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Frugal Accomplishments For The Fifth Week of June

Pavlova The Prudent Homemaker

Pavlova with peaches and blackberries from the garden (that I froze) and the strawberries I bought on sale and froze earlier this year. Recipe here.

I picked more apples from our tree and canned applesauce, using resuable canning lids. (I shared a few photos on Instagram).

I harvested Swiss chard, basil, garlic chives, chocolate mint, two colanders of tomatoes, three red noodle beans,  a single red pepper and a single green pepper, and a single zucchini from the garden.

I cut seedless Red Flame grapes and Thompson's Seedless green grapes from our grape vines.

I harvested Early Elberta peaches from our trees.

June Arrangment 3 The Prudent Homemaker

I keep looking for places to sow more seeds in the garden so as to harvest more from the space that we have. I really want more cucumbers, and I realize that in order to have the amount we're wanting, I need to plant even more seeds. I want to eat more fresh vegetables from the garden. I also want more flowers to harvest from the garden to make bouquets; right now it's so hot that most of the flowers have stopped blooming and those that do bloom burn to a crisp by noon. So, this past week, after evaluating my garden space, I sowed seeds for more zinnias (which like the heat and sun, even here!), Armenian cucumbers, parsley, basil, spaghetti squash, cosmos (a test; though these should be easy to grow I've never had them germinate in the past), Bells of Ireland (which seem to like a little shade in our climate and are growing 1/3 the height they should be but are not burning), miniature white pumpkins, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and acorn squash. (I purchased a seed packet from Burpee for the Bells of Ireland, zinnias, and cosmos for $3.97 at Walmart; it's a nice combination for summer flowers in the same color range that should make for nice bouquets in purple, white, green and lavender. I shared a photo of the packet on Instagram.)

I collected warm-up water in the shower in a bucket each day and used it to water plants in the garden.

I took my eldest to the thrift store. (This is kind of tricky now that she and I are the same size and her style has become quite similar to mine! It kind of feels like a race to find things first in the racks!) She was needing a couple of new shirts. What she really wants is Peter-Pan collared shirts. She decided the least-expensive way to do that would be to start at the thrift store, so we went there. Using some fabric I had on hand, she drafted collars for an existing t-shirt. We then bought her two more t-shirts at the thrift store (for $2 each) and she drafted collars for both of those as well. One was a long-sleeved t-shirt, so she shortened the sleeves.

We also found her a beautiful cardigan for $3 (that I actually picked for myself, but it was too tight in the lower arms--but it fit Winter perfectly) and a dressy black dress ($6) while we were there.

I picked up three t-shirts for myself while there. I'm not really a t-shirt person, but I do need something in my new size to wear while working in the garden. These will work well in fall when I can wear them with jeans. One of them was a t-shirt for my alma mater, which was fun to find, as I haven't had a university t-shirt for 20 years! At $2, it was a much better buy than purchasing it new from the university bookstore!

Winter and I also collaborated on ideas for her to make some things for her secret sister for camp. Each of the young women was assigned a secret sister at camp. I put together a Pinterest board for her with ideas that she could make and things that she could print for this particular young woman. (The other girl likes chrysanthemums and bunnies and her favorite colors are maroon and plum). There was a spending limit assigned to each girl (no more than $10) but rather than buying anything, we used what we had on hand. We got really lucky on one thing as well; there were several questions about favorite candies, and one of them was one that my daughter also likes and had already bought for herself to take to camp (wintergreen Life Savers). My daughter just used some of the package that she had already bought (they are each individually wrapped) and gave some to the other girl. The other candies she listed were all chocolate, and as it's expected to be 105º at camp, chocolate would not be practical to bring anyway. Winter and her friends said their favorite things to receive were the notes from the secret sister, and one of her friends said she has kept all the notes from her secret sisters over the years. Their other friends agreed. 

Winter had met this particular girl last week when the girls were all together on a kayaking trip (the other girl, Victoria, is from another congregation). She found out that Victoria had just recently visited London.

With this knowledge, Winter made the following items for her with things we had on hand:

Secret Sister Gifts The Prudent Homemaker


A bookmark with a hand-drawn and painted chrysanthemum (using watercolor pencils)

A notecard (that she'll write a note in, of course) with a hand-painted chrysanthemum

A maroon felt chrysanthemum pin (using this tutorial)

A necklace using a Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower) charm that I already had and a camera charm

A tiny change purse from the London fabric I had leftover from making this apron, a zipper from my grandmother, and lined with fabric from a red sheet (that my mom gave me some time ago). Winter chose to pick the part that said "Victoria" right in the center, since the girl is named Victoria.

