Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments and Blessings

Roses with Christmas lights

I hosted two courses of a progressive dinner for a church activity this week. Food was provided for all of the homes except for salad dressing. I made ranch, Italian, and Orange balsamic vinaigrette.

I cut roses, dusty miller, and euoyonomous from the garden to make arrangements for the table.

I also cut euyonomous to decorate in other places.

The children gathered pinecones for our decorations as well.

A friend of mine is friends with a woman who has a huge ranch with lots of chickens. She gives away the eggs all the time. My friend brought me several dozen eggs.

I used grocery store gas points that I got last month at Smith’s to get .20 off each gallon of gas, making the gas $2.49 a gallon. The store gives points on each dollar you spend, but it also gives points for bringing your own reusable bags. (It seems to me that the store gives points based on the regular price of the item, because I didn’t spend that much at that store in November!)

I bought 4 packages of cream cheese for .29 a package combining coupons and a sale. In speaking with the cashier, I found out that taking the grocery store survey on the receipt gives me an additional 50 points towards a gas discount. For each 100 points, the store gives .10 off a gallon of gas. One survey can be taken per week. If I take the survey, and then if any of the other things I need are on sale at this store later this month, and I take the survey on that reciept, I’ll have at least .10 off each gallon again for January. My husband usually is the one to get gas, and he said that this store and another nearby have the same price on gas, and are the lowest around, but if I can get the .10 off or more discount, that the grocery store’s gas becomes the cheapest.

My husband cut Ezrom’s hair.

My husband and I watched a few episodes of shows on Hulu for free. We started a new show called, “State of Affairs” that so far looks quite promising. The first three episodes are still available to watch on Hulu. It’s a spy show, if you like that kind of thing.

I sold two items through Facebook garage sales.

We watched two live performances online this week. One was a Chamber Orchestra performance and the other was a Christmas concert with choirs and a philharmonic orchestra. I cannot express how happy it made me to be able to see these for free online. When I was in junior high, I saved my babysitting money to buy season tickets for myself and a parent to the symphony each year. I continued that through high school. I have long wanted to take my children to do the same. Watching a live performance online for free allowed them to enjoy what I have long enjoyed. The children had some definite favorite pieces, especially from Friday’s performance. (There is one more performance coming up on the 10th that we will also watch.)

Coach Lights The Prudent Homemaker

The children gathered pinecones. We used them to decorate. I placed some in bowls. Winter wired some to a garland that she bought last year and my husband helped her hang it. She also made these decorations using ribbon we had, floral wire, a small dowel, and pinecones, and hung them on our outside lights.

I printed another free Christmas chalkboard printable and put it in a frame that I had.

We had a lovely warm spell this last week that is suposed to continue into the next week. We opened the windows and enjoyed the fresh air. We also enjoyed some rain last week (close to a quarter of an inch, which was very nice for here); I turned off the drip irrigation and sprinklers.

 

Having a Ball The Prudent Homemaker

The children decided to dress up and have a ball. Ezrom wanted to dance with all of his sisters.

Having a ball 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I cut Swiss chard, thyme, parsley, sage, oregano, chives, and lettuce from the garden.

I bought two 25 pound bags of beans for $15 each at the LDS cannery. The workers there confirmed my suspicion that the 25 pound bags will be discontinued at the beginning of the year (meaning the price will be considerably higher, if not double next year, to buy the beans in #10 cans). I am considering buying another bag of white beans this month, even if it means pulling the extra money from another part of my budget.

While I was there, I went around the corner to the thrift store to see if I could find an olive green sweater for Winter. I’ve been looking for one all year at garage sales with no luck. I found one in her size! I also found a lavender sweater in her size. Both of these will be birthday gifts for her.

What did you do to save money last week? Did any frugal blessings come your way?

 

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111 Comments

  1. Those pictures are lovely, I’m sure they had the best time. I really enjoy progressive dinners as well, we had them occasionally on holidays as a child. So much fun.

    We are all sick and it is dragging on forever. We almost took everyone to the urgent care yesterday which would have been $100, we decided that while sick it did not seem quite that urgent and so I think I am going to give them the rest of the day today and if their coughs are still deep then I will bring them in to the dr during regular hours. I really want to keep them home and out of public while they are sick so they don’t pick up something else while their resistance is down and then are sick for Christmas. Instead we kept the house humid and gave them long, hot showers, and tea with honey. Which did help enough that I felt it was acceptable to wait and see.
    As far as ways I saved, I made my own meatballs and cookies and brownies and bought clay so we could make gifts. They are almost ready for painting. We received an awesome toy on Saturday that was leftover from a party, my children have been happily playing with it for hours and hours.
    My husband got a new suit and tie and it was 60% off.
    I rotated in some toys I packed away so that they seemed new.
    We have been doing the advent calendar that we bought on sale last year.
    We are organizing our list of things we need for our twice yearly trip to Delaware for tax free shopping.

  2. Baked a 2nd turkey. Had our “Thanksgiving meal” with our youngest daughter, & used Queens Thanksgiving brown china salad plates on top of our white dinner plates, with green Mosser glasses, on dark burnt orange placemats. The china, placemats & the green Mosser glasses came from DI, purchased in bits over the years. We don’t have enough to set a table with these if the entire family were present, but everyone seldom comes all at the same time these days, & these looked nice together on our Thanksgiving table for three.

    Bottled leftover turkey as chunks in turkey broth, & bottled extra broth, too.

    Baked four pumpkins & froze some of the pureed flesh for later use. I baked a pumpkin pudding, which turned out to be delicious, & I used some of the pumpkin puree in a batch of chili I made. I toasted all the seeds for snacks. The seeds from 4 medium pumpkins filled a pint jar completely full when toasted & cooled.

    Put up the wreaths, & the 2nd tree in the family room. Put up the Christmas village on the ledge in the downstairs guest room with a miniature tree at the corner. Climbed up carefully in the garage & brought down the 9 boxes holding the blow mold sheep. I put up the angel display, but the 5 angels were much easier to access, so our yard display of the angels appearing to the shepherds & sheep is going up in segments this year. I will need a 2nd person to get down the shepherds, as the boxes are too large for me to safely handle with a healing knee. When I put up the first tree last week, the lights would not work, so I used the lights I usually use on the family room tree. I have a spare set, but they were not long enough. While I was putting things away in the cubby, I found 3 small sets of lights: one 35, one 50 & one set of 100 lights. This was such a blessing, because we didn’t have to buy new lights. I put the ones I did not use with the Christmas decorations.

    Found & bought another quart jar & 5 more tall jelly jars at a thrift store. The quart jar came with a ring. I did check the edge of the jar for nicks before I bought it & it was fine, as sometimes the rings hide nicks that will keep the jar from sealing.

    Completed another pine cone survey. Made another batch of cranberry jelly.

    Wrapped presents for my husband. We had an early Christmas miracle here at our house this week. Our son was trying to buy a special LDS hymnal for his dad, with Invecchiato leather (the kind that Church employees receive for Christmas). There were 5 listed on eBay, & our son was going to try to buy one for him. He phoned on Saturday to let me know they were not able to get any of them. After I was done bottling the turkey, I went over to a second-hand antique store on Main Street. They had moved all the books to the top floor a year ago, so I climbed up the steps, & there it was! A copy was sitting on the shelf, in near perfect condition, for a very reasonable price. I think the owner was as tickled as I was when I told her the story.

  3. My frugals this week:

    The store I work for Gordon Food Services had turkeys on sale again this week but without any stipulations of X amount of money to be spent in addition to the turkey cost. Turkeys were 49 cents a lb. I bought 4 hens weighing about 13-14 lbs. each. I spent $22 for 4 turkeys. I cooked one yesterday, deboned and it will be for lunches and dog food (we don’t feed our dogs canned dog food). I have been watching a particular deep freezer at Lowes for at least the last 6 months, the price had went down to $169 which I thought was good but I needed to clear out a space in the basement for it so I waited a little longer. I went over Saturday and looked again. They were having a extended Black Friday sale. I was able to get the freezer for $124. I’m waiting this morning for it to arrive (free delivery too). It is also a energy saver model and says should cost about $26 a year to run. It’s a small chest freezer. I have a upright freezer but I find so many good bargains at my store that my big one is full between the bargains and when I make big batches of chili and veggie soups that right now I’d be challenged to fit a slice of cheese in there. Counting my blessings that I have a freezer full of food when so many have none.

  4. Smith’s is a Kroger affiliate, right? We have Kroger here in Georgia and sometimes a certain item earns extra points. They also have a free item to download to your awards card on Fridays. you might want to check to see if Smith’s does that. That way if one of you is near the store you can grab the free item and get another survey receipt without having to spend anything. I do one a week. Gift cards give double points most of the time (some exclusions) and are 4x the points this week. I purchased a Red Lobster as a Christmas gift so it gave me 100 more points. My MIL bought gift cards for everyone since the grandkids are older now so they can pick out their own gift. We live in a small town so none of us use a whole lot of gas (except my daughter driving 30 miles one way to college every day). MIL was kind enough to put points on my card since you can only use 1000 points at a time and she would not use all of them before they expired. Between the points she gave me, what I buy and surveys, I hope to get $1 off by the end of the month.

