Ivory for web

This week was a week of spending on necessary items, stocking up at the lowest prices and using various ways to lower costs.

At Smith’s (our Kroger affiliate) I purchased 80 pounds of pasta at $0.49 a pound, 30 cans of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup at $0.49 a can, 30 cans of vegetables at $0.49, and two turkeys for $0.47 a pound. I filled the cart for $87.37 at rock bottom prices.

At Winco, they had a spend $100, get a free turkey offer. I purchased items on sale and brought home a 21-pound turkey for free.

My husband and I cut his hair.

I used a coupon code to take 25% off an online order.

I used a coupon code to save an additional 25% on top of clearance prices on another online order and received free shipping as well.

I went with my eldest daughter to Ulta beauty for the first time. they had some stocking stuffer items pried 5 for $5. A few of them were items I was needing anyway (that I  and some were items I was wanting to purchase for stocking stuffers, so I bought 10 items

After comparing a few sites, I began using the free version of a site for photographers to share photos with families whose photos I took for free recently. I am going to take photos of more families in the upcoming weeks and this will allow me to easily share large files with them.

I continued to use the free app Lose It! to count calories and track exercise. It’s been really good for me as I had stalled in my weight loss. I like that as I lose weight, (and I have already since starting using the app last week on Saturday) it readjusts my calorie amount to account for my smaller size. For instance, one day it said I needed 6 fewer calories, and another it said 13 fewer calories. I would not have lowered the amount like that, even though I know that as a person loses weight, they need to continue to adjust their calorie intake. This has been really helpful for me. I also love that I can scan UPC codes with it and it automatically inputs all the nutritional information. I can then adjust it; for example, if a serving size is 3 of something, but I only eat 2 (or if I decide to eat 4, etc.) it calculates the calories without any math on my part. I also find myself encouraged to do more housework when I sometimes feel like sitting because I can burn more calories and see the difference on my daily log (and eat a few more bites of something and still be under my calorie needs to lose weight). I lost 4.4 pounds the first week of using this app to track my calorie intake, which is an exciting start towards my goal weight!

I used the free Overdrive app on my phone to read e-books from the library.

My electricity savings have paid off; my electric bill will be $10 less than it was for the same time period last year. This is one of our lowest usage months of the year, so I’m happy to have been able to decrease it. We don’t use air conditioning or fans and we strive to keep the lights off. Several of the lights that are on are being used are LED bulbs.


What did you do to save money this past week?



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  1. Over the last 6 weeks:
    *I’ve taken advantage of freebies to accumulate some items to use for stocking stuffers (e.g. candy and gum)
    *Used a $5 off $5 purchase at Ace Hardware to obtain potting soil and some plants for my front door
    *Used a $10 Kohl cash (earned while purchasing needed clothing for my daugthers) to purchase 2 ornaments for them for their Christmas stocking
    *Accepted gifts of eggs from a colleague. She has a neighbor who raises chickens for grocery stores. Some of the eggs (some 98 of them, ahem) were VERY small (I had to use 2-3 eggs to make a regular size egg. Another batch (2 doz) were exceptionally large and had 2-3 yolks in them. No problem for us! We used them all and I loved having free eggs.
    *Resisted the urge to purchase a “Taste of Home” cookie magazine while in the check-out line at the grocery store. I really wanted that beautiful magazine! I decided I would “think on it” and decided to visit the Taste of Home website. Sure enough, they had many of the recipes I saw in the magazine. I will just download recipes that I want from the site instead of purchasing another cookbook.
    *I created a Christmas shopping list and have been picking up items on sale prices or by using 40-50% off coupons.
    *Froze fruit juice and fruit about to go bad to use in future smoothies.
    *Received 1 pound of roasted pecans; these went to my gift closet for Christmas gift giving.
    *Used the library for free videos or music
    *Received a bench that I will sand and repaint and place outside. It was a gift from a friend who is downsizing.
    *Stocking up with all the wonderful sales items.
    *I received notification that my credit card company is reimbursing my Zaycon order! That is over a $100!
    *My family took our flu shots at Publix and got $30 total in gift cards…that I used to purchase items on sale!

  2. Good for you on the electric bill. Even though we are using less KW hours, our cost is higher than last year. As much as we cut down on use, they seem to raise the rates to compensate for lower useage. No way to win on that one!

  3. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy you did so well picking up so many specials to build your pantry with and using multiple coupons too 🙂 . Your daughter looks so elegant and pretty in your photo.

    Our savings last week added up to $505.81 :).

    Purchases –
    – Bought a 7 pin flat – 7 pin small round trailer adaptor on eBay using a $10 off purchase voucher saving $28.90 over buying it locally.
    – Purchased 3 x $240 for $200 Woolworths grocery e-vouchers off eBay saving $120 on grocery costs. I will of course couple this with any half price specials that I find to save more on items we use.

    Sales –
    – Made $48.90 from sales from my eBay store which we used for a few things for the home.

    In the gardens –
    – Saved from divisions 6 thyme plants, 6 calla lilies, 6 of each yellow and tigerlily orange canna lilies, 3 lemon grass, and 6 more rosemary cuttings from the gardens saving $307.76 over purchasing them locally. These will be starts for our new home gardens.

    Home & garden organisation and moving –
    – We have now packed 3/4’s of the house into marked boxes.
    – I cleaned out the inside of cupboards as we emptied them.
    – All of our grass clippings have now been used to heavily mulch all the remaining garden beds to stop weeds growing before we leave. We also weeded them all.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked a double batch of chocolate and coconut queen biscuits saving $14.03 over purchasing them.
    – Made a large bacon and silver beet quiche from eggs given to us, pastry we made from food storage and silver beet from the gardens saving around another around $20 over purchasing it.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).


  4. Brandy, what an adorable smocked dress! Is it one that you bought at the yard sale? When my now-42-year-old daughter was little, she had a couple of Polly Flinders smocked dresses and I loved dressing her in them. Some were hand-me-downs from her older girl cousins. Also, great news on the diet app!

    I LOL when I read about you and your husband cutting his hair. I know you do it routinely, but it struck me as funny this time because I’d just finished reading an article about Elizabeth Taylor. Liz loved to cut hair, and apparently she was very good at it. If you came to visit, you were lucky if you got out without a haircut. She used to cut Richard Burton’s hair regularly. Once he was in a play, and she decided he needed a haircut…and gave it to him during the intermission.

    Good deals on your turkeys! I bought $120 worth of groceries at Winco last Sunday and got a free 20 lb. turkey. I immediately came home and started making a list of what I could buy this week and get another bird. I priced out dog food and was prepared to buy up to two bags to make the $100 shop. List and calculator in hand, I spent $129 this afternoon and got a free 23 lb. turkey. There were so many good deals that I didn’t have to buy even one bag of dog food. Which is just as well, because Target has our brand for BOGO50% this week, so it may prove to be even cheaper than at Winco. What’s even better is that we had eaten down our food storage before two moves in the last year, so I’m stocking up at really good prices.

    My son e-mailed me last night for instructions for cooking his first turkey. Since he has a 25 lb. turkey (!), I hope they are having a lot of company, LOL. (I also told him how to freeze the leftovers in recipe-size packages).

    I went thrifting twice and bought all of the icicle lights I need for $8.50. The only thing I couldn’t pass up was a blue and white print flat sheet for $2. Since I have a collection of blue and white dishes, I think the sheet will become a tablecloth, or runner and napkins.

    My friend Heather watched me fill my Operation Christmas Child boxes and enjoyed it so much, she packed one, too (girl 10-14). I wasn’t too busy Thursday, so I made a gathered skirt for her shoebox. All of the materials came from my stash. Heather was packing and re-packing her box that night and her 9-year-old granddaughter wanted to know why she couldn’t have a skirt, too. So, for one of her Christmas presents, Heather is packing a shoebox for her, and I’ve promised to make a skirt.

    One last OCC tip and then I’m done: My son was given a watch he didn’t like when he graduated from high school in 1997. It kicked around the house for years, getting lost and then found again. I found it and put it in my boy 10-14 box. I decided to buy a new battery, at the same time worrying that the giftee might never be able to replace it when the new battery died. When I took it to the jeweler, I discovered it was a wind-up watch!

    Hope everyone here is having a great week. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Cooking meals at home. Not shopping for much but some food items. Using library. Turning off lights. Getting eggs from chickens to use, we have more hens that we thought! Yeah! Enjoying time with family. Washing full loads of clothes and dishes. Using internet for entertainment, information and communication. Enjoying the outdoors; deer, raccoons, fox, sunrises, sunsets, snow, sunshine and fresh air.

  6. I’m amazed that you found Campbell’s cream of mushroom for $.49! The cheapest we ever have it is $.89 during Thanksgiving sales. I don’t like store brands because they are not as good. I just received a coupon from Bath and Bodyworks for a free item up to $13 with a $10 purchase. They always have coupons this time of year. I think if you had time you could make extra money doing photography. You always have great pictures of your children. I hope your family has a wonderful Thanksgiving! You are one of the most thankful and grateful people I know. God loves to bless those who show gratitude. Even Jesus asked the one leper where the other healed lepers were, because he wants us to show gratitude for our blessings.

