Fall Roses The Prudent Homemaker 

We had a rare bit of rain, so I turned off the drip irrigation and sprinklers for a couple of days.

I planted seeds in the garden for snow peas and green onions.

I harvested Swiss chard from the garden.

I purchased a few artichoke plants and herb plants on sale at the local nursery. I also purchased manure for the lawn (when you buy more than 10 bags at a time, you save $0.30 a bag, making them $1.99 for a 2 cubic foot bag). We took the trailer my husband built with us to pick up the manure and also a cubic yard of topsoil, lining our trailer with a tarp my husband got for free via Craigs’ list. Picking it up ourselves saves a delivery charge. 

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

My eldest daughter was invited to go along with a friend on her family vacation out of state, so she enjoyed a trip to go camping on the beach and then they either were going to go to Knott’s Berry Farm or Disneyland (I’ll find out which one when she returns; they hadn’t decided before they left).  Each of the family’s daughters was able to invite a friend; they have only two girls left at home now, which means at least four girls got to have fun together.

What did you do to save money this past week?




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  1. *I posted the recipe/instructions on my blog this week for the home made French Fries. They are yummy and also very frugal (and healthy!) to make!

    *I was very happy that we already had proper attire for my daughter to wear, when she was asked to be a substitute violist for our local high school orchestra. Her dress blended in just fine with the other girls in the orchestra, even though we found it for just .75 cents at a thrift store.

    *I ordered some food in bulk from a co-op.

    *I found some special sized paper that I use at a good price and stocked up.

    Looking forward to reading what everyone else did this week! I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

  2. Love that close-up of the flowers!

    My frugal accomplishments for the past two weeks:
    – I made baked potatoes with broccoli and homemade cheese sauce for dinner one night, and then turned the leftovers, with a few additions, into 5-Minute Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potato Soup. So, so yummy and so, so easy! I’ll post a recipe on my blog once I’m up to it, as I gave birth last weekend.
    – My mother and I went shopping for a mattress pad together, and she was able to find the one I wanted for only $30, down from something like $170, by combining a sale, a coupon, a discount, and some points. My mum understands the thrill I get from a good deal!
    – I made (extremely, extremely strong) red raspberry leaf tea to help induce labour, as my doctor wanted me to deliver a week early due to several risk factors. I had bought the tea from Amazon previously using Swagbucks gift certificates.
    – I received a cheque for all of $2.98 from Ebates. Hey, $3 is $3!
    – I was able to use my local trading app to trade an old bulletin board in good condition (from my childhood) for btz (the digital currency that the app uses). I’m saving the digital currency to buy groceries or treats, as it’s now accepted in some local stores. The trader was able to meet at the subway stop closest to my condo, so it worked out perfectly.
    – I asked my workplace whether it would be possible to continue my health benefits during my mat leave. They said yes, as long as I pay. They’ll still pay the employer portion; I just have to pay the regular amount that I do. I don’t know whether they legally have to pay, but it certainly is appreciated, as I definitely make use of my benefits!
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to Starbucks.
    – Used hospital wifi on my phone
    – At the first pediatrician’s appointment, the dr. gave us a sample of vitamin D drops, and a travel carrier of newborn diapers and wipes
    – I redeemed $10 worth of Air Miles towards a purchase of diapers and wipes.
    – I stopped by a rummage sale on the way home from the pediatrician’s visit, and bought 3 square glass containers and a cut glass bowl for $4. One glass container broke when I washed it, but I used the other two (dif. sizes) to replace some old wicker baskets in my master bath. I used the cut glass container to organize my makeup.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  3. Hi to all –

    Our college age daughter was home for a few days so I made her lasagna and cookies to take back. That saves us some so she does not order food …. she has a crockpot and cookbooks, that has not gone well for her….

    I combined errands two days when I went out. We ate home cooked meals and leftovers except for Friday night’s football game.

    I have been communicating with my siblings and friends by text instead of by mail (which I use to always do).

    Made a big Sams club trip for coffee, Brown sugar, meat toilet paper, nuts, candy, coffee creamer & laundry detergent. Most will last awhile.

    Our garden continues to look good, hoping we can start eating from there soon.

    That’s all I can remember.

    I’m looking forward to reading all posts. Have a good week all!

  4. We finally got our driveway finished. We payed cash for it so they gave us 5% off. It came out great. We sold the car my youngest was driving. It was a 1999 Maxima and just started needing lots of repairs. It wasn’t worth the money to fix it and Hubby doesn’t have the time to do it himself. We disclosed everything that was wrong with it to the buyer. Hubby is looking for a new to us car for her to drive. We don’t mind old cars. She wants something good on gas. My sister let us use her extra car so that we don’t have to share cars. We are in no rush to buy something. My full list is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/10/my-frugal-list-week-of-october-22-2018.html

  5. .I worked at a polling station for our Municipal Election for which I will be paid
    .I worked some extra hours at my church job as things have gotten busier
    .Discovered that my hairdresser is away for a couple of weeks so I’ll be stretching the time in between appointments for another two weeks – so inadvertently frugal!
    .Invited two friends for lunch and cooked ingredients already on hand so no extra cost
    .Kept grocery purchases to a minimum and continued to use up food already in the freezer & panry
    .Found buttermilk on sale so I’ve been making different variations on a buttermilk loaf to take to class & church
    .Continued to combine errands in order to save on transit fares
    .Waited to do laundry until I had full loads and dried everything on a rack except for sheets & towels
    .Got two free tickets to a Christmas concert – it is being filmed and they need an audience
    .Enjoyed more Netflix & Youtube programming so I am thinking about the options for lowering my regular cable bills, especially now that the Baseball season is over

  6. This has been an incredible week!
    I was able to buy 45 pounds of diced tomatoes, 7 pounds of shredded carrots, 5 pounds of chopped onions and 11 baskets of raspberries for $12!!
    I made and canned 16 pints of Rotel- http://canninggranny.blogspot.com/2012/07/canning-homemade-ro-tel.html?m=1 using some of the tomatoes and onions and peppers I had frozen!
    I canned 7 quarts of diced tomatoes, dehydrated all the shredded carrots and put into a half gallon mason jar that I vacuum sealed.
    I packaged the rest of the onions into ziploc bags with the equivalent of 1 medium onion in each bag for convenience and froze those!
    I decided not to make more raspberry jam or freeze the raspberries but rather to sprinkle them with a little sugar and put into a big bowl in the fridge for a nice dessert!

    Branching into Soup Cozies as a way to use up some of my excess fabric stash has proved lucrative even though my purpose was just decluttering! In the week since I started marketing them, I’ve sold 19 sets!! So a lot of my evenings are spent making more Cozies and yet my stash doesn’t seem to be diminishing!! Here are a couple of photos: https://pin.it/hcuhergexlldx6
    https://pin.it/vaku2ed64yetvi I sell them for $7.50/set which would never cover materials and time adequately, but I’m happily clearing my sewing room so that I can better use what I have, so the money is just a perk to save half/pay down Hospital bill with the other half (after it has been tithed on)! Between these and our Scrappy Bags and our flannel Softies, I am hopeful that my fabric stash will become more manageable!! Lol!

    Fresh Thyme had a 4 day sale on BLSL chicken breast for 99 cents a pound with a limit of 4 packages! While I was busy sewing up Soup Cozies, hubby and son went and each bought 4 packages, so I got 32+ pounds at that price so I am happy!!

    The weather here in Ohio has taken a cold and wet turn lately so I’ve been making more soups and stews in the crockpot and Instant Pot. We tried one of the dry soup mixes that I made and packaged into mason jars during the summer. Beef and barley soup that I just added water and a little ground beef to. The odd shaped potato chunks that I dehydrated rehydrated in the crockpot so they were neither mushy or hard! They tasted like fresh so I am looking forward to trying more of the dehydrated dinners I made!

    So many things to be grateful for this time of the Year!! I really grateful for all the tips and ideas and encouragement that you and your commenters give so freely! I have learned so much from all of you!!

  7. Popcorn is a favorite snack for me during the fall and winter. I don’t have many bowls, though. I decided to use a large coffee can, but when I took off the paper label, it turned out not to be a metal can, except on the bottom. The rest is cardboard, with some kind of silver coating. I don’t think it will survive too many washes. It has also made me re-think how far forward I will buy coffee. The best before date is three months away, which is one large can. I would have liked to have bought another can for storage.

    Canada has a rotating post office strike at the moment. So far, the union has been saying which post offices will be closed a few days in advance. I had two money-related tasks that needed documents to be sent out. I sent one by ExpressPost on days I knew the particular post office wouldn’t be affected. I could track the envelope and know it was delivered in good time. It did cost $13.50 to do that. The other document, I took personally to the next town over, which cost about the same in gas. I have two checks coming in by mail this month, though I can survive a delay.

    Carrots and potatoes were on sale locally this week. I bought 5 lb of carrots and 15 lb of potatoes. The carrots will last me the winter, since I use them mostly for starting soups and julienned in stir-fries. I keep them in one of the fridge’s compartments and they are good for many months. Potatoes are available on sale through most of the winter, so there is less need to stock up for long periods. I am gradually buying winter squash as I see them to store, and am looking for turnips.

    I started doing a monthly grocery shop three months ago, since a local store began offering at least 10% off one day a month. I supplement this with purchases of sale items at this and other stores when the prices are very good, if I have the funds. I am really happy with how this is working. I was worried that I would underestimate how much food I needed and run short at the end of the month. Not so! My monthly spend has also been very good, and I have lots of variety.

  8. So fun for your daughter! I’m sure she will have a wonderful time. Our electric bill was $78 for the month which is very low for our over 3000 square foot home. I was out of town and didn’t spend much money…

  9. If I ever can grow one rose that look like yours, I’ll consider it a monumental success. Part of it may be the clay soil and humidity here, but the other difference must be your loving care of them. They’re always so beautiful! We’ve eaten our sweet potatoes several times the past week, which needs to happen on a regular basis, as we had a great sweet potato year. Winter squash too, though I’ve yet to start using them. I had an unusual return today, of an item that didn’t fit what it was intended for. I received a credit, and was told I didn’t need to return it, to just donate it or whatever I liked. I thought that was impressive, and not the type of customer service one sees much anymore. It was only a $10 & change item, but still. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/10/a-festival-frugal-accomplishments.html

  10. The last few weeks seem to have gone by in a blur! I have been doing the usual frugal activities such as hanging laundry outside to dry when the weather cooperates and only doing full loads of laundry and running the dishwasher when full. We have eaten all meals at home and my husband has taken his lunch to work everyday. He also came home with a large bag of frozen, diced parsnips from work. Apparently, they were sent from the supplier by mistake and the management told the staff to throw them out! They are new and frozen so I can’t imagine why they would instruct the staff to waste food like that. We will definitely make good use of them throughout the fall and winter.

  11. Congratulations! I knew from your blog that the baby had arrived but I believe there were a few complications so I hope you are both doing a bit better now. No doubt you will need all your energy for the little one so I won’t be surprised if your posting tails off a bit but would love to know if it’s a boy or a girl once you get the chance to catch your breath.
    Hope you have good maternity benefits – and yes, wherever I have worked the employer always continued to pay their share of benefits during mat leave and you have the rest deducted just as you do from your regular paycheque.

  12. Congratulations, Margaret and family. Sounds like this little one is already a part of your frugal adventures. 🙂 Many, many blessings to you and your little one.

  13. How are you funding the college age daughter’s spending? I am presuming she does not have a meal plan. If you are giving her money whenever she “needs” it, I suggest changing to a set amount per month and letting her budget and spend as ahe wishes. During the years she lived on campus with a meal plan, my daughter got $125/month from me and whatever she earned on her own. When she started living off campus with a car and no meal plan, that increased to $375/month to cover spending, gas and food (again, plus whatever she earned herself). The meal plan cost was close to that increase. It is amazing how creative they get when they buy their own food. Might go out to dinner one night, eat from the doggie bag on night 2, and eat ramen the next 2 nights. Let her learn, especially if she has a microwave. Point out what is less expensive each month (potatoes in November, which can be made in the microwave, topped with cheese, etc.) Give it a try and maybe a couple cheap, easy recipes each month that she can make, such as dumping some frozen mixed veggies, tomatoes, canned beans, and maybe a bit of beef into the crockpot to cook up soup or chili.. Good luck! I know my daughter loved the independence of not explaining where her money was going, knowing she would get a certain amount a month, and taking responsibility, even when she did not necessarily want it.

