Sunday, February 10, 2013

Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

I harvested parsley, sage, arugula, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I transplanted thinnings (of lettuce) into another spot in the garden. I transplanted 4 small heads of lettuce (that had started growing from reseeding themselves) into another part of the garden.

I put out more jars in the garden to encourage my plants to grow faster.

I sowed more Swiss chard seeds, Johnny jump-up seeds, and more poppy seeds in the garden.

My husband washed the seat belts that he got from old cars at Pick a Part last week, and installed them in our new to us van. This involved some welding so that the seat belts could be attached. He was able to do that at his brother's house. They made it possible to move up the rear seat (which seats 4; the other rows seat 3) so now the van can seat 12 with one row of seats removed, and I will still be able to haul my shopping home in the back. (Without a seat removed, there was no room for groceries, as the last row of seats went to the very back doors).

I used a $20 off $60 purchase coupon at the local nursery. I was able to purchase more manure, some dirt, and bone meal for the garden. I also found some pansies marked down to .25 each. I planted some in the circle in my garden, a few in pots by my bench and some pots by the front door. I was hoping to find a 6-pack of pansies; these were less money and were bigger plants, too! I also purchased some new English Thyme plants and basil plants. The manager mentioned that it would be turning cold again for the next couple of days, so I put the thyme in the pots on my piano, and the basil into some containers on my kitchen table. When it warms up again on Wednesday, I'll plant them out in the garden; in the meantime, I am loving the fresh greenery in the house!

I made French bread (twice, for a total of 8 loaves), lemon poppyseed muffins, popsicles, butternut squash soup, Swiss chard and onion soup, and pizza. I cooked two large pots of beans this week and froze pinto beans, as well as a mix of kidney beans and great northern beans (for minestrone soup). I made two batches of Italian dressing.

I cooked a ham, and we sliced it for sandwich meat. My husband made himself a ham sandwich on French bread to take to work.

I had several at-home date nights with my husband this week. One night we watched a movie that we got for free with a free Redbox code. There is a Redbox in the parking lot by his office, so it didn't cost anything extra in gas for him to pick it up or return it.

I watched Downton Abbey on, and I watched a couple of shows on Hulu for free.

When I went shopping, I brought along my reusable bags to two stores. Target gives .05 credit per bag, and Winco gives .06 credit per bag. I saved .41 on my groceries by bringing the bags. I have never purchased reusable bags; I have been given a bunch of them from my different people (tote bags work, too) and I just use those. The stores do not require you to use their bags; they give credit for any reusable bag. You usually need to tell the cashier at Winco how many bags you have, since you bag your own groceries there.

I often find great produce deals at Winco, so I have gotten into the habit of taking a lot of bags with me when I go, just in case. Their sales are not advertised, and their prices can change daily (and sometimes within the same day!), so when I go, I just look for the best deals. I find their prices on other items to generally be higher, so I usually only shop there for produce. This time I found broccoli crowns for .68 a pound. I bought 28.66 pounds. I will be blanching and freezing the broccoli for our family. I did this before, several months ago, but we have eaten all of that, so it is time for more.

I used coupons on canned pineapple and Valentine's candy.

I combined trips to save on gas and time.

I listened to a motivational speaker speak to women at our church one evening. (This was free to attend). She was really funny and there was a delicious dessert afterwards.

What did you do to save money this week?


  1. You had a great week, as usual! We had a good one too - it's listed on my blog:

    I think I would like Winco, just from what I hear about it. We don't have them here, and I've never lived where they are located...but it sounds like a good store.

    I'm really happy to hear about your seat belts going in ok! That van sounds likt it will be a real blessing to your family. Also, the thyme made me smile - I have some planted outside my front comes back every year and makes it smell so nice out there! I just pick some whenever I need it.

    I can't wait to read everyone's comments!
    -Laura at TenThingsFarm

  2. I made homemade dishwasher detergent. While I was at it, I also made a batch of laundry detergent. I make a 5 gallon concentrated batch (costs around $2 per batch.) It will last our family of 6 approximately 7 months in our HE washer :)
    I have started making homemade brownies (to the delight of my husband and kids.) I made up a big batch of dry mix, and stored in a glass canning jar. Pretty - and handy when they want a little sweet treat!
    I bought a 25 lb of bread flour at Sam's - to be used when I make some homemade breadsticks this week.

    1. Could you share your dishwasher recipe? I've tried a recipe off the internet previously but it seemed to cloud my dishes. Any tips are appreciated. I make my own detergent and would LOVE to make dishwashing detergent as well. Also----anyone out there make their own shampoo?

    2. I also use vinegar as my "rinsing agent." That helped me with the clouding.
      Dishwashing detergent:
      1 c. borax
      1 c. washing soda
      1/2c. lemishine
      1/2 c. kosher salt
      about 1 tsp of dry rice (so it doesn't clump up as bad in the storage container.)

      I use about 1 T. of the mix per load.
      I make up a big batch (double the recipe or so) and store in a container that I shake it out of each time.
      Actually, I don't measure, I just eye it when I add it to the dishwasher. AND...I just shake it right onto the door, and then close it up. (Yep, I saw a hint about this ...somewhere...and it's so much easier than trying to get it into the little drawer/door thingy.
      I will try and find the link later to the original recipe I based it on...but I added the rice to it from other hints I saw...because that lemishine (citric acid) makes it clump up. I think the rice helps! (and another bonus....most of this stuff are things I had on hand because I make my own laundry detergent. Yipee!)

    3. I have everything but the lemishine...will try to find that. Thanks so much!

    4. I use

      1 cup borax
      1 cup washing soda
      1/2 cup citric acid (ordered in bulk from amazon)
      1/2 cup kosher salt

      I add a small mesh bag with rice to prevent clumping. It works so well. Use white vinegar for rinse aid. Never have had a problem with cloudiness.

    5. Tina -
      I found it both at WalMart in the dishwashing detergent area, and at our local grocery store. I use the powdered form (I think they have a liquid one, too.)
      I never tried this...but read some folks use lemon kool aid. You might google it and see what they say. It has the citric stuff in it...but the lemon won't stain the dishwasher! Hope that helps.

  3. This is 2 weeks’s worth since I didn’t have time to write anything up last weekend:

    I approached my sister about what she wants to do about celebrating birthdays this year. No agreement yet, but I brought it up!
    I started using envelope from junk mail as scrap paper and for my shopping lists and can put the coupons inside the envelope I need to take with me.

    I finally fixed one of my favorite bras that the hook had bent out of shape when it got caught on something inside the dryer. I thought I was out of hooks but I dug around the bottom of my sewing box and found a loose one. I need to start clipping hooks, eyes and snaps off and not just buttons when I throw out clothes.

    Last week there was a deal at Publix to get a free rotisserie chicken if you bought 3 items off a list. The papertowels were a good price and I had coupons so I got those, but the cheaper ones weren’t select-a-size. So unrolled a bunch of paper towels out off the roll and cut them up the center and re-rolled them around the roll so now they are select-a –size! When we got to the uncut ones, I just unrolled more and cut more. We don’t use many papertowels so I only had to do it every few days. My son said he would figure out how to cut the rolls in half for me. He has an unopened hacksaw blade he said he would try that.

    That free chicken – I was thankful to get it – but it was so small! I can’t believe people pay $7.39 for them (ah-hem…I used to pay that). I still stretched it though. One night we had one of the breasts chopped up on chef salads with hard boiled egg and leftover cheese from tacos for dinner one night and lunch the next day. I served it with homemade garlic toast. The rest of the meat I picked off and diced and divided and froze for 2 more meals. I also boiled the bones and got a couple of cups of broth.

    I have been really working on my goal of zero food waste. I had a couple of pears that were too soft to eat and didn’t have time to make the pear bread I printed from All Recipes, so instead I diced it up, sprinkled it with lots of cinnamon sugar and homemade granola and called it pear crisp. I didn’t even bake it and it was delicious!

    I also had leftover store bought hamburger rolls in the freezer, probably leftover from Labor Day. They were definitely freezer burnt. I usually make bread pudding with bread like that but we had so many desserts in the house already. Instead for lunch, I split them open, buttered the insides and sprinkled with Italian seasonings and garlic and toasted them. I had albacore tuna in the foil package that I got almost free (it had the mayo and relish already mixed in with it). I found it on the clearance shelf and I had coupons so it was almost free (I can’t remember the exact price). It turned out so good and you couldn’t tell the rolls were past their prime, and it was a treat to have tuna since that was something we don’t eat as often since we’ve been watching the budget closer.

    1. i use a serated kitchen knife (like the bread knives) to cut the rolls of paper will get fuzzies..but it works

    2. Thank you for the idea about using those spare paper envelopes. Awesome to put coupons in them as well. I'm doing this idea :)


    3. I use a really sharp 10 inch chef's knife to cut my rolls in half to make homemade wipes. Works easily and no fuzzies (or at least minimal fuzzies).

  4. I just recently started watching downtown Abby -it is so good.

    We just have a few frugal things that we did this week aside from the norm:

    We had the tops of our seats of our couch reupholstered this week-much cheaper and easier than buying new. Looks like a new set for 1/4 of the cost we would have paid. Can't stop looking at them!

    Went to an estate sale on half off day-found a bread maker for $2.50. Been having fun making bread every since.

    Like Laura I can't wait to read everyone's comments!

  5. Last week I:
    - hung clothes on the indoor lines/rack to try
    -we ordered the new bathroom sink/faucet/cabinet, bathroom linoleum (on sale), kitchen linoleum (on sale)and the hubby priced a green house we REALLY want
    -We have our seed order ready to go, I will mail it out this week :) YAY!
    -I used dry pinto beans, cooked them in the crock pot and made homemade refried beans. YUM
    - I downloaded several free kindle books
    - I cleaned out and reorganized my computer/storage room and the bathroom (in preparation of the work being done tomorrow)I have several bags ready for donation to our local thrift store and now know where everything is :)
    -We got our federal taxes back already, and we used a portion of that money to STOCK UP on groceries. We have a specific butcher shop in the next city over that we use, then our local grocery store and Aldi store. We shouldn't have to buy anything except milk for at least a month :)Saves us time, money because we got most of the food on sale.
    -Filled the gas tank up, not really frugal up front because it cost $53.00, but I won't need gas for 2 weeks. I will try to stretch this longer, but I drive a half hour one way to work 5 to 6 days a week.
    Thank you so much, I am always inspired by you and your family!

