Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I spent the first part of the week organizing things to run as smoothly as possible for the end of the week, as I had surgery on Thursday to remove cancer from my head. It was growing in my hair next to my part, a place where I don’t usually put sunscreen. I’ll have stitches for the next three weeks and I imagine I’ll have a swollen face for at least this week. One way I’ll save this week is by not wearing any makeup, because it’s a bit impossible right now! 

To save money this past week, I did the following:

I baked a carrot cake in a 9 x 13 pan. I didn’t have cream cheese on hand to make icing, so I lightly dusted it with powdered sugar instead.

Red Noodle Beans The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut red noodle beans, Armenian cucumbers, rosemary, Genovese basil, chives, and green onions from the garden. I picked some teeny-tiny cherry tomatoes from the garden as well to use in a pasta salad. They are so tiny that I put a slice of olive in with them so you can see how little they are; they are the size of blueberries! The heat we have here in summer makes them stop flowering, or if they do flower (these are in afternoon shade and just started flowering recently) they are still super tiny because of the heat.

Sun Gold Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

The Armenian cucumbers do well in our heat, growing huge. I still don’t get a lot of them when it’s really hot, so I am happy to have them grow to great lengths, as they don’t get bitter like other cucumbers and can grow as long as my arm. This means I have a lot of cucumbers to eat but not always enough to make pickles (as sometimes just one or two are ripe). This week we ate them sliced thin in vinegar, cut into sticks and dipped in ranch dip made with Greek yogurt, put in green salads, and chopped in pasta salad.

I went to the library and checked out a large number of books with my three youngest daughters and my 2-year-old son.

I opened the windows and doors in the early mornings to cool down the house for a couple of hours each morning.

I used my solar oven to cook three meals. One of the things I cooked was a large batch of pinto beans. I made bean burritos one day with them. I made a huge pan of bean enchiladas with them another day, which we ate over three days. My corn tortillas were a little old (so they would break rather than roll), so I made the enchiladas lasagna-style, layering the tortillas flat instead and layering the filling between with three layers of tortillas. I also find this is a great way to make enchiladas when you don’t have enough tortillas, as it uses just 18 corn tortillas in a 10 x 13 pan. You’ll need more filling, but if you’re using beans for all or part of it, it is still quite frugal.

When I cooked baked potatoes, I cooked enough to have leftovers for the next day. I usually cook 10 pounds for our family, but recently we have upped it to 15 pounds at a time, saving gas for the oven (and not heating up the house) and giving us more leftovers. Leftover baked potatoes cook really quickly as cubed potatoes on the stovetop with onions for breakfast, a great side dish to a fried egg or two. It also means use you can use less oil (I only use a couple of tablespoons for a 5-quart pan full of potatoes) which means less money and fewer calories.

My son went to a thrift store with his uncle. He found a pair of cowboy boots there that he liked. One boot was priced at $35 and the other at $15. He tok them up to the register and asked how much. They told him $5, so he bought himself a pair of boots.

My mom went to a couple of community garage sales and picked up a few items for me, including a polo shirt for my eldest son ($2) and ten brand-new wide mouth quart-sized canning jars for $0.40 each.

What did you do to save money last week?

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220 Comments

  1. Great story of your son’s cowboy boots. It’s always a good idea to ask! I also found some thrifted treasures last week… 3 linen shirts, a cashmere sweater, and some natural fiber threads and yarn. I saw canning jars in several places, but none were bargains, some more than new. I had never thought about getting skin cancer in your part. I dare say it’s a place most of us would never think to put sunscreen. I hope you feel a bit better every day. I’m so thankful the nights have cooled off enough to open the windows here each evening. The days are still hot and humid… 86 & 87 later this week, but I’ll take what I can get. Happy October, everyone! https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-last-pawpaw-frugal-accomplishments.html

  2. I was able to get some short, Fall boots for my daughter and myself, regularly $50 for just $18 each. My husband found some $62 dress pants for just $11.

    We went to a used book store, and found some used chamber music for our daughter who plays the violin. Then after showing her music teacher pictures of some music we DIDN’t buy, we went back during a heavy rain storm to see if the pieces were there—and they were—YEA!

    I received my order from Duluth Trading company of some clothes I ordered previously. I am a difficult size to fit, and had had this company recommended to me as they have longer waisted shirts for women. The shirts I ordered previously fit me perfectly! While the clothes are not cheap, if they hold up and are quality—which I “think” they will—then in the long run they will be money saving over me purchasing many tops only to have them shrink and get too short and then I have to give them away.

    I found a gift at a thrift store.

    I used a gift certificate to get almost free flea/tick medication for our dog.

    I used up food that we already had cooked in the fridge, so it didn’t go bad and it was turned into a brand new meal so avoided the tired leftovers for three and four days problem!

    More details on my blog at: http://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2018/09/frugal-friday-week-of-september-23-29.html

  3. Brandy- So glad you have the surgery behind you anyway. Prayers for a speedy recovery. Any wound in your scalp is pretty painful because it moves every time you smile, chew, or make any facial movements. Take care and take it easy as much as you can.

    What do you do with those red noodle beans? They are beautiful but I don’t know a single thing about them.

    The most frugal thing for us this past week was that the cord on my vacuum sparked and frayed and I thought I would need a new vacuum cleaner. My husband is an electrician and he was able to put a new cord on the vacuum (with parts we already had in our basement) and now it works great! That would have been a considerable cost and I was just thrilled that after a week of not vacuuming, I was BACK IN BUSINESS lol.

    Also – I made a batch of yogurt with milk that was ready to expire. I have finally figured out the way to make it where I LOVE it. I strain mine for about three hours and love it. I leave one quart unstrained for using in biscuits, etc.

    Made a batch of crockpot granola for breakfasts.

    For Friday night eats, my hubby and I like to sit outside and just relax. Instead of a meal and since it is just the two of us, I have been placing random snacks on a tray. This week we had crackers, small cheese cubed, a few grapes, a few marshmallows, pretzels. We made a fire in our fire pit with wood we had on our property and it was a very enjoyable date night at home.

    Have a good week, Brandy! Take care.

  4. I imagine you are relieved to be through the surgery. I hope the healing goes quickly for you.

    Changing the cat’s food over to an expensive vet food seems to be making a big difference to his unsettled stomach. The vet is very pleased about the results, and doesn’t see any need for follow-up testing at the moment. The cat still needs another test related to a different issue, but it is something more treatable than the digestive problem could have been.

    I have started to re-stock after two lean months income-wise. Pasta was on sale. Two 5 lb bags of potatoes were $1 less than a 10 lb bag. I had tried a new NSAID, starting with a small package. It is working very well on the arthritis in my hands, so I was happy to find a large bottle on sale at 20% off.

    Canadian Thanksgiving is a week today. I will cook a turkey I’ve had in my freezer since Easter. I have checked the fliers, and will buy a ham for the freezer. I can get another turkey at a super low price, but am undecided about getting it.

    The local small department store has changed brands of underwear for some sizes that come in 5-packs instead of 3-packs. That works out to be $1 less an item. I bought two packs.

    Need some new clothes for colder weather. Tried on a pair of pants that I hadn’t been wearing because they fall down without a belt. Apparently, they don’t fall down unless I am doing yard work, so that is a definite plus to the wardrobe. I’ve put a belt on my shopping list too.

    I have a list of things I want to do before winter sets in. I start today with taking the car in to figure out what is making the noise. The mechanic has agreed to drive it until it makes the noise today. It usually takes about 15 to 25 miles of highway driving to get started. A few other maintenance things needs to happen, but this is the priority.

  5. I pray that your recovery is swift and painless, Brandy.
    A very busy week here. I had three (routine) doctor’s appointments and needed to catch up on commitments I missed while we were away.
    I baked bread and hamburger buns. I, like you, cooked a big patch of pinto beans.
    I picked apples from a tree on the roadside to make into sauce. They were little apples and I only got 3 pints of sauce from them, but it was delicious.
    I picked almost a quart of wild rose hips to make rose hip syrup.
    I cut cattails from the roadside to use in an arrangement in the house.
    I harvested Swiss chard, celery, mint, raspberries, and tomatoes from the garden. I also collected arugula and lettuce seed from plants I had purposely let go to seed. I never saved seeds before I started reading this blog! I planted garlic, lettuce, arugula, and carrots.
    I shared chard and collards with a neighbor.
    I made muffins for breakfast one morning and instead of using purchased muffin tin liners, I made my own from 5” squares of parchment.

  6. [list]
    I bought some garage sale toys for my granddaughter. My son doesn’t have many toys at his house for her so he asked if he could take them home with him. So I will keep looking for both his toy box and mine.
    I work in a professional dress office and was able to find a new jacket regular $60 for just $10.
    I was able to get several more days use out of the bottle of shower soap and toothpaste by cutting them open.
    I meal planned and only bought exactly what was needed. (two onions instead of a big bag, etc). This saved me $30.
    I packed lunches everyday from leftovers.
    The weather is perfect right now so I have all the windows wide open.
    I cut the amount of laundry soap and softener in half and it still gets our clothes clean.
    We got some free broken pallets to use as firewood if we hauled it away.
    I accepted some free tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini from the neighbor’s garden.
    Got a free flu shot at work.
    [/list]

  7. I’m glad your surgery is over, and I will pray for your speedy recovery.

    I love the story of the cowboy boots! I’m happy that your son got them for such a great deal:)

    I, too, love making enchilada casserole. It’s easier. This must have been a good week for pinto beans. My husband came across a really good deal–$18 for 50 pounds, so he bought them. I made a huge batch of refried beans, which we ate some of and froze the rest for later. We love them. 50 pounds is an awful lot for our family, which is quite small these days, so I will likely share some of them. I figure that when our monthly turn comes up to feed the college-aged kids at church, they will come in handy for a large batch of chili, for one. I did make a big nacho for the extended family to eat on Sunday, along with their hamburgers.

    You must burn through bags and bags of potatoes! Hopefully, they will come onto a good sale in your area pretty soon. It’s the right time of year.

    I continued working in the garden, both harvesting and cleaning up. Some pictures of things I harvested are on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-september-30-2018/

    It was an exceptionally busy week with our work with the kids, so I was basically running 2 households–cooking, cleaning, eating, etc. in both places, so I was tired on the weekend and didn’t get as much done as I wanted. In fact, my nephew stayed over here and we spent quite a bit of time snuggling on the couch, with me reading his favorite books to him. He’s on a roll with the author Carolyn Haywood, and wants the “Betsy” books constantly.

    This week will be a bit easier, as everyone is settling into routine, and the kids’ parents don’t have to work quite as much. One thing I did do is plan 2 weeks worth of menus, shop the sales and use Ibotta, and hopefully have what I need so I can skip next Friday’s weekly shopping trip. I have some other things I’d like to do with my time that day.

    Friends brought another load of wood for us to burn this winter. It is dry, cut and split and they delivered it. They would not even take gas money, although we both offered several times. We are very grateful.

    I started a sewing project, and am having to adjust a pattern to fit my daughter, so spent quite a bit of time making a mock-up from muslin. I’m almost ready to cut the real fabric. This will be great for 2 reasons. The dress will fit, and we are saving quite a bit of money because I got a great deal on the fabric, using sales at JoAnn’s.

  8. Thank you so much for creating such a lovely website and blog. I know that when I come here, your entries and your readers responses will all be pleasant and kind. It’s reassuring.

    I had been curious about your choice of Armenian cucumbers and the red noodle beans as they seem like unusual varieties to me. Do you grow red noodle beans because, like the cucumbers, that’s what will grow in your climate or is it something else such as your family’s preference or they take up less space?

    I’m praying for your quick recovery.

  9. I am so sorry that the biopsy turned out to be cancerous. Hope all was successfully removed and sending you wishes for a speedy recovery. I hope you are able to sleep with the stitches on top of your head. What a score on the cowboy boots!

    This covers two weeks:
    • I flew RT $470 Boston – Nice, France. Took two hour train ride to get to Boston and used credit card points to “erase” the charge. Took a two hour train ride in France to get to my friend’s house. Again used credit card points to “erase” the charge. Took the bus from Boston’s South Station to the airport for $2.75 going and free coming back. Arriving I also took the bus for $7.40 from the Nice airport to the Nice train station – saving close to $40 versus a taxi.
    • We went to a beach with free parking and free beach access. Since I was visiting an elderly friend we rented beach chaises but negotiated a reduced rate since we only planned to stay for two hours.
    • The next day we went back to the beach but sat on a wall that we had spotted the day before saving us the fee for renting beach chairs.
    • Shopped 2x at outdoor market for fruits and vegetables. Made all meals at home in France except for one.
    • Learned how to make authentic quiche Lorraine from scratch. Learned how to make potage des legumes soup and soupe de cresson (watercress).
    • Cashed in reward points and stayed for $3 at a five star hotel in Nice. Room service started at $24 for appetizers so I walked down the street and bought a take-out salad, drink and raspberry tart for $11.50.
    • Took the bus three times in Nice to get to different museums across town.
    • I usually bring back quality chocolate bars in unusual flavors as gifts for friends and family. The supermarche where I shopped had a promotion of buy 2, get 1 free on specific flavors. I paid for 10 bars of chocolate and got 5 free: pistachio, nougat, and crème brulee flavors.
    • Back in the USA, our local library had their annual book sale. Even though it is cheaper to borrow books, I love having my own copies. I bought 22 books for $38
    • Made cauliflower au gratin, stuffed tomatoes, and asparagus soup. Found a great deal on tomatoes so I experimented and dried them in the oven and then put into a jar with garlic, oregano, basil, and olive oil.

    Now I’m back to the reality of job searching again.

  10. Glad to hear your surgery went well. I hope the wound is not too painful and heals quickly.

    The tiny tomatoes are so cute! I love tomatoes in any shape or form.

    I got two crowns last week. Unfortunately, one of them is not quite right, and has to be redone. I hate dental work so this is stressing me out. It will be a month until they can do this. I don’t have to pay for it, as the dentist guarantees his work. I will be glad when it’s all done.

    Things I did last week:
    – The weather is cooling down a bit, so I dressed up my summer work wardrobe with some scarves I got on clearance last year. I run hot, so I haven’t been able to wear scarves all summer.
    – Cooked a large batch of pinto beans and froze most of them for future use. I made a bean dish for dinner one night, and had leftovers for two lunches.
    – Accepted a bag of crookneck squash from one of our patients at the clinic. Gave one to my mom as well.
    – Made a large batch of tomato soup and froze it for my work lunches.
    – My husband got a raise. We are very thankful for this.
    – Read two library e-books. It’s so convenient to be able to download books without driving to the library. I actually love visiting our library, but it is so hugely popular, it is sometimes difficult to find parking. If you go there on a Sunday morning before it opens, there are always about 20 people standing outside waiting to get in.
    – Bought some inexpensive flowers to fill a few planters on my patio. Even though I live in a condo in an urban area (six blocks from a downtown area), we get occasional visits from a family of deer. They have discovered my planters and found many of the plants very tasty. But they didn’t touch the pansies, so I think I will get some more of those when they go on sale and replant a few of the flowers.
    – Otherwise, did all the normal things I always do: walked to work, packed my lunches, cooked from scratch, made water kefir, and washed out ziplocs.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  11. So glad to hear the surgery is behind you! I hope your recovery goes well. I had some surgery in May and when I had the stitches removed, the assistant was going to throw away the metal instruments. Evidently, it’s less expensive than sterilizing. However, she did offer them to me. I now have a sharp needlework snipping scissor and a great pair of tweezers, which are in my kitchen drawer to remove fish bones. Be sure and ask.

