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The Last Frugal Accomplishments For 2017

Pansies in Black Urn The Prudent Homemaker

I spent all week working in the garden each day, tidying it for planting. I pulled out dead plants, pulled weeds, spread manure. and pruned.

I planted seeds in the garden for beets, green onions, snow peas, Armenian cucumbers, spinach, and lettuce in the garden.

I began my birthday gift list for 2018, starting with moving several items I didn't make for Christmas to the birthday gifts list. I already have fabric for these.

My efforts to save energy and water resulted in my utility bills (water, power, and gas)  all coming in significantly lower than normal for this month. Our warmer winter should mean a lower heating bill too; it's been 10 to 15 degrees warmer than usual, which means we're rarely running the heater. It was so warm last week that I even opened the house for a few hours several days.

My daughter downloaded six free songs from the library.

I downloaded and read four e-books from the library.

What did you do to save money for the last part of 2017?

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Comments

  • Lilli January 01, 2018

    I also am still under the weather. I went to the doctor for antibiotics and steroids with my last day of medical insurance. I fell 10 days ago and my neck and back surgeries are quite angry with me. I am hoping I have not done permanent damage. It is really cold here and I am keeping my heat at 65. Hopefully this cold spell will have passed in a couple days.
    I signed up and actually used a 30 day free Kindle Unlimited membership. I have enjoyed several books and have been exploring Instapot recipes.
    I finally was offered a 30 day free trial to Directvnow and am enjoying several new shows.
    I have an old leather binder/planner that I use to use on the jobsites. I found several packets of organizer sets that are non dated tucked into it. I guess I just never got around to refilling it. I am creating a category for each area of my life and setting this up. I definitely have memory issues and I am hoping this is going to alieve many of my aggravating moments.
    I went out on a day out on the town. I bought myself a 1.50 lunch and stopped in my favorite thrift store. I added another cereal keeper to my collection for 40 cents. I also found two large square ones for 1.50.
    For some reason gasoline has shot up another 25 cents a gallon since Christmas. Being home sick has meant less driving and makes up for the added expense.

  • Melonie K. January 01, 2018

    We've stayed busy with family in town - and while it felt like we really bled money, when I stopped and looked, I realized we still found good deals and did our best. It's just that I'm not used to all this shopping and travel all in one big chunk, and we've kind of been "going, going, going!" since Thanksgiving.

    Here's what we were up to for the last week of the year: http://meloniek.com/2018/01/last-frugal-accomplishments-of-2017/

    Happy New Year, everyone! I wish you all a year full of love, light, and laughter!

  • Lisa January 01, 2018

    Happy New Year! We had a scaled back Christmas as far as gift giving and it was wonderful.

    I recapped my No Spend November. I also set some pretty challenging goals.

    Come by for a visit!

    Frugalhappyhome,com

  • Becky January 01, 2018

    We have had a very busy 2 weeks with the holidays. It was a different, fun kind of busy, though, and we managed to stay pretty frugal throughout.

    We had houseguests for 4 days over Christmas, from Saturday - Tuesday. Then, my nephew stayed with us all day Thursday until Friday night. Then, Saturday, house guests again until today, Monday. My niece took a sudden urge to sleep over Sunday night--unusual because she is autistic and likes to stay home, so we jumped all over it and had her over. She had a great time. We had several special things, like fondue on Christmas Eve, church on both Sundays, a huge family birthday party yesterday, and more. But, I put my food storage to good use, hit the sales at Fred Meyers (Kroger), made a Costco run, and picked up some things I needed from the Natural Grocery store. I got several free items, and used several coupons, some for high value. I got marked-down bread, dairy and produce. I made muffins, soup(s), and made Eritrean food with my friend, Harnet. The 2 things we made at my house were Coalwa (Not sure how to spell, but it's basically beef, onions, and a jalapeño pepper kind of a stew) and lentils (red lentils, onions, beri-beri spice, tomatoes), so I had all the ingredients. We took those 2 things, plus rice, soda and gluten-free chocolate cake to the family birthday party. Others brought more food, and we had a great time. I probably saved $15-20 on the cake alone, as you can buy them around here, but they are very expensive. The one I made was SO good, everyone loved it that tried it, and claimed it didn't taste gluten-free at all. I know I liked having cake for once:)

