Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker 

It has taken most of the year, but my tomato plants are finally producing! I picked a colander full of tomatoes from the garden. I am glad that it has cooled enough for my plants to flower and set fruit.

I also cut basil, thyme, and chives from the garden.

I purchased 3 framed pictures for $5 (total!) from a Facebook garage sale site.

I purchased a candle lantern for $5 from the same site.

I wanted a pillar candle to put in the lantern, but seeing some candles at a store (around $15!) I realized that the price of the candle could quickly make my frugal lantern purchase into a not-so-frugal deal. 

My mom invited me to go garage sale shopping with her on Saturday, and I found 2 used pillar candles for free at a garage sale! I found another one that was brand-new for 10 cents! Though all of them are a bit skinnier than I would have ideally chosen, they will work just fine, and the price was right!

I found 3 more framed pictures at the garage sales (one for $2 and a matching pair for $5). I bought jeans for my girls ($2 a pair), 2 blouses for the girls ($0.25 each), a blue and white pot for $4, 4 matching blue and white vases for $8, a book stand for $7,  two bikes for my daughters (one for $10 and another for $5, which included a helmet), a brand-new fountain pen for $3, a glass box with an etched metal lid for $1, and a small blanket for $0.50.

I found a way to use a piece of furniture to provide more storage for us. This was a hand-me-down and we have been using it for years, but since the girls’ new dressers arrived, we didn’t have a place for it (so I thought) and I was going to sell it. It’s now in my closet and I am able to be more organized because of the additional storage space it provides over the shelves I had there before.

I redeemed Swagbucks for an Amazon gift card.

I planted seeds for lettuce, arugula, and snow peas.

I sewed presents for my children for Christmas using fabric I had on hand.

I collected the shower-warm up water in a bucket and used it to water potted plants.


What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. Sometimes I read these and think “I didn’t do much”.

    But let’s see. We biked to work 2x, saving two 20-mile round trips.

    I shopped for a few fruits and veggies and the 99 cent store. (Quality hit or miss.)

    I made a big tray of enchiladas for the week, using up veggies and chicken we have.

    I’m in the midst of “NOvember”, no wheat, no wine, no sugar. That saves money! Well, wheat is cheap.

    Husband took the boys to lunch and I didn’t go. Same with end of baseball pizza party. Little guy and I stayed home.

    I made a huge pot of veggie soup. We got celery from our CSA this week and it was 25 inches long.

    I worked half day on veteran’s day. Saved us having to find childcare. Went to beach with a friend’s family and packed snacks.

  2. I Have lots of expenses this time of year (as I am sure others do too) so I continue to be extra frugal.

    I ate a few times for free at work this week and was able to take leftovers home.

    I also found a few toys at a curb. After I washed and dried them on super high they are ready to be gifted to my nieces.

    Cooked in batches and cooked at home.

    I mended a few pieces of clothing.

    My weekly update is up as well:

  3. The Dollar General Store had canned green beans, corn and peas on sale 3 cans for a dollar. I bought 4 cases of corn and ten cases of green beans. This should last us a year.
    I bought 30 yards of fleece for $2.99 a yard. It is usually $9.99 a yard. I make my owl costumes out of the fleece. I usually buy it 50% off, but this price was wonderfully low so I bought enough for next years work. I sold 27 of the costumes this Halloween season. It will be a huge savings in my shop.
    I’ve been given 3 loaves of banana bread this week.
    A neighbor wants to use my dumpster for the next 6 month and paid $150.00 for the usage. For any of you that use a large dumpster this may be something you can do to cut the cost a bit. Our dumpster is seldom full, but it is more economical to pay the $57.00 a month that pay for 4 small “cans”.
    I will be cancelling our cable TV this month. They have upped their price to over $80.00. That is just crazy. We will be watching shows we want to see on the computer.
    It has been a good week here. The weather has cooled from the 90s to the low 70s in the last few weeks. No a/c or heat right now.
    Have a lovely week everyone.

  4. I was able to stock up on a few grocery items over the weekend. By the time I pushed around 50 pounds of potatoes and 10 jugs of apple juice, I was feeling very stocked up! I sure filled the cart up by the time I was done. After using quite a bit of our storage items up during this past year, it’s been great to be filling it up again. We could never had eaten as well as we did without such a good stockpile during our year of unemployment, and we were grateful that we had it.

    I worked on a sewing project a bit more, worked a bunch of extra hours, and cooked several good meals using things we had on hand. I wrote the rest on my blog:

  5. I was running short of a few staples coming up to a grocery order. I used what was in the house, though, to make:

    French bread, using Brandy’s recipe. I made round loaves, which slice perfectly for toast and sandwiches. I used all-purpose flour, because that’s what I had. It rose well, though, and I was delighted with the crust too.

    A mess of tomatoes, garlic, onions and fresh ginger, wih paprika and ground pepper seasoning, to put on top of lentils and rice. It smelt wonderful while chopping it, and it tasted even better. There are leftovers for tonight.

    Made tomato soup for myself out of a quarter jar of pasta sauce mixed with water and heated. It had lots of bits of tomato and Italian sausage and tasted great. A little salty for everyday use, but I’d definitely do this again with leftover sauce.

    I made my Christmas list, especially to plan small gifts, potluck contributions, and a few treats. I’m keeping things simple this year, so that I can make some extra donations. Things have been very hard in my area, and the refugee situation around the world seems very difficult, so I am trying to stretch this year to help.

  6. What fantastic yard sale finds! This time of year is too cold for yard sales here (Northern Ontario, Canada) but many churches put on church bazaars (craft/yard sale/bake sale combination) on Saturdays from now until Christmas.

    Here is how we were frugal this week:
    *Invited friends over for supper. We cooked and served the food we had on hand. We have a specific $ amount set aside to use for hospitality (usually having people over twice a month). We didn’t need any of it this week.
    *My husband’s chainsaw needs new oil but he discovered he can mix his own using old snowmobile oil we already have.
    *We picked all our green tomatoes before the first frost a few weeks ago. They’ve all been ripening on my counters and are finally ready to be eaten!
    *Stayed within our $125 weekly grocery budget for our family of 5. I stocked up on cheese (expiry dates were June 2017! I bought 12) and squash (57 cents a pound).
    *Made a 2 week winter menu (after being greatly inspired by your menu Brandy!). It is working exceedingly well! I know exactly what I need to buy for the next week. It has helped not only budget food purchases but also budget my time. I can make needed cookies/muffins in the morning for our afternoon snack instead of me going to the fridge and pulling out whatever I find. And I can be sure to stretch more expensive items I need all week (such as butter and cheese).
    *My husband fixed several of the kids toys. I mended a skirt, teddy bear and tights.

    Have a great week everyone!

  7. So great finds at the garage sale! And those tomatoes look delicious! I always think there’s nothing nicer than homegrown tomatoes.

