Sunflower The Prudent Homemaker

My husband gave our two older boys’ haircuts.

We gladly accepted a gift of a package of turkey bacon and a package of beef from our neighbor. She said she hadn’t liked the turkey bacon (we don’t mind it at all!) and had bought too many packages of the beef and didn’t think she could eat them all. Later in the week, she brought me 4 very ripe bananas.

I picked red noodle beans, a few tomatoes, two Armenian cucumbers, and I cut Swiss chard, garlic chives, and basil from the garden.

Eagle Scout Cookies The Prudent Homemaker

My son had his Eagle Scout Court of Honor this week. I made cookies and cupcakes for refreshments. (I was able to cut out a shortening-based cookie instead of a butter-based cookie and had better luck. I still had to use a lot of flour not just while rolling, but also a floured stockinged rolling pin (even though I am using a marble one and cutting out on granite counters, which are cold), and flour the spatula between each cookie before lifting it off the counter to ensure it didn’t stick and collapse while lifting it to move it to the cookie sheet. It was 113ºF (45ºC) the day I made the cookies. I also turned the air conditioner down a few more degrees while baking to try to keep the dough from completely melting/sticking.) My parents contributed some money to help me purchase some things I didn’t have and needed to finish these, which was a great blessing.

Campfire Cupcakes The Prudent Homemaker

The water company sent me a bill; my water bills are highest in summer. Our water bill will be $100 less for August’s water over July’s water, thanks to the rain we had, my turning off the sprinklers and drip irrigation when we had rain, and the water I collected in buckets from the rains and used in the garden. 

It was humid this week again, so I was able to collect water from the air conditioning drip as well as from the shower to use to water pots in the garden.

My eldest applied for two scholarships. She also was able to download a free book for a class.


What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. Beautiful decorating on the cookies and the cupcakes made me laugh! Sometimes I’ve used confectioners sugar instead of flour when rolling out sugar cookies…but I’ve never tried to make cookies in a house hotter than 75!

    Hope Winter gets the scholarships!

    • I traveled for business three days this week which means I ate on the company’s dime. I arrived home late on Thursday night but remembered to pull some frozen soup out of the freezer to thaw. I brought the soup for lunch in the office on Friday.
    • Made swag goal x 3
    • Did a food save by cutting off the nasty bits of a free zucchini and cooked up the remainder.
    • Hung laundry out
    • Switched from my preferred gas station to one that is less convenient, but 20 cents less per gallon. Gas has increased almost 40 cents a gallon between Monday and Friday.
    • Roasted a chicken and then put the carcass in slow cooker to make overnight stock
    • Made bruschetta, stuffed tomatoes, lemon squares and zucchini bread
    • Updated monthly net worth spreadsheet
    • Joined Amtrack frequent traveler program then booked a ticket for next weekend, earning me an instant reward bonus. I’m going to meet a friend in Boston. It would be about $30 less to drive, but with summer/fall traffic between NYC and Boston the drive would be stressful and exhausting.
    • We attended an annual pig roast. It was raining and fewer people showed up then had RSVP’d. We gladly accepted “doggie bags” of roast pig, cornbread, and corn on the cob.
    • It was 43 degrees here in CT on Saturday morning – brrr! We took out the window A/C units.

  2. You did a beautiful job on the cookies, which sounded like a real labor of love. The campfire cupcakes are fantastic! Being my regular chives ended up dying during the drought, I’ve been using my garlic chives, which I don’t often think of. They’re quite tasty. I was able to purchase a couple of chive plants at the farmer’s market this weekend for $1 a plant, and got them planted yesterday. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s comments, and happy to be joining in here:

  3. I have better luck using powdered sugar instead of flour to roll out my cookies with. I roll everything out on a silicone Silpat I put in the freezer ahead of time. Can always put back in freezer for a few minutes to lift cookies off of easier. Very cute!

  4. The baked goods look great and congrats to your son on his Eagle!

    Living Frugal in Seattle this week:
    -besides our weekend camping trip and a large grocery shopping run, we rode our bikes for transportation.
    -we kept our camping trip frugal by bringing along all needed food and cooking meals over a campfire or on our camping stove. All of our activities – hiking, tidepooling and playing on the beach – were free. The campsite was beautiful…on the ridge of a bluff overlooking the water and onto Canada. I kept thinking that a hotel room with this view would cost a fortune!
    -my husband and I also celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary last week. Instead of going out to dinner, I met him at a park after work and we had a picnic and watched the sun set over the water and then rode our bikes home together.
    -I put together some back to school outfits for my boys with the clothes they have instead of being tempted to buy new ones. I did buy new laces for their shoes, a cheap way to give them more life.
    -We borrowed some books and DVDs from the library for the last few days before school begins.
    -Besides a salmon meal (salmon gifted to us from a friend), I made meatless dinners this week. Trying to get our grocery bill down!

  5. I just love the trains for travel and I use them whenever I can. They are way better than flights and often even work out better than driving (less stress is a big deal these days to me as well)

    Last week I saved about $80 on grocery store purchases. This week I am taking back some crackers that did not work out for my family and using that credit towards groceries, trying to figure out how many potatoes to buy for our family and where to store them they are $2.77 per bag this week ( I think it is a 10 lb bag going to check that too)

    Shared a lunch on date day total cost $5.00 brought home some muffins from a get together at a friends will use those this week.
    We have been eating scraps for three weeks and really cleaning up the fridge and freezers. I have had less work lately with clients so I’m working on sales and deep cleaning my house.

    Found a sale on laundry soap and juice bought enough for the next six months.

    Found a sale on razors at my grocery store matched with coupons got four free razors.

    I too switched gas stations to save money on gas. My favorite station kept raising prices and I found another one that has not yet.

    Going to library book sale tomorrow. (almost have Christmas done I buy books and experiences.)

    I did all of the usual gave hair cuts saved water, saved electric, plastic bags, saved paper bags and try to cut down on trash to save on that expense as well. Trash removal is another expense I have been watching closely.

    Working on putting together boxes for Harvey victims I will send mine more towards the holidays. I will send two very large boxes, one from me and my hubby and one from my son and daughter in law.

    Bless everyone this week and let us be thankful.

  6. We had an evening recently with some car break ins…probably more like kids getting lucky with unlocked cars. While my car is now in the garage, I decided to add a motion detector light to the back of the house rather than running the old yard light (mercury vapor). The old one is very expensive to run and I’m verifying it through my electric bill. We now have smart meters making it easy to track daily online and figure what is sucking power. I plan on adding another motion light in the front of the house so I don’t have to run the front lights all night.

    My electric bill before the divorce was budgeted at $175 a month. When he left, I called the power company and explained the situation. They dropped the budget plan to allow me to cut my bill. August 2016 my bill was $242 (actual reading). This August? $72 and that was the only bill over $70 so far. 🙂 The ex had some health issues and always wanted the air conditioner kept quite cold. I think I’ve managed to only run it a total of two days, turning it on sporadically to knock the humidity out of the air.

    I also noticed that my chimney seemed to be leaking a bit. The options were to apply mastic to patch it or knock the chimney down, patch the hole and shingle over it. I chatted with the neighbors across the road who were roofing their home and the guy took to the roof and inspected the chimney for me. We decided the chimney is actually solid so he simply reseal with mastic and added a cover to the top so nothing gets in there (water or raccoons!). The chimney is no longer used because the furnace vents through the wall.

    Minimal cost for both repairs…materials only and no labor!

  7. Brandy- those cupcakes are adorable!! We’ve had a crazy week with back to school in full swing 1 kiddo goes to the public elementary school in town and the other has to go 20 minutes away for preschool because our local preschool closed 🙁 I’m sure we’ll figure out a smooth schedule, but right now it’s been nutso! Anyhoo- joining in with my frugal accomplishments and August State of the Frugal Union here:

  8. Congratulations on your Eagle Scout. We know that it is a remarkable accomplishment of which he and his family can be very proud.

    The hand decorated cookies are just wonderful and if you had to pay for custom cookies like that they would run at least $1.25 to $1.50 a piece. I know it was a lot of work, but they turned out beautifully and I know everyone appreciated your special effort. I loved the campfire cupcakes, too. You truly have the heart and soul of an artist. It shows in everything you do.

  9. The cookies and cupcakes are beautiful and impressive! Congratulations to your son on his achievement and to your daughter on the scholarships!

    This week I had a 5-day weekend so I save money on gas going to and from work.

    I gave my husband a haircut.

    I bought a case of 28-ounce crushed tomatoes from Aldi. I used 5 of the cans for a large batch of spaghetti sauce with just a little Italian sausage and ground beef. We will have a couple of spaghetti dinners and then put the leftover sauce in the freezer.

    My husband and I went to a movie using a gift card we received in April for our anniversary.

    I made yogurt in my slow cooker. I also made chicken stock and rye bread.

    I have been saving change in a jar for awhile and took it to the local Coin star machine. I got over 25 dollars that I used as a gift card for Amazon. I used it toward a couple of gifts for my granddaughter’s birthday and vitamins.

    I harvested probably the last of the green beans and a handful of cherry tomatoes. We have several green beefsteak tomatoes on the plant that we are looking forward to harvesting.

    I made two throw pillow covers from fabric in my stash that I bought at the thrift store. I always look for good quality fabric whenever I go to the thrift store or garage sales.

    My husband and I painted two small book shelves with leftover paint that we had. This will give me added pantry space.

    Brandy-I have been keeping a pitcher of water in the refrigerator just like you do. What a convenience to always have cold water. No more digging in the ice cube trays for ice every time I want some cold water to drink!

  10. We dug about 50 pounds of potatoes from the garden. I canned 60 jars of various tomato iteans from the garden. Dried basil and parsley from the garden. Picked a 16 quart basin of hot peppers that a I will work on this week. The weather has been beautiful here in PA so turned the air conditioner off and opened the windows. My brother gave us peaches that we canned. Signed our kids up for free school lunches. My husband was in an accident and we are living on way less then before. Great job on the cookies.

  11. Those cupcakes look fantastic. What a great idea!!

    I bought 2 large chicken Breasts reduced for quick sale at 40%off. I cooked them and shredded them to make hot chicken on a bin, which has lasted us 3 meals. I bought 3 packs of lean ground beef reduced for quick sale to $1.50/lb and put them straight in the freezer.

    I worked on the final garden harvesting and fall yard clean up.

    I started my rehearsal template for some Christmas DIY gifts and began pricing the final supplies I will need.

