Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

October paperwhites The Prudent Homemaker

The paperwhites (above) have started to bloom a month early in the white garden.

 

We ate grape leaves, Swiss chard, beet greens, pears, rosemary, basil, and chives from the garden.

I used my solar oven to cook a few meals, including chicken with rice and grapes leaves, which I made twice last week. 

I said yes when I was offered some frozen trout from someone who went trout fishing this summer. 

I saved seeds from a homegrown butternut squash to plant next year. I primarily grow open-pollinated seeds so that I can collect seeds from my plants to grow the following year. I also saved the stem so that I can use it later to top a homemade velvet pumpkin.

I had an at-home date night with my husband. We played three rounds of Battleship. I haven’t played that game in years and it was nice to play with the one that I picked up the week before last at the garage sale for $1.50.

We also had a date night out. We split a meal and had water to drink; our meal was $8.50. As our budget can now allow for a date night out (and we have children old enough to babysit), we have added one date night out a week to our schedule. This is a huge change for us and I am enjoying the chance to have a date out with my husband. We started having a date night out once a month last year, using only gift cards that we had received. Once a week is a lovely change, and we’re making choices on where we go to keep it frugal.

We watched a couple of episodes of Poldark online for free (U.S. readers can watch here on PBS.org).

The weather has been around 90ºF (32ºC).  I’ve been able to open the windows for several hours each morning, only needing to run the air conditioner for a few hours each day. 

I collected warm-up water from the shower to water potted plants.

I spent many hours cleaning and organizing the pantry. I’m not done yet, but I have a good idea now of what I will and won’t need to purchase in the upcoming months. 

I did some shopping: I went to Dollar Tree and bought 4 bottles of The Works toilet bowl cleaner (cleaning items come from my grocery budget). I also bought a package of 4 toothbrushes (with plastic covers) and a package of combs, which will go in our Operation Christmas Child boxes this year, and a package of bobby pins, which I will put in Winter’s stocking.

I went to Winco and bought yellow onions for $0.39 a pound (14 and a half pounds), russet potatoes at 10 pounds for $2.68 (30 pounds), Gala apples for $0.88 a pound (12 and half pounds), Roma tomatoes for $0.98 a pound (5 pounds), broccoli crowns for $0.98 a pound (6 and a half pounds),  milk for $2.47 a gallon (3 gallons), shampoo for $0.98 a bottle (3 bottles), and orange mini pumpkins (they didn’t have white) for $0.78 each (12). Their bulk candy is not yet on sale, so I’ll return the last week of the month for some candy, milk, and more potatoes. 

I am hosting a baby shower in December. I made plans this week for decorations and food. I have almost all of the food items on hand already in the pantry and in the freezer. I will plant extra lettuce in the garden this week for the party, with the backup plan to buy lettuce if necessary. I’ll also watch for a sale on melting chocolates. Any food I do need to buy (including the chocolate) will come from the regular grocery budget.

I made plans for Christmas gifts that I will be sewing for the children using material that I have on hand. These will be featured in my Gift a Day series in November. The children have given me some rather specific requests, and I’m also adding in a few surprises that I know they will like.

 

What did you do last week to save money?

 

 

 

 

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116 Comments

  1. So lovely that you are getting dates out of the house. I was so happy when my oldest was mature enough to babysit the others, now the 2 middle kids watch the youngest from time to time. We were blessed to be able to go to Spain last month and our 19 year old watched the others. So grateful to have time alone with my husband.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    -Purchased 19 ounce container of our favorite Himalayan salt at the dollars store, bought 8. Cannot believe what is is $5 for 3 ounces at our local grocery store.
    -Bought 4 flats for $2 at a local fruit stand, made 25 cups of freezer jam after picking through the bad ones.
    -Made 10 loaves of bread and a batch of sweet rolls. 2 loaves rose and so did the rolls, they turned out perfect. The rest came out hard as a rock. Still working on figuring out this baking thing. When I see we have been spending about $50/week on bread, I knew I had to make a change.
    -Safeway here had lasagna noodles on sale for 69c a pound. This is a stock up price for me so I bought 10.
    -I also bought boxed cereal as a treat for $1.59 a box.
    -Bought a pumpkin for 39c a pound and plan to pick up more to make pumpkin curry.
    -Picked up a number 10 can of pizza sauce and a of tomatoes for spaghetti, lasagna and pizza at Cash and Carry
    -Finally used my pressure cooker. Made chickpeas and potatoes for chickpea salad(think tuna salad, except with chickpeas for sandwiches) and potatoes soup.

    Really love your philosophy of taking favorite recipes and figuring the least expensive way to make them.

  2. So pleased to hear that your budget now allows for weekly (frugal) date nights! Date nights (whatever form they take) are so crucial for relationships.

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – Made mini cupcakes for the DH’s workplace, and used silver dragees leftover from our wedding several years ago, as well as coloured sanding sugar that I made several years ago as well.
    – Had a small amount of batter left, and didn’t want to bake just one or two cupcake by themselves, and had already eaten enough cupcakes to be sick of them, so I stuck the leftover batter in the fridge. Last night I pulled it out when I had insomnia and a sweets craving, and baked myself a mug cake in the microwave at 1:30 in the morning. Perfect portion size, freshly baked cake, and no wasted batter!
    – Brought another baggie of walnuts home from work (someone brought in a bulk bag last week). I’ll put these on top of salads this week, along with crumbled feta, and dried cranberries.
    – Received a $5 Starbucks gift card for doing some extra work at my job (and totally redeemed it the next day for a whipped frothy drink. Usually I will save Starbucks cards to cover coffee with friends, but I decided I felt like a lunchtime treat, so lunchtime treat it was!)
    – Made a batch of yoghurt for breakfasts this week
    – Made a batch of granola
    – Redeemed swagbucks for a $5 Starbucks gift card
    – Had some leftover dried broccoli that I used to use in my smoothies in the summer, but with the cold weather coming, it was just sitting on my shelves. So I tossed it in a homemade cheese sauce and served it on baked potatoes. One less container cluttering my kitchen, and nutrients in my tummy!
    – I got a great deal on today’s dinner! (I always get a thrill when I get a fantastic deal! Such a rush!:) I received a coupon in the mail for $3 off a new brand of frozen pizza. I rarely buy frozen pizzas, because it’s cheaper and healthier to make my own, but I thought I would check out what the price was at my local Shoppers Drug Mart (sort of like Boots in the U.S., I think). And lo and behold, it was on sale for $3.99, so I only paid 99 cents for a large deluxe pizza! And then I picked my lettuce sprouts from my balcony to toss on top to make it healthier. My lettuce (and radishes) didn’t turn out this year; they just didn’t progress beyond baby sprouts, despite my using a cloche (glass cake cover, in this case!). I’m going to enrich the soil and try again next year. I’ve already added ground egg shells, and plan to pick up some coffee grinds from the local starbucks, and have asked my mom for some compost as well. Balcony gardening – I will master you yet! P.s. – the baby radish sprouts were a delicious mouthful, leaves and all!
    – Our dishwasher was leaking earlier in the week. We priced out the cost of new models and did some research. Just before we left to buy one, I decided to try one last load, as the DH had taken out and cleaned part of the hinge mechanism. And…no leaks! Here’s hoping it stays fixed!

    And that’s it! I look forward to reading and learning from everyone else!

  3. Ah date nights with the husband are always nice aren’t they?

    Right now I’m listening to the wind roaring outside. We are having high winds due to the effects from the typhoon hitting the West coast right now. With a wildfire burning within a few towns of us (luckily forestry workers are doing great getting it contained despite the weather and 200 acres it is effecting now) we are also dealing with smoke from the fire blowing around. Not fun.

    My list of other activities for the week can be found here…

    http://makedohomemaker.blogspot.com/2016/10/frugal-friday-money-saving-weekly-recap_14.html

  4. Always love reading your blog and the associated comments by readers. It is very refreshing.
    What did I do this week.
    Found 3 hugely marked down hot roast beef ready to eat or share around for $2.60 , the regular price being $13
    Also 3 cooked roast chickens for $3.50, regular $7.50. Again shared with my daughters.
    Vastly Reduced gourmet precooked meals which again I’ll share . Mine go in the freezer. I would not buy these at full price!
    I was in the right place at the right time for the above. A big score and very thankful.
    Shared / created a date night with Hubby. Set up a nice card table on the enclosed back verandah and created a pleasant atmosphere with the lovely view we are blessed with. We call it Restaurant Veronica Place as that is our address 🙂
    Captured seed from Rocket, heartsease, white allysium, Nastertiums , and marigold. Planted the allysium , heartsease and marigold. Rocket coming up from previous sow some weeks ago. They were last years captured seed.
    Tenderly watering and caring for some violets and wild violets gifted by family and a stranger whilst I went a walking…extra special.
    Freely spent time doing some blog work and getting stuck looking through old photos….always think I could write about this and this and that. But it doesn’t happen 🙁
    Repaired the woven material on one of our Church seats by careful darning. That was an achievement”

    Alexa-asimplelife visiting from Sydney, Australia

  5. Hi Brandy, I’ve been reading your blog on and off for a few years, although I don’t often comment. I’m really pleased for your husband and yourself that you now have the budget for a weekly date. I’m looking forward to your series in November on handmade gifts. The things you make your children are always lovely, and I know this Christmas is going to be a particularly tight one for us, money-wise, so I need all the inspiration I can get!