  14. Tried to cook all meals at home. Succeeded except for the day we had our grandchildren. We spent too much at a Chinese restaurant. We decided afterwards that we need to take the lead when it comes to where we will eat. Which if we plan will be a picnic, if not the grocery store to make sandwiches and some fruit and maybe carrots.
    Son gave us topsoil he didn’t need.
    Husband took lunches to work, including snacks.
    Borrowed books from library.
    Date nights at home. Looked up date nights at home on internet and came up with some nice ideas.
    Used internet for entertainment.
    Utilized the library.
    Turned off lights when not in room.
    Washed full loads of laundry.
    Spent lots of time at home.
    Washed sunset at night.
    Looked at the stars in the morning together when he walked me to my car to go to work.
    Saw an owl, raccoons,and deer.
    I think my chickens that are supposed to be hens are a bunch of roosters and maybe one hen. Not sure yet. It is awful and funny at the same time. We are down to eight safely being fed in our coop. No coyotes are dogs around now. I’m not attached to them yet, but my husband might be. They were supposed to be hens and then would be our pets. If they are all roosters, I might name some dinner. But if my husband is attached to them….. we might be feeding them a long time. I know he has had chickens in the past that he ate. We have been feeding them for 6 months, no eggs yet.

  15. Beautiful picture again, Brandy! Also, congratulations to Margaret, although “enquiring minds want to know” more about the baby…

    Here was my week–
    We ate plant-based meals 3 times last week. (I would like to eat one veggie meal every day). I used a friend’s recipe to make rice and beans and it was the best! Cheeeeep, too!

    The freezer I got such a good deal on was delivered. I bought a couple of whole chickens for .88 lb. and had the meatcutter split them. Wrapped them for the freezer reusing plastic produce bags (I reuse bread bags for freezer wrap, too). This is one of the usual frugal things that I do.

    I fed kitchen scraps to the compost (which is in 3 plastic garbage cans with holes drilled in them).

    I washed a pair of suede loafers (rubber soles) in the washing machine. They came out fine. This is the second time I have done this…these seem to be my hard-luck shoes. This is what I do when I have nothing to lose.

    I paid some bills online and by phone, saving postage. I filed an insurance claim that should result in a payout of about $200. I received an unexpected check for $26.49, which apparently was an overpayment on a credit card. Or maybe a return I’ve forgotten…I cashed the check before they changed their mind.

    We created storage space in our garage and shed, mostly using stuff we already had (I had to buy a bike hook). I went through my husband’s collection of scrap lumber and found about ¼ of the lumber we need to build more shelves.

    I bought my Halloween candy from the bulk bins at Winco. I got Hershey’s minatures for $4.99 lb., which was way cheaper than buying them by the package. Thanks, Brandy, for mentioning bulk candy in another post. I always buy my spices in bulk. I got enough Italian seasoning to fill a spice jar for less than .20! I got my spice jars by emptying my mother-in-law’s stale spices after she died, however you can buy jars underneath the spice display at Winco and still come out money ahead on the very first jar.

    I bought one of my son’s Christmas gifts used on ebay. I also ordered an item in open packaging from the Amazon warehouse.

  16. Happy days to you and your family, Margaret!
    I hope you can hold and enjoy your little one as much as you want.
    And thank you for the mention of the YouTube “The Night Watch” flash mob last week when we were writing about Holland. I enjoyed that.

  17. The cozies are a great idea. They remind me of a quilted casserole carrier a friend used to make!

  18. * I used food we had on hand to make beans, rice, and tomatoes (canned) for a potluck.
    * I combined trips to save time, money, and gas.
    * I had multiple meetings in the same location to save on time, money, and gas.
    * One meeting was held over the phone to save all of the above. 🙂
    * My husband gladly took food from home for all his lunches.
    * I purchased cauliflower and apples on sale.
    * We opened blinds during the day to warm up the house.
    * We used heat minimally in our cars.
    * We diligently upped our natural remedy intake as soon as we began feeling ill.

  19. Had a bad month!! Spent way too much! Getting ready for a frugal November. Would love suggestions of where to start.

  20. What a wonderful opportunity for your daughter.
    A neighbor who was cleaning out her garage invited my husband over to take what he wanted. He came home with six metal fence posts, a bunch of rebar (we use it for plant supports), PVC pipe and fittings, and other miscellaneous things he will find uses for.
    I made a pair of pajama pants for myself. I had to piece the fabric in one place, but the pattern of the flannel is such that you can’t really tell. I saved the old pajama pants for quilt scraps.
    I made a big batch of granola and 2 loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread, and a batch of throat lozenges.
    I had one cod fillet left in the freezer and used it to make fish tacos. It was not a lot of fish, but I piled cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado and a sour cream and salsa dressing in the tortillas and it was enough for the two of us.
    Our state does mail-in ballots only. Instead of using a stamp, I drove around the corner and deposited our ballots in the county ballot box.
    I had to bring a snack to a meeting and brought a big bowl of apple slices. I dipped the slices in lemon water to keep them from browning. People appreciated having something healthy and delicious.
    I began having pain and numbness in my back, neck, and left arm—from a pinched nerve related to a bone spur in my spine. I have dealt with this several times over the years, though it has been five years or more since a flare-up. None of my usual self-care was helping the problem, and after two weeks I was thinking I might have to see a doctor. But I know from the past that, since this is a new doctor to me, they would order an MRI and/or a consult with a specialist. I am still paying off several thousand dollars in medical bills from early summer, so I wanted to avoid adding thousands more to that debt if I could. I researched physical therapy for nerve impingement and found several good videos on YouTube that demonstrated exercises I could do at home, as well as home traction. I began faithfully doing the exercises and traction and within a couple of days was almost pain free. I would never recommend someone put off going to the doctor for something serious, but since I knew what the problem was and that the treatment generally involves anti-inflammatories, ice, and PT, I was grateful to find advice online for handling this myself.

  21. I’m glad you’ve had a bit of rain, Brandy. I wish I could send you some of ours! We’ve had flooding with the 2″ that the Nor’Easter brought us on Saturday. Between this and the rain & wind from Hurricane Michael we’ve had damage to our yard and front patio awning. We’re in the process of getting estimates for new seamless gutters, downspouts, etc. for the entire house.

    Your roses and last week’s still-life are beautiful. Tidied up the garden and front & back patios; all ceramic & terracotta planters have been emptied, washed & stored in the garage for the winter for if left outdoors they will prob crack. DH cleaned all our wicker patio furniture & stored in garage. Have pruned the roses & hydrangeas. The marigolds, Montauk daisies and gaura are still blooming.

    Grocery stores have had some great sales on steak, pork loin, chicken past several weeks so have stocked up. The best buy was on Hass avocados which we love. Reg. price of 3 for $5. On sale last week for 99 cents each. I purchased 6 of them but only paid $3.94 for all of them by using a 75 cent printable coupon I found on coupons.com for avocados from Mexico, which these were (our stores double the coupons’ face value and can use up to 4 of the same coupon).

    In the November Kiplinger’s mag there is an interesting article about people who follow FIRE (financial independence retire early), especially an interview with Mr. Money Mustache; he’s been blogging about personal finance & frugality about 9 yrs now and he now earns $400,000 a yr from his blog! I wish your gorgeous and super-helpful website & blog would generate even some $ for you to compensate you for all the time and effort you put in to help us all.

    Have just finished reading a lovely book, the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan. Set in a small village in England at the start of WWII. All the able-bodied men are off at war & the ladies of the village get together to help each other. It focuses on 5 of the women and each short chapter is in the form of a letter. The November issue of O, The Oprah magazine has an interview with Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favorite authors and I believe one of yours too Brandy, about her latest book, “Unsheltered” (described as a “sociopolitical novel tackling real-world issues, esp how we navigate profound changes that threaten to unmoor us”).

    I’ve been catching up on posts; Sorry that you had so much pain Brandy during your surgery. Hope you’re healing well.

  22. Beautiful roses!
    I found boneless pork loin on sale for $1.48 lb and on top of that another 20% off .. so ended up paying $1.18 lb !!! Just 2 of us here so it should last quite some time. The Aldi here has been having honeycrisp apples on sale for around $.80 to .90 lb for the last month or so. I made 3 batches of apple jam , cobbler and just eating a bunch. I’ll be picking up some more this week. Some stores are starting sales on baking supplies ; so far chocolate chips for .99 a bag and 2 lb bags of powdered or brown sugar for $.95 each bag. I need to stock up on butter and flour . Best thing that happened the last 3 weeks was I received a promotion with a very nice raise. We are trying tp pay our house off before hubby retires in 4 1/2 years or sooner . He’s been doing appliance repair for 40+ years and his knees are shot. we are hoping he can make it that long or find something different which is difficult at 62 years old. . Have a great week everyone.

  23. I am about to go shopping. I’ll get 20 pounds of potatoes for $5.88, and 10 pounds of Beets for ~$7.99. Our prices don’t compare with those in the U.S. but there are some good sales this week. I still have carrots in the fridge, and frozen beans and okra ($1.79 a package). My aim is to be able to eat healthy meals for $1 per meal. I want to have 6 fruits and veggies per day. I sat outside and sorted things, and filled the recycling bin. I took a beautiful woodpecker photo. I watched three mountain chickadees, a rare visitor from the mountains to the west. I was surprised by a large buck deer with huge rack of antlers walking down the sidewalk. He stayed in my friend’s backyard for two hours. Lots of free entertainment. I watched free movies on kanopy through the library. I watched and listened to Andrea Bocelli’s newly released cd on you tube (He has himself posted them there).

  24. She does get so much for rent & food – her apt situation is not the greatest for cooking. She earns some money from her job and starts a paid internship this week so that will help. She does get $100 extra + her rent $. So I think after this week will be better. She just has to save some of it.

  25. It was another great, frugal week! Hope you ladies are well.
    My son had his first Cub Scout campout the weekend before last (Lion Cub, kindergarten). My parents stayed with two children so I could camp with my son and the baby. It rained the first night, but the next night was perfect. It was… an adventure! The kids had a blast, so it was worth it.
    I’ve been selling a lot of items on facebook marketplace and my facebook groups. Most are small sales, but they really add up.
    Used a birthday gift bought after Christmas clearance last year for a party that my kids attended. They enjoyed the bounce house, cake, and snacks.
    I’ve found some good deals at our .99 store. My freezer is full. We save so much money by eating what we have and what is inexpensive. No pinterest-worthy meals here, but we have plenty and it’s mostly nutritious.
    Our Kroger gives kids a free piece of fruit, so each of mine got a banana, which they saved for the next day.
    We went to a couple of trunk-or-treats, one at school and one at church. I will “recycle” some of this candy for kids who come to our house on Halloween; it’s way more than my kids need.
    We wore Halloween costumes bought at garage sales or handed down for a free meal at Chickfila. Yum, no cooking or dishes!
    We enjoyed books from the library, which I renewed online.
    Our weather has been nice, so we haven’t run the air conditioner in quite a while. It got up to 90 today, but it’s still not too bad.
    I bought gas at the cheaper station near work.
    I signed up to participate in a focus group that pays $175. That will be earmarked for Christmas.
    Our neighbor saved me her coupons, which is very kind.
    Frugal fail: On the aforementioned camping trip, I somehow arrived without tent poles. My fault. It was already dark, so I ended up driving to the nearest Walmart and buying a new tent. Some kind people helped me get it set up in the dark, before the rain started. At least it was affordable and allowed us to continue with our plans. I kept most bedding in the van the first night, during the rain, so that we’d be warm and dry enough the second night after the cool front came in. Mosquitoes weren’t as bad the second night once the temperature dropped.
    I used a cookie sheet on top of a pan in the oven instead of aluminum foil.
    Have a great frugal week!

  26. We went on trips and took other children along. Such fun for all! Glad your daughter could go.

    We are really being diligent about not using electric heat and using the woodstove. So cozy and free.

    Still downsizing and pulling into the home stretch. Definitely a lrdd food eaten!

    Frugal accomplishments include staying home, finding some inexpensive Christmas presents at the thrift store and online. Chose free shipping online. Found some change for my change jar. Took another bag of undergrown clothing to donate. Made lunches for the week and took them to work. This way I eat healthier. Made and used more fire starters from saved dryer lint and paper tubes (so wet here!). Gathered kindling and cleared more brush a the same time.

    Happy frugal-ing friends.

  27. How fun for Winter. I was able to invite a friend on a vacation with my family when I was in high school, and I still have good memories of that time.

    Last week, at long last, the interior doors I ordered nearly six months ago were finally installed. It was supposed to be a six-week project, but there were numerous delays due to problems in the company’s office. We are still missing some trim, but that is supposed to be ready this week, with installation this Saturday. We shall see. In any case, I have already communicated to the office that I would like to negotiate a discount due to the delay, and the fact that I had to take time off from work for the initial install date that was cancelled by them at the very last minute. Anyway, the doors have been installed, and they are beautiful. So I am very thankful for that!

