French Study The Prudent Homemaker

Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


French study:

In order to make my Skype conversations with friends in France easier, I am studying French every day, since it has been 17 years since I spoke French every day in Switzerland and France.

1. Read or listen to the Book of Mormon in French every day

2. Continue to read Les Recres de Petit Nicholas in French every day. I have read all of the Nicholas books in English; it is fun to read this one (that I found for $.25 at a library used book sale in January) in French. I read 91 pages last week.

3. Spend some time each day studying verb conjugations

4. Look up words in the dictionary each day

5. Study the picture dictionary several times to refresh my memory of many words


Hot Peppers The Prudent Homemaker


1. Spend at least 4 hours weeding/pruning hedges/cleaning the garden

2. Collect seeds from many things that have gone to seed in the garden (chard, lettuce, nasturiums, snapdragons)

3. Spread and mix in manure in the garden

4. Plant new seeds in the garden: beets, Swiss chard, Armenian cucumbers, zucchini, more zinnias, red noodle beans, butternut squash (again; no plants have lived)

5. Thin Jonagold apple tree

6. Collect and dry red peppers from the garden

7. Pick figs from my tree

8. Cut grapes from the vines (the seeded ones are ripening)



1. Make baby shoes using this free pattern for a gift for a friend’s twins

2. Mend at least 4 items from the mending pile

3. Sew some new patches on my son’s Scout shirt


Rosemary Fig Gelato 2 The Prudent Homemaker 


1. Can applesauce (I didn’t get this done last week)

2. Make French bread

3. Cook beans in the solar oven

4. Make fruit popsicles several times

5. Make chocolate chip cookies

6. Make rosemary fig gelato

7. Make fig sauce



1. Research and make a decision on a new camera body that I can use with my current lenses

2. Return movies and books to the library and pick up requested books that are there waiting My husband took care of this for me on his way to work

3. Research back to school deals that are starting and print any coupons that I might use for sales on school supplies

4. Trip to dental school


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  1. Do you know about Duolingo? It’s a free online language study program, and French is one of the options.

  2. Busy week for you!
    1. Make the console cover for the pontoon so hubby can install the marine radio = NO out of pocket since it was traded for. Hubby is an incredible “wheeler and dealer” when it comes to trades. The pontoon was also traded for so no money was spent on the actual boat either (we did have to replace the motor though)
    2. Make the back screen door for “the bus”. Again – no out of pocket except for the sticky backed velcro for around the door.
    3. Finish sewing the last few curtains for “the bus” + find a couple thrifted sheets to recover the pull out bed’s foam mattress with.
    4. Make up the camping menu for our trip. I try and make as much food ahead of time as possible so there is less prep work that needs to be done while we are busy enjoying the time away. Our daughter will be going with us for this trip. She owns a Mini Cooper and they are trying to set a Guinness record for the most mini’s across a suspension bridge (Mackinac bridge between upper and lower Michigan).
    5. Sell off or trade the extra drakes from this years hatch of ducklings. I try and trade as much as possible for local foods.
    6. Purchase more pectin to make up some more jam/jelly – the fruit is straining in the frig but I ran out of pectin.
    7. Make a list of all the pantry items that need refilling – Thank you for the reminder Brandy as it is starting to look rather bare in the pantry which seems to make me more anxious. I also need to purchase some large airtight storage containers for my flour and oatmeal.
    8. Reorganize said pantry. All of the tools seem to have migrated into there and there are some small appliances that I have hung onto that just need to go since I can’t remember the last time they were used. Hopefully I can sell them and put the money towards our trip North. I am also going to sell off all of the entertaining pieces in the school colors since I will not have another child to hold a school event for.
    9. Clean out the rabbit trays into the newest garden bed and purchase the wood to make another raised bed.
    10. Make ALL of our meals this week from the freezer and pantry and stay out of the grocery store entirely.

    hmmmmm…..I have quite a list as well so I guess I better go get busy.
    And Brandy – thank you so, so much for posting “When Queens Ride By” – I so needed to read that this week and remind myself that I have value when being a homemaker and to stop feeling so guilty about not making enough money.

