Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Iceberg Rose in December The Prudent Homemaker

Iceberg Rose in the white garden at sunrise

 

The weather has been beautiful and warmer than usual. I enjoyed being out in the garden. I planted seeds in the garden for spinach, radishes, and lettuce.

I picked up the free nuts and candy that I had loaded to my grocery store card last week. I also added another freebie to my card this week that I picked up as well (a free 2-liter bottle of soda). When I was at the store, I couldn’t find the chewable version of the candy that the website had listed as the freebie. The cashier told me it also included the hard candy, which is what my husband prefers, and they had plenty of those in stock. I’m glad I asked! I used the candy for a stocking stuffer for my husband (it’s one of his favorites).

I returned a small item I bought but did not use. I had waited to return it until I needed to go to the same store again.

I used a $10 off coupon that I received in the mail to buy my son a shirt for a Christmas gift. I spent $5.40 out of pocket for a new shirt.

I contacted a company about their one-year-growing guarantee for my rosebushes that died. Replacements will be shipped to me early next year for the plants which didn’t make it. Also, one plant did fine, but it was mislabeled. They will be sending me the correct plant next year, but I now have another rosebush! (This is their normal policy for mislabeled roses). 

My husband and I had short 2 dates at home. We played card games together after the children were in bed.

I accepted a small 2017 calendar from my mom that she received as a free promotional item. This will save me the expense of buying a new small planner (and it was just about the same size as the one I usually buy!) for my purse. I’m a paper and pen planner (I don’t have a cell phone) and this is perfect for my needs.

I watched some free French language videos to improve my French on the Comme Une Française blog.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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127 Comments

  1. I received a very nice dried fruit platter for a gift – the sender meant well but didn’t understand that dried fruit is horrible for those with prediabetes or diabetes! So I re gifted the gift to someone who would enjoy it, saving $ on a gift. I purchased a very nice dress sweater for my husband at TJ Max; I think he will enjoy it and it was very affordable. I am doing some entertaining over the holidays and am making menus with a strong emphasis on frugal foods, for instance, since cream cheese is on sale now I will make cheesecake for our New Year’s Day party. Fortunately, my teen daughter is learning frugal ways: She asked to have 8 girls over this week for a Secret Santa sleepover and told them it needed to be a potluck

  2. Thanks for saying you don’t have a cell phone, Brandy, since I sometimes feel like I am the last person in the U.S. who does not carry one!

    Found butter for $2 a pound, the cheapest this year. The husband and I had to go back several times but we managed to stock up 12 pounds of it for the next year.

    Traded some yarn I didn’t want for two jars of beets my neighbor grew and canned.

    Made another pot of soup using only items from the freezer and cupboard. Tasty and inexpensive.

    Made a vat of mac and cheese, using up dribs and drabs of cheese ends I have been throwing into the freezer all year. Turned out wonderful and there was enough to share with a friend instead of going out to lunch with her.

    Found two like new books at the used bookstore. They are cookbooks and will go to a baking crazy friend for her Christmas gift.

    I needed about a dozen Christmas cards so instead of buying them I made them with existing supplies that have been sitting in my craft closet for at least a year.

    Merry Christmas to you and your readers.

  3. 😀 People look at me like I am missing my head when I mention I don’t have a phone. I had someone tell me this week that I couldn’t possibly use Target Cartwheel because it’s an app (and I don’t have a phone), and I told her I just log in on my computer (thanks to a reader’s telling me about this, I print out what deals I want at home ahead of time).

    I can think of so many other ways I would rather spend my money than on another utility bill. At some point, I’ll probably get one (and I had one 17 years ago; it was a work cell). I’m just glad that time isn’t yet!

  4. I baked bread twice this week (the third loaf is cooling as I type). The first loaf didn’t rise. It was almost, but not quite, rock bread. Consequently, we used half of it as bird and squirrel feed. I was afraid my yeast (best by 2014 but refrigerated) had expired. So, I proofed the yeast before loaf number two. The yeast was very much alive. The second loaf turned out very well. The third loaf rose too. It looks, from the outside, more rustic. I also tried Brandy’s recipe for meatless, oatmeal-based, chicken fried steak. We had no chicken seasoning in the house so I used Mrs. Dash instead and added 1.5 t of beef Better Than Bouillon for a half recipe. Mom and I were amazed. Our mouths “thought” they were eating meat patties and the patties looked like meat too. Afterwards, I found a YouTube video online that made breakfast “sausage” using the same method. I have a very large cookbook collection and don’t recall ever seeing the use of eggs and oatmeal as a meat substitute. I can see using this as “meatballs” or as the Italian “sausage” in lasagna. Further experimentation will have to wait until we buy more oatmeal. My mom baked a good-tasting batch of biscuits into bricks. I salvaged half of them by making a little batch of biscuit pudding using a bread pudding recipe.I baked it in a covered two cup casserole. It was good. I will use the last four biscuits the same way (sorry birds and squirrels). That was about it for thrift this week. I am baking and cooking more and trying to waste less. I hope everyone gets everything done that needs to be done this week.

  5. Last Sunday, our daughter was hosting family (about 35 of us) for lunch after their new baby blessing. I brought pulled pork that I made from boneless pork tenderloin roast in my freezer (bought at $1.29/ pound)! So nice to be able to just take it out of my freezer storage!
    Another daughter and family are flying in tomorrow from CA and she’s had an impossible time finding heavy winter coats for her three kiddos! I went to our favorite SA here (we’re in Ohio) and found 3 coats (including a dressy coat for our 6 year old granddaughter as well as 2 winter coats and a winter vest from Old Navy for our 4 year old grandson and a snowsuit that still had all the original tags on it for the 8 month old granddaughter! Total cost because it was half off everything (every Wednesday): $22!!! That’s 5 coats, 1 vest and 1 snowsuit!!! I’m happy!,

    At the same time I bought Christmas boxes/baskets and plates to hold food gifts that I’m making! 11 baskets for our adult families and about a dozen additional plates for friends! Cost: $4.50!!

    But, best of all, they had a Kitchenaid stainless steel refrigerator with ice and water dispensers in door! Our refrigerator is almost 20 years old and while it still works, the handle is cracked and we know it uses a lot more electricity! We have slowly replaced , as they died, each of our other kitchen appliance with stainless steel. This one is an energy star and although it’s not new, we could be very happy with it! Price? $199. And it said “no discount” since it is a big ticket item that they just got in that day! I asked them if I could verify that it works and so they plugged it in and within 15 minutes the freezer was down to zero and the fridge temp was 40 degrees! I was ecstatic since I measured and it fits nicely in our space in kitchen! Hubby agreed that we should buy it as our present to each other! When I went to pay, it rang up as $161!!! I told the cashier that it said no discount on the tag but she told me that ALL furniture was 25% off that day even if it said no discount! Looked up this model and it retailed at over $1600 new!!! We are thrilled!!
    Today someone at church told all of us about one of his co-workers whose apartment complex burned down this week and is starting with nothing for himself and his family and they are thrilled to get our old fridge, a brand new crockpot (free with my Kohls cash), a dresser from our basement and some dishes and silverware. We are grateful to be able to share!
    We are truly counting our blessings this week!!

  6. I wrapped all our gifts using materials on hand. Everything looks nice, too.
    We decorated with items on hand as well. Changed things around a little to vary the look from previous years and I’m pleased with the results. (I used some paper garland I made last year, following Brandi’s directions. I carefully folded it and saved it in an envelope and it still looks great.) I even found a wreath I wasn’t using and hung it on the signpost at the end of our street. It looks very festive.
    I made chicken pot pies from leftover chicken. One regular-sized pie recipe (2 cups chicken) makes four smaller pies. We ate one and I put the others in the freezer. They are great meals when we’re rushed for time, or to take to someone who needs a meal.
    We shopped during the grand re-opening of a local grocery that had been remodeled. I bought more butter at 1.88 a pound and got my free nuts, candy and soda also! Colorado Lottery was giving away scratch-off tickets. We won $2 from our tickets. We don’t buy lottery tickets, but I’m happy to cash these in.
    I picked the last of the lettuce from the greenhouse. With the cold temperatures it has mostly stopped growing, and some of it froze, but I was able to get enough for side salads for dinner. The peas are, amazingly, still growing in there. I moved the pots away from the walls of the greenhouse, covered them with frost cloth and am hoping for the best. I emptied a smaller window box, filled it with fresh soil and brought it inside to plant with lettuce. Right now it is sitting behind the wood stove until the lettuce starts to sprout, then I will move it onto the windowsill in my guest bedroom. I’ve never done this before, so we’ll see if the experiment works.
    I made a new frugal recipe – husband blinders with chard. If you Google that, you will find the recipe. It is from Martha Stewart. Husband blinders are a pasta made from bread dough, and they are served in a simple cream sauce with the chard. It was so delicious! I made half the recipe and my husband had two servings, I had one, and there was still enough left over for my lunch the next day – and I have more dough for the ‘blinders’ in the freezer. I had to buy the chard, but in the summer this will be a super-cheap recipe, since chard grows well here. I also think it would be good with spinach.
    Made bread, hung laundry to dry in front of the wood stove, car-pooled to church and choir practice with my neighbor and made cookies to give away using items I already had on hand.

  7. I watched a TV show (public television) on making La. food. I made Muffalatta (sp?) sandwiches. I made the bread and olive salad for the sandwiches. I then made pecan candy too. (I have many pecans from my sister in law) These were a big hit with family.

    I made several pair of flannel pajama pants for my boys. I made them some boxer underwear too.

    I too do not have a cell phone. I used to, I drove a car that was 18 years old and my husband worried if I broke down I would not be able to call for help. When we got a new car 3 years ago I got rid of the cell as the new car has ON STAR.

    I used coupons to get free milk. (buy the cereal and got the milk)

    It is cold here. In the 20’s. I made some hot chocolate for the family. I have all meals planned and will not need to shop any this week.

