which I washed on cold cycle.
    3. Took some of the food (crunchy asian salad and kabana with cheese) left over from a church lunch, which will last another two meals.
    4. Was asked by friends at work to join them for a lunch out and I declined. But I set up a lunch time date with the same friends to eat lunch in the work lunch room this coming week.
    5. Looked at joining a gym, but decided I could get just as good a work out by doing a 7 km run twice a week. I have commited to doing this with two friends to keep us all accountable.

    And that’s my lot for the week.

  84. How are you losing so much weight and how long has it taken to lose the 70 lbs. that is such an accomplishment! Good job! I’d be happy to lose 20 and can’t seem to do it.

  85. Kim,

    I am no expert, but do store flour and dried beans. The beans I just empty into the buckets. The flour I freeze for at least 24 hours and then empty the bags into the buckets. I usually add a bay leaf to my flour buckets to repel insects.

  86. That is a good idea to freeze the flour first to help prevent infestation and the bay leaf too! Thank you Sheila for the helpful information.

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