    There were incredible prices on soda this week, so I'm stocked up with both big bottles for family dinners and cans for home. One thing we've done over the past few months is cut off the soda and chip supply here at home for a few reasons. It has had a frugal result, as well as giving us better health. So, everyone was happy to see us haul in a new supply. So.... we immediately hauled a lot of it out to the (locked) shop where it will stay safe and sound until the day I need to use it:)

    We've been eating more produce from the store right now, as my garden is no longer productive. It's too cold, with a heavy frost each morning. There is some chard standing, though, and some kale, and I hope to go check that out soon to see its it's any good still. So, I was happy to see some marked down produce, and some sales on various things. We've also been pulling out the canned and frozen fruits and veggies, of course.

    We also had a very beautiful sunset right outside our door last evening, and it didn't cost me a cent:). I put a picture of it on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/happy-new-year-2018-weekly-update-and-saving-money/

    Today, I celebrated the new year by doing some chores around the house, and then having coffee with my friend from Africa. She makes special coffee by roasting the beans herself, grinding them, etc. She also made us popcorn on her stovetop, and then sprinkled a little sugar on it, making basically kettle corn. Then, she proceeded to toss some popcorn up in the air, declaring that in her country, they often tossed the popcorn they were having with coffee as part of the ceremony. And, it was a New Year, so it was time for popcorn tossing. I quickly announced that if we got to throw popcorn, I wanted to throw it, too! So, I did! What fun! Luckily, the kids that were with me were in the other room...so I got to have all the fun! That was an unexpected and enjoyable way to start the new year:). My autistic niece has fallen in love with this friend, and wanted to go to her house, so we took her and her daughter home together today, with one daughter along--all that could fit into the smaller car. We stayed a couple of hours, then I took my niece home, came home myself, and collapsed on the couch for a good rest. Because...tomorrow, the routine is starting again.

  • Jo January 01, 2018

    I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and a good start into the new year!

      Christmas Day is also my birthday. My husband and I went for a nice drive to a cute little town and had a picnic lunch by the water. The food consisted of the cheap clearance treats we picked up last week. On our way home, we stopped at my in-laws house for some ice cream cake and also borrowed a DVD. My MIL kindly offered to fix a dress of mine that had ripped.


      On Boxing Day we visited some friends for brunch and brought along our leftover picnic food. Afterwards, we still had some dips and cheese left to take back home! Slight frugal fail: We had run out of crackers for all the dips we were bringing and had to buy a grossly overpriced packet at a service station as the shops were closed.


      We received a lemon, four eggplants and a bag of apricots.


      We saved all reusable gift wraps, bags and ribbons.


      The air-conditioner was on for just under ten hours total last week and we turned on the ceiling fan in the bedroom three nights.


      Except for the brunch and a cheap lunch out for me, all meals were prepared at home. We used up a lot of leftovers and free vegetables. One day, my husband had his dad over to play computer games. His mum sent drinks, snacks and fried rice for dinner.


      I made yoghurt in the slow cooker.


      My husband's parents passed on some DVDs they wouldn't watch again.


      We had planned to buy a new frying pan and mixing bowls during Boxing Day sales. Turns out the store was shut so we saved 100% for now. :D


      I bought some needed cosmetics and used a $5 birthday voucher that was emailed to me by the store. We got cat litter and cotton swabs for free using a gift card from doing online surveys. I bought a packet of Christmas cards at 50% off. Bacon was on sale and on top of that you could receive 10 free hash browns if you bought at least 1kg of bacon. Unfortunately, I only received three as the store was sold out. It was still a good deal as I paid with a gift card and received triple loyalty points.


      I sewed a button back on my skirt.


      We watered from our rainwater tank and got to skip one day thanks to enough rain.


      I found a recycling bottle and added it to our bag.


      We were invited to a New Year's party and brought some leftover soft drink from a Christmas party and sparklers that were leftover from our wedding.