Wintergreen Life Savers in a paper bag that she cut down and cut with a fancy edger punch


My husband decided to cut his office phone at work. All of his agents use their cell phones and so does he, so there really isn't a need for an office phone. This saves us $50 a month in business expenses.

It got down to 77º in the mornings. Since I keep my air conditioners at 79º, I was able to open the house up from 5 to 7 each morning and turn off the air conditioning and air out the house.

I listened to free music on Pandora while I was sewing.

I listened to classical music on You Tube while I was cleaning the kitchen and canning.

I printed online coupons for some things I will buy in July.



What did you do to save money this past week?



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  • Becky July 01, 2017

    I love the gifts for the secret sister! You guys did a great job choosing things that I'm sure the young lady will like. Camp is always such a fun time and it's great that they are trying to get the girls to bond with each other.

    We went camping this week. I was very tired and hot from the previous weeks, where I overdid a bit, so welcomed the cooler ocean breezes and the extra rest. My husband is off for the summer, as he works for the school district now. He also needed a break, as his job is very demanding. We both got the rest we needed, which was great! As always, we kept it frugal and fun. We fished several times, hiked, went down to the sand, watched boats, fed seagulls leftover pancakes, and went crabbing. We have the equipment for those activities, gathered over the years, and bought a bit of bait to use.

    We returned yesterday, and spent the afternoon and today getting things at home back to normal. I worked in the garden quite a while, cleaned house, and did some grocery shopping. I took Patsy to the library so she could turn in her summer reading form she has been working on, and get more books. On our trip, we listened to library c.d.'s (audio books). I grabbed a few more while I was there, and ordered in a couple more. We listened to "On the Banks of Plum Creek" and enjoyed it once again. Now, we've moved on to one called "Hattie Big Sky" that I have never heard before. So far, it's very good. We haven't gotten very far, as we stayed home a lot today doing house chores. No worries there--we will be back in the car soon enough:)

  • Athanasia July 06, 2017

    Becky, I am glad you daughter is reading the Little House books. They are wonderful. In fact this year is the 150th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder's birth. I am using the books and pioneer life as the theme for my summer reading program. A book I just picked up at the public library sale shelf (for .25) was called THIMBLE SUMMER by Elizabeth Enright pub 1966. I already added it (used paperback) into our collection It is a Newberry Award Winner and it looks like it comes in audio book form also.

    Another book she might like then is CADDIE WOODLAWN by Carol Ryrie Brink a Newberry winner from 1936. This one was made into a movie and is also an audiobook. Along with THE CABIN FACED WEST by Jean Fritz 1958.

    The pioneer life is fascinating and many families on this blog may not be actually moving out into wild territory but they are living the self sufficient, make it or break it life. Pioneers were frugal to the nth degree.

  • Cindy in the South July 07, 2017

    I love Laura Ingall Wilder's books!

  • Athanasia July 07, 2017

    Cindy, me too! And they appeal nicely to boy readers as well as girls, which is always a plus. They reissued the books with full color illustrations a few years ago and I have been picking those up as I see them. They are the original illustrator, Garth Williams, just "colorized". There is a new series based off the original books for young readers and the illustrations are done by someone else but she studied the originals so well that they mirror Garth Williams illustrations perfectly.

  • Rhonda A. July 07, 2017

    There are also the Canadian books by L.M. Montgomery. I'd bet your daughter would enjoy reading the Anne of Gables series, about a young red haired orphaned girl with a fiery temper that gets into all sorts of trouble. The books are set in Prince Edward Island, Canada and were made into movies as well. L.M Montgomery wrote many other wonderful books set in the 1800s including the Road to Avonlea series which was made into a T.V. series.

  • Athanasia July 08, 2017

    Yes, she might like the L.M. Montgomery books. They would all be on audio. The reading level is teen to adult though many children read much earlier, as of course they are clean books. I think there are 8 in the series. However most of the story that folks are familiar with are based on the first 2.

    The Road to Avonlea TV series is based on the King Family series. There are only two books in that one. The Emily series has 3 books.

    You might want to look for the prequel published for the 100th anniversary on Anne of Green Gables called Before Green Gables.

  • Jen Guzman July 01, 2017

    Beautiful! I would have been thrilled to get those gifts from a secret sister when I attended girls camp!