  8. Today was 15 below here in MN so I baked! I had been to a store’s .99 baking sale and had flour, white sugar, brown sugar, milk chocolate M&Ms at that price. Eggs were .49 a dozen. I did have to pay $2.50 for butter. From 10AM til 4PM, I baked – carmel corn, 3 kinds of cookies, cinnamon rolls. Then I made chili for tonight’s dinner.

    I’ll use some of the baking for gifts and some for home entertaining.

    While I cooked,I watched Project Runway – Season 13 – on HULU which I share with a friend.

    Last time I did a big baking session, I burned out my hand mixer that was over 20 years old. Today I used the KitchenAid mixer that was given to me by the women I work for.

  9. Went to a homeschool holiday party. Brought some dips I already had in the cupboard which I only had to buy a few bags of chips instead of buy both. Then they were hardly used so I brought everything back home.

    Stayed home almost everyday except for two days.

    Made all meals at home except for the party.

    Went through my sons outgrown clothes to try and sell them.

    Bought my son a few books that were .50 cents each for part of his Xmas gift.

    Bought green bell peppers that were 3 for $1. I bought 9 of them.

    Bought 9lbs of oranges. They were 3lbs for $1.

    Bought 12lbs of onions of both yellow and red they were on sale for 3lbs for $1.

    Bought some organic broccoli since it was .89 cents a pound. Cheaper than the non organic ones which were $1.49 a pound.

    Hubby got 2 free coffee mugs from work that his coworker didn’t want. We actually needed a couple more since we only had one!!

  10. Rose in December….how beautiful!

    Brought a pan of peppermint brownies to a potluck holiday party. I used candy canes purchased last year after Christmas. Four canes smashed and put into the batter is perfect with one more candy cane sprinkled over the top for decoration as soon as the brownies come out of the oven.

    Took my elderly neighbor out for an hour drive one night to view Christmas lights. Free except for gas.

    Shoveled by hand 6″ of snow. Now that I have two replacement knees, I can do things like this again…Can think of many other things I’m more excited about ; )

    Ordered four tops from swap.com. This was my first time. I will be returning two for credit.

    Watched masterclass baking on PBS with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. I’m learning A LOT!

  11. We are doing our best to stay warm here in Indiana. Right now it is 8 degrees and will get colder throughout the night. We are putting rolled up towels in front of doors to keep out the cold and layering our clothes to stay warm.

    Today 2 of our daughters came over with 3 of the grandkids for our annual baking day for Christmas. We each make 3 to 4 different kinds of treats and then divide them up to take home. We always have more than enough and I usually take some to work with me to share. I told my daughter today that it’s one of the best ideas we’ve ever had and a tradition that our grandkids look forward to every year.

    We ate all our meals at home. I made a roast chicken for our dinner last night and chicken rice soup today for our lunch. I made spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker for dinners later in the week. Have a blessed week!

  12. I have a $38 cheap smart phone, but I do not have internet nor a computer, nor tv at my house. I use library at my breaks, or after work, if I cannot use my phone for some reason. So, I am just the opposite….lol. But I travel great distances down and country roads for work so for safety reasons I have a cheap cell. I do not think I save any money this way, but I did not want to pay for both home internet access and a cell, so, because of the travel distances, I chose a cell. I could see in your situation where it makes sense, financially, not to have one.

  13. It was 77 degrees here yesterday, and I enjoyed a long walk in the beautiful weather. Today it is 50 and raining all day today. I went to our little branch church, enjoyed a talk by a member of our stake presidency, and Christmas carols, and afterwards came straight home. I ate collards I bought Friday from a farmer who was selling them from the back of his truck. Really, this week I have just done what I always do, brought my lunch to work, tried to keep the heat down, or off on warm days, and eat food here. I did use a $5 off 25 coupon at Dollar General and stocked up on dog and cat food, eggs, and paper towels. I bought soda 3 for $3 also, with the coupon. I realize I could do without the paper towels and the soda, but it is a nice treat. The cat keeps the mice away, and the dog protects me, as I do not live in the safest neighborhood, so I consider my pets necessities, as well as companions. I think we all do what we need to do given our circumstances. I made peanut butter fudge for Christmas. I still have not wrapped the books I got for my three sons for Christmas. I got them three nice hardback books a piece (total of 9), for 10 cents per book!!!! I think I already have in stock all the food I need for Christmas dinner. I am looking forward to Christmas and to having some time off.

  14. We are moving in a couple of months, so I am shopping in our pantry and freezer for all meals. My daughter helped me inventory & rearrange our freezers; we got a bunch of things moved into the one on the fridge and consolidated the big freezer to just two baskets. I’m using what I can from there so we can turn off the big freezer soo . To that end, I made a cherry cobbler using cherries I halved and froze last year for a ward Christmas dinner. My mom is making lasagna for our family Christmas dinner, so I gave her noodles and sauce from my pantry – all she has to pick up is the cheeses.

    We used fuel points from my folks to buy a half tank of diesel for our truck.

    My husband and son went to a state park; admission was already paid with our parks pass, paid for last year when we renewed vehicle tabs.

  15. I have the pay-as-you-go phone. We put minutes on it once a year. I use so few that i always have leftovers. (I usually only turn it on when i’m traveling.) It works out to about 10.00 a month. (Paid in full when you buy the minutes.) We also have the old house phone; that runs 25.00 a month. I don’t want my life on a cell phone. The monthly rates can be expensive.

  16. I envy you being in the garden. Sounds like a great company that you deal with for your roses.
    We are having a good winter here so far with over 14 inches of snow already on the ground. It will be a white Christmas for sure! We went sledding today with the grandchildren and had a great time.

    Here are the the rest of my frugal accomplishments:
    http://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2016/12/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-121816.html

  17. I can see how that would work in your situation. We don’t have cable tv (or Hulu or Netflix) but we can watch dvds and YouTube. My husband works from home some part of every day but Sunday (and often whole days at home), so having internet access at home is important. We also use computers for schoolwork (and writing this site!)

    I rarely drive and if I do it is usually no further than 5 miles. Most errands I run are within 1-2 miles from here. I’m grateful to have shopping so close to us!

  18. I dumped call waiting ($5) a month around a decade ago. I don’t mind not giving the phone company $600 in the last 10 years! I dumped long distance years before that. So I only have local calls. I know there are some $10 options, but I can’t help but think of all the things I would do with $120 a year.

    My husband has a cell phone for work (useful as he works from home and is out and about when working too) so if I really need to make a long distance call, I can use it. I had a calling card that I bought for $20 that had 2000 minutes on it. It took me 10 years to use it up!

    Maybe one day I’ll have one again, but I sure don’t mind having one now!

    Everyone has to work out the best deal for them. I’m home most of the time and rarely on the phone, so this works for us!

  19. My local grocery chain, Shaw’s, also does the free offers if you download the app and use e-coupons. The problem is that they’re either never in stock (no rain checks) or they don’t work at all! Still, I keep trying. Was the $10.00 coupon from JC Penny? I heard about that deal online but didn’t want to contend with mall traffic.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the deals and using coupons/rebates when possible. I was able to get 8 hand soaps at Right Aid for $0.25 each after points, Almay eye shadow for $0.35 at Walgreens, whole turkey for $0.47/lb, apples for $0.50/lb and lots more. All of my transactions with pics here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-121716/

  20. We ate at home all meals except one. I was very pleased at finishing up all the leftovers and then worked through some freezer meals, delicious and easy. Almost finished reviewing our spending in 2016, and doing a comparison to our budget for the year. Overall, our medical expenses were much higher than expected, as were our home repair costs, but everything else, in total, came in close. Am drafting next years budget so am increasing our costs for medical (yikes) and repairs, and then trying to hammer down all the other categories. It will be a challenging year. But I keep learning new skills here so have hope that we will manage through. My heart goes out to those who are struggling but haven’t yet found websites like this which is so full of useful information.

  21. The $10 coupon came in the mail from Kohl’s. I used it–but looked online to see what sales they had first and I couldn’t find either of the sweaters I had been planning to buy for my son. They had a lot more on their site than in the store. I don’t normally shop there–I know they have lots of sales and coupon deals, but in general I find their prices to be high. The dress I bought at Goodwill last week for $6.99 is one of their brands and it sells for almost $100 there! (I know that’s the going price for most dresses though). And the jeans my mom bought (brand-new!) at a garage sale for me just the other week are the same brand (she spent $2 and they are $59 at the store!) So I have found a brand that fits me from there but I will just have to look for it at local thrift stores, because I can’t fathom paying so much (the jeans were on sale for $34 when I went there, but even with my $10 off coupon I didn’t want to pay that much; I’m too used to garage sale prices of $1-$2 for clothing!)

    I heard about the J.C. Penny deal. I didn’t want to drive to the mall either!

  22. You could opt for an itouch. I use a free texting app. Target cartwheel, Walmart savings catcher, ibotta etc. I get on the stores free wifi. Walmart is the slowest. I have enjoyed mine for the past year and will continue for the next year.

  23. I’m totally a paper planner person too! (And I do have a cell phone — I just prefer a paper agenda.) Sounds like another productive week for you!

    My frugal accomplishments:

    – My office received an edible arrangement (flowers made out of skewers of fruit) and the base of the arrangement was covered in kale as the greenery. I have a deep-seated dislike of food waste, so I took the kale home and turned it into a beans’n’greens soup for lunches this week. I’ll sprinkle some parmesan on top, and eat it with a slice of homemade bread. Waste not, want not, right?
    – I took the metal pot that the arrangement came in, and saved it for my balcony garden.
    – Sent my Christmas cards for the year. I always buy them when they go on sale in January, and then keep them for the next year.
    – Made a dozen peppermint/candy cane chocolate cupcakes to send in to work with the DH. He’s going to auction them off to his coworkers and give the funds to the women’s shelter that his work is supporting this Christmas season. I used icing sugar and shortening that I was given previously from two different people, so the cost to me was low. And it’s such a good cause! Am crossing my fingers that it raises some money!
    – Got a fancy tea steeping mug as a gift from a client at work. I’m going to re-gift it, along with some tea, to a senior that I visit. I have donated dog treats and dental food to give to her dog as well.
    – Wrapped gifts using wrapping paper and ribbon gifted to me by my mom when she was cleaning out her basement, and used labels given to me by my sister when she was de-stashing her craft supplies. Mailed cards to overseas relatives, using cards that I bought at 60% discount at the end of last January.
    – Redeemed swagbucks for a $5 giftcard
    – Took home a Christmas-themed gift bag from work to reuse.
    – Turned leftover mashed potatoes from a dinner last weekend into dinner for several days, by adding in peas (to add protein) and egg (to bind) and then dipping in panko crumbs and frying. Cheap dinner, and tasty!
    – Shopped at a ‘gently-used’ store to buy gifts for a mother to be, and found 10 onesies for $10, including some brand name ones, like Hilfiger. I also bought two dresses for the Syrian family I’m friends with, along with a bowling set, and some educational write-on wipe-off mats (not second hand but a good deal). I’m delivering it to them today, along with a cookie container with a selection of homemade candies.

