Ivory Mountain Hike The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut apple branches from the garden to put in vases.

I cut flowers from the garden for the table.

I cut garlic chives, peppermint, thyme, basil, a few beans, and grape leaves from the garden.  I cut a large Armenian cucumber from the garden. This one was growing on the driveway! It took five meals to eat it, as it was so large.

I pulled out the mandolin that I bought for 50 cents at a community sale in April to slice it , and it was so quick and simple! Definitely worth 50 cents!

A lemon ripened early and split, and fell from the tree. I brought it in to use.

Tuesday was a beautifully cool day, when a storm blew over and we had an unexpected high of only 87º (the prediciction at 5 that morning had been for 92º). I left the air condtioner off all day and we enjoyed the cool breeze that came through the house. We even had a few drops of rain! it got up to 80º in the house in the late afternoon (normally it gets that hot at 8:30 a.m. with the a/c off and the windows open). I read that Los Angeles residents saw 2.32 inches of rain that day. Wow! Wednesday we were able to keep the house open until a little past noon, when indoor temperatures had climbed to 81º, and Thursday we could keep it off until almost 10 a.m., and then turn it back off in the evening,

The heat came back after that, but for a while we had quite a bit of time in which we didn’t need to run the air conditioner, which will make a significant impact on our bill. Normally we’ll run the air condtioner to at least the middle of October, so these two days were quite a surprise! The electric company sends me an email each week showing me how much electricity we used and how much it cost me for that week. Because of the nicer weather and my opening the windows to cool the house instead, the bill should be at least $20 lower. 

I updated my garage sale list with some items while I was thinking about them. The semi-annual community sale that I go to is a little less than a month away. I have included items that I am looking for for Christmas gifts, as well as some things that can be repurposed for Christmas gifts.

I used Duolingo to improve my French.

I watched a few videos on Jas. Townsend’s You Tube page.

Winter downloaded more songs from the library’s Freegal program.

My mom brought us back some great garage sale finds from Oregon, including two pairs of women’s 100% wool gloves (brand-new with tags on, and she paid 50 cents a pair!), four sets of uncut American Girl Paper Dolls (Samantha, Kirsten, Molly and Felicity), a coat, a princess dress, a handkerchief for me, andsome workbooks for the youngest children.

Cyrus went with his cousin (who is  the merit badge counselor for rock climbing) to climb and rappel, working towards earning the merit badge for this. Because his cousins are grown with children his age, he doesn’t often get to do things with just them, so this was a really unique opportunity. 

Winter attended a free organ training workshop. The workshop included a light breakfast and a lunch. She had a private organ instruction class while she was there, and she came away with some great free online resources for further training. (I couldn’t help but be reminded that several generations ago, her ancestor was an organ maker in Germany.) She absolutely loved the training and should be able to do some practice for free at the church building on several occasions.

While she was there, the rest of our family went on a hike to Mary Jane Falls. Apparently, this is what a waterfall looks like in the desert:

Mary Jane Falls The Prudent Homemaker

I know you’re going to say, “But it’s September!” However, Winter hiked this same trail earlier this year  (on two separate occasions) and she assured us that there isn’t much more water there even in the springtime.

Mary Jane Falls View From The Top The Prudent Homemaker 

Elsa, my five-year-old, spent a lot of time waiting for us. She could have made it up the mountain an hour ahead of us if she wasn’t having to wait for the rest of us!  It’s a 1000 foot climb over 1.2 miles to the falls. We had lunch near the falls before heading back down.


What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. It pays for me to stay up late some nights. I look forward to this post every week. Thank you for all you have taught me.

  2. It looks like you all had a beautiful day at the falls! Isn’t nature grand?!

    Your mom brought you some wonderful garage sale items. I think one of the best things about garage sales (besides the money saving) is that you never quite know what you will find!

    I don’t always post, but read often. I so enjoy your website Brandy and appreciate all the hard work you put into it. You’re such an inspiration! 🙂

  3. Hello all!

    Silly me lost my list of frugal accomplishments for last week so I’m going to try to do what I do when I forget my grocery list at home and ad lib it. :p This is a shame as I KNOW that we had some really good ones…humph.

    ~We are still working on the new schedule of putting EVERYONE in the house to sleep earlier, which saves in just about every area of our family life…utilities, no late night runs to the store, no late night snacks, etc.
    ~Oh! I remembered! My husband had to deliver a vehicle to a customer in Phoenix and bring theirs home, so he got permission from his boss to take me and the children along! Free road trip! And as a bonus, I suckered him (ahem, asked him politely) to stop at IKEA on the way home. We don’t have one of these in Tucson and I had been wanting to pick up some of the wood toys for my youngest for Christmas along with a few other organizational things. Yay! While we were up there, we also got to have dinner with some relatives. Gosh! It was a good day. 😀
    ~Free breakfast Tuesday at my children’s homeschool co-op. They feed the teachers breakfast there and I teach a beginner’s beading class.
    ~Free breakfast Wednesday at my ladies group…goodies are always provided. Yummm!
    ~Two ZERO-spend days. We stayed home and worked on some projects that we really needed to get snappy on.
    ~ My strawberry plants, bell pepper, and cilantro are still growing! That is major progress for me! Don’t really have anything edible yet but the fact that they aren’t diseased or dead is a personal accomplishment. :p
    ~For my night out this past Friday, I went to the outlet mall looking for some fall jeans and a shirt for myself. The Old Navy had their clearance an additional 50% off as the store is relocating and they are not going to transport any clearance items. For $10 I got two dresses for my daughters, two shirts for next fall, a pair of jeans and a 3/4-sleeve shirt for myself.
    ~I signed up for a FB auction for some of my crochet items. I do this every few months and it brings in a wee bit to throw at our debt, or to help restock our pantry if needed.

    That’s all I can remember right about now. Have a wonderful week everyone! 🙂

  4. Hi one and all from Australia.

    How wonderful that Cyrus got to go mountain climbing with his cousins, I love rock climbing and rappelling too, such fun must do it again when I get the chance. Also good on your five year old for being so fit and being patient to wait for everyone :).

    My frugal accomplishments are –

    In the kitchen
    – cooked a frozen chicken purchased for $2.99 kg and it made 1 nights tea, 2 servings for later teas and 1 for lunch the next day.
    – Made your beautiful herb roasted chicken out of the chicken above.
    – Made your lovely quiche with silver beet, spring onions from the garden and eggs given to us with a vegetable trade.
    Blessings –
    – It rained here and filled 1 1100 lt rainwater tank and gave us enough left to top up the other by 1/4 filling it up too.
    Grocery Shopping –
    – Picked up smoked oysters for $2.39 instead of $2.99 and purchased 8 to stock us back up.
    – Bought 1/2 kg triple smoked ham for $10.99 Kg usually $21 Kg, bought 1/2 Kg sandwich chicken for $7.99 Kg usually $12 kg.
    – Bought 3 packets of macadamia nuts on special for $9.99 375g packs usually 12.99 400g pack. Due to a electronic register error on price charged they had to give us the 1st free by law and the 3 packets only cost us $21.98 for 1.12kg a huge saving of $16.99.
    In the garden – (spring is in the air)
    – Planted dwarf beans & peas, radishes, pak choi, parsley & snow peas.
    – Thinned carrots and used thinning’s and replanted them in rows right distance apart, making around 5 more rows.
    – Picked broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and silver beet and made a vegetable bake with white sauce that lasted 2 teas with a small serving of meat on the side.
    – Purchased 7 packets of seeds for .99c ea usually $1.47 ea, saving $3.36 in total.
    – Re-grassed around a third of the back yard with grass seed left over from seeding the front yard, that died in the winter frosts.
    – Picked last of lettuce and took it to church to donate to members along with some silver beet.
    – We went and cut more free timber with our chainsaw from a friends farm, and split it ready to place on the veranda tomorrow for the next winter. We aim to fill up the whole of the front veranda to have enough timber for next winter, so far we have filled up 1/3 for our next winters needs. A true blessing as timber is hugely expensive here running at about $100 – $140 a 6×4 trailer load.
    – Fertilised the lawn with urea and the wonderful rain watered it in, saving us on town water useage.
    – Put lime in the next dug up garden bed and the lovely rain watered it in, saving us on water in restriction times.

    Have a great week one and all.

  5. My daughter cut my hair for me.

    Since losing 23 pounds I have been needing some new pants to wear to work. I went to a thrift store close to my workplace and they had just put out their fall clothing. I was able to get 3 very nice pair for 5 dollars a piece. That is much better than $20-$30 I could have spent for brand new!

    We had a birthday celebration for my daughter and son-in-law. We made tacos and pineapple upside down cake. Two of my other daughters also brought food to contribute to the dinner. I used cilantro from the garden.

    Instead of picking up take-out after work on Friday my husband made dinner (it’s his day off) and I made apple crisp for dessert. We had gotten in the habit of just going out on Fridays but we are making new habits to save money.

    On Sunday I made a pork roast that will last us for several meals. I also made chicken stock in the slow cooker after saving all our chicken bones in the freezer over the last month. I used mint from my garden to make tea. It’s been my new favorite.

  6. Your pictures of the mountain are so pretty. What a hike. Our electric company is making it’s way down the block with new meters. Just a few doors down I should get one soon. They say I will be able to keep track somehow online of our usage…email sounds easy. I hope it’s that.

    I was able to buy a canner and more jars at a garage sale for $8.00. I had almost ran out of jars. We have most definitely been blessed we have been by our garden this year.
    Here is a list of my frugal accomplishments this week:

  7. That hike looks beautiful! Last week:
    I am still catching up from paying the property taxes and having two unexpected, large bills come in. Myself and my coworkers were also notified last Friday that the company isn’t “buying back” our sick time this year due to financial reasons. This is greatly disappointing because I was going to use that money to “catch up” finally from above mentioned bills. Now we are wondering if we will even get our holiday bonuses. This is the money I use for Christmas gifts. The company I worked for purchased a counseling agency early this year, this is the reason for the financial hardship. It is very disappointing from a personal point of view.
    -We didn’t go anywhere during the week other than taking our daughter to preschool and work. I used less than a half a tank of gas 🙂
    -All meals were cooked at home from scratch. I took all my food to work with me in reusable containers.
    -I did go to the grocery store Sunday and purchased cat litter, tortillas, cheddar cheese (whole block and shredded myself), potatoes and bananas.
    -I took a car load of donations to Goodwill and recycled a “bag of bags” at the grocery store.
    -My daughter turns 5 in early October. I started planning her gifts and so far came up with printable paper dolls and coloring sheets made into a coloring book of her favorite characters, and maybe make her some barrettes. Any other easy ideas for a 5 year old girl? I also thought about making her play dough. We will probably take her to the apple orchard also where they have pony rides and a corn maze.
    -We harvested a few more pumpkins, basil, parsley, tomatoes. The seeds I planted have sprouted!
    -I saved water from warming up the shower and drinking glasses, etc. I used this water to water the garden. We had two days of rain, LOTS of rain, so on those days I used the water to flush the toilet.
    -My mom gave me my birthday present early (Sept. 25th is my 40th birthday) and gave my daughter a big box of books she had from when my son was little (he’s 21 now) and flashcards and workbooks. Most are perfect for her right now and the others will be next year. These were never used. My present was 4 small owls. They are made from resin and are all different. They are so cute!!
    -I cut flowers twice for our table.
    -I cut some dead zinneas for the seeds and one sun flower head that is drying.
    -I cleaned using my citrus cleaner and baking soda.
    -My husband fixed a kitchen drawer (the front fell off) and a stainless steel measuring cup (the handle snapped off) with some epoxy stuff he had. It dries into a “steel” like substance and so far has worked great!
    That’s all I can remember. Have a great week everyone!

  8. I think my comment dissappeared. If I accidentally double submitted, just go ahead and delete this , I had to have a very important conversation about dinosaurs. hahahha.
    It is really nice of your mom to keep her eye out for things for you.
    We tried a thrift store on Saturday. We had wanted to go, it’s enormous. We got quite a few books for the children and they were very pleased. The books kept them quite occupied while my husband did some more work on our home. There were a lot of great deals on seasonal decorations but I left them for someone else, have to keep my eye on the ball and get rid of things, not bring home more. My husband and I had great fun time traveling back to 1981 and reading aloud from a Choose Your Own Adventure we picked up for my oldest. ahahha.

    My son’s teacher was very happy with the herb bundle I sent in, which was free for me. She did a lesson with them. She has also requested we look for a cocoon in the garden, another totally free thing I am happy to look for.
    We are having great luck( so far) steering the children to less costly Christmas gifts. My three year old is very serious about his need for “a ball and stick toy” that he saw in a book. I checked amazon and it’s five dollars. YAY. My husband found a toy on clearance for them that he put away and we got their advent calendars this weekend as well. I broke down and got some hair dye for my husband to color my hair.
    My husband is getting some kind of new position in his company that is not quite a promotion but does come with some kind of raise. We find out today. What a blessing! We are so happy, it will help us move!

  9. I sold some more household items I don’t need on a facebook group and made $15. I went through my son’s closet again and found clothes he doesn’t fit into anymore and sold those at a resale shop to make $19. I also dehydrated some tomatoes that were starting to go bad so I can make tomato sauce with them. I made up a triple batch of pancakes and froze them all for an easy, fast breakfast.