    On Saturday the weather was beautiful so we took a spur of the moment say trip to the Pioneer Village in Keene where Rhonda A works. We have never been to that part of Ontario before. It was a beautiful drive. Admission was free for our kids, and we paid $16.00 for my husband and I to get in. It was a great place to visit, beautiful and peaceful. The interpreters on site were fantastic, although at 3 years old and 10 months our boys just wanted to explore which was fine with me. They lived the children’s play area in the village and we all loved the waterfall and mill at the edge of the park. It was a lovely place. We stopped at a farm on our drive home and they were selling strawberries for $20/flat which is VERY cheap. I suspect they had picked all their crop due to fear of frost and waned to offload heir supply. I picked up one flat and we have been devouring the berries all weekend.

    I finished all my totals after a year of grocery tracking. It has proven very useful for me to do this as opposed to a general grocery budget – but I won’t be doing it forever. Maybe one more year. The summary is here:

    Have a great week everyone!!

  12. I love the cupcakes! What a neat idea for a decoration!

    Glad you were able to get the cookies done. I would have melted right along with the cookie dough! No matter who you are 100 degrees is HOT let alone any degrees over that!

    My week was busy in a hectic kind of way. Operation Garden Salvage was top priority. I need to finish up the carrots today.

    My adventures this week can be found here…

  13. Congrats on all your children’s accomplishments!! Well we spent money and save money this week…It was hubby’s bday and we went to see a live show of a comedian he likes and a movie-BUT took advantage of free childcare from in-laws. Used a restaurant certificate I bought thru Swagbucks- got the extra points and meal served up 6X. Used coupons to stock up on groceries and saved $43 plus got 3 free items to add to food bank stash plus redeemed some rebate points thru apps and requested a $22.00 check thru mail. Our printer gave out and hubby called the company and gave the series number and it was still under warranty! They are sending a FREE new one and we get to send this one back with free shipping. The plastic covering on the floor that we put in front of son’s computer is cracking and we sent in pictures to manufacture- they are sending a FREE one too!! The battery in the truck conked out and hubby did some investigating online and got the better deal. I am still getting herbs, onions and garlic from the garden with a few cherry tomatoes. Sold a couple things on EBay. Was gifted yogurt, a frozen family meal(which we don’t eat- so I gifted it further) and milk. My work place had an appreciation day where they served breakfast items- I brought home a couple bowls of mixed fruit and several bagels. I am still working on trying to get my son re-evaluated so I can become his CAP worker- it’s a long wait time but worth it-Hopefully by the year’s end!! We are still swimming in the backyard pool and hopefully can still get use out of it for a couple more weeks before the fall weather sets in.

  14. I would like to make a suggestion for a future post, Brandi. The process and resources that Winter is using and finding could be helpful to others. Other readers of your blog might have some resources that might be new to you as well. I wish Winter the best!

    And we’ll done to your son as well!

    I imagine e some of the mending you do is replacing buttons on your shirts when they pop off with the price you have in your childern ☺

  15. The cookies and cupcakes are so cute, Brandy. I hope all the guests appreciated your efforts! It was also very kind of your neighbour to share her excess and unwanted food items with your family. I wish your daughter luck on receiving some scholarship funds. Good for her for searching out the financial help with furthering her education!

    This week has been crazy busy for me. My seasonal job is winding down for the summer and at the same time, I’m trying to prepare my special needs daughter with transitioning to high school. They start back to school on Tuesday. We all are having huge anxiety over how this will go. Praying for the best, but preparing for the worst right now. Anyway, our frugal accomplishments for our family this week included:
    *Meals made at home included sub sandwiches (made using cold cuts from the freezer, discounted sub buns and Swiss cheese slices on sale), chicken shepherds pie (made with one leftover chicken breast), breaded chicken burgers with salad, homemade cream of cauliflower cheese soup with dinner rolls, BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with hash-brown patties, pasta with choice of sauce and optional sausage slices, and roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots.
    *When temperatures turned cooler, I made a nice pot of homemade soup. I used veggies we had on hand, some of the homemade poultry soup stock from the freezer and pantry staples. The “day old” bakery dinner rolls, warmed in the oven, paired perfectly with the meal. Leftovers were eaten up at lunch the following day.
    *Cooked extra hash-brown patties along with dinner one night, to use for future breakfasts which saved on electricity costs of cooking them on their own. We re-heat the cooked patties in the microwave or in toaster at breakfast time.
    *Found huge packages of pepperoni on clearance for $2.50 due to the expiration date being that day. I bought 2 packages, immediately re-packaged all of it into 8 pizza portions with my food saver and froze them for future meals. From the same store, I bought 20 bottles of Crystal Light and Mio drink mixes for $1/bottle. My mom likes to use this occasionally to flavour her water. However, at nearly $4/bottle regular price, I rarely buy it. This stash should last her a while.
    *Other great grocery deals this week included 2 bunches of celery for $0.75 each (1 for fresh eating, 1 to dehydrate for pantry), 2 six-packs of canned white tuna for $10/6 cans (reg price for individual cans of white tuna are min. $2 each), 2 cases of bottled water for $1.88/24 bottles, and a Costco sized canister of Folgers coffee for $10.
    *Asked my brother if he would pick up some eggs for me while he was visiting, since he was going to the store to buy pop. He used his loyalty points to pay for them, so they were free. We gift him food all the time (he went home with a huge jar of peanut butter and some pepperoni from our stash this visit), so I appreciated the reciprocation of kindness.
    *I received a coupon for a free birthday gift item at Giant Tiger (a Canadian retail chain). It was a choice between coffee (I don’t like hot drinks), a package of muffins (I bake so not interested), or chocolate covered almonds or raisins. When I stopped in to pick it up the free bag of chocolate covered almonds, they had a huge sale on summer clothing items. Picked up 3 pairs of shorts and 2 t-shirts for myself, plus 3 pairs of shorts and 1 pair of capris for my daughter at really amazing prices!
    *Cut my own bangs to avoid getting a hair cut. I need my hair long enough to put in a bun for my job, so I try to hold out in getting a nice cut until after I finish for the season, right before the Christmas holidays.
    *Attended the grade 9 orientation day at the high school DD will be attending. She received a free school t-shirt for attending! There were some anxiety issues that resulted in missing some parts of the orientation, but after meeting some of the other new students, I think she is feeling a bit better about starting school next week. She also met her new E.A. that will be helping her. This is extremely rare for a high school student to receive one on one support. I know parents who are very frustrated they cannot get this kind of support for their autistic children, despite hugely advocating for it. So I consider this a huge win for my daughter! This also alleviates some of my anxiety, too. *sign* Finger’s and toes crossed things go well this coming week.
    *I was offered the free use of someones 4-harness table loom, so I could get more practice at weaving. Now I have to find a project I want to try, so I can learn how to read weaving patterns, how to figure out what I need in materials according to the pattern, and how to warp the loom as needed for the weaving pattern. Looking forward to developing my weaving knowledge and skill sets!
    *This weekend most of the seasonal interpreters finished up for the summer. On Sunday, one of our young volunteers (she’s like one of the staff to us) created a murder mystery for the staff. It was perfect timing for us, when often we feel less motivated after a long summer season. We all had so much fun trying to figure out who the murderer was! I so love my job and the people I work with (even if they did suspect me of murder right off the bat)!!!!

    Thank you for all the inspiration and encouragement, everyone. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

  16. Brandy the cupcakes and cookies are wonderful. I pray that Winter gets the scholarships. My granddaughter has one and it has been a blessing. I am glad you were able to get the water bill down.

    I have reread your frugal posts and comments. I reread your pantry info and pantry menu comparing to what I have and found a couple holes in my pantry I would not have caught as I am out of bouillon.

    After I wash the next load of canning jars I will be rereading your eat beans every night..

    It’s been a week of changes especially with stocking up as Hubby came home and announced the company was changing the 2018 retirement package (and not for the better but their hands are tied also) so he was coming out early Dec…my major staple stock up is usually Dec with the Christmas sales so I’m juggling that…

    Our electric bill was up , not as high as it has been but up enough the landlord asked if he needed to have things checked. Nope, just running 2 dehydrators, a dehumidifier in the basement and the electric range with canning. Hopefully I can continue some of the canning outside when it’s not raining using the propane burners instead.

    Blessed be

  17. I harvested some more tomatoes from the garden and, after leaving some large ones for slicing and some cherry tomatoes for salads, I was able to can 4 quarts of diced tomatoes for my pantry! That makes a dozen quarts of tomatoes from our garden so far without buying anything!! They are versatile to use as diced tomatoes in recipes, in salsa, to make tomato sauce, etc!

    In an effort to rotate my freezers, I got out some stew beef chunks and some chicken drumsticks! I tossed the beef into the crockpot, peeled & cut up potatoes and ( saving potato skins & carrot peelings for chickens!)carrots and celery (from the free veggie discards for chickens) and made an awesome beef stew! We had been given some bread bowls so I served them in those! Yummy! We had leftovers for another lunch/dinner time but I noticed that almost all of the beef was gone so I got out a pint of home canned beef chunks and added some to it so that there is now enough stew for a whole dinner + leftovers! The drumsticks I baked in the oven with a honey soy sauce and I made potato salad to use up a red onion I had left on my counter, eggs from my chickens and home canned pickle relish!

    I am participating in a “shelf-tember” challenge to make our meals from things we already have on hand- on shelf, fridge and freezer and try not to spend more than $25/week for any fresh things- milk, produce, etc! I think we may be able to come out spending way less than the $25!!! My family and I are ready to take on this fun challenge!!
    We have about $200 in special order wood products made for a business client of ours as well as about $300 worth of decorative front porch decor that will be finished by tonight!

    We found free old wood fencing on Craigslist and came home with almost 500 board foot of solid cedar 1x6x 6 foot long fence boards! That would have cost us thousands $$ new and we can plane it lightly and use it in some of our business pieces!! We found particular pieces of hardwood in our basement that had been long since forgotten that were perfect to finish up another furniture piece we had an order for! Our business is definitely being watched over and we are so grateful!! You can see our things that we make on our Facebook page- HandmadeinOldeTowne.

    Tonight we are picking up 3 more hens (free) to add to our little urban flock! That will bring us up to 8 layers which is what our city permit allows! The sister of a friend has a farm and their 20 chickens and several ducks are being killed by a fox! They have a young family and their time commitments are heavy so she just wants to give the chickens and ducks away! With 8 layers, we will be getting more eggs than the 3 of us can use, but several friends have said from the beginning that they would live to buy eggs from us so this will be another little stream of income!
    I used up some mark down overripe bananas into banana coconut delight cookies using homemade cookie mix! I have just made another big batch of cookie mix and refilled my canister! I love having the convenience of mixes on my shelf so that my time is reduced when I want to make something!
    I completed another baby quilt top for a friend’s daughter and will get that quilted up this week! No OOP cost because I used things from my stash (even batting scraps!!) I have 2 more baby boy quilts to design and make this week!