    And those are my accomplishments for the week! Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  24. Have you looked at Ooma? It’s VoIP. I bought the device for about $100 and now pay $4.22/month and have basically unlimited long distance calling. To be clear, this is for home phone. I telecommute, and this has been an awesome setup for me. I was able to keep my number, although I think there was a small fee for that. You get caller id, call waiting, etc.

  25. I have a “dumb” phone, no internet, text and talk only. It was a refurbished phone from TracFone that I paid $5 for off their website. Because it’s a refurbished phone my minutes triple. It equals out to $5 per month and I always have leftover minutes. People think I’m weird because I don’t have a smart phone with all the bells and whistles. We also have a Basic Talk phone (home phone that runs off the internet) that costs $13 per month. If I was a stay at home mom I would not have the cell phone but living where we do (upper Midwest part of the U.S. – severe cold, LOTS of snow, etc) and crazy work hours I need to be able to contact my husband or mother if I need to. There are no more pay phones here and businesses don’t typically let you use their phone. I am glad to see I am not the only one 🙂

  26. I was told by a cashier at a nearby Target that I only have to print the bar code for the cartwheel one time and can reuse that one over and over again. The barcode is attached to my account, not the deals. I keep my barcode in my wallet with my store rewards cards.

  27. I uploaded some ibotta rebates and received a $10 Bonus for meeting a goal. I was able to transfer the total to a $25 Target gift card. I received a Walmart gift card for $10 from ebates, had a credit on my savings catcher for $1.85 at Walmart and a credit for a return at Walmart for $8. My husband and I went and used these credits to finish getting stocking stuffers for our daughter, future son-in-law and son. While we were out, we stopped by an picked up a few things at Kroger included a free cake mix, free cookies and free candy. We spent a total $23.65 at Kroger which puts us just under my $200 goal for the month. Unfortunately, we still need some things for Christmas, so I will have to make a trip later in the week, but should be less than $25 so I will end the month around $225. Much better than last months $783!

    We have a menu plan for the next couple of weeks and shouldn’t have to supplement much. We did not eat out at all this week and only have our Christmas Eve lunch with my hubby’s family plan next week. My daughter and I have already decided to split a meal since we will be having Christmas Eve dinner at my sister later that evening.

    I finished making some frugal gift sets for my extended family. You can read about it here: http://www.frugalhappyhome.com/frugal-christmas-gift-grocery-store/

    Love reading what everyone has done this week. Please stop by and see my blog!

  28. I stopped in at a Goodwill store last week and found a pair of Clarks shoes for $5. They’re a black leather slip-on and are in great shape. They had another pair in blue. I’m kicking myself for not getting the blue ones also because my friend suggested they looked like an “old lady” shoe, ha ha! I am an old lady… and she’s an older lady.:D If they happen to be there the next time I pop in I will snatch them up. I’d originally wanted an ankle boot that were a slip-on style and the best price (and for a style that I liked) I could find was $15 at Old Navy. I procrastinated just long enough to come across the Clarks and decided they are a great option, too, for a third of the cost!

  29. I forgot to mention a couple of things in my last comment.

    We found eggs at Aldi for $0.29/dozen and when we were at Walmart they were $0.28/dozen. We found two pork roasts at Kroger marked down to $2.99 each.

    We tried 3 recipes from Brandy’s site: Taco soup, Bean and rice burritos and Walnut muffins. We have already cooked the great northern beans and will be making Pasta e Fagioli.

  30. Hello everyone! My frugals for last week are:

    Ate all meals at home using food we have in the fridge, freezers and pantry. I made a casserole using leftover turkey, leftover pasta sauce, cheap pasta, some shredded cheese and frozen broccoli, beef stew using clearance round steak, potatoes, carrots, onion, some beef bouillon and an old gravy packet, chicken thighs cooked in pasta sauce (leftover was put into the casserole) with mushrooms and yellow rice, frozen pizza, brats with oven fried potatoes and peas. I took sandwiches with me to work and brought water from home. I put most of the leftovers into the freezer right away to avoid food waste.

    I made a scrubbie for my pots and pans using a mesh veggie bag.

    I watered down dish soap, bathroom cleaner, fabric softener after watching a youtube video (50/50) a woman did that’s done it for years. So far haven’t noticed a difference. I purchased a set of measuring cups and spoons for $1 from Dollar Tree and have been measuring everything I use (fabric softener, dish soap, laundry soap, etc) and learned I have been an “overpourer” for my entire life! This will save us a lot of money 🙂

    I also purchased stocking stuffers from Dollar Tree and my shopping is done! I found a little light (lightbulb shaped) at the Dollar Tree store that has a sticky back. It sticks to the wall and runs on AAA batteries. I put this in the bathroom and it provides just enough light to most duties in there. We have no windows in this room so this almost free light will save lots of money also 🙂 Even my 6 year old likes it.

    Shoveled our driveway and my mom’s (no fuel used, just manpower). Free exercise.

    Have a great week and a Merry Christmas!

  31. I loved that you bartered for your beets! I would like to find neighbors to barter with–maybe I will try to post something on our neighborhood face book page and see how it goes!

    Please stop by and see my blog!

  32. I worked 2 extra shifts this week. I work at a movie theater and it is very busy this time of year. We went to see Fantastic Beasts for free and got free popcorn too. Would have cost $70 for the 4 of us.
    My husband was treated out to lunch. He brought home the leftovers. They became my dinner after visiting with a friend in the hospital. My husband and kids had different leftovers. Carpooled with a friend to the hospital. I drove so she paid for the parking.
    My husband’s work party was Friday so het got a free dinner. I made pancakes for dinner, which the kids love since it was my son’s school concert that night.
    Went to Aldis early Friday for a few things. All butt hams were $5 off each. I got the 3 smallest I could find. After discounts I got them for 36cents a pound.
    My sister asked if we could watch her dog for the weekend. She was having friends over and there would be lots of small kids. He is not used to small kids around so this way is easier. As a thank you she got us 4 chocolate caramel apples. Yummy! When she picked him up she brought lots of leftovers.
    Tonight was my work party. I am in charge of setting and cleaning it up. It’s an extra shift and I get the leftovers. Works for me.
    My Father in law gave us a bottle of his home made wine.
    Did all the normal stuff, hung up clothes, brought lunch to school and work, cooked at home.
    Have a Merry Christmas!

  33. Was feeling very tired the other night, and had several small amounts of meats left from previous meals. I found a container of lentil soup in the freezer and quickly put together soup and sandwiches for dinner. Bread was freshly made that morning, so it went over quite well. Happy to have those little extras stashed away in the freezer.

    The week was busy but controlled, not chaotic. That’s a plus at this time of year. We took one afternoon to visit friends who were here only briefly, and had the pleasure of hitting a nasty snow storm on the way back, making an hour and ten minute trip into 2 hours and 30 minutes—and luckily only hit snow on HALF the route. It was a hairy reminder of what getting caught on the road in this climate can be like. Retirement allows us to miss most such weather and stay home. This was a little more intense than had been forecast–my husband was very relieved that I had filled the gas tank in my car, as knowing we wouldn’t run out of gas left him free to concentrate on driving.

    So our gifts are all purchased, all except half a dozen or so are wrapped, the rest of the week is free for baking and regular chores. I am pleased with the organizing we’ve done.

  34. I have the $10 of $10 or more coupon from JCP, but I didn’t want to deal with the craziness this weekend. If I go near the store after work one night, I may stop.

    I have been thinking that I will make one of my goals for 2017 to buy nothing new (with the exception of some items for my daughter’s wedding). I love finding things at the thrift shops.

  35. I carry around my husband’s old smartphone, but it doesn’t make calls. If I have wifi (at home, McDonalds, the hospital, etc.), I can make calls via Facebook. I also use it for apps and taking photos. Since I’m home most of the time, there are really no reasons (safety or otherwise) to make calls from a cell phone. One time a tire blew on my car, but while I was walking to the neighbors’ a girl offered her cell phone and then a ride home. Home was just around the corner and the girl was probably 18, so I accepted. That was the only time I can think of where I really needed a phone.

    Truthfully, a cell phone can’t save you from a real emergency. It won’t save you from being abducted, chased by a wild animal, or being hit by a car. While they make communication easier and more convenient, I think cell phones also facilitate a lack of planning. They make you available to everyone at all times. When I did have a cell phone, some people would get upset if I didn’t answer right away, even for small things. I have really enjoyed not having a (working) phone.

  36. Mostly I’ve stayed home and cooked all our meals.
    I made bread.
    I had a work party so I baked a loaf of banana bread, pumpkin oatmeal muffins, and an olive cheese loaf. All were a hit!
    I did go ice skating last weekend. I have my own skates so its only $4 (approx) to skate for a couple hours. I got a good workout.
    I hung up some laundry to dry to increase humidity in the house.
    My celery was limp so I cut off the leaves and ends to feed the guinea pigs and put the rest in the freezer to use for Christmas dinner.
    There aren’t any turkeys to be found at Costco and anywhere else is prohibitively expensive. (I live outside north america or Europe) so we’ve decided to buy a duck for Christmas dinner. It’s cheaper anyway.