    1. Mandy, I'd love your refried beans recipe if you want to share . . . my skinny-minny daughter loves them and I'd love to be able to make them from scratch for her to have whenever she wants. Thanks!

    2. Amberswindow, I am not Mandy (and I would love to know her recipe also), but I use the refried beans recipe from Hillbilly Housewife. No comparison to the canned stuff, in my opinion! I actually make up seasoning packets for my dried beans and keep them in ziplock bags. I cook 2 lb of dried beans at once. I just soak them overnight, rinse them, dump them in my crockpot with a seasoning package and add a couple of tablespoons of oil and cook them until done. Once cooled, I usually freeze them in meal-sized portions in zip lock bags (lie them flat to freeze - they take up less room). They thaw quickly in water if I don't remember to take them out the night before, and I can have refried beans or just cooked beans for any recipe I want. Canned refried beans make me want to gag, but my husband still occasionally requests Rosarita. :)

    3. Thanks, I'll check that out, and wait to see what Mandy has to say too. I have tried some of Hillbilly Housewife's recipes, and I've had good luck and bad luck with them. I feel more confident knowing that someone else has had success with this particular recipe!

  6. This week I:
    -cut a doll nightgown from a blue flannel pillowcase & sewed it together as pick up work over the week. Repainted a small wooden candlestick ornament to be part of the “bedtime set” for a doll for our granddaughter.
    -bought 4 pkgs of ground turkey from the meat bargain basket when I picked up a Rx for my husband. They were $0.80/lb. Cooked one pkg for dinner as spaghetti & meatballs, with enough left over for another meal & a lunch. The other 3 pkgs went into the freezer for later use. Later in the week when I picked up milk, I bought 2 large pkgs of ground beef from the markdown bin for $1.49/lb. There was a 3rd pkg, but the freezer is full, & only had room for 2. Made meatloaf for dinner & froze the rest.
    -used some older apricot jam that was beginning to “sugar” (sugar crystals in it due to age), to make apricot sauce to go over turkey tenderloins from the freezer.
    -used wrinkled apples to make individual apple crisps. Steven has difficulty digesting apple peels, so I peeled his apple, & one section of my apple, cut up all the apple peels & put them in “my” apple crisp with the other sections of “my apple”. The peels do not bother me, so it kept the crisps the same size & prevented wasting the peel.
    -baked 2 Waltham butternut squash & saved the seed, since they were heirloom variety, to plant this year in the garden. One less seed to buy!
    -moved my 2 "new" cloches off the counter out into the garden & snow.
    -stayed at home most of the week, which saved gas & allowed me to catch up on hand sewing & mending. Watched Downton Abbey on PBS & Cheese Slices on UEN for free while I sewed.
    -put away the snowflake decorations & put up the ones for Valentine’s Day. One of my favorite Valentine’s decorations is an “I love you” frame that I bought at a yard sale for a quarter, in which I placed a picture of my husband & I dancing at our small open house (in his parent’s living room), after our wedding. It sits on one of the shelves of the bookcase in our library thru February.
    -checked freecycle every day. I have a short list of items for which I am watching, & it only takes a moment to check the lists. I picked up the sheet sets I am using for material for the doll nightgown when I “found” the twin size comforter for which I was looking. Freecycle is fairly active here, & can be a good source for some items, as long as you are not in a hurry.
    -drove in to Provo to pick up a part for a light that needed repaired. Stopped at the thrift store while I was in town, & found 2 more of the candlesticks with drip pans & handles that my youngest daughter wanted. I also found a lid for the 2 Grab It mini casseroles I have, which will make them work better for storing leftovers for lunch. I found 4 items that can be used with the doll clothes I am making as “accessories”, & even combined, the cost was less than the shipping on one “accessory”, had I ordered them. 3 of them will be accessories for the “pioneer outfit” I made for our granddaughter’s doll: 1) a doll-sized bucket, currently bright red, that needed the wire handle shortened & which I painted silver, using paint I had. It looks galvanized. 2) a doll-sized bushel basket, with 2 handles, to hold some small plastic pumpkins I already had. 3) a wooden cup, for which I will make a lid & dash, & it will become a butter churn.
    -the car my husband drives would not start Wed evening, so I drove back to Provo to pick him up after work. On the way home, we stopped to pick up more navy blue thread on sale & the little bit of elastic I needed to finish the doll nightgown. I stayed home (& saved gas $$), & he drove “my” car to work. I have stayed home most of the last 2 weeks, using less than 1/8 tank of gas.
    -used honey from some tiny jars that hold 22mls, about 2/3 ounce, and saved the jars to hold dried herbs, probably rosemary, to include in Christmas baskets.

    1. Shoot, that Cheese Slices program looks really good but they won't let you watch it unless you live in Utah.

  7. Bought a Ham for $15.94 at Kroger Spiral Sliced (we will be using this all week) Made Soup and salad for several meals last week. Did price matches at Walmart. We have had to resort to taking our medications every other day to be able to keep eating. I hope that we can still get buy as things are still going up even more. Bought a book for $1.00 as a gift and bought two tea towels for $2.00 as another gift and embroidered those will put a cookbook I have and a wooden spoon I have on hand with those. Gave away two movie tickets for free to my daughter as we could not go before they expired and her boyfriend was taking her to the movies so they saved $20.00 on two tickets with the free coupons. Hubby bought flowers at the grocery store and they were $4.00 with a $2.00 off coupon so I arranged them with stuff I had here at home for a very pretty arrangement for Valentine they look like a $20.00 set of flowers now.
    Got some free frozen veggies with Coupons from the store.
    Bought a shirt for hubby from an outlet store for Valentine it was marked $44.00 after sale and coupon it was $11.00 It is a nice shirt one he can wear to work.
    Checked into cashing in on my retirement account will do more research on that next week to figure out if we can start collecting on that. Hubby is signing up for Medicare so it will get cheaper for Insurance here in a few weeks. Daughter gave me her old ipod which works great when I am doing chores and exercising it is in mint shape so I am very excited about that !
    Filled the gas tank using point from the grocery .10 off per gallon.
    Used Vinegar when doing the laundry as fabric softener and also used it to rinse my hair. Gathered all my trial sized shampoos and poured them into my shampoo bottle I have enough to last about 3 more months before I have to buy again. Did a barter deal for some more firewood.
    Made Laundry soap, dishwasher soap and soft soap for hands out of scraps of bar soaps and also did two containers full of body soap for the bath using leftovers of bar soaps and bath soaks.
    Put three items on on ebay. Sold two last week and made $100.00.
    Did our Valentine outing one week early used a gift card and it paid for the entire outing (the gift card / a Gift to us for Christmas/ we saved it for our Valentine) Went for our Sunday date day out used two coupons from Fudrucker's got two 1/3 pound hamburgers for a total of $5.26 total went grocery shopping together after and took some photos of the nearby river. We both enjoy photography a lot!
    Took my winter boots to have resoled so that they will last a year or two more. Mended one shirt and washed my dry clean only draperies in my living room by hand with woolite and they came out perfect! They look great and they are hanging back where they belong all pressed (this service of dry cleaning and pressing these runs around $200.00)
    I finished mending the carpet in the living room / It does not look perfect but it is much better and would pass anyone's inspection as perfect but mine. Made several pillow cases out of an old sheet using a friends sewing machine.

    1. You may want to consider asking your Dr to give you Rx pills that are double the strength so that you can split them. We found that it costs almost the same for the higher mg pills.

    2. Before you check with your Dr, check with your pharmacist. Some pills, like ZoCor, can be safely split because the medication is distributed evenly throughout the pill. Others, like many heart meds, are not safe to split, because the medication is concentrated in one spot in the pill. The pharmacist with either know, or can look up this info for you. Once you have the info, you can ask the Dr to prescribe double strength for the pills that are safe to split. Also, if you are unable to afford your medications, some of the insurance companies have programs to assist you in paying for your medications.

    3. Meant to say also--I love that river in Gatlinburg if that is the one you are referring to. We were there about 24 years ago and I have always wanted to go back and walk along that river again.

    4. I take several prescriptions as well and I went online to the manufacturers website and 2 of them had a discount program. I save half the cost of those 2 meds. Have you tried that yet? Maybe there is a pharmacy near you that has a discount program, or there is a cheaper one your doctor could prescribe. I had to have my doctor prescribe a cheaper one as well, the other was $50 for a ONE month supply. Good luck!

    5. Also often you can get a 3 month supply for the cost of two months or less, maybe you can combine some of these tips, if you can split your pills and get a 90 day supply you will really have 6 months! I had a med that only came in a higher dose than I needed, my dr said to take it every other day, so I got 6 months for price of 2 months.

  8. *I won the "cointoss" and got us a free pizza from Papa John's. This was our dinner Friday.
    *Hung 4 loads of laundry in my basement in Ohio.
    *Tagged one tote of clothes to sell at the consignment sale in 3 weeks.
    *Brought my reusable bags to Target, where I bought diapers, training pants, 4 bags of starbucks coffee and 2 bags of fries for 26.62. The coffee was 70 percent off and 2 coffees would have exceeded the amount I paid if they were regular price.
    *Bought sensitive toothpaste, throat spray, peanut butter and a treat at Walgreens and spent 7.62.
    *Sold a bag of books.
    *Ate from the stockpiled food.

  9. Cooking cooking cooking. I used a bunch of coupons at Fresh and Easy. I have already prepped all of my CSA veggies so none will go to waste (though I did lose two onions that went bad.)

    This weekend I made refried beans in the crockpot, chickpeas and spinach, carrot ginger soup, lemon chicken. I found blueberries at Albertson's for $1 a pkg. I only bought 3 (probably should have stocked up and froze them, but I still have a couple of days to do that).

    I watched the rest of season 3 of Downton Abbey on

    I dug out some shampoo from my husband's business trips (you know, the little hotel ones) instead of buying more.