  10. Your frugal accomplishments always inspire. Here in the midwest we are experiencing mild weather and are not using either the air conditioning or furnace to heat.
    This week we revarnished the interior of our sun room, it’s gotten a face lift.
    Harvested a cucumber at a time, keeping the vines going as long as possible.
    Hemming a dress for an upcoming wedding.
    Enjoying the beauty of this soon to be fall season.
    Have a great one.

  11. One of my recent Sunday pleasures has been cutting a bouquet for the house, thanks to your inspiration. What a great find on those wool gloves! How nice that your Mom looks for treasures for your family too. Thank you for sharing the falls. I don’t believe I’ve seen a waterfall in a desert. Interesting. Those sound like great learning experiences for Cyrus and Winter. Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2015/09/summers-end-and-frugal-accomplishments.html

  12. My family and I love nature walks, thanks for sharing those pictures!

    My son got his haircut by daddy while us girls went to the store. I helped him do his own hair when we got back.

    We did research on 401k plan and changed options.

    I washed and will reuse 2 glass spice jars and a glass bbq sauce jar.

    Cashed pinecone survey points and transferred into savings.

    Recycled – I never realized how much we ‘wasted’ while living at our apartment the last 3 years 🙁 I am thankful we can now recycle!

    I improvised on making a stroganoff in the crockpot with a cube steak, it didn’t turn out that good. I threw the rest in the freezer because I didn’t know what to do with it… a few days later I got it back out threw it in the crockpot with bbq- and the kids raved about it! thankful I didn’t just throw it out!

    I found a Mickey Mouse themed math workbook for my daughter (kindergarten) at Family Dollar for $1.

    I remembered to completely shut down the computer and turn off the wifi.

    I was careful with my grocery budget this last pay period (2 weeks) and had leftover to buy trim for our bedroom! (now we only need new carpet and I will finally have a bedroom! — we’ve had our bed in the library for 3 months now! ) – it has taken longer because we haven’t put anything on the credit card!

    We decided for Christmas to get a dog. They are to be born this month and we can bring it home in November. We will do lots of crafts, cooking, reading, movies and such instead. The kids may get a couple small things- new pjs on Christmas eve {a tradition I would like to keep}, maybe a new game.. but no toys! Everyone is happy and excited about the dog 🙂
    We also found that my grandparents are traveling in December, so no Christmas dinner there. And my sisters, mom and I agreed to do a “field trip” type Christmas instead of buying presents- we might go to the Science Center together. Quality time is much better!

  13. This past 3-1/2 weeks have been a blur. My son-in-laws dad was rushed to hospital from their small town to my big city with bacterial meningitis. Since our son-in-law lives in Houston and couldn’t be here in Ohio, I’ve been staying @hospital with his mom 12+ hours/day so she wasn’t waiting alone. So my frugality has been limited this week.

    I had son and hubby pick from my garden- tomatoes, peppers, green beans. End of season here. A week after they picked, I finally made time to freeze 3 bags of hot peppers, sorted through tomatoes ( sadly I lost some due to my delay) , used some of my fresh tomatoes in a big crockpot of Texas style chili in place of canned tomatoes in recipe. Ground some popcorn into cornmeal and made Jiffy cornbread mix (I keep a labeled container with recipe taped to it for the cornbread mix) . To go with chili for dinner, I made cornbread from my homemade mix.

    At the hospital, to make use of all the waiting time, I started a Grandmothers Flower Garden quilt. I had a small package of card stock templates that I bought from JoAnns with a coupon, but when I was running low on them, I cut out more from junk mail postcards (local elections are coming up so every day brings more) and the subscription postcards from magazines. So I was happy to recycle them! The quilt itself is made from fabric scraps in my stash. So far, it measures about 42″ square.

    Paid bills as well as tithing online – what a blessing that is!!! Even though I’ve been pretty much living at the hospital, I’ve still been able to keep up with our budget so nothing was paid late!

    Sadly, his dad passed away yesterday and so my life will go back to my normal routine soon. I’m going up to Amish produce auction today to buy a bushel of bell peppers to cut up and freeze since I am almost out of them from last season and they did not do well in my garden this year (even though my hot peppers went crazy!).

    I was given a bushel of pears 10 days ago with the intention of dicing and canning them. We have eaten some. They are not rotten, but they are ripe- any suggestions?

  14. Oh my goodness…that tiny waterfall!! Lol I love the vast differences in God’s Creation. It’s such a testimony to His creativity and innate beauty. Our family went on a small hike here in New York last week along a brook (the park is called Stony Brook) and we saw probably 5 full waterfalls in a 1 mile portion of the trail. It was free to enter the park on the day we went.

    Here are some other things we did to save money:

  15. Lovely pictures and not what you think of when you hear “desert”, at least not for people like me who have never seen one in person. I’ve seen the ocean frequently and mountains quite a few times, but a desert will be a new experience when I eventually see one.

    I baked my first ham ever after buying one for 89 cents at Aldi’s. I used Brandy’s recipe, but with a lot less brown sugar. It tasted great, but next time I will spend the extra 60 cents per pound and buy a spiral sliced ham. Let’s just say that I’m not good at carving!

    I bought peaches and ended up freezing 12 cups of peeled and pitted slices. I also bought paste tomatoes and will prep them tonight. I’ve come to the decision that in the future I will not buy these items in bulk because they do not save me any money over the store-bought frozen fruit and they take a lot of time that I can spend on other tasks. I want to support the local farmers, but it’s just too much, especially for a one person household now that my daughter is in college. Free fruit and veggies, such as the pears on the tree up the street and what I grow on my own, are another matter.

    My daughter and I had the same idea for Christmas gifts for each other: tickets to our local NFL team, the Baltimore Ravens. We decided to split the cost and I lucked into front row end zone seats to a November game. I was looking at more expensive tickets on Stub Hub and asked a co-worker about them. He has one pair of front row seats and bought the two beside him from the person who owns them but for some reason can’t attend the games this year. He sold me the two extra seats at face value ($97 each), which saved us $60 or more and are much better seats than anything we saw available. They aren’t cheap, obviously, but they are great seats and going to a game in person is something we have both wanted to do for a long time.

    The rest of the week was just the standard, every day money saving things that I don’t even think about anymore, such as saving electricity, combining trips when driving, etc. We did get several cooler days and we may (emphasis on may) not have any more days that require AC this year. I took the AC units out of the windows, but haven’t moved them to their storage spots yet, just in case. The cats and I all appreciate the breezes coming through those open windows and I love the savings from not using AC or heat (the cats could not care less about the savings!). All in all, it was a quiet week, which is not a bad thing.

  16. Due to cooler weather, I’ve been able to keep the AC off. My intention is to not turn it on again until next year. I also intend not to turn on the heater until November or so. Right now our highs are in the upper 80’s and our lows are in the 60’s. So it’s pretty nice most of the day. It does get hot in the evening especially if I’ve done any baking (have to bake) but we just put up with it.

    I made bread last week. I really didn’t do a whole lot of baking last week but I plan to bake a lot this week to keep our food costs down.

    I was gifted several bags of groceries yesterday. It was leftovers from a church breakfast. It contained bagels, muffins, 10 boiled eggs, a bag of rolls, half a gallon of orange juice, cream cheese, and a huge bowl of fruit salad. I feel so blessed! This was enough food for two meals – our lunch and dinner – and I didn’t have to cook anything. These are foods I almost never buy so it was a real treat! I’m so happy. 🙂

    I’m planning to get my fall garden in this week – hopefully by Saturday. We’ll see. I know it’s a little late to be starting one but I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to plant lettuce, greens, carrots, and swiss chard. I have a makeshift greenhouse I’m going to build for when it gets cold. Gardening is one area in which I really need to improve so I’m going to do it!

    I hope you all have a great week!

  17. Even though it limited the time you had for other things, that was very good of you to keep your son’s mother-in-law company at the hospital; sorry to hear about their loss. A former pastor once told a story about a woman telling her pastor that she had been coming to church every Sunday for the past 50 years and had never missed a service. He told her that he felt very sorry for her. Shocked, she asked why and he responded that he was sure that at some point in those 50 years there was someone who needed her help more than the church needed her attendance. I think that’s what you did by giving her your time.

    As for the pears, what about pear sauce? Just make it the same way you make apple sauce (presumption on my part that you make apple sauce). I also use pears to make pear crisp, but the pears I get are kind of hard, even when ripe, which is probably why no one else likes them fresh from the tree.

  18. – We had to cancel the last part of our vacation last week due to the bus’ tire issues and the axle breaking on the pontoon trailer. They wouldn’t refund our money but they were willing to let us “reschedule” so we are headed out for more camping later this week. All food will again come from our freezer and pantry.
    – I brought home several bags of leftover dog food from the kennel to grind up for my poultry. When dogs go home from the kennel, any food in their dishes has to be discarded. Poultry LOVE dog and cat food and I have a large old cast iron mill my Dad gave me, so instead of just throwing the food away, I bring it home, run it thru the grinder and feed my birds. Free food with the animal protein the chickens crave so total frugal win!
    – Earned a free bag of dog food + a $10 off card from our pet supply store (spend $250 and you get a $10 card – very easy to earn when you are feeding a growing Dane pup, a beagle and now 4 cats!)
    – Found the kittens we wanted for a very reasonable rehoming fee. No, pets aren’t exactly frugal but I cannot imagine my home without them. I had to put down my big old male kitty 2 months ago and have been missing him so we got the 2 male kittens to “replace” him.
    – purchased the succulent plants on clearance I needed for a birthday gift for my daughter. I am planning on making a 4 tier hanging plant project I found on Pintrest for her room. I will also be making some much needed school and hair supply containers for her new desk in her room from repurposed items and supplies I already have on hand.
    – Picked a few more red peppers and the chipoltes are [i]finally[/i] ready. They seemed to take much longer to ripen so I will need to better plan that during planting times next spring.
    – Grapes are ready!! I just started picking them for grape juice 🙂
    – Put together some new dog toys with supplies I had on hand which are much tougher than those sold in stores and free compared to the price in the stores! I saved the squeakers the Dane pup removed from his shredded ones and placed them in the new toys and I did not use any stuffing so nothing for him to pull out if he does happen to get one open!
    – Made up some new cat toys with supplies on hand and my own dried catnip.
    – started on my Christmas gifts – I hope to make almost everything homemade again to keep costs down.
    – started repairing the desk that was in my daughters room. This will be my “new” sewing desk for my Janome machine. I needed something smaller so that my heavy duty machines in their tables will actually fit into my sewing room. I am also getting rid of a bunch of old gowns (I repurpose them into little girl princess gowns) that I do not have any actual concrete plans and they are taking up valuable space in the room.
    – instead of purchasing Corelle dishes for the RV that would match, I found some mismatched pieces for free that I will put in there instead. I also put my less used Pyrex casserole dishes in there. They don’t match either but in the grand scheme of things – that really isn’t important!
    and of course did the usual – cook from scratch and make it do!

  19. We went on a road trip also, and I was able to “convince” my husband to stop at IKEA! He’ll be happy to know he wasn’t the only one forced to do an out of town IKEA trip last week!

  20. Hi Mari!

    Remember that these are the desert mountains. We were at 8000 feet up there, so it’s actually a different climate from where we are at. Where we live there are no trees that grow, but up there we saw pine, spruce, and aspen. These mountains do get some rain and several months of snow. They are about 20 degrees cooler up there than here, which is also very different.

    One thing that doesn’t change much is the rock. Those mountains are mostly rock, and our desert ground here is rocks, too!

  21. Oh how I wish I had the energy of a 5 year old! If there was a way to bottle and sell that energy, I’d be a rich, rich woman!

    This past week, Husband had a work conference in Philadelphia and I tagged along! Our hotel, food, and gas were all covered so it was a free trip. We had a hotel right downtown and were able to walk pretty much everywhere.

    Since we were gone for a week, I am hoping to see a drop in our electric and water bills.

    Before we left, I found some gluten-free flour on clearance at Sam’s club. It was $4.91 for a 5 pound bag. It I haven’t had a chance to try it yet but I am hoping it works just as well as regular flour. I only bought two bag in case it doesn’t work out. I look forward to experimenting with it this week.

  22. On Thursday, with no warning, after 18 years, my husband lost his job. They had had a consulting firm come in during the last year. We thought they were going to work with each one, helping them develop their gifts better, but instead, decided my husband’s talents lay in a different direction then they wanted. They feel his gifts lie in counselling, which is true. However, we, and many others feel he was unfairly treated and was doing quite well at his job–but a few disagreed. We are waiting to see what severance package they will offer this coming Thursday. So, needless to say, we are extremely hurt and confused. (4 people made this decision–several hundred did not–there was not vote or anything like that and he was given no list of things to fix, change, etc.–just let go) Because he worked at our church, we now have no church home–it’s been devastating for our children as well. Our family is rallying around, being super supportive, as are the church members that had nothing to do about this. But, it’s still done.