    I live this time of the year- it’s starting to cool down which means no a/c use or furnace use!!
    I hope everyone’s week holds promises for everything they need!

  18. Brandi, I love the cupcakes! Very creative.
    We collected 26 eggs. (It has been so hot – and even pretty humid – here, so the girls haven’t all been laying every day like they usually do. Poor things! Actually, I feel their pain. I’m used to the dry heat, but when it’s 112 and humid? Yuck!)
    We harvested pumpkins, peaches, figs, zucchini, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, a few full-sized tomatoes – both yellow and red (our tomatoes are taking FOREVER to ripen this year and I don’t think we’re going to have as full a harvest as most years. It’s just a weird tomato year.), and butternut squash. The big surprise was that I was able to harvest some green beans. We had written off the green bean plants; most of them died early in the season and the rest have been languishing. But yesterday I was able to take a few green beans off the plants and a few more are coming. It’s not much, but every little bit counts.
    Mom and I made and froze pumpkin puree from some pumpkins that were a little soft and would not be good for pantry storage.
    Mom made apple sauce from gifted apples. We received gifted figs from one of my co-workers.
    Each year, on the Thursday and Friday before Labor Day, the preschool where my sister works closes so the teachers can prepare for the new school year, which starts the following Tuesday. I volunteered to help my sister, who was changing classrooms. The school provided muffins and bagels both mornings and a pizza and salad lunch the first day. The pizza place provided too much dressing, so I took a pack of it home. To thank me for my help, my sister treated me to lunch the second day.
    We roasted a chicken (mostly in the crock pot to keep from heating up the house too much, then a little while in the oven to brown). After we had eaten that night, we pulled the remaining meat off the bones; part was made into chicken salad for lunches and the rest was used to make chicken quesadillas the next night. The bones and giblets were frozen for future chicken stock.
    One ongoing frugality around here is that we all wear “around the house” clothes until they disintegrate. My dad had one T-shirt that was sooooo holey; mom cut it into cleaning rags.
    We did all the normal stuff: combining errands, hanging clothes on the line, cooking from scratch, eating up the leftovers, etc.
    One thing that may end up costing us in the future is this humidity. Normally, even on the hottest days, our temperatures drop to the high fifties or low sixties during the night. This is the second time in a month or two that, due to a thunderstorm off the coast, it’s been as hot (or hotter!) outside as inside when we go to bed. So the air has been running more than usual. We won’t know how this is effecting us until our on-grid solar true-up date in November.
    Sorry. My comments are always so long. Thank you, Brandi, for such a great vehicle for sharing ideas and information that’s helping us all learn frugality!

  19. I haven’t posted in a while because I am having my house rewired. I have the original knob and tube electricity. My house is small and over 100 years old. The price for this (I bought all of the wire, plugs and covers is $6000.00. I have had half of the house done so far and I’m repainting and doing small repairs as we go along.
    With all of that said I am cutting back in other ways.
    I am a new (for the second time) empty-nester. My daughter and her 2 children have finally left home. Because of that all of my household bills have decreased. I have saved a hundred dollars a month on electricity alone. When I go to bed I turn off the a/c in every room buy my bedroom. I have closed off the part of the house that they kids lived in…so I have used no a/c in there at all.
    I just got my new car insurance bill and almost fainted. *laughing* The bill went up $375.00 for the year. No claims in over a decade. I called my ins. person and said I couldn’t pay that amount. She said my company had gone up across the board in Texas. I have changed insurance companies and have saved almost $200. As soon as the cars pay off (this month and next month) I am dropping full coverage and my bill will drop by more than half.
    I have accepted food from friends that they “overbought”. I have been given a pork roast, beef roast and chicken breasts this last week.
    My daughter’s husband is diabetic and they had to change their diet. Windee has brought all of the food they can’t eat here. I watch her babes before and/or after school depending on when Windee works. They will be eating most of the given food for snacks.
    I have a friend that raises chickens and he gives me eggs. He even boils some and marks them with an X so I know which ones are boiled.
    We got the kids school clothes from Goodwill. This is something I do every year. Buying used is just sensible. The kids grow so fast.
    I eat at home most of the time.
    I did order Amazon Unlimited which costs $9.99 a month. I don’t buy any books from them anymore. Since I am in a wheelchair it is very hard for me to get to the library (in another town) by myself. Spending that money has saved me more money than you can imagine.
    I am making items to sell at a bazaar at the end of this month. In all honesty I have used scraps of fabrics to make all of what I’ve made. I’ve spent twenty dollars on fake fur for gnome beards and $30.00 on weighted pellets. Now…if I just sell a bunch of things I will be okay. If not a lot of these items will become Christmas gifts.
    I can’t thing of much else at the moment.
    That little manny of yours is gorgeous.

  20. I love the cupcakes and cookies! Congratulations!

    It has been unseasonably cold here…it was 57 yesterday, which is crazy. Today we are a balmy 75. I’m loving the lower utility bills.

    We’ve continue work in our garden. My husband and sons are almost finished painting the large shed/barn and the matching chicken coop. I went to my local nursery and found all the perennials half off so I stocked up on flowers for our from walk way. I’m in a wedding this weekend so I’m busy making a dress.

    My biggest find was a very cheap mini pie maker at the thrift store which works perfectly. I wrote about it here: I was gifted a large bouquet of gladiolus and so I’m thrilled. I put up peach jam this week. I’ve been wanting an industrial sewing machine (I’m attempting some upholstery) and found my desired model half off. Our house is finally re-sided. All in all a good start to September.

  21. Yes please!!! I have a son that recently graduated from a Christian school that is basically a home school co op and we are having a horrible time finding resources for money. He doesn’t qualify for grants and I absolutely do no want him taking out any student loans and getting in debt!!!! He wants to take as many on line classes as possible, but out of state tuition is ridiculous for the bigger on line universities. I would so much appreciate a post on this! Thank you!

  22. I love your eagle cookies and campfire cupcakes, Brandy! Super impressive! Your kids are lucky to have you as a mom.

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I think I’ve perfected my recipe for white wine Alfredo sauce (reduced fat)! ( The DH loves it, and it’s quite easy to pull together after a busy day. I was inspired by Brandy, as well as a conversation with a friend about how to use up white wine. I used the can of evaporated milk that I got in a trade this week, as well as some onions (bought dirt cheap, chopped, and then frozen), pasta (I think I bought it on sale for 50 cents/lb or so), a bouillon cube that my sister gave me, plus some balcony-garden grown herbs, and some leftover white wine (the bottle of wine was opened way more months ago than I care to acknowledge. But hey, it’s great for cooking, and, no waste!) I served it with some broccoli I had purchased on sale, blanched, and frozen, as well as some iced tea. It was delicious! And have I mentioned that it’s reduced fat? Healthy, tasty, and frugal. My ideal dinner trifecta!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded some cupcakes (leftover from a cake I was making) for a jar of locally produced unpasteurized honey and some locally grown tomatoes. I also traded some make-up samples that I didn’t want, for a transit token, and some tea that was gifted to me, for a bag of vegetable chips and a book. I donated the book to my office. And, I traded a baking tray that I never use for a box of cereal and a can of evaporated milk. This is perfect, because I was low on cereal. Not my favourite kind, but healthy enough, and will last me for a month of breakfasts, interspersed with my homemade yoghurt.
    – Speaking of which, I made a batch of yoghurt. It turned out a bit runnier than I like, but that’s ok. I can’t be bothered to drain it to make Greek Yoghurt, and this way I can use it as a thick buttermilk replacement for baking or salad dressings. I’ll likely just eat it for breakfast (and the occasional dinner) with some homemade jam or preserves stirred in. I can’t wait to try it with my homemade cherry pie filling!
    – I noticed a wild pear tree on my walk home from work this week. It’s on public land, abutting a sidewalk. I plan to wait until they grow bigger, and then hope to harvest some. Hopefully there’s some pear butter in my future!
    – I ordered some items using my Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks: a ruler, an ice cream container, a dough divider, a piping tip, and some maple syrup. All treats for myself that I wouldn’t have bought otherwise. Am v. excited about it!
    – Went out for tea with a friend, and was able to use my Starbucks gift card from Swagbucks.
    – Gifted the same friend some high end loose leaf tea (Cookie Dough flavour), that had been given to me by a client.
    – Made a batch of iced tea from flavoured tea packets leftover from a camping trip.
    – Made ranch dressing using my homemade yoghurt and homemade ranch dressing mix. I served it over some of the tomatoes that I had traded for. Yum!
    – I made a salad for myself and my husband using my balcony-grown produce! I used Swiss chard (since I STILL can’t seem to grow lettuce), baby tomatoes, mint, basil, green onion, and to make it pretty, topped it with a nasturtium blossom. Was very satisfying! While I’ve grown a bunch this year, it hasn’t been the prolific garden that I wanted, but that’s ok. I’ve learned a lot, and plant to implement what I’ve learned next year.
    – Inspired by Jeannie, I stir-fried some balcony-garden sweet potato leaves, Asian-style, with garlic, hot pepper, oil, and a few drops of sesame oil. Delicious!
    – I used the “pot likker” from the sautéed sweet potato leaves as part of the dressing for a glass noodle salad that I made. Then I sent my sister home with some of the leftover salad for work lunches.
    – I bought two containers of strawberries for $1.50 each, and froze them to make jam in the future.
    – I bought cherries at $1.99/lb and pitted and froze them. They weren’t the best quality cherries, but I’ll likely be turning them into jam or pie filling anyway, and they’re perfectly fine for that.
    – I made vegetarian sushi for Sunday dinner with my family! I was very pleased with how it all turned out. (My dad was surprised to find out that I had made it myself.) Much more affordable than buying sushi, that’s for sure, and because it was vegetarian, no expensive fish was needed! I used seaweed, wasabi, and pickled ginger that I had bought many months ago when I went to an Asian grocery store with a friend, and rice that I bought from a bulk store. The wasabi and the pickled ginger were the most expensive items, but still under $10 and will last for at least a years worth of sushi-making. I made some sushi with the nori on the outside, and some with the rice and toasted sesame seeds on the outside. I was able to make a whole large platter to feed 5 people, with leftovers, and still have enough ingredients leftover to make a batch for the DH and myself in the future. I can see myself making sushi now as a dish for a potluck, very inexpensively!
    – I made chocolate cherry almond ice cream for dessert when my family came over for Sunday dinner. I didn’t want to use my precious dark chocolate in the ice cream (I keep the high quality dark chocolate that my husband gives me for special occasions, for eating) so I replaced it with cocoa powder (which I bought in bulk at Costco). I used whipping cream that I bought on sale last week, and the egg yolks that were leftover when I made a batch of meringues. OMG so delicious!
    – I cat-sat in my neighbourhood for cash. Whoohoo!
    – I got a small bonus at work and applied it straight to the mortgage. Yay! Every bit helps.
    – I had made meringues something like a year ago using some speciality sugar sheets I had ordered online. They were expensive, and are made to be only used once. Due to how the meringues are spaced out on the sheets, there was still lots of useable design left, so when I was making meringues, I used the leftover meringue to make mini meringue kisses using the leftover sugar sheets. I definitely got my moneys worth from that purchase!
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gift card to Starbucks

    And that was my week! Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  23. My kids are past college. But, an old friend during that time told me to have my daughter apply to any and all scholarship monies. She applied for one that was for women with Chinese background. (Or some such;she obviously didn’t fit the profile) She was upfront about everything and still got the money. They told her that she was the only one to apply and they wanted the money to go to someone who could use it. So, don’t skip applying even if you don’t match perfectly.