  12. Glad the skin cancer removal was successful! And your teeny tiny tomatoes are adorable!

    I was able to get a few things done this week too:
    – I picked most of the basil, parsley, and rosemary from my balcony garden, along with any baby carrots that had grown, an one lone baby stalk of rhubarb.
    – I used the rosemary to make rosemary roasted potatoes (http://approachingfood.com/rosemary-roasted-potatoes-im-exhausted/)
    – I used the basil, parsley, and carrots, along with a few baby tomatoes from my fridge, and some onions, garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar from my pantry, to doctor up a can of tomato sauce. It tastes amazing! I didn’t have enough tomatoes to make tomato sauce from scratch, but this was the perfect way to make lots of almost-homemade pasta sauce without having to buy anything besides what I had in my garden and pantry. I served the sauce with pasta from my pantry that I had previously purchased at 50 cents/lb, and topped it with freshly grated parmesan that had been leftover from a cheese plate at my baby shower.
    – DH used loyalty points to get $70 worth of free groceries.
    – I stocked up on butter at $2.99 a pound. I now have enough in my fridge and freezer to last until the next sale comes along.
    – Due to my waning energy in my last month of pregnancy, I haven’t had a lot of energy to pack lunches. Instead of eating out like a lot of my colleagues, I’ve compromised and bought some prepackaged curries that I bring to work along with pita. I can make each curry packet last for two lunches. Easy in regards to energy, and much cheaper than lunch out. Plus, I choose high protein curries, so healthy for baby too. Normally I’d make both the curry and the pita from scratch, but at this point it’s better for me to rest and get off my feet. And then I add in little yoghurt cups and fresh fruit and veggies to snack on during the day, along with apple juice. Super-healthy, and manages to stave off the morning sickness at least until I reach home in the evening. If my mum finds the curry packets on sale, she’ll buy a bunch for me, and then I’ll pay her back. I really appreciate my mum! Weekday dinners have been things like my favourite homemade smoothies, grilled cheese (on inexpensive whole grain seed bread), and ice cream sandwiches. Inexpensive and frugal, as I always make sure to buy the items on sale.
    – Speaking of which, I made more ice cream sandwiches (cookies and ice cream purchased on sale).
    – I used a combination of a completion discount and some gift cards, to get the rest of the items on my (very modest) baby registry. I still have a Carters’ gift card left to use to pick up some more onesies and sleepers, so I’ll watch out for sales at that particular store, plus I printed out a coupon sent to me for signing up for the email newsletter, to use with the gift card.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as usual!

  13. I have a friend who got skin cancer in her hair part in her 30’s. She is doing fine, and I hope you are doing well also. I made meatloaf. I make it very basic so that I can use leftovers in hamburger soup, and chili. I also make meatloaf sandwiches for lunch. I had collards that were about to get wilted, so I made a collard and rice soup. I threw in leftover onions, and a little bit of cabbage I needed to use up. My child is somewhat ill again, and I have been helping him out financially. I have been budgeting very carefully because of this, and only buying food when I run out of something I really need. I am not buying extras, such as canned mushrooms, and only buying basic canned vegetables that I can get for 50 cents a can or less, and I have cut back on my food storage. I have lots of dried beans and rice I need to use anyway, so this is a good reason to use those items up.

  14. I haven’t posted lately because 95-year-old mom was in the hospital for a week because of dehydration and a UTI. She then was in a very nice skilled nursing facility for six weeks to regain enough strength to go home. Because she was admitted as a patient, not for observation, to the hospital for at least three days, Medicare completely covered most of her stay at the SNF and her supplementary insurance should cover the rest. We had to postpone her visit to the retinal specialist for a week because, if she needs a shot in the eye for wet macular degeneration, there would have been an issue of Medicare paying for the pricey injection while mom was a patient at a SKU. Because my mom was so anxious, I slept on the window bench while she was at the hospital and on the floor of her room in the nursing home. Medicare is now providing visits by a nurse, pt, and ot. Because mom’s appetite is still small, I have arranged for Meals on Wheels to deliver her lunch every weekday for $15 a week. If I was her caregiver spouse of any age instead of her senior caregiver daughter, I too could get lunch for the same price. But I am not, so I cannot unless the Meals on Wheels nurse decides I am homebound too. It isn’t like I can leave the house for any length of time without bringing homebound mom with me in her car…. It was startling to realize that tiny mom might get so ill that she needs both a nurse and an aide to take care of her. And I am only one person. Now that mom no longer wants to deal with the bills, I am trying to get quite a few long-postponed repairs done to her house. She also needs to replace her current vehicle, with a KBB of $350 on a good day, with something much more reliable to reduce the possibility of the car breaking down while I am taking her out. A servant in our congregation installed the handrail by the porch step that was needed before mom could return home. I had a never-used Rubbermaid cabinet in the garage that didn’t meet the purpose I had bought it for which I gave to him in gratitude. It helped declutter the garage. We don’t live where the neighbors are within earshot and our Craigslist is for a city known for its crime, so I am afraid to post large items for sale that I cannot bring to the village police’s parking lot to do the actual sale. The SNF she was in would have cost her $375/day if it was private pay. Fortunately, she was motivated enough to do the daily therapy (granny gym) that was required by Medicare to cover her stay.

    If anybody has any suggestions on how to increase a very, very elderly person’s appetite and thirst, I am all ears. I got scared the first two days she was home when she ate and drank very, very little. But her feet and legs, which had become very swollen while she was institutionalized, shrunk back to normal as she kept her feet elevated on a special pillow on the sofa. I think her body was exhausted processing all the stagnant lymph fluid from her legs. She is back to drinking and eating enough to sustain life now.

  15. I am so glad to hear you’re on the mend. Surgery is always scary and recovery can be just as hard. Spotting cancer in the scalp must’ve been difficult. Catching it quickly saves lives. Everyone needs to be checked annually to stay safe. Cancer is no joke!

    The past month has been both busy and expensive, due to 4 Jewish holidays in such a short period. (Always a crazy time of year.) I stay frugal by shopping the sales weekly, using coupons/rebates when possible, and maintaining a large stockpile. Some recent deals include $0.88/lb apples, $0.99/lb turkey breast, cases of water for $0.99 each, free candy, free toothbrushes, free shampoo, and $0.94 laundry pods. All of my deals here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-9-8-18/

  16. Brandy you’re amazing!
    Had surgery? Good news: I’ll save money on makeup. Cake without icing? Good news: I can sprinkle icing sugar. And the list goes on…
    Thank you for being you and all that you do. You always inspire me, not only to save money, but to be better.

  17. I have large shoulders and upper arms and have had problems finding “girl colored” flannel shirts that fit – Duluth is AWESOME and they just redid their bottoms and added more plus size options too. I have several of their “long tail” tanks for layering and they’ve held up beautifully. I panicked when I discovered my son had dried one of my flannels but it didn’t shrink AT ALL which is a miracle with flannel. And the “long tail” keeps my back/butt covered when working outside (no cold air running up my back!). Good thing the store is on the other side of town ’cause is the single clothing store that I could drop some serious money in!

  18. This has been a terrific week! Facebook had made changes to the way they process things on business pages and we found that not only could people not order more than one thing per order, but they changed their payment system from PayPal to Stripe and it was taking almost 2 weeks to be deposited into our bank! It also didn’t give the option for local pickup without shipping charge and would hold the money taken in. So our customer would pay, pickup and we wouldn’t get the money!

    So we still have the page up so we can do Facebook publishing of new items for sale, but we do the actual sales on our website: HandmadeinOldeTowne.com and that has worked out really well!
    We decided While praying over our fields (garden and fruit trees and bushes), flocks (our chickens and koi) and our business to be specific about them and this week has been phenomenal in response to those prayers!! All unsolicited “windfalls”? Nope- blessings!!
    1. A friend called and asked if she could give us 2 extra “Pink Lemonade” blueberry bushes. She bought too many and didn’t feel like returning them to the store (although she delivered them to our house)! Fields
    2. Flocks- Dave was in Lowe’s for something else and noticed that the fish food he uses was clearanced by over 50% in the big bags so he was able to buy a supply that will last a year! The exp codes will still be good even then!

    3. Flocks- a sweet couple that we met from a craigslist ad for koi that we bought from them this summer called us yesterday out of the blue! They live 88miles away but wondered if we would like (free) a stock tank full of koi because they are downsizing. We went out and he and my hubs emptied the 113 koi and brought them home! We gave 3 to our blueberry bush friend and she’s thrilled. We will overwinter the rest and come Spring, sell some (which our koi friends said was fine with them with us keeping the sales money!) that many fish at the sizes they are,even selling at bargain prices represent over $2000 !!!

    4.Business- a friend came over for some free bread and bagels we were distributing and reminded us of last year’s Softies” that we sold- 2 ply flannel Kleenex substitutes and said we should start actively marketing those again because we are going in to cold season. We took his advise and within 5 minutes of posting them online, we had 3 orders!

    So we feel that the Lord has blessed us beyond measure!
    We ate all of our meals from our pantry. I got 3 ten pound bags of potatoes for $1/bag so we will eat some and shred and dehydrate a lot because we were just running low in our dehydrated hash browns!
    Took dinner to 2 families just using food from our pantry/freezer. So grateful to be able to share!
    Enjoyed quiet time in the evening with a fire in the fire pit and we let chickens out to free range! Best date night ever as we talked about goals and challenges! Priceless time but didn’t spend a dime for it!!
    What a wonderful life filled with opportunities for us to learn and share!

  19. They’re just like green beans, but they flower better in a hot climate. Regular green beans won’t flower for me in our heat and the extension service recommends long beans. I have also grown green Chinese long beans and I may grow those again just for variety.

  20. Long beans are recommended for growing in our heat. I have tried other kinds but they failed to flower and/or the plants burned to a crisp. I have grown long green beans too (Chinese yardlong) in the past. I may grow them again to add some more color to the plate, as the red ones turn black when cooked. They taste wonderful, but the two colors together is prettier on the plate.

  21. Hi Brandy,
    Hope you are healing well and not in too much pain.
    Well I went 2 days without spending money which is my goal every week. Was able to stay close to my goal with spending. Everytime I turn around it’s picture day or my kids need new shoes and so on. I was able to return a backpack my daughter picked out for school… it broke…so she back using the backpack she has had for 4 years.
    Happy savings this week!

  22. Great that surgery is over!
    After reading last week’s comments i went to kitchen and took a big zucchini out of the garbage bin where i just had thrown it and made my 1st ever zucchini bread. It was great. I have 2 more given to me. Never knew how to make them eatable.

  23. Wishing you all the best for a speedy recovery!

    I stopped by a church yard sale this week and got a bag of clothes for my daughter for $5, and an apron for $1. I made garlic bread from a loaf of homemade bread (instead of buying the garlic bread special at the store), hung a load of laundry, stayed home with an under-the-weather-but-very-snuggly child, cooked dry beans and hung laundry to dry. I prepared a favorite meal for my daughter with things I already had on hand, made an apple pie from scratch, enjoyed a concert at the local high school (my son had a solo and was mentioned in the program) for only $3. I also managed to pick up the free Friday download from Mariano’s (that’s our Kroger affiliate); I’m usually not over on that side of town in time, so that was nice. 🙂 I used up leftovers to make two quiches (one went in the freezer for my son’s breakfasts), and my son received a free t-shirt as part of a college visit.

    Have a great week, everyone! 🙂

  24. Baked potatoes in the crockpot/turkey roaster are a great energy saver. Just wash and fill your crockpot. I put them on low for 8-10 hours and they are perfect. I agree they make the best home fries!

  25. Good luck on your recovery, Brandy. I had a friend with one on her scalp, right at the hairline. Her hairdresser discovered it. Whoever cuts your hair, be sure he or she inspects your scalp, I guess is the moral here. I always had to remember to put sunscreen on my oldest’s part and the tops of her ears — she’s very pale-skinned, and burns very easily.
    I was able to hang out some laundry this weekend, but not all of it. Two loads had to go in the dryer.
    I finally got in the 21st century and had my paint matched, so I can now do small repairs on some walls for which I had no more leftover paint, rather than having to repaint the whole room.
    I cooked a ton of veggies in the oven, for yummy oven-roasted veggies to have this week. I try to do 2 or 3 things in the oven at once, to keep down on heating the house up too much.
    We gave up our land-line finally, and the credit came on this month’s bill (we still pay for internet to the same company). We’re looking forward to a smaller bill now that we only pay for internet, and not the phone. Our land-line had gone from about $15 to almost $30 a month — way too much to keep it. Sometimes (rarely), in hurricanes, only a land-line will work, but we are taking our chances.
    I went to a thrift store looking for a new dog dish for our new puppy, who needs a larger bowl. I didn’t find one, but found two Nylabones and several rope toys, all still in their packages, and all of which our puppy loves. The price was great, too.
    I chopped up some rather limp celery and used it in soup. I cut the bruises out of some apples and made applesauce.
    I have enough Swagbucks to get another gift card. I lucked out and got into another home-trial survey (for some veggie chips) and scored $10 for doing it, so my bucks added up quickly. I have no idea how I got this lucky, so I can’t share the “secret,” because I don’t know what it is.

  26. Hubby cleaned the grill this weekend as it was in desperate need of some TLC.
    Rested a lot Saturday and Sunday. Coming down with something so rest is best. This also meant we declined 2 invitations to get together with friends to eat out which saved money there.
    I again split one package of turkey between two meals. I made turkey tacos and stretched them by adding lentils. I also made pasties, and stretched those by adding extra veggies and potatoes which I like more than meat anyways.
    I continue to look for a new job. I am struggling to make things work with my current boss. Only been here a month but have been treated so poorly and don’t feel as though this is a good fit for me. It’s only a part time job at minimum wage. I don’t deserve to be treated so badly by a boss. Just trying to hold on long enough to find something else. My husband tells me to just quit, but I don’t want to be without work. Hoping I can make it until I find something.

  27. Your trip sounds so wonderful! Thank you for sharing it with us — for a few moments there, I had a little French vacation!

  28. Wow! I never would have thought of this!
    I managed medical clinics long ago and we had an autoclave and sterolyzed our own equipment — i guess they don’t do that much anymore.

  29. Brandy, I am happy to hear your surgery went well and it is over. I would suggest you take it easy, but that is hard to do.

    As for my savings, well, there is not much to brag about. This past week we were hit with MASSIVE medical bills which insurance will not cover. My husband will be getting stem cell replacement treatments in hopes it will help repair the cartilage in his hip along with other treatments for other things. It was a choice between that and a wheelchair. I too received a diagnosis which insurance won’t cover the expensive treatments. We used the money we had saved to buy a second car. We decided we can continue to get by with just one. Our health is more important.

    After the diagnosis, we stopped and had dinner at an expensive (expensive to us restaurant). Something we haven’t done in a very long time. We decided to blow some money before it was all gone…and then it was.:D

    Then we returned home and I worked getting the Fall/Winter garden seeds planted. I have decided to make it larger so we can eat more from it to save money.

    I look forward to hearing everyone’s savings. I need new ideas.

    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2018/09/septembers-garden-2018.html

    Jeannie@GetMetoTheCountry

  30. Holly, my thoughts are with you. As so many others here I have been a caregiver of elderly parents and FIL. What I found with food is that I really needed to figure out what they wanted as far as taste. My dad and FIL both wanted food that was more beef focused (not surprising given both grew up on ranches and my FIL kept cattle for most of his life). Chicken and ham were okay occassionally – as in maybe once per week! And fish – nope, nope, nope. So I would make beef tips with gravy, heavily loaded mashed potatoes (they both needed the high fat content), beef stew, meatloaf (again with mashed potatoes). My mother enjoyed anything other than beef! She enjoyed chicken and fish, quiche, pasta with alfredo sauce. All seemed to want things sweet as well.