    My frugal week from urban Seattle:

    *My kids finally finished the school year. I think we go later than anyone else in the country...perhaps because summer doesn't really start until July here. Anyways, they brought home all of their school supplies and I found that many were barely used. I went through and salvaged as much as I could for next school year, including ripping out used paper in notebooks. I don't think I'll need to buy any supplies for them when school starts back up in September. Luckily they aren't picky.

    *My husband is a sports editor for the local newspaper and receives lots of swag and promotional items from local teams. I finally sorted through that huge box and I'm beginning the process of selling high demand items on ebay and giving away other items to friends and to our neighborhood 'Buy Nothing' group.

    *We couldn't get through our on-sale strawberries, so I sliced and froze the remaining berries for smoothies.

    *Once again, we did not use our car this week and instead rode our bikes for transportation, at least until Friday, when we drove down to Portland to spend the 4th of July weekend with my family.

    *I attended free neighborhood yoga and exercise bootcamps. They start at 6am, so 'free' is definitely a big motivator to get me out of bed!

    *On Friday evening, we attended a free piano concert at the Portland Art Museum, launching their summer pianos in the park (restored "artsy" pianos available in city parks for the public to play). We were also handed free light rail train tickets as we approached the platform to purchase tickets for the ride downtown to the art museum- Score! One of my sons is an avid piano player and we will enjoy visiting parks with pianos during our time in Portland this summer. Fun free activity!

    *I raided my pantry and fridge leftovers, and also made some zuchini bread for our trip to avoid excessive food shopping and so that my mom, who is taking care of her ailing mom, would not stress about trying to feed us.

    *My mom gave us giant water storage containers for Christmas last year (important when you live in an earthquake prone area). I took all of my previous water-filled juice containers out to my tiny garden and I'm using those to water in order to rotate them out and avoid waste.

    *I have a list of needed non-food items (toiletries, some supplies for our bikes) to buy in Portland while we are here. Oregon has no sales tax, while Seattle has a 10% sales tax. I try very hard to save all of my non-food purchases (except for thrift store purchases) for our trips to visit family in Portland.

    Happy 4th of July!

  • Athanasia July 06, 2017

    Oh my Jen, that is very interesting about the pianos! I just google "portland pianos in parks" and came up with an article from the paper with many photos. Are they waterproofed? Looks like a great idea for rescued pianos and lots of fun for children. If someone can play well you could enjoy some impromptu free concerts.

  • Stephanie Durham July 02, 2017

    Congratulations on your weight loss! We are having a baby in September and you frugal weight loss advice will be very helpful for after she is born. This week we joined a community garden and the CSA associated with that garden. We get a box of organic veggies for about 15 dollars a week. We didn't do a garden this year, so this is the alternative. We had been going to the farmer's market 45 minutes away and this saves time and money. We also recieve part of the harvest free when we help out for the day. We were blessed with a free box of veggies and some extra cabbage and carrots. We bought baby clothes on clearance at a consignment store. I am embroidering the decorations for her nursery with thread my mom gave me. A friend gave us a baby bullet to make baby food later. Thanks for your inspiration Brandy!

  • Cindy in the South July 07, 2017

    I have never heard of a baby bullet?

  • Allyson July 02, 2017

    We are on vacation this week. To save money and get more visit time in, we are staying with family the whole week. We packed snacks from home for the car and checked out library books and kids' tablet for entertainment on the way. We plan to eat out once and will try to find a coupon.

    We packed a cooler to take veggies from the CSA, bread gleaned from the pantry, homemade granola and pesto, and a pound of coffee. There will be lots of cousins around, so we wanted to pitch in on the food. By bringing from home, we're saving money and making sure things don't go to waste while we're gone.

    We got a super early start, which saved on gas since we didn't get stuck in traffic. Our dog is staying with in-laws while we're gone, so no boarding or pet sitting expenses for her.

    How do you save money on vacation?

  • Allyson,

    A vacation is not really in the budget for us. Any trips we have taken I have written about on the blog.

    When my brother was remarried several years ago we left early the day and visited a museum, had one hotel night, and spent the next day at the beach, and then drove home that afternoon (it's about a 5-hour drive each way). We brought food from home. You can see that here:

    Then we went to visit our alma mater (lots of free museums) and stayed at our nehew's house. We brought food with us. Part four is here with links to the three other parts in the post:

    Those were both in 2014.

    This year we drove to the Grand Canyon and back with our foreign exchange student and made it a day trip to save money on a place to stay. It's a 5 1/2 hour drive each way and that was very difficult to do in one day--we just stayed there a couple of hours. So we made it a day trip (which was very difficult with all that driving, but it saved us money). I wouldn't really call that a vacation, but I don't imagine that we'll do anything else this year.