    My accomplishments this week:
    – used the Starbucks card that I got from Swagbucks to buy myself a treat on my lunch
    – received a bottle of body wash in the mail as a sample. I can only use Ivory soap for the most part, as I have sensitive skin, so…I used it as shaving lotion on my legs!
    – baked treats for the book club that I’m hosting next week: peanut butter cookies with milk chocolate chunks, then froze them so the DH and I won’t eat them. 
    – made cranberry sauce
    – growing sprouts for salad. I prefer lentil sprouts but was all out of lentils so I started some pea sprouts for the first time. Edit: Totes did not work, so it’s back to lentil sprouts for me! I’m sure I just did something wrong, but whatever, lentil sprouts are easier for me so lentil sprouts it is!
    – made tortillas
    – made burritos for dinner using the fresh tortillas, and a Spanish rice/beans mixture and fresh toppings. So good! I packed more for lunch tomorrow.
    – cleaned using citrus vinegar
    – had a lunch and learn at work, plus a co-worker brought in some cupcakes – lunch and snack for the day taken care of!
    – redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 Starbucks card
    – went out for Pho (soup – – so not expensive) with the DH, my mother, and my sister, and by paying cash, saved 10%.
    – my mother gave me a sample tube of toothpaste that she couldn’t use, along with some coupons for the shampoo that I use.
    – carpooled with my mother, husband, and sister to Costco, and was able to put my sister’s purchases under my Costco card.
    – repurposed an old stool (Danish modern, I think) in my bedroom. The stool is at least 45 years old, and came from Holland with my mother when she emigrated. As a teenager I repainted it several times to match my bedroom décor, I last used it to hold my modem off the floor in my condo, and now it’s a corner stool. I fully expect that it will be around to pass on to my own children – it’s that sturdy!
    – canned some pears
    – added the leftover pear-flavoured syrup from canning the pears to some leftover ginger ale I had. I plan to add some fruit and fruit juice concentrate and make punch.
    – experimented with freezing avocados: I’ve frozen some peeled and some guacamole. We’ll see how this experiment turns out!
    – made a batch of yoghurt
    – I wanted to mention to other readers that one can make a bra extender out of an old bra. Snip both ends off the bra (the part with the hooks and the part with the eyes) and sew the cut ends together (as flat as possible. I do this by hand, but a zigzag stitch on a machine would be perfect). Then, use to add width to another bra! Aside from the fact that it’s frugal, it’s so easy to do that it’s actually faster than going to the store to buy one!
    – hemmed two pants

    Looking forward to reading everyone else’s posts!

  8. I buy affordable picture frames at Dollar Tree; I’d recommend checking it out sometime! They aren’t super high quality, though, but they fool my visitors. 😉

    This week:

    1. We stuck to our homemade meals fairly well. Only one meal was a total disaster, but we did our best!

    2. We threw a frugal birthday party for Mr. Picky Pincher. We kept it small and grilled hot dogs with the family. We probably spend $30 total (we had a fancy $12 cake), and everyone had a good time!

    3. We got our apartment deposit check back, so that’s $200 that we just gave back to ourselves!

    4. I have a lot of herb plants in my back yard that I can’t identify. Instead of removing them during my lawn cleanup, I’m going to take cuttings to our local nursery to identify them. Their leaves are very fragrant, so I’m anxious to see if they’re edible!

    5. I cooked some a-maz-ing brisket chili yesterday. It filled up an entire Dutch oven and made more than enough food for us to munch on this week. I might even freeze some for an emergency meal!

  9. I totally agree with you on candle prices. They’re so expensive in the store, & often in the thrift stores even. I only buy them whenever I find a good deal in the thrift stores. For many years, my price point was .10 for tapers, but these days I’ll go a bit higher :o). We planted more garlic over the weekend. Your little yellow tomatoes are so cute! Joining in here:

  10. Very elderly mom likes fires in the fireplace. My lungs, nowhere near as much. Plus, the fireplace needs a new damper which will cost $550 for someone to provide and install and another $550 in the spring for the cement at the top of the chimney to keep the chimney in good condition. We’ll retop the chimney with cement when it is decent weather next spring to preserve the chimney. The damper will be replaced, um, eventually. In the meantime, I decided candles in the fireplace would have to do this winter, as they did last winter when I used the tall candles in glass containers from Dollar Tree. But I wanted better aesthetics. I first ordered a large tea light log for just over $50 that holds eleven tea lights. While I was waiting for it to be delivered, I came across a nine-candle candelabra at Goodwill for all of $4. We used it for a couple of nights and it was nice enough. If I was truly thrifty, I would have stopped there. The 11-light log arrived and it was nicer. But then I came across a much cheaper 12-light faux birch pile of logs and matching 4 pillars. I was extremely unfrugal with shipping costs and ordered two of each as three separate shipments. Major frugal fail. Oh well. I’m trying to make up for my mistake by finding cheap tealights. I ordered 1000 tea lights from Ikea for a bit over $52 including shipping and sales tax. So mom can have her fire every night for the next three months. The little faux birch logs can also be used as centerpieces on a buffet or large table. I won’t always live in a place with a fireplace and a ventless gas heater as a backup, so I like the idea of being able to burn quite a few candles at once to help me stay a little bit warmer. While I spent about $120 on the faux logs, our evenings by the fireplace will cost between 55 cents and $1.25 each in the future for the candles, far less than it would with Duraflame logs or purchased firewood unless bought by the facecord. Gel fuel in the fireplace would be $3-$9 for an evening. I might buy a case of the gel fuel anyway, in case we have a repeat of the ice storm a few years ago.

    I’ve been enjoying the sales at Kroger’s and our.local Spartan store to stretch our food dollars and to load up the pantry closet for winter.

  11. The nights have been fairly cold (in the 40s) so we’ve been warming the house by fireplace. The days have been nice though, so I’ve been keeping the doors and windows open.

    Over the past 4 years we’ve bought two large, beautiful artificial Christmas trees (one for our formal dining room and one for our livingroom). Buying artificial was something I was always against, but I realized how much money We were spending on real trees. Having gotten our decorations out reminded me of this savings.

    I’m knitting two twin size blankets for Christmas presents. Blankets this size have the potential to cost a lot (hundreds) of money because the yarn I’m using isnt cheap. Michael’s recently had a really good sale on yarn, $4.99 per skein marked down to $2.49 (some that I needed were marked down to $1.79). I also had a 20% off coupon and a $2.50 flat S&H fee. By the time it’s all said and done I’ll have $90 (also had to purchase new hooks) wrapped up into those two blankets.

    My husband and I ate at home for every meal except one last week.

    This time of year we’re not able to be as frugal because of the Holidays. We’re feeding friends and family that visit. The kids are writing their letters to Santa. Insurances are being renewed. November thru January are financially harder months to get through for us. We really have to watch where every penny goes because we have a lot of extra expenses during these months.