    For your shopping needs you might consider going online and have food delivered. We live in the country so that isn’t feasible but I know that it is really great in town.

    If you can find out if what is considered in home respite care is available you might find that they will come in for a couple of hours so you can do your shopping and get a little break. A friend did that as a retirement job. it isn’t care per se (bathing for example) but more of someone who is there so you don’t need to be. Our local Senior Center works with AARP and is a great resource.

    Make sure you do some great self care. Sleeping on the bench and on the floor are had on the body and continual care is hard on ones energy.

  31. Pat – you made me smile! Many years ago a friend and I were discussing prayer. We were both corporate types then and we laughed as we both did very directed prayer “Now God, I know you are busy so here’s exactly what you need to do – sort of a flow chart.” Not like your praying over specific areas (field, flock, business) where you lift those areas of your life up but like “I’m in charge and here’s the list”. Once I learned the difference my life opened up immensely and His plan was much better than mine. Just my thoughts!

  32. This seems little enough to offer as a suggestion, when I can only imagine how worried and stressed you must be, but when my uncle was in a similar situation, my cousin tried tempting him with a squeeze of lemon or orange in a glass of ice water, or a few raspberries or sliced strawberries to make it more pleasant. He would scowl about it but he tried it, and it did help him stay hydrated.

  33. A friend had the same issue with her 94 year old mom and she found that 6 small meals throughout the day rather than the traditional 3 meals a day worked better. If her mom saw too much food at one time she felt overwhelmed and refused to eat anything out of fear of wasting the food. Also, bottles of things like Ensure (or the equivalent) help to add calories and liquids. Does she like yogurt or smoothies – add ice cream for more calories but again, keep the glass small to start with. Good luck and remember to look after yourself.

  34. I had read on Instagram that your surgery had been completed but did not realize it was at your “part” – a place we never really think of but I do remember getting a terrible sunburn along my part many years ago so a hat is on the list for next summer (I already use a 60 factor sunscreen and have finally given in and wear dark glasses as well) – your situation is a timely reminder for us all so thank you again Brandy – and all the best for a speedy recovery.

    .I continued to group errands and outings so that I use the 2hr travel limit and only pay one transit fare whenever possible.

    .I enjoyed a free lunch at our church BBQ and a free supper when I went to do my volunteer stint on Tuesday night – there had been a couple of events on the Monday and there was a ton of leftovers so the teachers all had something, there was plenty for the students and I even put a plate of treats into the library for the Bible study group to enjoy.

    .I took advantage of lots of sales at the grocery store that I have my Loyalty points with – and I was able to combine many of the sale items with my points offers. If Canadian readers haven’t been to Loblaws yet this week they have their frozen fruit on for $2.99 ($2 to $3 cheaper than normal) and their frozen veg is on for $1.77 ( $1 to $1.50 cheaper) – just wish I had more freezer space! I also picked up a small ham that was about $5 off normal and got a roast pork at 50% off. The NO FRILLS store has 3 pound bags of onions and of carrots for 97cents – big heads of broccoli for the same price and a 10 pound bag of new potatoes for $1.47 – stocked up on all of these items.

    .I used $20 of Loyalty points and cashed in a small coin jar to pay for a good chunk of these items.

    .I finally switched over my clothes from Summer to Winter and ended up taking a bag full of items to the “Out of the Cold” bin at church yesterday. These were items purchased a couple of years ago and there were a couple of things that I’d never even worn – every now and again I think I’ll try a more feminine frilly look – but it never works for me – note to self – stick to those clean lines and tailored clothes! I can confirm that the only purchases I may make for this Winter is a new pair of shoes and a couple of bras – that’s it!!!!

    PS to Margaret at Approaching Food – I intend on turning some of those potatoes into your croquettes as soon as I have some freezer space available!

    Hope that everyone has a good week – love all your comments.

  35. Another satisfied Duluth customer. I have bought from them for years, mostly for my husband who is hard to fit. The clothes last forever! My husband also says their underpants are the most comfortable he has ever worn.

  36. Brandy, I am hoping you are pain free and comfortable . The top of the head seems like that area would be unpleasant. Life is quiet here. Army boy is loving his life except for the three minute showers. College girl is working hard at college and waitressing at a steak house. I will hope her tips are good. She has volunteered to contribute to Army boys graduation ceremony we plan on attending . I have accumulated around 225.00 in Swagbucks that will cover my hotel room for four nights. I picked out Visa giftcards and have paid my light bill, water bill and part of the internet bill with these. That intended bill money will be used for the trip. Not having internet for two weeks really hurt my collecting the extra desired swagbucks. The internet surprised me with a 49.99 fee to lock my 45.00 price in for two years. I am not happy since that was not disclosed. I redeemed my coca cola caps for 4 free sodas and 4 free popcorns at the AMC theater. I will use them this winter on 5.00 Tuesdays for holiday movies. I imagine college girl and I will see The Grinch and the Nutcracker. The ballet will no longer be an option. Even matinee tickets are outrageous. The coca cola caps are winding down but I still collect around 30 a week. I am hoping for some more great redemption offers . I finally located a Nitendo classic with the preloaded games. I put it on layaway as I was afraid I might not locate it again. Sugar cookie requested Mario Cart and Donkey Kong so this will make her very happy. The weather has finally cooled here, especially at night. The AC is rarely cut on and only for two hours then. We are still making only one trip a week out to shop and do errands. Sugar cookie had a 2.00 lunch and spent 2.00 for two barbies at the thrift store. I have forgone any food or drinks in exchange for stamps and greeting cards. I try to send Army boy two to three letters a week. This stuff adds up. I love the 49 cent cards at walmart, dollar tree , and kroger. I can only send for two more weeks so I am happy about that. At his new Army school that comes next, he will have his phone. My mail just came and there is a great coupon in an insert. I am going to go down to the recycling bin tomorrow and pull out about 10 of them. Most people just throw these inserts away as they leave the mailboxes. That 2.00 Persil coupon will get me laundry pods for 1.00. I plan on buying 10 of them and will send them to Army boy in his care packages. I have cut our monthly out of pocket spending down to 60.00 a month. The water is down 60% but my 15.00 water bill has 45.00 in fees. The lights are down to 100.00. The cell phone is 15.00 and my favorite is the insurances. They just keep going up. Hopefully after the house taxes are paid, I can get back on track. I am finding that emergency expenses are devastating to the budget, especially this year . I am happy that we always have what we need. Couponing and Swagbucks are amazing. We are trying more and more of Brandys recipes. The simpler our life is, the less money we need and the less worry I have. I honestly file away in my head every savings you dear friends post. Now off to do more swagbucks. Today, they are just a flowing in. See me smile.

  37. Libby, I wish you well in your search for a job. I enjoyed your post. It was like going on a mimi vacation thriugh your travels. It really lifted my spirits.

  38. When my husband had cancer and became quite anemic, he would drink milkshakes that I added protein powder to. It can be frustrating to feed someone who doesn’t really have an appetite…the other thing my husband liked was McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches, although it seemed to take all day for him to eat one. I made homemade versions, which were cheaper, and also allowed me to put protein powder in the egg before I turned it into a folded egg for the sandwich.

  39. I shred large zukes and freeze them in two cup sizes. I throw them in soups and stews all winter long. In fact, sometimes I have left a zucchini to get larger just so I have more to freeze.

  40. Brandy,
    I am praying for a speedy recovery for you. I know your family will take good care of you.

    Because of reading your blog for so long now, I had a good productive week. I found red onions and green peppers for the lowest price I have seen in my area. I bought several of each and chopped and dehyraded them. Now I have plenty for this winter. I never would have thought to do this previous to reading your blog. Not only did I save money but I also saved time because now they are ready to throw into spaghetti sauce, stew, and soups.

    My husband said one condition of us getting our puppy was that he no longer wanted to fuss with nail clipping. I found a place that does it for $10 which is worth it to me to keep both puppy and husband happy. When I took puppy in this last time, they sent me home with a small bag of food for free- they said it was a free sample. Puppy loves it so an extra savings there. While at the pet shop, I looked around while puppy’s nails were being trimmed and found that they have several cool looking live fish for $5 each. My grandson is hoping for fish for Christmas. I already found him a very small aquarium for $15 so I think after Christmas, I will take him to this pet shop and let him pick out his own fish. That will make it more special for a 5 year old boy I think.

    My girlfriend knows I like frozen cokes from Burger King but also knows I only treat myself a couple times a year. She found coupons for free frozen Cokes and shared two of them with me so two free frozen Cokes are in my future.

    I am making progress on my Christmas gifts already. I found a super cute wicker basket at the thrift store for $2. I thoroughly washed it in hot, soapy water and then air dried it. I plan to fill it with special food stuffs and use as one of my generic gifts for a Christmas gift exchange my family does on Christmas Eve. I also found a package of 10 pairs of socks for $4 at Marshalls for my daughter for Christmas. These are nice quality socks and should last a while.

    Wishing everyone a good week.

  41. Holly, my father is down to 90 lbs. My mother was instructed to use Boost drinks. They average about 1.50 a piece here and are quite expensive for long term use. Several stores have a store brand . I am not sure if my mother checked into medicare covering them or not. As with any product please make sure the doctor approves. many products have massive amounts of sugar in them although several have low glycemic options. The main goal is to get as many dense calories in them. Mom cooks for dad and adds butter and cream to anything she can. He loves potato soup. A bowl of moms would make me gain ten lbs. good luck.

  42. There is a medication available–sorry I don’t recall the name of it but it starts with M. My Mom had dementia and was in nursing care for the last 14 months of her life and they gave her that to up her appetite. I found that bringing her favorite treats (my Mom loved milkshakes) that I was able to get some nutrition into her. She was quite small as she was 95. I brought her homemade applesauce and also whatever treats I baked at home. She always preferred HOME cooking. Of course if I did bring a milkshake, she didn’t eat dinner afterwards, but she might not have anyhow! The home also had an ice cream shop that was free to patients and families a couple days a week in mid-afternoon. Actually one scoop was free for family members, but we found them overly generous with the scoop! And older people don’t need as many calories as they used to also—they aren’t burning off so many calories with activities. I’m glad your Mom is doing better now. It does take them quite a while to recover from such upsets, so try to be patient.

  43. When I brought my elderly Mum home from hospital after surgery she had little appetite either-2 things that she would eat that are very healthy and lots of calories for a small amount of food were flavoured Greek yogurt and also avocado. It was also helpful to cook things in the oven so the smell for a couple of hrs before would stimulate her appetite-she would then eat small amounts of things like meat pie-she also enjoyed things like salmon/mashed potato fish cakes fried in a little butter. Good luck with your Mum.

  44. I am finally learning how to cook for just 2 after our last child left home. Our visit to ds and dil helped me a lot in that department. They cook from scratch every day and I took notes (literally) on meal ideas, amounts, how they stock their fridge and pantry. I love learning from my kids! This has resulted in me having money left over in my food budget this month.
    I made a long sleeve shirt into a short sleeve shirt, much more suitable for our climate (same as Brandi’s). I wore it today to a part-time job.
    Steamed carrots over the pan of potatoes I cooked, so only used one burner on stove.
    Returned an item (unopened) bought last week and re-purchased it with coupon I received this weekend that was good starting today.
    Cooked applesauce with gifted apples that were soft. Only 4 minutes cooking time in Instapot!

  45. My past week was extra busy, but somehow I managed to get everything done and supper on the table every single night without getting too exhausted. I had doctor appointments and lunch with my sisters and took husband and myself for flu shots as well. I stretched leftovers into extra meals also: ravioli with sauce one night, and the leftover sauce turned into meatballs and spaghetti another night. Baked ham one night, ham sandwiches with sides the next, and 5 more meals plus one ham bone in the freezer for the future. Polish sausage on buns with rather filling sides meant there were two large pieces of sausage left over, which I sliced. A large onion, an orange pepper starting to get old, and a couple microwaved potatoes, chopped, made what I like to call a “Polish” stir fry, and we had tossed salad along with that. Rice Krispie treats turned a box of expired but unopened cereal into dessert for several nights. (I love those like a kid!)
    Today is chilly and rainy and I will make ground beef and cabbage soup using V-8 juice for the liquid. I checked the freezer where I keep pre-made quick breads and came up empty so will make a quick corn bread to eat with it. It’s my second favorite recipe, as I don’t have enough eggs for my favorite (large) recipe. I’ll get eggs tomorrow as I have to go out for yoga class and a haircut already.
    With pushing my husband a bit to help, we also managed to both work on vacuuming the entire downstairs, and also cleaning the bathroom upstairs. That was using every bit of time at home to our advantage. Three doctor appointments in one week is too many, but that’s just how it worked out this time. All the laundry got done as well as sheets changed and bathroom rugs washed also. I think I’m more efficient when I’m over-scheduled!!
    I am happy your surgery is behind you–as I recall, husband’s similar cancers healed slowly, so don’t be too disappointed if that happens to you as well. They take it off a layer at a time so there is a bit of healing to be done. Hope the stitches don’t drive you crazy either.

  46. Hi: You are a blessing to your mother! If medicinal marijuana has been legalized in your state, you might want to discuss its use with your mother’s doctor; it might help your mother’s appetite. Prescription cannabis does NOT make a person high.

  47. My husband and I had a lovely date night at home. I made a gourmet meal from scratch and we enjoyed it on the deck, complete with candles, while our boys attended the Homecoming football game at school. It was nice to enjoy time together without distraction, and it didn’t cost much at all, since I bought all my ingredients at Aldi. For Homecoming dance, I saved money by buying my son a pair of Converse tennis shoes instead of dress shoes. He needed new shoes anyway, and he’ll get much more wear out of the Converse than he would out of dress shoes. Plus it’s in style these days to wear them with a suit. 🙂 I found them at Ross for much less than I normally would have had to pay for them, which was a bonus savings. My older son chose to purchase his own outfit using money he earned while working this summer; he didn’t have to, but he wanted something fun and found a great deal on it. In other areas of life, I accepted fabric from a friend who knows I sew; I accepted the last of a friend’s green tomatoes so we can fry them for dinner one night; I ‘shopped’ from the freezer for a meal that I hosted with our Bible study group, instead of going to the store; and I accepted two pairs of barely used shoes from a friend who wears the same size I do. I also cleared out a bunch of clothes my boys have outgrown and passed them along to a friend, which is something I do regularly. Most of the clothes were either hand-me-downs from my older son, thrift-store buys, clearance items, or hand-me-downs from friends. Both of my sons now wear the same adult sizes, so no more hand-me-downs or kids clothes, unfortunately. But it’s been 18 years of savings on clothes, so I can’t complain!