    There aren't a lot of options for day trips here as we are 4 to 5 hours from most places in any direction with just the desert in between. Otherwise, we would take more day trips.

    That's all we've ever really done as a family, and I've been married 17 years this week. The recession and recovery has been long with many difficult years for us.

  • Congratulations on your anniversary, Brandy!

  • Marcia July 03, 2017

    I really enjoyed all of your vacation posts though. Very helpful.

    It's funny because I have many friends who LOVE to vacation in Las Vegas. Of course, they aren't being very frugal.

    We don't do very many day trips either. Of course, we live at the beach. But many interesting places are a 4+ hour drive, and that is just too much for us.

    You do have a wonderful home and garden, which makes it nice to stay at home. When i was growing up, my family took *one* vacation, where we drove from PA to NC to stay with my uncle's family. We did stay in a hotel one night on the way down, but I think we drove straight back. I was 7. Other than that, I think we probably "camped" at Erie beach twice, for one night. It was a 2-hour drive. My parents would borrow a tent (we didn't have one). They would sleep in the car in the parking lot, and the kids would sleep in the borrowed tent in a grassy area. It wasn't even a real campground I don't think. We had a Fiat at one time, but I think we probably had a bigger car when my parents were sleeping in it.

    Mostly my fun summer stuff was getting together with family on the weekends.

  • Cindy in the South July 05, 2017

    A vacation is seldom in my budget either, Brandy. I go to a work required seminar at the beach every year and my hotel, and my food and gas is paid for, but I would never go if I did not have it paid for, and it I were not required to attend. I enjoy walking on the beach after the seminar, and swimming in the hotel pool. I did go to Utah by train to my daughter's wedding reception in 2012, and to visit her, once in 2013, and I think those are my only true vacation trips I have taken since our camping vacations in the 1990's. Years ago (again, I am talking about the mid 1990's), when I was married and the children were young, we had a popup camper and would go camping on the weekends at the local state park. I have not recovered financially from the 2007-2011 recession yet. I am just so grateful I now have a house, after losing my job and my house in the recession in 2011.

  • Cindy in the South July 07, 2017

    "are" not "is"...sigh

  • Athanasia July 06, 2017

    We managed several big vacations when the children were younger, cross country trips. But with my husband self employed there is no paid vacation time and time away from the business is potential lost business, lost income. We are lucky to be able to go minutes from here for wonderful city and county parks, and hour or 2 to state parks and 3-4 to national parks.

  • Janet July 03, 2017


    If you go online and register for some of the restaurant email news letters you get things just for signing up. That free food might help.
    I also purchase before I leave from home from a list I have items from our grocery store that will last us up to a week when we go away.
    It sounds like you have most of the bases covered. Free entertainment while gone is the other thing we do. We always check out all state and national parks before we go away to see what will be close or on a route home etc. Have a wonderful trip! The main thing is to Bloom where you are planted even on vacation!

  • J July 02, 2017

    The pavlova looks delicious. Winter is a very smart and resourceful young lady.

    This week we were able to save money by not using the air conditioner. Temperatures were mild, and I only needed to turn the AC for an hour here and there to take some of the humidity out of the air.

    We have been enjoying a new local park which has provided countless hours of free entertainment. It has a large splash pad which is fantastic. There is a shaded area where my youngest can sleep in his stroller on early morning trips.

    We made popsicles and tried a few new recipes.

    Other things we did to save money this month can be found here:

    Have a wonderful week and happy 4th of July to American readers!!

  • Teresa in TX Zone 8a July 02, 2017

    Picked up Kroger freebie: Chef's Cut Real Steak Jerky Original Recipe. $3.99 value. This was okay. Huny liked it but I'm not going to buy it for this price. There were very few large pieces and most of it was crumbs. Not worth it to me to pay full price. Last Friday's freebie was gummy bears that I still need to pick up.

    Harvested compost tomatoes. I purposely didn't buy any tomato plants because I planned to start from seeds. But, my compost gave me several tomato plants so I transplanted 4 out to my plot in the community garden and I have several here at home. I have no clue what tomatoes they are but they have been good sized and flavorful. I do have one yellow pear compost tomato in my home garden and I am going to snip off a piece of that to start for my fall garden. I was able to give some tomatoes to my stepson. With what I have now, I plan to make Brandy's caprese salad (which I did and was wonderful). I will have to buy the cheese and basil (it didn't come up this year) unless I can find some basil at the plot, but that's okay. I harvested the last of the green tomatoes on one compost tomato here at home. I'm digging out that plant and the monarda planted there for prep for the fall garden.