  24. Hi, Gabrielle, I went to your blog and read about the mini pie maker;too cool! (Pie is under-rated!) You mentioned wanting to see about freezing homemade pie dough. I have been doing this for many years. I’ll quadruple my go-to recipe, wrap each dough-ball in cling film and put them into a large plastic container for the freezer. It takes no time for a ball of dough to thaw. It makes my life much easier! I hope this helps.

  25. Brandy,

    Congrats to your son on his Eagle Scout and your youngest is so cute ! I have an Eagle Scout (My Hubby who is 70) and when I found his pin in a drawer about 10 years ago he said he was thinking of just getting rid of it. I put it with the tree ornaments and now every year he gets to look at his pin during the holidays and it makes him happy. I always put treasures that no one knows what to do with on the tree. When Grandma died there were four silver spoons all just beautiful I polish them every year and they hang on my tree.

  26. Hello everyone! I have not posted in the last couple of weeks so this will encompass that time period.
    We have had a drastic reduction in income (my husband and my hours have been cut at our jobs). Our property taxes were due the beginning of this month and I managed to pay it 3 weeks early but the monthly bills got behind. The taxes also increased this year although I have no idea why. I have been playing catch up the past few weeks and am almost caught up. I have only been spending money on necessities. I work in a plasma donation center ( in Reception) and when employees donate we get $50 per donation (adds up to $400 per month). I have been donating the past couple of weeks and putting that money towards bills and gas in the truck I drive (and the few grocery I did purchase). It’s not glamorous but that is a lot of money.

    In the past few weeks I have purchased ground beef, ground turkey, milk, butter, white bread (only bread my husband will eat is store bought white bread), peanut butter, coffee, cat food and cat litter. I returned some cans of wet cat food my cat decided he didn’t like. I used that money to purchase the meat. We have been eating what we have in our freezer, pantry, and fridge and trying to get creative.

    We have made oatmeal, overnight oats, plain yogurt with granola, pancakes, sausage and eggs with toast or bagels, tacos, taco bake, stir fry, baked potatoes, pork chops, bbq shredded pork, fried potatoes, potato soup with cheese, minestrone soup, chicken noodle soup (just the broth, no actual chicken because we have been out of chicken for a few weeks), power balls (100 days of real food recipe), chocolate chip banana bread, pumpkin bread, spaghetti, chocolate m and m cookies, brownies. That is all I remember 🙂

    I have a stash of laundry soap, shampoo/conditioner, dish soap in my pantry. I repurpose clean bottles or use mason jars and water down the product 50/50. It still cleans well and lasts twice as long.

    I am using a free 7 day trial of Sling tv. We watch it on our laptop, kindle, or through my husband’s xbox one on our television. I like that we can pick our channels and there are 2 packages to choose from. Eventually I want to get this and cancel Netflix (we don’t watch it much, just our daughter who watches cartoons). I realized how much I missed watching “live” tv and my favorite shows. I’ve watched all the episodes available to watch for free on youtube :).

    I have gone to the library several times and exchanged books and movies. My daughter is almost 7 and her and I have been watching the Harry Potter movies 🙂 My other child is 23 years old and him and I enjoyed watching them together when he was younger and now I get to do it all over again! She really likes the movies. I have been borrowing them from the library. Our library also has ebooks, digital magazines, and music on freegal (we live in a small town so it took several years for this to happen lol). I have been able to enjoy a few magazines online for free. I combine going to the library and picking my daughter up from school as they are 2 blocks apart.

    The temps have cooled off here so we have been able to keep the air conditioners off. We want to take them out of the windows but are waiting a couple more weeks (the Midwest weather is unpredictable).

    I have also been doing the “usual” stuff: washing and reusing bags and jars, taking all my meals to work, making coffee at home, drinking water, saving warm up water/rinsing veggie water/etc and using it elsewhere (flushing the toilet, rinsing dishes, in the garden), making sure things are unplugged when not being used, turning off lights when not needed, staying home unless I have to go somewhere.

    For reasons unknown to me ALL the pears on my two pear trees, ALL the apples on my two apple trees, all 5 bunches of grapes ( my first grape crop!!) disappeared. They were there one day and two days later gone! Not sure if animals got them or neighbors stole the fruit right out of my yard. I am SO upset, though. I have worked so hard this year and now it’s for nothing. We had three very bad storms that killed my pea plants, zucchini plants ( only got 3 and usually have WAY to many). Critters ate my yellow onions, cabbage babies, sunflowers. I have harvested tomatoes, green onions, strawberries, turnips, peas (before the storms), parsley, oregano, basil, dill seed, kale, lettuce, dandelion greens. We have begun collecting free wood pallets to make raised beds next spring to keep critters out better. Yes, our entire garden is fenced in with chicken wire and other fencing but they still get in (mice, rabbits, squirrels, deer on occasion). I have tried various homemade concoctions to keep them out to no avail. I am trying to focus on what I did get but am so disappointed. My strawberry plants have runners and I will be transplanting those into several hanging baskets I have saved over the years to get more strawberries. Next year I will do what Brandy does and cover my grapes with paper bags. I will also be doing some container gardening for my squash plants to see if that helps them grow better. It is to late here to plant new seeds and I can’t buy the plants. I will be planting some seeds in small pots and growing them indoors though. Hopefully I can keep my cat from knocking them down!
    Have a great week everyone and I look forward to reading everyone’s accomplishments! Brandy – Thank you so much for being such an inspiration! I have read and re-read your posts so many times and they help me get through the tough times. I hope your financial situation improves soon as well!

  27. I was a professional baker in my younger years and one of my jobs was to make pie crusts in the throw away pans. The owner of the shop put parchment paper between each crust and the next pan and froze tons of these for the holiday pie orders. If you don’t have the room for a stack of pie pans and crusts roll the crusts out and then cover them with parchment (wax paper…tin foil) or whatever you prefer and roll them up to freeze them.

  28. You had a eventful week. I love the cookies too, congratulations to the Eagle scout, and I hope she receives her scholarships! My daughter applied for quite a few and got them when she went to college so I wish her well. Try to find some more to apply to.. maybe go to the counselor’s office.

    My first week doing a menu plan went really well. I had stopped doing this for a year or so and it’s actually helping to get start it again! Here is a list of the rest of my frugal accomplishments:

  29. We are deep in the harvest here. I bottled about half of the peaches from our largest tree, as they continue to ripen in the boxes. Finished dehydrating the grapes into raisins, & finished up dehydrating our pears into slices. Started working on dehydrating the sliced apples. Began cutting the ripest of the prune plums in half, & dehydrating those, too. I also dried 4 bananas that were turning brown, as slices. My dehydrator sits on the round, ceramic topped table on our patio, next to the door into the garage, where the outlet is located. I use a block of wood to keep the door from slamming shut on the cord when it is windy.

    Bottled a few red raspberries & a bit of grape juice.

    Bought Some things at the case lot sale for my daughter. The sale prices on my side of the mountain are so much better than the sale prices on her side of the mountain. Tomato sauce here was 20 cents a can; at her store, it is 29 cents a can. That is fairly typical for the difference in price spread. Our daughter comes over to Salt Lake once a month for medical appointments anyway, so she is spending the gas money anyway. We just make it work harder. She will reimburse me when I meet her in Heber on her way back from the appointment.

    I continued to stock the freezer with meat from the markdown bin. Continued to harvest yellow pear tomatoes, early girl tomatoes, & green beans, & have incorporated those into our meals. I picked most of our Golden Delicious apples & the rest of the Snow Sweet apples.

    Mowed the lawn & used the grass clippings as mulch.

    Reclaimed the water I used to soak to dehydrator trays, & used that water on the garden & back perimeter beds.

    Took a break & brought the fall leaf wreaths & candle rings out of the cubby, so the house is “decorated” for fall.

  30. Hello!

    Beautiful cupcakes. I have neither the skill (or patience) to do it! So I always admire those who do.

    My husband was able to fix the dishwasher himself, therefore avoiding a service call.

    Picked up a canner utensil kit on sale for $2.99.

    Purchased ground beef at $1.79/lb which is the lowest price point. I was only able to get 10 pounds because of the chickens we recently slaughtered and waiting on a half a pig at the moment. My chest freezer, thankfully, will be full soon.

    Milk is still $.99/ gallon and eggs $.37/dozen. Bought plenty of each.

    Collected more cherry tomatoes and potatoes from garden.

    Was gifted a large cucumber which was used in salads.

    Did not have to run AC at all last week due to unseasonably cooler weather and even turned off ceiling fans at night.

    Collected free apples, pears from our neighbor’s yard who generously let us pick at will. Also was able to gather apples from a wild tree on an abandoned piece of property close to us. Thank goodness for 10 yr old boys who can climb! Have not been able to can due to sickness but hope to get at it soon.

    Usd only window light during day unless absolutely necessary.

  31. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy congratulations to your eldest son becoming an Eagle Scout , hope Winter gets one of her scholarships she has applied for and glad you got some turkey and beef from your neighbour to help with the budget 🙂 .

    We had a very good money saving week last week as we had priced our garden machinery and services at a number of different service centres previously which saved us hugely on costs this year. I also compared prices on other items we needed on the internet and found them far cheaper there than we could buy locally as well.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made Brandy’s lovely roast capsicum soup from capsicums and onions picked from the gardens and rehydrated dry garlic we had in the pantry.
    – Made a lovely tomato soup from tinned diced tomatoes, onions picked and frozen from the gardens and some rehydrated garlic from the pantry and dried basil.
    – Made a lovely banana custard for tea one night with custard powder and rehydrated banana chips from the pantry.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Had one dinner with steamed turnips, shelling peas and spinach picked fresh from the gardens.