    I looked at the sales, and chose to skip 3 stores because I just didn't "NEED" it. The prices were good, but not "I HAVE TO STOCK UP" good.

    I took an inventory of my freezer and pantry so I can plan meals from them.

  10. This week, I ate leftovers when I did not feel like it. I saved a huge amount at the grocery store and thank goodness because my son got sick on a day we were expecting company Our company was already in the car so I could not cancel. Fortunately I had already baked a pie. I used some of the leftover money to order pizza. Which we never do, but I had to clean up all the mess and air the house and I did not have time to cook the lunch I had planned. I used some more to pay cash for a co-pay and put the rest of it with our offering in the basket at church. We made home made finger paint and stayed home all but one day. Which was not a big stretch since the weather was so crummy. I did well enough on bogos and other sales last week that I hardly need to get anything this week. I am going to try (again) to trim(whack?) forty dollars off my weekly budget. We are switching to a set menu til June when most of the gardening will be done and it is canning time. Sooo grilled cheese and spaghetti and hot dogs etc very simple since we know we will be busy in the garden.

  11. This week was a mixed bag for me. I spent some money that I shouldn't have, but earned some that was not ordinary.

    -Got two tubes of toothpaste for free using coupons and reward dollars
    -Received a coupon for $10 off of a $10 purchase at JCP and used it to buy a gift for my god daughter
    -Dropped off some of my son's old clothes at a consignment sale (will get check in about two-three weeks)
    -Cashed $12 of checks from doing surveys
    -Husband made $140 by selling some potting benches that he built with pallet wood
    -Bought strawberries ($1.19 a lb), kiwis (99 cents for six) and bananas (47 cents a pound) at Aldi
    -Made "Turkey Bone" Gumbo (Emeril Lagasse recipe) from frozen turkey carcass saved from Christmas YUMMY!
    -Made candy to give children for Valentine's
    -Made rice crispy treats in the shape of hearts for my students for Valentine's

    1. What kind of candy did you make? I've been looking at recipes this week for this purpose.

    2. I made Salted Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark - I made this for Christmas for my friends at work and they LOVED it! They begged for more.

      Also, you put Hershey’s kisses onto pretzels (275 degrees, 3 minutes), remove, and immediately press a single m&m on each. Let cool and harden before serving. These are great made with Hershey Hugs also OR with Rolos and press a pecan in the top!

    3. I made Salted Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark for Christmas too and it was the most popular sweet we had. It is fabulous!

  12. Sunday- stayed home and watched the Super Bowl. Made popcorn for our snack

    Monday - made homemade yogurt, hung laundry out

    Tuesday-declined an invitation to go out to lunch and ate what I brought. I am never sorry when I do this. Whatever I pack from home is so much healthier than restaurant food!

    Wednesday-both the dog and my husband needed trips to the vet/dr. Not in the budget but we handled it without using a credit card. Creative financing! Will just spend less elsewhere.

    Thursday-waited to hang out laundry until the weather is sunny. We have had to dig a little deeper in those drawers for socks!

    Friday-joined swag bucks! Why did I wait so long? Planted more seeds and placed cut milk jugs over them. I bury the edges about 2 inches down so they don't blow away. We are eating lots of Swiss chard, lettuce and parsley from the garden.

    Saturday-eggs on sale again! We ate lots of eggs and soup this week. 2 meals from a London broil this week the rest were vegetarian.

  13. Made homemade pancake mix to refill my canister. I have done this for 20 years and it is so much better and cheaper. I highly recommend the 'More With Less' cookbook that the recipe came from.

    My husband made yet another repair on our ancient Jenn-Aire stove. This time the oven door handle fell off. He had to take door completely apart to repair it. It was also a good opportunity to clean the door inside.

    Saturday night's supper was a free pizza and a 50% off pizza from Poppa John's. A total of $6.62 for 2 large pizzas. I could not have made them from scratch for that amount. They were a great treat as we had 3 of our grandchildren for the weekend while our oldest son and wife traveled out of town to a funeral. We avoided taking the grandchildren out for entertainment and stayed home and played outside since the weather was fairly nice. They enjoyed all the riding toys I bought a thrift stores last month.

    Cooked and baked from scratch all week and continued to use up foods from the freezer. For Sunday dinner today we grilled Oscar Mayer hot dogs that were 79 cents a package on sale and with a coupon plus a pasta salad and baked beans which was a very inexpensive meal. I like to occasionally make a summer picnic meal in the winter. It tastes so good!

    Took advantage of a sale at Publix to stock up on 80 ct boxes of Glad kitchen garbage bags for 2.99 a box. We are set for probably 9 months for very little money. We are required to bag all of our garbage and recyclables and those bags add up.

    I made homemade mac n cheese this week and stirred a couple of heaping spoonfuls of way out of date sour cream in before baking. It gave it a wonderful flavor and I believe I could have reduced the cheese by a few ounces. I will have to experiment with that. I am so thankful for the tip to use up sour cream in biscuits, etc. We have had the most delicious biscuits and cornbread.

    I purchased some herb and spinach seeds at Aldi for 49 cents a pack. They are good sized packages. I am excited to try growing spinach now that we will have a bit more sunlight from taking down the huge tree last fall. I sure could have bought a lot of spinach with the $2500 it cost to take down the tree though! I will also try tomatoes in pots this year. I have tried these things before without success because of our deep shade. Most of the area that will have more light is our driveway and deck so no real garden plot space.

    Took a survey online for QT gas stations and received a coupon for a free beverage, hot or cold. Hubby did the same so we can get a freebie one day when we are out. We also both received a free $5 egift card for Starbucks for signing up for AT&T alerts. This will be a great freebie date!

    Have a good week y'all!

    1. Maybe you can use your deck for some potted veggies.

    2. That is what I will try. We have a serious vole problem and I have even taken most of my herbs out of the ground as they eat the roots and then the plant dies. I am hopeful of being able to grow a few things now.

  14. This week I was able to do several frugal things I normally don't have time to do because I had a daughter down with a flu/cold. So, I cancelled several activities we usually do.

    I was able to still work Monday. My husband was able to work from home with the sick daughter. I teach piano. I do it at home, except for on Mondays. So, had I stayed home, I would have not received any money for that day.

    I roasted a whole chicken. I made chicken melt sandwiches, a casserole, and ate some plain. I froze several cartons of broth.

    We got several loaves of gluten free bread for free. I dried them and made crumbs. I got 2 gallon ziplocks full.

    I made another huge batch of spaghetti sauce. We had spaghetti twice. We received a large brick of sharp cheddar cheese and some ricotta cheese from our gleaner load this week. It is REALLY expired--months actually- but the sharp cheddar is just sharper. There is no mold or icky taste on either one, so we are going for it. We rarely get cheese like this. Lasagna is in the plans for the coming week.

    I went to Costco and found 25lbs sugar for around $11-$12. Last summer it never went below about $15-16 for that same amount. With some other sales I've found, I probably have enough for through the summer, including canning. I got some other things, including a swimsuit for my daughter for $20. She needs one next Friday and I figure I couldn't do better with out a long shopping trip, which I didn't have time for. When she came downstairs with the old ones saying, "Mom, we have a problem, they don't fit...." you get the idea. I shouldn't be so surprised every time this happens:) I hid the chocolate chips I bought out in the shop freezer so they might last longer this time.

    I cut out a nightgown for my older daughter to sew for her birthday. I bought a robe on clearance that matches the flannel. I've got some time, the birthday's in March. The flannel was some I got at JoAnn's a few years back for around $1-$1.50 per yard.

    I made a baby bib to put in my gift stash. I cut out a baby dress and started it. These are from leftover fabric from a skirt I made a daughter a couple of years ago.

    I played keyboard on the worship team today so had to stay at church all morning, so we all rode in the same car, saving gas.

    I have onions, broccoli, and cabbage up in the greenhouse. I am hoping peppers will pop up soon. I will plant tomatoes later.

    I downloaded several Kindle books for free (except the one I BOUGHT ON ACCIDENT-silly me) for an upcoming trip I am taking with my sisters. I got several books, movies and books on cd from the library for my sick daughter to listen to. I did school with her whenever she felt able, but let her sleep or listen to those cd's for hours.

    I did NOT order from Azure Standard this month. I could have used a few things, but have a lot stockpiled, and can get by with just the Costco trip. I am working on freeing up some freezer space for the pig that we will soon have.

    I made thousand island dressing, and ranch. Hubby stirred in ketchup to the thousand island--recipe was a little bland. Otherwise a success.

    I asked my husband what it takes to make him feel "not poor or deprived" in the food area. He told me that having milk does it for him. Whew!!! I've been trying to keep the food budget really low for the last couple of months, and keeping milk on hand is easy, since we don't drink much anyway. He also asked for some peanut butter, so I got some of that as well. I really like to keep him happy. He works so hard and doesn't ask for much. It's good to know he is satisfied with what we've been eating. Encouraging, really!

    I was able to cover the price of the entire Costco trip with money I made from piano lessons, so his paycheck could go to bills and other expenses.

    1. Really loved reading your second last paragraph Becky. It's exactly what I have been thinking about today after my trip to the grocery store. It's certainly encouraging to know our husband's are satisfied with what we do for the family at home. Do you have a blog?

    2. I do not have a blog. I've thought of starting one, but don't know how. It's on my list of things to learn one of these days, as soon as I find someone younger to teach me how. It's amazing how much things have changed so fast in my lifetime (and I'm only middle aged), and I'm eager to learn new things, but anticipate needing a little hands-on help with this one.

      Thank you for the encouraging words.

    3. I like what you say about checking in with husbands to see what makes them feel richer in terms of food. There are things I could do without (such as chips) but it is an important thing to have in his mind. And I find that when I cater to that in some way (even if just a once in a while thing), he is much more inclined to stay on "the path" with our budget. Suppose that is true for all of us....

  15. I know how little space those vans have behind that last seat! I think it is so great you were able to make it work. We have to keep that last seat in so we through things on the back seat or where ever.

    We got sick again this week! I'm so tired of nasty viruses. We had a 10 day window of wellness but I never caught up during that time.

    Because of this and other issues like the blue and gold banquet this week, I don't feel very frugal. :)

    Regardless, I stuck to my menu almost entirely. Using almost entirely from the pantry, including winter squashes from last years garden.

