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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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  • Holly July 02, 2017

    I love reading Brandy's blog and all the wonderful comments. This week, I mainly "saved" by un-shopping. I had ordered two covered clothing racks as step one in getting our overstuffed closets under control. I thought about it some more and decided that mom and I don't need more closet space in the basement. We do need to donate a lot of clothing items to Goodwill and organize, alter, and repair the keepers. So I cancelled the purchase. I also ordered a manual treadmill online. It was even delivered and sits in a banged up unopened box by the front door. But there isn't a good place for a treadmill in this house. The sunroom is too warm or too cold, depending upon the season, the bedrooms too small, and the basement is too dungeon-y. Given the lonely fate of my 35-year-old exercise bike, I won't be heading downstairs to exercise. So I will be returning the treadmill to the store too. I think I mentioned a couple of months ago that I was going to keep clothing and shoe purchases within the guidelines of World War 2 rationing in England. Now mom and I have three months of points sitting untouched. Despite the overstuffed closets, we will eventually have to "cash" them in on necessities. I got two cookbooks this week. Dollar Tree had the book Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn and has the free Kindle book, Better Meals for Less Money, by Mary Green. I gained a few money-saving ideas from both books.

  • Good for you! I'm glad you were able to cancel and return items!

  • Mandy July 02, 2017

    Winter's gifts are wonderful! She is so talented :)
    -I harvested green onions, green onion seeds, parsley, strawberries, black raspberries. I weeded the garden and have been putting the weeds in a pile/row in the unused part of the garden. I would like to try lasagna gardening next year I this spot. I let my kale plant bolt (it overwintered from last year) and the seed pods should be ready over the next week or two :D.

    -I continue to take navy showers, save water from cups, boiling veggies, making yogurt ( I put hot water in my water bath canner, wrap in blankets, and let sit overnight; my crockpot gets to hot to use for yogurt making) to water my plants. It rained several days last week so I only needed to water using the hose once. I reduced the amount of water in the bathtub for my daughter. I made sure the loads of laundry were as full as I could make them (I have a minimalist wardrobe and wear scrubs to work. I only have two sets of scrubs) but my washer also has a load size sensor to only use the minimum amount of water.

    -I kept everything turned off when not in use and unplugged what I could. I decided to unplug my coffee pot when not in use rather than keep it plugged in and using the timer. I will just plug it in and turn it on when I get up in the morning.

    -I made yogurt, white bread, pork roast with rice and veggies, pork stroganoff using leftover roast served over egg noodles, chicken breast with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. I took leftovers to work with me for lunch and also took my snack (usually yogurt with homemade granola and a piece of fruit). I drank free coffee at work. I made strawberry popsicles using strawberries from our garden and chocolate pudding pops using a batch of chocolate pudding that did not set up well.

    -I hung the laundry on the outside lines when my work schedule and weather permitted.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Mary July 02, 2017

    Hi all. I love reading all the posts. We are now all moved in to our new house, which is more energy efficient than our previous home.
    I have done our regular frugal things - hanging clothes, washing plastic bags and making homemade meals and shopping only for necessary items. I also do not like buying paper towels, paper napkins or plastic wrap. I have plastic covers for microwave that I bought thru a school fundraiser. Instead of paper towels, I use rags. Napkins, I use cloth ones.
    Have a good week!

  • Lilllanna Pickles July 02, 2017

    After two terrifying weeks, I have found out that my special needs daughter does not have cancer. Several of the tests done on her has damaged her kidneys and we have many specialist appointments to go to. I am not sure how we will manage any co payments but my emotional relief is priceless. Due to the many complications from her illness, we are going to need a new life plan. This illness forced me out of work and school. The only important thing is that sugar cookie is well. Starting over is as easy as making a new plan and working it. Being frugal is a continued blessing. We have everything we need and can weather any storm. I was driving my newly licensed son back and forth to work each day. To save has money, I am allowing him to drive to work on his own. That saved 50% on our gas budget. I bought 49 cent eggs and 1.69 gal milk at Aldis. The only other thing I bought were 1 dollar Oscar Meyer hotdogs to put in the freezer. I am getting creative with my Swagbucks. I bought a 10.00 game fly subscription for my son and got enough points to get a 30.00 Wal-Mart giftcards. He will enjoy the video games and my 10.00 just got me 30.00 to buy groceries with. I stopped in the grocery store to buy one box of brilliant pads. The Catalina machine was spitting out coupons for a free pint of Halo icecream. There were coupons on the floor, counter and hanging from the machine. I walked by and picked them all up. I have 12 pints of free ice cream. .I call this trash cash. I love Catalinas. I have started doing some much needed yard work. It actually makes me feel like I have accomplished something. Each day when I look for new posts to read it is so uplifting to find happy people making do with what they have. I am stressed but not unhappy. My way of life is so uncomplicated. Each of you makes a difference when I needed it the most. Thank you.