  6. Do your children read your blog? Do you manage to keep your gifts to them secret? And if so- HOW?!?!? Love to know from one handmaking mother to another! I have the hardest time keeping gifts secret- whether it be yard sale finds or handmade stuff…I bore a bunch of detectives, I guess.

  7. Hi Brandy,
    This weeks frugal wins were
    – made a new ironing board cover from material I already had and using the old one as a template.
    – saved the water from the warm up water in the showers to water the potted figs out the front
    – ate from the freezer for 3 meals last week
    – packed my morning tea and lunch each day to take to work
    – made a cover for the front loader washing machine, I had used an old towel up to that point, just to protect the top of the machine. It looks much nicer now.
    – finished a baby quilt and matching bag to give to a new mum and Bub
    – cleaned the house using homemade cleaners
    – made another batch of home made toothpaste and deodorant from all natural ingredients
    – line dried all the Washing
    – patched a sheet and pillow case to make it last just a bit longer
    – picked, pulped and froze the last of this years passionfruit
    – made a few loaves of sourdough bread
    – made pita chips from leftover homemade flat bread
    I love reading all the frugal accomplishments that everyone gets up to, have a great week
    Fi

  8. Great news about dates out. It’s nice to be able to take a break once in a while.
    The last couple of weeks were busy. Both at work and home. My friend moved internationally and stayed with me for a few days before her flight (not having to pay for October rent as she stayed with me – frugal!) she blessed me with so many items that she was not going to take with her. Beverly grateful.
    My recap is up as well
    http://www.simpleisgoodforyou.com/international-moves-aftermath-usual-frugal-ways/

    Wishing everyone a great week. Xx

  9. No, they do not read my site.

    They have requested some things, so those won’t be total surprises (though the particular color may be, although even some of those are specific requests). I sew in a closed room during naptime and then put away the gifts in drawers so that they can’t see them.

  10. So nice to read that your budget is allowing for a date night. Your frugal ways have definitely earned you the right to a bit of fun! I’m looking forward to reading future posts about what you did and made for the baby shower. Something tells me you have some great ideas on how to host parties.;) I also am looking forward to seeing your “gift a day” series as well. You always make such beautiful gifts that are so inspiring! Not only are they great ideas for Christmas gifts, they often give me ideas for other gift giving needs, too.

    Overall, my week wasn’t too bad on the frugal front. This weeks frugal accomplishments for our family are:
    *Meals made at home this week included leftovers (we had a fridge full and needed to slim it down after Thanksgiving, despite my husbands disapproval), ham and cheese crescent rolls with loaded baked potato and salad, chicken bacon ranch pasta, chicken strips with rice and broccoli, baked chicken smothered in cheese soup with carrots and homemade herbed potato chunks and pasta with sausages and choice of sauce.
    *We took our daughter to our favourite local fair on the holiday Monday. Not frugal, but we enjoy going and it’s become a bit of a tradition to go on the Thanksgiving weekend.
    *Went for 4 walk around the block for some free exercise. I go by myself and I’m really enjoying the quiet “me time” quite a bit!
    *Removed some dried beans from my heiloom plants to collect the seeds for next year. Still a few more beans that need to mature and dry out before I can collect them. Removed plants that had no more beans on them to clean up garden.
    *We did a fall cleaning of the living/dining room this week. We put the area rugs out on the back deck and I cleaned them with our carpet cleaner, then left them out in the sun and fresh air to dry for the afternoon. The curtains were all taken down, washed and hung on the line to dry as well.
    *Found a box with 3 bags of Twistos crackers on sale at Costco for $2.97. They were short dated, but they are crackers, so I wasn’t worried, especially at under a $1 per bag. These are normally $2 or more for 1 bag! A nice treat and great for my daughter’s lunches.
    *Made my daughter’s Halloween costume. Last year she was an angel, which she won best constume with (wasn’t even my best costume work, either…did I mention I love halloween like others love Christmas?). So this year she decided to be the devil. I bought a red “devil” adult sized onsie for the main part of the costume. To give it a bit more “pizazz” I sewed a long devil’s tail using a coat hanger inside to make it bendable, then attached it to the bum of the onsie. I will use fishing line to make the tail stand up more which also allows it to swing back and forth. I did this with a cat costume a few years ago and it was very animated. We’ll see if this gets her another first prize this year!
    *Participated in a beading workshop where I learned how to loom bead, plus received a container of seed beads, a small loom, and a beading needle for only $15 (offered to volunteers and staff at a huge discount so they could fill spaces in the class). It was super easy to do and so much fun (Pinterest has tutorials if interested in learning)! I really enjoyed learning this craft and hope to use my new skill to make gifts in the future!
    *Well, my frugality finally paid off big time this weekend. My daughter has a project for school where she needs to make a “plant cell” and all the components a cell would have from edible material. She had to write up her idea with list of supplies as part of the project. She needed jelly beans, gummy worms, chocolate egg, cherry pie filling, cake mix, food colouring, sprinkles and chocolate and white frosting. I often buy candy when they are super cheap during or after various holidays and save them for the next holiday. I had chocolate eggs stashed away from Easter and I convinced her to suppliment the jelly beans for skittles or gummy lifesavers which I had bought on sale after last Christmas (candy has a long shelf life). I already had the pie filling, cake mix, frosting, sprinkles and food colouring in the pantry too. So the only thing we had to buy was the gummy worms, which I bought at the dollar store for $1! I don’t want to even guess how much it would have cost if we had to buy it all just for the project!!!
    *My second special effects make-up modeling photo, the “all seeing Gypsie”, is now up on my co-worker’s facebook page. Here’s the link for those who may be interested (this one is not as scary looking): https://www.facebook.com/haileyleighmakeup/photos/a.312547432239335.1073741831.312304238930321/639650666195675/?type=3&theater

    Can’t wait to be inspired by everyone’s accomplishments. Always some great ideas shared here! Have a wonderful week everyone!!!:D

  11. Wonderful that you can take date nights out each week now! We are still struggling to get monthly date nights in. But we’ll get there.

    This is the second mention of a solar oven I’ve seen in the past couple of days. I’m very intrigued by them. Of course, the other lady lives in Texas. I’m not sure if it would be worth the cost since I’m in Ohio and we just don’t have as many hot days as you ladies do.

    Here are my frugal ways from last week: http://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/5-ways-weve-saved-money-week-53/

  12. It doesn’t have to be hot for the oven to work (you can even use it when there is snow outside!) You just need 4-6 hours of sun, without any clouds, and it can’t be real windy (that is the bigger challenge for me). We have over 300 cloudless days a year, so it works well for me.

  13. I really wish we had Winco in New England. Those produce prices sound fabulous, especially the Gala apples.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons/rebates whenever possible. Last week, I got lots of great stuff like $0.14 mango, free string cheese, moneymaker makeup at CVS, $1.00 Similac, and cheap cookies at Target. My favorite deal was at Yankee Candle. I bought a small candle jar for only $0.49 after coupon. These smell heavenly. All of my transactions with pics can be found here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-101516/

  14. Hello, everyone. Thanks for the good thoughts last week when I posted about getting hit by the hurricane here in South Carolina.

    Frugal wins: was without power for 120 hours, and water (on well, but no pump usage) for 192 hours, so there should be a noticeable difference in the electric bill this month. Electricity was restored Thursday afternoon but I couldn’t get my pump/well/water to run and my parents were on vacation 5 hours away, so instead of calling someone to come repair it, I continued to make do without water until they returned home Saturday, and my dad was able to prime the pump, empty water from the pressure tank, and get it all working again properly. The weather has been cool enough that even with the return of electricity, I haven’t needed to turn on the a/c.

