Meyer Lemons–yes, they really are that yellow!

This week we harvested Meyer Lemons. Every time I’ve photographed these before someone thinks they’re oranges. They’re a very dark, intense yellow. They are large; often they are the size of an orange. They have a thin rind, they are full of juice (I have been able to get 1/2 cup of juice from an average lemon) and have a very intense flavor. They are very sweet, and my children have been asking to eat them–which they have done, as have I. They are expensive in stores, compared to regular lemons. They smell wonderful.

They will keep for 1-2 months in the fridge without a problem. I have left several more on my trees still. I will freeze some of the juice in a tiny ice-cube tray to use throughout the year on vegetables (I love lemon juice on several vegetables, including Swiss chard).

We’ve had lemon juice with powdered sugar on crepes this week. My 7-year-old has been learning to cook crepes; he really enjoys it. I told him that next time I will teach him how to make the batter.

I cut rosemary from the garden this week. Come December, my rosemary plant (which started out as a little 4″ pot from the nursery) is gangly and huge. I used to cut it back quite a bit to keep it under control this time of year. Now I am using it much more each December. I made rosemary olive oil bread this week. I will be making more for gifts for friends. I also cut some to use to decorate our home.

My daughter cut zinnias, Thai basil flowers, and Genovese basil flowers to make an arrangement for our kitchen table. I showed her how to make an arrangement, using my knowledge from a university class that I took on floral arranging.

I cut paperwhites from the garden and brought them into my sewing room. My daughter also cut some to bring into her room. She arranged them with some Thai basil to make a beautiful arrangement.

It rained this week. We have so little rain here in the desert; this is one of the driest deserts in the world. This year we have had record rainfall. For some of you, even our record rainfall for the year is less than you receive in a day of rain, but I have noticed a difference. (Our average rainfall for the county is 3.69 inches for the year.) I was able to turn off the sprinklers and drip lines, which was a small savings for us.

I modified an ill-fitting jumper for a daughter and turned it into a skirt. This made for a skirt that matched the one I modified for my oldest daughter recently (from my grandmother’s skirt). They wore the skirts to perform a piano duet at a Christmas concert on Friday.

I made a few Christmas gifts this week and worked on some others that are not yet finished.

We ate a wonderful breakfast at church on Saturday. Our congregation usually has a Christmas dinner; this year we did breakfast instead and I loved it! We watched the children sing a couple of songs, too, which was very enjoyable.

My husband and I watched some shows on Hulu for free. The children watched a couple of Christmas shows on Hulu.

The only food I bought this week was 6 pounds of clementines, for which I spent $4.88 after sale and coupons.

I cut my daughter’s hair.

This is the first week we’ve needed to run the heater. It only ran for a few hours. We have natural gas heat here. We also have a gas stove, dryer, and hot water heater. A summer bill for me is around $40. My highest winter bill last year was $65. We’ve set the heat at 65º in the house. (It is summer air conditioning bills that are high; winter is a break from high utility bills for us).

We still have not had our first frost. It is usually between mid November and mid-December. The longest I’ve ever seen it be is December 15th. Consequently, we are still harvesting basil from the garden.

The baby has been awake early for the past month (between 3:45 and 5:30 am). I have enjoyed many sunrises.

I listened to Christmas music on Pandora.

What did you do to save money this week?

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  1. a local grocery store has large brown bottles ( triple the size of the small bottles) for .89 cents. And peroxide is safer for the environment/you/your family than bleach.

  2. Hi Christine, Reading your comments and the thank you really made my day 🙂 I’m so glad that you were able to use the gift card to purchase fresh produce for yourself as well as fresh fruit to donate to your church for the backpacks. Brandy, thank you for starting this blog. I have learned so many things from other people’s comments on the blog.Jill

  3. I bought some fabric softener and filled a spray bottle about 1/4-1/3 full with the fabric softener and the rest with water. I just use 2-3 sprays depending what’s in the dryer and it works fine. (I use dryer balls as well.)

  4. If the partner’s dad loves to cook, peppermint flavoring (like homemade vanilla) might be something you want to make this coming summer, when you have fresh mint. I gave baskets with homemade vanilla, homemade mint and homemade almond flavorings to my boss as a Christmas gift this year—she is a baker extraordinaire, so I will be seeing these flavorings at Friday staff meetings!!