  3. Have you thought about using podcasts to help (re)learn French? I use the Coffeebreak Spanish to help me with my Spanish….here’s a good summary of podcasts available: Some you have to access through iTunes…and there’s enough good, free ones that I wouldn’t pay. (Sorry…the librarian in me had to search out some resources!)

  4. I have an intimidating amount of paperwork and appointments to make for my son, he starts kindergarten this year. I have a lot of laundry to do as well, as the baby was sick last night. Laundry is like the thunderstorm that rains on my picnic plans every week. ahaha. Anyhow, I am trying a new muffin recipe to use up some slightly soft apples, I need to bake biscottt( I do this weekly for my husbands lunch box), I have to make hot dog buns. I have been buying bread and rolls as my eczema has been persistently awful for weeks now. But they were sold out, so it’s on my list. I have to sort through the 2T boys clothes for the neutral ones our daughter can wear. I am in the middle of reorganizing the cabinets and putting everything we buy in bulk in smaller containers that I can refill from storage. My beans look very cute in glass jars. 🙂 I have to relist quite a few things on the facebook garage sale group and try and sell them before we give up and donate them. I am giving myself an extra incentive and anything “I” sell this week that way I can use to stock up on additional things per Brandy’s suggestion. I want to get oats and honey and oil but I am periously close to going over budget.

  5. Good morning Brandy,

    French is such a beautiful language. I had taken a couple of classes years ago when I was young. It is great you are reusing the language to Skype with your friends. It must be fun reading a book in another language. My uncle was French, he had taught me the correct pronounciations when I was in school. We also ate our salads after dinner as he had while growing up. Have you heard of a french culture tradition as this? To this day, I still prefer my salads after dinner.
    You inspire me with your garden. Just from learning from you, I have organized more time daily to spend on my mine. Last weekend my husband stained our fence, and I worked on the garden. I planted new beet seeds, kale, turnips and parsley. This next week I plan to plant swiss chard, more kale and fall squash. I also have a red grape plant that has been repotted into a large container, and is thriving very well. We will put up a trellis and start training the large vines over it. I do not have any grapes yet, probably because it is a new plant, so hopefully next year it will produce. How long did it take yours to produce grapes? My rosemary bush is huge! I am overwhelmed by it, and now need to learn how to dry it and store into containers for the winter. This will another goal for this week. I plan to can raspberry and plum jams too. I received these from my friend who has a farm along with fresh bush beans. I have never had red beans, and am trying to figure a way to plant this too in my small yard.
    I am baking a turkey on Tuesday. This turkey is one from last November’s sale. Our young Interim Pastor and wife just had a precious baby boy, and I will bring them a meal on Wednesday . We will have plenty to last us a couple of weeks.
    I purchased stock items and canned foods last week to store for winter emergencies. I love the website from Prepared LDS Family for storage preparations. This month and July will be a focus for Emergency items. iItems I would like to have is a solar oven and dehydrator. Your examples of using your solar oven is a blessing to learn. Altho I live in the NW, I am not sure it would be useful during winter if we lost electricity .
    Thank you for posting about watching the series PBS “Crimson Field”. I was able to watch it on my computer and watched the 1st show. I plan to watch another this week too. It is very good. As a nurse, I find that nursing was such a hard process back then. It still is now a days, only much more technical and so stressful as a job. High acuities and low patient / nurse ratio and long 12 hour shifts. The art of nursing has been and is a discipline. Very precise, very intricate and no room for mistakes. Yet, the heart of a nurse is what drives us to work so hard in caring for others and give all that we can.It is a calling. This has been a wonderful series . I wore earphones , and also noted how wonderful the music is .
    Last week my husband and I were given a gift of tickets from his daughter to hear the Seattle symphony at Benaroya Hall . They played the music to “March of the Penguin”s while showing the film. The music was absolutely beautiful. I was smiling ear to ear 🙂 The composer of the music was in attendance and introduced at the end.
    My husband has taken a couple of days off for vacation this week. We plan a stay- cation. One day of home chores, then 3 days of day hikes here in the mountains. We will pack lunches to bring in our backpacks and enjoy God’s creation. The weather has been so beautiful here, and waterfalls should be full this time of year.
    Have a wonderful week.
    Blessings, Patty from the NW

  6. I’ve got some peaches I need to can. Also found out my friends neighbor has an apple and plum tree. He was told it’s a crabapple, but the fruit looked big as my fist, so I need to investigate. Nobody does anything w them…and he lives about 5-10 min from my place. I’ve never done anything with plums.