    Frugal accomplishments from last week:
    – This may not necessarily be frugal, but it’s keeping me organized. I started a bullet journal to keep track of my schedule, my shopping list, and things that need to be done. I also included a spot to write down my frugal accomplishments. It’s been great so far, and I’m enjoying writing things down on a daily basis.
    – There are some trees growing in a parking strip near my work that have ivy growing up their trunks. This will eventually kill the tree if the ivy isn’t removed. I tried to locate the owner of the parking strip, but was unsuccessful. So I decided to trim the ivy myself, because I don’t want those beautiful trees to die. I just keep my boots and garden clippers in my car, so when I have time I can stop by and trim some more ivy. I’ve still got several trees to do, but it already looks better.
    – My mom shared some pork roast, meatballs and a few other things with me. I shared some lettuce, kohlrabi and squash from my CSA share with her.
    – I was the last week of our CSA. We can go back and pick fall greens as long as they survive in the fall/winter weather. I picked a large bag full, and froze enough kale and collards for four future meals.
    – I made a huge batch of green soup (using chard, leeks, turnips and kohlrabi) and froze it for my lunches. I also made a large batch of dal (Indian lentils) and a meat curry, and froze part of this for future meals.
    – Most meals were from things I already had on hand or had in the freezer. I put off my grocery shopping as long as possible, and we still had good things to eat.
    – I cleaned off one end of our kitchen counter, and moved and rearranged things so that corner would be more functional. The clutter is gone, and that’s making me happy.
    – I finished sewing one top for work, and am now making a t-shirt, using fabric I already had.
    – And I did all the things I normally do: walked to work, took my lunch, made and bottled water kefir, cooked from home, watched DVDs and streamed shows on Amazon Prime, and made meals from scratch.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  28. Hello!

    This week for frugality I did the following:
    – We are moving so we are eating out of the pantry and fridge. I am trying to use up stuff so we don’t have to pay to move it!
    – I have spent a lot of time organizing, cleaning and getting rid of clutter. This will help us be able to find the stuff we have and not buy more.
    – We had a fun time at a fall trunk or treats at the church. My son used an old costume. We got free dinner for all of us and too much candy.
    – I sent away for lots of freebies which are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/10/29/9-freebies-today-10-29-18/
    – We painted my daughter’s room with “oops” paint from Lowe’s.
    – We got free boxes and totes from friends.
    – That’s about it for now!

  29. Gathering things for yard sale. Asking grown kids about items they have left at home. I’m happy to store things they want, but do NOT want to store unwanted stuff. None are in a place to take their own stuff yet.
    Cooking my weekly pot of rice and beans. I told a lady at church about this habit and she thought it was such a good idea. They are retirees on a limited budget. Also eating up the bits that get put in the freezer for ‘sometime’.
    Bought Green &Blacks chocolate at grocery outlet for 99 cents a bar. This is an ethically produced brand that is normally quite expensive.
    Have been doing alterations on some clothes. Squeezing a bit more wear out of some pieces. I’m wearing a patched and darned pair of jeans today. Removed a 2 year old stain from a polo shirt our son left in his closet. My husband will now wear it. Husband wore clear through his tennis shoes (he will not throw them away until he can see his toes through the soles). He is now wearing a left-behind pair of our son’s tennis shoes.
    My daughter at college worn her trusty black band dress from high school to a gala at college. She used to think she needed a new dress for every occasion (she LOVES clothes and has a fantastic sense of style). I am so happy that she has become wiser about the cost of clothes.

  30. Thank you to everyone for all the congratulations! It’s a girl! Named after both of her grandmothers. We love her so much!

    I have to share another frugal win: I bought my breast pump off of Amazon, and it’s not a brand-name pump. But it had good reviews and was affordable (something like $50 as opposed to $250 for a brand-name one). It’s a bit unusual in terms of power (it plugs into a computer outlet or computer battery pack, as opposed to a wall or batteries) and my husband wanted to get rid of it and buy a higher-end one, but the lactation consultant at the hospital checked it out and said, “Why? This works perfectly well.” And it has!

  31. Hmm– Where to start frugally, Elizabeth R. I think doing an exact and careful accounting of where your money is, isn’t, went, goes, and should go is the first step. That is like your job; you have to do that! Then list your other assets: you have family or friends to help, you have some things taken care of (hopefully housing and transportation!), you have free community resources, you have some groceries in your pantry, you can pick up a few more work hours, you are in good health (I hope!)–whatever.

    After that, pick your own frugal style: You want a few big money savers or lots of little ones. You have more time than money. You are good at building up savings or behaviors and delayed gratification, to ultimately give yourself a reward. You are alone or you have a family to work with you. You can start lots of changes at once, or you have to start one new one each week. You can start with food, or with utilities, or not shopping, or doing everything at once. You do/ do not like to read blogs and frugal ideas. You have to plan ahead for December holidays. You like to set goals and make charts and thermometers to show your savings or pay-offs. You like motivational posters and reminders taped to your purse, like “November is a short month– only 30 days!” Best wishes to you!

  32. Thanks for the congrats, Maxine! It’s a girl, and we’re thrilled to have her here with us!

    By the way, the rice and beans recipe sounds great! If you have a chance, could you share it with us? I always hear about how delicious rice and beans are, but have yet to find a recipe that works for me. TIA!

  33. Honestly? This month has been difficult financially and emotionally. I had a surgery that is being difficult to recover from and has had some complications, unexpected medical bills, my youngest son was attacked while overseas (he is ok but coordinating care has been difficult), one brother is getting divorced, found out nephew was suicidal and is now in a psych ward (a blessing).

    So let’s focus on the positive – which is why I love this blog so much. Just reading about Brandy’s accomplishments and the rest of everyone’s week accomplishments is so calming and wonderful.

    *Made what meals I could at home – they were cheap and easy but everyone had enough to eat even though I was under the weather. Quesadillas are very versatile and easy to make. Also taco soup can feed a crowd for a day or two. When my husband is home he handles mealtimes. My kids are very helpful as well.

    *Was able to use Kroger Clicklist for groceries. Could order online and the first 3 orders are free. I’ve used two so far. Didn’t even have to get out of the car. Seemed to save money on that option. Also my husband was able to go shopping for me one week and he spent such a little amount but got everything we needed. Downside was it took him 2 hours so then we decided to use Click list to save him some time.

    *My friend brought me just picked Golden Delicious apples from her tree. They were so yummy!

    *Repurposed gift bags that were given to us. Made a Witch’s Broom (https://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/diy-witchs-broom-paper-bag-party-favors/ ) to give a gift to a friend. Used supplies and treats we had already. I didn’t have a stick so I took a third paper sack and colored the top brown and then rolled it up thin.

    Haven’t gone anywhere but the library and to pick up groceries while recovering. So that’s saved money as well I guess 🙂

    We are very blessed and I am counting my blessings daily. Another good thing is that my oldest son who has been gone for 6 months for basic and AIT training is coming home tonight. I’ve missed him so much and am looking forward to my first hug.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Thank you for this wonderful community 🙂

  34. Margaret (and others that may be interested), my friend Sheila serves rice and beans frequently. She says the secret is a good sofrito, and this is her recipe, in her own words.

    “When I lived in Puerto Rico, I learned the secret to making good rice and beans is in making good, homemade (not bought = loaded with MSG!) Sofrito. You make it by mixing together one bunch of washed cilantro, some oil, some water, a little salt and an onion and putting them in a blender and making a paste. You freeze it in either ice cube trays or I just throw it in a big zip lock and let it spread out nice and thin so you can break it up easily, because you will have made enough for several times of making rice and beans. Skipping this step always has resulted in rice and beans that no one is excited about, ever…. So once you have this sofrito, you put 2-3 TBS of it in a heavy bottomed pan you like to cook rice in. Then you add another TBS of oil and bring it to a medium heat for a few minutes. Then I add diced onion and diced peppers. Then after that has cooked like 5 minutes I add 1 cup brown rice and 2 cups water (or twice the water to rice ratio) then I add a can of beans, liquid and all. Bring it to a boil and then lower heat way down like to one or 2, just barely boiling. At this point I add 1-2 TBS of either capers or else green olives sliced in half. Simmer till it’s done, 40 minutes for brown rice, 20 for white. Serve with cheese, sour cream, avocados if you have them or (traditionally) opened cans of corn, not warmed up that you sprinkle on top. I also like some fresh cilantro for garnish.”

    This dish is vegetarian, not strictly vegan, because of the sour cream and cheese. However, you could skip these garnishes or use plant-based substitutes, or corn. I made it with brown rice, black beans and red bell pepper. I used about 2 tablespoons of sofrito, but next time I will use 3 tablespoons, because Sheila is right–it makes this dish. Add salt to taste.

  35. Our stove broke. We originally paid about $2,000 for this stove 3 years ago. Last Juneish something broke and thankfully we had the extended warranty on it. We waited 2 1/2 months to get it fixed. The extended warranty expired 2 weeks ago. Husband learned we would be paying at least $400 for repairs so I said let’s buy a new one. We bought cheaper option and spent $450, including delivery. I miss the days where you can fix things yourself and don’t have to wait months on nd for replacement parts.

    Only went out to eat once and Starbucks once. Spent less than $15 for both which is amazing for us. Since our family is still getting over the flu, my fresh produce is spoiling. Saving the best we can be freezings what can be frozen. Our daughter made cookies the day the first of us got sick and those were just sitting around drying out. I put all in freezer bags and put them in the freezer. Salvages some lemons too. Managed to stretch our meals into 2 extra since tummies are still not back to normal. Chicken noodle soup for 2 dinners plus today’s lunch.

    Bought curriculum for next year, saving a lot on odds and ends. I only bought the basics and plan on using the library and our personal library for supplementing for history and science. Been using some books for 10 years in our homeschooling.

    I have come to recognize that I have issues with money. I stress about money and then go spend money, as if to tell myself everything is okay. I’ve been disciplining myself to not spend. It’s hard but honestly, we don’t have the extra money to spend. That’s why I am proud of only spending $15 on take out and coffee. It’s such a small amount compared to our normal spending.

    My husband jobs contract is up in February. Trying to save in case of negotiations failing through but something always goes wrong. Last negotiations meant 5 or 6 weeks no pay. We made it but by the skin of our teeth. We had savings then too. We have nothing currently.

    Be blessed ladies. Thank you for sharing your frugal ways. My daughter has told me I’m the most frugal person she knows but yet I continue to learn each week from you ladies.

  36. There is a wholesale produce market about 10 minutes from our house that has a Cash and Carry section that is open to the public. Many of their things are the same price as the regular grocery but they have some “reduced” areas where they sell produce that is coming up to it’s sell-by date if it is prepackaged like the chopped onions, shredded carrots or if it is boxed produce, it may be some that won’t “hold” well when they close for the long weekend and needs to be worked up- canned,frozen, dried- right away! I am willing to rearrange my schedule to process those fruits and veggies to take advantage of the great prices as a way to add to my food storage!!!

  37. Brandy-so nice to hear your daughter was invited away with her friend-what a wonderful opportunity for her and I am sure she will enjoy it.

    My 19 year old daughter is also away at university in the most expensive city in Canada-Vancouver. We give her $500 per month for groceries and other necessities and she pays part of the tuition and apartment rent from her summer earnings and we then top that up and pay some too. She does not have a full kitchen but she can cook quite a bit. Luckily her tuition costs include a transit pass and an extended healthcare plan-she is also covered under free basic healthcare in our home province of Alberta and our extended healthcare as a dependent. Received a sizable cheque in the mail for taking our daughter off our car insurance for the 8 months she is away at university since she has no car to drive there.

    As for me, I was fortunate to be away touring Europe for 2.5 weeks as frugally as possible-this was a budgeted trip. I managed to get airfare from Calgary-London return for $364 US which is a steal. I really enjoyed the unseasonably warm temps in Europe. I travelled to Dubrovnik, Budapest, Prague, Kotor and Venice. I stayed in modest hotels, used public transit and although eating out sometimes I also made many trips to the local grocery store. In Venice I was amazed that I had to weigh my bun before reaching the till-where I live each bin of buns is usually priced at so much per bun. Since I left Venice last Tuesday they have had a vaporetto strike, a general strike and yesterday they were flooding so I am very thankful I visited last week.