    So, I have been just wandering around, and we are deciding what to do. In the meanwhile, we have done the usual frugal things we always do, for the most part. We visited a different church with my sister, and then they took us out for lunch, while we all brainstormed (and bawled). I will pare down extra spending, etc. I know how to be much more frugal than we have been, because we have lived through hard times before–we had just gotten lax because we could in some areas. We probably will have to move, but we are being cautioned to not do anything for a while, until we have time to think clearly. In the end, we firmly believe that God is our Provider and that He is still in charge–right now, we are just still in shock.

    I need to pick the garden produce. It is producing like mad right now–a real blessing. I will continue to work. I don’t earn much, but every little bit will help. We were given a lot of pop cans so the children could turn them in towards dance shoes. This will help them feel like they have some control over their lives. (I understand that dance lessons, etc. will probably have to go–but everyone is saying “no changes right now.” We’ve already paid ahead a bit, so they might as well do those classes at least. We have relatives that are offering to pay for some things so the children won’t lose all of their friends at activities as well as their friends at church.

  23. Your photography is always very beautiful. What type of camera do you use? I love the frugal tips from you and everyone else.

  24. I really enjoyed reading your accomplishments this week, Brandy. First, the picture of your daughter is so cute! Love the outfit she is wearing too. Second, your mom scored some really great finds in Oregon. That was so nice of her to get all those goodies for your family. Third, what a beautiful hike you went on with your family! Loved the pictures you shared. Thank you for such a lovely post!

    Well, we went back to hot weather this week. Really, this is a bit unusual for us here in southern Ontario. We’re usually starting to feel a cooler weather presents by now as fall descends upon us. I’m kind of missing it. Fall is my favourite time of year, and I’m concerned that we may go right into serious cold weather this year…very disappointing!:( Anyways, here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:
    *Made blueberry muffins from scratch to use in my daughter’s lunches. I wrap them individually in plastic wrap and freeze them in a container. Each morning she can pull one out of the freezer to use in her lunch if she wants one. They are usually thawed by the time she eats it.

    *I trimmed my own bangs to delay getting a hair cut once again. It’s been months since I actually had my hair professionally cut. I have to put my hair in a bun for work, so growing it out was logical for the summer. But now it is seriously in need of a real cut, so I hope to get it done soon.

    *My husband and I went out for dinner and a movie to celebrate our anniversary. Our sit down meal came to around $25 with tip for the 2 of us and the movie cost about $25 for the 2 of us. I know some may say $50 was a lot for one evening, but we rarely go out together like this. We really enjoyed a wonderful date night together!

    *Home cooked meals this week included beef barley soup (using up some left over steak and veggies from our garden) with homemade bread, BBQ’d hamburgers and hotdogs with potato wedges, hot chicken sandwiches (using up homemade bread) with mashed potatoes and corn, spaghetti dinner (used up some mushrooms in sauce before they went to waste), breaded chicken burgers with macaroni salad, and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with macaroni salad. We’ve made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches a few times this week for lunches (including for my daughter’s bagged school lunch) to use up some shaved ham from the freezer (bought on sale around holidays)…delicious! I also made a peach cobbler one night for dessert to use up some very ripe peaches in the fridge before they went to waste.

    *Cleaned up some sections of the gardens. I planted some garlic cloves as a tester crop (1st time trying it) and transplanted some lavender from a pot into an empty area of the garden. It was an heirloom variety, so I’m hoping it will take. If not, I have more seeds to try again. There is still more garden clean up to do, but we still have some things growing/ripening (peppers, carrots, tomatoes, dill and cat nip). Although trying a fall garden it tempting, our winters can come on quickly here (and garden clean up can be hard to do when it is really cold), so I’m holding off on trying this.

    *Apparently the historic walk production I’ve been performing in at my work has captured a big community interest. We performed to 27 people on Thursday (max was supposed to be 25 but we had 2 people come out “hoping” to get tickets) and I think another 25 people on Friday. I hear we are pretty much booked up completely for the last 2 shows this coming week. WOW!

    *Scored some awesome deals this week, grocery wise. I bought 4 bunches of broccoli for $0.97/bunch, and a 10lb bag of carrots for $1.97/10lb bag (there was also 10 lb bags of onions and beets for same price, for those who live in southern Ontario, good ’til this Thursday), which I plan to blanch and freeze some of this week, to ensure I don’t loose any to spoilage. We also received a flyer for the Bulk Barn with a coupon for $3 off a $10 purchase. I used the coupon to buy bulk pearl barley, bulk cheddar cheese powder (we use for cheese popcorn, but can be use to make homemade KD), bulk taco spice mix and bulk dill pickle popcorn seasoning, paying only $9.80 OOP! I also used some recycled glass jars I had saved, to store these bulk items in my pantry.

    *We did our bi-annual trip to take the flowers off my grandparents/great-grandparents grave stones for winter (we went down in spring to put them on). When we do this trip, we drive through a town (Campbellford, ON) which has a chocolate factory outlet store and a local cheese shop. It has become tradition for us to stop at both for some treats. My husband has recently switched his days off to include Sunday, so he came too. At the chocolate factory, we bought just under $48 worth of chocolate (various bars, chocolate covered almonds and raisins, chocolate peanut butter bears and caramel pecan clusters), which filled 2 shopping bags. My daughter decided to buy chocolate with her own money and spent about $20 on her own stash, which filled another shopping bag. This stash better last a while…and that goes for both my husband and daughter! We also bought some garlic cheese curd and some garlic roasted red pepper cheese curd from the cheese shop…sooo gooood!

    *The area where my grandparents are buried is also known for their apple orchards (Brighton, ON), so it is also tradition we stop at one of the roadside stands and pick up a bushel or two of “C” grade apples. This year we bought 1 bushel of MacIntosh apples (I still have a lot of apple sauce left over from last year), a basket of pears that I’m going to try canning this year (1st time), and a butternut squash which I’m going to bake and freeze to use later (possibly for soup or as a side dish). I never liked squash much until more recently, and my husband says he doesn’t like squash at all, so dividing it up into small quantities will be better for us. We often get pie pumpkins as well, but I have a bunch of cooked pumpkin puree left in the freezer from last year, so we skipped buying it this year.

    My plan for the next week or two is to start processing all this fresh produce we picked up this week. Some will be blanched and frozen for winter, some will be canned and some (the apples) will be made into unbaked pies, crisp and possibly other goodies (muffins, sweet loaves) for the freezer. Looks like I have a busy week or two ahead!

    I’m always looking forward to reading everyone’s comments. I just read a blog this week which had a comment that they re-purposed a greeting card by cutting it into a bookmark. Thought that idea was brilliant and immediately looked over at my birthday cards on display to discover one would be perfect for this. Never know when inspiration might hit! Have a wonderful week everyone.

  25. Mandy,
    When my girls were that age they loved to play dress up. I am sure you could find some cute things at your local thrift store. This is a great time right before Halloween when they have all their costumes out.

  26. Brandy, I was trying to find the post where you had mentioned some other youtube videos that you watched of life in earlier time periods or other countries. I had written them down to use with our homeschooling and misplaced the paper. Would you remind me what those were? Thanks.

  27. Your daughter’s shirt is absolutely adorable! That hike looks like fun, although, wow, so little water! We’re in rural Quebec, and the overflow from the spring house, even in fall, is enough that we have a small stream at the back of our property. Different climates!

    Last weekend, we went to a community garage sale. We got a set of toy tools for our 17-month-old daughter (she loves to “help” daddy build and fix things), an electricity-free yogurt maker (normally 40$ in stores; it basically just keeps the culture at the right temperature to turn into yogurt, and is easier than wrapping up pots in large towels without spilling everything – and we go through a LOT of yogurt), some pretty glassware, some red and green ribbon (for Christmas decorations), gorgeous brass fireplace tools, a doll cradle (great shape, horrible finish… but a bit of paint and some scraps from my sewing bag and it’ll be a lovely Christmas present for my girl), and a few other odds and ends… for the grand total of 11$.

    Also, I made bread, and I’ve started making fruit-y iced teas instead of juice (they taste close enough, are healthier, and are MUCH cheaper!)

    This week: I will make yogurt, and more bread, and bake beans, and hem curtains for the entire house instead of hiring it out (new house!), go to the discount shoe store and sort through “last season’s” style of VERY warm snow boots and outfit the family (at -20, it’s worth paying a bit more to have warm feet, but we still don’t need to pay full price), and I will sew owl-shaped heating rice bags for birthday presents for a few people I know will appreciate them.

    I also am meeting with someone tonight (from our local Facebook garage sale group) whose mother had a collection of owl figurines, some of which were brass. My younger sister has a Thing for brass animal figurines, and buying them new or online from “vintage resellers” is 15-30$/figurine. This lady is selling them for 2-3$/figurine, and an owl figurine and heating rice pack will make a lovely late-October birthday gift!

  28. I am so sorry – family is always important, though, and it was good of you to make time to help your SIL’s mother through this!

    With regards to the pears: my family loves pear pie, and we prepare the filling with a bit of extra cornstarch and freeze it in ziplock baggies, so we get fresh pear pie year-round. (Basic recipe: 4-5 cups of pears, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp almond essence, about 1/3 cup of cornstarch – more if the pears are really liquid, less if they’re not, and about 1/2 cup of sugar. My mom dusts slivered almonds into the filling, but I find that you can do away with those to be more cost-aware).

    And then in mid-winter, you thaw out the filling, pop it into a pie crust, and bake. Yum! (We also do this with blueberries, peaches, raspberries, and cherries if it’s a good cherry year).

  29. Erika, I just wanted to say that I have been reading through your entire blog for the last week, starting from your first post. I’m really enjoying it! I sincerely hope that your finances have a turn for the better soon. You’re are doing a great job with what you have to deal with, though. I know from experience that children with ASD are super tough to parent, and it can really do a number on you emotionally. Keep up the awesome work. I’m cheering for you!

  30. Your prices on the 10 pound bags of vegetables are really good. At what market? How close are you to Sarnia? (posting as a Michigander who might want to go for a nice long drive after checking the rules for importation of raw vegetables)

  31. Ivory looks adorable in that photo! This week my frugal accomplishments are:

    Harvested the last few clusters of elderberries & combined them with some in the freezer & some of the less desirable apples from our small harvest into apple/elderberry jelly. Picked the remaining apples on the Scarlet Spire columnar trees.

    Harvested enough green beans to eat for several dinners fresh & to bottle a few more pints.

    Harvested the squash. This year our harvest of squash was small; only 8 butternut & 2 Boston marrow squash. The highest yield we have ever had was 42 butternut squash. I think it was just too hot this year, with not enough rain.

    Continued to harvest both Early Girl & yellow pear tomatoes & to make tomato jam. We really like to spread it over stuffed peppers, meatloaf & hamburgers, before baking.

    Dug the onions & set them in a bowl to cure out of the sunlight.

    Continued to dehydrate the grapes I froze, so they would hold until the weather cooled off a little & so they would dehydrate more quickly. Thawed them over a metal colander in a metal canning bowl & bottled the juice. Some of the fresh grapes, I cut in half & placed on the trays cut side up, since I read that they would dry faster that way. I did not find that to be accurate; they drying times are about the same as the ones I freeze, then thaw before drying.

    Recycled the cans for my grandchildren.

    Finished the baby blanket for our new little granddaughter.

    We had 3 days in a row with rain, which meant I did not need to water at all for this week.

  32. Love the pictures, especially the desert waterfall. Glad you all enjoyed the hike.

    Last week was very busy, and I didn’t make a list like I usually do. I am enjoying my new job as a receptionist in a physical therapy clinic. I work three days a week, but it is a big adjustment to have less free time.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – On the days I went into the office, I walked to work and took my lunch. One day I didn’t feel well, so I was able to work from home (I had the office cell phone with me so I returned calls and scheduled patients and answered questions). The people in charge of the office are very flexible, so this was not a problem.
    – The Swish chard and green onions I have in a big planter on my patio are doing well. The critters haven’t found them, at least not yet.
    – I have a few things in my community garden plot for fall, but I am winterizing the rest of the plot area. I put down newspaper and covered it with compost, and plan to add a layer of leaves (I have only done about a quarter of the garden done so far). I have learned from past years that I tend not to visit the garden very often in the winter. And even though it’s only four miles away from where we live, it freezes there much sooner than it does at our condo. They also shut off the water from October to April.
    – I watched two episodes of a British tv series I online for free, and we also watched DVDs we own.
    – I cooked most meals from scratch and we ate from the freezer and pantry and our CSA vegetable share. I also picked a bunch of flowers at the farm when I went to pick up the veggies.
    – My mom gave me some squash flowers, basil and nectarines. She got the nectarines for a greatly reduced price because they were overripe. I chopped a bunch for the freezer.
    – My husband did not receive his license plate renewal form in the mail for some reason. I happened to remember that his plates need to be renewed before October. He said he wouldn’t have remembered at all until he was stopped for it (which would have probably meant a pricey ticket).
    – The weather has been mild, so we haven’t needed the fans, and I haven’t turned on the heat yet for the season.

    Hope everyone else had a good week. 🙂

  33. It’s been a very hectic couple of weeks at our house and I feel I haven’t accomplished half of what I’d hoped to do. Thankfully I generally kept to good habits and that helped me manage the craziness of our schedule.