    Frugal fails: I ended up losing everything in my fridge and freezer due to the power outage. I had a 5 pound bag of chicken that was mostly thawed and I took that over to my parents (their power was restored on Monday — 3 days before mine) and cooked the chicken (which my elderly dog – she’s 16 – eats daily instead of kibble) so even though I lost that portion of meat, my pup was able to benefit from it. Most of the other contents of my freezer were frozen veggies or leftovers that I’d packaged to eat later, so relatively inexpensive things but a loss nonetheless.

    Also a frugal fail was burning through a tank of gas in 5 days, due to having to drive across town to my parents house twice a day to check on their animals, and also to shower, etc while they were on vacation.

    I ate take out/fast food too many times last week, since I had no power, then power but no way to wash up. Today I will be on a restocking mission, as I need everything except butter and condiments. I am so excited to be able to cook again but man it hurts having to go spend all this money on food. Thankful to be able to restock and hoping it’s another 30 years before our next big hurricane!!

  15. Date nights are so much fun… glad you’re getting more of them out of the house!

    Our frugal accomplishments this week include:

    I wrote a guest post for my local farmers market blog in exchange for a box of vegetables!

    Husband had an optometrist appointment and picked out new glasses, courtesy of the Department of Rehabilitation (he needs a new prescription to see the fine detail work he’s doing in welding class).

    I started researching ways to strip and stain the Saltillo tiles that are so out of place in our house, instead of replacing them.

    We had Date Night during Happy Hour at a new casual restaurant nearby, and saved $2 off each of our meals.

    We gave a gourmet food item as a birthday gift, bought with my husband’s discount from the grocery store where he works. She loved it.

  16. So great that you are enjoying date nights. I am always inspired by your example — even when you couldn’t go out, you still had ‘free’ date nights. It’s easy for a relationship to take second place with all the busyness in our lives, so I appreciate your reminder of its importance.

    I’m still eating out of my pantry and freezer, which is forcing me to be creative. I made your pasta salad one night. I pulled a couple of the last carrots and an onion from the garden for it. I didn’t have any fresh tomatoes, but remembered I had dried some tomatoes and put them in herbed olive oil, so I used them. I used some of the oil in the dressing. It came out great!

    I accepted a bag of green tomatoes from a woman at church. She brought them by the house and toured my greenhouse. i now have a new friend who shares my interest in gardening. The peas in the greenhouse are starting to make, the lettuce and chard will be big enough to eat in another week or so, and the broccoli plants look great. I have bok choy that should be big enough to eat soon also.

    Cashed in Swagbucks for an Amazon gift card and used it to buy some groceries.

    Made a new dog bed cover from a torn fleece blanket I had saved. I used a long zipper I bought on clearance for 75 cents last year.

    I am looking forward to your homemade Christmas gifts — they always inspire me.

  17. Check with your homeowner’s insurance to see if they will reimburse the contents of your freezer. When we lost everything in our freezer due to a power outtage, our insurance paid. It was part of a larger claim, so we met the deductible. I wouldn’t have thought to claim the freezer loss until a neighbor reminded me

  18. We’ve been shooting for two date nights a month (although I would love 4!) It is so nice to have time together without a little one tugging on us. Sometimes by the end of the day we are too tired to connect/talk so date time is precious time. This weekend we opted for some inexpensive takeout and a movie at home that we had recorded. Frugal wins for the week:

    -I was gifted new pants and shirts for the boys from my mom. They both had a growth spurt and I didn’t have too many hand me downs in their new size. She also gifted some trick or treat bags for them and a few food containers for me.
    -my stepmother passed on her full set of china to me. It belonged to her and my father. Literally one piece has a chip in it- amazing since they were married 35 years ago. I did not have china of my own so this is a real blessing.
    -we used a Redbox code to watch a movie for free.
    -I used the $5 of $20 meat coupon at Target to get some things for the freezer. I got quite a bit for $20 by taking my time to make some choices.
    -we ate all meals at home (except the planned date night.)
    -I was able to get gas for $1.15 a gallon using accumulated points from the grocery store.
    -we called our alarm company and cancelled a feature of our service we were not using. this will save us $10 a month.
    -We negotiated our service contract and oil delivery price with the oil company. It will be only a few dollars more than last year.
    -I was able to get the boys each a pair of new sneakers using free shipping and clearance prices from StrideRite. Made sure I went through ebates. I also got my mom some slippers from Lands End at 50% off with free shipping and money back from ebates. These are her favorite brand of slippers and I was able to get 2 pairs that will be her birthday gift.

    Have a wonderful week.

  19. Oh my goodness, you’ve been busy!

    This week:

    1. I bought strawberries for $1.50 a pound.
    Normally I don’t buy strawberries right now, since they aren’t in season. But our HEB was trying to get rid of a bunch of strawberries, so they were on fire sale! They were past their prime to eat fresh, so I quartered and froze them. They’ll be great on a pie or in some homemade yogurt!

    2. I made homemade yogurt.
    I discovered that I can make the yogurt in just one hour when I cook it on the stove instead of the crockpot. Eureka!

    3. I made my own pumpkin puree
    I made a pumpkin cheesecake spread and, instead of buying canned pumpkin puree like the recipe suggested, I made my own from scratch. Breaking down pumpkins is serious work, but it’s super cheap! I ended up making more puree than I needed for the spread, so I froze the extra. I plan to make pumpkin ravioli with it once we’re in the new house!

    4. I made my own pumpkin pie spice
    This stuff sells for $4 an ounce at the grocery store. I just made my own for about $2 using the bulk foods aisle at my grocery store, which carries bulk spices.

    5. I cooked and froze bacon
    I hate cooking bacon in the morning, so we bulk cook it and freeze it for later.

    6. I made homemade biscuits
    Mr. Picky Pincher wasn’t a fan of my old recipe, so I tried out a recipe that was in my Food Network Magazine this month. They look awfully tasty!

    7. I made homemade flan
    I personally hate flan, but Mr. Picky Pincher loves this stuff! I made 6 flan with a 40 cent mix from HEB.

    8. I precooked meals for the week
    Over the weekend I made pho and Thai curry cauliflower. It’ll save my weeknight sanity!

  20. I stocked up on 20 lb of red skin potatoes at 38 cents a lb, 8 winter squash at .68 cents a lb, and 3 lb of onions at 33 cents a lb. (Canadian prices) Russet potatoes were less expensive but red skin are my favorite.

    I sorted and organized a hall cupboard near my kitchen. This frees up a long shelf to use as extra pantry space for storage items. It also will make it easier to find household tools, small camping and outdoor things, and painting gear.

  21. Your paperwhites reminded me to start looking for amaryllis bulbs to plant for the holidays. I made a double batch of your Tuscan tomato bread soup for a family hayride we hosted this weekend, & everyone wanted the recipe. I bought fabric toweling and pearl cotton to make a gift for my newlywed niece. I appreciate you sharing your shoebox purchases, and like the idea to purchase toothbrushes & combs at the dollar store. Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-hayride-frugal-accomplishments.html

  22. Love date nights. We went on a walk by the waterfront in a nearby town for our date.

    My husband and I have been debating the merits of buying a solar oven. It’s nice to hear how many different dishes you cook in yours.

    Posted my frugal accomplishments for the week on my blog.

  23. This was a rather taxing week physically, & I am glad to have some of these things completed.

    Continued to knit on the Christmas mittens, & completed another pair. Ordered a Christmas present for my husband. Received the wicks & lamp oil that I ordered from Lehmans for my oil lamp.

    Cut the buttons from 2 worn out dress shirts that my husband wears to work, & added them to the button jar. Mended my purse.

    Gathered parsley seeds from one of my plants to used next year to move the parsley bed. For two years now, we have problems with ants & yellow jackets in the bed, & I have not been able to use any of the parsley when we have had to spray. I worry that someone in the extended family might pick it, not realizing the problem, so I have decided to move the parsley bed to another location.

    Moved a volunteer plant of mullein from the front lawn to the back perimeter. The 2nd & 3rd year plants are pretty, & I have seen them used as decorative plants on the backs of flower beds, since the 2nd & 3rd year mullein has tall yellow flower spikes. Free herbs are wonderful.

    Moved the garden debris from a Rubbermaid trash can in the barked area to the garbage can after the weekly pickup. First I emptied out the rainwater in the bottom that had turned brown, waiting for multiple days for room in the garbage can, & put it on the baby Concord grapevine, to both water & fertilize it. Cleaned out more of the garden debris: squash vines, weeds, cornstalks, etc. & put them in the garbage can.

    Cut & stewed tomatoes, then put up tomato sauce for the pantry.

    Put up more of the apples as apple slices. Some of these apples were from the CandyCrisp tree. I did them separately from the Golden Delicious, because the GD do not turn brown as fast, so the CC apple slices have to go directly into a bowl of acidified water to keep them from turning brown, until I have enough to blanch in the syrup.