    In the garden –
    – Made $3 from the sale of a bunch of silverbeet from the gardens which will go back into buying needed items for the gardens.
    – Swapped a bunch of silverbeet and spinach with a friend for 13 lemons saving $8.32 over purchasing them. We juiced them putting them in ice cube trays in the freezer and will make lemon cordial out of them when the weather warms a bit. We also zested them and saved the zest for using in icings and in cakes and cupcakes.
    – Picked 1.819kg of red and gold capsicums, 454g of turnips, 177g of spinach and 243g of shelling peas saving $19.40 over purchasing the same amount in the supermarkets.

    Electricity savings –
    – Only turned on the electric hot water system for 20.25 hrs this week saving $7.38 in electricity, used our solar lanterns all week instead of using mains powered lights and boiled the kettle 3 mornings on the slow combustion fireplace saving another $4.12 in power.

    Machinery servicing –
    – Saved $39 on our ride on lawnmower base service cost by taking it to another service centre in town.
    – Saved $281 on our car service by taking it to another garage in town for servicing rather than the service centre where we purchased the car.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased 4 x 12g lip balms for $3.90 rather than buying them in the local stores saving $19.15 over purchasing them in the local supermarket.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead everyone 🙂 .

  32. Our two boys had birthdays this past week, August 30 and 31. As we usually celebrate with family and friends with something combined, I have for the past few years pulled a page from Brandy’s book and allowed the kids to chose their favorite meals for their specific birthdays. Thankfully I had ribs and ham already, along with baked beans and Cole slaw for one and sweet potatoes and homemade mac and cheese and canned greens my MIL had put up.One son could not chose between cheesecake brownies or red velvet cake, so I combined the two to make red velvet cheesecake brownies, the other son wanted a peanut butter double doozie cookie cake. I doubled our go to peanut butter cookie recipe and stired in Reese’s pieces, rolled out the dough into two 6X10 rectangles and baked, iced and decorated them. Tasted just like the expensive mall cake for less than $3 in additional ingredients.

    I purchased leg quarters for .39 a pound, pork shoulder for .97 a pound, and tubes of polenta for .50. While I can make polenta from grits to have a few convenience type side helps when we have left overs that need stretching or we come home late.

    We are purchasing a 15 passenger van from a daycare for $300 and will sell our existing camper and refurbish this one into a mini camper that I can drive. I have my chauffeur license and I cannot pull our 32 ft camper with my vehicles and it is also a park model, which means no holding tanks or dual fuel fridge. It will be perfect for a hunting camp for someone.

    For our boys birthday we loaded up (16 of us in all) to our areas minor league ball park. The tickets were $6, hot dogs and drinks were marked down, they were gifting everyone free ball camps and you could enter into free prize drawings. My daughter won a set of six very nice coffee mugs and my mother won a set of sports water bottles and four season passes for next year at the club level. They are valued at $3,600, so we know what we are gonna be doing next summer. One of the perks is she will receive half off all other game tickets.

  33. Congratulations to your son on Eagle Scout! Fingers crossed for your daughter and the scholarships. I agree with the comments about the resources your family is using to find scholarships – my oldest was able to make it through her first two years of school with no debt and has just transferred to university from community college for junior year. One of the scholarships she received was from a local dentist’s office! It is amazing the number of folks who want to help; we just have to help the kids find them. 🙂

    This week we saved by:

    *husband rode his bike to work instead of using his car, saving 4 days of fuel use (and then had a 4-day weekend for Labor Day, saving another two days of work trips)
    *commuted together with a new friend to turn in our homeschool affidavits with the school district. It is a 45 minute drive, plus we got stuck in construction traffic each way, but we had a great time together, as did the kids. Since I drove, she paid for parking. We had a nice time walking through part of the town and picked up some educational items at a bookstore. Not frugal overall, but we got free exercise (very hilly area!) and felt safer driving over than mailing our children’s birth certificates in. This way they made copies and notarized everything at no cost to us (saving my family two notary fees as well).
    *used my meal plan for dinners to use food already in the freezer & cupboards
    *made a new meal plan for this week using what is on hand
    *we use passive solar methods (light/heat blocking curtains, etc) to help cut A/C use. I noticed a lot of heat was coming in the last two spaces with no curtains – they are a patio window and door that have built-in blinds, but get a lot of sun in the afternoon and evening. I finally realized I -might- have some curtains left from our last house since one set was two short for our living room windows. I went and looked through the bin with leftovers and YAY, they do fit! I reused two short rods from storage and hung the curtains. They aren’t quite long enough to fully cover, but since the dog tries to see out into the yard anyway, they work quite nicely and block *almost* all of the sun and heat while still leaving that low spot for her to look out without ruining things.
    *Last month we took advantage of an intro pricing program for The Great Courses Plus – first month free, second and third months half off; my whole family has watched hours and hours of lectures through it without me having to buy the (much more expensive) DVD or CD sets that aren’t owned by our local libraries. We do not buy cable, Netflix, or the like, so this is a small expense that more than pays for itself for both our homeschool time and our “edutainment” time (we love documentaries and lectures, so 90% of our entertainment is educational, even outside of school hours).
    *Got eye exams and doctor appointments scheduled which are covered by insurance. My daughter and I may need new glasses, and she has some insurance coverage for hers; my son’s exam was first and he does not need glasses at this time.

  34. I always look forward to these posts!
    This week we hosted 3 guests and now we’re on a trip out of town so we’ve been spending more than usual, but I’m still looking for frugal ideas.
    We were treated out to a fancy restruant and even though we weren’t paying we chose cheaper items on the menu. What we didn’t finish I brought home. Even my half used butter packet I brought home, I figure it was just bound for the trash. I can use it on bread for breakfast.
    On our drive we didn’t buy convenience snacks, we just stuck to our water, fruit and raisins.

  35. Your sweets look absolutely stunning!

    We borrowed a steam cleaner from my mother-in-law instead of buying one. We used it to clean our cars and my husband then listed two cars for sale. We only want to sell one but will sell the one that receives an acceptable offer first, then cancel the listing for the second car. So far no luck though, the only offer we received was less than half of the asking price…
    My mother-in-law gave me three bananas that she was not going to use.
    I ordered wedding photo albums for Christmas gifts at 53% off and almost did a happy dance when I found this offer. I forgot to mention last week that we ordered ourselves a professional photo album from our photographer and received 48% off so we are very pleased that our splurge wasn’t too bad after all.
    I put an item back on the shelf even though I really really wanted it. But it was still a want, not a need.
    I baked some snacks at home and made sure to use the whole oven at once. Leftovers were repurposed for dinner and some random veggies thrown in to avoid them going bad.
    I picked up some grocery special on my way home from work.
    We were able to not turn the heater on for one night and only run it for 30 minutes the next night.
    While the weather was nice, I cleaned up the front yard somewhat instead of paying someone to do this.
    Our cat needed to be vaccinated. The vet informed me that they are running a 50% special at the moment so I booked our other two cats in aswell. This seems to be the week of half price discounts for me. 🙂
    We did all the usual things like full loads of dishes and washing, reusing Ziploc bags and saving warm-up and rain water (lots of that this week!)

  36. Rhonda, I hope the EA is a great support. I teach high school. At my school there is a special program for students with autism. Sometimes I have the pleasure of teaching these boys and girls. One year, the parents of a particular grade 9 boy were very nervous about his transition. They sent me an email outlining information they thought would help me better understand and help their son. This included information like who his friends were, what causes him to be stressed/anxious, how he might react to different situations, that he might not respond when I speak to him, etc. This was in addition to the information I had in his IEP. They sent this info to his 4 teachers. Just as an FYI. This boy was waiting outside my class every day before school started. I always greeted him with a big smile and a hello before unlocking the door and letting him in. For about 6 weeks he never responded and just walked in the room. Then one day he started responding with what sounded like a very forced “bonjour Mme”. I was thrilled. His parents were shocked when I told them he was saying hello to me every morning. I told them it was thanks to them, because had they not told me he typically doesn’t respond I would have probably stopped greeting him every day. Little bits of information not found in an IEP are often helpful to teachers 🙂 good luck!

  37. We have put the holiday weekend to good use around the house and at the start of the week I decided to try to find a dozen new ways to save money. I succeeded.
    1. Husband cleared out the garage and hauled things to the dump. This means that we can park our vehicle in the attached but unheated garage this winter. When we don’t have a garage and it gets to 20 below zero and colder, we have to plug our car in so the engine block doesn’t crack. It pulls a lot of electricity. It is also frugal to put the car in the garage because at 20, 30 and 40 below zero, the car takes a huge beating in terms of things like hoses cracking. Finally, when it is that cold, you have to let the car run before you drive off just so the engine warms up. And your tires are square for the first mile or so, until they warm up. With a garage, even unheated, it stays just above freezing and life is a lot more pleasant and frugal.
    2. Canned 24 quarts of dill pickles from my garden cukes, enough to last us the year. I finally found a recipe we both like that.
    3. Canned 6 pints of sweet pickles from garden cukes that we use just on hamburgers.
    4. Made a huge pot of chili, using up items in the freezer, and we will eat it for lunch and dinner for three or four days. Boring, but we needed the space in the freezer for some caribou roasts that a hunting friend giving us.
    5. Canned 5 jars of tomatoes. Not a lot but our tomatoes are ripening very slowly, so I am making small batches.
    6. Used pumpkins from my garden to make dog biscuits. One of my boys is old and his teeth are nubs so he can only eat soft treats, which are more expensive, so since we harvested a ton of pumpkins this year, I will keep making soft pumpkin treats as long as the supply holds out. (I know dogs are not frugal, but they provide us with a lot of joy. I have a painful chronic illness and when it flares up, they lie next to me and that is soothing.)
    7. Wrote a polite email of complaint about a product and received a reply that thanked me for being “so civil” and said I will be receiving two coupons for free product. Apparently a lot of the complaint emails and letters they get are filled with swearing and threats.
    8. Hounded, absolutely hounded, my insurance company to pay for something in our policy that they were refusing to cover. I had to make three appeals and there were times I practically wept with frustration, but the other day we got a check for $245, so it was worth it. I took a loaf of bread and some garden flowers to my doctor’s billing clerk, who was heroic in providing me with repeated documents I needed. She started to cry! That, of course, made me even happier that I had taken the time to make her feel appreciated.
    9. Cancelled a magazine.
    10. I was hoping only to buy milk this month, but this morning I realized we were out of eggs. As I was standing in the line, the woman in front of me asked if I wanted a coupon for $1 off a dozen. The store was having a sale of a dozen eggs for $1.25, but she had a manufacturers coupon for the brand I was buy. So I was going to pay $2.50 but ended up getting two dozen for $1.50!
    11. Had three large, overgrown cukes that were not even really suitable for eating, let alone pickling. I had leftover grease from the hamburger in the chili, which we give our dogs on the rare occasions that we have hamburger. I chopped up the cukes, poured grease on them and the dogs gobbled them up. They pull cukes out of the garden if I don’t keep them away from the vines, so I figured they would eat them. No waste, which pleased me.
    12. The husband wanted something sweet while we were in the store buying eggs. I bribed him not to buy cookies by promising him my homemade peanut butter cookies.