  12. It’s funny to see your tomatoes start producing right now! I just picked a peck of red and green tomatoes, peppers and green beans from my garden because frost is coming!! My fall green beans from my 2 cent seed packet have fed us for 4 separate dinners with some leftovers to snack on!! Still have Swiss chard, beets, peas and onions in the ground!

    Had a last minute call on Election Day (we voted absentee) from a research group I joined to do a taste test of a new fast food entree about 2 hours later. Was able to do it- spent 35 minutes and got a free entree to eat there and evaluate and $40 cash! These research and focus group studies are great! We are blessed to live in a city that is a test market site for many companies! In the past 6 weeks, it’s been $321 in extra income just from those!! Used it to pay down medical bills!

    Made about 18 peanut butter, Apple, granola wraps for snacks that used up bits of ingredients that might have been wasted otherwise! To rotate freezer foods, I used cooked turkey chunks, tortillas (from freezer), home canned black beans, rice from food storage and fresh bell peppers, cilantro and green onion from garden to make 18 Crispy Southwest Chicken (turkey) Wraps. We ate 4 of them for dinner and the other 14 will be used for brown bag lunches and a leftovers for dinner night!
    Made a pan of Cheerios, peanut butter, chocolate chip bars for treats in lunches.
    And, one of the best things- we went to our local SA store on their half price day on everything and bought a full length cream colored dress coat for me (I’ve now lost 82 pounds and my old coat doesn’t fit)! It still had dry cleaner tags on it and with the discount was $4!!!! When I wore it on Sunday, several women commented on what a beautiful coat it was! (I didn’t share that it was $4 at SA. Instead, I just said thank you!)
    I also bought 3 sweaters, a pair of jeans and a knit skirt (size medium!!) for a total of $8!!!
    Best of all, there was a professional recumbent bike half price for $149. (I’ve seen the same model online for over $500! . DH has needed a new one- the old one was cheap and had been falling apart over the years and he has foot problems that won’t let him use our treadmill.
    We took the old bike apart and separated out the metal to recycle at a scrap metal place. We decided to check the basement for any other metal to recycle and found 380 pounds that we took over and were paid for! Only about $20 for the cheaper metals but what a nice amount of space that cleared out in the south basement!!! Think that every 6 weeks, we are going to take an hour or two to declutter more of the basements!
    A very good week!!

  13. My northern brain cannot imagine harvesting tomatoes in November. 😀

    I spent this week with a cold. I wasn’t sick enough to miss work, just sick enough to be grumpy.
    Being sick didn’t stop me from saving money. We paid off a major debt this week. This will save us a ton of money on interest charges over time.

    I completed an online survey for my cell phone provider and they took $20.00 off next month’s bill.

    I brought home a free loaf of bread from work that just wasn’t “pretty” enough for sale. It still tastes the same!

    I’m trying to use up the stash of fabric taking over my sewing room. Last week, I made a garment bag from a couple of old sheets. This week, I cut out a pair of short from the same sheet. These shorts will serve as summer pajamas.

    I downloaded a book for free from our local library. I love our library.

    Have a great week every one!

  14. Brandy, your tomatoes look wonderful! I made your lemon poppyseed muffins this past week for a family in need and they were a huge hit. I added a little dried lemon zest from lemons I had last winter that were about to go bad. The zest really gave them a nice flavor.

    Here are our other frugal accomplishments this past week. I hope you all will stop by and check it out! Have a great week, everyone!

  15. I froze guacamole just recently using my vacuum sealer – worked like a charm and we didn’t notice any difference in it when we thawed it to put on tacos. 🙂 As long as it doesn’t have any air contact, it won’t change color or flavor.

  16. Gorgeous tomatoes!

    I harvested green onions and parsley from our fall garden.

    I had free breakfast at work twice last week. I took leftovers or sandwiches to work for my lunches and drank water or free coffee.

    I made banana bread, spaghetti/meatballs, tacos, chicken and potatoes, frozen pizza.

    My daughter and I were both home on Veteran’s Day so I took her to story/craft time at our library (free). While there we borrowed books and movies. I also borrowed a book from the library onto my kindle.

    I walked to pick my daughter up from school once last week, saving gas.

    During my grocery shopping trip I found $6 worth of coupons hanging by the products I was buying anyways.

    My daughter’s allergy medicine (recently prescribed) cost $0 out of pocket, thanks to our insurance.

    I had to take our 12 year old Golden Retriever to the Vet due to an infection and she got a rabies shot. The cost was a lot less than I thought and budgeted for.

    I let my Sunday newspaper subscription run out.

    My daughter’s teacher sent home a notice that the kids can use two websites for free at home to supplement their learning. My daughter loves it, it’s educational and free.

    Have a great week!!

  17. I recognize those yellow pear tomatoes…we sometimes grow those heirloom tomatoes in our gardens at the pioneer village I work at! Like others have stated, it does seem odd to see such a harvest in November, though. At least they produced! Also, would you share some pictures of your garage sale finds, Brandy? I’d love to see the lantern and the blue & white pieces you bought. You have such a great eye for items like that.

    Well, I’ve had a busy week, with lots of time spent shopping. Thankfully that’s not typical, but still a bit more than I’d like. ‘Tis the season, I guess. Anyways, this week our frugal accomplishments are:
    *Walked 5 times around the neighbourhood for some free exercise.
    *Meals made at home included sauteed seasoned garlic chicken & bacon wraps with choice of toppings, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with cheesy white rice and broccoli, sheppard’s pie (made with leftover roast beef), meat balls in Diana’s sauce with scalloped potatoes and corn, and piggies in a blanket (breakfast sausage and cheese rolled up in Pillsbury crescent rolls) with salad.
    *Mixed up a box of chocolate mousse pudding from our pantry stock and divided it between 5 reusable snack containers for my daughter to take in her school lunches this week. I like that it is made with real milk. She likes that she gets chocolate pudding.
    *My daughter is expressing how much she likes her EA…the one she has expressed how much she hated for a few years now. I suggested that she help make a Christmas gift for her this year. She said her EA loves shoes, so I suggested we sew a shoe bag for her to carry her shoes in. My daughter agreed and even expressed sincere interest when I suggested she learn how to sew with the sewing machine. I may have finally convinced her to learn to sew!
    *One of the higher end thrift stores had a 50% off everything in store on Monday. I walked out with 2 long sleeved and 1 short sleeved almost new casual dress shirts for my brother (he takes a very large size and new they are VERY expensive) which will be his Christmas gift and birthday gift in April, 2 short sleeved shirts, a long sleeved knit cardigan, 2 pairs of jeans and a brand new pair of capris (tags still on) for me, a sleeveless top for my daughter (to wear under one of her flannel shirts), and a curtain panel plus a twin flat sheet that I will add to my fabric stash, all for just under $49. That means I saved almost $49 off my purchase!
    *My mom and I traveled to the passport office, an hour away from where we live. We took a lunch and drinks with us, saving us a meal out.
    *My daughter went to hang out with a friend at the mall, with me as chaprone. We ended up eating dinner there. I had some coupons for free food items at McDonalds, so the girls had most of their meal for free! Frugal fail (sort of): My daughter brought her own money and managed to blow through $40. She rarely does this, so I’m letting the spending slide for now, despite my cringing at the thought. It is her money after all.
    *Finally made the raspberries that I froze in the summer into raspberry jam. I was able to can 7 pints and 3 half pints for the pantry plus a small amount for sampling in the fridge.
    *Excellent grocery deals this week included 6 packages of English muffins for $0.50/6 pack (very short expiry, so put them directly into the freezer), a big bag of ripe bananas on clearance for $1 (will use some of the more bruised ones for making muffins or banana bread), and a bag of parsley and 2 red onions on clearance for $1 (parsley is for Guinea Pig and onions are for us).
    *My brother came to visit this weekend. He asked about how to make some things, as he was looking for new meal ideas. I shared some recipes with him by printing them off and putting them into a recycled duotang to take home. I also shared some things from our pantry to help him out, including shiracha seasoning so he can make his own shiracha mayo and some of my homemade jam.

