Fall Harvest 2018 The Prudent Homemaker

With beautiful weather this week, it was perfect to plant a fall garden.

I planted the bulbs I ordered back in July from Van Engelen, a wholesale supplier of bulbs. As long as you make the minimum order requirement, you can purchase bulbs from them for personal use at great prices. I planted peonies (of the earliest blooming type, planted at soil level here in zone 9), lilies, calla lilies, and anemones from them.

I sowed seeds in the garden for green onions, beets, lettuce, parsley, spinach, and arugula. 

Patty Pan Squash The Prudent Homemaker

From the garden, I harvested Swiss chard, basil, pears, patty pan squash, a zucchini, an Armenian cucumber, and a few pomegranates that split early.

I used produce from the garden and the store to decorate a table runner for our table for fall.

I read an e-book from the library on my phone.

I’ve had a cell phone for a year and a half now, since the local phone company raised taxes to equal the lowest cell phone rate I can find with service in our area. I got a “free” android phone (I had to pay the sales tax on it of $79; it’s a ZTE) and I have a month to month deal with Metro PCS that is $30 a month–but actually we pay $25 a month, as my husband also has his phone (which is his work phone) there and they give you a $5 discount on each line for additional lines.

When I got a cell phone, we cancelled our home phone. My husband also no longer has an office phone, and all calls to his office come straight to his cell phone.

Our children do not have cell phones, but my eldest son chose to get a free Google phone number, and he makes and receives calls through our home wifi using a headset and his computer (he also texts with this number, using the wifi at home and free wifi when he is elsewhere and takes his computer with him). His computer is an old laptop that my brother gifted to him. As my son is on the phone a lot, helping people with their genealogy, he enjoys having his own number.

While running errands this week, I charged my phone in the car and listened to music using on Pandora. My eldest showed me how to turn on the Bluetooth in the car (seriously so easy but I had never done it) so that I can listen to my music stations on Pandora through the car’s speakers. My husband was so excited about it that he did the same–and then just switched to directly plugging in the phone with a cord to the radio, so I did the same the next time I used the car. We don’t have a data usage problem as we are usually on wifi at home (my husband works from home some part of every day and often the entire day several days a week) and our data for the month is 4 GB, but then it just slows down; we are not charged for going over.

I downloaded a free music flashcard app on my phone to help my daughters cement their knowledge of music notes while I brush their hair. 

We continued to use free sites for school, including typing.com, duolingo.com, tonictutor.com (a music note site)  and xtramath.org.

I took 8 of our 9 children to a free orchestra concert at the high school.

While I wait for the shower to warm up (collecting water in a 3-gallon recycled icing bucket in the meantime) I have time to do 25 -35 repetitions of arm-toning exercises using hand weights I purchased at a garage sale for $3 several years ago. I had gotten out of the habit of doing this while I was pregnant and I am trying to make it a regular habit now. It’s not much time, but I think every little bit that I can work into my day is a good thing and will add up, just as the tiny things I do to save money add up to thousands of dollars saved each year. I use exercises from this video.

While doing early-morning laundry, putting on makeup and curling my hair, I listened to The Book of Mormon in French using the free Gospel Library app.

I did more French study using free online sources and looking up some words using the free Word Reference dictionary. You can use their site or download their free app. I use the app a lot while messaging friends in France.

I made a batch of spray leave-in conditioner/detangler using a tiny squirt of regular conditioner in a large spray bottle of water. This saves me $8 a month over buying the large bottle of Infusium leave-in conditioner. 

I have been thinking it was time to spray the house again for bugs. It is very common to have a bug service here come to spray for bugs every month for between $30-$55 a month. We don’t do that; instead, I purchased three 1-gallon containers of spray at Walmart about 4 years ago for $15 total and I spray the outside perimeter of the house on occasion. When my 8-year-old was sweeping under the table after dinner and found a large scorpion Tuesday night, I killed it (I had to stomp on it 6 times to kill it!) and then I decided that there was no time like the present and immediately went outside to spray for bugs, finding (and stepping on) a huge wolf spider right outside my front door when I started to spray. 

I am so glad it is cooler and soup is welcome on the menu again! This week I made Tuscan tomato bread soup, roast chicken, squash soup, mashed potatoes, paninis, bean and rice burritos (with pinto beans purchased in bulk and cooked outside in my solar oven), granola, yogurt, and crepes. I made large batches of most of these so that I didn’t need to cook every day; lunches were leftovers almost every day this past week.

My husband and I had a date night at home. We had ice cream and played several games of Sequence.

Careful watching of my electricity usage (and nice weather!) brought in the amount $27 less than the week’s projected amount from the electric company. 

Fall Harvest 2 The Prudent Homemaker 

What did you do to save money last week?




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  1. We had a frugal but very fun vacation.

    I made home made baked French fries, and we ate them for a meal—that’s it! One huge pile of French fries was the entire meal! Since they are baked, they are healthy enough to eat as a meal, and my family loves it when I make these, and they are so economical as well!

    I found a great book at a Free Little Library, and tucked it away for a gift.

    I found a second hand made wool skirt at the same thrift store that I found one last week! It was made from the identical pattern as the skirt I bought last week, so must have been made by the same person and both donated. They fit my daughter perfectly, and are such a blessing!

    I live near Chattanooga, Tennessee, for those who like to read about different parts of the country!

  2. I ended up losing my job. Which is bitter sweet. Have decided to take the time between jobs to declutter my house and reduce spending any way we can. My hubby got the electronics on timer. Turns off at night when we are sleeping. Our electricity went from almost 200 to little over 100. We will be making all meals at home and last weekend we stayed home except for my daughter senior pictures that a relative took and charge us 40.

  3. Brandy, glad to see the fall planting is started, for us in the desert, it means summer is hopefully over 😉

    I do quite a bit of shopping at Frys (part of the Kroger chain) and noticed a deal to entice us to use their online order/pick up at the store service. A $20 and $10 coupon off the first order, minimum spend on the order $50. So I went on line, figured out how to do it, spent $53 online, then when I picked up the groceries, the revised total was $23! I don’t buy a lot of prepared foods so I am not focused on coupons…but this got my attention. :). The lady delivering groceries also showed me a cash back part of the site, so have now looked into that. While it is a one time savings, it still was my week’s frugal accomplishment. Otherwise, I continue to chisel through all the frozen foods in hopes to clean out the freezer in the next few weeks

  4. Gorgeous fall decorations!

    This week, I cooked all my beans from dry and made a big batch of veggie soup that cleared out some needed-to-be-used veggies. I bought a 50lb sack of bread flour and bulk peanut butter, along with a huge bottle of imitation vanilla (I just can’t bring myself to spend what they’re charging for real right now; fake will have to do!), and I found a bunch of packages of Field Roast meatless hotdogs for $1.19 each- that made me really happy! I’ve been doing yoga via YouTube; it’s free and I don’t have to spend gas going to a class (plus I can do it while my daughter naps).

    We went to a free Halloween balloon show at the library; my daughter loved it, and the next day we participated in our town’s downtown Trick or Treat, which was fun (but windy and cold!). And I finally got around to making a batch of breadcrumbs out of the bread ends I’d kept, and along with it, I made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies. 🙂

    Have a great week, everyone! 🙂

  5. This was all so lovely except for the creepy crawlies LOL – does the spray do anything to keep the scorpions away? [I’m sorry, I’m a NYC girl – I have never laid eyes on a real scorpion – shudder]
    I printed up a new savings card to avoid the giant copays on my needed prescription
    I bought a large amount of chicken thighs on sale [.78/lb – my lowest price here] and deboned them and removed the skin, freezing the now boneless/skinless meat. I made bone broth with half the bones and froze the other half for another time, it’s soup weather here too!
    I watched a free video course [floret farm] about how to lift and split up the dahlia tubers in my garden when we finally get our hard freezes so I can spread some about to the backyard bed next spring.
    I cut flowers from the garden for my two vases inside
    I took clippings from junk mail and free magazines for my artwork
    Thank you for always being such an inspiration to me Brandy – I hope you’re settling into the new school routine and feeling less pressed!

  6. Hi to all!

    Thanks to all on sewing machine recommendations. I have not decided yet but I should say that it will have to be light as the best place for me to use it is my kitchen table. So I will keep looking.

    Our garden is looking great after all the water systems we used … now finally back to sprinkler. Spinach should be ready soon…

    We finally had some cool days and turned off our ac but it got back to 90 so the ac is back on for now.

    Frugal attempts for last week
    – husband took lunch 4 days but only ate them 2 days …
    – washed clothes in full loads and hung clothes to dry
    – shopping with a list and shopping alone!
    – looked for plane ticket for early Dec for me and found a great price ( someone is paying for my ticket – In May I took same trip and it was $1000 this one is $500!)
    – using up what we have
    – washing ziplocks to reuse

    That’s all I can think of.
    Have a great week everyone!

  7. I love Pandora, and especially enjoy listening to it while driving. It took me a minute to realize the fruits are pomegranates. Do they split before harvest sometimes, or did you perhaps open them to show what they are? I have two dwarf pom’s, and they have put on some growth this year. One has had a good amount of blooms, and I’m hoping for my first fruit in the next year or two. I smiled thinking of you doing arm exercises while waiting for the shower to warm. We fit it in where we can, don’t we? Though my life is busy, I can’t imagine having all the little ones you care for. It has finally cooled off here as well, and I’m very thankful for that. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/10/feels-like-fall-frugal-accomplishments.html

  8. I have been staying home except for picking the grandbabies up from school.
    My busy season is ending and it looks like I made about $3000.00. Sewing costumes…who knew?
    I paid all of my bills on time….saving any late charges. I didn’t do this in my younger years. What was I thinking?
    I ate all leftovers.
    During a cold snap I baked a chicken to warm the kitchen.
    I got a pork loin and cut it into “boneless pork chops”. The pork cost about $14. and I got 14 chops cut the way I like them.
    I have turned the heat off in all rooms but the bathroom at night.
    My daughter buys me panties for Christmas. She buys expensive ones (something I won’t do). The elastic started coming off one leg of a cute pair that I really like. I sewed the elastic back on…saving them.
    I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t remember right now.

  9. And William Bradford’s niece is one of mine…. Hello distant, very distant, cousin.

    I cleaned the metal lint filter for our washer because I ran out of my stash of replacement filters and I did not want to run out.to the store just for that. It was easier to do than I expected.
    My $25 Goodwill Eastlake sidechair’s underside of the seat started hanging down because some of the jute straps frayed. An upholstery fabric store offers six weeks of lessons for $180. But attending that class would mean a 40-mile roundtrip drive.
    This week, I took a short break from momcare to run a couple of errands and got to browse in the local Goodwill for the first time in months. An extremely comprehensive book on upholstery was 68 or 69 cents. It was written in the mid-seventies and in its hundreds of pages and pictures included the traditional way a chair that looks like mine was done. I hope to be able to repair the bottom without having to take the chair down to its frame.

  10. What a beautiful table arrangement you made–the darker colors are fall like and different from the usual lighter colors.
    One frugal accomplishment this week was buying the wrong razor blades for my husband ($20.99!) and forcing myself to take them back even though he had opened the package. He didn’t remove any from the package so I taped it closed, found my receipt, and was allowed to return them –I paid another $3 and got twice as many in the 2 new packages I bought. (I hate to ask for money returned when I’m being a general pain, so bought 2 packages.)
    Invited to meet three other couples at a pricey restaurant for Sunday dinner–we both went for specials and managed to keep the total as reasonable as possible, even if it meant eating prime rib. (Normally I stay away from fatty meats but I only ate 1/3 of the portion there and brought the rest home. I plan on making it dinner for two tomorrow night!) It was a good deal as it included soup, salad, rolls, prime rib or strip steak, and a small sundae for dessert—a good deal if your appetite is larger than mine, that is. I ate little of the soup and salad, although it was all very good. The company was very enjoyable also.
    When you mentioned making larger amounts while you were cooking this week, I started thinking about what a challenge that must be for you. Since I’m only cooking for two, I do this quite often. Tonight’s dinner was an exact rerun of Saturday’s, even to the formerly frozen green beans, but that’s simple to do for two. Making leftovers for your family involves much more energy expended than mine does. In fact, I rarely manage to cut recipes down to just enough for two, although some meals do allow that. For me, it means at least a couple days a week I just reheat leftovers, sometimes adding a new salad or vegetable. For you it must mean even more savings of time. Of course, with all those growing young bodies around, you might have some leftovers disappearing between meals too, unless snacks are limited to those “scheduled” for that day.
    I also have other little economies of time which I employ regularly. About once a month I throw the non-slip tub mat in with the towels. Every week I try to find one extra load of laundry in order to keep up on the little things–washing jackets, dust mops, throw rugs, curtains, or something to prevent having a backlog to catch up on in the future.
    Of course economies of money are nice also—I will still grate my own cheese if it’s less expensive that way, and I frequently find myself grating mozzarella because one of the store brands is $4 a lb or under on a regular basis–great exercise for the biceps on a box grater. I imagine you might pass that job onto a sous chef in your kitchen, if you have time for grating at all.
    One stage I suspect you will do better at later in your life: the exchange of leftovers. My Mom and I used to swap sometimes the one time I lived close enough to her to do so. Now I do it with my daughter who is less than 2 miles away—if one of us is going to the pharmacy or Sam’s Club, etc.-we always ask if the other needs something picked up. We have also swapped leftovers (sometimes you just make too much and are tired of it before it’s gone) and also our baked goods. There are two of them and two of us, and we often share half a cake or half a batch of cookies, as we are all past the age of eating those things without limits!
    Just thought I would share some of our more unusual economies this week!

  11. We have recently moved to a new city and that move has come with many expenses. We have been in our new home a month and trying to find our footing with our bills. I am in a time of use electric plan so we have free electricity from 8pm-6am. I wash and dry our clothes during those hours, run my crockpot, charge my phone and husband’s phone and an additional 2 small USB battery banks. During the day we turn everything except the fridge off, open the blinds and use as little power as possible.
    I have been trying to conserve on our water as well, using shallow tubs of water for bathing children.
    I have been considering what gifts I will need to prepare for Christmas and mindfully watching for great deals.
    I have accepted clothes for three of my children from two separate friends.
    I have purposed to really try and eat down food we already have before buying more groceries. This has led to some creative combinations but nobody seems to mind. I water my children’s juice way down and buy cans of concentrate.
    I made a batch of laundry detergent this week and cut my softener in with vinegar.

  12. So happy at everyone’s frugal adventures! I am having a very unfrugal month indeed. My daughter who is 10 had a dental issue…baby teeth trapped by adult teeth…this cost us $727.50…our dental insurance paid $98…seems fishy so I will work on this next week. I was able to score 10 bags of Halloween candy for less than $10.

  13. Hilogene, My son is a meat manager for Kroger so I sometimes look up deals even though we don’t have one. I saw that deal and understood right away how great it was. I was even wondering if I could have used it while visiting down state. I didn’t use it but I was so tempted. Good for you, though! That was some wonderful savings!

  14. I am so sorry about your job loss, but love your positive attitude about making the time between jobs a blessing!

  15. I’m sorry you lost your job! However, I’m impressed that you are making the best of it. Perhaps you can sell a few things that you clean out on Facebook Marketplace or something. Also, if you have read The Tightwad Gazette you can sure spend a lot of your time saving so much money. God bless you

  16. Brandy – your photographs are always wonderful but I have to say these are remarkable. Could be an oil painting!

    All the usual stuff plus trying to eat down the freezer. Need to stop and get some storage onions from the farm stands. I think I’ve found a spot that I can store them in.