  48. Sorry to hear about your cancer scare-praying that it was all taken out! Haven’t been on here for a while. Been busy working and stocking up the house for the winter months. Flo came thru but we only got loads of rain with flooding only a couple of days. A 200 year old oak tree fell up the road and we were without power for about 14 hours. We inherited a huge generator so we put it to use. Had to drain the pool but I’m okay with it because the temps are getting lower. Makes me wonder what kind of winter we are going to have. Here’s my frugal accomplishments:
    -Before Flo came, I cleaned out the garden and picked what I could. Dehydrated the herbs and made powder out of them.
    -Made pumpkin bread- some w/cream cheese frosting and thin mint brownies for a back sale at work using ingredients from the pantry. Also made a pan of brownies for hubby.
    -Local store has a “quarter back” rebate promo and I have been stocking the house with that sale. Buy their brand and get a quarter back up to 40 items=$10.00 each trip to store.
    – Gifted a large bag full of sweet mini red and orange peppers. made some recipes with some- dehydrated the rest and made powder out of them.
    -Gifted some muscadine grapes. Made 9 quarts of Amish grape juice. Use a recipe that calls for a cup of grapes in quart jar with 1/2 cup of sugar- fill to top w/boiling water and water bath for 20 minutes. They have to set for 2 months or more to mature the taste.
    -Sold an item on Ebay.
    -Did some research on how to do altered spoons for Christmas gifts. I was inherited a few collections of silver ware, which a lot don’t match and couldn’t sell because they aren’t really silver.
    -Planning better menus with using what we got in the house. Cutting down on going out/picking up food on a whim by doing some freezer cooking more of snacks and ball grub.
    -Picked up 2 $25 gift certificates for WalMart by turning in points from Swagbucks. Also picked up a couple of $10 ones to use for Christmas gifts.
    -Found a group on FB who likes the books and show I do and joined. They also have a penpal program and secret Santa. Been corresponding with a few ladies for the past month and have been receiving gifts and cards that they design themselves. Found great deals online to make my return mail.
    That’s about it…Everyone have a blessed week!!

  49. Sounds like your surgery went well, and I’m glad of it. Loved the cowboy boot story!

    This was my week–
    I continued to use my debit card once a day (on the days that I spent money) to earn $1 cash back per day–made $4 last week. The good news is that I didn’t spend anything on the 3 days that I DIDN’T get cash back! (This offer was only for September).

    Used up leftovers = no food waste!

    I went to a free Master Gardener presentation at the library. I checked out a book on interlibrary loan.

    I decided I wanted some houseplants to kill. Small plants cost around $5 each. I got philodendron cuttings from one friend and another friend gave me starts of aloe vera and spider plants.

    Our friend took our boat out of the water and is going to winterize, tarp and store it for us (for free). (We do nice things for him, too). I bought the tarp at Harbor Freight and saved $4.60 with the 20% coupon, which I have on my phone. I used the app another time and saved $1 = $5.30 savings.
    I returned an item that was being recalled. I was thrilled that they offered me a merchandise credit instead of a replacement = $53.99 credit vs. an item we’ll never need again.

    I bought a Crescent wrench and needle-nose pliers for my Operation Christmas Child box (boy 10-14). I had also planned to get a screwdriver with extra bits in the handle. I discovered Harbor Freight will be giving them away next week with any purchase, so I’m waiting.

    (OCC information for 2018 is at https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/).

    I bought evaporated milk for .78 (I use it in tea) and Progresso soups for $1.18 at Winco. I bought a case of each…this is about the only time of year that I buy canned soup (my husband is retired and likes to have it around for lunches).

    I got two brand-new strings of icicle lights on Freecycle. I am giving them to a friend and promised to help her put them up as a surprise for her granddaughter. I donated a coffee table and end table to the thrift store and never even went inside!

  50. Brandy wishing you a quick recovery from your surgery. Thank you for your inspiring blog.

    This week I earned $122.75 from selling my items and various friends items on local buy/sell;
    Loaded up my vehicle with donations as I continue to declutter and organized;
    I worked 9 hours at my occasional office job;
    I combined errands this week, staying home 5 days and not spending 4 days this week;
    Made batch of banana bread;
    Batch cooked some meals for the week;
    Used loyalty points from credit card to pay for a movie night out with friends;
    My husband was able to fix the rear defrost mechanism in our teen daughters car.

    I always enjoy everyone’s comments, have a lovely week!

  51. Hi everyone!
    Sending continued prayers your way, Brandy, for your continued recovery. Take it easy as much as you can.
    My mom often used confectionery sugar as a cake topping. Especially on chocolate cake. Can also use a paper doily as a stencil for a design.
    This week I:
    Cut both boys hair.
    Fall cleaned my youngest son’s bedroom & closet. Filled another trash bag of donations for our local thrift store. I also set aside some dress shirts my son outgrew that were barely, if ever, worn. I will try to sell these on ebay at a later date.
    Once I made room in his closet, i put a laundry basket that holds 1 load of clothes. I began to teach him to wash his own clothes. Thus teaching him a new skill, teaching him responsibility and allowing me to delegate this chore to him while creating more time/less work for me. His room has been much cleaner since he took on this chore. Yeah!
    Emptied the final items from the chest freezer into my freezer space above the refrigerator. Had to take my bread heels and make bread crumbs to fit everything in. Defrosted the chest freezer and washed it out. Now it’s ready for the meat delivery which is coming soon. This week I plan to chop my garden onions and freeze them in the chest freezer now that I have room and while there is nothing in there to absorb the onion smell.
    I am lucky to live on a border town. Turkey sales are here to attract Canadian sales for their Thanksgiving on our Columbus Day. My local store is selling Shady Brook Farm Turkeys for 89 cents a lb if you spend $25 (my usual in that store). I plan to buy 2 this week for the newly emptied freezer.
    Went to the thrift store last week. Did not find any clothes that were on my shopping list but I did find a brand new Christmas primitive needlework framed decor and 4 books: 2 inspirational romances plus a hardcovered Tightwad Gazette II and a catholic book on Padre Pio. The Catholic book was brand new and retails for $14 on Amazon. This is where I usually buy my catholic books since they are just so expensive.
    I was also able to stretch my proteins into several meals and did not have any wasted food.
    Have a great week!

  52. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    We are just about to get out first frost. While I was at work, my DH, who is retired, picked basil, parsley, tomatoes – sun sugar, Juliet, roma, and beefsteaks, lettuce, cucumbers, green beans, chard, corn, zucchini, and peppers. I made 4 loaves of zucchini bread. Took one to a neighbor recovering from knee surgery, and another to neighbors who just moved into our neighborhood last week. Froze the other two. Made two dozen zucchini cheese muffins. they are a savory muffin rather than sweet, and go great with soup. made 4 more jars of pickles. Made these extra hot, with cherry peppers, and half a red jalapeno in each one.

    My DH surprised me and washed all of our bedding, hung it on the clothesline, and then re-made the bed. It was lovely.

    I froze corn. This is the best corn crop we have ever had. I have an entire shelf in the freezer filled with bags of corn that I have cut off the cob. We also gave some to my sons and to my SIL.

    Shopped very little. Did get a couple of small beef roasts, that were 1/2 price. I will cut them up and use for stew meat.

    Made sausage and cheese biscuits for breakfasts. This helps with portion control too, as I make 8 of them and they are for breakfast Monday – Thursday. If they are gone, I do not make any more until the following Sunday.

    I know there was more – but I will quit for now.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week.

  53. I love the tommy toe tomatoes -they are great for a salad. Yours might be small but they are a perfect bite. I’m glad the surgery is over for you! Such a relief and I hope your face swelling goes down quickly.
    I have been gathering bean or other seeds in use for next years growing season. It’s almost over for this year. You can view my frugal accomplishments here:
    http://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2018/09/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-93018.html

  54. Last week I got paid to buy a lot of boxes of quorn meat replacement items (fake chicken). They were bogo at my store and I was getting $3 back per box from ibotta. Using paypal funds I already I had, I bought the first 12 on my account and then got the money back and went and then dh got 15. I used ibotta often last week. At one point it wouldnt let us cash out to paypal so we each redeemed for walmart giftcards. I have them put aside for either emergencies or we need something from Sams that I dont want to use the grocery budget money for. I had bought a bag of apples from Sams as one of my fruit purchases. None of us are particularly fond of apples so the bag lasts a lot longer than a 20lb watermelon or a bunch of bananas will. Its gone, I think I’ll get another this week. I switched over to weight watchers meetings. It costs $20 more a month. That wasnt frugal, but I have about 15 more pounds to lose and then I will become lifetime and as long as I stay within 2 lbs or under of my goal, I will no longer have to pay for WW. My insurance doesnt doesnt help with that. We were supposed to do dinner out with another family, but my friend never called me to confirm. I didnt hunt her down. So we didnt go out to eat. That saved us alot of money!!! We’ve been out of aluminum foil and I was refusing to pay $4+ for a 75ft box. I ordered a 500ft box from staples and used my $40 in rewards. I had to pay $13 out of pocket, but the box should last over a year. DH takes hot sandwiches to work so its an expense that I had to allow. We ate a few meals with beans. Sure is gassy here!! Other than that, we did the usual.

  55. S.CO Mary- Usually we pray that we will recognize opportunities that are put in our path that will help us if we are willing to put in some effort!

  56. I got my husband on board with a budget!! I woke up Saturday morning to his newly created monthly budget. Thirty seven years and he finally listened, lol.

    I woke up early and was able to catch a couple of markdowns at Smith’s/Kroger to use in our meals the next 2 weeks. I cooked 1.5 lbs of pinto beans in my instant pot (bought online at Walmart Black Friday last December and paid for with Savings Catcher funds…so “free”). I will take these to work for lunch a couple of days this week and my husband had some for lunch on Saturday. I take my lunch every day of the week. I think in 9 years I have eaten out twice…both times with my son who was visiting.

    My husband was out of the blue offered a position with a new company. The HSA he had with his old firm ended our ability to use the funds in the account on his last day of employment and not the last day of the month. This really stinks and I have had some unkind thoughts towards them 😉

    I used my fuel points to get 70 cents off per gallon of gas. My car uses very little and I work 4 miles from home so a tank goes a long way.

    As I have lost and am still in the process of losing weight, I have had to replace some wardrobe items. I found a Ralph Lauren navy blazer on sale for $8. I entered the style number into Google and it was originally $350. It’s a nice classic piece so it will work for many years to come…hopefully I will outgrow it and if I do, I could sell it at a profit…One of the cuffs was lacking 2 buttons. There were none inside so I just moved one button from the other cuff so now both cuffs have 3 buttons. Problem solved. I was also able to find a beautiful Kelly green wool sweater from Talbots for $4. Both of these pieces fit my aesthetic and into the plan for my wardrobe. I did not buy anything else as there was nothing else that was on my list.

    I organized my pantry using plastic bins and containers already on hand that were purchased at a local thrift.

    I washed my 33 cent knee highs ( I sound like an old lady! but I work in a professional office…) and hung them to dry. It is amazing how long you can make them last!

    I worked out every morning to some exercise videos that I watch on YouTube. I bought 2 2lb weights at WalMart for $1.98 each and a box of resistance bands at our local thrift for $2. For less than $5 I have a “home gym”. No driving, no clothes and no excuses.

    I am in the middle of taking a Self Reliance Personal Finance class and am loving what I am learning. I’ve always tried to be frugal but I have learned that there are still skills to be learned, habits to be formed and self control to be increased. I’m striving for balance.

    Brandy: wishes for a quick recovery and to remain skin cancer free. So curable if caught early, so deadly if it is not. Thank you for years of good blogs and practical tips!

  57. Mom just placed an order for mashed potatoes made with a boiled potato. Progress! This afternoon I proofed yeast for bread. The smell of freshly baked bread might help. Funny, the comments on McD’s breakfast sandwiches–I made a microwaved egg in a buttered Grab-It bowl and cheddar cheese sandwich for her breakfast today and she ate the whole thing. Drinking enough now seems to be a bigger problem than eating enough.

    At-home physical therapy starts tomorrow. I hope she regains her confidence in moving around the house.

    I might try using a brightly colored small plate, bowl, and mug. I read white dishes sometimes cause problems for AD patients. She does not have AD although she was definitely confused for a while during her hospitalization. I have noticed that small servings do seem to be better received.

    She is not fond of Ensure or clones. I just turned the remnants of a milkshake made of Equate, ice cream, and Carnation milk into pudding. It is cooling in the refrigerator. I think I will try making frozen fruit, milk, and ice cream shakes and see how they are received.

  58. Greetings, Brandy!
    I’m so happy to hear that your surgery went well. I’ve not heard of cancer in the part of your hair. With all the prayers and good vibes, i’m sure you’ll receive only good news when you see your Dr. again.
    I’m still in Florida with my daughter. Her son came into the world at 7 lbs. even. She absolutely adores him!
    For frugalness, i’ve been putting most expenses on a credit card for the points. I used the points from last month to buy several gift cards that I gifted to my daughter. She can use them while she’s running errands when she feels like a small treat.
    There’s an awesome used bookstore in Jacksonville. (Chamblins) We’ve gone and bought a few books there. (And May go again before I leave!) My daughter has almost 100.00 in credit. We also went to a Barnes and Noble. I used gift cards from credit card points.
    Before the birth, we had a nice late lunch that was paid for with a gift card.
    My husband has paid several bills by calling them in and putting them on the credit card which saves time and stamps. (Paid in full each month.)
    My daughter and I went to Joann’s and used coupons for our purchases. She had a 50% off one item while I used a 40% off total purchase. I got a crop-a-dile for a great price! I’m so excited to learn how to use it. It was a better deal to use the coupon then order on-line.
    Most meals were made at home. My son-in-law loves to cook so we’re okay with that! Plus, he’s also vegetarian so I know I can eat what he cooks.
    That’s all I can think of from here. My husband is home alone, running the heat, taking showers without catching the water and paying full price for oreo’s. And, i’m okay with that. We do what we can with where we are, right?
    Wishing you all a fabulous week ahead!

  59. So glad that the surgery is over for you. I hope you aren’t too uncomfortable. You did great on you accomplishments even with the procedure.

    My oldest daughter and her boyfriend came home for 4 days . She was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding. Hubby and I were invited too. It was a beautiful day and the bride was gorgeous. They have been friends since we moved to our house so we have know her since she was 6. I have been sick but still trying to get things done. Now my son got it. Hoping it stops with him. It is too early in the season to be sick already. My full week is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/10/my-frugal-list-week-of-september-24-2018.html

  60. Hello Brandy,
    I would like to share another way to use cucumbers: I peel, slice, and dehydrate them. Once dried, I grind this into a powder.

    The cucumber powder can be added to cream cheese and herbs as a sandwich spread, or spread on crackers. It can be added to sour cream to use on a baked potato. It can also be added to buttermilk and herbs to make homemade cucumber dressing.

    I also keep a jar of dried cucumber powder blended with celery powder and dill – and use it creatively on salads, sauces, veggie dips, chicken salad, etc.

  61. It was our first year growing noodle beans. I LOVE the fact that one bean is the size of several regular green beans! We’re in Michigan, but we had a terribly hot summer and the noodle beans would not stop producing. I grew ours up on a fence, so they were easy to pick. I may never go back to growing regular green beans again! 🙂

  62. Oh I wish I could actually get to a physical store! Then I would not have to pay for shipping or return shipping if I have to send things back! Sadly, it is about 200 miles or more to the class west store for me!

  63. When my grandmother lost her appetite, one of the very few things she would eat was instant pudding. She would devour a box a day. It was not by any means the healthiest choice, but the Dr said as long as she is eating something, it would hurt. We purchased the sugar free or reduced sugar kind and she would eat a box over a day or two along with a few other things. It’s not much, but it was something.

  64. When my mom had cancer, I found that she would more readily drink liquids using a straw. She seemed to be able to swallow a larger amount per sip than just drinking from the glass. Also, by putting any liquids in a small glass, it didn’t seem quite as daunting for her to finish the entire amount in one sitting. It was also recommended that she have gingerale, as it was soothing to her stomach. Because dehydration was such an issue, the doctors also recommended she try to eat fruits and vegetables that were high in water, like melons, cucumbers, grapes, strawberries etc.