  5. I love the pictures of the children having a ball. So cute!
    Smith’s really had a great sale for you, we love those fuel points too. I’m so glad the gas prices have went down because it seems we are on the road more. We are making sure that we think of other errands when we go to my daughter’s house in order to save on fuel some more.
    I made a list here of my frugal accomplishments: http://vickieskitchenandgarden.blogspot.com/2014/12/my-frugal-list-for-this-week-12714.html

  6. My efforts to remain frugal were my normal ones, including some I have thankfully gleaned from you and your readers. I baked a rustic whole wheat loaf, corn muffins and chocolate chip cookies. We are vegans and cooked all meals except one, a planned once-every-couple-of-months outing to a vegan Indian restaurant in another town. I watered a tree on our parched prairie acre with warm-up shower water. This week, I’ll switch to another tree. I rinsed sandwich bags and plastic bags from the produce section. I made vegetable broth and started another bag in the freezer for the bits and pieces of veggies that will go into the next batch of broth. Now that my basil has certainly reseeded in the herb garden, I started pulling the plants. In my soups and sauces, I use the basil I collected just before the first frost. Since we try not to add much oil in our cooking–although baking holiday goodies sometimes requires it if I expect grandchildren to eat what I bake–I don’t make pesto with the basil. Instead, I chop it and freeze it in ice-cube trays with just enough water to cover them. The leaves stay green and the little bit of water from the ice cube trays is wonderfully flavored with basil, too, so doesn’t dilute the taste of the soup or sauce.

    The real reason I am commenting this Monday, however, is to tell you that I accidentally clicked on another part of your page and somehow came up with a post I hadn’t previously read, a post titled “Encouragement.” What a wonderful post to read this time of year!

  7. I love that your children had a Ball!

    My frugal accomplishments and blessings –

    I spent my day off cooking – I made a double batch of chick pea cutlets which I baked before I put them in the freezer so they will be a quick dinner when I make “chick-un parm”, lentil sausages, and all the cookie dough for Christmas cookies. I rolled the dough into balls before I froze them except the spritz dough I just divided up into about what my cookie press holds and wrapped and froze.

    I made Brandy’s Cranberry Granola (substituted walnuts since I was out of almonds). I need to eat from the pantry for a while (facing another pay cut and some job insecurity), has anyone used corn syrup to make granola? I was thinking if I used the corn syrup to use a little bit of a flavored extract or some cinnamon. I have a new big bottle of corn syrup I bought a couple of weeks ago for a recipe and only need to use a few tablespoons for that recipe and I’m low on honey.

    My office is in the breakfast nook off the kitchen, so I played an Amazon Prime video on my computer to watch while I did all the cooking.

    I pulled out the totes with the wrapping paper. I don’t have to buy anything. I have an assortment of cards leftover from previous years and I reuse gift bags and boxes. When we bought our house last year, there were a couple of totes FULL of expensive bows and wrapping paper left in the house – much nicer than I would ever buy! So I don’t need to buy anything this year! I also have odds and ends of holiday napkins and paper plates, which I will just use those as well as left over cards.

    I did mystery shopping at a restaurant so will get dinner reimbursed.

    So happy about this blessing– I got an LL Bean catalog in the mail. I have never ordered from them before. The catalog had a $10 coupon code on it and they always have free shipping. I ordered a 32 oz wide mouth Nalgene drink bottle that was $9.95, applied the $10 and so it was TOTALLY FREE! That will be a gift for my daughter’s boyfriend. They had a nice “rustic orange” color and their school colors are orange! I can pack it full of samples and travels sizes of medicines, toiletries and granola/energy bars I got free. He can use in his gym bag or backpack. Free gift that I think he will like and use! WOOT WOOT

    I did have some food waste – 2 limes that got left in a drawer in the fridge and the last 1/3 of a bag of croutons I never got around to finishing and were way past date and had a funny smell – so they all got tossed 🙁

    I cashed out $12 from Pinecone Research.

    Free in the mail – travel sized bottles of Dove shampoo and conditioner.

    Have a wonderful frugal week everyone!

  8. At our local Piggly Wiggly, I bought 4 lbs of potatoes for a dollar. I also bought 2 for $4 mayo and 2 for $4 peanut butter. I have been wanting to eat ham and could not find it at under $1.99 lb. the “Pig”, as we call the local grocery store, had shank ham at $1.48 lb. I am still not happy with that price, but I bought one. The Pig also had eggs at 99 cents a dozen so I bought several dozen. Dollar General had two canned vegetable for a dollar. I combined that with a $5 off $25 coupon and got the vegetables for forty cents a can. For the $25, I stocked up on several other things I was running low on, like dog food (he is my protection and I need him in my area), cat food (he is great at mice and bug control), and other items like hair dye (which has gone up to $3.25 a box)..etc. Gas is $2.40 in Tuscaloosa so when I was visiting family, I filled up there, since it is $2.60 where I live. I made a chicken and rice casserole and combined it with leftover vegetables and used stale bread as topping. I divided up the casserole and took it to my three grown boys. I also visited the ward where they live. I have several retired friends and we eat out for lunch nearly every Friday. This past Friday we ate at a the local Mexican restaurant and I got the special, which came to $6.60 including tax. That is my big “social” event, other than visiting relatives….lol. I wore my clothes that my friend gave me to court/work and they were beautiful. One does not have to spend a huge amount of money to look appropriate if one carefully shops garage sales, thrift stores, and has good friends who trade clothes!!! I snip/trim my hair bi-weekly to keep it looking appropriate. I do my own nails and eyebrows also. I put up curtains that will have to do until I find some I like much better at a garage sale or thrift store. I took my lunch to work four days last week, and this week I get to eat delicious ham!!! I made a glaze for it of blackstrap molasses and sugar, since I was out of brown sugar, and it turned out well. I cut the heat back to 55 degrees before work. I was really bummed out that my power bill went up to $80 last month, and our local power company is increasing our rates by 7 dollars a month starting in January. My house is all electric, including stove, hot water heater, heat, etc. I sit in front of the heater to slightly dry my hair, instead of using a blow dryer. I use the local library, which is literally down the street from me, for my personal internet needs, since I don’t even have a computer at my house, nor do I have a tv hooked up. I don’t want to pay for the additional electricity nor the monthly bill. I did get my mother’s old tv, but have not used it and obviously I am not going to pay for cable. Does anyone know if I have to do anything special to it, it is about 8 yrs old and works but it did not pick up any channels by itself. Seems like I recall that there was some sort of conversion on tv’s but since I didn’t have one at the time, I didn’t pay any attention.

  9. the pictures of the ball are absolutely precious. i just love it when i hear stories of kids being kids with GREAT imaginations!!

  10. Brandy, You are such an inspiration and so creative. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with others. Question for you… Why did you have a suspect that beans prices would be higher next year? I was planning on a trip to the LDS cannery in January but am thinking I may need to go sooner.

  11. They have been phasing most things into cans instead of bags the last couple of years, and prices changes usually occur in January. This is why I put beans on my list to buy this month. I asked when I was there and they confirmed my suspicions. Beans will no longer be available to purchase in the bags–only in cans. It’s higher per pound in the can because you are paying for the cans. Since beans have a shelf life of 30 years, it would be worth getting more now. Do check your local cannery for hours, ours is only open 2 days a week for a few hours on those two days. I also think they will be closed after Christmas, because they usually are.

  12. We did not buy much restocking groceries last month and I knew January’s budget would not allow for it…so the kids and I went to Sam’s and I stocked up big time. I made the conscience decision to stop buying all the prepared foods I have depended on for years. (With the small exception of chips.) I did not buy cereal, granola bars or anything like that. Almost everything was purchased to cook or bake from scratch. I have been cooking from scratch almost all our meals anyway…but I had been allowing myself to have convenience things for breakfasts. I’m taking the plunge to commit to making breakfast from scratch to every day. It is so much cheaper.

    One of the major purchases that day was 80lbs of meat. I bought a case of chicken and a case of pork loins. Both were well under $2 a pound. That was the first time I had seen any meat at that price in a good while. We are planning to go back and buy a case of ground beef soon. It was $3.59/lb for 90% lean. That is about as good as it gets in our part of the world.

    As I was checking out my cashier wanted to know if I would like to use my rewards balance on my Plus membership? I asked her how much was there? $90! I was VERY glad to have that to use…it brought my total down significantly! LOL They started this promotion back in the summer…I think in June. You earn a $10 credit for every $500 you spend. We shop for groceries there almost exclusively…so I guess that worked out pretty well for us this time. That promotion pretty much paid for my membership this year…because in addition to getting the $90 off we also earned another $20 on the purchase we made that day. LOL It was massive. We had three carts going into the checkout and four coming out. We hadn’t bought much of anything in November so we were filling in and stocking up to make sure we had December and January covered.

    I do not have meal plans, exactly, for our food storage. I’m not exactly sure how to calculate how many days of ’emergency’ food we have. I have quite a bit of baking needs (flour, hard white wheat, yeast, sugar, baking powder…) and quite a lot of different kinds of beans and pasta primarily. I think we could eat well for three months and not be hungry for another 2-3 months past that…just not as ‘normal’ meals. I want very badly to get to the point we have 12 months of normalish meals. It seems as I get things stocked up then we have a period of not being able to put anything toward the food storage for weeks or months at a time and we use it down again. I guess it is a process.

    My main goals right now are to use up what we cook and not throw anything away… and to cut/stretch our meat consumption. One of our biggs is an almost 14 year old boy. He likes his meat…and I’m having a hard time reigning him in. Fortunately he also loves pasta so I am able to fill him up considerably with that. I have been successful in working more rice into our diet each week. The little boys were not that fond of it…but they are coming around. The biggs think it is great. Rice is so cheap I have to take advantage of that.

    In addition to buying some ground beef this month I’m going to hit a little store in the town where our little boys go to therapy. It is called “Value Market” and it is a little mom and pop type store that is known for it’s meat department. Their ground beef has been running the same price as Sam’s case price. They have much more to choose from though than Sam’s. If we can swing it I’m going to get a few meals worth of round steak, cube steak and roasts. We usually freeze that and save those meals for Sunday dinners. They also have moderately priced skinless smoked sausage and link sausages. That is the only place I buy those things because they are so much cheaper than even Walmart. It it nice to have the variety in our meals.