    We have been needing to make some large purchases for a while now. We waited until we had cash to do it with. One of those items was a mattress. We found one that works at costco and we'll get cash back for that purchase too. I'm wondering if I can deconstruct the mattress and box springs for other uses. I could use the wood in the garden as well as the metal mesh. The foam could be used in the house for other projects.

    I tried really hard to participate in the Project Run & Play sew along this week, but because of the illness I couldn't finish in time. I think it fits to share that particular challenge here. It was to turn a mans button up shirt into something for a child. I turned one of my husband's work/dress shirts that had worn through the elbows into an adjustable waist/length skirt for my girls. I think all my youngest girls could wear it. I may make more like this, but I will alter my construction methods for the better next time. I used some fabric I had too, but I did have to buy buttons because I didn't have enough matching ones, but I was able to get them pretty cheap.

    Frugal frustration: Found our favorite TP brand has gone through a major change. It is a 2 ply paper, and the 2 plys are now as thick as one of the layers used to be. We have to use twice as much paper. Ugh. So now I am on the hunt for a different TP.

    1. How many people does your van seat?

      We can seat 12 now, with the other seat removed. I think you mentioned having many more children than I have.

      I understand the need for a new mattress. I hope this will be the year for one for us. Ours is around 30 years old.

    2. My hubby is very particular about TP. Normally, I would buy some at Sams but lately I've been finding good deals online. I like to use swagbucks to earn amazon gift cards. I mostly use amazon gift cards for things we normally buy (not gifts). Last time I bought tp I got 32rolls for .98 out of pocket. I'm not as particular on the TP issue, so sometimes I use a cheaper brand for me.

    3. Our van is a 15 passenger. We considered removing a middle bench and moving the back one up permanently before we had our last couple of children. I'm glad we didn't, as there are 13 of us now, even though we don't always have everyone in the van.

      I hope you are able to get yourself a new mattress this year!

      Penelope (I don't know what is happening with the google account right now... sorry for the unknown thing)

    4. I can be very thoughtless when I am headed on a certain path. My husband, who works like the proverbial dog, never has complained about the food I fix or not eating out and so on. But he used to ask me to buy a specific brand of TP because apparently he felt that the sale ones were too rough. I kept ignoring him, not really deliberately but because I can, as I said, be thoughtless. Well, one day I came home to find a roll of TP made of newspaper that he had cut into strips and wound around a TP tube. I asked him what on earth was going on and he said if I felt like cheap TP was the difference between solvency and being bankrupt, then he was willing to make the sacrifice and use newspaper instead. I got the point and now I not only buy the brand he likes, but I try and listen better when he makes one of his very infrequent complaints about how hard care I have become about saving money. It makes me laugh now, but I was ashamed of myself for being so deaf to someone who is so good to me.

  16. My frugal accomplishments this week:
    -packed my own breakfast and lunch this week
    -bought some new bath towels at the thrift store for $2/each. As I was leaving I discovered they offer a military discount (10%) on Wednesdays.
    -started lettuce and peas from seeds. They have already begun to sprout.
    _My carpool partner and I now have a carpool slot-it cost us 1/4 less to park than in the other parking lot we were using.
    -Mixed compost from my compost to my garden.

  17. We had a rough week this last week - my daughter had a double ear infection, my son came down with Influenza B and my Dad's white count is very low this week. There were several other things too - at one point I was standing in my living room just laughing my head off because there was nothing else I could do. Uff Da. It was a busy week and this week is going to be even busier. Here's what we did this week that was frugal:

    * Didn't have to actually buy anything to make our meals this week so we stocked up on some necessities and quite a few treats instead.
    * Finished making homemade Valentines.
    * Started sewing Easter Dresses from the fabric I bought on clearance in January for myself and my daughter.
    * Ate all but one meal at home or took meals to work this week - we used an unexpected gift to order take out on friday night as a break from a very stressful week. We have enough left over for another take out meal this next week if we need it.
    * Planned my regular spring "craft retreat" with my cousin and some friends at a cheaper place than we usually do - will save over $70 each and we decided to treat ourselves to dinner out one day instead of making all meals (there's a specific place we'd like to go). We will still save a total of about $45 each over our regular cost.
    * Downloaded several free ebooks this week
    * Returned and renewed several books and movies from the library for the children
    * Read up on several local free opportunities for entertainment this summer since it looks like we won't be traveling a bit like we had previously thought - found more things than I thought we would!
    * Re-read 2 books that we already own and realized why I keep them! :)
    * Cleaned out a whole bunch more stuff - recycled some and took a load to the thrift store. Accepted store credit for later use rather than a tax receipt for the donation. Put away two sets of Little People toys we were going to get rid of for birthday gifts for a nephew and a friend later this year (wrapped and tagged them already). Our house is looking nicer and is easier to maintain and it's easier to be more content with what we have. I really like that!

    I think that's it - or at least that's all I can remember!
    Have a good week everyone!

  18. I am new to posting here, but thought it would help me stay more accountable for my spending. This week, I decided to try the cash envelope system another try. It is making me think more about where I am spending my money and I have been making better choices already. I am using a "wallet"/money file that I made a couple years ago using scrap fabric, velcro, and cardstock I had on hand.

    We eat out way too much (my husband works from home and is frugal in most areas, but eating out is something he loves), but this week we have eaten out less. I have been making alot of chicken noodle soup using homemade chicken stock, leftover veggies, pasta (whatever bits are left at the end of the bag), and chicken bought on sale. I make it on the weekend, so it is a convenient meal as we have been sick this past week and have also been too busy to spend much time on meal prep during the week.

    Instead of buying treats when my son was supposed to bring something in to share with his class this week, I made homemade granola bars using what we had on hand. Not only was it inexpensive, but his teacher and several other students were requesting the recipe.

    Earned an amazon gift card by using swagbucks.

    Ordered our produce, meat, and bulk grains online this week. The food is mainly pesticide free and is high quality and local. I ends up saving us money, because we know exactly what we are spending and we avoid all the unnecessary impulse buys. With the savings from that purchase, I was able to stock up on canned veggies, a few boxes of cereal, chicken and organic milk that were a great deal at the grocery store.

    I started saving our change in a jar to help us purchase some things we will need in the future.

    Been watching Gilmore Girls on AppleTV for entertainment. Also downloaded free kindle books.

    Froze lemon juice from lemons that were given to us.

    We had 45 people over for brunch yesterday after my daughter's baptism, and I didn't go as overboard with it as I usually do. I used some decorations and things left from her birthday party a few weeks earlier, I bought food that could be frozen and used later for our meals and snacks in case there were leftovers. Yesterday afternoon, I made strawberry jam with the leftover strawberries from the brunch. The food was good, everyone had fun, and my daughter felt special, so it was a success!

  19. I used homemamde laundry detergent

    I made my granola into bars for breakfast this week

    I used a coupon to get a mongo for son loves them but at $1.28 a piece it is a luxury.

    ate at my mother in laws today

    accepted a large bag or dinner rolls and a sandwhich bag of tomato slices from our church

    returned pop cans from a family get together for $4.60.

    downloaded free books and apps on my kindle (unblockme is a fun game)

    was able to get some really good prices on a few items with preferred customer coupons this week...they have four sets for the month.

  20. Bought some jeans for my 3 year old son for $1 a pair. Awesome price.
    On the flip side we purchased three shirts new at a store and paid about $15 a shirt. That might now seem like a lot, but since we started shopping at thrift stores, that seemed like a lot to me. I feel extremely grateful (1) that we can purchase so many great things at thrift stores and (2) it is completely socially acceptable to shop at thrift stores. I do remember when I was young it wasn't cool and I am so grateful that my kids are not only fine with their purchases from thrift stores, but they are proud of them and how much money they save.
    Purchased a keyboard(piano) for our home and my husband asked them to take $50 off the top. They did! Yeah!
    A friend of mine brought me a trunk full of books they were throwing away at the elementary school. I was able to pull out some math workbooks that my kids can use in the coming years. (We homeschool)
    Gave my husband and my boys haircuts.
    Cleaned and organized my home a little more and when I am more organized I spend less money.

  21. Just a couple of things come to mind this week:
    - stayed home all week
    - restocked window cleaner and toilet cleaner with cleaners made at home with things on hand
    - ate from stockpiled foods

    1. I forgot to add that I price matched oranges for $0.16 a pound and apples for $0.50 a pound.

  22. I wrote out a 2-week meal plan and we have stayed on it so far. I based it on items I already had on hand so the grocery bill was much smaller. We are attending a Family Literacy Night at my daughter's school - it runs from Jan. 30 to Feb 20 - once a week on Wednesday nights. It is helping my daughter's teaching with her Master thesis and the teacher provides food and drinks for the parents. So no meals at home for the grown-ups that night. Stayed home and saved gas and frivolous spending… hubby was off work one day and kept asking if I wanted to go window shop at area stores - I kept saying no, let's just stay home and get stuff done on our to-do list. Daughter was in school that day - so we did -- lots of honey-do projects are completed now! Woot!! Attend my Mom's group annual winter social and won a 19-inch LCD TV with DVD player combo attached… such a blessing as my daughter's school is looking for a big ticket item to use in their chili night raffle… we do not need another television so hubby and I agreed to donate it. Purchased a package of pork chops and pork steaks in the markdown meat section at Kroger… I now automatically check that meat section first now. I also purchased a pound of ground chicken for .80 cents… but not sure what to make with it…. any ideas that are yummy?

    1. Grilled chicken burgers. You can't add as much seasoning before they fall apart, but shape them into patties and grill. Top like you would any other burger. We are hooked, and almost can't stand "regular" burgers anymore :)

    2. i'm not a fan of ground chicken but in chillis it works well

  23. **Paid cash for car repairs.

    **I bought an 8 lb. pork loin that was on sale for $1.99/lb. I honestly had no idea what to do with such a huge piece of meat, but I was getting very tired of chicken and was desparate to add some variety to our meals.

    I found a wonderful video online that showed me how to cut it into a roast, thick and thin pork chops and cubes for stir fry and sweet and sour pork. Most of the meat went in the freezer. We have enough pork for at least 10 meals for our family of 4 with lots of leftovers for lunches. It was a nice change from the chicken meals we've been eating and a great deal!