  • Lea July 02, 2017

    So glad that your daughter is cancer free! I can only imagine the relief.

    Best wishes,

  • SJ in Vancouver BC July 03, 2017

    I, too, share your relief that your daughter is cancer free.

    I understand about not being able to work. For me, it was because of my own health issues. It's a scary place to be but living frugally helps relieve the stress.

    One thing I wanted to mention that has helped me in the past is volunteering for the food bank. If you're able to get away even for a few hours, you might find that helpful. For our food bank, volunteers who put in a certain number of hours a week are allowed to pack their own banana box (i.e a very large cardboard box) with canned goods they personally select. It's quite a bit of food and personalized to what I want. Volunteering also made it seem less like a handout and more like I was 'working' for the food, if that makes sense. It was also less of a regular time commitment. I could just show up at the warehouse when I was able.

  • http://Robbie July 03, 2017

    Praise God she is free of cancer.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. July 03, 2017

    So very, very glad your daughter does NOT have cancer. Praise God!

  • CIndy in the South July 07, 2017

    So happy your daughter is cancer free!

  • Athanasia July 07, 2017

    I am happy to hear of the cancer free diagnosis for your daughter and pray the new complications will heal speedily. Does your state offer a secondary plan for your daughter's insurance that will pick up the copays? Pretty much all special needs folks here have that back up plan that will cover things like the deductible, copay or co insurance.

  • Cindi July 02, 2017

    Brandy, how do you use your garlic chives? I have a large plant and I enjoy the purple flowers, but I don't know what to do with the chives themselves.
    Winter's gifts are wonderful -- the kinds of things I'm sure her secret sister will treasure.
    We started the week by cutting another cord of firewood in the national forest. It took all day in the heat and we were pretty wiped out by the time we got home, but the wood will keep us nice and warm this winter. My husband has already split some of the wood we got two weeks ago. Only one more cord and we will have the four we burn each winter.
    My really big frugal this week is that I finally heard back on my protest of the tax appraiser's valuation of our home. I filed a formal protest weeks ago and the appraiser came out shortly after that to look at the property. Friday I received a letter letting me know they had lowered the appraisal by $75,000! Even though gathering the information I needed and filing the protest was a lot of work, I'm so glad I did so. I don't know yet how much this will save us, because they haven't set the mill levy for this year, but I know it will save some.
    We are keeping our neighbor’s dog for the week while she is out of town. She was going to put him in the kennel, but we were happy to keep him. He gets along well with our dogs and is really no trouble. She is the kind of next-door neighbor I have always dreamed of having – the kind you can pop over to borrow something if you’re in the middle of making dinner and run out of an ingredient. She always waters my plants when I’m out of town, and we do the same for her. She is moving out-of-state next month and I am going to miss her so much. The people who bought her home bought it as a vacation property, so will be here only occasionally.
    I discovered voles are eating my black-eyed peas almost as soon as they are out of the ground. My dogs caught one of the little rascals and my husband set a trap and caught another, but they are very hard to get rid of. They are also well on their way to destroying the carrots and parsnips.
    I harvested the rest of the broccoli, pulled up the plants and planted lima beans. They are in a different part of the yard, so I hope the voles won’t eat them. In the greenhouse, my green beans are blooming and should start producing soon. We’re eating strawberries, lettuce, chard, green onions and broccoli from the garden. I made strawberry shortcake and strawberry scones with the strawberries, which are almost done producing for the year. My zucchini plants are blooming, but producing no zucchini. I hope that changes soon.
    My husband bought a jig that enables him to sharpen his own saw chains. The jig cost $35, but sending the chains out to be sharpened is $12 each, so after he had sharpened three chains, he was ahead. Plus, he doesn’t have to drive to town and wait three days to get the chains back.
    Most of the sweet potato slips I planted died, so I requested and received a refund from the nursery. A number of LED bulbs we purchased burned out in less than a year. My husband called the manufacturer to complain and they sent us 12 new bulbs. My husband complained when an Amazon delivery was two days late and they credited him $10.
    We attended a free wilderness first aid class. We also attended a free summer concert and packed a picnic dinner to take with us.
    I turned an old pair of flared jeans into a pair of shorts.

  • Cindi,

    I grow two types of chives--regular "onion" chives that have purple flowers and garlic chives, which have white flowers. It sounds like you have the regular type. They are thinner and round. The garlic chives look more like blades of grass (and are flat).

    I use both the same ways, which are primaily chopped up and added to pasta salad, omlettes, and on top of baked potatoes.