    Here are a few things I managed to do:

    -I harvested the last of the cucumbers and celery and some tomatoes from the vegetable beds. We still have some usable produce ripening so I hope to harvest a bit more before I close down the vegetable beds for the winter.
    – I continued to save coffee grounds and banana peels for my raised beds.
    -We attended a picnic for my daughter’s cross country team. I was assigned to bring a pasta salad so I took the Chicken-Bacon-Cheddar-Ranch Pasta Salad that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. I was given a couple of packages of leftover buns to bring home.
    -Like many others, I have been busily evaluating and stocking my pantry. I took my list to the store thinking I couldn’t get as much as I wanted within my budget but was thankful to find items on dramatic markdown. I’m praising God for His provision.
    -I’ve continued my efforts to walk more often and to drink more water.
    -I found a gift that I needed to purchase on sale at 40% discount with free shipping. Christmas shopping is a year-round activity for me so I can spread out the cost, take advantage of sales, and avoid debt. I posted some suggestions at AChatOverCoffee.com.

  34. What a great deal on the canner and jars!

    Our electric company usually sends an email every week showing usage and cost for that amount. The first week always includes the basic usage charge; it’s not listed separately, but the amount for that week is higher and I can see that it is included by that.

  35. -Gratefully received food from my grandmother that she had been given but wouldn’t use.

    -Accepted pillows from my mom after she got new ones. They are in much better shape than the ones we had on the children’s beds.

    -I gave some magazines I was getting rid of to a friend and she sent me an unexpected check for $40. The next day, my mom asked us to join them for lunch out after church. We were able to use the money my friend sent me to pay for our meal, with only another $0.44 out of pocket. I probably should have just saved the money, but my children really did enjoy the meal out!

    -Was gifted an amazon gift card, chocolates, a scripture songs CD, and a little cash for my birthday from various people! I felt so blessed and loved! I’m putting all money I receive in an envelope to use for things I will need when my 7th baby is born in a few months.

    -Another friend just gave birth to her 7th baby (third daughter) and I started working on making a gift for her. I will take her a meal in a week or two, as well.

  36. Aw, thanks!

    Right now my husband is finally reaching the point of “broke burn out” and talking about taking a slope job (oil fields in Northern Alaska). While the money is good doing that, he’d be out of town probably 3 weeks at a time (3 weeks on, 3 weeks off), which makes me nervous on how Alvah is going to take it as the last time my husband worked out of town pretty much for an entire summer, Alvah regressed TERRIBLY, so we keep talking about it. I’m really hoping he can find another option for work, but I am glad he’s finally considering it seriously and is realizing hes’ got to get out from under his dad’s business.

    We’ll see how it goes :).

  37. I second the dress up things. My daughter still loves to dress up and she’s 8. I always pick up a few things at the used store this time of year out of their Halloween section for her. Also, if she’s a “girly girl” get her a used girly looking purse. I bought one a year for my daughter for like .50 to 1.00 for the kid’s purses and she loved them!

  38. I second on the encouragement Mari gave. I am sorry it didn’t have a better outcome.

    With the pears you could make pear sauce, pear honey (look up Paula Dean pear honey for that recipe) or pear butter. All three are yummy :).

  39. What a beautiful hike! Love the pictures. I am working hard to get back to my frugal ways.

    -picked up 2 packages of bacon for $1 each. While doing some grocery shopping the meat department guy stopped me and said we are putting out bacon for $1. There is nothing wrong with it. It was a brand they don’t carry that was shipped to them on accident and they can’t return it.
    -finished a quilt I had started a few months ago. Hadn’t touched it since I started working 2 months ago. It will be given as a wedding gift to my cousin next Spring. All materials were purchased on deep clearance.
    -didn’t go out to eat all weekend. We usually eat out at least once so this is great for us.
    -am constantly cleaning out, de cluttering, and organizing. Living in the RV means space is limited. I don’t know how we accumulate so much stuff. We rarely if ever shop.
    -refrained from going to two thrift stores over the weekend. Didn’t really need anything just love walking through. I know I would have bought something.

  40. Your daughter is so cute in her plaid shirt! It sounds like you had a great week with a lot of opportunities for your children.

    I made everything from scratch for the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Challah, blintz, applesauce, honey cake, apple cake, kugel, matzo ball soup, and blackberry jam for the blintz. I had almost everything I needed in my pantry and purchased a few things on a mystery shop that I needed plus apples and eggs I got in my CSA.

    I made applesauce with some apples and pears that needed to be used up.

    I completed a Pinecone survey.

    I only sold 1 thing last week – for $5 (not much but it’s something!). I started some auctions on ebay.

    I added points to my Kelloggs rewards account that they sent me in an email.

    Was able to take home lots of leftovers from work; some we ate, some we froze, and some I gifted to my father. We are concentrating on eating from the freezer so I have room to keep bringing home leftovers. I want to reserve our canned and shelf stable food items for emergency use.

    I combined errands. I went to CVS and got 36 rolls of TP for $17.94 OOP and got a $5 buck to spend next trip. I went to Kmart and got 2 bags of mulch using points and walked next door to Publix and got a free Greek yogurt with a digital coupon and 4 cans of seasoned mashed black beans for free combining sales and coupons. I bought 1 gallon of water for 79cents – I didn’t want to have a problem with the cashier if I paid nothing. I added the beans and water to my food storage. I ate the yogurt immediately 🙂 That’s the only shopping I did all week.

    I almost threw out some junk mail but decided to open it and found some return address labels, other stickers, and a note pad.

    I worked in the yard, chopped up a banana plant for compost, pulled a few weeds, moved some tomato volunteers, picked a fig and a plum tomato.

    Have a great frugal week everyone!

  41. I am so sorry to read about your husband’s sudden job loss. We went through that a few years ago. My husband was so hurt, and he went into a deep depression. He had been in the same job more than 30 years. He was without a job for 3 months. Funny thing happened though, a new company came in, a consulting team came in, and my husband got a call from the owner of the building. He was offered his old job back at a much better salary than before. He took it. My husband is an engineer.
    I know the panic of suddenly being without a income. We got NO severance package. Just his unpaid vacation days. We were lucky and had some savings etc. I had my small home child care business. But the depression my husband went into was very hard to both live with and watch. You will be in my prayers.

  42. This past week we were on vacation. Gone the first 3 days. Had fun with friends and loved looking at the mountains. We were in Wendover Na. It was cooler there than it is here for sure. Our whole trip for 2 of us, cost $219.00. We had a nice room too.

    Spent several days cleaning my daycare area. Took close look at toys and some were taken out because I like to rotate toys. Went on 1 thrift store shop. Found 4 new pictures for my daycare room and my bed room. Total cost for all. $4.00.

    We ate all meals at home except for our usual Friday night Bible study meal with friends. We always meet for a meal out before the study. This past Friday night we went to Red Lobster because of ‘all you can eat shrimp’ and we all had coupons. Out in the parking lot on the way to our car my husband was HIT by a moving car. He was hit in the side where he had his hip replacement. Thanks be to the Lord it was a slow moving car, he was not hurt too much. But it just makes me so mad when people just start backing up without looking where they are going. We were not in the wrong here. This car had been sitting still, letting several people out in front of the door. I guess he (the driver) saw a parking space that was behind him because without warning at all he just started backing up and several people had to run to get out of the way. My husband was the only person hit. I was still on the side walk talking to my friend and saw it happening. It made me get sick to my stomach right there on the side walk. It was just so darn scary.

    One small tip I wanted to put out there to the mothers of young children who like dress up. After Halloween go to the stores and get a couple of the costumes that are marked way down. Take out of the package with all the Halloween stuff on the package. Now you have a nice gift for Christmas or even as a gift for a birthday etc. Most children love dress up. I keep costumes in my ‘gift’ closet all the time. I almost never pay more than $2.00 for them after Halloween.

    We are still so hot here. Wednesday, the first day of fall, we are supposed to hit 100 again. I am waiting to plant my fall garden a little longer. I want to plant more lettuce. But it is still too hot here.

    The picture of Ivory is just beautiful. She looks so sweet in her shirt. Thank you for sharing.

  43. Presuming you wanted to lose the weight, congratulations! Not dining out will help with that as well because you can control what you put into the food, including the apple crisp.

  44. I totally agree with this. I gave dress up clothes to my niece when she turned 3 and her sister was 5 and they loved it, especially the accessories like elbow length white gloves, a couple lace mantillas, and sparkly fake gem jewelry. My own daughter had a lot of dress up clothes that she and friends used frequently for several years. I have a picture of her wearing a child’s wedding dress and a baseball cap on backwards. She recently posted it for Throwback Thursday with a caption that she planned to dress like this when she gets married (a long time from now). About 10 people replied that they better be invited because they are attending just to see the outfit!

  45. Brandy,
    Thank you for mentioning the need for good wool blankets. I went garage saling this weekend and found a brand new 100 percent wool throw for $5.00. I purchased it for my nephew for Christmas who is attending college in Idaho. I hope it helps keep him warm and snug this winter. My grandson has recently out-grown his shoes and I feel fortunate to be in a position to help them out by purchasing a pair of boots for winter use and a pair of every day shoes for him. I made a huge pot of stew yesterday that fed my husband and me for dinner and tonight it will feed us and our daughter and her family and our son. Mondays are chaos at our home. My daughter uses our home to give piano lessons to several students. While she is busy teaching, I keep her 2 yr old son busy. My husband is a volunteer fireman so as soon as he gets home from work he is off to his fireman training/meeting. This all makes for a crazy evening but I am so grateful my daughter is willing to share her love of piano with several children in the community.

  46. Vickie, my energy report is online and I can just log on and check it whenever I want. It doesn’t include the meter cost, but I can check both my electric and natural gas use by a given period – daily (1-2 days later and broken down by hours with the ability to look at either usage or cost), weekly, monthly, billing cycle, or yearly. Once bills are generated, I can also compare my use to my “neighbors” (not sure exactly who they mean; might be neighborhood, community, county but I don’t really care) and I can see that these people are using a lot more than I am.

    I was not in favor of smart meters, but I haven’t had any adverse health effects and I must say that the ability to track my energy use is wonderful.

  47. Worked four days last week which surprised me. I work on-call for the school district as a crossing guard. I didn’t expect any shifts this soon but was very happy to work. I am going to my high school reunion this week and now have my trip entirely paid for. I’m staying with a cousin who offered me the use of their car. I used miles for my airfare and only had to pay the taxes out of pocket.

    I put off getting my hair cut to 14 weeks and was so glad I did. I received a $5 off coupon in the mail for the hair salon I go to. So glad I waited.

    It’s getting cool here but so far I have not had to turn the heat on. I’ve bundled up instead and worn my wool socks. I’m hoping to keep the heat off at least until next week.

    I still have some squash to process for the freezer. I also still have to finish cleaning my community garden plot and also plant my garlic. Then my garden will be done for the year. One of the benefits of the garden was trading produce I grew for some canned jellies a friend put up.

    Continued to eat all meals at home except one. Spent $2 at Wendy’s for lunch with a group of friends. I bought their cup of chili which comes with crackers and ordered a ‘senior’s’ soda pop which is free. Quite the deal really and fun to have lunch out with friends. Watched the sale flyers and stocked up on some items I needed. Some things I do without unless I can find them on sale.

  48. Becky,

    So sorry to hear about your husband’s job loss. My prayers are with you.

    Your skills in running a frugal household have been a blessing to you in the past. I know they will continue to be that for you.

  49. I am so sorry about your husband’s job loss. Your family is so kind to help you pay for things right now.

    I would make a list of things that you can cut, including food, utilities (use less, cut services, etc.), all eating out, any clothing purchases, etc. and start cutting as soon as possible. It takes time to find a new job, and the more you can cut now, the longer your savings will last you to pay your mortgage, electricity, water, sewer, etc. for however long it takes until you have a regular income again.

  50. You ladies really are funny, I have lived near an IKEA for a few years now and still have not found a reason to go. I feel like the only person in my area that has NOT been since they opened.

  51. My frugal accomplishments last week weren’t as many as I had hoped, but it was a good week nevertheless.

    I trimmed my bangs. I thinking of growing my hair out for a few months, and the trimmed bangs helped me feel my hair still had some shape.

    I went on two hikes (free!) Carpooled for the first one and drove on the second one with a friend. while I spent money on gas, the autumn leaves were beautiful and soul-satisfying. Autumn leaves don’t last long enough to not take some opportunities. I also took the long way home (an extra fifteen minutes) and drove through a mountain pass that is only open during the summer. Packed snacks and water. I gave my hiking girlfriend some green tomatoes because she wanted to try fried green tomatoes–and couldn’t find any at the store : ).

    Cooked, using up leftovers. Frittatas are a wonderful way to use vegetables that are on the edge.

    Picked tomatoes, peppers, beans, cukes, and cauliflower from the garden. Intended to can brushetta topping, but I ended up crushing the tomatoes rather than chopping them. The topping wouldn’t be very good without some texture. So instead I turned it into four pints of crushed tomatoes, saved the seasoning sauce, and will try brushectta again later this week when another batch of tomatoes are ripe.