    I used a contactless US credit card( without exchange fees) for most expenses including the London tube. Frugal win-paid less than $25 for 3 days of travel in London and then received a $10 credit from the credit card company for tapping my card 3 times in the month-this brought my price down to less than $5 per day including trips to and from the airport which I thought was a bargain. I also think they overcharged me for one trip by $2 so I figured out on line how to request a credit and we will see what happens.

    Frugal fail-I broke a tooth in London on my first day so paid about $122 US to have it repaired. I can however submit my receipt to my Blue Cross plan and I believe they will reimburse most of it.

    Although still jet lagged, I started a new PT job assisting the teacher in our local Grade 1 class-lots of fun and will provide me with some more fun money. My husband also works PT at this school as the lunchtime playground supervisor-he calls it his paid exercise program! We are at a less expensive stage of our lives now, without small children, mortgage paid etc so our day to day living costs are not too high. I enjoy living frugally day to day so I am able to travel. DH prefers not to travel too much-I don’t have the expense of a cell phone when I travel but I do take a small computer and Skype from that to stay in touch. Money for university expenses was saved up over the years. Even though both in our 60’s and collecting pensions we enjoy working PT and having some money for extras.

    I hope everyone has a frugal week.

  38. Brandy your photo of the roses is divine and I am glad you were able to find some plants at discount prices. What a wonderful experience for your daughter to go on holiday wih friends 🙂 .

    We have had a big week here and are really tired but excited.

    Here is what we did to save money and accomplished this week –

    House purchase savings and finances –
    -Good news is the current owners of the property we purchased have agreed to spray the fence lines and outdoor structures for termites and the outside ans stumps that were found and agreed also to spray the inside and outside for pests, fix a leaking pipe under the home and replace a broken window saving us between $3500 – $5500 if we had to do it ourselves.
    – Saved another $20 on our roadside assistance membership by changing our 3rd party over to the same firm the cost was the same as the previous 3rd party insurer we used to go with.

    Groceries –
    – Did a small top up of dried baking goods using an discount e-voucher and taking advantage of specials saved another $44.94 off usual prices.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Blanched and froze broad beans picked from the gardens making 14 more double meals for the freezer.

    Home organisation –
    – We have now packed half the house into labelled boxes and this week concentrated on packing our medical supplies and food storage leaving out what we will use until we move.
    – I damp dusted everything and DH vacuumed the rooms as finished packing each room.

    In the gardens –
    – Weeded our sweet potato bed and put weeds in the bin.
    – Chopped up half of our dried broad bean plants ready to trench compost tomorrow to save room in the bin.

    Hope everyone has had an equally good week 🙂 .


  39. Please…tell us more about the dry soup mixes. Recipes, directions, or where to find. I’m fascinated by your approach to reducing your fabric stash.

  40. Congrats on the arrival of your new baby girl, Margaret. I hope you enjoy every cuddle with your new little one. They really do grow up so fast!

  41. This past summer I mentored a young lady (she was 20 yrs old) that I worked with. She was eating out all the time and spending every penny of her paycheck plus has credit card debt. She was reluctant with the idea of cooking, until I challenged her to try making some of her favourite restaurant meals at home. It really clicked for her that she could learn to make those favourite meals and have them anytime she wanted to. Cooking because a lot more fun.

    It’s hard when you are in school to find time to cook a nice meal. There is always such high demands with school projects and studying, on top of trying to earn money and keeping up with chores and everyday demands of life. There is only so much time and energy each day. Your daughter may be on her own now, but it will take some practice to learn how to balance it all. I’m sure she is doing the best she can. I’m glad you were able to help her out by sending her home with a pre-made, healthy, homemade meal.

  42. Sounds like your doing an excellent job at stocking up for winter, Elizabeth. I like the way you are shopping once a month, then buying sale items as you have the funds. Such a great way to stay on budget, yet still take advantage of those stock up deals! Soon we will start to see baking and other various holiday supplies on sale. I hope your funds continue to allow you to stock up on those deals too!

  43. Gardenpat you are a testimony to what hard work can do to pay bills and save at the same time, well done we are so happy for you :).


  44. My work can be very wasteful with food as well. I’ve brought home lots of things that were “expired or expiring soon” that they were going to throw out becasue they can’t sell it (like soda and potato chips which are still fine past the “best before” date), or fresh produce grown in the village gardens that no one was using and was being left there to rot. So incredibly wasteful! I’m glad your husband was able to bring that food home where it won’t go to waste!

  45. Funny you should mention getting lots of wear out of clothes! That’s hubby and me! Most of our clothes are thrift store finds of good quality pieces that we’ve bought for really cheap prices! When we were meeting with our company’s financial advisor because hubby is planning retirement in May next year, she had us figure out an annual all-inclusive budget to see how much we needed to have ready in income. She tried to insist that $500/year for each of us for a clothing allowance was minimal! We laughed and explained that even to split $500/year between the 2 of us for an annual clothing budget was way too high!!! Lol!! Perhaps that’s why we will be able to get by comfortably after retirement even though while raising 11 kids we didn’t put into retirement account until midway through his career! Our wants are just not that extravagant!

  46. Perhaps you could take the kids to the grocery store to pick out a meal they want, just for fun. They might pick a frozen pizza and ice cream, or tacos and a bakery treat. Or they might surprise you and ask you to make their favourite “grandma’s house” meal. It will still be cheaper than going out, but if you are concerned, just put a limit on how much you will spend (Grandma has $10 or $20 so pick what you want for dinner within that amount).

    Sometimes they just want to try something that is not normally something mom & dad would let them have, like some sugar loaded cereal they desperately want to try. I remember my grandma bought me Nutella once while I was staying with her, which my mom would never have said yes to. I bought DD “cheese in a can” when we were vacationing in the states. I let her get it because we were on vacation and it is a novelty we don’t have here is Canada (that I know of anyways). I remember once hearing Bill Clinton talking about his daughter wanting to buy a coconut. He laughed about how they had one heck on a time cracking it open, but finally managed to get into it! So trust me, this can become a very special memory that will stay with them for a long, long time. Regardless of how much you have to spend, make the experience fun!

  47. How fun for your daughter, I hope she’s having a wonderful trip!

    This past week, I cleaned out my daughter’s room. Frugal because we’re freeing up space getting rid of things she doesn’t need or use, and because she can make much better use of the things she does have (and I’m avoiding costly medical bills by tripping over all the toys the were carpeting her floor, yikes). It took me almost six hours of work to get it clean, but I still managed to make dinner that night, so I felt pretty good about myself. I’ve been doing yoga videos via YouTube, reading books on my Kindle, I watched a free documentary offered by our local community college, and my mom gave me her Kohl’s cash, which I turned into two lovely dresses. 🙂

    My son’s Halloween costume cost two dollars (made out of posterboard from the Dollar Store), and my daughter won a free prize pack when her Nature Cat costume (which I made) won the costume contest for her age group. 😀 I cooked spaghetti sauce, then turned those leftovers into baked spaghetti, and made a huge pot of black bean soup. We ate off of these meals all week long. Not a bad week. 🙂

    Have a great week, everyone!

  48. At 6 months old, there should be other signs that they are roosters besides not laying eggs, like the shape of their tail feathers and whether they’re crowing. Some breeds take longer to start laying. I was a little worried about my Ameraucauna chicken, but she finally started laying at 7 months old.

  49. Our seasonal National Park Service jobs are finished for this year and we are in the process of moving across country back to Wyoming. It was fun but I’m looking forward to being home. The last few weeks we have been using up all the freezer and refrigerator food. I gave some food to my daughter when we last visited her. I baked congo bars to use up the coconut and chocolate chips. I took the few frozen items leftover to work for coworkers. And I packed up snack and lunch food for the trip across country.

    We had lots of travels during our time on the east coast – 13 states, 32 national park sites – on our jaunts during days off from work plus visits to family and friends in PA, OH, NC and VA. We even made it to New York City, staying in less expensive Somerset, N.J. and taking the train into the city each day. The Candlewood Suites we stayed in had little kitchens and refrigerators so we ate breakfast and lunch on our own(packed for eating in the city), eating dinner out only twice.

    I thought we had packed minimal things – but really I brought twice as many clothes as I needed and more cooking and baking equipment than necessary. Also we only used our camping stuff for about 6 nights – much less than we expected due to the excessive rain on the east coast this year. So when it came time to pack our two cars, it was a chore to squeeze everything in, but we just squeaked by. We did leave behind a fan we bought for $8 when the air conditioning broke during a heat wave. Fortunately our landlady got the air conditioning fixed in one day, so the fan was needed only briefly.

    All in all, my first six months of “retirement” were pretty financially successful since I saved all our IRA “draw”, i.e. the income we asked for from retirement savings, since we paid for everything with our seasonal job earnings.

  50. What, please, is a “contactless” credit card? I am intrigued.

    Your trip sounds lovely. We were in Prague & Budapest & Vienna in April and it was really warm. I bought a cotton dress at a flea market & wore it a lot of the trip. Europe is so wonderful in the way the countries seem to prioritize quality of life, and beauty over profit.

  51. – A single church lady asked if she could join our family for Thanksgiving in November. We said yes of course. Then she offered to provide the turkey if I would cook it. We would have said yes even if she didn’t bring a thing.
    -I bought a booster seat that straps to a dining room chair. It has a tray too. I found this on a Facebook sale site for when my granddaughter visits.
    – I encouraged my family to start Amazon Christmas wish lists so I can start buying a little at a time or find other ways to make or buy similar items. Both sons and my husband also have birthdays in December so this hits all at once.
    -My husband is a pastor and October is pastor appreciation month. We were gifted 2 restaurant cards, 2 pies, and a jar of BBQ sauce along with many thank you cards.
    – My husband made a bedside table for me out of scrap wood and it turned out beautiful! He is quite a craftsman.
    – I “shopped my own house” for accessories to make pretty arrangements on our bookshelves in the living room. What a difference without spending anything.
    – We drove to town (30 miles each way) to visit my Grandmother in the hospital and my Mother in Law at the nursing home (she has dementia). I was able to run errands while we were in town to save an extra trip. We also used one of the gift cards for dinner/date.

  52. Sounds like an AMAZING trip! Kudos to you.

    Did you buy an Oyster card for the London transportation part of the trip? How did you get RT to London airport for so little $$? Would love to know your travel secrets 🙂

  53. First, read as many of Brandy’s blog post under the heading “LIVE”. She has some great advice that is very helpful. Also, here are some other blog posts which may be helpful as well:

    My biggest suggestion is to get a Pinterest account (they are completely free) and start your own research. Try searching words like frugal, money saving, cheap, inexpensive, budget, etc. There are tons of great ideas for everything from how to save on everything in your home, to extremely cheap but delicious recipe ideas that help you stay on track. The more you research, the more you will see there are very specific trends that most frugal people follow to save money. Sometimes you also find little ideas or nuggets of wisdom that are “Ah ha!” moments that would work great for your own family. Remember, if you have a family, they may not buy into or support your frugal changes. The changes may be just you at first. But as your efforts start to pay off, it might help stimulate the rest of the family to follow along, especially if they start to see the rewards (like having money to do things they want or buy things without panicking on how they are going to pay for it). Friends may also not understand these changes or try to sabotage your efforts. It can be a lonely road, sometimes. So keep coming here…you will find lots of support from all of us!

  54. I’m so excited for your daughter. She should have a great time.

    Last week was quite wild around here, a little more than normal even, but we made it through and managed to stay frugal through it all.

    A friend found out she had to move very quickly. I was able to help a couple of times. The day of the move itself, I make a lot of taco fillings, packed that, soda and cookies up in a cooler, and saved us a trip to the pizza parlor or fast food joint.

    I finished up the fall canning, using the rest of the ripe tomatoes in pizza/pasta sauce and the green ones in Salsa Verde. Now, I’m taking a break from it for a while to do other projects, then will likely can some beef broth from some bones I discovered in the freezer, Pictures are here: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/10/29/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-october-28-2018/. I’m happy to have full cupboards and freezers, but am pretty tired, so welcome the break.

    I have tackled several small areas in the house–removing clutter and dirt. (So much dirt! It is SO dusty and dirty and the more I clean, the more I find!). I hope to continue that project all week, every time I have a spare 1/2 hour or so. It will likely take more than a week, but little by little….

    I finally made it to JoAnn’s during a pattern sale and got a few patterns. I specifically chose one that would work better for my daughter, in case she decides to go to another dance and wants me to sew another dress. One reason I had to alter so very, very much on the last dress was because I did not have her size and patterns were not on a good sale and I refused to pay the price for one. Now, I have a good option for another time, if the occasion arises. JoAnn’s is in another part of the city where I rarely find myself, so I don’t get there often. That is probably another big money-saver, but there are times when I wish it was a little more handy to my location.