  • Leanne January 01, 2018

    We had a lovely Christmas here in Australia The ham I bought didn't go to waste I have sliced ham for rolls in the freezer and cut up ham for Quiches and fried rice. I kept a lot or gift paper and bows and ribbons to add to my pile for recycling next year. I still have ample paper as 2 years ago in Coles the paper was reduced to 5 cents a roll I bought 30 rolls which also included basic block colors for all purpose wrapping. I went shopping this week and purchased a lot of gifts for next year and Mothers Day and a couple of Birthdays. I paid 50% or more off. Very Happy.
    The apricots are ripe in the garden so later I will make jam. The plums are still a week away from being ripe. I am picking tomatoes and herbs from the garden. I have cancelled a paper fee for one of my bills so saving $2.20 a month. Picked up my chemist prescriptions to avoid paying the price increase in 2018, While using the oven over Christmas I dried out herbs and breadcrumbs to save on gas. A workmate has driven me home saving 2 bus fares. It doesn't seem much but I really want this to be the year when money goes into the bank if I can save a few cents well good because those cents have to end up being a dollar at some stage. God Bless and Happy New Year everyone!

  • Lorna January 02, 2018

    Thanks momsav for your encouragement we are over the moon about it to :) . It is amazing what you can do to save a little more in your budget by looking for specials, are opened to doing things slightly differently and examining all of your household expenditure .

  • Holly January 02, 2018

    Because of the snow and extremely cold temperatures-one record was broken near here that was older than my 94-year-old mom, we have been hunkered down at home for the past thirteen days. I will be venturing out today at last to mail things and to buy water softener salt, some paper products, milk, orange juice, coffee, fresh fruit, and a few other groceries. Staying home is one sure way of saving. I had a frugal fail though. I bought an overpriced vintage pattern for wing back chair and recliner slipcovers, McCall's 4069, from ebay hoping to simplify the project. I was so disappointed when it turned out that there were no tissue patterns in the envelope for those two covers, only printed instructions on how to drape, pin, cut, and sew. Ugh! I have since purchased a used book from amazon com for $5.75 on making slipcovers. All except 75 cents of that second purchase was covered by the $5 gift certificate I got for using Bing as my search engine. Around Thanksgiving, I had requested information from the manufacturer on missing parts for a classic game board my sister had left here when she moved to Arizona. I had sent photos so that they could tell me which pegs would fit given the age of the board. My email was overlooked during the pre-Christmas rush. I finally heard back from them. They will be sending the missing parts for free to make up for the delay, saving me about $10. We ate the last of our in-the-house grown tomatoes yesterday in a Thai-inspired soup I made for lunch. One packet of chili ramen, 1/4 t ground ginger, diced tomatoes, scallions (also grown on a windowsill), and two heaping teaspoonfuls of peanut butter. Mom is not a big fan of ramen, but she enjoyed the soup. One packet of ramen made two bowls of soup. Earlier in the week, I made a batch of the peanut butter cookies with just three ingredients: peanut butter, sugar, and eggs. They were surprisingly good. Stay warm! (And try to avoid the flu that has hit my family is Arizona.)

  • Rhonda A. January 02, 2018

    I hope you will share the gifts you make for birthdays when you make them, Brandy. I always get so inspired by your sewing projects! So interesting to read about your current gardening. We're currently in a very frigate deep freeze here, so definitely no plans for gardening any time soon for us!