    I do have a question for you and for readers. I am wanting to increase my stock pile of veggies and am wondering about freeze dried versus dehydrated. I have some canned and of course will use the froze first. I won’t be able to do the drying myself so will buy in bulk commercially. I bought dried carrots, red peppers and onions a few years ago and found them to be a great resource when making soups, casseroles, etc. I am looking to add celery, leeks, potatoes, other peppers and buy carrots and red peppers again. Even a little adds so much color and flavor which then makes the food more appetizing. They are also light weight so when we are travelling in our RV I can keep them on hand. Any preference to how they are dried? taste, storage length, etc.

    Thanks so much for any insight.

    BTW – I think it is great that your oldest son is helping people with their genealogy. So many folks aren’t computer savvy and therefore have difficulty finding information.

  17. Brandy, I thought you were a brave soul to take 8 kids from 2 to 17 to a concert, but then I read the part about the scorpion and wolf spider and concluded you are REALLY brave!

    You are right that the little things add up to big savings. I’ve always said that it’s easier to save $1 a thousand times than it is to save $1,000 once. You reminded me of one of mine: I have normal to dry hair and I wear it short. After I shampoo my hair, I put a drop or two of conditioner on my palm, rub my hands together and rub it through my hair. Works great! I’ve been using the same bottle of conditioner for 5-6 years and it’s still half-full!

    I finished shopping for my two Operation Christmas Child boxes (boy and girl, both 10-14). I used a JoAnn’s coupon on my phone for Dritz and Singer sewing notions @ 50% off for the girl’s shoebox. I’ll be splitting up the products to make a mini sewing kit in an Altoids tin for the boy. I made a simple gathered skirt (with elastic waist) for the girl, using fabric that was gifted to me

    I shortened a pair of Ikea curtains, bought for our old house but never used, and they now hang in our dining room. Bought so long ago it was like getting them free!

    Little boy dog (the same one that barfed on my bedspread) dug up a daffodil bulb and ate it. Daffodils are 100% poisonous. We fed him about two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide to make him throw up. This saved the cost of a vet visit, but more importantly, we got it out of his system quickly. Then we found the bulb in the backyard where he had spit it out….! Fortunately, he did not hold a grudge. We got the peroxide down with a baby spoon, the kind with a hollow handle for administering liquid meds, and we did it in the bathtub for easier cleanup.

    I made menus for the week. Eating cheap and using what’s in the freezer and pantry. Knowing what’s for dinner…priceless!

  18. Brandy, your fall arrangement is lovely and cheerful. What a great frugal week you have had!

    I promised to share how my husband’s stem cell transplant went this week. It was easier than I imagined. We arrived at the office one hour early for fear we might have car or traffic problems. The cells are only good for 24 hours so there are no refunds. If you miss the appointment, you lose your money. The doctor said the needle contained a painkiller so it numbed the area ahead of it and lessened the pain. (Why don’t they do that with all shots!) Bill said it felt uncomfortable, but not painful. The anesthesia in his hip lasted about 36 hours so he was able to walk out of the office. He walked not hobbled! It looked good to see him walking again. The pain medicine has since worn off and now we are holding our breaths waiting for an improvement.

    My oldest son Joshua reached his 30th birthday this week and I think did some soul searching. His preference is to work more hours and make more money to avoid being frugal. Never has he listened to my money saving advice. He told me he emptied out his checking account and put all of his money in the stock market. He had been researching and decided it was time to invest; however, he invested almost ALL of his money. Now he is broke. Since he feels broke, he feels motivated to save money by packing lunches and forgoing frivolous activities. It is certainly [b]NOT[/b] how I would do it, but if it works for him, I suppose it is a frugal win.

    My middle son Dustin accepted a job in Iowa (which is 700 miles from us) and is leaving tomorrow. I have been sad and crying. As many times as all three of my sons have left, returned, left, returned, why can’t I get used to it? I still get upset. It is like they are leaving for kindergarten again, and again, and again. Scooter posted the announcement because I am too emotional.


    Becky from the website https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/ sent me a care package full of her delicious canning treasures. They were AWESOME! We opened the jars and had a special dinner before Dustin left. She is a great cook. Her family is lucky. It was just the thing I needed to cheer me up and eating lots of food always makes Dustin happy.



  19. I tried to order a sweater from Landsend, but missed the 50% sale, and got a 40% off sale instead. When I went through the checkout, there was no shipping, but taxes and customs duties brought the total to $71.00, much more than I was prepared to pay. I left the order without submitting it. A few days later Landsend offered me 50% off, which saved me $20, until I looked at the checkout. The new price did not trigger free shipping, so it was only $10 less than previously. I left that order without processing it too. I need other clothes as well, so I’ll make a trip into the city, pay $32 for gas, but have a chance to visit the thrift stores and get a number of items I need either there or at more reasonable prices at a variety of stores.

    I went to a meeting, where supper was served. They have moved the time of this monthly meeting an hour earlier, which means our meal is earlier than I am used to eating. I get home and want to eat again. I may start skipping the meeting meal, so I don’t overeat.

    Today I had a meeting in the city that went from 9 until 3:30. That gave me time afterward to go to the fabric store and pick up supplies to make repairs on my winter coat, including a zipper and thread and some cord for buttoning on the hood. The meeting was held in Edmonton’s Government House, a beautifully renovated heritage building that was the former home of the province’s Lieutenant-Governors. We had a good training session for college and university board members, with interesting people to listen to and talk with. We also had a lovely lunch, and fruit as snacks.

    I am preparing to lead a book club meeting early next week.

    After a month of winter, we finally have a few beautiful fall days to enjoy before the weather turns colder again.

  20. I looked at it the other way around. I thought you were pretty brave with the scorpion but when I read you took 8 children to a concert, I knew you were REALLY brave! 😀

  21. Thanks. I too thought the concert was scarier! They were pretty good but my two-year-old decided he was bored at the same time the baby got fussy. (I left the 13-year-old home to do his homework.) Normally I wouldn’t attempt that as I find it rather daunting, but they were great!

  22. Your flower arrangement is so beautiful. It makes my heart feel so joyful.

    For the person who asked a couple of weeks ago, I live outside of Seattle, in Washington state, the top left corner of the contiguous US. Canada is to the north (approx. 150 miles) of our state, and the Pacific Ocean is to the west. It is very beautiful here, with mountains to the east (Cascades) and the west (Olympics), and many evergreen trees as part of our landscape, along with Puget Sound and other bodies of water. Seattle has the reputation for being gray and rainy, which it is during fall and winter, but we also have beautiful summers (and sometimes spring and fall are nice too – it depends). It was “Seattle hot” this year – 90 degrees F – for multiple weeks during the summer, which is not normal. Only about 30% of people have air conditioning here.

    Frugal things I did:
    – Sewed two tops out of fabric I already had, using patterns I already had. I am enjoying adding to my fall wardrobe to replace some tops that no longer fit.
    – I planted tulips and daffodil bulbs for next spring. I also refreshed a few other planters. I am enjoying the fall arrangements I planted several weeks ago.
    – A coworker gave me an unused card that I admired. She had it displayed on her desk because someone gave it to her, but she said she actually didn’t like it very much. I was happy to take it. The front features a quilling design that is very beautiful.
    – At the CSA farm where I have a vegetable share, we area allowed to pick a large amount of greens each week (chard, several kinds of kale, mustard greens, collard greens, etc.). I usually pick some, but last week I picked a three big bags full. We ate some, and I’m going to freeze some. This week is the last week of the CSA season, but we can keep coming back to pick greens as long as they are alive. The farm is only 4 miles away, so it’s very convenient.
    – We live in a small condo, so I don’t have a good place to store potatoes. So I have been using a homemade potato bag, which is a large paper bag with holes punched in it with a hole puncher. I put the potatoes in it and close it with a clothespin. It sits in our entryway, which is not fancy, but it works great.
    – I used a $5 Staples reward coupon to purchase something I needed.
    – On Sunday, I attended a Meetup event for a group I belong to. I enjoyed an interesting discussion and it was free.
    – My boss had a milestone birthday, and his wife threw a party at work on Saturday night. Dinner and drinks were provided. It was a lot of fun, and I got to spend some relaxed time with my coworkers.
    – One of my coworkers put together a gag gift for my boss and we split the cost. We also made a funny video for him, which he loved.

    That’s all I can think of now. Hope everyone has a great week!

  23. I have suddenly lost a needed job before and it is difficult. Hang in there! I’m sure I am not the only one praying for you and your family. Trish

  24. Sam’s Club’s grated mozzarella in the 5-pound bag is usually under $2.30 a pound. I won’t pay more than $2.50 a pound for mozzarella. I don’t know if you’ve looked at it, but you can freeze what you won’t use for 2 people and save a lot more money on your cheese bill!

    We have a gratee attachment for our Kitchen Aid, and we use it almost every day. It goes very quickly and is much easier than using a box grater. Today I am using it to grate soap for laundry detergent.

  25. Love the table scape! Nothing like free foliage to make the house look festive. I tried to save money last week but unexpected issues came up. On the way to dentist, a big, black, heavy metal “something” came flying off of a flat bed truck I was at least 1 car length behind and hit the windshield-shattering the lower driver’s side. If it hit any higher, there might have been other problems-like a hospital bill for me-or worse. Gifted half of the bill from MIL. Here is my frugal list:
    -Ate spaghetti dinner with chocolate pound cake at inlaws for BIL”s birthday and brought leftovers home.
    -Shared some of my coop box with inlaws of the fruits and veggies we don’t eat or already have enough of.
    -Made 4 pints of pear butter to give as Christmas gifts-thinking of baking some pumpkin bread to accompany it.
    -Made pots of chili and hamb/veggie soup- eating on them this week since DH is out of town on a business trip.
    -Stayed home this year instead of going with DH on his yearly business trip to San Francisco. Saving money for our trip to Disney World in March for Herbie’s 50th anniversary.
    – Made some mixes from stock in pantry: pancake/waffle mix, cream of chicken and beef mixes
    -Dehydrated some green peppers.
    -Prepared some okra for frying and put it in freezer.
    -Didn’t turn on the heater when temps got down into the night. We sleep better when it is cooler.
    -Took back some items to get refund due to I really didn’t need them after all.
    -Received a $200 bonus for working thru the blackout days with out any absences and a $40.74 profit sharing check.
    – Used Swagbuck points to get another WalMart gift card for Christmas shopping.
    -Won a $10 gift card for a costume contest for Octoberfest.
    Hope everyone has a blessed week!!

  26. Hi everyone,
    Counting the days until my daughter’s surgery. Spent a lot of time getting details together for that including carpools.
    Cleaned out two freezer. Made 4 freezer meals that we can heat and eat.
    Trying to figure out what to do with 4 gallons of frozen peaches that didn’t involve a lot of sugar.
    Using scrip to buy gas and groceries. School gets a % and I get % for tuition. Even just with those small expenses it adds up. However it makes more sense to use target red card on debit card than % we get back.
    Sent in Nielsen thing for $10. We will see.
    Gifted green onions, pjs, soon to expire otc meds, and uniforms to others who could use.
    Carpooling for play practice.
    Wrote a long overdue post for blog. Hoping to convert to affiliate links.
    Comparing insurance plans for next fiscal year due to all the physical therapy we’ll need.
    Have a blessed week!

  27. I just love your photos, Brandy! Thank you for sharing.

    The most frugal thing I did this week was to hire one of my high school students to help me for the day. He lives on a farm and is a hard worker. With my shoulder hurt and winter sneaking up, I needed help. Now I have a clear yard ( wood, brush and such), a garden spot laid out for the blueberry and blackberries next year, fencing put away, rocks hauled down so I can expand my gardens on a hillside ( I’m making stone wall terraces…we “grow” stone here!), a stone path laid, gutter cleaned, more kindling cut, and a bit more of the field is cut! I don’t often meet youngsters (other than my own children) who can keep pace with me. It was delightful and a bargain. I think I’ll have him back in the spring if I need to. There is just more than my son and I can do – especially with my son’s schedule. Besides, he has a list of his own he is trying accomplish around school and AFROTC…splitting wood and building fence being the major items on his list.

    I have started back with insane abs DVD workout. I bought the same DVD for my daughter now that she has moved, so we keep each other going. It’s too easy to get busy and off schedule.

    One of my goals is to he more productive with my time. Last year I worked at being home (where I want to be) more. Now that I’m thankfully working, I really do hate to be gone for times other than work. There are only a very few reasons I will venture out and about. Online shopping is a real blessing for the few items we buy. Since my workplace is having conflict (not involving me, but tense enough to be uncomfortable), I’m not staying around any longer than necessary. More time at home.

    I found 3 more pennies for the change container. Continue to have a lower electric bill, brought organic blue chips and some salsa to a potluck work lunch that had too much food and was able to take my chips and salsa home for dinner. I found yet another bin of clothing to sort. I was hoping that my clothing was around somewhere as I’m just one tight size from my goal and I’d like to wear my clothes again. I also organized a container of food and am able to send some back with my husband to eat up and have lots to eat myself. It was all bought on extreme discount /sale, but I need to get it out to eat!

    My other best frugal savings was to put a book in the “save-for-later” spot on amazon that I really want to read and own a few (yes, probably three) years ago. It dropped to less than 5.00 and I snatched it up for my present under the tree. We each get a book for Christmas ; however, I usually buy them throughout the year for very little or find for free. I met the author of this maritime historical account and am delighted to finally get to read it!

    Happy frugal-ing friends!

  28. Brandy- how terrific to still have your garden producing! Ours is finishing up for the season, still some kale and onions to harvest but we have already had two big frosts!
    This has been another good week! More Scrappy Bags and flannel Softies sold this week through our http://handmadeinoldetowne.com/ Owebsite! Each sale means my sewing room is getting decluttered from the overabundance of fabric stash I have which helps my sewing room get more organized! Definitely going to enjoy the additional space (although I still haven’t noticed a decrease in my fabric stash!! I may need to keep sewing these for the next 10 years to decrease my stash!! Lol!
    I dehydrated 5 pounds of chopped celery I bought for $1 and vacuum sealed it in a half gallon mason jar! That will be used when celery is out of season and expensive! I love the convenience that doing this gives me!

    I just made another batch of cookie mix, ranch dressing mix, Italian dressing mix and brown sugar! I use those so often and am thrilled not to have them on my grocery list any more!
    We have been eating from our pantry, fridge and freezer rather than going to the grocery store and it’s amazing how many tasty things we can make! Not same-old, same-old at all!! It’s been like a game to see how long we can go without buying anything but milk and a bit of fresh fruit! All meals made at home this week, thanks to my crockpot and also my Instant Pot!!!
    The weather here in Ohio if definitely cooler and fall/winter is here! I’ve been making lots of soups/stews and baking more! That’s one of the things I love about this time of the year- all the baking and wonderful smells that come from the garden!!
    Our chickens are still blessing us with eggs every day and we haven’t had to buy any for over 18 months now!!!
    I’m ready for the clocks to be turned back though! I find that I sleep in later when it’s dark out in the morning!
    Added to our savings and paid down a hospital bill when I zero-ed out our bank balance as our new paycheck direct deposit came in! It’s surprising how those little extra amounts add up!!!
    All in all, a very blessed week! Hope all of you have also found blessings around you as you continue on the frugal path!! You all inspire me!!

  29. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :).

    Brandy your flower gardens are going to look divine and well done on saving so much on your electricity prices as it all certainly adds up over the year.