  37. I have to say, I’m a bit envious of everyone getting free stuff at the grocery store. That rarely happens here in Canada. You are all so lucky! Nice use of coupons to get the shirt for your son’s Christmas gift and following up with the company on the roses, Brandy.

    Had another busy week here, again. This is the last week of school for my daughter (she goes right up to Friday) and my last week of work until sometime around April. Looking forward to the break! Here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:

    *We had our first snow day of the year on Monday, with school buses cancelled. Thankfully it was not my day to work (if school buses are cancelled, the visit to our museum is also cancelled and we don’t get paid if we don’t work), so I didn’t miss out on those hours. Plus, my husbands new job is only 5 min drive from our home now, so he didn’t miss out on work either! Yeah!!!!
    *Meals made at home included cream of chicken and vegetable soup with homemade bread, meatballs in Diana’s sauce with mashed potatoes and carrots, sloppy joe’s with salad, ham steaks with flavoured rice and corn, homemade macaroni & cheese casserole with sausage and beans, and “make your own pizza” using naan bread for the crust (I put out several options and each person assembled their pizza with their choice of toppings – this idea works great for children’s birthday parties by the way)
    *Baked a double batch of banana chocolate chip blondies, a double batch of toffee butter icebox cookies (http://www.momontimeout.com/2015/05/toffee-butter-icebox-cookies/) and a batch of banana bran muffins. The muffins will be used for lunches, the rest is for Christmas treats.
    *We were almost out of chicken breasts in the freezer, so I did a run to Costco. Luckily their chicken had a manager’s special of $3 off per package. I dug through and found 2 packages that ended up being under $20 each package with the discount. It should keep us going for a little while.
    *I finished embroidering a tea towel that will be paired with a jar of Crab-apple jelly as a Christmas gift for my daughter’s school cab driver. This lady has been amazing. Several times she has stopped to get a coffee before picking up my daughter from school and buys her a cookie to enjoy on the way home. She gets a really nice Christmas gift as our way of thanking her.
    *Wrapped most of the Christmas presents, using wrapping supplies that were recycled, had on hand from previous years or bought on severe discount after Christmas last year. Will finish the last few left early this week.
    *We attended my daughter’s school Christmas performance. It was free and very entertaining!
    *I worked 3 days this week. One day was an unscheduled add on, which was very appreciated. Of course that day ended up being our coldest day yet (-15C or 5F). I spent the day doing village tours through unheated building. I pretty much lost feeling in my toes for most of the day. At the end of the day, some of the children shopped in our gift shop. A precious little boy came up to me while I was cleaning up and said “You did a great job with the tour today. I bought you a Chirstmas gift to thank you.” He then handed me an elf bracelet. 😮 It was so sweet I didn’t even know what to say…made my day in the cold so worth it! Definitely feeling the Christmas spirit this week!!!:D

    I love reading all of your comments every week. I hope you all are feeling the festive spirit of Christmas, with one week to go. Have a wonderful week everyone!:D

  38. I found some reduced bananas and chicken drumsticks when I went to grab a freebie item from a local grocery store, and I only bought sale items at the other. In total, I got two bags of groceries for under $8!

    Some friends and I went to see a local light show for free, though it was very cold so that put a damper on things.

    I made a delicious potato casserole using ingredients I already had on hand (potatoes, milk, green onions, frozen broccoli, cheddar soup, bacon, a bit of cheddar cheese, and some shredded chicken from the freezer). It was delicious and the SO asked for it to be put on the regular recipe rotation. Since it only uses a few slices of bacon, it cost about $5 for a big 9×13 pan!

    I browsed online for more bean recipes to add to my collection.

    I made a big batch of chili using tons of beans. It was delicious and quite hearty, good for the cold Midwestern weather.

    I wrapped up some toiletries as gifts for the dice game (where everyone puts in gifts that are silly/useful/useless and we all roll dice to grab them). It helps me reduce how much excess I have stored from couponing while also giving someone else a chance to use the items.

  39. * I went to a new pet pantry I found this past week and they gave me a small 5 pound bag of the food our Danes eat and a 40 pound bag of senior food for our old beagle AND 6 cans of cat food! I was so thankful since that means I can take the money I would have spent on food and put it away towards all of their annuals that are coming up soon.
    * My son came up with an awesome idea for a Christmas gift for him – he wants one wall covered in a huge piece of whiteboard in order to write code for his computer classes and for work. Pieces are pretty inexpensive at Lowes and I am going to see if my Dad can help me made a frame and tray to hold the markers. I also got him a 1/2 pound of the jerky he LOVES from the deli where I work. I still have to find a good wine opener and the “cork” to reseal an open bottle.
    * Our daughter will be moving out and I have decided her Christmas gift will be a stocked pantry. I picked up containers at the $ store for flour, sugars and pancake mix and will fill those from my 5 gallon buckets. I also have been buying one or 2 things extra when I am at the store as well as some cleaning items and toilet paper. I think we’ll tuck an Aldi’s gift card in her stocking as well as all of the $ store cooking utensils I picked up today. All total – I might have spent somewhere around $20 (I’m not counting what I am pulling from our own stocked pantry). I will also be going thru my baskets and seeing what I can send her way to organizer her shelf in the pantry.
    * We sold a RV frig we picked up for free to a relative for $200 (it was probably worth closer to $500 but it helped us both out)
    * I picked up a small sewing project and will put that money towards to dogs annual vet visits.
    * My daughter found me a cherry pitter that has been on my list of “wants” for a long time. It included the pint jar and ring for $1.99 at Salvation Army 🙂 It is $8.99 new for just the pitter part without the jar.
    * My hands are rather sore but I fixed the “dog couch” – the leather is peeling which exposes the foam which was quickly getting claw marks in it despite the couch cover. I used some extremely heavy duty fabric from my stash and it is now good for awhile longer. It was free off Craigslist several years ago but I’d rather not have to bother with looking for another one right now and deal with getting rid of this junky one. Next up is the oversized chair that matches it but I think I’ll wait til my hands recover.
    * I was given 1/2 a smoked chicken and turkey leg and 1/2 a pumpkin pie at the end of one of my shifts at work – they’d just be thrown out since they were about to expire. Gotta love free food!
    * My in-laws treated us to lunch from Qdoba for my hubby’s (hopefully) last chemo treatment. It probably won’t be the end of it all but we are trying to stay positive.
    Not much else going on over here – lots of snow lately and rather cold air for December but it is Michigan so it’s not like it’s anything new 🙂 I am going to start my Christmas baking tomorrow – going to have to find the counters and table underneath all the things no one seems to know how to put away…..Hope you all have a wonderful holiday with lots of peaceful memories!

  40. It was my 25th birthday today and my first one as a newlywed. It coincided with our family ministry’s christmas party and I was able to eat lunch/dinner there and receive a lot of prayers and get to know people. I love babies and I got to spend a lot of time with toddlers I normally only see for 10 minutes a week. Best part was that they surprised me with TWO delicious cakes! When I got home, my little brother got me an indoor orchid and a delightful chocolate advent calendar (he also gave me a HUGE hug and said it was for being the best sister).

    I wasn’t expecting anything since my husband has finals to study for and I didn’t really mention my birthday to anyone since I didn’t want to burden people so I was really blessed by the effort people went through to make my day a little special. 🙂

  41. I do this too! I have what we call a “stupid” cell phone – one that just makes and takes calls and texts – nothing else. I mainly have it because I, too, drive a lot and am quite frankly terrified of getting stuck somewhere and not having a way to call (pay phones have all but disappeared). It’s a pay as you go phone and it costs us about $60/year total to run it.

    I also found that if I text the coupon requests Target I get a web address back that will allow me to print the little scanable icon and get those deals too. I carry my cartwheel barcode in my purse for those too. Cashiers tend to look at me like I’m crazy but we simply don’t have the money for smartphones right now!

    Lea

  42. Hello Brandy and everyone 🙂 .

    So glad you got replacements for the roses that died and the mislabelled one too 😉 .

    Here is our frugal accomplishments –

    Financial –

    – Added $687.45 to our saving for our home with cash bank account.
    – Added more money to our at home cash emergency fund.

    In the kitchen –

    – Made all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Made another batch of magic mix to make white sauces and chocolate puddings with.
    – From our grocery stockpile we made another quadruple batch of granola, love your recipe Brandy 😉 .

    Household and groceries –

    – Said yes to 1 dozen free range eggs given to me by a friend and swapped some beetroot and spinach from our gardens.
    – Said yes to free jars of mayonnaise and salsa being given away at church and brought home 1 jar of mayonnaise and 2 jars of salsa.
    – Used solar powered lights to light the home at night rather than using mains powered lights.
    – Used saved grey water to water the lawns in the house paddock all week.

    In the garden –

    – Collected dried and fallen leaves from ours and a next door neighbours yard.
    – Used shredded leaves to mulch the equivalent of a 9 x 2mt garden bed rather than buy hay.
    – Picked spinach from the gardens.

  43. K, could you share the link to that potato casserole recipe? It sounds like something my family would LOVE and I’m always looking for new things to try. Thanks!

  44. I make a classic southern pecan praline. I also make chocolate covered pecans. (my family loves my home made candy) I give this as a gift too to friends.

  45. Sounds like you’ve been quite busy! This week:

    1. I froze leftover bananas and oranges that would have otherwise gone to waste. I used the bananas to make caramel banana crepes and plan on using the oranges for orange-cranberry muffins.

    2. We’re hosting Christmas Eve at our house, so I’m defrosting a ham I bought on a buy-one-get-one sale during Thanksgiving. That means we don’t have to buy a pricey Christmas ham. 🙂

    3. We used our home warranty to fix several plumbing problems around the house. It did cost $75, but they fixed the issues faster and cheaper than we could have done it, so that was a win.

    4. We canceled our Netflix subscription since nowadays we watch Sling TV. That’s another $10/mo we’re saving!

    5. We made homemade waffles for breakfast this weekend instead of buying doughnuts for out of town family. We saved probably $20 this way!