    Our holiday frugal accomplishments this week included:
    *Meals made at home included Christmas turkey dinner with all the trimmings and choice of homemade peach or apple for dessert, spaghetti with choice of meat, red or white sauce and cheese optional, chicken noodle soup with optional sandwich, ham steaks with mashed potatoes, corn and coleslaw, roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy, leftover mixed veggies, coleslaw and leftover stuffing, and a delicious selection of party "finger foods" for our New Years Eve dinner (cheese & crackers, deviled eggs, potato skins, veggie spring rolls, baked mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, chips & dip, etc.).
    *We snacked on and enjoyed lots of homemade baked treats as well as goodies from our Christmas stockings all week.
    *Packaged up 5 meal portions of cooked turkey and put them in the freezer for future meals. Some are larger portions for hot turkey sandwiches and some are smaller portions for soups or casseroles...all of them are the perfect starting point for 5 very frugal meals for my family! The turkey carcass was also frozen to make soup stock later.
    *The children from the school Christmas program were nice enough to give me one doozie of a cold for Christmas. Even Buckley's got it's but kicked with this one. Sure glad I'm not working right now. Unfortunately DD came down with the cold, too. She is unable to take any type of cold medications, due to the prescription meds she takes. The only thing she can take to help is tylenol. Pour kid really suffered with this one! Up side was that we didn't have much of an appetite most of the week. Thankfully by this past weekend we were both starting to feel better.
    *We were invited to a Christmas Eve get together with my ex-SILs last minute and were asked to bring a gift each, $10 max., unlabled and suitable for male or female, to use in a gift exchange game. Determined to avoid a last minute shopping trip, I checked my gift stash and found my last 2 gifts were suitable. I then put together a third gift of homemade peach jelly, a can of candied peanuts and a baggie of treats. We had fun and all gifts we brought were well received. DD got a $10 gift card for the mall with a bag of skittles and hubby & I both received $10 gift cards to subway!
    *I stuck to my guns this year and did not buy for the nieces and nephews, as it was not reciprocated with my daughter last year. Surprisingly, this year they did decide to buy her a gift and a few even commented on how much they liked their gifts they got last year. Undecided what I will do next year, but I can always decide later.
    *Received lots of gift cards this year, which is nice. They will come in handy as I plan to cut back on my spending for January. My mom also bought all of us an ice cream attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer. Everyone in the family, but me, goes loopy over ice cream. However, it is my Kitchenaid mixer...thus why it was for everyone. I've been doing some research on ice cream recipes (I LOVE Pinterest!) as the booklet recipes that came with the attachment call for 8 egg yokes, plus cream and other ingredients! I can watch for cream on sale, but egg prices have risen to $2.29/dozen here. That's pretty expensive ice cream to make!
    *I went shopping on Boxing day with the intent of restocking my gift and candy stash, as it was completely depleted from Christmas. I found some amazing gifts, too. My favourite finds were 2 Christmas cookie jars for $5 each (50% off), and 4 small jar candle holder for $1.80 each plus 2 pint sized canning jar candle holders for $2.80 each (75% off). The candle holders hand up or sit on a table, can be used any time of year and hold inexpensive tea light candles which we have lots of around the house already! I bought some chocolates that can easily be used for other holidays (e.g. Easter baskets) and a few other various gift items that will be perfect for men, all $10 or under (I have a lot of men in my family that I'm always trying to find gifts for).
    *Hubby ended up being scheduled to work quite a bit over the holidays (he wasn't happy about it either). Not the greatest way to get extra pay, but it is what it is.
    *We stayed home and watched free movies as a family on our android box for New Years Eve. We even convinced DD to watch Dunkirk! DD is not a big movie fan, and this type of movie is not her favourite, but I'm glad she watched this well done movie with us. It's much easier to understand history when you can really visualize what happened.

    Overall we had a good holiday. Looking forward to reading through everyone's comments. Happy New Year to you all!!!!

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood January 03, 2018

    Isn't the kitchenaid ice cream attachment fun, Rhonda? I also read the booklet and found the recipes a bit too rich for my blood, in more ways than one. So I developed my own waistline- and budget-friendly frozen yoghurt version! (http://approachingfood.com/strawberry-frozen-yoghurt/) I know you make your own jam, so you already have half the ingredients in your pantry! Have fun experimenting! :)

  • Rhonda A. January 04, 2018

    Thank you so much for the recipe, Margaret! I have pinned it to my Pinterest board. So cheap and easy. I like that I can easily substitute any of my homemade jams for different flavour!

  • Cindy in the South January 02, 2018

    I typically shop for for most of my work clothes for the year after Christmas and before New Years. I was down to one pair of work pants. I fine skirt suits at consignment shops very easily but the pants do not usually fit me. So, I took a $10 off $25 J.C. Penny Coupon, and buy one pair get the other pair free, and combined both deals to get two pair of pants, that fit. I usually buy a pair of Dansko clogs for work during this week, but I was fortunate to get a pair worn only once earlier in the year (for $40), so I did not buy any shoes this year. We are in a deep freeze in the deep South and I did not leave my outside faucet dripping fast enough. It formed an icicle and froze. Luckily, I found a hint in one of my thrifted books and used it and it worked! I put a towel over the faucet and poured a pot of boiling hot water over it. It worked immediately. Whew! I left it running as a little stream. I may have a high water bill, but at least I do not have a busted pipe! I am trying to not spend any in the month of January on groceries. We shall see.