    Fantastic news here is that we got our home loan from the bank and we will put down a 36.85% deposit on it from money we had saved. The owners had the home on the market for some time and then reduced the price by $50 000 as they had no lookers on it at all. Of course we jumped on it and organised an inspection straight away since similar properties in the area on slightly smaller 1 acre blocks of land were selling for $230 000. We paid under $200 000 for it and our home is on 1.21 acres of land so I have to say that it was a true steal at the price we purchased it for :). Our settlement is on the 10th of December and we will be moving soon afterwards into our forever home.

    As would be expected not a lot got done again this week with running backwards and forwards to solicitor’s office, buying a new to us second car, organising surveyors and pest and building inspections.

    Our Vicky challenge last week added up to $7829.75 in savings :).

    General house buying madness –
    – Went happily crackers filling out lots of forms for the house, new car and getting quotes on house, contents and car insurance.

    Finances/ listings/car purchase/land surveying –
    – Listed 15 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $24.75 on usual listing fees.
    – Negotiated an offer to buy our home and saved $7000 on the listed purchase price.
    – DH did his negotiating and managed to save another $255 on land surveying and pest and building inspection previously quoted prices.
    – We purchased a new to us Ford Territory as we are going to be out of town on roads with kangaroos and for towing firewood and manures with. I negotiated the price down by $550 on the listed price in the car yard.

    Home organisation for moving –
    – Broke down the old falling apart wardrobes and took 3 shelving units and some heart swags I made to the Endeavour shop for a donation and took the broken down wardrobes to the tip for disposal. We had replaced the old shelves with new shelves a couple of weeks ago and this will give us less to move.

    In the gardens –
    – Weeded all the front garden beds, pruned grape vines and mulched all garden beds with saved dried grass clippings and dried leaves from the yard to save on Lucerne prices and to use up the lawn clippings here.
    – Picked lots of English lavender from the gardens to dry for sale on the internet and some for the home.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).


  30. * I gave the craft fair door prize winner the option of delivering her prize to her at home or meeting her halfway, and she agreed to meet halfway.
    * I did laundry while house sitting for family.
    * I took walks outside for free and got some sunshine and exercise.
    * I scheduled two meetings back-to-back to save time, money, gas, and stress. 🙂
    * I used what we had at home to make chicken, rice, corn, and green bean soup for a potluck.
    * Saturday I cooked several meals at once to save time and electricity. 🙂
    * Friday I went grocery shopping and purchased whole chickens, canned pumpkin, my husband’s favorite juice, and much more on sale. In addition, I used a coupon given to me by my thoughtful aunt. Overall, I saved over $30!
    * I gladly made my husband’s lunches and breakfasts for him every morning.

  31. Lately my frugal accomplishments have also included spending as we are embarking on several home improvements after years of planning and saving, but whenever I spend I try to find the most economical solution to whatever it is that I need. I recently purchased two end tables at a store I don’t usually shop at, and I asked at the register if there were any discounts available. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least ask. They had a coupon that they scanned for me to save $30 off my purchase! Then, I returned an item I had purchased at a discount at another store, and the cashier had a problem processing the return. It kept coming up at full price. I kept saying, that’s more than I paid, it’s not right. And she kept trying to fix it but it wouldn’t fix, so the manager came over and finally opted to return it at the full price for my inconvenience. I told them it wasn’t necessary but I was grateful. I ‘made money’ on the return, which brought down the price on the rest items in my original purchase. I redeemed $70 in cash rewards from another store to ‘buy’ some replacement kitchen items and a few decorations at no cost to me. I found a rug I loved at Target, but couldn’t fit it in my car, so I ordered it online and ended up saving $20 and getting free shipping. The item was cheaper online than in the store! So yes, I spent money, but I saved and planned for quite some time to get what I needed at the best possible prices, and I was replacing items that we purchased used on Craigslist many years ago. And I love my new room! Aside from those savings, I cut my son’s hair, did my own nails, dyed my own hair, waxed my own legs and shopped our pantry for this week’s meals.

  32. Went to the thrift store today for their 1$ yellow tag sale. Got 59.95 of clothing( at thrift store prices) for hubby for 5$. A pair of banana republic jeans, 3 flannel shirts and a fleece pullover.
    Only spent 10.02 last week on groceries for milk, bread, ice cream and sour cream. Used up lots of leftovers. Today I repurposed the last of the pumpkin custard into muffins for tomorrow. Made beef stew from some leftover steak, garden veggies and frozen tomato sauce.
    Wrapped a birthday gift for a granddaughter in saved wrappings from last year’s gifts.
    Stayed home and caught up on some household chores while hubby did yard work. The garden is done. We have lots of winter squash and apples in the garage.
    My daughter sent half a gallon of Vermont maple syrup for my birthday. I bought a new waffle iron at the thrift store for 1$. We’ve been enjoying banana pancakes and waffles made with frozen bananas.

  33. What a lovely floral arrangement! Thanks for posting the info for the music note practice site/app. I may have my son check it out.

    Our Frugal Efforts

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals including burrito bowls; chicken pot pie; omelettes; broccoli cheese soup; sweet potato, red onion, kale and rosemary pizza; and leftovers. We also had one meal of hot dogs, salad, and chips at a scouting event.

    * Made 5 loaves of bread and some peanut butter.

    * Harvested bell peppers, two kinds of other peppers (don’t know the varieties), three tomatoes, green beans, and another butternut squash.

    * Continued to process apples, making applesauce and apple butter. (Frugal Fail: When putting the newly processed apples into the pantry, I pulled out some jars of applesauce that had been canned in 2015. They were pretty scary and went straight out to the garbage cans. It was sad enough to lose the food, but the worst part of the situation was losing the jars. Still, I didn’t want to risk food poisoning, so they were tossed. Lesson learned: Be sure to rotate your stock!)

    * Gave all non-scary food scraps to the chickens or the compost pile.

    * Let out the hem of a pair of pajama bottoms for my son. He’s grown about 4″ in as many months.

    * Cleaned a sluggish drain w/ baking soda, vinegar, and the hot water left over from canning.

    * Saved the seeds from a cantaloupe.

    * Made homemade “iced vanilla latte” for son to take with him to a school event so he didn’t have to buy the expensive items from the snack bar.

    * Brought home two salad dressings, catsup, mustard, hot dog buns, 4 hot dogs, and a partial jug of OJ from the scouting event.

    * Hubs mended a spoon rest that I managed to break.

    Have a great week, everyone! I’m off to read the others’ comments.

  34. That is wonderful that you took 8 kids to a concert. These days, too many parents won’t even try, and thus lose the opportunity to teach young kids proper concert ettiquette. We found that, with planning, talking about it beforehand, and a good bit of effort on our part during the event, preschoolers and even toddlers could learn the benefits of good behavior in quiet, formal events. People were amazed, and the kids were proud of themselves. Kids learn by doing.

  35. The thought of scorpions gives me the screaming heebie jeebies! I have enough problems squishing spiders; I think I would burn down the house if I came across a scorpion! Good for you for being brave enough to dispatch it without loosing your home.

    Last week, I:

    [/list]traded my mending services for two nice steaks! It’s rewarding to do a favour for the local butcher.
    [list]worked on reducing our energy consumption using some of the items from a free energy saving kit I ordered from our electrical provider
    [list]brought in the last of our firewood (I hope!)
    [list]and made a cake using an on-sale cake mix and a can of pop I had in my fridge. It sounded crazy so I had to try it. It was pretty good and I saved the cost of butter and eggs.
    We are really having to tighten our belts over the next couple of months, so I really appreciate the tips and advice I find here.
    Have a great week everyone!

  36. I love the arrangement. I recently used a squash just like that. I just sliced it into thin wedges and stir-fried it along with some other veggies. It was great.

    The week was odd, with many doctor’s appointments of various sorts for my husband. We managed, but ended up juggling some of our work hours, which always throws my schedule off.

    It was out turn to feed the college-aged kids at church. We made our own giant sub sandwich, using 5 loaves of French bread. Pictures are on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-october-21-2018/. I was pleased at how it came out, and it’s a great, inexpensive idea for a party or when feeding a group.

    I worked in the garden every chance I got. It sounds like you did, too, Brandy! I’m appalled at your spider/scorpion story. We don’t have a lot of those kinds of critters here, thank goodness. Scary! However, Sunday morning, extremely early, our yard light kept coming off and on, off and on. When I went and investigated, I saw a skunk in our semi-enclosed back porch, tearing up a bag of bird seed. Who knew? I’m very glad it didn’t spray, and cleaned up that bird seed completely after church.

    I’ve picked and canned the last of the ripe tomatoes into pizza/pasta sauce and pulled most of the bushes. I still have the green ones to make into Salsa Verde.

    We’ve needed hardly any regular groceries for the past 2 Fridays, so I ordered some bulk items from Azure Standard, and we went to a farm stand and got a bunch of produce, including 25 lbs. of onions, cauliflower, potatoes, and peppers. I cannot believe we have used almost ever single onion I grew, either in canning I did, or in meals. I felt like we had grown quite a few! I froze 16 quart-sized bags of cauliflower from 4 enormous heads of cauliflower we bought, and we still have some to eat fresh in the fridge from those same 4 heads!

    My daughter went to the homecoming dance on Saturday. She wore the dress I sewed, and it fitted well and looked nice. I was asked to post pictures, and we finally got some good ones the day of the dance. So they are on: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/patsys-dress/
    I’m really happy it turned out.

    We also helped at a 4H bake sale fund-raiser. The kids had fun, and we have now met our volunteer requirements for the entire year.

  37. Stephanie,
    A few years ago Cook’s Illustrated did a comparison of real vanilla and fake; they had to reluctantly admit there was not any distinguishable difference between the two regarding flavor performance. I realize the fake stuff has chemicals and the real is natural, but for me there are times that I will grab the immitation over the real. I gift handmade vanilla sugar cubes during the holidays and I could not afford to gift them if I strictly adhered to the real.

  38. Brandy, so glad we don’t have scorpions and deadly spiders around here. I sure hope that bug spray helps, and quickly too! I’m sure that making extra is quite difficult for you, considering the quantities you need just for one meal. However, I hope by having leftovers for lunch the next day is working well for your family. Having food ready to go for school lunches must be a huge time saver for everyone in the morning! I hope your children all enjoyed the free concert outing.

    This past week was a whirlwind of appointments and scheduled events. We made it through. Now I have a list of things I need to do at home for this week, like preserving the apples, pears and pumpkin before they go bad. Hopefully I don’t burn the pumpkin purees this time! This week, our family’s frugal accomplishments are:
    *Meals made at home included canned soup from the pantry with homemade garlic bread (hubby request), breaded chicken fingers/burgers with Kraft dinner and corn (DD request), chicken low mien stir-fry with veggie spring rolls, eggs Florentine (mom & I home alone…daddy took DD to McD’s), boiled eggs with baked beans, white rice, and leftover corn (mom and I home alone again…DD volunteered at Spaghetti dinner and hubby working), and homemade macaroni & cheese casserole.
    *Stock up deals this week included: Soy sauce 4 @ $1/bottle (normally pay $1.88/bottle), broccoli 8 @ $0.98/bunch and 4 @ $1.27/bunch (needed more for freezer), Cheeze Whiz 8 @ $2.77/jar (hubby & DD request), carrots 2 @ $0.88/3lb bag (for fresh eating/Guinea Pig), ladies deodorant 12 @ $1.99 (stock was low), Kraft Dinner $5.97/12 box pack, potatoes $1.97/10lb bag, Gobstoppers candy 4 @ $0.50/box (added to candy stash for stockings & Easter baskets), and cream cheese 5 @ $2/tub (assorted flavours).
    *My mom prepared 4 regular sized and 1 smaller sized unbaked apple pies for the freezer. We pull and bake these as needed for holidays or other occasions throughout the year.
    *Cut, steam blanched and froze 11 bunches of broccoli. Broccoli is being requested a lot lately, so when it went on sale, I stocked up again!
    *Frugal fail: I burned the pumpkin while trying to cook it into puree. So mad it happened! At least I was able to roast the pumpkin seeds without burning them.
    *Reorganized the shelf of home-canned goods in the basement, took mental note of what was there, and moved some to the kitchen cabinets for easier access.
    *Attended my monthly Weaver’s and Spinner’s guild meeting. Enjoyed learning about a weaving technique in the weaver’s study group (we meet before the general meeting). Afterwards, we had fun creating Christmas ornaments that will be used to decorate a charity Christmas tree (the trees are auctioned off as a fundraiser).
    *Had my eyes examined this week. It was covered under our health care, as I am diabetic (diet controlled). I only paid $20 OOP for a special photo they take of the back of the eye. My “cheater glasses” prescription (for reading fine print) has changed, but all I need is a set of cheap reader glasses from the dollar store.
    *When to “teacher’s night” at DD’s school. She only has 1 credit course this semester with the rest of her class time in LLS (life & learning skills class). DD still has things she needs to work on, but everyone is well aware of her disability. We are grateful DD’s credit course art teach also has a daughter on the autism spectrum, so she really gets what we are up against. All her teachers understand these issues are difficult to change and will need time & consistency to address them. I talked to DD about some things that came up, so we will see if it helps with her more aware of the issues (at least one can hope, anyways). Huge difference from last year, though!!!!
    *We attended a baby shower on Sunday for a family friend. My mom went a bit crazy with buying things, some on sale, some not, but all various sizes the baby can grow into, plus a nice blanket. I restrained myself and spent close to $10 for my portion of the gift…a really beautiful tunic style dress, 12-18 month size, on clearance for $5 and a cute giraffe plush baby toy for $3. I would have considered making something, but I’ve been just too busy to carve out the time to do it. We decided to package it all up in 1 gift with all our names on it (mom, DD and I), instead of buying multiple cards and bags. It was a nice afternoon of visiting with friends.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  39. Brandy,
    I’m sure you already know, but the LibriVox app will allow you to down load whole books or chapters to listen on your phone. I listen while driving through the Bluetooth on my car also. When I finish the book, I delete it. By downloading and deleting over the WiFi at home I do not incur data usage.

    I cooked down chicken thighs in the crockpot. When leg quarters go on sale around .35-.40# I purchase a few #10 bags. When I get home I separate the legs from the thighs and throw the legs into ziplock bags with various marinades(buffalo, Lemon pepper, bbq..) and the thighs in other bags. I am lazy and thighs only have one bone so by slow cooking then for shredded chicken it is easier and I am rewarded with a rich stock as well.

    The last of the tomatoes are being enjoyed. It is time to put in the fall veggies. I am taking a master Gardner’s class through my Parish’s (Louisiana does not have counties) extension office. I learning so much. It’s like a college course with the information, well worth my time and the $150.

    Have a great week everyone!!

  40. I know I need to exercise and I like your easy way of finding time. We went on a color tour and went down 300 steps to a waterfall on Sunday. I have been in pain every since. Exercise is key!
    I have been watching our electrical use after reading your post and only use the one bulb in the bathroom instead of the large 4 bulb lighting. I’m also starting to use our toaster oven again instead of the big oven.