    **My husband and I had a free meal at his annual employee appreciation dinner. It was delicious and I enjoyed a break from the kitchen.

    **I am starting to notice some savings by making our breakfast instead of grabbing a box of cereal in the morning. This week I bought 2 boxes of cereal instead of the 4 that I normally buy and we ate oatmeal several times this week instead. I saved about $4.00 (probably closer to $4.50) this week which would be a yearly savings of a little over $200 per year!

    **We made our own valentines for my son's first grade class using things we had on hand instead of buying them. I did buy some candy from the dollar store to put in the valentines.

    **I used the $1 Olay coupon from the P&G coupon insert to get free soap at Dollar Tree.

    **I used bread end-slices from the freezer to make homemade stuffing. The difference between store bought stuffing and homemade was shocking. I don't think I will ever buy a box of stuffing again!

    **I cooked the extra turkey that I bought during the Thanksgiving sales ($.49/lb.) and made turkey broth with the bones. We will have lots of turkey meals on next week's menu.

    1. I did that with the last pork roast that I purchased. We get a lot of meals from it.

      I won't ever go back to buying cold cereal. My children will eat through at least one box at a meal, and still be hungry an hour later.

      Look for oats in bulk for an even greater savings. I get a 25 pound bag for under $16. A few months ago Winco had them on sale for $9.50 for a 25 pound bag.

      It sounds like you've done a lot of great things to cut your food expenses!

    2. I am slowly cutting back on cereal for our family. My husband still wants Raisin Bran in the morning (he is a creature of habit--he eats the same breakfast and lunch EVERYDAY!) so I will continue to buy that for him.

      It's funny that you mention buying oats in bulk as I was just thinking that same thing last week! Even though we are a small family, it doesn't take us long to go through one of those little canisters, not too mention the cost! Unfortunately we don't have a store that sells in bulk in my area. I will order online or check the stores in the city when I visit my mom next week.

      Thanks so much for your inspiration and encouragement! I am so looking forward to starting a garden this spring--something I never thought I would do!

    3. I think buying in bulk is worth it, even for a small family. You just don't have to buy as much of it! I remember when it was just my husband and me. I kept thinkig I would save us so much money if I could learn to make Rice a Ronit from scratch. I finally did it! I used to feed 2 of us for $200 a month; I learned to feed 9 for $100 a month, so I know it's worth it. I can only imagine how much less I would have spent (and how much less I would have needed to cook, with leftovers and freezing!) had I learned to shop like this earlier.

    4. I buy my oatmeal in bulk from Sam's Club - and we only have 4 people in our family. It's much cheaper (unless I can get a canister for almost free - which occasionally I can), especially since we eat oatmeal 3-5 mornings each week!


  24. Does anyone have any experience with potato grow bags? We have a teeny yard with three raised beds and want to plant potatoes this year. I have done a bit of research but was looking for some suggestions. We chose German Butterballs.

    1. I don't know if this will be helpful to you or not (I'm a beginner gardener) but I was reading in a gardening book that you can plant potatoes in raised beds by putting the potato peices in the soil with cut side down about a half inch deep and covering them with straw (not hay). According to the book, the potatoes won't be as big as planting in hilled rows, but there will be more of them.

    2. hmm, we are trying to save our raised beds for other things, like cucumbers and peppers and zucchini. We have only been gardening for three years. We keep saying This Is The Year everything will go well.

    3. We have only grown them in our garden the regular way. Onehundreddollarsamonth blogger tried a tower thing and was not pleased with the volume, although she did get potatoes. We do grow potatoes because it is fun, but for high production I don't think the return is worth the grow space. I can buy them for so much cheaper than it costs to grow them, especially. Of course, I still think the experience is valuable and if you have a special variety it is worth it.

  25. Had to pick up prescriptions at Walmart. Doing this is cheaper than going through our mail order plan on some items.

    I threw together the need list for the week and did my shopping the same day. The only thing I missed was cat food which I had a coupon for --- and I forgot the coupon at home. I'll catch it next time through.

    The "root cellar" I concocted was somewhat of a success. I think I made a mistake with the container I used for potatoes. They sprouted sooner than expected. I sliced, parboiled and dehydrated a bunch. I canned up another 8 quarts.

    The onions actually did quite well --- I just didn't really need 50 pounds. (They mistakenly loaded a 50#bag rather than a 25# bag. I didn't notice the mistake until I was home 45 minutes away). I have nine trays chopped dehydrating now. They are out in the garage because of the odor. I even had the garage doors ajar to keep it ventilated and the back yard smelled strongly of onions. I'll keep an eye on the remaining 8 onions and chopped/freeze if they start going south.

    I will also can up the apples in a light syrup. They held up quite well.

    I sashayed (that's a grandmother term) through my favorite Goodwill. I snagged a Pyrex 8x8 baking pan. A size that I did not have. They are a little proud of their Pyrex price-wise, but I think it was still half-off new.

    I also checked the men's clothes as I've had very good luck finding business casual shirts for the husband in 2XL Tall. No shirts, but I found a Columbia spring-type jacket in perfect condition for $12.99. This was in with the winter coats (!?!) and the clerk marked it down 50%. I didn't argue with her, but I did question her whether or not that was considered a winter coat. :)

    Finally, I purchased a used Kindle Fire on Amazon, probably $75 off new price.

    * I will be using it on the treadmill for entertainment--easier and cheaper than buying and running wire for a new TV. The basement wall is not inspiring!!
    * I plan on purchasing books and magazines for it -- preferably the cheap and free kind. I'm also going to transfer my subscriptions to it, hoping this will reduce my clutter.
    * I plan on using it for household organization -- to do lists, grocery lists, prepping lists. Again, less paper fluffing around.
    * Finally, I'm using it as a time and energy saver. I'm finding that I spend too much time in front of the computer. So I will be turning on and checking the "real" computer a couple times a day. (I typing this from there) and then .....shutting it off!!!! Less electric used. While the Kindle is nice, it is much more difficult to surf the web on. I've book marked the websites I frequent and will spend less time fiddling around. No stopping what I'm doing to look up something, running downstairs to the computer and getting lost in who knows what!

    1. I subscribe to and to find free and inexpensive kindle books. I also occasionally check the Amazon kindle free best sellers list here:

  26. I'm jealous you got broccoli. I got a cheap frozen bag that I am holding onto for a special day. I can plant ours next month though!

    I did a few things this week.

    Bought my daughters flower girl dress for my brothers wedding. I was in charge of buying it and it had to be all satin. I can't sew so I had to find the cheapest available. After one visit to a bridal store, I learned we would be paying about $150. I found a much cuter dress at an online flower girl dress site for $48 with free shipping.

    Continued my pantry challenge. We needed oats at the beginning of the month so I thought that's all we needed. Then, this week I learned my batch of yeast was bad. So I bought yeast. Still no other pantry purchases since Feb 1.

    Just used what we had since I couldn't make any bread. I found some tortillas and made some biscuits. I don't think anyone noticed.

    Got daughter some new hair wraps in different colors from CVS that I used a big coupon on. Used a coupon for Valentines Candy. Found a cupcake bubble bath that I had bought a while ago in a clearance bin for an emergency gift. Going to put all three together for my daughters valentines gift. Didn't spend over a dollar.

    Ordered Papa Johns with the free pizza coupon we won from the heads/tails Super Bowl challenge.

    Took lunch and snacks to my daughters cheerleading competition.

    Found some pre-made valentines on the back of a box. Cut them out and will make homemade valentines for my hubby and daughter this week.

    That's about it!

  27. Last week I stopped by my town's dump, where there is a shed full of books free for the taking. I found five books and a movie.

    Using gift cards I earned through Swagbucks, I purchased three books for myself, The Weekend Homesteader, The Homemade Pantry, and The American Frugal Housewife. I also bought a safety razor for my husband. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he likes the razor since it would significantly cut down on the cost of shaving. His grandfather used to use one and he's excited to try it.

    I picked up two winter hats at Target that were on clearance for only 60¢ a piece.

    I made gluten free peanut butter cookies, again. I've been having some issues over the past few months with what I think is a gluten intolerance, so I've eliminated gluten and it seems to be working. I have an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto's Thyroiditis) as well which makes me more prone to other autoimmune diseases, like Celiac Disease, where your body cannot tolerate gluten. But, even if I wasn't eating a gluten free diet I would still make these cookies though! Love them!

    I made a clementine cake with fruit that was nearing the end of its shelf life. There is a gluten free recipe for this cake as well, but since I was making it for everyone else, I made it with regular flour and it turned out great!

    And I made gluten free almond cookies. If you love marzipan, you'll love these! The recipe only calls for four ingredients and they were super easy to make!

    I stuck to my menu plan for the week which included Beef Stew, Tacos, Crockpot BBQ Chicken and Rice, Garlic Pasta, and Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwiches.

    The not so frugal included two doctor's appointment co-pays, three prescriptions, and the diagnosis of an eye infection, a sinus infection, and a double ear infection. No wonder I have zero energy!

    And, we placed our order for baby chicks due to arrive the week of April 29th! :) We chose two of each breed: Australorps, Easter-Eggers, Silver Laced Wyandottes, and Columbian Wyandottes. If the near-three feet of snow we got on Friday ever melts, my husband will be building a chicken coop out of free wood pallets

    You can see photos and find recipes on my blog:

    1. Here is an interesting article on the thyroid problem you were talking about. I have suffered with these problems myself but thankfully have been healed.

    2. momma-lana, thanks for the link-I'll check it out. If you have Hashimotos or Hypothyroidism it will never heal. In my case the autoimmune disorder caused the Hypothyroidism and I will be on thyroid medication for the rest of my life. It started after the birth of my second child and I've been managing it well for the past 12 years. This "flare up" may have been cause by a viral infection I had back in November and am currently still battling. I'm taking the steps I need to take in order to feel better, but it's never easy and always takes a long time to fully recover my energy levels, though my thyroid will never heal.