  13. We love GFS! I used to shop there and Sam’s when we were still in the city. We go to church in the same town as our GFS but they do not open until noon on Sundays…so I have not been back for a while. I think it sounds like it would be worth a trip if the turkeys are so cheap again. Everything I have seen in our town (we are a college town!) is $1.29 and up to like $2,79 a pound! Crazy. I won’t pay that.

  14. It may need a convertor box to change the over-the-air signals from digital to analog. We have an old TV with a set-top antenna (sitting on a stack of VCR tapes to make it higher) and we receive a LOT of channels for free. The convertor boxes were free when the over-the-air analog broadcasting ended. You might be able to get one from somebody who has replaced their old analog TV with a new digital TV.

  15. Cindy, you could set up the TV with a dvd player hooked to it, so you can borrow movies from your library. Redbox also has numerous promo codes which make it free to rent movies. It just gives you cheap entertainment options without having to get cable or any other services that cost money.

  16. Nice to hear from someone on here that knows about our stores, wish we were in more states. We are closed till noon on Sundays so that our employees can attend Sunday Services for which I am thankful that I work for a company that does this. We are also closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and New Years Day. If I had had more room I’d have bought more of those turkeys. I forgot another frugal.. Aldi’s had cranberries marked down to 79 cents a bag (1 lb. bags) on Saturday..not a advertised special, so I bought 4 more pounds. I plan to make cranberry jelly soon. I also bought at GFS frozen blackberries 5 lb. size and will make blackberry jam and jelly tomorrow. Hope you can make it back to our store.. not a plug but if you like the store, go to their website and sign up for their mailing list, they are sending out coupons by mail and email each week or so. The last few weeks I’ve gotten coupons for $5 off of $50 purchase, $10 off of $85 so you can save a little money and stock up too.

  17. This week, i have only 2 more gifts to make/buy for our children/grandchildren. If you remember when I started my goal of spending much less than the $30 i budget per person (there are 50 of us – hubster & me, 11 children, 9 spouses and 29 grandchildren) not counting me- that’s 49 people or $1470 spent- sometimes more because at the last minute I start stressing and spend more! Yikes!,,

    Well, let me tell you now- i have 47 presents done, spent $213.61 rather than $1410!!! That’s a savings of $1196.39!!!! And i just found an online free tutorial to make the last two men’s toiletry/shaving kit holders! I already have the fabric and zippers in my stash as well as toiletries and razors from my free from coupning stash! ChaChing!!! That will mean $1256.39 savings in all AND a very relaxed mom/grandma who can enjoy the holidays!!

    Starting to use this same planning ahead method for all of their birthdays – many are in Dec. and Jan. And have 4 done so far! Feels so good and the budget loves it! Every time i wouls see an idea for a gift, i would pin it to a special pinterest folder i labeled “gift ideas”. That way i know right where to look! They may not all be things i’m using right away, but i’m saving them for future ideas !

    Have been using our turkey leftovers in dinners- turkey pot pie, turkey taquitos, turkey salad sandwiches with cranberries. I’ve interspersed them with other meat and non meat meals for variety.

  18. I hate to say it, but if it is the same cough we have had here get ready for a very long haul.
    My daughter is 8 weeks into this fiasco.
    She has seen the doctor 3 times and the meds just keep it at bay.
    Hot showers work.
    Hot lemonade with honey instead of sugar is soothing.
    Cough drops.
    Staying warm.
    These all seem to help, but it seems to have to run it’s course.
    I wish we had better news for you.

  19. Your children are very creative with their play. I never would have convinced my brother to dance with me when we were children. LOL. I loved the pictures with only hints of colour. So beautiful!

    Here are my frugal accomplishments:
    -Worked two days this weekend at the “Christmas by Candlelight” event hosted by the pioneer village I work for. The weather was co-operative but colder on Sunday. We had a great turn out and, as always, I truly enjoyed working the event! The village is closed now until the spring.
    -My mother and I volunteered at my daughter’s school to help with a Turkey Dinner they have each year for the entire school. A culinary class at a local high school cooked all the food. We paid $2 and had a delicious turkey lunch as well. The children look forward to this meal every year. I found out that all left over food would be donated to the local food bank, which made me very happy.
    -I did a stock up run to Costco this week. We bought a tray with two large roast beef in the pack, which I cut in half at home making it good for four meals. We also bought two large trays of ground beef. I cut each tray into six portions making it good for twelve meals. We bought two 2.4kg (5.3lb) bags of chocolate chips which were on sale for ~$10/bag (should be good for the year now). We also found clementines for ~ $3.60/case which is cheaper than the grocery stores. While we were there, my husband checked the price of a tablet we just bought two weeks prior for my daughter for Christmas. The price had dropped so we were able to get the difference back. Good thing as our total bill at Costco was a little more than I had planned for. Everything worked out in the end.
    -We also had lunch out at Costco which is super cheap ($2 for a huge hotdog and a fountain drink, $4 for chicken fingers and a large container of fries, $0.50 for a bottle of water).
    -Still helping my SIL with cleaning her parents home. We are now going through numerous boxes of books. I was given a large box of Goosebumps books for my daughter to pick from. She loves these books and was able to find several she had not read. I would have given them as part of Christmas gift, but I didn’t know which she had read already. Oh well, she was really excited to receive them.
    -My mother and I have started our Christmas baking. We make several different types of goodies and give a small gift bag of goodies to all the members of my husband’s family (including 5 teenagers). It’s become a bit of a tradition now. Sometimes we use it for others as well, such as school support staff, friends, co-workers etc. as a small Christmas gift. There will be plenty left over for treat trays to serve with our Christmas meal as well. Most baking supplies were bought slowly over the last few months through sales or are pantry items we already have on hand.

    That’s all I can think of this week, though I’m a bit exhausted from working the past two days late into the evening. I may have missed a few things. Oh well. Have a great week everyone!

  20. I made a huge pot of turkey stock and froze half. I used the bones from the turkey plus carrots and celery. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. (I only note how simple it is to make broth because in the last week I have had two friends say they just throw the bones away because making stock is probably too hard. And that shocks me because there’s almost no effort required!)

    The half I didn’t feeze was used to make my favorite turkey black bean soup. After I strained the stock into the soup pot or freezer containers, I picked enough meat off those bones to add a TON to the soup. Mmmm…that soup is just so comforting on a cold winter night!

    I took the carrots out of the stock pot too (I just chopped them in half to make stock), sliced them into big chunks, and threw them into the turkey black bean soup pot. Delish!

    I picked the rest of the turkey and froze the meat in small baggies. Having these handy is such a comfort.

    I sold some things on ebay.

    I used up most of my swagbucks to buy gifts on Amazon. But that’s why I get them during the year- to buy a few gardening things in May and Christmas gifts in Dec.

    I also used up my Zulil credits to buy gifts and had just enough to buy myself a much needed pair of Ugg like boots (they are not a fashion statement on my end- but make a world of difference when walking the dog in the winter for me). After my remaining credits the boots that retail for over $50 only cost me $0.79!!

    I got an email from my Junior League about a wish list for five girls we are taking care of (gift wise) this Christmas. I picked two things. One was for a giant craft basket for them to share. I had almost everything (will spend $3 at the dollar store today to get the last three things) here in my stash to make this HUGE gift basket. And the bonus is that I have been wanting to get rid of more stuff (we’re talking new sewing patterns I never used, new fabric, new wreath forms, new packs of beads, new ribbons, etc- all new). I know I am supposed to be sharing a blessing with these teens but it feels like a blessing to me to slim down my stash and share in a really fun way.

    I am waaaay behind in making gifts though. 98% of the purchases have been made (for next to nothing!) but 98% of the homemade effort still needs to be done. I better get my rear in gear….

    I went to my town’s Holiday Stroll on Sunday. It’s a huge event in my town and it was a perfect, albeit really cold, day. There are free cups of cocoa and cider and cookies at every corner and so many free things for the kid. I saw about half a dozen mini concets for free. Such an awesome day with friends!

    I watched my favorite award show of the year, CNN Heros, last night. If you didn’t watch it, I really encourage everyone to watch it online. I find it so inspiring to see all the amazing, positive work being done in the world being highligted and celebrated.

    KK @ http://www.preppypinkcrocodile.com

  21. Brandy, love the pictures of your beautiful children at the ball!
    This week has been very productive and frugal:
    My friend was cleaning out her freezer and gave me a duck that she didn’t want. I slowly roasted it, ended up with 1 1/2cups of duck fat, meat and then I used the carcass to make broth. The broth was so flavorful. Some of the meat was used for supper, some for sandwiches and the bits will be frozen with the broth for soup.
    Redeemed $20 worth of PC Plus points for milk, fresh fruit for the week,bread,some stocking stuffers.
    Also redeemed points at another store Save-On Foods for a free turkey and a dozen eggs. This is a western Canada store.
    Packed all meals for work and cooked all suppers.
    Made bran muffins using .30/box all bran cereal, great sale plus coupons.
    Used up my frozen bananas and free eggs to make pancakes.
    Have a good week!

  22. That is a really impressive savings on your Christmas budget this year! Congratulations on your dedication and hard work making all those gifts. Truly inspirational!!!

  23. Brandy,
    Thank you so much for the black bean burger recipe! I made them last night for dinner and doubled the recipe so I could freeze some. My DH and I usually eat the black bean burgers from Morningstar when they are on sale and I have a coupon. I have to tell you that your burgers were the best I’ve ever tasted! My DH LOVED them and posted a picture of them on his FB page which I linked to your website! 🙂 And so much cheaper even when the others are on sale! I used black beans & garlic from my garden, eggs from my chickens and salsa from our tomatoes that we canned this year making the total cost even less. I will never buy the others again. Thank you!