  7. You certainly got some good grocery deals. And yay for stocking up.

    Today I met my mom at the farmer’s market she volunteers at. The season ended in September, but they have a special market the Sunday before Thanksgiving. We bought vegetables, including potatoes and sweet potatoes, for Thanksgiving dinner. She ordered a turkey from the grocery store where she works, so she gets to use her employee discount. My mom, my sister, and I will split the cost of the turkey, and we will all bring food for the Thanksgiving meal. I am bringing roasted vegetables, cranberry sauce, and ice cream.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – The two pound bricks of Tillamook cheese are on sale for $5.99 at QFC (our upscale Kroger), so today I stocked up and bought eight pounds. We go through cheese pretty quickly in the winter. It keeps well in the fridge, even months past the “best by” date.
    – I stocked up on a few things at a local Asian store last weekend: coconut milk, rice vinegar and Thai chili paste (a 14 oz container for $3). This store has great prices.
    – I gathered up odds and ends in my fridge and freezer and made a batch of “remnant” soup. In the interest of cleaning out the fridge, I threw in the dregs from an almost empty container of sour cream, along with half a cup of leftover pickle juice. The soup turned out quite well (it could have gone either way :D), and I froze a bunch for my work lunches.
    – This week, I was not motivated to grocery shop, so I dug in the freezer and found things to make for dinner. I even found a couple things I had forgotten about (which will be tomorrow’s dinner).
    – I finished sewing the shirt I am making for my husband for Christmas. I found the perfect buttons in my stash, so no money out for that.
    – I took magazines I had finished reading to put in the waiting room at work.
    – My coworker was going to throw away used batteries, so I took them home and added them to my pile for recycling.
    – As usual, I walked to work. It’s now dark when I leave, and there is no sidewalk for part of the way. So I pulled out my reflective vest I bought last year and have been wearing that home. Not getting hit by cars = priceless.
    – I took a free craft class at the library, on Sashiko embroidery. This is a type of Japanese stitching that was used centuries ago for mending, and has developed into an art form. It’s very easy to do, as it just uses a running stitch. The class was great and I really enjoyed it.
    – Otherwise, I did all the stuff I normally do: cooked from scratch, made and bottled water kefir, watched DVDs we already own, read library books, etc.

    Not frugal, but not a fail: I finally found the exact artificial Christmas tree that I wanted at a local store. Our old, very cheap one is on its last legs, and I had looked for a replacement after the holidays last year, but did not find the one I wanted. The new tree was marginally on sale, and I bought it. It’s the perfect size and shape, and I can’t wait to put it up. 🙂

    Hope everyone else has a good week. Happy Thanksgiving to all my frugal friends!

  8. Cold weather has come to Ohio and with it has come my annual winter sinus infection complete with headaches and really drippy, gunky nose! It reminded me why I was so happy when I made our first flannel Softies last year to be gentle and super absorbent with my sore red nose without going through endless boxes of Kleenex ( and literally “blowing” my grocery budget urchasing them!! Lol!)
    It occurred to me that if my nose was hunky and drippy that maybe others were experiencing the same thing. So I switched gears and went through the flannel scraps I had in my storage drawers and found some cute kids’ prints so I made up over 20 more bundles of 5. Here’s a photo of a couple of them: https://pin.it/wkzdgssx7eerdc

    Soup Cozies continue to use up my fabric stash too and yet my fabric stash is not noticeabley reduced!!!! How is that possible???lol!!!

    Getting ready for Thanksgiving this week, I sent a turkey over to our daughter’s since she is hosting our family Thanksgiving. That gives me more space in my freezer to fill with other things!
    Two of our daughters and their families will be staying over with us for the weekend- from Thursday through Sunday morning. Since that’s an additional 11 people (including 7 teenagers) I’m going to get busy tomorrow making and freezing breakfasts and dinners and making tortilla wrAps for lunches! That should keep me busy! But if I prepare ahead, it doesn’t mean I need to go out and but more food! Because that would cost a ridiculous amount of money to feed them for 3-1/2 days!!
    Hard to imagine the end of this year is right around the corner! This Saturday, I do the final walkthrough on daughter’s new home they are purchasing and a week from day, I have their POA to sign for both of them at the closing and get the keys!
    A yong mom at Church just had a baby Saturday and I was able to go to my gift cupboard and get out a flannel baby quilt to give her a Gift!
    Busy time of the year, but amazingly, I’m not stressed! I think that planning and preparing ahead are the keys!
    Hope everyone else has enjoyable Thanksgiving!

  9. Last week (same as all weeks) my house is often very quiet – no radio or television on – saves something on electricity. Then, when I choose to view or listen, it makes it all the more sweeter! In the mornings, when I am getting ready, I switch the light on to, say, see what I am doing eg putting paste on my toothbrush but while I am actually brushing, I switch the light off. I should add, however, as soon as I move off and there is a chance of slips or falls, illumination comes on! Whenever it is light outside, the curtains are opened. I love seeing your photos of your family, Brandy. If you feel able to, could you occasionally name them so that I can put a name to a face (I’m not too sure of some of your girls names).

  10. Brandy, congratulations on losing weight!

    We are back in Finland (from Estonia) and we are frustrated with our electricity bill. Living in a rural area with only one electricity supplier/provider the taxes and fees are insane. Our last bill was 105 € for 2 months and the amount we paid for electricity itself was 26,15 €. Well, that is something I have control over, and every cent counts, but we really thought electricity was expensive in Estonia! You learn every day…

  11. 49 cents a pound for pasta is amazing! The lowest I see it here is 69 cents a pound. Wow!

    This week, I made a batch of Rice Krispie treats from ingredients that a friend had passed on to us. I managed to cook dinner even on crazy hectic days to avoid eating out, cooked beans from dry, bought cleaning supplies (bleach and dish soap) at the Dollar Store, did yoga on YouTube, ate all the leftovers, used a book I bought at a yard sale this summer to learn some new hairstyles for my daughter, and read three library books and one interlibrary loan book. I made my mom a Christmas gift using stuff I had on hand, including something I picked up for free and a something that would have gone into the recycling- it’s a no-cost gift, and she’ll love it. And we attended a reptile and amphibian show at the library (educational, interesting, and free!). It was a really busy week, but I managed to stay in motion and keep costs down. 🙂

    Have a great week, everyone! 🙂

  12. It sounds like you had an excellent week, in terms of shopping sales, and online coupons. I’ve never been in an Ulta store, but we have one nearby, and I may just have to check out their stocking stuffers. One of my frugal accomplishments was buying pomegranates at Aldi’s @ .79, though I was charged .89, still a good price. Another was harvesting close to 20 lbs. of maitake or hen of the woods mushroom on our land yesterday. I began processing them yesterday… dehydrating, freezing and had some for dinner. Today I plan to can some, and begin preparing some for medicine. I wish all who are celebrating a lovely Thanksgiving. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/11/bountiful-mushrooms-frugal.html

  13. I’m glad you were able to stock up your pantry with all those amazing deals this week, Brandy! I’m sure that makes you feel good to replenish those necessary items. So nice you were able to find some stocking stuffers at such a great price too! I wish you well on your weight loss goals.

    I’m going through a period of adjustment right now at our house. Now that my brother is living here, I’m having to cook a lot more than I normally do as he is a large man and eats double what we do. That means doubling the amount I make when I prepare a meal. I’m watching our pantry/freezer items being used at a much faster pace than normal, which worries me a bit. We will be fine, and we have the means to replenish. I’m just not used to seeing the food disappear so fast. This week, the frugal accomplishments for our household included:
    *Meals made at home included breakfast sausages with Knorr pasta side dish and green beans, homemade vegetable beef barley soup (used leftover roast beef) with homemade multigrain french bread, homemade chicken fettuccine Alfredo (my brother made dinner including homemade Alfredo sauce…yum!), ham steaks with homemade scalloped potatoes and carrots, breaded chicken burgers or stuffed chicken breast with flavoured rice and broccoli, and
    *Froze leftover homemade pasta sauce with meatballs to avoid food waste. There was enough for another family sized meal.
    *Made a double batch of no yeast cinnamon rolls to use in DD’s & friends lunches this coming week, plus extra so the rest of us could enjoy them too. This was the first time I’ve ever made cinnamon rolls. Made a few minor mistakes, but overall they still tasted great!
    *Purchased a gift at 50% off for our upcoming Weaver’s and Spinner’s guild Christmas party gift exchange. I also booked the hall and caterer for the event. I did research on Pinterest and found a Victorian parlour game to play at the party as well as a fun way to do the gift exchange. It’s looking to be a really great Christmas party!
    *I ran into my 20 year old co-worker that I mentored last summer, while picking up supplies at Costco this week. She was so happy to see me and fought back tears as she gave me a huge hug. She said she is so grateful for all the advice and knowledge I taught her last summer. She continues to cook at home, instead of going out to eat all the time. She said she had to use her credit card when she bought a cheap car, but will focus on paying it off once she starts her temporary full time job next week that will last for a few months. She is even making Christmas gifts for family to keep her spending down as well. So proud of her efforts! It make my heart sing that I could have such a huge, positive impact on her young life.
    *We had a wide spread power outage in our area on Wednesday night. The powder cut out around 7:30pm and didn’t come back on until 1:30am. It’s cold here…winter type cold. We were thankful for the gas fireplace downstairs that requires no hydro to run. It kept us warm as we sat in a candle lit room for the evening. We covered up with warm blankets when we went to bed. I wore my warm socks to bed as well. The house was pretty cold by the time the hydro came back on, but we survived.
    *Needed to get some blood work done for an appointment I will be going to in the new year. The waiting area was quite empty when I went. I didn’t think anything of it, until the receptionist commented that she’s not seen it this slow in a long time! Guess I picked the right day to go. I was in and out within about 15 minutes of my arrival. Of course, the blood work is covered under our health care, so no cost OOP.
    *DD had a rough start to the week, behaviour wise. Because of this, we had to miss the cooking class on Tuesday. Not pleased about the reason why we missed it, but hopefully we will be able to go again next week. After we threatened to not renew her phone contract, DD quickly got back in line with her behaviours and is doing much better. Sometimes she needs a reminder she is not completely in charge.
    *Schools had their first snow day of the school year on Friday. DD and I happily slept in.