    I took an annual health screening at work. My health numbers are better than last year! Taking the screening and passing means $100 in my HSA.

    Looks like I got an approval to have the interest rate on a home equity line taken down .75. I was concerned that interest rates were going to go up last week, so acted to get this done. It will cost $50 to make the change, but the interest savings will soon recover the cost of the expense.

    My husband and I are also taking a free eight-week financial literary class. I couldn’t attend the first week because of work, but last week’s class was really interesting and I’m looking for more ways to better use what we have.

    I also started using coconut oil as a night time moisturizer. A little goes a long way and my skin hasn’t been irritated by it. I just make sure to apply it 15 minutes or so before I go to bed so that it is absorbed and not greasy.

    We also had rain and haven’t used any AC recently or needed to turn on the heat.

    Have a wonderful week!

  52. My daughter needed some school volunteer hours, so I come along to help out. We had to wash large industrial size pots and pans. She earned 4 hours and then they sent us home with leftover chicken, baked beans, and 2 types of salad. We had it for lunch the next day. Finished one comforter for my daughters room, one left to go. Used old sheets found at the second hand stores in colors of blue, yellow and white.For curtains, bedding,pillow shams, etc, paid $60.00. Now just putting it all together. Nice winter project. Finally found some powdered milk. $26.00 a bag, but each bag makes 54 liters. Used some concord grapes to make 10 jars of grape jelly. It was so good.

  53. I so look forward to this post each week…That baby girl is growing up! She looks so sweet and a little mischevious somehow, lol. I had a boy like Elsa. We’d gone to North Caroline riding in the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped at a rest area. I thought his dad had his eye on him…Apparently not. Someone shouted and there was Sam on the side of a mountain about 200 ft above us all. He came down as soon as he realized how upset I was, lol.
    I worked hard yesterday and am paying the price today. I got a lot done, getting a good hard start on painting the front porch, some fall cleaning in the master bedroom and a few other items on my list. No such luck today.
    Here’s what I did to save last week:

  54. Thanks for the kind words! My sweet hubby said that even if it meant that we threw away $20 worth of fresh pears that the time spent away from home was worth much more! I just came home an hour ago with a peck of fresh bell peppers that I will wash, chop into big chunks and freeze!

    I think I will try the pear sauce (I have a strainer attachment for my Kitchenaid) and Google the pear honey! Thanks so much for the ideas! You posters are the best and I really appreciate it!!

  55. Thanks for the kind words! My sweet hubby said that even if it meant that we threw away $20 worth of fresh pears that the time spent away from home was worth much more! I just came home an hour ago with a peck of fresh bell peppers that I will wash, chop into big chunks and freeze!

    I think I will try the pear sauce (I have a strainer attachment for my Kitchenaid) and Google the pear honey! Thanks so much for the ideas! You posters are the best and I really appreciate it!!

  56. *I finally got a trip into the beach this year! My daughter and I always take a day trip the week after Labor Day since the beach is “free” at this time of year. We leave early in the morning and put our tea into our travel mugs and pack peanut butter sandwiches and fruit. She usually drives so it is the cost of gas for her and then I “treat” for dinner on the way home. We go to the same place each year, the food is very good and reasonable. So the total for each of us is maybe $15. The time we spend together is “priceless”

    *My future son-in-law treated my daughter and I to dinner one night this week…it’s his “thank you” for dinners he eats at our house and he does his laundry at my home. Daughter signed up for “emails” from this establishment and in return they send you a $10 off coupon and on your birthday there is also some kind of discount.

    *Learning to shop better at CVS with the rewards card. This week I was able to save 25% off my purchase and had a $2 coupon off of hair dye. If you bought 2 they gave you an ECB of $4. With that $4 and another $1 coupon off of deodorant I was able to buy a double pack of Secret for $1.29 out of pocket!

    *Paid off another debt!

    *Cut my sons hair….saving for him not me but I was happy to do it for him. He helps me out with my landscaping.

    *Started some Christmas shopping since I had a 30% off coupon and the items I wanted to purchase were also on sale. Hoping to do all Christmas shopping in cash this year.

    *Temperatures are getting cooler…I notice the A/C is not going on as often. Hoping by the end of this week I will be able to shut it off for the season.

    That’s it for last week….

  57. Mandy, when my daughter was younger, I made her Kool-aid Play Dough. The kool-aid both colours it and makes it sented! Here’s a link to the recipe:

    Also, for my daughter’s 5th birthday party, we had all the children make caramel apples. They LOVED it and they were very easy to make. Although it sounds like you are not having a birthday party, it might be a fun activity in addition to taking her to the apple orchard.

  58. Forgot two things:
    – I harvested calendula flowers from the garden, and put the petals in a jar and covered with oil. I will let this sit for a few weeks to infuse. Once strained, the oil will be combined with other ingredients to make hand cream.
    – Being in my late 40s, I suffer from hot flashes, and I use various things to treat this. Last year, I went to a an acupuncturist/herbalist who mixed up a special blend of Chinese herbs for me, which was very effective. I had been buying the mixture from her, but when she moved out of town, she transferred my prescription to a local acupuncture college that has an herbal dispensary. So I ordered this mixture of herbs from the dispensary, and had them shipped to my house. What I was charged was more than twice the amount that they quoted me on the phone. Needless to say, I was not happy. I called them and it was indeed a mistake, and they told me they would refund me what they owed me. I just spent two months fighting with my credit card company over a different refund gone wrong….I hope that doesn’t happen this time.

  59. Becky, so sorry to hear this. What a blow to your husband and all of you. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  60. Gardenpat,

    I second the pear sauce but want to add making pear butter. Just like apple butter, but with the pear puree. It’s absolutely delicious and very easy to make and can. My recipe is from an old Mennonite Cookbook: 2 qt. pear pulp and 1 lb. sugar (btw 2-3 cups) I usually triple+ this recipe in a large roasting pan with sides and cook in the oven all day long. You can add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, etc. Cook until thickened consistency. Makes wonderful Christmas gifts too!

  61. 5 meals to eat one cuke? WOW! I’ve heard of zucchini getting that large, but not cukes. It’s really amazing.

    I continue to shop the sales and use coupons. Since the egg shortage started and prices have doubled, I’ve been looking for them on the reduced rack. A lot of the time this passes off and I found 4 dozen cage, free organic for only $0.99 each! In addition to the eggs, I got free kalamata olives, free light bulbs, and so much more. All of my transactions with pics here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-91915/

  62. Mari in MD- Oh yes I wanted to lose the weight! Thank you! We have found that we make better food than restaurants anyway and knowing what is going in our food is always a bonus.

  63. I was able to get 10 pounds of carrots on sale for $2.49. I blanched and froze some and dehydrated some along with celery and cauliflower I was able to get on sale. I add cauliflower to our mashed potatoes to increase the vitamins. I will use the saved veggies throughout the winter. I am debating on buying more carrots while they are now on sale. I am really trying to get enough in the fall while prices are extremely low and not spend so much throughout the winter.

    I was able to pick peas, beans and strawberries form the garden. I also used a free movie code to watch a movie.

    I also looked to buy new sneakers, but did not find any worth buying. Mine have several holes in them, but they still get me back and forth. Hopefully, I can find a good deal soon!

  64. Shannon, I’m in your camp. I’ve been to Ikea twice and i do believe that is enough for me! I’m more of a non consumer, (Hi, Katy!). My son lives near an Ikea. Before he bought his first home, you couldn’t beg him to shop anywhere, let alone an Ikea! He’s a convert, now, poor kid! I just don’t get it!

  65. 1. Swedish meatballs in the restaurant.
    2. Even if you don’t buy a thing, you will get ideas for decorating and storage.
    3. They have some nice non-furniture items, too. My daughter her boyfriend, and I all have the same $10 non-skid bathroom rug, which is still soft on your feet if you line dry it.
    4. Supervised play area for kids – my daughter cried when she got to be to tall to go in there. Truth be told, I wanted to cry, too.

    I could go on and tell you about beds with built-in storage, cute toys for kids, etc,,but you get the idea. You might surprise yourself and enjoy it.

  66. We have been very hard hit financially this past two years, all due to my getting a catastrophic illness that resulted in 8 surgeries in ne year–after a lot of tests(and money) to discover what he problem was. Although w have insurance, that does not cover everything, especially the costs of travelling from Alaska to Washington for medical care (none of my husband’s travel, hotel or food were covered, even though I could not have made the trips without him. I was not able to carry anything and after the first surgery I was in a wheelchair that I was too weak to push). Deductibles for medications and treatment for two years devastated our retirement account; I was very fortunate that we already had our mortgage and car paid off and children grown. I do not know how we would have made it otherwise… I am profoundly thankful I lived through the ordeal (especially when heard one doctor talking to my husband about hospice care)and I thank God every day for a husband who nursed me without complaint and when I would ask him how e could stand it would say, “Well, this is the for worse part of the for better or worse they talked about when we got married. I have faith things will get better.” But even as I am thankful, it is depressing to think how much we have lost financially and how frugally we need to live now.

    Two friends planted my huge garden for me, but by harvest time I was well enough to preserve things. I kept track of all we spent putting in the garden (not counting the free labor from my friends!) and every single thing we harvested and when my husband went to the grocery store and wrote down the prices we would have paid to buy the items, our garden saved us over 1700 dollars!!

    I spent only $20 so far this month on food, by eating out of freezer and cupboard and trading produce for 50 pounds of moose meat and 20 pounds of salmon from a hunting/fishing friend who needed to clear out his freezer for this September’s moose hunting trip. As it turned out, this was providential—last week our grocery store was selling Bumble Bee tuna for 50 cents a can, with no limit, and Ragu spaghetti sauce or 75 cents a jar, no limit. And butter was 2 dollars a pound. I was able to use my normal grocery budget to buy 4 cases of tuna and 25 jars of Ragu. And I had some coupons for the same butter that was on sale, and found some more on the internet, so I got 18 pounds of butter(remembering that holiday cooking is coming up an this year I will be well enough to go to my usual cookie party) for $1.50 each. The tuna will be especially useful as we like it in sandwiches, chowder, tuna patties and in mac and cheese. I am so lucky we could take advantage of these unbelievable (for Alaska) prices!

    Other than that, I am just getting back to other money saving behaviors. When you are ill, I am afraid it is sometimes too hard to make do or repurpose or even save on heat and water. When I was ill, we kept the house at 75 degrees because even during the times between surgeries hen I sometimes felt better I was always cold. And when I was in pain a long hot shower was all that helped and I didn’t bother to save the cold water that came out of the tap first.

    I do appreciate this blog. Sometimes I was too ill to read (never appreciated TV and the Turner Classic Movie channel more!) but when I was less ill it gave me some moments of peace to read about people who were carrying on even in difficult circumstances.
    THanks to all of you.

  67. Hi Becky
    I’m so sorry you and yours are going through this challenging time. You will all be in my thoughts and I pray that in the end this will strengthen your family and the love that binds you.

    Susan in So. Cal.

  68. The Armenian cucumbers get huge like giant zucchinis without getting bitter. In fact, they’re technically a melon, so if you let them go too long and they turn yellow-orange, you now have a melon that tastes similar to honeydew. I love these! Years ago a landscaper gave me some 10-year-old seeds to plant, and they grew! They’re the only ones that work well for me in this heat without turning bitter. They can be grown in cooler climates, too–one of my readers in Germany grows them.

  69. On Saturday, I decided to go through a stack of old mail that had been sitting in a box for a couple of months-credit card offers, bank statements, insurance EOBs-and in not one, but two of the envelopes that I thought were just EOBs (explanation of benefits)-were reimbursement checks for insurance payment overages totaling over $400! I was surprised as we weren’t expecting them and didn’t realize those checks were tucked inside those EOBs. Good thing I opened them and looked through the entire envelope because they had been sitting there for over a month!

  70. Your hike to Mary Jane Falls looked beautiful.
    Mabel, I hope you continue to recover.
    This was my week:
    A busy, busy time at work. This happens every year and I swear that next year I will be better prepared with a few crockpot meals ready to go.
    Thursday was spent in my sewing room. I finished the dresser scarves, which meant I had to dust, declutter, and vacuum the bedroom before I could use them. A few more quilt patches were made and I whipped up a couple of lingerie bags from the remnants of a lace curtain.
    Friday I made a curried lentil soup in the crockpot to use up various leftovers. It was very tasty, filling, warming, and cheap. What else could you want in a soup? A trip to the thrift store to drop off some donations lead to the purchase of a new (to me) tablecloth for the rare times we entertain, a lid for one of my Pyrex dishes to replace the one that went missing, and a movie to watch later. Not bad for $6.00. Over the weekend, I cut the man’s hair and saved another $15.00 or so.

  71. Thank you, everyone, for your kind words and encouragement. Right now, I’m not thinking clearly. I’m sure after a few days, my mind will clear up.

    I was having basically the same conversation with my daughter on the way home from work today about things you mentioned–she was quite encouraging, actually. I guess she WAS listening all these years as I spouted my frugal ideas. My husband is still paid this week, then our vacation days, then whatever severance package we get will be told to us on Thursday. After that, we can even better figure out what our options are. Also, the amount of unemployment is an unknown, hopefully we qualify, and can figure out how to get it pretty soon. We think we have to be done with our vacation pay before we can have it–not sure.