    As far as the things we did this week to save money:

    -I hung all our laundry inside to dry.
    -We still have not turned our oil furnace on yet and are heating with just wood and 2 small space heaters. It’s staying at 78 degrees in the main rooms and the other rooms hang around 67, which is fine for us!
    -Ate all meals at home.
    -finished up 2 out of 4 gifts for my co-workers. They are getting an assortment of dried herbs from my garden and 2 hand knitted dish cloths.
    -My boss will be getting a bag off good coffee and some homemade biscotti for his gift.
    -Decided to re-purpose some old sweaters into Christmas stockings to fill with small items for my 8 nieces and nephews. Our local Salvation army has a $5/bag special on clothing every Wednesday. I plan to stop by during my lunch to stuff a bag full of sweaters for the stockings then fill them with candy (purchased on sale w/coupon) fruit and a $5 gift card to McDonalds. I’ll toss in other small items as I find them.
    -Made out meal plans for the rest of the month and will only need to buy milk and a few other small items. I will use the rest of the grocery budget for stocking up.
    -I manage a small doctor’s office during the day. I always end up with unused vacation time at the end of the year for which he will pay me. So, I will be getting my Christmas bonus this Friday and then, at the end of the year, another check for unused vacation. The bonus will go into the bank and the unused vacation will be used for more stocking up on grocery items.

    My DH’s unemployment is set to run out the first week in January, so at that point he will be taking any job just to have money coming in. He’s really stressing about it, but the Lord has taken care of us so far and I know he won’t let us down now! My plan is to cut our grocery budget by half in order to save even more money. So, I’ll be spending several days in the kitchen making things from scratch (more than I normally do) in order to keep my budget down.

  24. I am very impressed with your accomplishment…and proud for you that you stuck to the plan.
    I’m going to try that for next year.
    Thank you.

  25. Thanks for the information about the long shelf life of beans. I have some I was wondering about.
    I was going to comment about the surveys, and then I read a little further and saw that you found out about them.
    My freezers are also stuffed full, for which I am very thankful. I purchased two fresh turkey breasts on clearance for 99 cents a pound and then found a frozen one for 85 cents a pound. One has been cooked. I’ll make the bones into broth. I have been freezing the peppers from my garden to use for cooking. I am considering making jalapeno jelly, as well. I got two packages of cream cheese for free and some other good deals between sales and coupons. I got two fresh pineapples and a pomegranate for 40 cents each.
    There are still a few peppers and cherry tomatoes producing in my garden. I need to finish harvesting the basil. The multiplier onions are thriving and spreading. Fall plantings of beets, spinach, broccoli and carrots are small, but growing. I am experimenting with some tomato plants to see if I can keep them going in pots and get an early start for spring. Our tangelo and grapefruit trees are loaded. I am looking forward to enjoying the fruit, as well as having some to share and even add to a Christmas gift. We have found a nursery that deeply discounts plants that are in need of TLC. We got some poinsettia’s for 50 cents each that look bright and pretty now both outside and inside our house.
    I know there were other frugal activities, but will close for now :-).
    Thank you to Brandy and the others for the helpful, encouraging comments!

  26. Lots of savings this weekend. I canceled a planned overnight in a hotel to celebrate my birthday during Xmas week. We will still see Cirque de Soleil but will do a “sleepover” at cousin’s house. That saved $300. Inspired by Brandy’s Advent ideas, I chose to not buy the usual Lego calendar for my son. I used an old felt Advent calendar that I bought for a couple of dollars years ago. I made candy cane “secret” notes for each day that involve simple things we love to do at Xmas: sipping eggnog, watching [u]It’s A Wonderful Life[/u], making snowman pancakes. I added “Find the Wisemen’s treasures” to a few of the days. My husband hides a treat for my boy and he asks twenty questions to find it. I also added Secret Santa to a few days: do something nice for someone anonymously. We had a great conversation about kinds thing we could do and not get caught.

    I know it is not November anymore, but I have a gratitude today. I am glad for my part time job that allows me the time that I spend seeding the last of the pomegranates, freezing persimmon pulp picked three weeks ago (it had to ripen), helping my son with his music theory homework, and going to church and yoga. If I were full time, I would miss so may important moments.

  27. We just hooked up a newer TV with an antenna we purchased and we are getting amazing reception. As stated you will need a convertor box and given that your TV is relatively ‘new’ you may need just that. The conversion took place in 2009. We bought ours at Best Buy but I know that WalMart sells them. Also – you may find someone through Craigslist that is selling on – or even on freecycle. New they range from $40 to $100 – the one we bought wasn’t hard for me to set it up. The important thing is to research if you can get a clear ‘path’ to tower signals. We live in the country and can get clear signals but not sure about other places. We had a little place in Tucson and it wouldn’t work there as the “Cat” mountains were in the way.

  28. Best Buy carries converter boxes and antennas if you have a flat screen TV that doesn’t have rabbit ears. Still cheaper than a cable service.

  29. Your pictures are absolutely lovely! Last week to save money:
    -my husband cut his own hair.
    -my mother in law gave us an popcorn air popper, a beautiful wooden bookshelf that I use as pantry shelves, and some toys for our daughter.
    -all meals were eaten at home and cooked from scratch
    -drank Teeccino in the morning and water all day. I did have an occassional cup of tea at night.
    -made whole wheat bread, pasta with pesto and peas, thai peanut noodles, power balls, quinoa “meat” balls ( these are vegan).
    – A new Aldi grocery store opened up 5 minutes from our house. It is double the size of the other stores, has all the organic products some of the other stores discontinued, and is so nice and clean. The Staff there is great. I saved at least $40 off of my grocery bill by shopping here and there were only 2 products they did not carry that I normally buy but is not a necessity.
    -My plantain oil was finshed steeping so I strained out the leaves and labeled the jar. This oil is used to speed healing and prevent infection on bites, cutes and scrapes. I have already used it and it seems to work well. I foraged the plantain leaves from my yard where my dog does not do her business.
    -washed and reused jars and baggies
    -After many emails back and forth Kindermint gave me a $20 credit for my clothes that they donated without my permission. I used the “kindercash” to purchase two shirts for my daughter. Shipping costs were more than the shirts cost but at least I got something out of the deal. It was nice of them to do something to try to make “the situation right”, as they put it.
    – a local business donated a TRUCK LOAD of potato chips to my employer. They only have so much storage space so Staff got to pick what they wanted. I got two cases/boxes of various flavors, including some I gave to my best friend for her and her family.
    -took advantage of the free 8 x 10 from Walgreens and ordered a print of a picture my husband took. I purchased a $1 frame from Dollar Tree to put it in. This will make a nice gift for my husand.
    -put some money into my savings account. Christmas presents have drained my savings to a very low amount.
    -I only dried two small loads in the dryer. I changed when I wash clothes so that I can hang them up around the house. Instead of washing all the clothes at once, I break it up over a few days and wash one or two loads at a time and then am able to hang them up.
    -I made laundry soap
    -my husband donated one of his very ratty tshirts for rags
    – my husband accidentally ruined my only pair of nice dress shoes. Luckily I saved an older pair, not so nice, that I can wear to work until I can replace my good shoes. A pair of my daughter’s winter boots were also ruined, but she had other pairs in her storage bin she can wear.
    That’s it for now, have a great week everyone!

  30. My accomplishments are
    I got to go to a free mommy play group with my son. We got pinto beans at smart and final for .39lb I bought 10lbs even though I already had 30lbs at home from when they had them on sale for .33 lb.
    what beans are you buying brandy? Just white beans or other kinds? I saw at smart and final they had dry lentils and dry split green peas for $4.29 for 5 lbs.
    I bought their food buckets there, cheapest around for me. I drove very little and spent little gas. So we saved $60 last week on gas. Got some great deals for my son for his Christmas gifts online. I can’t think of anything else we saved money on.

  31. Eight weeks. That’s horrible. I think it began on Thanksgiving, I thought the worst was over on Saturday when their fevers were gone but it has settled into my toddlers chest. Usually our colds are gone in a week but this seems to show no signs of stopping. I actually wondered if they caught two in a row. Fortunately the baby is also teething so yay. We are definitely taking my little one to urgent care tonight. I think the other two might be ok with TLC. Or TLC and PBS.

  32. The pictures are beautiful! It is nice to see kids playing the way I remember playing when I was much younger.
    Life changed in our household in July, routines or ideal days are no longer what they used to be since then and I have been fighting it. Last Sunday, it hit me to change my routine. Now, to “make up for time lost” I am up and about 2 hours before the rest of the house. This actually is more frugal because the electric (our house is all electric) is still off peak during these hours, so I am saving with the ironing and baking. Stress is lifting slowly.
    I added a cotton sweater to my sleepwear to keep the heat down.
    I made my lap blankets for my twin 10 year old nephews. I was going to opt and buy an idea that was suggested here, but then the inner voice got the better of me reminding me I had bought all the supplies. I feel good about this because the handmade gifts I have made in the past for them (alligator and ninja pillows) are still being used years later.
    There are a bunch of projects for me that I keep putting aside, mostly to make other things for other people. I spoke with my husband and we decided for next Christmas we will be handing out gift cards. To do this, we will budget a small amount each month to cover those.
    Food wise, I have been popping a weeks’ worth of pop corn to snack on during the day, continuing to make meatless meals the majority meal, and if there is a meat used, I use half. My sweet husband is still adapting to this, but I started adding a homemade roll to his plate, it seems to help.
    Finally, I am new to coupons. Majority of the places I shop don’t use them. The few that I do want to use sometimes get lost or mangled in my purse. My bank was handing out free pocket calendars. They are basic, thin and perfect to place the coupons in. I place them in the month (pages) that they expire. I am hoping this will work!

    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  33. 100daysofrealfood.com has a really good granola recipe. Brandy has one too and I swap back and forth between the two recipes when I need to make it. 100days also has a recipe for “power balls”, that are DELICIOUS and very easy to make using a food processor. My 4 year old absolutely loves these and they are super healthy.