    My aunt gave us several freezable ice packs she did not need. We use them constantly, as we are transporting food in coolers at least once a week, usually way more often.

    I filled the yard debris bin last night. That is a goal I have, as there is so much pruning and trimming to do around here and they will take it weekly, included in my garbage service. I have not dared to look at the place I trimmed yet today, as it got pretty dark before I was done:). I’m sure it’s fine, and here in Oregon, it will grow back quickly.

    I got my daughter started on a small sewing project I came across that she had started long ago. I’m so glad she’s showing an interest again, and I will help her again soon. We have many craft and sewing project materials, many still in bins from when we moved a couple of years ago that I would love to see completed or used. It has been difficult to find the time OR the materials, but things are getting more and more settled and accessible as my husband continues to clean and sort the bins in the shop. It’s no fun to sew or craft when you spend most of the small time you have carved out looking for the thing you KNOW you have somewhere, but simply cannot find. Since then, we have chosen to purchase only the things that we absolutely need for a certain project, though, knowing it was only a matter of time until it all was available again, because we certainly don’t need more!

    I used the rest of the pears from my sister. I cooked several acorn squash and a very small Sweetmeat squash from the garden. We used cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, a cucumber and peppers from the garden. Although there are a few scraggly bushes out there, most are gone and what’s there is very, very ugly. It has turned very rainy, which is normal, but there has been no frost, yet. I hope to get a few more veggies before the bushes rot completely in the rain, or freeze. I started tying up the blackberries, and need to finish them and move on to the raspberries.

  55. Ivy is terrible. One place I lived years ago had trees that were dying from the ivy climbing up them and choking them out. Much to my dismay, this place I live in now, in town, is covered with ivy. I feel like I’ve been chopping and cutting the entire 2 years we’ve lived here. It’s on the fences, and I have permission from one neighbor to spray, as he hates it too. I have not spoken to the other neighbors, so have been just clipping in those areas. Since this house was built in 1948, any one, at any time, could have planted a small sprig and it would look like this now:). I can see evidence in the neighbor’s trees that some one has rescued those trees from the ivy at some time–there are huge dead vines way up in the tree–so GO, Tina! The ivy wars continue!

  56. When do you hope to make the move? I’m very excited for you. It’s a lot of work, especially since you have quite a bit of storage, but so exciting!

  57. Amy S., I am sort of in your situation right now, so I really feel for you. You’ll be in my prayers!
    Some frugal good things:
    I took a survey offered by a food co-op of which I’m a member, and received a $2 coupon as a thank you. Not amazing, but a nice surprise.
    I stopped myself from re-joining a book-buying club. The books are lovely and I can get great classics, but it’s expensive.
    I’ve got almost $25 worth of Swagbucks saved up to get another gift card. This is one way I Christmas shop, using SB gift cards, usually to Amazon, but sometime to Paypal.
    I mended the waist elastic in a pair of new-ish underwear.
    I’ve made more progress in my numerous painting projects around the house. One thing I’m painting is a 50 cent frame I bought at a yard sale years ago, not realizing it was an odd size. It’s a good wooden frame, though, and I finally found a use for it. I’m using an indoor-outdoor acrylic paint that I already had used on a door.
    We are keeping the air conditioning and the heat off right now. It’s that golden few weeks in Florida in which we need neither.

  58. Mary in southern AZ October 29, 2018
    I spent 5 yrs cooking in a motel room with no kitchen. I used an electric skillet more than a crock pot. I could even do a small chuck roast with carrots,potatoes and onions in it and then turn it into stew by adding gravy for another meal or hash without the gravy to add an egg. My son used an electric skillet when on base in barracks, even though he uses a crock pot and instant pot now days (he is single) IF you can find a decent one she might do better with it.

  59. Thank you for all encouragement last week. There was many times last week I went and read them. I didn’t get much done last week I was in a fog. This week I am better. I have a list and keeping myself busy. No so frugal week. Had to get filling that need to be filled, both my daughter had a birthday and our youngest had to order her graduation stuff. But we did eat all meals at home and stayed home all weekend (no one in our house was feeling good). I froze my gym membership until April. Clean out pantry. This week is clean out freezer.

  60. Stocked up on 10 lbs each of thick and thin cut pork chops for $1.71 lb. at the commissary. Also bought 10 lbs of ground beef at $1.77 lb. Restocked some pastas as they were $.89 lb., but not many. After the pantry moth issue I am reluctant to fully restock until my mylar bas and new sealer come in. Restocked vitamins using a sale and coupons someone in line gifted me.

    Voted early. As the weather was nice, I opened the windows to air the house out. Hung the laundry. A colleague brought me veggie scraps for my chickens. The hand bell choir at church was reformed. It had been disbanded under the prior pastor, but the new pastor was happy to have us back. I may rejoin the choir too, as they meet right after bell practice.

    Did another colleague luncheon last week (we bring stuff and eat for several days). I brought homemade bread and boiled carrots to go with shredded beef. Next week is my turn to bring in a meat. Was the recipe guinea pig for a friends’ practice round for a party she was holding, then attended the party a few days later. I was sent home with a substantial bag of leftovers that will feed me for several meals. Was invited to a friends for dinner another night, brought wine. Joined friends out for dinner one night at a restaurant and ate the salad bar, bread, and birthday cake and took my dinner home used a coupon and a special.

    Held an impromptu dinner party for 8(!) on a work day rather than us all going out to dinner that several of us really couldn’t afford. A quick curried butternut squash soup using my canned squash, a simple green salad with vinaigrette, and a crab and pea risotto (canned crab, frozen peas). Made a cherry cobbler for dessert from home jarred cherries and homemade granola for dessert. A couple of guests brought wine.

    Got to visit with an old colleague during the long wait at the military pharmacy.

  61. Why, oh why have I never thought to put a cookie sheet on top of a pan instead of using aluminum foil!?! So much easier for peaking in and see how it is cooking, too. Thank you for that great tip, Leigh Ann!

  62. Elizabeth rotering October 29, 2018
    My daughter just made the same comment, then followed up with she wrote down what her regular bills were and estimated the heat and electric to be higher do to it being cold and wet. Added GAS TO GO TO WORK (running joke in our family as the older daughter and Hubby kept forgetting to put this aside when they first got out on their own) and then looked to see what she had in her pantry and what she really needed to buy (AKA toilet paper) to get through 35 days (she has always went past the end of the month especially with pantry in case she didn’t make it to the store.)
    She rotates through Brandy’s beans every night menu but she added Mexican pizza to it as she does it with beans only.

  63. I’m a newbie here, and feel a tad inadequate compared to all the frugal accomplishments, but I’ll go, too!
    — We practice once a month grocery shopping, and I’ve managed to shop for 10 weeks for only $200 for two of us, plus our pets.
    — We ate well, but frugally, and enjoyed free grapes from our vines and figs from a neighbor’s tree (she doesn’t like figs! go figure!).
    — I only did laundry every 2 weeks, which is doable since there are only 2 of us, and we’re good about wearing clothes more than once (or twice, even).
    — I used up some apples and bananas that were about to go south to make both apple and banana breads and froze the loaves for when company comes over. The apple bread is really good!
    — We diagnosed and fixed a minor car problem, saving us a trip to a garage.
    — We put our garden out of its misery. We were hit hard by Hurricane Florence, and the garden was a casualty. We pulled out everything, composted, tilled, and mulched, and are hoping for a better garden next year. It happens.
    — We had a few unfrugal moments, too, but we’re working on those as we go along.
    We’re recent retirees, and are finding our lowered stress and lowered expenses a real relief, despite the (much) lower income.
    I do so enjoy reading everybody’s frugal accomplishments!

  64. Douai, I already posted this link for someone else. However, I think is might be very helpful to your situation, so here is is again: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/less-consumerism/. The post is about how to challenge your addiction to consumerism. Perhaps some of this info might resonate and be helpful to you. Recognizing the problem is a huge and hard step, so congrats to you on enbracing this epiphany!

  65. We are a bit out from retirement but already talk about it. Clothes won’t be a big line item for us either, though I am 6 feet tall and often have to order tall clothes from pricier companies. But they last a long time. I fill in with thrift store finds. My husband is slightly smaller than our son, so he takes son’s hand-me-downs. My two girls are exactly the same size and they pass clothes back and forth when they are together. I buy all my husband’s dress shirts at thrift stores, all look like new and some great brands. He buys 2 pairs of pants for work and rotates them every day. They 2 pairs last at least 2 years each. He’s a teacher.

  66. What a kind gesture for your daughter’s friend to ask her to come on vacation with her family. I’m sure she is enjoying every minute of it!

    We had a pretty busy week, but lots of fun as well. Trying to stay warm, as some wet and cold weather has descended upon us. We’ll survive, I’m sure. Our frugal accomplishments for our family this week included:
    *Meals made at home included breaded popcorn chicken with homemade fried rice (used the leftover white rice from the weekend, some leftover corn and lots of frozen mixed veggies) and leftover spring rolls, breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce, potato wedges and coleslaw, piggies in a blanket (breakfast sausages & cheese) and spinach dip rolls (new recipe, see below) with salad, French beef dip sandwiches with potato chips and hot turkey sandwiches (used frozen leftover turkey) with green/wax beans.
    *Pantry/Freezer stock up buy this week was margarine 8 @ $1/tub (we keep it in the freezer). I decided not to do much grocery shopping this week, as we had plenty on hand already.
    *Stopped my mom from buying a 2 pack of full priced beef roasts at Costco. She forgot we had bought and froze 6 roasts when they were on sale.
    *Had a canning marathon day. My mom peeled and sliced, while I canned up 10 pints of pears, 7 pints of strawberry applesauce (I put some frozen strawberries in with the apples, cook them until soft, then pureed them with my hand blender. After tasting, I added a very small amount of sugar to sweeten it a just bit), and 6 pints of unsweetened plain applesauce. My mom then assembled 12 small pans of unbaked apple crisp (they are just big enough for 4 small servings) with the remaining apples to freezer for later use. That took care of the pears I bought for $0.98/lb and the remaining apples from the bushel we bought a couple weeks ago.
    *My mom made a batch of fruitcake. We cut it up, sealed it in food saver bags and froze it. The recipe makes so much, it lasts us for a couple years!
    *Tried a new recipe this week, Spinach Dip Rolls (recipe link: https://richbitchcooking.com/2016/12/03/vegan-spinach-dip-rolls/). As you will see, it is actually a vegan recipe, but I use regular dairy cream cheese and sour cream instead, plus I added a bit of Parmesan cheese as well. I buy the crescent rolls on sale when they are $1 a tin. DD is very selective on what she will eat (Autism trait), but loves spinach dip from restaurants. I was hoping this might appeal to her. She was excited to try it anyway. Both DD and my mom said it was good, but would prefer it as just a spinach dip and not wrapped in the crescent roll. Easy enough to do. So next time I’ll just bake the spinach dip in a pan.
    *Decided to make some bannock one afternoon, just because I had a craving. We had a family friend over helping us with an electrical issue, so I shared some with him. He enjoyed it so much, he asked for the recipe. I printed a copy with the printer and gave it to him to take home.
    *Pulled 2 boxes of pudding from the pantry, 1 chocolate and 1 vanilla. Mixed them up in separate bowls, then made 10 layered pudding cups for DD and friend’s school lunches treat this week. It appears the friend will be staying at this school for now, as the place they were going to move to has fallen through. Therefore, I will continue to send lunches for her as needed.
    *Took DD and her friend to a free swim through the PHIT program. I was sad I couldn’t swim too (lady issues), but at least they had some fun, frugal exercise.
    *I worked the “All Hallows Eve” event at my work, both Friday and Saturday night, which means I will have an upcoming pay check. We were offered free cookies and hot chocolate during the event to keep our energy up. It was a cold one this year, including snow on the second night!
    *My mom brought DD and her friend to the event on Friday night for some inexpensive fun. They went to McD’s for dinner as a treat and used some of the free food item stickers we won from the Monopoly game to make it cheaper. Because I work there, they were able to get into the village for free. It was the 1st time DD’s friend had ever went to this event (her family basically doesn’t do anything involving crowds, even if it’s free). Both of the girls had a great time!

    Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Reading all the posts is one of the highlights of mine, so a big thanks to all of you!

  67. Elizabeth,

    You’re doing a great job. By only going once a month to shop, I save a lot of money on transportation. And time, too! In searching for bargains, people sometimes drive all over, not remembering that gas costs so money saved from one pocket takes more out of another!