    We already have been cutting expenses right and left. One think I plan to do is to empty one of the upright freezers in the garage right away to save electricity. We have several and they are not all full. Also, we are not going to buy the 1/2 beef we planned on, giving us several hundred dollars we have set aside (and more consolidation in the freezers). I plan to go get some more 2-go cups for coffee, etc., but until I can, we dug out one of those silver insulated cups printed with “Les Schaub” and will use those for a while. My husband is going to finish up the chickens and turkeys he started in the barn, get rid of extra ducks, and we gave away several of our laying hens to save on food costs. We still have plenty of eggs to eat, we just had more chickens than we really needed. I have 2 -$2/off at Fred Meyers. I plan to add them to some cash and buy milk for 99Cents–1/2 gallon, $1 sour cream, cottage cheese, and cream cheese, and a couple of other things.

    The brakes are going out on our car–noticed them scraping this week. A friend has offered to fix them for free–he is a mechanic. Another friend has offered to repair our furnace–it has a big problem. Some others came over on Saturday to stack wood and scrape the moss off of our roof.

    I had pre-warned most of my piano students’ parents ahead of time so this wouldn’t affect lessons. I give them in the church. I will most likely be looking for another location, because it’s so emotional to be there right now, although they said I could stay for a while. It’s probably not best to push that issue for too long. But, anyway, the first one brought me tea and M and M’s (chocolate), another one brought a lovely friendship apron with a bluebird for happiness, and a tea cup for a cup of friendship tea. So many offered love and encouragement. Several people stopped by and talked to me about it, since word is not out–a letter was sent out and people received it today. I’m exhausted, but feel very loved. As emotional as this is, the fact that our phone doesn’t stop ringing/pinging from texts, is so much better than no one caring. In between lessons, I helped my husband pack his office up. He will finish tomorrow. I will re=group tomorrow here at home. I haven’t felt like doing much–it’s a mess–time to clean up. Both of my sisters came to see me today. My mom and aunt are coming tomorrow.

    Hopefully, I can get myself pulled together more and more each day to do what I need to do. I realize I can do more, but it’s like I’m walking in a daze.

    My husband had dinner on the table for me when I returned from work today. He had rallied the troops (kids) and made a nice noodle casserole for dinner with green beans (home-canned). He had set the table with a tablecloth, flowers, china, etc. It touched me that he was being so nice to me when he was hurting, too.

  72. I second this plan 🙂 Several years ago, with no warning, our income was cut to 40% of usual. We were advised to try to keep everything as “normal” as possible for the kids, even to use our credit cards for a few months if necessary because everyone was sure things would turn around for us quickly. Instead we took the opposite tack and made a list of all our expenses that could be reduced or cut and we were ruthless. Cable TV? Gone. Cell phone? All but one gone. Clothing purchases? No way. Grocery spending? A little as possible. We were baling water out of the bathtub like we were living in a 3rd world country before the drought hit California. We called it the slash & burn budget. Things didn’t turn around quickly. We lived as tight as possible for almost three years, but we came out of it having never missed a mortgage payment and with no credit card debt. We would have been in deep trouble had we not taken immediate action.

    I know you will find ways to creatively save money. You have a great resource in this frugal community.

  73. Hi the Jewishlady from Australia, and sorry to hear of your egg shortage there in the States :(.

    Wow what a wonderful price for eggs per dozen and organic as well what a bonus. Free range eggs here in Australia are ranging from $4.39 for 60g ones through to $4.99 a dozen for 70g ones from Aldi and i you pay $7.99 for a box of 10 organic ones, ouch, from the supermarkets.

    I am blessed to have friends who have free range chickens, and who can’t grow a lot of vegetables due to frosts and rocky terrain on their properties. I trade the vegetables I grow here in our lovely rich soil for eggs when we need them, but on the rare occasion I do buy them also. In the pantry I also keep egg powder and mostly use those in all of my baking if fresh ones are not available.

  74. Greetings!
    What a great picture of your daughter!
    I haven’t been nearly as frugal as i could be. Dr. appointments, gas to get there, co-pays; maybe next week.
    I did get a great deal on corn from the farmers market. A large bucket of cast-offs was 5.00 so i grabbed one. I managed to freeze seven bags of kernels, two cups each, for Winter. Since i didn’t have a garden this year, this is a great help!
    I’ve sold a few things on ebay; all monies go into my travel fund. Our daughter gets married in March, so most, if not all, of it will be used for that.
    Hung clothes on the line. I’ve been lax about this, what with work and appointments. I love line-dried clothes and saving on the electric bill!
    On another note, i have to laugh when anyone mentions not using the AC. Here, in the U.P: some of us still had heat on in June. Our nights are getting into the high 40’s, early 50’s. We had one night in the 30’s about two weeks ago. I’m determined not to turn the heat on until late Oct. Thankfully, my husband insulated this house very well. We laugh that i can bake dinner and heat the house at the same time! (600 sq. ft. home.)
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead!

  75. Thank you for the Birthday wishes and the ideas! I will definitely try to find her some dress up clothes. The kool aid playdough sounds fun, we’ll try it! I am not sure about a party. We don’t have any other kids in the family that we see regularly, she’s it poor kid. I can’t afford to have all of her preschool class come to a party now. We are talking about that.

  76. Hi Mable and what a great trade your produce for that amount of mouse meat and salmon and a tremendous saving on tins of tuna.

    Your husband sounds so lovely and caring, and it reminds me of a time soon after my husband and I were married. I worked in a butcher store and had torn the Roto cuff in my shoulder and was in a huge amount of pain for weeks due to something falling on me and me trying to catch it to save my foot. I could not wash my own hair or put one of my hands or arms over my head for around 6 weeks, so my husband had to not only wash my hair but also brush it and put it in a bun for me every morning to go to work. He said something similar to your husband, that I took such good care of him with his injuries over the years that it was about time that he could pay me back in kind. Still I felt guilty, as well as in a huge amount of pain, and sometimes got quite frustrated & depressed that I couldn’t do things the way I usually do them.

    That is what marriage is meant to be, for better or for worse, and the worse sometimes brings out the best in us all towards our spouse’s.

  77. I understand the non-consumerism, but if I’m going to buy something, I want quality at a good price. Ikea sell the BEST cheese grater that I’ve ever used! In fact, most of their products are designed to be very sturdy and functional, which is why I love shopping there. My most recent purchase was their rain poncho for my daughter to use at camp because it was made of waterproof fabric, not plastic which tears easily.

    Years ago (12 actually) I bought my daughter’s crib from Ikea because the crib was low to the ground. Many babies learn to climb out of the crib as they get older and I felt that a crib lower to the ground was a better idea than one higher up. The bed also converted to a toddler bed, which extended its use (at the time I bought it, most of the other cribs did not do this). I also bought the matching dresser/change table, which was designed that the baby lay in front of you, with feet facing you (can’t stand to change a diaper with the child laying sideways!). The change table could be flipped to a shelf once I didn’t need the change table. I loved that change table! My point is, they have put a lot of thought into their designs, which is why their products are worth considering.

  78. Mandy, happy birthday to you and your daughter. If you want to do some kind of party for your daughter and think your weather will hold out, you could do something at a local playground, if one is available. One of the best and definitely the cheapest parties my daughter had was when she turned 4. The local playground has oicnic tables and we took over a couple of them, which did not need to be reserved in advance and did not have a fee. No organized games were needed because they had slides, swings, monkey bars, jungle gyms, and a lot of land for running available. I served lunch, but if you do it from 2 to 4 p.m., you could serve just cake and ice cream. The parents enjoyed just sitting and talking and while keeping an eye on the kids. Just a thought, but with the financial changes at work, I think it’s understandable if you don’t do anything.

  79. I completely understand not getting into birthday parties, so you shouldn’t feel obligated to do one. The caramel apple idea was just a suggestion of something fun to do that was a bit more “special” for her birthday. We looked up how to make them on the internet and bought the caramels from the dollar store. It’s not expensive to do, but was a huge hit with all the kids. You can dip the bottom of the caramel dipped apple in something as well. We had 3 options, chopped up Oreo cookies, Rice Krispies and I think mini chocolate chips (chopped nuts are also an option but I avoided nut for the birthday party, just in case of allergies). Just use whatever you have available in your pantry.

  80. That’s true and you would think that with all the western TV shows and movies that I’ve watched that I would know that!

  81. Becky, I’m so sorry to hear about this. It’s bad enough losing the job, but then losing your church family? That must really hurt. You might not be able to collect on the unemployment until the vacation days run out – I really don’t know – but don’t wait to find out and file the paperwork as soon as you can. Get that ball rolling.

    I think it’s lovely the amount of support being shown to you and your family. Maybe, just maybe, they did your husband a favor and he will find a job that truly suits his talents. They could still have given you a warning and all, but when God closes a door, he opens a window. Here’s hoping and ptraying that your husband finds that window soon.

  82. Mable, I am so sorry for all you have had to go through. Thank God for great husbands! We are going through really hard times as well but nothing so catastrophic. I pray for your continued healing. Great job for the savings you were still able to accomplish.

  83. Beautiful photos!

    * picked the rest of the garden tomatoes…. getting too cold
    * picked the rest of the basil and dried
    * stock up on butter ($1.69/#) and cheese (2# for $4.99).. can’t remember the last time I saw butter for that price!
    * made pumpkin bread and cherry crisp (cherries from freezer)
    * won 2 free movies tickets 🙂
    * picked up a free yogurt with store e-coupon

  84. Our daughter will be 4 in October. We visit a local (FREE!!) orchard on the weekend closest to her birthday each year. They have lots of little special things going on. She thinks it’s all for her birthday and we let her! 🙂 It’s nicer, bigger than any party we would ever throw!

  85. Brandy, did you grow up in a hot climate? I am in awe that 87 degrees is cool. I know it’s all relative. Do you get accustomed to intense heat so you adjust?

    I started a four month temporary work assignment this past week. While it’s not ideal and I still have my close to $700 health insurance premiums to pay each month, I am so grateful for the income and work. I will be working from home, so no wardrobe, travel, gas, car maintenance or putting on my war paint every day.

    It’s my birthday (today) so my family wanted to take me out to eat on Sunday. I chose a modest but delicious breakfast place so we at well but at a very good price. We then went to a local art gallery I hadn’t heard of before. It’s a sort of museum for a late local sculpture who created works for a number of prominent buildings in the area. His work is beautiful. The museum also had an installation of paintings by members of the local art league, some of which were stunning. It just happened that one of the painters and her portrait subject were in the building, so it was a nice moment to talk to both of them.

    The weather has been lovely here. Low humidity and highs in the mid 70s. My dog and I have been happy to spend lots of time outdoors.

    Here are a few frugal accomplishments from last week:
    [*] Kept meals very simple, using ingredients from my pantry and freezer supplemented by a bit of fresh produce, dairy and eggs.
    [*] We had a big storm last week so my garden is happily watered. The wind blew down some good sized branches from my honey locust tree, damaging a section of fence. I sawed and tied the branches myself (by hand) and did some temporary repairs to the fence. I will wait for a good deal on the wood I need to replace the section.
    [*] Resisted the temptation to turn on the heat on two really chilly mornings. Put on sweaters instead
    [*] The job market in Illinois is really challenging. Since I am now in my early 50s, the challenge gets magnified. I have been doing some soul searching, knowing that as a single person supporting an aging parent, I will need to work for a long time still. I have always wanted to be a teacher, and through some interesting intertwined events, I was contacted by an organization that recruits either young people who are just starting their careers or seasoned professionals on the other end to teach in underserved schools for two years. I will get specifics on how it works in a few weeks.
    [*] It’s been great weather for hanging out laundry. One load got an extra rinse when a storm came on suddenly. I did manage to get my clothing inside before it all blew away. It’s been a long time since I “played in the rain” and I have to say it was kind of fun

    Have a beautiful week ladies.

  86. That’s all good advice. Trust me, no one in my family is advocating piling on debt! We do have some, but that’s being paid down, and will continue going down–probably slower than before–not up. Family members are offering to pay for some activities, etc. for the children so they don’t feel like they lost their church and everything else at the same time. Reality is that these extra dance classes, etc. will be gone in time–hopefully just not right away (says the relatives).

    I got a little more rest. Today, I’m going to clean up the house, and go take stock of the garden–lots of produce ripe–just didn’t even look at it since Thursday when we found out this bad news–make some good, healthy food, visit with family some more, and start counting my blessings. It’s a choice that I’m going to choose one day at a time.

    Thanks for all the support, ladies. I’m sure I’ll end up using almost every idea that comes up in one way or another. As my wise sister said–it is good that we know how to live frugally anyway–it won;t take as much to keep us going as it would if we had a more “spending based” lifestyle.

  87. Maggie,

    Compared to the week before with temperatures of 107º, 87º is definitely cool! My children thought that being in the shade in the 70s up on the mountain was cold! I explained that it was beautiful out and not cold at all!

    This week we’re supposed to see 103º again.