    I might try a frugal dozen next week, since it sort of helped motivate me and the husband to do some things outside of our usual frugal things, like reusing bags, turning off lights, wearing sweaters instead of turning up the heat. (It as 32 degrees at our house last night. Thankfully I have harvested everything but the last of the potatoes and a few things in the greenhouse!)

    LOOOOVED your cupcakes. You are a marvel.

  38. Love the cookies and campfire cupcakes! Very nice job!!

    Hmm..frugal accomplishments this week..let’s see…
    I cut my own hair, as I’ve been doing for 16 years. Wouldn’t have it any other way, and no one’s the wiser 😉 Also gave my 4th child a haircut.

    Purchased 4-5 months worth of peanut butter and jam. (for a family of 7) It was at rock bottom prices this week for back to school at our local bargain grocery store. Glad i was able to make it to the store twice this week to get plenty of jars.

    Hosted a BBQ for extended family. BBQ’d hamburgers and hot dogs. Had each family bring a side or dessert. Was so nice to see everyone and didn’t break the bank. We host a lot so expectations must be realistically set and adhered to. We live on a tight budget.

    My daughter made homemade popsicles out of a package of jello.

    Used beans to stretch out a small amount of ground beef in a recipe for dinner.

    Didn’t eat out. Although we rarely do. This is worth noting this week as it is an accomplishment and takes disipline and it’s been a very busy week with out of town guests and getting ready for both back to public school, university, and homeschool in our household. School begins for everyone in the next few days here.

    Have a great week everyone!

  39. This week I learnt two new things from the comments on this post. Next time I make sugar cookies, I will use icing sugar to flour my counters and I know the secret to freezing many pie crusts!

    This week we picked up a free mattress off our local Facebook buy and sell. We will be using it in our camper.

    The boy next door was very industrious and picked all the plums off their tree – partly because they were ripe and partly to discourage the bears from coming into their yard. He very kindly brought me two buckets full. I keep enough to make plum butter and the rest I took to work to share with my coworkers.

    I picked and pickled the red onions I started from discarded onions from work. I also added to my pantry by dehydrating blueberries from the local U-Pick and tomatoes.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  40. I cut my husband’s hair
    I kept to my spending budget
    we worked in and around the house getting end of season work done.
    I revisited your menu and pantry articles on the blog–preparing myself to revisit my money saving strategies.
    3 of us were sick so food consumption was down. I missed work so I saved gas.
    I paid for gas with a gift card. Saved me $35.

    Good luck with your daughter’s scholarship search. My oldest was able to be awarded with several for her undergraduate years and they made quite the difference. Right now my daughter just started medical school and is a finalist for a large award. Keeping our fingers crossed!! look at nationwide, regional and local scholarships. There are a lot out there.

  41. I am really enjoying catching up on your site as I have just discovered it. I am past this stage of life, our kids are grown and we have more money now, but saving and making do are good all through life. I wish my daughter-in-law would read your blog. I might suggest it, but she would say she doesn’t have the time. They have 4 children under 6 and I know they can be a handful, but she blames everything on that fact. Their house is dirty and strewn with toys, diapers, clothes, and food (she lets them eat all over the house). My son just got a PhD and is looking for a job, but Alison spends so much on “bargains”. Her mother was not much better, so she doesn’t have a good role model. She is angry at me because I bake and garden, and don’t help her enough, even though I have offered. I just wish that she made life easier for her husband and family (and herself), but I don’t think that will happen soon. You have such a beautiful home and garden and save so much money, all with 8 kids! Thank you for sharing all this goodness for other young moms!

  42. Oh my goodness I just love the Scout cookies and cupcakes!
    – in advance I made thank you cards for our kids godparents. The baptism isn’t for another month plus, but I had time during nap time and really wanted the cards to be nice.
    – used cloth diapers for the most part. Our little one has had a few diaper rashes so I switch back and forth a bit
    – moved both kids into the same room! Their room has electric heat so we can turn the rest of the house waaaayyy down at night and they can still be warm
    – packed lunches and ate at home for most dinners.
    – clipped a 5 off 50 grocery coupon and gave it to my mom when she insisted on buying us some food
    – priced out a new cellphone plan
    – not very frugal but my husband and I took our kids out for a “family date night”. I was so very proud of how well they behaved! The two year old sat in his high chair eating and talking with us the whole time and the 7 mo old quietly played in her carrier. Even though it cost money to go out, it was less than if we hired a babysitter!
    – submitted the last receipt for our flex spending for the year.
    – did a survey for an Amazon GC

  43. We had our annual campout with friends. Not entirely frugal. We had to upgrade to a building instead of primitive camping as my daughter dislocated her knee. But kayaking etc was rolled in weekend costs so always good! We split meals with friends.
    Lots of camping leftovers this week.
    Had date with hubby. Tix to the symphony that I won at church silent auction. Got them under face value.
    Stocked up on labor day meat sale.
    Packaged handmade soaps for grandparents

  44. Cindy, does your daughter-in-law do anything “properly”? Since your son chose her to be the mother of his children, perhaps it would help if you could find a few things to praise about her. Is she patient with the children? One of my daughters has a mother-in-law who constantly criticizes & nitpicks, & as a result, even her son does not enjoy her company anymore. There are many “right” ways to do things.

  45. I second this. There are also so many scholarships out there. My daughter is a freshman in college now and I encourage her to keep applying. Any money thru scholarships is a big help

  46. I received several gift cards that I m saving to use when we need to use. I did give my daughter $20 credit for for her to use.
    My husband cut his hair.
    My daughter was home for the weekend and needed clothes, instead of shopping at American Eagle, we went to Goodwill and got 3 blouses, 1 sweater and 1 dress for $25.
    While at Food City, I found large tomato sauce cans for .39 each. I bought 12.
    We continued washing full loads, hanging wash, washing out plastic bags and I staying home most days.

  47. hello everyone!
    This week we mostly stayed home because it was too rainy to be out and about. My frugal accomplieshements included:
    -I made a big pot of chicken tortilla soup and we ate that for several meal.
    -I emptied my body wash into a container with a pump style dispenser. I find I use far less per shower this way than when I am pouring it directly on a wash cloth because with the pump I cannot overpour. I have been using the same bottle for quite a while and just refilling as needed. This also works really well for me with the kids products because they can be a bit heavyhanded with their products as well.
    -I got creative with a few dinners when I discovered I didn’t have the ingredients for certain meals. I had been convinced I had a half dozen packages of bacon in the freezer and this made up a good bit of my weeks menu ideas because I wanted to use them up (BLT sandwiches, bacon bits in pasta and salads, breakfast for dinner etc). When I discovered that I must have hallucinated that bacon because I don’t have a single strip in my whole huse I was able to quickly rework my supper plans out of pantry items. More likely that bacon has been getting used by SO and the kids while I’m at work and no one thought to ask if it was being saved for anything.
    -I ate all lunches from home, I didn’t buy so much as a granola bar from the vending machine.
    Have a good week everyone!

  48. Brandy, could you blog your topping for those gorgeous cupcakes? I see orange icing, but what looks like ice cream, I’m sure not due to your temperatures, I’d love to try to make these for a Halloween birthday. love the cookies, such patience!! thank you, best to all, I am still picking up ideas here! ann lee s

  49. Ann, it is just a regular shortening-based frosting with two colors of icing being piped at once in the same bag (a dark yellow and dark orange) in the bag, using a large closed-star tip (Wilton 2D). I had to add a tiny bit of red to the yellow to get it so dark. I used gel colors to get the color so dark.

  50. I do that when I travel. I get something from the place – either an ornament, or something I can turn into an ornament. then I have my memories whenever I decorate my tree, but they are not cluttering my house all year.

  51. What a beautiful and detailed job you did on the cookies! They look like something you would find in a bakery!

    How wonderful for your neighbor to share meat with you instead of throwing it away, don’t you just love unexpected gifts like that? Especially ones that help save on the grocery bill and are delicious too!

    Here are the ways I saved money last week

    Hope you have a lovely day!

  52. We once, years ago, took a wrong turn and ended up in Heber City–It was so beautiful. I’ve never forgotten it. There was a little Viking Hotel, super cute and quaint, and we just stayed there for 1 night–then went on our way the next morning. Your post brought back that lovely memory–thank you.

  53. I love the cookies and cupcakes. You did such a good job. Here’s a question for you, or anyone. We just received an invitation to an Eagle Scout celebration in the mail. I’m figuring we will either send or take a gift, depending on if we can go or not (need to check my calandar). What kind of things do people give to a young man on this occasion? I know money is always welcome, but wanted some input:)

    The first part of my week was frugal, as usual, with lots of canning and food preservation from the garden. I planned menus, and cooked, worked a bunch, etc.

    The second part was our 35th wedding anniversary trip. We got away for 3 nights to the Oregon Coast. We had been saving for quite a while for this, and the trip met every expectation. It was not frugal–hotels aren’t, but we did a few things that were. We cooked a lot in our room–it had a kitchen. We crabbed and fished off the dock the hotel owned, and were super successful, catching hundreds of dollars worth of Dungeness Crab. They also have a crab cooker so we could cook and clean them right there. (We never would have bought hundreds of dollars worth of crab, but it was nice to have and share with family and friends). We saw whales spouting twice. I spent some time on the trip looking through a handful of magazines, choosing recipes that could be made with mostly garden produce.

    Now that we are back home, my husband is gone at his first day of work since the beginning of summer. I miss him already, but am super happy that this fall, he has a job on the first day of school–last year, he did not get this job until into October a ways. Today, it’s just staff, but tomorrow, the kids start back. So, I need to deal with the crab today–I stayed up cracking it until the wee hours of the morning last night, I’m working a few hours, I got some groceries, and went to Les Scwaub tires to get the nail out of the right front tire that we somehow picked up this weekend. Since we bought the tires there, the fix was free. How nice. And, I took Jake (my nephew I work with) with me and we read, etc. while we waited. I’ve picked a bunch of garden veggies, and they are tucked away in the fridge. Tomorrow, we start homeschool back for my daughter and niece, and my other daughter goes to her middle school a few blocks away. It will be hectic getting back on schedule again, but the routine will be nice once it gets going smoothly.
    I put pictures of the coast on my blog, but was not close enough to get any of the whales, although we saw spouts, backs, and tails at times. So cool!!!