  7. I join the others in thanking you for this blog. Four or five years ago, I was an avid couponer and blog reader (Money Saving Mom etc. . . ), but I have become so disillusioned with the commercialization of these once precious sites. I feel I am now just an income stream to this writers. The effort you put into your columns and the sincerity of your articles never fail to move me. Even more important is your underlying premise – that “buying” things is never as important as combining the talents and gifts God gives us with hard work when it comes to making a home for our families.

    Question before frugal achievements: How do you sew on your son’s badges? I resort to Badge Magic adhesive and then hand stitch (poorly because I am not talented) around the badge with a thick needle.

    My successes:

    Went to Cash and Carry: I bought pork loin for 1.59 a pound for 10 pounds which I cut into 2 pound roasts and froze. I also bought a 3 pound bag of spinach for $3.00 which I separated into stay fresh containers for salads and I bought 3 pounds of cabbage shredded which my family will eat all month. I bought 32 ounces of vanilla for $9.00. That should last me a year.

    I cooked a ten pound pack of chicken from the forty pound box I bought during 4th of July for .59 a pound. I used roaster bags that came with their own seasoning for .25 each at Grocery Outlet awhile ago. Three bags with the chicken parts in them fit into my roaster pan. Super clean and easy. We ate three meals and then I shredded two 8 ounce portions for burritos. We are a family of three so we got five meals out of six bucks worth of chicken. I know I should have made chicken broth but I am still aching from a pinched nerve. Progress not perfection.

    I baked the last twelve sweet potatoes we had received in a large box in November. I will freeze these and pull them out one at a time for a quick lunch topped with cottage cheese. So frustrated that my brother in law received a similar box and threw half of the potatoes out.

    I don’t garden ( I’m a little embarrassed to say) but I gather from our ranch. I picked seven pears and will ripen them on the counter. We have about seven fig trees. I don’t “can” either but last year I froze the figs whole and used them for six months in smoothies. I have a vita mixer. We have mint plants as well. Any ideas? I received a watermelon from our farm manager that he grew on the gravel. So interesting.

    Also, does anyone know how long wheat berries will stay fresh in a food grade bucket? Finally, a long shot – anyone have any sorghum (milo) recipes?

  8. I would suggest that! My husband is studying French everyday through Duolingo (I am taking classes). I am reading, listening to the RFI (Radio France International), watching movies in French, it’s great! Have you already seen the movies about Le Petit Nicolas?

  9. This week I’ve set some personal goals. 3 to be exact, so i have to come up with a plan to make them happen.
    I have to meal plan
    Start couponing again
    Catch up on laundry
    Bake cupcakes for sons bday
    Make treat bags for his friends.
    Process these cherries
    Make my first batch of homemade ice cream

  10. Well, I can safely say that wheat keeps forever, so long as you don’t mill it. My in-laws bought, no joke, like 10,000 pounds of wheat 40+ years ago and put it in a nice safe dry place and my mother-in-law is still milling it to turn into bread with no problems. 30+ years is the recommended time to keep it though.

    Sorghum is a kind of sweet grain. I used to do a lot of gluten free baking for my daughter and I and found it was invaluable in gluten free baking recipes. I also ground it coursely and used it like a corn meal mush type of application when my daughter was allergic to corn. It worked well. I’d just try typing in “sorghum recipes” into google or your favorite search engine. If nothing else I’m sure there are farmers out there that will have lots of recipes up for it. One thing with sorghum, if you aren’t going to use it quickly, store it in the fridge and/or freezer as it will go rancid on you.

    Good luck!