  28. I just found your blog and I love it! You have all given my some great ideas and also made me realize that every little bit counts. I have been trying to cut back and felt that I was not doing a good job but I am now getting in the habit of writing down every frugal thing I do so that when I look back over the week (or even day) I know that it is adding up. This is my contribution of the week:

    Friday: Stopped at three grocery stores on my way home from work and stocked up on SALE items only. Got whole chickens for .89 per pound, ground beef for 1.88 per pound, sirloin pork chops for .99 per pound. Got sugar for 1.99 per four pound bag so I bought 20 pounds of it to restock my pantry. Bread was also .65 per loaf so I bought four loaves. My sister gave me 3 loaves of wheat bread so I now have seven loaves of bread in the freezer.

    Saturday: Husband changed his oil in his truck. We usually pay someone to do this but it costs about fifty dollars to do his truck. He did it for under thirty dollars. Went window shopping with the family to get out of the house for a bit but did NOT buy anything other than a few toiletries we were out of and got those at the dollar tree.

    Sunday: Stayed home due to my mother in law being ill, therefore saving gas by not going to town like I usually do on Sunday. I hate that I had to miss church but other than that, was glad to be home.

    That was my frugal weekend. Now, on to my frugal week!

  29. *Used grocery points to fill up our gas tank, but still limited trips and combined trips to save as much as possible.
    *Bought $5 movies my kids have been asking for to give them for Valentine's Day. I'm working on teaching them that we'll do everything we can to get them some of the things they want, but they can't have what they want exactly when they want it.
    *Hubs is back to his normal very early morning schedule with the police academy (they spent a week at the range and didn't work out, so he was able to eat breakfast at home before he left) so I'm back to making a big batch of biscuits and cooking extra chicken for him to have for breakfast each day.
    *Either Hubs or I packed his lunch each day, which consisted of either leftovers or sandwiches.
    *Hung clothes out on the line when weather permitted.
    *Used a gift card to eat out after taking our kids to a birthday party. Because they'd eaten at the party, they were content with bread and splitting a side, keeping our out-of-pocket to a minimum.
    *Only bought a few food basics--milk, fresh fruit, and bread. I'm going to try out a bread machine I found later this week, I hope.
    *Kept lights, tvs, etc off when not in use, and unplugged chargers and small appliances when not in use.
    *Bought the largest bags of cat and dog food and the largest container of kitty litter the store carried to get a lower price per ounce, and to extend the time between purchases for these items.
    *Found a pair of pants for Doodle B on clearance at Target, as well as shirt for me. The towels I have been wanting were on clearance as well, including the bath sheet, so I'll be moving our oldest towels to the "old towel" pile.
    *Began purchasing Easter outfits. I have found that if I wait too long to start looking, all the kids clothes will be picked over, leaving me to frantically drive all over town looking for something suitable. Plus, I don't have to drop a ton of money all at once. I'll spend a little more money on these outfits, but I also look for quality clothes that the kids can wear to funerals, weddings, or other more dressy events, and for pieces that will last for years for my husband and myself.
    *Made homemade pizzas with my Mom that fed both families for supper, with plenty of leftovers from lunch. We also created bread bites out of one batch of dough that didn't rise. We rolled it into small balls, fried it in the deer sausage grease (which was processed by us from a deer my husband shot this past fall) that we put on the pizza instead of expensive pepperoni or ground beef, and sprinkled a bit of cheese on it. They turned out really yummy, and while we would have fed the dough to the chickens anyway, it was nice to come up with a way for us to eat it.
    *Shared pantry foods with my Mom to ensure things got eaten--my step-Dad can only eat brown rice, so I gave them ours, and Mom used her white flour to make biscuits and long johns (called ding-dongs by our family) for us.
    *Wore sweaters and socks on days when it was chilly, but not cold enough to justify a fire in the wood stove.
    *Began researching new tvs. We have not yet made the leap to a flat screen tv, and have only one 19 inch tv for our family's viewing pleasure. Because we'll be dropping our satellite tv in April when the contract is up (signed up two years ago when money was much easier for us to come by!), we will either be getting a Roku box or a smart tv. Right now, the smart tv looks to have the cheaper price and better value, but I'm not done researching. I will say that for the most part, I'll be glad to have only free and inexpensive streaming shows and movies that we choose, and not all the . . . stuff . . . you can stumble upon just flipping through the channels or watching a commercial.

    1. I don't miss cable. We had a regular antenna for several years, and then we had cable after the reception started having trouble. We later dumped cable again. In the last 17 years, I've only had cable for 5 of those years. I get so much more done!

    2. The only thing I think I'll miss is local news and weather. I'm a bit of a weather nut! But, I know I can stream those stations if I need to, which I probably will if our spring severe weather season is as bad as winter's season has been. My kids only watch a little tv--the great outdoors is so much more interesting--and the shows they do watch are all available on Hulu or Amazon Instant Video. I like being able to control what they see even when they are watching approved shows.

    3. We don't have cable, we got rid of it two years ago. All I miss is local weather, I really dislike looking at the weather online. We have an antenna but because we are right up against the highway our signal is terrible. We also have a Roku and Netflix. It's not bad. We don't watch much television and there is nothing good on there anyway. I have heard good things about Apple TV, my husband is considering it for a "someday" purchase.

  30. This week I ...
    - Was given a box of hand-me-down goodies for the girls.
    - My daughters 8 and 5 what to learn how to sew. So, using material I already had on hand they are each making a small doll quilt.
    - Went to the library and checked out books.
    - Found a free homeschool website
    I have started using this for history and science.
    - Made banana muffins.
    - Three free magazines came in the mail.
    - My husband brought home from work (left from a meeting) a bag of apples, 7 bananas and six half full bags of chips.
    - He was also given a cookie jar shaped like a cupcake. It was sitting on a co-workers desk and she no longer wanted it. It has found a new home here and is now a candy jar.
    - My husband was able to work two hours of overtime this week.
    - We went on a playdate. My daughters and I ate lunch over there. We brought Orange Juice.
    - My $5 starbucks giftcard came in the mail from disney rewards.
    - Ordered a free pizza from papa johns (coin toss).
    - Uploaded a free pepsi on my Kroger card.

    I enjoy reading everyones comments!

  31. -We got a free pizza from Papa Johns from their Superbowl coin toss promotion.

    -I made a birthday card for my Grandmother using card stock and colored pencils I had on hand.

    -I made Valentine's Day cards for my husband and for my co-workers using card stock and tissue paper left over from a Christmas gift.

    -I made banana muffins using bananas that I froze because they were going bad.

  32. Here are the things I have done the past few weeks (I didn't post last week):

    * Found a $20.00 Breadman bread machine at the thrift store a block from my house. I looked it up on my phone on Amazon sells it for over $100.00. It pays to shop at the thrift store!! It makes all kinds of things including jam. I have never had a bread machine do that before! I also found a new stainless holder for my utensils for $1.00
    * I won the coin toss from Papa Johns and we used it to order a free sausage pizza for dinner Thursday night.
    * I received a $12.00 rebate in the mail along with a free sample of all natural cough syrup, and two $1.00 coupons for Bounty
    * Our daughter took us out to eat at Texas Road house. It was a nice treat from her and no cooking for me on a Saturday night :)
    * I did two surveys and made $6.00. I also received a product from them to try this week
    * I have made most all of our meals at home. Homemade french fries (also blanched some for the freezer. Now I have 2 bags for later), Omelets using leftover sausage patties and leftover fries turned into "fried potatoes", homemade shredded hash browns, waffles, homemade blackberry/raspberry syrup for topping the waffles, coffeecake, meatballs and beef & noodles (using free noodles given to me)
    * I shopped at Kroger twice for their buy 10 products get $5.00 off your order. I spent around $35.00 for each order and saved $220.00. I was able to stock up on a lot of food including long grain rice. I purchased 4 bags for .39¢ a lb. by using coupons/sale price. I also purchased 8 containers of Wholly salsa for free and 8 Wholly guacamole for .49¢ each. I ended up getting around 22 for 5 cents or free.
    * I downloaded a coupon for a free 2 liter of Pepsi next to my Kroger card along with a 5 pack of Orbit gum & Egg Beaters egg whites (gave to my mom & dad)
    * Stocked up on Ortega taco seasoning. I paid 2 cents each with coupons. I bought 24 packets. I also got 12 packets of McCormick chili seasoning & taco seasoning for free with coupons that I printed. We are set for the year!
    * I lowered our insurance on my husbands Jeep Wrangler to liability taking off the comprehensive insurance. This will save us almost $500.00 a year!!!
    * I filled up my Jeep and used the .10¢ off a gallon I earned by shopping at Kroger. It went up the next day by .23¢ a gallon! I'm glad I got it when I did!
    *On my way home I had a flat tire. I called my hubby and he towed me home (he is a tow truck driver/mechanic). He happened to be on lunch and I was about 6 blocks from home. He ended up resealing the bead so no out of pocket cost for the tire to be fixed or the tow home YAY!

  33. Wow, so many great frugal accomplishments! I did a few things this week--some worked and some didn't.

    *Made natural, safe Febreze air freshener for use in the baby's room.

    *Made apple pie from apples we were given.

    *Trying to "catch" wild yeast and make sourdough starter. This doesn't seem to be working.

    *Made biscuits from the sourdough starter. They were OK but not great.

    *Made hamburger helper from scratch. Baby loved it and said, "Mee peez! Doodle peez!" (Meat please! Noodle please!) through the whole meal.

    *Researching whether I can grow a tea plant (Camellia sinensis) in my climate.

  34. I posted my list of accomplishments here: My favorite frugal thing of the week was taking my son to "Flower Buds" at our local extension office. It was lots of fun! They have a story time, sing songs, go outside, enjoy a snack, and make a craft! This week’s craft was really nice. Elijah & I made a fresh flower arrangement together. (I did let him choose which flowers and where to place them.) I’m not sure if every extension office has the same free program but it would be worth looking into in your area. :) It is for 3-5 year olds and was MUCH better than the library's storytime.

  35. My Kroger has a new bin where they bag up produce items they need to quickly sell for .99. It was funny to me---they have red/yellow/orange peppers on sale this week at 4/$5. But I purchased 9 of the same peppers for just $3! Cut/froze all to use in quesadillas, soup, omelets.