  34. My family has had cold symptoms…congested cough, runny nose. As SOON a I start feeling the cold coming on, I take 2 tsp of Elderberry Syrup four times a day, it usually helps either kick it or keep things at bay. I’ve also started using essential oils, specifically DoTerra. I rubbed Breathe (respiratory blend) all over my chest twice a day and also on my feet. Used my diffuser to diffuse On Guard (protective blend) in the rooms of our house to kill germs. The oils really do help and I feel 100% better not even a week later! Cough is gone as is the congestion 😉

  35. I went to Winco on Friday and they had 10 oz. bags of spinach for 20¢ each as the date on them was December 6th. I bought 15 bags. When I got home my DH asked why I got so many. I told him I was going to steam them and freeze them to add to dishes this winter. When I told him the price he asked why I didn’t get more. 🙂 I also found canola oil – the Winco brand, for $1.99 for the 48 oz. bottle. This is below my stock up price, so I bought 4 bottles. I got the spinach frozen. Made pasta fajoli soup with garlic onions, beans, carrots and celery from the garden. Also all the herbs were ones I dried over the summer. It is cold here in Eastern Washington, so nothing in the garden. My garlic is under piles of leaves – we plant it in October. I cooked a batch of calico beans in the crockpot and used them as one of the kinds of beans in the soup. My in-laws brought them from Italy probably 30 years ago when they were visiting. They planted them and then gave some to us, which we planted. We just save some of the seed and grow them about every three years. We switch off these with black beans (grew those this year) and pinto beans. I made Italian herb bread to go with the soup. It is Brandy’s rosemary olive oil bread only I also add oregano, parsley, basil and thyme in addition to the rosemary. Since I was afraid that would be too many additions, I added an extra tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 a tsp of yeast. It came out really good. Crocheting dishcloths at night while relaxing before bed. I always do this and have a good supply for gifts. Keeps my hands busy and out of the cookie jar. 🙂

  36. I enjoy reading about everyone’s frugal accomplishments during the holiday season, which is so focused on spending & consumerism!

    We didn’t do a whole lot this past week in the way of frugality. Made turkey gumbo & turkey sandwiches with our leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Worked lots of hours at my 2nd job to earn Christmas money. Stuck to our grocery list & bought only what we needed. A friend’s mother moved out of her house recently, and instead of having an estate sale, they decided to just clean the house out & throw everything away. She let us come over and pick out what we wanted for free. We literally had 2-3 truckloads! Books, household & kitchen items, even groceries. We are grateful for that! I also had a friend give me 2 large bags of bulk soup mix (you mix in a gallon of water to make a huge amount of soup for catering/foodservice). They were samples the company sent to her and she won’t use them. That was also very nice. The warmer weather here has meant we have not had to run our heat as much as usual. Last year this time we had 3″ of ice on the ground. We have mostly been keeping our windows open & just running the heat in the morning as needed.

  37. Wow! My dad was the youngest of 10 (only he and 3 others are still living) and I’m the youngest of 50 grandchildren. I can’t imagine you trying to purchase gifts for that many people.

  38. Thank you both!

    Jenifer – that recipe sounds perfect. Granola bars are actually a great idea – I can take one in my purse when I’ll be out for a while and need a snack or cut in chunks for at home like you do.

  39. My kids and granddaughter all have asthma. We were taught by the doctors to put the child across our lap, cup your hands so there is an air space in the palm of your hand, and thump on their backs, all over the whole surface of their backs. You can keep it up for about five minutes or until the child starts coughing up gunk. Have some tissues and a waste basket lined with newspaper or plastic bags handy for them to cough in to. What it does is loosen the secretions in their chest so that they can cough it up and get rid of it. I still do it for my 50 year old daughter when she gets a chest cold because it gets rid of the congestion so they don’t turn it into pneumonia. Their head should be slightly lower than the rest of their body while you do this. It doesn’t seem to be doing anything dramatic, until they start coughing. Then you get results! And it costs nothing.

  40. You need to get an antenna for it for the digital signals. They switched from analog to digital. Here is an article explaining the change: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_television_transition_in_the_United_States

    This looked like the best deal to me for getting a conversion box as it also would record shows for you.

    http://www.amazon.com/Mediasonic-HW-150PVR-HomeWorx-Converter-Recording/dp/B00I2ZBD1U/ref=sr_1_23?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1418130736&sr=1-23&keywords=analog+to+digital+converter+tv+signal

    If you have questions just let me know. I am an electrical engineer and my husband is a computer engineer.

  41. My biggest—and most unexpected—frugal blessing was finding fresh, whole turkeys marked down to $0.29/LB after Thanksgiving! That is the lowest price I have ever seen them. Using coupons and rebates, I was also able to get free energy bars, bananas, and Holiday cards. Other amazing finds were ground beef for $1.89/LB and pouches of salmon for only $0.03 each! Full details and pics of everything I bought can be found here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-126/

    I want to thank each and every one of you nice ladies for constantly inspiring me to stay frugal, even when it’s hard.

  42. We have had lovely warm weather here in Southern Colorado so I was able to be outside to work for a few hours a day. I had a follow up to my arthroscopic knee surgery last week and while I am on track for healing from the Dr’s point of view I have been frustrated with my slow speed. So this weekend I started working on some of the PT exercises I learned earlier this year (and saving a $50 co-pay each time I go to PT) and also doing some yard work. Seems to be working! Plus being outside in the sunshine lifts my mood. It also meant that I could dry clothes outside.

    I was at Staples to do a return on UPS packages (long story – I won’t order from Overstock again as they have return shipping charges). While standing in line I noticed two big packs of top quality paper towels on sale for $4 each! I grabbed those and then found some folders for 10C each and big three subject notebooks for 50C each. The store clerk told me that this Staples is a ‘trial run’ store so they get products to try out and see how they sell. If they don’t or they change vendors they deeply discount products. That is good to know as we use a lot of office supplies.

    Stopped at Big Lots for a few basics – they have some of the Asian condiments I like much cheaper than the grocery store. I found pasta on sale – $1.50 for two pounds of spaghetti and angel hair. One pound packages of other pasta for $1.00. I stocked up as we eat a lot of pasta and I like to have different shapes on hand. Made Turkey Tetrazinni last night with leftover turkey from Tgiving, yokeless egg noodles I bought at Big Lots (recipe actually came off of the bag) and all ingredients on hand including homemade bread crumbs. It was yummy – extended the recipe with more noodles and more sauce to make two 8×8 pans – one to eat and one to freeze. Found a loaf of bread from a local bakery that had gone stale and made garlic croutons for salads and soups.

    On a frugal save note. I cooked a beef roast from the quarter beef we bought earlier this year. The meat has been good but this particular cut was way too fatty and not much meat. I cut off enough meat to make a beef gravy for noodles and then put the rest in a big pot with water to make broth. I took what meat was left to give to our dogs for treats in their dry kibble and made French onion soup with the broth. Wow – it was delicious and I felt like I didn’t waste the roast.

    We had a quarter pig as well but didn’t get any ham and very little bacon with it. Ham goes on sale tomorrow at Albertson’s so I will pick up at least one for Christmas and then ham/black eyed peas for New Years. It hasn’t dropped below $1.99 a pound here until now – will be $1.39 a pound. Guess this is part of the fall out from the baby pig illness earlier this year. Albertson’s also has Sugarland bacon on sale for $2.99 a pound (have to get a three pound package). I will get one and divide up into seal a meal bags. For awhile bacon was never lower than $4.99 a pound here.

    Have agreed with SO to not exchange presents as we need nothing (and really want nothing). We are going to be ‘Santa’ for an eight year old in our closest family friends. His mom is single and just had surgery so we are going to get the ‘big gift’ (yes he still believes in Santa so this truly will be from S himself). We will give him a book on flight and a model to make. I also have a longtime friend and former colleague who is battling cancer and there is a fund being raised for him and his ongoing medical bills (even with great insurance there are still incredible extra costs). We’ll donate to that fund. This isn’t to do a pat on the back for us but to share what joy we are feeling in giving and not receiving.

    Sorry for the ramble – this does cover a couple of weeks. I finally found a ‘carpet sweeper’ – one of those that isn’t electric and that restaurants use. We have wood floors with rugs and I wanted something to go over the rugs with. Found it at Target online for $14.99! So will be exercise and no energy consumption combined!

  43. I’ve been so focused on Christmas – we are having both sides of the family over for Christmas dinner – that all my attention has been on finding sales. But my toddler and I also made lots of decorations, ornaments that we are giving out as gifts and wrapping paper and tags with all things we already had in the house. That has been keeping my 3 year old entertained and helping me get the presents taken care of at the same time.

  44. A friend at church volunteered to sell some things for me on eBay, so I took a bag full of items to her. Continued working on a cross stitched gift for our daughter. Took photos of my nieces, which was the gift my mom asked me for for Christmas (I am considered the family photographer). I will also be taking photos of my children and my brother’s children to go in the same frame for Mom. Experimented with decreasing the amount of laundry detergent used per load. Re-used dryer sheets.

    My husband painted our kitchen and dining room walls a new color at my request. I “shopped” artwork I have and found pieces suitable to go on the walls with this new color. I am considering being really brave and painting a large canvas to hang on the biggest wall! When I changed the artwork on the walls, I remembered that one set of prints I had hanging on the wall my 22 year old niece really likes. I am giving them to her for Christmas.

    Brandy, your photography is just stunning and I love how creatively you decorate your table. It must really draw everyone to the table!

  45. Hello all,

    I love the photos of the black and white with a touch of color. My mother and dad’s wedding photos were that way. You have a lovely family and great kids.

    I have been too sick to enjoy much of anything or be productive of late.