    Here are the rest of my frugal accomplishments: https://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2018/10/my-frugal-ways-this-week-102118.html

  41. Brandy,
    Tough woman you are, dealing with all those scary insects. Luckily we don’t have those here in the Netherlands. And no hurricanes and earthquakes either, actually a very boring country, hahaha ! Lucky me for living in this boring country!
    – My husband chipped 1000 traditional yellow bricks clean. They were leftover from building our veranda 2 years ago. We put them on the internet to sell, a little under the price and sold them the same day. (that is the first pocked money for my husband to celebrate carnival in February).
    – Also put some winter tires on the internet. Somebody gave them to us to use on our own car but they don’t fit. (I am planning to put my husband’s boxing gloves and skipping rope for sale too, as his boxing days are over. He turned out to be not so talented ….no… it was just for fun that he and his buddies did some boxing years ago)
    – In our family chat group I asked one of my sisters about the Bukashi Bucket they use to make compost (about how to use it and where to buy it), she offered us one of their two buckets. It is to make compost of your kitchen scraps, as we do no longer have chicken to eat our scraps I want to try this. It also gives you a liquid manure to use in the vegetable garden.
    – Mended jeans of two of my kids, and made shorts from a pair of jeans for my brother in law.
    -Went to an organic butcher on a market on our way home from a dentist appointment to try some of his products.
    – tomorrow my husband an I are going on a day trip to Amsterdam to the Rijksmuseum. We both been there once with school a long time ago. We’ll take coffee and sandwiches with us and eat a snack on the AlbertCuijp market (very famous). Husband sorted out what the cheapest way is to park and go into Amsterdam with public transport. So we’ll park outside Amsterdam, as parking in the city is very expensive. We won the tickets on a lottery so entrance is free.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  42. Every morning I have spent time on Duo Lingo. In the past 20 days, I have earned about 2,600 words in Italian. My goal is to get up to about 6,000 words but don’t know if it’s possible. As the day warmed up, I sat outside and sorted through some boxes of papers. I saw a Mountain Chickadee which is rare in my yard and today I managed to get a photo. we are supposed to have a week of sunny weather so I hope to get a lot of sorting done.

    I was sad not to go to Andrea Bocelli’s concert in Montreal due to cost of the concert, the airplane flight hotel etc. So I was thrilled to discover that someone used an iPhone 8 to film some of the concert and put it on You Tube. I bought two cds –– on for me and one for a niece for Christmas. They should arrive any moment. Bocelli’s new cd was really reasonably priced at the time I pre-ordered it.

    I washed out some garden pots so I could put them in recycling.

    I was worried that my handibus pass might not be renewed but after the interview the lady renewed it for 3 years. That makes my life so much easier. It’s cheaper too. I went for an mri at our new hospital which would have cost me$200 by cab (it’s that far distant from me) but on handibus 2 bus tickets = $6. I am SO relieved.

    I have to get new eye glasses and discovered one of the stores has a financing arrangement so I’ll use it for the balance not covered by my insurance plans which will be directly billed. Unfortunately, the coatings on my present pair have crazed so I am looking through a cloud. Unfortunately I only have one pair and no spare. I never had the coatings on the lenses craze before but it is because I was wearing them into the shower (because of the broken arm, I felt safer that way) and the hot water destroyed them.

    I could get a pair for about a third of the price from Montreal but they will not fill progressives online without a personal visit. I was tempted to go hear Bocelli as the difference of price would have paid for my airfare. It is a Canadian law to have a personal fitting but ironically I could get them from an American online company. The problem is the online doesn’t direct bill. I am trying to order frames (no lenses) online but haven’t come across my size and even so different companies have different sizes with the same measurement. So frustrating!

    I hope to plant some of the seeds I bought for 25 cents a package at the rock garden society. I will plant them directly outside now that our early snow has melted.

  43. I used the last of the good seasons salad dressing packets that I had gotten for free. I made Brandy’s balsalmic orange vinaigrette. I did use red wine vinegar and no orange flavoring. Delicious and no cost to make. The next day I ran out of mayonnaise. I used this recipe: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/159507/whole-egg-mayonnaise/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=Search&clickId=cardslot%201
    Delicious and no cost to make. Saves me $6.29 for a jar at the grocery store. We’ve been homeshopping and not having too much luck for what we were pre approved for. We can afford a nice home in an area where many people dont take care of their homes or properties. We dont want that so we will keep looking. DH got it in his head that we can have a home built. So we went to all the new developments and discovered we cant afford it. We went to one builder and they convinced us we could, and if we went through their lender, they’d pay the closing costs, yada yada yada. Well we were approved but when we went back the next day to pick out a spot, the monthly payments had changed. Even though the new payment was reachable……from my experience, mortgages go up, even 30 year fixed ones do. Also from my experience, unexpected things happen and your income can decrease at an instant. I was able to convince dh that this wasnt such a great idea and now we are still looking. By the time we find something, we’ll have more money saved up! I used the apps and coupons for a lot of the things I picked up at the grocery store. I did an audit that I got paid for and was able to keep a dozen eggs. I used my walgreens rewards and cvs extracare bucks for some needed items. I sure wish those stores sold fresh fruit and veggies!!!

  44. Hello all! It has been a while since I have posted frugal accomplishments, but I always look for a post on Monday to see what everyone is doing to save money while making life beautiful! My frugal accomplishments, not necessarily for this week only, have included the following:
    1. Turning off all lights and appliances when not in use. We moved from a 1400 square foot home with gas to a 2500 sq. foot home that is all electric. The first two bills were 267 and 287. I’ve budgeted 300, but I really want to get that number down, so I’m doing everything I can think of to get it down at the moment. We had a programmable thermostat in this house with no idea how to use it, so I went online and watched a youtube video and learned how to program it so now it is set at 85 when no one is here. We will see how much this helps. We also adjusted the heat on one of the water heaters (We have 2!) because the previous owners had the water extremely hot and that just used more electricity. The other water heater is going to require us to move the fridge, washer, and dryer to get to it, so we will have to do that one some other time.
    2. Cooked at home.
    3. My husband has gotten into leather working. He made 50.00 yesterday for making a sheath for a coworker’s fishing knife. He buys his leather with a 40% coupon from Hobby Lobby to keep the price down. He make them by hand and I must say, he is doing a wonderful job. He has watched tutorials on youtube to learn how to do certain processes and he is getting better everyday.
    4. Bought a beautiful antique couch for the sitting area of my bedroom for 15.00 at an auction. No one wanted to bid on it and it was a perfect match to our room, so we got it.
    5. Cleaned the filters in the air units. Hopefully this will help them run more efficiently.
    6. The previous owners, as part of the selling agreement, agreed to pay for the master bathroom’s floor to be fixed. My husband and the previous owner, (we happen to be friends) went Saturday to purchase all of the material and my husband will fix it himself and keep the price of labor. (We had an estimate done by someone and the previous owner agreed to pay my husband that amount in labor costs plus costs of the material)

    I’m sure there is a lot more, but this will be all I can do for now. Have a blessed week!

  45. Although we don’t get scorpions here in the Midwest, we do get spiders and other creepy-crawlies and it is time for us to spray, too. We will be taking advantage of Menards 11% rebate special this week to get some spray and spray around the house.

    My husband got his flu shot for free at the CVS inside of Target and received a $5.00 coupon in return. Along with a merchandise return gift card, I was able to get our vitamins for free.

    I made bone broth in the slow cooker from bones we had in the freezer. I made Olive Garden’s copycat recipe for Zuppa Toscana. The recipe called for 1 pound of Italian sausage but I only used ¾. There was no noticeable difference in the soup. I cooked the rest of the sausage separately and froze it for pizza.

    We found boneless skinless chicken breasts for 99 cents per pound. We bought 10 pounds and froze them into dinner-size portions. My husband and I usually share one chicken breast for dinner.

    My husband made spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker. I am so glad he like to cook!

    We have started a new habit that has been saving us money. Every Friday we take the cash out that we need for the week for groceries, gas, etc., and leave our debit cards at home. It has helped us to stay within our budget as we are being more intense about paying down debt.

    We have also been putting money away for expenses that we know we will have, a little bit from every paycheck. My husband’s phone needed replaced this week and we were able to pay cash for it. This is not something that we have always been able to do.

  46. Congrats on the new home, Lorna! How nice it will be for you to celebrate Christmas there this year. I look forward to hearing all about how you set up the new property for gardening, and organizing the house to make it work for you and your husband!

  47. We spent a much needed weekend away. The weekend wasn’t particularly frugal, but it could have been much worse. Got to see a traditional Indian Baraat (groom’s wedding procession) at the hotel. Brought a bottle of wine to enjoy in the room/ at the pool, but did have some drinks in the bar downstairs as they had things we wished to try. Ate appetizers and desserts one night rather than full dinners as dessert looked more interesting. We were coming from 2 different cities (in opposite directions) so we had 2 cars, and parking at the hotel was $30 a night for EACH car on top of the high room rate. We are strategizing how to do it next time for less.

    Our animal sitter refused payment for the weekend as she needed SAE project hours for FFA. I put the money aside to give her as a Christmas bonus. Have another FFA student coming to do a major fall clean out/ winter prep of the chicken coop for his hours. Continued cleaning out the pantry. Ate out for Mexican one night, but deliberately took half home to eat for another meal. For our colleagues’ lunch this week, I’m bringing buttered boiled carrots and potatoes. My yard guy wanted a ride to a town an hour and a half away to go see his mother. I agreed to take him after work in exchange for a week of free mowing/weeding. Called my sister on the trip home (hands free devices) and caught her during her commute so we got to talk uninterrupted.

    Did some more house hunting (looking for a floorplan as we are going to build), I think we finally found one that we like and has what we need, but isn’t too ridiculously big. Only minor changes needed to make it work for us and we still have a room for my mother if/when she needs it.

    Called the fire department because one of my smoke detectors went off. Found out that they go bad/expire! Regularly checking the batteries is good, but the detectors themselves need to be replaced every 8 – 10 years – even the hardwired ones.

  48. Lorna, congratulations on the new home 🙂 All that saving finally paid off! I am curious – what will you be doing with all the plants/gardens you already have established at your current home? Can you take things with or do you have to start over from scratch?

  49. Love the pics! I made a vegetarian breakfast strata, using spinach, leftover potato, leftover carrots, the last of an onion, ends of cheese etc. It is delicious and has been my breakfast for the past couple of days.! I made tomato soup again (my fav) using the Tightwad Gazette recipe. I made jalapeno pinto bean hummus (which tastes suspiciously like a kicked up refried beans recipe….lol) and regular hummus with chickpeas. They are ok, and were cheap to make. I am doing my usual of wearing thrifted clothes, doing my own nails, etc. My electric bill came in and was $44 dollars, so I was pleased, since I had used no air nor heat in my 912 sq ft all electric house. I broke a pair of reading glasses but since I am fortunate enough to be able to wear reading glasses from Dollar General, I was able to easily replace them. I am the pianist at church. The piano I have is at my son’s place. When I visit him once a week, I practice there. That is called killing two birds with one stone, as my momma always said. I Y’all have a blessed week!

  50. I lost my job during the Great Recession. I know how hard and scary it is, and I sent you my thoughts and prayers.

  51. Beautiful arrangement! I admire that you can listen in another language during your morning, I listen to the Golden Girls on the tv, but mostly just as a way to keep track of my time.

    Last minute birthday invite (2 days) for a relative we adore but realized we don’t know much about to pick out a gift. With 36 hours left to until the party, I had my husband help me come up with personal wording (that would reflect the giftee) and I embroidered that saying with some flowers using a variety of stitches. Thread, linen, and hoop were all in my stash (previously purchased from thrift stores). It was well received.

    I added another gift to my Christmas stash on the cheap thanks to Ebay.

    I canned a small batch of hot pepper jelly using the peppers from my garden.

    I’ve turned off the heating/cooling unit during the day and had windows open when it was warm enough. This saves electric not having just the uncooled/unheated air being circulated with the units fan. The electric bill has dropped $25.

    Stay positive!

  52. A friend works for a tech company doing car stuff. In exchange for recording us driving for 30 minutes each, my husband and l earned $200. Months ago, we filled out a rebate form and l realized we never received the refund. I went through my husband’s email (with permission) and found the $200 gift card in his spam folder. This is an enormous help since we just paid a large plumbing bill.
    We have eaten all meals at home and l mended several pieces of clothing this week.

  53. – I attended an out of town business meeting and won 2 Starbucks cards and 1 iTunes card which I will save for Christmas gifts
    – Meal planned and cut out all the junk food which saves both our wallet and our waists.
    – Will take leftovers for lunches all week.
    – Husband was able to find a new way to fill an expensive prescription at a significant savings by talking with a physician on chat instead of in person.
    – We had a pot luck at church on Sunday and I took home some leftover ham which I will put in today’s ham and bean soup.
    – A friend at work lent me a book by a new to me author.
    – My car needed oil and I was able to scrounge for enough in the garage so as not to buy some until next time.
    – My son came over to do his laundry and I repaired a pair of his torn pants.
    – My husband and I converted an unused 2×4 that was taking up space in our garage into a set of blocks for my Granddaughter’s Christmas present.
    – My work had a free lunch for employees one day last week.
    – The weather here can’t decided if it wants heat or air conditioning. So we keep opening and shutting the windows and that has been enough to keep it comfortable in the house.
    – I tried on my winter coat from last year and it is still in good condition and still fits so I will use it again this year.
    – Someone at work gave away coffee beans they didn’t like and I like them fine so gladly said yes.

  54. Beautiful pictures. I have started growing flowers but I typically only have enough for a small vase. I am trying to bring in as many as I can before frost kills them all.

    I hurt my ankle so have not gone many places which means not spending much money. I did go to Kroger and found a lot of deals. They were all items I was wanting or hadn’t been able to get from another store. All were marked down so I saved a lot of money.

    We went camping in the Great Smoky Mountains. Aside from gas we didn’t spend much. Unfortunately we couldn’t do any hiking and the leaves were still green but overall it was a nice relaxing weekend.

  55. Megan, if you look, there aren’t a lot of flowers in this arrangement. I didn’t have a lot ready in the garden. I used a lot of greenery instead to fill out the vase–tree branches, basil, and sweet potato vine. I think I will be doing this a lot in the future as I often don’t have enough flowers ready at one time. I am hoping to have more success next year with a larger number of flowers. This year’s plantings were very unsuccessful for some reason (failure to germinate) but hopefully, next year will be better. Still, I will plant more basil for greenery as it also flowers (the tiny purple flowers) and it grows beautifully for me!

  56. I had a huge frugal fail in that the pressure gauge on my pressure cooker broke! Since I’m still in need of a new stove, this was not good news. I’m now cooking only with the two-burner drop in cook top and in my microwave, which has a convection oven option. Now if those will just hold up, I can wait to shop for a good deal on a stove after getting the okay on my electrical issues after the hurricane. I’ve contacted the manufacturer of the pressure cooker and asked for a free replacement, since the cooker is only 15-16 months old.
    However, we have not eaten out or ordered in, so that’s a win. I do have a crock pot, but since my outlets in my kitchen don’t work either, I have to plug it in another room, and my husband is not a big fan of too many crock pot meals. He likes very few casseroles and one pot dishes.

    I have another bag of bones with which to make bone broth — it makes the house smell so good. Since it finally cooled off a little, I don’t mind cooking as much.

    I found two very nice thick, 100% cotton hand towels in great condition at the thrift store for $1.99. They are very nearly the exact shade of lavender to go with my bath towels for the master bath. A spin in the washer and they are good to go.

    I hope to plant onions and cabbages soon — November is the time in north Florida for onions to be planted. I did a last fertilization on my Meyer lemon tree and was happy to see the lemons hung on through the storm.