  46. I based it off of TheKitchn’s loaded baked potato casserole, but in hindsight I changed more than I kept from the recipe. So, I’ll just post it here:

    [list]
    * Mashed potatoes (I used about 6 cups, you could probably use a bit more or a bit less and it would be fine). Make sure to season them well.
    * 1 bunch green onions, chopped and divided
    * 1 can cheddar soup
    * 1/2 c milk
    * 1 c chopped chicken
    * 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
    * 1 c shredded cheddar cheese.
    * 1 12-16oz package frozen broccoli, thawed
    [/list]

    To assemble, grease a 9×13 dish with some oil. Spread 1/2 of the mashed potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Pour over the broccoli and 1/2 of the onions. Mix the soup and milk, then pour that over the broccoli. Top with the remaining potatoes, onions, chicken, and bacon pieces. Sprinkle over the cheese and bake in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes.

    I hope your family likes it! 🙂

  47. Not my frugal accomplishments, but I wanted to share a new-to-me website with lovely printables. It’s called https://wingsofwhimsy.wordpress.com/ and there are beautiful mostly vintage images to be printed for free (calendars, cards, cottages, ornaments etc)

    Nora Murphy at http://www.connecticutcountryhouse.com/goodies/ has a free 2017 wallpaper calendar. I have enjoyed the 2016 one. Her photography is almost as beautiful as Brandy’s! (she has free printable gift tags too)

  48. That was sweet of your Mom to gift you a pocket calendar. I realized this past week I still need to get one. That is excellent the rose company honors their guarantee, & will replace yours. I’m bad about not following up on plants that came from the big box hardware store, which they guarantee for a year. There was one time that I asked for a refund, but there have been several more plants I should have followed up on. I bought citrus at Aldi’s, and requested some children’s Christmas books from the library. I’m looking forward to a peaceful but festive week ahead, and wish you & all in this frugal community the same. Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2016/12/traditions-old-and-new-frugal.html

  49. Pruned the red rose bush. Roses are fairly new to me, so I am learning how to prune climbing roses for both more blooms in the summer, then for the rose hip fruit in the fall. This year the rose hips were about the size of marbles, so I am getting better at it. Rose hip jelly & tea are not my favorite, but they work nicely as an “extender” for other jellies & herbal teas.

    Practiced the art of “control thru presence”. The reason I pruned the red rose bush on that day was because I did not want the workmen installing the vinyl fencing for my neighbor to break any branches on my young peach tree (the way the installers for my back fence broke branches on my larger tree!). All I did was prune carefully, where they could see me, at the corner of the house, while they worked on the posts for the fencing on her side of the property. When they came back to install the panels, I made sure I was there, pruning back the small peach tree that is now fairly close to her fence. The fence looks ok, now that it is done, & it should not be difficult for me to move our “side fence” forward this spring (with the help of the grandsons) to the same level, which will give us more backyard (protected) space & give more light to the peach tree. The reason the neighbor wanted the fence was so she can let her large dog run loose in the back yard. I see that as a safety prep for us. Her dog barks whenever anything is “different”. The neighbors on the other side already had a dog in the back yard, so now we are “surrounded” again, which reduces shenanigans from some of the teenagers.

    Made gooseberry jelly from the juice in the freezer. I have gooseberries & my neighbor in her 90’s remembers it fondly from her childhood, so I take some to her over the holidays.

    Pruned the plum, apricot & pear trees. Kept trimmings from the apricot & plum tree to dry to use as wood in our camp stove, but disposed of the pear trimmings in the garbage, since the tree has pear rust.

    Knitted a pair of toddler-sized wool mittens for the grandbaby that will be visiting after Christmas, in grey, since toddlers grow thru things so fast they almost never wear them out!

    Took another load of decluttering to the thrift store. While I was there, I made a quick pass thru with my “list” & pretty much hit the jackpot! I found two “shapes” for the second-hand fisher price shape sorter (which brings my “shapes” total to 5), an empty fisher price little people nativity stable, a plastic bale of hay (that goes with the wise man set), 9 Duplo blocks, & a half pint jar. Grand total spent: $2.25! The nativity stable, along with some “extra” little people that go with the little people nativity, will either go to one of our young granddaughters, or to the 15 month old grandbaby, to donate to her church nursery, which is lacking in appropriate toys. When our children were little, if I found church-appropriate toys at yard sales or thrift stores, we would buy them to donate. To me, it seemed a no-brainer that a church nursery should have some religious toys, but surprisingly, they often do not. It is a lot easier to teach that age group with appropriate toys.

    Made oatmeal rolls for dinner, to have with the stew, & after dinner I froze some of them to use in the week after Christmas when we will have guests.

    Shoveled the driveway & walks twice when we got 3” of snow. Put the snow on the beds where the fruit trees & berry bushes are, so they will be watered when it melts later this week.

  50. I went to the next town over and I bought ten boxes of soup at $1.50 off each box. Though I make chicken stock, I usually use it for cooking rice or orzo or in other dishes, and don’t end up making soup very often. Bouillon cubes have too much salt in them for my blood pressure.

    I went to our free community Christmas supper. Local businesses and volunteers put it on for the whole community each year and it gets a really good turn-out. I had been a couple of times before and enjoyed it. This year, I had met many more people in the village, but ended up sitting by myself. The food and music were lovely, but it definitely felt lonely. I think I’ll skip the event come next year. As one of my friends says about things you try that don’t work out, “Now you know.”

    I’ve been able to find nice presents at exactly the price I had hoped, and they are wrapped and ready for delivery tonight. I have everything I need for Christmas dinner. I am starting my baking today.

    We have had bitterly cold weather for a couple of weeks, but yesterday it warmed up and it supposed to stay that way for ten days. A great chance to get outdoors to enjoy the white Christmas and the lights.

  51. We love pralines!!! I always save a few back and break into pieces to add to ice cream. Next try bananas foster, that’s good with crumbled pralines on to as well as bread pudding.

  52. Have you tried making spiced pecans? Either savory or sweet, both are wonderful as gifts or on top of salads or in yogurt or oatmeal. I will also grind pecans up to make a meal as a coating for chicken or fish.

  53. I found a piece of like new flannel thrifting for a dolllar – it was large enough to make 2 much needed euro size shams and where it doesn’t quite match – it coordinates well enough flannel sheets we have been using. Our shams are well loved and falling apart. I keep hiding the those behind “newer” shams.
    I was able to save enough Bing rewards to get my first pressure canner. It took a while, and when I was getting close, I was tempted to pay the rest – but reading this blog I was driven to keep collecting and get it for free. I am so excited. (something I never thought I would have ever said 20 years ago!)
    We have been eating more vegetarian dishes – using what my garden produced this year. Some are hit and misses, but even the misses are filling enough and can usually be turned into something else with the leftovers. I am sticking with Brandy’s “code” of no more than $1.99/lb for meat. I waited 4 months to find ground beef at that cost.
    My mom loves the saying “everytime a bell rings, an angel gets his wings” – so I used a piece of free scrap wood (8″ x 10″) and hand painted the phrase, antiqued it and framed it using paint stirring sticks cut in half the long way. I shopped for a pretty brass bell on Ebay to hang off it. Total cost was $7 for the bell.
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  54. Holly, in winter flour is drier so it soaks up more of the liquid. If you add the same amount of flour you do when the humidity is high you could end up with too dense a loaf. I wonder if that is what happened.

  55. I’ve been wrapping my Christmas gifts in paper I got on clearance after Christmas a couple of years ago. I’ve also been re-using gift bags that people have given me in past years.

    I bought my grandparents books for Christmas, so I was able to ship them media mail. It probably saved me $2 or $3.

    I needed to put air in my tires, so I went to the gas station that will turn on the air machine for free if you ask.

    We got some free cookies with our Kroger card.

    I used a $2 off coupon when I got my haircut.

    I went to make lasagna, but realized that I was almost out of lasagna noodles. I used regular noodles instead and made more of a pasta bake. It still tasted good.

  56. Brandy, I don’t have one either. My husband has a pay as you go phone but we don’t want or need one. I tell people it’s my home phone # and when I run into them later they tell me they tried texting me. I am just about always home just call or leave a message.

  57. I, too, do all my planning on a paper calendar. I also have a3-ring notebook in my ‘command’ center where I keep my to-do lists, buy lists, vegetable garden planning, etc. I went to the notebook because I was tired of using and losing post-it notes. Ha!

    I also have a stupid flip phone as my cell phone. I buy a year’s worth of minutes and they roll-over. I don’t give the number out and mostly have it to take in the car with me. After the initial (sale) purchase of the phone. It costs less the $8/month. Everyone has to figure out their own budget priorities, imo.

    My biggest frugal thing this week was staying home because of the ice and snow. I ate out of my freezer and pantry. Before the storm hit, I bought dog food and milk. Other then that, I was ready. Love love love having a deep pantry.

    The only down side to the storm was that I started planning my purchases from the seed catalog. I’m hoping to keep that to $50. The price of seeds has really gone up this year, at least here in Canada. I had a bit of sticker shot but it’s still worth it to me to grow my veggie garden

  58. my frugal accomplishments last few weeks.
    – bought a 10 kg packing chickenfood and some sawdust , from a giftcard my husband won at an sporting event last summer, in our village.
    – baked a cake for my brother in laws birthday, and we eat soup and sandwidches for dinner there last sunday.
    – bought some grocery’s through an app on my cell phone, some are for free and some are vere cheap.
    – made cougettessoup from cougettes of the freezer. (from my garden)
    – We got a lot of christmasgift from our employers. In the Netherlands it’s a habit that employers give there staff a box with gifts (now a days mostely ordinary grocery’s because of the economic crisis) As I clean a lot of houses and offices I have a lot of employers. I got 2 wunderfull boxes my husband got a voucher from Aldi’s (his employer) and i got and voucher for an internet shop.
    even my 17 year old son got a wunderfull box from his employer. (as he rather has some cash money we made a deal on his box, he took the chocolate and the chips (hahaha) and “sold”me the rest.
    _ I sometimes do some mending for an older single man in the street, and he sometimes gets an sugarbread for arbitrating at billiards (?) games, wich he than gives to us.

    so our pantry is filled with lots of grocery’s
    Nice for after christmas, little shopping has to be done.!!!