    She also had a difficult time with eating, but she did enjoy creamed soups that weren’t too rich (made with cream) or made with cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli) but instead that were made with light-tasting, easier-to-digest vegetables like celery or green peas. Saltine crackers were easy to digest as well.

    Best wishes to both of you.

  65. I am glad you are on the mend, Brandy. Fall has set in here in S. Ontario and after a hot, humid summer I am glad! We had a pretty usual week here. All meals at home and my husband took his lunch to work everyday. My mom generously sent home leftovers from Sunday dinner and some pork tenderloins, a ham steak and some chicken breasts that she had picked up on sale for us. Since meat is expensive it will make a huge difference to us. We have been using the library extensively and it is such a wonderful resource. I watch shows on the tablet, we get a large amount of books, magazines and videos from the library every week and I also find resources to use while homeschooling. It is a wonderful resource!

  66. Merci beaucoup! Google Flights is an amazing tool for finding good airfares. I use the “graph” function and it shows the lowest price flight each day for several months. I was so excited to find this low airfare on Swiss Air.

    I was visiting the family I lived with 35 ahem years ago when I was a university student!

  67. France is an amazing country with so much geographical diversity and beauty. I hope both you and your daughter get to Europe in the near future!

  68. Brandy I have a friend in Alabama that has had cancer on his head. His doctor suggested he spray his head with sunscreen every day and wear a hat BUT make sure you are not dressed or have anything you don’t want stained close by because spray sunscreen can stain fabric. He also will use cream and use his finger to put it on the part. He said about a good month to not feel the pull any more, but I think that was a month AFTER stitches came out as he had 6 places on his head.

    I have grown both red noodle and green yardlong. I really like to use them in 3 bean salad instead of green beans and yellow wax beans. I lightly blanch the red noodle as Hubby prefers a crunch/stir fry type of beans. Works well especially at Christmas with a white bean as the 3rd bean.

    I’ve opened the house almost daily, open blinds when it’s cooler to let the sunshine warm the house. Our furnace man came today to change the orifices to larger ones so the house would heat up faster. A bit more fuel to do so but this house holds the temp pretty steady once you get it there and the furnace doesn’t kick on much. Especially since we have windows to the east, west and south.Even on a cloudy day we don’t usually even need a light on.

    The rest is here
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-start-of-frugal-month.html

    Blessed be every one

  69. I’m very thankful it’s not 97 here! The humidity dropped for a while today into the 50’s, which made the temps in the lower 80’s very comfortable. That’s interesting that you’re hotter than downtown. I’d think all the asphalt, concrete and tall buildings would make it hotter there. A lasting memory of Las Vegas is of leaving my purse in the car while we checked in, and finding my lipstick had melted!

  70. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :).

    Thank you Brandy for taking us with you on your experience with skin cancer and the part on our hair is somewhere I hadn’t thought of as being exposed to the sun but it makes sense. I have to be particularly vigilant being a redhead with very fair skin and an English parent to always stay covered when outside. Through your experience I will keep my hat on or put sunscreen on in my hair part as well as the rest of me. Hope you heal well and the pain subsides for you shortly it is not a nice experience to go through 🙁 .

    Happy you were able to pick up new canning jars so cheaply and got some wonderful produce from your gardens to supply lots of meal for your family. Your son must have been thrilled to buy his cowboy boots so cheaply that is a really good buy on his behalf.

    Been a busy week for us here as we have seen 4 houses for sale from old churches on acreage to residential to rural. The old church sadly had seen better days with both extensive wood rot and termite damage but oh what a magnificent 15 square home with vaulted ceilings. Probably suitable for a builder or tradie to repair and restore (you would need deep pockets to fix it properly). We went back and saw the home on half an acre in town here but it too has issues with the house sinking and needing restumping. The favourite so far is a house on 2.4 acres that is good and sturdy with lovely wooden floorboards and 3 bedrooms but the soil is rather rocky for gardens but could be amended. We shall keep you updated on our continuing buying our home adventure :).

    Our time at home has been limited this week but we have achieved a little.

    Our savings last week added up to $234.72.

    Finances & listings –
    – Banked more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 28.58 % of the way there for a new home build or 41.57% of the way there for buying an existing home on land.
    – Listed 18 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $29.70 on usual listing costs.

    Earnings –
    – Made $21.51 from the sale of a homemade 5 layer cotton eye mask in my eBay store.

    Grocery savings –
    – Used another $240 for $200 grocery e-voucher and with weekly specials on items we use regularly saved an additional $53.40 on usual prices.
    – We stocked up above our usual stocking levels on 10 x cocoa powder, 8 tins of spam, 24 tins of smoked oysters and 1 x 32 pk of toilet paper.

    In the gardens –
    – Took 18 cuttings of English lavender we potted up and 10 cuttings of rosemary we have sitting in water until they develop roots saving $151.62 over buying the plants in the local plant nurseries.

    Usual frugalities –
    – Watered the house lawns with saved grey water from our showers and washing machine, watered fruit tree pot plants and vegetables with dish rinsing and shower warm up water, hung washing on the clothes line to dry, stain removed our clothing with homemade stain remover and washed all laundry on a cold water cycle.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15.

  71. Holly, I am a registered nurse and have seen this often in the elderly or those that have been very ill for an extended period. Try milkshakes with full fat ice cream and whole milk, Carnation Instant Breakfast is great especially with whole milk, any of the Boost or Ensure drinks or puddings if she can tolerate them (some don’t like them at all), adding protein powder to chocolate pudding or tapioca. Several have made very good suggestions on here also. Small meals on small plates and containers. Really anything that she likes. If all she wants is cottage cheese then go for it. Don’t worry too much at this point about balanced meals. Also, get a good multi-vitamin for her to take daily. Any liquids you can get in her will be good. She needs to stay hydrated above all things. Good luck. It is very difficult when you are the only caregiver that is for sure.

  72. Sorry you are dealing with discomfort, that can be wearing on ones energy.
    The tomatoes look scrumptious!

    I remembered at just the perfect time, that I CAN make a loaf Italian bread to go with dinner that night instead of running a needless errand to go buy some. Some mornings don’t click, thankfully they do by lunch 🙂

    Going over the monies coming in the next 90 days, gave pause to really look around and use talents instead of cash.
    As a “pep talk” for myself, I made myself some padded hangers. Added a little sparkle to my closet to start the day. From there for a family member across the country (need to keep shipping low) made a pair of hedgehog potholders and a tea towel with matching hedge hog appliqués for her birthday. My mom, who collects Japanese pin cushions recently passed on one she thought was really unique. In my home library, I found my Japanese small gift pattern book, found said pin cushion and made one in similar colors to the one she saw (future birthday gift). All of this kept me entertained, all supplies I had on hand, stuffing for the pin cushion came from an old pillow. I am so grateful it came together like this and lifted my spirits.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

  73. I hope you heal very quickly, and get as much rest as you can- you have earned it!

    Last week was a frugal week, and I am very grateful that my supervisor gave me an unprompted and significant raise! It is a huge blessing, and comes on the heels of finding out my senior dog is very sick, and needs to see an internal medicine specialist. We will have to weigh treatment with quality of life and frugal budget discussions.

    *I found a couple of items at our local university surplus store. It’s not very well publicized but it offers surplus property from the university to the public. I know about it from my days as a student, and we find great deals on furniture, household goods from dorm moves, and technology.
    *We enjoyed a mountain vacation thanks to my supervisor who offered us her condo to stay. We orphan a couple of nice meals out and enjoyed a needed reprieve while my mother-in-law stayed at our home to pet sit for us.
    *Our garden is slowing down for winter, but I harvested catnip, mint, lemon balm, tomatoes, and kale.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  74. Ask her what she wants! When my grandfather was doing poorly, I asked him what he wanted and told him I would drive all over town to find it if necessary. He asked for Orange Crush soda. It wasn’t much, but it was calories.

  75. Hello Frugal Friends,

    Brandy, I hope you are feeling well soon!
    Here are my frugal accomplishments for last week:
    – I have been working with propagating plants from my garden and bringing them indoors. So far I have been able to propagate several basil plants and some spider plants from a friend. It is a fun, cheap hobby. I also gave a friend some of my rosemary so she can try to propagate it.
    – I picked almost 30 pounds of free apples off of a apple tree on our work property. This also included some crabapples to make jelly with.
    – I have been thinking about ways to use my herbs before the winter comes. I am looking into how to make lotion bars with the rosemary by adding oil to it and cooking it down. Then, combining with oils to make a lotion bar. I am trying to use up everything from the garden that I can.
    – I asked my father in law to help my husband fix a railing that my daughter had pulled too hard on. They were able to fix it together.
    – I cooked zucchini and squash from the garden with oil and onions.
    – I cooked a lot of swiss chard from the garden.
    – I made meals at home including oven baked chicken, split pea soup, tacos, and chili.
    – I have been working on a fall quilt for fun with fabric I got at this cool craft materials resale store. They had a 50 percent sale so I picked up a lot of pieces of fabric that would look nice together for fall. Many of the pieces were just 50 cents.
    – I volunteered at the consignment store that I sell my crochet items at. If you volunteer, you don’t have to pay a fee to put your items in it.
    – I signed up for some free magazines and other freebies which are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/10/01/freebies-today-10-1-18/
    – I also have been running Earning Station, Perk, Swagbucks, scanning receipts, and lots of apps to earn money and cash back. These are also on my blog.
    – That is all I can think of!
    I hope you have a great, frugal week.
    Liz

  76. Just the smell of citrus can increase appetite. Do you have access to a diffuser? Or could you just simmer some citrus peel in some water on the stove?

  77. Hi Brandy…hate to be a nag, but I never go out without a camo hat on. I have about ten of these, and have lost all claims to glamour in the summer. You must feel good to know that many who do not even know you are sending you good thoughts. Also, what a cutie your last child is. I bet he was happy to come to your home! This week I hit my shopping mall–the goodwill bins which is absolutely super cheap. I picked up some black pants for 50 cents weight–as new condition and a beautiful shirt (also around 50 cents). I love reading all the blog replies that everyone posts.

  78. I have been following Brandy’s lead and using duolingo to brush up on my Italian. Lots of fun, free. I have to cut back as the typing hurts my broken arm. I love how it teaches you! So non-judgmental when you make a mistake. There is a lot of snow tonight. Not all of the leaves are off of the trees yet so no chance to rake them.

  79. I stopped at a yard sale a few month ago. The people said that if I saw any clothes I liked I could just take them, since they were going to close up soon and the clothes would just go to a thrift store. I saw a pair of ostrich cowboy boots in excellent condition. I asked what size they were, and if they were part of the free clothing. Turns out they were my size, and I desperately needed a new pair. I took them home and looked them up online. Tony Lama brand, worth over $300! I always say, if you don’t ask–you don’t get! Your son was smart!

  80. 1. My son found some action figures he was missing from his collection at the thrift store this week, so he said “We hit the jackpot!”
    2. Picked up ribs and pork loin for $1.39/lb at Kroger
    3. Mended pants and a shirt this week that have been on my “to do list” for way too long…
    4. Renewed library books and took back a DVD the day before it was due (apparently our library does not allow DVD renewals?!)
    5. Used home canned pumpkin to bake pumpkin bread for a bake sale. **I always use the Downeast Maine Pumpkin bread recipe on Allrecipes…it is incredibly moist and gets a lot of compliments

  81. Probably not a popular reply, but when my grandfather had surgery for pancreatic cancer and refused to eat afterwards, I bribed him with Guinness (his favorite). If he ate half his meal, he could have a beer. If he ate his whole meal he could have ice cream (another favorite) later.

  82. Glad to hear all went well with your surgery.

    Stayed home most nights. Bought lunch at school one day – mine just wasn’t appetizing. Bought lunch another as it was a fundraiser for the culinary classes. The school budget covers the classes, but not any food for them to cook..?

    Starting to look for paint for the outside of the house (it’s been over 12 years and its starting to peel). We will paint in November (finally cool enough here to paint then). I’m thinking about changing the color.

    Borrowed house jacks to work on the foundation. Eventually we will need our own, but it can wait. Fixing the one corner seems to have fixed multiple issues. It will need to come up 1 – 2 more inches but we will wait for next month to do that shift so we don’t crack anything. Local man did some weeding in exchange for a meal. Attended an RV show to get ideas about what is available. Probably two years until we replace ours, but it was a fun free outing. Declined to sign in so we won’t be bombarded with calls.

    Waited an extra week to dye my hair. Used headbands or a color spray to keep my hair presentable. Invited friends for dinner and cooked out of my freezer. Attended a dinner at a friend’s took wine from our cellar and baked eclairs with items on hand. Picked up a discounted ground lamb, pork and beef mixture at the commissary for $2 a lb. I will use this from gyros in a later week.

    Fail (ish) – Bought a cake for my College Algebra class (HS juniors taking course for college credit) because the class average broke 90%. I thought their hard work was worth celebrating, even if my wallet and grocery budget ouched.

  83. First of all, I am so glad your surgery went well. What an awful place to have surgery. I hope the facial swelling comes down quickly and the surgical site heals up nicely. In the mean time, I hope you are getting plenty of rest as you heal.

    Brandy, I know I have said this before, but I really enjoy reading how you put together meals for your family. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I was wondering if you used the pasta salad for your children’s lunches this week? Also, is it possible to bake the potatoes in your solar oven? If you can, it would also save money and wouldn’t heat up the house. I’m so glad your son was able to find a pair of boots at such a great price! Good thing he asked.

    I’m a bit later commenting, as I had a very busy weekend that rolled over into Monday. But it was a good week overall. This week, our frugal accomplishments included the following for our family:
    *Meals made at home included breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce, potato wedges and corn, crock-pot meatballs in gravy with broccoli topped with homemade cheese sauce and white rice, homemade macaroni and cheese casserole with coleslaw, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with cauliflower topped with homemade cheese sauce (DD is on a cheese sauce kick), steak with baked potatoes topped with cheese and coleslaw, and chicken breasts baked smothered with cheddar cheese soup with mashed potatoes and green/yellow beans. Cheese apparently was the theme this week! LOL
    *My mom and I finally processed the 20lbs of carrots I bought for $4 a couple weeks ago. We peeled, sliced, blanched and froze all 20lbs in 2 hours! We now have a nice supply of green beans/yellow beans, broccoli, carrots, and some corn (not enough for our needs but a start) in our freezer. Looking good for our winter stock!
    *When I bought groceries last week, I thought about getting cabbage, but opted not to. Well, at almost every meal afterwards, I regretted it. We were all craving coleslaw. So mid-week, I went and bought one for $0.49/lb. While at the store, I happened to notice that the cheap bacon I had picked up a few days earlier for the amazing price of $2/375g pk (x 4 pk), were now further reduced to $1.29/375g pack! Well, couldn’t turn up that offer. I grabbed 12 more, stuck 2 in the fridge and the rest went into freezer for future meals. Needless to say, I’m now very well stocked with bacon!
    *Other grocery deals I stocked up on were butter for $2.88 x 6, canned pasta sauce $0.99 x 12, 10lb bag of carrots $1.88 x 1 (this is in addition to the 20lbs of carrots I had previously purchased), blocks of cheese for $3.77 x 6 (regular price of cheapest cheese is over $5 a block, so when it drops to this price, I buy lots and freeze it) and Shopsy’s hotdogs $0.68 x 8 packs (on sale, these are normally $2 – $2.50/pack…they went right into the freezer for later use).
    *I made oatmeal chocolate chip rice crispy cookies for DDs lunches this week at her request (recipe link: https://happyhooligans.ca/oatmeal-chocolate-chip-rice-krispy-cookies/). DD’s friend has decided to switch schools, so I will no longer be sending lunches for her. I don’t fully understand the reason for the switch, but it’s not my call.
    *DD and friend attended a Zoo scavenger hunt (our city boasts a free zoo) through the PHIT program. The scavenger hunt was designed to get families out and exercising together in a fun way. The children were given sheets with questions and had to look at the various signs posted throughout the zoo to find the answers. All children who participated were entered into a random draw. DD won a prize bag and shared her winnings with her friend. The friend went home with an adult colouring book, a pack of fine tip markers and a water bottle. DD kept the origami paper and pack of modeling clay.
    *We used a bunch of scene points, 1 movie pass and DD’s “Access to Entertainment” (allows 1 support person to get in for free, for Autistic daughter), to get 6 people into the movie theatre for just under $12. Our entire family, plus 2 of DDs friends went to see “The House with a Clock in its Walls”. Since we ate dinner before we went, we only bought some drinks to sip on during the movie (the friends bought their own treats). Everyone really enjoyed the movie!
    Frugal fail: We had planned ahead of time that we would go out for dinner before the movie at a family favourite sit down restaurant. We ended up paying for 2 extra kids to eat as well. DD doesn’t fully understand how much things cost and begged us to let her friends come, which made the situation complicated. One friend was the girl we have been sending lunches for and the other boy had a cancer diagnosis a few years ago…hard to say no. The final bill was not cheap! We sucked up the cost, but it won’t be happening again any time soon.
    *Worked on Sunday at the Applefest event at the pioneer village, which means I will get a tiny paycheck (it all adds up). I also came home with free stuff: 5 individual containers of nacho cheese, enough nacho chips to almost fill a large freezer bag, and a whole bunch of small bags of potato chips of various flavours. The food would expire before the next event, so they were giving it away. Hubby and DD were extremely happy!