    I did grow up in Southern California, but it is even hotter here, and I’ve been here for 15 years. You do get used to your climate, which is why people in New York can tell you it’s warm when it’s 40º out 🙂 It’s definitely all relative!

  88. As a now retired HR Director who implemented downsizing programs (ugh) and who has been RIFd twice here is some advice. As soon as feasible go to the Workforce Center in your area. They can be very helpful in 1. identifying job opportunities; 2. working with your husband on a resume and job search and 3. have access to other resources in the community. Go to your state’s .gov website and look for the info on Unemployment Insurance. Start the process now – don’t wait until near to when you think a severance, etc. is running out.

    It is possible that they will offer a severance in exchange for signing a release. If your husband is over 40 they would be unwise to not do so. The truth is that fighting a layoff/termination is really hard to do. The one thing they would be VERY unwise to do is fight your UI application.

    The resources Workforce may have are places to get food at a discount (like Bountiful Baskets or other local resources), sources of possible support for your children’s activities, etc. It might be prudent to see if you could barter or somehow work with the dance instructor for lessons.

    You might want to reach out to see if there is someplace else to hold your piano lessons in exchange/barter for your talent!

    If your husband does become depressed due to the situation the Workforce Ctr. may have resources – groups that work together to find jobs and support each other during the process, etc. It is such a blow to the ego and the spirit and given that this was your home church even more difficult to go through. Since he has an aptitude for counseling he may qualify for some training dollars if he doesn’t already have a degree or needs more training/education. This may send him in a whole new direction!

    Thinking of you and your family. It doesn’t make it easier to know others have gone through or are going through this situation but it does help in realizing that you aren’t alone and there is such a deep community of support.

  89. We had our boys birthday parties this weekend ( they are one day apart). They turned 8 & 10. We celebrated with friends and family by meeting up at a local park at 2 on Sunday. We provided a case of iced down bottles of water, a case of hug drinks (bought at Sams), and a tray of cookies. Folks brought lawn chairs and all the kiddos just played.. Baseball, volleyball, tag, etc.. Low stress, low budget and it was exactly what my boys wanted.. Just to play. But Mandy, I have also provided snacks, not cupcakes to their classrooms…kids LOVE ring pops..ok I like the watermelon ones also 😉

  90. For the quilt, I’ve found freezer paper to be awesome because you can iron the shiny side to the backside of your fabric. That way, nothing moves as you baste the hexagons and sew them together, and once you’re ready to remove the paper, it peels right off and leaves no reside on your fabric! It costs more than junk mail, but has definitely been a breakthrough for my grandmother’s flower garden quilt. I go the extra step and punch a hole in the middle of my template for even easier removal.

    For the pears, pear caramel sauce! It is in one of my cookbooks, but the recipe is identical to this one here (same author): http://www.simplebites.net/strawberry-caramel-sauce/
    Replace the pound of strawberries with 1.5 cups of cooked pear puree. When I found pears on sale last year, I bought a ton and turned them into pear sauce (plain, nothing added) and froze it. A few times now, I’ve thawed out the correct amount needed for the pear caramel recipe and made that with my frozen puree. It won’t make a big dent in your bushel of pears, and only makes 2 half-pint jars of caramel, but it is decadent and frugal (pears, water, sugar… that’s it!).

  91. :D. I’d never really been interested until some friends told me how much I’d love it. I spent some time living in the Netherlands, where there is a lot of the same household fashion influences. I feel quite nostalgic when I do get the chance to go! 😉

  92. Holly, I live in Peterborough, ON, which is a little ways from Sarnia. However, the sale is at No Frills, which are located all over Ontario. Since it was an advertised sale, I would assume it is available in Sarnia as well, but you can confirm by checking out the flyer for that area on-line. The sale goes until Thursday, with the new flyer starting on Friday. Hope this helps!

  93. So this is a compendium of several weeks. We just opened up our fall business (corn maze and pumpkin patch) and things get pretty crazy around here in Sept and October.

    Found two boxes of ‘not perfect tomatoes’ at our local farm stand for $5.00 a box! Normally around $25 a box. My tomatoes did nothing this year – I think I had five off of 12 plants! It was a weird wet then hot, then wet spring/summer and they didn’t even start blooming until a few weeks ago. I made 42 pints and 6 quarts of salsa with them. SO loves salsa and this way I can make low sodium salsa for pennies. I have a good stock of canned tomatoes so I should be okay through fall/winter.

    Found amazing pasta sales – set for the year! Two pounds of pasta for $1.50 at Big Lots, 12 packages of one pound pasta for .75 a package – coupons and sales, canned veggies for .50 a can (we don’t eat a lot of canned veggies but we do like green beans cooked until over done w/a small amount of bacon so I get canned beans for that), canned albacore tuna for .49 – limit four (I like that for casseroles – use the less expensive tuna for tuna salad) and most amazing at Big Lots – large bottles of Welches grape juice for .99! We will drink a couple and I am going to make jelly with a couple. Have half price low sugar pectin bought on sale last year – will do that in November when have more time.

    Went thrifting for more work clothes. I have lots of winter clothes but almost nothing nice enough for summer. I am working PRN at a local hospital and they have a dress code for administrative staff. I found several tops, skirts and pants for $1.00 a piece. Since it is remaining in the high 80’s/low 90’s here I’ve needed more than one or two things that are professional enough to wear to work.

    Brandy – along with others I have to say that finding your website was literally life changing. At the time I started to read it I was working a corporate job and my interest was more ‘philosophical’ than driven by an immediate need. Then I was laid off and the need became, well, a lot more immediate than philosophical. The ideas and hints I’ve learned here, from you and other readers/posters, has enabled me to actually retire from that world and live a life filled with far less money and far more joy, abundance and gratitude. One element that really sets you apart is that you show how living frugally can be done with beauty, grace and panache. Thank you!

  94. Becky, I too am sorry about the loss of your husband’s job. What a low blow and rather un-Christian like of them! It sounds like they could have handled this in a much better way. Although I know this has deeply affected you, I hope your children are handling everything OK. I know that several of your children have issues or come from less than desirable home lives, before they came to live with you. This must be so tough on all of you.

    I hope in the end that this becomes an amazing chance for something even better to come along! Int he mean time, my heart goes out to all of you as you all come to terms with this.

  95. Brandy, that is such a sweet picture of your littlest girl. I am glad you had a nice day vacation.

    Someone was mentioning and asking about paw paws last week or week before. Stark Brothers nursery just had a notice about them in today’s email. They are selling hardy to zone 4 it looks like, with 4 varieties grafted to one trunk. Odd looking fruit. I know I have never seen them before.

    We have had productive last 2 weeks. Did 17 quarts of whole tomatoes, 5 pints of diced. Froze sweet corn, cream style. Made corn relish and pickle relish. It has been getting chilly at night, into the high 30’s/low 40’s so our tomatoes are nearing the end of ripening on the vines. We’ve picked the full grown green ones for them to ripen in the house and to encourage the smaller tomatoes to keep growing.

    The oldest girl has been picking Concord grapes by the bushel basket and juicing them. She bought one of those steam juicers, and wow, it really does work nice. We’ve never been much of juice drinkers but her husband is, so she has at least 15 quarts so far. I will make 4-5 batches of jelly as it is good to give as presents to folks who don’t grow grapes. It tastes so much better than store jelly.

    We only grow 2 kinds of squash, acorn and butternut, and they are curing on the picnic table. My youngest grew a large amount of decorative gourds and she has been selling them at the farm stand, along with pumpkins. Cantaloupe is over…we only grow enough for us to eat…does anyone preserve their cantaloupes some how?
    We harvested rutabaga, Brussels sprouts (some to eat…we leave them in the garden til frost), carrots. We got our best carrots ever this year. Our soil is good, but very stone-y so we normally get misshapen carrots. She’s been using a raised bed with really sandy loose soil and it’s working, plus she put several pots full on my patio. I’m very happy. We’ll have a nice amount to start in the root cellar, but will still have to buy more later on.

    Moved the geraniums down to the basement, brought in the hibiscus plant and the pots of herbs from the patio. All our trees are turning here, in various stages, so we’ve done our fall decorations, inside and out. Gourds, pumpkins, cornstalks…the usual. A few garlands of light…getting dark so early now! We also have hardy mums that we overwinter successfully every year. The annuals are just all spindly and worn out looking by now.

    Did the usual…recycled, washed out ziplocs, used up leftovers, composted. We have my brother in law back with us now since Labor Day weekend and we will keep him until Thanksgiving. Took my lunch and snack to work everyday. We attended 2 funerals and a wedding, all with a meal. The nephew who works for my husband and lives above the old garage gets married soon. His girl Katie Anna brought over a kettle of cabbage roll soup for dinner one night. It was very good. Was given 3 rolls of paper towels and packs of hand wipes by a cousin who’s son works for a paper products company. They borrowed our bicycle trailer while their grandchildren were visiting.

  96. So sorry for the job loss. Just remember that when one door closes another opens. This may be an opportunity for a much greater job for your hubby. Hope the severance package is a good one for you.
    You will be fine. God bless you.

  97. My husband once forgot to renew the sticker for his car. He as finally stopped by the police about 1 month before the next sticker year was due. Almost made it through an entire year without getting caught! Silly man.

  98. We have preserved excess cantaloupe by slicing it thinly and dehydrating it. Comes out sweet and chewy, like fruit leather. We hae done the same with watermelons. There was recently a cantaloupe jam recipe on the Pomona’s Pectin website, which I have pasted in below:

    Cantaloupe Jam
    Cantaloupe Jam is a low-sugar or low-honey cooked jam made with Pomona’s Pectin. Pomona’s Pectin contains no sugar or preservatives and jells reliably with low amounts of any sweetener.
    Yield: 4 to 5 cups
    Before You Begin:
    Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
    Cantaloupe Jam Ingredients
    6¾ cups peeled, seeded, diced cantaloupe (½-inch dice)
    2 Tablespoons water
    1 cup lemon juice
    4 teaspoons calcium water
    1 cup sugar
    4 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder
    Cantaloupe Jam Directions
    1. Wash and rinse jars, lids, and screw bands. Set screw bands aside until ready to use. Place jars in boiling water bath canner with a rack, fill at least 2/3 of the way full with water, and bring to a boil. Boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize (add 1 additional minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level), then turn down heat and let jars stand in hot water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small pan, bring to a low simmer, and hold there until ready to use.

  99. Wow, Mable, you have been through a pretty tough patch, for sure! It is so nice to hear that your husband has been so loving and supportive through all of you medical ordeal. I’m very glad to hear you are now on the mend.

    Your frugal efforts are incredibly admirable, considering you are fighting against medical issues. Anyone with a cold can tell you how quickly it can wipe you out. Your health was much more severely affected. I can imagine this must take quite an effort to fight through it and do what you need to do. That is truly amazing and just down right inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  100. Athanasia, I did a quick check on Pinterest about preserving cantaloupe and as usual it doesn’t disappoint for ideas. There are recipes for cantaloupe jam (some are mixed with other fruit as well, like peaches) and instructions on how to freeze it (most likely for use in smoothies). It’s worth doing a check for yourself.

  101. I too love Ikea and wished there was one closer. Probably 30 years ago I bought a $19.99 bookshelf from there. I needed bookends and more shelves, so I drilled holes and put dowels through them. Some are just bookends; some have extra boards for shelving. I have dragged it to two different houses and from floor to floor. It looks just as good as it did when I bought. I ile the functionality of their products and their durability.

  102. Mable, thank you. The dehydrated sounds good to me. I will try that one. I have 3 right now and they are all looking to be ripe at the same time. I’ve already given some away.
    I think family would like the fruit leather cantaloupe. Will have to remember that next year with watermelon too.

    I’ve never used Pomona pectin. I have seen it at the food co-op. Thank you for the recipe.

  103. Did a small amount of grocery shopping, beyond staple items we got on a sams club trip.
    Butter was 2/5.00 at grocer, but could only do one transaction per day, so stopped there every day after work (I drive right by) to pick up 2. We need plenty for Christmas baking. The clearance shelf had large (15 oz or so) cans of mushrooms for 50 cents so I bought 5. I can’t remember the name of the mushroom type but they show up in Thai soups and I thought I could just chop them up to make my cream of mushroom soup. “straw” maybe? Sugars were all on sale for 1.88, no limit…4 pound white, 2 pound brown and powdered. There was a l.00 coupon/2 in paper so used that on double day. Bought 3 bags of cinnamon imperials in the candy aisle for decorating cookies. MUCH cheaper than buying them in the cake decor aisle.

    Over the last 2 weeks cooked mostly from scratch. Had several meals at church functions or family parties. Made egg salad and tuna salad and mock tuna for sandwich fillings. Made 2 loaves white bread, one rye, one raisin. Made cinnamon rolls and pecan sticky buns ( make one pan of each, same recipe, just different preparation) Made butterscotch pudding. Made rhubarb pie, zucchini bread, croutons, blueberry pancakes. Made a broccoli-rice casserole, chunky spaghetti sauce, bisquit mix zucchini quiche. Our bell peppers ran small this year but stuffed them anyways.
    Filled half with a Mexican type rice-black bean-corn-pepper cheese mix and the others with an Italian type rice-ground beef-tomato-mozzarella mix. I have a total of 44 in the freezer now wrapped in pkgs of two. Less than last year, but an easy microwavable lunch or dinner. Made a garden vegetable pasts salad, coleslaw, chive cottage cheese.