    Had a very sick little girl (flu + strep) and we ended up at the dr. office late one day...and I ended up getting a pizza for supper. It hit me that though I cook meals from scratch from our pantry/freezer, I don't have "meals ready to eat" in the freezer. I used to do what I can "freezer cooking" once a month. So...I'm going to develop a plan and have a regular cooking day again. Would have been nice to have something better for us (and cheaper than pizza). About that pizza though....I got $4 off just for pointing out that we didn't used to be charged $12 for a large pizza with only half in 2 toppings. She let me have the pizza for what we have previously paid...$8. Can't believe it!

    Recently read that you can reuse bones to make a 2nd batch on bone broth. Anyone tried this before?

    We recently switched health insurance and my kids & I have a HSA (had to leave DH on the old policy---feels funny but it's saving us hundreds). Anyway, just discovered that an audio exam my girls needs is 100% covered by the policy----won't even have to apply to the deductible!

    1. Tina, I always make a 2nd batch of broth from ham bones & turkey bones.

    2. Can someone guide me on the amount of water you add to the bones? Sounds silly but I read about folks getting so many cups from this and I seem to have just a few. Also, do you freeze it in its gelatinous state or add water to it? Thanks so much!

    3. I cover the bones completely in water. When the bones have simmered for about 24 hours, I drain off the broth into a large metal bowl, let it cool a little, then put it in the fridge. Any fat will rise to the top, where I skim it off. Sometimes the fat congeals into a hard cake, which makes it even easier to remove. If the broth underneath is not congealed, I usually simmer to reduce it by about half, then I pressure can it in pints. Any "leftovers" that will not fill a pint jar get frozen. When I drain the first batch of broth from the bones, I cover the bones again with cool water & set it to simmer for another 24 hours.

    4. Oh....I've not been letting it simmer long enough perhaps or using enough water (I generally cook mine in the crock pot; though I suppose it's the "same thing", I have a fear about leaving a pot going on the stove while I sleep). Thanks Marivene. BTW, always love reading your posts. Such a wonderful community here.

  36. Brandy, I love the picture. The chard leaves look such a lovely green.
    Frugal accomplishments for this week:
    -didnt eat out (that itself is big enough a deal for me, previously i used to feel that i deserved to eat out because im always in the kitchen cooking but now i look forward to it as a treat). And i have given myself the freedom that if we dont eat out, i am entitled to indulge in a few slightly pricier groceries which anyways still comes out cheaper than eating out.

    -my husband suffers from acid reflux and the doctor had recommended some esomeprazole capsules which were $230.00 for a months supply. We bought them because he was in a bad state and also there was no generic for these tablets. After taking them for a month my hubby said he doesnt feel any different so we were looking for alternatives. The one we came up with was Manuka honey from amazon, $36 for 500g.The price is way cheaper and it has a lot of healing properties. So we have decided to give that a try after spending so much on one months supply of those capsules. Im hoping it works because all the reviews are really good. Just the other day i burnt my hand and put the honey on it, by evening the pain had drastically reduced.So hoping to save there.

    Didnt go to farmers market and again saved $30 and some gas, still managing with what i have in the kitchen and ate a lot of lentils and beans. But i am missing out on that happy feeling i get when i see all those fresh veggies on a saturday morning, since i dont have a garden!!!

    I had gone a bit overboard with my data usage on phone, called up att and requested them to waive off the $15 which they did, very happy about that.

    We had planned to go to Napa for a 2 night getaway for anivrsry but then i asked hubby to cancel it. Didnt feel like spending money just at the beginning of the year.Was going to be around $146 for 2 nights.

    Used no heater again even though it was chilly at night.

    Airdried all pots after dishwasher cycle without using the dryer.

    Got a good deal on pasture raised chicken from whole foods and hope it will go for 3 more meals (half of it went for 3 meals already). Has anyone tried roasting all the chicken bones on a baking sheet for like an hour? and then done broth, If you havent you should give it a try. All the roasting makes the juices come out of the bone and after you start boiling them in water the broth is way more flavorful and deep color.It is a bit time taking but well worth it.

    Took advantage of library for dvds and books.

    We have basic cable but the funny thing is that we have not even connected our tv with it because we both hate watching tv. Daughter only gets to watch 1 hour of tv everyday and she choses the library dvds. Its just that t brings our internet cost down. And comcast does have the best internet around, hubby also needs it for his work.

    we always plug out appliances if we are not using them even the lights. That has made maybe just $3-$4 difference in our electricity bill. Its usually around $22.

    Got $15 amazon gift card for doing surveys.

    Had 4 meatless days.

    Filled up gas before the price shot up the next day.

    1. Esomeprazole is Nexium, which is a proton pump inhibitor. It reduces the amount of acid produced in the stomach, which is why it is prescribed for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). When we were younger, my husband balked at the price of the proton pump inhibitors as well, & that is how he ended up with a scarred pyloric sphincter from ulcers, which is permanent & has caused no end of gastric issues for him. Another cause of gastric reflux can be anxiety, which increases stomach acid production. If anxiety is present, treating it can reduce the reflux. The meds are expensive, I know, but this is the view from 60 looking back.

    2. Your husband could try a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water before every meal. Usually the problem is too little stomach acid instead of too much. Also papaya is great for stomach issues and is very inexpensive. The vinegar before and the papaya after may really help. Raw honey is a great stomach soother and we use it too. We are anti drugs at our house and always looking for alternatives.

    3. Gluten intolerance can cause acid reflux.

    4. Andrea, we have celiac disease & gluten intolerance in 3 individuals in our family. Gluten intolerance usually causes nausea, vomiting & diarrhea as the body tried to get rid of the gluten. Acid reflux involves nausea, but not always vomiting, which is why it erodes the esophagus & can also create ulcers. Anxiety can increase stomach acid production. Adding more acid can exacerbate the problem. As a retired RN, I am obviously not anti-drug.

    5. Thank you for all your views. Marivene thanks for elaborating on that. I really had no idea about how severe it could be later on in life. he also has IBS, do you know how that can be reduced too ? We now have good eating habits and rarely eat out, but do tend to eat spicy foods, we are indians cant live without spice.

    6. taral, if your husband has both reflux & IBS, he may be an undiagnosed celiac, or have severe gluten intolerance. Our daughter was often nauseated & knew where every bathroom in town was located. She went on the celiac diet because her daughter was placed on a diet trial when she was 9 years old. 3 weeks later, our daughter who could not tolerate any plants in the house due to her severe allergies, had flowers on her table & was just fine. Her immune system was ramped into a constant overdrive because of the gluten, & once she stopped eating it, the nausea disappeared along with the IBS. Our granddaughter is celiac, but our daughter & my husband seem to be severely gluten intolerant, which is a step back. Eating gluten free has been an adjustment, both for us & for our daughter's household, but it is certainly worth it to have them all feel much better, without the constant stomach aches & IBS distress. One of my husbands doctors mentioned that using Citrucel every day would help the IMS a lot. For him, it does wonders, but for our daughter, the soluble fiber from beans helps more. Oatmeal helps both, altho for our granddaughter, it has to be certified GF oatmeal. It can be a learning curve while you figure out which type of soluble fiber helps the most for you.

    7. He is never nauseated, but about the bathroom he takes longer than usual and will go there at really odd times. The moment hes finished eating he will go there or even when he has hot liquids, which i dont find normal. He is not taking any fibers as such. But one thing i found while reading celiac is the malnourishment part. That is so true its been many months nearly a year and half that he is not gaining weight at all except losing.He is 5ft 6" and i dont think 117lbs is a normal weight for him. All the while we both are thinking since his mom is very thin it must be genetic and thats why he cant gain weight. Previously he had good amount of weight but now he look s so thin that it makes me feel bad that im not cooking well enough.His appetite is good though. But now i think im starting to get the picture. But i think it is better to get it diagnosed and be sure once and for all. Marivene, im sorry im just constantly asking these questions and taking your view but it never really struck me you know that it could be gluten. Thank you

    8. Taral,

      I had a friend who was having the same problem; she was eating all sorts of things (she even tried lots of junk food) and she kept losing weight; she got below 100 pounds. It turned out to not be Celiacs, but when they were telling her to not eat certain things for the test, one of them was Tumeric. She said every other spice was okay, but as I read this I thought of that and you, because tumeric is usually used in curry as well as on its own. The other interesting thing that she couldn't have was white distilled vinegar. Other vinegars were fine.

    9. Taral, don't worry about asking questions. We all come here to learn from each other. You will find it is very difficult to get a firm diagnosis of celiac, altho the drs can do tests for it. The "gold standard" is an intestinal biopsy with stunted villi, but many physicians are reluctant to "firmly" diagnose celiac, because many insurance companies will refuse to give you life insurance. Most will suggest you try the diet & see if it helps you. The reason our granddaughter was put on the diet was because of malabsorption. She ate plenty of calories, but she looked almost anorexic, because her body was not absorbing properly due to the gluten issues. Now that she eats gluten free, her body absorbs the nutrients just fine, because her bowel is not always inflamed.

      Brandy, I find it interesting they told your friend not to have white distilled vinegar. It is the only one you cannot have on the celiac diet, because it is made from grain.

    10. Will doctors do tests to atleast find out if he is gluten sensitive even if we dont do the celiac test? Are the gluten tests covered in insurance? My hubby is thinking maybe we should go gluten free for a while. Do you think if we went gf maybe for like 2 months he should notice a difference?since in adults it will take longer to see a positive change than kids, but still any minor good thing

    11. Sorry the sentence got cut off....* that will let us know that we are on the right path. Somewhere in my mind im feeling a bit scared and nervous to go gluten free because of the limited options. Our staple is chapatis we have it everyday for lunch, im thinking what am i going to substitute it with? Yes there are plenty of options but not the ones we have tried. Its scary!!!! But this will also open us up to the different types of flour out there. Even in india there are many flours which can be used but i have not experimented.lets see how this change goes through. Should the change be gradual? Because of course i cant wake up suddenly the next morning and say no gluten now, and stop everything!!!last thing, when we go gf, does it mean we should avoid even minor amounts of gluten?