    I will work my way through all the comments, as I get time. I so enjoy reading everything people post here. Wishing you all a lovely, frugal week!

  84. Hi, I agree with Kathy L. regarding cannabis…it was a godsend to my good friend’s mother as she was being treated for breast cancer. She was not expected to survive a very aggressive form of cancer but is in total remission today. If not cannibus, you might want to look into CBD oil it is also effective in stimulating appetite and is made from hemp. No prescription needed for CBD oil and it’s available at some grocery stores (in our state) and also available through Amazon and Swanson Vitamins. It truly relieves pain and stimulates appetite and, to repeat Kathy L., it does NOT make you high as they remove that ingredient during processing. Sending good thoughts and prayers to you and your mom.

  85. Look online for recipes –there are tons out there. Besides bread I also make muffins, whoopie pies, “zuke”-slaw and grilled them sliced with a bit of pizza sauce and cheese. All yummy!

  86. Brandy, I’m glad your surgery was successful and I hope you are recovering well and able to get some rest!

    Last week was one of the busiest of the year at work (I work in fundraising and it was auction week). Still I managed to pack a lunch every day and we only ate out when we planned to (I always grab a burger on my way home from the auction because I don’t have time to eat dinner and I planned for take and bake pizza the next night when my parents were coming over for dinner and I wouldn’t have the energy or time to cook). I also planned for my husband and daughter to eat out the night of my event but my daughter made dinner instead (she’s working on a cooking badge for Girl Scouts).

    I got to go to a conference for free on Friday because I volunteered to be on the planning committee. I got a ride with a friend who got reimbursed for gas and parking so the day cost me nothing. The day counted as CEUs for my grant writing certification, which is up for renewal in December and I am short credits toward it, so it was a win, win, win kind of day!

    I ended the month over budget in a few spending categories but I was also under budget in a few, so it all mostly balanced itself out. I stopped tracking my spending for a few days because I was so busy with work basically (working from wake up to bed time) but I’m caught up now and back on track for early October!

  87. Potatoes could be baked in the solar oven, but it only takes small pans. I can get a whole chicken in there or a smaller pork roast, but I can’t get 15 pounds of potatoes in there. 10 pounds fill my whole 36″ wide oven (6 inches wider than the standard oven) and with 15 pounds, we stack a few of them on top of each other in the oven. We eat about 7 pounds in a meal if we have baked potatoes as the main course, which we do often.

  88. I have several hats I wear in the garden but I don’t wear them always while running errands. However, in our heat, I try to run most of my errands in the early morning or late at night after the children have gone to bed.

    Sigrid, I love what you said about my baby. That really touched my heart and I think I will remember it forever.

  89. Jeannie I am so sorry to hear about all the medical problems. I love reading (and often laughing) your blog and The Adventures of Scooter. Sending you hugs for fast and inexpensive healing.

  90. Hope your recovery goes well – thinking of you. Last week I took a trip to London (about 80 minutes away by train). I downloaded (for free) a magazine and audiobook to keep me entertained on the journey. I got to see the amazing new Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A Museum for half price with my Art Fund Pass. What an inspirational woman – such a sad life yet she filled it with amazing art and colour. Looking at some of her clothing was such a joy!

  91. Elisabeth, I’m not sure if they have this in your area, but 10lb bags of carrots, beet and onions were on sale at Fresco this week for $1.88 in Southern Ontario. This is as cheap as you will find them for the year, which is why I stock up every fall. I bought the carrots, and will slice, blanch and freeze them for use in the winter. I don’t like beets or onions, but if you do, you could easily preserve them, too. It’s a great way to boost your pantry stock with healthy veggies for very little money.

  92. What a great approach you have for dealing with a difficult income. I love the expression, “Use talents instead of cash.” The items you’ve made sound lovely.

  93. Margaret, if you are looking for sleepers and onsies in newborn, 0-3 month or even 3-6 month sizes, check your local thrift stores first before buying new. Babies are not in these sizes for very long, they don’t do much at that age (aka don’t wear out knees from crawling, etc.) and people love to buy these sizes as gifts for new moms. Often you can buy adorable, good quality, barely used and sometimes new with tags attached clothing in those sizes for very cheap at any thrift store. Hold onto the gift card for when the baby gets a bit bigger. They stay in those sizes longer, wear them out a bit more and are worth investing in a few items that are new.

  94. Megace (megestrol) and Periactin (cyproheptadine) are medications that can be used for age- or disease- related anorexia (decreased appetite). They have specific indications thought and are often only covered in certain situations. Often increase supplement drinks can lead to diarrhea due to high fat and sugar content. Increased protein intake is also usually needed due to nutritional protein deficiency. (this is not medical advice, merely informational)

  95. Kim – PNW: How fun for your grandson to pick out his fish! Perhaps the clerks can talk with him about fish care and health for that size of aquarium. Taking care of fish doesn’t have the obvious responsibility of taking care of a larger puppy or kitten, but it is a learning time as well as something he will enjoy.

  96. Kim’s message about onions and peppers reminded me…when I am in the produce department, I see most people filling bags of onions, regardless of the price. I only fill a bag if they are .39 lb. or less. Otherwise, I buy one onion to get me by until I shop again. Then I repeat the process. I just bought a bag of onions because they were 3 lbs./$1. Last year, a little later in the year than this, I bought a 10 lb. mesh bag for .19 lb. just as the seasonal fruit stand was closing for the year. They lasted until July.

  97. Rhonda, and anyone else that is interested, THE HOUSE WITH THE CLOCK IN ITS WALLS is based on a book series by John Bellairs. They are older books and the author has since died. But they are fun. They do deal with paranormal themes in each one. My boys especially liked them and read them in grade school though they are aimed a bit higher in age. They are Gothic in style and the illustrations were done by Edward Gorey, if you recognize that name. He does the opening sequence animation for the mystery series on PBS. Years ago it was narrated by Vincent Price…I think maybe it is now Alan Cummings. So, back to the books. I would recommend them, though with the warning of age and the paranormal content. We don’t carry them in our church/school library, same as Harry Potter, but I would not ban others from reading them.

  98. I asked my mom, who is a retired nurse and worked most of her career in a nursing home, for ideas on how to encourage eating/drinking in elderly patients that have no appetite. She said in nursing homes, they use the Ensure if the patient refused to eat, which are basically a balanced diet on their own. If she doesn’t like the Ensure on it’s own, you could try mixing maybe 1/2 bottle/can into a strongly flavoured milkshake or smoothie (lots of favourite fruits or some chocolate syrup mixed in) just to boost the vitamins and minerals content. Adding some protein powder will also increase the nutritional content. You could try making frozen popsicles out of the milkshake or smoothie to see if that is more appealing to your mom. Either way, it will help get some liquids into her.

    Her alternatives were basically the same things as everyone else…offer easily digestible foods, such as soups (which also has lots of liquid to help hydrate) or any of their favourite foods. Don’t worry about high calorie or high sugar content at the moment. If she is not eating much, and she is diabetic, she may not be consuming enough sugars/carbs for those high calorie foods to cause a problem. When my grandmother was having problems with eating, I made her some full fat muffins loaded with lots of fruit. My grandfather said she really enjoyed eating those muffins. He said 1 muffin often ended up being her entire meal. Good luck with your mom, Holly!

  99. Cindi, I was taught years ago by my Grandma that liners were just for cupcakes, not for muffins. I have never used a liner for a muffin. Not sure of her reasoning…never asked. It was just one of those things I noticed that the cupcake store we visited with son and daughter in law in their town used squares of colored parchment paper rather than premade liners. Looked nice.

  100. Becky, don’t you still have the 3 girls at home?

    We cook a lot of pinto beans too as it is so easy and they freeze up nice in containers as refried beans too.

  101. Tina, your deer seem pretty bold so maybe this wouldn’t even faze them. You can put whirligig types into your planters, like pinwheels or other things that more with the breeze and spin or wiggle or wave. They don’t like unexpected movements.

  102. Yes, I agree Sigrid.
    Brandy, so many good thoughts and prayers are sent your way (including my own) for perfect health and healing.

    You do a wonderful job offering a lovely, frugal way to live (materially and intangibly).
    Thank you for the inspiration and for offering this community.
    It is much appreciated.

  103. Holly, the companies that make these supplement drinks actually supply them to doctor offices by case loads for free. I know our physician’s office gets more than they can use by the expiration date so they will give boxes of them to those with lower incomes who can benefit from them rather then let them go to waste. Check with your doctor office.

  104. Lilliana, soup sounds like a good idea as they are getting liquid also. Any chunky soup could be totally or partially pureed too.

  105. Brandi, I really enjoy your blog and I hope you’re doing well after your surgery. I really don’t want this to come across as mean or offensive, but I really wonder about your portion sizes. How does a 10 x 13 pan of enchiladas serve 10 people three meals? That’s basically a 2×2 inch square each. Do you serve sides with it? I find this question over and over when I read your posts. I have growing kids and they just wouldn’t get by on what you serve, especially without snacks. I really don’t mean this as judgement, I’m genuinely curious. Thanks for understanding.

  106. What a lovely, uplifting post. And what lovely scrappy bags arrived on my doorstep! The birthday and Halloween ones will be gifts, but the star-spangled one is ALL MINE! 😀

  107. Reader, the great thing about zucchini is that it is high in fiber and low in calories and carbohydrates. Nutrition wise it does not offer a lot in the way of protein, iron, calcium, vitamins. Except for potassium. It is great as a filler in adding volume and fiber and for substituting for higher calorie items. Such as making baked zucchini chips rather than potato chips or zucchini pasta rather than wheat pasta. It is also rather bland and good at soaking up whatever seasonings you choose.

  108. Rhonda, We don’t have Fresco in Alberta that I know of, but I have plans to stock up on winter squash, onions, potatoes, and maybe carrots for my cold storage. My back hallway gets nice and cold, but things don’t freeze as long as I keep them off the floor. I will probably also get a cabbage, which seem to grow to monster size here.

    These things all grow really well locally, but if I can’t find them at a good price, I have a couple of trips to the city this month, where I’ll visit my favorite discount produce store. They are a wholesaler as well as retailer, and keep the best produce for their direct customers.

  109. Libby, thank you for the kind words. I do need them now. At least we have answers as to what is wrong since conventional doctors can’t help us and have given up. What we are doing is a crap shoot…an expensive crap shoot. If they can help, it will be worth everything, if not…oh well. I need to focus on cutting back more on expenses, no plan yet but that will come.

    As for Scooter, he had the last laugh this week when he watched me tumble into the mud while standing on a cheap plastic chair while trying to reach the Lima bean in the tip-top of the bean arch. All that was hurt was my pride and my sadness at the loss of a spilled cup of morning coffee.

    Jeannie@GetMetoTheCountry

  110. Brandy, I’m so glad to hear your surgery is behind you. I’m continuing to pray for your recovery.

    Awesome scores at the thrift store and yard sale! Your mini tomatoes look like they should be served at some chi-chi bistro. 😀

    Our Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate all home-prepped meals.

    * Harvested two ears of sweet corn, acorn squash, bell peppers, lettuce, zucchini, and yellow squash. The lettuce was bolting, but I just soaked it in water for about an hour and used it anyway. No one complained (although we don’t have very sensitive palates around here).

    * Bought deli meat and cheese again to avoid eating out. Again, more expensive than cooking up meat at home (which I’ll do when the weather cools back down), but still much cheaper than eating out.

    * Used the backs of shopping lists (which are free notepads from local Realtors) and cut up school flyers for scratch paper.

    * Made bread three times.

    * Made sun tea, salad dressing, and chocolate zucchini cake.

    * Paid bills online.

    * Saved warm-up and rinse water. (Our water usage for Sept. ’18 was 2% lower than Sept. ’17–not a lot, but every little bit helps.)

    * Enjoyed watching a scrub jay in the backyard.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  111. Jeannie, I am sorry to hear of your and your husband’s medical issues. I hope between the insurance and doctors that everything will work out for the best. Of course I have heard laughter is the best medicine, so keep Scooter on duty.

  112. Tabitha, I am sorry you have such an unpleasant working situation. I hope things make a change for the better soon.

  113. Fair question! Normally I make a 10 x 15 pan (sorry if I said 13 in the post) and a 9 x13 pan of enchiladas for the same meal and there are next to no leftovers if any.

    This time I did something different. I mentioned three layers but I think I actually did four now that I think about it. Regular bean enchiladas go over better than these (the beans were blended/mashed) so these lasted longer–haha! They were to the top of the pan, not halfway height, like when I make regular meat or bean enchiladas where they are rolled. These had thick layers of beans and corn (I used one can) in between the tortillas. I then served a huge homemade fruit salsa over the top. I served it with a big salad each time and some additional fruit. So half the plate veggies, 1/4 fruit and 1/4 enchiladas. Actual quantities depended on the age of the person (little people eating on little plates, with the other half of us eating on big plates).