    Dehydrated strawberries twice. We will use these in oatmeal.

    Painted the wall above the chair rail on the south wall in the front room, let it dry for a day, & then moved the piano over to that wall. Washed, then painted the wall above the chair rail on the east wall where the piano had been. Kept looking online during the Columbus Day sales for a loveseat that was not too large to fit on the east wall, then went to a store with my husband for a “sit test” on a few of them. The one we chose was $200 off, & was delivered on Saturday.

  24. I want to thank everyone for the encouragement about clipping our chickens’ wings! I’m happy to report it has solved the problem and it was easy to do (without much fuss0. My oldest son helped me by holding the birds and it took us 10 minutes to manage the girls. in celebration: I have a chicken related post this week: http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2016/10/chickens-a-fun-and-easy-pet/

    I’ve been helping my husband build shelves in our basement for storage. He used an Ana White free plan. We LOVE Ana’s plans and have used them to build a lot of furniture around our home. It will make our basement user friendly (it is decidedly not now). We had a bit of tragedy associated with the basement…it was finished when we moved in but we discovered that below the manufactured flooring was a ton of mold 🙁 (from an improperly installed french drain). We ripped out all the manufactured dry wall and flooring and had it treated by a mold abatement company. We will finish it again someday. Luckily, we have a separate wash room/storage room so we are still able to work on that, thus the shelving.

    We gleaned a large (65+ lb) pumpkin from our friends at the farmstand. We will pick it up this afternoon, so my kids are betting if it will be the traditional orange or the grayish blue. Either way, we will enjoy decorating it for Halloween. When Halloween is over, it will be chopped up for the chickens.

    I have a desire to use some drop cloths to make some “autumny” pillow covers. I use a envelope style pattern and then freezer paper to stencil on some designs. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I can’t believe it almost Halloween. I just finished our adult costumes (ghost bride & groom) for a party that the adults in our home are attending. Luckily, my kids’ costumes are squared away.

    Have a good week!

  25. This has been a great week! Some of our date nights (we’ve been married 45 years and have 11 kids) have been working on projects together, just the two of us! This summer we built a fire pit, a gazebo and this week built our own pergola over our grill! The pergola probably saved us a couple hundred dollars over the cost of having someone else do it for us!!
    We finished our concrete chunk patio space, reusing broken pieces of an old sidewalk that we took out on the other side of the house! Cost for that was only our time!!
    I bought 20 pounds of BLSL chicken breast for $1.49/pound and made 9 freezer meals with some of it! For the Italian chicken crockpot freezer meal, it called for chopped spinach but, since I didn’t have any, I substituted Swiss chard (silver beet) from my garden. It also had tomato sauce and Italian seasonings in it, but since I had that very amount of homemade pizza sauce leftover in my fridge, I used that instead!
    I canned teriyaki sauce and put that on my pantry shelf. I ran out of brown sugar so I made up 5 pounds of it to fill my canister.
    I harvested a peck of Poblano peppers and another peck of tomatoes- both red and green and will ripen the green in the house.
    I bought 20 pounds of bananas for 29 cents a pound! I made 18 mini loaves + 1 regular size loaf of banana walnut bread for gift giving! I’ll freeze some of the bananas for later use.
    I made another baby quilt from stash/scraps I already had- this one for upcoming granddaughter due in 2 weeks!
    Signed hubby up for topcashback ( like ebates). We each got a $10 referral bonus + hubby bought a promotional LEGO/DUPLO toy to use as Christmas gift for on of our GC that they gave him his purchase price back for being a new member. So that was $30 cash going into our bank account!
    Got a $3 check from Pinecone with $12 more coming! Was paid $25 for a simple clothing alteration!
    Cooked up 5 pounds of my chicken into chicken chunks and froze into 9 meal size quart bags for the freezer to use in chicken pot pies, soups, casseroles!
    I painted a wooden outdoor chair and an outdoor bench that we built and those are now placed in yard!
    I’m now painting a small cabinet I was given with some leftover white paint! It will fit nicely into the sewing room to give more storage!
    All meals from home, rotated food from freezer and pantry to use for meals, etc.
    All in all, a very good week!

  26. Hope you’re enjoying Poldark! The first series was filmed partly in our local town (town scenes and tavern interiors) but it’s now so popular they built a special set away from the public (we’re in landlocked Wiltshire, although all the country and coastal scenes are definitely shot in Cornwall). Am still hoping to spy Aiden Turner though! Would also recommend Victoria (ITV production, same channel as Downton Abbey) if you get the chance.

  27. I always pre-cook my bacon, too. I do a whole pound at once in the oven, then freeze the cooked slices. It’s so easy to take out a few for breakfast or a sandwhich.

  28. Good Morning Brandy,

    It is such a blessing for you and your husband to have date nights and to share precious time together. My husband and I try to have our date times once a week as well. This week however we stayed home and prepared for a strong storm that came through last Thursday and Saturday here in the Pacific NW. We needed to buy a few things for emergency. We did loose part of our 2 year old apple tree but it is still standing. I guess it was natures way of pruning.
    My husband bought a couple of outdoor extension cords for our generator in case we needed to use it during power outage. Thankfully we had power throughout the storms. I did prepare with a few meals and a cake before hand and stored hot water, decaf coffee and hot apple cider in thermos’ and crock pot. We stayed home and just watched the storm come through.
    The week before in eastern Wa. I purchased 30 lbs of apples at $.79/lb to can this next week. I plan to make chunky applesauce, apple butter and a couple of ready made apple pie filling which I will put in our freezer.
    My grocery shopping last week included just sale items which totaled $67.00! Since I am retired now I need to be very careful in my spending. I plan and allow our monthly food bill budget of $100.00 so I was happy to have extra funds for future sale items if needed for the remaining month. I have learned so much from you and am grateful !! We have been using up our freezer meats that are about 6-9 months old and will be ready to stock up on meats that will be on sale this November. We also bought 4 acorn squash at $1.00 ea. and I store them in our garage since it is cooler now. We have pantry food as well so I have made it a monthly goal of using 2 weeks each month of panty meals to save money. I love your meal plans and they have helped so very much for savings~ Thank you!! I use your recipes for each season as well as pantry meals . 🙂
    We were able to take a weekend trip to the other side of the Cascade Mountains to enjoy the beautiful Fall mountain colors and a Bavarian town called Leavenworth. It’s about a 3 hour drive from our home. We plan and try to go every other year either in October ( for Fall beauty) or December ( for snow and Christmas activities there ) There is a wonderful website on the town.
    We stayed in another town to cut the cost for a hotel which included a breakfast. Since we are older, we were able to use a discount on the price. I brought food from home for snacks and actually had a coupon from home for a dinner to share at a restaurant ~ we were pleasantly surprised! The weekend trip was a wonderful get away.
    My garden to saturated from all of the rain. I was able to get the last of the cucumbers and small tomatoes. Now I will pull these and try to plant a couple of fall veggies~ not sure yet other than garlic what to plant but I will do more research for this area.
    Thank you for your weekly post~ I so much enjoy them.
    Have a nice week…
    Blessings
    Patty from the NW

  29. Nine times out of ten, I have found that bread that doesn’t rise either had water that was too hot or the yeast was old. I buy yeast 2# at a time and leave it in the freezer. I use it directly from the freezer and it works fine.

    I have not seen lasagna noodles for under $1.79 a lb in years! That would for sure be a stockup price for me’

  30. LOL Drawers?? Hehehehe I was the child that took a razor blade to the taped up presents, unwrapped them and carefully wrapped them back up (and i had to go thru a “locked” door that could be unlocked with a butter knife)…..only got away with it a couple times before Mom got wise and started storing them in true locked cabinets or the trunk of her car. I don’t like surprises…..weird I know

  31. I hope you will blog about the baby shower you have in December. You have an elegant style to everything you do!
    I also enjoy following you on Pinterest.

    I was feeling low about my 25 year old sofa but I washed the pillows and cleaned the upholstery and figure we can go on for awhile more, the upholstery is in good shape even if the style is a bit dated.

    My linens are all giving out at once. I sorted through the towels and made up some new semi-matching sets from the ones that are still good.

    I stained our back deck this past week. I had a coupon for Lowes $10 off a $50 purchase and used it to purchase stain and deck cleaner. Our deck is 40 years old, we replaced the steps 10 years ago. We try to maintain it since a new deck is quite expensive.

    I rearranged some of the flower pots to bring more color to the front of the house.

    I picked and juiced grapes. I’ve also been picking raspberries and freezing them, I think I have enough in the freezer to make a couple of batches of jam.