    Harvested garlic and have it drying in the house. I'm trying to figure out how to make a garlic string. Not as easy as it looks - at least for me anyway. But, I've got a string going and I know with practice it will get better. I gave some of this to my stepson as well. I have enough to last for the rest of they year including giving some to family. But I will plant double this fall to have extra.

    Peppers are doing well and harvested. I have jalapenos, cayenne, and hot Hungarian peppers. I made some chile (salsa) with compost tomatoes, jalapenos and some cayenne - two 1/2 pints.
    I pickled some jalapeno and hot Hungarian peppers and I got four 1/2 pints. Gave one of these to Ryan as well and I'll give one to my BFF and keep a couple for myself. This is a new to me recipe. I hope they come out ok. With the heat coming on they are slowing down but when it starts to cool down again they'll give me another good harvest before the frost. I do plan to get some serranos planted for the fall harvest.

    For supper tonight (Mon 6/26) I made a Leek and Potato soup with leeks, parsley (dried), and thyme (fresh) from my garden. The potatoes were store bought as my potato harvest (first time) wasn't what I hoped for. But I did get enough for a mashed potato supper with enough leftovers to make mashed potato pancakes - I have one pancake left. Anyway, this soup was an excellent supper! Huny is not a soup guy but he said he'd try it but asked me to make it a chunky soup vs. a creamy soup. He loved it and made suggestions for "the next time". He made a happy plate :-). I'm taking this for lunch to work and am bringing a bowl of it for a work friend - we bring left over lunches to share occasionally. I cut and froze the rest of the leek harvest and bagged them in 1 cup measurements.

    I used chicken bones, onions and leeks from the garden to make stock and will make chicken soup from that today for this week's lunches for me.

    I repurposed the dirt from my potatoes and planted mammoth sunflower seeds to attract those darned flat leaf footed bugs. - argh, they are everywhere! However, they love sunflowers (in my garden at least) so I hope to get them away from my tomatoes and peppers.

    I planted some old Martha Stewart cucumber seeds and two came up. With the heat they are starting to produce. We've had several meals with them and I plant to make some pickles once they really come on. I did buy some Armenian cucumber seeds to plant as well for a fall harvest to make more pickles.

    For the fall garden I am going to start from seed: spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, carrots, radish. I hope to find some potatoes. I've heard that we can do a fall harvest and I'd like to try these again. I also plan to grow more garlic and onions. Several people on my FB group said they started onions in the fall and kept them overwintered for the spring harvest. I'll give it a go and see what happens.

    Through a FB group I had the chance to harvest some native mustang grapes to make jelly. I was able to get 20 lbs. of grapes. I've been given permission to get some more as I'd like to try to make some wine. I have several trays in the freezer because I don't have time right now to make the juice for the jelly. I still have 2 colanders full of grapes to freeze. The jelly will be used as Christmas gifts.

    Starting Mon (7/3) I will be working from home so this will save on gas and car maintenance and my commute time (45 min - 1 hour one way). This will also stop me from that occasional stop for breakfast and the occasional lunch date.  While working from home previously I had a good pattern set for my breakfast and lunch so I'm looking forward to doing that again. I'm also looking forward to using my time I would have spent driving to do early morning walks again for exercise and a way to manage my anxiety/depression.

    I sold one item on Ebay. yoohoo! I'm looking towards retirement but I will still need some income coming in so this is a way to use my love of thrifting as a way to do this. I have a lot to learn. And I have a lot to list. lol.

    I plan to spend my day getting my home office set up, cleaning out my car and getting a fill up to see how long a tank of gas will last me. I need to get my room organized and I need to get out to the plot and I need to work on my large garden bed here at home. Not enough time in the day for it all. So, of these 3, I'll go to the plot as that one needs me to leave the house so it takes some extra time. I have a lemon cucumber that needs to be tied up there and I need to take out the tomato plants and clean up that area for fall prep. I won't grow fall tomatoes there. We are fortunate that the garden provides wood chip and I have that down as a weed suppressor which helps a lot in plot maintenance. I still need to put some wood chip down for the pathways, but that is for another day. I have a small wagon I found in the trash on my home from work one day - it was missing one wheel. I bought a new wheel and Huny fixed it up and I used that to transport the 5-gallon buckets with wood chip from the pile to my plot. I have a larger wagon I found for $10 at a junk shop that is missing one wheel too - ??? I need to get a wheel for that and would rather use this wagon as it will hold 3 5-gallon buckets.

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