  11. This week I’ve got a lot going on. On top of my “list” I’m also working really hard on building up our food stores to get our pantry where I’m comfortable with it to live on just in case. You aren’t the only one who is feeling a sense of anxiety about everything. I really want to get a good amount of dried fruit and other goods for those “in need” times. Unfortunately for me my son has food allergies, so I’ve got to order everything online. I put in an order for 100.00 or so for egg powder, cheese powder and different types of nuts, seeds and fruits, and while it is stretching us a bit thin, I’m still working really hard to get up more of the things we’ll need. I just have a ball of anxiety in my gut right now and I’m listening to it.

    My more “at home” list can be found here…

  12. As we are all looking for ways to stock our pantry in a frugal manner, I hope it is okay that I share a couple of terrific deals for this week from Fresh Market stores (Salt Lake City Ad). If you have a Fresh Market available near you check the ad as well.

    Plus rewards cards can download the digital coupons for (through July 20th)
    Western Family sugar – 4 lbs 49 cents limit 2

    Western Family Frozen fruit – 12 oz 67 cents limit 2

    Digitial coupon still available through today July 13th
    Malt-o-Meal cereal (select varieties) 99 cents limit 2
    ** no coupon needed is Western family Medium Cheddar cheese blocks 32 oz $4.49 Again through today

    Smith’s Marketplace has twin sheets on sale for $3.29 – Flat or Fitted

  13. In fact, there are two movies with (almost) the same set of characteres: “Le Petit Nicolas” (2009) and “Les Vacances du Petit Nicolas” (2014), both are really cute and funny 🙂

  14. I lived in France for a year, and my French friends always served salad after the main dish, before dessert and/or cheese.

  15. You’ll have to check your local dental school for pricing, as prices vary widely by school. They break up appointments. We’re doing the first appointment. Then you do a cleaning later. It is usually an inexpensive option for dental work.

  16. I found an unadvertised sale on pork roast at Albertsons for $1.49. They only had 3 so asked hubby if he would stop the next day after work and he picked up 4 more. His were twice the size of the ones I found so we will have plenty. The garden is doing so well I am thrilled. I have an Autoimmune disease but try to work out there every day. Fatigue is one of my biggest problems but I just make myself.
    I have only used a tank of gas in the last two months . All stores I use are close and I can usually get hubby to stop on his way home.
    Leaving the house takes so much energy and I would rather be pulling weeds lol
    I also agree this site is not about making money. I have used the links to purchase things because I really trust that Brandy is not just trying to sell something. The things she recommends are always great quality for a reasonable price.

  17. That is what I have heard was the custom. Never got the chance to visit but did study the language and culture for three years.

  18. This week’s goals—(a very small list compared to Brandy and many others on this blog but I would rather do more and add it to my list only to cross it off when done…versus make a long list and then fail miserably :)…
    —organize the pantry and the outside storage area
    —Go to Costco to continue buying additional pantry items (for example, Peanut Butter is on sale)
    —make all our meals at home
    —review our budget and find a new way to reduce expenses

  19. My goal this week is to keep up with the garden production of green beans, peas, broccoli, and raspberries. Starting a complete makeover of the pantry. This afternoon I emptied it and tomorrow Mr. LC and I will be installing electrical for an outlet and light. Will also be installing an outlet in the bathroom closet which is adjacent to the pantry. We never seem to run out of projects!

  20. My goals for this week are to..
    — cut the boys and my husbands hair, they are all getting shaggy
    — can mulberry syrup
    — make more zucchini pickles with the last of the zucchini
    — go through school supplies and compare my stash to the class lists for the boys. I will make a list of what I need to purchase and put it in notes in my phone so I won’t forget an item or double purchase.
    — continue to declutter
    — finish camping check list and inventory gear for upcoming family vacation
    — finish up 3 more Christmas gifts
    — plant spinach and cabbage

  21. Erika, may I ask where exactly online you purchase these things? My husband and I ordered rice and beans from Azure Standard and they didn’t make it to us (Midwest is far from Oregon). Half our order, did, though. I’d love any feedback. Azure has great prices, but I don’t have six months to order in the beginning and find out later that they ran out before they got to me or something.