    I finished a cardigan I have been knitting over the past year for myself. I’m glad to have the buttons on in time for the colder weather.

    My brother received free tickets to a minor league hockey game and invited our family to come with them. It was a great outing and we only had to pay for parking-$6.

    I love reading this blog even if I don’t always comment!

  32. * Meijers had a special 2 day sale with chicken breasts at $1.49 a pound – I bought 20 pounds and then came home and vacuum sealed it all. They also had boxed cereal for 1.49 a box and I had a coupon for 1.50 off 4 – Cinnamon Toast Crunch is one of the things that still tastes right to hubby so I stocked up (and labeled the boxes so the kids won’t eat them!) Cider was 2.48 a gallon as well and uncured lunch meats were on sale too (NOT cheap but at least cheaper). I also found uncured bacon at the discount grocers and stocked up on that again.
    * All meals but the lunch at the cancer center on chemo day were made at home – and my inlaws treated us to the lunch. Chicken souvlaki in the oven with Greek flatbread, lasagna from the freezer, chicken soup, smoked chicken and baked beans, Sloppy Joe that was going to be thrown out at work (just needed a bit of beef broth since it had dried out), hot dogs (uncured that my sister had bought for us) with mac and cheese. Hubby grew up on a lot of boxed foods and is struggling to adjust to what tastes right and what he should be avoiding – he LOVES processed meats – NOT good for cancer prevention!
    * I finally found some sheets at Salvation Army to make curtains from for the one trailer we are flipping and another can rotating organizer for 50 cents. I still need 2-3 more but patience is paying off as I slowly am finding what I need at the thrift stores!
    * Started putting away all my summer clothes and dragging out the winter stuff and discovered that I had alot more long sleeve t-shirts than I thought I did so I will be set for work for the winter 🙂
    *Got alot more embroidery done on a towel I am making with a little vintage camper applique made from the trailers original cushion fabric (oranges, browns and yellows). These will be sold with the trailer as a little extra touch. I only had to purchase the flour sack toweling and since they came in a 2 pack in a huge size – I cut them each in half and can make 4 towels out of them.
    * Used our appliance protection plan we have thru the electric company to have them come look at the frig (Friday) – it isn’t cold enough and we aren’t sure what the issue is this time – it seems the fan may have stopped working but the freezer part works fine still. We have had nothing but issues with the frig – we have to defrost the FRIG about once every 6 months or so since the whole back wall will ice up since we bought it new. Hopefully it will be an easy fix and we won’t have to pay anything.
    * Frugal fail……discovered the upright freezer door had been left ajar and everything in the front and on the door was unthawed 🙁 Since hubby is in chemo with a compromised immune system, I didn’t feel comfortable re-freezing and using any of it. It was mostly frozen extra eggs, broths and leftover meals but it is still a loss. There is now a big note on the door to make sure it is securely closed!
    * We put our boat up for sale and the motor would not start…..figures LOL It is now winterized and we’ll worry about it next spring!
    I can’t think of anything else at the moment…..I’ve been really dragging lately and wanting to sleep constantly – not sure if it’s my depression coupled with the lack of time in the sun, if I’m fighting something, if it’s just all the stress catching up with me or if it’s the flu shot I was forced to get this year due to hubby’s cancer…..Thanks again for the prayers.

  33. We had a decent enough week. We were gifted some money last month and determined we’d get new flooring with it. Well the floors went in last week and they are just lovely! I wish we could have finished the whole of the house but we did what we could of it and I’m very pleased. We then proceeded to shift furniture from one room to another and generally ‘made over’ the house…
    http://bluehousejournal.blogspot.com/2016/10/frugal-friday-fresh.html

  34. Marisa, congratulations on the successful rolls and bread…for the ones that didn’t work, do you use a thermometer to check the temp of the liquid? Did they rise and then fall? Or overrise with the first rising? Hope you figure it out soon.

  35. I also went to the Dollar Tree and bought stocking stuffers. I bought beads, tissue paper, crayons, markers, Disney calendars, and coloring books.

    I give my in-laws a photo calendar for Christmas every year,and I used a Shutterfly code to get a free one. I had to pay about $7 for shipping. I also bought some gently used toys at a consignment store for Christmas gifts.

  36. Got 35 lbs of apples for 44c a lb, after using a $5 off coupon. Grandma gave me 2c craisons and some purple bell peppers. I collected more black walnuts to hull. My tree is almost done. This should equal around 2-3 qts of walnuts. My brother’s trees haven’t started dropping yet. Soon. I did make a batch of walnut stain. Something new to try. I don’t have a plan yet. But, it didn’t cost anything to make. (Water and electricity is included in my rent.) I just used hulls from my nuts and made 1 1/2 qts of stain. I’m starting to plan for Christmas and I’m excited to see what you have planned for Gift a Day in Nov.

  37. Melissa,

    My mom tells a story about the year she ruined Christmas for herself. She wrapped everything back up too. She hated ruining it for herself and never did it again. My children like surprises and don’t usually go looking for presents, but there have been a few accidental sightings when they’ve come in the sewing room after November 1st.

  38. This is a two-week frugal accomplishments update at our house:

    My husband hurt his back 2 weeks ago and hasn’t been able to return to work, so we are doing our best to limit the spending of money. He has had an x-ray and was given medication to manage the pain. He goes for an mri today to see what is really the matter. I would appreciate any prayers for him.

    During my lunch break at work I went to the grocery store that is one mile from the office and only spent 8 dollars on groceries for the week to buy a dozen eggs, margarine, 2 butternut squash that were 89 cents each, a cucumber, and ice cream for our apple crisp for a treat. I am very thankful to have been buying pantry items the last few months when they were cheaper than usual along with seasonal fruit and vegetables. I have lots of beans, rice, canned tomatoes, pasta, tuna, salmon, flour, sugar, oil, and other pantry items. I always receive inspiration from your blog, Brandi, and from all the comments. I read every single one.

    A co worker gave us a loaf of bread and English muffins that were given to her.

    We made all our meals at home. I made a big batch of spaghetti sauce, beef stew (using much less beef than I would have in the past, and it still was very good), Tuscan white bean soup (a recipe from Food Network’s Ida Gartin)-I used dried white beans and homemade chicken broth for the soup. I also made chicken thighs and roasted butternut squash, fajitas using black beans with peppers and onions, and leftover lasagna from the freezer. With the leftover chicken thighs I made a chicken pot pie. We had a “leftover night” where I brought out all the leftovers in the fridge, lined them up on the kitchen counter, and filled our plates with whatever we wanted and heated them up in the microwave. I hadn’t done that since we had our daughters at home! I will have to bring back that tradition 🙂

    We have been blessed with mild weather so far this fall and haven’t had to turn on the heat yet, although it did get down in the 30’s overnight one night.

    Other than going to work or the doctor’s office, we haven’t gone anywhere. Instead I was able to get so much done around the house. I cleaned out 2 closets and got lots of sewing done. I made our granddaughter a nightgown for her 6th birthday.

  39. I recently joined Dollar Tree’s email list, and was excited to see that every so often they have a “Customer Appreciation Day” where you can save 10% off your entire purchase of $10 or more when you print out and give them the voucher from the email. The most recent one was yesterday. I wasn’t able to make it to the store yesterday, but was able to take advantage of the one last month (Sunday, September 25.)

  40. Thanks Kirsti! If you’ve noticed lately, I’ve been pinning lots of Harry Potter pins, as it is a Harry Potter themed baby shower. The recipient had something she wanted that I didn’t have planned, so we figured a way to do it (and by we, I mean my 11-year-old!) I’ll be watching for sales on colored melting chocolate now to make it work.

  41. Sandra,

    I have been experimenting with cooking rice in with the meat in the solar oven. I just put the rice, seasonings, and water in the bottom of the pan with the seasoned chicken on top. I’ve done it with several different herbs,and sometimes garlic. I just cut and rinse fresh grapes leaves from the garden, and then cut them up to include in the pan. They need to be down in the liquid with the rice so that they don’t dry up. Just like with spinach or chard, they cook down to very little, so cut a whole bunch so that you have a lot of greens.

    The spices you use are up to you; you can use garlic, lemon, and parlsey, or rosemary and garlic, or orange juice! Anything you like for chicken. A little bullion and parsley in with the rice is a good idea to add some flavoring. The chicken will add a little broth of it’s own for flavor.

    You can also carmelize some onions on the stovetop for 30-40 minutes on low heat with a lid on,and then top the chicken with that before putting it in the solar oven (or a regular oven).

  42. Did you know that people are now calling those recycled concrete pieces “urbanite”? It’s great you could reuse it. I had a neighbor who did the same and then stained it to look like red sandstone. You couldn’t tell the difference.