  • Kim in Florida January 02, 2018

    Since we had reached our $60,000 out of pocket max, we had arranged to have our daughters port removed last week, rather than in the new year. That saved us quite a bit of money. I've been trying to increase the amount of casseroles, stews and soups, since getting the instant pot in November. Its been working. I made turkey soup using the bones from the turkey soup on Christmas, and we had chicken corn chilli for a few days too. Tonight is regular chilli. No corn muffins. (the last time I made them, they came out to I think 8 weight watchers points each and I was over hungry and ate 6 throughout the day). I've also been trying to increase the amount of vegetables and beans we eat and decrease the meat. Well its been working for meals, but when the meat is in the freezer, my husband will just go in there and get it and eat it. It drives me nuts that I can use an 8 ounce package of smithfield ham for 15 meals and he can take that same package and eat it with his eggs for breakfast!!! My next idea is as the freezer gets emptied (we're just there), to simply not buy anything untill I absolutely need it. I dont mean per meal, but to buy pork roast and cut that up and use it over 6 meals and then when its gone buy something else. I had my veggie & bean hating husband snacking on dry edamame beans the passed few days. Earlier I cooked a pound of garbanzo beans and now I have some roasting in the oven with cajun seasoning. If I can get him to eat these as a snack, that will save us some money instead of buying potato chips. The passed few months we've been able to turn the ac off, and that saved us some money. Unfortunately, I had to turn the heat on last night. At least that wont cost us as much as the ac.

  • Amy January 02, 2018

    What beautiful photos! I love reading everyone's post. How fun to have an engagement and wedding!

    Our last week was frugal mostly because I was sick! I didn't want to go anywhere. We did a family dinner at a restaurant that we do every year. But all other meals were made at home. We watched movies, played games and had fun talking together. I love when my college kids are home. Everyone was happy with their gifts and the time together. Christmas is such a peaceful, nice day. I love having all my family around and just enjoying being together, hearing their voices and laughing.

    I love your blog, Brandi. I check it all week long. Thank you again for such a wonderful site to learn and be inspired. Best of luck to you and your family in this new year.

  • Kim Heller January 02, 2018

    Happy New Year to Everyone!
    Thank you Brandy for a year full of wonderfully encouraging posts. Your blog is truly a wonderful gift.
    I too, will be trying to do more with less in 2018. Costs are rising in almost every area...gas, utilities, groceries, insurance, property taxes and on and on it goes. I am trying to find a way to cut enough costs to cover the utility bill. This will be a challenge as I have our budget down to the very basics already.
    I made a pot roast for seven people over the holidays. I used carrots and garlic from our garden. I found potatoes on sale. This isn't something I normally serve so I wasn't sure if my family would like it or not but they loved it and ate every bite. The pot roast itself was kind of pricey but I think I will incorporate this into the menu about once a month.
    I shared earlier that Christmas shopping was a very stressful experience for me this year so I plan to work much harder at buying gifts throughout the year. I did buy both my adult children nice vaccum cleaners for Christmas this year which were expensive but both kids are very grateful and can't believe how much easier cleaning is now. It was nice to be able to buy them something they can use for years to come. This was the first time I have ever been in a position to buy them something that expensive and it felt very good. One year my parents were able to buy me a freezer for Christmas and that really helped my family for years so I was happy to do something like that for my kids.
    I will be sharing all the ways I can think to stretch every dollar in 2018 and look forward to reading everyone's efforts to do the same.

  • Amber January 02, 2018

    Being frugal at Christmas is a balancing act for me. My husband loves it when I am frugal with the things in the budget that I am responsible for; like groceries, homeschool supplies & kid stuff, but he doesn't like to be frugal with the things that are for him or that he thinks reflect on him like gifts. I shop all year for gifts for the kids, but when we get to December he wants to buy more so the kids can have "tons" of presents under the tree. He also loves his traditions, so I have to modify what I can and budget for the rest.