  68. Douai October 30, 2018
    I read this from Simple Abundance A Daybook of comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach October 28. Financial Serenity instead o financial sercurity.Serenity is not based on our economic condition but on our belieft that we have a state of abundance…

    As Brandy says Making life beautiful for less. I look every day to find beauty in the day that is free.

  69. 1. Made Wizard of Oz decorations and costumes for our church’s trunk or treat
    2. Mostly scavenged together costumes to wear for character day at our homeschool co-op (my kids could not/would not wear their Wizard of Oz costumes….witches are forbidden at this church apparently and lions are not cool enough for 6 yr old boys….)
    3. Bought huge bags of suckers to give as treats at the event (way cheaper than chocolate!)
    4. Received a free doctor’s visit due to medical coding loopholes
    5. Signed up to join a free low carb accountability group on Facebook…good health=big savings over time:)

  70. We are scheduled to travel to a family gathering this weekend. We signed up to bring appetizers and a salad.
    Our neighbor shared a nice salmon with us that he caught fishing. We ate one portion for dinner and my husband smoked the other portion.
    I planned to use the smoked salmon as part of the appetizer tray. I was wanting to purchase a large wooden cheese board for the appetizer tray but knew that would cost upwards of $40. My husband came up with a large cedar board he had in the garage and he cut it to size and sanded it really well. I then coated it with olive oil and added some wonderful restoration hardware handles that originally cost $26 each but I got them on clearance years ago for .49 each. They are really heavy nice handles. I had been saving them for a special use and this was just the right one. I now have a very large wooden tray for zero out of pocket cost.
    Thank you Brandy for teaching me to think outside the box. I am excited to put my appetizer tray together using crackers bought on a great sale, free smoked salmon, fancy cheese from grocery outlet and one sliced apple or pear and a bunch of grapes all purchased on sale. This appetizer tray is going to look like it cost a hundred dollars purchased from some fancy grocery store. In reality it costs less than $8!! The tray will serve me well for years to come.
    I’m also excited about a Christmas gift I made. I crocheted an edging for a hand towel and then crocheted a matching soap bag. I placed a bar of really nice soap in the bag. This gift will go to my niece who has her own apartment and is just starting out on her own . My homemade gifts are starting to look almost as nice as the ones Brandy makes for her family which is really exciting to me. I am learning that practice is key. I have been working seriously on honing these skills for about 3 years now and it is starting to pay off. This gift cost me about $2 to make but took my time and effort.
    Our travel is about 8 hours of driving so I will be bringing our own drinks and snacks and we will gas up the car with the cheapest gas we can find. It will be worth it to share some quality family time with my husband’s family as they only get together a couple times a year.
    Thanks to learning all the frugal tips from all of you, we can make this trip without busting our budget.

  71. A friend gifted me two large squashes from his garden. He left them on my porch for me. I made a double batch of tomato-squash soup (using the last tomatoes from my garden) and still have plenty of squash to roast or freeze. I will give my friend some fresh eggs (we have a surplus right now) when I see him this weekend as a thank you. One batch of the soup will be gifted to another friend who is in need. I babysat my niece’s twin toddlers for a few hours so she could have a break. She surprised me with a loaf of fresh bread from an artisan bakery as a thank you (unnecessary but very nice). I dog sat for my neighbor’s two dogs and earned $150.

  72. How nice of your daughter’s friend to invite her to come along. I hope Winter has a wonderful time!

    Our Frugal Efforts:

    * Read The Prudent Homemaker blog! 😉 Honestly, I so enjoy this blog and get so many wonderful ideas here.

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals including bean and cheese burritos (homemade “refried” beans from the freezer), penne and grilled chicken alfredo (used an already-grilled chicken breast from the freezer), beef tacos, Italian Vegetable Soup (aka minestrone) w/ homemade Herb Quick Bread, and leftovers.

    * Finished processing apples. Our pantry is now pretty full of apple sauce and apple butter, and we put some of the apple butter into 4 oz jars to use as Christmas gifts.

    * Hubs made and processed some bread & butter pickles.

    * Made ranch dip mix, taco seasoning, and three loaves of bread.

    * Harvested a lemon, bell peppers, and green beans.

    * Hubs took cuttings from some of our Christmas cactus and has them rooting. They, too, will be given as Christmas gifts.

    * Washed ziplock bags (we always do this; I just never write it down).

    * Walked the dog for exercise (we always do this as well).

    * Read library books. (I’m currently reading/rereading To Kill a Mockingbird, since son is reading it in his English class.)

    * Collected a few eggs. Our hens are molting, so they aren’t producing as many at the moment.

    * Went to Goodwill and purchased some new-to-me clothing.

    * Celebrated son’s good grades by going to Starbucks (used a gift card, so no money OOP).

    * Hubs fixed some of our outside drip line(s)/plumbing.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  73. My jobs throws food out all the time. The amount of waste is crazy. Sometimes they let me take it, other times they do not. Glad you are enjoying the free food.

  74. I’m sorry to hear that it’s been a difficult month. That’s the right attitude though, focusing on positive things.

  75. Sue
    If you do not mind, could you post your Apple bread recipe? I love anything with apples!


  76. Lorna- you’ve been inspirational on how you’ve worked on your goal to use your frugal savings to become a down payment on a home! It’s thrilling to see how that has come to fruition now! So excited to hear that you are in contract on your dream property! Out of small and simple things, great things are accomplished!!

  77. Thank you so much for the cookie sheet idea Leigh Ann! We’re on a mission to drastically reduce the waste (including recyclables) we produce and eventually be zero waste. This is a great way to avoid using aluminum foil and save some money.

  78. We used wood we had picked out of the construction dumpster to make a hand railing for our front porch. We hung an old curtain that I had insulated with a blanket from a thrift shop a few years ago at the bottom of the open staircase to help keep the heat down stairs. We open the basement outside door in the mornings to cool the basement down to keep it cool enough for the potatoes and winter squash instead of turning the portable AC on. Not much else as for the first time in 25 yrs we are BOTH sick at the same time.
    Blessing on everyone

  79. I never thought about using a cookie sheet either. Just think of all the foil I’ll save now. Thanks for mentioning this. This is why I enjoy Brandy’s ideas and all the readers comments. I just bought foil yesterday, so it should last a long time.

  80. I have an old crock pot that still works even though it is missing a rubber stopper on one of the feet. I balance it with a spoon. I decided to buy a new one but went to crock pot web site and found I could order 4 of those rubber stoppers for $3. Great site and you can order all kinds of replacement parts. https://www.crock-pot.com/ click on parts and replacements. Used that old crock pot to make large boneless pork loin with a season salt, garlic powder, and dried rosemary rub. Served it for Saturday dinner with sweet potatoes cooked in salt and veg. Saved broth and made gravy with it the next day and served the gravy over fries on Sunday and made hot pork sandwiches with gravy and mash potatoes Monday. Also had pork in quinoa bowls that I made and a pork sandwich for dinner one night with the tiny bit of left over pork. Everyone else had free pizza at bowling party.
    Going to trick or treat dinner/candy hand out with neighbors and I will be taking espresso brownies with chocolate chips from an 85 cent Aldi brownie mix. Made meat loaf sandwiches for hubs to take for lunch from frozen slices of meatloaf hubs had brought home from a dinner several months ago. Made more quinoa bowls today topped with left over corn, turkey burger, grilled onions, avocado and then topped it with Italian dressing and a dollop of sour cream. Hubs heard our toilet leaking and had all the parts to fix it. Going through drawers and decluttering. Donating items to Goodwill and taking receipt for our taxes. Getting ready to look up soup recipe online for left over ham bone I have and black beans. Normally I would go buy the 15 dried bean bag for soup but am determined to use the dried bags I already have in my pantry. Have fun frugaling.

  81. Cindi, I think that’s great that you tried the physical therapy exercises on your own and found relief. I work in a physical therapy office, and we treat many people who have gone from doctor to doctor for their issue, often spending thousands of dollars on treatment that did not work, before trying physical therapy. With a combination of treatment and home exercise, the majority of our patients are able to regain mobility and reduce or eliminate their pain. I wish doctors would have their patients give physical therapy a try before sending them on to more expensive and more invasive treatments. Just my two cents worth…

  82. Elizabeth,
    How do you keep your carrots fresh so long in the crisper drawer? Do you wrap them in paper towels or something?

  83. This last week has just drained me in every way possible. Our recent trip had me drive 13 hours each way . We drove straight through each time as another two nights in a hotel was not budgeted for. My son’s commander gave him three 8 hr passes and my visit with him was one of the greatest moments in my life. Army boy will need to spend 10 more weeks where he is at. Not all plans go smoothly. We stayed on budget and now I will be struggling to pay those wicked house taxes this week. As usual, the bills are paid and the pantry is overflowing. After I visit the tax accessor I should be able to get back on budget. I am hoping an elephant doesn’t crash through my house or a dinosaur step on my feet. I seem to have had the craziest bad luck this year. My budget for the year is now gone. But, I can say that all the emotional encouragement has helped me during some extremely low times. I have managed to finally curb my impulsive shopping. This next year will be financially better. Sweet sugar cookie has had some unexpected medical issues once again. The roller coaster ride continues. I don’t want to blow up Brandys space with comments but please keep her in your prayers.

  84. Hi Becky and thank you for your encouragement 🙂 and our settlement date is the 10th of December and we are getting quotes for furniture removalists from today onward to move us to our new home which will at this stage be the 12th of December. We will take a few loads out ourselves on the 10th and 11th in our 2 cars and trailer being our personal papers, essential household items to get us started, gardening equipment, tools, fuels, cut firewood, manures and lucerne hay.

    So much simpler to get a furniture removalist in to do the removalist work and just plonk things in the home in which room we would like them rather than us doing it as we have so much stuff, heavy items and food storage.

    Looking at my above comment one sentence made no sense at all which shows that I am tired :p . It should have read that the current owners are paying for the window replacement, termite eradication of fences and outbuildings because the house had not been sprayed previously and are going to pay for the pest spraying inside and outside the house and termite spraying both inside and outside of the home too. The house fortunately had no termites in it but we wanted it done to stop that occuring since the termites were near the home in the fences.


  85. I agree! It is my goal to make everything I but last longer for frugal and environmental reasons. Besides, if things ever go become difficult to buy, I will have practiced not needing too much!

  86. Here are some links to dry mixes that I’ve made:

    The only thing I do differently is that I don’t have expensive freeze dried meats so I don’t put that into the jars! I just add precooked ground beef frommyfreezer or chicken, pork or beef chunks that I canned at the time I’m putting the rest into my crockpot !

  87. Love Andrea Bocelli’s and son Matteo’s new “Fall on Me” ! We have tix for his show in New York City on December 12. DH and my Christmas gift to each other.

  88. Amy S., Sending healing thoughts your way. Hopefully November will be a better month for you & your family. Thank you for posting the link to the witch’s broom – one of my friends will love to make these.

  89. Oh, how wonderful!!!! I have been watching the calendar knowing the time was getting close. I can’t wait to hear all of the details! Don’t bother replying right now. Take time to rest.

  90. A cookie sheet instead of aluminum foil…duh! I thought washing the aluminum foil off and using it again was impressive. NOT!

  91. I am sorry this has been such a hard month. Thank you for your sacrifices so your son can serve in the military and keep us safe. His hard work is appreciated by many.


  92. I’m glad you got to see your son, and that your trip went well.

    I am sorry your daughter is facing medical issues again, and will pray for her and you, both.

    Yes…property taxes struck us, too, as they do every year. We are very, very thankful that we had the money to pay them, so sent the money right off. Ouch! Guess that envelope needs stuffing again–little by little. I agree with you-this is an expensive time of year! We also have plenty of food and our needs are met. There is much to be thankful for. Thanks for the reminder to count our blessings, and that there is always hope.

  93. I’m not Elizabeth, but this is what I do. After washing the carrots, I put them in a ziptop bag while they are still slightly damp. Then I store them in the crisper drawer. I have had them last for up to four or five months this way. Sometimes they will sprout a little from the top or have small areas of discoloration, but I just cut this off and give them a good rinse before using them. (I use organic carrots so I don’t peel them before use).

  94. Lillianna, hoping and praying that things will get better for you . You have such a positive attitude despite your difficulties . Sugar cookie certainly has a wonderful mother . Remember that the Lord is watching over you and will provide in His own time. Please take comfort in knowing that everyone on here is praying and thinking about you and your struggles .

  95. Thank you so much for the encouraging words, Becky. 🙂 English ivy is considered an noxious weed in our area (Washington state), and it’s just everywhere. We have lots of ivy growing on the trees in our condo complex too. I have trimmed what I can – many of the trees are out of reach (on a steep hillside or in a ravine) – and we would need a professional arborist to take care of these areas. I have notified our condo board and spoken to our management representative about it. Hopefully they will take action so we won’t eventually lose the trees.
    And yes, like you, I’m going to keep doing what I can!