    I hope to find really good deals on supplies needed for hurricane relief so I can send as much as possible with our limited funds. So much is needed west of me for so many and there are babies, children, the elderly, and pets who need specific items as well. Please think about donating to reputable charities if you can. Imagine having your home, belongings, job site, schools, day cares, grocery stores, and gas stations wiped out or rendered un-reparable. My husband is insulin dependent — imagine if refrigeration for his insulin, and his insulin pump supplies were gone and the pharmacies gone,too – it’s awful to think about. Thank you everyone who has or will help the hard-hit people in West Florida.

  57. Your fall table arrangement is so beautiful! I love how you made use of those split pomegranites. Reading your frugal accomplishments (and those of your readers) inspires me every week.
    Temperatures plunged into the teens at night here, finishing off the tomatoes. I stripped all the green ones and brought them inside.
    I knitted two more scarves for Christmas gifts.
    I managed to stay out of the grocery store for two weeks – always a good way to save money, but had to do a little shopping this week. I was able to find stew meat and chicken breasts in the mark-down bin, and pork loin chops on sale, as well as ice cream for 99 cents for a quart and a half.
    I made a batch of hot cocoa mix.
    I donated a bag of items to the Humane Society Thrift store and got a receipt for my taxes. On the same trip to the thrift store we found new salt and pepper shakers (which I have been looking for for two years!), a puzzle, a couple of heavy drinking glasses, and a bag of Christmas ornaments.
    I harvested parsnips, lettuce, and collard greens from the garden. Some of the green tomatoes I picked last week have started to ripen, so we’ve enjoyed those.
    We went hiking and I picked rose hips and made three pints of rose hip syrup.

  58. Hello Frugal Friends,

    I am always amazed at the ways you all save!

    – We are moving so I am trying to do as many repairs to our current home ourselves. I painted my son’s room. We found a light to replace a broken one at a place called Habitat Restore. They take old items from homes and resell for Habitat for Humanity. The light worked perfectly and cost $15 instead of $30-40. I have found paint at Lowes in the “oops” section for the rooms I need to do for $9.00 each. That is instead of $30 or so. We are making our way through our list.
    – We had the in laws over on Sunday. I made a big pot of chili, corn muffins from the box, salad and rice and we all enjoyed it.
    – We need new carpet before we leave this home. The Lowe’s worker told me of a deal where in 2 days, we can purchase and carpet and pad and get free installation. This will save a bunch. He said that they go between sales of certain brands with free installation and then all brands. I never knew this and will watch for it in the future.
    – I shopped at the commissary for meats and items that are cheaper there.
    – I signed up for freebies which are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/10/22/10-freebies-today-10-22-18/
    – Well, I am off to paint another room.
    Have a great week,

  59. I’m sorry you lost your job. You are in a far better position that I was when I lost mine about 10 years ago. I hope your next position turns into the most perfect place for you!

  60. Robbie, why don’t you make a peach pie or two and freeze unbaked to use for Christmas or Thanksgiving? I know pies have sugar in them, but they will be handy and frugal thing to take if you are invited to a get together or pot luck. Just thaw, bake and serve! With all that you are dealing with at the moment, I would think any preps for the holiday season would be welcome.

  61. Rhonda, so glad to hear that your DD is having a much better year at school. The events of last year were traumatic for all of you. Mary

  62. Tanja: And wildfires! I am learning about my own country from reading about the extreme (to me) challenges some of the people who write on this blog have to face. I now live near the middle of the United States, south of the Great Lakes, which are the border with Canada. I grew up farther west and north on the Canadian border, in blizzard country in Minnesota. My husband is from almost the exact center of the U.S., Kansas, which is known for its tornadoes.
    How fun that you have the museum trip! I recognized the name, Rijksmuseum, as the place where Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” is displayed. A story of how Rembrandt shockingly painted an action-filled picture, instead of just rows of men as was traditional, was included in a story book I had as a child. I hope you have a good time.

  63. When buying at Home Depot you can use Harbor Freight coupon for 20% off one item. I have done this several times in the last few weeks to get things we needed and it was easy. (no hassle or problem)

  64. Hi Brandy,
    I have not previously taken the time to let you know how very much I love and appreciate your photography. And I appreciate that you realize that one or two pictures are worth a thousand words and views………. I find other blogs seem to have the attitude that if one photo is good, then a dozen more of the same thing will be even better! I just wonder if they are so infatuated with their photos that they can’t let go and allow just one to speak for itself.

    At any rate, I use your photos as a screen saver and enjoy them so much!
    Jan in Salt Lake City

  65. I purchased my own vanilla beans. By putting them in cheap vodka (extract is mostly alcohol), I am making a lot of real vanilla for cheap.

  66. Your arrangement is beautiful Brandy! I took my kids to an outdoor concert when they were little. It inspired my youngest son to play the violin. He traveled Europe playing his violin as a Senior in High school. I was a proud mama. It is so worth the effort to take kids to things like that. I admire you taking 8 of your 9.
    As for frugalness this week. Made bone broth. Cooked half sausage for breakfast and used other half to make cheesy cabbage and sausage and made black-eyed peas and cornbread to go with it. Made an oriental soup using nappa cabbage and my bone broth with two pork chops that I cut up myself and veggies, made hot dogs and beans, egg salad, ham salad. Hubby took lunches to work. We bought snacks from Sam’s so he would not be tempted to buy snacks from the vending machine at work. Made potato soup and grilled cheese and sliced tomatoes with food on hand at my parent’s house instead of my dad taking us out to eat. I could see that my dad appreciated my cooking. Felt good to save him money too.
    Looked up food pantry stuff and told my son about it so he could help friends that really needed help. Bought cheap lotion instead of expensive lotion. It still works, actually works quite well. Haven’t been wearing makeup every day to save money and give my skin a break from the makeup. Been waiting to get my hair dyed. it needs it. My hair is very long and last time I tried to dye it myself I had a streak of a different color around my head in the middle of my hair where I must not have covered it with color. Considering getting my husband to color it for me. He offered. I might take him up on it. Or maybe I can find room in the budget to dye it at salon. I’d rather pinch pennies everywhere and get my hair done if I can. i want my husband to like looking at me. I’m only 48 and not ready to go gray yet. Not really sure how gray I am, I ‘ve colored it for so long. I hope when I do go gray it is the color my grandmas was, it was a really pretty white. Just not ready yet.
    Bought 3 pairs of jeans for a dollar a piece. I needed them for winter.
    Listened to Pandora.
    Read books from library. Even went there one day to relax. Blood pressure is down today and I am glad.
    Will probably move son in to help him and us.
    Enjoyed sunsets this week in Kansas. They are beautiful. One day they were pink and blue. Sometimes orange and red. Just lovely to see.

  67. Sure, I mix regular granulated sugar and vanilla to resemble wet sand. Then I use silicone mini ice cube trays as molds, I let that sit for a bit.. around 30 minutes then unmold and let sit out to dry overnight. I live in the humid south.. Louisiana to be specific so it takes over night for them to harden up. I do not store them in air tight containers as they can soften. You can use vanilla flavoring, water, lemon or orange extract, hazelnut or almond flavoring and even a bit of food coloring. I have used these for gifts and wedding favors, they are always well received at showers also. A 5 lb bag of sugar makes a ton and I get the trays from dollar tree.

  68. Thank you, Mary. DD’s art teacher made a comment that I thought was really interesting. She said they were doing “Autism training” and that some of the teachers “think they get it…they don’t…but they sure think they do”. First of all, I believe the “Autism training” is a direct result of the situation we experienced last year. Regardless, I’m glad there are active efforts to educate the staff in this school board. Second, it was good to hear a teacher, with an Autistic child, expressing exactly what we have seen and experienced too. You are right, it was extremely traumatic, what our entire family went through last year. I hope this never happens to another family…but in all honesty, I won’t hold my breath.

  69. I am so, so happy for you! I have followed your house saving adventure, prayed for y’all, and hoped it would happen! I am so excited to hear all about it as you move into your new home!

  70. Tanja, I hope you will share what you saw and did on your Amsterdam trip. I’m still researching what we want to see/do when we visit in April. Your experiences would be very welcome and helpful information!

  71. Sugar cookie, the princess puppy and I are in Missouri with my proud Army son. This trip took a lot of planning to pay for. I used Swagbucks to cover my hotel rental. I turned my car in to the body shop to have a repair made and scheduled it so I could utilize my insurance paid for rental car for the trip. I requested a smaller car ahead of time to get better gas mileage for the trip. We have gotten much better than expected. We packed snacks and drinks to bring with us. By bringing my daughter and puppy, I had no extra expenses to have anyone take care of them. We were offered a two month trial of Hulu and Spotify for 99 cents. Sugar cookie has enjoyed this all the way here. We purchased a few small grocery items to heat up in the hotel microwave.

  72. Hi Rhonda A and thank you for your encouragement :).

    You are right we will be spending Christmas in our new home and also will be in there for DH’s birthday which is on the 14th as well. There certainly will be lots of things to do once we get there but this time it will be ours and we won’t have to ask permission to do anything and can really personalise it to suit us.


  73. Hi Melissa V and thank you for your encouragement and yes you are right all the saving has certainly paid off although it was a long road and still a longer road to pay off the mortgage too.

    Re gardens I have taken cuttings from herbs and other plants I have here and am growing them in pots, have fruit trees in pots ready to go in the ground, we also saved seeds from all the vegetables we grew here to take to our new home, I have some vegetables growing in pots we will take to our new home and we will take all of our drip irrigation system we have set up here with us to water the gardens in our new home too.

    It will be fairly much starting again from scratch apart from the cuttings, seeds and fruit trees we purchased but we will thoroughly enjoy setting up the new gardens. The house comes with 2 large garden beds fully enclosed with kangaroo and wire fencing so we have somewhere to start the gardens in.


  74. This may be a really stupid suggestion, but have you tried making pulled meat (pork, chicken, beef) in your crock pot? The meat is then put on buns, so it’s not a casserole like, “one pot” meal. Pair the meal with a salad and your good to go! You could also look up recipes for French dip sandwiches. I make one on the stove top, but I have seen others that use a crock pot. Just a couple ideas, if you haven’t already tried them!

  75. Fantastic news!!! I’m so excited to feel like I’ve been a part of your savings and house buying process. Thanks for sharing faithfully each week! Way to go frugal long distance friend.

    We have friends who own a ranch in Australia and my bestest friend was born there, so I might get to visit your amazing country one day.


  76. Our oven has decided to not cook evenly now, so we are using to the toaster oven. However, since it is only 2 of us, it works!

  77. Lorna,
    As many others have said, many congratulations! I too have followed your savings effort, what a great accomplishment to have saved so much! And I read about your setting aside cuttings and seeds from your current garden so that will help as well. I have always loved moving to a new home, even with all the work to get settled! I am a bit envious.

    From the comments you made about kangaroo fencing….how far outside a town will you be living? Or are kangaroos also found in suburbs? We don’t see any where I live here in Phoenix 😀

    Once again, I am so happy for you!

  78. Brandy, I have thought about growing patty pan squash, I know a few that do around here but don’t ever hear how they fix them. How do you fix yours?
    I am planning on a 3 sister’s garden next spring, thinking of doing 2 of them. I just got out of hospital due to Crohn’s when Hubby shared his crud he had caught before I went in the hospital on Sat. I was hoping he would be over the worse of it. Pretty much wiped out the “sick/crud” food. I made chicken broth with veggies that I pureed after simmer and now have 8 qrts of broth or veggie soup along with 3 meals of chicken, one which we used Nacho soup on and served with rice I cooked with the broth. Wrote a grocery list tied to sales and coupons to go tomorrow. Need meds mostly but don’t want to make another trip later.

  79. Your remark about kangaroo fencing made me think about how often what seems natural to you is tied to where you live and may be totally alien to others. You keep out kangaroos. Where I live now we have an 8 foot fence around our garden to keep moose out. When I lived in Barrow, Alaska, at the very top of the state, we worried about keeping polar bears (who don’t hibernate) out of our yards.

  80. Hi Mable I am chuckling but yes you are so right about things being natural to where you live.

    I think you win on the moose though as they are considerably bigger than our kangaroos and from what I understand moose are not friendly either. We also get a lot of rabbits out in the country too but the councils are on an eradication program with them at the moment so they are slowly getting less in numbers.


  81. Thank you Cindy and we have been truly blessed and felt the spirit of other people praying for us from all around the world 😀 .

    We are excited too.


  82. Thank you Trish and we are happy to share our experience with others because hopefully it will spur someone else on that is going through the same process.

    By the way cheering on everyone who is saving for their forever home or paying off a mortgage, and pray like us that you will get there sooner than you thought.

    Lovely you have friends here and you would love it here if you came to visit as the country is so beautiful.


  83. Thank you for your encouragement Hilogene and we are truly blessed to have wonderful international friends such as you all 🙂 . Our deposit was larger than we expected as we found a property far cheaper than we though we would. I always love it when our budget can go further 🙂 .

    We will be living in a small country town around 30 – 45 minutes away from lots of other larger towns but most of the area we will live in is open country acreage where kangaroos are quite common. In the cities you don’t find them as much as they prefer to be near open country and near water sources such as creeks and dams. Kangaroos are not friendly and prefer to stay away from humans mostly but you do have to be careful if you go near them, which I wouldn’t advise.


  84. I got the prettiest purple winter coat at Goodwill for 50% off. It came to $14.99. Everything was 50% off. I also got a very heavy long brown coat for the same price. The kids each got some shirts for $3 that will be Christmas gifts. Hubby and I went to the farms and got over 100 pounds of potatoes with some veggies too. We had a nice day just the 2 of us. The rest of my week is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/10/my-frugal-list-week-of-october-15-2018.html

  85. Congratulations Lorna on the purchase of your for ever home. I too have enjoyed seeing your savings add up each week to make this purchase possible. Best wishes to you & your husband as you enter this new stage of your lives 🙂

  86. Just love the photos Brandi.
    Last weekend a neighbour and I joined together to host a garage sale as part of the annual Garage Sale Trail. As well as getting rid of lots of stuff I made $140 which is in a special purse and will be my op shop slush fund. I now have lots of bags to be dropped off at various charity shops and hospital markets.
    I now have 3 people leaving me their compost scraps each week which means I’m looking after my compost bins much better.
    I am about to talk to my husband and kids and suggest we only buy each other Christmas presents we have either made or bought second hand. Not sure how this will go down with the teenage son!

  87. I will look at it again–there was an ingredient in it I didn’t care for so I haven’t used it in a couple years. I did used to buy it regularly. Don’t recall the offending ingredient at the moment. Going to Sam’s tomorrow, I hope!

  88. Tanja,
    I love reading your posts. I spent 12 years in the Netherlands, and loved every minute of it. The things you write about bring back good memories.
    Enjoy your visit to Amsterdam (that’s where I lived). The last time I was there was for our honeymoon in 2010. So it’s been awhile. 🙂 I moved back to the USA in 2006.

  89. I have enjoyed making vanilla extract from the beans as well. I gave it as gifts and it was always well received, and I love baking with it. But the beans that were $20 before are now $115!! Yikes. I keep hoping maybe the prices will moderate a bit, but so far that hasn’t happened over the past couple of years, so I’m using my remaining homemade extract very sparingly…

  90. I agree. One of my daughters has always been a little chubby, especially in the pre-teen years and I remember making a bathing suit into a size 16 1/2 from a size 14 pattern. She always wanted two patterns put together, from a brocade and velvet Christmas outfit to her actual wedding dress, which I made for about $65 (tea length) and a lot of sweating! It was organdy over a taffeta slip dress, with four different laces if I remember correctly. The sleeves were gorgeous–deep pleats down the sleeve, with lace inside the pleats. I loved sewing but I haven’t done much of it lately!