  43. Kirsti, I feel your old sofa pain! Ours is 21 yrs old and I don’t see a new one in the near future. I was hoping to buy some white drop cloths to cover it, but not even that is in the budget. So, I’m trying to work around it and do what I can.

  44. Do you have a bread machine? I know it may seem like a silly expense but if you’re serious about baking bread and making dough it is worth the investment and idiot proof. I use mine regularly for everything from white bread to pizza dough.

  45. We had a beautiful fall weather week without the a/C. And rain twice. That’s a double freebie bonus saving both electricity and water.

    The weather gave me the opportunity to finish my fall decorating. We have a whiskey barrel between garage door s and we went to the park a.d gathered a large pail of hedge apples (coconut size lime green balls). With some wooden skewers I already had, I made a 2 ft. topiary out of them in the barrel and adorned it with an old fall leaf garland I had. I love the way it looks and it was totally free!!

    * We had all of our meals at home- spaghetti with turkey meatballs, tuna melts, corn chowder, meatloaf and onion potatoes, pull apart pizza, and taco salad.
    * I enjoyed reading some free HGTV magazines that my friend gave me.o
    * Bought printer ink with gift cards so out of pocket was less than $3.
    * Got a free little bag of Cheeze-its and another little bag of Welch’s fruit chews for the bargain price of a pint of blood from the Red Cross . 😉
    * Plus the regular stuff like hanging laundry, catching water, combining errands, etc.
    A good week, all in all.

  46. My brother and I had friends who knew where their parents hid their Christmas gifts, but we never could find ours. One year we looked EVERYWHERE in the house trying to find them…to no avail.:p Years later, we were talking about how we had looked but couldn’t find them, and asked where the heck they put them. My super brilliant mom told us that she kept them out in our camping trailer that sat in the back yard during the winter. It was always locked up tight with newspapers over the windows so we never thought of them using it to store the gifts!;)

  47. We usually have a multi-day power outage every winter (3 to 5 days) and I have never noticed any difference in our electric bill. It’s so frustrating! Glad you made it through!

  48. I made $110 by selling some clothes on facebook pages.
    I traded two planters I didn’t need with a professional chef who gave me homemade fruit & nut bread, croissants, and lasagna.
    I bought new bedsheets and gifted the old ones to a family desperately in need.
    I also gifted some pillow cases to someone who sews. Freeing up space in my closet which I desperately need.
    I traded some other unused/unwanted items for baby products.
    I cooked many meals at home.
    I baked bread.
    I took lunch to work.
    My son went on a field trip and took a refillable water bottle & snacks I had bought on sale for his school trips.
    I drank tea at work instead of buying coffees.
    I air dried some laundry.
    My son was gifted a set of hot wheels track and cars. It’s old and the rubber bands were broken. With a little tinkering his dad was able to get them working again. He is also looking for replacement parts for the missing ones. Nevertheless my son has had a wonderful time with it.
    I traded some home baked bread for some hair products and fabric softener.

  49. I love paperwhites! They always bloomed in February in Phoenix, and my mom would pick some for my birthday. Here they usually bloom in November/December.

    So glad to hear that your budget has enough wiggle room to accommodate some dates out with your hubby. It’s so nice to be able to have uninterrupted conversations. 🙂

    We had a pretty good week.

    * Bought two bushels of apples (seconds) for about 50c per pound. Hubs and I spent the week making applesauce. We froze it and will turn quite a bit of it into apple butter over the next several weeks. Hubs also made an apple crumble. Yum!

    * On the way back from the orchard, we stopped by Bass Pro Shop. Used a gift card to buy two backpacking stools (on sale). Spent just under $13 OOP. The guys will use these for scouting trips.

    * Used a Starbucks gift card to celebrate son’s excellent 1st quarter grades. (He had been wanting to try their “butterbeer.”)

    * Tore out a huge section of our front lawn. We had to rent a sod-cutter for a morning, but it made quick work of the job. We plan to replace the grass with more drought-tolerant perennials as the budget allows. We’ll start by planting bearded iris and other bulbs (free, since Hubs thinned a flower bed in our backyard). We’ll also supplement the perennials with from-seed annuals (zinnias, etc.) when the time comes to plant.

    * Continued with the “regular” things (baking bread, saving warm-up/rinse water, going to libraries, packing lunches, etc.).

    Have a great week!

  50. * Discovered that the local electric company will trim our big sycamore tree at their expense. We love the tree but trimming was going to be a big expense, so feel very lucky to have avoided the cost.

    * We had a nice rain here in L.A. this morning so I set the sprinkler rain delay to skip tomorrow’s irrigation. I also removed a broken sprinkler that I found while clearing out the garden and purchased and installed a replacement sprinkler by myself.

    * Today’s walk yielded several bottles and cans that I will save for the Cub Scout recycling fundraiser as well as some foraged food: a pomegranate from a feral tree, and two fuyu persimmons that someone had pruned off their tree and were going to discard. I also collected some branches in hopes of rooting them from the cuttings. A lady saw me walking the branches and randomly handed me an agave she had just pulled out of her garden. I will try to root it as well. If it survives I will try to sell or trade it for other plants that we want in our garden.

    * I stopped at the Goodwill bookstore today and found two vintage children’s books that I can sell for a profit online.

  51. Hi Amie,
    Funnily enough, I will be posting the “recipe” for my all natural deodorant, this week, on my blog.
    ( stayhomeinstead.blogspot.com ) The title is ” this months plastic replacement” if you would like to have a look at it.
    Kind regards
    Fi

  52. They usually bloom November-December here as well, but the shady corner has started early this year. I hope to still have them in December, but I am seeing buds come up on the others. I will miss having flowers in that spot in December. In the cool temperatures, they last a long time on the stem, but we’re so hot still that they are done within days 🙁

  53. I agree. However, this is just a hobby of hers (an expensive one, but a hobby none the less). She is actually in University studying Psychology/Forensics.

  54. Is there an adjustment period going from regular deodorant to a more natural one? I tried to switch to Tom’s this summer and decided that maybe it was a winter only deodorant – I stunk! but then I thought maybe I just didn’t stick with it long enough and it would’ve started working? I think I stuck with it for 2 weeks.

  55. Yep – I feel the pain as well – Hubby loves the HUGE sectional that we inherited from his parents – it is at least 30 years old. At least the fabric is a plain dark brown but each time I wash it, it becomes a little more thread bare. All of the cushions (back cushions are loose) are covered in large plastic trash bags to protect the foam from pet accidents and spilled drinks. I picked up a HUGE roll of automotive vinyl at a white elephant sale that I am actually slowing recovering them in – it is standing up to the dog and cat claws amazingly well so I may just skip putting any type of fabric on it.

  56. One year we thought we knew what we were getting because tons of gifts were just sitting in my moms closet. Guess what My mom and her friend across the street had switched kids gifts and my mom had the gifts for the other children in her closet. This cured us. My mom was a creative lady. I love Christmas.
    Patti

  57. Jen,

    Would you mind sharing about selling books online (how one gets started, costs incurred, time commitment, etc.)? Our bookshelves are filled to overflowing. We generally just donate books to the local library, but I’ve been wondering if I should try to sell some of them first.

    Thanks for any advice.

  58. Rhonda,
    THAT IS A GREAT IDEA !!!!!!!!!!! my kids are older and have figured out we hid stuff in the attic.. they will never look in the pop up in the drive way !!!!! THANK YOU !

    Sue in NJ

  59. I dislike cooking bacon also and send it out to the garage kitchen so the smell doesn’t linger in the house. My husband will do two fry pans at once and putter around on other things while watching it. Then we freeze it. So much easier.

    Budget Bytes blog had a recipe for freezer biscuits on a couple weeks ago that looked interesting.

  60. My mother even had an excuse if we noticed footprints in the snow going to the trailer. She just used the excuse that our father was looking for something like a tool or that he was just checking on something in the trailer, like a potential leak in the roof.

    My mother was a bloody genius when it came to childhood lies. I once lost a baby tooth while riding my bike and managed to drop it in gravel where I couldn’t find it. She actually wrote a letter to the tooth fairy explaining how I had lost my tooth and the tooth fairy still left money. What a woman!

  61. Is this an older POLDARK show or new? I feel like I saw POLDARK years ago. But I know they redid FORSYTHE SAGA. My daughter and I are enjoying TIMELESS…it was recommended by the Jewish Lady. It is a time travel show, on NBC if I remember right. The first episode went back to the Hindenburg, the second to President Lincoln’s assassination.