    That’s it for this week. Love reading everyone’s comments…thank you to all of you for sharing!

  18. I was getting a little over-whelmed with all the Christmas gifts I need to purchase. I was running short on ideas and money. I went to town and just looked around-searching for inspiration. I came across cardboard berry boxes at Target. You get 4 for one dollar. I then went home and asked my husband to use scrap wood to make a wooden box that holds 3 berry boxes. They sit down in the box perfectly. I will then fill the baskets with fruit and nuts, tie up with cellophane and finish off with a beautiful home-made gift tag. The cost will be around $5 total for each box. I plan to make 3 of these which will really help cross off some people on my list. I like to give practical gifts and good food is always appreciated and used.
    Thanks again Brandy for inspiring me to think outside the box and get creative.

  19. Brandy, the tomatoes look wonderful. I know you will enjoy and make use of every last one.

    Do you/are you able to grow cabbage? While at my daughter’s over the weekend I picked up a book to read on the history and origin of vegetables. The author said that savoy cabbage grows well in hot climates and is popular in places where it is too hot for lettuce and other greens. He mentioned Mexico and Central Americas. I know we just as often use shredded cabbage on our tacos and burritos as we do lettuce.

  20. Your tomatoes are beautiful. We actually just had our first frost of the season and we have had to turn the heat on a time or two.

    Your candle finds remind me that sometimes what is perfectly usable isn’t always our ideal choice, but knowing it is in budget somehow makes it all the more beautiful.

    I’m really enjoying your posts about the things you are thankful for. They’re serving as a daily reminder to me to be thankful.

    I shared our frugal accomplishments on my blog.

  21. We don’t have a fireplace, but I have seen people’s houses decorated with pine boughs and lit candles in the fireplace and I think it looks just beautiful. I’m sure this will make you happy and it’s way more frugal than fixing the fireplace when you haven’t had time to save up for the needed repairs.

  22. I had a perfectly ordinary week last week, and did all the usual frugal things like using bags from inside cereal boxes to make messes on in the kitchen, then tossing them out, recycling almost everything that we can–papers, bottles, cans, junk mail, catalogs and magazines that have been read, etc. Lots of catalogs arriving daily! I also recycle coupons that I am not going to use–my daughter gets the Sunday supplements after I have cut out the few coupons I want, and I gave the two Aldi’s coupons for $10 off $50 order to her too–her step son and wife just moved in across the street from us, and she shops at Aldi’s most weeks. I have already stocked up for Thanksgiving and probably won’t spend $50 this week. The coupons have two different expiration dates, so she should be able to use both of them. I think we’re going to like having them close by. They have never lived very close to us so I don’t know them very well. Hope to get to know them better.

  23. Brandy,
    Your tomatoes look beautiful!

    I purchased 10 pounds of potatoes for total of 88 cents, on a 3 days sale at Fred Meyer(our local Kroger).

    Purchased about 70 pounds total of spaghetti, linguine, penne and macaroni noodles. All made in Italy(I love the way they taste and we have 2 teenagers).

    Purchase about 50 jars of tomato sauce for 99cents(this is by far the cheapest I can find here in my area, even cheaper than canned).

    Found a website that delivers free mulch and another site that possible has free manure for the garden.

    Baked about 8 loaves of sandwich bread and made about 12 sunflower butter and jam to freeze for my youngest to take to school.

    Made Brandy’s white bean and rosemary soup..yum.

    Made an asian dish that used up the rest of our zucchini.

  24. Holly, I have absolutely no idea how much these cost, but have you looked into having an insert installed in your fireplace? You get the look of a fire, but it’s enclosed. Would probably be much better for your lungs. If it’s not too expensive, maybe you could do that rather than replace the damper?

  25. There’s nothing better to eat than homegrown tomatoes! I am so happy that your plants finally produced.

    My husband went back to work last night and he is thrilled to be working again after he injured his back. He says his back hasn’t felt this good in years after getting the injections.

    We were able to get a turkey for 37 cents per pound for Thanksgiving this week at Food 4 Less. We had to spend 25 dollars to get that price but we easily did that with all their other specials. We bought butter for $1.99 per pound (we bought 6), broccoli for 89 cents per pound, and frozen vegetables for 89 cents (we bought 10).

    I am almost finished with my granddaughter’s flannel nightgown for a Christmas present. I bought an out-of-print pattern from McCall’s with free shipping and the fabric was 40% off with a 20% off coupon from Joanne’s. I will also be able to use the pattern for my grandson’s pajamas.

    I went to the library and got several books.

  26. Hey Brandy and readers. I have a question. Besides hitting up GoodWIll–which in my area is a big miss since it is in such an economically depressed area–typical finds are Walmart stuff that I can buy brand new there on clearance for cheaper. Where would be a good place to locate decent ties (NOT 1970’s era) for cheap that are semi-in style and my 12 yr old won’t be embarrased to wear? He’s made the 7th Grade Basketball team and on game days–2-3x/week–he has to wear a shirt and tie. Hubby has some ties he can use but since my son is still a good 3 inches shorter than my husband, they’d likely be too long on him.

    Thanks in advance!