    Have a nice christmas everyone.

  59. We have had record snowfall in northwest Wyoming in the last week. School and many other institutions have been closed over the last several days, including today. Many churches cancelled services yesterday due to snow, bitter cold and high winds.

    We have stayed home and inside, although many Christmas related events have been curtailed or simply cancelled.

    I had prepared refreshments for a meeting at church that was cancelled. So now I have cranberry pumpkin muffins, gluten free apple crisp, gluten free date cookies and carrot and celery sticks going into the freezer and refrigerator. Friday my co-workers planned a soup luncheon, so the chili was delicious. I brought corn casserole – the easy kind made with Jiffy cornbread mix, though I made the “mix” from scratch by googling recipes to duplicate Jiffy mix. The casserole is made with canned corn, canned cream corn, sour cream, jiffy mix, 2 eggs and a little melted butter and a little sugar. It was very good with the chili and the sour cream another co-worker brought.

    Albertson’s gave us a $10 off coupon because we bought gift certificates for Christmas gifts there. When you live in a small town, a distance from any malls and chain stores, the grocery store or chain drug store (Walgreens) are the places to buy gift certificates for other retailers, Amazon, restaurants, etc. I bought the 10 lb. Christmas ham using the coupon, so it cost $10. I am quite envious of some of the prices I see others post because they just aren’t that available when you have one grocery store and one Walmart and that is IT.

    Merry Christmas, everyone and a thrifty New Year!

  60. You must live in a really nice neighborhood to find those kinds of items at garage sales Brandy. Yard sales in my neck of the woods (I.E.–a poor, welfare recipient area–and I’m not trying to be rude but that’s what it is.) don’t have clothing from reputable brands, let alone anything still with a tag on it.In my neck of the woods, even at the ‘thrift stores’–Goodwill, City Mission and Salvation Army…MOST of the clothes are from the early 90’s OR they were Walmart, Kmart or Target brand items which I can find for BRAND NEW cheaper than the price at the thrift shop. $6 for a pair of used Walmart brand jeans? NO THANKS!

    My mother gets me shirts and blouses from Kmart and Walmart for $1-2 brand new.

  61. I’m with you Brandy, even though I have a cellphone and an iPhone 7 Plus at thatte grandmother was the same way. She had one of those small pocket calendars where she’d write down everything she did in a day…and had her own shorthand for it. She never forgot anything. I sure do miss her. She was a great lady, a product of the Depression Era…and was also very thrifty in her own right.

  62. Yes, I do make a spiced pecan. I make a candied pecan too. I also keep pecans in the freezer to use in cinnamon rolls etc. I even add them to pudding. My sweet sister in law has more pecans than she will ever use. She sells a lot of them but still has plenty. I take about 40 pounds a year. We sit and shell them while watching TV…then I measure them into 1/2 cups and put them into freezer. I use the large near perfect ones for my pralines and candied pecans. The others, the less perfect ones are broken up into small pieces and used for baking and in to other things. My husband just eats them too. He likes them at lunch time with fruit and cheese.

  63. Kelly,

    We have a LOT of shopping nearby. I don’t think I ever realized how much until I was in Missouri a few months back for my grandmother’s funeral; the lack of shopping and distance between stores was really different from here. Within 6 miles here are a myriad of stores. Clothing at garage sales is going to definitely reflect what stores are in your area.

    We don’t live in a real expensive part of town, but we don’t live in the least expensive part of town, either. Our city is covered in housing tracts, so one does not have to drive far to go to lots of houses that range in varying sizes and price. Within a Saturday morning, you could hit up sales in larger and smaller houses that are just a few minutes apart from one another. There are lots of houses which always makes for better pickings (especially on those neighborhood-wide sales). If you search Las Vegas on Google Maps and then zoom in, you’ll note two things: it’s REALLY brown, and there are lots of houses really close together.

    That’s nice that you can find brand-new items at that price. That is rare for here on clearance items. I usually stick to the garage sales as they are cheaper than the thrift stores, but when I can’t find something on my list, the thrift stores are next on the list.

  64. We are enjoying our foot of snow. It snowed all day Saturday but stopped in time for the plows to clear out the roads by Sunday morning. The birds are busy at our feeders and heated bird bath. I saw a bald eagle fly over yesterday. This is the 2nd time I have seen it in 3 weeks now. My husband saw it once.

    We have done all the usual (this is for 2 weeks again) of recycling, composting, mending, cooking from scratch, not buying meals out, using up leftovers. My husband took in metal to the recycler, including old Christmas tree lights and we received 21.00. Received a container of yarrow tea from a co-worker. She said it is good for inflammation. We have been enjoying the Christmas cards and letters and photos coming in everyday now.

    No gardening other than picking herbs from the pots and lettuces from the greenhouse.

  65. Brandy,
    I truly wish that neither my husband or myself needed a cell phone. With both of our jobs it is a necessity. Good for you for skipping on this expense.

    Thank you for the French speaking website. We had the great blessing of being able to travel there this September and my husband just fell in love.

  66. This is brilliant! I still pay a monthly fee for talk and text. It never occurred to me that I could make calls through fb using someone else’s wifi.

  67. Used Brandy’s wonderful spaghetti sauce recipe(including the tip to buy sauce in the #10 can so smart) to feed my daughters Varsity and JV basketball teams. Brandy, I am so thankful that your recipes feed 8 so I only had to double the recipe. I added frozen meatballs that I had stacked a coupon with a discounted price for 40% off. Used pasta that I bought for 50 cents a pound, served salad I made with store bought dressing as well as garlic bread. I also made cupcakes with the frosting on the inside. Served 19 girls with healthy appetites for $38 bucks. We only have to do this once a season, the other parents chip in other days.

    Made every meal with the single exception of my husband dinner when he traveled a couple hours for my daughters basketball game.

    Made the kids and hubs lunch everyday.

    Found a movie on Amazon for Family night, which is every Saturday night for us.

    Put up our ‘fake’ Christmas tree. Seriously love having a tree that will not be cut down every year.

    Had a coffee date with hubs. We used eat out several times a week, but we really need to get our financial in order and have completely eliminated that.

    -Talked to my husband our Christmas present budget for our kids. His number is much higher than mine but gave him some tips to keep that down.

    Made every meal we

  68. We did some Christmas shopping this week. We saved $20 by using my target red card. The cashier ran her cartwheel app which took off $20 in movies that we had purchased. Plus I got a $15 gift card for purchasing another item. I am hanging on to that to flip on future deals that will also generate free gift cards.

    I repurposed some fabric and combined it with an onsale piece of fabric to make a picnic table covering that has pockets for the dishes and silver ware. The pocket buttons nicely to hold everything in place and then you fold it up into a bundle. The pattern came from a book that a coworker gifted to me last year. The whole project cost $5 and turned out lovely.

    I started working on some cloth napkins from fabric that was gifted to me as well. There is enough to make matching placemats. I’ll need to pick up some batting for those. I have my eye open for a 60% off deal. The colors don’t match my color scheme so I plan to sell them on etsy or gift them to a friend.

    At the grocery store, I was able to pick up some good deals. I have learned that when the deal is really good to request a rain check. Then I can go back in a couple of weeks and get the same deal. I cleared out the broccoli section at .39 a pound for crowns. Then got a raincheck since I had actually planned to buy more that they had.

  69. Our town is the same; everything is used beyond it’s shelf life. Our ‘mall’ is in the largest city in the U.P: Marquette, which is an hour away. We don’t get many coupons in the Sunday paper or in the mail. It’s a coupon drought around here. Anytime i travel, i look for coupons and deals in the grocery stores. I always come home with a car load!

  70. I completed 2 Pinecone surveys. I received a product to try and completed another survey.

    A co-worker wasn’t able to tolerate a med that I take, so she brought the rest of the bottle in for me rather than getting rid of it. It’s almost a full month’s worth!!

    I declined going out with co-workers for dinner after work.

    Free in the mail – Family Circle Magazine and Better Homes and Gardens.

    Have a great week everyone!

  71. Brandi, You always have a stunning photo and great list of accomplishments.
    It’s so cold here that the dog starts limping in just a few minutes. So, not much walking for exercise. Having a dog forces us to try, though.
    Our local grocery store had gift cards 100.00 for 80.00 with a limit of two transactions. I bought my two then borrowed a friends store card and bought two more. These will be used on my trip to Fl. (I got a 10.00 GC for my friend for letting me use her store card.)
    I made two different cookies and candies with items i already had. I also dipped marshmallows and candied orange peels in melted chocolate chips that i had on hand.
    I sold several things on ebay and got those mailed. I’m thinning out my stock and donating as i go. It should be a nice tax write-off.
    I heard from all three children this week.
    My husband hasn’t put many hours in at work this week. It’s been too cold to work outside (construction). So, on Friday we took a ride to an area we don’t often go and spent the day. We found some deals at the thrifts and i bought him a gift at Walmart while he waited in the car. (Walmart was CRAZY!) I was still able to get in and out in 20 minutes.
    I had a sourdough fail. I think it’s time to put it away til Spring. I made some raspberry jam. After it popped and cooled, i dropped one on the floor. Thankfully, it broke perfectly. Not much mess at all! I also made two batches of fudge which did not set. I tried everything to make it work. It was not a good cooking weekend for those few things.
    I’m still cleaning and de-cluttering as i go. (And listening to Diane Rehm on NPR radio) Since it’s so cold, that’s the plan for the rest of the week.
    I wish you all a fabulous week ahead and a wonderful holiday!

  72. Good point but no, not this time. If anything, the dough was too moist. I either forgot to put the yeast in or had killed it. (Most likely the former because the water was not hot.) There was no raise at all until I added a little bit and kneaded it in. I didn’t want it too yeasty so I was afraid to add more. We were able to eat some of the bread whem it was still a little bit warm and the sqiirrels were very happy to receive the leftovers.