  62. We have an older sofa too and the fabric is fine, just a plain dark blue. But the cushions were getting droopy, so we took them to an upholstery place and they put new foam into the 3 seat cushions and no one sags anymore. We keep a sheet over the sofa when there is no company as we have the two dogs and they are allowed to sit with us on the sofa.

  63. Dollar Tree also offers free pickup at the store if you order online. The online order minimum for lasagna noodles is 12 packages of 12 ounces each. 144 ounces is a lot of pasta for a household of two, but your family would eat that much up quickly. With so many kids, I know you don’t want to head to the store only to learn that they are temporarily out of stock of the item you want.

  64. Debby, are hedge apples the same as Osage oranges? I think that is what they were called. We were brought some of those a few years ago after visitor was returning from Kansas City KS and stopped over at our house. I liked the way they smelled and I just put them in a bowl on the table.

  65. My aunt gave me some household items and a bag of powdered milk
    My friend gave me some clothes and a purse.
    We had taken a day trip to meet the new grandbaby and spoil the other one. Wasnt plan but so worth it.

  66. We are having very nice Fall, warm in the 60’s during the day, even though cold at night. Have not turned on furnace, though husband changed the filter so ready. We moved the wood stove back in for the season and did have a couple small fires just for the ambiance. Been bird watching and seeing the more unusual species as they pass through, along with thousands of geese. We have to send the dogs out to the pond every morning to make sure the days before geese keep on their way. The nights have been mostly clear so we sit out on the patio and watch the stars, or the moon that was just full, the Harvest Moon.

    We did all the usual of cooking at home, carpooling when possible, not shopping -I’m not much of a shopper anyways when it comes to things like malls and window shopping. I have to have a reason or a purpose in mind before I will go. Took lunch and snacks to work. With my oldest daughter went over the garden tallies and made plans for next year and for what she is planning to carry over in the hoop houses and the greenhouse for the winter. Brushed and put cork renew on all by Birkenstocks. Hung up laundry to dry outside or on racks inside. Do use dryer for towels.

    We are going to try growing celery next year. I use a lot of celery so it is something I buy every week, I’ll still have to buy fresh in the off months as it is my husband’s favorite snack. But I think we will dry for use in all the cooked recipes. My daughter is determined to add a blueberry patch…we normally order from Michigan. She has been diligently acidifying an area, chipping up evergreen trimming and collected Christmas trees over the last 2 years. The blueberry bushes arrive this week…we asked for Friday delivery so will be planting on Saturday and she has help lined up. She is having trouble bending at this stage. My mother lives there so she has help in the house, she gets help from her youngest sister who lives with us (next door) and my husband’s youngest sister, who is almost like her best friend, helps too. I personally think this baby is coming this month, not next.

    Took a drive last Saturday and bought 200 pounds of russets. We always buy the unwashed. We only grow red potatoes for fresh eating as is so cheap to buy our storage potatoes from the stands here. We are in major potato area. I am all done with canning etc. As our green tomatoes ripen will use at time, like for fresh salsa or a batch spaghetti sauce and for eating in sandwiches and salads.

    Cooked at home all week, though we did stop on our drive Saturday and visited with some of husband’s family. It was planned as this is where RN middle girl lives, not just a drop in, so we were there for lunch. We were going to an auction so we ate there. Then we drove up the river looking for birds…eagles, osprey etc. It was a nice day spent with relatives and daughter. Husband did find some useful items at the auction and I bought a small pair of Corning ware casserole dishes.

    At home made 2 loaves of white bread, 2 small loaves of banana bread, 2 loaves of zucchini-pineapple bread and cranberry orange nut bread and put loaf of each in daughter’s freezer. Made cranberry sauce. Washed and dried cranberries and put 8 quarts whole berries into freezer. Made meatballs, 6 dozen using 3 pounds of ground beef. Baked them then put in freezer, gave 1/2 to daughter for her freezer. Made lentil soup and spaghetti sauce using garden vegetables. Made tapioca pudding, baked apples, baked squash x 2, German potato salad (hot) and American potato salad (cold)–did them both at same time with half the cooked potatoes for one and half for the other, grilled fish x 2, yogurt, fried egg bread x 3 (been a frequent request), hash browns, cheesy rice and broccoli, tuna noodle casserole, and rice krispy treats 2 batches. Youngest daughter took 1/2 the rice krispy treats to church for the college and career group monthly meeting. Sent lentil soup, tapioca and biscuits over to an Uncle for a meal…my Aunt has a terrible case of the shingles.

  67. How nice you can add going out for date nights to your budget!

    I made blintz for Yom Kippur. I substituted the cheaper ricotta cheese I could buy at Aldi instead of farmer cheese I have to buy at Publix. I served them with canned fried apples from Aldi.

    I cashed out for $39 Paypal at Pinecone to be used for holiday gifts.

    I picked a small bowl of everglades tomatoes.

    Transplanted an Early Girl tomato, 2 Japanese and 1 regular eggplant. I pulled weeds and added mulch. I started lettuce from seeds. I moved some pots around. I planted some petunias I got in a big pack at Lowes. Paid with my credit card for 5% discount, then immediately made a payment. I picked a couple more passionfruit/maypop.

    We got the posts and everything we need to set the posts to fence our side yard. We are fencing the yard in sections as we get the money and doing the work ourselves. We’ll get the fence panels next week.

    I went to Aldi and made a few stock up purchases plus a few things for Thanksgiving (I’m buying a few things each week) – cranberry sauce and french fried onions. Stopped at Publix on the way to Aldi and bought bread crumbs for the stuffing.

    Talked to my daughter and we’ll exchange gifts at Thanksgiving since she won’t be coming back for Hanukkah/Christmas. I will have to hustle to shop and wrap but it will save me shipping and it will be nicer to do in person.

    I’m decluttering and started another ebay auction and gathered a box of donations.

    I went to the pharmacy to pick up my rosacea prescription. My co-pay used to be $15. This month it was $85!!!! I told them no thanks and to re-shelve it. When I got home I checked my insurance plan and found that a lower strength of the same med is still only $15 so I will ask for a new script when I go to my derm appt the beginning of next month.

  68. You just gave me the idea to use a quilt! I have a huge king+ quilt that is all torn on the quilt side. But the back is white on one side and that side is in great condition. I never thought of it! Thanks!

  69. Yes, that’s them. There are literally thousands of those things in our town! They’re so pretty for fall decorating and I know that a lot of people use them to repel bugs. The squirrels go nuts eating them! I keep waiting for the squirrels to turn my topiary into a salad bar!

  70. Athanasia, you mentioned doing a lot of cooking and baking with cranberries. Do you have a cranberry bog on your property or did you just buy a bunch recently?

  71. Glad to hear your date nights are expanding!

    The past two weeks we have been on a holiday. We have a separate budget for it and didn’t go anywhere last year due to my husband’s back pain. So this year we took a two week motorcycle trip. His back did great and we are just finishing up now. The good news is that we paid for it out of savings and we will also see reduced household bills since we weren’t at home. Our pantry is in good shape so that should help this fall’s lower spending. It has taken us five years to focus on spending less, paying off debts and saving up for vacations and we are finally into the swing of it. Change takes a long time ;).

    Brandy, thank you again for this blog, it really makes a difference to me to keep learning from you and everyone here who comments. It is a wonderful positive spot In a crazy world.

  72. This was my first time. I’m always trying something new. And since I already have a tree, it didn’t cost anything. Not sure what I’m going to use it on yet. My friend asked me how well it should work… I was like walnut can last forever on hands. (I end up getting a finger from a glove mishap every time.lol)… So I’m thinking it should do really well as a stain. That’s awesome about your hubby.

  73. Hello Brandy and everyone and hope you have all found ways to save last week. I am late in posting mine this week as I completely forgot 😮 .

    Fantastic to hear that your budget allows for a date night once a week Brandy, all parents occasionally need alone time together 🙂 .

    Household frugalities –

    – Made our own stain remover from items in our pantry and cleaning cupboards for $2.75 for 3.4lts saving $17.14 over buying it in the supermarkets.
    – Washed all our clothes in cheaper electricity times at night in our washing machine.
    – Saved all grey water from our showers and washing machines to hand water newly sprouted grass seed in our back lawns.

    Gardening –

    – Planted 2.5 x 5 metre rows of corn seed, 2 x 5mt rows of silver beet and spinach.
    – Harvested peas, silver beet, chives, strawberries and turnips from the gardens.
    – Preserved 478g of chives by washing, dicing and placing in the freezer for advanced stocks saving $143.40 it would have cost to purchase them in the supermarkets.