  27. So excited to hear the tomatoes are a success after such a long wait!

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons/rebates whenever possible. The turkey deals have just started in my area, with the lowest price at $0.47/LB frozen. I also found cheap dog treats, Reynolds cooking bags, and bogo rice at Target. My favorite deals were clearance veggies. A 10-LB bag of potatoes was only $1.00 and a 4-pack of rainbow peppers were only $0.78! All of my transactions with pics can be found here:

  28. I am going to use the lantern as a decoration for my upcoming baby shower so I am sure I will get a photo. The vases I will use on the table with flowers and I’m sure they’ll make an appearance some time in the future; right now I have a fall theme on my table runner.

  29. Brandy, I am really enjoying your blogs this month, all the thankful days and now this frugal accomplishments. Thank you.

    Last week was a good week for us. We ate all but one meal at home, I made a batch of Brandy’s laundry detergent, also made fabric softener and granite counter cleaner. Seems like everything ran out at once. Also was happy with the Fry’s sales (Kroger store) for butter, milk, eggs, pasta and canned goods, so did a bit of stocking up. My local scratch and dent store has huge sales every memorial and Veterans Day, 50 percent off the first $50 spent. I only needed $18 worth but it was lovely to just pay $9 (2 boxes of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran at $1 a box was my big score). We don’t eat cereal much but it’s a real treat when I can get it at a great price).

    One of my fall goals was to use up the majority of the freezer contents and defrost the freezer. Well, that isn’t happening. We had a few fantastic sales and I bought more to freeze ;). I just resigned myself to trying for a spring thaw, and much lower Nov and Dec food bills compared to last year.

    Brandy made a very interesting comment recently…about not buying turkey since she can find chicken less expensively. I hadn’t thought that way, but she is right! Why would I buy turkeys right now at $0.90 a pound when I have other less expensive meats to use up. Very smart way to look at it and saves me lots of freezer space since I always buy four turkeys at thanksgiving to use for the following year.

  30. It has been so long since I have participated in this post. Let me see if I can come up with anything.

    1. Accepted a shirt from a friend that did not fit her. It is super cute and was free!
    2. Worked over the weekend while my husband was out of town. Didnt have any plans so figured I may as well take the extra time when it is offered.
    3. Purchased meat and veggies on managers special from Kroger. Froze the meat and rlasted the veggies.
    4. Refrained from buying new clothes as the weather changes. I have so many clothes that I do not wear. Working hard to downsize and have a minimalist closet. Getting closer to my goal of having only what clothes fit in my closet.

    5. Purchased some training sessions for our 7 month old puppy. Went in together with some neighbors for a group rate. Best part…the trainer comes to us. Saves on time and gas. All I have to do is walk down to the park and meet the group.

  31. I had a couple of ebay auctions close. The money went into my gift/holiday fund.

    I worked 6 hours overtime.

    I did 2 Pinecone surveys.

    I repainted a butterfly garden decoration with paint I had on hand. We got it at Dollar Tree about 3 years ago and I thought it had rusted and was going to throw it away, but the paint had just discolored and worn off. After repainting it looks better than it did brand new!! And it looks perfect in the new garden/flower bed we put in.

    I started making overnight oats instead of having a more expensive bagel. I used to eat oatmeal everyday but don’t have time anymore. So this is convenient to just grab and go and eat at work.

    My bananas are ripening, so I have been picking them as they ripen. I also picked a bowl of everglades tomatoes.

    Have a great week everyone!

  32. Happy Monday, all!
    Pretty quiet week around here, but I think that can be a good thing!
    I got a little stomach bug so meals were simple. Leftover soup and biscuits, chicken and biscuits, pepper beef with noodles, and hot dogs. Hubby ate 90% of it.
    Other savings:
    * Sick meant staying home so my gas usage was low.
    * Hubby was given 12 name brand toothbrushes at a health fair.
    * I’m listening to an audio book that a friend loaned me.
    * Used water from our giant garage stash to fill toilet tanks after flushing. We collect it from our rain barrels, but we had so much rain this year, we were left with about 150 gallons, all in gallon sized milk jugs.
    * Still not using heat or A/C!
    And the regular stuff like catching water and hanging laundry.

  33. The very top of the chimney needs to be replaced no matter what. That is half the cost. Mom’s fireplace is one with a built-in fan and glass doors to increase its heat output but the fan is very noisy and does not work at all when most needed, during a power failure. The fireplace inserts are surprisingly expensive. If I wanted to actually heat with wood (and I don’t as long as we can use natural gas), I would put a cheap wood stove in the unfinished basement. The third flue already exists and I’ve seen boxwood stoves rated to heat a house for less than $300 advertised this year at one of our local farm supply stores. The tea lights warm up the living room a tiny bit and both mom and I are happy with the look. The old damper is, fortunately, in the closed position so there is no draft coming from the fireplace.

  34. Oooooh, those tomatoes! We love the yellow pear tomatoes. (Well, actually, we love all tomatoes.)

    I’m always so impressed by the deals you are able to find.

    It was a fairly quiet week around here, but we were able to do a few things.

    * Harvested the last of the green beans (just enough to steam and add to a big green salad). Also harvested Swiss chard to add to the salad.

    * Harvested basil, oregano, and thyme. Used the basil and thyme fresh, and dried the oregano.

    * Made a new pasta dish with dried tomatoes (from the summer garden) and pantry/refrigerator staples.

    * Made an applesauce cake (no eggs needed and only 2 Tbs. of butter called for).

    * We lost one of our hens (they are nearing the end of their typical life span), so we purchased some new pullets. They are a bit of an investment, but they will provide us with semi-free-range, organic eggs and free fertilizer. They will not provide us with meat however. (Once you name them, you can’t eat them. 😉 )

    Hope everyone has a good week!

  35. I’m very late to the dance today…

    We’ve been researching our laundry process and have changed things around to improve our productivity. We’ve decided to devote one day to laundry/folding and one day to putting it away so we are only doing laundry twice a week. It frees up for more work on other projects. So far, it is monday and all our laundry is done, sorted and put away for the week.

    I’m still tackling planting all the bulbs I’ve ordered.

    I spend sometime fixing little girl hairbows with a hot glue gun which clears out clutter on my sewing bench and was an easy fix. I’m also going to shore up some wreaths.

    We took a bunch of Tiger Scouts to a local state Park for hiking and nature bingo. It was a free trip and the bingo cards were printed for free by Walgreens by redeeming bonus points.

    I spent the evening tonight working on a new blog post, which my husband has subtitled as a “therapist’s response to the election.”

    Hope everyone has a great week.

  36. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Our frugal accomplishments are as follows –

    Financial frugalities –

    – Banked another $274.91 into our saving for our home with cash bank account.

    In the kitchen and household –

    – Made 500ml of rose petal cordial from roses picked from our gardens saving $9.49 over buying it in the boutique food stores.
    – Made our own shower and tile cleaner from items in the pantry and cleaning cupboards.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Took our own fruit spread with butter and plain breads spread with homemade strawberry jam to 3 bring a plate functions.
    – Picked all home grown vegetables and berries to use in lunches and dinners.
    – Blanched and froze 785g of snow peas & 1kg of broccoli from our gardens for advanced food stocks.
    – Used homemade stain remover to remove stains off 4 t-shirts.