  73. I had to look that up since I didn’t know what an itouch is. Looks like they are priced beteen $200 and $400? Wow. Yeah, I can’t see spending that kind of money. My husband’s android phone that he uses for work was $34. He usually keeps his phones for 2 to 3 years.

  74. In the past I’ve heard people say they had problems with connections using this. Perhaps it has improved since then. Does it ever give you any trouble with connections? I would love to lower our home phone bill more. Half of my bill is taxes and fees!

  75. LOL a customer and the young college girl I was working with tonight were complaining about people (their men) not answering their texts IMMEDIATELY…….I pulled out my phone with a slide out keyboard and teh college girl exclaims that “I haven’t seen one of those in TEN YEARS! I didn’t think they made them anymore!” No honey – this phone isn’t quite that old but it is probably at least 5 years old and yes, it still works fine……I do not need the latest and greatest – I work 5 minutes from home and rarely am out and about on my own – it serves my needs just fine and I don’t need to access Facebook while standing in line at the grocery store hehe

  76. I wouldn’t say I’ve never had trouble with connections, but no more than I had with voip with Cable One. If your internet service is good, I think you would have good service. I had a friend in a major metro area use Ooma for years with good success before I tried it here (where I am not in a large metro area).

  77. I’ve been up an hour making kolache for my son so teachers. Well. It was a good idea last night, hahha. I could have mad early muffins but if Christmas isn’t the time to go to extra trouble, when is?

    I told my weeping son no when he had a stage three melt down with his sister for a Greek chorus demanding a toy. I miss when they were small enough to pick them both up during a scene and walk out but I can’t carry sixty pounds of children.

    I delivered two gifts and vistited friends on the way to a family party, saving myself shipping costs.

    What a short list. I look forward to the quiet of January.

  78. I also just have an old flip cell phone that I buy minutes for at Walmart or the grocery store that are pay as you go. It costs me $30 a quarter or $100 per year and is for long distance and travelling. We have a basic home phone that I paid ten cents per call with long distance blocked and basic internet. Several months ago the monthly bill increased to sixty some dollars per month and I called the phone company to cancel internet and possibly the phone. They ended up giving me a current promotion deal for the next year which included my phone and internet for $26 dollars and some cents per month and that includes taxes and all charges. I also ended up with unlimited calls in and out and am not charged per call anymore and I now have caller ID, call waiting and answering service and was amazed at the wonderful deal they gave me!

    I have been busy baking Christmas cookies this past week using sale bought flour (.97 for 5 lb. bags) and sale bought sugar (.97 for 4lb. bags) from Weis grocery store. I also bought 3lb. bags of onions for .69 and 10lb bags of potatoes for $1.49 at Aldi’s.

    The comments about the Target pinwheel are interesting. I have seen pinwheel deals offered but thought I couldn’t get them because of my phone, but am going to possibly try these other ways.

  79. Today is my son’s birthday. We made waffles before i went to work and had presents. He was so tickled with his star wars clothes and alarm clock, all bought on sale or clearance, that he didn’t notice there were no toys.
    We will make cupcakes to take to cub scouts tonight.
    Doing a number of experience gifts this year. My mom bought karate club dues for my son, a friend bought the family a state parks pass for 2017, and i am getting the kids a night at a Harry Potter overnight next week. 🙂 husband is getting a date night at the symphony. Nosebleed seats but that is ok.
    Ate lots of leftovers.
    Wishing you all a blessed Christmas and holiday season!

  80. I’ve been using macaroni or small shells instead of lasagna noodles since my 8yr old was a toddler. I call it messy lasagna. It helped w time… I didn’t have to cut her food for dinner. And I always have noodles, but not always the lasagna noodles. 🙂

  81. If the fudge is thick and kind of pourable. Use it as a topping on icecream, or sandwich between cookies. My dad made a peanut butter icing that reminded me of fudge. Poured it over white cake warm.

  82. Hello everyone! It’s been a week of blessings and some unexpected expenses (isn’t that always life?). My husband has received many nice food gifts from customers this past week that have supplemented some of our groceries, 5# of assorted nuts, several tins of cookies, a fruit, cheese and meat basket, a few gift cards to local area restaurants that will be a nice treat for him for lunch out once in a while at work. My husband’s company also had a Christmas party and served a very nice dinner. The company had a profitable year and gave bonuses which was unexpected and a huge blessing. I made three different kinds of soup to eat throughout the week and froze half. I have been trying to use up whatever we have and not waste anything. Our local grocery store gives a ‘free’ item each week, this week was a roll of Christmas wrapping paper. We made cookies and candy from items in the pantry to give as gifts. My oldest came home from college for Christmas break and we discovered her 20+ year old car needs some repairs to keep running. I’m really hoping it isn’t as expensive as we think it may be. It seems like when we have a bit of extra money, something breaks down and the money goes to the repair. But, after thinking and praying this morning, I am extremely grateful for the funds we have to take care of things. It’s been very cold here and we are trying to keep the thermostat between 66-68 and wear lots of layers.

  83. We’ve had our OOMA for 3 years now and have never had trouble with connections. It sounds exactly the same as it did using the phone company – We love it! We are located in a small city (250,000) with good internet service.

  84. Hello everyone!

    We’ve been wrapping like fiends here.

    My sons’ participated in the Wreaths Across America program (placing wreaths on Veteran’s graves) at a local cemetery which was lovely although cold as it had snowed the night before. I was able to attend a community sing along Messiah (my favorite) at our church. They had professional soloists and an orchestra and it was beautiful. Such fun to attend.

    I redeemed a coupon and got some lovely fleece fabric for sweatshirts at Joann’s for 80% off.

    My husband participated in his annual cookie exchange so now we have a lovely range of cookies to feast on to include french filled macaroons (from a very ambitious baker) and rum balls.

    I’ve started my Christmas baking. You can read about the famous Pennsylvanian cookie tradition here: http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2016/12/kiffles-for-christmas/. It is actually a Hungarian cookie recipe that has a cult following in eastern PA.

    Happy festivities everyone!

  85. A cell phone cannot save you from being abducted but the pings off the cell phone tower can give your last known location and can actually tell you which side of the tower you were located, if you still have it with you. We use the pings in jury trials quit often, as evidence. I am sometimes fifty miles from home, on very deserted stretches of road. If I break down, I do need to be able to call, provided there is cell service. Sometimes, a text will go through, when a call will not. But if someone does not travel in isolated areas like I do, I can see where a cell phone would not be needed by many. I think we all do what we need to do given our circumstances. I have hit a deer (while going 40 mph) before and needed assistance….lol

  86. Its the same way in my area, Kelly. I live in a very poor area. When I go visit my sons an hour and a half away, I go to the thrift stores there, to get nicer things. There simply is not any nice clothes at yard sales around here, and the facebook yard sales have the prices set waaay too high on nice things. I am 20 miles from the nearest Walmart, which has higher prices than the Walmart in the college town where my kids live. Also, I talked to a manager at Dollar General, who is a friend of mine, and I asked her why the DG stores were so high where I live but so much cheaper in the college town, and she said “competition”……… So, I can get a house here for less than half what it would cost in the college town, in the same condition, but my clothes, gas, and food are much more expensive here than the college town. That is why I try to shop for food and at the thrift shops in the college town, when I go. I have been to a Target exactly once in the past four years, Sam’s club, once in three years, COSTCO, one time in my entire life, and never in a Kohl’s. I went to a Whole Foods one time in my life, when I was visiting my daughter in Salt Lake City. I feel “out” of it sometimes….lol

  87. One thing I absolutely adore about your website, Brandy, is that it gives me a snapshot of how other folks live in different parts of the world. I remember reading your kids (and others) play on the playgrounds at night, during the summertime in Las Vegas, because it is too hot to play during the day. That makes perfect sense but I had never thought about it. It is also amazing to me of how close you and other readers are to some really great store deals, and the yardsales sound so wonderful!!! I also love reading about the different traditions from all over the world and the different foods (I am always having to goggle foods I read about here….lol).

  88. Cindy,

    I am so used to having close-by shopping that seeing the opposite was very surprising for me.

    We have 3 cities here (all touching boundaries; one runs into the other so one side of the street is one and the other side is the other), and 10 years ago, two of them were the second and fourth fastest growing cities in the country. Every year they would build new schools–and still have to put up portable buildings because the 35+ student classrooms were all full (it’s all the same school district; ours is the 6th largest district in the nation).

    Growth slowed tremendously of course when building stopped. Building is now picking back up. The Target that was built here is now getting the other stores built in the lot. If things continue, I imagine the other empty lots will be built out with shopping too.

    In Missouri, I noticed such a difference. We would be driving along the highway for 30 minutes and see only a few stores–the occasional feed store (we saw 3 or 4 in a few hours of driving) and a few fast food restaurants (usually grouped together with a gas station nearby). Oddly enough, I saw almost no gardens, even though people had lots of land and it was green (without the need of sprinklers!).

    I can go to [i]four[/i]Targets within 7 miles of here. Within 5 miles, I have 2 Walmarts and a Sam’s Club, and 3 Albertson’s, 2 Smith’s, Vons, 4 Walgreen’s (I joked when I moved here that there is a drugstore on every corner–and sometimes there are 2 at an intersection!), and several other grocery choices including Dollar Tree). Within walking distance (if I could carry everything I bought back home!), I have Walmart, Costco, Winco, Hobby Lobby, Target, and several other stores (which I don’t usually frequent) including a myriad of fast food restaurants. Because I have so much so close, I don’t frequent grocery stores that are 25-45 minutes away, but I know in many places, that’s a normal grocery shopping situation. I usually stick to places that are within 1 1/2 miles.

    My husband’s office is less than 2 miles from here, so even if he broke down, he could walk home if needed.

    This means lots of competition for grocery prices, which is great for us!

    I don’t think you’re missing out on Kohl’s. I only go in when I have one of those $10 coupons–and I am always reminded why I don’t shop normally shop there. Their prices are high to me. But again, I’ve become accustomed to garage sale prices of $1-$2 for clothing (a bit higher for coats and dresses). Some people price things higher and if we see prices at $5 each for t-shirts my mom and I will walk away, because we know everything else will be high, and there are other sales that will be lower.