  96. Oh, lucky you! On You Tube there is a new posting of Andrea and matte singing Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” song together. I love that but I love “Fall On Me”. Bocelli only rarely comes to Canada. I thought about going to Montreal to hear him but it would have been about $1,000 for ticket and flight. How wonderful that you are both going to hear/see him. Almost all of the songs on the new cd are now posted by AB on You Tube. I think a lot of them will be sung at the concert you’re going to.

  97. Elizabeth, I’m not sure if you fell off the frugal wagon and want to know how to get back on, or if you just discovered that there IS a frugal wagon, LOL. Either way, it can be a very satisfying lifestyle, and I have never felt deprived. It’s just different.

    My best suggestion is the dreaded B word–BUDGET. You may not be in a position at this moment to start, but don’t put it off too long. Go to the library and check out one of Dave Ramsey’s books, which will tell you how.

    However, you might want to start on a small scale by budgeting for an all-cash Christmas. Start by deciding who will receive gifts, and be very wary of including much for friends, co-workers and neighbors. If money is tight, stick to your immediate family. If you MUST give to peripheral people, make a couple of batches of cookies, divide them up, and wrap with paper, containers and gift bags you already have. Even aluminum foil looks nice.

    Ours is a small family. My husband was an only child and I haven’t exchanged with my sister’s family in 30 years. All of our parents are deceased. I buy only for my husband, adult daughter who has developmental disabilities, adult son and his wife, who do not have children. When the kids were small, we established a tradition of 3 gifts per person. If I had grandchildren, they’d be getting 3 gifts and their parents would be getting one. If I couldn’t afford gifts for everybody, my husband and I wouldn’t give to each other. If I were sucked into gifts for extended family, I’d really try to draw names or something like that. In other words…SET LIMITS.

    The next thing I do is set a budget for each person. For the past few years, it has been $125-$150 per person. My husband and I had a sit-down talk about finances a few days ago and have decided to pull back in all areas. (We get Social Security, his pension and income from the stock market…which isn’t looking too good. We decided a little pull-back now would be a good idea in case we had to pull back a lot later). We have reduced our Christmas budget to $100-$125 per person. We have bought a few gifts already and are running under budget. And these are gifts the recipients will love! Good gifts come in all price ranges.

    The advantage of this is that we know when each person has 3 gifts, and we haven’t gone over budget, WE ARE DONE. When our kids were younger, before we started doing this, it was easy to buy “just one more thing” and go overboard. Just to make it easy, let’s say you’ve budgeted $400 for Christmas and have four pay periods between now and Christmas. You need to budget $100 per pay period for Christmas…and don’t forget to figure in for Christmas dinner.

    You might be able to reduce your outgo with gift cards that you have lying around the house. This year, I’ve got about $80 worth of Sears Shop Your Way points that I can use at Sears, Kmart and Land’s End (and intend to, before Sears goes away for good). I have a $52.50 merchandise credit at Harbor Freight for a returned item. And I’ve got a $10 GC to Target. In addition, I have tons of airline miles. Last year I cashed in 2,000 for a year’s subscription to People magazine. It was such a hit with my daughter that I will probably do it again.

    If I were truly broke, and was buying for adult children, I’d start gifting keepsakes and family heirlooms. I’m 72 and just downsized to a smaller house, and I’d be doing myself a favor if I did this. Actually, when my son and DIL get their own place, I will.

    You may be able to make some gifts. Last year I made about half my gifts and I only have cooking and basic sewing skills. You can find a lot of gifts online that don’t require more than that. This year, I spent 20 minutes and a $6 bath towel to make my DIL a bath wrap. Brandy had lots of ideas in her Gift a Day series. Try Pinterest. If you sew, make it a point to use up as much of your stash as possible. Cute, easy, cheap idea: make everyone flannel pajama bottoms and pair them with a matching T-shirt. I have gotten tees for as little as $2 each at Michael’s, and the quality is good.

    Finally, “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” You can apply this to any and all areas of your life! Good luck, and let us know how you do!

  98. I made it to the date I had to for a paid maternity leave- phew! Now that I’m there, I stopped laying on the couch at every moment I could :p
    – used cloth diapers as usual
    – made sure my insurance is covering a breast pump and looked online about how to keep up supply (something I’ve struggled with previously)
    – stocked up our freezer
    – went through the bins of clothes from my son. He was born in April but luckily there are enough long sleeve outfits for this little guy! The only thing I have bought for the winter is a snow suit on ThredUp.

  99. I see a chiropractor for my neck and back issues. they may be able to do an adjustment and teach you some other methods/ exercises to try.

  100. I’m glad your trip to see your son was a bit of sunshine and joy to feed your sole. Trips are notorious for sucking the energy right out of you, regardless of how enjoyable they are. Nothing that a little rest and routine can’t remedy, though. I’m sorry that your daughter is having more medical issues. I hope she is feeling better soon. At least the pantry is full and the bills are paid (except the tax man, but nobody likes paying him!). Keep up the grateful attitude…your doing amazing with what you have to work with! We’re all pulling for you, Lillianna!!!

  101. It was a fairly frugal week around here.
    -Comparison shopped for tires for our college-age daughter’s car and shipped free to local store. Will pick up and have the local tire shop put them on when she’s home for Thanksgiving break.
    -Ate all meals at home except for one lunch my mom bought and had dinner one night at church. We took a pasta salad I made from scratch with stuff on hand.
    -Made our budget for November and plan to track our spending daily to try to stay on track.
    -My husband received an unexpected construction project offer which will pay more than we planned on for the next 6 weeks or so which is a blessing.
    -Combined trips with my mom so we only went to town twice last week.
    -Made a meal plan based on what we have on hand and filled in at ALDI with what was needed so came in under budget for grocery and household spending for last week.
    -Budgeted $40 for Halloween as we plan to participate in the trunk or treat with our church. The candy was $30 (from ALDI) so that left us $10. We decided to create our own decorations from stuff on hand and save the other $10. Our theme is “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” so we made a starry sky out of a black tablecloth and cut out stars from yellow paper napkins. Our 13yo daughter cut out a moon and painted it. We pinned all of those to the tablecloth and will tie it to the back of the car as the back door pops up. We have 3 pumpkins that we will take and made a Great Pumpkin out of an orange plastic tablecloth and newspapers. It’s supposed to rain this evening here so we may be rained out anyway!

  102. Susan,
    I do pretty much the same as Tina. I get carrots either from friends with large gardens or from commercial farms right as they are harvested in the fall. (There are great prices in the grocery stores then.) They are very fresh, and generally fairly large. I store them in a plastic bag, so they don’t dry out, but they would be dry when they went in the bag. Here in northern Canada, they are considered a cold storage vegetable. Most gardeners I know store them in a plastic box in a cold basement.

    In the summer, I use younger carrots and smaller varieties right away.

  103. Thanks. A credit card that you just tap and does not require a PIN or a chip. At times I needed to sign a receipt but not always. This Visa card is called Venture One and issued by Capital One in the USA. Although we live in Canada my DH is also American so he has some US credit cards/accounts. There are also other contactless cards in the US and Canada-they have a certain wave symbol on them-4 curved lines. If you look it up online you will see what I mean. I believe Europe has them too. I was able to use this in London instead of an Oyster card.

  104. Here in Cincinnati, OH we can pay our property taxes monthly. It doesn’t hurt as much as paying one big yearly bill. Perhaps it is offered in other states too. Worth checking in to.

  105. Thanks. I did not buy an Oyster card because I learned from reading online that I could just use my contactless credit card with the wave symbol-this particular card also had no foreign transaction currency conversion fees. Some cards charge you about 3% each time they convert currency so I wanted to avoid that.
    I also found out that the Transport for London website has a single journey planner that showed me I could take the tube from Zone 2 where I was staying to Zone 6 Heathrow Airport for just 1.5 pounds if I travelled outside of rush hour which fit my schedule anyway as I needed to go midday. This 45 minute trip equated to about $1.99 US and the rest of the day I walked to explore the area around my hotel.
    Coming in from Gatwick Airport I learned that if I travelled off peak or not in rush hour and avoided Zone 1 in central London my train fare would be 8.30 pounds. It did require a train, change to another train and then 2 stops on the underground but even the more expensive express trains that go through central London require one change and are often not too much faster-but many tourists don’t realize that. On this day too I walked in the area.
    On my middle, full day I rode the underground several times around central London in Zone 1 and 2-the max fare per day for that off peak is 6.8 pounds per day so consolidated my museum trips etc into that day.

    Somehow my credit card bill came in just under $25 for the 3 days and then got the credit for $10 US for tapping 3 times in Oct. I almost felt like I got a coupon to use on my London travel. Of course if I hadn’t researched the most economical routes ahead of time I would have been duped into paying much more for the express trains or taxis or going through London zone 1 when I was staying in Zone 2. I know the day I left to Heathrow there were severe delays on the line I needed due to a pedestrian incident on the track. In order to have a back up plan I asked at my hotel desk and the taxi fare would have been 50 pounds vs 1.50 pounds on the tube-huge difference. So I allowed a little extra time and went for it on the tube. I travelled with only carry on luggage to make public transport easier and it also saved me a lot on checked bag fees. I would rather wash some clothes in the shower while I am showering and hang them to dry than take too much. Out of curiosity I did poke my head in a laundry near my hotel and it was 6.5 pounds to wash a load-that blew me away. In any case that was my first day and I had no dirty clothing yet.

    Since our credit card company is also offering the $10 bonus for 3 taps in Nov and Dec too and each has to be at least $1 US I told my husband each month we should just go to the gas station and put $1.40 Can( to allow for the exchange rate) 3 times in succession and we will be making money-a $10 US credit for spending $3 US on gas two moths in a row means they will pay for $14 of my gas!!

  106. Such a thoughtful and helpful post Maxine-especially at this time of year. I admit I haven’t even really thought about Xmas girts too much yet but I have just my DH and DD to consider. My Mum does not want any stuff and my DH does not wish gifts either. When my nieces and nephews were younger we did buy gifts for them but now they are adults we skip birthday/Xmas gifts. However if I attend their weddings we give a gift and I buy a new baby gift for the great nieces and nephews to welcome them but that is usually all. Did I mention that we have had 4 weddings and 4 new babies this year in our nieces and nephews-my goodness!

  107. my post should have said “Matteo” not matte, obviously. Mari, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time at the concert. His concert in Montreal was wonderful. I’ve watched a lot of it on You Tube.

  108. Gardenpat, I know you are trying to reduce your fabric stash, but you are really selling those soup cozies for a steal! As a sewer/quilter myself, they are sold in my area (SE Michigan area) for a minimum of $6 each! No wonder people are grabbing them up like crazy! You might want to up your price a bit or maybe sell them individually for maybe $4.50/$5.00 each at the lowest.

  109. Thank you for the link! I will read it as soon as I’m done reading here at Brandy’s for the day! I appreciate you taking the time to link to it!

  110. Maxine, thank you for sharing your friend’s recipe for rice and beans. I have always frozen my extra cilantro in oil but never with the onion. I will follow her instructions. Dried cilantro just loses all its flavor.

  111. My Aunt called last night with news that my Uncle has Pancreatic Cancer that has spread to his liver. Please keep them in your prayers. He is a Vet that gets his healthcare through the VA so they don’t have to worry about the financial aspect. I’m sure the emotional drain will more than make up for it though. Thank you ladies.

  112. 11 kids over 19 years, no multiples. 7 girls, 4 boys. Oldest is now 46, youngest 27. 34 going on 35 grandchildren. All responsible adults. Only the youngest has not married yet. 2 daughters have donated a kidney each to unrelated people- 1 to a friend of our daughter 11 years ago and the other to my brother-in-law 5 years ago! Now, my sister and brother-in-law don’t tease us about the huge number of kids we have! We’ve reminded them that our blood type can donate a kidney to anyone and our kids have never smoked, had any kind of alcohol or done any drugs so theirs are “premium” kidneys! Lol!!
    Never dull, used to cooking for a crowd! Used to making do and squeezing every penny!! Lots of “opportunities” to get creative!

  113. Mari, if you purchase items through the links Brandy has for AMAZON, which shows up on the side or end of the blog it does give her an amount for her referrals.