  5. Good idea on those flavorings! I’ve made vanilla in the past, and it’s so easy. I’ll definitely do that next year.

  6. Thank you ladies for your responses. I stopped buying dryer sheets because I had bought the dryer bars. I decided to not buy any more and use up what’s left. The dryer sheets were from when my husband was gone for 6 months (det is short for detachment) from the first part of this year. And I don’t want to in the sense waste them. I do air dry some of my clothes. Depends if I have the time and space to do it. We live in a small 1 bedroom apartment and my grandma is sleeping in the corner where I set up my drying rack. I will take in consideration your advice and hope that I find what works best for me soon. Thanks again ladies!

  7. I am wondering how life is for a crafty person having a baby around. I already decided next year to make cloth napkins for my friends sense they are a very quick and easy project.

  8. Well, to be honest we were able to bull through with our first son, but having two has made it much harder. It can be very frustrating to know there are things I can do…except I can’t not really. We made about half our amount of canned things, sent no Christmas cards,and I am continually freaked out by how behind I am. Really the kind of person you are is not as much a game changer as the kind of child you get. Our first son had acid reflux and colic,our second son is very healthy but his nickname is “Beast”. The boy is walking at nine months and also I have another climber. Brandy is amazing, either her children are angels or she is because I can barely keep our food cooked and our clothes clean. My husband and I are very hopeful things will calm down soon. My husband is also in school so he is not able to do much around the house. I figure this is our hump year. Sooo no home made apple butter because we are up til 2 a.m. canning it, but yes to homemade peppermint bark because that takes 15 minutes. I am experimenting with home made hot chocolate mix. That’s a mix and dump thing. it’s been a bit slapdash nutty around here. With one you should be fine. And if we lived near family it would be easier too, I am sure.

  9. This has been a busy and slightly stressful week for me. I lost my job on my birthday two weeks ago. To say the least it came as a shock! However, I have a wonderful husband and he is encouraging me to focus my job hunting and volenteer efforts on ministry and service, which I love. I also have a stockpile of food to see us through a lean Christmas season. Brandy is inspiring, becuase of her posts I was already planning on making a bunch of our Christmas gifts this year. So far I have made three touques (stocking caps) and mittens to match, made from fleese that my mom gave me. I have potholders on the go at the moment and pj pants ready to sew. I made my twin girls night gowns and am also working on capes they can use for church. All from material that I had on hand.I found that if I buy at a wholesale club here in town I can get the majority of staples that we need for a really reduced price. 🙂 I need to work on upping my food storage staples. I am also planning on purchasing three or four turkeys this year for the freezer and as many potatoes as I can safely store. They are on for .29 a lb, which is as cheap as they come here. Unfortunately the cheapest price for turkeys is .99 lb but with careful management I can feed my family of five from that for a whole week. Jennifer

  10. Wasn’t the most frugal week at our house because we all ended up super sick and we had to have something to eat that didn’t involve cooking (we ran out of bread) and a new humidifier (trust me, it’s essential at our house) and my Dad had emergency cancer surgery so we had a lot of long-distance phone calls (fortunately we have a flat rate plan so we don’t pay extra). The good news? Dad’s going to be fine and staying home and doing nothing saves money! :)Other frugal things:* downloaded a bunch of free ebooks (more than 12, I lost count!)* finished the Christmas gifts for our kids teachers using things I had on hand* planned the meals we will have through the new year with what we have in the house plus milk and fresh fruit only from the store* receieved three free tea bags in the mail* received free samples of Poise pads in the mail plus a high value coupon* decorated the top of the piano for Christmas with decorations the children have made at school the last 3 years* finished homemade bookmarks for my husband for his stocking* made a “bucket list” of things to do with the kids over Christmas break that cost no money – baking cookies with what we have on hand, going sledding (already have sleds), origami (already have paper), etc.That’s all I can think of! Thanks for all the inspiration everyone.Lea

  11. My mother always made butter mints when I was a child at Christmas. Would you have a recipe you would be willing to share:)Thank-you.

  12. from AthanasiaOh this is fun! I just found your blog via another. Do you do this every week?1. They had a table out at church Sunday with soon to be expired items from the food panty. I picked up a box of baking soda to use for cleaning.2. I mended a whole pile of clothes with loose seams, loose buttons, runs, replaced some worn out elastic.3. Have not had to go to grocer for 2 weeks except for eggs and some lettuce. Pretty stocked up otherwise. We’re vegetarians so save lots by not buying meat.4. Watched internet since we don’t have cable. Visited library twice for books. 5. My Homemaker group (County extension thing) had the couples Christmas party Friday night and there was a white elephant exchange. I wrapped up a candle potpourri warmer that I would never use due to asthma and allergies…I was able to clear that out to someone who actually seemed please to receive it. I “won” a DVD of HARVEY starring Jimmy Stewart which I thought was great! My favorite actor!6. Made minnestrone in my largest soup kettle ( made with navy beans and rice…recipe I grew up with) and packed several quarts for the freezer, we had several meals at home and Monday took in a quart for our office lunchroom. I like to keep food in the lunchroom so if someone forgets a lunch they don’t have to run out and buy junk or fast food.Well that is all I can think of for now. I have to go back and finish reading every ones good ideas.