    Electricity Savings –

    – Used our newly purchased solar powered lanterns to light the house at night without turning on any mains powered lights.
    – Cooked and washed in cheaper electricity times.

    In the garden –

    – Picked snow peas, broccoli, silver beet, turnips and strawberries from the gardens.
    – Planted an 8mt row of snow pea and 1.8mt row of lettuce seeds in the vegetable gardens.
    – Used homemade compost and free cow manure to amend the soil in one garden bed.

    Water preservation –

    – Watered all house paddock grass with saved grey water from our showers and washing machine.
    – Missed 1 scheduled garden watering due to rain saving 469.9lts of town water use.
    – Watered newly planted seeds and herb pot plants with vegetable washing or steaming water and rain water from our tanks.

  37. Have you thought to send out a call to family and friends and ask them if they have ties you could have for your son. Ties don’t normally get very worn out. However, as you said, your son needs a smaller tie size than your husband. That means if family or friends have boys bigger than your son, they may have a tie sitting around not being used. I’m sure they would be happy to pass them to someone who can use them!

  38. Your tomatoes look lovely!
    I am always inspired, reading everyone’s frugal posts each week. We were out of the country for a week on vacation — not particularly frugal, though we did what we could to save — I didn’t buy any new clothes for the trip, we didn’t check luggage, we packed a lunch for the plane, we didn’t buy any souvenirs. On the way home, our credit card entitled us to entrance to an airport lounge, so we waited for our connecting flight there and enjoyed a nice (free) dinner. While we were away we had house sitters here to look after the house and pets — a free exchange. It worked out great.

    I have lots of lettuce to pick this week and the peas I planted before we left are coming up. Our sitters made dinner for us and we have leftovers for another meal. They also left behind ice cream — a treat we will enjoy. Today I am doing laundry and the weather is still nice enough to hang it outside to dry.

  39. My grandson celebrated his 9th birthday. He lives 400 miles away so we weren’t with him at his party, but we did see him at Halloween. We took birthday presents then – which he opened at his birthday party. We gave him $50 in crisp $10 bills, 3 pairs of pants, 2 long sleeve shirts, a quarter zip sweater and a pair of Topsider type shoes. The clothes and shoes were acquired over 2 or 3 years and cost a total of $21.50. I have been purchasing clothes for him in future sizes for some time. I wait until the very final clearance so that items are about 80% off their original prices. He is just about a size 10 now. I have a considerable stockpile of 12, 14 and 16 clothes. I am not buying any more – because I think teenage sizes and choices are unpredictable. He isn’t picky about brand names but who knows what the teen years will bring.

    I made slow cooker pasta y fagioli soup, whole wheat date bread, whole wheat bread, and chicken breast in tomato sauce on Saturday. I also made 6 dozen cookies to donate to the museum Holiday Open House in early December. (It is my job to find at least 200 dozen cookies for this event.) I enjoy listening to books on CD from the library. Currently I am listening to Karl Hiaasen and Louise Penny books.

    We enjoyed a free lecture, with refreshments at the local museum on Sunday night. It was the premiere of a PBS documentary that will broadcast soon.

  40. I went to Old Navy for my son. He also has to wear a shirt, tie and dress pants on game days. This week we have three games. I was able to, using their clearance online, purchase the dress shirt and tie as a set for under $10. His pants were also under $10 each as they were getting rid of school pants. Also is an excellent place for ties, good looking ties, it is just that my son is 11 so he can’t quite wear an adult tie yet.

  41. I have been trying to hit the Swagbucks pretty hard myself.The Hulu gift card I got from my work will be used up by the end of the month,and I am very close to getting a $25 Hulu gift card through Swagbucks to keep it going. I like having it, but I wouldn’t pay for it out of pocket.

    I’ve been using Ibotta and Shopkick as well. I got $4 in Target gift cards through Shopkick last week and I’m up to $38 in Ibotta cash back.

  42. I had a friend I said that to one time – about naming animals – only they raised pigs. She told me that they named them – One was named breakfast, one lunch and one dinner. 🙂 We lived in farm country – so I thought that was pretty funny.

  43. That [u]is[/u] funny. My dad grew up on a farm, so I’m sure if he were alive he would think I’m nuts. I’m sure our cousins who live in rural Indiana would laugh at us too. 😉

  44. Hi Lorna,
    How are the solar powered lanterns doing? Do you find they are adequate? If so, what type do you have?

  45. Hi Gabrielle and I know it is fascinating to find out what things you can make from nature that are good for you and also have nutritional value. We were introduced to this cordial to drink many years ago at a Medieval festival and purchased some, and it tasted so lovely we had to find out how to make it. It smells divine and tastes even better.

    I thought I would start of with the health benefits of roses for you to have a look at, this is a link from a herbalist –

    And also the recipe that I found on the internet, we used natural rosewater essence available in the cooking section of your local supermarkets.

    You really have to give this a try it tastes divine !.

  46. Hi Hilogene and we are really happy with our solar lanterns we experimented and purchased two different types they ranged in price from $8.00 – $9.00 ea $AUD. A little bit of statistics for you on what percentage of your power bill is lighting, upon reading it is on average 8 – 15% of your households power consumption. So if you do the math on those figures you would be pretty accurate on what using purely solar lanterns for lighting would save your household.

    We have used the solar powered tent light with separate panel so far and find on a day with full sun to charge it, it lasts 5 hours, if it is a cloudy day it will last 3 – 3.5 hrs. I would recommend this one for reading by on a side table or in a lounge room hung between 2 lounge chairs. Here is the link to this one – .

    We also purchased a couple of this type too, they just arrived today and we have charged them up and they are really bright and will light up a whole room. Not sure on how long a full charge will light for at the moment but can tell you after tonight’s first trial run. I would imagine though fully charged it would last around the same 5 or so hours giving light. Here is the link to this one –

    I hope this information helps you.

  47. We keep a desser in our closet as well, I had many less than happy times finding a disaster in there after the children played hide and seek. Now it is not as tempting and things are not knocked off hangers, sheesh like I need any more laundry setbacks. 🙂

    I was the happy recipient of free baby sitting , my husband and I went on a lunch date.
    I have been stocking g up for holiday baking and have all my nuts and most of my butter, I think I just need candied fruit now. I would love some vanilla beans but if they don’t go on sale, probably not.

    I picked up some nice winte pajamas for the children at Marshalls.
    We’ve been picking out a gift at a time and buying them with coupons. I’m pleased to be 1/4 done.