  22. I had always wondered if eating salad after dinner was part of the culture. Anyway, it was in our home and in my Uncle’s. I have enjoyed Crimson Field! I watched the 2nd episode tonight. The movie just grips me . Thank you for writing back about the grapes. The plant looks very healthy and I look forward to when it is producing. Your rosemary fig gelato looks so refreshing. I am lactose intolerant, so I have trouble with whole mild and heavy cream~ I wonder if I could use coconut milk~~I’ll have to try and see. I can tolerate hard cheese and a little mozzarella however, sparingly. Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  23. I honestly get most of my stuff through Amazon. There is an outfit called GERBS that has top ten allergen free foods on there so I’m getting 2 lb packages of safe pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, banana chips, etc. They have a list of things that are safe foods, so I’m really hoping I can get more of those in the pantry soon. I also found a list of peanut safe companies on a peanut anaphylaxis page and was able to track down safe macadamia nuts, cashews and brazil nuts, which was so thrilling for me as I’m so used to having to buy in-shell nuts (for those that come that way) during the holidays and shelling my own, that finding safe ones that I could order through Amazon was wonderful :).

    I order through Subscribe and Save when I can as I stalk (ahem) Amazon pretty regularly to see if I can get good deals, so I have gotten great prices on pasta (12 boxes at a time) and such. If you order five items and combine coupons on their site on top of that you can get some really awesome prices!

  24. i completely agree Mary Ann. What used to be a site for moms to come and find inspiration to use what you have is now a ” make yourself successful by publishing a book or blogging for profit”. This remains one of my sacred pleasures on Monday mornings and a huge treat when Brandy posts more than once a week!!

  25. I order Augason Farms powdered eggs, cheese powder, butter powder, and tomato powder from I order all kinds of dried beans from I only order from companies who offer free shipping! Since I live in Alaska, I don’t have as many bulk food options as those who live in the Lower 48.

  26. Thanks for this suggestion! Although I minored in Spanish and also studied German in college, it’s been so long since I’ve spoken or read Spanish regularly that I’m losing a lot of my fluency. The German is completely gone. I’ve been watching Spanish YouTube videos and am coming along fairly quickly with that. However, I’ll certainly investigate Duolingo, especially if I decide to go forward with the German. (I’m also trying to renew my skills in sign language and will have to make some decisions about which comes first.)

  27. I cleaned up my front yard, hand cutting the grass near the rock border, trimmed the hostas back and cut the front yard. I was exhausted! Brandy, I am again in awe of all you do!
    -spray paint a metal candelier( chandelier that holds candles-not sure if that’s a word. Lol) w leftover spray paint
    -vacuum my car
    -mend a pillow since I ripped off the tags therefore leaving a rip. (Duh moment)
    -fill 2 totes w things my daughter will be taking w her to her new apt
    -condense my totes w bedding and blankets and move them to my newly finished basement..woohoo!

  28. I attended a private school while growing up. At the time, the only foreign language they offered was French. I was awful at it. Number 3 on your list made me cringe. I can usually read something and figure out what it says for the most part, but please don’t ask me to speak anything.

  29. You have to be patient when you are a dental school patient. But sometimes it is very nice to have three talented brains deciding on your course of treatment. My state’s dental school saved my tooth by redoing a failed root canal and crown when the local very good (with prices to match) dentist wanted to pull it and bridge the gap. I was the new specialist’s last patient before he headed to a Washington D.C. area practice. One of my soon-to-be-a-dentist students who did the cleaning and routine maintenance was a young family man who had completed a mission in Korea before starting dental school.

  30. What do you use the mulberry syrup for? My trees are done for this year but I would love another use for all those berries!

  31. Janell, your comment made me laugh. I can so relate! On my second round through college, I decided to take conversational french. What I learned was that I seriously suck at speaking french. My brain likes to throw in random words of Spanish, which makes for a really interesting conversation (thanks to Dora the Explorer). Rather sad as I am Canadian (from Ontario) and we are required to take french starting in grade 4. Lot of good it did me! I guess some of us are just not talented at speak multiple languages and I’ve decided to be OK with that. :p

  32. Erika,
    What kind of pasta are you able to get? We only buy rice pasta, which is crazy expensive. I’d love to find some great deals.
    Thanks for the tip about GERBS. I’ll check them out. It is definitely harder to create a big pantry when you have to accommodate anaphylactic food allergies.