    I don’t share plate photos a lot but maybe that would help you? I have three teenagers. We eat a LOT of food at my house. I cook two pounds of pasta for a meal when pasta is the main course and only have a bit leftover (that is technically 16 servings, so we eat a bit over at that meal). I use an entire #10 can of tomato sauce at one meal. When I do pasta salad I do a LOT of vegetables so I can make it with one pound of pasta. Most people have pasta salad be mostly pasta but that is not as filling nor does it give as many vegetables. I make pasta salad in a GIANT bowl. I put in between 6-8 cups of vegetables. When I cook potatoes as a side dish it’s a 10 x 15 pan and a 9 x 13 pan and those are gone in a meal. When it’s baked potatoes I always cook at least 10 pounds for a meal and there might be 3 potatoes leftover, which is why I am now cooking 15 pounds at a time. We eat those with eggs at breakfast. I’m not sure why you think all of my servings are tiny (on this one with my typo and no other sides explained, yes, but normally I don’t know why you would think that as I don’t talk a lot about serving sizes except possibly in stretching a chicken) so hopefully my comment gives you a better idea. I make HUGE amounts of food, and that takes a long time in the kitchen–hours cutting up stuff, washing pots and pans, etc. For breakfast, if I make pancakes, I make 5 times what one batch would be and there are rarely leftovers. I cook 4 to 5 cups of beans (dried) every time. We have an afternoon snack but not a morning snack. I do follow serving size guidelines when it comes to serving sizes of meat, but when I buy a whole chicken, it’s 5-6 pounds, so I can make it go a long way if I give actual servings sizes of meat (as big as your palm and as thick as a deck of cards according to the USDA: 3-5 ounces of meat per day). A breast is not a serving size of chicken; that’s at least double, depending on the size of the bird. So a 5-pound bird is 80 ounces. Divided by 3 that would give you 26.7 servings, but of course, some of that is bone. So you should be able to get around 20 servings of meat from a 5-pound chicken, and more if you make soup with it at the end. Portion sizes and serving sizes are not the same; any restaurant meal will show that, especially with calorie counts now being posted on menus. Here are the current U.S. guidelines: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/

    I hope that helps give you a better idea! It’s a TON of food. My mom thought she could fill my children with cold cereal the morning after my baby was born. They went through 5 boxes of cereal and a gallon plus of milk at breakfast and she quickly saw why I don’t buy cold cereal! When we eat eggs it’s usually 15- 18 for one meal. I cook 3 cups of rolled oats for oatmeal. I make huge pots of soup. It’s a lot.

  114. Jeannie, I also am so sorry to hear about the medical problems. They are the worse kind. I want you to know that sugar cookie has earmarked your blog and saved it to her tablet. She reads very little but loves your photos. I had to read her the old stories about the armadillo s. She laughed and laughed. She keeps asking me when we head to Missouri if we are going to stop and visit the Amish lady. I keep explaining to her that you buy goods there but she is convinced you sell rag dolls there. If I can manage it, we may come back that way.

  115. Brandy, I am sure you do cook a ton of food-there are only two of us here and we can barely get through a 10 lb bag of potatoes before they go soft. And I love potatoes. So I can imagine the staggering amount of food you purchase, grow and cook to feed a large family-especially with teens. And of course to cook a double batch of a meal would be like restaurant portions. Your children eat a very varied diet with little to no processed food and will be healthier for it. Keep up the great work.

  116. Thank you for the info, sugar cookie has a free movie ticket and we will be near the theater tomorrow. She is a huge Harry Potter fan and may love this.

  117. Hello all –

    I love reading all posts – some funny, some educational and so sad. But learning from others is the best.

    My frugal attempts for the last week –
    – washing full loads and hanging drying all but FIL clothes and all towels and bedding
    – finding dairy free yogurt clearance
    – buying only what we need
    – staying in most of the week
    – eating in all week except for Friday night and it was only for a great $5 meal at a football game
    – picking up books from the library to read this week
    – cooking from scratch and eating up leftovers

    Frugal fails – still problems in the garden …. we are still…. working on the watering problem and added plants instead of from seed, as that was not going well. It is looking good now after getting rain from Hurricane Rosa.

    I hope all has a great week. I look forward to reading all posts.

  118. This weekend was packed. Thanks to your recommendation of the thermal cooker, Brandy, we still ate all our meals at home. We had lots of soups, and they were all delicious!

    In addition, I did the following:
    * Combined errands and appointments to save gas, time, and money
    * Used what I had on hand to make meals for a potluck
    * Unplugged the computer when it was not in use
    * Cooked whole chickens and used them for soups and other meals
    * Exercised by cleaning the house very thoroughly before company came
    * Used a multi-purpose cleaner to clean everything
    * Accepted a family member’s generosity

  119. Kerry,

    I’m not an expert but it is my understanding that money in an HSA is yours to use under IRS guidelines – you can withdraw money for medical expenses but can only add to it if you have a high deductible plan in place. Also, any money in a FSA can be used for any purpose after retirement.

    Money in a pre-tax medical savings account would probably be lost at end of employment. I would double check what kind of account this really was.

  120. Im in direct care with either adults with severe disabilities or are currently in hospice, and usually if your doctor will write s prescription for either a certain amount of boost or drinks that are considered a nutrition supplement it should be covered by medicare or Medicaid, they will ofteb write for 3-4/ day depending on the need and you can often get it delivered from a pharmacy, which would relieve you of that one extra thing off of yiur never ending list, make sure you do enough self care, burn out can happen so quickly, many hugs and prayers, God bless

  121. So funny! Scooter on laughter duty. We sat on the porch this evening and watched the sun go down. Scooter, sat on the porch and watched a bug walk around in circles. We laughed at him (Scooter not the confused bug).
    Jeannie

  122. Holly,
    my son is very underweight due to Crohns. We have had him drink Boost but He no longer wanted to drink it, no longer liked the taste. My sister (a nurse) had me give him Carnation instant breakfast and in a month he gained 5 lbs. Yeah–at least 5 more to go.

  123. Last month, to save money, I started planning our meals based on what our local grocery store has on sale. I’ve been able to feed my family 3+ meals a day + snacks for an average of $120 for 2 weeks. There’s only 3 of us, so that’s only $20 per person per week. Not too bad for us, considering my husband is a bodybuilder and is a strict eater and our teenage son is an athlete and eats quite a bit. Last week our grocery store had a huge meat sale and I managed to buy 61lbs of meat (chicken, pork, and beef) for $60. I spent $157 for the next 2 weeks and that includes groceries + all of our toiletries, laundry soap, animal feed, etc., literally everything.

  124. I learned the same — I think in grade school. I never use papers for muffins either, although I have a new recipe for blueberry muffins where I did use them after making them the first time. They were so cake-like that it was hard to remove them from the tin without smooshing them. It worked better with papers. I use spray oil to grease the muffin cups for other muffins and they pop right out. Might save a few pennies here and there!

  125. Jeannie, I’m so sorry to hear about the health issues you and your husband are going through. I hope everything gets resolved positively and as quickly as possible. I don’t know much about the U.S. healthcare system, but I know others here have posted about getting discounts for paying in full upfront, or negotiating payment plans. From what I understand, you need to be proactive in negotiating with the billing departments. But, first and foremost, I hope the health of both of you improve! Thinking of you! *hugs*

  126. Megace is the one they gave her. It was somewhat helpful. Another thing I have read about dementia and appetitite is that there is a theory that they don’t remember what foods taste like, and don’t KNOW what they like or dislike. That’s why food doesn’t look appetizing to them.

  127. Another thing you can do is add powdered milk to the liquid milk you use for milkshakes or puddings. My sister had to do this for one of her grandkids who was underweight. It worked very well. They call it “double milk.” and it adds calories [i][/i]and protein.

  128. I non-expertly agree with Kerry, that an HSA is your money forever. You might check with the bank that holds the account, rather than the employer; I’m guessing that is where the money is held.

  129. Made all meals at home except yesterday we bought two hamburgers at McDonalds after visiting a family member that was at the hospital for several hours.
    Being careful about how much I drive places as to conserve gas.
    Made Pizza, homemade. Made a pork roast for 99 Cents a pound. Froze half for later. Made bbq sandwiches. Made a pork soup with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and cream of mushroom soup. Bought a ham for 1.19 a lb. Will freeze half and use half in various casseroles. made several meals with eggs and potatoes.
    Had a birthday meal at home. Husband cooked and it was lovely.
    Baby sat grandkids. Brought food to cook rather than ordering out.
    Family has helped by giving us food and son paid me to babysit. I didn’t want to accept money but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. My son also gave me a gift card and lotion.
    My husband started a job on Monday. it doesn’t pay well, but he will eventually get a bit of a raise. I am happy he got a job. He actually enjoys it. It is nice to have him come home happy and he will be off his feet. Hoping we will be able to make ends meet.

  130. Be on the lookout for the silicone liners. They work great for cupcakes or muffins – or egg cups or mini meatloaves…. They’re washable and reusable. I’ve had my set for nearly 10 years.

  131. I didn’t know that Alberta did not have Freshco (and apparently I couldn’t spell yesterday…sorry I spelled your name wrong). You learn something new every day. No Frills often has the 10lb bags of carrots, onions and beets for around $2. They’ve already had a sale at this price here, but they sometimes do this sale multiple times in the fall. Keep watching the fliers, and you may luck out with some great deals in your area. Good luck at rebuilding your pantry stock, Elizabeth!

  132. Momsav, your comment about your husband and his full priced Oreos made me chuckle. Thanks for the laugh;
    I needed it!

  133. Jenifer, what thoughtful gifts to brighten your family members lives. I need to give myself a “pep talk” as well.
    Thanks for the reminder that’s it’s really up to us how we approach our problems!

  134. The older 2 are in and out, as they pursue other interests, and our older one is most likely heading out on a new adventure soon–if things work out for her as she wishes, she will be moving out soon. Both the 2 older ones basically cook for themselves all the time or eat where they are, so I’m mostly cooking for my husband, myself and our youngest daughter, plus any cousins or other relatives who happen to be over, or I take food over there. But, those kids are super picky, due to their special needs, so they only eat certain foods. It’s kind of simple and kind of complicated at the same time. As long as I stock the things they like–it’s all good:). Their parents will eat beans, but the kids will not, where our youngest would eat them every single day, but she won’t eat other things. They are all different in their tastes:)

  135. Yes, you must have to cook large quantities of food. Even with four children, my family seemed to inhale food, especially in the teen years. I do think that your readers have sometimes wondered if your kids get enough to eat based on your comments such as the pasta sld, stretching a chicken, the bean enchiladas etc. Your children look very healthy though.

  136. My mother never used paper liners for anything, but I find cooking at altitude (8000 feet above sea level) that everything sticks if I don’t use the muffin liners.

  137. Brandy, I often think of you when I am cooking — how much time you must spend in the kitchen, all those dishes. Every meal for you must be like Thanksgiving for me. I really am in awe! I have a friend who was one of 13 children and she always talks about what a production meals were in her household. It takes real organization and a lot of plain old hard work to feed that many people every day!

  138. Marcia, yes, liners are getting more expensive also. I buy mine at the bulk store in packs of 500. Those are very reasonable. About 1 1/2 cents apiece if I remember right. But no fancy colors or holiday theme. Just plain white. They don’t always have them, being the nature of the store.

    Muffins are just more dense than a cupcake, so we always grease or spray the tins and when they are done I bang them on the side and they fall out onto a towel. Cupcakes are just too delicate to do that.

  139. Holly, have you been in touch with your county’s organization for the aged? My younger son is a geriatric social worker and does a lot of work with getting the elderly lined up with agencies that can assist them, cover supplies for them that are over the counter or not a benefit of Medicare, find home health aids, durable medical equipment, helping get the house accessible. Those kinds of things. Here it is a county entity…you might be different in Michigan.

  140. Elizabeth, would you please advise as to the name of the discount produce store. My daughter lives that way and she is trying to find a place to buy produce cheaply. Thanks ever so much

  141. Kerry, I was talking with a woman I know yesterday who had a similar situation and she said all that changed was her debit card was deactivated by the company but the funds were still there and she just had to manually contact them for the payments. Maybe this is your case also?

  142. Momsav, congratulations on the new grandson. How nice you have been able to spend this time with your daughter and her family and be there for the baby’s birth. I love spending time at bookstores and finding a new one is always a treat.

  143. Kathy—when I got my terrible illness and had not only no appetite but also terrible pain, my doctor wrote a prescription for me to get medical marijuana. I was probably one of a dozen people in college who never used any drugs, so I expected to be really impacted by it. But for me it did nothing and was quite expensive since insurance would not cover it—no appetite increase, no pain decrease, no becoming laid back (the one effect my husband hoped for!). So, if someone does try it I would buy only a small amount first (you can get it in edibles and oils, too) because of the expense, since it may not be effective. My doctor later said he should have figured out it would make little difference since I get zero effects from morphine or any of the other opiods. Apparently some people are immune, for lack of a better word, to most pain killers.

  144. I will buy the instant breakfast mix the next time I go shopping. Walmart’s generic nutritional drink was very chalky tasting.Yuck. We still have three bottles in the fridge. Mom usually is an ingredient list reader and long lists kill her appetite. She refused to buy us the instant beverage mix when I wanted it in high school to quickly drink as I ran out the door for the bus. But we’ll try it now.

    Her only dietary restriction had been salt. But since she hasn’t been drinking enough, the nurse said don’t worry about sodium. Her next beverage/most of her dinner is going to be a chocolate malted banana shake, using the banana that came with today’s Meals on Wheels.

    I am going to buy an assortment of herbal teas.

    Mom can get out the front door in case of a fire and I am confident that at least at the present time she would just stay in her chair and out of trouble if I left for an hour to run errands/buy groceries.

    Unfortunately, we live in a “dead zone” when it comes to home delivery of groceries. (But the woods are pretty.) I had used a service a few times in the dead of winter to get organic produce but the company went belly up. Kroger and Meijer won’t deliver here, at least not yet.

    I am so appreciative of the Medicare-covered home health services ordered by the doctor. The physical therapist yesterday said she got into home healthcare with the goal of keeping elderly people out of nursing homes after two of her grandparents end up in them.

  145. Mom would get too much air and too little fluid when she would take her tiny sips with a straw. A doctor and a speech therapist both suggested that She drink directly out of a glass. Different approaches are needed for different people.

  146. Lillianna, did I read you are coming by my house or were you going by the Amish in Missouri? PLEASE COME BY IF YOU ARE CLOSE. I will make a rag doll for Sugar Cookie if you do. Scooter would love to meet her and I will take you on a tour of the garden.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry (In lower middle Tennessee)

  147. Brandy, also well wishes from here for quick healing. A friend of a woman at church had a similar thing on her scalp and by the time they were able to remove it all and resew it together she felt like she had had a mini face lift!

    We did all the usual of cooking and eating at home, packing lunches, hanging some clothes to dry indoor on racks. We are in the in between where the temperature is very ambient…the air conditioning does not come on nor does the heat. We have been down into the low 40’s at night with an occasional high 30’s. Threatened frost a few times so we covered plants but has not occurred yet. Starting to see some Halloween decor going up around town already.

    Our tenants have given us good news. They would like to stay indefinitely in our garage apartment. She works at the University in food service and has taken the suggestion of her supervisor to go for a degree in foods. So she has been accepted and is doing school full time and working part time. The factory he works at would like to have him trained in machinery maintenance so they have arranged schooling for him also. When she gets her college degree it will be the first for her family and for his. it is a guaranteed source of income for us for probably 4 years at least plus over the last 2 years they have become like part of the family.

    My nephew Caleb and his wife Katieanna have had their 1st child, a son, Benjamin. Caleb is my husband’s business partner in the woodworking shop. Daughter Eliana and son in in law Theo have the twins, Miriam and Daniel. The twins will be 6 months old in a few days. Since Eliana is back working full time on the farm she hired a relative of a family of farm client of Theo to come in for her 3 children. My mother is elderly enough that she does not want to handle 3 under 3 on her own. I do not blame her. Thursdays I am home so we still all get together for playtime and lunch …including sister in law Susie and her Henry, granddaughter Anna Joy and her grandma (Joy is back to school counseling) and we’ve still been able to play out on the little playground.

    Some of the foods made last week were cheesy rice and broccoli casserole, grilled fish with vegetable kabobs and baked squash, brats with German (hot) potato salad, coleslaw, 4 bean salad, chicken noodle soup (after cooking up 4 old layer hens), chicken enchiladas with Spanish rice and refried beans (from freezer), and calico beans (meatless) with grilled hot dogs and grilled jalapeneo poppers. Made tapioca pudding, plum kuchen, baked apples, smores x 2, snickerdoodles and plum crisp.