  • Laurie in central NC July 02, 2017

    Winter's creative gifts are just beautiful! I bet her secret sister will be delighted to receive such thoughtful gifts. Last week, I gathered cucumbers, tomatoes, yellow & tromboncino squash, apples, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, basil, and oregano from the garden, as well as flowers for bouquets and eggs from the chickens. The first batch of apple cider vinegar is smelling fermented, which I'm taking as a good sign. I'll have to revisit your Pavlova recipe, as I forget exactly what it is. I served homemade whipped cream over blueberries to our guests last night. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's comments! Joining in here:

  • Gardenpat July 02, 2017

    We picked up our 3 new hens on Wednesday and they have been adjusting to life with our original 2! We get 2 eggs/day six days a week and look forward to the 3 new girls starting to lay in the next couple weeks !
    I made a baby quilt using only materials I had on hand to give at a baby shower! That saved the cost of buying a gift and the mom-to-be was really pleased!
    We were given a large bag of leftover pieces of panini bread and used sauce and topping on hand to make up 60 individual serve pizzas that I flash froze and then bagged into individual sandwich baggies and then portioned out several into gallon size freezer bags! Very easy to go lunch/snack!
    In organizing the wood shop, we found several supplies/materials we had forgotten we had! We built some organizing caddies on casters for wood storage that is now labeled for easy use. We found enough beautiful hardwoods to make some projects without any money spent!!
    I only need to paint the 2 twin headboards we built this weekend and those will be ready for client pick up and we will be depositing $200 !
    We will switch gears tomorrow and build and put up the trusses for the chicken coop annex roof! Then we will add plywood, shingles and gutters and it will be complete! No cost on the whole roofing project for this as we are using materials that we have been storing for a long time! Declutter plus Use it up plus make it for free= winner!!!
    Gave away to a friend a nice large crockpot and am pleased to have more space cleared!
    We are halfway through our service project of making sleeping mats for the homeless and it looks like we may get 20 completed by the end of August! That means we will have recycled/repurposed 14000 grocery bags! Everyone is pitching in and I am thrilled with the response!
    Orders keep coming in for our side business and we are excited to see our wood furniture/decor selling so well! The extra side income is being used to pay off medical bills and add to savings!! All good!!
    Great week! I look forward to this coming week!!

  • Jenny July 02, 2017

    This week in Australia has been very cold. (Not snow cold where I live but we're had frosts every night which means I have to fill the kettle with cold water to pour over the window screens each morning that I drive.

    I save the warming up shower water and laundry water for the week and put it on the garden. I get coffee grounds from work coffee machines and put them on the garden. A women at work, who has sons and goes through A LOT of eggs (3 dozen a week), kindly gave me the egg shells also for the garden. Maybe this isn't a lot of eggs for others, but it seems like a lot for me.

    Accepted two smelly bones from my mum for the dog. Although the bones are in the fridge, we are all enjoying/enduring the smell every time I open the fridge door. :p The dog will get both bones today.

    I am looking at covering the windows with plastic film to conserve heat. The windows aleady have thick curtains covering them, but I'm wondering if this will take the heat conservation up a notch. I am also thinking about putting temporary curtains over the doors so that when I go in and out of cold zones in the house, this will help keep the heated rooms warm.
    Loving the discipline and the follow through that everyone on the blog displays. Its great that there are steadfast people in the world.

  • Lorna July 02, 2017

    Hi Jenny and also from Australia here and very cold here as well :) .

    We have a slow combustion fireplace and we section off the house to keep the warmth in. Your idea of putting temporary curtains across the doorways does help to keep the warmth in. Our lounge room where the slow combustion fireplace is leads to one side to our sewing room and on the other down a hallway. By shutting the sewing room door and putting a temporary thick cotton curtain at the top and bottom of the hallway we find it stays far warmer. The smaller area you have to heat the more energy efficient it is.

    Not tried the plastic film over the windows as yet so let us know how you go and how it works, we do however have timber venetian blinds over our windows.

  • Jenny July 03, 2017

    Thanks for the information, its good to know it works. And you found that thick cotton works. I was wondering if I would need to purchase wool or felt materials which would make the curtains very expensive.

    I'll keep you up to date on the film window coverings.

    Hasn't it been freezing? And we haven't had a lot of rain, just cold clear skies. So hard to get out of bed.

  • Libby July 03, 2017

    During the 1970's energy crises, my grandparents hung curtains between the front hallway and the LR and another set between the LR and the stairway to the upstairs. It helped keep the heat in the area where they spent the most time.

    Not sure where my grandmother got the fabric or whether it was something that she repurposed, but both sets of curtains were wool.

  • Becky @ Becky's Place July 03, 2017

    I read a tip once (on another frugal board) about insulating for cold weather that I thought was pretty interesting and worth a try when we go into fall/winter this year. The person said that they used bubble wrap laid directly onto the glass so that those little pillows of air helped trap heat inside and blocked cold from pouring in. I don't know if it's a legit way, but worth trying. They also suggested using foil or those mylar blankets to do the opposite in hot weather.

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