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments, as usual. Hope you all have a wonderful week.

  14. Isn’t it fun to get a free turkey? I love Thanksgiving sales. This really is the time to stock up. Like you, I received a free turkey ($50 or more purchase) and picked up lots of healthy food on sale as well, plus a few freebies – free cottage cheese, free lunch meat, and free French bread.

    My best deal of the week was a clearance mattress pad. Instead of buying a new mattress for the guest room, this will get us through the holidays cheaply. Total cost was only $15.99!

    All of my transactions can be found here. http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-11-17-18/

  15. Tina! I started to write about the same Taste of Home magazine (it was $9.99). I ended up not including it. I did the same thing, coming home and looking up the recipes online. There was one that was particularly appealing to me, but it called for cashews, which are $6.99 a pound in bulk at Winco, so even if I only bought the exact amount needed for the recipe, it would still be very expensive to make. I laughed so hard at the review of it. The reviewer said it had too much sugar in it for a diabetic! Um, well, of course, it does–it’s a cookie recipe! It then ended with saying the cookies were tasty . . . .

    It also said the recipe was to be made in a 13 x 9-inch pan and make 30 cookies. I’m not even sure how to cut them that small. That would mean each cookie might only be as big as a single bite!

  16. I was not feeling great last week. I didn’t go to the doctor, I just used what I had on hand and am feeling better. Several friends sent food. Hubby did surprise me for lunch and bought me a quart of egg drop soup. Otherwise everything was cooked or from the freezer. I sold several items on eBay and listed lots more. I watched lots of Netflix and Amazon Prime TV. I got 2 turkey’s for 39¢ a pound. The rest of my list is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/11/my-frugal-list-week-of-november-12-2018.html

  17. Your reference to your fabric stash never being used up made me smile — I was the Scripture reader at church last week, and the Scripture I was assigned to read was about Elijah and the widow woman who fed him — her oil and flour were never used up until the drought ended, so of course I thought of that and your fabric!

  18. Happy Thanksgiving to those readers in the U.S.
    I, too, was able to purchase a turkey for 49 cent a pound – the cheapest price I have seen around here in years. We are going away for Thanksgiving, so I will cook the turkey later.
    We submitted some receipts to our electric company for some LED bulbs we purchased. They will refund half the purchase price.
    My husband had four pairs of jeans (he wears jeans every day) that were in good shape, but quite faded. He asked me to re-dye them, which I did, using Rit dye I purchased at Jo-Ann’s for 40% off. I was able to dye four pairs of jeans for about $8. They came out looking very nice. (The process does use quite a bit of extra water, so that adds to the cost, since water is expensive here. But the cost is far less than even one pair of new jeans.
    The ground started to freeze, so I had to dig the rest of the parsnips. I also dug up half a dozen carrots I had previously overlooked. We had a string of nights with single-digit temperatures, so I’m afraid the broccoli plants and peas in the greenhouse are gone. Oh well, I was using up old seed when I planted them, so no great loss.
    I sewed a shirt for my husband, using very nice wool flannel I purchased at a garage sale years ago. I purchased snaps for the shirt on sale.
    We went to a free movie screening in town with friends. They drove and it was a fun, free night out. Like us, this couple is also very frugal. It is nice to have friends who are like-minded.

  19. I checked the grocery store sales online before shopping, but when I arrived at the store, the sale listed on certain hams — wasn’t. I pulled up the flyer on my phone, and the puzzled meat manager walked the entire store trying to find out if some other hams were supposed to be on sale, but found nothing. They gave me the sale price on the ham I wanted, and I now have a ham for Christmas tucked in my freezer. I saved nine dollars and change on the ham, so it was worth the extra 15 minutes to get it straightened out.
    I finally bought a new stove to replace my Hurricane Michael ruined one (power fluctuations caused electrical damage, not physical damage), and opted not to pay for delivery and installation, which is rather high due to our remote location. My husband pulled our trailer to the store, which is just over 50 miles from our house- as is every other appliance store- where they loaded it for him, and my daughter and I unloaded and installed it. My husband is physically unable to do heavy work, but she and I managed getting it installed ourselves. I’m so grateful that she was able to come over and help. That’s my “grateful” for the day, too.
    I peeled and cut up root veggies and roasted them all at once in my new oven to save time and energy later this week.
    Although we already had Thanksgiving dinner early, I picked up a few sale items to hold for Christmas or later, like cranberries. We all like fresh cranberry sauce, so it may appear with the ham at Christmas.
    I hung out most of my laundry this weekend. The weather has cooled, but the afternoon sun is nice and warm.
    I’m keeping the upstairs, where our bedroom is, cool. I put extra blankets on the bed and we briefly warm the bathroom with a space heater for our showers.
    I’m still picking up Christmas gifts here and there on sale and/or with Swagbucks. I just got another gift for free by using Swagbucks.
    That’s all I can think of right now. I’m waiting on a new grandchild, who is due to arrive this week, so my focus is on that.

  20. Congratulations on your weight loss Miss Brandy! A quick loss in the beginning is always very encouraging.
    I normally hit up the Kroger sale as well but I’ve decided to cut back on pasta and we still have lots in the freezer from last year’s sale! Other than that, I didn’t really see anything that caught my eye this year. I HAVE been stocking up on butter though, as it’s been at 1.99 a pound lately at several different stores. Since it’s mainly just me & hubby that I’m cooking for these days, I find I don’t need to stock up as much as I used to. We don’t really eat turkey anymore so I didn’t go on my yearly hunt for a low price on one, as I always had in the past. It has been a big adjustment for me to transition from buying and cooking for a house full, to just us two. Things that have been so ingrained in me to do, I am finding that I really have to think, and readjust my mindset when I am planning my shopping list and stocking up on really great deals!
    I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  21. Hi Brandy, I was wondering if you could help me. I went to the website for Lose It and discovered that there is a fee for this app. When you downloaded it, was there a charge? I’m assuming I went to the correct site. Thanks. Have a great day.

  22. What a beautiful child, and what amazing talent you have as a photographer!
    I gave a big list of my frugal accomplishments last week, so will just add a few today.
    For almost 3 months now, we are using plastic shopping bags exclusively for our household trash. Inconvenient and messy in the kitchen, but we have saved at least $15. ( There is no credit for bringing reusable bags locally, so we are, in a sense, paying for these anyway.)
    Dollar General again is having their canned veggies 3/$1 through the 21st. I plan to buy more.
    28 yr.old chronically ill daughter is applying for disability, and I am working on it,too. This could save us thousands on her medical bills that we pay, and could save my body from further damage.
    Applying also to become an Individual Transportation Partcipant through Medicaid to get reimbursed for gas mileage for when I take my grandson to his many medical appointments, some 2 hours away.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  23. I downloaded it from the Play Store to my phone. I have an android phone. It’s a free app. It has a paid version that it told me about after downloading the free app, but I just have the free app. If you want the upgraded (for pay) version it did offer me a 25% discount on that. I didn’t go to their website. I just download apps in the Play Store.

  24. Hello Brandy, I love the dress your little girl has on in today’s picture! So very feminine … You are doing great on your weight-loss journey after baby. It just takes time, as you well know; and the app sounds like a jewel to have. Sounds like it just about does everything for you. When I went for my routine-every-3-month doctor’s visit last week, I was surprised to see that I’ve lost 18 pounds since my back surgery on July 17! I’m not doing anything differently re: food and eating. Actually, I figured that I had probably gained a ton since I just about don’t do anything any more. But somehow, the pounds have come off — of my neck, upper chest, and arms but not my abdomen and hips! I can tell that my jeans are looser, though. And good for you, for stocking up on so many groceries at this time of year. You’re so very resourceful, and I admire all that you do to save money and time. I send my best wishes to you and your family for a happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day.

  25. We had the electric company come and do an energy audit. The man installed aerators at two of the sinks and about.10 ft of insulation on the hot water pipe close to the tank. We now have a coupon for $400 off additional attic insulation-there is only 4″ up there! No wonder the gas bill for house seemed on the high side for its size. Mom liking it, needing it, warm is not the only reason. We don’t have and don’t need whole house air conditioning thanks to the large maple on the south side of the house.

  26. I greatly enjoy the photos of your beautiful children, Brandy. I am still (3 weeks later) trying to get over the flu that so many others have also had here. It seems to come back. I have a lot of potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions, etc., frozen peas, so every couple of days I make more soup. A friend brought me a 20 pound bag of russet potatoes for $5.99 from Superstore. It is good for me as I can put russets in the oven to bake and put the timer on (it shuts off the oven) and not have to worry if I fall asleep. I saw that Walmart has cases of soup. Primo has a very nice soup called Harvest Lentil which by case lot costs $0.89 each can — it is relatively low in sodium. Usually it costs about $2.50 per can. When I am better, I will stock up on cases of the lentil soup. I hope it is a Canadian offer as well as American. I was happy that we had a warm wind which melted all the snow on the driveway so I didn’t have to pay someone to shovel. I can shovel a small amount by using only my one arm, not my broken one.

  27. What a sweet little girl and lovely dress (did you make it?). Is that Ivory? I haven’t seen pictures of her lately, so I’ve lost track of how old she is now.