    12. Taral, unless you go completely gluten-free, (if that is the problem) you will not see any change. Even very small amounts of gluten are enough to keep the bowel inflamed. There is a new test out for celiac that is a blood test, but I am not familiar with it, since our family tests were done before it came out. An easy way to go gluten free for a trial is to cut out breads, & serve meals of like an old farm grandma: meat, potatoes & vegetables. Salads are good, if you make the dressing yourself & avoid white distilled vinegar. 2 months should be enough time to notice a difference. If you have chapatis for lunch everyday, you might have to switch to something like corn tortillas, but read the label to be sure there is no wheat, barley or rye, since all 3 contain gluten. My husband eats yogurt every day for the probiotics in it.

    13. What do you mean by inflamed bowel? Does that happen? I dont see my husband complaining of that but he has to more frequently which isnt normal.

    14. The reaction of the bowel in a celiac or gluten intolerant individual is inflammation. That is one of the causes of the diarrhea, & the inflammation makes it harder for the bowel to absorb nutrients from the food eaten (malabsportion).

    15. Marivene--gluten intolerance can cause or exacerbate *a lot* of things, not just the obvious diarrhea, nausea, etc. Achy joints, headaches, acid reflux, asthma, other food allergies, autoimmune disorders including lupus, schizophrenia and depression...may all be influenced/caused by the consumption of wheat & other gluten. There's a lot of research out there that indicates wheat may be causing a ton of health problems. Not all of the research is reliable, but it's enough to make you scratch your head and wonder.

      I am not anti-drug, but I'd rather change my diet than go on long-term medication. And for most people, it's a lot cheaper to go gluten-free than to pay for prescriptions every month.

    16. My son had the blood test done for celiac and he was 1 point over the normsl range. They didnt want to do the biopsy since he wasny that far over. However he has seversl other symptoms that we could not explain. We asked for the biopsy and hi villi were in such horrible shape that his ratio was 1:1 instead of what a normal person would have of 1:4. Every insurance will cover it differently, and require you to have different or other tests done before they may authorize the biopsy. Ours just required the blood test then we could do the biopsy.

      We have been completely gluten free since Mid November. It has been a learning exoerience gluten is in so many foods as well as many other ingerdients that celiac people cannot eat. My son cannot eat oeats even the certified gluten free ones, but I can now. Every person will be different as to how bad their villi look, and what you gastroenterologist gives you for diet information. Our doctors had no issue firmly diahnosing use with celiacs after the biopsy was done. There statement was that is the gold standard in diagnosing this condition. They usually will not give you any diagnosis until you have the biopsy, the biopsy is difinitive proof of this condition and the only accepted one from a medical standpoint. I understand the other suggestions you have bern given and all, but I would reccomend you talk with your physician and ask his thought on the gluten/celiac possibility for your husband. Then check with your insurance to see what their protocol is on these types of test as well as what percentage they will cover. If you try the diet first, then have the biopsy later you will have to go back on the diet for a few months before the biopsy can be done. Most of all I reccomend not to wait on whatever you devided to do. The lasting effects and damage can be tough on the body.

  37. Brandy, i wanted to ask, How did you know your kids got the ear infection? DO you have some sort of instrument to look inside the ear ? Thats what i have seen doctors use.

    1. When your child complains that his ear hurts, you know--it's the same reason most people take the child to the doctor. (I recently read it's the main reason for childhood doctor visits). I've had it myself. There is pain inside the ear. I've used the garlic ear oil and have never needed to take a child to the doctor for an ear infection, which is a pretty big deal, considering how common it is and how many children I have.

    2. Thanks for all the tips!

      Sunday- stayed home and watched the Super Bowl. Made popcorn for our snack

      Monday - made homemade yogurt, hung laundry out

      Tuesday-declined an invitation to go out to lunch and ate what I brought. I am never sorry when I do this. Whatever I pack from home is so much healthier than restaurant food!

      Wednesday-both the dog and my husband needed trips to the vet/dr. Not in the budget but we handled it without using a credit card. Creative financing! Will just spend less elsewhere.

      Thursday-waited to hang out laundry until the weather is sunny. We have had to dig a little deeper in those drawers for socks!

      Friday-joined swag bucks! Why did I wait so long? Planted more seeds and placed cut milk jugs over them. I bury the edges about 2 inches down so they don't blow away. We are eating lots of Swiss chard, lettuce and parsley from the garden.

      Saturday-eggs on sale again! We ate lots of eggs and soup this week. 2 meals from a London broil this week the rest were vegetarian.

  38. Still reading my way through all the old blog posts. Up to early Dec now, on the presents for Christmas.

    Marivene, what are "terra cotta sugar discs"??

    Another question...I see all the links that people put in their posts, but they don't click. I would like to look at them but many of them are 60-70 digits long. Is there a way to make the links work?

    Cooked and baked ...made pasta primavera (uses up lots of leftover vegetables), spagetti carbonara, garlic bread sticks, 2 loaves bread, 2 pans pecan rolls, 1 batch yogurt, tuna-noodle casserole, banana bread. Just realized never made any desserts this week, though to me banana bread and the pecan rolls would qualify. Almost all items enough for leftovers. One night just made a large tray of nachos.

    Tonight we had waffles and maple syrup and eggs for Fat Tuesday. Not that we follow that thinking but in this state it's a big deal...lots of pancake suppers, German and Polish donuts in the stores and bakeries and even from some churches, sold only this time of year. Grophens and Paczki's. Delicious. You have to get there early though, I didn't.

    Sturgeon spearing is on this week too. Drove by one of the weigh stations on Saturday...not too many fish caught so far as water clarity murky, so harder to see them as they swim under the hole in the ice. One fish was there, looked only about 4 ft long. Smoked sturgeon is very good. An older couple used to share some with us, but they have both passed on.

    Bought 30 pounds of potatoes at .18 a pound and 15 pound of apples for .90 to replenish the root celler and for some crispy apples for daughter's lunch. Sent husband to a grocery store I don't frequent as they will have a super cheap deal but only allow you to buy one. It was in the area he would be last week so made him a list, gave him the coupons and he came back with the .68 bag of egg noodles and the .98 container of blueberries and the 1.88 pound butter and the .98 jar of pasta sauce. All their prices always end in an "8" for some reason. So it will sound cheaper than the stores that end prices in a "9"?

    A co-worker and I were treated to lunch this week by a retired co-worker who came back for a visit. Nice to catch up.

    Husband attended work-lunch-meeting. Someone asked him I he wanted a bag of leftover craisins and he said sure. It was almost 3 cups. Oranges have reached their cheapest and most delicious peak here so am getting ready to make marmalade and candied orange peel. Ok now back to reading the old posts.

    1. Elizabeth,

      You can buy a specific terra cotta "bear" (or other animal, or you can just use a clean small saucer from a tiny terra cotta pot, to keep your brown sugar from going hard (it will even soften hard sugar). The saucer will run you less than .50; the bear will cost you around $4. You soak the terra cotta piece in hot/warm water for several minutes. Then you put in in an air-tight container with your brown sugar. It will keep your sugar nice and soft for a very long time. Eventually you will need to rewet it and do it again (usually every few months). I usually keep 8 pounds of brown sugar in a container with my one terra cotta piece.

    2. Elizabeth, about the links, I just copy then paste into a new browser box then enter. If you get an odd error message you may well have missed copying the first or last letter, I hope this helps
      jenny in Wales

    3. I was afraid copy and paste was going to be the answer. I don't seem to be able to catch on to that.

  39. I found the sugar discs on Amazon for $10 for 12 of them. Since I was using them as small Christmas presents for my daughters, I was willing to pay up to $1 each for them. Some places will charge up to $10 for just one disc, but as Brandy pointed out, a small saucer is much cheaper, & will work the same. I have used terra cotta to soften brick hard sugar before, & it works.

  40. Taral. My husband has the same symptoms you're describing in your husband. In addition to Prilosec, which the dr prescribed, I put him on a probiotic which he takes every day. This has made a huge difference for him. Melissa

    1. Really? Was there a certain amount of time he has taken a probiotic and you have noticed a difference? Because my hubby took align for like 3 weeks and he said it was sort of giving him diarrhea which might be good in a way coz the bacteria are trying to regularize his bowel or digestive system

    2. Taral--I have been puzzling over your husband having diarrhea from the probiotics for days and I finally figured it out. Unless a probiotic says that it is dairy free it is high in lactose. I would suspect that his real problem is lactose intolerance. Schiff makes a product called Digestive Advantage for lactose intolerance. They carry it at Wal Mart and it is around $8 for 30 days supply. He should take 2-3 every morning for the first 3 days or so to build it up in his digestive system and then take one a day and he will be able to tolerate lactose again. I was lactose intolerant for over 20 years and it does cause major gastric upset and can just make you fell awful.

    3. Momma-lana- he was taking align, im trying to check of thats lactose free or not. For now we are going to experiment with going gluten free atleast for 2 months.if it works out and atleast regularizes his bowels his health, like marivene has said, we will continue it. In the beginning i was pretty scared how we were going to do it, but the only adjustment we have to do is for pasta(which we have once a week), chapatis(for which i found a solution) and bread( buy gluten free). Otherwise, we never have any other wheat products in my house. Im hoping everything goes well. I was reading the wheat belly book and thats when i read about people(who had ibs and refux) getting good results.

  41. So many great tips and wonderful inspiration here! This week I added a trip to the bookstore to an already planned outing and picked up my two new books. I used gift cards for them and by ordering online and picking them up in store I save $20! I like being 'paid' to be patient. The savings allowed me to get two books basically for the price of one.
    On top of the usual dining at home,cold water/hang to dry laundry and leftovers/brown bagging for lunch at work I also fixed my daughters favorite jeans and found a couple of free knitting patterns for thigh high leg warmers. I'm going to need them next year for a winter trip to Quebec so I'm starting on the 'work' now to make them as frugal as possible (hunting down free patterns and either finding wool at the thrift store or at least waiting for a sale).
    I also read books from the library and ordered some more to help with kitchen frugality. My daughters are learning to bake but mixes are just too expensive to buy. Wish me luck!

  42. Your chard looks wonderful. I am growing it as well this year and enjoy it several times a year. We are in SoCal so I can grow many things all year.


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