  91. I live near Knoxville, but FIL works in Athens, merely minutes from you. How neat to see where everyone else lives!!

  92. Right now frugal for me is trying to keep this baby in for another week to get a paid maternity leave! To that end, I’ve been drinking tons of water and trying my best not to over extend myself. Because my husband travels for work, that’s not always easy to do! Straightening the house, grocery shopping, and caring for our 3.5 yo and 21 mo old as well as working is challenging, but I only have a few more days to go I hope! Otherwise:
    – collected stamps for our grocery store glass storage container redemption
    – ate meals at home except for one this eeekend when we got 2 takeout meals and split it for the 4 of us
    – stopped at the local thrift store and bought some 3T long sleeve shirts for my son as he has so few. I wish I had been able to get them at yard sales, but this was still cheaper than new
    – I’ve avoided buying any maternity clothes. Amazingly, my pants are low enough rise that I can wear them under the maternity tops I have and have borrowed
    – borrowed a second Spectra breast pump for when I go back to work so I don’t have to cart mine to and from
    – did buy a few nursing tanks. Not frugal but make me much more comfortable being covered while I breastfeed!
    – tried to sign up for formula samples again for this baby. It’s hard to tell from the websites if I’ll actually get any this time??

  93. I’m in SW Virginia and the leaves sure are taking their time this year! I’m enjoying it though….I always hate to see bare trees. Husband and I are thinking of taking a trip to TN in December for a short weekend getaway- Any recommendations on hiking we just shouldn’t miss??? I’d love to hear!

  94. I love pulled pork in the crockpot- so easy! I also make dips in there too….spinach artichoke dip, buffalo chicken dip, bean dip- you can do a lot, and most men don’t complain with a big bag of chips and hot dip! :p

  95. My frugal savings for last week were not as much as I hoped. It is never ending with something going wrong with health or home. This past week it was the toilet main getting clogged which cost $400. We are going to get the clean out installed which will cost $800-1200. This week we are down with the flu which meant extra money for flu food such as applesauce and sprite.

    I was offered a free 30 oz of popcorn from our local store as well as a pound of free pears. I made a mish mash of beans, vegetables and meat that fed us for 2 full dinners and half a dinner (only 2 of us ate it). Due to threat of snow, My family pulled up my tomato plants even though they were green. I washed them, let them dry overnight and then put them into brown paper bags to ripen. I did this last year and it worked on the majority of the tomatoes I had. Ive been trying hard to not waste but still am failing a lot in that area. We having nice weather so no ac or heater running. Our yearly big expenses are coming up so it is even more important to hunker down. Best wishes to all in their frugal savings!

  96. I guess I have it easy—we only need to keep deer out of our gardens, and a six foot wire fence will do for that job! Nothing keeps the chipmunks out however, and they do dig up things sometimes. We also have bunny wire to keep the rabbits out, but the little chipmunks go right through that!

  97. Hi Tammy,
    Do you live near a beauty college? I have had things done at one in Wichita whole I visited family on Kansas.
    The students that are just about ready to graduate work on you under the instructors supervision.
    It is less expensive than a regular salon. I bet they would love to practice on super long hair. Just look up beauty schools to find one near you.

  98. I hope it is ok to post this. The frugal girl blog has a review of her beauty school experience, posted this week. Tami, you may want to read it.
    Best of luck with your hair adventures. 🙂

  99. We will be there for 5 days, but at least 1 day will be spent on a day trip to Rotterdam, where my husbands grandmother was from (she was a war bride). We obviously want to see the Ann Frank museum, which we know requires booking the tickets months in advance (we’re on it!). Other than that, we’re trying to keep our schedule open, so we can choose what we want to do. I’m just interested in hearing about experiences, so I have some ideas of what is worth going to see and what is just over-hyped attractions for tourists.

  100. I should also mention we will be staying in a small town outside of Amsterdam, as it is cheaper, and using transit to get around. I don’t know the name of the town, but hubby did say there are windmills in the area. We’ll be looking into possibly visiting those when we get there.

  101. Beautiful dress, beautiful girl! Love the color!
    Thanks for the huge sub sandwich idea!! I work for a youth pastor and feed the middle school and high school groups on Tuesday nights. Always looking for fun new ideas and I’m doing this next week!

  102. Whatever it consists of it is beautiful. I think that the basil leaves and other purple colors make it look like more flowers than you have. Floral arranging is not a skill I possess. I tend to plunk a flower in a vase or have my much more artistically talented husband arrange something. For now I’ll live vicariously through yours and maybe one day gain the skill set. Am I correct in that you have taken classes on floral arrangements?

  103. The insurance company may be treating it as a cosmetic issue. This could be a reason for the small payment. You should be able to dispute this directly with the insurance company by filing an appeal. If this insurance is provided by an employer they should be able to provide assistance with this dispute.

  104. So nice that you are able to spend time with your son. I know you have missed him. You have gone thru so much and worried about how to pay for this trip but you never regret spending this time with him. Enjoy yourself!

  105. I’m so sorry about the loss of canned food. If the jars aren’t cracked, you can empty, wash, and sterilize them and use them again. Glass doesn’t harbor nasty organisms as plastic might.

  106. Besides the usual frugal doings, I bought 8 English muffins for 1.50. I split them, toasted them and thinly spread cream cheese. I piled on sliced garlic and assorted, chopped left over meats. I then added lots of sliced home grown basil and sprinkled grated cheese remnants over the top. I microwaved them until cheese was melted. When cool, I stuffed them bsck in the original bag and froze for quick, tasty lunches. I have also used pesto instead of cream cheese. All super delish, inexpensive and satisfy our cravings for pizza.

    I cut up my daughter’s tattered government uniform for rags. The shirt pockets with buttons were not worn out. I cut it out along with enough material attached and larger than the pocket. I folded the edges in and hemmed. I will give to daughter to store her telescope and camera lenses. I hemmed her sleeve badge on pocket, as she is very sentimental.

    We are enjoying a free audio performance by a lady who walks on a trail behind our house. She sings so beautifully everyday! Our neighbors have also commented how she brightens up their day.

    Thank you, Brandy, and Happy Fall to you and everyone here!

  107. We had to replace all our smoke detectors this year since they expired. I never knew before that they would do this.

  108. Last week was spent doing a lot of errands. I usually try to limit my trips to town to 1 or 2 times/week but was not happening last week. a lot of different things had to be done on specific days. I did not accomplish as much at home due to all the traveling. Had some unplanned routine brake maintenance on the car. Did receive a free sample in the mail. I took out some library books (2 of which I had donated 15-20 years ago) for saving money, time management and cook books for “new” recipes that appealed to me. While there I searched the free pile and found a brand new book about a female homesteader from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. The book had never been read and included the price tag of $12.95. Watched Youtube videos for tips on being frugal and menu planning. Still trying to adapt to the best system for my family. Church offered free lightbulbs (LED) so I took 2 boxes (a total of 8 bulbs). Discussed Christmas budget with husband and also when we will start using wood heat (Nov 1st).

  109. Beautiful flowers.

    I washed my hair with homemade shampoo and conditioner. Made a batch of Lara bar type snacks for packing in lunches. Made yogurt for the first time using this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUR52elXxBw Which I chose because it uses all supplies I have on hand and no electricity. I got a gallon of milk for the price of a 1/2 gallon because the 1/2 gallon vendor went out of business (I prepaid).

    Cleaned out closets and found many unneeded items that I will sell in an upcoming consignment sale.

  110. I’m now making my own as well – have two batches going, one in vodka and one in some rum that I’d had sitting around for ages! The beans were incredibly expensive but I got a bit of a discount at the Bulk Barn and it’s still cheaper than buying bottles of the real stuff. I do plan on gifting some to friends who are bakers as part of their Christmas presents and I will reuse the beans – but do have some in reserve.

  111. This week has not felt very frugal. However, I find that if I participate in this post each week, it challenges me to keep trying to do more and more each week. You are all so inspiring in all that you manage to do. It’s truly amazing and provides me with some encouragement.
    1. Created a delicious chili in the crockpot using 2 cans of beans, a can of tomatoes, some frozen corn, some diced onion and carrots along with spices that were all items I already had.
    2. Our grocery store has been including free coupons on their app lately so I have been sure to check it prior to going to store. So far I have gotten a bottle of dish soap, a box of cereal, and a box of dryer sheets. My husband questioned the cereal as we don’t typically but it, I just smiled and said fees is free. It’s a quick go to if I run out of eggs in the morning.
    3. Used ibotta this week for an additional 5.75 in rebates between our regular store and Wal-Mart.

  112. So glad the treatment went well for your husband without too much pain. Best wishes for it to do the trick and allow him more mobility.

  113. Next time you find old canning, open the jars and pour it down the drain or the garbage disposal. If you don’t have a disposal, or canned the fruit with pits, pour it through a strainer and discard the solids. Rinse the jars and then wash in the DW, or in hot water with a little bleach added. There really is no need to throw away the jars.

  114. Actually I have, and although he ate it, he much prefers pulled pork from the pressure cooker. He doesn’t like hardly any sandwiches, in fact, and will often eat the pulled pork without bread. Of course, as a Type I diabetic, eating much bread or potatoes is not good for him anyway. He’s picky — so picky he will simply not eat if he doesn’t like it. I’ve never seen anyone who can simply skip a meal at will like he does.
    Thanks for the suggestions, though. I’ve been trying to find some good crock pot recipes; I appreciate the encouragement!

  115. My lens cost a fortune – progressives, ultra thins & coated to take the glare off the computer but I have always bought my frames at my optometrists office as there is no markup. I’ve been lucky in that he’s always had a good selection and designer frames cost me a fraction of what others pay at the Optical stores. I could never understand why friends were paying so much more for their glasses than I was even though I was the one with the real eye issues – turns out they were paying $400 to $700 for a few bits of plastic with designer names on them! Crazy!

  116. I hope you have lots of fun on this little vacation, Lillianna. I’m sure your son appreciates the efforts you made to come see him. Sugar cookie is probably thrilled to go on an adventure too. Great idea to co-ordinate the fixing of your car with going on the trip, so you could really benefit from that rental car. So smart! We always buy food from grocery stores when on vacation as well. Definitely lowers those food costs while away! I look forward to hearing all about your trip.

  117. Kangaroos. Moose. Polar bears! I’ll stick with skunks, possums, squirrels, and the occasional coyote. 😉

  118. Loved the flower arrangement Brandy. It inspired me to go outside and see what I have left in my yard in Cincinnati, Ohio. Just finished making a gorgeous bouquet with orange marigolds, purple salvia, and the dusty green leaves of my daisy plants. For lunch today I made this, https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/crispy-baked-chicken-leg-quarters-very-easy-one-dish-449452, with 89cents a pound chicken thigh and drumstick quarters. Served it with mashed potatoes, salad, and roasted cauliflower with parmesan cheese and capers. Had a date lunch with my husband to enjoy this yummy meal because for once we were home alone at lunch time.
    Ordered vitamins and fennel seeds from Amazon and found a $10 Amazon gift cart in my drawer to use for the order. Altered Halloween costumes using scissors and pins since I don’t have a sewing machine. Found 4 pairs of pants at the consignment shop for my adult son who is only 5″2″(he has Down syndrome hence the short stature) that didn’t need to be hemmed! One pair is from L.L.Bean and are lined with flannel. Perfect for this winter as he is walking around the University of Cincinnati with his job training program.
    Made a huge amount of cabbage, carrots, and smoked sausage that I baked. Enough for dinner and lunches. Made a gluten free apple dump cake. Shopped at Aldi’s and got amazing buys on grapes, chicken, eggs (68cents a dozen) and many other items. Made a chocolate mug cake in the microwave from everything I already had here and split it with my daughter. Read 2 books on my phone.
    Happy frugaling everyone!

  119. Thank you, Marybeth! The windshield company came to the house to replace Monday morning. Of course the bill was under $500 so insurance didn’t come into play but we found out that if we start paying $3.00 extra a month, they will cover bills over $100. I figure that is a good thing since driving around here and into the big cities have become a bit scary. Before the metal hunk hit the windshield, 5 miles back, while sitting at a light, the car in front of me hit another car that was trying to barge his way in front of her to get around a truck. Now why would he do that? We were all stopped at the time. No blinker and I guess he thought he could beat her…IDK.

  120. I am making my first batch of vanilla extract now. It should be ready soon. I just followed the instructions from Ina Garten on line. I have plenty of vodka now…it was a 1.75 litre bottle that my mother and brother brought back from out of town. That is almost 1/2 gallon so I have enough for 4 pints. I use a lot of vanilla just every day in baking or puddings. I have always used real vanilla, not the artificial. I bought the vanilla beans from Amazon seller.

  121. Brandy – your tablescape and photography are always wonderful – but this week you have surpassed yourself – it looks just like a still life painting!
    I don’t think that I did anything out of the ordinary last week as far as frugalness was concerned – much more of the usual. I cooked and baked from scratch using ingredients I had on hand. My grocery shopping was kept to a minimum and was mostly fruit & veg and dairy. Ate out only once, my usual cheap pub lunch with friends after class on Saturday. I go maybe 3 weeks out of 4 and it is an important part of my social life so a few dollars are always kept aside.
    I worked an extra couple of hours at the church job as I had to go in to set up for a running teams return early on Sunday (they were participating in a charity run/walk) – they did an amazing job and our oldest 5km walker was 90 years old! I also assisted in setting up the catering for a funeral reception.
    I hit up the library again for more books – and one in particular I am using for ideas for Christmas gift baking. I’m hoping to buy my cards next week and make the list of the few things that I need to buy. My HM vanilla essence is looking really good – did one using vodka and one using rum and I’m going to look for some small bottles so I can add some to my gifts.

  122. Marcia, it has food grade cellulose (wood pulp) which may or may not be acceptable according to your views. It is sprinkled all over to keep the pre grated cheese from sticking. I personally grate all our cheese either with a box grater for a small amount or with the attachment to the Kitchenaid if I am doing a whole block. I also use the grater for the Parmesan and Romano as those are harder for me to grate by hand. I grate one Parmesan block and 1/2 Romano block together and store in the refrigerator in a shaker top container. It keeps. We are lucky to be able to buy some of our cheese direct from a family owned cheese factory and those come in 5 pound logs.

  123. Robbie, that’s a really nice amount of peaches! Are they frozen in slices? I would divide them up into quart freezer bags, without thawing and put right back in freezer. Most of them at least. Quart is perfect for an 8 in pie or a cobbler. You can always cut back on sugar in your recipes. I do. You can make low sugar freezer jam. I would, and do, use them as is by adding to plain yogurt or adding to cooked oatmeal. I also would make into pie as Rhonda suggested, keeping the slices frozen. Don’t thaw and then refreeze.

  124. Thank you, Susan. I was a little worried it would be too delicate, but it all worked out once I put the edging on it, and basted it to the underlay. Whew!

  125. It sounds like you have done quite a bit of altering, as well, so completely understand that I was really sweating it for a while, until I was sure it was going to fit!

  126. I’m so glad you can use the idea for the sub sandwich. The kids really loved having it that way–it seemed special to them. I’m sure you find that kids are a joy to cook for–they eat it all up and tell us over and over how much they like even the simplest thing! Because we wrap all leftovers and the kids take them home for lunch the next day, I left the extra fillings out–only put in the meat and cheese and they could add the toppings they wanted at the dinner, and take extras for later. That way they would not be soggy the next day. It didn’t hurt my feelings at all that there were only about 7 little pieces left over in the end:). Now, I need to enquire if there are actually more kids to cook for in the future, or if this group really likes sandwiches…always good to know.