    Our Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals including LO pancakes and scrambled eggs, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, pasta w/ homemade sauce, Southwest Chicken Skillet, and leftovers.

    * Made two loaves of bread, chicken stock, yogurt, ranch dip, and a big pot of black beans for the freezer.

    * Harvested Fuyu persimmons and guavas. (Friends invited us to share their abundant backyard crop. 🙂 ) Harvested a few lemons from our own tree.

    * Took advantage of holiday sales to stock up on some pantry/freezer items, and then used some coupons and a scout camp card to further reduce the total.

    * I, too, needed a few cosmetics. I combined sales, coupons, and Extrabucks at CVS to reduce the total outlay (and received $5 Extrabucks for a future purchase–which I will probably use for something to put in someone’s Christmas stocking).

    * Son needed clothing in particular colors for a performance at church. We were able to find just what he needed at a local thrift store, and while there found a few more items for him. Altogether, we were able to get two short-sleeved button-down shirts, a sweatshirt with his HS logo on it, a pair of black jeans, a pair of black dress slacks, and a pair of cargo shorts for less than $30.

    * Hubs fixed our DVD player by ordering a belt online and making the repair himself (a skill he learned way back when we were in college–ha!).

    * Paid bills online.

    That’s all I remembered to write down. Oh, and I have a few questions for anyone who cares to respond.

    1. Are the fruits/vegetables listed on the FoodGuys food storage calculator dried, canned, or frozen (or any combination of the three)? Some items are pretty self-explanatory (applesauce, banana chips, etc.), but I couldn’t tell on other items.

    2. I notice that other than legumes and dairy, there are no proteins listed. Any suggested amounts for items such as canned tuna, etc.?

    I’ve been tracking my grocery purchases all this year, so I’m planning to compare our family’s usage to this list and customize it to fit our personal preferences and medical requirements (I’m not supposed to have soy, so lots of commercially prepared items are no-nos for me). Still, the list has been a really good starting point. Thanks to whoever first suggested it.

    3. Is Etsy a British company? When I check it out, all of the prices are in pounds, yet many of the merchants are from the US. Any way to easily convert the prices to US$? I’m toying with the idea of having an Etsy store for things that Hubs and I make, but don’t know how to go about it. Still in the “thinking stage.”

    Have a great week, everyone. And Happy Thanksgiving to all in the U.S.

  28. Yes Heather, dry & in the package I buy it in! I write the date I put it in the freezer on the package with a sharpie. I haven’t noticed a difference in quality since I’ve been doing it. I may play it safe & process them with my Food Saver now that they have been in there about a year.:D

  29. The lab that does our blood work here in BC allows anyone to book an appointment on line. They don’t advertise it in the office but you find it online. I’ve never tried for a same day appointment but I have been able to get a ‘next day’ appointment. It certainly is better then taking a number and waiting for your turn. You might check it out.

  30. Stephanie, I would love to know what you made your mom. In fact, I’d love to know what everyone is making for gifts…so don’t be shy, tell us!

    I have only basic cooking and sewing skills, but it’s surprising how far those can take you! So far I have made my son a batch of strawberry freezer jam and a bath wrap for my daughter-in-law. My daughter has been home for 6 weeks, but now is gone for a few days every week, so I need to get started on the kimono top I plan to make her. Let’s hope the pattern is as simple as it looks! Jury is still out on my husband. Last Christmas, DDIL’s sister sent my daughter and me homemade bath bombs! They are not cheap if you have to buy all of the materials, but they are fun…especially if they come out right! (I have lots of bath “salts” from batches that didn’t stick together).

    My son used to have a girlfriend who made dog treats for our pack. For others, including us, she would buy Christmas tins at the dollar store and several packs of Lindor truffles…and mix them up in the tins. This qualified as a homemade gift, IMO.

  31. Such a lovely child and dress!. I bought a turkey at Winn Dixie for $49 cents lb with a $30 purchase. I had a $5 off $25 coupon for Dollar General and stocked up on canned vegetables, and other items, such as hair dye for $1.51. I loved the hair dye purchase (four months worth) because I like to pretend I am still young and have hair that color…lol. I went to the thrift store and bought my youngest son a couple of very warm jackets. He bikes to work/school, so he needed warm jackets. I got a $3.00 blouse that is perfect to wear with my skirt suits. Some of my blouses have become very faded and torn, so I am gradually replacing them. I walked at the river park and enjoyed the spanish moss and the leaves, as they are beginning to turn here.

  32. I am so excited to see you are from Finland, Miriam!

    My mother’s family is from Finland and we treasure our Finnish heritage. My daughter is learning a bit of the Finnish language from an elderly cousin to surprise my mother (her grandmother) for her birthday this week. Such a surprise it will be, as so few speak Finn anymore!

    Wishing you well in reducing your electric bill.


  33. Etsy sellers are from all over and most ship worldwide. Check to see where the seller ships to and you should be able to convert the price to U.S. dollars.

    I bought this dress used on Ebay for my second daughter, so this is the fourth girl wearing it (and yes, this is Ivory). It’s a Laura Ashley dress, and it’s silk. I have smocked dresses before, but I can’t smock that many rows as my pleater doesn’t pleat that many rows for me to sew.

  34. I bought this one used on Ebay for my second daughter, so this is the fourth girl wearing it. It’s a Laura Ashley dress, and it’s silk. I have smocked dresses before, but I can’t smock that many rows as my pleater doesn’t pleat that many rows for me to sew.

  35. Brandy, I love the child’s smocked dress in the photograph. These photos remind me of happier times. This month continues to be a month of finding contentment at home. I started to shop the sale at Kroger’s but took a good look at my pantry and just didn’t need to add anything to it even though the prices tempted me. I am out of dish soap so I used a bar of laundry soap I had leftover from my former laundry soap making days. I have no dishwasher, but used dishwasher tablets to soak a load of whites as I had no bleach. I delayed doing laundry until the weather report showed me having a sunny day. I then hung my laundry out to dry. I stood by my mailbox several times this week to hand off items I needed to mail off instead of driving over to the post office. My mail box was vandalized recently. Not only is it falling over but it has no little red flag lever. I had to refill a prescription for sugar cookie. I used a prescription discount coupon that I found on swagbucks . I paid a great price for a three month supply and claimed a $25.00 swagbucks award. Sugar cookie went to visit a friend’s family for the day. She brought home two heavy wool blankets the relative was giving away. Apparently the Auntie is trying to downsize some. These were very much needed and appreciated. I am grateful that when they were offered to her that she realized our need for them and accepted them. We still have not turned our heat on. I had just been thinking I wanted to buy two new blankets but that we just didn’t have the extra money. One visit to the doctor turned into three visits and a trip to pick up prescriptions turned into 6. The copayments are killing me. Sugar cookie is attending Thanksgiving dinner with her friends extended family. She is contributing 6 packs of Thanksgiving themed Chinet type plates and 3 matching packs of napkins. I purchased these in early summer for a dime a piece. As usual, always thinking ahead. We are enjoying Call the midwives on DVD that we ordered with our free trial of Netflix dvd. Today is gorgeous. 60 something and sunny. Enjoying the fall leaves , sitting outside working on a meal plan. Sugar cookie has a pancreatic tumor and her sugar is sky high. We are working on many changes here. I purchased Army boy a plane ticket to come home for Christmas. The prices are steadily rising every few days. It was much cheaper to buy it for him now than at the end of the month when he would be allowed to purchase it. The first time he has use of his phone, he will have a message waiting for him. He will Venmo my money back to me. While in school, they have very little use of their phone and no contact with the outside world. This probably saved him 50% on his trip home. We may have no money in our pockets but our home is filled with the wealth of many blessings.

  36. Happy Thanksgiving!
    It was a good, frugal week.
    I took diapers as a gift to a baby shower, which I’d previously bought with a coupon and on sale.
    I took pictures of my kids for our Christmas card. My parents helped me distract them. It is hard taking pictures of kids, as I’m sure many of you know, and getting everyone to smile at the same time, especially the baby.
    Free snacks were provided at work, which I brought mine home to share with the kids.
    Stocked up on loss leaders at the store.
    I bought a few Christmas gifts off my facebook resale groups, as well as sold some toys the kids don’t play with anymore.
    I substituted oil for melted butter in a bread recipe, and it came out fine.
    I haven’t needed to run the heat or air conditioning much at all. I think it’s in the 50s now, but it’s been mild.
    I started picking out my own grapes at the store. They are sold by weight, but it seems like I’d always end up with some mushy ones at the bottom of the bag. Now, I use one of the produce bags and pick out my own grapes from the bags. This way I can get a few clusters of the fresher ones. Produce manager said this was fine when I asked her.
    I filled the van up with gas at a station near work, where it’s a few cents cheaper.
    I’m planning to buy stamps before the rates increase next year.

  37. My adult with Down syndrome has Type 1 diabetes and is insulin dependent. His body makes no insulin. He can eat anything he wants as long as he counts the carbohydrates and takes the insulin to cover those carbohydrates. we don’t want him to over indulge in sweets but we don’t deny him either as long as it’s in moderation. Type two diabetics make insulin but their body doesn’t use it like it is supposed to. If their diabetes is controlled by medication only then eating cookies would send their blood sugar sky rocketing . Such a complicated disease.

  38. I am several weeks behind here with any updates, I think. I do enjoy reading all your posts and comments, especially the thankful items. Just so busy.