  54. So glad you ended up with crab! How wonderful!

    A few people gave him money, and I was actually surprised at that; neither he nor I expected anything. But only 3 or 4 people gave him that and there were 60+ in attendance, so I don’t think you have to give a gift. He also received a book from one person and some chocolate from another.

  55. Hubby received an all clear on his Non Hodgkins Lymphoma so we can breathe easy for 3 months. He has to go back in for another EKG in 3 months to recheck his heart – the doctors have no idea (and seemed frustrated that they can’t answer the question) as to WHY the fluid increased rather than decreased but at this point I will take it. I am exhausted from all of the upkeep I need to do now that he is out of commission. Recovery from a chest drain tube is very painful and takes a long time + he hurt his ribs on the “good side” when he came down on them while jumping to reach something in the bed of the pickup……I [i]might[/i] have responded not as kindly as I should have due to exhaustion and frustration.
    * We have topped all of our vehicles off as soon as we saw the prices increasing by 20-40 cents a gallon.
    * I again did all the dogs nails myself saving me $30.
    * I split several very large perennials to fill in some bare spots.
    * I harvested 2 quarts of cherry tomatoes and hopefully I can get those in the dehydrator tonight yet. I also harvested 2 spaghetti squash and another summer squash.
    * We rented a carpet steam cleaner from the pet store (Bissell commercial machines are outstanding for using on heavily soiled carpets) We paid $25 to rent it for the day and I already had the carpet shampoo so no other expenses. We have had very naughty beagles (one has since passed) who just LOVED to pee on carpets and now our male Dane seems to think he needs to re-mark those spots if he manages to get to those areas :/ (which the dogs are blocked from but accidents still happen occasionally)
    * Our daughter’s car died and the estimate to repair it even with a used engine is more than the car is worth. My in-laws have given her their 2nd car and she will be moving her things back home but more than likely she will be staying with her boyfriends family most of the time (I don’t like it, but at almost 20 it is her decision – I do like the boy though). That way she won’t be throwing money away renting when she is never there.
    * My son gave me his old cell phone and hubby found a free plan for it. My OLD phone (slide out keyboard hehe – you should have seen the kids at work when they saw it :o) wouldn’t charge all the time and when it did it wouldn’t hold a charge for very long (new battery didn’t help either). I don’t need a data plan – just something to text or call and I rarely use even those. That will save us $15 a month.
    * I made myself some new headbands using material I already had on hand. The ones at the stores are way to expensive and are too tight on my head.
    * I trimmed my own hair again and buzzed hubby’s too.
    * I cleaned the stove with ammonia again. Our burners do not have drip pans under them and the burned on stuff does NOT come off with anything else I’ve tried. So I fill the depressions under the burners with ammonia and then use plastic wrap over them and leave it to soak overnight. In the morning I use all my old rag towels to sop up the mess (and throw them right in the washer – whew does ammonia stink!) and then scrub off any bits left.
    * I went thru all of my fall/winter clothes to see what is too big now and see if I needed to purchase anything. I am happy to say that I have another bag to drop off at Goodwill and will only need to purchase new undies and bras! I am so thankful I hung onto the clothing that didn’t fit when I helped my friend with her mother’s hoard. I even have new fall and winter coats to wear (literally new – they still have the tags on them!)
    * We purchased the dogs food when it was on sale saving us $10 on 2 bags. We found some canned cat food on clearance for .34 cents a can. We also purchased cat litter at the farm store for 1/2 price during their Labor Day sales.
    * We made all meals at home except for when hubby took me out for burgers after I had been cleaning carpets the entire day.
    * We purchased laundry detergent on sale for $4.99 a jug (100 loads) and had a coupon for buy two get one free. That should get us thru until the new year at least.
    * I hung all our bedding and the dogs bedding on the lines to dry rather than using the dryer – only down side to it is the dryer does a better job of getting all the hair off it.
    * Brought all the ends of the loaves of bread at work for hubby and the poultry.
    * Moved more rocks from the poultry pens to around a big maple tree and swept up all the pea gravel from a broken bag and used that around the outside faucet.
    * We sold a few more trailer parts and used that to pay some bills.
    * I took on another sewing job for the company my son works for – very small job but every little bit helps!

    I am hoping to have my Dad teach me how to make cabinet doors – there is no money for redoing the house’s main bath or the kitchen cabinets but if I can make the doors, we can update the look for very little money – just a lot of time. The doors are hollow “plastic” type “wood” which are original to the house which was built in 1979 – very, very cheap builder’s grade. I am also going to see if he can teach me how to replace the outlets in our daughter’s room – several are broken and loose in the wall and not safe.

    I think that’s it 🙂 Hope every one has a frugal week !

  56. Sorry to hear about all your fruit disappearing! Chipmunks ate all my peaches over the course of two days 🙁

    I haven’t found raised beds to be a deterrent to pests…most animals that we deal with can climb/jump right up them or burrow underneath. Planting non-edible plants that most animals don’t enjoy eating (iris, rudbeckia, spiderwort) and edible chives as borders around my garden seems to have helped deter some animals.

    Squashes are heavy feeders that require a lot of water. They do much better in the ground in my garden, as I don’t have irrigation.

  57. Thank you. I’ve not been invited to one of these events before, so am glad to know what’s done! How awful to be the only one to not bring a gift if everyone else was:)

  58. What do you make with the dried cherry tomatoes? I have so many out there, I might dry some if I knew what to do with them when finished. I wouldn’t want to go to all that work without a purpose for them.

  59. I am so fortunate to have a wonderful mother-in-law. She hasn’t ever criticized me although I’m sure her tongue has been sore a few times. 🙂 Thank you for the reminder of how lucky I am, Cindy. I think I will call her in the morning just to say hello.

  60. Hello Brandy. Your cupcakes are so cute.

    We have been staying home as much as we can. Fewer trips out = less gas used. Luckily, husband can work from home most days.
    Even though we really wanted to go out for brunch, we ate at home. In fact, no meals out all week. I cook. He cleans the dishes. I get the better part of that deal.
    Shopped the list at the Kroger and walked away from the cute Halloween pumpkin (40$, really?).
    Gratefully accepted a frozen pork roast my mother won’t eat. She isn’t keen on meat.
    While we have continued to eat down the freezer, we ran out of a few items and had to stock up. That meant a Costco trip. Thankful we have a food sealer so we can portion and freeze meat. We actually stuck to our list and I am happy about that.
    We worked outside all this long weekend cleaning up two acres. Lots of free exercise there. A bit of poison ivy too for hubby. 🙁
    Kept on keepin’ on.

  61. You are right and yes, she is very good with her children. I have never criticized her and have frequently praised her, but I think she is just overwhelmed and is taking it out on me. At this point she won’t take our help which we really want to give, such as babysitting so she can have a break. My son has told me he doesn’t understand her attitude. I don’t want to come between them so we are just friendly and supportive. We are hoping that as she gets older and more mature (and the kids get older), she will understand how being a good homemaker will make their lives easier. Or, she will go back to work and hire everything done!

  62. Gas prices have soared here and bottled water is being bought up here as well. I am 2.5 hours from the coast, so if any storms hit our coastline, they are usually tropical storms when they get this far north, even though the land here is flat. I have lots of canned goods, and I have a solar cooker, so I feel like I will be ok if the power goes out (well, if we have sunshine afterwards….lol). I really think we will not get any rains here, but I a good part of Georgia and Florida will get hit with lots of rain and wind. I hope everyone there is stocked up and has their safety plan in place. I have basically just cooked a lot of dried beans and eaten hummus that was gifted to me. My budget is very tight this month, because the air condition/heater went out and I had to spend $400 last month, for another window unit. Still, that is much cheaper than a central unit and I do not need one anyway. I have upped my budget significantly this month for gas. I have to be able to get to work, and I had not planned on this additional expense at all. I am not complaining, especially after seeing those poor people in Texas having to be floated out of the second floor of their houses, plucked off their roofs, etc. I am very grateful for what I have. My problems seem small compared to what other folks are experiencing now. I do worry about folks in Floriday and Puerto Rico, because it is flat, like south Alabama.

  63. Those cupcakes are so cute!! Congrats to your son, and good luck to Winter.

    Frugal accomplishments for the last week include:

    *It was unseasonably cool here in eastern SC for 3 days, so I was able to turn the a/c off completely during that time. I opened windows and enjoyed the temps being in the 60s and 70s. Once it climbed back into the upper 80s, the a/c had to come back on.

    *Found 40+ perennials on clearance for $1/quart at Lowe’s. I am redoing my front beds, which used to have the original 1960s azalea bushes, but I ripped those out earlier this year. I’ve been waiting for a sale to buy flowers, and now I just need to get the beds cleaned up and flowers planted. I also bought some $1/pint mums. The stores here sell them as annuals but they are definitely perennials. I still have mums on my porch that I planted last autumn that have come back no issue. We still have enough warm days in October and even early November that they can establish a good root system and come back the following year.

    *We ate at home and used up most leftovers. Food waste has been an issue for a few months, so we’re working on it. I need to organize my pantry and make a list of what is in there. I was really good about this prior to my SO moving in, but then when it went from my single person household to 5-6 people, well, it was utter chaos there for a couple of months, and it shows in my pantry. lol

    * I continued to list and sell on eBay. I am also reopening my vintage Christmas shop on Etsy this month. I have 4 Etsy shops, which have fallen by the wayside this year since I’ve been focusing on eBay, but I am going to slowly reopen all of them, starting with the Christmas one.

    * I found boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale at Aldi on Sunday. They packages were marked half off, which made the chicken .99/pound. A price that’s unheard of around here these days. I bought every package I could find with a half off sticker, so nearly 18 pounds of chicken. I needed chicken, so this was a blessing. This will feed us for many meals. I used 3 breasts from one package to make pulled bbq chicken for sandwiches and it’s provided dinner for us twice, and enough leftovers for SO to have lunch twice.

    It looks like we may be impacted from hurricane Irma next week, so I am in the planning stages now. After being hit with Matthew last October and being without electricity or water for over a week, I am not taking any chances this year. As time gets closer, if it does look like it will make landfall here in SC, I am going to fill up several 50 gallon trash cans with water for flushing toilets. I will fill up plastic storage tubs with water, too, plus all tupperware etc with water for drinking or washing hands. I need to go stock up on gallons of water, fill up pet water dishes, grab batteries, solar lights, etc. I was not very prepared last year since I had just moved into my house, despite having grown up here in Hurricane Country. I do not want to go through another miserable week without power this year. My SO works at a hospital 30 miles from here and it’s undetermined yet whether or not he will have to be at work. So, we’re planning on both scenarios. Thankfully his kids won’t be here during that time.