    Shopped again at the non Kroger grocery store. Needed very little but bought 8 cans of organic mushrooms. They have a bulk spice section so bought bay leaves, broth powder and granulated garlic. Bought 2 gallons of milk and bananas at the gas station. Did stop at the Kroger owned store and picked up the Friday freebie, another item we would never eat. Some kind of shelf stable chicken dish…ugh. Put it in bag with other of the free items for the Boy Scout food drive in November.

    Harvested sweet corn, carrots, more squash, more pumpkins, tomatoes. Picked up 10 pounds of plums from an aunt and 10 of pears. Pears mostly in refrigerator and we will remove as we want to ripen. Plums will become jam and plum sauce. Project tomorrow with the girls is to dehydrate apple slices. Everyone is bringing their dehydrator and we will work in garage. Put up screens to keep bugs out. Still too many bugs this fall. The apples won’t be ready right away but daughter will keep eye on them and bag them all up when good and dry and ready.

    The men brought the woodstove back in and reinstalled in it’s spot in the living room. Tested it out the night it was down to 38F. Getting ready for a visit this weekend Friday and Saturday to visit daughters and husband’s side of the family who live in the same area and have his mother’s birthday. Will take girls apples, potatoes and canned foods and jams.

    Did mending and darning. Put patches on the patches on the elbows of my husband’s work shirts. Air tumbled load of our hats, mittens, scarves to fluff them back up and put them in handy basket in back entry. Brought in the winter rugs for the entry ways. Put the storms up in the breezeway. Starting to think about Christmas presents for the grandchildren and nephew Henry. Probably sew something again.

  148. You know me very well Margaret. If course we negotiated it lower. They knocked of $1,000 because we are so awesome (yeah right) and then another $800 because we paid the bill in full ahead of time with cash (a check). We walked out in stunned silence (from the shock of the bill) and I turned to my husband and asked “Did we just write a very hot check?” No. He had already transferred the money in hopes of buying a new truck.
    It pays to be frugal and to prepare for the worst.
    Jeannie

  149. Thank you so, so much for posting this way to use extra cukes! I always have more than I can turn into pickles, eat or give away, so this will be a definite help to me next summer.

  150. Never thought they do not get enough. Nutritionally they eat much better than most and luckily no overweight. My kids have eaten much more poorly even when i did not check my spending. Brandy is outstanding by feeding her family more responsibly on a tight budget than majority of those on loose budget. I am sure it will pay off multiple ways.

  151. Laura, It is H&W Produce. They have five stores, all in Edmonton, Alberta. Each week they run five specials, all at great prices. The produce is always great quality. They also give something free if you buy $30 worth of food. I have never managed to spend that much, but I am just shopping for myself.

  152. A little more research tells em there is one at the south end of Edmonton. It is a little further than makes sense for me to drive to shop, and I can’t find a flyer online for it. I’m going to keep an eye on it, though, because they are apparently converting extra Sobeys and Safeways to Freshcos, so we’ll see more of these in the West. There is a No Frills on the drive into to the city, so I’ll check the flyers there.

  153. I love reading all the comments (and the blog, of course). I’m not as frugal as I should be, but this always encourages me.

    If any of you haven’t read it, may I recommend A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter? It is free for Kindle and is a lovely story how a girl perseveres when she faces hardship.

  154. Jeannie, I’m sorry about the diagnoses but I would take the chance, too. You also said you need new ideas for saving. Don’t we all! I have read this blog for about two years and I know you are already doing “all the usual frugal stuff”…as I am, and I am sure most of the readers. However, what is usual for me may not be usual for you, so as the weeks go by, I hope you will tell us each week what you are doing that’s new to you. Might be new to us, too!

    Here’s something I’ve been doing for the last 3 months: I needed to buy a new washer (old Maytag was 28 years old, never a repair, but left a puddle of grease when we moved it). I bought a HE model that uses very little water or soap (1 to 2 tablespoons of the Costco powdered detergent works fine) and is an Energy Star model. Not only that, but it is a super capacity washer and I do about 1/3 fewer loads every week. I’m not suggesting that you run out and buy a new washer (or a new anything), but if yours dies anytime soon, give capacity and Energy star some consideration. Of course, if you buy used, you just do the best you can with what’s available at the time.

    I also bought a new fridge when we moved (I sold the 20-year-old fridge with the house). It’s Energy Star rated, too. I never buy top of the line or anything fancy. This one happens to have a bottom freezer, but all of my other fridges, since 1971, have been top freezers. I already had a gas dryer. Electricity is cheap here (as cheap as it is anywhere), but natural gas is cheaper still. Something else to keep in mind if you have to buy those appliances.

    The biggest thing is something all of us can do right now is to do less laundry! If it is not dirty (spots or smelly), we wear it again. In fact, I just finished the 4th day on a pair of jeans and the second day on the shirt. I do change underwear daily, LOL. (when I was a kid in the ’50s and ’60s, we always wore school clothes 2-3 days (not necessarily consecutively) before washing…we had a wringer washer, no dryer and everything had to be ironed. Enough said!).

  155. I’ve never thought that Brandy’s kids were not getting enough to eat. I did, however, enjoy reading her answer. I found it very interesting to read how much she actually has to make for just 1 meal! I now understand why a crock pot would be useless for her. She would have to have at minimum 2-3 large pots going all at once just to make enough for everyone. Also, leftovers appear to be almost non-existant, so she doesn’t have much food waste either. I do wonder if Brandy’s children will have a hard time cooking for themselves when they leave home. They will be so used to huge pots of everything that it won’t feel right to cook such small quantities for just themselves!:D Thank you for sharing this info with us, Brandy!

  156. Elizabeth, thanks for info that H & W are now in Calgary. Unfortunately, they are in the NE which is a long way for me. Their special look good but their price for russet potatoes is the same for 10 pounds as Co-op’s sale price this week. If i ever get to the NE, I’ll go there for sure. Ann

  157. Such good news about your husband getting a job, even if pay not ideal. And happy belated birthday, I assume it was yours! Nice gift to have a dinner cooked by your husband. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, Ann

  158. Not a frugal week at all. I finally got late birthday presents for my great nieces and nephew and his wife. I bought books at Indigo on their “buy 3 of something, get a fourth for free”. Well, that surely added up in a hurry although I’ll have an extra gift for Christmas. The post office clerk helped me wrap the box –– hard for me to do with one hand. Then my budget got destroyed by the huge snowstorm we had! It was more snow than ever recorded before (while records were kept since the 1880s). I tried to see if one can shovel snow with one hand but that is impossible. My window washer shovelled for 2 hours yesterday and is coming back to finish today. impending budget disaster!!! I could not even get the leaves raked as many are still on the trees ! nor the eavestroughs cleared out once the leaves fell! As someone said on CBC, we went straight from the smoke to the snow (or so it seems).

    Oh well, it seems there is always something and this is the least of worries! The poor birds are looking for their food which a friend will pick up for me on Sunday!

  159. What do you think of the quorn products Kim? I’m always curious as it’s not sold here in Canada. It’s made from a fungus (not mushrooms) and isn’t recognized as a food product here. I hear the UK folks talking about it a lot so just wondered what it was like….

  160. Something else I have tried with success the past couple of summers….I taped clear plastic forks to dowels or metal sticks (I found some metal support rods in a green color at my local garden center that were easy to cut…and will hold up better from year to year than the wood I used on my first batch) of varying lengths and pushed the dowels into the ground so that the prongs were peeking out just above the foliage of the plant. When the deer reaches for a bite, they get a little poke from the fork. Last year I lost a lot of hosta and succulent foliage and this year I did not, starting out early with the fork trick. I also lost a lot of foliage earlier in the year in the beds in front of my office and after I placed forks, most of it has grown back. I was fearful for the ornamental kale (do deer like kale…looks yummy to me) I planted in the pots at my home this early fall but with the forks, so far so good!

  161. Hi Ann-that was quite a snowfall we got this week. I saw something on CFCN news last night about a group that will come and shovel for you for free if you are not able-perhaps check their website or phone the station as the name eludes me. I also read with interest about the new produce store in the NE but I am also a long way away. You had mentioned a week or two back about some govt subsidy for watering trees during a drought-can you share more about that as I have never heard of that before. Thanks

  162. Jennifer, thanks for the headband tip! That would definitely buy me some time. I’ll gladly admit my age, just not with grays!

  163. When I read your post of all the small children I was so reminded of visiting my maternal grandparents. My mother, her brother, and sister had stair step children among them. When we came together (I was the oldest) it was just a big bunch of kids, pregnant women (who shared the awful maternity clothes of the 50’s, 60’s) and canning. It is a lovely memory – thank you.

  164. Hi I,

    Well, I really blew my budget for snow shovelling. It took my snow shoveller 2 hours today and 2 hours yesterday to shovel it all. And we are supposed to get more snow late on Monday (Cdn Thanksgiving). My friend who picked up some groceries for me at Co-op, came back loaded with the russet potatoes I’d had my eyes on –– 5 pounds for $1.99 –– so I got 10 pounds. They are lovely looking russets but taking forever to bake! Carrots for 5 pounds for $2.99.

    The subsidy was for my entire utilities bill. You have to be 65 years old or older and low income. You have to qualify under the Alberta Seniors Financial benefit program. google it by that name

    After qualifying for and being accepted by the program generally, you also have to have a disconnection notice from the utilities company. Even at that the government may still turn you down. I was lucky to get it and it can only be used once in three years. I have several 60 year old spruce trees and I could not see having them due to lack of water. I would not be surprised if there is some municipal help available but there is no program for watering trees in a drought specifically. There should be! We should be farming the snow and collecting it somehow…

    Thank you for your comment re snow shovelling. I will look into it. A friend also mentioned a local scout troop that is looking for work. My window washer/snow shoveller usually does several things for me in the fall –– shuts off the outside water (high up at the ceiling), puts the concrete fountain in the nearby garage,
    cleans the eavestroughs out, etc. I was really caught out by this historic snow storm. I had been going to ask him over a couple of weeks ago but the leaves are still on the trees. Fortunately, I had put a tarp over the fountain when it started to snow so we shook off the snow, put it on the toboggan/sled and got it put away today in the garage. So I don’t mind giving him extra (when I have it).

    thanks again for your comment, Ann

  165. Congrats to your husband for finding a job he enjoys going to. Happiness far outweighs income in my opinion. I have no doubt you will find ways to adapt to the new level of income. Happy Belated Birthday, Tammy!

  166. I don’t know the reasoning behind the boundaries of the Area Agencies for the Aged in Michigan. Counties are only part of the determination. I do know what agency’s territory we live in. Walmart has been my go-to source for reasonably-priced medical equipment and supplies. Now that I am a senior too, I need to contact the agency to see what they offer in the way of chore service and, down the road, a bit of respite care.

  167. Brandy, I have a gardening question, for which I can’t find an answer on line. I live in the So Cal desert area, temperatures almost as high as yours all summer. I’m thinking of purchasing an Angel Trumpet plant that can be planted in Zone 9, but perhaps only in the coastal area. I’m afraid it will burn out here. Have you ever thought of growing one? Do you know anyone in LV that has one? I’m afraid it will burn from the sun, as so many things do here.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  168. Stuck to the meal planning this week. We had one planned dinner out at a networking social, so it was business and fun. I treated my employees to lunch at a new deli however was very disappointed-none of our orders were correct and wasn’t very good. I resisted take out coffee all week, even though there is a great coffee place next to the sandwich place. I ordered my son’s Halloween costume off eBay, an animal snowsuit he can continue to wear all winter. Also bought him name brand winter jackets off of FB Marketplace for $10. Although it’s been rainy and cool, I ran outside 3 days. Trying to hold off on reactivating my gym membership until December when it gets too cold outside. Keeping myself healthy is frugal in the long term. I had an appointment at our city building so I saved stamps and paid water and rental inspection bills. I bought some new furniture and shelving for my office, which was pricey but hopefully will allow for more product sales. Sold an item on eBay. As we are frugal in so many parts of our lives, we are working with a seller to purchase our dream property on the lake. The house needs a lot of repairs but the location is perfect and it has enough land that I can have a big garden with fruit trees. Our house is sold so I am hoping that we come to an agreement quickly.

  169. My Amish neighbor was just talking about how much it takes to feed his family of 9 until we mentioned we usually had 12 at our table. My girls and myself out ate the boys and Hubby. Snack was in afternoon. Lots of bread, butter and a bit of sugar for snacks.
    Daughter 4 still doesn’t eat cold cereal or serve it.
    Blessed Be

  170. Jeannie, we are headed to Missouri from Atlanta for the sons army graduation. I haven’t planned our route out because I am not sure who will be traveling with us. If possible, we may stop in the Amish town and visit on the way back home. She might enjoy a buggie ride but our cocker spaniel will be with us. Oh the delemas of trying to accommodate everyone. I would never just show up anywhere but can imagine sugar cookie leaning out the window calling for ” Amish lady where are you “. I just have no clue where she got the rag doll idea from. Perhaps next spring we can come visit the community. It’s about a 4 hr drive from here.

  171. I bought some gold turmeric to fight cancer , so saved thousands in cancer treatments. I go to the health ranger.com for all my health treatments.

  172. Mary, I don’t mean to butt in, but i’m going to. If by your comment you meant that you bought turmeric in the hope that it would prevent cancer, that’s fine. But if you bought it as treatment for cancer you already have, I beg you to see your doctor. I could say a lot more, but please don’t try to save money by self-treating cancer with spices and herbs.

  173. Tell your son I thank him for his service to our country. You must be very proud. Planning long trips is most definitely difficult. Just be safe.

    A buggy ride would be so much fun. One of my Amish friends commented how so much is missed when riding in a car. I asked him to explain and he said you miss the smells, sounds, feeling the heat or cold, and the small things that fly past when the car is moving.

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  174. Maxine, thank you for the suggestions. Washing fewer clothes is an idea I had not considered. I throw things in automatically without really thinking. Water is not a concern since we have well water; I buy laundry soap when it is on sale, and I have coupons, rebates, etc. But the electricity does add up.

    Our system has been a coordinated effort between all three of us. One will start a load, another will walk past and move the clothes to the dryer, another will unload the dryer then fold and put the clothes away. It has taken all three of us to get anything done! It is the same in the kitchen. We all pitch in and do the work. No one is really in charge of organizing the work details because the workload changes according to whomever feels able to do it. Since we are all adults, it has worked.

    However, I will begin focussing on being more organized. Bossing people around is always fun.

    Jeannie

  175. My husband just had cancer removed from his scalp. The first month the wound looked to be deep, it’s been about 3 months now and it has flattened out and is barely noticeable. Hopefully your surgery went well and are healing quickly! Always a good reminder to wear a hat, as I age I’ve gotten much better, however I do still like to be in the sun. I have been more diligent about lathering myself and the rest of the family up when we are outside.

  176. Holly,
    My 97 year old mother lives with us in an apartment. It is a constant battle to keep her hydrated. She too has has problems with UTI’s. I can tell when she starts to get one. She gets really out of it and confused. I bought test strips off Amazon. Worth their weight in gold. Now I test her urine when suspect and call dr. A few times they just prescribe a antibiotic. Fruit infused water helps.

  177. I am reading this very late, but your mom sure got a deal on those quart jars! I love canning but I have to look at the purchase of jars as a capital investment. Knowing I can use them over and over helps me swallow the cost, LOL

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