    Did all the usual of washing out ziplocs, hung some clothes on the drying rack, used the wood burning stove to supplement heat in the main area of house, used up leftovers, cooked and ate at home. Darned socks, mended some holes and sewed and reinforced buttons back on. Restitched the side of a comforter that was coming open. Did a bit of decoration just with gourds from the garden, silk leaf garland, some stuffed pumpkins and apples. Mini lights inside and out to add sparkle to the darkness.

    Snow on the ground here. Been in the 10’s and 20’s F lately, but sunny. Gardens are all done except for a hoop house with kale that my daughter still has going. The herbs I brought in for the winter are in the sunroom, along with the lemon tree and one very large geranium that is still blooming. All the other geraniums are in hibernation in the basement.

    Have not found a lot to watch on TV in the new season. With my youngest daughter gone this year I have not watched in the evening. We have just the local channels on our antenna. My husband goes back to his shop for the evening to work on papers, designs, orders etc. Sometimes I walk down there and read, other times I stay home and do house things. Have been putting MONK series on the laptop off AMAZON prime while I am working in the kitchen. Am up to book 6 now in the Hamish MacBeth series by M.C. Beaton that was recommended here. Read a very good little book MY MOTHER’S SECRET by J.L. Witterick which was a fictionalized account of a true story of a women who hid 3 families in her little 2 room farmhouse during WWII. Listened to SOMEWHERE OVER THERE: THE LETTERS, DIARY, AND ARTWORK OF A WWI CORPORAL by Francis H Webster on the public radio Chapter a Day. Currently reading MILK!: A 10,000 YEAR FOOD FRACAS by Mark Kurlansky and the 2nd Maisie Dobbs mystery BIRDS OF A FEATHER about a WWI nurse in England turned private detective in the early 1930’s. It is a busy time of year to fit in reading but it must be done. 😀

    Some of the things I remember cooking and baking over the last 3 weeks…baked mostaccioli with Italian sausage, cooked up all the last of the garden tomatoes for 5 quarts of sauce for the freezer. Kale and white bean soup, creamy broccoli soup, hamburgers for the grill, baked fish (frozen, husband caught this summer) and baked potatoes. Baked 12 extra potatoes and made them into 24 double baked and wrapped them in packs of two and froze for future use. Baked white bread, French bread, banana bread, oatmeal craisin cookies, cranberry walnut muffins, apple crisp, apple pie, pecan rolls, various baked squash. Attended harvest dinner at church and they had some extra baked chicken and for a donation could take a bag. I did and there was 1 wing, 2 breast, 1 thigh and 1 leg in it…picked all the meat off then cooked up the bones and skin and made a batch of gravy. Put the meat into the gravy and we had dinner two nights of hot chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes. Been doing extra servings of meals as then package up and take to daughter next door. She has been back to full time and more sometimes at the egg farm and with the goats and off season farm chores. My mother does some of her cooking for her too so that they have a dinner ready every night and lunches for the children. Mixed up 15 piecrusts and put 14 in the freezer.

    Thanksgiving will be next door at the big house, everyone will be here with the families except son Markus and Christy and little Adam. They will be with her family for the day then come here on Friday and stay over til Saturday. I will cook two smaller turkeys (16 lb and 14 lb) and a ham. Folks are bringing the sides, other than the mashed potatoes and stuffing with my mother and I will make. Both younger girls will be here Wednesday night through Sunday which will be lovely. Johanna is off the hospital having earned that long weekend and Olivia is off the the school holiday. They will drive home together, one picking up the other on the way in. We have an invitation out at church too if someone wants to join us for Thanksgiving dinner.

    I have been cubing and drying bread in preparation for the stuffing. I have various pickles and vegetables canned and frozen to choose from. We’ll have leftovers for the weekend and maybe make a couple favorite dishes for the visiting children. Butter, the Land O Lake brand regularly 5.00+, was on sale for 1.99 each in the mix and match 10 promotion so I bought 10. That was at the Kroger affiliate store. I still have been shopping at the other store rather than them but I did see that special and I do pick up the Friday free items every week.

    Went over the Christmas card list and updated it. Counted out stamps to see how many to buy. Will get family pictures over the weekend and will start a Christmas letter to go in the cards. Christmas letters are very popular among my extended family…I really look forward to getting them. I know some people don’t like Christmas letters, I hear. I bought 2 boxes of cards last year at 70% off so I am OK there. Will start addressing envelopes.

    Went to baby shower and church and were served a lovely luncheon with desserts and hot cider. 8 of us went in together and bought the glider rocker off the registry list. Those are so nice to have. Went to a family get together at one of my brothers house for everyone to meet his son’s fiancee. She grew up overseas in India but her family has since relocated back here and they met at college. Her mother, a teacher, is a native of India and both she and the daughter and 2 grandmas wore beautiful saris. They will not go back they said as they have been experiencing growing violence there. Her father is a minister and my nephew is in seminary now. Much good food.

    Christmas present list is complete. I am making smock type aprons for grandaughters Anna Joy and Dora, along with some doll outfits. to be continued…

  39. What a gorgeous photo – and such a beautiful child. Congrats on the weight loss – believe me – I know how tough it is!
    It is hovering around the freezing mark here so I bit the bullet and put my down filled parka into the washing machine – I knew that I wasn’t supposed to fry clean it but was still nervous. Washed in cold water under the “bulky” option – into the dryer on “cool” with a couple of dryer balls to fluff out the down and it came out great! It looks like new and the down feels all plushy again – it’s like having a new coat for $3.50!
    I had some really good luck buying meat at 50% off last Tuesday morning (trying to figure out the best times for this sort of shopping) – ended up with two packs of large sausages (2 different kinds) – packs of pea meal bacon (what you call Canadian bacon) – chicken thighs and ground beef. Repackaged and froze everything and ended up with 27 meals for $18 which is really good for up here. Our Campbell’s soup has been on for 50 cents per tin this week so I have bought both tomato and mushroom soup. I then made one final run to stock up on frozen vegetables – on for $2/pack and they are currently going for $3.50/bag even at the NO FRILLS store so this was a good time to stock up.
    Made a variety of sweet quick breads using up buttermilk – but when I couldn’t do anymore I froze the remainder – 4 large cubes = 1 cup of buttermilk!
    January and February will be very tight financially so I am stocking up on sale items now so that I can have two extremely frugal months spending wise.
    I am very lucky in that my heating costs are included in my rent (very common here) so no additional costs there – I have hotter rads so keep my place quite toasty – I have used an old blanket at the foot of my apt. entry door to stop a draft from the hallway and I will be buying one or two new hot water bottles as my last one has finally sprung a leak! I find them extra comforting on especially cold nights while watching TV or reading. Stay warm everyone and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who live in the US – I hope you all have a wonderful time with family.

  40. Actually, people who have Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes can have cookies, cake, etc. but there needs to be tradeoffs – cut down on other carbs in the meal to meet a goal of x number of carbs a meal. A really sugary cookie, such as an iced brownie, will “cost” more carbs, where a less sweet cookie, such as shortbread, will be less “expensive” carb wise. So a particular cookie really could be too sugary for a person who has diabetes.

  41. Good to know! I know a lot of people with type 2 who don’t make the tradeoffs and eats tons of sugar anyway. It’s a scary thing and I’ve always wondered.

    The serving size on this particular cookie was crazy small. It had as much sugar in the recipe as making chocolate chip cookies, but it would be hard to cut a 13×9 pan into 30 servings. 15 servings would be about right for a SMALL serving (I usually cut a pan of brownies that size into 12 servings) so 30 would be tiny. At 140 calories per serving size, I probably shouldn’t eat them either!

  42. That’s exactly what my husband referred to ! I did a rough estimate and figured I’ve used the equivalent of about 61 yards of fabric during these two months which have brought in almost $1200 in income! So that’s about $19/yard for fabric that mostly wasn’t in yardage but rather in smaller amounts! Even after 20% to keep in the business and 10% tithing, that’s still given a nice addition (1/2 of what was left) to savings and the other half to pay down hospital bill! Not a living wage for the time I’m spending but a really wonderful supplement to further our retirement goals!

  43. Hello Frugal Friends,
    Happy Thanksgiving week!
    Here are my frugal accomplishments for this past week.
    – Best fugal thing is that we are under contract on our old house! It is a hot market here in Colorado Springs area and the house had an offer in 8 hours of being on the market! So much work and painting but it all paid off in the end.
    – I was able to get a lot of oops paint to redo our walls from Lowe’s clearance section.
    – We negotiated with our trash company on a bulk pick up of trash. They had not picked up our trash can or given us a new one in a timely manner, as promised so we were able to get the bulk trash pick up for free.
    – I cashed out $176.33 in rewards from Earning Station, Swagbucks, apps and other items. I wrote about it on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/11/16/how-i-made-176-33-in-october-from-websites-apps-selling-crafts-and-more/
    – I also downloaded a lot of free kindle books to read. These are on my blog as well.
    – I used the coupons.com app to get free corn, green beans, potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy this week. The gravy is still on there to add to your account if you want!
    – We went to a North Pole place for free with a military veterans organization.
    – That’s all I can think of for today!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  44. This past week was full of shopping. I went to every store in my area and bought a lot of things on sale, including turkeys, hams, basic ingredients, goodies, and so on. I had been saving my Bottle Drop money, Ibotta money, and grocery money for this stock-up. (If this sounds familiar, it is. I’ve been working on the for 2 weeks.). I am so glad to be done for the most part, and will turn my attention and time to other projects now. It was a lot of work to get the best bargains from each store, make sure I got Ibotta rebates correct on the new items I purchased, etc., but I got a lot for my money.

    I’ve been pre-preparing things for Thanksgiving this past week. I’ve been doing a little organizing as well.