  48. * I love the photo of the tomatoes – I too find it strange to be picking them in November – but I’ve never lived anywhere warm either 🙂 The weather has been very mild and stayed clear for several days so we could enjoy seeing the enormous harvest full moon. The UP and northern lower MI is supposed to get lake effect snow this weekend so the lovely mild weather is on it’s way out I think.
    * Harvested cat nip – to those of you with kitties – don’t harvest it, bring it in and leave it sitting on the counter while you go do something else……4 of our 5 cats were rolling in it ON the counter and then were jerks for the next hour LOL. It is now in the dehydrator and they haven’t figured out how to open the door – yet.
    * I decided that if I couldn’t chip the brush pile I might as well use it for burning in our wood stove. I spent several hours cutting branches down so they’d fit in the stove. I think I am going to ask my dad to bring his chainsaw over next time he’s out our way and have him cut down the really big branches that I can’t use the loppers on.
    * Used our last free dog food coupon.
    * clipped all the dogs nails myself again (saves me around $40!)
    * Picked up canned veggies at 3/$1 and canned broth for 49 cents a can (I lost all my frozen broth when the freezer door got left open) and was sent home from work with smoked ribs and 2 smoked half chickens, chicken salad and baked beans (the salad and beans were at the end of their expiration date and the chicken and ribs were reheats).
    * The cats broke my traverse rod for my slider door (climbing the curtains :/ ) I bought some $1 store shower curtain rings and sewed them to the pleats of the drapes and rehung it. I also put a wooded dowel between the rod sections to hopefully reinforce it enough that if (when…..) they climb them again the rod won’t bend.
    * Saw Dr. Strange at the cheap movie theater with money I had set aside over the last month. This Friday we will be seeing Fantastic Beasts with the bottle return money 🙂 Movies have always been my husband and I’s dates – we both love the escape! 2+ hours of no intrusions from the real world.
    * We finally gave in and had to turn the heat on 🙁 The house had dropped to 59 one morning and everyone was freezing. Why is it that come spring time 59 will feel downright balmy?! We do run a fire in the wood stove in the evenings to keep the furnace from kicking on and I open all the blinds and curtains when the sun is shining to again help keep the furnace stay off.
    * started my list of treats to make for Christmas goodie baskets which is all I will be giving out this year. I think I have everything but the sugar for all of the items but I am waiting for the black Friday weekend sale that will be going on at our Meijers store – 99 cent 5lb bags of sugar and flour!
    * My Mom brought over a bag of shirts and shoes her cousin had given her to pass along. I have very large feet (size 11 wide) with bunions and have a hard time finding shoes second hand. 4 of the tennis shoes and 1 pair of sandals fit and 2 of the tennis shoes were never even worn!! Woohoo! – saved me a lot of $ since my work shoes have been needing to be replaced for over a month! Many of the shirts fit too and most of those were hardly worn either.
    * and a public service announcement – when putting things in the freezer make sure to label them – yellow cupcakes don’t work very well on chili hehe (I thought they were corn muffins…..nope – unfrosted yellow cupcakes)

  49. Congratulations to you on the weight loss 🙂 Years ago when I shopped at SA and it wasn’t popular people would ask point blank where
    did you get that coat, hat, dress ? and if I did not want to say SA I would say a little boutique on main called Sallys. Then I would say it might be a one of a kind. I did not see another and they would say ok. A few people told me they found Sallys and I would say good job.
    That is incredible how many basements do you have?

  50. We have had a pretty mild Fall so far but it is to end this weekend, I hear. Deer hunting begins soon and the hunters prefer some snow and cold.

    Brandy, you certainly did well with the 2 bicycles, among your other finds. I have never seen used bicycles that reasonably priced.

    This will all be for 2 weeks….gardens that were protected from the frost are still producing. We harvested cauliflower, zucchini, kale, hot peppers. We have arugula and loose leaf lettuce in the greenhouse. I can still use fresh herbs as I always bring pots of them in for the winter. We brought in more rutabaga and carrots. That is the last of the root vegetables. There are still Brussels sprouts out there. All my green tomatoes have ripened to red and most have been used/cooked. There are about 100 left to use.

    At the grocer bought shampoo and conditioner, the suave brand, using sale and coupons. Bought 3 sets. Bought clementines with sale and coupon. Grocer had a 3.00 coupon for use on the oil I like to buy for salad dressing. Also a coupon for a free frozen pizza and free poptarts, something we don’t normally buy but I will take free. Bought celery, radishes, iceberg lettuce was .99, bought 2. Bought 2 bags of croutons for stuffing on sale with double coupons. I do use left over bread for stuffing but we always need more so handy to have the croutons on hand. Will buy more. Bought powder sugar, brown sugar and unbleached flour on sale and with coupons. Bought 2 gallons of milk (per week), 2 lb bag of frozen shrimp (for 2 future recipes), paprika, tofu, navy beans.

    Cooked and baked from scratch, but we had a number of obligations over the last 2 weeks and most involved meals. Baked 2 loaves white bread (per week), spaghetti sauce, chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, 7 layer salad, baked squash, butternut squash soup, cauliflower corn chowder, coleslaw x 3. Burritos some just bean and some with shredded pork (this frozen meat was some leftover from Susie’s wedding in June), Mexican rice…cooked rice I seasoned. I had so many spicy peppers this year that I had cooked up quarts of tomatoes with onions and peppers and froze them so they would be ready for mixing with rice or beans or other recipes where I wanted spiciness. Made chocolate pudding, popcorn x 2, smores for dessert one night.

    Did all the usual of hanging clothes to dry, still not using furnace as been so mild, just using the wood stove. Recycled, reused ziplocs, used own carry bags at the grocer and get .05 cents per each. I have for years used my own mesh produce bags and am thinking should get a credit for those. Yes?? Put the canning supplies away…won’t need again til I make marmalade, usually in January. Put up white lights on the outside of the house and workshop. Our tenants wanted to put up lights too on the garage apartment. We said we’d pay for the lights if he took care of putting them up and taking them down and no blinkers. It’s dark too early 🙁

    I mentioned birth of granddaughter to oldest girl Eliana and her husband Theo. They have named her Theodora after Daddy and are calling her Dora. They kind of expected a boy as there are only boys among the 10 grandchildren of his parents. (They did not want an ultrasound as felt it was medically unnecessary…I never had an US either with any). We are so fortunate to be able to see her every day. Since she already has the cradle and rocking chair, my husband made her a keepsake shelf. I made her a machine quilted crazy quilt using a mix of all the pastel fabrics I had in pinks and yellows, greens and blues etc. Many of the fabrics were from dresses I made for the girls growing up, a few were even left over from my dresses. I backed it with some pale yellow and white polka dot. I did not finish it up until after she was born…then I edged it all with pink bias tape (homemade).