  127. It’s worth taking the highlights tour at the Rijksmuseum. We really enjoyed Rembrandt’s house and an unexpected favorite was the costume museum with all the folk costumes from different areas in the Netherlands. The embroidery and complicated smocking and other needlework were impressive, as were the variety of costumes.

  128. I have been sick, so not much energy to use. I did manage to sub one day this week, I was too sick last week. I have stayed home today and worked on a quilt that is a gift for bereaved friend. Using up thread that had been given to me on this quilt.
    Harvested first kale, lettuce, and chard. Picked and dried basil, oregano and lemon balm.
    I am thinking of starting an Etsy shop with small pieces that I sew. I really enjoy sewing and give many of the items as gifts. I am hoping that I could make a bit of income this way. I have 2 chronic health conditions which make a regular job very difficult.
    I have spent a bit of time encouraging others-several bereaved friends, and several young adults who are facing some changes and challenges, I am thankful I have spare time to do this, my illnesses that keep me home more do mean that I’m available to chat when others might be busy.

  129. We make a fruit compote for our pancakes and waffles. We put very little sugar in it. I have used peaches many times for it. Whatever fruit I have I use.

  130. A few frugal efforts from recent weeks-

    – After running errands and working, met a friend for a trip to the apple orchard and lunch (her treat). On the drive home had free fun geocaching on a beautiful, sunny day.
    – Saved $4 by passing on the lottery pool at work.
    – Enjoyed eating up leftovers and hanging laundry to dry.
    – Persevering in shampooing and scrubbing, scrubbing our dog and house after a direct skunking.

    Have a terrific week!

  131. Ellie’s friend
    Don’t no how long I have had your frames but recently when we went to Walmart to look at getting my husband a cheap back up pair to his prescription glasses the lady there told us that all lenses are replaced as many times as you need them in a one year period! We left called the place we got his glasses and asked them; they said yes it is a manufacturers warranty automatically, so they ordered the new lenses no cost to us and called 5 days later to run by and have them put in….all for free. Just thought if they weren’t that old you could class.

  132. Planted some squirrel food over the weekend. That means tulip bulbs. They don’t eat daffodils, of which I have so many I need to divide them again next spring, but squirrels (and I suppose other rodents) like tulips.
    Testing to find the lowest comfortable thermostat setting as the weather gets colder. The house seems to be noticeably chillier after the sun goes down and the furnace doesn’t seem to keep up at the lower setting then, though it does during the day.
    Walgreens is changing its points program, so the most points that can be redeemed at one time are 5000, ($5 in merchandise). Previously, I could save for half a year and use 40,000 for $50, yet the new system is for smaller redemptions and the points are no longer tiered for if the shopper has more of them. However, the change doesn’t come until early November, so I hope to make out on Halloween clearance candy next week.
    Otherwise, lots of regular frugal moves here– library, sale shopping for groceries, and the like. As I read other’s posts, I am being more inspired to think of pulling out some craft projects that I already have materials for, thank you!

  133. Rhonda – i suggest watching Rick Steve’s travel guides as he frequently has a “living museum” (similar to the one you work in?). I thought there was one near Amsterdam. My recommendations for Amsterdam are similar – especially the museum highlight tours (Rikksmuseum – bad spelling! and the Van Gogh). Just walking along the canals and through neighborhoods was magical – but watch out for the cyclists! I am not used to that coming from the wild west where cars are the norm!

  134. Roberta, can you still maybe rescue your canning jars?

    Applesauce can go dark and blotchy especially if something like “fruit fresh” wasn’t added. I wonder if it was still good. I occasionally find a missed older (high acid) product and after checking it out will still use it in a dish that is well cooked.

  135. Tadpole, is that a picture of your downtown on your blog ? Very picturesque. I also liked the black and white apple pickers with just the red color on the apples.

  136. I haven’t done it myself yet, but I have friends who have had great luck with making their own extracts, vanilla included. The “My Frugal Home” blog had a whole series of various varieties awhile back–might be worthy a try!

  137. Rhonda, Wauw I did not know that you had to book your tickets for the Anne Frank house one month in advance. I went there (again) with school when I was younger, still remember what it looked like insite. As my father and mother also lived during the war and told us some things, it made quite an impression on me. Because my parents lived in the north there still was food avalable, so they had a lot of childeren in there home that came from the west part of the netherlands. Because there was no food there. Even though they were from big familys themself. (father one of 16 and mother one of 12)

  138. Hi Kim I imagine there will be some koalas at the new property too as we have eucalypt trees on our property too.

    I will say they are not friendly out in the wild though as they are a bundle of fur and fight like veritable thrashing machines. The ones you see in the zoos are brought up from babies so are used to humans but in the wild they are very different.


  139. Susan we also have deer here too so might see a few on the new property too. I am afraid we are chipmunk free though although that sounds like we are lucky we don’t have them here 😀 .


  140. The costume museum actually sounds really cool! Thank you for the sugestion. I might not have considered it, had you not mentioned it.

  141. How smart!! I am going to put the vegetables on the side now as well. Thanks!
    You’re right – nothing is more gratifying than cooking for teenagers. (Especially hungry middle school boys!

  142. Brandy, I smiled when I read in your post about your exercises! You really are a pro at multitasking! I’m a little late this week posting, but my favorite frugal find at a yard sale this past weekend was a beautiful (name brand) full length black coat for myself. It has a detachable lining and hood – and I paid $3 for it! Very thankful, as I had been wanting a longer coat for winter. We’re also still watching our electricity usage, will be interesting to see the difference.

  143. Hi Margie,

    You might have a look at Bon Look. Not only do they have a store in Montreal but also Toronto. Here the optometrists frames are as expensive as elsewhere. In looking for the Toronto store, I see that they now have a mall boutique in Calgary. Yay! You can get prescription glasses for $145 frames and lenses but I think you can also get prgressives including frames and coatings for about $350 total plus tax. Elsewhere (in the same mall), my lenses alone would cost $690.00. Someone recently told me that there was a boutique kiosk in the mall but didn’t tell me it was Bon Look (it’s a Montreal company that cuts out the middleman). You optometrist sounds like it’s a good deal.

  144. Athanasia, she was so generous! I have saved the second jar of tuna fish so my third son Reese can taste it when he comes home to visit. It is too good to be true and an opportunity to be able to taste it is rare. We will have a second taste-testing dinner for him. The few drops of leftover plum sauce is hidden in the refrigerator.

  145. …and my husband’s family is related to Isaac Allerton! Hello Mayflower neighbors! My side of the family came over with the Winthrop group and I’ve just started the research into that and is it every a blast!
    Brandy! You were so productive this past week! And your table arrangement is gorgeous! I’m so happy for you that you can grow such beautiful things throughout the year but, if I may say, I’m not so happy for you to have scorpions. In your house. I nearly choked on my coffee when I read that. I think I might actually keel over if I saw one of those in my house. The trade-off, of course, is that we’re already burning wood and are pretty chilly in the early mornings and the snow will be here soon soooooo…scorpions or snow…hmmm…LOL!
    We continue to stack our firewood and have only turned the heat on once, in spite of temps in the upper 30s and low 40s in the mornings.
    I start my job which gives us a little extra cash and helps us to save on our Y family membership. Something like $60/month! We’re using as many of the services that they have available for our exercise program and my high school aged homeschooler is part of a Youth and Government Debate group that meets there every week.
    I cooked everything from scratch; bean and greens, breads, soup, curry chicken, everything. I didn’t go to the market once in the last two weeks but just used up whatever was in the fridge, the pantry, the garden and the freezer.
    I started studying French again using Spotify’s podcasts. They have at least two that I like; one is Coffee Break French and the other is Slow French. I’m resigned to never speaking French well but am also resolved to keep up my reading and listening skills. We have a $9.99/month subscription and with the Sling ($25/month) subscription consider that to be our entertainment. We do not have Netflix (the programming started to go in a direction we didn’t like) or Hulu and we only have Sling during the fall and winter months. We start the subscription in October and cancel it at the end of March.
    I also like to listen to scripture and sermons while I’m cooking or driving and have found lots of online resources for this purpose.
    I harvested the last of my garden produce. A groundhog ate all of my kale and collards and most of my brussels sprouts so…that’s that. Better fencing next year!
    I’ll be going to our library book sale this weekend. I have gotten fantastic finds at this sale. People come from all over the country for it; last year there were campers from Wyoming and Alabama! Anyway, the library makes thousands of dollars from this sale and I’m happy to spend my $10 on great books.
    The cars are mostly working. This is a wonderful development since we really thought we were going to be either down a car or shopping for a car. Which we really, *really* don’t want to do.
    I’m planning for a possible economic downturn since I think we are due soonish and my husband’s work follows the economy pretty closely. I realized that I really need to be thinking about the possibility of layoffs in the next year or so and want to get our financial affairs in order. That has been fun/not fun. If you know what I mean. 😉
    Have a great weekend everyone!

  146. Just wanted to say I hope you are healing nicely from your recent surgery and that all the issues are resolved. I also wondered if you have stopped posting your monthly grocery lists? I enjoy everything you share with us.

  147. My husbands grandmother was from Rotterdam. She passed away several years ago, so unfortunately we can’t ask her questions before we visit. I don’t know a lot about her life before she married (his grandfather was a Canadian soldier who fought there during the war, which is how they met), but I believe she was born and raised there. I think my MIL said she was only 20 years old when she moved to Canada. I have been told her family hid a Jewish family in their home during the war. This was, of course, very high risk, as her family could have potentially been killed if the Nazis had discovered what they were doing. Can’t help but have great admiration for her family for their bravery. I know that Rotterdam was pretty much destroyed during the war, so we know that most of what we will see there is not the city she grew up in. However, there are a few old sections that survived the war, which we plan to visit when we do our day visit.

    Very few of his family have gone back to visit the country his grandmother was from. In fact, his mother has never been (I think she’s a touch envious we are going without her). I am so looking forward to my husband connecting with a part of his heritage through this trip!

  148. Becky, the dress turned out just lovely and your daughter looks perfectly happy in
    her pictures. The blue color is perfect for her pale skin and red hair.

  149. Jennifer, isn’t the help you can get from FFA students just wonderful? We have someone all the time checking to see if they can get some SAE (supervised agricultural experience) hours in some area on the farm. Course my children did so many projects growing up also. Right now my daughter has a girl working with her dairy goats and another girl is doing a report on her free range egg farm. Son in law Theo who is a large animal vet often gets a student that helps as a vet assistant. Animal sitters is a popular area of interest here.

  150. Thank you Diana. The scarring seems to be minimal but unfortunately all around it my hair started falling out and now I have a large bald spot! Hopefully it will grow back. They didn’t cut out any hair; apparently you can have a rare reaction to the numbing agent that causes hair loss (I heard my head sizzling like eggs frying when they put it in and the numbing agent really hurt; I was crying and holding in screams but it hurt more than childbirth, but it must have been rare because the doctor callously thought I was in hysterics with worry and didn’t acknowledge that it was hurting me).

    Right now I am just having so much to do with a newborn, three children in school, plus homeschooling. The children in school is actually making it harder to get things done; my usual time in the evenings is gone to get things done and to write posts, so for now I am not doing the grocery posts.

  151. Your tulip-loving squirrels reminded me of a humorous fantasy novel in which the protagonist was constantly infuriated by unicorns in the garden, eating the new peas. She tells them, “I planted a whole bed of lilies for you, go eat those!” “But we don’t like lilies, we like peas!” 😉

  152. How wonderful Rhonda that you are going to the Netherlands. I have always dreamt of going there. After WW II there were many Dutch people who moved into my neighborhood and I went to kindergarten run by two lovely Dutch ladies and had some Dutch teachers. My favourite was a Grade 5 teacher who was very young and had almost starved during the war. My father was a soldier at the liberation of Holland and I am lucky to be alive. Do you know about your grandmother’s genealogy? It would be interesting to learn what resources the Family History Library (LDS, Salt Lake City) has online that might tell you something. A really fabulous resource.

  153. Thanks Mmckms. I did ask about a warranty but it was only a year and My glasses are not covered. Thanks for the suggestion! Ann

  154. It’s been many years since I read [i]Cheaper by the Dozen,[/i] the story of Frank and Lilian Gilbreth and their family, so I may not be remembering perfectly, but they were efficiency experts (among many other accomplishments!) who put many of their theories into practice at home. Your mention of downloading the flashcard app so the children can internalize musical notes while having their hair done reminded me of their painting Morse Code on the walls so it could be visualized and practiced at meal times.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your experience with the surgery – the doctor’s callousness is not at all okay, and you would be within your rights to at least report his attitude so that it is on file. His partners and the agencies who contract with him take quality reviews seriously.

  155. Brandy, there is hope for the hair to grow back in. I had brain surgery. Where they shaved the head and cut the scalp, it grew back in. I had brown hair but the first regrowth grew back in grey. When that hair fell out eventually, it grew back in brown. I can’t guarantee it will grow back but I think there’s a really good chance. It shouldn’t have hurt so much, imho. I think it wasn’t numbed properly. Fingers crossed, prayers for new hair for you! Ann

  156. Rhonda, one place that you might enjoy is Rembrandt’s house, where he lived and worked. https://www.rembrandthuis.nl/en/
    It is set up much like it was when Rembrandt worked there in the 17th century.
    There is a flea market very near this, on Waterlooplein, that is fun to visit too. Lots of interesting things to see, and great people watching as well.
    It sounds like you will be in the Netherlands during tulip season (end of March to mid-May), so you could also visit the Keukenhof to see beautifully laid out gardens of tulips and other flowers. https://keukenhof.nl/en/
    It takes a bit of effort to get there, so you might be better off taking a tour if this interests you. I’ve been several times, and it is well worth it.
    You said you are staying outside of Amsterdam in a place that has windmills, I wonder if it is near Zaanse Schans. This is a great place to visit too. https://www.dezaanseschans.nl/en/

  157. Brandy, I’m sorry for what you have gone through. I know you are not a complainer, and when you didn’t report more about your experience, I callously assumed no news was good news and there was nothing to say. Now, it’s true it was cancer (bad news) but you also went through a lot of pain and discomfort that most do not have. It’s a bummer!

    Nobody asked about MY shopping list, LOL, but we got a new freezer today to fill up. I bought a couple of .88 lb. whole chickens Tuesday, had the meatcutter split them, and today I wrapped and froze them. Brandy, your past comments about buying candy in bulk sent me to Winco today for my Halloween candy. I bought Hershey’s miniatures for $4.99 lb. 130 pieces came to a little under $12.50. Thanks for the tip.

  158. Hi Heidi, I am a direct descendant of Stephan and Giles Hopkins of the Mayflower. Many of my and my husband’s ancestors came on the Winthrop fleet…strangely enough they were on the same ship. Geneology is so much fun for anyone that loves history.

  159. Brandy, that is so dreadful that you could hear your head sizzling like eggs frying! I can’t believe such a callous doctor! I’m so sorry to hear you suffered so. Hopefully your hair will eventually grow back, but maybe it would be best to change your part to the other side anyway to protect that area from any more sun.
    Also sorry to hear that the ultra busy days and nights haven’t let up yet. I’m sure we’re all pulling for you.

  160. I haven’t tried it as yet but I make a lot of dark, fruity Christmas cakes and I was told that it adds a depth of flavour – also works well for chocolate cakes.

  161. Goodness, that sounds like quite a traumatic experience. I’ll continue keeping you in my prayers. Thank you for taking the time to create the weekly posts, with everything else you have to fit into your days. Always so much here to uplift and inspire.