    I did some sewing, finishing a skirt that has been in process for a while, and some skirts for the shoebox project we did.

    We used our membership at the YMCA several times.

    We already ate most of one ham I purchased for $1.17/lb. I made ham and bean soup with the boiled bone, and we had ham several times for meals. There are 2 small packages in the freezer for later.

    My husband is using the Lose It app successfully. It was free. He just downloaded it from the App Store. He lost 10 more pounds in the past month (got weighed today at our primary care doctor).

    I worked on my berries in the garden some more. Pictures are on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/11/19/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-november-19-2018/

    I dug a volunteer geranium out of my compost heap and potted it up for my kitchen. I will see if it does anything!

  45. Impressive amount of food for a minimum amount of money, Brandy! Inspirational.

    My frugal accomplishments this week were fewer, but I still managed to get a few things done!
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a gc to Indigo. Now I have $20 in gc to Indigo, which I hope to combine with seasonal sales in December to be able to get 4 books, to give to the kids of two close friends for Christmas.
    – I’ve been drinking a lot to help keep my milk supply up, and have been drinking apple juice, but heavily watered down. It stretches the apple juice and flavours the water just enough to keep my taste buds happy.
    – I harvested the last of the parsley from my balcony garden the day before the first snowfall, and also brought in my two rosemary plants. I’m hoping to be able to overwinter the rosemary indoors this year. I would have had other herbs to harvest but a squirrel found my (4th floor) balcony and moved in. He destroyed most of the plants, brought a friend over to enjoy the organic buffet, and started building a winter nest in an empty pot. It was very cute! However, I had to evict him as he would never have survived the wind tunnel that is my balcony in the winter. What wasn’t cute, however, was that he destroyed my (3 varietal!) blueberry bush. I looked at it one day and thought the wind had blown off a few branches, and then the next day it was cropped back nearly to its base, and I found the branches in his nest. I’m hoping the blueberry bush is just severely pruned, but only time will tell!
    – My MIL will be arriving next weekend to stay with us for 6 weeks, so I’ve been compiling easy recipes I can prepare when she’s here, that I can make with a newborn in the house (my MIL is ill and unable to help around the house). I bought (or rather, had my husband buy) potatoes super cheaply last week, and I plan to make Rosemary Roasted Potatoes (http://approachingfood.com/rosemary-roasted-potatoes-im-exhausted/) at least several times, along with Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potato Soup (http://approachingfood.com/5-minute-easy-cheesy-broccoli-baked-potato-soup/). And many of Brandy’s delicious soups!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded some btz (digital currency the app uses) for a BNIB box of higher end crystal wine glasses. I definitely got a deal! While it’s only 4 wine glasses, it will definitely add some glamour to our dinner table when we have another couple over for dinner. I was super-pleased about the trade.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as usual!

  46. 1. Used a $5 off $15 coupon at Ace Hardware to purchase a register vent and a bag of my husband’s favorite licorice. It made the licorice free!
    2. I had to fill 2 propane tanks this week. Made a couple phone calls and found the best price was located at an rv dealership that only charges you by the gallon, some company’s charge you per tank whether it is half empty or completely empty. It only cost me $30 to fill a 20 lb and 30 lb tank. The one business quoted me $26 for just the 30 lb tank!
    3. Picked up a new cardigan for $2.50 at a thrift shop as well as a brand new planner for next year for just a $1.50! The planner is undated so someone must have received it as a gift or something last year and decided not to use it. It has week, month and even a place to plan your menu and set a budget! It is perfect for me.

  47. That would be “Dry Cleaning” – not fry! Auto-correct drives me crazy sometimes!
    And I forgot – one of my step-nieces is now raising chickens so she brought me a dozen freshly laid eggs as a gift – they are delicious!

  48. This has been a busy month for us but we’ve found some time to relax here and there.
    We got 50% off tickets to a hockey game by showing local ID and we took our own snacks and water.
    We got 50% off aquarium tickets by being an intercultural family.
    I attended and hosted two different swaps and came home with a haul of:
    1 shirt
    7 bottles of perfume
    2 containers each of laundry detergent and softener
    1 bottle of Body Shop shower gel
    2 tubes of toothpaste
    2 bottles of lotion
    3 pairs of sneakers for myself
    a sweater vest for my son
    a kitchen rug
    3 kids bath towels
    a pair of swim goggles for my son
    some peanut butter powder
    2 jars of olives
    2 jars of pasta sauce
    1 jar of cocktail sauce
    1 can of anchovies

    My friend gifted me a couple boxes of tampons and 3 bottles of shampoo.
    I’m using scrap yarn to make Christmas and birthday gifts.
    I passed on some clothes to families who need them more than I do.
    I’ve joined a Facebook group that is a clothing swap. We send boxes of clothes to each other and switch out the clothes we no longer fit or wear. Everyone pays a small fee a the beginning. Then you post the boxes to the next person on the list. I’ve gotten several nice things for work this year.

  49. Hi the Lose it! App sounds good but when I downloaded it, it said I had to pay after a week.
    Which version do you have? Jx

  50. For those that were praying for my Auntie and Uncle; my Uncle passed on Saturday. It is such a shock to all of us. He was diagnosed on Oct 30 and died on November 17th. Even the drs couldn’t believe how fast to was spreading. Our hearts are broken but I have comfort knowing we will see him again one day. Thank you to everyone that was praying. My Auntie could use prayers still. It has been a whirlwind nightmare for her.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. So very thankful for all of you.

  51. Brrrr. I’m glad you got warmed up!

    I’m glad your daughter got back on track quickly. I know it’s always a challenge, and that you both got to have a snow day! Our weather has been so unseasonable dry, it seems amazing to me that people are getting snow!

  52. I just downloaded it from the Play store and it is free. I only saw one version. No charge. They have an upgraded version that you can pay for that it advertises to me, but I haven’t bought it. I’ve had it since last Saturday and I am not paying for it.

  53. Hi Margaret, I read about your cheesy broccoli baked potato soup and can hardly wait to make it! Sounds like a great recipe!
    I have ought a ton of potatoes so this recipe will come in handy! Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl. And yes, frozen peas have many uses!

  54. I am sorry to hear Sugar Cookie has a pancreatic tumour. I hope you have many blessings this Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ann

  55. Your daughter’s dress is so pretty! Sunday afternoon I sat and read through all your comments Brandy! You get a lot and they were an encouragement. I don’t count calories I’ve been doing low carb. I have stalled but I think I’m not getting enough exercise. I’m going to force myself to at least walk in the mall every week. This weekend the exercise will be finally raking the leaves if the snow we got last night melts soon. Here are my frugal accomplishments: https://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2018/11/my-frugal-ways-this-week-111818.html Here are my frugal accomplishments:

  56. 1. I checked my credit card reward points and I am almost up to $400 earned this year! So Christmas is paid for and the rest will be rolled over for a possible vacation next year.
    2. We put up our Christmas tree that we reuse every year (which my mom found in a free pile over five years ago) and filled it with ornaments we have made and collected over the years.
    3. My friend gave me a number of homeschool books that her kids outgrew and I think that we will be able to use them all in upcoming years, so that made me happy:)
    4. Picked up fudge making supplies to make a gift for my daughter’s sign language teacher (marshmallow creme fudge is always a hit)
    5. Renewed library books online and plan on picking up even more for a little holiday reading this week…love, love, love the library

  57. This past week was spent grocery shopping and preparing for family coming. I stocked up on a lot of deals and was able to get my turkey for .49/lb. Unintentionally bought two as the first one I bought is too big to go in the cooker we normally use on Thanksgiving. It frees up oven space for the sides. I was able to find a smaller turkey for the same price so the first one is in the freezer and will be used later this winter.

    I received an email that a library book is checked out was due in a few days. I was still reading it so was able to renew online. This saved a trip to the library.

    Earlier this summer I bought a foaming soap pump and Castile soap. I made my own essential oil soap (with thieves oil bought on amazon). We’ve been using this hoping it will help keep illnesses afar off. If I had bought a name brand I would have spent so much more.

    If you’re an amazon prime member they have books one can read/buy for free. I got the new Gaines’ Magnolia book.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  58. I agree, Maxine. I’ve seem many “homemade” gifts that require little talent to make. When my daughter 6 years old, I took some of her beautiful artwork, scanned it into my computer, did a little tweeking to scale them down into little picture to create a page with several on it. I then printed the picture page out on printable magnetic sheets I bought from Staples, and cut them into little fridge magnets to give to teachers and family. Super easy, takes only a bit of computer skill and not very expensive. My daughter was able to give a gift of her art in a useable format that year!

    Lots of great gift ideas out there if you take the time to search. I also love when people post gifts they’ve made. It may be a very simple idea, but others might really like it and/or it may prompt another idea that is a modification of the original posted gift. So please share details with us all!

  59. I wasn’t in a hurry in particular that day, so it wouldn’t have been an issue if I had to wait. My Dr’s office is in a building that has multiple Dr’s sharing the space as a medical centre. The lab is in this building and just for their patients to use (they also offer x-ray and some other services, too). I don’t believe they take appointments. It’s first come first served only.

  60. That’s funny, it seems amazing to me that people are still gardening! We’ve been way too cold for a while now in our area. Winter definitely came early this year.

    I’m glad DD finally snapped out of her little snit she seemed to be stuck in. This has been buiding for a while. Seems like she gets stuck in a rut sometimes and needs a good meltdown before she can get back to a more agreeable attitude.