    My frugal accomplishments:

    Bought a cardigan, boots for $8 at JC Penny with coupons and rewards
    Bought another cardigan at Kohl’s with $15 coupon (my sister gave me) for $2-3
    Got 20 items (grocery) for $3 with RRs and coupons
    Did not turn my heater on
    Made all my meals and lunches
    Only spent $20 on groceries this week
    Avoided most stores
    Got a $10/$10 coupon from JC Penny
    Crocheted myself 2 Christmas scarves
    Went to all

    Blessings to all,

    Anna

    Anna

  46. I continued making Christmas presents- I am embroidering tea towels and we are making homemade vanilla extract. I already knit kitchen washcloths also. I purchased cute sweater jackets for my mom and motherinlaw on the day after Thanksgiving- I had also purchased scarves to go with them but after thinking about it, I decided to make scarves instead. I purchased some ribbon yarn and knit scarves to go with their sweaters and I am so pleased with the look of the scarves that I decided to purchase additional yarn to make scarves for others. I can get the yarn for about $3 per skein which makes one scarf.

    We are almost done decorating our house for Christmas and I usually purchase something new when I am decorating but this year my Mom gave me some wonderful trees and Santa figurines that she doesn’t plan to use any more so I have “new to me items”. I don’t need to purchase wrapping paper or bags since I have a large supply already.

    We are going to have company staying with us this weekend so I am making food tomorrow so that we don’t have any impulse purchases for meals. I plan to make cookies, homemade rolls,black bean soup, enchiladas and homemade refried beans, a breakfast casserole and some quick breads. The first of our company gets here tomorrow night and the rest come in on Thursday. We might be hosting a dinner for 15 to 20 people on Saturday night so I might make a big pot of spaghetti sauce also because I can freeze it if we don’t use it. There is a large event on Friday night which is the reason everyone will be here and there might be a lot of leftovers that we could serve on Saturday night as well.

    I cooked some pie pumpkins and froze the pumpkin and made turkey broth from our Thanksgiving turkey and froze it as well. I also started another batch of orange vinegar for cleaning and made homemade glass cleaner.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  47. I’ll ask you this question because something about your user name suggests you might have some ideas for me! Every year I make latkes for the kids for the first day of Hannukah, but they always fall apart. I’m not sure if I’m using too much oil or not enough oil or if I just have a bad recipe? Do you have a favorite recipe or any tips you could share?

  48. It rained every day last week – I love the rain; and having it in the summer is a special treat; but it did mean that I had the same load of laundry sitting on the line for a week! I almost had to break down and use the dryer. Here, that’s almost a sin I live in one of the coldest, wettest parts of Australia, and it’s somewhat shameful I even have a dryer. People will fill their homes up with drying racks and wet clothes but they will not use a dryer. Finally, we had a nice day and I managed to get three loads washed and dried and put away.

    We had a wonderful neighbourhood Christmas party late last week. As we were leaving, the hostess gave us a huge gift basket. It was entirely unnecessary but really just a lovely thought all the same. There are pressies, chocolates, candy, chips, just a whole lot of treats.

    I was given a pair of shoes – never been worn – the person who bought them changed her mind. They’re a very good brand, would have cost over $100 new, so that’s a nice treat.

    We continue to do free or cheap Christmas activities every day . . . Some, admittedly, cost money; but were purchased on clearance years ago; others are completely free. We are doing some more work on our house this weekend – not exactly frugal; but I keep reminding myself that it will add more to the value of the house than it’s costing, and it’s not an expensive job either.

  49. I ordered the same bottle from LL Bean with the coupon in blue. My husband has been using it for a few weeks now and loves it. It will be a great gift for your daughter’s boyfriend.

  50. I use the recipe on Brandy’s site for the zucchini potato pancakes. They are the best I’ve ever made (better than even my MILs recipe!).

  51. When we had the turkeys butchered a few weeks ago, we ground 25 lbs of burger from 5 of them. We froze drumsticks and wings and then just put the backs, necks, etc. in bags to deal with later. This week, I pulled one of those bags out and boiled them into broth and bits. I got several quarts of broth and enough bits and broth to make a huge kettle of turkey-rice soup as well. I made that soup today and tomorrow I will warm it for a 4H potluck.

    My husband barbequed a chicken tonight that he raised. He found uncured bacon for $2.49/pkg. and bought several to freeze. We still have pork left from the pig he grew, but are using it up and he hasn’t started raising another one yet.

    We had a party for our 14 year old daughter’s friends. She invited all the members of her youth group small group, plus a few more friends. The first activity we did was have my husband chop down a small tree from the hillside and he put it up. The kids were instructed to make the ugliest “Charlie Brown” ornament they could for the tree. I just put out craft supplies I had on hand and they went to town. They were quite creative. My husband wrapped and wrapped and wrapped a small bag of candy and we played that game where music was played and they unwrapped when it stopped. The winner got the candy. We also had them bring White Elephant gifts and did that. They also played several group games. I served tacos, fruit plate and a mixed berry crisp. All food was placed in seperate bowls because we had guests that were dairy-free, gluten-free, and a diabetic. (I’ve found that the mother of the gluten-free diabetic teen is always SO grateful that her daughter is included, in fact, almost to the point of tears in the past when it was all so new to them–and it’s so easy to accommodate her–she is such a delight–totally worth the effort) Then they could take what they could eat. The beef was from the 1/2 beef we bought earlier. I made a crock pot of refried beans from pintos, onions and peppers. We bought lettuce and tomatoes and a huge (under $4) bag of chips from Costco. We grated cheese, etc. I bought soda for $1/2 litre. I used Christmas napkins that were from an elderly lady’s house that was cleaned out a while back and plates and cups I had in the garage from some previous activity. I didn’t count the cost exactly, but I know it was extremely low for a party where there were almost 20 people and they ate dinner, etc. The kids had a lot of fun and our daughter was very happy to have her friends over. My sister came the whole day and helped me clean and get ready, which was greatly appreciated.

    Today, my mom and aunt came and helped my daughter with her sewing. She is making a fleece pull-over and it is the first time she has sewn this complicated of a pattern with sleeves, zipper, hood, etc. I much appreciate the effort my family extends towards my children.

    My mom brought a grocery bag full of shelled walnuts, as she has a source. Last time, it was a grocery bag full of shelled hazelnuts. (I grew up on a filbert (hazelnut) farm and she still has friends/connections to get these things for free.) It is a wonderful gift to us. My aunt offered to babysit for an afternoon so my husband and I can go out:) We are going to take her up on it. (For those who are curious–my chidren take much longer to feel comfortable at home alone then most–they all came out of the foster care system and had traumatic beginnings which does impact them for a long time in many ways)

    The latest addition to our family (now 10 years old granddaughter) got invited to a party for foster kids. She was there for 3 hours on Saturday, and they gave her a really great time. She loved it! She got to see some counsellors and kids from the special camp she attended last summer and that made her day. It’s hard to believe she has been with us for way over a year now! The aunties and grandmas are banding together to get her the American Girl doll she wants–she’s going to be very happy on Christmas Day!!! They are taking care of all that, even the ordering, so it will just appear at my sister’s on Christmas so there will be no chance of her seeing it here at the house:)

    We took the time to bake cookies and decorate the tree on Sunday. We have been reading a story called “Jothem’s Journey” each evening as we light the advent candles. It’s quite exciting and is divided into mini chapters with little lessons about advent at the end. I find these little activities become even more special to me when seen through the eyes of a child who has participated in absolutely NO traditions/etc. in her life, except for those we did last Christmas. She does not want to miss a day of reading, a minute of cookie baking…you get the idea. It’s all precious to her. It’s humbling. As a note of encouragement to all of you who have ever chosen a name from a tree of giving, filled a stocking at the library, donated a toy to a toy drive—–she remembers things she was given over the years like that. She remembers having food in her backpack from Backpack Buddies to eat over the weekend, she remembers the gifts from last year’s foster child Christmas party and keeps them on a shelf and she is thankful–so thank you.

  52. Brandy my frugal tip is that this year I decided to make all of my gifts with fabrics from my stash and foods from my pantry. I stated sewing months ago, but I have finished and wrapped most of my gifts already. I made several quilts, some aprons, tea towels, pillows and even a fake fur vest. I have made homemade vanilla, raspberry vinegar and homemade noodles. We have chickens so some of my gifts will be made at the last minute for gift baskets of homemade breakfast breads, fresh eggs and chocolate mint hot cocoa mix for Christmas morning baskets. Making gifts at home has kept me out of the stores, and away from shopping temptations….so I can stay at home, use what I have and count my blessings

  53. Yesterday we drove up to Greenwood to go to GFS. I had $16 in store coupons so that more than paid for my gas. I was able to get 4 large turkeys for 79 cents per pound. I also picked up 3 half hams. There was a $6/off one coupon so that helped quite a bit. The ham was $2.49/lb. We also bought many large gallon cans of things I can not get in Bloomington. Sweet potatoes being at the top of my list. If you are planning a trip to GFS look at their website for coupons. I had a $5/$50 purchase and several other smaller ones for chips, paper napkins and other things.

    Today I am going to the value market known for its meat department while we are in Mooresville for the boys therapy. I am planning to buy ground beef $2.99/lb, beef roast $3.99/lb. Hopefully round steak, cubed steak and ham also. We will see. 😉 After today we should be good on groceries until March!

  54. Becky – your post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you first of all for opening your home to your children’s friends. It used to be that parties were held in homes but now the sentiment seems to be ‘go to McD’s and call it good). Second – thank you for posting the gratefulness of your daughter’s friend’s mother. I always work to honor food requests and needs (I am allergic to chocolate and nuts and am always surprised when someone who knows this brings me something ‘special’ with those ingredients). I’ve learned to do as you did with the ability of the guest to select what is appropriate. It isn’t that hard and makes everyone feel welcome. And finally – thank you for posting about what your daughter remembers. For a long time we have given to various organizations and specific individuals. I have wondered at times if the recipient was pleased or not. It isn’t important – I just have wondered so your posting made me smile!