    I like your comparison about cost of living where you are–less expensive house but more expensive food. I think that’s what amazed me about some of the places we were in Missouri (places where my grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived). I was just so surprised to see people in low-income areas without much shopping but huge pieces of land who didn’t have any gardens or fruit trees. I wonder if it is just the difference of a couple of generations that there are no gardens. My grandfather and his father-in-law always had extensive gardens, and they weren’t high income. In fact, one of the “houses” my grandpa lived in was someone’s chicken coop!

  89. Libby, I just had my second knee replacement on November 16th. I sure look forward to walking without knee pain! You were shoveling snow! I live in Florida, so won’t be doing that. I love that you took your elderly neighbor to look at Christmas lights. This group is so often overlooked. Merry Christmas!

  90. There are lots of gardens down here, but only in folks back yards, and they are not very big, generally just the length of the house, which I also find amazing because with the amount of land, rain, humidity, sunshine, etc., we receive in the deep south, you would think folks would have a garden of at least an acre. There are also a lot of wild Muscadine vines, pecan trees, and blackberry bushes. My grandmother had a huge garden, as did her neughbor, and they swapped vegetables. She also had a clothes line. I cannot. I have a serious bird (starlingsin thousands) problem, and with their poop, contaminating my soil, and my clothesline, pooping in my car…it is a mess. I just try to avoid getting histaplasmosis???? Spelling. City will not help get rid of them, and my average size town lot borders the city property with the “bird trees”….sigh.

  91. I have heard of chicken coop houses before, or rather being renovated into houses, as well as silo houses.The two room dogtrot house was most common down here (breezeway in center). In fact, the house I was brought home from the hospital was a 100 yr old dogtrot house with no bathroom!. I remember going to the outhouse at my stepgrandmother’s home as a child. It was still pretty common in the country in the 60’s.

  92. This recipe has been in my recipe folder since my schooldays (a long, long time ago) – it was a favourite then and it has been able to hold it’s position in the family favourites list. If you don’t have walnuts on hand, leave them out and replace with fresh breadcrumbs. Either way it’s a great, really cheap and tasty recipe.

    Italian Vegetarian Meatballs

    Ingredients:
    2 onions, finely chopped
    1/2 cup rolled oats
    1 – 1 ½ cups grated tasty cheese
    3 eggs, beaten
    1 cup breadcrumbs
    ¾ cup chopped walnuts
    1 clove garlic, crushed.

    Method:
    Combine all the ingredients, mixing well. With wet hands, form into small, even sized balls. Fry in hot oil until browned all over.

    You can serve it as spaghetti and meatballs by adding cooked spaghetti and topping with the meatballs and tomato sauce. This recipe can also be made into patties and served with a mushroom gravy and vegetables . Here in Australia I use regular rolled oats but I’ve also used minute/quick oats in a pinch with no noticeable difference to texture. We like the meatballs in pita bread with salad and aioli too for lunch.

    This meal costs me about $2.15 to make, depending on the cost of the walnuts and it makes about 25 teaspoon sized meatballs – enough for five each for the five of us. When it’s spag meatballs it costs $3.65 to make if I use my homemade tomato sauce, $4.40 if I use bottled sauce.

  93. I looked at a review on sling TV(toms guide) It goes over lots and lots of the things sling tv can and can not do.
    I found it helpful. I think I will stick with my free TV options. I just do not want to pay another $20 on top of the internet. It sounded like it could be good for a sports family that watches in real time. No DVR
    Have a great day,
    Patti

  94. Cindy, I agree with you! It is fun reading about other countries and other regions of the U.S. (which can sometimes feel like another country 🙂 ), especially the foods. I have googled, also, plenty of times.

  95. Libby, didn’t all those recipes look beautiful and delicious? I’d like to make a trifle some day, just for fun. Probably not at Christmas as she does since we have so much, but maybe in the summer when we get all the fresh fruit. Though her one with the dried fruits did look good.

    Have you been watching the Great Christmas Bakeoff? It is still with Mary Berry but the male judge is a Johnny Iunozzi (sp).

  96. My local Kroger had a lot of freebies this month too. I kept a few for us and I gave some to a family we sponsored for Christmas. One of the freebies was a Pillsbury cake mix. I never buy boxed mixes, but found a recipe to make Grinch cookies with it by adding a little green dye and a candy red heart in the center.

  97. Marivene, we notice that those who buy the gooseberries from the stand tend to be an older generation, though there is an interest by younger folks, possible called the foodies.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  98. How great about the fridge! I also love that you passed on your working older fridge to someone in need! Supports my life theory, ” what goes around comes around”! I am so tired of thrifty blogs that are all about themselves.. because on those blogs someone would brag about the good deal at SA, and then triumph that they sold the old fridge for profit, or ended up with 100 dollars by selling old, towards the new SA fridge! I am older, and joke, since when did washers/dryers/ fridges now all cost 3000 dollars! Merry Christmas!

  99. to continue…our greenhouse is from the 60’s built by my maternal grandfather onto the side of his workshop. My oldest daughter renovated it about 3 years ago when she moved back. So far she has been using it for starting of seedlings only. This is the first attempt to grow throughout the winter, just with lettuces. Since it shares the wall with the heated woodworking shop, I think that helps.

    Have avoided all the stores as I feel we are as ready as need be for the upcoming holidays. We cut down a little tree and put it up Saturday. We’ve gone to a table top since we have been in this house. Much less work but just as pretty. We are all going to oldest son and his wife’s house for Christmas Eve after 6pm church and then all here Christmas Day after morning church.

    Over the last 2 weeks cooked and ate mostly at home, other than several church, school and social holiday get togethers. Made macaroni and cheese, spicy sweet potato baked chips, baked pumpkin donuts, curried squash soup, 8 types of Christmas cookies, chex mix x 3, brats and German (hot) potato salad and red cabbage. Baked bread 2 loaves white each week and one of rye. Made banana bread 2x and once added chopped craisins and chopped dried apricot. Made cheese pizza with vegetarian Italian sausage on half and onions and canned mushrooms on all. Husband grilled out beef and onion shish kababs and we served with plain yogurt and lemon-parsley rice. Made mashed potatoes and used leftover turkey in gravy from the freezer for open face hot turkey sandwiches. Made scalloped corn casserole. Made variety of jello salads, coleslaw and lettuce salads.

    Merry Christmas to all. May you find this time of year peaceful and joyous and in the company of friends and family.

  100. Me also, and I have had it least 4 years? I am alone, and I have a cell phone, and I know if the internet or power out, no Ooma Phone. BUT for me, worth the 4 a month, because the cell phone is not as reliable as all think it is.. and if I needed help, Ooma on! AND free long distance to anywhere in the USA, fee for overseas, which I have no need for. My 5 year old Panasonic portable phone works with this, no need to buy a Ooma or new phone. Easy to hook up, even for the tech challenged. AND this, if you need to, cut down your cell usage or use minutes, you can make a lot of calls from home with Ooma. YES, it is some money to buy the unit, but you will recoup that fast. AND this is not Magic Jack or one of the others like that.. businesses do use Ooma and no one can tell. Lot of options, which I do not use. Shop around, a few places sell it, and get the best price. SORRY to go on so..

  101. This week has just flew by, since I needed to work every day, watching my nephew, since he didn’t have school, but his parents had to work or had appointments. We did some fun things, but it all took time. Now, I can concentrate on finishing Christmas! So, I did get the gluten-free angel food cake baked that I need for Sunday. I froze it, chopped into squares, so it will be ready. We are going to do fondue on Christmas Day, at my sister’s, so that will be a fun change.

    The main way we are saving money this year is by keeping Christmas very simple. We have cut back tremendously from what we have done in the past, but that is necessary this year. Most of it is organized and wrapped, but there is a little left to do tomorrow. We will also go see my husband’s mother tomorrow and take her out to lunch, since we will celebrate with my side of the family on Christmas Day. So the presents we are taking became top priority and are ready to go. We gave family gifts to his sisters + families, with caramel corn, hand soap in pretty scents, a little candy, a few oranges and a $10 Trader Joe’s gift card. We put some candy canes in there, and will deliver them tomorrow so his mom can pass them out. It is much less than normal, but we know they will understand this year, and hopefully feel our care for them.

    There are quite a few ways to keep kids busy on my blog, since that’s what I’ve been doing all week!

    https://beckyathome.wordpress.com

  102. Lots of snow on the ground here. I am thankful for a warm home and a full pantry. Christmas gifts have all been homemade or purchased inexpensively. Wrapped and delivered. We are anticipating a quiet Christmas for two. My youngest daughter sent us a new pressure cooker I had mentioned I was looking at. I have been busy learning new recipes. Daughters and I are involved in pantry challenge using as much as we can from Pantry’s and freezers and avoiding shopping as much as possible. Last night I found a recipe for sausage and butternut squash soup that turned out amazing. This morning there will be oatmeal cooked with apples , brown sugar and cinnamon. The leftovers will go into my bread dough today. Bread from earlier in the week will go into stuffing for our Christmas chicken, then the chicken carcass will make the next batch of soup. We have a dog and chickens that are happy to scarf up any leftovers, scraps or ahem. Mistakes! Ha ha . I am taking some quiet time this morning to enjoy my coffee and count my many blessings. God bless each of you

  103. Hi everyone from Northwest Louisiana. I’ve been reading this blog and all the great comments for a while now and am so inspired by Brandi and all of y’all.

    I do lots of frugal things, just don’t really keep track. It’s one of my goals for 2017 to remedy that. Looking forward to sharing with y’all and keep learning too.

    Happy Christmas to you all! I’m getting ready to start the Christmas Eve gumbo, it’s 73 degrees here, not really “gumbo weather,” but as I’ve heard some of our Cajun neighbors say, if the AC’s running it’s gumbo weather. Yes, the AC is running , it’s VERY humid here, opening a window is just miserable and allergens creep in.

    Merry Christmas Eve!

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