  61. Maxine, I won’t be shy and I’ll tell you about my favorite gift(s) I ever gave. To my mom, who died 5 yrs. ago. It started about 10 yrs. before she died. I lived 1500 miles away. She usually only needed one larger gift like eye glasses or a new coat. But, her favorite was always the stocking I filled with little things. So, instead of filling a stocking for one morning of fun, I bought her 24 small gifts, like an Advent countdown. I listed them on my notebook paper and numbered them to space out similar items like embroidery floss, candy, etc. Then I wrapped each one and put a large number from 1-24 on it. Then I bought her normal big gift for the 25th. I packed it all into a big box and shipped it. She was positively GIDDY the first year and begged me to do it again the following year. It became a tradition, even after she moved in with us. It was much cheaper then, lol, as I only had to fill a laundry basket and take it to her room! She’d get up in the morning, get her coffee and breakfast and sit down. When she was done, she’d take out the day’s gift. I LOVED buying the gifts throughout the year so I don’t know which of us had the most fun with that idea. I know, I talk too much!! Anyway, looking back, there were always some regular items like slippers, a book of postage stamps, skeins of yarn and a free pattern, embroidery floss, candy, cat treats/toy, etc. And sometimes just unique things I stumbled on. I usually did the same gift for the first of the Dec. I always managed to find a little card making kit in the Dollar Spot at Target. It was simple and she loved to make cards for a few people. I’d get 2 and slip in a few Christmas postage stamps. I also got small tubes of hand lotion, lip balm, mints, batteries, large piece jigsaw puzzles, & crossword puzzles with erasable pens.

    Anyway, I’m a braggart about this gift because it was so perfect for her. Many friends and acquaintances have followed suit with their parents, simply because many parents don’t need a lot or want a lot of stuff. Everything I sent was always a Use It Up item with no dusting or storing commitment.

    As for other gifts, you’d be amazed at some of my biggest hits. You know those peg games at Cracker Barrel that cost less than $2? My aunt said that my uncle played with it for 2 straight days until he solved it!! I got my aunt the little potholder weaving set and she said it brought back so many fun memories. She made coasters! Never rule out the Cracker Barrel store as a great place to find Use It Up gifts. Among all those dusting things are some great gifts. Especially in the toy section. They have those little books. I’ve bought many little coloring books (the stained glass one was the biggest hit) and paired them with a small set of colored pencils (bought during school sales, of course) in a handsewn bag for artsy friends. Most kept them in their cars or purses for waiting rooms, car pool lines, etc.

    Okay, I’m zipping it. I hope someone can glean at least one good idea from all my yammering!!!

  62. Don’t you LOVE Monk? My mom was constantly telling me about it, but we didn’t get cable. We spotted it at the library one day and checked it out. My goodness, did we laugh. I loved the mystery, it was clean, and skipped the gore. It’s on our antennae tv (Heroes & Icons) all day Thursdays so I’ll usually watch an episode if I have a sit down job. Never fails to make me smile.

  63. I didn’t hit any of the sales this week and I’m kinda bummed about it! We had a wicked cold snap that really affected my asthma. Breathing outside was painful. Rather than risk a bout with pneumonia, I stayed home. I’m still debating going out today, but I admit to being a bit chicken. If my husband could drive and drop me at the doors, I’d brave it. Oh, well.

    We have no family so we don’t do holiday meals. I’m thinking about making a big pot of vegetable beef soup on Thursday. We’re planning to use the long weekend to pain our master bed/bath so the soup will cook while we’re busy. That’s gonna take all weekend and then some to get done. Bathrooms are such a pain to paint! However, we paint one room per year and it’s due. I bought all the paint a couple of months ago at 40% off, got a new comforter set over the summer at 50% off, & am watching for another coup[le of things. I plan which room is getting painted a year before we do it so I can find my “inspiration piece” and choose colors or items. The goal is to by everything on super sale lol. These two rooms will look ENTIRELY different for less than $200. I found a gorgeous dresser from a super high end retailer for a mere $2800, I think it was. The look of it was essentially a few custom paint touches and hardware on a white dresser. Using leftover paint & 50% off sales on hardware, I’m customizing our garage sale dresser for about $20. I found one piece of hardware at a rummage sale for a nickel. 🙂

    Instead of Christmas cards, I mailed out Thanksgiving cards this year. They all went out last Thursday, right on time. I made them.

    I’m working to set some financial goals for us to accomplish by July 1st of next year. We DESPERATELY need new carpet and a love seat. Our sofa is old and it’s really too big for our living room. The space is about 12 x 12 and a love seat and two chairs will fit ideally.

  64. What a pretty photo! Every time you snap a photo it seems like the kids have grown so much! Then again, I have the same reaction when I look at photos I shoot of my own kids lol!

    It’s been insanely busy around here and everyone in the family is fighting a nasty virus that has been making its rounds in the area and gives you cold symptoms for two to three months. The kids crossed the month and a half mark and are both tired and cranky from it. Poor kids :(.

    My list for this week can be found here…


  65. Pretty young lady in the picture- black and white photos are so fantastic looking! Been busy the past few weeks/month but here are a few frugal things that I have done:
    -Blessed with a free 15-18 lb turkey.
    -Grocery shopped with saved up money, gift certificates from turned in points from Swagbucks, and coupons to stock up on items. Almost all of them were free and scanned receipts for more savings on phone apps.
    – Cooked a Friendsgiving dinner at the Reality Center. (Where DS goes for social skills and socialization.) Used items that were saved up in pantry/freezer from past/planned grocery trips and items I had canned during the summer. Got reimbursted totally. Sadly nothing was left to take home but glad their bellies were full and happy.
    -Made 2 batches of Chex mix from items in pantry.
    -Joined a Redbox movie club-even though we hardly don’t use it-but when I enrolled and answered some questions, was given 1500 points right off the bat and a free movie code. I’m going to make up a house warming basket for a co-worker who is going out on her own and give her the free code. Plus I can use the points for Christmas gifts (codes for free movies, games, etc.)
    -Recently joined a pen pal community of a favorite tv show. Been trading cards, pictures and gifts. It’s nice to write and connect with people from all over the world.
    -Bought some “Forever” stamps since the cost is going up in January- again!
    -Sent back some jewelry I bought at a party and didn’t really like when it was delivered. Trading for some Christmas gifts.
    -Returned some items back to stores that were bought on a “whim”- we need to stop doing that-LOL!
    -Awarded a free tub of popcorn and free drink for the movie theater thru My Coke Rewards. Plus was rewarded a free photo book that I made for a Christmas gift for DH. I get the caps free from co-workers.
    -There was some leftover Halloween chocolate candy on the free table at work- traded it with fruit from my weekly co-op box.
    -Donated canned/boxed goods from pantry that I have gotten free with coupons for my works annual food drive.
    -It rained all last week so meals were made and ate at home. DH took leftovers to work for lunches.
    -Hubby was awarded one of those Lenovo calling pads/computers. We had already gotten a free one from when he went to San Fran to work the Oracle convention last month. MIL was admiring it a couple of weeks ago when I was talking to my sister in Kansas City. Guess what she is getting for Christmas!!!
    -Had to buy some ornaments for a tree at work (reimbursted for the cost again). Used gift certificates from Hallmark points saved up from previous purchases thru out the year. Got two free blanket/throws.
    Hope everyone has a blessed, save and happy Thanksgiving!!

  66. Brandy wonderful photo and so proud of your weight loss.
    To all… Have a blessed and safe holiday.
    We’ve been fighting bronchitis that meds triggered my Crohn’s 3 times in the past 3 weeks. SO glad when the doctor told me to come off those and let my system clear out.
    We bought turkeys for 48 cents/ lb and then 37 cents/ lb. have 3 of them cooked and bagged by recipe size in freezer. Drank most of the broth since we didn’t feel like eating. Got 6 briskets for $1.99/lb and made 24 roasts out them . Pretty much stocked up in the pantry. We just had to buy a new to us truck, had to get a loan, got notice today there was a mistake on the loan and the interest rate was actually lower which also lowered the payment. Not a lot but every penny helps. We sent the 6 kids money to spend on their families (or their selves as neither of the sons have families or lady) instead of doing gag gifts with cash. Since we didn’t have Thanksgiving dinner this year we were able to give a bit more for the Christmas.
    We are going to a friend’s home for Thanksgiving, their sons are not coming home for the holiday as it’s the year for them to go to the others side. I will take an appetizer and dessert from my pantry.

    For Christmas gifts, I always did stockings for my parents of things they use like stamps, envelopes, note paper for grocery lists, calendar, one they could hang on the wall and one for Mom’s purse. Dad always wanted fruit cake, turtle candy and cashews,Mom dark beer and Pop crown royal.

    Rest is here. https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2018/11/when-it-rains-it-pours-still-some-more.html

  67. Hi Ellie’s friend! Glad to hear that you’ll try out the recipe! I like it because I can basically make two meals with the labour of one: I make cheese-sauce and broccoli topped baked potatoes one night, and then add some stock and such and the leftovers and have soup for another night. And yes, potatoes were just on sale! And thanks for the congrats! 🙂

    I hope you recover from your illness soon. I’ve heard that this year’s strain seems to hang around a long time, so I hope it’s run its course with you, or will shortly! Take care!