  33. I also join Mary Ann and others in thanking you, Brandy, for the efforts you give each week in detailing your weekly frugal accomplishments, and in encouraging others. I was originally intrigued by your blog title (I discovered your site about 2 years ago), but it did not take long to become intrigued with your story and honesty as well.

  34. My mint (apple, chocolate, pepper-, and spear-) is going crazy right now. I chop it into salads and fruit salads, put it in ice water, even share “bouquets” – bunches of mint in glass jars, tied w/ a bit of ribbon or raffia – with friends and family. I feel that even if people just keep it by the sink for a few days and throw it away, they will at least have enjoyed a fragrant lift for a little while.

  35. Rhonda, I read your comment and cracked up! I was reminded of the one time I was in Paris – we needed an adapter (I don’t remember why) and were in a department store. The lovely young woman behind the counter spoke no English, and I spoke no French…but we both spoke “Dora” Spanish so that’s how we communicated. We both thought it was hilarious – a delightful memory!

  36. All the talk of figs reminded me of a book called First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen (if anyone’s interested in reading it, it’s a sequel to her book Garden Spells, and both are pleasant, light stories – but I don’t mean this for a book review, I just want to be sure to cite sources). First Frost includes a recipe for Fig and Pepper Bread that sounds intriguing. I haven’t tried it yet but maybe someone here will.

    Fig and Pepper Bread
    (“Note: Sometimes the…most improbable things make the best combination.”)

    2 cups whole grain spelt flour
    2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped figs
    2 tsp coarse black pepper
    2 tsp sea salt
    2 TBSP olive oil
    1 dry yeast packet
    1 1/2 cups of warm water

    Whisk flour, salt, pepper, and yeast until blended, by hand or with whisk attachment of mixer.

    Add olive oil and warm water. Knead for 10 minutes, or use dough hook attachment of mixer for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and springy.

    Oil a large bowl, place dough inside, and cover bowl with a damp hand towel. Let sit in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.

    Softly knead in the chopped figs and evenly distribute throughout the dough (lightly flouring your hands can make handling the dough easier), shape into an oval, then place on a baking sheet.

    Snip three shallow lines into top of the dough with scissors, then lightly dust the dough with flour.

    Let rise, uncovered, until dough swells a little more – 10-15 minutes, or longer if the kitchen isn’t warm.

    Place tray in 350-degree oven for 40-45 minutes, until crust is slightly brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the underside.

    Cool on a wire rack.

    Recipe courtesy of Sarah Addison Allen, First Frost, c. 2014 St. Martin’s Press.
    If anyone tries this, let me know how it turns out!

  37. sells grains and other food storage. Their shipping is $4.95no matter how big your order is. I love this blog, It is one of the most helpful ones. I got a fantastic deal today. I got a nine tray Excaliber dehydrator for $45.00. I have wanted this for years and can’t wait to use it.

  38. Brandy, I join Melissa in thanking you for “When Queens Ride By.” I’ve read it more than once over the years. : )

  39. Me too (thanking you for “when the Queen rides by”). Really wonderful and thoughtful piece of writing.

  40. Brandy,
    Do you purchase seeds in bulk? I was just curious, I am still pretty new to gardening but want to try succession gardening and was hoping that maybe you could refer me to where I can purchase bulk seeds for a good price. Thank you for always being such an encouragement!!!


  41. I took a year of Spanish in college, figuring that it would help me in my Nursing career. Seeing as how I personally know NO ONE who speaks fluent Spanish, I forgot all I knew.

    At work, there’s a LOT of inmates who speak Spanish…they’ll speak it in my presence…so every once in awhile, I’ll throw in a few phrases I learned from college/Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street! LOL

    I was considering buying Rosetta Stone as it’s been on sale for $209…still quite pricey.

    There’s also a few prison guards who are fluent in Spanish…one’s a woman so I asked her how best to learn Spanish and she said Rosetta Stone :/

    Does anyone have any more cost-efficient ideas??

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