  13. Yes, I do this every week! Make sure to read the other posts and the comments from everyone; there are loads of great ideas there!Also make sure to check out my website from the link at the top (or side) of the page. The blog is just a new addition to my website.

  14. Everything happends for a reason, not to worry! I was praying for a career change and more time at home with the kids. Now I get both. And I have the bonus of learning both self reliance and heavenly reliance. Both good skills to have!

  15. from Athanasia…Back when my mother was still teaching she did stone soup with her 3rd graders every year. They looked forward to the soup day.

  16. Well, since I haven’t commented in a while, I probably should, huh?It wasn’t overly frugal here this week – I bought some giftcards for some very special teachers (small amounts mainly). Otherwise, they also got homemade snickers bars, and some fancy bags of coffee. 🙂 I did move my Amarone (it’s a red wine) from the secondary ferment carboy to bottles. Now it’s aging, and should be ready in 4 weeks. I’m giving some at Christmas with the instructions to enjoy in the New Year. I made two types of mustard: a hot honey mustard, and a bourbon whole grain mustard. I also made more salsa – I bought two 5 gallon cans of diced tomatoes and sauce, and made my master salsa recipe. We are almost out already, and tomato season in Wisconsin doesn’t start until the end of July if we’re lucky! I went through some hand me downs from my mother’s coworker’s little girl – she’s a year older than my daughter almost to the date, so sizes are right where we need to have them be. We found a super cute little jumper for her to wear to her Christmas program and Christmas eve. My son’s outfits are already set – thanks to our local kids’ thrift shop and hand me downs from a friend (they were brand new. I wasn’t about to say no). I did my own mani/pedi once again. I hate other people touching my feet. Even my husband knows not to!I seriously need to wrap presents though. I used coupons to get some tape for free…time to use it!Got LOTS of ground beef for free and tons of salsa and guacamole for cheap – guac and salsa got frozen. Meat is also getting frozen. Used coupons for those. Stocked up on a few hams, and cheese as well. Also stocked up on more potatoes – cheese was $.50 a package after coupon, and taters were free with winetag coupon! Huge snowstorm Thursday night here in WI. Snuggled with my hubby and watched the Avengers (his Christmas present from the kids). Also cleaned in prep for Saturday’s party with family.

  17. I use liquid dishsoap instead of grating bar soap and it works just great. 3 TBL borax, 3 TBL washing soda, 2 TBL gain dish soap, 4 cups hot water and the rest of the gallon with cold water. I fill the dispenser on each load (maybe 1/2 cup).

  18. Andrea, I am also from Wisconsin and am fairly new to this whole frugal thing. I quit my job quite abruptly in September and am now a full time grandmother and homemaker. Would love to know if you live near me, I live in Denmark, WI. Would love to have someone that lives closer to share some frugal tips with me.

  19. Well, I am a couple weeks behind. So, I will try to remember. I did finish making Christmas gifts. My daughter wrapped them for me! I also got 3 out of town boxes mailed. The only thing left is make two kinds of candy, which I will do this weekend.I canned 4 qts of Boston Baked Beans and 6 pints of black beans. Today, I made one loaf of honey ww bread, a pumpkin cake (made with pumpkin I canned) and made our dog some dog treats (using pumpkin and peanut butter)I made a gallon size jug of fabric softner, have been using my own DW soap and laundry soap. I also hang most of our clothes to dry using several rods in the closet and one in the laundry room. We combine our errands and have bought produce and eggs. I make my milk from powdered and we eat all our meals at home (except one day this week we had a company breakfast, lunch with relatives and our son treated us to dinner-all in the same day lol). We have also been gifted some canned food and I did freeze 2 bags of cranberries to later make juice with. Oh, we also put two turkeys in the freezer which was buy one get one free and that ended up being .80/lb. They will make lots of meals for us and broth I can bottle and use. I also dehydrated potatoes.Well, have a good weekend, holiday and thank you Brandy and everyone for all the great tips! Teri

  20. The Friday before Christmas, A friend told me about a sale at Kohl’s. They had white short sleeve pull over basic t-tops originally $16.00 on clearance for $1.60, then 25% off that and I had a 15% off coupon on my total bill. Each shirt cost only $1.02. I bought 4 shirts to try my hand at decorating with sew on ribbon and beads.

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