  68. OK Christmas presents. Making the smock aprons for the girls. It’s an old pattern…my sister and I had them when we were little and so did my girls. They have 3/4 length sleeves and tie in the back with big patch pockets in front. They are designed to cover up a dress. We had to wear them all the time I remember, then quick take off for company or go to school or church etc and then put back on to keep our clothes clean. No buttons etc needed and I made bias tape to do all the edges and used fabric on hand. I am not making them any clothes for themselves as Anna Joy’s grandmother is making her and Dora matching dresses for a present. The adult children and spouse are all getting an AMAZON or a gas giftcard each that I have bought over the year whenever the store had the 4x fuel point promotion for gift cards. All the grandchildren and nephew Henry and greatnephew Benjamin are getting picture books that I found used at the used book store, all like new. Though grandson Adam is getting 3 like new chapter book/easy readers. Each family gets a chocolate orange. Everyone is getting a box of mini candy canes for St Nicholas. I bought 30 boxes last year on clearance and have been saving them. to be continued…

  69. My mom is 84, and lives in Michigan. (We live in Colorado.) Last year, on a whim, I stuffed as many little presents as I could into one of those DVD-sized priority boxes, and mailed it to her, saying to open one a day. I put in things like truffles, a video, a Christmas pin, small giftcard, etc etc. I thought it was a little goofy, but…
    SHE LOVED IT!!!!
    So I’ll be sending that to her this weekend. She is coming for Christmas this year, so she’ll have a stocking here, too. Thanks for mentioning it.

  70. Here is how lame I am: one day the cable channel had 24 hours of Father Dowling and we recorded all of the episodes and have been watching about one a week, when we just want to relax and have no gore. They seem so tame and sweet by comparison to what else you see these days!

  71. My son plays “Bingo” in the local newspaper, which provides a card once a month and publishes numbers each week. He won $25, which he immediately hid away for future mysterious use.
    I scheduled a trip to visit a friend who moved some states away, using mostly Amtrak rewards points. My Christmas present to her is to wrap her presents. She hates doing that, and her family is very generous with giving, so she has lots to do. I can get sort of vicariously into the Christmas spirit early at her house.
    I looked around on Amazon to see if there is anything I needed with their current free shipping, and there isn’t. Food prices are higher there than in our local stores for the staple items I looked at.
    To stop the almost-cold I have felt building up, I gargled with warm salt water every morning for a few days and that seemed to stop it.
    We visited a new thrift store and in their greeting cards, I found eleven pre-postage-printed blank post cards, a quarter for all of them. Each has 15 cents on it, (from 1988), so after adding another 20 cent of postage, I can still use them.
    Not necessarily frugal, but convenient: I wanted a new release of a very popular book and put the Large Print copy on reserve at my library. Thus, I got it right away, instead of waiting for nine other people with regular print. I read and returned it quickly. There is a new Alexander McCall Smith, #1 Ladies Detective Agency, available, to read next.
    In a list titled Non-Conventional Cleaning Methods, I read about using cola to clean pans with burned-on debris. Our local grocery had provided coupons for free 2-liters of both Coke and Pepsi. Our stove burner liners always look a bit charred, so I boiled the pop (or soda–I call it “pop”) in the microwave and soaked the liners in it. I didn’t scrub them as much as I could have, but did get them cleaned up a bit. And I am trying to cut back on my Coca-Cola habit, so I didn’t drink any!

  72. I was able to get a free turkey at Winco by spending $100 for groceries. I stocked up on ingredients for granola, which will be my gift to family and neighbors. While I was there, I saw butter for $1.99 a pound–a great price that I don’t see often, so I bought 9 pounds for the freezer.

    We are hosting Thanksgiving at our home this year and I am using the turkey I got last year for free for our meal. I made two loaves of homemade bread as the basis for my stuffing.

    We were able to sell a car to a family member for a good price for them and a much better price than we would have if we had traded it in at the dealer. We also found a new-to-us electric/hybrid car that can go for 26 miles without recharging. Since 90 percent of our driving is local, I don’t anticipate having to put gas in our car for months! We are consolidating vehicles and will go down one additional car in the spring (it’s tied to my husband’s business) and will use the hybrid for personal and business use.

    Happy Thanksgiving to those who will be celebrating it! I am so grateful for my many blessings and for this blog.

  73. Miriam, I feel your frustration for your electric bill. We have 1 provider here. Our electric bill has quadrupled since we have lived in our house. They really have you over a barrel. I am hesitant to go solar because we have seen a lot of people go that route, then they restructure the rates. They end up with a solar payment and a bill. I am becoming the electric Grinch. LOL

  74. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
    I’m so thankful for your blog Brandy. I look forward to reading all the comments each week.
    I picked up some cheap butter, flour, sugar and potatoes late last week. I traveled from MN to VA on Friday to visit my son,DIL and 3 adorable grand babies this week. Not frugal but worth every penny since I only see them twice a year. I believe I have more than enough credit card points to cover the airfare. The only other thing I spent money on was taking the grands to see the movie the Grinch. Again totally worth it. We brought in m&m’s and purchased one popcorn for all of us to share. Love and miss those babies!

  75. I wanted to share a frugal save that happened for my 13 year old daughter this morning. She found a parasol that she had wanted since last Christmas at the World Market. All of the parasols were ripped but hers only had a a small rip. The handle was broken off of this parasol so my husband suggested she ask for a discount since the handle was broken. She asked and the manager gave her 50% off! I told her I was proud of her not only for waiting to buy it all year (we rarely go to this store) but also for asking for the discount. Saved herself five dollars! 8m really proud of her.

    My freezer broke this week. I have 2 floor freezers and my fridge freezer. I’m so thankful my son happened to check the freezer on that day. My daughter had a tiny freezer she wasn’t using so we bought it from her. I took what was already defrosted meat and cheese and cooked it or put it in the fridge. We did throw out all the vegetables and fruits because I didn’t have the time or energy to pressure can them.

    This morning as we were leaving to go to the World Market the seatbelt on the passenger side broke. If you’ve followed my postings it’s been one thing after another for the last few weeks, the worst being the death of my Uncle last Saturday. I hope I’m not sounding sorry for myself, I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’m overwhelmed with how live has been dealing me one blow after another. I have faith in God sustaining us but boy, I am having trouble not worrying too.

  76. I almost panicked today when I went to pay the student loan payment and it was sky high! Turns out the grace period for my daughter’s loans is up and I’ll need to start the laborious process of paying them back as well. Long story short, these loans are a result mostly of DH suddenly not working and also losing the profit on our house. Digging out has been a bit challenging, but I am keeping at it and trusting the Lord to provide. Good thing I’m a frugal human. Now, I’m even more frugal than ever!

    Found 2 pennies. Put off laundry for an extra half a week and will wash full loads. Ate a lot less this past week and saw a savings that I appreciated. As a result, I was able to bring in a cheese, crackers, pepperoni, and an apple for a “snack and chat” for two of my classes. We live in a rural farming community that has been rocked by two sets of murders. One murder/suicide and one double murder of a couple. My teen students have been so upset. We needed a break.

    I went to the thrift store to shop for Christmas presents and found just what I needed. I am very thankful. The presents are all wrapped with paper from last year bought at 90% off. I did spend 1.25 for 2 tall rolls of curling ribbon.

    I sold some gifted to me clothing that I could not wear and earned a visa gift card that is on its way. Although only 11$, it is still appreciated.

    I finally went back to the eye doctor and filled out more paperwork for the annoying insurance company in an attempt to get my 100.00 that they will pay. Hoping it works this time round. While there I mentioned that my glasses broke in July a month after I got them but my husband was able to fix them. The eye doctor is going to replace the frames for free. How wonderful.

    Happy frugal-ing!

  77. The photograph of Ivory reminded me of the very first of your blog posts I ever read, on the advice of a friend of mine. That was July of 2012, and you had included photos of 4th of July costumes made by Winter, and ended with a photo of a tiny baby Ivory in a sweet patriotic-theme outfit. Six years have flown by.

    Thanksgiving has come and gone in a whirlwind, and I enjoyed everyone’s posts about thankfulness without posting much myself. Thank you to all in this community for sharing, and thus reminding me to seek out the good and the positive, even when the challenges seem overwhelming and weigh so heavily. “Giv(ing) thanks in every circumstance” is not easy, but if I remind myself to do so and practice doing so, it is often deeply beneficial.

    We used a fall table runner found two years ago at a thrift shop, the beautiful china my husband inherited from his mother, and autumn decorations I’ve had for many years for our Thanksgiving table. (Sometimes I wish I could let people who have donated to thrift shops know how much enjoyment their donations continue to give.)

    Part of the centerpiece was a bunch of oversize resin grapes – big gold and orange spheres wired to a pretty piece of gnarled wood. Does anyone else remember when those were so popular? The plastic leaves are so old they are breaking apart. They were my late aunt’s, and I’m fairly sure she got them at a church craft- or rummage sale. I always remember them on the coffee table or bookshelf in her living room. Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday, and I got very emotional as I set them out. A child of the Great Depression and a great believer in wasting nothing, she would have loved The Prudent Homemaker community. Thinking of and missing you, Aunt Martha.

    Before Thanksgiving, I shopped at Sprouts and found very good prices on produce. At Walgreens, I bought Halloween candy at 75% off (because M&Ms are M&Ms no matter what the packaging). This will be great for holiday baking, and I love Deb’s idea (above) of using it for Advent calendars, too. My husband laughed at me but I don’t hear him complaining as he walks through the kitchen and grabs a mini Snickers.

    I had already purchased Christmas cards made from my own photos, using a Shutterfly “free” offer (I paid only for shipping). I began printing the photo collages I’ll include with the cards, using the ‘normal’ setting on my printer and regular paper. It’s inexpensive, it gives people an update on the family, and they needn’t feel obligated to keep them if (as we are) they’re trying to de-clutter.

    Time to begin switching the pumpkins and autumn leaves for the Christmas decorations…

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