  114. Haven’t posted in a while so this covers a few weeks. Have been keeping up with the regular frugal things. Had to take the two little boy dogs to the vet and those were unanticipated expenses. One of them really needs a dental/cleaning and the price about put us in cardiac shock. Will have to pull money out for that but luckily we also have pet insurance. This particular dog has a lot of medical issues so we’ve kept insurance on him as he goes to specialists. Yeah, I know – pet’s are expensive but we really do love ours so much and they are actually like therapy at times.

    Stopped at Dollar Tree for a few things and found Hudson flour (from KS) – a 4lb bag for a dollar! I bought one bag and am going to go back for more. I don’t do much baking but I do like to keep about 20lbs on hand. After a lot of comparison shopping I bought some freeze dried veggies from Amazon – leeks, two types of potatoes, a soup mix, celery. I also bought reduced sodium Better than Bouillon in roasted garlic and veggie. I really like this brand and use them a lot to add flavor. I had to stop at Big Lots and found a huge cart full of Lundberg Wild Rice mix for $1.67 a two cup bag. I really like to add this to soups and use as a side. I bought three bags and when I got home I made one bag up in my Instant Pot. I froze three one cup servings, had some as a side with a pork loin that I cooked in the Instant Pot after I made the rice and then made a wild rice soup using up two small pieces of tenderized steak I’d cooked earlier in the week (and boy – they were tough when first cooked!), some almost ready to toss baby carrots and celery. I’d made beef broth out of bones I’d frozen and veggie scraps – did not turn out very flavorful so when I made the soup I added some re-hydrated mushrooms from a big jar I bought a year or so ago. The broth from them re-hydration made the soup very flavorful. I LOVE soup and love to make it but SO isn’t fond of soup on a regular basis (now, tacos – that is a different story – I could make tacos 5 nights week and all would be well). I freeze one serving portions for me to have as tacos aren’t high on my list. I used to buy high end soups to eat but realized 1. the sodium levels were through the roof and 2. soup is so easy and frugal to make!

    Had to return a lot of stuff to Home Depot. We had a couple of large projects at home and we also had to do some work on the rental house we had to get ready to sell. We used a Home Depot cc and paid it off. The cc was compromised so had to get a new one and wouldn’t you know it – they couldn’t return to the cc but would give us store credit. I was hesitating and then realized I could do a big stock up of cleaning products as well as getting some fall weed ‘n feed. HD has good prices on large sizes of cleaning products that I like to use (Simple Green for example). We’re set for at least six months. It will also be handy to have the store credit when we start traveling in our new to us fifth wheel – always seem to need ‘something’ and HD generally has it or it can be ordered.

    We bought a new to us humongous pick up (Ford 350 super duty diesel) to pull the fifth wheel. So that meant we had two pickups – the Ford 150 my SO bought after my FIL passed and no car. SO shocked me by proposing that we sell the F150 and get a small used much more economical car for regular use. We live 15 miles from the nearest town and doctors and our vet are 25 miles away – one way. Even combining errands still makes for an expensive trip with big trucks. I am pleased about this as while I am okay driving the pickups it seemed like a huge expense (tags, insurance, etc as well as fuel).

    Sold a jacket I’d never worn for $15.00 – paid $17.00 for it so felt like I hadn’t really lost too much. I rarely buy new clothing but had really wanted a white jean jacket. Bought this one from Old Navy online sale and when it got it here it was way too big and returning it was a hassle.

    We have to give pills to two of our three dogs. Neither is a good pill taker and the vet recommended pill pockets. They are quite expensive so when I looked through the discount meat area I found Hebrew National all beef, 99% fat free hotdogs for $1.00 a pack. I cut them up in pill pocket size, froze individually on a cookie sheet and put them in snack size zip locks. Works like a charm for the critters – they think they are getting a big treat and I am not dreading the daily pill hassle.

    We had snow last night for the first time. We didn’t use heat or AC for almost the entire month of October and we only needed it on for a short time this morning. Sweaters, sweat pants, warm socks and lap robes are enough right now.

    Okay – this is just a funny on me. I follow a couple of frugal blogs from women who are in the UK. Last weekend I saw on one of them about changing the clocks back. So, not thinking last Saturday night I changed the clocks in the house. Spent the entire day that way – until the next morning when I couldn’t figure out why my phone was saying it was an hour later. We hadn’t gone to town on Sunday as I was feeling under the weather and we don’t have cable so watch shows on Amazon Prime or Roku and I had actually been reading in bed for much of the day. Guess that is what happens to the ‘truly’ retired when you don’t have to keep to a work schedule and don’t have appointments. I did not realize that the US and the UK might be on a different daylight savings time calendar. LOL

  115. Riley, as the baby waited to be born until you were ready, I hope the baby is cooperative in other ways as well! Like sleeping and not having colic and stuff like that!

  116. Not sure about anywhere else, but we get a discount if we pay in full–or rather we don’t get charged extra–not sure which, but the bottom line is that it’s cheaper to pay before Nov. 15 here. When we had a mortgage through a bank, they collected it with the payment each month and then they paid. If they hadn’t collected enough, we had to give them more. If they had collected too much, we got some back. Usually, they were very close and no one had to pay anyone any extra money:). Now, it’s our responsibility to save each month for that, so we do, but it went up quite a bit, so we were very happy we could pay it anyway.

  117. We used to all be on the same time but a number of years ago the US switched – forget why – Canada stayed with the UK for a couple of years but it got to be too confusing so we switched to the same week as the US – think it’s this coming Saturday – Nov. 3rd

  118. Thank you Athanasia for bringing this up as I have had a question on how the links work and havent yet asked Brandy directly — if for example, I were to go thru the link for the french stripe apron and did not buy the apron but purchased a different item, would Brandy still get credit? As I don’t see a direct link to amazon’s site but only for individual products on the side of this blog. Earlier in the year Brandy was able to send me her link to swagbucks in an IM since I didn’t see that link on her website.

  119. Thanks Rhonda,
    I definitely want my grandkids to have fun. I think it is a good idea to pick something different at a grocery store. Something to try. But also my youngest definitely has her favorite meals.

  120. Thank you; we definitely will, me more than DH as he’s really not into Bocelli type music, he’s more Bruce Springsteen! We compromise and attend different genre music concerts. We also saw Andrea B. perform live in Florence, Italy in 1998 where we were celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary. I love Andrea B. 🙂

  121. I like that Juls “Financial Serenity” and “finding beauty in the day that is free.” My prayer has been that I find myself content with what I have. I’m so much happier when I count my blessings rather than what I am lacking. But sometimes I need reminded.
    The beauty that I enjoyed today was I saw a buck this morning as I was driving and The trees are absolutely beautiful this time of year, all sorts of gold, red, and orange colors. Love it!

  122. Mari, I get credit for anything you add to your cart and purchase within 24 hours after going through any of links. It doesn’t matter if you buy the item I have pictured or not.

    Thank you so much for asking.

    Also, I’m sorry, but I don’t know that author! I’ll have to check her out.

  123. I know, Carol, the prices here are higher for the Cozies but I REALLY have crazy huge fabric stash way beyond what fits on my shelves here are a few photos of a small part ( maybe 20%) of my fabric stash:

    So, in the spirit of decluttering before I become a hoarder, I would rather see something useful. Made from it and it’s actually brought in some money but maybe been a way for someone to get something for themselves or for a gift that they may not have been able to buy at the higher Prices! So it’s a Win-Win and hopefully customers feel like they got a great deal!!

  124. I made green salsa today with tomatillos I grew and froze this summer, cilantro that’s still growing, frozen jalapeños from previous crops and everything else I had on hand . Saved us about $5 since hubbyl likes the fresh store brand. I made a regular size mason jar and two small jam jars of it so it will last us a bit.
    Made Greek yogurt from milk I was able to get for $2.44 a gallon so a steal verses the price of Greek yogurt plus it’s actually fun to make. Brought red, yellow, and orange bell peppers for ..99 cents each. , cut them up, put in freezer bags and ready to use. Hubby purchased a case of 60 gala apples for $5.00 since we spend $5.00 just on a couple. Will save some to eat with peanut butter which we also make but want to make apple bread, fritters and maybe pie though they are not Granny Smith, oh and apple sauce. Today we did an average of our electric bill and with our tactics we averaged $84 a month for a 2 story, 2400 square foot house,. It is a new build so they are more energy efficient now plus we do a lot to keep this bill low.

  125. I myself almost changed my clocks because my English penpal wrote about changing hers. Fortunately
    I realized in the nick of time.

  126. Well, that was some Hallowe’en. I decided to sit outside at the patio table in my frontyard.
    I think I was worried about kids unexpectedly meeting wildlife. I don’t usually get many kids
    as, in the words of one 8 year old I overheard, “the economic payback doesn’t warrant it”, it being the long walk
    up my driveway. Well, I was sitting there when I heard a noise about ten feet away. There stood a mighty
    stag deer. He was trapped unless he turned back. But no, he climbed (not jumped) over a pile of bricks and then
    jumped over the fence to go into my neighbors’ yard. I warned the few kids who did come up. Finally, I saw hm running
    down the city sidewalk.

    About frugalness, I realize how much cheaper buying hallowe’en candy is the month before the actual day. I went to
    a discount store to do my monthly shopping yesterday. I was really disappointed. I had read its flyer carefully.
    I didn’t think its normal prices were all that great. Today I am off to an appointment which happens to be near a store that had hallowe’en candy. It will all be on sale today and I can pick up (I hope) a couple of peanut free boxes which are only made in a peanut free facility at Hallowe’en. An essential item for the pantry.

  127. Tina — I am a BIG believer in physical therapy. I had it before for this same problem, but that was 15 years ago, and I couldn’t remember the exercises, so YouTube was a good refresher.

    Jennifer — I saw my chiropractor first thing. Most of the time when this problem flares up, an adjustment fixes me up right. It didn’t happen this time, but sometimes we just need to be more patient and try other things.

  128. I meant to say that in talking with my bank, I discovered that I had a recovery type of insurance that will pay me $50 per day that I was in the hospital last February with the broken arm. I wasn’t in long but it will be nice to have the small sum.

  129. Hi Lisa, Here is the recipe I use for throat lozenges (after trial and error):
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup water
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    1 Tablespoon honey
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/3 – 1/2 cup slippery elm powder
    Put everything but the slippery elm powder into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reached hard ball stage (forms a hard ball when dropped in ice water.) This can take half an hour or more for me — but I live at 8000 feet, so everything takes longer.
    Remove from heat and stir in slippery elm powder until quite thick. I buy the slippery elm powder in the bulk bins at our local natural grocery. We keep it on hand to give one of our dogs who has a sensitive tummy — the slippery elm is very soothing, so it’s good for the throat, too.
    Drop by half-teaspoon fulls onto parchment paper and let harden.
    I wrap them individually in wax paper and store them in a tin in the freezer. They taste good, but they also work really well.

  130. Mari, on my computer I see a direct link to AMAZON up under the picture of Brandy and where it says follow me Pinterest etc.

  131. [Thank you all for reminding me to change the clocks back this weekend, it’s also when we flip the switch on the septic tank to use the other side of the leach bed and clean the septic filter and test all the smoke/carbon detectors and change those batteries. Lovely Day for Hubby.

  132. I pinned your post on my Pinterest board because I liked that it had lots of basic and simple frugal ideas for all areas of the house. It’s a great list for those just starting out with frugal living, as well as a good reminder for those already living frugally that might need a little inspiration.

  133. We live in a subdivision that is just outside the city limits. Because of this, we usually only get kids who live in our area. Our houses have extra large lots, and we live on a relatively steep hill. Lets just say, I know from experience you work for your candy around here. My mother buys full sized chocolate bars at Costco (she watches for them on sale) to give out, since we don’t have a lot of kids in our neighbourhood. She finds it amusing when the kids turn to each other and exclaim “she just gave us a FULL SIZED chocolate bar!”. I guess there is a better “economic pay-off” at our house. But we’ll try an keep it a secret as much as possible, because we get the leftover candy!

  134. Tanja – thank you for the “day in Amsterdam” info. I am a city girl but I do understand your aversion to crowds – it can be rather overwhelming when you aren’t used to it! I love museums and galleries but even I can only take so much at a time! I have a yearly membership to the Art Gallery of Ontario and even there I can’t do it all at once – and European museums & galleries have even more to see! I think tourists of all sorts sometimes try to do too much at once. I also have a problem with all the photos being taken – people used to go in, study a painting or an object and really appreciate it – now I find, they run in, snap a photo and leave! Why not just buy the book that most gift shops have! It astounds me and I can’t understand why they even bother visiting!
    I get a yearly mammogram (or more likely I go every 18 to 24 months) and as long as your doctor refers you it’s all part of our health service as well – and I am very appreciative of that!

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