  55. Becky, what a great post! God bless you for opening your home to so many in such special ways. Thank you for another reminder about what children truly treasure at Christmas.

  56. * had a dinner night of leftovers. We had too many leftovers in the fridge. Easy cooking and no waste!
    * sent in a $10 Rebate for some headlight bulbs my husbands truck needed. Why are headlight bulbs so expensive?
    * made pizza, jello, hardboiled eggs (11 year old LOVES egg salad sandwiches in his lunch for a nice change)
    * I won a contest and was able to pick a piece of jewelry. I chose a necklace with my 15 year olds initial ~ going to be a beautiful gift for her 🙂
    * was able to get 101 prints for free (just paid shipping) which I will use for calendars to give as Christmas gifts; have done this for several years and the grandparents love the calendars with photos
    * froze some other leftovers we weren’t going to be able to eat ~ perfect for a quick lunch

  57. I am remembering that!! I have asthma & as soon as a cold gets into my lungs, I’m down for anywhere from 6-8 wks. It’s that chest congestion. I got sick in early Nov. and it’s just now letting me sleep thru’ most of the night. Thanks for the tip!
    Debby

  58. We watched Frontier House for free on youtube. Never heard of it before and loved it. The kids were amazed at how they lived years ago. Finished making 3 blankets for Christmas presents. Will have about 2 weeks off around Christmas that I had not planned on but going to love anyway, so we will bed doing little things like free movies, puzzles, checkers for entertainment. I let the kids pick their favorite meals to cook instead of buying and teaching them to cook a bit more. We are almost 100 percent unprocessed foods,so teaching them a little more instead of opening packaged foods.Did 3 surveys at Pinecone Research so far.Money will be tight this month, but so far so good.Just looking forward to some quiet days with my 3 girls.

  59. Marivene, I picture your Thanksgiving table well. I googled the Musser glasses, interesting, they look a lot like Depression glass style. Which pattern do you have? Are they marked on the bottoms or do you just recognize them when you shop? I think I will take a look out for them when I stop at the thrift shop.

  60. Debbie, I don’t see why you couldn’t use corn syrup instead of honey. You are adding flavoring, like extract or cinnamon etc? Corn syrup does not really have a flavor, it is very neutral. I add it to pecan sticky rolls. In the pans after I put in the pecans and sprinkle with brown sugar I drizzle corn syrup in also, about a T per pan. This makes the sauce extra gooey. You can make popcorn balls , you can make marshmallow less rice krispie treats, pecan pie. I probably use 2 bottles a year.

    Next time, put the limes down your garbage disposal, if you have one. Citrus peels help clear out grease and smell good too.

  61. Thank you for all your kind words. Sometimes, in the reality that is our life, which is sometimes very stressful and difficult dealing with these precious children, God sends something sweet like this to remind me of why we do what we do:)

  62. I did a few things this week. I saved 20 cents a gallon on gas with store rewards and have earned another 30 cents a gallon off after purchasing prescriptions. I found 35 cents on the ground (every little bit helps!) so I put it in my change jar. I made homemade Christmas gifts for my sister, boss and work friends. For 15 people (including our 3 kids) I have spent a total of $350 for Christmas not counting food so I don’t think that is too bad. I received a $5.00 rebate gift card in the mail. I used Wal Mart Savings Catcher dollars to buy a mandolin slicer for myself -$13 with free shipping. I mended two pairs of pants. Someone gave me two pounds of bacon. My mother and I received free tickets to a dinner so we enjoyed that together. I plan to be debt free by February and am planning on how to remodel my kitchen without having to get back into debt!

  63. Hi,

    I saw the note that you sold 2 items on Craigs list garage sale. What did you sell? I looked on line it seemed to me it is all classic garage sale items.

  64. Carolin, if your family enjoyed watching Frontier House, you should try watching the Victorian Farm series. It is a BBC series in which three historians live for a year as they would have in Britain during the Victorian era. There are also spin off series such as the Victorian Farm Christmas, Edwardian Farm, Wartime farm (set in Britain during the second world war) and Tudor Monastery Farm which also feature the same historians. What I love most about the series is that they actually show you how everyday things were made or done, such as salting pork, making bricks, dying cloth with natural materials, farming practices and so much more. There are lots of great frugal ideas that can be garnished from the information provided as well. The series can be found on line and watched for free!

  65. Brandy and others interested in cream cheese, it appears our Koger affiliate, Fry’s, has Challege cream cheese continuing this week for buy 4 get $4 off. There are $1 off printable coupons again, too.

    A couple of blessings I didn’t mention in my earlier post: We were gifted two huge and decilious pies and a quart bag of green beans at Thanksgiving. I was able to use school supplies, toys, toiletries, etc. that I had accumulated for that purpose to send 5 shoeboxes for kids through Samaritan Ministries. I also asked if they could use extra items that were not assembled in boxes. They seemed thrilled to get them and I was thrilled to send them. It was a blessing to send some of my frugal finds to chlldren. Between doing the surveys and purchases, we were able to redeem 40 cents off a gallon of gas.

  66. I used a local Facebook garage sale page, not Craig’s list. The Facebook garage sales are more local than the entire city, so I can list items to a smaller, closer area, and people are more willing to drive to pick up a small item to a close-by place than across the city with Craig’s list). I’m selling regular garage sale items; one of my items this week was a sweater I sold for $1. The nice thing is, I don’t have to have enough items for a garage sale to sell things. I can sell items even if I only have 3 items for sale. I’m able to declutter and sell items at the same time. I can sometimes ask a bit more for items; I’ve noticed that a lot of clothing sells for $3-$4 an item this way, rather than .50 to $1 at a garage sale. That helps me make a little more, too.

  67. A family at church has just taken on the responsibility of 5 young nephews. Both their parents have been incarcerated , the father for long term, the mother two years, I think. It’s been a huge change for the boys coming from the largest city in the state to our small town. They had no other family on his side anywhere near or that could or would take all 5 at once. The boys are in our church school so I see them every day…Becky, they don’t seem happy or sad, just very watchful. Is it they don’t trust us, are testing us? Afraid? I know the aunt and uncle have various appointments with counselors to help the boys. The boys are temporarily in the after school program which meets in the library til she can pick them up. She starts a leave of absence from her job next week. They told her she could take as long as she needed. Their own children are grown so this is a change for them

  68. I showed youngest daughter the bow/pinecone decor and she immediately set out to duplicate it. We weren’t sure what part the dowel plays so she skipped that.

    Did all the usual of packing lunches, cooking from scratch, eating at home, hanging up laundry , composting, recycling.

    Made a small mince pie using dough for one crust and some scraps to make a 8″ pie. I usually buy mince dried in the box but last year the store was clearancing out the jarred mince at 75% off so I bought all the jars, 8 of them. One jar though is barely enough for even a small pie so I took two storage apples and diced them and added in. Started mixing up cookie doughs so can bake this weekend.

    Had a couple more family obligations to do so had to travel again the last two weekends. Went to a hog butchering day at his sister’s, not something I enjoy, but we get some of the meat. Gas is down to 2.59/gal here. We’ve been cold and snowy a month so far. Turn the heat down at night. I was at home today doing usual day off work stuff and the electricity went off for 3+ hours. It felt cold enough husband built fire in stove. No electricity in the shop either so he and nephew and daughter and I set up the card table next the stove and played Phase 10. I could still use the gas stove so kept on with most of my cooking….’mpea and ham soup with ham and bone left from fall get together.

    Mended pants pocket, sewed on 3 loose buttons, darned a sock, picked up 5 books from public library, watched numerous shows on HULU. Especially like the movies A CHRISTMAS ROMANCE and A CHRISTMAS WISH, they are nice as emphasis not on Santa. Finished Christmas letter on computer and daughter inserted pictures. All envelopes addressed and stamped.

    Have our Homemakers Christmas party this weekend. I am to bring hot rolls and butter. I need to search out a white elephant gift. I will make the rolls.

  69. I know wat u r going thru…. My hubby n six yr old were sick the last two weeks n this week the baby is cutting teeth n has a cold. I used Zarbees mucus reliever for her n it effectively allows her to puke it all out. U cld give that a shot with the kids if thumping the chest does not work…

    Sheeba

  70. The boys have probably had, at the very least, a troublesome childhood. They probably do not trust anyone and could be waiting for all sorts of bad things to happen to them. All you can do is continue to be kind and understanding while letting them know the expectations for them. I work in a Residential Reentry Center helping men and women coming out of prisons to transition back into the community. Most of them had horrific childhoods so I have some experience with this behavior, although I am not an expert. Good luck and bless you all for helping those young boys!

  71. During this week we enjoyed a variety of blessings.
    * I “hall walked” with a dear friend of mine at a local high school, great excercise and at no cost-best part is I walk there are never get in my car.
    * Enjoy knitting a scarf for my daughter.
    * Made two fabric boxes to give as Christmas gifts.
    * Helped install tile for a relative.
    * Pausing to read the Christmas cards that are arriving in our mailbox.
    * The furnace is running less, what a blessing with warm weather.
    * Mixed up homemade cookies, will bake them tomorrow and enjoy the opportunity to listen to Christmas music and fill our kitchen with wonderful scents and smells.

  72. Athanasia,
    Of course, I don’t know the situation. But, if there was something bad enough that happened to land both parents in jail, you can be sure the boys’ life was not easy while they lived at home. You would not believe the amount of evidence that it takes to remove children from a home, but the parents being gone would certainly make that a reality. So, the level of abuse, or neglect, is probably not know at this time. Things will probably come out in time and then your friend will have a better idea of how to help address those issues that arise.