    For example he loves to have fresh raviolis from the Italian Delicatessen in our town. This has been the "family dinner" in his family since his grandparents time. He wants them for all special occasion dinners, Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving Eve (which I can't convince him is not real) anniversaries, birthdays & graduations; the problem is they are really expensive, and you have to wait in line for 90+ minutes to pick them up. I have convinced him down to only Christmas Eve and we only buy the ravioli & I make the sauce for about 1/4 of what they sell theirs for (and mine is better)

    Another example is he wanted to wait until all of our college kids were home & take everyone to the new Star Wars movie. We live in a big city so weekend/ evening movies are $13 for regular and just go up from there. So I convinced him that it would be super fun to go on the day after Christmas which is "cheap Tuesday" and all movie tickets were $6.50 and that it would be fun to go to the fancy part of town to the theater with the heated, reclining leather seats. I also watched the thrift shop all year and managed to get everyone a Star Wars t-shirt for between $1-$5. Even me & I never wear t-shirts, but it will work to sleep in.

    And finally there is a movie coming out in 2018 about the history of a local landmark (Winchester Mystery House,) and the kids have been begging to go to take the tour, but it is expensive. My older kids each went once when they were brownie scouts and my younger kids haven't ever been, so we waited until there was a Groupon and paid for the much less expensive Monday-Thursday tickets. I printed a picture of the place on a piece of heavy paper and then cut it into puzzle pieces so they all had to put it together on Christmas morning to figure out what the present was.

    Other than that I feel like I cooked and cleaned solid for a week so that everyone could eat all their favorites and enjoy each other's company. I didn't get a ton of rest but I love it when my kids all play games together & have fun particularly now that 1/2 of them are in college and the rest are all teenagers.

    My Food Maxx had turkeys for $.29/lb and Safeway had bone-in hams for $.79/ lb. I was actually glad when I saw that Safeway was out of the hams, so I got a rain check for up to 6 that is good for 90 days. I should have room for a few in next to the 4 turkeys that I bought by the end of the month.

    I hope that 2018 is bright & happy for everyone & I am so thankful for all the tips & encouragement I find here.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood January 03, 2018

    I completely understand trying to balance the budget and the hubby's desire to spend in certain areas! For my family, I am frugal and stretch our resources where I can, talk with my husband about our goals, and remind myself that a happy marriage is worth more than money in the bank. It sounds like you're doing a great job finding a balance for your family, and I love your Star Wars outing! Between the fancy theatre and the t-shirts, it sounds super-fun.

  • Amber January 02, 2018

    Oh I forgot one! Our Safeway had 2lb bags of shredded cheese for $3.88. Any kind of shredded cheese, but you could only get 2 bags/ Safeway loyalty account/ day. This is even lower than the $5 price that I watch for or the $11.99 for 5lbs that I can get at Costco. So yes, I went in and bought 2 bags of shredded cheese every day for the 3 day sale. I took exact change so I wouldn't buy other things I saw. I now have cheese for pizza and tacos/ burritos all packaged up in the freezer, and I didn't have to shred it myself. :)

  • Julie T January 02, 2018

    Has been a busy month of December and then poof gone!

    Very cold here in the Midwest. 30 degrees below zero. Glad we heat mainly with wood. Helps keep the cost down as we get wood for free or very cheap. Dreaming about garden in the spring and eating out of the freezer.

    Made turkey noodle soup, fried walleye ( hubby went ice fishing) and hash browns, chocolate applesauce muffins, Stromboli, sloppy joes, Asian coleslaw, five grain bread, sauerkraut noodle hot dish, and quiche. No money spent on groceries this week. Will need to get milk and some lettuce this next week. Last week got butter for $1.98/lb. limit 4 so bought 4.

    Stopped at Hobby Lobby today and shopped Christmas clearance-90% off. Spent $20, got 8 containers for treats for next Christmas, a snowman decorating set and hat for the grandkids for when they make a snowman, several dish towels, a crystal bowl shaped like an ornament, gift tags, stickers ( again for grandkids), bows, crystal angel, Merry Christmas banner, several Christmas stockings, and a set of netting lights. Will use ornament bowl, Christmas banner, and crystal angel for Christmas gifts for next year.

    Hope to do some canning in the next couple of weeks, I have food in freezer that needs canning. Raspberries for jam, tomatoes for salsa and spaghetti sauce, and kraut in a crock that is almost done working.

    Happy New Year and stay warm!

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 02, 2018

    What beautiful pansies!

    I haven't been good at writing things down (was busy w/ holiday activities and then came down with a cold). I'll enjoy reading everyone else's comments and then get back into the swing of things next week.

    Happy New Year, everyone!

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