    In the kitchen –

    – Cooked all meals from scratch using items from our food storage, gardens or fridges and freezers.
    – Had 1.5 weeks of pantry week where we ate down tinned meats, fruits and pastas without using any meat from the freezers. This allows us to rotate through our tinned items so we can replace them with fresh stocks

  74. I love to order from dollar tree their free store pick up is spoiling!! Those staples like pasta and beans and such can be made into a pickup box with smaller qualities.

  75. I am glad you are having date nights. We used to go get coffee and dessert at a small restaurant (made sure we tipped well) or the dollar menu at Wendy’s and take it to the park and sit. We just brought up that we haven’t had a date night on a regular bases and decided we were going to have to focus a bit on that. Harder to do when it’s just us and we could just stay home. Our grandkids that just got their own place suggested we come down there and have a date night with them. Might do that occasionally.

    More here at http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2016/10/frugal-week-10192016.html

    Did well this week…made laundry soap today as I was out for the first time in a year. Decided to make less of it and more often and changed what I made to be use what I had on hand. We’ll see if it works as it has Dawn in it instead of bar soap.

  76. Rhonda,the area just south and west of us about an hour is the largest producer of cranberries in the country so we buy them in 5 lb bags. There are several places that have cranberry festivals which are fun to attend. Some of my husband’s family lives around there so we get over there frequently and vice versa. They freeze wonderfully and keep forever in the freezer. We like cranberry sauce as a side dish, just as some people put out pickles or applesauce.

  77. Brandy,

    You’re goals! I love that you guys played Battleship. So much fun! I’m embarrassed to say that I have much to learn in the ways of being frugal. I’ll work on it! I’m curious, how do you save warm up water from your shower to water your plants?

  78. Melissa, I’ve not found an adjustment period needed. It works or it doesn’t. But I will say, I first started trying to switch to natural deodorants when I was still eating meat, and none of them worked for me. Since I’ve been a vegetarian, I mostly used Tom’s, which worked for many years, and then didn’t anymore. For several years, I’ve been making my own, and it has worked really well for me. Here’s a link to that post: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/search?q=deodorant+recipe

  79. I have a 3 gallon bucket that I keep in the shower (you can get an icing bucket from your local grocery store bakery for free or possibly 50 cents; you’ll need to wash out the icing remnants and it works great!). I put it under the water when the water is cold, and when it gets warm I will get in the shower and push the bucket to the corner. In a day or two I have 3 gallons of water (between my showers and my husband’s showers) to water potted plants (depending on the season; our pipes run in the ceiling here and are hot very quickly in summer, but not as fast in winter). It’s clean water; you can use it in your washing machine, to flush the toilet, to mop floors, etc. if you don’t want to use it on plants.

    In the winter when the plants don’t need to be watered as often, I can get enough water from the shower and drinking glasses at the end of the day (anything that’s left I will pour on plants) to water my potted plants. In the summer I have to water some, but it cuts down the amount of water I need. As we live in the driest state in the nation and our water bill is tiered by how much we use, watching our water usage is pretty important to me.

  80. I’m sorry things are tough right now for you. To top it off, I’m sure the freezer loss was a big blow. I’m glad you could save part of it, though.

    I wonder if you have the same fridge I used to have at the last house. Same story. Not very old, frozen up in the back, ice finally stopped the fan, freezer still worked……My husband finally accidentally melted it on the inside (trying to fix it) so it looked like the people in Raiders of the Lost Ark when they looked at the Ark……I left it when we moved.

  81. You can watch Victoria on Simply June for free, right now along with several other series. Some of which are adult. The site isn’t the easiest to find things. The first Victoria episode is in the August posts

  82. I had such a busy week that I am just now getting a moment to sit down and read all the wonderful comments, and post. My mother and aunt help care for my niece and nephew, along with myself, but they are on vacation this week. That means that I’ve been over there extra this week. It will even out, though, because next week my nephew and my sister are going out of town for a week, and I won’t need to watch him at all. He is the one I primarily get paid for, from DD service $, so it helps balance the budget out.

    I have been on the phone a lot, trying to straighten out the place that pays us for the DD service work. (My husband and I both are certified for these kids.) Because I changed our address on line, that was not good enough. I needed to fill out a paper and send it to 2 different places, one of which’s address was TBD (To be determined). So, they are still sending paper checks (even though I filled out paperwork last spring for direct deposit) and those checks are still going to the old address. Then they “forward” the mail to Seattle, then back to the post office we used this summer, but don’t seem to send them on to here…..hmmm… Not efficient. So, we drive to check that post office every few days, and I’ve been working on the root of the problem by phone and email. I think I’ve finally mailed off the remaining papers to the correct places….time will tell. We are trying to locate a $500 check that has been floating around for a long time, which is why I’m so diligent about it right now.

    It’s looking like Rob will be paid at the end of the month, so we are getting closer to that happy day. I guess he will be paid monthly at his new job. He’s worked some days for the 6.5 hours per day he was hired for. He has also been working extra part of the time, riding the bus with a special needs kid, bringing it up to over 7, but not quite 8. In the meantime, we continue to pinch pennies, adding a frugal treat occasionally. The girls were given gift cards from McDonald’s from one of my sisters. (All nieces and nephew got one). So, mine have been making them last, and have gotten 2 visits from them.

    We continue to go to the YMCA frequently, using our membership. I keep cooking, although it’s not been great this week. There are just not enough hours in my days right now:) One night I opened tomato soup and did cheese sandwiches. I was delighted that it is as good as it was when I was little. Not stellar, but cheaper than take-out. One night, I did have Rob pick up $5 pizza for the troops. I was that tired, I didn’t care that I could not eat it (gluten). That day, they had him riding the little bus with a kid and had him park right next to a place with the $5 pizza. Now, he’s changed kids, so won’t be there any more, but it was great for that day.

    I have begun homeschooling my niece, along with my daughter. She is able to join in right where my daughter already is, so it’s working out well. My sister helped one day, my brother-in-law is taking over math and Spanish, and my sister is planning super fun field trips. She will pay the bulk of the fees for both girls for the expensive ones, as she is working a lot, and wants to do her part, as I am doing the daily “grind” for the most part. It is going to be great for J to get so many great field trips that I would not be able to afford, along with the ones I can and was planning already.

    We survived the big storm that passed though the PNW just fine. In fact, we were able to get some things done we thought would not be possible, such as moving the camper from the repair shop back to my sister’s farm. We were not hit with as bad of wind as they thought we might be. We did not lose power at all.

    There is a bit more on my blog. https://beckyathome.wordpress.com

  83. It’s a Samsung, freezer drawer on the bottom and french door frig on top – I love the layout of the frig but we will never buy another Samsung. My inlaws have basically the same the same frig but made by LG and they have had no issues with theirs :/ The repair guy was here today and ordered all new parts for the back wall – fan, thermostat with heater (which is needed to keep it from icing up) and a new cover for it all. We don’t pay for any of it because of the appliance protection plan we have thru our gas company. It is $35 a month but covers labor and parts for any repairs on all of our appliances AND the furnace, AC and hot water heater. It has paid for itself this year that’s for sure and is a huge blessing right now cause there is no money for any of those types of repairs.

  84. I always like reading your blog, and al the comments from others. (with lead me to other blogs I like)
    every week I have some frugal accomplishments, but I do not always write them down.
    Here are some from the last week(s).
    I bought some nice thick fabric to make myself 2 sweaters for the winter, I helped someone from our village to make upholstery for the crib. She is becoming grandmother again . I picked vegetables from the garden, the vegetable garden is almost over. There is only some kale, sprouts and leek left for the winter. I baked a cake with some of my hand picked apples, baked a few loaves of bread and ofcourse always cooked from scrath. have a nice weekend and keep me inspired, please.

  85. we had this problem twice, a friend that does appliance repairs showed us to take 12 gauge copper wire (like what is in the electric wiring of your house) that was at least 6 inches long and attach to coils and run down the drain hole. Haven’t had a problem in over a year. Said the companies know this is a issue and still haven’t “fixed” it in the new models.

  86. Hello Brandy and I thought I would mention a homemade toilet cleaner that we use without purchasing any commercial cleaners that might save you a bit on your grocery budget too.

    We clean our toilet with a squirt of dishwashing liquid, dash of bicarbonate of soda and put a splosh of white vinegar in. Wait for 10 – 15 mins, it will foam up, then scrub it out. This recipe is also good for pouring into your drains and wash down with boiling water to clean all your pipes and drains as well.

    For stubborn stains in the toilet sprinkle citric acid in there and let sit for a few hours if necessary, place some white vinegar or citrus vinegar and a tiny squirt of dishwashing liquid in and give it a scrub. The citric acid gets off the stains from lime and agricultural water too.

    I hope this helps 🙂 .

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