  51. Cats are such stoners aren’t they? I also agree they are idiots when they’re high. At least they’re entertaining and they don’t drive while under the influence!:D

  52. your menu plans always make me drool! Wishing I had your creativity. The current chapter of my life is very overwhelming so anything beyond the most extremely simple things are just not happening right now. Just got to roll with it I guess.

  53. That quilt sounds gorgeous, Athanasia! What a lucky little granddaughter you have. I bet she is going to be spoiled, being the only granddaughter on her daddy’s side.;)

  54. Thanks Rhonda, the quilt turned out nice, despite being all machine made. I can’t do the fine quilting stitches anymore and I thought yarn ties would make it lumpy. Yes, I think she will be getting a lot of attention.

  55. to continue…Our church newsletter has a helpful hint column and they said that for ladies that shave their legs to use hair conditioner. It is cheaper than shaving creams. Also it is a way to use up conditioners that are sitting around that you may have bought and do not like.

    We had several activities at church. We had a talent show with snacks after. I brought apple slices, apples from our trees, with caramel apple dip made from cream cheese, brown sugar and vanilla. Attended a baby shower for a family living in Mississippi…he is in school down there and they drove up with the new baby. They had to borrow some warmer long sleeve outfits while here 🙂 7 of us went in on a baby backpack they wanted for when she outgrows the frontpack. A meal was provided. Attended a wedding shower with dinner and dessert for a daughter of a cousin. They are living in Chicago, well he is now for school and they will be renting a studio apartment in an old factory with immensely high ceiling and pipes etc. The pictures looked very interesting. They requested gift cards to IKEA. Missed the Samaritan purse shoebox packing party (they did 304) because we were out of town for a funeral last weekend (weekend before this past one). This was for brother of my father and the brother’s wife (ie aunt and uncle). They died very close together. We carpooled down and rented rooms in a hotel near the airport. They chose that one as had no banquet hall and other fancy things so we did not have to worry about big rowdy wedding parties and it was convenient for those flying in. The gathering started at the motel Fri afternoon and night as people came in from out of town, staying either at the motel or other relatives or friends. Everyone either brought food or ordered something like pizza. Some one brought in a platter of eggrolls and sauce. The motel did not have a breakfast place but it had toaster, coffee stuff. We brought along peanut butter, jam, bread and apples. Everyone else brought food too and we had a buffet. Someone brought in kringles. Then we went to funeral, cemetery and meal after. The meal was a Thanksgiving type dinner with turkey and everything in the church hall. They chose that as my father’s family is much more dispersed than my mother’s and so folks were coming from afar, 2 families even from overseas and all corners of U.S. So nice to see everyone, though for a sad occasion. Daughter Eliana had to stay home due to due date of baby so as we all were gone daughter Johanna the RN came to spend weekend with her. Gas is always cheaper in the S of the state but we used the 2 Priuses again so did good with gasoline costs for our immediate group of 9.

    Read several Amish romance, a book on the history of vegetables, and a few other books from the library. Bought for .25 at book sale MY BROTHER SAM IS DEAD. I saw Brandy mention that. I will read it quick to see if can add to the church/school library. Watched another episode of TIMELESS. Also received a stack of Saturday Evening Posts from a friend. Been taping DVRing episodes of MARTHA BAKES off of PBS, watched them several times each. The recipes look good, especially the one for homemade fig bars. I have wanted one of those for years.

  56. Thank you, Lisa. Many of the meal ideas I share are actually pretty easy or quick meals. When I have time, I make more complicated meals, like the shepherds pie. But some nights, it’s convenience foods, like the breaded stuffed chicken…it’s store bought, not homemade. Sometimes we’re organized enough that we can get things like meatballs from the freezer into the crock-pot. I’m honestly not a gourmet kind of cook, but I’m always on the lookout for simple meals that my family will eat (picky eaters and various personal preferences make meals difficult in our house). I figure others are too, which is why I share what we cooked this week at home.

  57. This covers 2 weeks since I visited with our middle daughter in WA for 6 days, & delivered their Christmas presents along with the applesauce, assorted bottled fruit, & a case of hominy. Took her 2 of the wreaths I made from our grapevines. I brought back a water barrel that they did not want, and the Christmas presents for us & for her sisters. While I was there, I baked a butternut squash pie with my 13 month granddaughter, & the next day, we made squash yeast rolls together. Too much fun for both of us, & you can’t start too young to pass on skills!

    Cut & stewed more tomatoes from the ripening bowls & put them up as sauce for the pantry.

    Dug out the rest of the beets from the garden & processed them. Dug out the volunteer potatoes.

    Spread one of the large bags of leaves from curbside on the front lawn & let them dry out before I mowed it, then spread the grass clippings mixed with shredded leaves on the top tier of the garden.

    Pruned the peach tree on the north side to facilitate the installation of fence next to it by the neighbor. Moved the edging blocks we had around the bark out of the area where they will be installing her fence, so they do not get damaged.

    Cut back severely the forsythia bush on the north side of the house. The trimmings filled the garbage can the rest of the way before pickup day. If our oldest daughter wants the bush, she can have her teenagers dig it out when they are here the day after Thanksgiving. If not, I will spray it & kill it. I purchased “dwarf” forsythia, & all three are not dwarf. The other two are ok in the space allotted to them, but this one is not.

    Sent butternut squash home with the youngest daughter when she visited over the weekend.

    Resolved the issue with the store where I purchased the oil lamp that youngest DD requested for Christmas. They sent a new lamp. The first one they sent had a clamp broken on the burner. Next they sent me a Queen Anne #2 burner, which was lovely, but did not fit the lamp. Finally they just sent another lamp. I put together the “good parts” of the 2 lamps & wrapped that box for our daughter’s gift, & set the other pieces aside as “replacement parts” I was not sure what to do with the burner that did not fit, but I tried it on the oil lamp I inherited from my mother, & it fit, so now I have a ”replacement” burner & wick as well. They did not want to pay the postage to return any of the things they sent. So a bit of a hassle, but it turned out rather well for us.

    Finished the overstitching on the last two pair of wool mittens. The girls’ mittens have snowflakes; the boys’ are plain – that way there are no arguments about which is whose later. Wrapped them all together in one box (as a family gift), with tags attached to each individual pair, so when our oldest daughter comes over the day after Thanksgiving, their Christmas presents will go home with them.

    Bought a new mattress set for the downstairs guest room. The one there was over 30 years old, & needed replaced. This one is quite comfortable, & the brand was being closed out, so the clearance sale price reflected that, & was within what I was willing to spend.

    Stocked up on clearance M&Ms for 42 cents a package. Chocolate is an important prep at our house. I also stocked up on a bunch of gluten-free pasta on clearance for 50 cents & $1 a package at our grocery store, because our oldest daughter is celiac & so is one of her children. Gluten free pasta is so expensive, I took all the Tinkyada pasta in the basket, because $1 each is a huge bargain for it.

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