    If the move was recent, I would think that the boys are probably shocked and numbed by all the changes that have happened to them. I would certainly say they are afraid and definitely testing and NOT trusting. In our training, it was explained that children from a chaotic situation live in a much heightened state all the time. It’s very difficult for them to “come down” from the chaos they are used to. They often are not used to having regular meals, steady discipline and routine, and are often used to big fights that are very scary to them. They must be very alert because dangerous situations are the norm. Police, sirens, etc. make them jump and often they are afraid of police. Any attention is better than none, so they may actually start a fight to get the attention, even though it’s bad. They don’t know the rules at their new place. They don’t know if they will be knocked across the room if they chew wrong, or if they can watch the scary movies they watched at “home.” Everything is different. Even the food is not what they are used to, even if it is wonderful–if they are used to mac and cheese from a box and someone makes them a top sirloin steak, it’s still different and not what they are used to. Even the smells from the laundry soap are different. It’s likely they lost much from the chaos–favorite toys, blankets, their pillow…you get the idea. So, my guess is that they are holding back and seeing what’s going to happen and if their new situation is “safe.”

    Also, children go through a honeymoon period where they are very, very good–hoping they can please the new family and get to stay because they know there is no where else to go but an unknown place. Then, usually, they go through a period where the are really testing the new parents to see what is going to happen if they are “naughty.” They wonder if the new family will keep them. This can happen many times over a long period of time–the switching between “naughty” and “nice.” Also, FYI, spanking them doesn’t work. We learned early on that there was nothing that we were willing to dish out that even held a candle to what they’d been through, so other disciplines are what we use, and have for many years. (Mostly natural consequences, and “when the …..is done, then we can…….” –those kinds of things.

    It’s going to take a long time. I assume that since there are 5 of them, some of them have been in the situation for quite a while. As strange as it sounds, sometimes those kids see things more clearly than the younger ones who either don’t remember the truth, were shielded by the older ones, or make up the reality that they wished happened. Trust may come, or it may never come.

    It’s a great idea for them to work with a therapist/counsellor. It took 2 different ones for my granddaughter. She did not relate to the first one. She’s doing great with this 2nd one. She has been going to this 2nd one for 1-1/2 years. We are finally going to twice a month, instead of every week. She had a lot of issues and feelings to deal with–they all do. The other 2 girls who still live at home with us go to 2 other, seperate therapists. Then there is no conflict of interest. There are many times where I actually attend part or all of a session with each girl. The therapist works with both of us, helping me to know ways that can work with that particular child to help them and tries to build bonding between us.

    If I had to give advice to the new mama, it would be to accept any and all help that is offered, even if she thinks she has things covered. The sooner she can set up a network of people helping her, the better. She may not feel that she needs the help now, but the day will come and if the boys know some other people, it will be easier. I am getting better at that. When the big kids were young, so was I. Now, I accept help better than I did. The second thing would be to not compare them to her own, grown children. I never had a child– ours are all adopted–but I’ve seen people who expect the new ones to act like their own. They don’t and they won’t. Sometimes there was substance abuse during pregnancy and that causes neurological problems. Also, the witnessed violence, neglect and abuse often causes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder–it has been likened to a soldier returning from war. There could be learning gaps from missing school, or learning disabilities…any number of things. So, just take each child for who he is. We try not to bad-mouth the parents. I am realistic, though. “I don’t understand why your mom made that choice–it’s not what I would choose because…… this would be a better way to do it.”

    It sounds like you could be getting an opportunity to minister to these boys if you see them at school daily. I’m excited for you. We choose to believe that no matter how inadequate we often feel to meet the enormous needs we see daily, as long as we are doing what God is asking us to do, it’s enough. The results are often not what we wish. Many of our kids struggle (i.e., we are now raising a granddaughter…)But these kids were given another chance–the possiblities are endless!

  73. Hi! I was wondering, has Loom Bands mania reached to your area? Would there be a way to make these rubber rings, wreaths by yourself – cutting from some rubber tube etc.?

  74. Hi! The past week was very enjoyable–it did cost a bit of money, but was worth it, and I’d squirreled money away during October and November in anticipation of buying fun for Christmas! My husband and I brought his 7 year old grand bunny Christmas tree shopping with us. Her parents use a little artificial tree, so she’d never enjoyed the happy tradition of picking up a live tree. She really enjoyed herself, and it was a pleasure for us, as well. Afterwards, we took her to McDonald’s for dinner, and topped off the evening with Mrs. Field’s cookies. While there I bought cookie gift cards for her and her half brother for Christmas. Also bought one for my husband and self, for our own stocking, for a rainy day!

    Brought all snacks, drinks, and lunches for work, and ate from our freezer for dinner. I was gifted a box of Ferrero Rochero candy, and decided to save it for my Christmas party with my stepkids. Back in the day, before hard times, I used to treat myself out to a nice lunch at Christmas time, and I really missed this little outing. Now that one stepdaughter is recently off of child support, I decided to enjoy this little treat again, though on a more modest scale. I took myself to a little taqueria for two tacos and a Snapple. It wasn’t as fancy as times past, but you know what? It was heaven, just the same! After christmas shopping I met my husband for our date, which was meeting at our fave old fashioned bakery, which was beautifully decorated for the season. We enjoyed each other’s company over pasties…only $9.00. Time with my darling out in the world is always worth twice his weight in gold to me! Even if we can’t afford to do a whole lot, going out of the house for a date is a high priority in my budget. I waited too long to find him, and his previous marriage was very unhappy, so we both want to make up for lost time!

    Last night I went to my sister’s craft party and brought a bottle of Granny Smith apple wine I had bought in the wine country during my wedding anniversary in October.

    Tonight my husband and I will decorate the apartment, watch a christmas movie, and for dinner we will share the monster burrito I had placed in the freezer last month.

    Have a wonderful weekend, everybody! God bless!

  75. The series is one of my favourite shows to watch. Every time they add a new series, I get really excited. They do such an excellent job at explaining what life was really like for the average person in that time period. I work at a living history museum and we have even taken ideas from the shows to demo in the village.

    I highly recommend watching the Victorian Farm Christmas around now as it will explain many of the traditions that came from Britain, such as making Christmas puddings, gift giving traditions, and even how they would decorate their homes.

  76. Becky and Mandy, thank you for your insight and advice. The boys finished their first week in school and tomorrow will be their 2nd Sunday in church. The aunt is off work as of Monday. She’s the administrator of the local nursing home and they have been ever helpful, letting her have an interim fill in from her staff that she will supervise, but will be able to be mostly at home. The youngest boy is only just 3. Their own children, twin girls are away at school.

    Church, school and work friends have brought in all sizes of boys clothes and more boyish type toys and books. The boys are divided between 2 rooms though I heard they prefer to sleep all together. When it was finalized that the boys would be placed with the aunt, the older ladies got together and did up 5 tied comforters , one for each boys bed. My husband cut out and sanded 5 wood plaques and the art teacher painted each one with the boy’s name and a Bible verse for over their beds.

    Our school does not have a counselor, as under normal circumstances that would be the pastor. A public elementary school counselor (my new daughter in law) and a child psychologist came over a few Sundays ago and spoke after service. They gave some hints and cautions , answered lots of questions.

    I know there is hope down the line for reuniting with the mother after time served and rehabilitation and halfway house etc, about 4 years.

  77. Anne, I did a search for the Victorian Farm Christmas series, but couldn’t find one listed at the moment. However, this program is often shown around Christmas, so the broadcasting stations will often list the episodes that were already shown a week later (in case you missed an episode). Therefore, you may have to keep trying to google search it. I am disappointed that one isn’t available, though.

    The Victorian Farm is available to watch here: http://tvo.org/program/120414/victorian-farm#2008
    The Wartime Farm is on YouTube with the first episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hou91pLDvDs
    The Tudor Monastery Farm is also on YouTube with the first episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1ERDYjsHBg

    If you subscribe to hulu or netflix, you may be able to find the various series through them. I would assume it is considered a documentary TV series. I don’t use them, so I can’t say for sure, but it is worth a try. You may also be able to request the DVDs through your local library. Hope this helps!

  78. I have a friend who adopted two little girls whose parents were both incarcerated and had parental ties severed. First they went to live with an aunt and uncle who were, going from things the girls have said, and from the way they behaved at least neglectful, if not abusive. For quite a while, both little girls regressed into babyish behavior – they’d want bottles instead of cups, want to be rocked to sleep, etc. Their therapist explained that it was normal, it was something they needed to feel safe; and that quite likely they’d never felt safe as babies, either, given the crimes the parents were incarcerated for. It’s been a couple of years and most things are better, although both girls still have separation anxiety and the oldest girl, in particular, is very anxious and scared of change.

    I don’t think we have a full understanding of the impact of those first few years. My husband’s best friend’s aunt was 2 years old when the Germans invaded Lithuania. Knowing what was going to happen to them because they were Jewish, her parents asked their best friends to take her in and pretend she was their daughter, while they went into hiding. After four long years they returned home, and for two weeks agonised over whether or not they should make themselves known to their daughter. Would she remember them? Would she want to go with them, or would she want to stay with her new family? (The adoptive father was doting and attentive and loved the girl; the adoptive mother was terrified of being caught out and kept asking the father if they should really keep her, or if they should turn her in.) At last they approached her and gave her a choice: She could come with them; or stay with what was, for all intents and purposes, the only family she’d ever known. She chose them. But even now, after all these years, she cannot leave her mother. Her mother is approaching 100 and everyone knows she doesn’t have long. Her siblings are all much, much younger, and now live in various countries around the world; they don’t know how she will manage, when she loses her mother. She is a smart, capable woman who holds down a professional job and makes good money; but despite a lifetime of experiences, she is terrified of losing her mother again. You think of the effect that had on a little girl, betwen the ages of 2 and 6, who didn’t have to deal with physical or sexual abuse, who was loved by at least one of her adoptive parents (the adoptive mother loved her too; but she was just so scared) – and even still, the act of being separated from her parents has reverberated through the decades to still be effecting her now, at an age where she could be a grandmother herself. It’s tremondously sad, what some children have to go through.

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