  64. Excuse typos please…my neighbor’s house caught on fire last night and is a total loss. I had to evacuate with my dog, briefly, because it looked like the trees were going to catch on fire, and the trees hang over my house. All is well with me, and the fire dept got everything under control, except their house is a total loss. I may have lost sleep. They lost everything. Luckily, everyone made it out safely, and their needs are being taken care of. So, today, I am just grateful.

  65. I plan on pulverizing them into powder and then I can add them to soups, stews and sauces – I have not attempted this before but there is soooo many that we can’t use them all before they start to rot on the vines! I also plan to leave some whole and re-hydrate them in a stew to see how they work that way.

  66. We use them as sun-dried tomatoes – in pasta, in soup, on pizza. I cut mine in half, put in a bowl, put a little olive oil, basil, oregano and parsley on them then dry them. I don’t let them get bone dry, so I do put them in the freezer. Then I just pull them out – mainly for hubby – as he is Italian and really likes them.

  67. I went to one and didn’t know what to do either. I put a little money in a card and put it in my glove box. When I went in and saw lots of presents I acted like I had forgotten it in the car and ran and grabbed it. I would bring something just in case. I live in New York FYI.

  68. Your Eagle CoH treats turned out great!

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate home-prepped meals all but two times.

    * Harvested lettuce, tomatoes, purple basil, mild Chinese peppers, green beans, and lemons.

    * It was HOT, but we kept the AC set for 80F and opened the doors/windows whenever it dropped below that. Most days we could open up at least a couple of hours in the early mornings. Thankfully, the temps are dropping back down into the 90s this week, and the nights are back down into the 60s.

    * Hubs washed the dog and the vehicles.

    * Used water from our rain barrels (in which we also store our warm-up/rinse water) to deep soak the roses during the heat wave.

    * Read library books.

    * We had some unusually high winds one afternoon and lost a limb on our magnolia tree (fortunately, nothing on our house or our neighbor’s house was damaged). The next day Hubs cut off the broken limb and cut it into chunks to cure for firewood.

    * Paid bills online.

    * Paid a tiny bit extra on the mortgage principal.

    * Walked the dog in the mornings for exercise. It was too hot in the evenings. 🙁

    * Made bread.

    * Turned a nearly empty lotion bottle upside down, and I’m still getting lotion out of it. Also squeezed the last bit from a medication tube.

    That’s all I remembered to write down.

    Have a great rest of the week.

  69. Rhonda, that murder mystery sounded like so such fun! Did you guess the murderer?

    I wish all the best to your daughter for her first year of high school.

  70. That’s a great idea! I will probably get something for him–he’s a wonderful young man we have known for many years and this is a big accomplishment.

  71. Those are both great ideas! Thanks. The other thing I may do to use some up is send some to school with my husband. They give out snacks in class (he works in a class with special needs kids) and usually have things like raisins, pretzels, gummy snacks, etc. I was wondering if they would eat tomatoes, so I may send a few and see what happens. We have Sungold cherry tomatoes and Yellow Pear tomatoes and we will never be able to eat them all up. So, I’ll see if I get some time to preserve some or otherwise get them used. What a great problem to have!

  72. I guessed the wrong person, though I had the story line pretty much figured out. The person who did it I thought was too obvious, plus she had someone in on the secret, who successfully helped lead us astray. Apparently I work with very deceptive people…LOL!

    We’re still working out the kinks, but so far she hasn’t totally melted down at school. It’s been close though. We finally have an appointment to see a psychiatrist tonight, thanks to a Dr advocating for us. Couldn’t have been better timing! Hoping for anxiety meds, which would help big time!!!

  73. Love the cookies Brandy! And the cupcakes. Congratulations to your son on being an Eagle scout.
    I’d like to get some information out if I can. I live in Florida and we have a very huge, deadly hurricane heading our way. Don’t know how many readers of this blog are in Florida, but I would hate for them to not be informed. Monroe County is under a mandatory evacuation. Miami Dade and Broward counties have a mandatory evacuation for barrier islands and low lying areas. You need to leave ASAP. Gas and water are in short supply. Irma is a CAT 5 hurricane, extremely dangerous! All those in the peninsula and east coast are in the path. I live in the northwest part of the state, and unless there is a turn, we look to be in the clear. I just wanted to warn others, I have lived in Florida all my life and I know that people who move here from other parts of the country don’t always understand the risk. And not all people watch t.v. or listen to the radio. Hurricane Harvey that just hit Texas was a CAT 3 and there were 63 deaths. If you don’t know where to go for shelter, please reply to this post, and I will direct you to my area and help you find a place.
    Thank you Brandy for helping get the word out.

  74. I read it, too. Kind of intense, isn’t it? When you see the numbers it makes one realize how much money we eat! I may try this, too. I’m not great at sticking with this sort of thing, but it would be interesting to see where the food money really goes. Thanks!

  75. Mandy, that is terrible about your fruit loss! It must be people if it is completely gone. No half eaten pieces on the grounds etc? I ran into a cousin in law Tuesday and he said he had dug a 3ft x 6ft cart of potatoes and left them out overnight to dry. The next morning half of them were gone and he could tell that the best had been picked out. I know that if someone had just asked he would have given them as many as they wanted no need to steal.

  76. As someone who works in the field (albeit in Canada) I can confirm that a lot of awards are written so that if no one who exactly fits the criteria applies then they can chose from those who have applied.
    A lot of awards go to waste each year and that’s not what the originators of the awards want.
    Apply apply apply!!!!

  77. Janet, that is such a wonderful idea, to use special things as ornaments! I’m going to do that with some of my grandmother’s little spoons this year. A great remembrance.
    Thank you!

  78. Hi Mandy, I am seriously wondering if it wasn’t humans who took your apples, pears and grapes. I lived in the country and had animals eat my stuff but, mostly, they would take bites out of them, not abscond with all the goods. I did have a young coyote who would pick up my fallen apples and one by one take them somewhere, for storage I guess. I also had a racoon that removed a bunch of my carrots once. And this was with a total fence surrounding the place ( coyote was previous to the fence). Maybe next year, if possible, you could put up a critter cam to see who the culprit is.
    I think it is so nice of you, about the plasma donation. A real win-win; you are helping others and making some money.

  79. Hi, Melonie, Can you explain about the Great Courses? I love their CD’s but have never heard of paying for monthly use. How does this work? Thanks!

  80. Oh, boy! Happy everyone’s okay.
    My daughter is in Jacksonville, Fl. And, other family in Orlando. Prayers are going out for everyone in the hurricane path. What a mess!

  81. my daughter just told me that there was times with the kids were little and her house a wreck (really it was ) that she felt like if she got help from ANYONE including the Dad she was a total failure and she couldn’t face that. Her suggestion is to stop offering to help and just let THEM know that they only need ask if they need something… also you could admit you would like more time with the grandkids and to both your son and daughter (we don’t use in laws because to us they become our child) and is there a way for that to happen that they are okay with… if they aren’t it might not be about YOU but about how they feel about not having the kids with them. Those were my child’s thoughts.

  82. Brandy,

    I have a question for you. Do you make the treats one day ahead so that you too can enjoy the party and the child on the special day like his Eagle Scout or do you make day of/ or two days ahead to make certain they come out and there is time?

  83. Janet, it took me three days to make these treats. His celebration was during the evening and I had to have the cookies done by that morning to have them dry in time; we had hoped to have them done the day before but it took a really long time to do them and I had to finish them that morning. I didn’t know how many people were going to come; we invited 75 families. I made 120 cookies and 40 cupcakes and ended up with extras as some people didn’t take any at all. The cookies were fun but they are very time-consuming.

  84. Yes, this is true Marivene however when dirty diapers and old food are all over a home your grandchildren are in it is hard to wish to help. Sometimes it is better to enjoy your own company then and just keep your thoughts to yourself as I’m certain Cindy does and I know I do too.

  85. Cindy, where in Alabama do you live? I have family in the Atmoe and Monroeville area, and in the Foley, Mobile area.

  86. Janet,
    The name of the hotel was the Embarcadero. It is in Newport, Oregon, and is on the bay, vs. right on the ocean. The crab dock is part of the hotel, and you need your key card to use it. They have the crab cooker right down there by the dock, and you can use it when you stay there. Part of this place is used for time shares, some rooms are rented out to anyone, and some people even live there full time, if they own units. Over the years, my aunt (who owns a time share) has sent us there occasionally on vacation, which is how we knew to go there. (We just rented a room for the anniversary weekend this time). Because it is set up this way, the units have full kitchens and a living room as well as the bedroom/bathroom. Cooking on vacation is important to me, as I have dietary restrictions, and prefer my own food most of the time. There is a pool and exercise room, although I have to admit I only exercised once, we were too busy crabbing:)

    There are other places/docks that people can crab off of if you are not staying at that particular hotel, but it’s very, very nice to have that one to use when you stay there.

    On this trip, we had very, very good success with crabbing, much more than normal. There have been times when we went crabbing where we only caught 1 all day, or occasionally none. Then, there are times like this where we just pull them in like crazy. We used the cheapest chicken we could buy as bait, a tuna carcass we had frozen from when we bought a tuna previously, and the bones, etc. from the little fish we caught off the dock. Some people were using mink they purchased. One time, in another place, we used old clams a man was cleaning out of his freezer–he drove by the bridge where we were crabbing and gave them to us in a garbage bag. The smellier, and yuckier, the better the crabs seem to like it:)

  87. Brandy, we have an annual New Years Eve party every year here for the church youth groups. Showed the picture of the cupcakes to youngest and oldest daughters and they think the cupcakes would be perfect for that. It is always a big bonfire/cookout.

    I’ve been thinking about the difficulty you had with the cookies and wonder if it was partly the recipe. My roll cookie recipe uses 12 C butter to 2 12 C flour. It is never sticky and I prob use 1 T at most of flour to roll. They hold shape exactly so are used for Christmas cookies or when cutters are intricate. They make a firmer flakier cookie. My other recipe is equally delicious but uses 1 C of butter to 2 12 C of flour. They spread as they bake so the edges blend out. I use them mainly at valentines. They are chewyier and much stickier to roll. My kitchen is a!ways the warmest room in the house, probably mid 70’s year round. I’m actually making those second cookies today… I have some simple leaf shapes that I’m using for library Fall open house tomorrow. I don’t frost these just sprinkle these with yellow, red or orange color sugars before baking.

  88. Cindy, I am thankful your house is OK. So sad for your neighbors.

    We’re all praying for safety for those affected by the hurricane and that all those that follow ( Jose, Katia etc…) turn out to be nothing much of all. The pictures of the island nations hit look like there’s nothing left.

  89. Selma is probably the biggest city nearby but it is still a ways away….. LOVE Monroeville, and I sometimes go to the Coast for work.

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