  162. S. CO Mary, I want to give you a huge thank you for this suggestion. I looked up Rick Steve on-line and found episodes for a bunch of places in Europe we will be visiting on this trip. I had hubby watch them with me and we now have some great suggestions of places to visit in those cities as well. You were right, there is a dutch living history museum that is close to Amsterdam and it looks amazing. I think hubby and I will try to visit there during our stay! So, again, thank you again for suggesting we watch Rick Steve!!!

  163. Cindi, Maxine, and Athanasia,

    Thanks, ladies, for your advice. It’s too late to rescue the jars, sadly, as the trash was picked up on the 23rd. I had it in my mind that the jars shouldn’t even be opened, and in the busyness of life didn’t bother to reread my Ball canning book and realize that apples are high acid foods. Sigh. “Haste makes waste” as my mom used to say.

    Well, more lessons learned: seek advice from knowledgable friends and read instruction manuals. :p

  164. He had his assistant offer me a valium to “calm my nerves.” I pointed out to her that I was not hysterical, but that it was hurting me, and that as my husband had brought my nursing baby with me to the appointment I was of course not going to take a drug like that!

    They had to cut my head three times, the second time cutting through the stitches to get it all.

  165. The doctor spoke to me with his back to me the entire time. He was rather rude. I did complain at the regular office and they said they get complaints like that all the time about him. Quite odd. But their attitude about him made me think nothing will ever be done about him.

    By contrast, the PA I see at the regular office is super nice and caring. I am glad she is the one I normally see.

    I have Cheaper By the Dozen (and we saw the old movie as well) and I keep thinking my children need to hear about his method of getting everyone to take a quick shower in thir brains so that they can get ready quickly!

  166. I’m sorry it was such a painful experience. It sounds awful.

    I feel that in always reporting such poor professional conduct, that eventually a change might be made. I am just one person and what I say may not change anything quickly, but when it becomes one of many reports, I may save someone else pain down the road. So I report it all. And if I don’t feel like I was taken notice of, I put it in writing.

  167. I really like the dehydrated best. WinCo has a nice soup mix we use in lots of things. It’s salt free and adds lots of flavor.

  168. I make fruit crisp with no or low sugar frozen fruit. The topping is oats, a little brown sugar and margarine or butter. Bake at 350 F until bubbly. Perfect on cold days!

  169. I have had a very similar experience with the specialist I see for my migraines. The main Dr is extremely rude and will make you wait for over an hour after your scheduled appointment time to be seen. However, she is top rated for her practice in Houston. When I see her PA on the other hand, she is kind, personable, prompt, takes the time to speak with me in detail about all of my questions and concerns. She makes my visits there so much more tolerable. I see her most visits and only have to see the main Dr. Once a year. It is awful sometimes the way Dr’s treat their patients. It is as if they forget that we are trusting them to take care of us and that even though this may be an every day event for them, it is not for us.
    I hope you never have to go through that procedure again. So sorry you experienced such an uncaring Dr.

  170. Lorna, let me join the chorus of “Congratulations” you are receiving for obtaining the loan on your forever home. I thought of you all week (and said a prayer!) and hoped that everything had gone well. Thrilled that it all was finalized! When I think of your backstory, I’m struck even more by your resilience and determination to move forward when others might not have. So very proud of you and your husband and thank you for letting us all come along on your journey to this house. Rejoicing here in your accomplishments, along with many across the world! I can’t wait to read your future posts and to hear about your first Christmas there! Continuing to send you all the best and many blessings.

  171. Patsy looks so pretty and happy and I love the dress! Well done. That was a LOT of alterations, but with a great outcome. Very pretty and I love the color.

  172. Hello Tanja. My daughter just returned from a European vacation and she said Amsterdam was one of her most favorite spots. I haven’t seen any pictures yet or heard much about it, but hope to hear all about it soon!

    I recently saw a television program about the systems of dikes and pumping stations in your country that protect your low lying lands from coastal storms and flooding. It was really fascinating how all of it was designed and quite creative as well. One of your engineers is now here in the US advising some of our coastal areas and cities of innovative ways to help prevent the flooding that has accompanied some of our hurricanes. I expect we will learn a lot from his/your country’s experience. Flooding continues to be a major problem for my state (North Carolina), especially from the recent hurricanes Florence and Michael. Although my area fared well with Florence, Michael was not expected to bring anything except a bit of rain. Unfortunately, it (unexpectedly) brought flood waters and many people lost cars, businesses, belongings and had flooded homes. So we could use some help!

  173. Enjoying the crisp seasonal changes here in the midwest. The accomplishments of this week were:
    -Had friends for lunch and made soup, sandwiches, and apple cake. Used apples that my sister-in-law gave us. The apple cake uses oil rather than butter and less expensive to make. I set the table for the harvest season and it was a wonderful at home gathering. Much less expensive than meeting at a restaurant.
    -Have been removing popcorn ceilings and then painted kitchen, living room, and hallway. We are so pleased with the new wall colors and the saving of doing it ourselves.
    -Visiting my sister and will spend one evening. I baked a quick bread and taking a basket of goodies. Will take some fruit and waters for the trip. We always take our own coffee brewed at home in our travel mugs.
    -Put off getting my hair colored /cut until the day before Thanksgiving, that will get me through the holidays looking good.
    -Bought a used dock that we can get a good amount of use out of. It came with lots of planks so we can arrange as necessary.
    -My friend is teaching me to knit a baby hat. Got a free on-line pattern. I bought some needles and yarn-hope to have a nice hat made for a Christmas gift.
    -Want to change some decorations in the living room-will gather things I have tucked away and then use in new places in the house.
    -Enjoying evening walks-no money out for a gym membership.
    -Checked out a book from the library that is our read for the next book club. I don’t buy books, much rather borrow.
    -Turning down our furnace every night to 62 and most nights it does not get below 65. We have been adding blankets to stay warm.
    -Researched many hours to find a new Doctor and called to check rates for a visit.
    -Visited a cranberry farm, purchased berries, and will share with my sisters.
    -Fixed the furnance because the exhaust waters was causing it to auto shut-down. Saved on a service call.
    -No grocery shopping this week, used from the freezer and pantry.
    -Knitting scarfs for Christmas.I have 2 done and one to go.

  174. My frugal accomplishment was making meals with veggies I put up. This summer I was appalled at how much I still had leftover from the previous summer and I vowed that I would make good use of what we had instead of buying from the store.

  175. You are really resourceful. I’m sure your son was happy to see you. Hope you enjoyed your visit with your son.

  176. Another frugal week on the books. Since our house and car are now paid for we can turn our focus on to some delayed maintenance issues. We’ve ordered a new window for our kitchen. It lost it’s seal several years ago.
    We also cancelled the internet we have been using the last 6 years that gave us only 6 gigs to use each month. It cost 50.00. we had dsl installed so we had more gigs to use plus we can now stream tv. It only costs 45.00 a month.
    I started using the dryer again since we only dry two loads a week. The dryer hose has a nylon on the end that let’s the warm moist air into the house.
    As usual all our meals were eaten at home and all leftovers were repurposed or added to the animals dinner.
    This time of the year we eat lots of soups. This week I incorporated leftovers to make beef stew, tomato and bean soup and loaded baked potato soup. Anything that is left goes to our hens.
    My new glasses have arrived so I am ready to start sewing.

  177. Heidi, All signs point to another recession. How soon is anyone’s guess. I’m also trying to get better prepared. I’m mostly worried about my husband’s IRA which is tied to the stock market.
    I so wish we still had book sales. The friends of the library had a sort of falling-out. Now, I drive to other towns or visit the thrift stores. I must have my book fix!

  178. I think we will just miss the tulips, unless they are early so some reason. We start our trip the beginning of April in Ireland (I believe around 10 days total there), then fly over to Amsterdam. So we will be there around mid-April, staying for 5 days, before heading over to Poland with a couple days in Berlin, Germany on the way there to break up the long train ride. This trip is going to be a LOT of moving from place to place, but we will be checking off a bunch of “bucket list” places that we really wanted to visit!

  179. I know very little about his grandmother’s family history. I think she left family (including siblings) behind when she came to Canada, but no one has maintained contact with them. Hubby’s family are just not that interested in geneology, so it is hard to get this type of info from them with any acuracy. Most often they don’t even know, because they never asked questions. As I said, his grandmother passed away, so no chance of asking her any questions, either. I’m just happy that hubby is at least seeing a part of his heritage through this trip.

  180. Congratulations, Lorna! It’s always so exciting to move into a new home especially one you saved so hard to acquire! I have no doubt it will be magnificent when you’re done!

  181. A fun thing : Google “flash mob the night watch Rembrandt”. You’ll see a fabulous recreation of the painting, live in a shopping mall in Breda. It’s quite fun to watch!

    I would add the link but I’m typing one handed on my phone from a hospital bed. (Post-delivery complications). But using free WiFi, so frugal! 🙂

  182. I have been working to use my pantry/freezer items. So far this week I’ve used frozen chicken to make burritos, and will use the leftover chicken to make a chicken tortilla soup. I have a roast thawing now also, and made pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins.

    I’m starting a business (next fall) and am going to use this year to slowly make/buy/plan for it. I’m going to offer homeschool enrichment classes from my home, for younger students. I’m a licensed teacher, and I am excited to try this venture. I plan on making most of the items/buying on etsy things I can’t make. I plan on staying frugal but still having beautiful items to learn with!

  183. Good story, Ava! No point trying to control what won’t be controlled. I have one beautiful tall pale peach tulip that appeared in my front garden two years ago, an area where I only put purple, blue, and white flowers. I guess that is a gift planted by the squirrels, because it is a lovely bloom, perhaps even more so because it doesn’t “match.”

  184. I am wondering if I will lose my job. If so, I have plans to do as you are doing. I am impressed that you are making the best of the situation. Enjoy your time off and getting your home in order.

  185. You might like to do an online, free search at the family history library (LDS). They added 29 million Dutch records this past summer. You never know what you’ll find (from my own experience).

    Great you’ve got hubby onside about going to Holland.

  186. My husband and I went to Amsterdam last April and it was prime tulip season. 🙂 I would also highly recommend Keukenhof, it is breath-taking!

  187. Thanks to everyone for the fragrance free suggestions last week. That gives me a good place to start.

    I can’t remember where I heard this, but lavender is supposed to be good for keeping away scorpions. Like planted around doorways and dried bunches left on windowsills. Maybe a sachet stuffed with dried lavender would work?

    I’m sorry about your doctor visit. Surgeons are not usually good with bedside manner, but I think what you experienced was unnecessarily brutal and very disrespectful. I had my share of bad experiences several years ago when I kept having miscarriages. There are a lot of online sites for rating doctors, even yelp reviews. It won’t change them or what happened but it might prevent someone else from becoming their victim. So sorry for what happened to you Brandy, you deserve better.

    On the frugal front, we made many trips to the grocery store to stock up on 99 cent blocks of cheese. We eat a lot of cheese in our house. This week we will work on processing apples into applesauce, pies for Thanksgiving, and pie filling for future cobblers, fruit pizzas and turnovers. We cooked from scratch and buy less and less processed food as it does not fit into our budget.

    We are slowly rearranging our first floor turning the living room into a studio/office and moving storage out of the family room so we can use it again. We shopped a local discount furniture store for seating, and found the perfect chair and couch that were lovely, but not in our price range. Later I found the same set on Craigslist for $800 instead of $2500. Still too much. Then I found two matching Thomasville club chairs at the thrift store for $20 each. Sold!
    The upholstery is very clean, in a neutral color and they are more comfortable than the new chairs we tried at the store. So, still looking for a couch, but at least two of us can sit on chairs to watch the Macys Thanksgiving parade, and we still have a few weeks so who knows what could happen. Fingers crossed.

    I’ve also been searching for Christmas gifts for my family and birthday gifts for my daughter. I found a game my son wanted on that same thrift store trip, and a heavy punching bag at an estate sale. It’s an old everlast, but in great condition and perfect for my teenage boy to practice his punching and kicking on.

  188. Too funny, Ava! I just told my husband that I need to have Heidi Louise contact an old neighbor of ours. The deer in her yard always went after her tulips. It was a constant aggravation every year.

  189. We were older when looking for a house but wanted to get into a decent school district as our kids were close to high school age. (8 years in the military took up some time.) We told the realtor what we wanted to spend on a house and they kept telling us, oh, there is nothing in that range in that area. Strangely, they kept finding a house or two to show us, most in need of a fair amount of work. The one we bought is older (110 now) but it met our other qualifications–basically sound, two floors (heat rises), and space for a garden. It’s a narrow but long lot, and we have managed quite well here. Best of all, we spent only about half what the bank said we could afford. (I am pretty good at math.) The rest we spent along the way, fixing it up. The major thing was it badly needed painting. We did it once ourselves but saved for roof and siding. Put a roof on the house and barn, and sided the house. Blacktopped the gravel driveway. Did all the painting, removing wallpaper, redecorating, etc, ourselves, paying as we went. It did eventually need a new boiler but that was 28 years later. Husband thinks we need a new roof now–it does need looking at but might only need patching. I can only find one leak and I’m not sure where that’s coming from. We’ve been in here 40 years and I think we could easily get 3 times what we paid for it –we have never added a half bath so have only one and it’s on the second floor. Only major drawback to the house, IMO.

    Our housepayment was less than most people pay for a new car, including taxes. We paid it off 9 years early. I am ready to downsize but DH is not. It will take me a while to declutter–been working on it a while already. By that time he may BE ready.

    It’s not as fancy a house as most of our friends have, but we are happy and comfortable here. I am a big believer in living SMALL. In the 56 years we’ve been married, we have bought only 2 NEW cars. We have had vacations every year except the last couple–we still had some time away but we both have had illnesses which cut into vacation time. We have been able to put money into a 401(k) and are managing well — I retired 16 years ago and we still have spent only a small amount of our nestegg to date. (Most for dental work!) You can do a lot over time. You can do a lot yourself. And you can do it without interest on a huge mortgage!

  190. While visiting a friend with cancer last week, I was asked to listen for the beeping of a low battery. He is hard of hearing and unable to find the source himself. I listend for the beeps and was able to tell him it was one of two in his basement, so he brought it upstairs and changed the battery. I was happy for any little thing I could do for him that helps him out.

  191. My husband had that same type of surgery on his forehead, chest and arms. He didn’t tell me how many times they cut, but I understand the process. I was fairly surprised at how much he complained of it hurting and also how long it took to heal. Part of his was that he was allergic to the antibiotic cream they gave him at first, but I think the rest was simply that they cut down fairly deep and it did take a while to heal all the layers that were cut. This was about 4 years ago and I do notice that he wears a shirt outside in summer now to cover his skin more, and also wears a cap more often also. He even puts sun screen on, which he never used to do. His skin is not sensitive and he tans, so never thought sun screen was necessary for him. He has not had new cancers—but goes once or twice a year to be checked, and they get them at the pre-cancerous stage with liquid nitrogen. I’ve just had a few pre-cancerous spots–the liquid nitrogen stings for 20-30 minutes but I try to remember to take a Tylenol before I go, and it does help some. I am very fair skinned so once I was old enough to look after myself, have been very careful with sun exposure, sun screen, and covering with clothing. My Mom tried to keep me protected when I was very young, but we had no sun screen back then, in the dark ages! I had two redheads–one who tanned and one who didn’t. The one who didn’t got some mild blistering sunburns as a toddler but I kept her pretty well covered. (We did live in Mississippi twice!)

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