  104. Ivory looks adorable in that picture. Nice you were able to take a hike as a family.
    It is starting to get chilly here, but no frost yet. It is gorgeous fall weather, but we could use some rain.

    My accomplishments for the week:

    -Fred Meyer had butter for $1.69/ lb. and Tillamook cheese for $4.99 for a 2 lb. loaf. there were limits, but I pass by on my way to and from work. Went twice during the week.
    -FM also had peppers on their blemished produce shelf – red and yellow ones – 3 for $1.00. I got 9. will chop and freeze.
    -Picked corn, cilantro and cut black bean plants. Still need to shell the beans. That will be a weekend afternoon chore coming up.
    -My son bought a pepperoni pizza from Papa Murphy’s on customer appreciation day. $6.00 for a large. Then added peppers, olives, and onions. It was enough for all three of us – son, DH and me, with leftovers for lunch the next day.
    -I took breakfast and lunch to work all days.
    – I picked corn, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, onions and zucchini for sons and mother. While not frugal for me, it will help them. My sons were meeting at a college football game at which my mother was also going to be in attendance. So, one son acted as the delivery person for all the produce.
    -Potatoes were on a one day sale at a store for 98¢ for 10 lbs. – limit 2. Went on the way to and way home from work and bought 40 pounds.
    -Had BLTs for dinner twice. We have them frequently when we have garden tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers (I like cucumbers rather than lettuce on mine to give it a crunch).
    – Finished prepping the salsa we made by adding cilantro, onions and garlic from the garden, as well as lime juice, vinegar and salt. YUM! We eat this all winter.
    -Cooked a turkey. Put the bones in the freezer, as I did not have time to make broth.
    -Chopped peppers from the garden and froze. Got 16 bags – 1/2 cup each. to use in spaghetti, pizza, whatever I want.

    Tried to keep up with the garden – but it is getting hard.

  105. Hi Brandy!!
    I love reading your weekly posts. You are full of great ideas & inspiration. I also love reading other peoples posts, there is always lots if interesting things others are doing from around the world.
    I would love to know Brandy, how do you store your produce? I have been reading older posts where you talk about buying potatoes & carrots in bulk amongst other things. I have wondered his you store all of this? Do you have a room dedicated to food storage? What do you do about fluctuations in temperature & your ability to store your food? Thanks so much. I always eargerly await your next posts!

  106. Margee- I take the mint leaves (about 10) and pour boiling water over them to let them steep for about 10 minutes. Delicious and refreshing. You could even add them to regular iced or hot tea.

  107. The past two weeks have been a frugal wash for us despite all of our good intentions. There were good and bad things, but the expenses outweighed the frugal pennies saved.

    Expensive things:
    We dropped our second daughter off at college for her first semester this means tuition, health insurance for her required by the school to the tune of $500, housing payments, a more than 1,000 mile road trip, hotel room because we do not have any family in Utah or Idaho, and all the expected last minute costs that appear with this kind of life event, like grocery shopping for a college student kitchen where she doesn’t even have salt & pepper, and other unexpected things like the housing office requiring that we purchase a waterproof mattress protector and have it on her bed within 24 hours of moving in. With no warning of this new requirement and no way to shop around we were at the mercy of the one Wal-Mart in town. The cheapest waterproof mattress pad was $59.99

    Discovering that husband needs eye surgery ASAP. Even with our insurance we are looking at $2,000 out of pocket.

    Frugal things:
    Taking a page out of Brandy’s book we brought all snacks, as many meals as possible and refillable water bottles with us on the trip.

    Purchased the college student’s books used at Amazon.com before we arrived.

    Grocery shopped for the college student, and bought for her in bulk and took the time while she was at orientation to re-package everything for her in smaller quantities to ensure no waste.

    Purchased several Christmas presents from the clearance rack at the college bookstore and from the clearance table at the church bookstore (we no longer have a church bookstore locally.)

    Once we arrived home after a 15 hour drive, I dove right into the usual routine. Elderly neighbor asked us to come and finish picking the apples off their tree. We gleaned 3 large shopping bags full of apples. Hopefully they will make it until the temperatures drop enough to can applesauce.

    I removed our college age daughter from the car insurance while she is out of state which saves us $400 quarterly.

    I checked the clearance rack at a store I don’t usually go into, but it is near the library and I found stack of lovely journals with sewn binding and bound in “vegan leather,” which as far as I can tell means a leather-like material. The journals are well made and were marked down in price to $1-$3.50. The original price tags on them ranged from $10-$35. There were slim travel size, portfolio style with a pocket and even hardbound style. Most of them were black, but few were red and a few were brown. I bought the lot of them. These will make great Christmas presents.

    I used reward points to get a free loaf of french bread from the grocery store. I used a rewards card to get a free loaf of sourdough french bread from a local bakery. That took care of our bread needs for the week which was nice because it was over 100 degrees a few days this week and I dreaded turning on the oven.

    We received a free coupon for frozen yogurt with toppings in our mail. Combined with a movie I checked out of the library, this made for a fun date night.

    Volunteers from our church/ scout group run a flag football season every Fall. Many of the parents were frustrated by the fact that in the local kids’ sports leagues many games and tournaments are played on Sunday so for years the parents have run our own little football season. There are enough boys (usually) to field two teams in each of the three age groups (8-9, 10-11, 12+) so the first hour is skills & drills and the second hour is a game. Dads coach, older kids help out with setting up & coaching and each family signs up for a week to bring snack or drinks. I usually bring homemade granola bars or oatmeal cookies. All of the games except the final week are held at a park with a huge grassy area. Playing fields are marked with cones. For the final week one of the parents reserves (for free) one of the high school football fields and the boys play on a real field and at least one of the parents takes team photos with their nice camera. It is a wonderful and affordable opportunity for my very active, sports-loving, homeschooled son to experience team sports.

  108. Gardenpat,
    I learned a few years ago that pears are one fruit that’s supposed to finish ripening OFF the tree. You pick them a little harder than most other fruit. Maybe leave them on your counter/in a bowl a bit longer before trying to eat fresh?

  109. I was given two gallons of cream today and a huge vat of sour cream, from a friend whose agency held a coffee fundraiser and had tons of leftovers. Anyone know if you can freeze cream and sour cream? Thanks for any help.

  110. Sour cream, unopened, is good for more than a month past the date.

    Heavy cream will not whip after being frozen. I have successfully whipped it with a splash of vanilla and a bit of powdered sugar, and frozen it in individual amounts on a silicone baking mat on top of a cookie sheet. As each bit is frozen I put them into a freezer bag. Then I can take them out to use on top of hot chocolate or a slice of dessert whenever I need to (they thaw within just a couple of minutes)

  111. Becky.. I am so sorry to hear this I have been through this myself and you really do feel betrayed, hurt and lost. And having to go through this with a church where you are not only employees but friends has got to be hard. God be with you as someone told me and I find it to be true.. when one door closes another opens.

  112. We are very much in the non-consumer camp but we find the time to visit IKEA when in the area. It is so much fun to wander around in…when we visit friends and relatives in Minnesota we like it better than Mall of America. I’ve bought some handy utensils. But mostly we wander and talk and people watch.

  113. This inspired me to look at my power company’s website to see if they offered the same service. Although they don’t I did learn that they have some services to help conserve energy and immediately requested a free water-saving kit and alerted my spouse to another service that really excited me. They will pick up and recycle refrigerators plus give six free CF bulbs and a $50 check for it! We are needing to replace our fridge soon so this will not only save us from paying the appliance store to take it away but it will get us the bulbs and $50 to go toward the new fridge expense. I am very excited!

  114. I batch cooked a lot of meal to take to work for lunches and I collected a bag of hand me down clothes for little miss vista from her cousin.
    We collected another £5 from the supermarket that we collected in points and have put it to one side for Christmas food.
    It must be lovely to have somewhere so lovely to hike to close to you. It’s very flat where we are in the UK.

  115. We were there for the meatballs yesterday! I left DH in the cafeteria reading a newspaper, and I toured the model spaces. There is nothing IKEA doesn’t know about using space wisely. Didn’t buy a thing, but had a blast.

  116. I use coconut oil as a moisturizer too. It works great. I can’t use standard body care products, so I either have to buy the expensive ones from the health food store, or make my own. I also use coconut oil to make a facial scrub (mixed with sugar and a few drops of essential oil) and deodorant (mixed with baking soda and arrowroot powder). Great stuff.

  117. Lorna,
    I am guessing that ‘free range’ means something different here in the US than it does in Australia. In most states, the term ‘free range’ means only that the hens have access to the outdoors, not that they actually spend time on pasture. This definition may differ depending on regional laws. Eggs from hens that roam freely on pasture are generally referred to as ‘pastured’ eggs. In my area, those cost $8 a dozen. I have seen them very rarely for $5 a dozen on sale.

  118. I’m new to this so I’ll probably be accomplishing things that seem obvious to others but…

    1. Just shifted the whole ‘dinner’ dilemma from ‘what do we want’ to ‘what do we have’. Now I don’t work I have time to plan, soak beans etc.

    2. Facebook is saving me a lot of money. Last week I mailed ($1) a bunch of seeds that I won’t use to someone on Facebook who asked for them, I didn’t know her but later it turned out we have lots in common, including some acquaintances. I save seeds and so I have far more of some seeds than I can ever use before they expire. I mentioned on the same page that I was looking for Hulless Pumpkin Seeds (not great eating pumpkins but the seeds are tasty- you don’t have to hull them, just roast, season and eat). A lady said she had lots and sent me 20 seeds, which I planted 3 days ago (its Spring where I am). This will give me enough to grow a years worth of pumpkin seeds, and will do something with the flesh.

    3. Another Facebook lady on a ‘social pantry’ site gave me a a carrier bag full of lemons, and I made lots of things from them that will last ages. She was pleased and is going to give me another bag.

    4. This whole ‘share the bounty’ has so taken my fancy that I have rented a space for $20 in October (late Spring here) to invite other keen gardeners for a swap/bring/buy of their surplus seedlings and plantlets (will ask people for a dialler to cover space hire). If it goes well, we will do some ‘glut swaps’ throughout the summer and then in Autumn we might do a harvest swap- preserves etc.

    I’m surprised just how much of my new ‘frugal’ life isn’t about ‘going to ground’ and making what we have last- I thought there would be a general feeling of hunkering down- but so far, its been far more about giving freely and then, unexpectedly, getting it all back, and more.

    Also, I baked my first bread, and made my first yoghurt. I know we will still want ‘treats’ so I have also started to make wine with last years plum glut, which I needed to use because I am going to need space in my little freezer. I froze 23kgs of plums in one lump- was tired of them- have enough jams and chutneys to last 2 years already and the next lot is due soon! Now know how many local people have more than they want of one thing and not enough of other stuff though, I am unafraid of the coming plum-glut. There will be much swapping going on. I have already swapped plum jam and chutney for chicken-poo for the composter, along with pretty blue eggs!

    This week I will learn to make crackers and basic cheese, and candles since someone gave me ‘the stuff’ for that about three years ago but when i worked, I never got around to doing more than looking in the box and thinking ‘one day…’. I’ll also be de-cluttering generally and putting things I don’t want or need on trademe (I suppose its a bit like ebay in US?). I’m not going to need those corporate fancy shoes or suits anymore……can’t wait to see what I can make by simplifying my possessions, paring them down to what I really love and need.

  119. You may not have anywhere to hike, but there isn’t one place in the UK that isn’t steeped in some amazing history. I envy the opportunities you have to explore those stories!

  120. Katie, I have a couple of suggestions for you:

    Over at Goathland there are some steep climbs and pretty waterfalls. My friend went with his daughters and shared pictures. It is beautiful! He showed pictures of his daughters at Brimham Rocks and they had climbed to the top.

    Also you can check out the waterfall walk at Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales.

  121. My daughter likes the ring pops too. School policy is store bought treats only, no homemade. We don’t have any kids to invite unfortunately. We will take her somewhere fun (read: cheap or free lol) for her birthday and make a cake here at home and have my grown son, daughter in law, and new grandbaby and my mom over.

  122. I’ve successfully frozen cream and half & half in ice cube trays. I then put the cream “ice cubes” into a large freezer bag and use when needed for recipes. I’ve also frozen sour cream. You have to stir it up really well after freezing. I add a bit of cornstarch and use my immersion blender to whip it back into shape!

  123. Yay!! We were there twice…but only for a couple years each time. We’ve been back in the U.S. for a long time, so sadly, my Dutch is mostly forgotten. Sniff sniff.

  124. Mable

    Your story is a inspiration to us all that during tough times working together as a couple you can get through anything with love and faith. Thank you for sharing. I have in laws twice removed (sister’s inlaws) that live in Alaska and I am told how expensive food is there. They love it though have lived there now I guess about 10 years.

  125. Brandy: So glad to hear your daughter is interested in the organ. I was a church organist for many years, starting at about 14. It really did enrich my life. Hope she stays with it – it is a dying breed!

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